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A question for protestants...

GreekChef

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David Young said:
katherineofdixie said:
all I'm asking for: present your evidence,
Katherine, honey (to use your kind phrase  ;)), I have been trying to say gently and courteously that I feel disinclined to undertake this, and that for a number of reasons:
In this case, let me ask you a few questions, David.

1.  What's the point?  What's the point of being here and discussing anything with us at all, if you aren't going to finish the conversation and bail out every time you run out of answers?  Forgive me if that sounds harsh, I'm sure you would know by my tone of voice (if you could hear it) that I'm not trying to be harsh.  If you truly want to understand what it is that we Orthodox believe and why we believe it, then that mandates discussion.  We can't understand each other via osmosis, unfortunately (wouldn't that make things easier!).  And to understand what we believe, you must also understand why we DON'T believe what you believe, and we must try to understand what you believe in order to give you a response (basically, we have to have a discussion).  You cannot on the one hand say you desire to be edified and desire to understand and on the other hand cut us off when you decide you have no more answers and have heard enough.  It's disingenuous. 

So, my other couple of questions will go back to the topic at hand, and I pray you will respond.

2. In response to your last post directed at me, where you stated that it's hard to prove the absence of something... My question is, if you can't show any evidence of this "absence," why do you yourself believe it?  Simply because (in your opinion) it's not plain in the NT?  In other words, what causes you, when presented with the overwhelming evidence from the early church and early church fathers, to continue to believe something you have no evidence of?

3. Regarding the question of bishops in every community, have you considered that in NT times, before the legalization of Christianity, during the time when Christians were persecuted, that the reason there was one bishop per community was because there was only ONE COMMUNITY per geographic area? 

So I think, then, that what really needs to be discussed is what constitutes a community.  As Protestants, your churches are separate-- you have separate beliefs (though some may be in common-- the important ones, you say), are not tied to one another, often not even knowing each other.  In Orthodoxy, though we may be in separate buildings (with separate parish leadership-- parish council and priests, etc), we are all one community.  For instance, in Atlanta, the clergy from all parishes in all jurisdictions (ROCOR, OCA, Greek, Antiochian, etc) are all members of one brotherhood, who bring the parishes together often to worship.  There are many people who are members of more than one parish (even pledging stewardship in multiple parishes).  There are lots of people who float freely from parish to parish (and in different jurisdictions, no less).  We do many, many activities and services together as one active community, who, though spread out geographically in the city, are united COMPLETELY by beliefs and consider ourselves to truly be a family.


Honestly, it seems to me that, time after time, when I have these types of conversations with Protestants like your good self (and often happens here on the forum), they always back out of these discussions because they run out of answers.  They find themselves backed into a corner out of which they cannot escape, and are forced to stop the conversation because if they continue, it will become quite clear to everyone involved (including themselves) that they have nothing more to stand on than their own opinion, which, once proven wrong, will force them to concede.  And once one point is conceded, their belief system becomes a house of cards (to borrow a phrase from Katherine) which will topple quickly.  Thus, knowing that they have nowhere to go and seeing what lies in the future should they have to concede that we Orthodox actually know what we're talking about, they practice, as has been stated several times on this thread, cognitive dissonance.

Forgive me if I have offended you.  As always, it is never my intent.
 

ialmisry

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katherineofdixie said:
David Young said:
- I think all we would end up doing is each of us would become more entrenched in his own position, because by writing it all down carefully we would convince ourselves more strongly
If so that really puts the damper on any discussion. If all we are doing is fortifying our own positions, why are we wasting our time on this forum?
- to do it properly would entail discussing every instance of all the related words, which would consume a huge amount of time, and we all have other commitments
Of course, we could all do Ph.d dissertations on it, but as you say, it would take time. But a normal discussion, using common resources at our disposal would surely not be that onerous. We have of course kindly provided you with evidence already.
- I'm fairly sure neither of us would convince the other, for it must be possible to hold either position with integrity and seriousness, otherwise there wouldn't be so many Baptists and so many Orthodox in the world, all intelligent, thinking, and theologically alert
See answer above. If all discussion is futile, why bother? Also it may be cynical of me but I've observed that people can have integrity and all those other attributes, and still be mistaken, or uninformed on a particular subject.
- although the function of bishops is important to you Orthodox
The point of it, dear david, is not that the office of Bishop is important to the Orthodox, although it is, the point is that it was important to the early Christians, as we have shown you from Scripture and history. So if it is not an important concern to the Baptists, you should be able quite easily to show us why, and how the Baptists decided to change it.
Yes, since Sola Scriptura is one of the 5 solas Baptists accept with other Protestants in that nonexistent Tradition of theirs, it would present an onus of why Scriptura devotes a a fair amount of description on the office of bishop to shift out candidates for the office.  In fact, it might be the most explicitly detailed office in the whole of Scripture.


- I am quite aware that one can't approach Orthodoxy like a buffet, from your point of view: it is all or nothing; so even if you convinced me of your view of bishops, it would be insufficient without convincing me also of all the accretions you have added to the Faith (or we have removed from the Faith), like prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead, priestly robes, seven sacraments and so on: one thing leads to another,
You are exactly right, and I absolutely agree with you. If you were to accept one part of all this as Scriptural and an integral part of the Christian faith, as revealed by history and the early Fathers, you would have some serious decisions to make. Because if the Bishops are true then all the rest of it is also.
-I do not really believe that it would edify either you or me (or others who read the posts) to wrangle over the function of bishops in the period, say 30-160 AD.
I disagree with your characterization of the discussion as wrangling, but as to the edification of such a discussion, see answer above.
I don't know about the period of wrangling, as we are agree (I believe, with St. (I) Peter 2:25) that Christ was the only Bishop in 30, and after 95 the "second century definition" was in place.  That only leaves 65 or less years, during the entire period of which an Apostle still lived, and over half of it the majority of the Apostles were still alive, and consequently their successors did't come to the fore. But as Titus (1:5) (and as St. Clement (42)) tell us, the Apostles had made provision for their departure in the bishops. But that may start the wrangling, which really only covers 30 years or so. c. 65-95.
-I suspect we have all studied this matter fairly thoroughly already at some time, for our own conviction, and come to the understanding we have of scripture (or Tradition)
Then it wouldn't really be so time-consuming to discuss it, since we've already done much of the heavy lifting?
some of you would only dub me my own pope. If I think, I remain a Baptist but am considered suipapal, and if I don't think I can't give thought to your position. What would have happened to cogito ergo sum?
I got lost somewhere in that sentence but if you don't think, how can you "sum"? And anyway, don't be silly, we already think that you're your own pope! ;)
Perhaps David, you can direct us to an authority (e.g. a biblical commentator, etc.) that articulates/substantiates your position. Or do you claim you alone hold it?
 

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This response from david was so fascinating I can't resist analyzing it bit by bit...

David:  I think all we would end up doing is each of us would become more entrenched in his own position, because by writing it all down carefully we would convince ourselves more strongly

Me: that isn't necessarily a bad thing... unless your position is flawed.

David: to do it properly would entail discussing every instance of all the related words, which would consume a huge amount of time, and we all have other commitments

Me: this implies then, that we should not have had this discussion to begin with, which means that virtually all discussion here is worthless.

David: I'm fairly sure neither of us would convince the other, for it must be possible to hold either position with integrity and seriousness, otherwise there wouldn't be so many Baptists and so many Orthodox in the world, all intelligent, thinking, and theologically alert

Me: well, I'm not certain most people in the world hold much of anything with 'integrity and seriousness' due to the after-effects of the fall.  With this argument, we ought not preach the Gospel at all since most of the world is not Christian and likely will never convert by human means.

David: although the function of bishops is important to you Orthodox, to us it is not an important concern, and doesn't really engage my cafeteria mentality (that is, the desire to learn what I can of the Lord from the riches of Orthodoxy and benefit from it)

Me: is the 'cafeteria' mentality found in Scripture?

David: I am quite aware that one can't approach Orthodoxy like a buffet, from your point of view: it is all or nothing; so even if you convinced me of your view of bishops, it would be insufficient without convincing me also of all the accretions you have added to the Faith (or we have removed from the Faith), like prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead, priestly robes, seven sacraments and so on: one thing leads to another, and we have probably explored them all over the months

Me: we can't convince you of anything you don't want to be convinced of.  The real question is whether you are comfortable where you are.  If you are, no argument is sufficient, because you can set the standards so high that no one, not even God Himself, can convince you otherwise.  What is more important for me is to help other readers who are hungry to see what you are turning down and why.

David: I do not really believe that it would edify either you or me (or others who read the posts) to wrangle over the function of bishops in the period, say 30-160 AD.

Me: for the sake of inquirers, I think this is fabulous!

David: I suspect we have all studied this matter fairly thoroughly already at some time, for our own conviction, and come to the understanding we have of scripture (or Tradition)

Me: I think there is always room to learn and grow.  After all, the Divine is eternal, so our learning and changing should also be eternal.

