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Author Topic: Does Sola Scriptura actually exist?  (Read 4009 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 04, 2013, 03:34:57 AM »

Due to some comments lately, I tried to look into the issue a bit and I have come to wonder if Sola scriptura, as it is often potrayed by orthodox, really is practised in most protestant denominations. Lutherans, for example, while holding the doctrine, still containssome reliance on the aspect of tradition. I wonder if sometimes, the way we define Sola Scriptura and the way it is used might be a little simplistic.

What do you think? 
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2013, 03:50:26 AM »

Of course we are too simplistic about it.

It's because we are too lazy with our apologetics. "Oh Bible only? WHY YOU NO TRADITION?"
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2013, 06:01:19 AM »

Due to some comments lately, I tried to look into the issue a bit and I have come to wonder if Sola scriptura, as it is often potrayed by orthodox, really is practised in most protestant denominations. Lutherans, for example, while holding the doctrine, still containssome reliance on the aspect of tradition. I wonder if sometimes, the way we define Sola Scriptura and the way it is used might be a little simplistic.

What do you think? 

Isn't that part of our criticism of it - that reliance on 'the Bible alone' is simply an impossibility? That doesn't mean that there aren't large numbers of Protestants who believe that they adhere to 'sola scriptura', it's just easily demonstrable that they do not actually do so. I know that when I considered myself to be a sola scriptura Protestant, I really thought that I accepted nothing outside of Scripture and that I was merely reading the 'plain text' of that Scripture, not relying on any tradition to do so. I was clearly, looking back on it, deluding myself, but at the time I was certainly sincere.

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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2013, 08:10:41 AM »

It doesn't exist, but Protestants who believe in Sola Scriptura actually believe that they hold to the "Bible alone" and are in denial about the fact that they have not eliminated tradition but have only replaced Holy Tradition with their own self-created interpretive traditions.  If there were Protestants who truly believed in Sola Scriptura, they would have no need for preaching sermons or reading and writing Christian books, since the Bible is all that is supposed to be necessary.
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2013, 08:27:02 AM »

In a broad swath of evangelical Christianity, sola scriptura is the norm.  In more mainline denominations, there is still an element of tradition that continues, but in the independant, non-denominational churches, it is frequently a great source of pride that they try to "reinvent the wheel" by throwing all preconceptions out and attempting to construct a church solely on what they read in Scripture.  Of course, little do they realize that they are merely constructing it out of their interpretations rather than anything else.  I attended a church for awhile that had split off another church and they took great pains to ensure that they did not carry over any "traditions" from the prior church.  They made up a different order of service, got song books that had different songs, studied the Bible to come up with their own doctrine that was not "tainted" by their prior church.  All this was done out of fear that they might be carrying some tradition into the church and they wanted their church to be "based solely on the Bible"
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2013, 08:52:13 AM »

I can only speak as a Lutheran but Sola Scriptura means that the final authority is the Scriptures. That the only thing we know as divinely inspired are the Holy Scriptures and what is contained in them has everything we need for eternal salvation. The Apostle John, towards the conclusion of his Gospel states: "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John never mentioned the Church in his Gospel. Now, of course before that he states:  "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book" which leads to a good argument that their is more fullness in certain churches.

Also, being a Lutheran we accept the Dogmas of the 7 ecumenical councils. We recite the Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. We have the Book of Concord which is the Lutheran tradition. We baptize infants even though it isn't specifically talked about in the Scriptures.
 
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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2013, 08:53:08 AM »

I've noticed increasing numbers of Protestants accept that "Sola Scriptura" doesn't answer all the questions and settle all the issues.  But instead of looking to tradition, Protestants are increasingly accepting an embrace of doubt and uncertainty . . . a refusal to be "dogmatic" etc.  As some here have also stated, many Protestants act according to their own denominational traditions or styles without even questioning whether what their doing amounts to "tradition".  It is simply presumed as an appropriate way of going about worship, etc.
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« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2013, 09:30:56 AM »

I can only speak as a Lutheran but Sola Scriptura means that the final authority is the Scriptures. That the only thing we know as divinely inspired are the Holy Scriptures and what is contained in them has everything we need for eternal salvation. The Apostle John, towards the conclusion of his Gospel states: "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John never mentioned the Church in his Gospel. Now, of course before that he states:  "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book" which leads to a good argument that their is more fullness in certain churches.

Also, being a Lutheran we accept the Dogmas of the 7 ecumenical councils. We recite the Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. We have the Book of Concord which is the Lutheran tradition. We baptize infants even though it isn't specifically talked about in the Scriptures.
 

Fine, but that's not what an awful lot of Protestants mean by it (and that includes some Lutherans, certainly this side of the Atlantic). But, honestly, whilst clearly a lot better than what I deluded myself into believing I was doing, it still doesn't particularly work. How can Scripture be the final authority? How can you 'know' it's divinely inspired? How can you be sure what is and is and is not Scripture? Scripture can't answer any of those questions and it's that that precipitated my discontent with Protestantism long before I discovered Orthodoxy. Eventually you always end up back at Church/Tradition, so I don't even think it can really exist as you've described it above.

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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2013, 10:00:37 AM »

I do a lot of work with protestant churches.  I see a lot of people beginning to question Sola Scriptura and looking to the early fathers. I've found that when I'm questioned about my faith and start with the early church fathers, men who lived hundreds of years before the bible was canonized, you really find people eager to listen.

I try to avoid arguing against Sola Scriptura by just point out how many of our Church traditions and beliefs existed before most communitities had any type of "Bible" as we know it to reference.
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2013, 11:00:52 AM »

Quote
Also, being a Lutheran we accept the Dogmas of the 7 ecumenical councils. We recite the Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. We have the Book of Concord which is the Lutheran tradition. We baptize infants even though it isn't specifically talked about in the Scriptures.
 

I realise that there exist many different Lutheran branches, but it was my impression that Lutherans only accepts five councils.
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2013, 11:09:10 AM »

How can Scripture be the final authority? How can you 'know' it's divinely inspired?

We don't know our Scriptures are divinley inspired anymore than anyone from any religion. We believe it on faith and when you have faith they are inspired, it's easy to see them as the final authority. In the other thread I posted numerous quotes from some of the most respected fathers that affirms this.

Quote
How can you be sure what is and is and is not Scripture?

The early church didn't. Eusebius wrote their were 18 "uncontested books" which were the 4 Gospels and Paul's letters. Over time the church, of which you must give them credit canonized 27 books. Again, as John stated, just his Gospel has the information needed to have life in Christs name.

I have to make a point I made in the other thread, Protestants did not start the seperations of the church, that was you guys with your excommunications of each other making it impossible to know who was right, if anyone. If the church was united in the reformation era as it was when the scriptures were canonized I doubt we would be having this discussion.
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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2013, 11:18:14 AM »


I realise that there exist many different Lutheran branches, but it was my impression that Lutherans only accepts five councils.


I was taught all seven, I know the Lutheran World Federation of which the ELCA is a part of accepts them. As far as I know WELS and LCMS accept them as well.
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2013, 11:22:47 AM »


I realise that there exist many different Lutheran branches, but it was my impression that Lutherans only accepts five councils.


I was taught all seven, I know the Lutheran World Federation of which the ELCA is a part of accepts them. As far as I know WELS and LCMS accept them as well.

So... you accept icons?
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« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2013, 11:27:42 AM »

Quote
have to make a point I made in the other thread, Protestants did not start the seperations of the church, that was you guys with your excommunications of each other making it impossible to know who was right, if anyone. If the church was united in the reformation era as it was when the scriptures were canonized I doubt we would be having this discussion.

I must admit, I have never understood this argument. The early Church excommunicated people too. As far as I can see, the whole point with excommunication is to prevent theological confusion.
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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2013, 11:30:00 AM »




So... you accept icons?

Yes, just look at these Lutheran churches.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfVXfBucQfs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lizfznY63Yk

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« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2013, 11:36:58 AM »


I wish someone would tell my mother...

Honestly, the next time I see a Lutheran venerate an image (whether that be an icon, which I've never actually seen in a Lutheran church, or a statue) will definitely be the first. It's true that there are Lutheran churches that contain images (particularly if they're ex-Roman Catholic churches as they often are in Germany), but they certainly aren't venerated (again, at least in my experience - American Lutherans often seem quite different to what I know from Europe). Simply having decorations in church, which is all that really amounts to, is not following the 7th Ecumenical Council.

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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2013, 11:40:47 AM »


Yes, religious images are certainly not rare in lutheran churches, but do you also accept the theology, concerning icons, that were confirmed at the Seventh Council?
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« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2013, 11:41:18 AM »


I wish someone would tell my mother...


Would you like me to call her.  Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2013, 11:43:36 AM »


I wish someone would tell my mother...


Would you like me to call her.  Smiley

Thanks for the offer, but you'd only get your head bitten off. Then after that I'd get my head bitten off for having told you to phone her and, frankly, life would be less tolerable than it is now having to pretend not to notice her jibes about our icons every time she visits.

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« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2013, 11:48:42 AM »

...Sola Scriptura means that the final authority is the Scriptures. That the only thing we know as divinely inspired are the Holy Scriptures and what is contained in them has everything we need for eternal salvation.  

For the sake of argument, even if we do accept all of the above, how do you know that you are understanding/interpreting the Scriptures correctly? Wouldn't it be pretty important to understand the Scriptures correctly, since they are the final authority?

And being the final authority, how is it that millions of sincere and well-meaning Christians disagree over important points of Scripture - not just mere hairsplitting but often diametrically opposed theologies?

Saying that the Scriptures are the final authority without agreement on what the Scriptures actually say or mean has always seemed like sort of a distinction without a difference to me.
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« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2013, 12:03:26 PM »

For the sake of argument, even if we do accept all of the above, how do you know that you are understanding/interpreting the Scriptures correctly? Wouldn't it be pretty important to understand the Scriptures correctly, since they are the final authority?

"They say that we are to understand the things concerning Paradise not as they are written but in a different way. But when Scripture wants to teach us something like that, it interprets itself and does not permit the hearer to err".

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Theology is interesting for looking for the deeper meanings but the scriptures are plain and easy to understand the things pertaining to salvation, which is the whole point.  Remember, Christ's own Apostles didn't even understand the Resurrection until after it happened.
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« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2013, 12:05:12 PM »

...but the scriptures are plain and easy to understand the things pertaining to salvation, which is the whole point.   

Okey-doke. But if the Scriptures are plain and easy to understand, why so many different understandings?
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« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2013, 01:00:48 PM »

...but the scriptures are plain and easy to understand the things pertaining to salvation, which is the whole point.   

Okey-doke. But if the Scriptures are plain and easy to understand, why so many different understandings?

There are different theologys yet the scriptures are clear we are saved by Grace. That through Christ death and Reserection we can be saved from our sin. That we are to love and trust God above all things and love our neighbors. Who doesn't teach that?
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« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2013, 01:07:12 PM »

John never mentioned the Church in his Gospel.
But Matthew did.
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« Reply #24 on: April 04, 2013, 01:11:00 PM »

John never mentioned the Church in his Gospel.
But Matthew did.

Of course, the point is John said he wrote what he wrote so we can have life in Christ. If the church was a requirement he would have mentioned it.
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« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2013, 01:12:11 PM »

...but the scriptures are plain and easy to understand the things pertaining to salvation, which is the whole point.   

Okey-doke. But if the Scriptures are plain and easy to understand, why so many different understandings?

There are different theologys yet the scriptures are clear we are saved by Grace. That through Christ death and Reserection we can be saved from our sin. That we are to love and trust God above all things and love our neighbors. Who doesn't teach that?

Most denominations teach that, but then there are a lot of other important theological issues, like "Is the Eucharist the Body and Blood of Christ or is it symbolic?" "Can women be priests?" "The Nature of Christ",  "The Fillioque" and lots and lots of other things.  
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« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2013, 01:20:47 PM »

I have to make a point I made in the other thread, Protestants did not start the seperations of the church, that was you guys with your excommunications of each other making it impossible to know who was right, if anyone. If the church was united in the reformation era as it was when the scriptures were canonized I doubt we would be having this discussion.
Tu quoque much? To make a counterpoint I made in the other thread, the teaching of sola scriptura is directly responsible for the many splits seen in your church.
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« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2013, 01:22:41 PM »

John never mentioned the Church in his Gospel.
But Matthew did.

Of course, the point is John said he wrote what he wrote so we can have life in Christ. If the church was a requirement he would have mentioned it.
Arguments from silence are rarely ever convincing. Also rarely ever convincing is this practice of separating St. John's witness from that of the rest of the Apostles.
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« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2013, 01:24:22 PM »

I wonder if sometimes, the way we define Sola Scriptura and the way it is used might be a little simplistic.

I think heresiology in general tends to be simplistic, since its purpose is not to give an accurate account of what a particular person or group believes, but to shield the Orthodox from heresy. This usually means the heresy in question is simplified, to some extent caricatured, and the underlying principles or ideas are taken to their logical conclusion (i.e. to a greater extreme than what the heretic in question might hold).

For example, the way we would normally define "Nestorianism" or even "Arianism" today would not accurately represent the personal views of Nestorius or Arius, which were obviously more nuanced.

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« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2013, 01:27:56 PM »

I wonder if sometimes, the way we define Sola Scriptura and the way it is used might be a little simplistic.

I think heresiology in general tends to be simplistic, since its purpose is not to give an accurate account of what a particular person or group believes, but in to shield the Orthodox from heresy. This usually means the heresy in question is simplified, to some extent caricatured, and the underlying principles or ideas are taken to their logical conclusion (i.e. to a greater extreme than what the heretic in question might hold).

For example, the way we would normally define "Nestorianism" or even "Arianism" today would not accurately represent the personal views of Nestorius or Arius, which were obviously more nuanced.



But isn't that kind of wrong? Shouldn't we portray the beliefs of others as honest and fair as possible?
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« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2013, 01:38:41 PM »

But isn't that kind of wrong? Shouldn't we portray the beliefs of others as honest and fair as possible?

It depends on how it's presented. If you're pretending to give an accurate nuanced account of what group or person X believes, then it would be wrong. If you're trying to demonstrate the inherent flaws or the logical, erroneous consequences of such teachings, then it's entirely acceptable.
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« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2013, 01:48:58 PM »

...but the scriptures are plain and easy to understand the things pertaining to salvation, which is the whole point.   

Okey-doke. But if the Scriptures are plain and easy to understand, why so many different understandings?

There are different theologys yet the scriptures are clear we are saved by Grace. That through Christ death and Reserection we can be saved from our sin. That we are to love and trust God above all things and love our neighbors. Who doesn't teach that?

Most denominations teach that, but then there are a lot of other important theological issues, like "Is the Eucharist the Body and Blood of Christ or is it symbolic?" "Can women be priests?" "The Nature of Christ",  "The Fillioque" and lots and lots of other things.  

Exactly. And also what is grace? How are we saved? What does it really mean in our daily lives to love and trust God and love our neighbors? Who is our neighbor? (oh, wait...) IOW, what does this really mean for me and my life?
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« Reply #32 on: April 04, 2013, 01:49:51 PM »


Arguments from silence are rarely ever convincing. Also rarely ever convincing is this practice of separating St. John's witness from that of the rest of the Apostles.

Using St Johns own words in not an argument from silence. He wrote his Gospel, before there was a canon. In that Gospel he says:

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

You are the one making an argument he means something other than what he actually says.

