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Author Topic: The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....  (Read 7022 times) Average Rating: 0
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Eastern Mind
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« Reply #90 on: March 05, 2013, 03:47:22 PM »

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Much better than when Protestants just disrespect her by casually saying "mary" or going to great lengths to minimalize her role in the Incarnation because of rabid anti-Catholicism.

I've seen some Protestants go to great lengths, praising St. Peter, St. Paul, and other "heroes" of the faith, but when it comes to the Theotokos, she doesn't seem to get much of a mention at all. Not that all Protestants do this, but many do.
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« Reply #91 on: March 05, 2013, 04:11:44 PM »

Also, just felt like pointing out, Jesus didn't have any half-siblings because that would imply St. Joseph was his biological father; rather, he had step-siblings.
Hallelujah!  someone agrees with something I said
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« Reply #92 on: March 05, 2013, 04:20:26 PM »

I was listening just this morning to Fr. Tom Hopko's podcast on the Annunciation.  He wonderfully put it this way, "Mary is not holy because she is the Mother of God, she is the Mother of God because she is holy."

I'm not sure that I'm entirely comfortable with that interpretation. Nor do I think it does much, in itself, to explain the phenomenon.  But it does illustrate that not any old decent person receives the honor she did.

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« Reply #93 on: March 05, 2013, 04:21:45 PM »

Also, just felt like pointing out, Jesus didn't have any half-siblings because that would imply St. Joseph was his biological father; rather, he had step-siblings.

All theiris neighbours believed He was.
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« Reply #94 on: March 05, 2013, 04:51:10 PM »

Quote
Much better than when Protestants just disrespect her by casually saying "mary" or going to great lengths to minimalize her role in the Incarnation because of rabid anti-Catholicism.

I've seen some Protestants go to great lengths, praising St. Peter, St. Paul, and other "heroes" of the faith, but when it comes to the Theotokos, she doesn't seem to get much of a mention at all. Not that all Protestants do this, but many do.

True, but I've never heard a protestant refer to Peter or Paul as more honorable than Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than immaterial Seraphim. Neither of them are called king of creation or king of heaven, nigher of them are called the protection of Christians or are addressed as our only hope. But yeah, Protestants do think they were great. Not greater than Mary (<<<I call all to witness, I did capitalize). Smiley



    
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« Reply #95 on: March 05, 2013, 04:54:25 PM »

I would be surprised if most Protestant knew who Seraphim or Cherubim are or that they are at all.
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« Reply #96 on: March 05, 2013, 04:56:48 PM »

I guess we can change the thread title from "Final Proof" to Final Spoof.

Enough already.
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« Reply #97 on: March 05, 2013, 05:05:31 PM »

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True, but I've never heard a protestant refer to Peter or Paul as more honorable than Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than immaterial Seraphim.

Sts. Peter and Paul did not give birth to God the Word.
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« Reply #98 on: March 05, 2013, 05:21:29 PM »

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True, but I've never heard a protestant refer to Peter or Paul as more honorable than Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than immaterial Seraphim.

Sts. Peter and Paul did not give birth to God the Word.

They also never said that Mary was the most powerful and awesome being in all creation for having done so. I guess they were just way too concerned with her son Jesus Christ to explain all of that.
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« Reply #99 on: March 05, 2013, 05:24:13 PM »

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True, but I've never heard a protestant refer to Peter or Paul as more honorable than Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than immaterial Seraphim.

Sts. Peter and Paul did not give birth to God the Word.

They also never said that Mary was the most powerful and awesome being in all creation for having done so. I guess they were just way too concerned with her son Jesus Christ to explain all of that.

St. Elisabeth and Archangel Gabriel did that.
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« Reply #100 on: March 05, 2013, 05:24:29 PM »

Quote
True, but I've never heard a protestant refer to Peter or Paul as more honorable than Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than immaterial Seraphim.

Sts. Peter and Paul did not give birth to God the Word.

They also never said that Mary was the most powerful and awesome being in all creation for having done so. I guess they were just way too concerned with her son Jesus Christ to explain all of that.
This thread is about the belief in the ever-virginity of Mary. The problems you are sharing on this thread are problems you are already addressing on another thread. It might be good, then, that you take your concerns there so we can keep this thread focused on the topic freddief wants to discuss. Thanks.
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« Reply #101 on: March 05, 2013, 05:38:50 PM »

St. Athanasius: "Let those, therefore, who deny that the Son is by nature from the Father and proper to his essence deny also that he took true human flesh from the ever-virgin Mary" (Discourses Against the Arians 2:70 [A.D. 360]).

Pope Siricius I: You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the Flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord's body, chat court of the eternal King (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).
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« Reply #102 on: March 05, 2013, 06:50:38 PM »

"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

Quote
The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious and born of her:  let him be anathema.
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« Reply #103 on: March 05, 2013, 07:55:15 PM »

"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

Quote
The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and always a virgin, and born of her:  let him be anathema.

If you are right that Scripture does not allow for the ever-virginity of the Theotokos, than the Church universal fell into significant error and material heresy rather quickly, manifesting itself in its declaration of an anathema at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

However, that would suggest that the Church was not the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). Christ promised He would be with the Church always: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matt 28:20). So, if you are right, that would suggest that either Christ was not truthful, or that He was trying to be truthful but that He was ineffectual and impotent. Either way, I cannot imagine following that sort of Jesus.

Moreover, given that the Church universal disagreed with your interpretation (as expressed in this Council and at the 4th Ecumenical Council), you are effectively putting yourself above the Church in your understanding of Scripture. Scripture is our most reliable, "infallible" authority for Christian faith and praxis, but it is a material authority. Scripture does not interpret itself any more than the American Constitution interpretes itself. Both need a formal authority to do so. You have made yourself a formal authority above the Church, which begs the question: On what basis is your understanding of Scripture more normative than that which was believed "everywhere, always by everyone" in the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins warns us that the worst heresies of the Early Church arose when individuals tried to interpret Scripture apart from the Church:
Quote
"But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters .For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another.Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation".A Commonitory by St. Vincent of Lérins

The Holy Spirit never left the Church and we have no reason to believe she fell into universal error. The Church is the Bride of Christ and she is trustworthy. We should therefore interpret Scripture as she does.
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« Reply #104 on: March 05, 2013, 07:56:04 PM »

I do not think that the OP has denied anything in the below canons.  In fact, I have not seen him say that he believed that Mary was anything other than Theotokos.  What I understand to be his point is that she had more children after Jesus - a point believed by most Protestants that I have known.  In fact, it was one of the last of my Lutheran beliefs that I gave up, and I am still not sure that I truly believe what I now confess.

edit - I see you added some more stuff to your post, so what I wrote above may not be accurate.

