Thank you for your welcome. I agree that if my aim were to score points in a debate with the author of the article, that it would certainly be a breeze considering the obvious and valuable opportunities he has negligently left wide open. However, I fail to see what this has to do with your comments relating to the idea that it is “okay” to leave the heterodox blinded by false conceptions, even if we are readily capable of addressing the issues in question, simply because they are content and happy with their false positions. I did indeed read all your posts in this thread before responding; i simply fail to see how your former point provides any context to the latter, for they seem like two obviously different and separate remarks. Regardless of whether the target of my intended response be the genuine evangelical inquirer who has stumbled across this article (and who thus doesn’t know any better), or the evangelical polemicist responsible for the very existence of this article (and who thus should have been more responsible in verifying the facts and premises of his arguments), we still have a duty to tear down the straw men, and present the facts for the sake of things beyond the scoreboard of a debate.
When reading the polemical/apologetic writings of certain Fathers (particularly St Athanasios, St Cyril of Alexandria, Origen, St Ignatios of Antioch, Tertullian and St Jerome), one cannot help but notice their use of satire, the mastery of their rhetoric, and other such skills (especially when exposing gross absurdities and overly simplistic fallacies) which all serve the purpose of “scoring points” in debate. However, one can likewise not help but notice their genuine concern for the salvation of others, even the very arch-heretics whom they are specifically addressing. Indeed, Christ Himself was a prime example of this; he employed satire to ridicule the arguments of his polemical opponents, whilst nonetheless loving them no less, and being motivated by none other than a divine purpose.
Thank you for the article. I had no idea a response already existed; hopefully that should save my time.
Thanks for your comments. You make an interesting point regarding the distinction between the East and West; it is a distinction that the author of the article readily recognises and admits. I guess, however, I’m more interested in actually validating Orthodox epistemology, and on a wider-scale at that.
I guess it is the problem of “consensus” that I have issues with. The concept of “consensus” certainly makes sense when determining the Apostolic tradition specifically i.e. it is only reasonable to conclude that if the majority of the early Christians of the Apostolic era believed X, that there must have been some specific basis for X grounded in the very preaching of the Apostles which was responsible for the very existence of these early Christian communities in the first place. Why, however, should I expect an Evangelical to accept upon reasonable basis, the validity of patristic consensus? Often the verse regarding the gates of hell never prevailing over the Church is invoked to validate the consensus argument; however this can very simply be dismissed as a case of willful eisegesis (and I have furthermore never heard of any Father advocating a consensus argument on the basis of this verse — though I am wiling to stand corrected). Furthermore, there is a problem with the definition of the expression “patristic consensus” in any event. The first and obvious problem is defining those who legitimately qualify as Fathers for the purpose of a “patristic survey” in the first place, which is obviously a very subjectively determined thing.
Some of you may have noticed by now that though such questions are raised by an Evangelical, they do in fact have some bearing to the whole EO vs. OO debate (and no, I did not create this thread as a smokescreen for another EO vs OO debate). The “consensus” argument was advocated by GiC in a debate we had a while ago on such issues; when I asked him to prove why the mere fact that 4/5 of the Patriarchates supported position X is in and of itself an objectively valid argument that should be submitted to by any Christian who seriously observes the Tradition of the pre-Chalcedonian Church, he could not and/or did not rise to the challenge. I simply bring this up as an example; however, I hope that discussion can continue in response to the main principles in question.