Also, if we want to get technical on Matthew, Ekklesia properly translates to assembly, not church and especially not "one true church". Christians assemble in Christ's name. "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in the midst of them." Church is a proper translation only because a church is an assembly in Christ. Unless your willing to say that all other Christians besides the Orthodox do NOT assemble in Christ name?
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« Reply #33 on: April 04, 2013, 01:53:39 PM »

Also, if we want to get technical on Matthew, Ekklesia properly translates to assembly, not church and especially not "one true church". Christians assemble in Christ's name. "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in the midst of them." Church is a proper translation only because a church is an assembly in Christ. Unless your willing to say that all other Christians besides the Orthodox do NOT assemble in Christ name?

Um, ekklesia was not simply an assembly, but rather  a specific term for those who were "called out." So "church" is indeed a proper translation of the Greek, and "one true church" not a stretch, by any means.

Other Christians may be assembling in Christ's name, but what Christ, I wonder?
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« Reply #34 on: April 04, 2013, 01:54:26 PM »

You are the one making an argument he means something other than what he actually says.

The essence of Sola Scriptura.
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« Reply #35 on: April 04, 2013, 02:01:26 PM »

Most denominations teach that, but then there are a lot of other important theological issues, like "Is the Eucharist the Body and Blood of Christ or is it symbolic?" "Can women be priests?" "The Nature of Christ",  "The Fillioque" and lots and lots of other things.  

Do these things save you? Any church with women priests or leaders are going to hell? Opinion on Fillioque determines your salvation?

There is a book by Robert Farrar Capon "The Parables of the Kingdom, Grace and Judgment" There is a chapter he calls the parable of Theology and Faith. The basic point is the house is built on Faith, pure, blind, childlike faith. There is a porch you need to get into the house. This porch is theology. Some of the porches can be beautiful with easy ways to get in. While others are messy and are tougher but they still allow access. What you need in the end is to get into the house. You would have to read the book to get the whole idea but that is the basics.

Sure, Orthodoxy might be that perfect porch, it's just not the only one and there are many other ways into the house.
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« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2013, 02:02:00 PM »

Other Christians may be assembling in Christ's name, but what Christ, I wonder?

I guess not the one you have trapped in a box.
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« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2013, 02:03:30 PM »

Other Christians may be assembling in Christ's name, but what Christ, I wonder?

I guess not the one you have trapped in a box.

I knew the insult was probably coming - I just hoped for better. Too bad.
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« Reply #38 on: April 04, 2013, 02:06:13 PM »



I knew the insult was probably coming - I just hoped for better. Too bad.

Insult? You said other Christians worship another Jesus.

John 12:32
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« Reply #39 on: April 04, 2013, 02:07:15 PM »

Most denominations teach that, but then there are a lot of other important theological issues, like "Is the Eucharist the Body and Blood of Christ or is it symbolic?" "Can women be priests?" "The Nature of Christ",  "The Fillioque" and lots and lots of other things.  

Do these things save you? Any church with women priests or leaders are going to hell? Opinion on Fillioque determines your salvation?

How do you know they don't? See, that's the problem. Your opinion is that they don't, but how can you know for sure, because it's only your interpretation/understanding that says they don't matter.

Quote
There is a book by Robert Farrar Capon "The Parables of the Kingdom, Grace and Judgment" There is a chapter he calls the parable of Theology and Faith. The basic point is the house is built on Faith, pure, blind, childlike faith. There is a porch you need to get into the house. This porch is theology. Some of the porches can be beautiful with easy ways to get in. While others are messy and are tougher but they still allow access. What you need in the end is to get into the house. You would have to read the book to get the whole idea but that is the basics.

Sure, Orthodoxy might be that perfect porch, it's just not the only one and there are many other ways into the house.
Read it, btw.  Actually read a lot of his work. It's a nice image. How do you know he's right? Because it fits the way you think things are.
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« Reply #40 on: April 04, 2013, 02:09:53 PM »



I knew the insult was probably coming - I just hoped for better. Too bad.

Insult? You said other Christians worship another Jesus.

John 12:32
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Nope. That's what you understood me to say. I said I wonder what Christ they may worship, because according to different denoms they understand Christ in different ways. Sometimes in very different ways.
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« Reply #41 on: April 04, 2013, 02:13:17 PM »



How do you know they don't? See, that's the problem. Your opinion is that they don't

It's not my opinion:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--

Unless Paul meant faith as some deep theological understanding and not childlike trust, as Jesus said.

And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven
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« Reply #42 on: April 04, 2013, 02:19:29 PM »

"Faith without works is dead"
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« Reply #43 on: April 04, 2013, 02:23:00 PM »

John 12:32
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

That makes no sense. By that reasoning, all men would include atheists, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists.
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« Reply #44 on: April 04, 2013, 02:23:30 PM »

"Faith without works is dead"

Correct.

"It is one thing that faith justifies without works; it is another thing that faith exists without works."
Martin Luther
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« Reply #45 on: April 04, 2013, 02:30:50 PM »

Most denominations teach that, but then there are a lot of other important theological issues, like "Is the Eucharist the Body and Blood of Christ or is it symbolic?" "Can women be priests?" "The Nature of Christ",  "The Fillioque" and lots and lots of other things.  

Do these things save you? Any church with women priests or leaders are going to hell? Opinion on Fillioque determines your salvation?

There is a book by Robert Farrar Capon "The Parables of the Kingdom, Grace and Judgment" There is a chapter he calls the parable of Theology and Faith. The basic point is the house is built on Faith, pure, blind, childlike faith. There is a porch you need to get into the house. This porch is theology. Some of the porches can be beautiful with easy ways to get in. While others are messy and are tougher but they still allow access. What you need in the end is to get into the house. You would have to read the book to get the whole idea but that is the basics.

Sure, Orthodoxy might be that perfect porch, it's just not the only one and there are many other ways into the house.

We are saved by God's Grace, we don't deny that, but from the beginning, the Church also stressed correct theology. Having a true and pure faith and preserving dogma aren't necesarily contradicting.
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« Reply #46 on: April 04, 2013, 02:38:22 PM »

I came upon the doctrine of Prima Scriptura. Could this be closer to what some of the more traditional protestant denominations believe?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prima_scriptura
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« Reply #47 on: April 04, 2013, 02:40:50 PM »



How do you know they don't? See, that's the problem. Your opinion is that they don't

It's not my opinion:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--

Unless Paul meant faith as some deep theological understanding and not childlike trust, as Jesus said.

And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven

Oh, dear. But see, here again - that's your opinion and understanding of Scripture. That's all you have, according to Sola Scriptura: "it says this because that's what I say it says."
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« Reply #48 on: April 04, 2013, 02:41:54 PM »

Having a true and pure faith and preserving dogma aren't necesarily contradicting.

I have no problem saying that Orthodoxy may be the fullness of faith or the "perfect porch". I just can't agree it's the only way in or our deep theological beliefs are more important than our childlike faith and trust.
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« Reply #49 on: April 04, 2013, 02:44:13 PM »


Oh, dear. But see, here again - that's your opinion and understanding of Scripture. That's all you have, according to Sola Scriptura: "it says this because that's what I say it says."

I didn't give an opinion, I quoted Scripture. I let it speak for itself, you say it means something else and accuse me of self interpretation.
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« Reply #50 on: April 04, 2013, 02:48:49 PM »

Having a true and pure faith and preserving dogma aren't necesarily contradicting.

I have no problem saying that Orthodoxy may be the fullness of faith or the "perfect porch". I just can't agree it's the only way in or our deep theological beliefs are more important than our childlike faith and trust.

But why stay with that which is less than perfect. I will certainly not deny that God can save anyone, even if they are not part of the Church, but if you can see the fullness of the faith, why then not reach out for it?

Maybe, there's somethingI'm not seeing.
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« Reply #51 on: April 04, 2013, 03:01:12 PM »

But why stay with that which is less than perfect. I will certainly not deny that God can save anyone, even if they are not part of the Church, but if you can see the fullness of the faith, why then not reach out for it?

If you are asking me personally I don't think anyone has perfect theology. The two theology's that make the most sense to me are both Orthodox and Lutheran. My biggest hurdle with Orthodox would be their theory on Justification. I don't want to get into that now as I've discussed it here before. Also, I grew up a Lutheran and it's been good to me. I grew up in strong faith, met my wife who is Lutheran and have two beautiful children. 
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« Reply #52 on: April 04, 2013, 03:11:54 PM »

I don't think you can say one is more important than the other.  They kind of work in concert.  It would be like trying to figure out if the wheels or the engine block is more important in making a car run.  You have to have correct doctrine and you have to have faith.  You also have to have good works that flow from that faith and love for God and fellow man.  If you remove any of those things, the car falls apart.
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« Reply #53 on: April 04, 2013, 04:07:10 PM »


Oh, dear. But see, here again - that's your opinion and understanding of Scripture. That's all you have, according to Sola Scriptura: "it says this because that's what I say it says."

I didn't give an opinion, I quoted Scripture. I let it speak for itself, you say it means something else and accuse me of self interpretation.

You chose those particular verses - to prove your point. That's opinion, based on your understanding of what it means to you. You think it means what you think it means to prove your point.

I've often noticed that people, in defending a particular interpretation of Sola Scriptura, always fall back on "I let Scripture speak for itself." No one does that, if we are honest about it. We can't help it. We interpret/understand things based on our experiences, knowledge, cultural context etc.
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« Reply #54 on: April 04, 2013, 04:30:52 PM »



You chose those particular verses - to prove your point. That's opinion, based on your understanding of what it means to you. You think it means what you think it means to prove your point.

I've often noticed that people, in defending a particular interpretation of Sola Scriptura, always fall back on "I let Scripture speak for itself." No one does that, if we are honest about it. We can't help it. We interpret/understand things based on our experiences, knowledge, cultural context etc.


We were talking about salvation and faith and I used two versus that have to do with that subject.
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« Reply #55 on: April 04, 2013, 08:08:22 PM »

I don't think that you've had enough of an exposure to low-Church Evangelicalism. The sad fact is that Sola Scriptura as defined here does in fact exist in many Churches. However, I also think that Sola Scriptura by its very nature is impossible, because no one is relying solely on the Scriptures  alone, but on their interpretation of it and their preconceived notions which led to that interpretation.
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« Reply #56 on: April 04, 2013, 08:10:17 PM »

...our deep theological beliefs are more important than our childlike faith and trust.

I personally don't get this dichotomy. How can you have childlike faith and trust in God if you don't have proper deep theological beliefs so that you know which God you are putting that faith and trust in? With improper theological beliefs, you are not putting your faith and trust into the real God, but into the God of your mind--your own delusional idol of what you believe God is like.
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« Reply #57 on: April 04, 2013, 08:13:26 PM »


Arguments from silence are rarely ever convincing. Also rarely ever convincing is this practice of separating St. John's witness from that of the rest of the Apostles.

Using St Johns own words in not an argument from silence.
But arguing from what he didn't say is.

He wrote his Gospel, before there was a canon. In that Gospel he says:

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
But you said that if the Church were important to John, he would have said so. That's your argument, not John's.

You are the one making an argument he means something other than what he actually says.
No, I cannot be, since I'm not arguing here that he actually said anything.

Also, if we want to get technical on Matthew, Ekklesia properly translates to assembly, not church and especially not "one true church". Christians assemble in Christ's name. "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in the midst of them." Church is a proper translation only because a church is an assembly in Christ. Unless your willing to say that all other Christians besides the Orthodox do NOT assemble in Christ name?
How fine is that razor blade you're using to split those hairs? I didn't define what Matthew meant by "Church"; I only meant to point out that Matthew thought the Church important enough to mention it in his Gospel. BTW, St. Matthew wasn't the only apostle to speak of the Church. It seems that St. Paul gave a pretty clear definition of "Church" in his epistles, particularly his Epistle to the Ephesians.
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« Reply #58 on: April 04, 2013, 08:27:38 PM »

...Unless your willing to say that all other Christians besides the Orthodox do NOT assemble in Christ name?

They don't. There is only one Christ; therefore, only one set of beliefs proper about Him. To be in the "name" of Christ means more than to just say His name; hence "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven." St. Paul further strengthens this point when he says "Now I plead with you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment," (1 Cor. 1:10) and "Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes. But in understanding be mature." (1 Cor. 14:20). If simply saying "Jesus Name" was all it took, then those phony exorcists in Acts wouldn't have gotten their butts kicked by demons.
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« Reply #59 on: April 04, 2013, 09:12:13 PM »

But you said that if the Church were important to John, he would have said so. That's your argument, not John's.

That is not at all what I said, I said: If the church was a requirement, he would have mentioned it. I never implied he didn't think it was important.
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« Reply #60 on: April 04, 2013, 09:13:55 PM »

...Unless your willing to say that all other Christians besides the Orthodox do NOT assemble in Christ name?

They don't.

At least your honest. It's funny how both of these threads have turned into you worship a different God and Christ.
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« Reply #61 on: April 05, 2013, 05:33:47 AM »

I can only speak as a Lutheran but Sola Scriptura means that the final authority is the Scriptures. That the only thing we know as divinely inspired are the Holy Scriptures and what is contained in them has everything we need for eternal salvation. The Apostle John, towards the conclusion of his Gospel states: "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John never mentioned the Church in his Gospel. Now, of course before that he states:  "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book" which leads to a good argument that their is more fullness in certain churches.

Also, being a Lutheran we accept the Dogmas of the 7 ecumenical councils. We recite the Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. We have the Book of Concord which is the Lutheran tradition. We baptize infants even though it isn't specifically talked about in the Scriptures.
 

Then why do you even need other books apart from the one of John? By the way, St Paul epistles were written before the Gospel of St John, so obviously the Church precedes the Gospel of John.
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« Reply #62 on: April 05, 2013, 05:34:47 AM »

But you said that if the Church were important to John, he would have said so. That's your argument, not John's.

That is not at all what I said, I said: If the church was a requirement, he would have mentioned it. I never implied he didn't think it was important.

St John didnt mention Paul epistles, o any other new testament books. So you should drop them in the garbage and only follow st John Gospel.
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« Reply #63 on: April 05, 2013, 08:01:08 AM »

...Unless your willing to say that all other Christians besides the Orthodox do NOT assemble in Christ name?

They don't.

At least your honest. It's funny how both of these threads have turned into you worship a different God and Christ.

I would not say that other Christians do not assemble in Christ's name, but I would say they assemble with an incomplete understanding of who Christ is.  I don't think the Lutherans, for example, worship a different God or Christ, they worship the same one, just with a deficient understanding of Him.  Groups such as non-Trinitarians, I would say, worship a different Christ and God.
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« Reply #64 on: April 05, 2013, 09:33:24 AM »

I also think that Sola Scriptura by its very nature is impossible, because no one is relying solely on the Scriptures  alone, but on their interpretation of it and their preconceived notions which led to that interpretation.

Excatly! And I will now yield the floor to James, who is doing a much better job than I!
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« Reply #65 on: April 05, 2013, 02:03:45 PM »

How can Scripture be the final authority? How can you 'know' it's divinely inspired?

We don't know our Scriptures are divinley inspired anymore than anyone from any religion. We believe it on faith and when you have faith they are inspired, it's easy to see them as the final authority. In the other thread I posted numerous quotes from some of the most respected fathers that affirms this.

Quote
How can you be sure what is and is and is not Scripture?

The early church didn't. Eusebius wrote their were 18 "uncontested books" which were the 4 Gospels and Paul's letters. Over time the church, of which you must give them credit canonized 27 books. Again, as John stated, just his Gospel has the information needed to have life in Christs name.

I have to make a point I made in the other thread, Protestants did not start the seperations of the church, that was you guys with your excommunications of each other making it impossible to know who was right, if anyone. If the church was united in the reformation era as it was when the scriptures were canonized I doubt we would be having this discussion.

