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Author Topic: Ecclesiology From a Doubter  (Read 3039 times) Average Rating: 0
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Keble
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« on: October 27, 2005, 09:17:19 AM »

Again though I understand that in order to justify your own ecclesiology you must deny that there ever existed a single Church - hence why you and Ebor are always quick to disparge any mention of Orthodoxy among pre-schism westerners.

You imply here a concern for ecclesiology that I do not share with you. Over the past months I've come to largely discount it, not because I deny it importance, but because I've come to the conclusion that it is necessarily subjective.

As a rule, people who find the Spirit in their present church must adopt an ecclesiology that accomodates this, if they feel they must resolve the subject. That is why I have come to say, "Wherever I am, there is the church." I simply don't know how one can claim the touch of the Spirit and then come up with a theory that says one is not in The Church. And when I see people moving from one church to another, with a great deal of concern about ecclesiology, it seems inconsistent to me. It's still blatantly egocentric, because it puts up a pretense of objectivity while in truth it is an exercise of personal judgement.

As an Anglican I am directed to believe that the unity of the church is mystical and is not now realized in earthly unity. In terms of my personal history it would be very hard for me to abandon faith in this without abandoning faith itself. Be that as it may, I don't need to disparage the unity of old, because in the end I am indifferent to it. Earthly unity is desirable, but at the moment, we don't have it. But at the same time, I also see historical unity as varying in degree. It's particularly obvious to an Anglican because early English church history is dominated by periods wherein Eastern influence (and even communication) is lacking.

And as far as "Orthodox" is concerned, it's not so much that I disparage its use with reference to the West as it is that I sense an ambiguity of usage. Germanus used "Roman" in opposition to "Orthodox", and didn't use "Catholic" at all. When I hear that, I understand that Orthodox means Eastern in this context.
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2005, 11:18:56 PM »

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. That is why I have come to say, "Wherever I am, there is the church."

Those that do claim ubi sum, ecclesia ibi est are most often simply opportunists.  The fact that you take them seriously is your problem, not the failing of the Church.

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And when I see people moving from one church to another, with a great deal of concern about ecclesiology, it seems inconsistent to me. It's still blatantly egocentric, because it puts up a pretense of objectivity while in truth it is an exercise of personal judgement.

In a sense I do agree with you actually - mostly applying the above to various "Traditionalists" groups that cite lengthy tomes to justify their existence over what amounts to minor squabbles.  But on the big issues I don't think that is the case at all.  Issues like the filioque and the highly expanded power of the modern Roman Papacy are fairly cut and dry.  Orthodoxy upholds the patristic position on these and other points of dispute; that is why I converted.   Making a once in a lifetime descion and then living within that tradition is not what you described - but your description does describe those who in the span of a few years go from Anglican, SSPX, RCC, EO etc. or those who convert to Orthodoxy, go so far as to become and reader and then ten years or so later apostacize back to Anglicanism. 

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As an Anglican I am directed to believe that the unity of the church is mystical and is not now realized in earthly unity.

Why then did even early fathers say that extra ecclesiam nulla salus?  While there is a mystical demension to Orthodox ecclesiology communion is essential and normative.  At times there have been lapses in communion for one reason or another that were rectified later with both sides still remaining the Church (i.e ROCOR and the MP) but such is vastly different than claiming that a 1000 year old schism with no direction towards actually unity is still the Church.  The early fathers lived with heresies and schims in their times - yet they clearly saw one true Church and insisted upon it.  Why did none of them fabricate a predecessor to the modern Branch Theory? 

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In terms of my personal history it would be very hard for me to abandon faith in this without abandoning faith itself.

I guess that is simply a personal world view.  I can look back at my pre-Orthodox days and say that things I sincerely held then weren't true without sacrificing my current faith.  There is a great deal of good present in non Orthodox Christendom, and I surely don't see my Orthodoxy as a denial of that.  Fr. Seraphim Rose never disparged his Taoist beliefs from before he was Orthodox. 

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I don't need to disparage the unity of old, because in the end I am indifferent to it.

Which unity would that be?  It is a complete myth to say there was complete unity in the early church.  Even in the New Testament era we can see signs of the arising of schisms.  The only thing that is really new is to claim it doesn't matter if you belong to a schismatic sect since they are mystically united.