David: If I really took the large chunks of time to exegete each use of the range of words and concepts under discussion, and still disagreed with you, some of you would only dub me my own pope. If I think, I remain a Baptist but am considered suipapal, and if I don't think I can't give thought to your position. What would have happened to cogito ergo sum?

Me: 'Cognito ergo sum' certainly isn't a Christian concept.  Thinking is pointless if it based on false premises, such as debating the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin or the relative flatness of a flat earth.  You can think all you want, but if your thoughts are based on false information then all conclusions are likely to be equally false.

The measure of 'papalness' (as you are using it) has to do with the authority to interpret Scripture and doctrine.  For you it is a personal choice.  For us, it is a choice to submit to the authority of the Church based upon its witness.  We see evidence for the authority not only in the reasoning of the Church's teachings, but in the witness borne in miracles and, especially, those lives who have been transformed through God's grace obtained while in obedience to the Church.

I don't think anyone here thinks you ought not think, but they do question what you think about.  If you are thinking about how to preserve your position, then it is different than asking questions because you are looking for knowledge that may lead you to change your opinions.

In the end, there is still a problem regarding the standards of evidence.  The Church stands on more than academic exegesis, but rather such exegesis in light of the common experience of the Church.  By this, I mean you can come up with an interpretation that meets the criteria of reason, but when applied destroys the souls of those who accept it.  The Church has always held that mere exegesis alone without proof in experience is insufficient and leads to heresy.  Human intellect is not a sufficient means for determining the truth because God is Truth and our minds cannot fully grasp His Mysteries.

Anyway, I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience, because any opportunity to review these basics helps me keep 'in shape' if you know what I mean.  I appreciate the exchanges!
 

ialmisry

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Hope everything is going well in Atlanta.
GreekChef said:
David Young said:
katherineofdixie said:
all I'm asking for: present your evidence,
Katherine, honey (to use your kind phrase  ;)), I have been trying to say gently and courteously that I feel disinclined to undertake this, and that for a number of reasons:
In this case, let me ask you a few questions, David.

1.  What's the point?  What's the point of being here and discussing anything with us at all, if you aren't going to finish the conversation and bail out every time you run out of answers?  Forgive me if that sounds harsh, I'm sure you would know by my tone of voice (if you could hear it) that I'm not trying to be harsh.  If you truly want to understand what it is that we Orthodox believe and why we believe it, then that mandates discussion.  We can't understand each other via osmosis, unfortunately (wouldn't that make things easier!).  And to understand what we believe, you must also understand why we DON'T believe what you believe, and we must try to understand what you believe in order to give you a response (basically, we have to have a discussion).  You cannot on the one hand say you desire to be edified and desire to understand and on the other hand cut us off when you decide you have no more answers and have heard enough.  It's disingenuous. 
I'm still a little uneasy in that I think I a formulating what David thinks a bishop is, then what he says a bishop (or rather "overseer") is.   I don't believe he has told us the source of the overseer's authority, for instance.  At best I can figure, the overseer is a organizational functionary for the local congregation (or is it city:I'm not sure).

So, my other couple of questions will go back to the topic at hand, and I pray you will respond.

2. In response to your last post directed at me, where you stated that it's hard to prove the absence of something... My question is, if you can't show any evidence of this "absence," why do you yourself believe it?  Simply because (in your opinion) it's not plain in the NT?  In other words, what causes you, when presented with the overwhelming evidence from the early church and early church fathers, to continue to believe something you have no evidence of?
Particlarly as the Apsotolic Fathers, upon whom we ALL depend on for the NT, state something was there?


3. Regarding the question of bishops in every community, have you considered that in NT times, before the legalization of Christianity, during the time when Christians were persecuted, that the reason there was one bishop per community was because there was only ONE COMMUNITY per geographic area? 

So I think, then, that what really needs to be discussed is what constitutes a community.  As Protestants, your churches are separate-- you have separate beliefs (though some may be in common-- the important ones, you say), are not tied to one another, often not even knowing each other.  In Orthodoxy, though we may be in separate buildings (with separate parish leadership-- parish council and priests, etc), we are all one community.  For instance, in Atlanta, the clergy from all parishes in all jurisdictions (ROCOR, OCA, Greek, Antiochian, etc) are all members of one brotherhood, who bring the parishes together often to worship.  There are many people who are members of more than one parish (even pledging stewardship in multiple parishes).  There are lots of people who float freely from parish to parish (and in different jurisdictions, no less).  We do many, many activities and services together as one active community, who, though spread out geographically in the city, are united COMPLETELY by beliefs and consider ourselves to truly be a family.
I go to the GOARCH parishes all the time. :eek: And had communion in the Phanar (where my baptismal cross was blessed). :eek: :eek: :eek:

Honestly, it seems to me that, time after time, when I have these types of conversations with Protestants like your good self (and often happens here on the forum), they always back out of these discussions because they run out of answers.  They find themselves backed into a corner out of which they cannot escape, and are forced to stop the conversation because if they continue, it will become quite clear to everyone involved (including themselves) that they have nothing more to stand on than their own opinion, which, once proven wrong, will force them to concede.  And once one point is conceded, their belief system becomes a house of cards (to borrow a phrase from Katherine) which will topple quickly.  Thus, knowing that they have nowhere to go and seeing what lies in the future should they have to concede that we Orthodox actually know what we're talking about, they practice, as has been stated several times on this thread, cognitive dissonance.

Forgive me if I have offended you.  As always, it is never my intent.
Nor I.  I just don't have Greekchef's irenic mouth (or keyboard).
 

ialmisry

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FatherGiryus said:
 

This response from david was so fascinating I can't resist analyzing it bit by bit...

David:  I think all we would end up doing is each of us would become more entrenched in his own position, because by writing it all down carefully we would convince ourselves more strongly

Me: that isn't necessarily a bad thing... unless your position is flawed.

David: to do it properly would entail discussing every instance of all the related words, which would consume a huge amount of time, and we all have other commitments

Me: this implies then, that we should not have had this discussion to begin with, which means that virtually all discussion here is worthless.

David: I'm fairly sure neither of us would convince the other, for it must be possible to hold either position with integrity and seriousness, otherwise there wouldn't be so many Baptists and so many Orthodox in the world, all intelligent, thinking, and theologically alert

Me: well, I'm not certain most people in the world hold much of anything with 'integrity and seriousness' due to the after-effects of the fall.   With this argument, we ought not preach the Gospel at all since most of the world is not Christian and likely will never convert by human means.

David: although the function of bishops is important to you Orthodox, to us it is not an important concern, and doesn't really engage my cafeteria mentality (that is, the desire to learn what I can of the Lord from the riches of Orthodoxy and benefit from it)

Me: is the 'cafeteria' mentality found in Scripture?

David: I am quite aware that one can't approach Orthodoxy like a buffet, from your point of view: it is all or nothing; so even if you convinced me of your view of bishops, it would be insufficient without convincing me also of all the accretions you have added to the Faith (or we have removed from the Faith), like prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead, priestly robes, seven sacraments and so on: one thing leads to another, and we have probably explored them all over the months

Me: we can't convince you of anything you don't want to be convinced of.  The real question is whether you are comfortable where you are.  If you are, no argument is sufficient, because you can set the standards so high that no one, not even God Himself, can convince you otherwise.  What is more important for me is to help other readers who are hungry to see what you are turning down and why.

David: I do not really believe that it would edify either you or me (or others who read the posts) to wrangle over the function of bishops in the period, say 30-160 AD.

Me: for the sake of inquirers, I think this is fabulous!

David: I suspect we have all studied this matter fairly thoroughly already at some time, for our own conviction, and come to the understanding we have of scripture (or Tradition)

Me: I think there is always room to learn and grow.  After all, the Divine is eternal, so our learning and changing should also be eternal.

David: If I really took the large chunks of time to exegete each use of the range of words and concepts under discussion, and still disagreed with you, some of you would only dub me my own pope. If I think, I remain a Baptist but am considered suipapal, and if I don't think I can't give thought to your position. What would have happened to cogito ergo sum?

Me: 'Cognito ergo sum' certainly isn't a Christian concept.  Thinking is pointless if it based on false premises, such as debating the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin or the relative flatness of a flat earth.  You can think all you want, but if your thoughts are based on false information then all conclusions are likely to be equally false.

The measure of 'papalness' (as you are using it) has to do with the authority to interpret Scripture and doctrine.  For you it is a personal choice.  For us, it is a choice to submit to the authority of the Church based upon its witness.  We see evidence for the authority not only in the reasoning of the Church's teachings, but in the witness borne in miracles and, especially, those lives who have been transformed through God's grace obtained while in obedience to the Church.

I don't think anyone here thinks you ought not think, but they do question what you think about.  If you are thinking about how to preserve your position, then it is different than asking questions because you are looking for knowledge that may lead you to change your opinions.

In the end, there is still a problem regarding the standards of evidence.  The Church stands on more than academic exegesis, but rather such exegesis in light of the common experience of the Church.  By this, I mean you can come up with an interpretation that meets the criteria of reason, but when applied destroys the souls of those who accept it.  The Church has always held that mere exegesis alone without proof in experience is insufficient and leads to heresy.  Human intellect is not a sufficient means for determining the truth because God is Truth and our minds cannot fully grasp His Mysteries.