So which translation(s) / version(s) are inspired? Are any of the versions we have today still inspired or only the originals were inspired? Is the bible inerrant or infallible?
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« Reply #66 on: April 05, 2013, 02:03:45 PM »

How can Scripture be the final authority? How can you 'know' it's divinely inspired?

We don't know our Scriptures are divinley inspired anymore than anyone from any religion. We believe it on faith and when you have faith they are inspired, it's easy to see them as the final authority. In the other thread I posted numerous quotes from some of the most respected fathers that affirms this.

Quote
How can you be sure what is and is and is not Scripture?

The early church didn't. Eusebius wrote their were 18 "uncontested books" which were the 4 Gospels and Paul's letters. Over time the church, of which you must give them credit canonized 27 books. Again, as John stated, just his Gospel has the information needed to have life in Christs name.

I have to make a point I made in the other thread, Protestants did not start the seperations of the church, that was you guys with your excommunications of each other making it impossible to know who was right, if anyone. If the church was united in the reformation era as it was when the scriptures were canonized I doubt we would be having this discussion.

I don't think Christianity was ever unified. On the times of the Apostles Christianity had already been divided.

And I think you are true about the "uncontested books" . I think what begs to be called in here and always slips the mind is the standard the fathers/catholic church chosed for the canonisation of the entire 27 books of the New Testament. AFAIK and from what I know it was really not that "hard of a thing" . And one can say some traditional arguments are depleted. "Too bad" protestants don't have my way of seeing things.
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« Reply #67 on: April 05, 2013, 03:31:26 PM »

Due to some comments lately, I tried to look into the issue a bit and I have come to wonder if Sola scriptura, as it is often potrayed by orthodox, really is practised in most protestant denominations. Lutherans, for example, while holding the doctrine, still containssome reliance on the aspect of tradition. I wonder if sometimes, the way we define Sola Scriptura and the way it is used might be a little simplistic.

What do you think? 

I get what you're saying, Ansgar; but lest we give protestants too much credit, I'd like to point out that many of them do embrace an extreme form of Sola Scriptura -- to the tune of "Scripture is the only authority", "Tradition is worthless", etc. (Some have nicknamed such thinking "Solo Scriptura".)
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« Reply #68 on: April 07, 2013, 12:15:14 AM »

Sola scriptura as in having scripture as teh final determining authority for everything? Or Sola scriptura as it being the only determing authority for everything? I think the applicability of both of them is ultimately impossible.
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« Reply #69 on: April 07, 2013, 03:28:07 PM »

I like to reference the "lost" epistles of St. Paul that aren't in the New Testament, but are mentioned. For example, we know that there is at least one, possibly two, epistles that St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians which are not in the New Testament. I think that Sola Scriptura presents a real problem to any Protestant getting into history, because if the documents were ever discovered, they would put the final nail in the coffin to Sola Scriptura for good.
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« Reply #70 on: April 07, 2013, 05:18:35 PM »

I like to reference the "lost" epistles of St. Paul that aren't in the New Testament, but are mentioned. For example, we know that there is at least one, possibly two, epistles that St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians which are not in the New Testament. I think that Sola Scriptura presents a real problem to any Protestant getting into history, because if the documents were ever discovered, they would put the final nail in the coffin to Sola Scriptura for good.

Oh?
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« Reply #71 on: April 07, 2013, 11:07:23 PM »

I like to reference the "lost" epistles of St. Paul that aren't in the New Testament, but are mentioned. For example, we know that there is at least one, possibly two, epistles that St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians which are not in the New Testament. I think that Sola Scriptura presents a real problem to any Protestant getting into history, because if the documents were ever discovered, they would put the final nail in the coffin to Sola Scriptura for good.

It might not phase those protestants that are more lax, and actually consider church fathers and history as a source, but for the rigid fundamentalist, the lost letter of Paul might be a problem.
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« Reply #72 on: April 08, 2013, 09:26:54 AM »

I'm sure they would just argue that they are obviously not inspired or they would be preserved in the Bible.
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« Reply #73 on: April 28, 2013, 05:51:48 AM »

Due to some comments lately, I tried to look into the issue a bit and I have come to wonder if Sola scriptura, as it is often potrayed by orthodox, really is practised in most protestant denominations. Lutherans, for example, while holding the doctrine, still containssome reliance on the aspect of tradition. I wonder if sometimes, the way we define Sola Scriptura and the way it is used might be a little simplistic.

What do you think?  

Isn't that part of our criticism of it - that reliance on 'the Bible alone' is simply an impossibility? That doesn't mean that there aren't large numbers of Protestants who believe that they adhere to 'sola scriptura', it's just easily demonstrable that they do not actually do so. I know that when I considered myself to be a sola scriptura Protestant, I really thought that I accepted nothing outside of Scripture and that I was merely reading the 'plain text' of that Scripture, not relying on any tradition to do so. I was clearly, looking back on it, deluding myself, but at the time I was certainly sincere.

James

is that "easily demonstrable" as in 'Moses prayed for the dead'?!!! The fact is James, you can't demonstrate any such thing, if only for the simple reason that no-one can know what is going on in someone else's head. The principle of 'sola scriptura' is a statement of where one's reference point lies; the authority against which every doctrine is tested. Does Protestantism have an oral 'tradition'? Of course it does. It has a well known tradition of oral teaching and preaching. Are those 'traditions' assumed to have the authority of the Spirit upon them? No, each individual must test what is being spoken against the propositions of scripture because we know that the Spirit will not contradict himself.

Now, if you have no reference against which to check anything; well that is your admission. If you claim the church as your reference, then you are placing the authority of the church above that of the Spirit and claiming infallibility for it. It is demonstrable that the Orthodox church is not infallible. Why would it be? The Bible itself teaches you that the church is not infallible. To achieve infallibility one would require perfect obedience to the Spirit by all its members at all times and you can't even demonstrate that members of the Orthodox church are even indwelt by the Spirit. It is simply assumed because you believe that a man is indwelt by the rite of baptism. No scripture teaches you any such thing.

You are foolish virgins. The Rapture will take you by surprise. You will be caught without the oil of the Spirit and it will be too late for you. That is why you are a leg of Daniel's image.
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« Reply #74 on: April 28, 2013, 05:59:59 AM »

I'm sure they would just argue that they are obviously not inspired or they would be preserved in the Bible.
This discussion shows a fundamental misunderstanding. Up and down this country today there will be words spoken which are Spirit inspired. To be identified as such, they must agree with the canon. They don't all need to be IN IT!!!
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« Reply #75 on: April 28, 2013, 06:00:21 AM »

The Rapture will take you by surprise.

I love surprises.
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« Reply #76 on: April 28, 2013, 06:08:49 AM »

The principle of 'sola scriptura' is a statement of where one's reference point lies; the authority against which every doctrine is tested.

Is Scripture the "the pillar and foundation of the truth"?
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« Reply #77 on: April 28, 2013, 06:11:29 AM »

I also think that Sola Scriptura by its very nature is impossible, because no one is relying solely on the Scriptures  alone, but on their interpretation of it and their preconceived notions which led to that interpretation.

Excatly! And I will now yield the floor to James, who is doing a much better job than I!

If the Spirit, "leads  one into all truth", by definition, this must his HIS interpretation, not that of any individual. This is the idea you guys can't seem to get  your heads around..
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« Reply #78 on: April 28, 2013, 06:14:29 AM »

The Rapture will take you by surprise.

I love surprises.

that'll be fine then. Live with it, we'll be back in around seven years.
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« Reply #79 on: April 28, 2013, 06:19:00 AM »

The principle of 'sola scriptura' is a statement of where one's reference point lies; the authority against which every doctrine is tested.

Is Scripture the "the pillar and foundation of the truth"?

yes, this is because, "all scripture is Spirit-breathed".

Were you about to admit that the church disagrees with the Holy Spirit?!
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« Reply #80 on: April 28, 2013, 06:19:21 AM »

The Rapture will take you by surprise.

I love surprises.

that'll be fine then. Live with it, we'll be back in around seven years.

Can I have your stuff once you're raptured?
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« Reply #81 on: April 28, 2013, 06:21:56 AM »

The principle of 'sola scriptura' is a statement of where one's reference point lies; the authority against which every doctrine is tested.

Is Scripture the "the pillar and foundation of the truth"?

yes, this is because, "all scripture is Spirit-breathed".

Ah well, I thought Scripture calls something else the pillar and foundation of truth. But since I'm not a protestant, I obviously don't know the Bible very well. Could you remind me what Scripture said about what the pillar and foundation of the truth was?
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« Reply #82 on: April 28, 2013, 06:23:45 AM »

The Rapture will take you by surprise.

I love surprises.

that'll be fine then. Live with it, we'll be back in around seven years.

Can I have your stuff once you're raptured?

you're welcome, but I think you'll have other concerns.
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« Reply #83 on: April 28, 2013, 06:26:07 AM »

The principle of 'sola scriptura' is a statement of where one's reference point lies; the authority against which every doctrine is tested.

Is Scripture the "the pillar and foundation of the truth"?

yes, this is because, "all scripture is Spirit-breathed".

Ah well, I thought Scripture calls something else the pillar and foundation of truth. But since I'm not a protestant, I obviously don't know the Bible very well. Could you remind me what Scripture said about what the pillar and foundation of the truth was?

Jesus said, "I am the truth".
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« Reply #84 on: April 28, 2013, 06:28:40 AM »

The principle of 'sola scriptura' is a statement of where one's reference point lies; the authority against which every doctrine is tested.

Is Scripture the "the pillar and foundation of the truth"?

yes, this is because, "all scripture is Spirit-breathed".

Ah well, I thought Scripture calls something else the pillar and foundation of truth. But since I'm not a protestant, I obviously don't know the Bible very well. Could you remind me what Scripture said about what the pillar and foundation of the truth was?

Jesus said, "I am the truth".

Very well. And what He spoke was true. But could you look up that specific quote about the "pillar and foundation of truth" for me? I'm curious what it was again.
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« Reply #85 on: April 28, 2013, 06:54:23 AM »

The principle of 'sola scriptura' is a statement of where one's reference point lies; the authority against which every doctrine is tested.

Is Scripture the "the pillar and foundation of the truth"?

yes, this is because, "all scripture is Spirit-breathed".

Ah well, I thought Scripture calls something else the pillar and foundation of truth. But since I'm not a protestant, I obviously don't know the Bible very well. Could you remind me what Scripture said about what the pillar and foundation of the truth was?

Jesus said, "I am the truth".

Very well. And what He spoke was true. But could you look up that specific quote about the "pillar and foundation of truth" for me? I'm curious what it was again.

cut to the chase. Who IS the truth? Scripture tells you Christ is. If you look for a "pillar and foundation" of it you will look to the Church. Thus I should expect that doctrines I hold to be true are  shared by others who are regenerate and indwelt by the Holy Spirit ie the Church. If I am unique in holding a doctrine,  it merits suspicion. If I wish  to correct it, I turn to scripture because the Spirit is the source of truth.

That is why Paul finds it necessary to admonish the church. That is why Jesus finds  it necessary to admonish the church. Nowhere can one find any justification whatsoever for the presumption that ,  at some nebulous point in history, the church acquired infallibility.
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« Reply #86 on: April 28, 2013, 07:03:17 AM »

If you look for a "pillar and foundation" of it you will look to the Church.

Indeed! Now we're getting somewhere.

If I am unique in holding a doctrine,  it merits suspicion.

So a doctrine should have antiquity? I.e it must be believed by Christians everywhere at any time - it shouldn't be a later invention?

Nowhere can one find any justification whatsoever for the presumption that ,  at some nebulous point in history, the church acquired infallibility.

What was it again that Christ said the gates of Hades wouldn't overwhelm?
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« Reply #87 on: April 28, 2013, 07:25:29 AM »

....
The principle of 'sola scriptura' is a statement of where one's reference point lies; the authority against which every doctrine is tested.
So the Holy Scripture is used to test these doctrines. I am curious about your beliefs concerning Holy Scripture. So as to the authority against which every doctrine is tested, is that the KJV English or is that the manuscripts from where the English was translated? As some Protestants apparently believe only the KJV is used for testing doctrine, do you believe that the KJV was divinely inspired and stands alone by itself without the manuscripts from which it was translated?

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« Reply #88 on: April 29, 2013, 09:00:13 AM »

What was it again that Christ said the gates of Hades wouldn't overwhelm?

The Church built on St. Thaddaeus ... or was it the Church built on St. Peter?

(I don't know Scripture very well either.  Wink)
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« Reply #89 on: April 29, 2013, 09:05:03 AM »

What was it again that Christ said the gates of Hades wouldn't overwhelm?

The Church built on St. Thaddaeus ... or was it the Church built on St. Peter?

(I don't know Scripture very well either.  Wink)

I have copyright on that method of debating! police


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« Reply #90 on: April 29, 2013, 09:07:46 AM »

What was it again that Christ said the gates of Hades wouldn't overwhelm?

The Church built on St. Thaddaeus ... or was it the Church built on St. Peter?

(I don't know Scripture very well either.  Wink)

Church at Antioch ftw!!!  Wink
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« Reply #91 on: April 30, 2013, 08:47:01 AM »

What was it again that Christ said the gates of Hades wouldn't overwhelm?

The Church built on St. Thaddaeus ... or was it the Church built on St. Peter?

(I don't know Scripture very well either.  Wink)

Church at Antioch ftw!!!  Wink

I agree. (Which may go without saying given the "Melkite" in my profile. But I wanted to say it anyhow. Smiley)
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« Reply #92 on: April 30, 2013, 05:20:28 PM »

Getting back to the main point, y'all should read a 360-page book "The Shape of Sola Scriptura" (Keith A. Mathison, Canon Press, Moscow, Idaho, 2001). It is most enlightening about the evolution of Protestant thought and belief on this matter.
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« Reply #93 on: May 01, 2013, 11:45:24 PM »

...but the scriptures are plain and easy to understand the things pertaining to salvation, which is the whole point.   

Okey-doke. But if the Scriptures are plain and easy to understand, why so many different understandings?

    Is interpretive pluralism a bad thing in itself?   
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« Reply #94 on: May 01, 2013, 11:52:56 PM »

...but the scriptures are plain and easy to understand the things pertaining to salvation, which is the whole point.   

Okey-doke. But if the Scriptures are plain and easy to understand, why so many different understandings?

    Is interpretive pluralism a bad thing in itself?   

Quote from: 2 Timothy 4:3
  The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
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« Reply #95 on: May 02, 2013, 12:24:51 AM »

  This thread has convinced me that many Eastern Orthodox don't appreciate the Protestant approach.   Protestants never pretend that they have an inerrant guide to the Scriptures (merely a sufficient guide), but Orthodox do say they have an inerrant guide in the church hierarchy.  And yet, we know from looking at history that bishops can be wrong, councils can be wrong.... and dare i say, popes can be wrong too.  How is a layman to evaluate any of these issues, except appealing to something that is objective like the Holy Scriptures, specificly the New Testament canon (which we all agree upon).  

  Of course tradition has a place.  One shouldn't casually dismiss tradition, and churches that do so are foolish, but at the same time blind, unreasoning adherence to tradition is hardly a guide to truth.
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« Reply #96 on: May 02, 2013, 12:40:24 AM »

  This thread has convinced me that many Eastern Orthodox don't appreciate the Protestant approach.


We don't, obviously.

Quote from: Daedelus1138 link=topic=50880.msg918351#msg918351 date=1367468691
Protestants never pretend that they have an inerrant guide to the Scriptures (merely a sufficient guide), but Orthodox do say they have an inerrant guide in the church hierarchy.  And yet, we know from looking at history that bishops can be wrong, councils can be wrong.... and dare i say, popes can be wrong too.

