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Author Topic: Dealing with Bible only Christians (aka. Protestants)  (Read 4222 times) Average Rating: 0
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3inOne
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« on: March 23, 2013, 10:56:33 AM »

I'd like to open up some dialog on how one deals with a committed "Bible only" Christian.

For example, how do you approach or correct a person..or even debate with a Protestant on the issues of "sola scriptura" and "sola fide"?
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2013, 11:34:45 AM »

Start with James to show them that sola fide is wrong (2:14 to be exact). 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is also good for showing them that sola scriptura is wrong. If they refuse to listen then point out how they are poor protestants for not believing the Bible  Grin
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2013, 11:42:48 AM »

Start with James to show them that sola fide is wrong (2:14 to be exact). 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is also good for showing them that sola scriptura is wrong. If they refuse to listen then point out how they are poor protestants for not believing the Bible  Grin

With out debating (because I refuse to do that here), what are some of the different responses you would give them opposed to a Catholic?

For example, Matthew 16:18 (Peter and the keys) or Luke 1:28 (Immaculate Conception)?

Protestants seem quick to want to battle these things. What are some Orthodox responses?
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2013, 01:41:39 PM »

Start with James to show them that sola fide is wrong (2:14 to be exact). 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is also good for showing them that sola scriptura is wrong. If they refuse to listen then point out how they are poor protestants for not believing the Bible  Grin

With out debating (because I refuse to do that here), what are some of the different responses you would give them opposed to a Catholic?

For example, Matthew 16:18 (Peter and the keys) or Luke 1:28 (Immaculate Conception)?

Protestants seem quick to want to battle these things. What are some Orthodox responses?

With Roman Catholics, the best tack is to point to Tradition. How did the Fathers interpret St Peter and the Keys, how did Pope St Gregory interpret the succession from St Peter in light of the Sees of Antioch and Alexandria? For the Immaculate Conception all we need do is point out that we never had a dogma stating that the Theotokos had been conceived immaculately- though that will soon lead to debates over Doctrinal development, and whether the Orthodox Church has ever developed doctrine.

Still, I think it is best overall not to battle (would that I practice what I preach!). If a Protestant really wishes to understand Orthodox practice, then by all means have some Biblical passages at the ready. If he merely wishes to engage in a battle of dueling Bible verses out of sheer contrariness and desire to proselytize, then after a few answers, find a way to exit the conversation.

Very few are going to be converted through debate, and the person looking for battle will be very rocky ground indeed. The best way of witnessing the truth of one's faith is by living it out.
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2013, 02:44:10 PM »

Have you ever heard of pasadi?
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2013, 02:47:24 PM »

Start with James to show them that sola fide is wrong (2:14 to be exact). 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is also good for showing them that sola scriptura is wrong. If they refuse to listen then point out how they are poor protestants for not believing the Bible  Grin

With out debating (because I refuse to do that here), what are some of the different responses you would give them opposed to a Catholic?

For example, Matthew 16:18 (Peter and the keys) or Luke 1:28 (Immaculate Conception)?

Protestants seem quick to want to battle these things. What are some Orthodox responses?
This question seems a little odd. If a Protestant ask me about RC doctrines, I simply point out that those are RC doctrines, not Orthodox. Am I missing the point of your question?
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2013, 03:04:45 PM »

I have a Bible. Its according to be read in the light of church tradition. Like it says in the book "The Orthodox Church" ...
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2013, 03:51:47 PM »

Citing Bible verses is just playing along with their presuppositions. I'd start by asking them where the Bible comes from, the process of canonization of certain texts, etc.
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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2013, 04:12:17 PM »

Start with James to show them that sola fide is wrong (2:14 to be exact). 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is also good for showing them that sola scriptura is wrong. If they refuse to listen then point out how they are poor protestants for not believing the Bible  Grin

With out debating (because I refuse to do that here), what are some of the different responses you would give them opposed to a Catholic?

For example, Matthew 16:18 (Peter and the keys) or Luke 1:28 (Immaculate Conception)?

Protestants seem quick to want to battle these things. What are some Orthodox responses?

I probably wouldn't touch on those issues, unless a protestant directly asked me. Then I would do my best to answer in an Orthodox fashion. As my brother mentioned I would appeal to Tradition on those.

One of my favorite things to do, when a Protestant asks if we have a statement of faith, is recite the Nicene Creed. Also showing them the reason for infant baptism (i.e. replaces circumcision, whole families being baptized because of the patriarch's faith, etc.).

Following what Alveus said I would point out that their canon did not come around until after the Reformation (in fact the Apocrypha were usually placed in between the OT and NT until the late 19th century IIRC). A very similar canon to what the Orthodox use was approved in 397 at the 3rd Council of Carthage, note that is over 350 years after Christ and well after the Church had been established, so Tradition clearly played a roll in defining the canon - whereas the Protestant Reformation was a break from Tradition which resulted in books being tossed out.
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2013, 04:16:05 PM »

One of my favorite things to do, when a Protestant asks if we have a statement of faith, is recite the Nicene Creed.

I do that too  Tongue
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2013, 04:23:57 PM »

Following what Alveus said I would point out that their canon did not come around until after the Reformation (in fact the Apocrypha were usually placed in between the OT and NT until the late 19th century IIRC). A very similar canon to what the Orthodox use was approved in 397 at the 3rd Council of Carthage, note that is over 350 years after Christ and well after the Church had been established, so Tradition clearly played a roll in defining the canon - whereas the Protestant Reformation was a break from Tradition which resulted in books being tossed out.

You really don't even have to be that specific. If someone wants to argue with you about the Bible being the sole source of authority in Christianity, just ask them where the Bible comes from. The vast majority will have no idea. If they say that they don't know, then just tell them you'd be happy to discuss the issue more after they learn some basic facts about their Bible.

