Author Topic: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?  (Read 1479 times)

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Offline byhisgrace

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...about whether the Orthodox or Catholic position on Papal Infallibility is correct? There is so much writings of the Early Church Fathers, that it would probably take me years to read them all. And even if I do...I definitely won't know everything there is to know about them.

For years, I've been praying for God to reveal to me whether the Church is the EOC, the RCC, or something else. I assume that in order to find the answer to that question, I would have to discern whether the office of the Papacy is Apostolic truth.

I've read the ECFs of the first century, and much of the second century. I also read two books from Augustine. After that, I got tired of reading. It was more than a mouthful. Do I really need to spend so much time studying the ECFs and Church History, before I can make an informed decision on who is right?

Thanks.

Offline Paisius

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2014, 12:52:58 AM »
Spend some time at Mass and at the Divine Liturgy. That would be my recommendation. I know some people come to the faith through a study of history but it can be really confusing as well. Instead of history in my opinion your time would be better spent experiencing the life of the Church.

Online lovesupreme

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2014, 12:53:35 AM »
Have you heard about those pesky non-Chalcedonians? They also make deciding difficult. ;)

You are correct that it would take years to even approach the level of understanding Church historians have reached, and even they haven't been able to determine which Church is in the right.

Your discernment will come through prayer and lived experience. Those are what lead us to God.

He will guide you to the right place.

Offline LBK

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2014, 12:55:26 AM »
Quote
about whether the Orthodox or Catholic position on Papal Infallibility is correct?

Christ appointed twelve disciples, all of equal authority. Note also that Peter, supposedly the chief among them, denied Christ three times, yet he was not rejected as an apostle by Christ.
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Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2014, 02:10:44 AM »
Spend some time at Mass and at the Divine Liturgy. That would be my recommendation. I know some people come to the faith through a study of history but it can be really confusing as well. Instead of history in my opinion your time would be better spent experiencing the life of the Church.
I attended mass twice and a Divine Liturgy once. I met and talked, in person, once with an Orthodox priest, and once with a Catholic priest. Unfortunately, nothing "clicked" on me. What do you advice I do, now?

By the way, is there an "RCIA," only for the Orthodox Church?

Thanks.

Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2014, 02:17:10 AM »
Quote
about whether the Orthodox or Catholic position on Papal Infallibility is correct?

Christ appointed twelve disciples, all of equal authority. Note also that Peter, supposedly the chief among them, denied Christ three times, yet he was not rejected as an apostle by Christ.
Wouldn't a Catholic apologist argue that that only proves that Peter is not impeccable?

Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2014, 02:23:13 AM »
Have you heard about those pesky non-Chalcedonians? They also make deciding difficult. ;)

You are correct that it would take years to even approach the level of understanding Church historians have reached, and even they haven't been able to determine which Church is in the right.

Your discernment will come through prayer and lived experience. Those are what lead us to God.

He will guide you to the right place.
Thank you. I trust that He will lead me. I just hope that I respond to His call. Maybe the truth is hidden from me because I need to wait. Maybe the truth is right in front of me, but I have "blinders" on that I need to remove. Who knows? Regardless, I will continue to trust in Him. He is always faithful.

Offline LBK

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2014, 02:26:09 AM »
Quote
about whether the Orthodox or Catholic position on Papal Infallibility is correct?

Christ appointed twelve disciples, all of equal authority. Note also that Peter, supposedly the chief among them, denied Christ three times, yet he was not rejected as an apostle by Christ.
Wouldn't a Catholic apologist argue that that only proves that Peter is not impeccable?

You're not taking into account that Christ chose twelve, not one, and gave them all the same authority.
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2014, 02:30:21 AM »
By the way, is there an "RCIA," only for the Orthodox Church?

Yes, it's called the catechumenate.
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Offline WPM

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2014, 02:49:51 AM »
It would be history gained by actual experience and not just information from books.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 02:50:24 AM by WPM »

Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2014, 04:14:07 AM »
Quote
about whether the Orthodox or Catholic position on Papal Infallibility is correct?