Anyway, I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience, because any opportunity to review these basics helps me keep 'in shape' if you know what I mean.  I appreciate the exchanges!
I was just telling my son you sharpen knives on stones, not on marshmallows.

Excellent post Father, I subscribe totally.
 

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ialmisry said:
I was just telling my son you sharpen knives on stones, not on marshmallows.
Wow!  I love that!

I will add this: David is presenting what is a very serious challenge in today's culture: disagreement while remaining polite, especially when such disagreement is over the 'it-is-all-the-same' mentality.

Our people are often challenged by those pick-and-choose folks asking us not to 'pass judgment' or whatnot based on this idea that we can all go about constructing our own 'realities' by choosing what to believe.

I challenge anyone to apply this same thinking about gravity and choose not to believe in it while jumping out of an airplane! (Disclaimer: this is an attempt at humor.  Please do not jump out of an airplane.  It is unsafe).

Though people will not gamble with opinions regarding gravity, they will gamble with their eternal life!  It is absolutely odd, but common behavior.

 

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FatherGiryus said:
Our people are often challenged by those pick-and-choose folks asking us not to 'pass judgment' or whatnot based on this idea that we can all go about constructing our own 'realities' by choosing what to believe.

I challenge anyone to apply this same thinking about gravity and choose not to believe in it while jumping out of an airplane! (Disclaimer: this is an attempt at humor.  Please do not jump out of an airplane.  It is unsafe).

Though people will not gamble with opinions regarding gravity, they will gamble with their eternal life!  It is absolutely odd, but common behavior.
A friend of mine refers to this kind of attitude (gambling with their eternal life) as a sort of functional atheism (or perhaps agnosticism) on the part of professed Christians. We all do it to one extent or another, it seems, so I'm not throwing stones. We often act as if we don't really believe what we say we believe, or if our beliefs become inconvenient or burdensome.
Our priest gave a sermon recently on how we often seem to treat God like a pet - we love Him and He enriches our lives but we don't put Him at the center. He's just not that important to us.
 

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FatherGiryus said:
I challenge anyone to apply this same thinking about gravity and choose not to believe in it while jumping out of an airplane! (Disclaimer: this is an attempt at humor.  Please do not jump out of an airplane.  It is unsafe).

Though people will not gamble with opinions regarding gravity, they will gamble with their eternal life!  It is absolutely odd, but common behavior.

[/font][/size]
I call it living in backwards land. :)
KatherineofDixie will tell you, I often say to her, "what are we, living in backwards land??!!!"

On another note...
Father, I just want to say that I absolutely love reading your posts.  They are so refreshing and edifying!  I've been on this forum for awhile now, and I think your posts are some of the most penetrating, to-the-point-but-said-with-love-and-humility posts that I've ever read!  You give us so much "meat," so to speak, to chew on... so much to think about.  I thank you for them, they often brighten my day.

I pray you have a blessed Lenten journey, Father!
In Christ,
Presbytera Mari
 

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It might have something to do with the immediate and evident negative reinforcement for trying to violate the law of gravity...unless we are speaking more metaphorically for the stringent rules regarding deep sobriety of expression in certain venues.
 

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GreekChef said:
I call it living in backwards land. :)
KatherineofDixie will tell you, I often say to her, "what are we, living in backwards land??!!!"

On another note...
Father, I just want to say that I absolutely love reading your posts.  They are so refreshing and edifying!  I've been on this forum for awhile now, and I think your posts are some of the most penetrating, to-the-point-but-said-with-love-and-humility posts that I've ever read!  You give us so much "meat," so to speak, to chew on... so much to think about.  I thank you for them, they often brighten my day.

I pray you have a blessed Lenten journey, Father!
In Christ,
Presbytera Mari
Well, Presvytera, thank you very much for your kind words.

Having been involved with several other forums, I found this one the easiest one in terms of the temptation to remain Christian while dialoging with others.

Otherwise, I have to remind myself to be kind just in case I say something remarkably stupid and need to beg everyone's pardon for my keyboard-in-mouth syndrome.  It is easier to ask forgiveness when you have a track record of being kind than if you have the reputation of being an insufferable know-it-all.  :D

Anyway, I wish you a fruitful Lent.  Please pray that I don't blow a vocal chord with my Tuvan throat singing lessons.  Ain't nuthin better than a undertone ison! ;)

 

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katherineofdixie said:
that really puts the damper on any discussion...why are we wasting our time on this forum?
No it doesn't, and no we aren't. There are discussions which are profitable, because one learns, comes to a better understanding of and respect for the other, sometimes gains new insights, sometimes is even persuaded and changes one's opinion.

There are other discussions - and you can perhaps imagine a Fundamentalist and a Jehovah's Witness engaging in such - which become little more than "My opinion's right": "No it isn't, mine is!" each clobbering the other with Bible verses, and neither advancing in grace, character or understanding thereby. (I am not implying that JWs are in a state of grace.) The motive of being enriched by learning from the other is absent, and is replaced by the drive to prove one's own opinion. On this matter, I think we are in danger of tipping over into the second. On other matters I for one have learnt a lot, and have even purloined some delicacies from your buffet.

 

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katherineofdixie said:
if the Bishops are true then all the rest of it is also.
That is perhaps the heart of the matter. For you, it's all or nothing.

we already think that you're your own pope! ;)
You take a new name when you become pope. Shall I be called Pope Wulfstan I, after St Wulfstan of Worcester, perhaps my favourite bishop and (it would appear from his biographies) a saintly servant of our Lord, whose example we might all follow?

Now I must hasten away to a meeting (Baptist, of course!), but I shall read the remaining posts at some time, with interest. Meanwhile, valete in domino, as perhaps Wulfstan would have said.
 

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David Young said:
katherineofdixie said:
that really puts the damper on any discussion...why are we wasting our time on this forum?
No it doesn't, and no we aren't. There are discussions which are profitable, because one learns, comes to a better understanding of and respect for the other, sometimes gains new insights, sometimes is even persuaded and changes one's opinion.

There are other discussions - and you can perhaps imagine a Fundamentalist and a Jehovah's Witness engaging in such - which become little more than "My opinion's right": "No it isn't, mine is!" each clobbering the other with Bible verses, and neither advancing in grace, character or understanding thereby. (I am not implying that JWs are in a state of grace.) The motive of being enriched by learning from the other is absent, and is replaced by the drive to prove one's own opinion. On this matter, I think we are in danger of tipping over into the second. On other matters I for one have learnt a lot, and have even purloined some delicacies from your buffet.
Wulfstan, honey, I say this with all the Christian love I can muster, (it is Lent, after all, and I am trying! Ok, that could be taken two ways, but you know what I mean!) but this is such a load. You can only guess at motive on any of our parts. I think that this thread has been remarkable for its civility, considering other fora.
Therefore I must sadly conclude that you have no real interest in any other pov or evidence that might present a challenge to your current opinions or beliefs.
Too bad, because I have considered you a resource to explain some of the puzzling aspects of evangelical beliefs, i.e. "Where did they get that?" and I really believe that you are an intelligent, thoughtful and sincere person and Christian, albeit a somewhat disingenuous one.
 

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katherineofdixie said:
David Young said:
katherineofdixie said:
that really puts the damper on any discussion...why are we wasting our time on this forum?
No it doesn't, and no we aren't. There are discussions which are profitable, because one learns, comes to a better understanding of and respect for the other, sometimes gains new insights, sometimes is even persuaded and changes one's opinion.

There are other discussions - and you can perhaps imagine a Fundamentalist and a Jehovah's Witness engaging in such - which become little more than "My opinion's right": "No it isn't, mine is!" each clobbering the other with Bible verses, and neither advancing in grace, character or understanding thereby. (I am not implying that JWs are in a state of grace.) The motive of being enriched by learning from the other is absent, and is replaced by the drive to prove one's own opinion. On this matter, I think we are in danger of tipping over into the second. On other matters I for one have learnt a lot, and have even purloined some delicacies from your buffet.
Wulfstan, honey, I say this with all the Christian love I can muster, (it is Lent, after all, and I am trying! Ok, that could be taken two ways, but you know what I mean!) but this is such a load. You can only guess at motive on any of our parts. I think that this thread has been remarkable for its civility, considering other fora.
Therefore I must sadly conclude that you have no real interest in any other pov or evidence that might present a challenge to your current opinions or beliefs.
Too bad, because I have considered you a resource to explain some of the puzzling aspects of evangelical beliefs, i.e. "Where did they get that?" and I really believe that you are an intelligent, thoughtful and sincere person and Christian, albeit a somewhat disingenuous one.
Its amazing that you have been able to determine the motives of his heart forum and simply becuase he doesn't believe what you believe.  ::)
 

ialmisry

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Papist said:
katherineofdixie said:
David Young said:
katherineofdixie said:
that really puts the damper on any discussion...why are we wasting our time on this forum?
No it doesn't, and no we aren't. There are discussions which are profitable, because one learns, comes to a better understanding of and respect for the other, sometimes gains new insights, sometimes is even persuaded and changes one's opinion.