Annoying conversation over.
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2013, 04:56:22 PM »

Citing Bible verses is just playing along with their presuppositions. I'd start by asking them where the Bible comes from, the process of canonization of certain texts, etc.

Agreed. As a former Protestant myself, it was really quite simple: Church precedes Scripture. One gave birth to the other. A child cannot be the source of the mother; scripture cannot be the source, or "foundation" of the Church.
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2013, 05:11:34 PM »

Citing Bible verses is just playing along with their presuppositions. I'd start by asking them where the Bible comes from, the process of canonization of certain texts, etc.

Agreed. As a former Protestant myself, it was really quite simple: Church precedes Scripture. One gave birth to the other. A child cannot be the source of the mother; scripture cannot be the source, or "foundation" of the Church.
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2013, 05:29:56 PM »

Always be sincere with the protestants. I found out that helps and would make them to at least listen to you , or consider you or offer you some respect. Admit, yes the church teaches this and that and has done that and that. And say to them we believe this things according to tradition which the church helds, and always be ready to admit you are wrong when you are. This is valid for all humans not just Protestants. For humans who have an appealing to morals, truth, and ultimate spirituality. Train yourself more into Scripture and Scripture reading if you want to correspondate with them. I remmeber I saw a poll when I was registering here about how often one reads from the bible and how many Orthodox here have read the whole Bible. To my amazing many who answered said they did not read the whole Bible. You just cannot win against a protestant with that. Your argumentation will have to be biblical and contain biblical pasages and refutations. There are even atheists who have read the whole bible.. Atheists should not be so easily looked down, some of them are former religious people and possible future ones and some of them know more religious things than some people who claim to be religious.. Those who often ask themselves existential questions from the bottom of their hearts will seek all the provisions and wonder above 7 mountains and 7 seas after them.. Those are the people of spiritual quality.. And many of them who profess to be atheists or agnostics are like that.. They just crave to find some truth, deep inside..

Without a strong biblical knowledge you cannot win in front of Protestants.
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« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2013, 05:29:56 PM »

Citing Bible verses is just playing along with their presuppositions. I'd start by asking them where the Bible comes from, the process of canonization of certain texts, etc.

Agreed. As a former Protestant myself, it was really quite simple: Church precedes Scripture. One gave birth to the other. A child cannot be the source of the mother; scripture cannot be the source, or "foundation" of the Church.

They can refute that.. God gave the Scripture, man published it. They often use this argument and that verse from psalms that says the same thing "God gave his word, many were those that published it". They would say God only used people to write the Scripture. Canonisation is just admitting the things that are inspired. This was a known fact : the books that were more in used were the canonised one.. They can argue that all the 27 books of the NT were cited from in the Martyrdom of Polycarp for one.. That means that this were held in esteem from the beggining as Scripture. And afaik when Paul writes that all Scripture is inspired there was no official canon then either.. Not even of the Old Testament. They can use your reasoning against you.. If the Jews gave you the Old Testament why are you not Jews.. But anyway this argument is appealing enough, at least to quite a few of them.
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« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2013, 04:47:08 PM »

Citing Bible verses is just playing along with their presuppositions. I'd start by asking them where the Bible comes from, the process of canonization of certain texts, etc.

Agreed. As a former Protestant myself, it was really quite simple: Church precedes Scripture. One gave birth to the other. A child cannot be the source of the mother; scripture cannot be the source, or "foundation" of the Church.

They can refute that.. God gave the Scripture, man published it. They often use this argument and that verse from psalms that says the same thing "God gave his word, many were those that published it". They would say God only used people to write the Scripture. Canonisation is just admitting the things that are inspired. This was a known fact : the books that were more in used were the canonised one.. They can argue that all the 27 books of the NT were cited from in the Martyrdom of Polycarp for one.. That means that this were held in esteem from the beggining as Scripture. And afaik when Paul writes that all Scripture is inspired there was no official canon then either.. Not even of the Old Testament. They can use your reasoning against you.. If the Jews gave you the Old Testament why are you not Jews.. But anyway this argument is appealing enough, at least to quite a few of them.

We are the true jews:

No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God.
Romans 2:29

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« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2013, 04:56:59 PM »

Citing Bible verses is just playing along with their presuppositions. I'd start by asking them where the Bible comes from, the process of canonization of certain texts, etc.

Agreed. As a former Protestant myself, it was really quite simple: Church precedes Scripture. One gave birth to the other. A child cannot be the source of the mother; scripture cannot be the source, or "foundation" of the Church.

They can refute that.. God gave the Scripture, man published it. They often use this argument and that verse from psalms that says the same thing "God gave his word, many were those that published it". They would say God only used people to write the Scripture. Canonisation is just admitting the things that are inspired. This was a known fact : the books that were more in used were the canonised one.. They can argue that all the 27 books of the NT were cited from in the Martyrdom of Polycarp for one.. That means that this were held in esteem from the beggining as Scripture. And afaik when Paul writes that all Scripture is inspired there was no official canon then either.. Not even of the Old Testament. They can use your reasoning against you.. If the Jews gave you the Old Testament why are you not Jews.. But anyway this argument is appealing enough, at least to quite a few of them.

We are the true jews:

No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God.
Romans 2:29



If you bend it a little.

