Author Topic: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!  (Read 4202 times)

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Offline maneki_neko

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Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« on: July 31, 2016, 11:24:02 AM »
My father is deeply influenced by everything at Ligonier ministries (Reformed) and has asked me to watch their Early Church history series in exchange for reading The Orthodox Church, hoping to dissuade me.

The guy leading the series (a professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary) has said about Eastern Orthodoxy (and Catholicism) "The traditions that they add to the Bible are not genuinely ancient and often stand in contradiction not only to the Bible, but also to the ancient church fathers. Their traditions add to, subtract from, and/or contradict the Bible." So I'm not totally confident about him. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/reformed-pastor-president-professor/

-In your experience, what is it Protestants consider to be an "Orthodox addition" and contradiction to church fathers?

-What about this guy's lecture series--what are your thoughts on them?

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/19/introduction/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/20/expansion-of-the-church/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/21/defending-the-faith/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/22/pioneering-theologian-origen/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/23/developing-theology/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/25/the-bishop/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/26/constantine-and-the-church/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/27/jesus-as-god/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/28/jesus-as-man/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/29/the-east-and-the-west/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/30/augustine/

-Where can I go for an educated Eastern Orthodox led trip through Church history?
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Offline biro

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2016, 11:30:43 AM »
Not to Ligonier.
https://archiveofourown.org/users/Parakeetist


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Offline Jonathan

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2016, 01:17:38 PM »
I would start with eusebius' church history. The transition by Paul Maier is easier than the free one

Offline Daniel2:47

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2016, 05:43:52 PM »
Get him to read the letters of St Ignatius (died at latest 117AD, letters possibly written 100-110AD). He is one of the earliest Ante-Nicene fathers - therefore it is hard to believe that the church had so quickly fallen into heresy at this time. Immediately, a Reformed Protestant will find two things lacking from their church experience:

1) Bishops/episcopal authority. "Where the bishop is, there is the church". He makes this sort of comment several times throughout his letters. A Protestant may quibble about whether the bishop he was speaking of was the same sort of bishop that nows exists in the Catholic/Orthodox churches, but clearly this is a very different paradigm to the "I can do Christianity on my own" sort of thing that dominates the contemporary Christian scene.
2) The Eucharist. St Ignatius refers to this as "the medicine of immortality" and clearly has a high view of what the Eucharist is. It is far more than a symbol, as Zwingli would insist.

I would also ask him why he believes in the Bible, since the canon was put together by the Church in the fourth century and long after things that Reformed Protestants would see as compromises/heresies were introduced into the church. So why does he agree that the New Testament should contain 27 books, when many in the early church had other canons and this question was not settled until well into the fifth and sixth centuries? For instance St John Chrysostom advocated for a canon of only 22 NT books. But we have 27 - presumably he would agree that 27 is correct. Therefore if the Church that decided this still had Grace, then it could not be totally corrupt in its practice too. Sola Scriptura was one of the first things I began to question as an Evangelical as it doesn't make much logical sense. I am still on a journey with all of this, but I can't see myself returning to the same position I had before, which was largely based on ignorance of history.


Offline Onesimus

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--hel
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2016, 07:01:03 PM »
Ignatius of Antioch is what shocked me out of stupor.   Indeed...

As far as an Othodox resource....

I would recommend sitting through Met. Jonah's vidEo series for inquirers.

there is the Orthodoxy 101 series...

First video in the series is here...https://youtu.be/KMPxZgLsYNM

The first video in the inquirers series (which will be more focused on church history) is here...https://youtu.be/xmTXBSIllos

The one thing you will note immediately is how Orthodox have intimate knowledGe of this stuff, while reformers will just hover on the surface and pick and choose what they want to present.  They also spin it or take it out of context.   Because of this Met. Jonah's stuff is much more in depth and will take longer to get through. 


Offline Svirsky

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2016, 07:32:20 PM »
My father is deeply influenced by everything at Ligonier ministries (Reformed) and has asked me to watch their Early Church history series in exchange for reading The Orthodox Church, hoping to dissuade me.

The guy leading the series (a professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary) has said about Eastern Orthodoxy (and Catholicism) "The traditions that they add to the Bible are not genuinely ancient and often stand in contradiction not only to the Bible, but also to the ancient church fathers. Their traditions add to, subtract from, and/or contradict the Bible." So I'm not totally confident about him. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/reformed-pastor-president-professor/

-In your experience, what is it Protestants consider to be an "Orthodox addition" and contradiction to church fathers?

-What about this guy's lecture series--what are your thoughts on them?

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/19/introduction/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/20/expansion-of-the-church/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/21/defending-the-faith/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/22/pioneering-theologian-origen/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/23/developing-theology/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/25/the-bishop/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/26/constantine-and-the-church/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/27/jesus-as-god/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/28/jesus-as-man/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/29/the-east-and-the-west/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/30/augustine/

-Where can I go for an educated Eastern Orthodox led trip through Church history?