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And as far as "Orthodox" is concerned, it's not so much that I disparage its use with reference to the West as it is that I sense an ambiguity of usage.

I'd agree that using the word Orthodox to mean Byzantine Orthodox in refrence to the west is incorrect.  Catholic can be equally confusing since it implies a modern form of submission to the Roman Pope that didn't exist then either.  But both words understood properly are important adjectives to describe a church being part of the true Church and not an heretical sect.   

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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2005, 09:10:42 AM »

Those that do claim ubi sum, ecclesia ibi est are most often simply opportunists.  The fact that you take them seriously is your problem, not the failing of the Church.

Nobody says it, because it's embarrassing to admit it. Everyone who does ecclesiology does it, because it's essentially impossible to avoid doing it.

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Issues like the filioque and the highly expanded power of the modern Roman Papacy are fairly cut and dry.  Orthodoxy upholds the patristic position on these and other points of dispute; that is why I converted.

But the missing words in the last sentence are "I judged that...." You did pass judgement on the two churches, rejecting one and approving the other. And you set the terms of the argument, judging that these issues were sufficient. And further, your psychological discomfort or theological inquisitiveness or whatever that started the machinery-- well, your machinery, after all-- moving.

My approach to these two issues is very different. At the moment, I'm simply taking the filioque on the authority of my church-- and possibly accepting the position that it isn't worth arguing over. Of course, that leaves me passing judgements too. It doesn't matter whether you convert just once, or whether you do it over and over; the latter simply trivializes the process, but it doesn't get rid of it.

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Why then did even early fathers say that extra ecclesiam nulla salus?

Well, um, my answer is forced to be, "because they reasoned incorrectly." If I find grace where I am, then they must be wrong. So in a sense it is unimportant why they made the claim, though after the fact one can suggest motivations. In a heretic-battling world, it isn't hard to find them in the political desire to cut off one's opponents as completely as possible.

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I guess that is simply a personal world view.  I can look back at my pre-Orthodox days and say that things I sincerely held then weren't true without sacrificing my current faith.

Ah, but it seems to me (if I remember your history correctly) that you converted because of the faith that you already had. And anyway, if we are to get away from "personal worldviews" these various perspectives have to be synthesized into some objective pattern. I'm not so sure how that's going to happen with the four examples we have (yours, Fr. Roses's, my old one, and my putative conversion into Orthodoxy). Abandoning Daoism for Christianity is the least difficult, because the presence of grace hardly enters into the matter. Conversely, my transition from a Presbyterian to an Episcopal church involved no conflicting claims to possession of grace. The first demands a renunciation which was present by the nature of the thing; the second involves no such renunciation.

It is the conversions into Orthodoxy from other Christian churches that present all the issues, because of the demand that one denounce one's old faith, whatever it was. I cannot do this, because in the end the only reason I am in church is because I find grace there-- or at least, found it there. If you can believe that you never felt grace in your old church, then obviously that allows you to convert more easily. For me, it is a complete impasse.

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Which unity would that be?

Any old unity.

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The only thing that is really new is to claim it doesn't matter if you belong to a schismatic sect since they are mystically united.

Well, it is Orthodox insistence on agreement that drives schisms in the first place; live with disagreement, and there is no schism. Novelty is no guarantee of either error or truth.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2005, 09:14:04 AM by Keble » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2005, 10:01:24 PM »

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But the missing words in the last sentence are "I judged that...." You did pass judgement on the two churches, rejecting one and approving the other. And you set the terms of the argument, judging that these issues were sufficient. And further, your psychological discomfort or theological inquisitiveness or whatever that started the machinery-- well, your machinery, after all-- moving.

Not precisely.  I had access to the writtings of various fathers, the scriptures and other works.  When it became very obvious that the Orthodox Church is what the patristic church was - I became obediant to that.   What you propose is essentially the starting phases of Nihilism - that no Truth, even Christian dogma is fully objective.  But one need only look at the Anglican communion today to realize that is the reality of Anglicanism. 

Taking your logic to its fullness no one need convert to Christianity.  God even bestowed his grace in limitied forms to the ancient pagans.  So why would they have converted to Christianity?  Would you encourage a non Christian to convert to Christianity? 

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Well, um, my answer is forced to be, "because they reasoned incorrectly."

Ah, yes!  You are the supreme authority in Christianity.  You can judge when the fathers were correct and when they weren't. 

