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Author Topic: Question regarding the Defense of the Early Church  (Read 1904 times) Average Rating: 0
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nicodemus144
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« on: March 08, 2014, 07:41:31 PM »

hello.

i find many of the Orthodox arguments in defense of the early church to be very compelling. though i do have a potential confound in my mind that i'd like to present to see what Orthodoxy might say to the matter.

one defense i often hear is that, if the early church fell into heresy and those teachings were not expunged, then the consequences of that would be that Christ would be a liar (He wasn't with us) and/or the Holy Spirit was weak and could not protect the church and lead into all truth, thus destroying the whole faith.

my thought is, God made creation and He made it good. the devil, however, seemingly jumped in there very early to muck things up and incite creation to head on a trajectory that was off the mark. this being true, though, doesn't seem to negate God's goodness, power or reliability, nor His eventual restoration of all things.

given that, is it really fair to say that the whole faith comes into question if God hadn't protected the early church in precisely the way we might think or want to believe? rather, hasn't God historically seemed to work in ways other than how we expect them to be?

also considering the parable of the wheat and tares, might this all not suggest the possibility that the Church is more a mystery of the heart than an institution? it would have to be, if it's not the institution that is to be protected, but those of a circumcised heart.

i don't personally find this potential objection to be in any way strong, but i would like it addressed.

any thoughts are appreciated. thanks for your time, patience and effort.

God bless.
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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2014, 11:19:04 AM »

hello.

i find many of the Orthodox arguments in defense of the early church to be very compelling. though i do have a potential confound in my mind that i'd like to present to see what Orthodoxy might say to the matter.

one defense i often hear is that, if the early church fell into heresy and those teachings were not expunged, then the consequences of that would be that Christ would be a liar (He wasn't with us) and/or the Holy Spirit was weak and could not protect the church and lead into all truth, thus destroying the whole faith.

my thought is, God made creation and He made it good. the devil, however, seemingly jumped in there very early to muck things up and incite creation to head on a trajectory that was off the mark. this being true, though, doesn't seem to negate God's goodness, power or reliability, nor His eventual restoration of all things.

given that, is it really fair to say that the whole faith comes into question if God hadn't protected the early church in precisely the way we might think or want to believe? rather, hasn't God historically seemed to work in ways other than how we expect them to be?

also considering the parable of the wheat and tares, might this all not suggest the possibility that the Church is more a mystery of the heart than an institution? it would have to be, if it's not the institution that is to be protected, but those of a circumcised heart.

i don't personally find this potential objection to be in any way strong, but i would like it addressed.

any thoughts are appreciated. thanks for your time, patience and effort.

God bless.

Perhaps a more relevant question would be, would God allow His Church to fall into fundamental error immediately after the death of the Apostles and let His people remain in error until the 16th century. Or who is more reliable people like St.Ignatius of Antioch who heard Sts.Peter and Paul preach, or St. Irenaeus of Lyons who learned from St. Polycarp who learned from St. John or Luther or Calvin who lived 1400 year later and never heard an Apostle preach.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2014, 11:27:46 AM »

thank you for replying, Father.

Perhaps a more relevant question would be, would God allow His Church to fall into fundamental error immediately after the death of the Apostles and let His people remain in error until the 16th century.

isn't this similar to asking, "would God allow His creation to fall into fundamental error immediately after it had been made and let people remain in error until Abraham/the Law/Christ/Resurrection?" and yet, He did, right?


Quote
Or who is more reliable people like St.Ignatius of Antioch who heard Sts.Peter and Paul preach, or St. Irenaeus of Lyons who learned from St. Polycarp who learned from St. John or Luther or Calvin who lived 1400 year later and never heard an Apostle preach.

Fr. John W. Morris

this is compelling to me, yes.

though one could make the argument that this is all a refining process over time guided by God rather than men, right? again referencing how God related to and guided humanity over time through Abraham/Law/etc. how can this assertion be refuted?

my personal objection is probably more that i don't find the teachings or manner of calvin or luther to be very compelling or inspired in a greater sense (perhaps Traditional sense?)
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2014, 12:04:06 PM »

i hope this question doesn't bother people. or perhaps it's just regarded as a stupid question. Smiley

i suppose the essence of what i'm getting at here is whether or not we can assume that God will act in a particular way, when history seems to indicate that we cannot assume that.

however, i doubt it would be enough by itself to keep me from Orthodoxy, as one would have to ignore the greater body of evidence that does support the Church as it was, is and, Lord willing, will be.

perhaps it's simply enough to keep us humble to remember that His ways are not our ways, and that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2014, 12:31:34 PM »

thank you for replying, Father.

Perhaps a more relevant question would be, would God allow His Church to fall into fundamental error immediately after the death of the Apostles and let His people remain in error until the 16th century.

isn't this similar to asking, "would God allow His creation to fall into fundamental error immediately after it had been made and let people remain in error until Abraham/the Law/Christ/Resurrection?" and yet, He did, right?


Quote
Or who is more reliable people like St.Ignatius of Antioch who heard Sts.Peter and Paul preach, or St. Irenaeus of Lyons who learned from St. Polycarp who learned from St. John or Luther or Calvin who lived 1400 year later and never heard an Apostle preach.

Fr. John W. Morris

this is compelling to me, yes.

though one could make the argument that this is all a refining process over time guided by God rather than men, right? again referencing how God related to and guided humanity over time through Abraham/Law/etc. how can this assertion be refuted?

my personal objection is probably more that i don't find the teachings or manner of calvin or luther to be very compelling or inspired in a greater sense (perhaps Traditional sense?)

Luther and Calvin invented a new form of Christianity that had little resemblance to the Christianity of the ancient Fathers. For one thing all the Fathers until Augustine strongly affirmed free will, which both Luther and Calvin reject. All of the Fathers taught that the Church is led by Bishops in Apostolic Succession. Both Luther and Calvin rejected this ancient Christian doctrine. Both Luther and Calvin rejected the Sacramental nature of Chrismation, Confession, Ordination, Holy Unction and Marriage. Luther, at times,  did consider Confession a Sacrament.  Luther kept many forms of historic liturgy. Calvin rejected historic liturgy. Neither acknowledge the authority of the 7 Ecumenical Councils.

Fr. John  W. Morris
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nicodemus144
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2014, 12:36:02 PM »

Luther and Calvin invented a new form of Christianity that had little resemblance to the Christianity of the ancient Fathers. For one thing all the Fathers until Augustine strongly affirmed free will, which both Luther and Calvin reject. All of the Fathers taught that the Church is led by Bishops in Apostolic Succession. Both Luther and Calvin rejected this ancient Christian doctrine. Both Luther and Calvin rejected the Sacramental nature of Chrismation, Confession, Ordination, Holy Unction and Marriage. Luther, at times,  did consider Confession a Sacrament.  Luther kept many forms of historic liturgy. Calvin rejected historic liturgy. Neither acknowledge the authority of the 7 Ecumenical Councils.

Fr. John  W. Morris

thank you, Father. i am aware of these differences and am in agreement with you.

are you saying, then, that because it is so different, how can it therefore be the same thing?

but weren't there similar concerns among the Pharisees with how Christ taught in relation to how they understood the faith?
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2014, 12:53:01 PM »

Luther and Calvin invented a new form of Christianity that had little resemblance to the Christianity of the ancient Fathers. For one thing all the Fathers until Augustine strongly affirmed free will, which both Luther and Calvin reject. All of the Fathers taught that the Church is led by Bishops in Apostolic Succession. Both Luther and Calvin rejected this ancient Christian doctrine. Both Luther and Calvin rejected the Sacramental nature of Chrismation, Confession, Ordination, Holy Unction and Marriage. Luther, at times,  did consider Confession a Sacrament.  Luther kept many forms of historic liturgy. Calvin rejected historic liturgy. Neither acknowledge the authority of the 7 Ecumenical Councils.