All of the above books are pretty good, but I have one question. Why exactly are you interested in either trying to fend off your father's polemics or jump in apologetics? Having gone through a couple somewhat similar experiences with my mother during my conversion, I have found that it's best not to discuss polemics with family, particularly with Protestants. Usually Protestants are involved in such deep systematic error - if I can call it that - that it's not really worth attempting to justify yourself or convert them at some point. Furthermore, having these discussions with family members only muddles your relationship with them, which is something you generally shouldn't do. At this point in your inquiry, it's probably best not to engage in debates not only because you probably still have a lot to learn, but there's also a chance that you might cause bitter strains in some relationships that you will likely regret, looking back a few years after your conversion (God willing). Of course this is just the unsolicited advice of some stranger on the internet, so take it for what it's worth and do what you will.

Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2016, 07:57:29 PM »
-In your experience, what is it Protestants consider to be an "Orthodox addition" and contradiction to church fathers?
1. That Baptism is necessary for salvation.
2. Christ's Body and Blood are literally present in Communion.
3. Salvation is accomplished through faith and works, not just faith alone.
4. Veneration of Mary, the Saints, icons, and relics.
5. There are oral traditions not explicitly mentioned in Scripture that are part of the Apostolic Faith

All of these things can be defended by an unbiased reading of the Early Church Fathers of the first two centuries (not extracted, out-of-context quotes, but their works as a whole).


-What about this guy's lecture series--what are your thoughts on them?

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/19/introduction/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/20/expansion-of-the-church/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/21/defending-the-faith/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/22/pioneering-theologian-origen/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/23/developing-theology/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/25/the-bishop/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/26/constantine-and-the-church/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/27/jesus-as-god/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/28/jesus-as-man/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/29/the-east-and-the-west/

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/07/30/augustine/
It will take me a long time to watch all of the videos, so for now, I'll tell you what I was taught as a non-denominational Evangelical, which I suspect is similar (let me know if you have any specific questions from the videos that I haven't addressed.) I was once taught that the church apostatized since Constantine made Christianity the religion of the Roman empire. The problem with this argument is that there were many Fathers that taught Orthodox/Catholic doctrine, preceding Constantine. I have also heard the argument that the Church apostatized since the last Apostle died. If that were true, however, than the Scriptures are not reliable either, for the canon was not produced until the 4th century or so. A very early apostasy would undermine Sola Scriptura, which is what a Reformed Protestant is not willing to drop. 


-Where can I go for an educated Eastern Orthodox led trip through Church history?
If you want to go deep in Church history, I highly recommend this website, which gives you access to the writings of the earliest of early church fathers, from Polycarp, to Ignatius, to Justin Martyr, to Clement of Alexandria:
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/churchfathers.html

Unbiased by any Protestant or Orthodox apologetics, this archive will tell you, from primary and secondary sources, exactly what the earliest Christians believed. I am confident that the Lord will take you where He wants you to go.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2016, 08:17:29 PM by byhisgrace »
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2016, 10:13:07 AM »
Fr. Georges Florovsky's Byzantine/ Eastern fathers books are very helpful, very detailed surveys of the history of the church of the first millennium. They can be read for free online.

http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/fathers_florovsky_1.htm
http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/fathers_florovsky_2.htm
http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/fathers_florovsky_3.htm

For a comparative study from a Reformed perspective, you could read Philip Schaff's history. One thing I noticed while reading Schaff is that he consistently admits that the Orthodox/ Catholic understanding of the eucharist, relics, saints, etc appears early on, but that these were only concessions by the Church to the superstitious spirit of the age and would eventually necessitate the Reformation finally purifying the faith once and for all in the 16th century.



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Offline maneki_neko

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2016, 11:38:53 PM »

If you want to go deep in Church history, I highly recommend this website, which gives you access to the writings of the earliest of early church fathers, from Polycarp, to Ignatius, to Justin Martyr, to Clement of Alexandria:
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/churchfathers.html

Unbiased by any Protestant or Orthodox apologetics, this archive will tell you, from primary and secondary sources, exactly what the earliest Christians believed. I am confident that the Lord will take you where He wants you to go.

Get him to read the letters of St Ignatius (died at latest 117AD, letters possibly written 100-110AD). He is one of the earliest Ante-Nicene fathers - therefore it is hard to believe that the church had so quickly fallen into heresy at this time. Immediately, a Reformed Protestant will find two things lacking from their church experience:


Thanks, I checked it out and I agree that Ignatius' letters seem pretty important, but can anyone help me out with the authenticity issue? When I googled, pages ranged from all 15 letters are forgeries to, maybe 7 are considered authentic. Where can I go for a respected opinion on this subject?


All of the above books are pretty good, but I have one question. Why exactly are you interested in either trying to fend off your father's polemics or jump in apologetics?

Thanks for your concern; in general I agree with you but absorbing various Protestant theology is something of a hobby of my father's and he is living with us for several weeks on an extended visit where he is eager to talk about these kinds of things. It's a somewhat unavoidable topic in this house at the moment. We've butt heads over it to be sure, but so far all discussions have ended amiably.


As far as an Othodox resource....

I would recommend sitting through Met. Jonah's vidEo series for inquirers.

there is the Orthodoxy 101 series...