Christ appointed twelve disciples, all of equal authority. Note also that Peter, supposedly the chief among them, denied Christ three times, yet he was not rejected as an apostle by Christ.
Wouldn't a Catholic apologist argue that that only proves that Peter is not impeccable?

You're not taking into account that Christ chose twelve, not one, and gave them all the same authority.
I heard that most of the Early Church Fathers interpreted that the keys of the kingdom were given to all the Apostles, not just Peter. Is that correct?

Offline LBK

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2014, 04:26:43 AM »
Quote
about whether the Orthodox or Catholic position on Papal Infallibility is correct?

Christ appointed twelve disciples, all of equal authority. Note also that Peter, supposedly the chief among them, denied Christ three times, yet he was not rejected as an apostle by Christ.
Wouldn't a Catholic apologist argue that that only proves that Peter is not impeccable?

You're not taking into account that Christ chose twelve, not one, and gave them all the same authority.
I heard that most of the Early Church Fathers interpreted that the keys of the kingdom were given to all the Apostles, not just Peter. Is that correct?

It's not just the early Fathers who believed that. The keys to the kingdom is the authority to bind and loose, which, as the Gospel says, was given to all the apostles.
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Offline WPM

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2014, 04:31:44 AM »
I think you choose to ignore when someone is trying to say something  ::)

Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2014, 04:37:15 AM »
Quote
about whether the Orthodox or Catholic position on Papal Infallibility is correct?

Christ appointed twelve disciples, all of equal authority. Note also that Peter, supposedly the chief among them, denied Christ three times, yet he was not rejected as an apostle by Christ.
Wouldn't a Catholic apologist argue that that only proves that Peter is not impeccable?

You're not taking into account that Christ chose twelve, not one, and gave them all the same authority.
I heard that most of the Early Church Fathers interpreted that the keys of the kingdom were given to all the Apostles, not just Peter. Is that correct?

It's not just the early Fathers who believed that. The keys to the kingdom is the authority to bind and loose, which, as the Gospel says, was given to all the apostles.
Sounds good. I know that the Orthodox Church believes that Peter is the first among equals, but does not have higher authority or universal jurisdiction. What does that mean, in practice?

Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2014, 04:38:40 AM »
It would be history gained by actual experience and not just information from books.
Experience can be subjective. How can I know by experience whether the Spirit is leading me?

Offline LBK

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2014, 04:55:03 AM »
Quote
about whether the Orthodox or Catholic position on Papal Infallibility is correct?

Christ appointed twelve disciples, all of equal authority. Note also that Peter, supposedly the chief among them, denied Christ three times, yet he was not rejected as an apostle by Christ.
Wouldn't a Catholic apologist argue that that only proves that Peter is not impeccable?

You're not taking into account that Christ chose twelve, not one, and gave them all the same authority.
I heard that most of the Early Church Fathers interpreted that the keys of the kingdom were given to all the Apostles, not just Peter. Is that correct?

It's not just the early Fathers who believed that. The keys to the kingdom is the authority to bind and loose, which, as the Gospel says, was given to all the apostles.
Sounds good. I know that the Orthodox Church believes that Peter is the first among equals, but does not have higher authority or universal jurisdiction. What does that mean, in practice?

The Orthodox Church commemorates Apostles Peter and Paul jointly, as the chiefs of the Apostles. The hymns sung at Vespers and Matins for their feast clearly express their equal standing. This is also expressed in their iconography: they are very often shown holding a model of a church between them, in icons of the Twelve Apostles, are in the foreground, closest to the viewer (with St Andrew standing directly behind them, reflecting his status as the first one called by Christ), and in icons of Pentecost, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples, they are at the head of the arc formed by the seated Twelve.

The hymnography of other apostles also speaks of these others in similar terms of authority and praise. When seen as a whole, the equality of apostolic authority among them all is clear.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 04:55:20 AM by LBK »
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Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2014, 05:03:25 AM »
I think you choose to ignore when someone is trying to say something  ::)
Trust me, I ponder on everypne's replies, and I really appreciate them :)
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 05:22:10 AM by byhisgrace »

Offline gueranger

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2014, 07:04:24 AM »
I have agonized over becoming Orthodox. It was history that brought me in, and yes, I feel like I had to become a scholar.

