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Author Topic: The Milton Test  (Read 1811 times) Average Rating: 0
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Keble
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« on: September 07, 2003, 06:49:40 PM »

The biggest problem with the evangelical p.o.v. is not so much the whole "personal relationship" issue (which I think is mistated), but the lack of dogmatic content to such a "relationship."

Well, I almost agree with this.  Mark Noll, one of the better evangelical writers, wrote a now notorious book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, which begins, "The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind." Most mainline denominations have some semblance of a process for integrating the tradition of Christendom into theology. The evangelicals, notoriously, do not.

On the other hand, it is thus easy for them to pass what I refer to as the Milton Test. This test is named after Milton, a long-time parishioner.  Milton, even back when I first knew him, was a retired farmer. The parish as one of those "Roll of Honor" sheets one sees from WW II list parishioners and their sons who went off to war, and Milton's name appears there. There are gravestones of his ancestors in the churchyard.

But the most important fact about Milton is that when he was young, he was kicked in the head by a mule. He recovered, but as a result he is, shall we say, not the brightest light on the porch. Theological distinctions are pretty much lost on him. Yet he attended faithfully.

To talk of doctrine as something he has to believe is to talk of his damnation. He is an Episcopalian because he always was; if he were Catholic or Orthodox or Methodist or Baptist he would most likely be the same now. He cannot assent to every last doctrinal point because one cannot assent to what one cannot understand. And I mean "understand" in the very weakest sense; if one cannot distinguish between competing positions on an issue, one cannot understand well enough to asset to one or another such position.

Quote
As CW rightly pointed out, everyone has a relationship to God, with varying degrees (on our end) of problems in that relationship.  What the evangelicals should be doing, is rather than speaking imprecisely of "personal relationship", should be speaking in terms of one's committment to their beliefs - that is to say, the difference between a nominal, lukewarm adherance to religion, or one that is a matter of conviction and heartfelt piety.

Well, uh, no-- that's exactly what they are saying that you are doing wrong. They are saying precisely that commitment to belief does not true Christianity make. And I'll bet I could find the church fathers agreeing with them, here and there, if I searched long enough.

What I like about Orthodoxy, in fact, traces back to the times in which they do recognize this truth. It's one of the things that makes Beginning to Pray such a great work. But the thing is that the points that Anthony Bloom made work in other doctrinal contexts; the book is routinely recommended in the Episcopal Church, for instance.

One thing that repels me about Orthodoxy, however, is the incessant squabbling, in which doctrinal differentiation is made to play a major role. (Failing that, one can always come up with a jurisdictional fight.)

Quote
However, evangelicals generally do mean more than this (conviction in religion) when they speak of "personal relationship" - implicit to this are also anti-heirarchal, anti-ecclessial ideas about that relationship ("Jesus and me, and no one else's imput is necessary.")

I think this is a bit of a characture, if one that they do surely invite.

If one takes Billy Graham as the arch-Evangelical, and Christianity Today as their journal of record, one sees how this is wrong. They are not anti-church, but para-church. The movement as a whole is indifferent to ecclesiology, not opposed to it; evangelicals as a sort of denomination are anti-ecclesial because they were baptist first.

Quote
Of course, the tragedy (on our human, creaturely end of things) is that there is a question of "which Christ" and "which Gospel" they've come to accept.

How many times did Jesus of Nazareth live, anyway?

And how many Gospels are there, anyway?

It's statements like this that make people Protestants. There is but one Jesus, and there are but four Gospels which record his words. The Church is contrained by those words.
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2003, 11:12:28 PM »

I often wondered about people like Milton when I was a Southern Baptist and listened to the arguments for "believers only" baptism.

I thought, "Hmmm . . . we don't baptize babies because they can't understand the Gospel . . . Do we also refuse to baptize the severely retarded or brain damaged? Just how much does one have to understand to become a Christian? Is there something like an SAT for prospective converts?"

Of course I believe Orthodox Christianity is Christianity and the Orthodox Church the Christian Church, but God will judge each individual justly whether Orthodox or not, based on what he or she knew or could know, what he or she did about it, and all of the minute circumstances of his or her life.

Many who currently wave in the wind with the wheat will burn with the other tares; and some who seem to be weeds by the roadside will be gathered into their Father's barn.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2003, 11:48:15 PM by Linus7 » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2010, 06:59:57 PM »

Quote from: Seraphim Reeves
"Of course, the tragedy (on our human, creaturely end of things) is that there is a question of "which Christ" and "which Gospel" they've come to accept."