First video in the series is here...https://youtu.be/KMPxZgLsYNM


Thanks, I'll check it out!

I would start with eusebius' church history. The transition by Paul Maier is easier than the free one

I have a questions similar to the one about Ignatius regarding Eusebius's history. I'm seeing a lot of stuff floating around that he's considered propaganda or unreliable. What is the EO response to these claims?

One thing I noticed while reading Schaff is that he consistently admits that the Orthodox/ Catholic understanding of the eucharist, relics, saints, etc appears early on, but that these were only concessions by the Church to the superstitious spirit of the age and would eventually necessitate the Reformation finally purifying the faith once and for all in the 16th century.

Thank you, this is very interesting. It seems sort of inconsistent to say they were making concessions to superstition and yet were still able to produce doctrines like the Trinity, eh? I will check him and the other links out.

Thank you everyone for your help.
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Offline Onesimus

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2016, 12:05:39 AM »


Thanks, I checked it out and I agree that Ignatius' letters seem pretty important, but can anyone help me out with the authenticity issue? When I googled, pages ranged from all 15 letters are forgeries to, maybe 7 are considered authentic. Where can I go for a respected opinion on this subject?

No Self respecting reformer or Protestant scholar will deny the authenticity Ignatius of Antioch's letters, or that he was a disciple of the apostle John.  Typically, only fundamentalist wackos will reject them, and then go and handle snakes>. Yes, 7 are considered authentic, the others are questioned by scholars.   I would suggest that you order the book series Ante-Nicene Fathers.   https://www.amazon.com/Ante-Nicene-Fathers-10-Set/dp/1565630823   This is a Protestant publication of early Church writings, and includes many things which are critical to understanding church history.  The commentaries themselves are outdated and questionable, but the value of the English text in general is great.   You could pick up the whole 10 volume series fro about 150.

I think this is a fair treatment on the letters of Ignatius.   http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07644a.htm


Quote

Quote
I have a questions similar to the one about Ignatius regarding Eusebius's history. I'm seeing a lot of stuff floating around that he's considered propaganda or unreliable. What is the EO response to these claims?

Eusebius is considered very reliable in his context.   What this means is that his views and history when compared to his contemporaries, and other histories largely agree with one other, and others use him as an authority.   He was a fan of Constantine...and so people (esp. Protestants looking for a reason to discount him) will call it propaganda based on that alone.  There is no evidence that it is propaganda.   People are allowed to have opinions.   He, along with many people of the time looked at Constantine as a blessing.   Others did not, and they typically went to the deserts to embrace monastic life.   But Eusebius's writings have very little to do with Constantine overall...(only a bit at the end).   Even within general Protestantism, Eusebius is a major resource and considered reliable.   Where you run into issues is with people who embrace liberal 19th century historians like Tillich or Von Harnack.   

I've watched some of the videos and will provide a couple comments in a bit.

Offline maneki_neko

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2016, 12:12:11 AM »


Thanks, I checked it out and I agree that Ignatius' letters seem pretty important, but can anyone help me out with the authenticity issue? When I googled, pages ranged from all 15 letters are forgeries to, maybe 7 are considered authentic. Where can I go for a respected opinion on this subject?

No Self respecting reformer or Protestant scholar will deny the authenticity Ignatius of Antioch's letters, or that he was a disciple of the apostle John.  Typically, only fundamentalist wackos will reject them, and then go and handle snakes>. Yes, 7 are considered authentic, the others are questioned by scholars.   I would suggest that you order the book series Ante-Nicene Fathers.   https://www.amazon.com/Ante-Nicene-Fathers-10-Set/dp/1565630823   This is a Protestant publication of early Church writings, and includes many things which are critical to understanding church history.  The commentaries themselves are outdated and questionable, but the value of the English text in general is great.   You could pick up the whole 10 volume series fro about 150.

I think this is a fair treatment on the letters of Ignatius.   http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07644a.htm


Quote

Quote
I have a questions similar to the one about Ignatius regarding Eusebius's history. I'm seeing a lot of stuff floating around that he's considered propaganda or unreliable. What is the EO response to these claims?

Eusebius is considered very reliable in his context.   What this means is that his views and history when compared to his contemporaries, and other histories largely agree with one other, and others use him as an authority.   He was a fan of Constantine...and so people (esp. Protestants looking for a reason to discount him) will call it propaganda based on that alone.  There is no evidence that it is propaganda.   People are allowed to have opinions.   He, along with many people of the time looked at Constantine as a blessing.   Others did not, and they typically went to the deserts to embrace monastic life.   But Eusebius's writings have very little to do with Constantine overall...(only a bit at the end).   Even within general Protestantism, Eusebius is a major resource and considered reliable.   Where you run into issues is with people who embrace liberal 19th century historians like Tillich or Von Harnack.   

I've watched some of the videos and will provide a couple comments in a bit.

Awesome Onesimus, thanks for the help! I always appreciate your input.
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Offline Onesimus

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2016, 01:31:54 AM »
The issues with the Ligonier presentation is not really content...but "spin" and "selectivity."   You will note that not much hard data is given.   The speaker has a narrative.   This is clearly evident in his presentation of the role and developing nature of the bishop (episkipos) and the "elders" or presbyters.   