I love the traditional Latin Mass, and I understand the appeal of Traditional Roman Catholicism. But I was living in a little bubble of tradition in a Church that is openly hostile to its own tradition.

Visit lots of Catholic and Orthodox parishes. Not just one or two of each. Get a feel for the landscape.

Pray and study. Mostly pray.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 07:05:47 AM by gueranger »

Offline gueranger

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2014, 07:08:44 AM »
Have you heard about those pesky non-Chalcedonians? They also make deciding difficult. ;)


Truth.

Offline IoanC

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2014, 07:12:07 AM »
The truth itself is simple, but it does have more than one component. The primary component is spiritual. Basically, do you agree with things? Do they make sense in your heart? The answer might not come easy, but the "method" of the spirit is really the one that makes or breaks everything in the end, the one that makes one seek and love the truth. Other components, important as they may be, do not have a primary role, ultimately, because they are more systematic and don't require that you assume what you believe but that you weigh and discern your beliefs.

Offline Paisius

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2014, 02:30:10 PM »
Spend some time at Mass and at the Divine Liturgy. That would be my recommendation. I know some people come to the faith through a study of history but it can be really confusing as well. Instead of history in my opinion your time would be better spent experiencing the life of the Church.
I attended mass twice and a Divine Liturgy once. I met and talked, in person, once with an Orthodox priest, and once with a Catholic priest. Unfortunately, nothing "clicked" on me. What do you advice I do, now?

By the way, is there an "RCIA," only for the Orthodox Church?

Thanks.



You have to be patient. You can't expect things to "click" from one visit or conversation. That's not what Christianity is. Forget about trying to compare or looking for proofs. You have to experience the life of the Church. Read the daily Scripture readings. Go to every service you can get to. That is where you will learn Orthodoxy.

Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2014, 08:41:46 PM »
Spend some time at Mass and at the Divine Liturgy. That would be my recommendation. I know some people come to the faith through a study of history but it can be really confusing as well. Instead of history in my opinion your time would be better spent experiencing the life of the Church.
I attended mass twice and a Divine Liturgy once. I met and talked, in person, once with an Orthodox priest, and once with a Catholic priest. Unfortunately, nothing "clicked" on me. What do you advice I do, now?

By the way, is there an "RCIA," only for the Orthodox Church?

Thanks.



You have to be patient. You can't expect things to "click" from one visit or conversation. That's not what Christianity is. Forget about trying to compare or looking for proofs. You have to experience the life of the Church. Read the daily Scripture readings. Go to every service you can get to. That is where you will learn Orthodoxy.

What if I die an Evangelical, before I ever become convinced of what the true Church is? God wouldn't send me to hell for that, would he?

Offline Paisius

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2014, 08:44:51 PM »
Spend some time at Mass and at the Divine Liturgy. That would be my recommendation. I know some people come to the faith through a study of history but it can be really confusing as well. Instead of history in my opinion your time would be better spent experiencing the life of the Church.
I attended mass twice and a Divine Liturgy once. I met and talked, in person, once with an Orthodox priest, and once with a Catholic priest. Unfortunately, nothing "clicked" on me. What do you advice I do, now?

By the way, is there an "RCIA," only for the Orthodox Church?

Thanks.



You have to be patient. You can't expect things to "click" from one visit or conversation. That's not what Christianity is. Forget about trying to compare or looking for proofs. You have to experience the life of the Church. Read the daily Scripture readings. Go to every service you can get to. That is where you will learn Orthodoxy.

What if I die an Evangelical, before I ever become convinced of what the true Church is? God wouldn't send me to hell for that, would he?



No of course not. If God sent people to hell for being mistaken we'd all be in trouble.

Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2014, 08:54:27 PM »
Spend some time at Mass and at the Divine Liturgy. That would be my recommendation. I know some people come to the faith through a study of history but it can be really confusing as well. Instead of history in my opinion your time would be better spent experiencing the life of the Church.
I attended mass twice and a Divine Liturgy once. I met and talked, in person, once with an Orthodox priest, and once with a Catholic priest. Unfortunately, nothing "clicked" on me. What do you advice I do, now?