"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

Quote
The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious and born of her:  let him be anathema.
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I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.
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« Reply #105 on: March 05, 2013, 08:18:01 PM »

"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
I understand what you're saying, but would have thought that prophesy in relation to the Lord was as primary as any other purpose of the psalms.
By definition, there can only be one primary purpose. There can be a number of secondary purposes, but only one primary purpose.

The quotation I have given is all related to Christ.  We know the zeal of God's house consumed him - John 2:17.  This is absolutely a direct prophesy.
So you think then that the first purpose of this Psalm was to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Him? Could not the same thing be said for Zerubabbel or Ezra or someone else who helped reconstruct the Temple after the exile?

We know also about the disgrace, humiliation and insults he endured.  They called him a glutton, a drunkard, a blasphemer, a Samaritan (a dreadful insult, apparently), claimed he operated by the power of Satan, and was in fact possessed of a demon.  Finally they had him nailed to the cross, a death of shame and total humiliation.  I can give you scripture for all of this, but know you probably believe it.  

We also know he became a "stranger to his brothers", in that they did not believe him - John 7:5.  In view of this, I can't see why the thought of becoming "an alien to his mother's sons" should not relate to him as well.  It's a big ask if that's what you're asking me to believe.

Anyway I was just reading the psalm the other day, and wondered what the perpetual virginity people thought of it
I think we need to understand the Psalms first within their historical context and only secondarily as prophecies of Christ. Even then, we need to be very careful not to draw from the Psalms proof texts for Christological dogmas that contradict the faith given us by the Apostles and Fathers of the Church.
I should have said "as important as", not "as primary as".  No, it was not the primary purpose of the psalm to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Christ, but it did directly prophesy it.
No, it didn't.

And that is as important as anything else in the psalm.
No, it isn't.

We see Christ in the Psalms, but that does not mean that the Psalms directly prophesied Christ.

Was this said of Ezra or Zerubabbel?  Nowhere, as far as I know, is it related to anyone else but Christ in John 2.
The fact that an apostle related the Psalms to Christ does not mean that the Psalms directly prophesied the Christ. Rather, it means that, knowing Christ, the apostle was able to see Christ as the fulfillment of the Psalms.

I do not see how the perpetual virginity of Mary can be a "Christological dogma".
Personally, I don't, either. The ever-virginity is certainly part of our Tradition, but it's never really been proclaimed in a way that can clearly be recognized as dogmatic, unlike the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation and the fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth to Christ. You could say that the ever-virginity of the Theotokos just isn't a part of our public message to the world.

Which of the apostles gave it?  I'm not going to argue with you about the importance of historical context, but would say prophecies of Christ are secondary to nothing
But seeing Christ in the Psalms does not mean the Psalms are necessarily prophecies of Christ.
I think we are just going to have to disagree.  The person who speaks in the quotation bore disgrace, humiliation and insults.  He was consumed by the zeal of God's house, had brothers who did not believe him, and a mother who had sons who did not believe him (that they, or some of them, later came to faith does not alter the initial fact).  I believe that person is the Lord Jesus Christ, that the psalmist is speaking prophetically of Him.  

I do not believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary, principally because I am not asked to in the Holy Scriptures.  It is amazing that I am being called a heretic for not believing something not mentioned by the only inspired writers of God's word.  I do not see how the teaching in any way enhances the glory of Christ's Person.  I do not see how it would enhance my walk of faith in Christ if I adhered to it.  I cannot see either how it enhances the dignity and stature of Mary.  I believe everything God says about Mary in His written word, and leave nothing out.  I strive to follow her holy example and her holy teaching, so clearly shown in the scriptures.  That is my position.  There is no question of my downplaying or even denigrating Mary, as some seem to be suggesting

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« Reply #106 on: March 05, 2013, 08:25:23 PM »

"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

Quote
The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and always a virgin, and born of her:  let him be anathema.

If you are right that Scripture does not allow for the ever-virginity of the Theotokos, than the Church universal fell into significant error and material heresy rather quickly, manifesting itself in its declaration of an anathema at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

However, that would suggest that the Church was not the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). Christ promised He would be with the Church always: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matt 28:20). So, if you are right, that would suggest that either Christ was not truthful, or that He was trying to be truthful but that He was ineffectual and impotent. Either way, I cannot imagine following that sort of Jesus.

Moreover, given that the Church universal disagreed with your interpretation (as expressed in this Council and at the 4th Ecumenical Council), you are effectively putting yourself above the Church in your understanding of Scripture. Scripture is our most reliable, "infallible" authority for Christian faith and praxis, but it is a material authority. Scripture does not interpret itself any more than the American Constitution interpretes itself. Both need a formal authority to do so. You have made yourself a formal authority above the Church, which begs the question: On what basis is your understanding of Scripture more normative than that which was believed "everywhere, always by everyone" in the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins warns us that the worst heresies of the Early Church arose when individuals tried to interpret Scripture apart from the Church:
Quote
"But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters .For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another.Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation".A Commonitory by St. Vincent of Lérins

The Holy Spirit never left the Church and we have no reason to believe she fell into universal error. The Church is the Bride of Christ and she is trustworthy. We should therefore interpret Scripture as she does.
If this is about interpreting the Holy Scriptures, exactly which scripture are you interpreting when you proclaim the perpetual virginity of Mary?
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« Reply #107 on: March 05, 2013, 08:51:34 PM »

"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
I understand what you're saying, but would have thought that prophesy in relation to the Lord was as primary as any other purpose of the psalms.
By definition, there can only be one primary purpose. There can be a number of secondary purposes, but only one primary purpose.

The quotation I have given is all related to Christ.  We know the zeal of God's house consumed him - John 2:17.  This is absolutely a direct prophesy.
So you think then that the first purpose of this Psalm was to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Him? Could not the same thing be said for Zerubabbel or Ezra or someone else who helped reconstruct the Temple after the exile?