There are other discussions - and you can perhaps imagine a Fundamentalist and a Jehovah's Witness engaging in such - which become little more than "My opinion's right": "No it isn't, mine is!" each clobbering the other with Bible verses, and neither advancing in grace, character or understanding thereby. (I am not implying that JWs are in a state of grace.) The motive of being enriched by learning from the other is absent, and is replaced by the drive to prove one's own opinion. On this matter, I think we are in danger of tipping over into the second. On other matters I for one have learnt a lot, and have even purloined some delicacies from your buffet.
Wulfstan, honey, I say this with all the Christian love I can muster, (it is Lent, after all, and I am trying! Ok, that could be taken two ways, but you know what I mean!) but this is such a load. You can only guess at motive on any of our parts. I think that this thread has been remarkable for its civility, considering other fora.
Therefore I must sadly conclude that you have no real interest in any other pov or evidence that might present a challenge to your current opinions or beliefs.
Too bad, because I have considered you a resource to explain some of the puzzling aspects of evangelical beliefs, i.e. "Where did they get that?" and I really believe that you are an intelligent, thoughtful and sincere person and Christian, albeit a somewhat disingenuous one.
Its amazing that you have been able to determine the motives of his heart forum and simply becuase he doesn't believe what you believe.   ::)
No, because he hasn't spelled out what he believes and why, just unsubstantiated claims of why he doesn't believe what we believe.
 

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ialmisry said:
Papist said:
katherineofdixie said:
David Young said:
katherineofdixie said:
that really puts the damper on any discussion...why are we wasting our time on this forum?
No it doesn't, and no we aren't. There are discussions which are profitable, because one learns, comes to a better understanding of and respect for the other, sometimes gains new insights, sometimes is even persuaded and changes one's opinion.

There are other discussions - and you can perhaps imagine a Fundamentalist and a Jehovah's Witness engaging in such - which become little more than "My opinion's right": "No it isn't, mine is!" each clobbering the other with Bible verses, and neither advancing in grace, character or understanding thereby. (I am not implying that JWs are in a state of grace.) The motive of being enriched by learning from the other is absent, and is replaced by the drive to prove one's own opinion. On this matter, I think we are in danger of tipping over into the second. On other matters I for one have learnt a lot, and have even purloined some delicacies from your buffet.
Wulfstan, honey, I say this with all the Christian love I can muster, (it is Lent, after all, and I am trying! Ok, that could be taken two ways, but you know what I mean!) but this is such a load. You can only guess at motive on any of our parts. I think that this thread has been remarkable for its civility, considering other fora.
Therefore I must sadly conclude that you have no real interest in any other pov or evidence that might present a challenge to your current opinions or beliefs.
Too bad, because I have considered you a resource to explain some of the puzzling aspects of evangelical beliefs, i.e. "Where did they get that?" and I really believe that you are an intelligent, thoughtful and sincere person and Christian, albeit a somewhat disingenuous one.
Its amazing that you have been able to determine the motives of his heart forum and simply becuase he doesn't believe what you believe.   ::)
No, because he hasn't spelled out what he believes and why, just unsubstantiated claims of why he doesn't believe what we believe.
He did say that he just doesn't think that is good evidence for your Church's view on the Bishopric. Now, I disagree with him, but he gave his reason. Did he elaborate? No. But I don't think he wants to go down that road for a good reason. Do you really think that there will be a productive debate while ten Orthodox Christians attack him and as has to remain in the defensive position all by himself? That won't be any fun for him and it certainly will not be a "fair fight".
 

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Papist said:
ialmisry said:
Papist said:
katherineofdixie said:
David Young said:
katherineofdixie said:
that really puts the damper on any discussion...why are we wasting our time on this forum?
No it doesn't, and no we aren't. There are discussions which are profitable, because one learns, comes to a better understanding of and respect for the other, sometimes gains new insights, sometimes is even persuaded and changes one's opinion.

There are other discussions - and you can perhaps imagine a Fundamentalist and a Jehovah's Witness engaging in such - which become little more than "My opinion's right": "No it isn't, mine is!" each clobbering the other with Bible verses, and neither advancing in grace, character or understanding thereby. (I am not implying that JWs are in a state of grace.) The motive of being enriched by learning from the other is absent, and is replaced by the drive to prove one's own opinion. On this matter, I think we are in danger of tipping over into the second. On other matters I for one have learnt a lot, and have even purloined some delicacies from your buffet.
Wulfstan, honey, I say this with all the Christian love I can muster, (it is Lent, after all, and I am trying! Ok, that could be taken two ways, but you know what I mean!) but this is such a load. You can only guess at motive on any of our parts. I think that this thread has been remarkable for its civility, considering other fora.
Therefore I must sadly conclude that you have no real interest in any other pov or evidence that might present a challenge to your current opinions or beliefs.
Too bad, because I have considered you a resource to explain some of the puzzling aspects of evangelical beliefs, i.e. "Where did they get that?" and I really believe that you are an intelligent, thoughtful and sincere person and Christian, albeit a somewhat disingenuous one.
Its amazing that you have been able to determine the motives of his heart forum and simply becuase he doesn't believe what you believe.   ::)
No, because he hasn't spelled out what he believes and why, just unsubstantiated claims of why he doesn't believe what we believe.
He did say that he just doesn't think that is good evidence for your Church's view on the Bishopric. Now, I disagree with him, but he gave his reason. Did he elaborate? No. But I don't think he wants to go down that road for a good reason. Do you really think that there will be a productive debate while ten Orthodox Christians attack him and as has to remain in the defensive position all by himself? That won't be any fun for him and it certainly will not be a "fair fight".
Yeah, when God is on your side, your opponent is outnumbered.

He posited a second century/first century dichonomy.  It has been pointed out, with citation, that his "second century" definition of bishop is present, explicitely, in the first century, and he has yet to demonstrate any connection to what he claims is the first century definition to the Baptists of the 17th century to this day.  I still haven't seen a 1)succinct definition of overseer according to the baptists as to the source and extent of his authority and his function and powers, 2) on what basis these are held.  Saying that the Baptists follow the first century "definition" tells us nothing.
 

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Papist said:
He did say that he just doesn't think that is good evidence for your Church's view on the Bishopric. Now, I disagree with him, but he gave his reason. Did he elaborate? No. But I don't think he wants to go down that road for a good reason. Do you really think that there will be a productive debate while ten Orthodox Christians attack him and as has to remain in the defensive position all by himself? That won't be any fun for him and it certainly will not be a "fair fight".
Dear Papist,

I had to laugh about this (not at you, but a memory).  When I was in the Navy, I was assigned to a detachment stationed at an Army post.  We had a drunk sailor of the stereotypical variety who decided it would be a good idea to hit the Enlisted Club and start talking trash about the Army.  They chased him all the way to the barracks, which he ran into, screaming, "Hey, this ain't a fair fight!"

While David is far more polite than my former colleague, he's also in a primarily Orthodox environment and therefore should expect to be outnumbered.

David's problem, from my perspective, is that he can't elaborate because his standards of evidence are not clear.

For example, he is concerned about the Orthodox episcopacy not reflecting a Scriptural witness (i.e. what the NT apparently describes along with the presbytery), and yet he cannot account for his entire theological approach (i.e. borrowing from this tradition and that) using the same standard.

It is impossible to enter into a reasonable dialog with someone who has inconsistent standards of evidence.  On the one hand, he wants us to account for our practices using the Scriptures as witness (i.e. as the oldest and most agreed-upon text reflecting the Tradition), but on the other hand he will not hold himself accountable in the same way.

In that case, it ain't a fair fight either.

He accuses us of using an all-or-nothing approach as if it is bad, but he cannot make an argument for an alternative such as his own (i.e. pick what you want).

If you are worried about a fair fight, then both fighters have to follow the same rules.  In this case, I tried to engage him using the Scriptures as the lone source (which, I am sure you appreciate given the general Baptist standard of sola scriptura) rather than using the Fathers which he may or may not recognize as authentic witnesses of the Church).  Even that did not work, as he has not substantively engaged my posts.

There may be other non-Orthodox here who may feel I am wrong, but I doubt they could reasonably conclude I am impolite (unless they hold to that modern standard of 'polite' which mean agreeing to absolutely everything someone else say no matter how ludacrous or offensive it is), so they have nothing to worry about by posting their evidence here.  I am not here to mock or belittle David, but I am here to set the record straight in regards to the Christian Tradition.

I do not know why you think he cannot 'go down the road,' perhaps because I don't understand what road you are alluding to.