But the point is Old Testament kind of came through Judaism and Judaism is considered an apostasy now.. So by the same reason even if our church can have historical continuity back to the writers of the New Testament that doesn't exclude the possibility of the Church to apostasise . So even if you can argue that the Church gave us the New Testament that is not a claim for the current validity of the Church or the possibility and susceptibility of the Church going wrong on the track. This was the reasoning I implied. By the way, I am an Orthodox, before I get accused of not being one again. Even a Romanian Orthodox, lol.
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« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2013, 05:26:03 PM »

For me I had to first understand Tradition.  Then someone asked me where I thought the Bible as we know it came from.  Then it was explained to me if we dismiss Tradition, by default me must dismiss Scripture, which eliminates their view.
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« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2013, 10:54:52 PM »

Citing Bible verses is just playing along with their presuppositions. I'd start by asking them where the Bible comes from, the process of canonization of certain texts, etc.

Agreed. As a former Protestant myself, it was really quite simple: Church precedes Scripture. One gave birth to the other. A child cannot be the source of the mother; scripture cannot be the source, or "foundation" of the Church.

They can refute that.. God gave the Scripture, man published it. They often use this argument and that verse from psalms that says the same thing "God gave his word, many were those that published it". They would say God only used people to write the Scripture. Canonisation is just admitting the things that are inspired. This was a known fact : the books that were more in used were the canonised one.. They can argue that all the 27 books of the NT were cited from in the Martyrdom of Polycarp for one.. That means that this were held in esteem from the beggining as Scripture. And afaik when Paul writes that all Scripture is inspired there was no official canon then either.. Not even of the Old Testament. They can use your reasoning against you.. If the Jews gave you the Old Testament why are you not Jews.. But anyway this argument is appealing enough, at least to quite a few of them.

We are the true jews:

No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God.
Romans 2:29



If you bend it a little.

But the point is Old Testament kind of came through Judaism and Judaism is considered an apostasy now.. So by the same reason even if our church can have historical continuity back to the writers of the New Testament that doesn't exclude the possibility of the Church to apostasise . So even if you can argue that the Church gave us the New Testament that is not a claim for the current validity of the Church or the possibility and susceptibility of the Church going wrong on the track. This was the reasoning I implied. By the way, I am an Orthodox, before I get accused of not being one again. Even a Romanian Orthodox, lol.

I dont think you are Orthodox. But you are wrong, the Bible didn"t come from judaism as it exists today. So the analogy does not work.
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« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2013, 11:37:21 PM »

Speaking as one who hasn't decided which communion (RC or Orthodox) to join yet, what got me to question the doctrine of Sola Scriptura was what some have pointed out already - that is, Scripture itself appears to have a strong traditional element to it. Point out that there are no verses which spell out the table of contents of the Bible. Cite 2 Thess. 2:15. (There is another verse where Paul speaks of "holding fast to tradition" that I can't recall the reference to right now. I think it's in 1 or 2 Corinthians.....?)

Point out that every time that they pick up their Bible, they are relying on the tradition of the Church to tell them which books are, in fact, Scripture. Ask them how they know which books are supposed to be in the Bible. Unless they sat down somewhere and sorted through thousands of ancient manuscripts and decided themselves. In which case, they've got a whole different set of problems.  Tongue Grin

Also, point out other traditional aspects of their doctrine. If they believe in the Trinity, point out that nowhere does the Bible spell out that particular doctrine. Finally, point out that Scripture itself does not have a verse that says that Scripture is the final authority. Cite the verse that says the church is the "pillar and ground of truth."
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« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2013, 07:45:39 AM »

Speaking as one who hasn't decided which communion (RC or Orthodox) to join yet, what got me to question the doctrine of Sola Scriptura was what some have pointed out already - that is, Scripture itself appears to have a strong traditional element to it. Point out that there are no verses which spell out the table of contents of the Bible. Cite 2 Thess. 2:15. (There is another verse where Paul speaks of "holding fast to tradition" that I can't recall the reference to right now. I think it's in 1 or 2 Corinthians.....?)

Point out that every time that they pick up their Bible, they are relying on the tradition of the Church to tell them which books are, in fact, Scripture. Ask them how they know which books are supposed to be in the Bible. Unless they sat down somewhere and sorted through thousands of ancient manuscripts and decided themselves. In which case, they've got a whole different set of problems.  Tongue Grin

Also, point out other traditional aspects of their doctrine. If they believe in the Trinity, point out that nowhere does the Bible spell out that particular doctrine. Finally, point out that Scripture itself does not have a verse that says that Scripture is the final authority. Cite the verse that says the church is the "pillar and ground of truth."

I do not agree with you on the trinity in scriptures. THe Bible clearly teaches that the Father is God, that the Son is God and that the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible also clearly teaches that all 3 persones are distincts from one another. And the Bible clearly teaches there is only one God. So here you have the Trinity clearly taught in scriptures.

This argument is kind of popular, but is totaly untrue and foreign to what the Fathers have taught:

Pay attention, therefore, to what I shall record out of the holy Scriptures, which do not need to be expounded, but only listened to.
ANF: Vol. I, Dialogue of Justin, Chapter 55.

 Since, therefore, the entire Scriptures, the prophets, and the Gospels, can be clearly, unambiguously, and harmoniously understood by all, although all do not believe them; and since they proclaim that one only God, to the exclusion of all others, formed all things by His word, whether visible or invisible, heavenly or earthly, in the water or under the earth, as I have shown from the very words of Scripture
St Irenaeus Vol. I, Against Heresies, 2:27:2.