We know also about the disgrace, humiliation and insults he endured.  They called him a glutton, a drunkard, a blasphemer, a Samaritan (a dreadful insult, apparently), claimed he operated by the power of Satan, and was in fact possessed of a demon.  Finally they had him nailed to the cross, a death of shame and total humiliation.  I can give you scripture for all of this, but know you probably believe it.  

We also know he became a "stranger to his brothers", in that they did not believe him - John 7:5.  In view of this, I can't see why the thought of becoming "an alien to his mother's sons" should not relate to him as well.  It's a big ask if that's what you're asking me to believe.

Anyway I was just reading the psalm the other day, and wondered what the perpetual virginity people thought of it
I think we need to understand the Psalms first within their historical context and only secondarily as prophecies of Christ. Even then, we need to be very careful not to draw from the Psalms proof texts for Christological dogmas that contradict the faith given us by the Apostles and Fathers of the Church.
I should have said "as important as", not "as primary as".  No, it was not the primary purpose of the psalm to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Christ, but it did directly prophesy it.
No, it didn't.

And that is as important as anything else in the psalm.
No, it isn't.

We see Christ in the Psalms, but that does not mean that the Psalms directly prophesied Christ.

Was this said of Ezra or Zerubabbel?  Nowhere, as far as I know, is it related to anyone else but Christ in John 2.
The fact that an apostle related the Psalms to Christ does not mean that the Psalms directly prophesied the Christ. Rather, it means that, knowing Christ, the apostle was able to see Christ as the fulfillment of the Psalms.

I do not see how the perpetual virginity of Mary can be a "Christological dogma".
Personally, I don't, either. The ever-virginity is certainly part of our Tradition, but it's never really been proclaimed in a way that can clearly be recognized as dogmatic, unlike the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation and the fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth to Christ. You could say that the ever-virginity of the Theotokos just isn't a part of our public message to the world.

Which of the apostles gave it?  I'm not going to argue with you about the importance of historical context, but would say prophecies of Christ are secondary to nothing
But seeing Christ in the Psalms does not mean the Psalms are necessarily prophecies of Christ.
I think we are just going to have to disagree.  The person who speaks in the quotation bore disgrace, humiliation and insults.  He was consumed by the zeal of God's house, had brothers who did not believe him, and a mother who had sons who did not believe him (that they, or some of them, later came to faith does not alter the initial fact).  I believe that person is the Lord Jesus Christ, that the psalmist is speaking prophetically of Him.  

I do not believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary, principally because I am not asked to in the Holy Scriptures.  It is amazing that I am being called a heretic for not believing something not mentioned by the only inspired writers of God's word.  I do not see how the teaching in any way enhances the glory of Christ's Person.  I do not see how it would enhance my walk of faith in Christ if I adhered to it.  I cannot see either how it enhances the dignity and stature of Mary.  I believe everything God says about Mary in His written word, and leave nothing out.  I strive to follow her holy example and her holy teaching, so clearly shown in the scriptures.  That is my position.  There is no question of my downplaying or even denigrating Mary, as some seem to be suggesting

Why do you think that which is normative in Christianity is only found in Scripture? Scripture says that we should believe more than just written Scripture: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle". 2 Thes 2:15. For the first four centuries of Christianity, there was no fixed canon of the New Testament, yet Christians still managed to transmit the faith from one generation to the next.

Who called you a heretic?

The doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos is not taught for the sake of upholding the sanctity of the Virgin Mary, but because of the uniqueness of her Son Jesus Christ. By being ever virgin, the Theotokos fulfils prophecy from the Old Testament, thereby elevating Christ.   

"Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut." (Ezekiel 44:2). This has always been interpreted by the Fathers of the Church to be a reference to the Virgin Mary and the Incarnation. When we consider that God took flesh from the Virgin's womb, it is not difficult to imagine that this womb would remain virgin.

But even if you don't understand how it would help your faith, why wouldn't you believe it if it is true? Christian Othodoxy is not about you or about doctrinal pluralism. “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” (2nd Thessalonians 3:6).

Christianity is not about just believing a bare minimum to get "saved"; it is about truth and becoming Christlike.

The Church believed the ever-virginity was part of the faith transmitted faithfully from the Apostles. Why would you limit your belief to that which you, as the final, private judge, determine from Scripture?

Where in Scripture or in the Fathers do you see such an epistemology where we should each act like, what amounts to, little popes?


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« Reply #108 on: March 05, 2013, 08:58:08 PM »

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I do not believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary, principally because I am not asked to in the Holy Scriptures.

Why does it have to be in the Bible? Do you think the early Christians were Sola Scriptura?
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« Reply #109 on: March 05, 2013, 09:24:34 PM »

Well, the Scriptures feel the verse concerning "Rachel weeping for her children" as connected to the slaughter of the innocents, yet even she was not the mother of all Israel's children.  Soooooo....why particularly do you find reason to take this verse literally as the Theotokos?  That makes no sense in the context of how the prophecies were used by the gospels and Acts.
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« Reply #110 on: March 05, 2013, 09:50:33 PM »


Why do you think that which is normative in Christianity is only found in Scripture? Scripture says that we should believe more than just written Scripture: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle". 2 Thes 2:15. For the first four centuries of Christianity, there was no fixed canon of the New Testament, yet Christians still managed to transmit the faith from one generation to the next.


You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was? The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles, which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts. That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of.  


The doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos is not taught for the sake of upholding the sanctity of the Virgin Mary, but because of the uniqueness of her Son Jesus Christ. By being ever virgin, the Theotokos fulfils prophecy from the Old Testament, thereby elevating Christ.  

"Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut." (Ezekiel 44:2). This has always been interpreted by the Fathers of the Church to be a reference to the Virgin Mary and the Incarnation. When we consider that God took flesh from the Virgin's womb, it is not difficult to imagine that this womb would remain virgin.


What if the Fathers were wrong? What if they had a hand in corrupting apostolic teaching? Look at any protestant study Bible, and you'll see there are other possible interpretations of the passage. It may be a literal vision of a future temple, it may be symbolic of the Church (whatever that truly is). The East gate may remain shut signifying that once God had interfered, he would never leave. It may be shut to prevent or signify the end of the solar worship in the temple described earlier in the book of Ezekiel.  