 

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Papist said:
He did say that he just doesn't think that is good evidence for your Church's view on the Bishopric. Now, I disagree with him, but he gave his reason.
I disagree, though admittedly I have not gone back and reviewed the entire thread. I asked several times for his evidence (for lack of a better word).
But I don't think he wants to go down that road for a good reason. Do you really think that there will be a productive debate while ten Orthodox Christians attack him and as has to remain in the defensive position all by himself?
I disagree with the characterization of attack, also. Again, I haven't gone back and reviewed the thread, but I think the tone has been fairly civil. No one has "attacked" unless you define attack as asking someone to explain or substantiate their opinions.
That won't be any fun for him and it certainly will not be a "fair fight".
I do agree with you about this - it wouldn't be a fair fight, for the reasons that Fr. Giryus has elucidated.
 

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FatherGiryus said:
Papist said:
He did say that he just doesn't think that is good evidence for your Church's view on the Bishopric. Now, I disagree with him, but he gave his reason. Did he elaborate? No. But I don't think he wants to go down that road for a good reason. Do you really think that there will be a productive debate while ten Orthodox Christians attack him and as has to remain in the defensive position all by himself? That won't be any fun for him and it certainly will not be a "fair fight".
Dear Papist,

I had to laugh about this (not at you, but a memory).  When I was in the Navy, I was assigned to a detachment stationed at an Army post.  We had a drunk sailor of the stereotypical variety who decided it would be a good idea to hit the Enlisted Club and start talking trash about the Army.  They chased him all the way to the barracks, which he ran into, screaming, "Hey, this ain't a fair fight!"

While David is far more polite than my former colleague, he's also in a primarily Orthodox environment and therefore should expect to be outnumbered.

David's problem, from my perspective, is that he can't elaborate because his standards of evidence are not clear.

For example, he is concerned about the Orthodox episcopacy not reflecting a Scriptural witness (i.e. what the NT apparently describes along with the presbytery), and yet he cannot account for his entire theological approach (i.e. borrowing from this tradition and that) using the same standard.

It is impossible to enter into a reasonable dialog with someone who has inconsistent standards of evidence.  On the one hand, he wants us to account for our practices using the Scriptures as witness (i.e. as the oldest and most agreed-upon text reflecting the Tradition), but on the other hand he will not hold himself accountable in the same way.

In that case, it ain't a fair fight either.

He accuses us of using an all-or-nothing approach as if it is bad, but he cannot make an argument for an alternative such as his own (i.e. pick what you want).

If you are worried about a fair fight, then both fighters have to follow the same rules.  In this case, I tried to engage him using the Scriptures as the lone source (which, I am sure you appreciate given the general Baptist standard of sola scriptura) rather than using the Fathers which he may or may not recognize as authentic witnesses of the Church).  Even that did not work, as he has not substantively engaged my posts.

There may be other non-Orthodox here who may feel I am wrong, but I doubt they could reasonably conclude I am impolite (unless they hold to that modern standard of 'polite' which mean agreeing to absolutely everything someone else say no matter how ludacrous or offensive it is), so they have nothing to worry about by posting their evidence here.  I am not here to mock or belittle David, but I am here to set the record straight in regards to the Christian Tradition.

I do not know why you think he cannot 'go down the road,' perhaps because I don't understand what road you are alluding to.

Part of my point is that I don't think that David is here to debate. It seems like he just is here to learn.
 

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GreekChef said:
In this case, let me ask you a few questions, David.
1.  What's the point?  What's the point of being here and discussing anything with us
Perhaps this translates into, Why are you on the forum? Replying in no order of importance, I'd say:

- Because someone (without my knowing) uploaded a couple of articles I wrote on to the Internet, and someone on the forum wrote to me 'out of the blue' (I did not know of the existence of the forum) and with replying I got drawn in.
- Because lacking any concept of an "only true church" I really do believe that different traditions (small t-) have riches and insights which others lack. Just as I read the early Methodists, and the German Pietists, and mediæval Catholics like Ælfric, Bernard, Aelred, Rolle, and find they have insights or experience which seems lacking or under-emphasised among us Baptists, so I feel that the Orthodox Church has much to offer "the wider church" (as I might put it), and so I believe I can benefit from your writers, whether they be of the age of Athanasius or of Bulgakov, and doubtless a good number of others before and after.
- Because much of my work is in southern Albania, where 20% of the population are Orthodox, in Kosova, where all the Serbs are, and in the Republic of Macedonia, where nearly all the Slavs are, I feel I need to have some understanding of Orthodoxy if I am to do my work properly and sensitively.

There at least are three reasons. I did not respond to the forum's approach to me with a view to making you into Baptists.

To reply to a couple of other posts briefly:

- The title "Orthodox-Protestant Discussion" led me to expect a larger proportion of Protestants. I regret the imbalance, but have been unsuccessful in trying to recruit others.

And I feel as if I have set out both what we believe, and why we believe it, in the matter of ecclesiology. Put it like this: we would have to sit down and read Matthew to Revelation, and it is my conviction that we would not find any instance of your view of priesthood, episcopacy, apostolic succession etc. Each time a relevant word was mentioned, I would say that it need not be interpreted in your way and explain how we understand it, and you would assert that it must be taken your way. Having read the Bible daily for nigh on 50 years, I can say I am genuinely not aware of a trace of your meanings of these words or of these concepts in the pages of the NT. That is why I don't believe what you believe on these matters. It is also why I find this particular subject a good deal less edifying than other topics we have explored.

We can't understand each other via osmosis
Would that make us egg-heads? (For I seem to recall osmosis is something eggs do.)

Forgive me if I have offended you
Not at all - but wearied, perhaps, with this particular topic. It is simply not one that engages that Baptist heart, though I have tried (and sadly failed) to explain why.
 

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David Young said:
GreekChef said:
In this case, let me ask you a few questions, David.
1.  What's the point?  What's the point of being here and discussing anything with us
Perhaps this translates into, Why are you on the forum? Replying in no order of importance, I'd say:

- Because someone (without my knowing) uploaded a couple of articles I wrote on to the Internet, and someone on the forum wrote to me 'out of the blue' (I did not know of the existence of the forum) and with replying I got drawn in.
- Because lacking any concept of an "only true church" I really do believe that different traditions (small t-) have riches and insights which others lack. Just as I read the early Methodists, and the German Pietists, and mediæval Catholics like Ælfric, Bernard, Aelred, Rolle, and find they have insights or experience which seems lacking or under-emphasised among us Baptists, so I feel that the Orthodox Church has much to offer "the wider church" (as I might put it), and so I believe I can benefit from your writers, whether they be of the age of Athanasius or of Bulgakov, and doubtless a good number of others before and after.
- Because much of my work is in southern Albania, where 20% of the population are Orthodox, in Kosova, where all the Serbs are, and in the Republic of Macedonia, where nearly all the Slavs are, I feel I need to have some understanding of Orthodoxy if I am to do my work properly and sensitively.

There at least are three reasons. I did not respond to the forum's approach to me with a view to making you into Baptists.

To reply to a couple of other posts briefly:

- The title "Orthodox-Protestant Discussion" led me to expect a larger proportion of Protestants. I regret the imbalance, but have been unsuccessful in trying to recruit others.

And I feel as if I have set out both what we believe, and why we believe it, in the matter of ecclesiology. Put it like this: we would have to sit down and read Matthew to Revelation, and it is my conviction that we would not find any instance of your view of priesthood, episcopacy, apostolic succession etc. Each time a relevant word was mentioned, I would say that it need not be interpreted in your way and explain how we understand it, and you would assert that it must be taken your way. Having read the Bible daily for nigh on 50 years, I can say I am genuinely not aware of a trace of your meanings of these words or of these concepts in the pages of the NT. That is why I don't believe what you believe on these matters. It is also why I find this particular subject a good deal less edifying than other topics we have explored.

We can't understand each other via osmosis
Would that make us egg-heads? (For I seem to recall osmosis is something eggs do.)

Forgive me if I have offended you
Not at all - but wearied, perhaps, with this particular topic. It is simply not one that engages that Baptist heart, though I have tried (and sadly failed) to explain why.
If I may speculate, one reason the topic does not "engage your heart" is that it requires a paradigm shift  far past the sole issue of the historic place of Bishops.

Orthodox have a different idea of community than do Protestents. The Western mind set in imbued with idea's of "rugged individualism" and distrust of authority as well. Each individual operates sola. The "Community " is there to inspire and support ...individuals.

In Orthodoxy, we ascribe a far more spiritual value to the community. We MUST be saved as part of our particular community of believers. It's not an "oh by the way" matter.

The term "Family" has been coopted. We get recall letters from the Auto Makers that are "From Our Toyota Family to your Family"... They are not a Family.. They are an impersonal mega corporation. But in the Church, we are a True Family in the same manner as our own family of relatives, for some folks, more so.  

Therefore, each family, if it is to be effective gets itself organized and has a leader. Our Bishop is the leader of our family. He provides for us and takes responsibility for us. If he asks us to do something and it turns out to be a mistake, the sin is on him, not us. His role is not just administrative, he has a vital spiritual role to play within the Community of believers without which, our salvation would be hindered greatly.
 