By the way, is there an "RCIA," only for the Orthodox Church?

Thanks.



You have to be patient. You can't expect things to "click" from one visit or conversation. That's not what Christianity is. Forget about trying to compare or looking for proofs. You have to experience the life of the Church. Read the daily Scripture readings. Go to every service you can get to. That is where you will learn Orthodoxy.

What if I die an Evangelical, before I ever become convinced of what the true Church is? God wouldn't send me to hell for that, would he?



No of course not. If God sent people to hell for being mistaken we'd all be in trouble.
Whew, that's a relief :)

Thanks for your advice. I'll be more patient, and continue the life of the Church.

Offline Georgii

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2014, 08:55:16 PM »
No of course not. If God sent people to hell for being mistaken we'd all be in trouble.

We all are in trouble, but God is merciful. :)
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 09:16:24 PM by Georgii »
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Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2014, 12:07:50 AM »
We all are in trouble, but God is merciful. :)
Amen!
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 12:08:56 AM by byhisgrace »

Offline JoeS2

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2014, 10:13:07 PM »
Quote
about whether the Orthodox or Catholic position on Papal Infallibility is correct?

Christ appointed twelve disciples, all of equal authority. Note also that Peter, supposedly the chief among them, denied Christ three times, yet he was not rejected as an apostle by Christ.

"Get thee behind me Satan".... pretty strong words.

Offline jb504079

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2014, 04:21:04 PM »
I almost became Roman Catholic, but I continued to study, and I became Orthodox.  One of my biggest questions then about Papal Primacy was "Why Rome?"  If PETER was the "only rock" on which the Church was built, and only PETER'S authority passes on to his successors, why not his successors in Antioch?  Why Rome alone?  Did Peter not anoint a successor Bishop in Antioch after founding the Church there?  Sure he did.

So, if the whole Papacy doctrine hinges on "Peter", and not "Rome", then what are we to think of Peter's successors in Antioch?

Offline LenInSebastopol

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2014, 06:30:18 PM »
It would be history gained by actual experience and not just information from books.
Experience can be subjective. How can I know by experience whether the Spirit is leading me?

1 John 4:1 can help as can prayer and fasting
Mark 14:36
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Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #29 on: November 21, 2014, 06:58:20 PM »
I almost became Roman Catholic, but I continued to study, and I became Orthodox.  One of my biggest questions then about Papal Primacy was "Why Rome?"  If PETER was the "only rock" on which the Church was built, and only PETER'S authority passes on to his successors, why not his successors in Antioch?  Why Rome alone?  Did Peter not anoint a successor Bishop in Antioch after founding the Church there?  Sure he did.

So, if the whole Papacy doctrine hinges on "Peter", and not "Rome", then what are we to think of Peter's successors in Antioch?

I agree. I don't buy the Catholic apologetic argument that the Papal office is necessary in order to fulfill Christ's promises to the Church (i.e. the gates of hell will not prevail, the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth, Christ will be with us always, the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth with the authority to bind and loose, etc.)

However, I can't seem to get around one of the classic Catholic apologetic proof-texts from the ECFs: "Against Heresies 3.3.2" by Irenaeus of Lyons, even though I read the entire book. He seems to clearly state that the Church of Rome had higher authority over other Churches, not just a place of honor. Then again, though, I do notice that Irenaeus appealed to Rome by the authority of Peter AND Paul, not just the "seat of Peter."   

Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #30 on: November 21, 2014, 10:06:17 PM »
I almost became Roman Catholic, but I continued to study, and I became Orthodox.  One of my biggest questions then about Papal Primacy was "Why Rome?"  If PETER was the "only rock" on which the Church was built, and only PETER'S authority passes on to his successors, why not his successors in Antioch?  Why Rome alone?  Did Peter not anoint a successor Bishop in Antioch after founding the Church there?  Sure he did.