He is banking on the fact that his listeners will not have the time to devote to investigating all of this themselves (its a full time job in and of itself and very time consumming.  Most are content to listen to an "authority").   

The speaker briefly makes note of Church structure in his introduction and then in his lecture on Bishops.   His presentation is very misleading.   In the introduction he speaks about the early church polity being based on the Synagogue and the elder structure of the synagogue.   Thus, he tells his listeners, that the church used the "Elder" system and implies that the Presbyterian polity structure of elders is in continuity and that bishops are not legitimate.   What he does not tell his listeners is key.  If a used car salesman tells you about a car's good points, but leaves important details out...he is lying.   The same applies here.

It is true that the Church's structure retained (with modifications) the structure of the Synagogue.   It is also true that elders existed in the Synagogue.   What he (purposfully?!?!!) leaves out -  which is critical- is that the synagogue had a "pecking order" within the eldership.   Of most importance here was the "ruler / president" of the synagogue who was called the archisynagogos.   There were various other distinctions within elder structure.   The ruler/president sat in "the chair of Moses."  (Matt 23:2)  also see  Mark 5:22 ; Luke 13:14 ; Acts 13:15 ; Acts 18:8 Acts 18:17 Luke 8:41, etc.

The president of the elders is essentially what the New Testament talks about in regard to the "overseer" (episkipos) also known as the bishop.   The president was an elder, but he had specific roles amongst the other elders which they did not have. 

Already in the books of Timothy and Titus, we see Paul setting up the role of a "president" (episkipos) in a shepherding role over and among the presbyters.   It is fine to say that the presbyters also had roles as overseers in a general sense.   It is not correct to say that there was not a single person who acted in the role of the archisynagogos as president (episkipos).   We can think of this as both a general role of all ordained clergy...but as a specific title for the president (episkipos - same as archisynagogos) amongst the rest of the clergy.   In the early church the "seat of Moses" was replaced with a throne / chair for the episkipos who sat in it as overseer as an icon of Christ.  (not as a vicar). The chair of Moses and the Synagogue and Moses himself were icons (shadows) of Christ and the Church (the fullfillment).  One can see that in 1 Timothy 5 starting at verse 11, Paul is laying out the responsibilities of the episkipos to Timothy (he was first episkipos of Ephesus) and that part of that is the supervision and ordination of elders and considering charges made against them.    Likewise, Titus was the first bishop of Crete, and is clearly charged with overseeing and ordaining elders - (Titus 1:5-11 ff)   We also see this role in the role of James the Just in the council of Jerusalem where he acted as president (episkipos) in the proceedings.  (Acts 15:11-21 ff).   Here we note that in verse 19 James the Just speaks in his role as President.   His "judgment" (greek= Krino) is that they write a letter to the rest of the Churches regarding their decisions...which they do.   This word krino is used in the context of a judge or arbiter in matter of common life...and this is a specific role which James has as episkipos.

In addition to this - it is wrong to state that the church structures came only from the synagogue.   They also came from the Temple.   The speaker wants to eliminate this fact.   It is important for the Reformed tradition to try to distance itself from Temple worship - but this is not the way in which the Christian church functioned (or continues to function).   In Acts 6:7 we read that many of the Temple priests became Christians.  It is important to note that within the diaspora synagogues, there were often local Levite priests who would travel on occasion to Jerusalem to perform their prescribed rotation in the Temple, sometimes bringing their synagogues offerings with them. (for those who could not make the pilgrimage).   These priests brought with them the liturgical life of the Temple and it became part of the life of the church in the Divine Liturgy.   We know that Peter, James and the rest of the disciples continued to worship in the Temple without it being an issue for them.  Obviously certain liturgical rites were reinterpreted in light of Christ and incorporated into the Christian worship.   But to negate and not present the above truths because they are inconvenient to one's narrative spin is really unconscionable.   He's pulling the wool over people's eyes.  He's trying to paint a picture of the early church that matches the Reformed church - and can only do so by being dishonest and presenting incomplete info. In one case the speaker says there was no equivalent role of priests as in the Temple...but as I've stated, this is untrue and irreconcilable with history.  The elders took on the role of Priest...and indeed, all Christians are "priests" in a sense (baptism and chrismation are an ordination)...but amongst the flock there must be and are those who have the role of spiritual and liturgical shepherds for the rest of the body.  One can see this even in the ORthodox preparation rite of the Eucharist before liturgy which comes directly from the process in which the Temple priests would prepare the sacrifices in the Temple.  After Christ's resurrection, this OT rite is continued and reinterpreted and performed in light of Christ, but it comes from Temple practices of dividing and preparing the sacrifices the priests were familiar with.  See Proskemidi -  https://youtu.be/l3S3GFXvBFU?t=900 and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBpGrZOR13Q 

The office of bishop can be seen in Scripture and early Church history - and while the office of bishop is a specific role of one person who is also an elder (presbyter) - it is not an office solely of equal footing with the rest of the elders.   This position had oversight over the rest of the elders...and while he was still an elder, and the elders functioned as overseers in a general sense...they did not oversee one another.   The Episkipos did.   In the early church the episkipos was elected from amongst the presbyters (sometimes from the laity) in elections.   This role was completely consistent with the continuing structure of the syangogue, which did not only have elders...but also had the arhisynagogos.   Many early Christian writers speak of the bishop also by calling him the "president."   

