A comprenhensive response here is clearly not going to happen, so I'm picking out a few points along the way.
Words arn't the problem in the Palamite controversy.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š The Orthodox are much more open minded and (dare I say it?!) progressive than they are given credit for.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š If Fr. Seraphim Rose could emphatically say that the De in the Dao de jing are synomous to the Orthodox "uncreated energies" we can also deal with different terminology that Western Christians use.
I have to wonder, personally, whether he is typical in his approach-- or whether he is in effect evidence that West and East are really quite close together in some modes of argument. I look at his books on creationism and eschatology, for instance, and he is not at all averse to using fundamentalist sources, even though he surely rejects some of The Fundamentals
. Is this because these materials are like Orthodox materials, or simply because he is familiar with them from his previous life?
And I'm not interested in the whole Palamite controvery, but rather the explanations of Western positions that seem an inevitable part of it. For maximal legitimacy one must go to a Westerner
to get those explanations.
The issue is too central though to brush off as a semantics debate.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š The issue is Christiani soteriology - whether we are simply saved from hell in a strange sort of legal system or whether we become sanctified throuth grace/energies/de.
Actually, as an Anglican I'll say it is entirely
peripheral! And it is so because the answer doesn't really do anything. The important issue is the recognition that grace isn't a sort of sacramental fluid, but is rather Godly action. The legalistic explanation is about how those actions accomplish salvation, but they are still about the same thing.
That's exactly what's wrong with the semantic argument. Bad theology, of any kind, tends to reify grace/energies into this sacramental fluid-- and it does so because the language encourages that error. We are stuck with the word "grace", for better or worse, because Paul uses it at length. The legalistic theory: well, perhaps that is a difference in detail. But the "energies" thing is a complete red herring. Everyone in the West makes the distinction between God and Godly action.
But it is obvious to see exagerated Papal powers coming from the mindset of codifying the entire church into one person's theology.
It may be obvious, but it's also incorrect. Papal power arose out of the fact that Rome evangelized the pagan west, and then never cast the resulting churches off.
About the develpment of doctrine - to say the seven councils are an example of this is to not understand their historical context.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š They were called to resolve a critical debate over Christology that had divided the Church.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š What Christological controversy did Vatican I resolve?ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š What need was there to dogmatize purgatory, indulgences and the like?
Well, obviously to combat those DPs!
But seriously, this isn't development and non-development; it's simply good development and bad development. The Nicene formula is neither in scripture, nor in the oldest fathers; the Chalcedonian formula is even more remote from the same sources. By the same token, none of the positions dogmatized at Vatican I were novel; most dated well back into the middle ages. The chief offender, the Immaculate Conception, can be traced back to numerous patristic citations.
is undeniably an exceptional case, though again it's hard as heck to get through the thickets of each side explaining the other. For example, the inverted triangle diagram I've occaisionally seen in Orthodox explanations is bogonic. But it's clear that the Western insistence on the doctrine brought on the great schism.
I think there is something to be said re ROAC and other traditionalists, but I don't have time to try to fit it back into the current discussion.