. Therefore since in the earlier books we proved the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ while He was in the flesh by the evidence not only of prophets and apostles, but of evangelists and angels as well, let us now show that He who was born in the flesh was God even before His Incarnation; that you may understand by the harmony and concord of the evidences from the sacred Scripture
St John Cassian On the Incarnation, Book IV, Chapter 1

 But why should I maintain the unity of the Name by arguments, when there is the plain testimony of the Divine Voice that the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is one? For it is written: "Go, baptize all nations in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." [Matthew 28:19] He said, "in the Name," not "in the Names." So, then, the Name of the Father is not one, that of the Son another, and that of the Holy Spirit another, for God is one; the Names are not more than one, for there are not two Gods, or three Gods.
St Ambrose, On the Holy Spirit, Book I, Chapter 13, Section 132

The object of the apostle in thus writing was not to introduce the diversity of nature, but to exhibit the notion of Father and of Son as unconfounded. That the phrases are not opposed to one another and do not, like squadrons in war marshalled one against another, bring the natures to which they are applied into mutual conflict, is perfectly plain from the passage in question. The blessed Paul brings both phrases to bear upon one and the same subject, in the words "of him and through him and to him are all things." [Romans 11:36] That this plainly refers to the Lord will be admitted even by a reader paying but small attention to the meaning of the words.
St Basil the Great, Of the Holy Spirit, Chapter 5, Section 7

For to whom is not the gospel plain? Who is it that hears, "Blessed are the meek; blessed are the merciful; blessed are the pure in heart," and such things as these, and needs a teacher in order to understand any of the things spoken?
St Chrysostom, Four Discourses on the Rich Man and Lazarus, Discourse 3, Section 3

And Trypho said, “Prove now that this is the case, that we also may agree with you. For we do not understand you to affirm that He has done or said anything contrary to the will of the Maker of all things.”

Then I said, “The Scripture just quoted by me will make this plain to you. It is thus: ‘The sun was risen on the earth, and Lot entered into Segor (Zoar); and the Lord rained on Sodom sulphur and fire from the Lord out of heaven, and overthrew these cities and all the neighbourhood.’ ” [Gen. xix. 23.]
St Justin Martyr, Dialog with Trypho, Chapter 56

So to say the Trinity is not clear in scriptures is untrue. That the formulation of the Trinity is unclear, and rather implicit, that i agree.
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« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2013, 10:35:15 AM »

The over riding factor for my conversion was that as a Protestant, I could not give any good answer for why I accepted what books were in the Bible and how I knew I was correctly interpreting what I was reading.  That was a great source of frustration for me.  When talking to Protestants, I usually focus my questions to them around those issues.  Of course, you also run the risk of turning them atheist if they decide to throw the baby out with the bathwater like I almost did.  Undecided
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« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2013, 02:59:45 PM »

Just make sure they don't quote you Revelation 22:22:

"And you shall regard this disparate collection of histories, genealogies, laws, legends, letters, and love poems as the complete and inerrant Word of God, disregarding any attribution to fallible human beings that you might find within it and neither questioning nor researching the means through which they were assembled into the volume you hold this day. Amen."
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« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2013, 12:39:55 PM »

So to say the Trinity is not clear in scriptures is untrue. That the formulation of the Trinity is unclear, and rather implicit, that i agree.

That's what I meant.
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« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2013, 02:28:32 PM »

The over riding factor for my conversion was that as a Protestant, I could not give any good answer for why I accepted what books were in the Bible and how I knew I was correctly interpreting what I was reading.  That was a great source of frustration for me. 

Bingo. That was a turning point for me as well. ISTM that devout Christians of good will interpreted the Bible to mean totally different and often diametrically opposed things. Who was right? And how do you know?
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« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2013, 12:06:07 AM »

Start with James to show them that sola fide is wrong (2:14 to be exact). 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is also good for showing them that sola scriptura is wrong. If they refuse to listen then point out how they are poor protestants for not believing the Bible  Grin

Do that to any seminary trained Protestant or educated lay Protestant and he will run around you with his exegesis all day long.

The best way to deal with people who buy into the solas is to show them they don't actually believe in the solas, and that no one does. In other words, the best tactic isn't to outright opposed them, but find the common ground and show them how the common ground actually negates their terminology. For instance, I attend a very conservative Southern Baptist seminary (for their MA in Ethics and Culture), which requires me to take a few theology classes. During the course of one semester, I ended up convincing almost an entire class (there were a few hold outs) of Reformed/Calvinists that they don't actually believe in Sola Fide or Sola Scriptura.

If you sit there and make the arguments from James or that the Church came before Scripture, you're going to run into solid responses. Not because the replies on right, but because they've been making these arguments for years and they are well thought-out replies to ill-conceived arguments. The reality is none of them actually believe in the solas, they just don't realize it yet. So rather than arguing against the solas, simply get them to explain what they believe. Throw in examples and ask them how they deal with those examples. Eventually it'll surface that they believe works must accompany faith and that Scripture is interpreted via exegesis. For those who are intellectually honest, they'll typically have an "Oh...wait" moment and realize they don't really believe in the solas.
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« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2013, 06:53:20 PM »

I'd love a more detailed analysis.  I totally understand though if you don't want to go there
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« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2013, 07:01:54 PM »

I like to start by asking them which "Bible," as in whether we should use the Masoretic, Septuagint, Dead Sea Scrolls or any of the other fragments and maybe even the gnostic forged New Testament documents. And from that point, which translation we should even use--the KJV, the NKJV, NIV, NLT or something else. This style of argumentation gets the point across quite efficiently of how hard it is to decide upon an authoritive scriptural Canon without a prior standard--what we would consider to be the authority of the Church. From there, I exploit the fact that the Scriptures cannot be the ultimate authority, since it takes another authority to validate them, and thus, Sola Scriptura is inconsistent and since Protestantism is authority-less, they really have no good way of authoritively deciding on a Canon.
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« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2013, 07:30:37 PM »

Start with James to show them that sola fide is wrong (2:14 to be exact). 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is also good for showing them that sola scriptura is wrong. If they refuse to listen then point out how they are poor protestants for not believing the Bible  Grin

Do that to any seminary trained Protestant or educated lay Protestant and he will run around you with his exegesis all day long.