Quote from: Keble
"How many times did Jesus of Nazareth live, anyway?

And how many Gospels are there, anyway?

It's statements like this that make people Protestants. There is but one Jesus, and there are but four Gospels which record his words. The Church is contrained by those words."

There is one Jesus... but not everyone knows Him. There is one Gospel... but not everyone has received it.

Much the same as there is only one truth... but not everyone posesses that truth.

Quote
"How many Gospels are there anyway?"

Well there are now over 33,000 'denominations' of groups that claim to be 'Christians'... But no two 'denominations' hold the same beliefs about Who Jesus is... and what His Curch is.

For instance... Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons identify as 'Christians' - but do you believe they have the Gospel as it was delivered? Are they a part of the Church which was founded on Christ Jesus by His Apostles?

People who have taken the Bible out of the Church from whence it came are bound to interpret it incorrectly. Everything that the Apostles and the Bishops they appointed taught is not contained within the Bible. In fact the majority of their teaching was done in person; verbally - within the various Churches.

In the Bible the Apostles adjure the Churches to keep and hold the Traditions with which they have been entrusted. But the bulk of so-called 'Christendom' today have rejected  those very Traditions and invented their own traditions.... these newly invented traditions have no basis in truth and actually deprive people of the truth and the Sacramental life found only within His one true Church.

Even those who say that they adhere only to the Bible ('Sola Scriptura') actually really don't! They pick and choose verses from here and there to suit their new 'tradition', while ignoring any verses that blatantly contradict their manmade doctrines.

As for the "incessant squabbling" within the Orthodoxy... the truth must constantly be defended because the father of lies and his earthly dupes are constantly at war with His Church; indeed with truth itself... because Jesus Christ IS the Truth.




Fixed quote tags and nothing more...  -PtA
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2010, 07:38:55 PM »

Here's a page on the website of a 'Christian' that I visited:

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Here's a quote from that site:

Quote
The Gospel

Sound complicated? It’s not, really. It is simply a matter of believing that Jesus is God’s only begotten Son, and that He came to Earth, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died to remove your sin — that original sin you inherited from Adam — then rose again on the third day to assure your future resurrection.

Here is what it takes to be “born again.” It is as simple as ABC:

A – Admit you are a sinner.
B – Believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died and rose again to give you eternal life.
C – Call upon Him in prayer and ask for salvation.

So... I ask you - is that  the Gospel? Or is it a lie invented in the 16th century which only serves to fool people and keep them from the knowledge of the truth?

Here's an exchange I had with that person...

Quote from: Saint Iaint
"… Sorry but not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” is going to get into heaven!

There is more to Salvation than belief alone!

You have to read every Scripture with every other Scripture taken into account… you can’t just pick & choose!

You must:

1. Believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God; God Himself become incarnate for men’ salvation.

2. Be baptized – in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

3. Receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands by someone who is already a member of His Church.

4. Repent and turn from sin, making confession when you do transgress to someone in His Church with the power to bind and loose your sins.

5. Receive His body and blood in the consecrated Eucharist – as often as you can…

The Bible is clear about this… what Bible are you reading?"

They replied:

Quote from: m0k3d
"Uh… Sorry Yourself! but…

Faith is not just believing, it is acting on those beliefs. You can believe in a bungee cord but you do not have faith in it until you jump!

“…For by GRACE you have been saved through FAITH; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not as result of WORKS…”

1. Believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God; God Himself become incarnate for men’ salvation.

…I agree!! I would also add that we need to believe that he died for our sins and that we are sinners that NEED his salvation!

2. Be baptized – in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

…Works!! Being baptized is important… for spiritual warfare, but it is not a requirement of salvation!!

3. Receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands by someone who is already a member of His Church

…Works!! …and this is NOT how you receive the holy spirit!!

4. Repent and turn from sin, (…agreed) making confession when you do transgress to someone in His Church with the power to bind and loose your sins.

…works …and we only need to confess to GOD himself, He is the only one (through the blood of Jesus) with the power to bind and loose sins!!

5. Receive his body and blood in the consecrated Eucharist – as often as you can…

…Works!! there is no need to continually sacrifice Jesus “as often as you can” …He died for our sins once already!!

You are obviously Catholic and not Christian!! There is a big difference!