So, if the whole Papacy doctrine hinges on "Peter", and not "Rome", then what are we to think of Peter's successors in Antioch?

See this sealed it for me. It's probably just my abysmal ignorance, but it never seemed that complicated and impossible to grasp.
"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #31 on: November 22, 2014, 12:46:19 AM »
I almost became Roman Catholic, but I continued to study, and I became Orthodox.  One of my biggest questions then about Papal Primacy was "Why Rome?"  If PETER was the "only rock" on which the Church was built, and only PETER'S authority passes on to his successors, why not his successors in Antioch?  Why Rome alone?  Did Peter not anoint a successor Bishop in Antioch after founding the Church there?  Sure he did.

So, if the whole Papacy doctrine hinges on "Peter", and not "Rome", then what are we to think of Peter's successors in Antioch?

If I were trying to argue for the Latins I would ask "Which of Antioch's Peters?".

Off the top of my head: Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Syriac Non-Chalcedonian Patriarch (Jacobite), Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch, Syriac Catholic Patriarch, the Syriac Maronite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, or the now defunct Latin Patriarch of Antioch.

Of course then one could point out that most of those were overlapping Catholic Patriarchs, so who knows.

Offline FormerReformer

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #32 on: November 22, 2014, 01:31:35 AM »
I almost became Roman Catholic, but I continued to study, and I became Orthodox.  One of my biggest questions then about Papal Primacy was "Why Rome?"  If PETER was the "only rock" on which the Church was built, and only PETER'S authority passes on to his successors, why not his successors in Antioch?  Why Rome alone?  Did Peter not anoint a successor Bishop in Antioch after founding the Church there?  Sure he did.

So, if the whole Papacy doctrine hinges on "Peter", and not "Rome", then what are we to think of Peter's successors in Antioch?

If I were trying to argue for the Latins I would ask "Which of Antioch's Peters?".

Off the top of my head: Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Syriac Non-Chalcedonian Patriarch (Jacobite), Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch, Syriac Catholic Patriarch, the Syriac Maronite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, or the now defunct Latin Patriarch of Antioch.

Of course then one could point out that most of those were overlapping Catholic Patriarchs, so who knows.

Actually, that's a pretty good point. Regardless Rome/Antioch, the Latin church obviously wins by virtue of having the majority vote in Antioch.

*sigh* I guess it's time to enroll in RCIA.  ;D
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Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #33 on: November 22, 2014, 04:12:52 AM »
Spend some time at Mass and at the Divine Liturgy. That would be my recommendation. I know some people come to the faith through a study of history but it can be really confusing as well. Instead of history in my opinion your time would be better spent experiencing the life of the Church.
I attended mass twice and a Divine Liturgy once. I met and talked, in person, once with an Orthodox priest, and once with a Catholic priest. Unfortunately, nothing "clicked" on me. What do you advice I do, now?

By the way, is there an "RCIA," only for the Orthodox Church?

Thanks.

These things take time and wisdom to discern. I just read all of the arguments I could find of the opposing side, and I've arrived at a conclusion. I still plan on reevaluating that conclusion before I do anything decisive, but it's difficult. Life is extremely complex.
Not everything I type or have typed in the past is reflective of the teaching of the Orthodox Church, or may not reflect my contemporary views on a subject. (4/6/2015)

Glory to Jesus Christ!

قدوس لله قدوس القوي قدوس الذي لا يموت ارحمنا

Offline Jonathan

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #34 on: November 22, 2014, 08:20:45 AM »
This is a really good book for an intro to these history issues http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1481905880/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1416658742&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SY200_QL40

Offline MalpanaGiwargis

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #35 on: November 22, 2014, 08:24:55 AM »
If I can offer a reply to the OP as one who is not (yet?) Orthodox, I converted to Catholicism back in the late 90s when I was in college. At the time, it seemed a perfect solution to the objections I had always had to the largely Baptist Christianity I grew up in (my family was devout but denominationally-vague). Examining my life at that time, though I certainly “believe[d] and profess[ed] all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God” (from the profession of faith before my reception), I think my decision to convert was, among other things, excessively based on doctrine and Western history. Obviously doctrine is important, but syllogism and deduction divorced, even conceptually, from prayer is a problem. I don't think that that is intrinsic to Catholicism, but the Latin tradition is more tempted to rationalism than the many Eastern traditions. And by focusing on the West, Catholicism naturally seemed to me more correct than Protestantism; while the Reformers had many very valid points, their position ultimately had to be rejected because they did not return to apostolic doctrine and practice, instead choosing to invent their own churches and polities.