The best way to deal with people who buy into the solas is to show them they don't actually believe in the solas, and that no one does. In other words, the best tactic isn't to outright opposed them, but find the common ground and show them how the common ground actually negates their terminology. For instance, I attend a very conservative Southern Baptist seminary (for their MA in Ethics and Culture), which requires me to take a few theology classes. During the course of one semester, I ended up convincing almost an entire class (there were a few hold outs) of Reformed/Calvinists that they don't actually believe in Sola Fide or Sola Scriptura.

If you sit there and make the arguments from James or that the Church came before Scripture, you're going to run into solid responses. Not because the replies on right, but because they've been making these arguments for years and they are well thought-out replies to ill-conceived arguments. The reality is none of them actually believe in the solas, they just don't realize it yet. So rather than arguing against the solas, simply get them to explain what they believe. Throw in examples and ask them how they deal with those examples. Eventually it'll surface that they believe works must accompany faith and that Scripture is interpreted via exegesis. For those who are intellectually honest, they'll typically have an "Oh...wait" moment and realize they don't really believe in the solas.

While I agree that your tactic is very useful (and considerably less confrontational), I, as a seminary-trained (former) Protestant, never heard a good retort to the arguments above. Oh, I heard arguments, but I wouldn't call them well thought-out, and it generally left folks scratching their heads. Perhaps you've dealt with smarter folks than I, but I'm interested to hear some of the arguments you've been given on these topics. Care to share? If not here, maybe a PM?
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« Reply #29 on: March 31, 2013, 07:57:46 PM »

I just had a very long chat on my facebook page with one of my old friends about the dating of Easter. She thinks that we should celebrate it every year on Nissan 14 (which is the date stated in the Bible) because if we don't then we are moving the date. I tried to tell her that we were not moving the date that Jesus rose, but the celebration of the feast. The date itself is not important, but the celebration was.

I asked her what the date of Jesus' birth was according to the Bible, to which she replied that we don't have an accurate date but it sure wasn't Dec 25th (of which it was set to in the 4th century for pagan reasons). I again tried to stress to her that it's not the date that is important, but the celebration.

She told me I should go to Bible school like her so I would have better information than just the internet... Yes she actually said that. I was not very humble in my reply.

After a while we ended up talking about the "original" language used in the Torah. I told her that the Hebrew used these days is not what was used during Jesus' time and did not come around until after Jesus. I tried to explain to that the Torah was translated into Greek, and she seriously told me that only the Apocrypha had been translated into Greek  Huh

I don't know what Bible school she went to, but I'll take 2,000 years of Church Tradition any day.

She bowed out of the conversation whilst I was mid reply so I'm pretty sure she did not see the rest of what I posted.

Any how, I don't think I'll be trying to do that again on facebook, it took way too long and we would reply whilst the other was still typing.

So my advice with dealing with Protestants is not to do so on facebook, but in a better setting (like a forum if online, or face to face).
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« Reply #30 on: March 31, 2013, 08:03:29 PM »

So my advice with dealing with Protestants is not to do so on facebook, but in a better setting (like a forum if online, or face to face).

I used to do that a lot on Yahoo Answers. On the upside, one is only allowed one reply - no multiples, not even edits. On the downside, it's really bottom-feeding central. I enjoyed the spluttering for a while, but it got old rather fast.
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« Reply #31 on: March 31, 2013, 08:06:29 PM »

Best way to deal..... Do a prostration at their feet, throw your arms around them and express to them you genuinely love them.
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« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2013, 08:09:43 PM »

Best way to deal..... Do a prostration at their feet, throw your arms around them and express to them you genuinely love them.

+1
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« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2013, 08:09:56 PM »

Best way to deal..... Do a prostration at their feet, throw your arms around them and express to them you genuinely love them.

But wouldn't the prostration freak them out further?  Shocked laugh
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« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2013, 08:36:01 PM »

I'd love a more detailed analysis.  I totally understand though if you don't want to go there

Was this in response to me? If so, I have no problem offering a detailed analysis. Essentially, it boils down to a simple Socratic method of asking them questions and leading them to discover the contradictions within their own beliefs. It doesn't always work (that is, they don't always realize that the term sola fide and the like is empty and they really don't believe in it), but the content of their belief becomes much more similar to our own, and I'm okay with that. Baby steps and all.

I won't go into detail yet just in case that statement wasn't aimed at me. Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2013, 08:42:07 PM »

I'd love a more detailed analysis.  I totally understand though if you don't want to go there

Was this in response to me? If so, I have no problem offering a detailed analysis. Essentially, it boils down to a simple Socratic method of asking them questions and leading them to discover the contradictions within their own beliefs. It doesn't always work (that is, they don't always realize that the term sola fide and the like is empty and they really don't believe in it), but the content of their belief becomes much more similar to our own, and I'm okay with that. Baby steps and all.

I won't go into detail yet just in case that statement wasn't aimed at me. Smiley

Just go ahead, I would love to see what you have to say on this matter. I'm familiar (slightly) with the Socratic method, but I would like to know what kind of questions you would ask them.
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« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2013, 08:45:09 PM »

Start with James to show them that sola fide is wrong (2:14 to be exact). 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is also good for showing them that sola scriptura is wrong. If they refuse to listen then point out how they are poor protestants for not believing the Bible  Grin

Do that to any seminary trained Protestant or educated lay Protestant and he will run around you with his exegesis all day long.

The best way to deal with people who buy into the solas is to show them they don't actually believe in the solas, and that no one does. In other words, the best tactic isn't to outright opposed them, but find the common ground and show them how the common ground actually negates their terminology. For instance, I attend a very conservative Southern Baptist seminary (for their MA in Ethics and Culture), which requires me to take a few theology classes. During the course of one semester, I ended up convincing almost an entire class (there were a few hold outs) of Reformed/Calvinists that they don't actually believe in Sola Fide or Sola Scriptura.