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If I find grace where I am, then they must be wrong.

People outside the church have been shown grace and mercy throughout history - that is hardly an excuse for complacency.

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Ah, but it seems to me (if I remember your history correctly) that you converted because of the faith that you already had.

Not precisely.  It's a bit more complex than that.

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I'm not so sure how that's going to happen with the four examples we have (yours, Fr. Roses's, my old one, and my putative conversion into Orthodoxy). Abandoning Daoism for Christianity is the least difficult, because the presence of grace hardly enters into the matter. Conversely, my transition from a Presbyterian to an Episcopal church involved no conflicting claims to possession of grace. The first demands a renunciation which was present by the nature of the thing; the second involves no such renunciation.

If you are speaking of what I think you are (i.e the whole graceless heretic thing) I think you are making more of that than should be.  That phrase is mostly used by schismatic (from the POV of "World Orthodoxy" - to qualify that for Anastasios) groups about my church.  The phrase is rather rarely (if ever) used in respected Orthodox press (i.e any of the American seminaries, St. Herman's).  How I view things (now at least) is that Orthodoxy if the fullness and that I would never want to be anything but Orthodox - but the whole who is graceless game is simply absurd.  I guess I sound like a quasi ecumenist in my "old age" compared to a few years ago. 

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Any old unity.

One big happy and unified old Church is a myth.  Right from the start there were factions.  One faction viewed itself as the true Church (well they all sort of did), but the once faction that went on to be the Nicene Church never bought into a proto branch theory saying a mystical unity united them with gnostics, arians, donatists or others. 

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Well, it is Orthodox insistence on agreement that drives schisms in the first place; live with disagreement, and there is no schism.

Christ let those who couldn't accept his bread of life discorse leave his flock.  Why did he tell them to remain, but simply agree to disagree?

 
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2005, 12:10:46 AM »

Not precisely.  I had access to the writtings of various fathers, the scriptures and other works.  When it became very obvious that the Orthodox Church is what the patristic church was - I became obediant to that.   What you propose is essentially the starting phases of Nihilism - that no Truth, even Christian dogma is fully objective.  But one need only look at the Anglican communion today to realize that is the reality of Anglicanism.

Your use of the word "obvious" is, naturally, subjective. And that's the hole: truth may be objective, but if it be so, then being independent of of selves it is thus still possible that our ability to perceive is "tainted" by subjectivity. And indeed, that is the easiest explanation for the varieties of theology that arise from the same material.

In the truth of ordinary reality, there are somethings one can be certain of, and some things one can be reasonably sure of, and so on through increasing degrees of uncertainty. I don't see any reason not to expect the same from religion. I see Anglicanism's problems as arising in the attempt to recognize this and at the same to avoid spelling out which things are certain and which are not. It's abundantly clear that the latter can no longer work.

Be that as it may, there are two things going on in this part of the discussion, one derived from the other. The first is an expression of a difference in personal values, and the second in particular is a faith you seem to express in systematization which I certainly reject. I reject it because the world isn't like that, and that one can see objectively that the world isn't like that, and indeed that one of the justifications for believing in Judaeo-Christian religion is that it predicts that the world is like this, when other religions don't really make much of an effort at accounting for it.

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Taking your logic to its fullness no one need convert to Christianity.  God even bestowed his grace in limitied forms to the ancient pagans.  So why would they have converted to Christianity?  Would you encourage a non Christian to convert to Christianity?

Well, here we meet with subjectivity again. Here we have you taking your version of my statements and working them through your argumentation to produce a result which is, after all, favorable to the way you already thought. At least you should be subject to correction about how you represent my statements, but even after that, if I disagree with your elaboration the possibility that you have elaborated it incorrectly should be addressed.

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Ah, yes!  You are the supreme authority in Christianity.  You can judge when the fathers were correct and when they weren't.

Please-- the answer to this is so elementary that I'm annoyed at having to spell it out.

The answer has two levels. First, I take Jesus as the supreme authority; the fathers are merely derivative of that authority. The root problem here is that I don't automatically take the fathers as a sufficiently strong authority to disbelieve that I have felt grace where I am now.