The Church believed the ever-virginity was part of the faith transmitted faithfully from the Apostles.


What if it wasn't transmitted faithfully? What if things were added, like the perpetual virginity, the dormition, the intersession of the saints in heaven, monastic traditions, and so forth, all clearly built up over time? If the Church is that which faithfully preserves the teaching of the Apostles, and if Orthodox tradition contains later corruptions and merely human teachings, then the Orthodox Church is not the Church, and has no authority, any more than the Baptists or the Pentecostals. In the end, only the Lord knows who is His.  
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« Reply #111 on: March 05, 2013, 09:56:34 PM »

Pope Siricius I: You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the Flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord's body, chat court of the eternal King (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).

I'm curious, in what way would the 'seed' of natural sexual intercourse with one's spouse be considered a 'contamination'?

Do not the scriptures teach that the marriage bed is undefiled? (Hebrews 13:4)
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« Reply #112 on: March 05, 2013, 10:18:41 PM »

Pope Siricius I: You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the Flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord's body, chat court of the eternal King (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).

I'm curious, in what way would the 'seed' of natural sexual intercourse with one's spouse be considered a 'contamination'?

Do not the scriptures teach that the marriage bed is undefiled? (Hebrews 13:4)

Also, why do they believe that anything can contaminate God?
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« Reply #113 on: March 05, 2013, 10:24:29 PM »

You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was? The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles, which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts. That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of.  

Is it possible to be sure of the completeness and sole sufficiency of Scripture outside assumption or conviction?
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« Reply #114 on: March 06, 2013, 01:22:34 AM »

"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
I understand what you're saying, but would have thought that prophesy in relation to the Lord was as primary as any other purpose of the psalms.
By definition, there can only be one primary purpose. There can be a number of secondary purposes, but only one primary purpose.

The quotation I have given is all related to Christ.  We know the zeal of God's house consumed him - John 2:17.  This is absolutely a direct prophesy.
So you think then that the first purpose of this Psalm was to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Him? Could not the same thing be said for Zerubabbel or Ezra or someone else who helped reconstruct the Temple after the exile?

We know also about the disgrace, humiliation and insults he endured.  They called him a glutton, a drunkard, a blasphemer, a Samaritan (a dreadful insult, apparently), claimed he operated by the power of Satan, and was in fact possessed of a demon.  Finally they had him nailed to the cross, a death of shame and total humiliation.  I can give you scripture for all of this, but know you probably believe it.  

We also know he became a "stranger to his brothers", in that they did not believe him - John 7:5.  In view of this, I can't see why the thought of becoming "an alien to his mother's sons" should not relate to him as well.  It's a big ask if that's what you're asking me to believe.

Anyway I was just reading the psalm the other day, and wondered what the perpetual virginity people thought of it
I think we need to understand the Psalms first within their historical context and only secondarily as prophecies of Christ. Even then, we need to be very careful not to draw from the Psalms proof texts for Christological dogmas that contradict the faith given us by the Apostles and Fathers of the Church.
I should have said "as important as", not "as primary as".  No, it was not the primary purpose of the psalm to prophesy that the zeal of God's house would consume Christ, but it did directly prophesy it.
No, it didn't.

And that is as important as anything else in the psalm.
No, it isn't.

We see Christ in the Psalms, but that does not mean that the Psalms directly prophesied Christ.

Was this said of Ezra or Zerubabbel?  Nowhere, as far as I know, is it related to anyone else but Christ in John 2.
The fact that an apostle related the Psalms to Christ does not mean that the Psalms directly prophesied the Christ. Rather, it means that, knowing Christ, the apostle was able to see Christ as the fulfillment of the Psalms.

I do not see how the perpetual virginity of Mary can be a "Christological dogma".
Personally, I don't, either. The ever-virginity is certainly part of our Tradition, but it's never really been proclaimed in a way that can clearly be recognized as dogmatic, unlike the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation and the fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth to Christ. You could say that the ever-virginity of the Theotokos just isn't a part of our public message to the world.

Which of the apostles gave it?  I'm not going to argue with you about the importance of historical context, but would say prophecies of Christ are secondary to nothing
But seeing Christ in the Psalms does not mean the Psalms are necessarily prophecies of Christ.
I think we are just going to have to disagree.  The person who speaks in the quotation bore disgrace, humiliation and insults.  He was consumed by the zeal of God's house, had brothers who did not believe him, and a mother who had sons who did not believe him (that they, or some of them, later came to faith does not alter the initial fact).  I believe that person is the Lord Jesus Christ, that the psalmist is speaking prophetically of Him.
Well, then, how is your belief the final proof of anything?
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« Reply #115 on: March 06, 2013, 01:25:29 AM »

"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

Quote
The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and always a virgin, and born of her:  let him be anathema.

If you are right that Scripture does not allow for the ever-virginity of the Theotokos, than the Church universal fell into significant error and material heresy rather quickly, manifesting itself in its declaration of an anathema at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

However, that would suggest that the Church was not the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). Christ promised He would be with the Church always: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matt 28:20). So, if you are right, that would suggest that either Christ was not truthful, or that He was trying to be truthful but that He was ineffectual and impotent. Either way, I cannot imagine following that sort of Jesus.

Moreover, given that the Church universal disagreed with your interpretation (as expressed in this Council and at the 4th Ecumenical Council), you are effectively putting yourself above the Church in your understanding of Scripture. Scripture is our most reliable, "infallible" authority for Christian faith and praxis, but it is a material authority. Scripture does not interpret itself any more than the American Constitution interpretes itself. Both need a formal authority to do so. You have made yourself a formal authority above the Church, which begs the question: On what basis is your understanding of Scripture more normative than that which was believed "everywhere, always by everyone" in the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins warns us that the worst heresies of the Early Church arose when individuals tried to interpret Scripture apart from the Church:
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"But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters .For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another.Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation".A Commonitory by St. Vincent of Lérins

The Holy Spirit never left the Church and we have no reason to believe she fell into universal error. The Church is the Bride of Christ and she is trustworthy. We should therefore interpret Scripture as she does.
If this is about interpreting the Holy Scriptures, exactly which scripture are you interpreting when you proclaim the perpetual virginity of Mary?
If you see Psalm 68 as prophetic of the Christ, then why do you not see Ezekiel 44:1-3 as prophetic of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos?
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« Reply #116 on: March 06, 2013, 01:28:57 AM »

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Personally, I don't, either. The ever-virginity is certainly part of our Tradition, but it's never really been proclaimed in a way that can clearly be recognized as dogmatic, unlike the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation and the fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth to Christ. You could say that the ever-virginity of the Theotokos just isn't a part of our public message to the world.