I am sorry to have to be the one to tell you, but you have been deceived by the Catholic Church. I would suggest that you educate yourself! If you need a crash course take a look at Chris Pintos film “a lamp in the dark”. I would also suggest listening to the audio on salvation and baptism at the top of our home page.

and to answer your question… I read the KJV, and also like to study the original Hebrew and Greek… In other words, I dont just take the “Church”s word on it!

peace in Messiah!"

And my reply to that:

Quote from: Saint Iaint
"m0k3d,

Hello again…

You said, “Faith is not just believing, it is acting on those beliefs.”

So then what ‘action’ goes with your beliefs? You seem to be an advocate for ‘faith alone’… But there is only one place in Scripture where the words “faith” & “alone” appear together – and that is in this verse:

“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.”
- James 2:24

Some context…

‘What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?

If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble!

But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.

You see then that a man is justified by works, and NOT by faith alone. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.‘
- James 2:14-26

Responses:

2. You said, “…Works!! Being baptized is important… for spiritual warfare, but it is not a requirement of salvation!!”

“Spiritual warfare”? Nonsense! Through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism we die with Christ and are born again!

Christ said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
- John 3:5

That’s why Peter said, “There is also an antitype which now saves us–baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”
- I Peter 3:21

3. You said, “…Works!! …and this is NOT how you receive the holy spirit!!”

Yes – it is!

‘Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!”‘
Acts 8:14-20

And here Paul:

‘And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.’
- Acts 19:2-6

4. RE: Confession… God has bestowed the Sacrament of confession on the priesthood within His Church:

‘Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.

And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.’
- James 5:14-16

‘So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.“‘
- John 20:21-23

5. Concerning the Eucharist…

‘Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.”‘
- John 6:53

‘For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks [in Greek - Eucharistesas], He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep [literally: 'are dead'].’
- I Corinthians 11:23-30

The Holy Eucharist is communion with Christ; thanksgiving to Him… To refuse – or to receive His body and blood unworthily brings condemnation, causes sickness and death.

As for me – I am not Roman Catholic… I am an Orthodox Christian. I would suggest that YOU educate yourself! Whoever you are listening to now is keeping you from the Sacramental life of His Church!

If you really study the old Greek – then you must know that the O.T. Of the KJV is based on censored Masoretic texts which date from around 1000 AD. The Greek Septuagint O.T. is over 1,200 years older and as well as being uncensored, also contains all of the removed books and verses. ‘King James Only’ is a JOKE!

You said, “I dont just take the “Church”s word on it!”

Scripture was born in the Church and must be understood in the Church.

‘And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.’
- I Peter 1:19-21

Peace back at you!"

So far (that was about a month ago) 'm0k3d' has not responded.

I would ask people here: Do you agree w/ what I've said?

Thanks
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2010, 07:50:15 PM »

Well done, sir.  Refuting the argument of a protestant with scripture is wonderful, and in keeping with Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2010, 08:44:19 PM »

I have to say, in all honesty, that I cannot find any trace of where I said any such thing-- not that it doesn't sound like something I might have said, but no searching I have performed has turned up the quoted passage.
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2010, 09:43:58 PM »

I have to say, in all honesty, that I cannot find any trace of where I said any such thing-- not that it doesn't sound like something I might have said, but no searching I have performed has turned up the quoted passage.

That's because m0k3d wrote it and not you. Unless you are m0k3d.  Grin
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2010, 11:01:13 PM »

I think your responses were excellent! I agree with Fr. George that it is always good to refute Protestant heresies with Scripture. I especially like the point you made about there being only one place in the Bible where the words "faith" and "alone" are found together: James 2:24 “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.”

Great points!

In fact, I would encourage you to make that discourse into an Orthodox tract of some sort. I think it could be very effective in challenging the Evangelical mindset and defending Orthodox Truth.


Selam
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2010, 03:11:37 AM »

Well done, sir.  Refuting the argument of a protestant with scripture is wonderful, and in keeping with Orthodoxy.
Seconded!  Speaking as a former Protestant, I would say that showing how Protestant doctrine is NOT found in the Bible and actually contradicts what IS in the Bible is an excellent way to show the inconsistency of their belief system and open their eyes to the truth of the Orthodox Faith.
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2010, 06:24:52 AM »

The 33,000 number that is dragged out whenever someone wants to slam Protestant disunity comes from Barrett et al.'s World Christian Encyclopedia,  a two-volume work which as far as I know I am still the only person on this forum who has ever actually opened up and read. If you are willing to search around here you can read my old analysis of it, but basically there are two major problems with the work. First of all, he counts each church separately in every country it appears, so that for instance he counts over 200 "Catholic Churches". This alone magnifies the number of churches enormously; for instance, he counts more RC churches than Anglican, and far more of the latter than actually exist anyway. Second, the vast majority of groups he counts are in "Independent", which includes many Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican (soi disant of course) groups. A third of the independents are in Africa alone. Of course, the deepest problem is that groups that do not value unity are not united.