People are not inerrant. Not all bishops "rightly divide the word of truth". We pray that they do so. But the Church remains the "pillar and foundation of truth" and the "gates of hell shall not prevail against it", because it is guided by the infallible Spirit of God. 

How is a layman to evaluate any of these issues, except appealing to something that is objective like the Holy Scriptures, specificly the New Testament canon (which we all agree upon).

A layman is part of the Church. He reads and understands Scripture through the eyes of the Church (i.e. with Orthodox phronema/understanding), not against it. Now, a free-thinker is not a layman (= part of the people of God), but has his own point of view. An ecclesiastical mindset cannot be individualistic.     
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« Reply #97 on: May 02, 2013, 12:56:47 AM »

Of course we are too simplistic about it.

It's because we are too lazy with our apologetics. "Oh Bible only? WHY YOU NO TRADITION?"
The best critique of sola scriptura I have seen recently is actually by a Protestant theologian, Dr. James Sawyer;[1] some of the RC and EO critiques *can* be less insightful -especially to the extent that they neglect primary sources of those they deem to critique (not always, but often, the case), and there are subtleties about how it is understood in different Protestant trajectories that are sometimes missed by Orthodox interpreters (cf. the Regulative Principle in Reformed theology as vs. the Normative Principle in Lutheranism with regard to worship, the distinction in Protestant apologetics between sola scriptura vs. SOLO scriptura / scripture over tradtion vs. fundamentalist/scripture without tradition. It is also often not sufficiently appreciated outside or inside Protestantism the extent to which Protestantism offers us not so much sola scriptura (singular) as sola scripturas (plural); this is brought out by the brilliant late Evangelical writer Donald Bloesh (cf..Bloesch, Holy Scripture).
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[1] http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37670.0.html
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« Reply #98 on: May 02, 2013, 01:17:44 AM »

...Orthodox do say they have an inerrant guide in the church hierarchy.
This is incorrect; we Orthodox certainly do not believe in an inerrant hierarchy.

Even in Roman Catholic historiography one does not find papal infallibility dogmatically declared until 1870; prior to that date we, rather, have opposition to the notion of papal infallibility by earlier popes. It is not even a topic of discussion (or implied by any historical praxis) in the whole of the first millennium, as Roman Catholic Cardinal Yves Congar candidly admitted (Congar having been a specialist in this area) -not even the "germ" of what developed into the idea(!) existed before the Middle Ages according to Congar.

Rejection of an infallible hierarch, then, is actually a point of agreement between Protestants and Eastern Orthodox contra Roman Catholics.

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« Reply #99 on: May 02, 2013, 01:33:27 AM »

 This thread has convinced me that many Eastern Orthodox don't appreciate the Protestant approach.   Protestants never pretend that they have an inerrant guide to the Scriptures (merely a sufficient guide), but Orthodox do say they have an inerrant guide in the church hierarchy.  And yet, we know from looking at history that bishops can be wrong, councils can be wrong.... and dare i say, popes can be wrong too.  How is a layman to evaluate any of these issues, except appealing to something that is objective like the Holy Scriptures, specificly the New Testament canon (which we all agree upon).  

  Of course tradition has a place.  One shouldn't casually dismiss tradition, and churches that do so are foolish, but at the same time blind, unreasoning adherence to tradition is hardly a guide to truth.

This is comming from a non-orthodox perspective, and I realize your words weren't directly aimed at the Orthodox Church but for what it's worth....

I have never heard any Orthodox person or teaching that every remotely promotes blind adherence.

Quite the opposite actually I get the impression that any Orthodox person should have, to the honest best of there ability, a firm understanding of why it is they do what they do.
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« Reply #100 on: May 02, 2013, 02:52:45 AM »

Orthodox do say they have an inerrant guide in the church hierarchy.

"Moreover, neither Patriarchs nor Councils could then have introduced novelties amongst us, because the protector of religion is the very body of the Church, even the people themselves"
-Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs, 1848.
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« Reply #101 on: May 02, 2013, 06:57:51 AM »

How is a layman to evaluate any of these issues, except appealing to something that is objective like the Holy Scriptures, specificly the New Testament canon (which we all agree upon).

  Do Christians need to agree on every point regarding the religious and spiritual life to be said to have the same faith?

  Now the discussion is moving somewhere, now that we have moved past the cheap stereotypes of what "Protestants" believe.  I think most Protestants groups are to some degree or another, confessional, regardless of what the Roman Catholic polemic against Protestantism states about Sola Sciptura.  
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« Reply #102 on: May 02, 2013, 07:10:57 AM »

Quote from: St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, I, 10
The Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world. But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth. Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these (for no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who can say but little diminish it.
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« Reply #103 on: May 02, 2013, 07:48:57 AM »

   Isn't it possible that Iranaeus was being overly romantic and overstating the agreement of the early church?  

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« Reply #104 on: May 02, 2013, 08:16:08 AM »

  Isn't it possible that Iranaeus was being overly romantic and overstating the agreement of the early church?  



Why should we assume that? I fully understand why an Anglican might think that given that within the same church there are so many serious disagreements in areas that cannot be described in any other way than as fundamentals of the faith, but when I look at what St. Irenaeus writes he could be describing Orthodoxy today. Clearly he is excluding the heretics (and I note that this is what Anglicanism is unwilling to do, it seems) from the Church but this is not because he is being overly romantic but because their adoption of heresy has excluded them from the Church, which was not in his time, nor is it now, nor has it ever been some nebulous entity consisting of all 'believers' no matter how little they agree. When Protestants (and in this instant this most certainly includes Anglicans) speak of the Church they mean something very different to what the Fathers did and to what the Orthodox still do.

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« Reply #105 on: May 02, 2013, 08:23:32 AM »

  Isn't it possible that Iranaeus was being overly romantic and overstating the agreement of the early church?  


“There was for example Hegesippus (a name which is evidently a Greek disguise for Joseph), who flourished in the middle of the second century; he was a convert from Palestinian Judaism, and one of the first Christians to conceive the idea that the true faith could be identified by ascertaining the consensus of belief in all the apostolic churches. In pursuit of this quest, he traveled from Palestine to Rome, questioning the churches which he visited on the way about the beliefs that they held, and recorded his findings in five books of Memoirs. His conclusion was that ‘in each [Episcopal] succession and in each city the faith is just as the law and the prophets and the Lord proclaim it’ [Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., IV, 23.2]. His Memoirs, long since, unfortunately, lost, contained many interesting items of ecclesiastical tradition from Jerusalem and the other churches with which he became acquainted; he was, in fact, one of the first Christian writers of the post-apostolic age who tried to support his theological belief on the basis of history” (F. F. Bruce, The Spreading Flame (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), p. 273).
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« Reply #106 on: May 02, 2013, 08:39:59 AM »

I think most Protestants groups are to some degree or another, confessional, regardless of what the Roman Catholic polemic against Protestantism states about Sola Sciptura.  

That is more so of the mainline churches, which are in decline; it is not generally true of fundamentalism, prosperity groups, neo-pentecostal groups like the UPCI which proclaims the old heresy of Sabellianism; one also is reminded of the "no creeds but Christ" stance of the Campellites and Restorationist Heritage, e.g. the Christian Churches, Disciples of Christ, the Church of Christ, the Independent Christian Churches and so on. It is also easy when reading confessional accounts of sola scriptura to falsely suppose one is encountering "the" version of sola scriptura, which does not exist in a statistically meaningful way within the broad swath of what has recently been identified as over 40,000 Protestant denominations. The early Reformers never foresaw such a situation; they genuinely believed making the Bible the final authority would bring theological unity to Christendom. Instead it brought on the political front wars of religion everywhere until brought in check in large part due to secular reactions, and theologically and epistemologically a crisis of authority, fragmentation, and pluralization that rather than showing signs of waning appears to be increasing exponentially with no end in sight, with ever-new novelties appearing like open view theism, the explicitly anti-doctrinal emphasis within the emerging church movements, not to mention the dissolution of traditional views causing multiple splits via theological liberalism and its conservative opponents and so on. There is also great difficulty and lack of consensus providing a firm line between orthodoxy (small "o") and heresy when heresy becomes, rather than private opinion in isolation from the mind of the Church (the Greek word can be translated as "parties") something at odds with some person or group's individual reading of the Bible, therefore Jehovah's Witnesses claim all the rest of Christendom is in heresy and they are simply proclaiming the plain teaching of the Bible. This paragraph is really only a tiny snapshot of a reality that is increasingly amorphic and chaotic.

To answer the OP in brief, not just sola scriptura, but solo scriptura certainly "exists" (which explains why attention to rebuttal is apparent among confessional Protestants who reject it) and in no small hidden corner. That it is not the only view of sola scriptura does not negate  not only its presence but its prevalence, and critiques addressed to this variety are for this reason still apropos. I do not pay attention to those who claim sola scriptura is this and not that in denial of the extreme pluralism we find in Protestantism "on the ground"; there is nothing in Protestantism to really establish "an official view" of sola scriptura any more than anything else.

Sola scriptura (singular) s no less a myth than Protestant theology (singular); we have, rather Sola scripturaS (plural) and Protestant theologies (plural); their name and appearance is legion for they are many.

! Cor 1:10 "I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought." Orthodoxy and Catholicism are the only Christian trajectories I see that can even show lip service to the theoretical possibility of a church united not only in something ambiguous like "love," but in mind and thought. For RC that is papal authority, but it is paradoxically disunited(!) in that there is nothing like that in the entire first millennium of Christianity. For Orthodoxy that is the phronema and a praxis that is remarkably uniform wherever it is found throughout the world despite different languages, cultures, and centuries it thrives in.
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« Reply #107 on: May 02, 2013, 09:13:34 AM »

  Isn't it possible that Iranaeus was being overly romantic and overstating the agreement of the early church?  
Based on history, no.

Irenaeus describes in some detail disagreement, but the dissenters wanted no part of the early Church (thinking that they were it) and the early Church had no part of them.
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« Reply #108 on: May 02, 2013, 09:33:46 AM »

It is also easy when reading confessional accounts of sola scriptura to falsely suppose one is encountering "the" version of sola scriptura, which does not exist in a statistically meaningful way within the broad swath of what has recently been identified as over 40,000 Protestant denominations.  

 Roman Catholics talk about the 40,000 + Protestant denominations as justification for their church's authoritarianism and dogmatism... it's disappointing to hear Orthodox echo this.  Why can't I point to the multiple overlapping "jurisdictions" of Orthodoxy in the US?  Face it, you all are Protestantized here.   Maybe the issue is religious pluralism. Do you have issues with each man or woman following their conscience?

Quote
 The early Reformers never foresaw such a situation; they genuinely believed making the Bible the final authority would bring theological unity to Christendom.  

    I'm not sure they were under those delusions.  Can you cite evidence for this from primary sources?  

Quote
 Instead it brought on the political front wars of religion everywhere until brought in check in large part due to secular reactions, and theologically and epistemologically a crisis of authority,

  Again, do you have a problem with freedom of conscience? All these things were greatly encouraged by the overall Reformational trends that western society undertook. I have no problem with constructive critiques of the West from the East.  It's sad and unfortunate so much blood was shed but then again this has been happening since Cain killed Abel.  Perhaps its better not to blame people who had a sincere desire that the laity be able to read and understand the Bible, receive the Sacrament in both kinds and be freed from the spiritual manipulations of the Roman Magisterium and its sale of indulgences?

  I object to the underlying tone that somehow justifies the contempt of the West which is what I see many Orthodox proponents encouraging.  This is ugly and bigoted.

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« Reply #109 on: May 02, 2013, 09:41:42 AM »

Roman Catholics talk about the 40,000 + Protestant denominations as justification for their church's authoritarianism and dogmatism... it's disappointing to hear Orthodox echo this.  Why can't I point to the multiple overlapping "jurisdictions" of Orthodoxy in the US?  Face it, you all are Protestantized here.   Maybe the issue is religious pluralism. Do you have issues with each man or woman following their conscience?

Overlapping jurisdictions is an administrative matter, not a doctrinal matter. The Menaion, Triodion, Pentecostarion, Divine Liturgy, and canonical iconography in each of them are all teaching and proclaiming the same things and the same faith, all over the world.

Orthodoxy indeed has a unity of faith, unlike the sad and unholy mess that is present-day Anglicanism.
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« Reply #110 on: May 02, 2013, 09:54:51 AM »

Roman Catholics talk about the 40,000 + Protestant denominations as justification for their church's authoritarianism and dogmatism... it's disappointing to hear Orthodox echo this.  Why can't I point to the multiple overlapping "jurisdictions" of Orthodoxy in the US?  
Because all Orthodox jurisdictions proclaim the same Orthodox faith.

While the question of what 40,000 denominations "justifies" might be open, the fact and problem of 40,000 denominations remains a fact. There is enormous disagreement upon such basic matters as what God is like, what is salvation and how is it appropriated, can it be lost and is it even important how one lives at all, the proper form, candidate, and nature and or necessity or not of Christian baptism, the proper balance between legalism and license (e.g. the so-called "lordship salvation" debate), whether one can be "saved" without belief in things like the Holy Trinity, and on and on from there.  The 40,000 denominations issue is not the invention of apologists for the ancient churches, but demographic realities as described by contemporary sociologists. More disappointing than seeing what you claim is abuse of such statistics by some Roman Catholic apologist is seeing it not squarely faced as a problem by some (certainly not all) Protestant apologists.

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I'm not sure they were under those delusions.  Can you cite evidence for this from primary sources?
within a couple of hundred years we can count the major trajectories of Protestantism on our fingers; now there are over 40,000 denominations. I know of no reason to suppose this was anticipated by the early Reformers; respectfully, the very suggestion seems absurd to me.

I have no problem with constructive critiques of the West from the East.  What I have is the underlying tone that somehow this justifies the wholesale abandonment of Western culture and its numerous benefits to the world, which is what I see many Orthodox proponents encouraging.  This is ugly and bigoted.
That Orthodoxy entails wholesale rejection of Western culture is, along with your notion above that Orthodoxy affirms an "inerrant hierarchy" a misconception. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Rite_Orthodoxy  Perhaps as you advocate critics of sola scriptura are better off taking time and effort to aquaint themselves with what they presume to critique you might consider learning more about Orthodoxy before offering your own critiques.