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David Young said:
GreekChef said:
In this case, let me ask you a few questions, David.
1.  What's the point?  What's the point of being here and discussing anything with us
Perhaps this translates into, Why are you on the forum? Replying in no order of importance, I'd say:

- Because someone (without my knowing) uploaded a couple of articles I wrote on to the Internet, and someone on the forum wrote to me 'out of the blue' (I did not know of the existence of the forum) and with replying I got drawn in.
- Because lacking any concept of an "only true church" I really do believe that different traditions (small t-) have riches and insights which others lack. Just as I read the early Methodists, and the German Pietists, and mediæval Catholics like Ælfric, Bernard, Aelred, Rolle, and find they have insights or experience which seems lacking or under-emphasised among us Baptists, so I feel that the Orthodox Church has much to offer "the wider church" (as I might put it), and so I believe I can benefit from your writers, whether they be of the age of Athanasius or of Bulgakov, and doubtless a good number of others before and after.
- Because much of my work is in southern Albania, where 20% of the population are Orthodox, in Kosova, where all the Serbs are, and in the Republic of Macedonia, where nearly all the Slavs are, I feel I need to have some understanding of Orthodoxy if I am to do my work properly and sensitively.

There at least are three reasons. I did not respond to the forum's approach to me with a view to making you into Baptists.

To reply to a couple of other posts briefly:

- The title "Orthodox-Protestant Discussion" led me to expect a larger proportion of Protestants. I regret the imbalance, but have been unsuccessful in trying to recruit others.

And I feel as if I have set out both what we believe, and why we believe it, in the matter of ecclesiology. Put it like this: we would have to sit down and read Matthew to Revelation, and it is my conviction that we would not find any instance of your view of priesthood, episcopacy, apostolic succession etc. Each time a relevant word was mentioned, I would say that it need not be interpreted in your way and explain how we understand it, and you would assert that it must be taken your way. Having read the Bible daily for nigh on 50 years, I can say I am genuinely not aware of a trace of your meanings of these words or of these concepts in the pages of the NT. That is why I don't believe what you believe on these matters. It is also why I find this particular subject a good deal less edifying than other topics we have explored.

We can't understand each other via osmosis
Would that make us egg-heads? (For I seem to recall osmosis is something eggs do.)

Forgive me if I have offended you
Not at all - but wearied, perhaps, with this particular topic. It is simply not one that engages that Baptist heart, though I have tried (and sadly failed) to explain why.
I find it interesting that you think that there is such a dichotomy between the NT view of the Episcopacy and the Second century or even late first century. Think about it, St. Clement and St. Ignatius (both late first century fathers because, as has been pointed out, St. Ignaitus was not seven when he wrote his epistles) both present a view of the bishop that is inconsistent with yours. You think that they are not in line with the New Testament. It pretty much seems that for that to be true, while St. John the Apostle was still alive, the office of Bishop was corrupted and this seems inconceivable considering the fact that Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church and that the NT refers to the Church as the pillar and foundation of truth.
Sorry if I look like I am going into attack mode, but you brought something up that I thought was not consistent. That being said, I totally understand if you do not want to further discuss these matters.
 

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I am quite aware that one can't approach Orthodoxy like a buffet, from your point of view: it is all or nothing; so even if you convinced me of your view of bishops, it would be insufficient without convincing me also of all the accretions you have added to the Faith (or we have removed from the Faith), like prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead, priestly robes, seven sacraments and so on: one thing leads to another, and we have probably explored them all over the months
I can't disagree with this, but think it worthwhile to pursue even if it takes a while. Speaking as a former Southern Baptist of many years that is essentially a big part of the process necessary to evaluate these competing truth claims. Going back to the beginning and charting out the developments in Church life over the centuries is a very profitable exercise...if we can restrain trying to interpret too much through the lens of our own time and personal experience...to save conclusion making for the end when both arguments/truth claims have been explored.

Take your assertion of accretions above. The term itself caries a certain negative presumption as if accretions were necessarily bad or inorganic. Is a leaf an accretion to a twig, a twig to a branch, a branch to a trunk, a trunk to a seed?  If the Church is in any meaningful sense an organism how can it remain a "seed" and still claim to live.  The essential thing here is not that there are or are not accretions but rather if any noticeable differences between the primitive Church at its founding and the Church today exist in ontological continuity with that initial planting or is something by nature foreign to the life of the Church.  No one would argue that a limb growing on a tree is ontologically foreign to the seed from which it grew.  It was not visible in the seed, but as the seed roots and grows it is a natural expression of the life of that seed in a way that a bird house or wind chime hanging from its branches are not. 

Now if we determine faith X has an accretion and that accretion is ontologically consistent with the life of the seed, and faith Y lacks this same accretion, it might be reasonably argued that faith Y is very immature or else is lacking something native and necessary the life of the seed that was planted. It cannot be argued both are "OK" and equivalent because as Christ said, you don't get figs off thorns.  Thing grow and reproduce according to their own kind.  All acorns that live grow into trees with branches and leaves and in time make new acorns. They don't make figs, hamsters, or jelly donuts.

If Orthodoxy has ontological continuity with the Church of Pentecost, then very simply it is the Church and any communion that does not share in and give full expression to the the life bound up in that ontology is something else and not the Church.

So why shouldn't a conclusion be all or nothing if that is where the evidence is pointing?  You got your own journey, but as for me mind, I found the evidence overwhelming, enough so that what I did understand was sufficient to convince me I needed to accept what I did not at that time. Your results may differ, of course.
 

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In response to David's statement about reading the Bible and not seeing our practices, I wonder if David sees in the NT the Baptist model of administration, and whether his position might have accretions not present in or absences of practice from the First Century.

I do not believe St. Paul would have permitted such an approach as the one David uses of picking and choosing what one wants to believe.  St. Paul is definitely First Century.

Frankly, the whole notion of trying to argue everything from the Scriptures is impossible by the Scripture's own testimony, but it suffices to say that the Scriptures do not exclude any of the practices of the Orthodox Church.

 

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FatherGiryus said:

In response to David's statement about reading the Bible and not seeing our practices, I wonder if David sees in the NT the Baptist model of administration, and whether his position might have accretions not present in or absences of practice from the First Century.


I am not sure we have ever been given the Baptist model of administration, except identifying, or rather alleging it identical, it with the 1st century Church in the Bible.  There has been some reference to autonomy.  Is that every parish? Every city?  How far does it go?  If a Baptist parish starting viewing their overseer as we do a Bishop, do the other Baptists have the authority to gainsay?  What if the other Baptists do not recognize the new overseer? He has dismissed the Council of Jerusalem as being a consultation.  Is/was it necessary?  What if they came to no conclusion, or opposite conclusions?

I do not believe St. Paul would have permitted such an approach as the one David uses of picking and choosing what one wants to believe.  St. Paul is definitely First Century.
I've yet to see the explanation of St. Paul refering to the gift of prophecy in the laying on of hands, and how that is not have a wiff of priesthood about it.

Frankly, the whole notion of trying to argue everything from the Scriptures is impossible by the Scripture's own testimony, but it suffices to say that the Scriptures do not exclude any of the practices of the Orthodox Church.
LOL, but it DOES exclude a lot of Baptist practices.
 

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Papist said:
I find it interesting that you think that there is such a dichotomy between the NT view of the Episcopacy and the Second century or even late first century. Think about it, St. Clement and St. Ignatius (both late first century fathers because, as has been pointed out, St. Ignaitus was not seven when he wrote his epistles) both present a view of the bishop that is inconsistent with yours. You think that they are not in line with the New Testament. It pretty much seems that for that to be true, while St. John the Apostle was still alive, the office of Bishop was corrupted and this seems inconceivable considering the fact that Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church and that the NT refers to the Church as the pillar and foundation of truth.
Sorry if I look like I am going into attack mode, but you brought something up that I thought was not consistent.
And that, dear papist, is exactly my point, and what I have been trying to find out, without success.
Thank you for stating it so succintly and clearly!
 

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John 21:24 said:
This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
This little passage has seemed to indicate to many textual critics that the Gospel of St. John was later compiled and edited by a community of his followers.  These scholars always indicate this to point toward a particular cultus of interpretation which is in the "Johannine" school, which to them represents one more example of the fractured and divided state of Christianity in the first century, with dozens of competing interpretations of Christ.  This allows them to continue to deny Christ based on a perceived disharmony which has always existed, and that in fact no truth was delivered.

But this is very post-Protestant (or rather still Protestant? ;) ), in that it fails to acknowledge the existence of the bishopric in the first century, and that St. John was the bishop over a flock, and that they all turned to him for authoritative teaching.  The finishing point of Protestantism is to protest your way right out of Christianity, if you're brave enough to take it to its conclusion.

Where do these enemies of the cross, many of the "Biblical textual critics", come from?  Germany?  Hmmm...sounds like Luther's progeny to me.
 

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ialmisry said:
FatherGiryus said:

In response to David's statement about reading the Bible and not seeing our practices, I wonder if David sees in the NT the Baptist model of administration, and whether his position might have accretions not present in or absences of practice from the First Century.