You will note that his whole presentation offers little to no data...just narrative of what he wants people to hear.   

The remainder of the speakers presentations rely on this kind of misinformation and half-truths to present a false narrative.   It is not disingenuous to talk about the evolution of the role of Bishop throughout the 1st -5th centuries...but the speaker is disingenuous about this as well.   Some of what he says is true...but only just ---as it still is only the presentation of bits of information with key facts left out purposfully.

One must ask themselves why EVERY church set up in the ENTIRE WORLD (even outside the Roman Empire) had the same structure - accepted the same structure - and never questioned it.   It is incredible to say that this evolved over time in various regions because of the Roman/Greek culture.  The same structure existed concurrently in Persia, Armenia and Arabia to the East and South...and if one accepts the notion that Ethiopia was one of the first national church (before Armenia?)  the same structures existed there as well.   The disciples/apostles set up the same system everywhere they went...and no one ever thought it was a change or a departure from the Apostolic framework.   There is no evidence anyone ever had any conflict over this.   All churches - even heretical schismatic ones - believed the office of bishop was of primary importance and the structure they had from the beginning.   If it had been a innovation, we would see evidence of at least one church somewhere in the world saying that it is wrong.   We do not find this at all.   Not even in the "barbarian" lands not under Roman rule.

If you need scholarly resources, I can provide them given some time.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 02:05:55 AM by Onesimus »

Offline Onesimus

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2016, 02:31:49 AM »
At some point in your discussion (much later in your investigations) you will likely need to defend the Orthodox Church from the charge of philosophic Platonism and Neoplatonism.   This is a complex issue...but one which is often presented blindly by those who know nothing about philosophy and the use of philosophic language by the early Church which they ALWAYS redefined and "baptized" into Christianity - effectively robbing the Philosophers of the language and defining it differently.   The confusion by those who do not or cannot see the differences lies in the complexity of the theological redefinitions, which many are are unwilling to come to a intimate knowledge of.

The reality is that it is Protestantism and Roman Catholicism before it which is steeped in Platonic and Aristotilean philosophy and its later Enlightenment construct as nominalism.   All Protestants are essentially nominalist philosophers who set up their views based on philosophical premises based on Renaissance philosophy based on Aristotle and Plato.

Down the road as you learn you will want to become familiar with these philosophical movements in order to come to right understanding.   But this is a later step.  It is however powerful, because most of us Westerners are unaware of the fact that we are beholden to philosophy in our understanding of the Scriptures.   Indeed, Protestants lay out a false accusation while it is they themselves who are beholden to philosophical principles.

Offline maneki_neko

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2016, 09:09:16 AM »

I think this is a fair treatment on the letters of Ignatius.   http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07644a.htm


Okay I read this and I agree, the writer seems to have a balanced view. I guess what it comes down to is his statement here; "The majority of those who acknowledge the Ignatian authorship of the seven letters do so conditionally, rejecting what they consider the obvious interpolations in these letters."

So which parts of the letters are generally acknowledged to be additions? Otherwise it's pretty easy to say any talk about Bishops/Eucharist, etc. is the interpolation.


You will note that his whole presentation offers little to no data...just narrative of what he wants people to hear.   

I'm only a couple videos in but I noticed this as well. I began to get impatient because I was looking for more concrete data or evidence and not really getting anything beyond a generalized Reformed interpretation of events. I like how he scoffed at people who believe in the Blink On Blink Off theory of God but then drew a graph that demonstrated that's exactly what he believed too lol.

Also, I'm making my way through and digesting the rest of what you wrote, thank you!
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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--hel
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2016, 09:22:48 AM »
Ignatius of Antioch is what shocked me out of stupor.   Indeed...

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Offline Onesimus

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2016, 10:32:54 AM »
'
Quote
So which parts of the letters are generally acknowledged to be additions? Otherwise it's pretty easy to say any talk about Bishops/Eucharist, etc. is the interpolation."

There are the shorter versions and longer versions of ignatius's letters.   Just stick with the shorter ones.    The longer ones are thought to have be added to.

-_-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
One issue this brings up is scholarship.   This is the "tradition" of the reformation.   It trusts in books, and scholars and information.     But only information it interprets via certain scholars.  Scholars have simply taken the place of clergy and information have become sacraments.   The trust is in knowledge and intellect.   The proof?   The vestments of preists were replaced by professors robes, and in many reformed churches this is still what is worn.   