To cut this off a bit, focus less on history, less on doctrine. Brilliant minds on every side have come to different conclusions. Catholics become Orthodox and Orthodox become Catholic, each claiming a clear conscience and certainty from their investigations. Pray every day and cultivate a relationship with someone in each tradition to talk to. A priest is obviously a good place to start; he may have valuable information for you. Don't make a quick decision - coming to God is not a sprint, but a marathon. Trust that God will guide you where He wants you. Keep in mind the wise saying of St. Anthony the Great:

“Somebody asked Anthony, 'What shall I do in order to please God?' He replied, 'Do what I tell you, which is this: wherever you go, keep God in mind; whatever you do, follow the example of Holy Scripture; wherever you are, stay there and do not move away in a hurry. If you keep to these guidelines, you will be saved.’”
Woe is me, that I have read the commandments,
   and have become learned in the Scriptures,
and have been instructed in Your glories,
   and yet I have become occupied in shameful things!

(Giwargis Warda, On Compunction of Soul)

Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #36 on: November 22, 2014, 11:12:48 AM »
If I can offer a reply to the OP as one who is not (yet?) Orthodox, I converted to Catholicism back in the late 90s when I was in college. At the time, it seemed a perfect solution to the objections I had always had to the largely Baptist Christianity I grew up in (my family was devout but denominationally-vague). Examining my life at that time, though I certainly “believe[d] and profess[ed] all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God” (from the profession of faith before my reception), I think my decision to convert was, among other things, excessively based on doctrine and Western history. Obviously doctrine is important, but syllogism and deduction divorced, even conceptually, from prayer is a problem. I don't think that that is intrinsic to Catholicism, but the Latin tradition is more tempted to rationalism than the many Eastern traditions. And by focusing on the West, Catholicism naturally seemed to me more correct than Protestantism; while the Reformers had many very valid points, their position ultimately had to be rejected because they did not return to apostolic doctrine and practice, instead choosing to invent their own churches and polities.

To cut this off a bit, focus less on history, less on doctrine. Brilliant minds on every side have come to different conclusions. Catholics become Orthodox and Orthodox become Catholic, each claiming a clear conscience and certainty from their investigations. Pray every day and cultivate a relationship with someone in each tradition to talk to. A priest is obviously a good place to start; he may have valuable information for you. Don't make a quick decision - coming to God is not a sprint, but a marathon. Trust that God will guide you where He wants you. Keep in mind the wise saying of St. Anthony the Great:

“Somebody asked Anthony, 'What shall I do in order to please God?' He replied, 'Do what I tell you, which is this: wherever you go, keep God in mind; whatever you do, follow the example of Holy Scripture; wherever you are, stay there and do not move away in a hurry. If you keep to these guidelines, you will be saved.’”

I wish I can give "reputation points" on this forum! Malpana, great post an great advice!

Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #37 on: November 22, 2014, 12:46:21 PM »
If I can offer a reply to the OP as one who is not (yet?) Orthodox, I converted to Catholicism back in the late 90s when I was in college. At the time, it seemed a perfect solution to the objections I had always had to the largely Baptist Christianity I grew up in (my family was devout but denominationally-vague). Examining my life at that time, though I certainly “believe[d] and profess[ed] all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God” (from the profession of faith before my reception), I think my decision to convert was, among other things, excessively based on doctrine and Western history. Obviously doctrine is important, but syllogism and deduction divorced, even conceptually, from prayer is a problem. I don't think that that is intrinsic to Catholicism, but the Latin tradition is more tempted to rationalism than the many Eastern traditions. And by focusing on the West, Catholicism naturally seemed to me more correct than Protestantism; while the Reformers had many very valid points, their position ultimately had to be rejected because they did not return to apostolic doctrine and practice, instead choosing to invent their own churches and polities.