Fr. John  W. Morris

thank you, Father. i am aware of these differences and am in agreement with you.

are you saying, then, that because it is so different, how can it therefore be the same thing?

but weren't there similar concerns among the Pharisees with how Christ taught in relation to how they understood the faith?

I do not understand your point. I do know that the teachings of Luther and Calvin are contrary to the teachings of the ancient Church of the Holy Fathers and the 7 Ecumenical Councils. They were right to condemn the corruption and abuses of medieval Roman Catholicism, but instead of going back to the original teachings of the Church, they invented their own religion, based on their personal interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and rejecting the other manifestations of the Holy Tradition of the Church. In addition to his other errors, Calvin's Christology is deeply heretical with Nestorian tendencies. His denial of the communication of attributes places him outside of Christology as defied by the Holy Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils. Both Calvin and Luther reject the important patristric doctrine of free will. I do not believe that a 16 century German monk or a French lawyer could have had a better understanding of the Gospel than the Holy Fathers. You should read Eric Ericson's Young Man Luther which attributes much of his teaching to his neurotic relationship with his father.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2014, 01:02:07 PM »

yes, and a great much of that, as i am learning it here at seminary, is moving me toward Orthodoxy.

i guess my point is, how can the Orthodox be sure that their understanding and application of the faith is accurate over time, when we see that the Pharisees and scribes (not to mention the Sadducees and Essenes) failed to understand God's work in Christ, though they all claimed on some level to be trying to be obedient to God and saw themselves as keepers of the true faith?

but then, perhaps i'm thinking about it too abstractly and none of it can really be understood outside of the historical context and details.

thank you for your time and patience, by the way. your responses are helpful to me.
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2014, 01:40:54 PM »

hello.

i find many of the Orthodox arguments in defense of the early church to be very compelling. though i do have a potential confound in my mind that i'd like to present to see what Orthodoxy might say to the matter.

one defense i often hear is that, if the early church fell into heresy and those teachings were not expunged, then the consequences of that would be that Christ would be a liar (He wasn't with us) and/or the Holy Spirit was weak and could not protect the church and lead into all truth, thus destroying the whole faith.

my thought is, God made creation and He made it good. the devil, however, seemingly jumped in there very early to muck things up and incite creation to head on a trajectory that was off the mark. this being true, though, doesn't seem to negate God's goodness, power or reliability, nor His eventual restoration of all things.

given that, is it really fair to say that the whole faith comes into question if God hadn't protected the early church in precisely the way we might think or want to believe? rather, hasn't God historically seemed to work in ways other than how we expect them to be?

also considering the parable of the wheat and tares, might this all not suggest the possibility that the Church is more a mystery of the heart than an institution? it would have to be, if it's not the institution that is to be protected, but those of a circumcised heart.

i don't personally find this potential objection to be in any way strong, but i would like it addressed.

any thoughts are appreciated. thanks for your time, patience and effort.

God bless.

Of course saying that if the Church fell into heresy means that Christ is a liar is an assumption that the Church is infallible, something that Protestants do not hold. But is believing that the early Church went completely off the rails immediately following St. John's death realistic? Putting aside the question of the infallibility of the Church for now, wouldn't it be a safe assumption to make that the early Church would have at least got along well for say, 2-3 generations after the apostles before error and corruption started to set in? That's not taking into account that it would not have affected the whole Church all at once. During the apostolic age, the apostles evangelized, and where ever they went, they set up Churches in each city, and appointed leaders well taught in the faith and reliable. They set up Churches in Palestine, Antioch, Asia, Alexandria, Greece, Rome, etc. and appointing faithful leaders in those Churches. And they just didn't establish those Churches and leave them on their own, but sent them letters and visited them, making sure they did not fall into error. Once we put this into perspective, it indeed is foolish to claim that the WHOLE Church all at once fell immediately after St. John. This is contrived and biased. This "Great Apostasy" could not have happened naturally. Tertullian makes note of this: "Grant, then, that all have erred; that the apostle was mistaken in giving his testimony; that the Holy Ghost had no such respect to any one (church) as to lead it into truth, although sent with this view by Christ, John 14:26 and for this asked of the Father that He might be the teacher of truth; John 15:26 grant, also, that He, the Steward of God, the Vicar of Christ, neglected His office, permitting the churches for a time to understand differently, (and) to believe differently, what He Himself was preaching by the apostles—is it likely that so many churches, and they so great, should have gone astray into one and the same faith? No casualty distributed among many men issues in one and the same result. Error of doctrine in the churches must necessarily have produced various issues. When, however, that which is deposited among many is found to be one and the same, it is not the result of error, but of tradition. Can any one, then, be reckless enough to say that they were in error who handed on the tradition?" (Prescription Against Heretics 28). Now with that said, we have writings of the Fathers from the 1st and 2nd centuries. And no, they do not reflect Protestantism, let alone Evangelicalism. St. Clement of Rome (d. 99AD), St. Irenaeus (d. 202AD), and Tertullian clearly believe in apostolic succession. St. Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107AD) clearly believes in ecclesial hierarchy. Ss. Ignatius, Irenaeus, and Justin Martyr (d. 165AD) clearly believe that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. We just do not see any Protestants in the early Church, and absolutely no evidence of a so-called "Great Apostasy". This is why I cannot remain Protestant. Sorry for my long post, I feel like I'm rambling on. I think I should stop now.  Wink
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2014, 01:43:46 PM »

haha, no problem.  i understand the impetus. this is all rather important. Smiley

i will respond to what you wrote more thoroughly in a few days, as i must leave to travel for a bit.

thanks for taking the time to respond!
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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2014, 01:55:19 PM »

isn't this similar to asking, "would God allow His creation to fall into fundamental error immediately after it had been made and let people remain in error until Abraham/the Law/Christ/Resurrection?" and yet, He did, right?
When in Genesis did God ever promise that the powers of death would not prevail against His creation?
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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2014, 01:57:26 PM »

I don't think it is right to say God wasn't with humanity before Abraham. Just because the Bible is silent on the matter doesn't mean it didn't happen.
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« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2014, 02:12:58 PM »

I don't think it is right to say God wasn't with humanity before Abraham. Just because the Bible is silent on the matter doesn't mean it didn't happen.

hi, sorry, running out the door but i didn't want to let this one hang there until i get back.

i'm sorry, that's not what i'm trying to say or imply, so i apologize if it came off that way. God has clearly been with humanity before Abraham. Enoch and Noah are good examples.

i guess am trying to tease out how God relates to humanity throughout time and the fullness of the revealed understanding of how to know God and His ways.

i hope that clarifies at least a little bit. Smiley

Peter, Laird, i promise to respond as soon as i can.

thanks everyone!
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« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2014, 02:19:42 PM »

thank you for replying, Father.

Perhaps a more relevant question would be, would God allow His Church to fall into fundamental error immediately after the death of the Apostles and let His people remain in error until the 16th century.

isn't this similar to asking, "would God allow His creation to fall into fundamental error immediately after it had been made and let people remain in error until Abraham/the Law/Christ/Resurrection?" and yet, He did, right?


I think my dear friend that the fundamental difference between creation and Gods true church is that we were given mandatory over earth, all its plants, trees, animals and birds. This is clearly shown through Genesis. We therefore allowed ourselves to be brought to destruction.

Gods true church is different, there the promise is that He will guard and guide it through his Holy Spirit. A promise which can´t be broken. Humanity is not the source for guidance in the church. But we were given some of that privilege on earth after creation.

Pray for me and forgive me, the sinner
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« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2014, 04:28:21 PM »

thank you for replying, Father.