This is from a reformed website.  http://www.reformedworship.org/article/december-1988/preaching-uniforms-what-wear-pulpit

Quote
Communions who in reaction, rebellion, or reform have found their apostolic continuity elsewhere have traditionally shunned and condemned the use of the alb and chasuble (hence the hissing my friend endured in a traditional Protestant church). Those who followed in the Reformed tradition initially expected their preachers to be dressed in the vestments of the Renaissance scholar, highlighting that here was a person who had the proper equipment to exegete texts in their original languages, thus being faithful to their apostolic sourceAs a result, the Genevan gown, or scholar's uniform, became the norm in most Reformed churches. Ironically, these reformers held on to the tabs, an insignia of ordination also worn by the Roman clergy.

The Church of Scotland expected their pastors to wear not only the scholar's robe and the ordination tabs, but also an academic hood, to forewarn the congregation about what kind of sermon to expect. (During most of the twentieth century a Glasgow hood has prepared the congregation for a liberal sermon, an Edinburgh hood for something more conservative.)

Eventually one must contend with the reality that the reformation is a philosophy of men cooked up in an era of humanism as a philosophy being born.   This philosophy birthed the reformation, and faith gave way to scientific proof and only what one could be "sure of" in the "sources".  Thus the slogan , "ad fontes" - "back to the sources.    But who decided what the sources were?   Who sat in judgement over the church and others Christians throughout the centuries?   Scholars.   scholars could decide the. Which books of the bible were "genuine" and which weren't.   Don't like a book...just come up with a scholarly reason and you can eventually chuck it if it gains academic traction.   The removal of the deuterocanaon from the bible was the work not of consensus in the church, but the final decision of the board of bible publishers in the late 1800s.  These same scholars made theological and dogmatic points about things based on data they had at the time guided by their own ideas and proclivities.   But access to data changes, and what one scholar will accept another will reject.  Many reformers still hold as gospel the conclusions of 18th and 19th century scholars who have been proven wrong with new data.   But they'll still quote their pet scholars as authorities.   It's all subjective and simply leads to division over trivialities based on incomplete data.   It is trust in the "letter which kills" and not the "spirit which gives life."   It is not "love which binds together in perfect harmony."   Scholars are not interested in Spirit ...but letter.  And reformed scholarship is all liberal scholarship.  (Not political liberal, but academic liberal.   There is a philosophy behind it.)

Another work that really woke me up was Alexei Khomaikov's small article on the western confession of faith.    https://ijov.wordpress.com/2009/01/18/on-the-western-confessions-of-faith/   its style is 19th century polemical by our standards, and probably a bit of a sideline....but really worth the read and wrestling with the issues brought up.

Anyway....sorry....I'm going off on tangents.   I'll stop and start narrowing myself to the specific questions.  Overwhelming info.

Good luck.   May God bless you and your Father.   
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 10:48:56 AM by Onesimus »

Offline juliogb

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2016, 12:46:52 PM »
Quote
The removal of the deuterocanaon from the bible was the work not of consensus in the church, but the final decision of the board of bible publishers in the late 1800s

Do you know where can I find info about the matter of the deuterocanon removal by Bible publishers?

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2016, 12:54:27 PM »
I don't know exactly when the deuterocanon was removed by Protestants- I suspect it started well before 1800- but it's true that early Protestant bibles included it, including the King James and Geneva bibles.
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Offline Onesimus

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2016, 01:48:56 PM »
Quote
The removal of the deuterocanaon from the bible was the work not of consensus in the church, but the final decision of the board of bible publishers in the late 1800s

Do you know where can I find info about the matter of the deuterocanon removal by Bible publishers?

Up until the 19th century most Protestant bibles still included the deuterocanaon either between the OT and NT or after the NT with a preface.  Perhaps there are exception, but I'm not aware of any that were consistent or not occasional exceptions.   

After the 19th century most Protestants began to follow the lead of the British and foreign bible society who removed the deuterocanaon entirely.

For lack of time, I going to defer to Wikipedia....though a more robust search can provide scholarly articles.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_Apocrypha#Modern_editions

Also from Wikipedia article on the kjv we find;  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_James_Version

Quote
English-language Protestant Bibles in the 16th century included the books of the Apocrypha – generally in a separate section between the Old and New Testaments to indicate they were not part of the Old Testament text – and there is evidence that these were widely read as popular literature, especially in Puritan circles.[160][161] However, starting in 1630, volumes of the Geneva Bible were occasionally bound with the pages of the Apocrypha section excluded. In 1644 the Long Parliament forbade the reading of the Apocrypha in Church and in 1666 the first editions of the King James Bible without the Apocrypha were bound.[162]

The standardization of the text of the Authorized Version after 1769 together with the technological development of stereotype printing made it possible to produce Bibles in large-print runs at very low unit prices. For commercial and charitable publishers,editions of the Authorized Version without the Apocrypha reduced the cost, while having increased market appeal to non-Anglican Protestant readers.[163]

With the rise of the Bible societies, most editions have omitted the whole section of Apocryphal books.[164] The British and Foreign Bible Society withdrew subsidies for bible printing and dissemination in 1826, under the following resolution:

"That the funds of the Society be applied to the printing and circulation of the Canonical Books of Scripture, to the exclusion of those Books and parts of Books usually termed Apocryphal;"[165]

The American Bible Society adopted a similar policy. Both societies eventually reversed these policies in light of 20th century ecumenical efforts on translations, the ABS doing so in 1964 and the BFBS in 1966.[166]

Some other general hits from a quick Google search even bring up this smart Protestant...

http://rockingodshouse.com/why-were-14-books-apocrypha-removed-from-the-bible-in-1881/

This comes from the website of the Protestant Canadian bible society. 