To cut this off a bit, focus less on history, less on doctrine. Brilliant minds on every side have come to different conclusions. Catholics become Orthodox and Orthodox become Catholic, each claiming a clear conscience and certainty from their investigations. Pray every day and cultivate a relationship with someone in each tradition to talk to. A priest is obviously a good place to start; he may have valuable information for you. Don't make a quick decision - coming to God is not a sprint, but a marathon. Trust that God will guide you where He wants you. Keep in mind the wise saying of St. Anthony the Great:

“Somebody asked Anthony, 'What shall I do in order to please God?' He replied, 'Do what I tell you, which is this: wherever you go, keep God in mind; whatever you do, follow the example of Holy Scripture; wherever you are, stay there and do not move away in a hurry. If you keep to these guidelines, you will be saved.’”
Do you believe that Catholicism stands or falls on whether Papal infallibility is Apostolic truth? If so, then why isn't this quote from Irenaeus good enough for you?

Quote
Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say, ] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2014, 12:49:53 PM by byhisgrace »

Offline jewish voice

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #38 on: November 22, 2014, 01:03:17 PM »
Just to point something out that I have asked rcc priest before. Wasn't James the brother of Jesus the leader in acts it was Peter and Paul who brought there case before him on what laws if and should non Jew have to take on. Just something to think about

Offline MalpanaGiwargis

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Re: Does it take the knowledge of a historian to discern who is right?
« Reply #39 on: November 22, 2014, 01:05:13 PM »
Do you believe that Catholicism stands or falls on whether Papal infallibility is Apostolic truth? If so, then why isn't this quote from Irenaeus good enough for you?

To the first question, I don't know if I would say that it "stands or falls." That said, if Papal Infallibility is false, then obviously the Roman Church has been in error for a long time and needs to drop the pretension and return to Orthodoxy. Infallibility is just a logical outgrowth of the Roman doctrine of Papal Supremacy - that may really be what Catholicism stands or falls on. Whether Rome is the "true Church" or not, there is a lot of good in the Roman tradition, and its liturgy and piety was certainly compatible with Orthodoxy in the first millennium. And there are also certainly a lot of things that are true in Catholicism. So if Papal Infallibility is false, then obviously Rome needs to abjure it and other doctrinal aberrations that stem therefrom and return to its place in Orthodoxy.

To the second, my faith does not stand or fall on the words of one Father, no matter how illustrious. No matter what I ultimately do from a Church affiliation standpoint, I am comfortable in saying that the overwhelming Patristic witness regarding the Roman Church's papal claims is one of deafening silence. The few proof texts brought in favor of the Roman doctrine are usually taken out of context or read tendentiously; no less a Roman Pope than St. Gregory the Great seems to reject many aspects of the modern doctrine. Regarding the quote from St. Irenaeus's quote, I don't think it has to be read in the way a Catholic apologist would. It could simply mean that since to that point in time the Roman Church had always preserved the apostolic faith in its purity, it was a reliable way of testing Orthodoxy - does one agree with the Roman Church? Remember that St. Irenaeus lived before the period of the ecumenical councils, which are now the true measure of orthodox Christian belief.

But note what St. Irenaeus does not say: he does not say that this "preeminent authority" is founded on St. Peter as "prince of the apostles," nor does he say that the Roman Church cannot deviate from the Orthodox faith. He does not say that the Pope of Rome has supreme, immediate, universal, and ordinary jurisdiction over everyone, including the other bishops, nor does he say that the Roman Pope's pronouncements are irreformable of themselves apart from any consensus of the Church. Reading 19th-century formulations into the 2nd-3rd centuries is simply impossible.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2014, 01:05:43 PM by MalpanaGiwargis »
Woe is me, that I have read the commandments,
   and have become learned in the Scriptures,
and have been instructed in Your glories,
   and yet I have become occupied in shameful things!

(Giwargis Warda, On Compunction of Soul)