Perhaps a more relevant question would be, would God allow His Church to fall into fundamental error immediately after the death of the Apostles and let His people remain in error until the 16th century.

isn't this similar to asking, "would God allow His creation to fall into fundamental error immediately after it had been made and let people remain in error until Abraham/the Law/Christ/Resurrection?" and yet, He did, right?


Quote
Or who is more reliable people like St.Ignatius of Antioch who heard Sts.Peter and Paul preach, or St. Irenaeus of Lyons who learned from St. Polycarp who learned from St. John or Luther or Calvin who lived 1400 year later and never heard an Apostle preach.

Fr. John W. Morris

this is compelling to me, yes.

though one could make the argument that this is all a refining process over time guided by God rather than men, right? again referencing how God related to and guided humanity over time through Abraham/Law/etc. how can this assertion be refuted?

I think I know what you are trying to get at. God was with Israel under the Old Covenant, and yet they continually fell into error, requiring prophets sent by God to bring them back, like in Judges. They fell into error, but that did not make God a liar. So under the New Covenant, wouldn't it be the same? Wouldn't God send people like Luther and the Reformers to bring back the Church from error? First of all, although the New Covenant is a continuation and fulfillment of the Old Covenant, it would also be something different and better. And second, the Old Covenant was incomplete and the full revelation hadn't come yet:

Quote
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son. - Hebrews 1:1-2

I know this sounds like a lame answer, but I hope others can answer this better. I'll have to think more on this.

Also, I would like to add to reply #8 that the Apostolic Fathers, Ss. Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, and Polycarp of Smyrna, were thus called because of their direct connection with the apostles themselves. They knew them and had heard their teachings, and Ss. Ignatius and Polycarp were together disciples of St. John, and St. Irenaeus was a disciple of St. Polycarp. But they were not the only ones who knew and heard the apostles, but many in their time would have too. And there was also the 70 apostles (there was likely more) who had been taught by Christ Himself.
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« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2014, 05:14:48 PM »

yes, and a great much of that, as i am learning it here at seminary, is moving me toward Orthodoxy.

i guess my point is, how can the Orthodox be sure that their understanding and application of the faith is accurate over time, when we see that the Pharisees and scribes (not to mention the Sadducees and Essenes) failed to understand God's work in Christ, though they all claimed on some level to be trying to be obedient to God and saw themselves as keepers of the true faith?

but then, perhaps i'm thinking about it too abstractly and none of it can really be understood outside of the historical context and details.

thank you for your time and patience, by the way. your responses are helpful to me.

If you can trust the Holy Fathers to determine the canon of the New Testament, should you also not trust them to have understood it? I know that the Orthodox Church is the true Church, because it alone has kept without corruption the teachings of the Holy Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils. Rome fell into fundamental error with such teachings as purgatory, temporal punishment for sin, the filioque, and papal supremacy. Protestantism did not even begin to exist until 1517. That leaves you with only the Eastern Orthodox Church. I believe that the Holy Spirit has guided the Church to preserve without corruption the teachings of Our, Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.

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« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2014, 05:18:27 PM »

yes, and a great much of that, as i am learning it here at seminary, is moving me toward Orthodoxy.

i guess my point is, how can the Orthodox be sure that their understanding and application of the faith is accurate over time, when we see that the Pharisees and scribes (not to mention the Sadducees and Essenes) failed to understand God's work in Christ, though they all claimed on some level to be trying to be obedient to God and saw themselves as keepers of the true faith?

but then, perhaps i'm thinking about it too abstractly and none of it can really be understood outside of the historical context and details.

thank you for your time and patience, by the way. your responses are helpful to me.

If you can trust the Holy Fathers to determine the canon of the New Testament, should you also not trust them to have understood it? I know that the Orthodox Church is the true Church, because it alone has kept without corruption the teachings of the Holy Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils. Rome fell into fundamental error with such teachings as purgatory, temporal punishment for sin, the filioque, and papal supremacy. Protestantism did not even begin to exist until 1517. That leaves you with only the Eastern Orthodox Church. I believe that the Holy Spirit has guided the Church to preserve without corruption the teachings of Our, Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Fr. John W. Morris

Indeed. The Orthodox Church is the Church of the New Testament, that wrote and preserved the manuscripts of the New Testament, that compiled the New Testament, and that interprets the New Testament.

That's all there is to it. Why not trust the body that produced those writings instead of interpreting them yourself?


Quote
i guess my point is, how can the Orthodox be sure that their understanding and application of the faith is accurate over time, when we see that the Pharisees and scribes (not to mention the Sadducees and Essenes) failed to understand God's work in Christ, though they all claimed on some level to be trying to be obedient to God and saw themselves as keepers of the true faith?

How do we 'know'? I don't think it's about 'knowing' more than it is about being 'quite sure'. The Orthodox Church is the only Church that maintains certain Apostolic doctrine that no other Church does today, like fasting. Doctrines like the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist are Apostolic, most people who call themselves Christian don't adhere to the Real Presence today.

It is always possible that a Pentecostal or a Unitarian Universalist Church is right... but is it likely, given all of the evidence? Hardly.

I hate to bring this up, knowing this forum's aversion to the Vincentian Canon, but that's all that it is really.

Quote from: St. Vincent of Lerins, 434 AD
Here, it may be, someone will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and is in itself abundantly sufficient, what need is there to join to it the interpretation of the Church? The answer is that because of the very depth of Scripture all men do not place one identical interpretation upon it. The statements of the same writer are explained by different men in different ways, so much so that it seems almost possible to extract from it as many opinions as there are men... , there is great need for the laying down of a rule for the exposition of Prophets and Apostles in accordance with the standard of the interpretation of the Catholic Church. Now in the Catholic Church itself we take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all. That is truly and properly 'Catholic,' as is shown by the very force and meaning of the word, which comprehends everything almost universally...  We shall follow universality if we acknowledge that one Faith to be true which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is clear that our ancestors and fathers proclaimed.

Quote from: Sunday of Orthodoxy
As the prophets beheld, as the Apostles have taught, as the Church has received, as the teachers have dogmatized, as the Universe has agreed, as Grace has shown forth, as Truth has revealed, as falsehood has been dissolved, as Wisdom has presented, as Christ Awarded, thus we declare, thus we assert... This is the Faith of the Apostles, this is the Faith of the Fathers, this is the Faith of the Orthodox, this is the Faith which has established the Universe.
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« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2014, 10:34:20 PM »

I hate to bring this up, knowing this forum's aversion to the Vincentian Canon, but that's all that it is really.
What aversion to the Vincentian Canon are you talking about? Huh
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« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2014, 10:38:58 PM »

I hate to bring this up, knowing this forum's aversion to the Vincentian Canon, but that's all that it is really.
What aversion to the Vincentian Canon are you talking about? Huh

LOL*
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« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2014, 11:28:44 PM »

hello.

i find many of the Orthodox arguments in defense of the early church to be very compelling. though i do have a potential confound in my mind that i'd like to present to see what Orthodoxy might say to the matter.

one defense i often hear is that, if the early church fell into heresy and those teachings were not expunged, then the consequences of that would be that Christ would be a liar (He wasn't with us) and/or the Holy Spirit was weak and could not protect the church and lead into all truth, thus destroying the whole faith.

my thought is, God made creation and He made it good. the devil, however, seemingly jumped in there very early to muck things up and incite creation to head on a trajectory that was off the mark. this being true, though, doesn't seem to negate God's goodness, power or reliability, nor His eventual restoration of all things.

given that, is it really fair to say that the whole faith comes into question if God hadn't protected the early church in precisely the way we might think or want to believe? rather, hasn't God historically seemed to work in ways other than how we expect them to be?

also considering the parable of the wheat and tares, might this all not suggest the possibility that the Church is more a mystery of the heart than an institution? it would have to be, if it's not the institution that is to be protected, but those of a circumcised heart.

i don't personally find this potential objection to be in any way strong, but i would like it addressed.

any thoughts are appreciated. thanks for your time, patience and effort.