The second answer is to repeat that we (as individuals) have no choice but to make judgements about whom to follow. That takes us back to the difference in our personal situations. You felt empowered to examine the fathers and judge that they were trustworthy. I am reluctant to take up such powers and instead, having felt the touch of the Spirit (or so I believe), must begin by ascribing some legitimacy to the situation in which that Touch occurred. I feel that there is an objective superiority to my starting point as opposed to yours, becaue mine is empirical and yours is merely intellectual.

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If you are speaking of what I think you are (i.e the whole graceless heretic thing) I think you are making more of that than should be.  That phrase is mostly used by schismatic (from the POV of "World Orthodoxy" - to qualify that for Anastasios) groups about my church.  The phrase is rather rarely (if ever) used in respected Orthodox press (i.e any of the American seminaries, St. Herman's).  How I view things (now at least) is that Orthodoxy if the fullness and that I would never want to be anything but Orthodox - but the whole who is graceless game is simply absurd.  I guess I sound like a quasi ecumenist in my "old age" compared to a few years ago.

Well, I'm reluctant to really address this point here, because I think it's a big topic by itself. But I can fit in two comments:

First, "fullness" is either a euphemism, or a substantial retreat that I could just as well take as conceding the argument. "Fullness", after all, tends to sound bigger than "sufficiency". That in turn opens up the possibility of "legitimate" dissent from Orthodox positions.

Second: we're now in Anglican-like territory, where all the issues of degree confidence obtain.

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Christ let those who couldn't accept his bread of life discorse leave his flock.  Why did he tell them to remain, but simply agree to disagree?

We're back to the heresy of identifying the church as Jesus, when the issue is really whether, in carrying out the commands of The Head, the Body does so utterly effectively. I believe it does this well enough, but I do not believe it does this well.
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2005, 12:33:54 AM »

Is Don Cupitt an Anglican divine?
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2005, 11:43:20 AM »

Is Don Cupitt an Anglican divine?

Well, he was an Anglican, but his views hardly represent typical Anglican beliefs.
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2005, 12:31:27 PM »

Please-- the answer to this is so elementary that I'm annoyed at having to spell it out.

The answer has two levels. First, I take Jesus as the supreme authority; the fathers are merely derivative of that authority. The root problem here is that I don't automatically take the fathers as a sufficiently strong authority to disbelieve that I have felt grace where I am now.

The second answer is to repeat that we (as individuals) have no choice but to make judgements about whom to follow. That takes us back to the difference in our personal situations. You felt empowered to examine the fathers and judge that they were trustworthy. I am reluctant to take up such powers and instead, having felt the touch of the Spirit (or so I believe), must begin by ascribing some legitimacy to the situation in which that Touch occurred. I feel that there is an objective superiority to my starting point as opposed to yours, becaue mine is empirical and yours is merely intellectual. 

You do understand that there is only one way to know Jesus direct from the source: through the experience of the Holy Spirit (communion with Him, working charity, prayer of the heart, etc).  Otherwise, all other means (i.e. the scripture, the Church) are manifested through the faith and work of the Fathers.  Our use of Scripture to judge for ourselves the position and orientation of Christ must come with the necessary understanding that the Gospels were written by Fathers of the Church - inspired by the Holy Spirit, but through their human nature.  So by accepting the scripture, you are necessarily judging some of the Fathers to be trustworthy - those fathers are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  What is funny is that all the other fathers that the Orthodox use now as the foundation of the faith used these 4 fathers plus a 5th (Paul) quite extensively in their writing.

I also don't want to have any misunderstanding here, as far as our conception of the truth; for us Truth is a person, Christ, neither objective nor subjective, but beyond both.

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« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2005, 12:48:14 PM »

I also don't want to have any misunderstanding here, as far as our conception of the truth; for us Truth is a person, Christ, neither objective nor subjective, but beyond both.

If Jesus is the Truth, then the Truth is objective in the most literal possible way.

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« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2005, 01:22:02 PM »

I hardly think that the Apostles would have agreed to such an idea as the "invisible church". Indeed, the authority was passed on to 12 men.

What the heterodox world suggests is that when Jesus taught to the 5000, if anyone in the crowd thought they "got" what He was talking about, they could have started Christ's Church. And this is just plain madness. It's not what Jesus did, it's not what the Apostles taught, and there is no authority in it. And it plainly isn't what happened. Jesus didn't preach a "mystical" church in fact he prayed for unity "..that they may be one even as we are one..."