If you sit there and make the arguments from James or that the Church came before Scripture, you're going to run into solid responses. Not because the replies on right, but because they've been making these arguments for years and they are well thought-out replies to ill-conceived arguments. The reality is none of them actually believe in the solas, they just don't realize it yet. So rather than arguing against the solas, simply get them to explain what they believe. Throw in examples and ask them how they deal with those examples. Eventually it'll surface that they believe works must accompany faith and that Scripture is interpreted via exegesis. For those who are intellectually honest, they'll typically have an "Oh...wait" moment and realize they don't really believe in the solas.

While I agree that your tactic is very useful (and considerably less confrontational), I, as a seminary-trained (former) Protestant, never heard a good retort to the arguments above. Oh, I heard arguments, but I wouldn't call them well thought-out, and it generally left folks scratching their heads. Perhaps you've dealt with smarter folks than I, but I'm interested to hear some of the arguments you've been given on these topics. Care to share? If not here, maybe a PM?

I think the problem that the Orthodox run into - all humans really - is they want to show how they're right. And don't get me wrong, I think Orthodoxy has the right doctrine, it is the true Church. But saying that to a Protestant naturally puts them on the defensive. That's just human nature.

Though overused as an example, the walls of Troy work great when explaining the human psyche and argumentation. Assail the walls all you want with the best arguments and you won't break them down. In fact, you'll only make them believe all the more in their teachings. But become more subversive, use a trojan horse simply by questioning them and letting them explain themselves into a contradiction, and it becomes much easier to convince them of another way.

For instance, when it comes to the Lord's Supper I typically just try to get them to admit that something happens. Would they be comfortable, for instance, with Pepsi and Doritos being used? Most often conservative evangelicals are not comfortable with such a notion. Well, why not? Rather than go on the offensive, ask them to explain the theology behind why they would be offended. Eventually, it gets to the point where they have to admit that something happens. While this doesn't make them Orthodox, it does show that they're closer to Orthodoxy than they realize. Remember, they're unwittingly holding onto the Tradition of old in some beliefs (such as the Trinity and Incarnation). What they now call symbolic - such as baptism and the Lord's supper - they still hold as higher than symbolism. Why do they have pastors? Why do they still have baptism if it is symbolic? They hold these symbols and if you press them to explain why, they must eventually admit that there is something there.

Using this way has helped me convince entire classes of staunch Baptists to admit there is something to the Sacraments, not an easy task. While I could make solid arguments to prove my point, it wouldn't win anyone over or convince them, so why bother?
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« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2013, 09:01:51 PM »

Im recently dealing with this...Im in a year-long live in program at a place called "Campus for Human Development" (this place helps vets,homeless,addicts,etc.). We have classes ranging from the teachings of the "Laws of Attraction" - many of wich supposedly come from other-worldly entities through mediums as is described in the popular book on Laws of Attraction by Esther Hicks - "Teachings of Abraham" ,etc. to ecumenical Catholic/Jesuit priests bringing the teachings of Buddha into spiritual lessons to AA to - the one that seriously annoys and challenges me the most : A Bible study class given by a typcial-sort-of modern American protestant. Hes a really nice guy and probably a way better Christian than me or at least puts up a good front of being super nice and laid back and just constantly thriving off the love of Jesus and when he gives classes and throws in -usually somewhat subtly - criticisms of the notion of "priests" or tries to teach his school-of-thought against "moping around asking Jesus to forgive you constantly" (or something like that wich sounds like the opposite of words/attitudes of Holy Fathers,etc.) since according to him when Jesus died on the cross - this(protestant) teacher has supposedly assumed that all us guys in my group are "righteous" in the eyes of God and that all of our "past,present and future sins are forgiven" and so therefore theres no need to have some sort of gloomy,old-fashioned piety as he seems to see it...even though he knows little to nothing what each one of us believes or our personal lives....One of us is a homosexual , one is an x-Prtotestant minister who took his studys to their logical conclusion and is now and admitted secular humanist who watches satanic metal videos and porn half the day,etc.... Anyway ... what Im having to do is basicly struggle to be truly humble and learning how to not be "passionate" about Orthodoxy in the wrong way cus every time I speak up in class my blood pressure spikes and my voice and hands tremble and I literally develop a hint of foam at the edge of my mouth.
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« Reply #38 on: March 31, 2013, 09:10:54 PM »

Im recently dealing with this...Im in a year-long live in program at a place called "Campus for Human Development" (this place helps vets,homeless,addicts,etc.). We have classes ranging from the teachings of the "Laws of Attraction" - many of wich supposedly come from other-worldly entities through mediums as is described in the popular book on Laws of Attraction by Esther Hicks - "Teachings of Abraham" ,etc. to ecumenical Catholic/Jesuit priests bringing the teachings of Buddha into spiritual lessons to AA to - the one that seriously annoys and challenges me the most : A Bible study class given by a typcial-sort-of modern American protestant. Hes a really nice guy and probably a way better Christian than me or at least puts up a good front of being super nice and laid back and just constantly thriving off the love of Jesus and when he gives classes and throws in -usually somewhat subtly - criticisms of the notion of "priests" or tries to teach his school-of-thought against "moping around asking Jesus to forgive you constantly" (or something like that wich sounds like the opposite of words/attitudes of Holy Fathers,etc.) since according to him when Jesus died on the cross - this(protestant) teacher has supposedly assumed that all us guys in my group are "righteous" in the eyes of God and that all of our "past,present and future sins are forgiven" and so therefore theres no need to have some sort of gloomy,old-fashioned piety as he seems to see it...even though he knows little to nothing what each one of us believes or our personal lives....One of us is a homosexual , one is an x-Prtotestant minister who took his studys to their logical conclusion and is now and admitted secular humanist who watches satanic metal videos and porn half the day,etc.... Anyway ... what Im having to do is basicly struggle to be truly humble and learning how to not be "passionate" about Orthodoxy in the wrong way cus every time I speak up in class my blood pressure spikes and my voice and hands tremble and I literally develop a hint of foam at the edge of my mouth.