God bless.

You are right the Orthodox do not have an institutional theology of the Church. According to our understanding, the Church is manifested in its fullness through the Divine Liturgy. Each local Eucharistic assembly is united to the other local Eucharistic assemblies through their Communion with each other through their Bishop. The Communion with the Bishops with each other create the Patriarchate or autocephalous Church. The Communion of the autocephalous Churches with each other creates the world wide canonical Eastern Orthodox Church. This Communion through Communion is predicated on sharing the Orthodox Faith. Christ promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church, for that reason we believe that the Holy Spirit has kept the doctrine of the Church pure despite the various heresies that it had to fight through the centuries.

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« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2014, 06:18:04 PM »

thank you all for your responses and patience.

i think i am beginning to see something, as simple as it may seem to others. i, and i'm sure others, do seem to see the church as "just another group of humans in history trying to figure it out." even if they ascribe to a kind of "invisible church" idea, that's more of a secondary apologetic to incorporate scripture in view of what is perceived to be the reality of the former view.

whereas it does seem that the EO view the Church as something a great deal more than that, and as unique in history.  presence of Holy Spirit, new covenant, promises to guard and lead into truth, these are substantial matters that make a marked difference.

i wonder, then, if it is also a matter of faith. i may be wrong, but protestantism seems to be markedly distrustful of authority. perhaps understandably, coming out of rome, but not ultimately justifiable. this distrust leads to a lack of faith in communions of men, and instead rests on a transcendent faith in God.

but, as with many (all?) things God has done in the work of Christ, there is a communion and a rejoining of the human with the divine, which is also expressed in the Church.

please correct if i am mistaken in any part.

it seems to me that i must trust the Church because of my trust in God.
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« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2014, 09:37:19 PM »

thank you all for your responses and patience.

i think i am beginning to see something, as simple as it may seem to others. i, and i'm sure others, do seem to see the church as "just another group of humans in history trying to figure it out." even if they ascribe to a kind of "invisible church" idea, that's more of a secondary apologetic to incorporate scripture in view of what is perceived to be the reality of the former view.

whereas it does seem that the EO view the Church as something a great deal more than that, and as unique in history.  presence of Holy Spirit, new covenant, promises to guard and lead into truth, these are substantial matters that make a marked difference.

i wonder, then, if it is also a matter of faith. i may be wrong, but protestantism seems to be markedly distrustful of authority. perhaps understandably, coming out of rome, but not ultimately justifiable. this distrust leads to a lack of faith in communions of men, and instead rests on a transcendent faith in God.

but, as with many (all?) things God has done in the work of Christ, there is a communion and a rejoining of the human with the divine, which is also expressed in the Church.

please correct if i am mistaken in any part.

it seems to me that i must trust the Church because of my trust in God.

That is not exactly true. A growing number of Evangelical Protestants are embracing the authority of Calvin. He and modern popular Calvinist preachers are like rock stars to  growing number of young Evangelicals.
A significant number of Christians have joined unaffiliated megachurces in which the preacher is like a local Pope.

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« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2014, 09:44:04 PM »

Ah indeed, I see that here at seminary as well. I'm wondering if they, like me, are sensing the void of authority in Protestantism.

I much prefer the EO to Calvinism. *shudder*

I've requested to become a catechumen at my nearest OCA church. I would like for the priest to further guide my instruction and inquiry.

May the Lord mercifully keep me and lead me into all truth.

Thank you for your help, care and patience.
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2014, 03:08:21 PM »

may God lead you and guide you.
and may God continue to lead the seminary students on courses on church history, where the truth shines brightly as soon as they start to look what happened between 100 & 1500AD.

what denomination seminary is it? (if you don't mind saying, otherwise ignore the question)

have you seen this short film?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2gI17e7A8
it's about the antiochian orthodox church in north america; great story.
 Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2014, 03:23:45 PM »

i attend Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. it is trans-denominational.

*edit*

thank you for the video, i will watch.
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« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2014, 03:27:06 PM »

i attend Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. it is trans-denominational.

Their statement of faith is a little heterodox though. But, most Evangelical seminaries are.
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« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2014, 03:31:29 PM »

i attend Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. it is trans-denominational.

Their statement of faith is a little heterodox though. But, most Evangelical seminaries are.

yes, though this is understandable as they're protestants, right? Smiley  i imagine they're doing the best they can right now, as we all are. may God have mercy on us all.

as for me, i think i've seen too much now to go back to my protestant ways. the more i study, the clearer it becomes that Orthodoxy is the Church, the ancient faith preserved. Orthodoxy can answer for itself, but the protestants i ask, even my professors, cannot give good answers for protestantism.
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« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2014, 04:04:30 PM »

thank you for that video, it was lovely. it's nice to know that i'm not alone, though i feel alone.

i've always felt like i have no where to rest my head. i'm almost scared to hope that there might actually be a place i could truly call home.
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« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2014, 05:46:25 PM »

I've requested to become a catechumen at my nearest OCA church. I would like for the priest to further guide my instruction and inquiry.

May the Lord mercifully keep me and lead me into all truth.

Thank you for your help, care and patience.

Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2014, 08:44:00 PM »

i guess my point is, how can the Orthodox be sure that their understanding and application of the faith is accurate over time, when we see that the Pharisees and scribes (not to mention the Sadducees and Essenes) failed to understand God's work in Christ, though they all claimed on some level to be trying to be obedient to God and saw themselves as keepers of the true faith?

but then, perhaps i'm thinking about it too abstractly and none of it can really be understood outside of the historical context and details.

This is a very good question to ask. Perhaps you would find it helpful if we looked at the case put forward by someone who in fact argues that the early Church fell into apostasy?

https://sites.google.com/a/thekingsparlor.com/the-kings-parlor/concerning-orthodoxy/41-reasons-why-i-am-not-eastern-orthodox-by-drake
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« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2014, 10:40:34 PM »

Um, thanks I guess. Smiley

This man is certainly thoughtful and dedicated. I'm sure he may have a point or three in there but it's a bit hard to follow his writing and train of thought. To put it mildly, his mind seems a bit addled. Also, he's an apostate. So that makes it a bit suspect to me.

Honestly, there but for the Grace of God go I. I could easily see myself turning into this guy. I don't want to be always learning and never come to the knowledge of the truth, or worse yet, lose it.

God help us, but at some point we need to put the inquiry down and just believe. The devil will always have a clever reason as to why we shouldn't.

Thanks for sharing. If I missed the point of your post I apologize. Please forgive me and feel free to correct me.
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« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2014, 10:49:58 PM »

i guess my point is, how can the Orthodox be sure that their understanding and application of the faith is accurate over time, when we see that the Pharisees and scribes (not to mention the Sadducees and Essenes) failed to understand God's work in Christ, though they all claimed on some level to be trying to be obedient to God and saw themselves as keepers of the true faith?

but then, perhaps i'm thinking about it too abstractly and none of it can really be understood outside of the historical context and details.

This is a very good question to ask. Perhaps you would find it helpful if we looked at the case put forward by someone who in fact argues that the early Church fell into apostasy?

https://sites.google.com/a/thekingsparlor.com/the-kings-parlor/concerning-orthodoxy/41-reasons-why-i-am-not-eastern-orthodox-by-drake

He clearly does not understand Eastern Orthodoxy, because his criticisms of Eastern Orthodoxy are not based on the writings of Eastern Orthodox theologians, but mostly on the the work of a Lutheran theologian, Gustav Aulen' Cristus Victor
The answer to this issue is very simple, the Holy Spirit has guided the Church to preserve the teachings of Christ and His Apostles. The author is looking at ancient Church history with glasses heavily tinted with a strong Protestant bias. He also obviously does not know that much about Church history, or he would know that the Church condemned Origen.