Again, do you have a problem with freedom of conscience?
It is a cornerstone of our faith. Our unity is not "imposed" from above or based on as you supposed an inerrant hierarchy. We do not believe in forcing anyone to believe anything in any way, yet we do exhibit unity in our beliefs of our own free will, that is why most of us are Orthodox. As Frederica Mathewes-Green explains:

"From a Roman Catholic perspective, unity is created by the institution of the church. Within that unity there can be diversity; not everyone agrees with official teaching, some very loudly. What holds things together is membership. This kind of unity makes immediate sense to Americans: Whatever their disagreements, everyone salutes the flag, and all Catholics salute, if not technically obey, Rome’s magisterium. When Roman Catholics look at Orthodoxy, they don’t see a centralized, global institution. Instead, the church appears to be a jumble of national and ethnic bodies (a situation even more confused in the U.S. as a result of immigration). To Catholics, the Orthodox Church looks like chaos. But from an Orthodox perspective, unity is created by believing the same things. It’s like the unity among vegetarians or Red Sox fans. You don’t need a big bureaucracy to keep them faithful. Across wildly diverse cultures, Orthodox Christians show remarkable unity in their faith. (Of course there are plenty of power struggles and plain old sin, but the essential faith isn’t challenged.) What’s the source of this common faith? The consensus of the early church, which the Orthodox stubbornly keep following. That consensus was forged with many a bang and dent, but for the past millennium major questions of faith and morals have been pretty much at rest in the Eastern hemisphere. This has not been the case in the West. An expanded role for the pope was followed by other theological developments, even regarding how salvation is achieved. In the American church, there is widespread upheaval. From the Orthodox perspective, the Catholic Church looks like chaos. This is hard for Catholics to understand; for them, the institution of the church is the main thing. If the church would enforce its teachings, some adherents say, there would be unity. The Orthodox respond: But faith must be organic. If you have to force people to it, you’ve already lost the battle; that wouldn’t be unity at all. So we’ve got two different definitions of "unity." Is "unity" membership in a common institution or a bond of shared belief? The Orthodox take their cue from Christ’s prayer to his Father, "that they all may be one, even as we are one." What kind of unity do the Father and the Son have? They are not held together by an outside force; they are one in essence and have a common mind. If we are "partakers of the divine nature," as St. Peter said, then, the Orthodox believe, we’ll participate in that mind. That’s what makes us the "body of Christ," the church.Thus the Orthodox hesitate at a phrase like the pope’s "multiform fullness." Catholic diversity makes it easy for Catholics to embrace us: When they look at us, they see the early church. We fit right in. But when the Orthodox look at Catholics, we see an extra thousand years of theological development, plus rebellion in the pews. What kind of unity do Catholics have, at present, that we could enter? There are plenty of good reasons for the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches to talk. Discussion clears away misunderstanding, and common causes can benefit from the energies of both churches. But we can’t be fully united until we agree on what "unity" means." http://www.antiochian.org/node/17748

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« Reply #111 on: May 02, 2013, 09:57:14 AM »

Happy, I saw a few things in your early posts that I thought could be engaged with, but they seem to have gone unnoticed.

I can only speak as a Lutheran but Sola Scriptura means that the final authority is the Scriptures. That the only thing we know as divinely inspired are the Holy Scriptures and what is contained in them has everything we need for eternal salvation. The Apostle John, towards the conclusion of his Gospel states: "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John never mentioned the Church in his Gospel. Now, of course before that he states:  "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book" which leads to a good argument that their is more fullness in certain churches.

Also, being a Lutheran we accept the Dogmas of the 7 ecumenical councils. We recite the Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. We have the Book of Concord which is the Lutheran tradition. We baptize infants even though it isn't specifically talked about in the Scriptures.

Yes he did, quite a bit. The Vine talk is a good place to start.

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How can you be sure what is and is and is not Scripture?

The early church didn't. Eusebius wrote their were 18 "uncontested books" which were the 4 Gospels and Paul's letters. Over time the church, of which you must give them credit canonized 27 books. Again, as John stated, just his Gospel has the information needed to have life in Christs name.

Try harder.

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I have to make a point I made in the other thread, Protestants did not start the seperations of the church, that was you guys with your excommunications of each other making it impossible to know who was right, if anyone. If the church was united in the reformation era as it was when the scriptures were canonized I doubt we would be having this discussion.

Can you provide an explanation or evidence that the Great Schism made the Reformation possible?
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« Reply #112 on: May 02, 2013, 03:43:08 PM »

If you look for a "pillar and foundation" of it you will look to the Church.

Indeed! Now we're getting somewhere.

well, I trust you have the discernment to distinguish between that which supports the truth and that which IS the truth.

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If I am unique in holding a doctrine,  it merits suspicion.

So a doctrine should have antiquity? I.e it must be believed by Christians everywhere at any time - it shouldn't be a later invention?

my statement above does not merit any of these conclusions. The orthodox doctrines are rooted in scripture. If they'd been delivered yesterday, they'd be no less sound.

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Nowhere can one find any justification whatsoever for the presumption that ,  at some nebulous point in history, the church acquired infallibility.

What was it again that Christ said the gates of Hades wouldn't overwhelm?
so Christ admonished the Church without cause? Two things: 1] She is not perfected 2] She will not be overwhelmed. Both scriptural, both true.
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« Reply #113 on: May 02, 2013, 05:13:40 PM »

Roman Catholics talk about the 40,000 + Protestant denominations as justification for their church's authoritarianism and dogmatism... it's disappointing to hear Orthodox echo this.  Why can't I point to the multiple overlapping "jurisdictions" of Orthodoxy in the US?  Face it, you all are Protestantized here.   Maybe the issue is religious pluralism. Do you have issues with each man or woman following their conscience?

Are all protestant denominations in communion with eachother and hold the same faith?
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« Reply #114 on: May 02, 2013, 07:40:48 PM »


Yes he did, quite a bit. The Vine talk is a good place to start.

You are saying the vine parable has only to do with the Orthodox Church? "Every branch of mine" is up to Christ. If you want to twist the parables as a way to says Protestants are out I guess we're not going to have much of a fruitful discussion. John never mentioned the ekklesia, which is what I was discussing.

Quote
Can you provide an explanation or evidence that the Great Schism made the Reformation possible?

Obviously no evidence. It's reasonable to assume that without the Schism, Rome wouldn't have got so drunk on power, there would not have been sales of Indulgences, Inquisitions, and consciences bound that if you don't accept the Pope and all his teachings you were condemned to hell. Considering the history of what they were doing, it's reasonable learned Christian men (Who can doubt Tyndale, Luther, Hus, Melanchthon were) would stand up against this and the people would follow them. 
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« Reply #115 on: May 02, 2013, 11:59:15 PM »

Getting back to the main point, y'all should read a 360-page book "The Shape of Sola Scriptura" (Keith A. Mathison, Canon Press, Moscow, Idaho, 2001). It is most enlightening about the evolution of Protestant thought and belief on this matter.
There is a pretty good discussion of that book here (part 1); the other parts are also worth reading.
http://orthodoxbridge.com/contra-sola-scriptura-1-of-4/
http://orthodoxbridge.com/contra-sola-scriptura-part-2-of-4/
http://orthodoxbridge.com/contra-sola-scriptura-part-3-of-4/
http://orthodoxbridge.com/contra-sola-scriptura-part-4-of-4/
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« Reply #116 on: May 05, 2013, 01:42:52 PM »


Yes he did, quite a bit. The Vine talk is a good place to start.

You are saying the vine parable has only to do with the Orthodox Church? "Every branch of mine" is up to Christ. If you want to twist the parables as a way to says Protestants are out I guess we're not going to have much of a fruitful discussion. John never mentioned the ekklesia, which is what I was discussing.

Yes, that is exactly what I said. I very explicitly indicated that I think the vine parable is only about the Orthodox. I could even quote myself to prove that I said that. More importantly, that was exactly my point.

Quote
Quote
Can you provide an explanation or evidence that the Great Schism made the Reformation possible?

Obviously no evidence. It's reasonable to assume that without the Schism, Rome wouldn't have got so drunk on power, there would not have been sales of Indulgences, Inquisitions, and consciences bound that if you don't accept the Pope and all his teachings you were condemned to hell. Considering the history of what they were doing, it's reasonable learned Christian men (Who can doubt Tyndale, Luther, Hus, Melanchthon were) would stand up against this and the people would follow them. 

OK, so you don't know what you are talking about.

Orthodox patriarchates have gotten drunk on power.

Indulgences have been sold in the Orthodox Church.

Heretics have been broadly persecuted in the Orthodox Church.

Moreover, there were sweeping reform movements in the Byzantine East (Bogomils, Paulicians). Their leaders were persecuted and the movements were eventually suppressed, since, unlike the Protestants, they had no political backing, except from the Muslims.
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« Reply #117 on: May 06, 2013, 01:19:11 AM »

But you said that if the Church were important to John, he would have said so. That's your argument, not John's.

That is not at all what I said, I said: If the church was a requirement, he would have mentioned it. I never implied he didn't think it was important.
Don't you think you're quibbling over picayune details? If the Church is not a requirement for salvation, then it's not important. Additionally, I still don't see that you've done anything more yet to address the fact that you're resorting to an argument from silence.
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« Reply #118 on: May 06, 2013, 06:51:44 AM »


Yes, that is exactly what I said. I very explicitly indicated that I think the vine parable is only about the Orthodox.

What Rubbish!!

You ARE saying the Gospel of John and the teaching of the vine have more to do with you, rather than say someone like Mary Sandvick and millions like her. Mary, for 70 years has run a Christian based homeless center in Minneapolis, which specifically caters to battered women. She feeds; cloths, gives support, and most importantly preach the word of God at her center.

Also, do you think John’s story of the vine wouldn’t apply to the homeless woman that gained faith through the homeless shelter and even with her situation she has a new peace of conscience from having trust in Christ as her savior? That it is exclusively for the Orthodox? Why were you not helping her and preaching the Gospel?

I believe (I can’t believe I have to say I believe here as someone else would not believe this)Christ’s words are for all that hear them and as far as I know the Eastern Orthodox, Assyrian church, Roman Catholics, Ethiopians, Coptic, and all other Orthodox and other Christians can’t produce one single quote outside of scripture.  “My sheep hear my voice” “you will know them by their fruits” “blessed are the poor” “anyone not against us is for us”

You think associations are more important than merits (Faith, Love, Works) for salvation.



Quote
Orthodox patriarchates have gotten drunk on power.

Indulgences have been sold in the Orthodox Church.

Heretics have been broadly persecuted in the Orthodox Church.


I don’t know what everyone the Orthodox Church persecuted believed, but would fully find it reasonable if you were doing such things people would rightfully stand up against them. 

You can have the last word, I'm bored with every thread on this board turning into some nonsense about you believe in a different Jesus or that does not apply to you.
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« Reply #119 on: May 06, 2013, 07:17:39 AM »

I think the main problem is that most Protestants deny the Church is the body of Christ,and this body is one  and is not separated.

How can a man be saved outside Christ/ the body of Christ?
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« Reply #120 on: May 06, 2013, 08:01:05 AM »

I think the main problem is that most Protestants deny the Church is the body of Christ,and this body is one  and is not separated.

the Church is comprised of regenerate people. The Church is the Bride of Christ

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How can a man be saved outside Christ/ the body of Christ?
ask the Ethiopian eunuch
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« Reply #121 on: May 06, 2013, 08:03:46 AM »

... and the Ethiopian eunuch was promptly baptized after his encounter with Apostle Philip, and therefore became a member of the Church.
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« Reply #122 on: May 06, 2013, 08:35:10 AM »

.....and most Protestants claim that the Church is the gathering of believers simply due to Matthew 18:19-20.

However, when I read Matthew 18:19-20 again,again and again. Jesus said , 'where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.'  Jesus never said that where two or three are gathered together in His name, they are the Church.

Protestants are revising the Scriptures.And I cannot find other verses to support that the Church is the assembly of the believers
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« Reply #123 on: May 06, 2013, 08:58:44 AM »

Don't you think you're quibbling over picayune details? If the Church is not a requirement for salvation, then it's not important. Additionally, I still don't see that you've done anything more yet to address the fact that you're resorting to an argument from silence.

  Anybody that has been baptized into Christ, following the ancient Trinitarian formula with following the intention that the Church has always had, is a member of the Church- this is the understanding of Cyprian and Augustine. 
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« Reply #124 on: May 06, 2013, 09:03:24 AM »

Don't you think you're quibbling over picayune details? If the Church is not a requirement for salvation, then it's not important. Additionally, I still don't see that you've done anything more yet to address the fact that you're resorting to an argument from silence.

  Anybody that has been baptized into Christ, following the ancient Trinitarian formula with following the intention that the Church has always had, is a member of the Church- this is the understanding of Cyprian and Augustine. 

St. Cyprian certainly did not consider the Novatians to be part of the Church.

"Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ (St. Cyprian, On the Unity of the Catholic Church, 6)"

and

"Even if such men [Novatians] were slain in confession of the Name, that stain is not even washed away by blood: the inexpiable and grave fault of discord is not even purged by suffering. He cannot be a martyr who is not in the Church; he cannot attain unto the kingdom who forsakes that which shall reign there. (idem, 14)"
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« Reply #125 on: May 06, 2013, 11:15:13 AM »

Don't you think you're quibbling over picayune details? If the Church is not a requirement for salvation, then it's not important. Additionally, I still don't see that you've done anything more yet to address the fact that you're resorting to an argument from silence.

  Anybody that has been baptized into Christ, following the ancient Trinitarian formula with following the intention that the Church has always had, is a member of the Church- this is the understanding of Cyprian and Augustine. 

St. Cyprian certainly did not consider the Novatians to be part of the Church.

"Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ (St. Cyprian, On the Unity of the Catholic Church, 6)"

and

"Even if such men [Novatians] were slain in confession of the Name, that stain is not even washed away by blood: the inexpiable and grave fault of discord is not even purged by suffering. He cannot be a martyr who is not in the Church; he cannot attain unto the kingdom who forsakes that which shall reign there. (idem, 14)"

That's rather blunt stuff Shocked
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« Reply #126 on: May 06, 2013, 11:18:23 AM »

St. Cyprian was pretty hardcore.  I would not have wanted to cross him.
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« Reply #127 on: May 06, 2013, 12:43:14 PM »

"Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ (St. Cyprian, On the Unity of the Catholic Church, 6)"

  This is no different than the backwoods fundamentalist that searches the Scriptures for that "gotcha" verse to prove a point.  I'm not impressed with this kind of theological reasoning.  There is a difference between pulling a verse out of thin air and trying to understand what the overall mindset of the Fathers is.
 
  In fact, I'm pretty much unimpressed with the Eastern Orthodox arguments on this forum, period.   
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« Reply #128 on: May 06, 2013, 12:48:52 PM »

"Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ (St. Cyprian, On the Unity of the Catholic Church, 6)"

  This is no different than the backwoods fundamentalist that searches the Scriptures for that "gotcha" verse to prove a point.  I'm not impressed with this kind of theological reasoning.  There is a difference between pulling a verse out of thin air and trying to understand what the overall mindset of the Fathers is.
 
  In fact, I'm pretty much unimpressed with the Eastern Orthodox arguments on this forum, period.   

It's good to know that the Episcopalians have acquired the mind of the Fathers....

Come on, I gave you two quotes and I could give you a dozen more if you want them. Now give me one quote of St. Cyprian that supports your position or retract your statement altogether.
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« Reply #129 on: May 06, 2013, 01:17:06 PM »


Yes, that is exactly what I said. I very explicitly indicated that I think the vine parable is only about the Orthodox.

What Rubbish!!

You ARE saying the Gospel of John and the teaching of the vine have more to do with you, rather than say someone like Mary Sandvick and millions like her. Mary, for 70 years has run a Christian based homeless center in Minneapolis, which specifically caters to battered women. She feeds; cloths, gives support, and most importantly preach the word of God at her center.

Also, do you think John’s story of the vine wouldn’t apply to the homeless woman that gained faith through the homeless shelter and even with her situation she has a new peace of conscience from having trust in Christ as her savior? That it is exclusively for the Orthodox? Why were you not helping her and preaching the Gospel?

I believe (I can’t believe I have to say I believe here as someone else would not believe this)Christ’s words are for all that hear them and as far as I know the Eastern Orthodox, Assyrian church, Roman Catholics, Ethiopians, Coptic, and all other Orthodox and other Christians can’t produce one single quote outside of scripture.  “My sheep hear my voice” “you will know them by their fruits” “blessed are the poor” “anyone not against us is for us”

You think associations are more important than merits (Faith, Love, Works) for salvation.

Oh dear, let me help you here. First, let's take a look at my full quote:

John never mentioned the Church in his Gospel.

Yes he did, quite a bit. The Vine talk is a good place to start.

You are saying the vine parable has only to do with the Orthodox Church? "Every branch of mine" is up to Christ. If you want to twist the parables as a way to says Protestants are out I guess we're not going to have much of a fruitful discussion. John never mentioned the ekklesia, which is what I was discussing.