Just pray the Jesus Prayer repeatedly to help with anger and go get check for rabies if you're foaming at the mouth.

But on a more serious note, I will be praying for you and your situation (I wasn't joking about the Jesus Prayer thing).


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« Reply #39 on: March 31, 2013, 09:18:54 PM »

I'd love a more detailed analysis.  I totally understand though if you don't want to go there

Was this in response to me? If so, I have no problem offering a detailed analysis. Essentially, it boils down to a simple Socratic method of asking them questions and leading them to discover the contradictions within their own beliefs. It doesn't always work (that is, they don't always realize that the term sola fide and the like is empty and they really don't believe in it), but the content of their belief becomes much more similar to our own, and I'm okay with that. Baby steps and all.

I won't go into detail yet just in case that statement wasn't aimed at me. Smiley

Just go ahead, I would love to see what you have to say on this matter. I'm familiar (slightly) with the Socratic method, but I would like to know what kind of questions you would ask them.

Typically, the most common question I ask if, "If you say the Bible should be interpreted as x, but no one even came close to interpreting it that way for 1,500 years, why should I trust your interpretation? That is, if those who spoke Greek as a native language and came from the same culture as the authors of the New Testament interpreted the Bible as y, yet you interpret the Bible as x, why should I trust you over them?" Typically - at least in my experience - the default reply is to the historical-grammatical method of exegesis along with quotes from Luther and Calvin. To that, I simply ask, "If it's legitimate to use Luther and Calvin as aids to interpreting the Bible, since they were greatly educated, wouldn't it also be valid to use St. John of Damascus or St. Ignatius to aid in interpreting the Bible?" Typically, if they're being fair, they'll say yes. At that point, you're back to the original question - why would Luther or Calvin be more valid in aiding our interpretation than those who spoke Greek as a native language?

With this line of questioning, what I've found is many are willing to admit that Protestants don't trust the Fathers as much as they should. However, they quickly turn to defend their Solas and anti-sacramental attitude. But again, this is all done away with questioning. With Sola Fide, for instance, you ask them to define what "faith alone" really means. Typically, they will say that we are saved by placing our faith in Christ and that we can do nothing that will save us. This is generally in response to the Sacraments; taking communion doesn't save us, baptism doesn't save us, confession doesn't save us, and so on. Rather than arguing back, it's best to actually agree, because they're right. The simple act of taking communion or being baptized doesn't save you. Faith must accompany such acts. If you take these acts as a mere cultural sign, as a way to fit into your community, or because that's just how you were raised, that doesn't save you. That's when you can say, "So we agree that works alone won't save you."

But as you go on, you ask, "So if John places his faith in Christ, but then goes on to live his life as he sees fit, is he really saved?" Typically, they respond with no because no works came from the faith, so the faith wasn't real. Again, nothing in Orthodox theology would disagree with that; they're right, if faith doesn't produce works then it's not faith. But at the point they say it doesn't produce works, they've just disavowed sola fide. So why press it? Why get them to disavow the term when the content of what they believe is similar to what we believe? If anything, all they've admitted is that sola fide is more apophatic than anything else; it denies that one can be saved by works without having faith, that one cannot be saved by simply going through the motions. But again, who would disagree with this? Eventually, once they admit this, you can slowly question them on if "by faith alone" is really the best term for a belief that requires works to accompany faith to prove the existence of faith.

It's the same with sola scriptura. "By Scripture alone." But when they engage in an argument, they're referring to different Greek dictionaries, different scholars, different interpretations, and so on. If you have to write an exegetical paper in Seminary you're required to use no less than 8 commentaries; so how is that Scripture alone? That's Scripture plus interpretation plus interpretative traditions. The key, however, is getting them to realize this by questioning them. "If Scripture alone is sufficient, then why is there so much disagreement over how to interpret that Scripture?" In fact, we could even agree that Scripture is truly inspired - we do agree on this - but point out that we are fallible. We can't just quote Scripture and be done with it, we have to interpret it, and that act of interpretation involves using multiple sources.

So I ask, "When interpreting Scripture, since you believe all authority derives from Scripture, is it appropriate to quote modern scholars' interpretation on Scripture?" The obvious answer is yes. "Then if it's okay to quote modern scholars, what about ancient scholars, such as Erasmus or Calvin?" The answer to this is, of course, yes. "What about those before them? Can we quote the Church Fathers?" At this point, they may have some hesitation. But the goal is to get them to come up with some non-arbitrary standard as to why modern scholars are acceptable and ancient ones are not. Of course, the entire point isn't necessarily to get them to accept the Tradition of the Church (at least, not yet), but get them to see that they use tradition as much as we do, it's just a different tradition.

Ultimately, the goal isn't to prove to them that they're wrong and we're right. You'll accomplish nothing by doing this. You must understand that by being Protestant, they're protesting the errors of the Western church that they experienced. Essentially, Roman Catholics and Protestants are two sides of Augustine fighting against each other. So the goal should always be to find common ground and then build on that common ground through questioning. At the point they recognize a flaw in their own thinking, they can either press on or explore that flaw; you can't force them to do either one, you must allow them the choice.
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« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2013, 09:32:19 PM »

And just for the record (since I have "homosexual" friends and am not "homophobic" in a hateful way): the only reason I mention one guy in my class is a homosexual (commenting on this protestant teacher expressing to us that we are all righteous in the eyes of God even though he doesnt even know us and has an inorganic/heretical understanding of things) is to make a point.The homosexual in my class is my friend who I struggle to love like a brother even though he has made it clear to me that he wants to be my boyfriend..Wich is also challenging for me because it simultaneously forces me to face my judgementalism and to be secure in my person when I myself have to struggle against my own occasional homoerotic thoughts/passions...