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« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2014, 12:52:50 AM »

Um, thanks I guess. Smiley

I know, that link probably wasn't what you were looking for. But it's the best defense I've seen for the idea of a Great Apostasy in the early Church.

Quote
This man is certainly thoughtful and dedicated.

Indeed. He seems brilliant to me.

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I'm sure he may have a point or three in there but it's a bit hard to follow his writing and train of thought. To put it mildly, his mind seems a bit addled.

True. But aren't geniuses often a bit crazy?

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Also, he's an apostate. So that makes it a bit suspect to me.

What gives you that impression?

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Honestly, there but for the Grace of God go I. I could easily see myself turning into this guy. I don't want to be always learning and never come to the knowledge of the truth, or worse yet, lose it.

God help us, but at some point we need to put the inquiry down and just believe. The devil will always have a clever reason as to why we shouldn't.

This Calvinist does seem to illustrate very well the Eastern concern about overusing our intellects. One basic reason I couldn't be Protestant is that it would leave up to me the task of figuring out so many things on my own by analyzing "a fallible collection of infallible books", which is how one Reformed apologist described the Bible.

Still, just because he seems to have taken things more than a bit far doesn't mean that he's wrong. If Orthodoxy is true, we should be able to refute his essay point by point.

Quote
Thanks for sharing. If I missed the point of your post I apologize. Please forgive me and feel free to correct me.

Oh, don't worry. Smiley I hope this post has cleared things up somewhat.
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« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2014, 09:46:28 AM »

here's his renunciation of the faith:

http://drakeshelton.com/2013/07/28/christianity-is-heresy-my-formal-renunciation-of-the-christian-religion/

he says he still follows the Messiah, but who knows what that means to him at this point.

i'd have to leave the refutation of his claims to those more learned. Smiley  this is a bit of what i'm grating against here at seminary. the faith is meant to be simple. simple for the simple, simple for a child. it's a reunion. one shouldn't need a complex and internally consistent systematic theology in order to understand it, nor does that justify us before God, nor is it a marker of maturity in the faith. one certainly doesn't need that in order to be saved and reconcile with God.

it's a bit disheartening how we got from "Love God with all you have, Love your neighbor as yourself" to all this confusion.

ISTM, humans just over-complicate things. Lord have mercy on us all.
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« Reply #34 on: March 22, 2014, 12:40:28 AM »

He clearly does not understand Eastern Orthodoxy, because his criticisms of Eastern Orthodoxy are not based on the writings of Eastern Orthodox theologians, but mostly on the the work of a Lutheran theologian, Gustav Aulen' Cristus Victor.  

In what ways specifically does Drake misunderstand Orthodox theology?

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The answer to this issue is very simple, the Holy Spirit has guided the Church to preserve the teachings of Christ and His Apostles.

But on this view aren't we presupposing that certain passages of Scripture meant one thing and not another? How do we deal with, for example, the problem that (1a) the apostles were constantly jumping in to save the churches they had founded from heresies, and (1b) Christ warned a lot of churches that they were on the wrong path, so (2) when the twelve had departed this world, the Christian faith was in grave danger of falling apart without the continued oversight of those able to stop problems before they got out of hand?

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The author is looking at ancient Church history with glasses heavily tinted with a strong Protestant bias.

Could you give some examples of (1) how this is the case and (2) how it leads Drake to reach faulty conclusions?

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He also obviously does not know that much about Church history, or he would know that the Church condemned Origen.

What comment about Origen do you have in mind?
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« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2014, 12:42:35 AM »

while i appreciate good inquiry, i'd really appreciate it if further discussion of Drake could occur in another thread and not here.

thanks!
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« Reply #36 on: March 22, 2014, 12:46:52 AM »

while i appreciate good inquiry, i'd really appreciate it if further discussion of Drake could occur in another thread and not here.

thanks!

Haha, sure. Don't want to hijack your thread.

Could a moderator please move all of the above discussion of Drake's blog post (starting from my first message) into another thread?
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« Reply #37 on: March 22, 2014, 12:56:09 AM »

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In what ways specifically does Drake misunderstand Orthodox theology?

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9. The Eastern Church Has a Gnostic View of Redemption

Imagine hearing this from a Calvinist. I expect the Pelagian or semi-Pelagian objection, but Gnostic? Come on.

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25. The East takes Aristotle’s View of Substance then if God is one Substance he can only be One person for in Aristotle, Substance = Subject.


Ugggghhh.

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26. The Eastern Church has no explanation for the juridical language in the New Testament.

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30. The East’s Pelagianism Will never be Able to Interpret Romans 9

Pffftt. I can do it in an Eastern lense, and I am very under-qualified.

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36. Universalism. Ernst Benz’s The Eastern Orthodox Church admits that the Ancient Church taught this, then inconsistently condemned it and then has repeatedly reaffirmed it through individual theologians throughout the centuries.

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40. The Eastern Church Cannot Explain how a Calvinist became Ecumenical Patriarch of the Church in the 17th Century.

Anyway, make of it as you will.
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« Reply #38 on: March 22, 2014, 01:25:46 AM »

40. The Eastern Church Cannot Explain how a Calvinist became Ecumenical Patriarch of the Church in the 17th Century.

Easy to explain. Office went to highest bidder. I think he was actually elected/bought the position like five times or something.

He was condemned after his death and refused a funeral as I recall. Nothing to get worked up over, really.
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« Reply #39 on: March 22, 2014, 01:28:23 AM »

40. The Eastern Church Cannot Explain how a Calvinist became Ecumenical Patriarch of the Church in the 17th Century.

Easy to explain. Office went to highest bidder. I think he was actually elected/bought the position like five times or something.

He was condemned after his death and refused a funeral as I recall. Nothing to get worked up over, really.

um, ok. is that, like, not concerning to anyone else? o_O  or does this also fall under, "the Church is protected, not perfect?"
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« Reply #40 on: March 22, 2014, 01:35:28 AM »

40. The Eastern Church Cannot Explain how a Calvinist became Ecumenical Patriarch of the Church in the 17th Century.

Easy to explain. Office went to highest bidder. I think he was actually elected/bought the position like five times or something.

He was condemned after his death and refused a funeral as I recall. Nothing to get worked up over, really.

I never heard of this.  Where is the supporting information?
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« Reply #41 on: March 22, 2014, 01:46:13 AM »

40. The Eastern Church Cannot Explain how a Calvinist became Ecumenical Patriarch of the Church in the 17th Century.

Easy to explain. Office went to highest bidder. I think he was actually elected/bought the position like five times or something.

He was condemned after his death and refused a funeral as I recall. Nothing to get worked up over, really.

um, ok. is that, like, not concerning to anyone else? o_O  or does this also fall under, "the Church is protected, not perfect?"