There is a post of mine waiting to be approved which shows that the matter of the ever-virginity of the Mother of God was, indeed, proclaimed as a proper and necessary teaching of the Church in the Quinisext Council in trullo.
Okay, I must have confused the ever-virginity of the Theotokos with the stories about her entry into the Temple as a child.
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« Reply #117 on: March 06, 2013, 01:54:06 AM »

Pope Siricius I: You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the Flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord's body, chat court of the eternal King (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).

I'm curious, in what way would the 'seed' of natural sexual intercourse with one's spouse be considered a 'contamination'?

Do not the scriptures teach that the marriage bed is undefiled? (Hebrews 13:4)

The marriage bed is indeed undefiled, but, like the OT Ark which contained the tablets of the Law, so sacred that touching it meant instant death, how much holier is the true Ark, the woman whose womb bore God Himself? Some food for thought:

Now, St Joseph was a good Jew, he would have been brought up with a strong sense of the sacred. He would have been raised knowing the stories in scripture of people touching the Ark of the Covenant and suffering instant death. He would have also known that only the high priest dared enter the Holy of Holies of the Temple to offer the yearly sacrifice to the presence of God who "dwelt there". Undoubtedly at some stage St Joseph would have been inspired by the Holy Spirit to realise the true meaning behind these images and stories from scripture, as well as the temple rituals.

Once the meaning of these became clear to him, how, then, could Joseph possibly consider marital relations with this woman, the living Tabernacle, the new Ark, the Holy of Holies, knowing that she has given birth to the Son of God? Not that sex is bad, evil or wrong between married couples, just as eating and cooking meat are not bad, evil, or wrong in themselves, but when put into service to God in the Temple, be it sacrificial animals, or, in the case of Mary who was dedicated to the Temple as a child, they became holy, and only the high priests could participate in the sacrifice. Christ Himself is the great and eternal High Priest, the "prince who eats bread before the Lord" (Ezekiel 44). Good man that he was, St Joseph would most likely have regarded himself as utterly unworthy to even be in the presence of such a treasure blessed and wholly sanctified by God, let alone consider sleeping with her.
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« Reply #118 on: March 06, 2013, 01:54:06 AM »

Quote
Personally, I don't, either. The ever-virginity is certainly part of our Tradition, but it's never really been proclaimed in a way that can clearly be recognized as dogmatic, unlike the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation and the fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and when she gave birth to Christ. You could say that the ever-virginity of the Theotokos just isn't a part of our public message to the world.

There is a post of mine waiting to be approved which shows that the matter of the ever-virginity of the Mother of God was, indeed, proclaimed as a proper and necessary teaching of the Church in the Quinisext Council in trullo.
Okay, I must have confused the ever-virginity of the Theotokos with the stories about her entry into the Temple as a child.

The entry into the Temple of the Mother of God is a feast, indeed one of the twelve highest feasts of the Church, and an ancient one at that. The Church celebrates realities, not allegories, in her feasts, despite what certain contemporary writers might claim.
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« Reply #119 on: March 06, 2013, 04:15:39 AM »

If the brothers of Our Lord had been younger than himself (that is born of his Mother and fathered by Joseph), they could not have claimed any authority over him. When in Mark 3:21 we read that they came to "pick him up", because they/people were saying he was out of his mind, they were acting like older siblings. 

It is also evident in the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church honours as Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry (John 7:5). They believed in him only after the Resurrection. Their attitude makes more sense if they weren't that close (perhaps not/no longer living in the same household) and he was the youngest.   
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« Reply #120 on: March 06, 2013, 05:28:59 AM »


Why do you think that which is normative in Christianity is only found in Scripture? Scripture says that we should believe more than just written Scripture: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle". 2 Thes 2:15. For the first four centuries of Christianity, there was no fixed canon of the New Testament, yet Christians still managed to transmit the faith from one generation to the next.


You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was? The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles, which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts. That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of.  


The doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos is not taught for the sake of upholding the sanctity of the Virgin Mary, but because of the uniqueness of her Son Jesus Christ. By being ever virgin, the Theotokos fulfils prophecy from the Old Testament, thereby elevating Christ.  

"Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut." (Ezekiel 44:2). This has always been interpreted by the Fathers of the Church to be a reference to the Virgin Mary and the Incarnation. When we consider that God took flesh from the Virgin's womb, it is not difficult to imagine that this womb would remain virgin.


What if the Fathers were wrong? What if they had a hand in corrupting apostolic teaching? Look at any protestant study Bible, and you'll see there are other possible interpretations of the passage. It may be a literal vision of a future temple, it may be symbolic of the Church (whatever that truly is). The East gate may remain shut signifying that once God had interfered, he would never leave. It may be shut to prevent or signify the end of the solar worship in the temple described earlier in the book of Ezekiel.  


The Church believed the ever-virginity was part of the faith transmitted faithfully from the Apostles.


What if it wasn't transmitted faithfully? What if things were added, like the perpetual virginity, the dormition, the intersession of the saints in heaven, monastic traditions, and so forth, all clearly built up over time? If the Church is that which faithfully preserves the teaching of the Apostles, and if Orthodox tradition contains later corruptions and merely human teachings, then the Orthodox Church is not the Church, and has no authority, any more than the Baptists or the Pentecostals. In the end, only the Lord knows who is His.  

If what you are speculating about here were true you'd have a problem with more than just the Orthodox Church, you'd have a problem with the Church entire. What you're effectively saying is 'what if the Church is not the pillar and ground of the Truth'. Honestly, if you can't be sure of the Church you can't be sure of Scripture either. As long as you put your own personal interpretations and doubts ahead of the consensus of the Church you'll never understand Orthodoxy. I know someone here said that beliefs about the Theotokos were often hard for Protestants to accept. That wasn't particularly the case for me (I was well aware of and accepted Luther's veneration of her already), though the veneration of icons was. What I can say is that I think that it's letting go of your personal opinions and accepting that you don't know better than the Church that makes the difference, whatever your particular stumbling block. If you can't do that, and I know it's difficult, your enquiries into Orthodoxy will certainly never become anything more.