Quote
The fact is that until about 1880 both Protestant and Catholic Bibles included all 80 books. It is reported that King James threatened anyone who dared print the Bible without ‘the Apocrypha’ with heavy fines and a year in jail. As a result of their removal from Protestant Bibles over the past 130 years, most Protestants now believe that there is something “Roman Catholic” about these books

https://biblesociety.ca/newsletters/Summer2011WaW/feature_2717.html

I've had conversations with some of my Protestant professors who sheepishly admit that they prefer to use the NRSV because it has the deuterocanaon.    They always look around to make sure no ones listening and speak in hushed tones when they tell me they think the deuterocanaon should be restored.    ::)
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 01:59:43 PM by Onesimus »

Offline juliogb

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2016, 02:08:17 PM »
Quote
Some other general hits from a quick Google search even bring up this smart Protestant...

http://rockingodshouse.com/why-were-14-books-apocrypha-removed-from-the-bible-in-1881/

Nice, I was searching for some article like that, quite unusual, but I understand the questions of the author, a guy specialized in selling old Bibles and Torahs.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 02:10:34 PM by juliogb »

Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2016, 02:16:24 PM »
'
Quote
So which parts of the letters are generally acknowledged to be additions? Otherwise it's pretty easy to say any talk about Bishops/Eucharist, etc. is the interpolation."

There are the shorter versions and longer versions of ignatius's letters.   Just stick with the shorter ones.    The longer ones are thought to have be added to.

One issue this brings up is scholarship.   This is the "tradition" of the reformation.   It trusts in books, and scholars and information.     But only information it interprets via certain scholars.  Scholars have simply taken the place of clergy and information have become sacraments.   The trust is in knowledge and intellect.   The proof?   The vestments of preists were replaced by professors robes, and in many reformed churches this is still what is worn.   

It's worth pointing out, though, that this only applies to the Reformed wing of the Reformation. The Radical Reformation tended toward the opposite extreme and took a strongly populist, anti-philosophical and anti-intellectual bent, with the Abecedarians being particularly extreme in this regard. American evangelicalism has always contained a mix of Reformed and Anabaptist tendencies; Ligonier are of course Reformed but they were founded relatively recently. Further back in time, there were other popular movements in the US such as the Independent Fundamental Baptists, Branhamites, snake-handlers, etc., which all had more Anabaptist-like tendencies.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 02:18:27 PM by Minnesotan »
I'm not going to be posting as much on OC.Net as before. I might stop in once in a while though. But I've come to realize that real life is more important.

Offline Onesimus

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2016, 02:19:19 PM »
'
Quote
So which parts of the letters are generally acknowledged to be additions? Otherwise it's pretty easy to say any talk about Bishops/Eucharist, etc. is the interpolation."

There are the shorter versions and longer versions of ignatius's letters.   Just stick with the shorter ones.    The longer ones are thought to have be added to.

One issue this brings up is scholarship.   This is the "tradition" of the reformation.   It trusts in books, and scholars and information.     But only information it interprets via certain scholars.  Scholars have simply taken the place of clergy and information have become sacraments.   The trust is in knowledge and intellect.   The proof?   The vestments of preists were replaced by professors robes, and in many reformed churches this is still what is worn.   

It's worth pointing out, though, that this only applies to the Reformed wing of the Reformation. The Radical Reformation tended toward the opposite extreme and took a strongly anti-philosophical and anti-intellectual bent in many cases, with the Abecedarians being particularly extreme in this regard. American evangelicalism has always contained a mix of Reformed and Anabaptist tendencies; Ligonier are of course Reformed but they were founded relatively recently.

True enough until you look into the leaders of the radical reform.   Scholars.   Philosophers.   Academics.   Many of them were simply humanist scholars, whose anti-intellectualism only applied to others, not themselves.   But yes, I agree with you.

I think what this typically allowed reformed and evangelical Christians to do is jump back and forth between logic and faith when things get uncomfortable.   The data doesn't support you.   Okay, switch to "faith" and my interpretation of the bible.   The bible doesn't support you, okay switch to sacholar mode and find some scholar, ANy scholar, who raises a doubt, no matter how rediculous or unfounded and rest your faith and logic in him/her.

« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 02:26:11 PM by Onesimus »

Offline juliogb

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #22 on: August 02, 2016, 02:28:04 PM »
It seems to me that all the arguments against the Deuterocanonical books were formed years after the remove of those books from the canon, so, people started to look out for any verse that could justify its removal.

Offline Onesimus

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #23 on: August 02, 2016, 02:39:03 PM »
It seems to me that all the arguments against the Deuterocanonical books were formed years after the remove of those books from the canon, so, people started to look out for any verse that could justify its removal.