Today we are reinterpreting history to fit the modern schismatic world. The fact of the matter is that everyone who gains salvation has done so because of the real Church. The Nicene Creed, the councils, the defining doctrines, the holding on to the Tradition. No one can be saved without these things, in other words, without the Church.

Even most Protestants believe in the doctrines of at least the first Church council. The Protestants actually accept the decisions of the Church while rejecting Her. "..having a form of godliness but denying it's power.." The whole of Christendom rests upon the Church, the Orthodox faith. From the doctrine of the Trinity to the acceptance of the Bible as being "scripture". From the intercession of the saints to liturgical worship. In essence, no one can be saved outside of the Church. The Church, as looked at not only the current instance, but the whole church, from 33 AD to present. This Church, still exists in its modern form, known as the Orthodox Church. Those outside of the physical church can not be saved without Her. If She should disappear from the planet, there would be no salvation. Every time you believe the Bible is scripture, you put faith in the Church. Every  time you believe in the Trinity,  you put faith in the Church, every time you say the Nicene Creed, you put faith in the Church. There would be no Protestants or Anglicans without the Church. Their very salvation depends on the Church and what She has done. To say She is outdated, or no longer necessary is sheer madness. She is necessary now more than ever as a beacon of truth and pillar of strength to all who desire salvation.
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« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2005, 02:21:19 PM »

If Jesus is the Truth, then the Truth is objective in the most literal possible way. 

Please then define "objective."  I just want to avoid using adjectives to desctribe our Lord without first knowing exactly how they're being used.
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« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2005, 02:29:45 PM »

Today we are reinterpreting history to fit the modern schismatic world. The fact of the matter is that everyone who gains salvation has done so because of the real Church. The Nicene Creed, the councils, the defining doctrines, the holding on to the Tradition. No one can be saved without these things, in other words, without the Church.

Even most Protestants believe in the doctrines of at least the first Church council. The Protestants actually accept the decisions of the Church while rejecting Her. "..having a form of godliness but denying it's power.." The whole of Christendom rests upon the Church, the Orthodox faith. From the doctrine of the Trinity to the acceptance of the Bible as being "scripture". From the intercession of the saints to liturgical worship. In essence, no one can be saved outside of the Church. The Church, as looked at not only the current instance, but the whole church, from 33 AD to present. This Church, still exists in its modern form, known as the Orthodox Church. Those outside of the physical church can not be saved without Her. If She should disappear from the planet, there would be no salvation. Every time you believe the Bible is scripture, you put faith in the Church. Every time you believe in the Trinity, you put faith in the Church, every time you say the Nicene Creed, you put faith in the Church. There would be no Protestants or Anglicans without the Church. Their very salvation depends on the Church and what She has done. To say She is outdated, or no longer necessary is sheer madness. She is necessary now more than ever as a beacon of truth and pillar of strength to all who desire salvation. 

While I agree with much of what you have written, the idea that "No one can be saved without these things, in other words, without the Church" begins to limit the saving abilities of God, and nearly limits the Holy Spirit from being "everywhere present and filling all things" to something less to its nature.

The truth of the matter is that, if God in the Heavens decided once upon a time that no one that was not in His Church would be saved, then that is His decision which He hasn't revealed to us.  Since He has not allowed that sentiment to be proclaimed throughout His tradition we can't even dare to believe it - because it by its very own nature puts limitation on God, something that only He can do (for example, He decided to limit Himself when creating the world; He limited Himself when allowing us free will; He limited Himself when He became incarnate in the Second Person of the Trinity as Christ).
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« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2005, 03:09:32 PM »

Please then define "objective."ÂÂ  I just want to avoid using adjectives to desctribe our Lord without first knowing exactly how they're being used.

This definition will do: "Something is objective insofar as it is independent of either a particular mind or minds altogether." "Minds" here refers of course to human minds-- the subjects who are perceiving/reasoning about the objects about them.
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« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2005, 03:38:45 PM »