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« Reply #121 on: March 06, 2013, 05:36:05 AM »

You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was?

Then Jesus was either a liar or He was incompetent when He said that Hades would not prevail over His Church. If the faith of the Apostles is the only faith that saves, and it was lost and/or corrupted, then there is no hope.

Quote
The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles

Who's to say that the epistles weren't "gradually corrupted over time"? What makes the Bible anymore accurate or reliable than the rest of the Apostolic Tradition? In fact, there are many atheistic scholars who would love to point out challenges to the Bible.

Quote
...which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts.

You realize that we have no original texts, but every text we have is a copy of another text? And on each of them, there have been slight differences. For the secular scholar, or for advocates of Sola Scriptura, this is a huge problem. But being Orthodox and having the authority of the Church, we can be at ease knowing that whatever the background is on the epistles, we know that they still bear witness to the faith.

Quote
What if the Fathers were wrong?

Many of them were in certain respects, and many of them were right in certain respects. No one saying that they are infallible. But what matters is that we believe God has given the Church the authority and spiritual guidance in discerning the truth from errors, and thus, we can use this to judge the Fathers.

Quote
What if they had a hand in corrupting apostolic teaching?

Jesus wouldn't let the apostolic teaching which established the universe--the teaching which we are saved by, the teaching which bears witness to the Saviour of the world--be corrupted because it would spell doom for us.

Quote
Look at any protestant study Bible, and you'll see there are other possible interpretations of the passage.

Doesn't matter. All of those other possible interpretations do not have the authority of the Church and can be dismissed.

Quote
What if it wasn't transmitted faithfully?

Then once again, Jesus didn't keep His promise to protect His Church from Hades if He allowed it to sanction blasphemy for all these years.

Quote
What if things were added, like the perpetual virginity, the dormition, the intersession of the saints in heaven, monastic traditions, and so forth, all clearly built up over time?

Most of those things are rather rooted in the Apostolic Tradition, but were developed over time. You can examine the history and claims yourself. But the point is that we have faith in Christ's promise to protect His Church and thus this isn't a problem for us.

Quote
If the Church is that which faithfully preserves the teaching of the Apostles, and if Orthodox tradition contains later corruptions and merely human teachings, then the Orthodox Church is not the Church

That's a tautology, and you're assuming that the Church has corrupted the Apostolic Tradition. The burden is on you to prove that it has. And if it hasn't, then this is irrelevant.

Quote
and has no authority, any more than the Baptists or the Pentecostals.

How could the Baptists or Pentecostals possibly have any authority at all? Let alone equal to the Orthodox Church? The Baptists and Pentecostals don't have any apostolic succession at all, therefore the possibility of them being the true Church is literally impossible. The Orthodox Church on the other hand does, and thus, at the very worst, you can conclude that the Orthodox Church is at least possibly the true Church, whereas the former don't even stand a chance.

Quote
In the end, only the Lord knows who is His.

Personally I've never seen how this argument means anything. Saying that you belong to the proper Church doesn't mean you believe that everyone in it is "saved" or "His"--indeed, many members of the Church probably are destined for Hell. Still though, that doesn't mean you aren't supposed to join the true Church that He established and try your hardest to adhere to His teachings, even if only He knows whether or not you are "His."
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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James, you have problemz.
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« Reply #122 on: March 06, 2013, 05:47:35 AM »

It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 

St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.
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« Reply #123 on: March 06, 2013, 06:06:54 AM »

It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 

St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.

Some Synaxaria identify him with the Jude that replaced the Iscariot after the Resurrection:

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Ο Θεάδελφος Ιούδας, συγγραφέας της ομώνυμης Επιστολής της Καινής Διαθήκης, προστέθηκε στον κύκλο των μαθητών μετά την ανάσταση του Κυρίου.

"The Brother-of-God Jude, the author of the Epistle with the same name from the NT, was added to the circle of disciples after the Resurrection of the Lord."

Source
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« Reply #124 on: March 06, 2013, 06:40:07 AM »

It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 

St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.

Some Synaxaria identify him with the Jude that replaced the Iscariot after the Resurrection:

Quote
Ο Θεάδελφος Ιούδας, συγγραφέας της ομώνυμης Επιστολής της Καινής Διαθήκης, προστέθηκε στον κύκλο των μαθητών μετά την ανάσταση του Κυρίου.

"The Brother-of-God Jude, the author of the Epistle with the same name from the NT, was added to the circle of disciples after the Resurrection of the Lord."

Source

If this were the case, then both Sts Jude and Matthias (who is explicitly named thus in Acts) would have a common feast day. They do not. St Jude's feast is on June 19, St Matthias' on August 9. The feast they do share is that of the Twelve Apostles, on June 29.
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« Reply #125 on: March 06, 2013, 07:01:00 AM »

It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 

St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.

Some Synaxaria identify him with the Jude that replaced the Iscariot after the Resurrection:

Quote
Ο Θεάδελφος Ιούδας, συγγραφέας της ομώνυμης Επιστολής της Καινής Διαθήκης, προστέθηκε στον κύκλο των μαθητών μετά την ανάσταση του Κυρίου.

"The Brother-of-God Jude, the author of the Epistle with the same name from the NT, was added to the circle of disciples after the Resurrection of the Lord."

Source

If this were the case, then both Sts Jude and Matthias (who is explicitly named thus in Acts) would have a common feast day. They do not. St Jude's feast is on June 19, St Matthias' on August 9. The feast they do share is that of the Twelve Apostles, on June 29.

You are right - he cannot be one and the same with Matthias, but I'm not sure that he is the same as Jude Thaddeus which was among the Twelve either.

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Opinion is divided on whether Jude the apostle is the same as Jude, brother of Jesus, who is mentioned in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-57, and is the traditional author of the Epistle of Jude.

Source

The Feast of St. Jude the Brother-of-God is June 19th - that of St. Jude Thaddeus on August 21st. 
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« Reply #126 on: March 06, 2013, 07:25:33 AM »

"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
I understand what you're saying, but would have thought that prophesy in relation to the Lord was as primary as any other purpose of the psalms.
By definition, there can only be one primary purpose. There can be a number of secondary purposes, but only one primary purpose.