I am not sure we have ever been given the Baptist model of administration, except identifying, or rather alleging it identical, it with the 1st century Church in the Bible.  There has been some reference to autonomy.  Is that every parish? Every city?  How far does it go?  If a Baptist parish starting viewing their overseer as we do a Bishop, do the other Baptists have the authority to gainsay?  What if the other Baptists do not recognize the new overseer? He has dismissed the Council of Jerusalem as being a consultation.  Is/was it necessary?  What if they came to no conclusion, or opposite conclusions?

I do not believe St. Paul would have permitted such an approach as the one David uses of picking and choosing what one wants to believe.  St. Paul is definitely First Century.
I've yet to see the explanation of St. Paul refering to the gift of prophecy in the laying on of hands, and how that is not have a wiff of priesthood about it.

Frankly, the whole notion of trying to argue everything from the Scriptures is impossible by the Scripture's own testimony, but it suffices to say that the Scriptures do not exclude any of the practices of the Orthodox Church.
LOL, but it DOES exclude a lot of Baptist practices.
When I was in a Protestant (Evangelical) seminary, I was fond of pointing out that 'laying on hands' is a 'Sacrament,' in that it imparts grace in a way that is not evident or explainable.  One of my classmates pointed out that this was the reason his church only 'extended hands towards' people rather than actually touch them, so as not to appear to be communicating grace from one person to another.

Of course, all of us there did lay our own hands upon our faces!

 

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Marc1152 said:
the topic ... requires a paradigm shift  far past the sole issue of the historic place of Bishops.

In Orthodoxy, we ascribe a far more spiritual value to the community.
Regarding the former, you are quite right, and Katherine of Dixie said the same thing about different aspects of Orthodoxy. We could sit here discussing when the Orthodox view of bishops was born till we were blue in the face, but it is only one aspect of a much larger whole which you insist must be accepted or rejected in toto. Agreeing with you on bishops (which to me holds little importance, and to you great importance) would necessarily entail the whole system: prayers to the saints, prayer for the dead, seven sacraments, your view of the ministry (priesthood), the 'only true church', infant baptism, and much else.

It might not be without value to reverse the discussion, and start at the other end. Assuming that it is impossible to persuade me of infant baptism, prayers to the saints, and prayer for the dead (to take just three issues), if I know that step 1 (your view of bishops) must of necessity lead to those final conclusions - which we are granting for the sake of argument are unreachable in my purblind case - you have no hope with bishops, as the final steps prove to me the error of the first step. The impossibility of the final conclusion renders the discussion of necessity barren, or doomed to failure - except insofar as it instructs me in what you believe (which it has).

In re your second point quoted by me, your emphasis on community is one of the very things I would include in the aspects of Orthodoxy which are indeed lacking or weak elsewhere. If only you would open up to the rest of our Lord's church and share what you have been entrusted with, rather than telling other Christians that they can have nothing of it without embracing the whole of Orthodoxy, I believe you could be a real blessing to the wider people of God, the worldwide church. There is much you could teach us, not only in the matter of community. But you are a closed system, all or nothing, and I think that impoverishes the Body of Christ more widely.

In my view, Orthodoxy needs to detach itself from its association and involvement with nationalism, and also open itself to the wider Church. You are called to serve One whose kingdom is not of this world. These developments might well mean riches to the world. But reserving your Gospel riches for insiders only is not, I believe, the reason why they have been entrusted to you.

When I responded to someone's comment on homosexuality, I discovered afterwards that I had stepped over a forbidden line. I hope I have not unwittingly done so again.  If so, it is in ignorance, not deliberate, and I crave your pardon for the mistake. Also, in responding now to your cascade of posts, I have allowed myself to be more blunt than I usually do.  I mean no offence, and I hope I have not given any.
 

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David Young said:
Marc1152 said:
the topic ... requires a paradigm shift  far past the sole issue of the historic place of Bishops.

In Orthodoxy, we ascribe a far more spiritual value to the community.
Regarding the former, you are quite right, and Katherine of Dixie said the same thing about different aspects of Orthodoxy. We could sit here discussing when the Orthodox view of bishops was born till we were blue in the face, but it is only one aspect of a much larger whole which you insist must be accepted or rejected in toto. Agreeing with you on bishops (which to me holds little importance, and to you great importance) would necessarily entail the whole system: prayers to the saints, prayer for the dead, seven sacraments, your view of the ministry (priesthood), the 'only true church', infant baptism, and much else.

It might not be without value to reverse the discussion, and start at the other end. Assuming that it is impossible to persuade me of infant baptism, prayers to the saints, and prayer for the dead (to take just three issues), if I know that step 1 (your view of bishops) must of necessity lead to those final conclusions - which we are granting for the sake of argument are unreachable in my purblind case - you have no hope with bishops, as the final steps prove to me the error of the first step. The impossibility of the final conclusion renders the discussion of necessity barren, or doomed to failure - except insofar as it instructs me in what you believe (which it has).

In re your second point quoted by me, your emphasis on community is one of the very things I would include in the aspects of Orthodoxy which are indeed lacking or weak elsewhere. If only you would open up to the rest of our Lord's church and share what you have been entrusted with, rather than telling other Christians that they can have nothing of it without embracing the whole of Orthodoxy, I believe you could be a real blessing to the wider people of God, the worldwide church. There is much you could teach us, not only in the matter of community. But you are a closed system, all or nothing, and I think that impoverishes the Body of Christ more widely.

In my view, Orthodoxy needs to detach itself from its association and involvement with nationalism, and also open itself to the wider Church. You are called to serve One whose kingdom is not of this world. These developments might well mean riches to the world. But reserving your Gospel riches for insiders only is not, I believe, the reason why they have been entrusted to you.

When I responded to someone's comment on homosexuality, I discovered afterwards that I had stepped over a forbidden line. I hope I have not unwittingly done so again.  If so, it is in ignorance, not deliberate, and I crave your pardon for the mistake. Also, in responding now to your cascade of posts, I have allowed myself to be more blunt than I usually do.  I mean no offence, and I hope I have not given any.
Of course no offense is given. But lets look at your reasoning above. It is suggested that the acceptance of the EO view of the birshop will necessarily lead to acceptance of other doctrines that you think are unacceptable. BUT, what if the evidence does point in favor of the EO view? Then what? Then perhaps you are wrong on the other points? Are you will to accept this as a possibility? If not, why not?
Please understand that I am not attacking you or your view. I know you are a dear brother in Christ. I am just trying to understand your line of thinking. Sometimes it seems to me that to accept the protestant view a person must accept the idea that as soon as Christ ascended into heaven, the Church fell into heresy.
 

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David Young said:
Marc1152 said:
the topic ... requires a paradigm shift  far past the sole issue of the historic place of Bishops.

In Orthodoxy, we ascribe a far more spiritual value to the community.
Regarding the former, you are quite right, and Katherine of Dixie said the same thing about different aspects of Orthodoxy. We could sit here discussing when the Orthodox view of bishops was born till we were blue in the face, but it is only one aspect of a much larger whole which you insist must be accepted or rejected in toto. Agreeing with you on bishops (which to me holds little importance, and to you great importance) would necessarily entail the whole system: prayers to the saints, prayer for the dead, seven sacraments, your view of the ministry (priesthood), the 'only true church', infant baptism, and much else.

It might not be without value to reverse the discussion, and start at the other end. Assuming that it is impossible to persuade me of infant baptism, prayers to the saints, and prayer for the dead (to take just three issues), if I know that step 1 (your view of bishops) must of necessity lead to those final conclusions - which we are granting for the sake of argument are unreachable in my purblind case - you have no hope with bishops, as the final steps prove to me the error of the first step. The impossibility of the final conclusion renders the discussion of necessity barren, or doomed to failure - except insofar as it instructs me in what you believe (which it has).
We wouldn't have it any other way: In for a penny, in a for pound (that's incidently, why I had to become Orthodox: being a little Orthodox is supposed to be like being a little pregnant).

In re your second point quoted by me, your emphasis on community is one of the very things I would include in the aspects of Orthodoxy which are indeed lacking or weak elsewhere. If only you would open up to the rest of our Lord's church and share what you have been entrusted with, rather than telling other Christians that they can have nothing of it without embracing the whole of Orthodoxy, I believe you could be a real blessing to the wider people of God, the worldwide church. There is much you could teach us, not only in the matter of community. But you are a closed system, all or nothing, and I think that impoverishes the Body of Christ more widely.
It is what it is.  You can't redefine marriage from one man, one woman, for life, with children and hope to reap the benefits of traditional marriage.  No fault divorce has abundantly shown that.  No bishops, no diptychs, no community, no Catholicism, no Orthodoxy.

In my view, Orthodoxy needs to detach itself from its association and involvement with nationalism, and also open itself to the wider Church. You are called to serve One whose kingdom is not of this world. These developments might well mean riches to the world. But reserving your Gospel riches for insiders only is not, I believe, the reason why they have been entrusted to you.
Outsiders can become insiders any time. Come and see.

When I responded to someone's comment on homosexuality, I discovered afterwards that I had stepped over a forbidden line. I hope I have not unwittingly done so again.  If so, it is in ignorance, not deliberate, and I crave your pardon for the mistake. Also, in responding now to your cascade of posts, I have allowed myself to be more blunt than I usually do.  I mean no offence, and I hope I have not given any.
LOL. We don't get much British understatement here usually.
 