"Just pray the Jesus Prayer repeatedly to help with anger and go get check for rabies if you're foaming at the mouth.

But on a more serious note, I will be praying for you and your situation (I wasn't joking about the Jesus Prayer thing)."

Haha thanks..Yeah I do practice that - I kinda feel like I need to get a prayer rope to be more solid with it.Thanx for your prayers - yeah please do I NEED it....Especially cus all this adjetates my own little doubts here and there as well...Especially if I am the one coming off as the angry bad guy.

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« Reply #41 on: April 01, 2013, 12:06:34 AM »

Start with James to show them that sola fide is wrong (2:14 to be exact). 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is also good for showing them that sola scriptura is wrong. If they refuse to listen then point out how they are poor protestants for not believing the Bible  Grin

With out debating (because I refuse to do that here), what are some of the different responses you would give them opposed to a Catholic?

For example, Matthew 16:18 (Peter and the keys) or Luke 1:28 (Immaculate Conception)?

Protestants seem quick to want to battle these things. What are some Orthodox responses?
it's simple, don't debate with a catholic as it's the 1 true faith
Pope St. Gregory the Great, quoted in Summo Iugiter Studio,
590-604:
“The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved.”

Pope Eugene IV,Council of Florence
, “Cantate Domino,” 1441,ex cathedra
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sedevacantist
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« Reply #42 on: April 01, 2013, 12:13:23 AM »

Start with James to show them that sola fide is wrong (2:14 to be exact). 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is also good for showing them that sola scriptura is wrong. If they refuse to listen then point out how they are poor protestants for not believing the Bible  Grin

With out debating (because I refuse to do that here), what are some of the different responses you would give them opposed to a Catholic?

For example, Matthew 16:18 (Peter and the keys) or Luke 1:28 (Immaculate Conception)?

Protestants seem quick to want to battle these things. What are some Orthodox responses?

With Roman Catholics, the best tack is to point to Tradition. How did the Fathers interpret St Peter and the Keys, how did Pope St Gregory interpret the succession from St Peter in light of the Sees of Antioch and Alexandria? For the Immaculate Conception all we need do is point out that we never had a dogma stating that the Theotokos had been conceived immaculately- though that will soon lead to debates over Doctrinal development, and whether the Orthodox Church has ever developed doctrine.

Still, I think it is best overall not to battle (would that I practice what I preach!). If a Protestant really wishes to understand Orthodox practice, then by all means have some Biblical passages at the ready. If he merely wishes to engage in a battle of dueling Bible verses out of sheer contrariness and desire to proselytize, then after a few answers, find a way to exit the conversation.

Very few are going to be converted through debate, and the person looking for battle will be very rocky ground indeed. The best way of witnessing the truth of one's faith is by living it out.
Origen

"f we were to attend carefully to the Gospels, we should also find, in relation to those things which seem to be common to Peter . . . a great difference and a preeminence in the things [Jesus] said to Peter, compared with the second class [of apostles]. For it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of one heaven but of more, and in order that whatsoever things he binds on earth may be bound not in one heaven but in them all, as compared with the many who bind on earth and loose on earth, so that these things are bound and loosed not in [all] the heavens, as in the case of Peter, but in one only; for they do not reach so high a stage with power as Peter to bind and loose in all the heavens" (Commentary on Matthew 13:31 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian of Carthage

"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.’ . . . On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

Pope Damasus I

"Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).

Augustine

"Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear ‘I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven’" (Sermons 295:2 [A.D. 411]).

"Some things are said which seem to relate especially to the apostle Peter, and yet are not clear in their meaning unless referred to the Church, which he is acknowledged to have represented in a figure on account of the primacy which he bore among the disciples. Such is ‘I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,’ and other similar passages. In the same way, Judas represents those Jews who were Christ’s enemies" (Commentary on Psalm 108 1 [A.D. 415]).

"Who is ignorant that the first of the apostles is the most blessed Peter?" (Commentary on John 56:1 [A.D. 416]).
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Nicene
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« Reply #43 on: April 01, 2013, 12:38:03 AM »

Don't grant them the assumption of a bible in the first place. Challange them by asking how they can know what the contents of the bible are from the bible alone. Ultimately they will have to run to some sort of history of these texts being used in the church in which htye have undermined their basic assumption. That is the Solo Scriptura fundamentalist who says nothing but the bible.

More sophisticated protestants don't disregaurd tradition entirely, only putting hte bible in a higher place, but the problem is still there. They have to rely on a neccessarily lesser authority in order to establish their highest authority, IE tradition/church fathers.
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Thank you.
Jason.Wike
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« Reply #44 on: April 01, 2013, 01:50:18 AM »

You believe the Bible is on the same level as everything else written by the church fathers, people that believe in the Bible realize that 1) The Bible would not have been canonized and referred to seperately if it was not more authoritative than other writings 2) You can say the church/tradition is obviously 'superior' to the Bible only up to the point that it was canonized, there is no separate 'tradition' apart from writings today, it is all written down, and the Bible is obviously its foundation stone. The analogy of 'mother - child' does no apply anymore, as the knowledge of the faith of everyone for the past 1800 years or more was founded centrally on the Bible, it is 'mother.' Also, the Bible has always been referred to as 'holy' (ta biblia ta hagia) whereas the writings of the church fathers have not.
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