The quotation I have given is all related to Christ.  We know the zeal of God's house consumed him - John 2:17.  This is absolutely a direct prophesy.
[

I think we are just going to have to disagree.  The person who speaks in the quotation bore disgrace, humiliation and insults.  He was consumed by the zeal of God's house, had brothers who did not believe him, and a mother who had sons who did not believe him (that they, or some of them, later came to faith does not alter the initial fact).  I believe that person is the Lord Jesus Christ, that the psalmist is speaking prophetically of Him.
Well, then, how is your belief the final proof of anything?

The "final proof" title of the thread is an attention seeking device to get folks to read what I put in it, to consider their beliefs in the light of the text I quote, and so I can find out what orthodox say about it.  My belief is not the final proof of anything, what God says is
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« Reply #127 on: March 06, 2013, 07:50:11 AM »

"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726

I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

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The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and always a virgin, and born of her:  let him be anathema.

If you are right that Scripture does not allow for the ever-virginity of the Theotokos, than the Church universal fell into significant error and material heresy rather quickly, manifesting itself in its declaration of an anathema at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

However, that would suggest that the Church was not the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). Christ promised He would be with the Church always: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matt 28:20). So, if you are right, that would suggest that either Christ was not truthful, or that He was trying to be truthful but that He was ineffectual and impotent. Either way, I cannot imagine following that sort of Jesus.

Moreover, given that the Church universal disagreed with your interpretation (as expressed in this Council and at the 4th Ecumenical Council), you are effectively putting yourself above the Church in your understanding of Scripture. Scripture is our most reliable, "infallible" authority for Christian faith and praxis, but it is a material authority. Scripture does not interpret itself any more than the American Constitution interpretes itself. Both need a formal authority to do so. You have made yourself a formal authority above the Church, which begs the question: On what basis is your understanding of Scripture more normative than that which was believed "everywhere, always by everyone" in the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins warns us that the worst heresies of the Early Church arose when individuals tried to interpret Scripture apart from the Church:
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"But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters .For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another.Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation".A Commonitory by St. Vincent of Lérins

The Holy Spirit never left the Church and we have no reason to believe she fell into universal error. The Church is the Bride of Christ and she is trustworthy. We should therefore interpret Scripture as she does.
If this is about interpreting the Holy Scriptures, exactly which scripture are you interpreting when you proclaim the perpetual virginity of Mary?
If you see Psalm 68 as prophetic of the Christ, then why do you not see Ezekiel 44:1-3 as prophetic of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos?
Well we know from the New Testament that the psalm has to do with Christ, and I gave you the scripture for that.  We do not know from the New Testament that Ezekiel 44 has anything whatsoever to do with Mary or her alleged perpetual virginity.  Are you saying that this gate is a type of Mary's womb?  It seems very far-fetched
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« Reply #128 on: March 06, 2013, 08:01:49 AM »

It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 

St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.

Some Synaxaria identify him with the Jude that replaced the Iscariot after the Resurrection:

Quote
Ο Θεάδελφος Ιούδας, συγγραφέας της ομώνυμης Επιστολής της Καινής Διαθήκης, προστέθηκε στον κύκλο των μαθητών μετά την ανάσταση του Κυρίου.

"The Brother-of-God Jude, the author of the Epistle with the same name from the NT, was added to the circle of disciples after the Resurrection of the Lord."

Source

If this were the case, then both Sts Jude and Matthias (who is explicitly named thus in Acts) would have a common feast day. They do not. St Jude's feast is on June 19, St Matthias' on August 9. The feast they do share is that of the Twelve Apostles, on June 29.

You are right - he cannot be one and the same with Matthias, but I'm not sure that he is the same as Jude Thaddeus which was among the Twelve either.

Quote
Opinion is divided on whether Jude the apostle is the same as Jude, brother of Jesus, who is mentioned in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-57, and is the traditional author of the Epistle of Jude.

Source

The Feast of St. Jude the Brother-of-God is June 19th - that of St. Jude Thaddeus on August 21st. 

There are two apostles named Thaddeus: Jude of the Twelve, and Thaddeus of the Seventy. The Seventy, like the Twelve, were chosen by Christ Himself, as recorded in chapter 10 of St Luke's Gospel. The latter is only ever referred to as Thaddeus, never as Jude; he was a native of Edessa, and, among other notable acts, brought the Mandylion to King Abgar for him to be healed. St Jude of the Twelve refers to himself in his epistle as "the brother of James", i.e. James the Brother of the Lord.

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« Reply #129 on: March 06, 2013, 09:13:59 AM »

Heres the thing, freddie.  You can come up with all kinds of cool explanations and proofs for what you believe, but unless it is something that has been taught consistently by the Church, we don't give a hill of beans about it.  We take very seriously the statement by Christ that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.  We know that Satan can deceive us, so we cannot trust our own intuition, but we trust the Church.  If you can show that the Church has consistently taught whatever you are proposing, it is something that can be considered, but in the 2,000 year history of the church, the concept of the Virgin Mary having additional children was completely foreign for about 1,800 of those 2,000 years.  Therefore, it is safe for us to assume that perhaps  the novel explanations about her additional children are just modern misunderstandings rather than any belated inspiration.
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« Reply #130 on: March 06, 2013, 11:02:10 AM »


You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was? The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles, which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts. That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of.  



What if the Fathers were wrong? What if they had a hand in corrupting apostolic teaching? Look at any protestant study Bible, and you'll see there are other possible interpretations of the passage. It may be a literal vision of a future temple, it may be symbolic of the Church (whatever that truly is). The East gate may remain shut signifying that once God had interfered, he would never leave. It may be shut to prevent or signify the end of the solar worship in the temple described earlier in the book of Ezekiel.  



What if it wasn't transmitted faithfully? What if things were added, like the perpetual virginity, the dormition, the intersession of the saints in heaven, monastic traditions, and so forth, all clearly built up over time? If the Church is that which faithfully preserves the teaching of the Apostles, and if Orthodox tradition contains later corruptions and merely human teachings, then the Orthodox Church is not the Church, and has no authority, any more than the Baptists or the Pentecostals. In the end, only the Lord knows who is His.  
Unfortunately for your argument, the Fathers who wrote both before and after the acceptance of the 27 books of the New Testament as Scriptural agree with each other. The 27 books were acknowledged as Scriptural because they affirmed and confirmed the teaching of the Church. Writers in the third century praised the virginity of our Lord's Mother - and in terms as glowing and effusive as those who came after.