Yes, that is exactly what I said. I very explicitly indicated that I think the vine parable is only about the Orthodox. I could even quote myself to prove that I said that. More importantly, that was exactly my point.

You're looking at an example of the rhetorical device of irony. Here's an explanation of it: http://rhetoric.byu.edu/figures/i/irony.htm

I was hoping that the patently ironic statement would lead you to reread my earlier post and notice what I did and did not say. I'll give you a line-by-line translation:

"Yes, that is exactly what I said."
trans.: I absolutely said no such thing.

"I very explicitly indicated that I think the vine parable is only about the Orthodox."
trans.: stop acting hysterical.

"I could even quote myself to prove that I said that."
trans.: If you look over my statement, you will see that you cannot find any evidence that I advocated such a position.

"More importantly, that was exactly my point."
trans.: You have completely missed my point.

Another thing that will make a big difference: when reading, never assume that the text means anything it doesn't actually say. Start with the explicit meaning of the text, and then you can start trying to work out any implicit meanings. This method is rather simplistic, but in general it works fine.

Hopefully I haven't irritated you too much, which isn't my intent.

Does this help? And are you OK with taking a look at the Vine parable and telling me what you think of my statement that Christ was talking about the Church?
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« Reply #130 on: May 06, 2013, 01:27:59 PM »

Come on, I gave you two quotes and I could give you a dozen more if you want them.

To prove my bold assertion:

Quote from: St. Cyprian of Carthage
1. "Marcianus, who abides at Aries, has associated himself with Novatian, and has departed from the unity of the Catholic Church (St. Cyprian, Epistle 66)"

2. "When we were together in council, dearest brethren, we read your letter which you wrote to us concerning those who seem to be baptized by heretics and schismatics, (asking) whether, when they come to the catholic Church, which is one, they ought to be baptized. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 69)"

3. "Remission of sins is not granted except in the Church, and that among heretics, where there is no Church sins cannot be put away. (Idem)"

4. "Those who have been dipped abroad outside the Church, and have been stained among heretics and schismatics with the taint of profane water, when they come to us and to the Church which is one ought to be baptized. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 71)"

5."For it has been delivered to us, that there is one God, and one Christ, and one hope, and one faith, and one Church, and one baptism ordained only in the one Church, from which unity whosoever will depart must needs be found with heretics. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 73.11)"

6. "Therefore, dearest brother, having explored and seen the truth; it is observed and held by us, that all who are converted from any heresy whatever to the Church must be baptized by the only and lawful baptism of the Church (St. Cyprian, Epistle 73.12)"

7. For which reason Novatian neither ought to be nor can be expected, inasmuch as he also is without the Church and acting in opposition to the peace and love of Christ, from being counted among adversaries and antichrists. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 75.1)

8. In addition, moreover, the Lord establishes it in His Gospel, and says, "But if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto you as a heathen man and a publican." Now if they who despise the Church are counted heathens and publicans, much more certainly is it necessary that rebels and enemies, who forge false altars, and lawless priesthoods, and sacrilegious sacrifices, and corrupter names, should be counted among heathens and publicans; since they who sin less, and are only despisers of the Church, are by the Lord's sentence judged to be heathens and publicans. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 75.1)

9. Wherefore, since the Church alone has the living water, and the power of baptizing and cleansing man, he who says that any one can be baptized and sanctified by Novatian must first show and teach that Novatian is in the Church or presides over the Church. For the Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For if she is with Novatian, she was not with Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop Fabian by lawful ordination, and whom, beside the honour of the priesthood, the Lord glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 75.3)

10. They strive to set before and prefer the sordid and profane washing of heretics to the true and only and legitimate baptism of the Catholic Church, not considering that it is written, "He who is baptized by one dead, what avails his washing? "  Now it is manifest that they who are not in the Church of Christ are reckoned among the dead. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 70.1)

11. And they say that in this matter they follow ancient custom; although among the ancients these were as yet the first beginnings of heresy and schisms, so that those were involved in them who departed from the Church, having first been baptized therein (St. Cyprian, Epistle 70.2)

12. For when they [the Novatians] say, "Do you believe the remission of sins and life eternal through the holy Church? "they lie in their interrogatory, since they have not the Church. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 75.7)
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« Reply #131 on: May 06, 2013, 05:13:56 PM »

Come on, I gave you two quotes and I could give you a dozen more if you want them. Now give me one quote of St. Cyprian that supports your position or retract your statement altogether.

   I'm curious to know why you think baptism is not the initiation into Christ's body, the Church?   Under what circumstances is baptism valid or invalid?
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« Reply #132 on: May 07, 2013, 10:38:21 AM »

...but the scriptures are plain and easy to understand the things pertaining to salvation, which is the whole point.   

Okey-doke. But if the Scriptures are plain and easy to understand, why so many different understandings?

    Is interpretive pluralism a bad thing in itself?   


It is if the interpretations are diametrically opposed or contradictory.
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« Reply #133 on: May 07, 2013, 12:24:54 PM »

I think after the 5th wave of sola nonsense, I just no longer care. You'll have those who will look at Christianity through the history of the Early Church and what the apostles taught, and those who will look at it through the much newer history of the buffet style contemporary church.....Im gonna go see what my nutcase lefty pals Marc and Achronos are up to while I wait for the hyper-righteous protestant fire to diminish as it always does.
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« Reply #134 on: May 07, 2013, 12:49:47 PM »

I think after the 5th wave of sola nonsense, I just no longer care. You'll have those who will look at Christianity through the history of the Early Church and what the apostles taught, and those who will look at it through the much newer history of the buffet style contemporary church.....
Good luck getting more than a tiny fraction of people to care about early Church history. If this is what our evangelism is based on, we're doomed.

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Im gonna go see what my nutcase lefty pals Marc and Achronos are up to while I wait for the hyper-righteous protestant fire to diminish as it always does.

^^
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« Reply #135 on: May 07, 2013, 12:55:26 PM »

. If this is what our evangelism is based on, we're doomed.

What do you suggest?
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« Reply #136 on: May 07, 2013, 03:44:54 PM »

No, we are doomed because we like to use early Church history as the basis for saying we are the True Church, yet provide little evidence by our actions that we are.  It is not so much that the Protestants have to cling to one or two proof texts to prove their point as it is that the Orthodox have to ignore large parts of the scripture and supplement it with "tradition" to prove their point.  Probably the only thing that keeps me Orthodox is that my firm belief in the primacy of Scripture over Tradition also causes me to take very seriously what those that gave us the Scripture have to say about the matter.  I cannot reconcile that those who without error gave us the Scriptures could contain a lot of error in interpreting them, so I rely very heavily on the early Fathers of the Church for interpreting the Scriptures.  I have my doubts that many religious organizations calling themselves "Orthodox" today have any connection with those men.  And yes, I confess these doubts to my priest.

I think after the 5th wave of sola nonsense, I just no longer care. You'll have those who will look at Christianity through the history of the Early Church and what the apostles taught, and those who will look at it through the much newer history of the buffet style contemporary church.....
Good luck getting more than a tiny fraction of people to care about early Church history. If this is what our evangelism is based on, we're doomed.

Quote
Im gonna go see what my nutcase lefty pals Marc and Achronos are up to while I wait for the hyper-righteous protestant fire to diminish as it always does.

^^
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« Reply #137 on: May 07, 2013, 03:52:32 PM »

Anybody that has been baptized into Christ, following the ancient Trinitarian formula with following the intention that the Church has always had, is a member of the Church- this is the understanding of Cyprian and Augustine. 

Of St. Augustine and Optatus, but certainly not St. Cyprian.
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« Reply #138 on: May 08, 2013, 01:17:53 PM »

. If this is what our evangelism is based on, we're doomed.

What do you suggest?

Exactly. To me, history and what the apostles taught to their successors is what pointed me to Orthodoxy and precisely why I discovered how far off the beaten path the various protestant denominations fell from the original teachings.
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« Reply #139 on: May 08, 2013, 01:38:40 PM »

No, we are doomed because we like to use early Church history as the basis for saying we are the True Church, yet provide little evidence by our actions that we are.  It is not so much that the Protestants have to cling to one or two proof texts to prove their point as it is that the Orthodox have to ignore large parts of the scripture and supplement it with "tradition" to prove their point.  

  Alot of Protestants, and our western culture at large, actually like conversation and debate above authority.  It's part of the postmodern world, and frankly its not all bad.   Conversation has a way of drawing people together, whereas proclamation of authority can be divisive.

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I cannot reconcile that those who without error gave us the Scriptures could contain a lot of error in interpreting them, so I rely very heavily on the early Fathers of the Church for interpreting the Scriptures.  I have my doubts that many religious organizations calling themselves "Orthodox" today have any connection with those men.  And yes, I confess these doubts to my priest.  

  I don't doubt that Orthodox churches have connection with the apostles in some sense.  But, I don't see that in itself as good enough.  I see the Protestant narrative as equally persuasive: the western Protestant experience of "apostolic succesion" has shown that mechanical succession of bishops isn't unproblematic if it is the criteria we use to judge orthodoxy.  This is why some of the Lutheran divines had no problems parting from that particular concept of apostolic succession.
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« Reply #140 on: May 08, 2013, 10:31:52 PM »

No, we are doomed because we like to use early Church history as the basis for saying we are the True Church, yet provide little evidence by our actions that we are.  It is not so much that the Protestants have to cling to one or two proof texts to prove their point as it is that the Orthodox have to ignore large parts of the scripture and supplement it with "tradition" to prove their point.  Probably the only thing that keeps me Orthodox is that my firm belief in the primacy of Scripture over Tradition also causes me to take very seriously what those that gave us the Scripture have to say about the matter.  I cannot reconcile that those who without error gave us the Scriptures could contain a lot of error in interpreting them, so I rely very heavily on the early Fathers of the Church for interpreting the Scriptures.  I have my doubts that many religious organizations calling themselves "Orthodox" today have any connection with those men.  And yes, I confess these doubts to my priest.

I think after the 5th wave of sola nonsense, I just no longer care. You'll have those who will look at Christianity through the history of the Early Church and what the apostles taught, and those who will look at it through the much newer history of the buffet style contemporary church.....
Good luck getting more than a tiny fraction of people to care about early Church history. If this is what our evangelism is based on, we're doomed.

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Im gonna go see what my nutcase lefty pals Marc and Achronos are up to while I wait for the hyper-righteous protestant fire to diminish as it always does.

^^

Oh I agree, Punch, I agree. You have put it much more nicely.

Just about all of the things we do to try and convert people (to what?) are complete garbage.

Become Orthodox! You can fast! say long prayers! Like a Real Christian! And look, we have the best Liturgy!

It is all nonsense. It is the obfuscation of the Gospel in the name of Christ. It's just heart-wrenching.

Don't know if this is what you were getting at, but it's the way I see it.

As for the part of your post about Scripture and the Fathers, maybe I will reply to that later. I don't think anyone else is thinking what I am thinking.
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« Reply #141 on: May 08, 2013, 10:40:41 PM »

. If this is what our evangelism is based on, we're doomed.

What do you suggest?


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But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. Lk 11:28 KJV

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And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. Jn 3:14,15 KJV

If this ain't the main message, you're a clanging cymbal.
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« Reply #142 on: May 08, 2013, 10:53:11 PM »

Oh I agree, Punch, I agree. You have put it much more nicely.

Just about all of the things we do to try and convert people (to what?) are complete garbage.

  I'd like to hear more of your thoughts.  Because I had some of those same issues as a catechumen.  Lots of talk about fasting (I can fast with the best of you), liturgy (the Orthodox liturgy is indeed beautiful), but very little about how it related to Jesus Christ's actual words in the Bible.  

  In fairness...  I do not think some Protestant groups are always doing a great job of presenting the Gospel either.  Take the cultural issues in the west- conservative Protestants are spending alot of energy to pretend they are still influential, but the impression the average non-devout person here gets is that Christianity is about rejecting gays, being a judgemental legalist, controlling peoples lives, or having a shallow theology or intellectual understanding of anything.  There's not much talk about unmerited grace, universal human depravity, or Christian liberty, things that early Protestant were known for, things that should make these culture war issues very much secondary matters.  
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« Reply #143 on: May 09, 2013, 09:20:12 AM »

Yes, that is exactly what I was getting at.  Make no mistake, I do believe that the Orthodox Church contains the fullness of the Faith.  However, I think that the political organization that currently manefests itself as the Orthodox Church (real as it may be) is wholly unsuited for evangelism in a land where people are for the most part literate and able to think for themselves without having a king tell them what to think.  It is one thing to be in some third world bung hole where fasting and aceticism are not that difficult since there is nothing to eat or buy anyway, and everyone around you is in the same boat that you are, and quite another to attempt to "evangelize" to people who can read the scriptures as well as anyone (and unlike most Orthodox that I have met, actually have done so) and consider much of what we have as blessings to be used in moderation, not to be shunned in some masochistic self abuse ritual.  No, I had my reasons for converting to Orthodoxy.  I don't even try anymore when it comes to some of my other Christian friends.  In many ways, they are probably better off where they are than me.


Oh I agree, Punch, I agree. You have put it much more nicely.

Just about all of the things we do to try and convert people (to what?) are complete garbage.

Become Orthodox! You can fast! say long prayers! Like a Real Christian! And look, we have the best Liturgy!

It is all nonsense. It is the obfuscation of the Gospel in the name of Christ. It's just heart-wrenching.

Don't know if this is what you were getting at, but it's the way I see it.As for the part of your post about Scripture and the Fathers, maybe I will reply to that later. I don't think anyone else is thinking what I am thinking.
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« Reply #144 on: May 09, 2013, 10:33:46 AM »

So if fasting, prayer, and Divine Liturgy don't appeal, then suffering for the Faith will never appeal to market-driven non third-world bung hole societies--not for a season, not for a generation, or several generations, and certainly not for centuries. Don't want any executed patriarchs, kidnapped bishops, countless persecuted, tortured, imprisoned clergy and common lay people--Saints among them.
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« Reply #145 on: May 09, 2013, 10:50:28 AM »

However, I think that the political organization that currently manefests itself as the Orthodox Church (real as it may be) is wholly unsuited for evangelism  

  A few nights ago I attended a discussion group at an OCA parish and the priest and some of the congregation discussed evangelism, though perhaps not in the depth that subject could have warranted (and it got side-tracked into talking about spiritual formation).  I like what I heard, especially there was some familiarity with the issues of postmodern culture - in this respect they are ahead of alot of Protestant conservatives who resist this truth.   Mission-oriented evangelism should be at the heart of the Christian faith and when churches neglect that they are effectively not being truly Christian- I think this means serving people where they are at, being "incarnational", rather than dogmatic or conversionistic (being a Christian should never be about agreeing to an ideology).  And yet, I have to wonder how the institutions in the Orthodox Church can be responsive to the changing world we live in, especially as Orthodoxy has been shaped so much by autocratic rules, as you yourself acknowledge.  People now days are radically skeptical of any coherent, totalizing narrative of the world.   You can tilt at that windmill but ultimately its pointless to do so.

So if fasting, prayer, and Divine Liturgy don't appeal, then suffering for the Faith will never appeal to market-driven non third-world bung hole societies--not for a season, not for a generation, or several generations, and certainly not for centuries. Don't want any executed patriarchs, kidnapped bishops, countless persecuted, tortured, imprisoned clergy and common lay people--Saints among them.

  We in North America no longer live in a world where people could get bothered enough to actively persecute believers in that manner.  Structure that made those sorts of issues relevant has collapsed.  More likely is that strident Christian voices will simply become irrelevant if they choose an adversarial stance to culture, including to peoples individualism.   But those people are still our neighbors and Christ commanded us to love them and gave us an example of service.