Yes, the Lord is everywhere but that doesn't mean we will all be saved...God's word doesn,t say that everyone will be brought to him just because we say we believe in Him...Protestants say the same thing..."if you just say you believe in Jesus then you automatically get to go to heaven." No! The church stated the guidelines in the beginning and on top of it all, had the succession of the apostles to back it up. This succession proves the teachings to be accurate. Though God graces some who are not in the Orthodox Church, I could say that he blessed me with his grace to lead me to Him while I was still very lost.( before my conversion.) God's grace alone is not enough to save you. You must have the constant willingness to know the truth inspite of your own opinions and a daily desire to partake in the grace he offers you. Including the mysteries which He himself layed as the foundation of the church. If you take communion with a priest who is non-cannonical...is that the true eucharist? Who can say? But instead be sure you are in communion with Christ as best you can. 
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« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2005, 04:33:44 PM »

While I agree with much of what you have written, the idea that "No one can be saved without these things, in other words, without the Church" begins to limit the saving abilities of God, and nearly limits the Holy Spirit from being "everywhere present and filling all things" to something less to its nature.

The truth of the matter is that, if God in the Heavens decided once upon a time that no one that was not in His Church would be saved, then that is His decision which He hasn't revealed to us.  Since He has not allowed that sentiment to be proclaimed throughout His tradition we can't even dare to believe it - because it by its very own nature puts limitation on God, something that only He can do (for example, He decided to limit Himself when creating the world; He limited Himself when allowing us free will; He limited Himself when He became incarnate in the Second Person of the Trinity as Christ).

I am not limiting God. If there was no Church there would be no salvation (or to put it differently, there would be no way of coming to that salvation). Not because God can't do something different but precisely because He didn't.
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« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2005, 05:43:29 PM »

The fact of the matter is that everyone who gains salvation has done so because of the real Church. The Nicene Creed, the councils, the defining doctrines, the holding on to the Tradition. No one can be saved without these things, in other words, without the Church.

The fact of the matter is that scripture itself doesn't even agree with this statement.  But that's beside the point.

You're making a claim that is objective to the point of empiricism. And you have absolutely no way whatsoever of demonstrating that this is empirically true. Open the gates of heaven to me; let me walk in and see those who have taken up residence there; then I shall believe it. No lesser standard for such a sweeping statement will do.
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« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2005, 07:01:04 PM »

The fact of the matter is that scripture itself doesn't even agree with this statement.  But that's beside the point.

You're making a claim that is objective to the point of empiricism. And you have absolutely no way whatsoever of demonstrating that this is empirically true. Open the gates of heaven to me; let me walk in and see those who have taken up residence there; then I shall believe it. No lesser standard for such a sweeping statement will do.


you lost me. I thought we were talking about the validity of the Church.
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« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2005, 07:35:16 PM »

This definition will do:"Something is objective insofar as it is independent of either a particular mind or minds altogether." "Minds" here refers of course to human minds-- the subjects who are perceiving/reasoning about the objects about them.

But of course we can talk about how God is beyond all being and/or states of being - in fact, His "being" is quite incomprehensible to us, and thus show that He can be completely independent of the particular mind(s) and also completely intertwined with them - He is "everywhere present and filling all things" in the person of the Holy Spirit.  So calling God "objective" doesn't do justice to the complex situation that He has created regarding His interactions with humanity.  (As you can tell, I'm a big fan of our Orthodox apophatic babble).
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« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2005, 07:41:48 PM »

I'm not going to argue whether or not the Church is the intended vehicle of salvation: my mere presence within it and my choice to study the priesthood provide my opinion on the subject.  But we get into dangerous territory when we say that "God's grace alone cannot save someone" - this is not an extention of the faith/works artificial divide here.  The truth is, if God wants someone saved, they're saved, whether or not they've heard the gospel, whether or not they've accepted the Church.  The argument "there is no salvation outside the church" not only limits God's activity, but also goes against the doctrine and practice of the Church; we have as commemorated saints the Holy Infants martyred by Herod; regardless of whether they were circumcised yet (which would have marked their entry into the Jewish faith, the only option at the time) or not. 

But, of course, for those to whom the Church has been revealed in Her glory, there is a higher standard set; the Church is the preferred vehicle for God's salvific plan (not the only one).  And for those of us who are actually in the Church, there is an even higher standard set.  In fact, it would be good to remember now that for those of us who are in the Church, there is a more difficult path to salvation than the others, for to us has been revealed the whole of the Law of Christ and the example of praxis that He has given us.