I won't pretend to have any expertise on the Early Church Fathers, but it didn't take more than a few minutes to confirm what I just wrote. I would encourage you to do a bit of reading and research yourself on those early (i.e. pre-NT, pre-A.D. 397) years.
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« Reply #131 on: March 06, 2013, 11:07:40 AM »

Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Personally, I think it's important to recognize her as one of the great saints of Christian/Jewish history, but her sex life (after the birth of Christ) is utterly unimportant. Maybe I have this opinion because I'm missing something?
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« Reply #132 on: March 06, 2013, 11:55:41 AM »

You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was? The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles, which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts. That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of.  

What if the Fathers were wrong? What if they had a hand in corrupting apostolic teaching? Look at any protestant study Bible, and you'll see there are other possible interpretations of the passage. It may be a literal vision of a future temple, it may be symbolic of the Church (whatever that truly is). The East gate may remain shut signifying that once God had interfered, he would never leave. It may be shut to prevent or signify the end of the solar worship in the temple described earlier in the book of Ezekiel.  

What if it wasn't transmitted faithfully? What if things were added, like the perpetual virginity, the dormition, the intersession of the saints in heaven, monastic traditions, and so forth, all clearly built up over time? If the Church is that which faithfully preserves the teaching of the Apostles, and if Orthodox tradition contains later corruptions and merely human teachings, then the Orthodox Church is not the Church, and has no authority, any more than the Baptists or the Pentecostals. In the end, only the Lord knows who is His.

If, as you suggest, the orthodox Christian faith delivered once and for all to the saints (Jude 3), became corrupted over time, then the consensus of the Fathers and the decisions of Ecumenical Councils regarding the ever-virginity of the Theotokos are not trustworthy.

However, the Fathers such as St. Irenaeus, St. Vincent of Lerins and others certainly claimed that the orthodoxy of the Church was due to her faithfully transmitting the Apostolic faith from generation to generation. St. Irenaeus said the following:
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The Church, which has spread everywhere, even to the ends of the earth, received the faith from the apostles and their disciples....The Church, spread throughout the whole world, received this preaching and this faith and now preserves it carefully, dwelling as it were in one house. Having one soul and one heart, the Church holds this faith, preaches and teaches it consistently as though by a single voice. For though there are different languages, there is but one tradition.The faith and the tradition of the churches founded in Germany are no different from those founded among the Spanish and the Celts, in the East, in Egypt, in Libya and elsewhere in the Mediterranean world. Just as God’s creature, the sun, is one and the same the world over, so also does the Church’s preaching shine everywhere to enlighten all men who want to come to a knowledge of the truth. Against Heresies
So the Church certainly believed that changing the Deposit of the Faith meant corrupting it. In many cases, they literally preferred to die as martyrs rather than change the faith. So it does not seem plausible that the Church would consciously change the faith.

Moreover, the historical evidence is strong that the perpetual virginity was believed early in the Church (we have evidence from 150 AD), widespread (basically all the Fathers) and in every part of Christiandom. Opposition to the belief only arose in the late 4th century by two writers, who were strongly condemned. Ecumenical Councils, clearly at the 5th Council, demonstrated that the Church universal accepted the ever-virginity of the Theotokos. There was no remnant of the Church that believed she was not ever-virgin. Why is it historically plausible to think an entire Church would enter quickly into heresy by accepting an error regarding the Theotokos without leaving a paper trail of opposition?

In addition, Christ's promises to the Church render the idea that it quickly entered into widespread heresy inconceivable. He said that He was the head of the Church, (Eph 4:15) and that the gates of Hades would not prevail against the Church (Matt. 16:18). He promised to send a Helper, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:16-17). He said
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I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20

If the universal Church fell into heresy regarding the ever-virginity, then you have one of two choices: either the the Holy Spirit did not lead the Church to truth, in which case, Jesus lied, or the Holy Spirit was impotent and therefore somehow less than divine (in which case you are rejecting the Trinity) or somehow ineffectual. Which do you believe?

Similarly, and more practically, why would you want to be a Christian, if with such a simple thing--the ever-virginity of Theotokos--the Church could not even keep that strait and true for one generation? Why would you have any confidence that the Church correctly understood and transmitted more important doctrines such as the Trinity?

Finally, your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation? You say, regarding Scripture "That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of." If Scripture is the only thing you can be sure of, than you cannot be sure of your statement "That's the only thing we can be sure of", since it is not Scripture. Your position is self-defeating and you are thus in error. You are concerned that individual Fathers err, but so do you.

Yes, individual Fathers can err, but the Spirit guides the Church to truth. We can be confident of that truth when the Church speaks in unison, as it has regarding the ever-virginity. Scripture does not interpret itself; it needs a formal authority to do so. Why are your interpretations of Scripture better than that which the Church universal believed "everywhere, always and by everyone".

Moreover, after casting doubt on the reliability of the Church's decisions, you exalt the authority of Scripture. Do you believe the New Testament Canon is closed? If so, why do you accept the Scriptures that a "corrupted" Church selected from amongst many more possible documents? Do you think Hebrews is Scripture? Who wrote it? Why is its inclusion in the Bible trustworthy? Here is a list of Christian documents floating around during the time of the Early Church: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ The existing NT Canon says nothing about these books, so according to that which you are "sure of", we have no means to select the NT Canon. How do you do it without the Church and why is your decision normative?

For the reasons I have outlined, we can conclude that the Church did not fall into universal corruption over time, and thus the consensus of the Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils are trustworthy witnesses of the doctrine, including the doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos.
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« Reply #133 on: March 06, 2013, 11:59:39 AM »

Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

You can get any number of answers: typology, allegory, tradition, puritanism, spiritualizing one's own sexual hangs up, etc.

And anyone can take to excess their reason regardless of the merit the reason might have.
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« Reply #134 on: March 06, 2013, 12:03:54 PM »

Finally, your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation?

Google alerts let me know someone tried using a big word here.

There are no private interpretations, not in the sense you mean. Really what is begged here is your own epistemological prejudices.

Such are always begged. We cannot be free from that which first allows us access to understanding. 
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