And what it comes down to, Saint Iaint, is that you are establishing a track record here of being someone who repeats slurs on others without considering or for that matter even knowing the source. That's not the road to being a speaker of the truth.
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2010, 09:47:25 AM »

The 33,000 number that is dragged out whenever someone wants to slam Protestant disunity comes from Barrett et al.'s World Christian Encyclopedia,  a two-volume work which as far as I know I am still the only person on this forum who has ever actually opened up and read.


I've read it!  We had a reference copy in the Senate Library when I worked there.  It made for good quick-lunch reading. Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2010, 10:03:17 AM »

The 33,000 number that is dragged out whenever someone wants to slam Protestant disunity comes from Barrett et al.'s World Christian Encyclopedia,  a two-volume work which as far as I know I am still the only person on this forum who has ever actually opened up and read.


I've read it!  We had a reference copy in the Senate Library when I worked there.  It made for good quick-lunch reading. Smiley

With some of those zymurgic products, no doubt. Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2010, 03:16:03 AM »

Dear Fr. George, Gebre Menfes Kidus, PeterTheAleut,

Glory goes only to God!

But thanks!



Quote from: Keble
"And what it comes down to, Saint Iaint, is that you are establishing a track record here of being someone who repeats slurs on others"

Whatever buddy! Quoting a statistic is a "slur"?!?

Why don't you tell us then... how many denominations (abominations) are there?

My point is - there are not many Churches... there is only one and it is not abstract & invisible. Christ's Church is tangible, Sacramental and Liturgical.
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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2010, 07:06:38 AM »

Quote from: Keble
"And what it comes down to, Saint Iaint, is that you are establishing a track record here of being someone who repeats slurs on others"

Whatever buddy! Quoting a statistic is a "slur"?!?

Why don't you tell us then... how many denominations (abominations) are there?

My point is - there are not many Churches... there is only one and it is not abstract & invisible. Christ's Church is tangible, Sacramental and Liturgical.

To be blunt: you are a pretty bad advertisement not just for the church, but for any church: anti-Semitic, triumphalist, given to dumping large lumps of indigestible near rants, throwing out statistics without any idea of their origin or defects....

The question of how many denominations there are is pretty uninteresting except to polemicists such as yourself. There are so many churches that are either afraid of or uninterested in any higher organization that it is unsurprising how one can come up with large numbers. The real story is political, not religious: how the Byzantine empire and its successor kingdoms and nations lost their power to enforce state religion, and how the papacy squandered its prestige in the renaissance. Where there is no political power enforcing church councils, unity breaks down.

The few Protestants here-- myself, Ebor, Cleopas if he is still around, maybe a couple of others-- are not so ignorant as to be moved by your bluster. One of the rules under which it was agreed I could participate here is that I don't argue theology, except at the very weak level of explaining some notions and correcting mistaken claims about what other people believe. That doesn't mean I couldn't mount a pretty vigorous defense of my faith if I were permitted to. You, on the other hand, mostly don't listen; at least, that's the impression I get.

The most striking feature of this thread is how you jumped on a line of discussion that didn't have anything to do with one of your hobbyhorses. Milton died a few years back, and is buried in the churchyard along with his ancestors, so for better or worse I could not inflict your reasoning upon him. But I think, mostly, he would have been unmoved. And I don't think, frankly, that you really paid any attention to the core of the argument made about him.
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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2010, 12:24:03 PM »

The few Protestants here-- myself, Ebor, Cleopas if he is still around, maybe a couple of others-- are not so ignorant as to be moved by your bluster. One of the rules under which it was agreed I could participate here is that I don't argue theology, except at the very weak level of explaining some notions and correcting mistaken claims about what other people believe. That doesn't mean I couldn't mount a pretty vigorous defense of my faith if I were permitted to. You, on the other hand, mostly don't listen; at least, that's the impression I get. 

Now that we have a private EO-Other Christian polemical debate forum, there is an area on this site where you are not so encumbered.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2010, 12:24:25 PM by Fr. George » Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
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Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
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