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In re your second point quoted by me, your emphasis on community is one of the very things I would include in the aspects of Orthodoxy which are indeed lacking or weak elsewhere. If only you would open up to the rest of our Lord's church and share what you have been entrusted with, rather than telling other Christians that they can have nothing of it without embracing the whole of Orthodoxy, I believe you could be a real blessing to the wider people of God, the worldwide church. There is much you could teach us, not only in the matter of community. But you are a closed system, all or nothing, and I think that impoverishes the Body of Christ more widely.


We are not in doubt that there are perfectly nice people who form social communities within Heterodox Groups. That's not at issue. We are talking about a fundamental approach to practicing Christianity which you are not about to overturn.

The Church is already Worldwide BTW. All are welcome.
 

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It seems to me we have finally reached agreement on this! But I must hasten away and take our grandson to school. Later I shall attempt to reply more closely.

Have a good day - except it's probably the middle of the night where you are.
 

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Papist said:
But lets look at your reasoning above. It is suggested that the acceptance of the EO view of the birshop will necessarily lead to acceptance of other doctrines that you think are unacceptable. BUT, what if the evidence does point in favor of the EO view? Then what? Then perhaps you are wrong on the other points? Are you will to accept this as a possibility? If not, why not?
Please understand that I am not attacking you or your view. I know you are a dear brother in Christ. I am just trying to understand your line of thinking. Sometimes it seems to me that to accept the protestant view a person must accept the idea that as soon as Christ ascended into heaven, the Church fell into heresy.
I'm just going to shut up now, and let papist do the talking for me! Since you are doing such a good job of elucidating the points I wanted to make! ;)

Oh well, I can't resist this:
Agreeing with you on bishops (which to me holds little importance, and to you great importance) would necessarily entail the whole system: prayers to the saints, prayer for the dead, seven sacraments, your view of the ministry (priesthood), the 'only true church', infant baptism, and much else.
Well, it does, you know. Because those things that you list are what the Bishops have received from the Apostles and passed on to the Faithful for centuries. So if you agree with us about the office of Bishop being both Scriptural and historical, then aren't your choices to either accept what they and the Church teach, or to believe that men who received the Truth from the Apostles passed on error to the Faithful.

Assuming that it is impossible to persuade me of infant baptism, prayers to the saints, and prayer for the dead (to take just three issues), if I know that step 1 (your view of bishops) must of necessity lead to those final conclusions - which we are granting for the sake of argument are unreachable in my purblind case - you have no hope with bishops, as the final steps prove to me the error of the first step.
Of course, why would we want to confuse you with facts! I'm sure you're not saying that no evidence we could present would convince you?
 

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(Naturally I can't leave well enough alone!)

It seems to me that, in a nutshell:

1. St. Ignatius was a Bishop for 40 years (Eusebius).
2. Around about 107, he went to his martyrdom, meeting with Christian communities on his way to Rome, and writing them letters.
3. St. Paul’s Epistles were written 50-60 or thereabouts, the Gospels 65-80 which would put St. Ignatius' service as Bishop shortly after the Epistles were written, and either shortly after or during the time that the Gospels were written.
4. So that, in order to ignore what St. Ignatius had to say about Bishops:
"Take heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup unto unity of His blood, one altar, as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery, and deacons, my fellow-servants, so that whatever you do, you may do it according to God."
"It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate an agape."
"It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself."
"... take heed to do all things in the harmony of God with the bishop presiding in the place of God."
" For when you are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ you appear to me to live not after the manner of men but according to Jesus Christ... "
"... let all reverence ... the bishop as Jesus Christ."
"be united to your bishop and to those that preside over you as a type and teaching of immortality."
(there is much more, btw)
You must conclude that, during the lifetime of at least some of the Apostles, and while some of the Gospels were still be written, the Church fell into apostasy, for 1500 or so years.
 

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katherineofdixie said:
(Naturally I can't leave well enough alone!)

It seems to me that, in a nutshell:

1. St. Ignatius was a Bishop for 40 years (Eusebius).
2. Around about 107, he went to his martyrdom, meeting with Christian communities on his way to Rome, and writing them letters.
3. St. Paul’s Epistles were written 50-60 or thereabouts, the Gospels 65-80 which would put St. Ignatius' service as Bishop shortly after the Epistles were written, and either shortly after or during the time that the Gospels were written.
4. So that, in order to ignore what St. Ignatius had to say about Bishops:
"Take heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup unto unity of His blood, one altar, as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery, and deacons, my fellow-servants, so that whatever you do, you may do it according to God."
"It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate an agape."
"It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself."
"... take heed to do all things in the harmony of God with the bishop presiding in the place of God."
" For when you are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ you appear to me to live not after the manner of men but according to Jesus Christ... "
"... let all reverence ... the bishop as Jesus Christ."
"be united to your bishop and to those that preside over you as a type and teaching of immortality."
(there is much more, btw)
You must conclude that, during the lifetime of at least some of the Apostles, and while some of the Gospels were still be written, the Church fell into apostasy, for 1500 or so years.
Just to add to what Katherine said here, the Apostle John didn't even write his Gospel until the year 95.  That would place St. Ignatius' death only 12 years after the writing of the Gospel of John, and only 7 years after John's death, which was during the reign of Trajan in the year 100.  Also to keep in mind is that Ignatius was one of John's disciples, and that, as Eusebius states he was a bishop for 40 years, that puts his life and ministry well within John's time, well before the Gospels were finished, and well before John's death.

It seems to me that there can, thus, be only two conclusions:
1. The Orthodox are correct.
OR
2. John the Apostle (nevermind the other Apostles) was wrong/he taught Ignatius wrongly/he allowed Ignatius to teach error.

Which one is more likely?  If your conclusion, David, is that we Orthodox are wrong, would you mind illuminating me as to why?  I'm sure you've probably addressed it somewhere, so forgive me if I've forgotten.  I know we've discussed Ignatius ad nauseum, but I can't recall ever looking at the direct quotes and timelines, as Katherine and I have posted here.  Maybe this would put the issue to bed for good. 


On another note...
Isa, I would like to kindly request, if you get a moment, would you mind posting this type of information regarding Clement?  I'd love to see where he falls in relation, and I just don't know as much about his life.  Many thanks!
 

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Just by way of an interesting addition...

You'll notice in Ignatius' letters that he quotes (among others), Luke, Matthew, and Acts.  But he does NOT quote John.  Hmmm... could it be because the Gospel of John wasn't written yet?  Just further supports that his ministry was well within the time of the Apostles.

Here's a fascinating website that shows the NT quotes in his letters:
http://www.ntcanon.org/Ignatius.shtml
 

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katherineofdixie said:
(Naturally I can't leave well enough alone!)

It seems to me that, in a nutshell:

1. St. Ignatius was a Bishop for 40 years (Eusebius).
2. Around about 107, he went to his martyrdom, meeting with Christian communities on his way to Rome, and writing them letters.
3. St. Paul’s Epistles were written 50-60 or thereabouts, the Gospels 65-80 which would put St. Ignatius' service as Bishop shortly after the Epistles were written, and either shortly after or during the time that the Gospels were written.
4. So that, in order to ignore what St. Ignatius had to say about Bishops:
"Take heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup unto unity of His blood, one altar, as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery, and deacons, my fellow-servants, so that whatever you do, you may do it according to God."
"It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate an agape."
"It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself."
"... take heed to do all things in the harmony of God with the bishop presiding in the place of God."
" For when you are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ you appear to me to live not after the manner of men but according to Jesus Christ... "
"... let all reverence ... the bishop as Jesus Christ."
"be united to your bishop and to those that preside over you as a type and teaching of immortality."
(there is much more, btw)
You must conclude that, during the lifetime of at least some of the Apostles, and while some of the Gospels were still be written, the Church fell into apostasy, for 1500 or so years.
This thread is fascinating. This is where I am at:

I do see where David is coming from, and for this post I will accept his premise that the Baptist administrative model dominated the Church at the beginning.

The problem is, as katherineofdixie has shown above, and others previously, that administrative model could have existed at most for 20 or 30 years. Clearly the Apostles developed the current structure during the time of the Epistles (based on Scripture as well as Ss. Clement, Ignatius, et al.), and by the time the last Apostle, St John, died around AD 95, the three-tiered structure had replaced the "Baptist-style" structure.

So these are my questions:

- Did the Apostles themselves go apostate by creating this administrative structure?

- Why is this administrative structure disregarded by Baptists in favor of the primordial structure, when the three-tiered structure was established under the Apostles' own administration of the Church? It cannot be for lack of evidence.
 

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Did the Apostles themselves go apostate by creating this administrative structure?
Well if they did then the Church was stillborn, Christ was mistaken when He said the gates of Hell would not prevail, and the LDS could be right that the whole Church had to be reestablished...though I doubt even they would say the Apostles as a group failed to keep the faith.
 
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