I'd like to continue, but I've gotta run... but I'll be back later...
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« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2005, 10:26:47 AM »

But of course we can talk about how God is beyond all being and/or states of being - in fact, His "being" is quite incomprehensible to us, and thus show that He can be completely independent of the particular mind(s) and also completely intertwined with them - He is "everywhere present and filling all things" in the person of the Holy Spirit.ÂÂ  So calling God "objective" doesn't do justice to the complex situation that He has created regarding His interactions with humanity.ÂÂ  (As you can tell, I'm a big fan of our Orthodox apophatic babble).

Well, yeah, because you're letting your desire for bigger and better superlatives get in the way of what is itself a perfectly clear, superlative statement. The objectivity of God is a direct function of his absolute independence from the world and from human thought; it is his "I am" that renders him utterly objective. I think this is obscured in old philosophical and theological language because it isn't until relatively recently that people stopped assuming that the world itself is utterly objective; it is one of the chief heresies of modernist thinking to deny that objectivity.
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« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2005, 10:44:44 AM »

Remember that a consistent apophaticism would actually contain kataphaticism as a logical consequent.ÂÂ  If one can form the general statement: "God is not 'X'", then anything can be put into that 'X'.....including "unknowable".ÂÂ  If God is not unknowable, then He is knowable.ÂÂ  A double negative makes a positive.ÂÂ  This is how revelation is possible.ÂÂ  This is, to me, is the synthesis which heals the Palamite weakness.ÂÂ  If His knowable-ness actually FOLLOWS from His unknowable-ness, then His energy actually FOLLOWS His essence as a logical consequent.ÂÂ  And thus the two are fused, but not confused.
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« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2005, 12:23:43 PM »

Well, I think part of the reason we're getting in trouble a bit is that kataphasis derives from perception and description, not from the essence. God's utter objectivity is in contrast to our limits and subjectivity of perceiving him-- "we see through a glass darkly".
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« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2005, 12:28:11 PM »

you lost me. I thought we were talking about the validity of the Church.

The comment is in the context of the church as the medium of grace. My point is that we cannot see, directly, the results of this mediation: we shall all see salvation (or damnation) in the next life, but in this life, it remains to a degree the subject of hope (or worse, speculation or hubris) rather than the certainty of having seen it. Symeon saw his salvation; the rest of us are taking Him on faith.
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« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2005, 12:34:53 PM »

God's utter objectivity is in contrast to our limits and subjectivity of perceiving him-- "we see through a glass darkly".

....actually, if I'm not mistaken, Dionysius teh Areopagite believed that God is intrinsically unknowable, and not merely because of our fallen minds.
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« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2005, 01:05:33 PM »

....actually, if I'm not mistaken, Dionysius teh Areopagite believed that God is intrinsically unknowable, and not merely because of our fallen minds.

We're stumbling over a word here: "know" in English has two meanings, both of which apply in our context. God is incomprehensible by nature, and would be unknowable, in the sense that we know a person, because of our sins, were it not for his salvific revelation. It is the latter sense of "know" that figures in the comment I made.
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« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2005, 03:27:42 AM »

Sorry it has been awhile, but distractions and other threads ate my alloted time to message boards:

In response to me saying that I see Orthodoxy more as the fullness of what I left behind rather than the whole "graceless heretic" thing, Keble said:
Quote
First, "fullness" is either a euphemism, or a substantial retreat that I could just as well take as conceding the argument. "Fullness", after all, tends to sound bigger than "sufficiency". That in turn opens up the possibility of "legitimate" dissent from Orthodox positions.

I think an apt anology to what I meant is found in Pope John Paul II's Dominus Iesus (yes I know the irony of me quoting a Roman Pope to make my point about Orthodoxy).  The (Orthodox) Church is the the center of the true light, while those that have broken from the Orthodox Church take with them the light they had it dims over time, especially as newer heresies and untraditional praxis takes over.   So while other groups may still have a relatively bright light I'd rather "come recieve the light, the unwaning light" from the source.  In fact I think this is the ecclesiology the church almost has to have - in conversations with the more radical "Traditionalists" some seem to not being able to make the distinction between say a pious Roman Catholic or a hindu that overtly worshipps demons - yet common sense says there is something greatly different between the two.   
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« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2013, 01:36:30 PM »

I'd like to continue, but I've gotta run... but I'll be back later...

... back yet?  Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2013, 03:07:29 PM »

I'd like to continue, but I've gotta run... but I'll be back later...

... back yet?  Smiley

To a priest 8 years is like a day and a day is like 8 years
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