Of course, I do not object to the significance of Scripture and Tradition, but rather to your misapplication thereof. The scriptures and fathers have bias, just as we have bias today, and while we can look to their writings for guidance we can not divinize their experiences or cultural biases the way Islam does with Mohammed.
You're trying to take a middle ground that isn't actually available to you. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š St. Paul was unequivocal; he considered his preaching, in its entirety, to be the word of God (1 Thess. 2:13) ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š This preaching included both his written epistles and his spoken words, (2 Thess. 2:15) and extended to practical matters as well as abstract doctrine. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Those who did not live by the traditions were "disorderly brothers" subject to excommunication (2 Thess. 3:6). ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š In his discourse on veiling St. Paul even went so far as to say that those who did not submit to the judgment he delivered were estranged from the "churches of God", which had "no other practice" but what he delivered. (1 Corinthians 11:16)
The true greatness of the fathers is in their methodology, philosophy, and high theology which should take a central role in any discussion on the matter;
The practice of expressing Christian beliefs in terms borrowed from philosophy was a common methodology, but the practice of adjusting beliefs to fit current prevailing prejudices was not orthodoxy, but heresy (see St. Basil's sermon on the use of Greek writings). ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š There is a world of difference between using familiar vocabulary to enunciate unfamiliar beliefs (a practice begun by St. Paul in his discourse on Mars Hill and his epistle to the Colossians) and prostituting those beliefs for the sake of getting along with your culture. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Show me one father who's openly willing to deny Scripture for the sake of cultural prejudice and I'll quite willingly concede the point. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Those who wanted to "adjust" the Church were not the Orthodox fathers, but the Gnostics. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š The Church fathers spent a lot of their time combatting the prejudices of Hellenism, like the variant of the belief of the immortality of the soul that was opposed to resurrection, the eternal existence of matter, the role of fate in human affairs, the permissibility of divorce, the conditions that qualify as adultery, etc. etc. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š The people who continue their methodology are those who are just as willing to oppose the prejudices of modernity as they were to those of Hellenism.
their pastoral comments or procedural comments should be taken in the light of their culture and situation and not be directly applied to the situation today, but rather filtered through their cultural context, then subjugated to their methodology, philosophy, and high theology, then transformed to fit our cultural context to see their application to us today.
And all this despite the fact that "friendship with the world is enmity with God," (James 4:4), that we should, "...not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." (Romans 12:2) and that we're specifically looking to be "delivered from this evil age."
Of course there is dissent amongst the fathers, there's always dissent amongst the fathers, I mean there isn't even agreement about the trinity or the divinity of Christ in the fathers, muchless about the exact role of women in society and the Church; was there a strong cultural influence then? Yes, but even with this strong cultural influence we still dont see complete agreement. Unanimity amongst the fathers is a myth and a lie from the pits of hell.
This is exagerrated, but I'll leave that aside. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š I didn't deny that there was disagreement among the fathers on this issue; I said that none of the fathers had anything close to views that would now be described as "modernist". ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š The fathers are perfectly unanimous in rejecting the innovations which we see nowadays. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š It's telling that, in the context of the fathers, St. John Chrysostom's views appear on the far liberal wing of patristic opinion. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š In regard to any issue that's likely to be debated today, such as, "Is a woman obligated to obey her husband?" "Can women be priests?" "Should women be veiled in church?" etc. the fathers are perfectly unanimous.
I object, to the notion that we have had any 'great theologians' in 'very recent times,' unless by 'very recent' you mean the fifth and sixth centuries. But with that said most the leaders in the study of theology today agree with the notion of equality in society and support increased roles for women in the context of the Church.
Then you also object to the judgment of the Church that there have been theologians and doctors throughout the intervening centuries. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š There are great theologians in every age, because God does not abandon his Church.
They're not all that elaborate, they're actually quite straight forward. St. Paul grew up within a certain culture, thus he had preconceived notions about how people should act from that cultural context, these preconceived notions influenced his thinkings, writings, and theology...it ain't rocket science, it's common sense...but, of course, as Orthodox we seem to have this great and irrational aversion to common sense.
This is indeed "common sense", unless you take at all seriously the role of the Holy Spirit in leading the Church "into all truth," (John 16:13) or that there is only one deposit of faith, which is constantly expounded and explored, but never altered or adjusted (Jude 3 and the letter of the Eastern Patriarchs to the non-Jurors)