  There is a legend that when St. Patrick was travelling around Ireland he was shown a pagan moon symbol chalked onto a rock.  He drew a cross through it and that's how the Celtic cross came to be.  Rather than choosing an adversarial stance against the pagan culture he worked with what he had.  Maybe there is a lesson there.
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« Reply #146 on: May 09, 2013, 01:36:28 PM »

Oh I agree, Punch, I agree. You have put it much more nicely.

Just about all of the things we do to try and convert people (to what?) are complete garbage.

  I'd like to hear more of your thoughts.  Because I had some of those same issues as a catechumen.  Lots of talk about fasting (I can fast with the best of you), liturgy (the Orthodox liturgy is indeed beautiful), but very little about how it related to Jesus Christ's actual words in the Bible.  

  In fairness...  I do not think some Protestant groups are always doing a great job of presenting the Gospel either.  Take the cultural issues in the west- conservative Protestants are spending alot of energy to pretend they are still influential, but the impression the average non-devout person here gets is that Christianity is about rejecting gays, being a judgemental legalist, controlling peoples lives, or having a shallow theology or intellectual understanding of anything.  There's not much talk about unmerited grace, universal human depravity, or Christian liberty, things that early Protestant were known for, things that should make these culture war issues very much secondary matters.  

There's a lot of factors at play here. As orthonorm has pointed out a couple times, maximalism can become a problem by inadvertently shifting emphasis from essentials to peripherals. Perhaps also people realize that they're not willing to give up possessions, a lucrative career, etc. and so they substitute these things with trivial excercises like fasting and prayers in order to feel like they're doing something. Since the actual Gospel (the one that's explained in those books called Gospels) is rather frightening to confront, people try to circumvent it very creatively.

In the end, a lot of people just don't have faith, which is made apparent in their lack of all but the most superficial works.

As you've said, a lot of different Christian groups have this same problem, although it manifests itself in different ways.

The only people I've seen in America making any substantial sacrifices to do the work of the Gospel are some Catholic and Evangelical groups, especially when it comes to meeting the bodily and spiritual needs of my city's large poor and homeless population. Everyone else is irrelevant.

If anyone ever complains that churches are suffering because they're not "relevant," I can point them to some true Christian relevance. It does not involve guitars or "ancient Christian spirituality" or whatever.
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« Reply #147 on: May 09, 2013, 02:08:15 PM »

I think that if we are to do any good in this country, we need a new structure. The jurisdictional unity that most people clamour over is probably beside the point. The ultra-hierarchical diocesan system is impotent here. In fact, it is holding us back.

Historically, this problem was circumvented by supplementing the political church with the activities of the monastic establishment. Protestant churches overcame their analogous version of this problem with the so-called "para-church organizations." Something similar to such organizations (which already exist in the Orthodox Church) is probably the most practicable solution.

We may also want to consider figuring out what we believe, which, as far as I can tell, Orthodox have only an extremely vague notion of. One of the reasons Evangelical Protestant evangelism is so much more effective is that their doctrine is so easy to articulate. We would do well to first figure out what we believe, and then find some way of articulating it in a way that a non-specialist born after 800 can understand.

Of course, the whole hearing the word of God and doing it thing is what's most important, but I figured that's understood.

Yes, that is exactly what I was getting at.  Make no mistake, I do believe that the Orthodox Church contains the fullness of the Faith.  However, I think that the political organization that currently manefests itself as the Orthodox Church (real as it may be) is wholly unsuited for evangelism in a land where people are for the most part literate and able to think for themselves without having a king tell them what to think.  It is one thing to be in some third world bung hole where fasting and aceticism are not that difficult since there is nothing to eat or buy anyway, and everyone around you is in the same boat that you are, and quite another to attempt to "evangelize" to people who can read the scriptures as well as anyone (and unlike most Orthodox that I have met, actually have done so) and consider much of what we have as blessings to be used in moderation, not to be shunned in some masochistic self abuse ritual.  No, I had my reasons for converting to Orthodoxy.  I don't even try anymore when it comes to some of my other Christian friends.  In many ways, they are probably better off where they are than me.


Oh I agree, Punch, I agree. You have put it much more nicely.

Just about all of the things we do to try and convert people (to what?) are complete garbage.

Become Orthodox! You can fast! say long prayers! Like a Real Christian! And look, we have the best Liturgy!

It is all nonsense. It is the obfuscation of the Gospel in the name of Christ. It's just heart-wrenching.

Don't know if this is what you were getting at, but it's the way I see it.As for the part of your post about Scripture and the Fathers, maybe I will reply to that later. I don't think anyone else is thinking what I am thinking.
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« Reply #148 on: May 09, 2013, 04:52:10 PM »

So if fasting, prayer, and Divine Liturgy don't appeal, then suffering for the Faith will never appeal to market-driven non third-world bung hole societies--not for a season, not for a generation, or several generations, and certainly not for centuries. Don't want any executed patriarchs, kidnapped bishops, countless persecuted, tortured, imprisoned clergy and common lay people--Saints among them.

Satan never eats or sleeps, so he should be an excellent Orthodox Christian by your set of values.  And your comment also ignores large numbers of Protestant Christians who have gone to their death for what they believe with neither 180 day a year fasting or having ever attended a Divine Liturgy.  One is not prepared to "suffer" for the faith by useless rituals and vain shows of piety.  They are prepared by Love for God, and following the commandments of Christ clearly expressed in the Scriptures.  Faith activates works and makes them good.  Fasting and liturgies, and even the vain repetitions of prayer, mean nothing and gain nothing without first having Faith.  And how does the Scripture describe the fruits of the Spirit and the manifestation of Faith?  Surely not by fasting and Liturgies and reading of prayers from prayer books.
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« Reply #149 on: May 09, 2013, 06:30:21 PM »

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« Reply #150 on: May 09, 2013, 06:41:13 PM »

Most denominations teach that, but then there are a lot of other important theological issues, like "Is the Eucharist the Body and Blood of Christ or is it symbolic?" "Can women be priests?" "The Nature of Christ",  "The Fillioque" and lots and lots of other things.  

Do these things save you? Any church with women priests or leaders are going to hell? Opinion on Fillioque determines your salvation?

There is a book by Robert Farrar Capon "The Parables of the Kingdom, Grace and Judgment" There is a chapter he calls the parable of Theology and Faith. The basic point is the house is built on Faith, pure, blind, childlike faith. There is a porch you need to get into the house. This porch is theology. Some of the porches can be beautiful with easy ways to get in. While others are messy and are tougher but they still allow access. What you need in the end is to get into the house. You would have to read the book to get the whole idea but that is the basics.

Sure, Orthodoxy might be that perfect porch, it's just not the only one and there are many other ways into the house.
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« Reply #151 on: May 09, 2013, 06:47:57 PM »

Only God can work out the salvation of his people, and there is no decision for anyone to take within or without the true church of Christ.

But straight away, one thing is sure. When scripture and Jesus told us that the sign of Jonah would be the only sign for this generation. Why didn´t any clever believer in distance to the apostles claim that he still waited for a man to be puked out from a fish? And I mean that literally.

But as you said very well dear brother, you had to stick to the apostles and the faith once delievered. They were a authoritative and necessary source for the salvation of ones soul. Which only God ultimately could determine, but the way was clear to anyone through the apostles. That doest mean that the thief on the cross went to hell, no, Gods grace is a mystery. But we see its climts through the true church, which if we neglect, neglect a great source for Gods true grace. 
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« Reply #152 on: May 09, 2013, 07:06:30 PM »

Please take notice dear brother Happy Lutheran. The idea of pluralistic ways to the house or many ways on "grasping" the church is just not valid. That idea in itself is self-destructing. If one way, within all ways to the same house, claim that it is the only true way to the house. How can suddenly "the many way idea" exclude that one way which claims authority?

This idea is self-destructing. The church was always a single single single way of living before Christ. It was always one people and one structure in itself, which had so much holiness and power that the gates of hell would never prevail against it, and Christ really meant that part.


When "The church" becomes only an idea, which any person simply takes and makes a new movement of. Then the church would self destruct, but praise be to God that his one true orthodox church still exists.

Think of it like this comparison:

Today religion has become an arena of chaos where all ideas,ways and spirituality seems to lead to God.

Here comes a man claiming the idea of Bahai religion. (All monotheistic religions are ultimately true) ---> Compare to the idea of all churches are "true" ones.

Suddenly one founder of a faith says. I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me. In one second, the wide open loving idea of the Bahais will shut their doors before that man who claims that. The Bahai religion therefore doesn´t seem hold its own standard.

The church is exactly the same. It is today claiming that way, the apostles claimed that way, and it will always claim that only way. If a "many way thesis" rejects that church, then it breaks its own foundation in a matter of a second.

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« Reply #153 on: May 09, 2013, 07:17:14 PM »

Jude 1:3
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people.

The faith and salvation was entrusted and delivered, the verse is very clear. Therefore the faith was a living truth within the church, and a actual way of living that was delivered to show your faith. That was why the apostles never got tired of laying hands and ordaining people, praying at exact hours (Acts 3:1) or praying and annointing the sick with oil. (James 5:14). Their way of living was a faith once delivered by Christ.

What every "church" sadly does today is to scream out thousands of ways to live out your faith, without considering the way it was passed to and through the apostles.
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« Reply #154 on: May 09, 2013, 07:30:15 PM »

With a loving heart dear brother Happy Lutheran. What I mean in other words is that the "thesis" or idea Robert Farrar Capon on theology. Some ways are easier, some ways are harder, but all can lead to the ultimate and same goal, the idea is destroying itself. And if he basically writes a book about that without noticing his contradiction, then he didn´t succeed that well :S And don´t get me wrong please dear brother, i mean it in a loving manner.

The problem if we implement his thought to reality, is that we got him claiming authority to state that all theological struggles can lead to the same house. And in the same time there is one theological thought ( The orthodox church ) which claims a singular best theological and living way to get to that house. How can  Robert Farrar Capon with his own thesis exclude the orthodox church all of a sudden?

It´s impossible, the idea doesn´t work out today with all the churches, ways or theological paths. Call it whatever anyone wants, but Christ claimed to be a single way to God, and the church claimed a single way to the faith of Christ.  Robert Farrar Capon is not bigger than Christ Cheesy
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« Reply #155 on: May 09, 2013, 07:40:01 PM »

We believers always need a ultimate authoritative source here on earth to state anything theological conclusion. Therefore the one true church of Christ is a everlasting grace of God by which he works in day & night, a true blessing to humans.

Because without any authority, how can anyone affirm sola scriptura in the first place? What many in the west sadly does is giving themselves authority to say, sola scriptura, and then they go all in on the bible to prove their sola scriptura. Same with any other question. That´s sad, by what authority can they neglect anyone who rejects sola scriptura? By if they are not given authority as the apostles were...
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« Reply #156 on: May 09, 2013, 10:03:12 PM »

So if fasting, prayer, and Divine Liturgy don't appeal, then suffering for the Faith will never appeal to market-driven non third-world bung hole societies--not for a season, not for a generation, or several generations, and certainly not for centuries. Don't want any executed patriarchs, kidnapped bishops, countless persecuted, tortured, imprisoned clergy and common lay people--Saints among them.

Satan never eats or sleeps, so he should be an excellent Orthodox Christian by your set of values.  And your comment also ignores large numbers of Protestant Christians who have gone to their death for what they believe with neither 180 day a year fasting or having ever attended a Divine Liturgy.  One is not prepared to "suffer" for the faith by useless rituals and vain shows of piety.  They are prepared by Love for God, and following the commandments of Christ clearly expressed in the Scriptures.  Faith activates works and makes them good.  Fasting and liturgies, and even the vain repetitions of prayer, mean nothing and gain nothing without first having Faith.  And how does the Scripture describe the fruits of the Spirit and the manifestation of Faith?  Surely not by fasting and Liturgies and reading of prayers from prayer books.

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.
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« Reply #157 on: May 09, 2013, 10:15:08 PM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.



  
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« Reply #158 on: May 09, 2013, 10:46:42 PM »

So if fasting, prayer, and Divine Liturgy don't appeal, then suffering for the Faith will never appeal to market-driven non third-world bung hole societies--not for a season, not for a generation, or several generations, and certainly not for centuries. Don't want any executed patriarchs, kidnapped bishops, countless persecuted, tortured, imprisoned clergy and common lay people--Saints among them.

Satan never eats or sleeps, so he should be an excellent Orthodox Christian by your set of values.  And your comment also ignores large numbers of Protestant Christians who have gone to their death for what they believe with neither 180 day a year fasting or having ever attended a Divine Liturgy.  One is not prepared to "suffer" for the faith by useless rituals and vain shows of piety.  They are prepared by Love for God, and following the commandments of Christ clearly expressed in the Scriptures.  Faith activates works and makes them good.  Fasting and liturgies, and even the vain repetitions of prayer, mean nothing and gain nothing without first having Faith.  And how does the Scripture describe the fruits of the Spirit and the manifestation of Faith?  Surely not by fasting and Liturgies and reading of prayers from prayer books.

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

The Serbian Orthodox Church?

Incidentally, if you "love fasting," you definitely have an eating disorder, and one which I imagine could easily spiral out of control.
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« Reply #159 on: May 09, 2013, 10:57:28 PM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.


I think that we are close, but coming from a different angle.  I do not believe that prayer, fasting and vigils lead a person to God.  If that were so, the Hindu and others would become Christian since they pray, fast and hold vigils to an extent that probably make us look sad.  I believe that Love of God will manifest itself in the performance of good works (such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting those who are sick and in prison, and the other things that Christ Himself tells us that He will judge us on). 

Worship comes from our love for God.  The more we love Him, the more that we will desire to worship Him.  As to prayer and fasting, they are means to an end, not the end that we seek to attain.  I firmly believe that if the only works that we have to present to Christ are our fasts and vigils, it will not go well for us.  He nowhere in His Word mentions that as a criteria of Salvation.  However, if we love one another, help those less fortunate than ourselves, and do these things because we Love God and these are His Commandments, I really believe that he will forgive us for thankfully making use of the gifts that He has given us, even if certain of His people get their panties in a wad over it.

No, I am not at all confused.  I have read the lives of these Saints, and even assisted in the publishing of some of them in English (in a small way).  It saddens me that the only thing that some supposedly "Orthodox" Christians seem to get out of reading the Lives of the Saints (if, indeed, they have ever read them) is the fasting and vigils.  Heck, if that was all that is what it takes to be a Christian, the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, demons and the like are super-Orthodox.  On the other hand, if one is really a Christian, why would they put so much emphasis on something that even Christ tells us should be done in secret?  I'm sorry, but if the only thing that marks one as a Christian is what they do or don't eat and how long they stand in Church, they probably really suck at being Christians.  It truly saddens me that when I talk to other Christians about Orthodoxy, the only thing that they have heard about the Church (if anything at all) is that we wear fancy vestments and fast a lot.  Yep, something that I am really proud to be known for - not!
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« Reply #160 on: May 09, 2013, 11:03:13 PM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.



  

FYI: The holy saints and martyrs did not suffer for vain rituals.
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« Reply #161 on: May 09, 2013, 11:26:28 PM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.



  

FYI: The holy saints and martyrs did not suffer for vain rituals.

I quite well know that.  I am not sure that you do.
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« Reply #162 on: May 09, 2013, 11:39:03 PM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.



  

FYI: The holy saints and martyrs did not suffer for vain rituals.

I quite well know that.  I am not sure that you do.

It's ok. Anyway, thank you for the thoughtful reply above, of which I mostly agree.  Christ is Risen!
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« Reply #163 on: May 11, 2013, 10:40:52 AM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.