Yeah...part of the issue is how ones understands what "canon" means.   Protestants have a messed up / rigid notion of canonicity, and can't read early church history without projecting anachronistic ideas.

I've told many that IMO, the canon of a church is up to the local church so long as the rest of the church doesn't call it into question.   This is why many churches, Ethiopian, Georgian, Armenian, etc. have some books they find appropriate for their canon.   Enoch, 3 Corinthians, etc.   since none of this causes them to repudiate them common faith and life of the chu4ch...no problems.   I'd even be okay with a bible without the deuterocanaon if it were accepted within a conciliar framework in communion with the Orthodox Church.   While that would never happen, I think it's fine if a particular church uses books others don't and vice versa, so long as it does not cause them to repudiate the common faith.  Acreba (sp?) vs. oikonomia.   Protestants refuse the common faith and work everything around their presuppositions.

Since the eastern church still works from the separate liturgical books gospel, prophets and psalms and uses these for different purposes I. The liturgical life, we have an understanding of their role.   Protestant jettison the context, and can't see the role and relationship of one part of the whole to the other.   
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 02:40:51 PM by Onesimus »

Offline tuesdayschild

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #24 on: August 02, 2016, 02:58:17 PM »
The guy leading the series (a professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary) has said about Eastern Orthodoxy (and Catholicism) "The traditions that they add to the Bible are not genuinely ancient and often stand in contradiction not only to the Bible, but also to the ancient church fathers. Their traditions add to, subtract from, and/or contradict the Bible." So I'm not totally confident about him. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/reformed-pastor-president-professor/

I'm not going to watch the lecture series, but I will direct your attention to the name of Fr. Josiah Trenham, who "In 1992, he graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California, with an M.Div. He also studied at Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson, Mississippi and Orlando, Florida) under Reformed theologians Drs. R.C. Sproul, John Gerstner, John Frame."

Dr. Godfrey has been at WTS since 1981. Presumably, Fr. Josiah studied Church History under Dr. Godfrey.

It would not surprise me if Fr. Josiah has already published a book, article, or podcast that speaks directly to your interests.

https://orthodoxwiki.org/Josiah_Trenham
http://www.saintandrew.net/administration.html
http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/thearena

Offline Onesimus

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #25 on: August 02, 2016, 03:06:59 PM »
The guy leading the series (a professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary) has said about Eastern Orthodoxy (and Catholicism) "The traditions that they add to the Bible are not genuinely ancient and often stand in contradiction not only to the Bible, but also to the ancient church fathers. Their traditions add to, subtract from, and/or contradict the Bible." So I'm not totally confident about him. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/reformed-pastor-president-professor/

I'm not going to watch the lecture series, but I will direct your attention to the name of Fr. Josiah Trenham, who "In 1992, he graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California, with an M.Div. He also studied at Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson, Mississippi and Orlando, Florida) under Reformed theologians Drs. R.C. Sproul, John Gerstner, John Frame."

Dr. Godfrey has been at WTS since 1981. Presumably, Fr. Josiah studied Church History under Dr. Godfrey.

It would not surprise me if Fr. Josiah has already published a book, article, or podcast that speaks directly to your interests.

https://orthodoxwiki.org/Josiah_Trenham
http://www.saintandrew.net/administration.html
http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/thearena

Very good person to recommend.   His book rock and sand is a good one dealing with the history of the reformation from an Orthodox perspective
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 03:07:35 PM by Onesimus »

Offline Daniel2:47

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2016, 05:06:56 PM »
The guy leading the series (a professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary) has said about Eastern Orthodoxy (and Catholicism) "The traditions that they add to the Bible are not genuinely ancient and often stand in contradiction not only to the Bible, but also to the ancient church fathers. Their traditions add to, subtract from, and/or contradict the Bible." So I'm not totally confident about him. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/reformed-pastor-president-professor/

I'm not going to watch the lecture series, but I will direct your attention to the name of Fr. Josiah Trenham, who "In 1992, he graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California, with an M.Div. He also studied at Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson, Mississippi and Orlando, Florida) under Reformed theologians Drs. R.C. Sproul, John Gerstner, John Frame."

Dr. Godfrey has been at WTS since 1981. Presumably, Fr. Josiah studied Church History under Dr. Godfrey.

It would not surprise me if Fr. Josiah has already published a book, article, or podcast that speaks directly to your interests.

https://orthodoxwiki.org/Josiah_Trenham
http://www.saintandrew.net/administration.html
http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/thearena

Very good person to recommend.   His book rock and sand is a good one dealing with the history of the reformation from an Orthodox perspective

There is also a 2 part 2 hour video interview on YouTube where he outlines the key arguments that are found in his book Rock and Sand, about the history of the Protestant Reformation from an Orthodox perspective. Highly recommended.

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Eastern Orthodoxy and early Church history--help!
« Reply #27 on: August 02, 2016, 06:29:37 PM »
There are also (at least ) three books written by heterodox theologians that in the main side with the Orthodox.

Returning to First Century Theology by L. Hudson Turner.

The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Michael J. Kruger.

Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom by Peter J. Leithart