It's concerning, but any bishop, priest, or layman can go off the rails. The beauty of the church is that it's self-correcting. The patriarch in question was condemned with his Calvinism, and the deposit of faith continued on as it always had, unscathed.
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« Reply #42 on: March 22, 2014, 09:38:29 AM »

I will respond to a few of Drake's points, but do not have the time to write a detailed analysis.
He makes a great deal of comments in the New Testament that in “later times,” many will fall away from the truth. He adjective “later” means just that “later” not immediately, but in the distant future. Instead, he claims that the very people who learned the Gospel from the Apostles fell away. As an historian, I find that claim incredible. Men like Sts. Ignatius of Antioch,  Clement or Rome who actually heard the Apostles, or St. Irenaeus of Lyons who learned from St. Polycarp, who learned from the Apostle John have much more credibility than someone like John Calvin who lived 1,400 years later and had no contact with the Apostles. 
I do not think that he really understands Orthodox theology because he does not present an accurate statement of what we believe. Part of the problem is that he is cannot get past the fact that we do not use the same language as Calvinists. For example, although we do not use the Anselmic language of penal substitution, or vicarious atonement, that does not mean that we do not believe that Christ died for our sins on the cross. The difference is that we put the Cross in its proper context of the Incarnation and the Resurrection. The Cross is only part of Christ's saving work which began with the Incarnation and ended with the Ascension. In Christ. God assumed all that is human to deify humanity and reunite us to Him. That is why St. Gregory the Theologian wrote, “That which is not assumed is not healed.” The problem with the doctrine of the vicarious atonement is that it is based on a partial view of salvation which is confined to the forgiveness of sins, and does not understand that God not only declares the believer righteous, God also makes the believer righteous. There is a judicial aspect to salvation, but it is only one aspect, not the totality of salvation, which includes deification.
Drake makes the point that in the New Testament the titles “presbyter” literally elder, and “eposkopos,” overseerer or Bishop are used interchangeably. That is correct. However, the New Testament was written while the Apostles were still alive. Drake does not consider what happened when they began to die. We know from the example of St. Matthias, and historical documents such as the writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Clement of Rome, and St. Irenaeus of Lyons that when the Apostles realized that Christ was not coming again during their lifetime, that they appointed successors, who were called Bishops to distinguish them from the Presbyters. Thus, although it is only hinted at in the New Testament, we know from the history of the Church that the Apostles left the leadership of the Church in the hands of Bishops who acted as their successors. The Apostles acted as Bishops over the Churches they founded. For example in Acts 14:23, refers to the ordination of priests for the Churches they founded by Sts. Paul and Barnabas; “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they believed.”  The Greek word translaed “appointed” really means ordained, and “elders” is “presbyters” which is the source of our English word Priests.


He fails to understand that there is a difference between forbidding to marry and placing restrictions on when one may marry.  There is no prohibition of marriage in the Eastern Orthodox Church.  Indeed, unless one wishes to be a monastic, it celibacy is strongly discouraged among the parish clergy. However a man must marry before he undertakes the sacred office of the Priesthood. (actually Diaconate) Here Drake is twisting words instead of honestly dealing with the issue.
There is a difference between fasting for a time and forbidding eating certain foods. Our Lord, Himself spoke of fasting. In Matthew 6:16, Christ says, “When you fast...” He does not say, “If you fast,” but “When you fast,” because fasting is a part of the Christian life. Besides the citation from Acts 14, there are several references to fasting among the earliest Christians in the Book of Acts.
He accuses the Orthodox Church of being Gnostic. This is laughable. Gnosticism taught that the material world is evil. Orthodox bless the material world. We bless everything, our homes, our cars, our food, firetrucks, railroad, everything. Our worship is very physical. Calvinism, on the other hand has no place for the blessing of the material world. The Sacraments are symbols and not real means of grace, and the central act of worship is the sermon, which turns Christianity into an exercise of the mind or emotions. The model for the arrangement of a Calvinist Church is a medieval university lecture hall, there is no Altar, but a communion table placed below the pulpit, showing that preaching is more important to them than the Sacraments. The truth is that Calvinism is Gnostic because it denies the sanctification of matter.
He dismisses free will and does not understand that although God knows how we will respond to the Gospel, that does not mean that He predestines some to salvation and some to damnation. This goes completely against the entire spirit of the Gospel which teaches again and again that Christ died for all. Drake contradicts the words of St. Paul, who wrote that God, “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2:4. This verse alone demolishes the entire Calvinist system for if God desires that all be saved and there is no free will, one must assume that all are saved. However, we know that not all are saved. Since God desires that all be saved and all are not saved, it is obvious that God has given us the ability to accept or reject His offer of salvation. In other words, free will. Calvinism with its denial of free will makes God into a sadistic monster who sends people to hell without giving them a chance to be saved. Such a God is not the God of love described in the New Testament.
Drake accuses Orthodox of being Arians and Monophysites. Thus at the same time, we deny the divinity of Christ and teach that the divinity of Christ absorbed His humanity. That is obviously a major contradiction. Actually, if one studies Calvin, his Christology is highly defective. He has a strong tendency towards Nestorianism. He denies the deification of the human nature of Christ and the “Communication of Attributes,” both of which are important doctrines from the age of the Holy Fathers.  Calvin's Nestorianism compromises his entire theological system and with it the Reformed Movement.
Finally, Drake uses all sorts of philosophical language to discredit Orthodoxy. However, this simple verbiage that really has no meaning. He actually uses high language to hide the shallowness of his theology and basic misunderstanding of Orthodoxy. Calvinism has become the latest fad among American Evangelicals. However, like all fads it lacks depth. Instead, Calvinism provides easy answers to complex questions and falsely relies on human reason to understand the mysteries of God. Calvinism also appeals to people because it tells them that they are special because God has chosen them for salvation out of the mass of sinful humanity. As Orthodox Christians know the worst sin of all is the sin of pride, a sin produced by Calvinism. Calvinists are experts at taking a few verses out of context and twisting the words of the Holy Scriptures to fit them into their Calvinist presuppositions. Like all Protestants they have no sense of historic Christianity, but pridefully think that they or the rock star like preaches they adore know more about God than the Holy Fathers and the 7 Ecumenical Councils. At worst, Calvinism is boring. What they call worship lacks the sense of mystery and majesty found in Orthodox worship, but is a few hymns that express a shallow theology and a long sermon, that usually is either boring or lacking in depth. Calvinism lacks the profundity of Orthodoxy and rejects the historical experience of the Church. They think that a 16 century French lawyer had a better understanding of the Holy Scriptures than a giant like St. John Chrysostom.

Fr. John W. Morris



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« Reply #43 on: March 22, 2014, 09:40:38 AM »

I will respond to a few of Drake's points, but do not have the time to write a detailed analysis.
He makes a great deal of comments in the New Testament that in “later times,” many will fall away from the truth. He adjective “later” means just that “later” not immediately, but in the distant future. Instead, he claims that the very people who learned the Gospel from the Apostles fell away. As an historian, I find that claim incredible. Men like Sts. Ignatius of Antioch,  Clement or Rome who actually heard the Apostles, or St. Irenaeus of Lyons who learned from St. Polycarp, who learned from the Apostle John have much more credibility than someone like John Calvin who lived 1,400 years later and had no contact with the Apostles and had very little formal theological education, his education being primary preparation for entering the legal profession. 
I do not think that he really understands Orthodox theology because he does not present an accurate statement of what we believe. Part of the problem is that he is cannot get past the fact that we do not use the same language as Calvinists. For example, although we do not use the Anselmic language of penal substitution, or vicarious atonement, that does not mean that we do not believe that Christ died for our sins on the cross. The difference is that we put the Cross in its proper context of the Incarnation and the Resurrection. The Cross is only part of Christ's saving work which began with the Incarnation and ended with the Ascension. In Christ. God assumed all that is human to deify humanity and reunite us to Him. That is why St. Gregory the Theologian wrote, “That which is not assumed is not healed.” The problem with the doctrine of the vicarious atonement is that it is based on a partial view of salvation which is confined to the forgiveness of sins, and does not understand that God not only declares the believer righteous, God also makes the believer righteous. There is a judicial aspect to salvation, but it is only one aspect, not the totality of salvation, which includes deification.
Drake makes the point that in the New Testament the titles “presbyter” literally elder, and “eposkopos,” overseerer or Bishop are used interchangeably. That is correct. However, the New Testament was written while the Apostles were still alive. Drake does not consider what happened when they began to die. We know from the example of St. Matthias, and historical documents such as the writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Clement of Rome, and St. Irenaeus of Lyons that when the Apostles realized that Christ was not coming again during their lifetime, that they appointed successors, who were called Bishops to distinguish them from the Presbyters. Thus, although it is only hinted at in the New Testament, we know from the history of the Church that the Apostles left the leadership of the Church in the hands of Bishops who acted as their successors. The Apostles acted as Bishops over the Churches they founded. For example in Acts 14:23, refers to the ordination of priests for the Churches they founded by Sts. Paul and Barnabas; “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they believed.”  The Greek word translaed “appointed” really means ordained, and “elders” is “presbyters” which is the source of our English word Priests.