  

FYI: The holy saints and martyrs did not suffer for vain rituals.

I quite well know that.  I am not sure that you do.

It's ok. Anyway, thank you for the thoughtful reply above, of which I mostly agree.  Christ is Risen!

Indeed He has.  The Saints and Martyrs did not "love" fasting and rituals.  They also did not suffer for them.  That is the thinking that I reject, and that unfortunately seems to have a large following among those that call themselves Orthodox.  The Saints and Martyrs loved God, and suffered because of that love for God, which caused the World to hate them.  Their love for God manifested itself in many ways, including fasting, long vigils, hours spent praying and the like.  They also invented rituals so that these things could be passed down in good order.  They certainly did not invent them for God because He does not need our works or our useless actions. 

Perhaps some of my thinking is tainted due to my long years as a Protestant.  Indeed, I was a Protestant for twice as long as I have been Orthodox.  In the areas where I lived, there were a large number of Pentecostals and other sorts of Holy Rollers.  If you got around these people, all they could talk about was speaking in tongues.  In fact, for some of them Salvation was not possible unless one spoke in tongues.  Yet, per the Scriptures, it is the least of the Spiritual gifts.  I see the Orthodox fasting fetish to be no different than the Pentecostal fixation on tongues.  It is all they talk about for 40 days before Easter.  The subject comes up at every gathering and on every forum.  For some priest (as my own), Salvation is not even possible unless you fast.  Heck, I can kill 5000 Croatians and sleep with my wife's best friend and be forgiven.  But don't even think about coming to confession unless you have fasted.  Yet our Church needs Bingo money and hall rental to even come close to making our budget, which BTW contains very little for doing the kinds of work that Christ commanded us, but is mostly used to maintain our ostentatious building.  We have elevated fasting to the same level as the Pentecostals have elevated speaking in tongues, and that goes against everything that I have read either in the Scriptures or in the writings of the Fathers.

Now do you understand where I am coming from?  It is not fasting, prayer, vigils and rituals that I dislike.  In fact, they were some of what brought me to Orthodoxy since I tired of the "cheep Grace" and bare bones fundamentalism of Protestantism.  What I dislike is the way I see these things used in many (but by no means all) Orthodox churches.
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« Reply #164 on: May 11, 2013, 08:31:52 PM »

...For some priest (as my own), Salvation is not even possible unless you fast....

Wow. I once heard a seminarian say in a sermon that fasting (during Lent) was one of the things we need to do to be justified before God.

There is simply no way someone can read the Gospels or even the entire Bible and come away with the impression that fasting is necessary for salvation.

Where on earth do people get these weird ideas from?
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« Reply #165 on: May 11, 2013, 09:39:43 PM »

...For some priest (as my own), Salvation is not even possible unless you fast....

Wow. I once heard a seminarian say in a sermon that fasting (during Lent) was one of the things we need to do to be justified before God.

There is simply no way someone can read the Gospels or even the entire Bible and come away with the impression that fasting is necessary for salvation.

Where on earth do people get these weird ideas from?

How?  Very simple.  First start with universal illiteracy.  Then create a special class of people with "special graces" and make sure that they are the only ones that can read.  Then tell the people that if they don't do everything that these people say, they will go to Hell.  Kill anyone that disagrees.  Then repeat for 1500 years and, walla, you have it.  By the time the people can read for themselves, everything has already been "interpreted" for them.  A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.  No, this is not Orthodoxy, it is HUMAN NATURE.  That is why it needs to be guarded against, and that is why study of the Scriptures by Laymen, under the guidance of Priests, is so important.  I have found that in the Orthodox parishes where the Priests encourage reading of the Scriptures and of the Fathers, and welcome discussion and questions, fetishism is minimal if found at all.  In those parishes where questions are answered with "who are you to argue with a Priest" and "don't read that book, it is dangerous for laymen", the parish tends to be filled with the intellectually lazy who simply do what they have always done, and anyone with half a brain has gone elsewhere. 
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« Reply #166 on: May 11, 2013, 10:00:49 PM »

Come on, I gave you two quotes and I could give you a dozen more if you want them.

To prove my bold assertion:

Quote from: St. Cyprian of Carthage
1. "Marcianus, who abides at Aries, has associated himself with Novatian, and has departed from the unity of the Catholic Church (St. Cyprian, Epistle 66)"

2. "When we were together in council, dearest brethren, we read your letter which you wrote to us concerning those who seem to be baptized by heretics and schismatics, (asking) whether, when they come to the catholic Church, which is one, they ought to be baptized. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 69)"

3. "Remission of sins is not granted except in the Church, and that among heretics, where there is no Church sins cannot be put away. (Idem)"

4. "Those who have been dipped abroad outside the Church, and have been stained among heretics and schismatics with the taint of profane water, when they come to us and to the Church which is one ought to be baptized. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 71)"

5."For it has been delivered to us, that there is one God, and one Christ, and one hope, and one faith, and one Church, and one baptism ordained only in the one Church, from which unity whosoever will depart must needs be found with heretics. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 73.11)"

6. "Therefore, dearest brother, having explored and seen the truth; it is observed and held by us, that all who are converted from any heresy whatever to the Church must be baptized by the only and lawful baptism of the Church (St. Cyprian, Epistle 73.12)"

7. For which reason Novatian neither ought to be nor can be expected, inasmuch as he also is without the Church and acting in opposition to the peace and love of Christ, from being counted among adversaries and antichrists. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 75.1)

8. In addition, moreover, the Lord establishes it in His Gospel, and says, "But if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto you as a heathen man and a publican." Now if they who despise the Church are counted heathens and publicans, much more certainly is it necessary that rebels and enemies, who forge false altars, and lawless priesthoods, and sacrilegious sacrifices, and corrupter names, should be counted among heathens and publicans; since they who sin less, and are only despisers of the Church, are by the Lord's sentence judged to be heathens and publicans. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 75.1)

9. Wherefore, since the Church alone has the living water, and the power of baptizing and cleansing man, he who says that any one can be baptized and sanctified by Novatian must first show and teach that Novatian is in the Church or presides over the Church. For the Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For if she is with Novatian, she was not with Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop Fabian by lawful ordination, and whom, beside the honour of the priesthood, the Lord glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 75.3)

10. They strive to set before and prefer the sordid and profane washing of heretics to the true and only and legitimate baptism of the Catholic Church, not considering that it is written, "He who is baptized by one dead, what avails his washing? "  Now it is manifest that they who are not in the Church of Christ are reckoned among the dead. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 70.1)

11. And they say that in this matter they follow ancient custom; although among the ancients these were as yet the first beginnings of heresy and schisms, so that those were involved in them who departed from the Church, having first been baptized therein (St. Cyprian, Epistle 70.2)

12. For when they [the Novatians] say, "Do you believe the remission of sins and life eternal through the holy Church? "they lie in their interrogatory, since they have not the Church. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 75.7)

+12
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« Reply #167 on: May 11, 2013, 10:04:38 PM »

 There is a legend that when St. Patrick was travelling around Ireland he was shown a pagan moon symbol chalked onto a rock.  He drew a cross through it and that's how the Celtic cross came to be.  Rather than choosing an adversarial stance against the pagan culture he worked with what he had.  Maybe there is a lesson there.

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« Reply #168 on: May 11, 2013, 10:41:10 PM »

...For some priest (as my own), Salvation is not even possible unless you fast....

Wow. I once heard a seminarian say in a sermon that fasting (during Lent) was one of the things we need to do to be justified before God.

There is simply no way someone can read the Gospels or even the entire Bible and come away with the impression that fasting is necessary for salvation.

Where on earth do people get these weird ideas from?

How?  Very simple.  First start with universal illiteracy.  Then create a special class of people with "special graces" and make sure that they are the only ones that can read.  Then tell the people that if they don't do everything that these people say, they will go to Hell.  Kill anyone that disagrees.  Then repeat for 1500 years and, walla, you have it.  By the time the people can read for themselves, everything has already been "interpreted" for them.  A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.  No, this is not Orthodoxy, it is HUMAN NATURE.  That is why it needs to be guarded against, and that is why study of the Scriptures by Laymen, under the guidance of Priests, is so important.  I have found that in the Orthodox parishes where the Priests encourage reading of the Scriptures and of the Fathers, and welcome discussion and questions, fetishism is minimal if found at all.  In those parishes where questions are answered with "who are you to argue with a Priest" and "don't read that book, it is dangerous for laymen", the parish tends to be filled with the intellectually lazy who simply do what they have always done, and anyone with half a brain has gone elsewhere. 

This is part of it, but I'm sure your tongue-talking Pentecostals read their Bibles plenty. I don't agree that this is just a Biblical illiteracy problem.
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« Reply #169 on: May 12, 2013, 12:07:19 AM »

...For some priest (as my own), Salvation is not even possible unless you fast....

Wow. I once heard a seminarian say in a sermon that fasting (during Lent) was one of the things we need to do to be justified before God.

There is simply no way someone can read the Gospels or even the entire Bible and come away with the impression that fasting is necessary for salvation.

Where on earth do people get these weird ideas from?

How?  Very simple.  First start with universal illiteracy.  Then create a special class of people with "special graces" and make sure that they are the only ones that can read.  Then tell the people that if they don't do everything that these people say, they will go to Hell.  Kill anyone that disagrees.  Then repeat for 1500 years and, walla, you have it.  By the time the people can read for themselves, everything has already been "interpreted" for them.  A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.  No, this is not Orthodoxy, it is HUMAN NATURE.  That is why it needs to be guarded against, and that is why study of the Scriptures by Laymen, under the guidance of Priests, is so important.  I have found that in the Orthodox parishes where the Priests encourage reading of the Scriptures and of the Fathers, and welcome discussion and questions, fetishism is minimal if found at all.  In those parishes where questions are answered with "who are you to argue with a Priest" and "don't read that book, it is dangerous for laymen", the parish tends to be filled with the intellectually lazy who simply do what they have always done, and anyone with half a brain has gone elsewhere. 

This is part of it, but I'm sure your tongue-talking Pentecostals read their Bibles plenty. I don't agree that this is just a Biblical illiteracy problem.

Oh, believe me, they wore them out.  What I could never understand, however, was how such a group of people that were, for the most part, functionally illiterate could understand the KJV so well.  Then again, maybe that was their problem - they couldn't.
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« Reply #170 on: May 12, 2013, 04:48:43 AM »

Oh, believe me, they wore them out.  What I could never understand, however, was how such a group of people that were, for the most part, functionally illiterate could understand the KJV so well.  Then again, maybe that was their problem - they couldn't.

  It may not be well known but it was actually illegal in many parts of Protestant Europe to hold "Bible studies" or "prayer groups" without a licensed preacher or minister present.   Individuals like John Bunyan, the writer of Pilgrim's Progress, were persecuted under such laws.   While the early Protestant Reformers believed people should be able to read the Bible, they weren't individualists, and governments feared the social unrest that small religious groups might cause:  one of the earliest Anglican homilies disseminated by the establishment to be preached was against quarreling.


 
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« Reply #171 on: May 12, 2013, 09:25:58 AM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.



  

FYI: The holy saints and martyrs did not suffer for vain rituals.

I quite well know that.  I am not sure that you do.

It's ok. Anyway, thank you for the thoughtful reply above, of which I mostly agree.  Christ is Risen!

Indeed He has.  The Saints and Martyrs did not "love" fasting and rituals.  They also did not suffer for them.  That is the thinking that I reject, and that unfortunately seems to have a large following among those that call themselves Orthodox.  The Saints and Martyrs loved God, and suffered because of that love for God, which caused the World to hate them.  Their love for God manifested itself in many ways, including fasting, long vigils, hours spent praying and the like.  They also invented rituals so that these things could be passed down in good order.  They certainly did not invent them for God because He does not need our works or our useless actions. 

Perhaps some of my thinking is tainted due to my long years as a Protestant.  Indeed, I was a Protestant for twice as long as I have been Orthodox.  In the areas where I lived, there were a large number of Pentecostals and other sorts of Holy Rollers.  If you got around these people, all they could talk about was speaking in tongues.  In fact, for some of them Salvation was not possible unless one spoke in tongues.  Yet, per the Scriptures, it is the least of the Spiritual gifts.  I see the Orthodox fasting fetish to be no different than the Pentecostal fixation on tongues.  It is all they talk about for 40 days before Easter.  The subject comes up at every gathering and on every forum.  For some priest (as my own), Salvation is not even possible unless you fast.  Heck, I can kill 5000 Croatians and sleep with my wife's best friend and be forgiven.  But don't even think about coming to confession unless you have fasted.  Yet our Church needs Bingo money and hall rental to even come close to making our budget, which BTW contains very little for doing the kinds of work that Christ commanded us, but is mostly used to maintain our ostentatious building.  We have elevated fasting to the same level as the Pentecostals have elevated speaking in tongues, and that goes against everything that I have read either in the Scriptures or in the writings of the Fathers.

Now do you understand where I am coming from?  It is not fasting, prayer, vigils and rituals that I dislike.  In fact, they were some of what brought me to Orthodoxy since I tired of the "cheep Grace" and bare bones fundamentalism of Protestantism.  What I dislike is the way I see these things used in many (but by no means all) Orthodox churches.

Yes, I understand. Misuse is not uncommon and can be discouraging and worrisome. But we always have the marvelous examples of the Saints and their prayers.
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« Reply #172 on: May 12, 2013, 01:54:12 PM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.



  

FYI: The holy saints and martyrs did not suffer for vain rituals.

I quite well know that.  I am not sure that you do.

It's ok. Anyway, thank you for the thoughtful reply above, of which I mostly agree.  Christ is Risen!

Indeed He has.  The Saints and Martyrs did not "love" fasting and rituals.  They also did not suffer for them.  That is the thinking that I reject, and that unfortunately seems to have a large following among those that call themselves Orthodox.  The Saints and Martyrs loved God, and suffered because of that love for God, which caused the World to hate them.  Their love for God manifested itself in many ways, including fasting, long vigils, hours spent praying and the like.  They also invented rituals so that these things could be passed down in good order.  They certainly did not invent them for God because He does not need our works or our useless actions. 

Perhaps some of my thinking is tainted due to my long years as a Protestant.  Indeed, I was a Protestant for twice as long as I have been Orthodox.  In the areas where I lived, there were a large number of Pentecostals and other sorts of Holy Rollers.  If you got around these people, all they could talk about was speaking in tongues.  In fact, for some of them Salvation was not possible unless one spoke in tongues.  Yet, per the Scriptures, it is the least of the Spiritual gifts.  I see the Orthodox fasting fetish to be no different than the Pentecostal fixation on tongues.  It is all they talk about for 40 days before Easter.  The subject comes up at every gathering and on every forum.  For some priest (as my own), Salvation is not even possible unless you fast.  Heck, I can kill 5000 Croatians and sleep with my wife's best friend and be forgiven.  But don't even think about coming to confession unless you have fasted.  Yet our Church needs Bingo money and hall rental to even come close to making our budget, which BTW contains very little for doing the kinds of work that Christ commanded us, but is mostly used to maintain our ostentatious building.  We have elevated fasting to the same level as the Pentecostals have elevated speaking in tongues, and that goes against everything that I have read either in the Scriptures or in the writings of the Fathers.

Now do you understand where I am coming from?  It is not fasting, prayer, vigils and rituals that I dislike.  In fact, they were some of what brought me to Orthodoxy since I tired of the "cheep Grace" and bare bones fundamentalism of Protestantism.  What I dislike is the way I see these things used in many (but by no means all) Orthodox churches.

Yes, I understand. Misuse is not uncommon and can be discouraging and worrisome. But we always have the marvelous examples of the Saints and their prayers.

In that we agree.
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