He fails to understand that there is a difference between forbidding to marry and placing restrictions on when one may marry.  There is no prohibition of marriage in the Eastern Orthodox Church.  Indeed, unless one wishes to be a monastic, it celibacy is strongly discouraged among the parish clergy. However a man must marry before he undertakes the sacred office of the Priesthood. (actually Diaconate) Here Drake is twisting words instead of honestly dealing with the issue.
There is a difference between fasting for a time and forbidding eating certain foods. Our Lord, Himself spoke of fasting. In Matthew 6:16, Christ says, “When you fast...” He does not say, “If you fast,” but “When you fast,” because fasting is a part of the Christian life. Besides the citation from Acts 14, there are several references to fasting among the earliest Christians in the Book of Acts.
He accuses the Orthodox Church of being Gnostic. This is laughable. Gnosticism taught that the material world is evil. Orthodox bless the material world. We bless everything, our homes, our cars, our food, firetrucks, railroad, everything. Our worship is very physical. Calvinism, on the other hand has no place for the blessing of the material world. The Sacraments are symbols and not real means of grace, and the central act of worship is the sermon, which turns Christianity into an exercise of the mind or emotions. The model for the arrangement of a Calvinist Church is a medieval university lecture hall, there is no Altar, but a communion table placed below the pulpit, showing that preaching is more important to them than the Sacraments. The truth is that Calvinism is Gnostic because it denies the sanctification of matter.
He dismisses free will and does not understand that although God knows how we will respond to the Gospel, that does not mean that He predestines some to salvation and some to damnation. This goes completely against the entire spirit of the Gospel which teaches again and again that Christ died for all. Drake contradicts the words of St. Paul, who wrote that God, “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2:4. This verse alone demolishes the entire Calvinist system for if God desires that all be saved and there is no free will, one must assume that all are saved. However, we know that not all are saved. Since God desires that all be saved and all are not saved, it is obvious that God has given us the ability to accept or reject His offer of salvation. In other words, free will. Calvinism with its denial of free will makes God into a sadistic monster who sends people to hell without giving them a chance to be saved. Such a God is not the God of love described in the New Testament.
Drake accuses Orthodox of being Arians and Monophysites. Thus at the same time, we deny the divinity of Christ and teach that the divinity of Christ absorbed His humanity. That is obviously a major contradiction. Actually, if one studies Calvin, his Christology is highly defective. He has a strong tendency towards Nestorianism. He denies the deification of the human nature of Christ and the “Communication of Attributes,” both of which are important doctrines from the age of the Holy Fathers.  Calvin's Nestorianism compromises his entire theological system and with it the Reformed Movement.
Finally, Drake uses all sorts of philosophical language to discredit Orthodoxy. However, this simple verbiage that really has no meaning. He actually uses high language to hide the shallowness of his theology and basic misunderstanding of Orthodoxy. Calvinism has become the latest fad among American Evangelicals. However, like all fads it lacks depth. Instead, Calvinism provides easy answers to complex questions and falsely relies on human reason to understand the mysteries of God. Calvinism also appeals to people because it tells them that they are special because God has chosen them for salvation out of the mass of sinful humanity. As Orthodox Christians know the worst sin of all is the sin of pride, a sin produced by Calvinism. Calvinists are experts at taking a few verses out of context and twisting the words of the Holy Scriptures to fit them into their Calvinist presuppositions. Like all Protestants they have no sense of historic Christianity, but pridefully think that they or the rock star like preaches they adore know more about God than the Holy Fathers and the 7 Ecumenical Councils. At worst, Calvinism is boring. What they call worship lacks the sense of mystery and majesty found in Orthodox worship, but is a few hymns that express a shallow theology and a long sermon, that usually is either boring or lacking in depth. Calvinism lacks the profundity of Orthodoxy and rejects the historical experience of the Church. They think that a 16 century French lawyer had a better understanding of the Holy Scriptures than a giant like St. John Chrysostom.

Fr. John W. Morris




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« Reply #44 on: March 22, 2014, 10:27:53 AM »

um, ok. is that, like, not concerning to anyone else? o_O  or does this also fall under, "the Church is protected, not perfect?"

During the Ottoman yoke the Patriarchate of Constantinople was appointed by the sultan, as the patriarch was basically the secular and religious ruler of the Roman/Rum people in the Ottoman lands. People gave gifts for the appointment to this position, and the sultan wasn't informed on the nuances of Christian theology to know what Calvinism was.

I'm saying it's 'not a big deal' because it was immediately dealt with and Calvinism was totally rejected by the church. There were also plenty Arian archbishops of Constantinople back in the day. We don't look to the patriarchs as infallible or whatever. The church as a whole corrects these things.
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« Reply #45 on: March 22, 2014, 10:32:23 AM »

ok, thanks for replies. Smiley it can be scary to a newcomer, especially one already suspicious of human authority. Smiley i'm trying though! Cheesy
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« Reply #46 on: March 25, 2014, 12:08:59 PM »

Seeing how the debate with Drake Shelton has derailed this thread from its original purpose, I have split the debate off this thread and given it its own thread: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,57505.0.html
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« Reply #47 on: March 25, 2014, 12:14:05 PM »

The preaching of Christ seems to focus more on charity and well doing, well being, socialism, humanity, morality like that is the Church, not some institution. The institutional religion is what condemned and murdered Christ and against whom Christ focussed most of his refutation.

Whether the Jews held it up properly or not, didn't Christ institute that same religion?

Then why aren't Christians, Jews?

The Jews of yesterday are Christians. The Jews of today are not.

Christianity has some concepts that are totally foreign and antijewish.

That is an honest Christian there.

Based on Rashi's 11th century teachings; and not on the Apostle's 1st century teachings.

You don't believe the apostle's 1st century teachings:

Rom. 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

Rom. 7:12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Rom. 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Rom. 7:22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

1 John 3:4 Sin is a transgression of the law


I can give you a lot of NT quote showing that the Law has changed.

I think the Apostles were confused.

Judaism is an offshoot of paganism. Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism...
Christianity isn't an offshot Judaism, nor Judaism an offshoot of paganism, so I can't put much stock in your knowledge of paganism.

Most of Judaism mythology = Middle Eastern mythology that was prelevant among heathen peoples. Abraham himself according to the Bible came from the heathens. Some archeologists say that the jews were actually a caananite nomadic tribe and that Yahweh was at some point(initially?) heathen caananite deity and his wife was Astarte. The Documentary Hypothesis says the "Torah" "Pentateuch" was not written by Moses but had multiple authors. Some of the laws in the Torah and the stories in it are totally unappealing to intelligent ethics and values. It's clear history that before there ever was a "Judaism" there was "Paganism" and that "Christianity" sprang forth from "Judaism". Judaism seems to have some syncretic pagan parts and for sure Christianity has syncretic Jewish teachings and Christianity came forth from the background of Judaism and the religion of the Jews.
I haven't asked you to barf up more rancid bites of pseudoscholarship that some "experts" have prechewed for you, such as "Most of Judaism mythology = Middle Eastern mythology that was prelevant among heathen peoples."  For one thing, "most" =/= "all."

Nor is "none" as you asserted.

Quote
The Bible says that Abraham came from the heathen? Oh, where does it say that?

Abraham's departure from Ur. We are later told that Abraham's relatives in Ur were worshipping idols(Rachel stealing the idols of he fathers). You can find Abraham's departure from Ur in the Jewish Scriptures, Christian Scriptures and Muslims Scriptures. Make your pick.

Quote
Yes, I'm aware of the theory of a Yahweh-Astarte pair, and the meagre evidence twisted into such a narrative.  The Biblical narrative of the Hebrews falling into Canaanite paganism and assimilating the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob into it fits better.

Scholars say that most of the Tanakh was written during the Babylonian captivity to explain the Jewish condition.

Quote
The documentary hypothesis is for one thing, plural: its partisans can't agree amongst themselves on it.  Since the Pentateuch/Torah doesn't say that Moses wrote it, there doesn't seem to be much point on arguing it.

Then you got a problem. Because if Moses didn't write it then who did? There is little to no proof of the historicy of Moses or the existence of Israel in Egypt and the Exodus. What basis do you have for the inspiration of the Torah?

Quote
"Some of the laws in the Torah and the stories in it are totally unappealing to intelligent ethics and values." I know that they don't appeal to the smug who think they know better, and don't want anything prove the contrary.  Atheism-the opiate of the dissolute.

Actually the Judeo-Christian-Islamic theology is the one who appeals to smugs and trolls who find justification of criminal, obscure acts in their religion.

Considering that the laws are primitive and cannot be universally bind as ethical and that it had many authors and editor, what makes your "torah" inspired and authoritative? Where it's her authority drawed from?

Quote
Since Judaism dates from the time of Christ, and their Torah warns them of the Canaanite paganism over a thousand years before that, of course paganism (some form of it at least) predates it.

What Torah? Didn't you say that Moses did not write the Torah? According to the Documentary Hypothesis the Torah was compiled and finished mostly around the 6th century BCE. The Caananite religion preceded that, and all pagan religions did. Plus there were many "scrolls of the laws". On the time of King Josiah the High Priest Hilkiah "discovered" a scroll of the law they knew nothing about and that they were transgressing at that moment. As I said no proof of an Israeli migration according to archaeology. So what authority does the Torah hold then? Where does this authority come from? From her editors, redactors, etc? Smiley "How do you say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly he made it falsely; the pen of the scribes made it a lie."(Jer 8:Cool


Quote
Since the New Testament predates the Talmud, how did the former's Christianity "spring forth from" the latter's Judaism?

Since the OT precedes the NT, Christianity is a sect of Judaism, as your bible says "We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect" Acts 24:5

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« Reply #48 on: March 25, 2014, 01:33:01 PM »

Seeing how the debate with Drake Shelton has derailed this thread from its original purpose, I have split the debate off this thread and given it its own thread: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,57505.0.html

thank you, Peter.
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« Reply #49 on: March 25, 2014, 02:11:14 PM »

The preaching of Christ seems to focus more on charity and well doing, well being, socialism, humanity, morality like that is the Church, not some institution. The institutional religion is what condemned and murdered Christ and against whom Christ focussed most of his refutation.

Whether the Jews held it up properly or not, didn't Christ institute that same religion?

Then why aren't Christians, Jews?

The Jews of yesterday are Christians. The Jews of today are not.

Christianity has some concepts that are totally foreign and antijewish.

That is an honest Christian there.

Based on Rashi's 11th century teachings; and not on the Apostle's 1st century teachings.

You don't believe the apostle's 1st century teachings:

Rom. 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

Rom. 7:12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Rom. 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Rom. 7:22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

1 John 3:4 Sin is a transgression of the law


I can give you a lot of NT quote showing that the Law has changed.

I think the Apostles were confused.

Judaism is an offshoot of paganism. Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism...
Christianity isn't an offshot Judaism, nor Judaism an offshoot of paganism, so I can't put much stock in your knowledge of paganism.

Most of Judaism mythology = Middle Eastern mythology that was prelevant among heathen peoples. Abraham himself according to the Bible came from the heathens. Some archeologists say that the jews were actually a caananite nomadic tribe and that Yahweh was at some point(initially?) heathen caananite deity and his wife was Astarte. The Documentary Hypothesis says the "Torah" "Pentateuch" was not written by Moses but had multiple authors. Some of the laws in the Torah and the stories in it are totally unappealing to intelligent ethics and values. It's clear history that before there ever was a "Judaism" there was "Paganism" and that "Christianity" sprang forth from "Judaism". Judaism seems to have some syncretic pagan parts and for sure Christianity has syncretic Jewish teachings and Christianity came forth from the background of Judaism and the religion of the Jews.
I haven't asked you to barf up more rancid bites of pseudoscholarship that some "experts" have prechewed for you, such as "Most of Judaism mythology = Middle Eastern mythology that was prelevant among heathen peoples."  For one thing, "most" =/= "all."

Nor is "none" as you asserted.

Quote
The Bible says that Abraham came from the heathen? Oh, where does it say that?

Abraham's departure from Ur. We are later told that Abraham's relatives in Ur were worshipping idols(Rachel stealing the idols of he fathers). You can find Abraham's departure from Ur in the Jewish Scriptures, Christian Scriptures and Muslims Scriptures. Make your pick.

Quote
Yes, I'm aware of the theory of a Yahweh-Astarte pair, and the meagre evidence twisted into such a narrative.  The Biblical narrative of the Hebrews falling into Canaanite paganism and assimilating the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob into it fits better.

Scholars say that most of the Tanakh was written during the Babylonian captivity to explain the Jewish condition.

Quote
The documentary hypothesis is for one thing, plural: its partisans can't agree amongst themselves on it.  Since the Pentateuch/Torah doesn't say that Moses wrote it, there doesn't seem to be much point on arguing it.

Then you got a problem. Because if Moses didn't write it then who did? There is little to no proof of the historicy of Moses or the existence of Israel in Egypt and the Exodus. What basis do you have for the inspiration of the Torah?

Quote
"Some of the laws in the Torah and the stories in it are totally unappealing to intelligent ethics and values." I know that they don't appeal to the smug who think they know better, and don't want anything prove the contrary.  Atheism-the opiate of the dissolute.

Actually the Judeo-Christian-Islamic theology is the one who appeals to smugs and trolls who find justification of criminal, obscure acts in their religion.

Considering that the laws are primitive and cannot be universally bind as ethical and that it had many authors and editor, what makes your "torah" inspired and authoritative? Where it's her authority drawed from?

Quote
Since Judaism dates from the time of Christ, and their Torah warns them of the Canaanite paganism over a thousand years before that, of course paganism (some form of it at least) predates it.

What Torah? Didn't you say that Moses did not write the Torah? According to the Documentary Hypothesis the Torah was compiled and finished mostly around the 6th century BCE. The Caananite religion preceded that, and all pagan religions did. Plus there were many "scrolls of the laws". On the time of King Josiah the High Priest Hilkiah "discovered" a scroll of the law they knew nothing about and that they were transgressing at that moment. As I said no proof of an Israeli migration according to archaeology. So what authority does the Torah hold then? Where does this authority come from? From her editors, redactors, etc? Smiley "How do you say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly he made it falsely; the pen of the scribes made it a lie."(Jer 8:Cool


Quote
Since the New Testament predates the Talmud, how did the former's Christianity "spring forth from" the latter's Judaism?

Since the OT precedes the NT, Christianity is a sect of Judaism, as your bible says "We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect" Acts 24:5


answered here:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,57505.msg1101013.html#msg1101013
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