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A question for protestants...

FatherGiryus

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bogdan said:
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.
Dear Bogdan,

I don't think you can make an argument for the Baptism model being an early version of the Church, since we still don't have an accurate description of the Baptist model to work from.  I assume that there is more than one 'Baptist structure' since there are several Baptist communions.

Second, the Apostle Paul very clearly establishes a hierarchy of servants in the Church, while St. Luke gives us indications regarding the first Synod (of Apostles) in Jerusalem.

Third, it is clear from any careful reading (I discuss this briefly in a previous post) that St. Paul uses 'Presbyters' and 'Bishop' to mean two different things, the latter appearing to have more authority in the community.

Fourth, David's claim to have no need for Bishops flies in the face of his own theology.  Let's remember that:

a. The Bishops of the Church administered the ancient communities of the Church which preserved and passed on the Tradition he aspires to.
b. The Bishops of the Church established the canon of Scriptures.
c. The Bishops of the Church decided on the proper theological terms to express the Faith (i.e. 'Trinity' etc.).
d. The Bishops of the Church supplied missionaries and even themselves missionized David's forefathers so that they could hear the Gospel.
e. The Bishops of the Church provided for the preservation of historical documents and for the educational institutions that allow us, to this day, peer back to the earliest of days in the Church.
f. The Bishops of the Church propagated the ideas of free-will and respect for humanity that led to the notions of human rights that now allow David to practice any religion he chooses, Christian or otherwise.
g. The Bishops of the Church helped unite the Body of Christ from community to community so that they would not zoom off after heresies and foolishness that would have eventually robbed them of their Faith and eventually doomed the Church.

If you want to say that Bishops are not critical, then one only need to look back at the history of Christianity to see the works of the Holy Spirit through the Episcopacy to realize that the Bishops of the Church have indeed been critical not only to the lives of we Orthodox, but also to non-Orthodox such as David.

Now, if someone should say, 'Well, times have changed and we don't need Bishops anymore,' I would answer that the same challenges to the Faith that St. Paul and the Bishops he consecrated faced in the First Century are still with us today.  We are still beset with moral weakness, heresy and laziness.  We are still challenged with pernicious heresies.  In essence, the devil is still after us.

To denigrate the necessity of the Episcopacy is to not only denigrate the Tradition, but God's work and thus, one can conclude, the judgment of God Himself.

In conclusion, I will say that one cannot escape enjoying the fruits of the Episcopacy while remaining a Christian.  Therefore, to dismiss the office is to deny the benefits one has received through this Office.

 

David Young

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Papist said:
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?
I would be a fool and very rash if I were to assert that nothing under heaven would or could change my mind on any matter on which different opinions are held. But - continuing to approach the discussion back to front, and writing as my own pope (for so I am seen by some) - it seems to me that the evidence points away from the Orthodox position on so many matters, that if your view of bishops is essential to real Christianity, that view must be wrong.

There are two sides to the discussion, the administrative and the sacerdotal, or hieratic. I feel that the former is a matter of indifference: if you find it best to organise your denomination (oops!) with a stratum of bishops, so what? But if bishops pass on priestly power through the laying-on of hands, distinguishing between a laity and a priesthood, and if they teach infant baptism, and prayer for and to the dead, then that is a quite different matter. As Marc1152 rightly says,  We are talking about a fundamental approach to practicing Christianity .

I really have little interest in the former aspect, and would hardly take my putative papal name from a bishop if I thought they were unavoidably and in essence a damaging feature to the church; but some of the things Orthodox bishops teach persuade me that somewhere down the years they have left parts of the faith out (or at least seriously under-emphasised them) and added new ideas which, though not damning the soul, are nonetheless erroneous.
 

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katherineofdixie said:
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.
Part of the problem in this discussion is our different mentalities. You have a knack of turning everything into a black-and-white dichotomy: either this extreme position, or that extreme and opposite position. You run to one end or the other of the spectrum. With us there is room for variation; there are matters of indifference (are they called adiaphora? or theologoumena?); there are different branches or expressions of Christ's church, and none holds all the truth (though I grant there are extreme Protestants also who believe their little group is the only true church, as firmly as you believe it of Orthodoxy).

We don't think everything collapsed in the year 96AD or thereabouts; but we do believe that, when you get to the apostolic and other ante-nicene Fathers, you encounter a different world, approach, fervour, depth, whatever the word is. There was a cooling off, and loosening of the grip on deep, central, fundamental matters like sin, redemption, grace (sorry if I sound Augustinian here - I think Arminius would have said the same) and a turning to morality if not the beginning of moralism, the creeping acceptance (osmosis?) of concepts from other faiths and philosophies. There was gradual development, at different paces in different places. In the end, in the West, the Reformers boldly attempted to leap back over the centuries to the emphases and practices of the early church.
 

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David Young said:
<snip>
There are two sides to the discussion, the administrative and the sacerdotal, or hieratic. I feel that the former is a matter of indifference: if you find it best to organise your denomination (oops!) with a stratum of bishops, so what? But if bishops pass on priestly power through the laying-on of hands, distinguishing between a laity and a priesthood, and if they teach infant baptism, and prayer for and to the dead, then that is a quite different matter. As Marc1152 rightly says,  We are talking about a fundamental approach to practicing Christianity .
</snip>
Dear David,

The questions still remain:

1. Do you believe the preaching of St. Paul, or the Scriptures in general, allow for the 'denominations' you preach?

2. How can you argue from a Scriptural perspective the separation of "the administrative and the sacerdotal, or hieratic"?

I have read the Scriptures, and I see no differentiation whether in the OT or the NT. 

Rather, I see St. Paul actively arguing against 'denominations' as matters of 'party spirit' or schism or even heresy.

I also see St. Paul charging the Bishops to be spiritual men who are to admonish and administer to the flocks entrusted them.

 

FatherGiryus

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David Young said:
<snip> the creeping acceptance (osmosis?) of concepts from other faiths and philosophies. </snip>
But, isn't that precisely what you have said you are here to do?

???
 

ialmisry

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bogdan said:
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.
Since two of the tiers (bishops, deacons) are explicitely spelled out by the Epistles and Acts, and Acts further explicitely records the creation of the one tier (deacons) by the Apostles, one cannot hold to sola scriptura (the basis of Baptist administration, not to be confused with basing it on Scripture) and deny at least those two tiers.
 

ialmisry

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GreekChef said:
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!
For starters:
ialmisry said:
Ortho_cat said:
ialmisry said:
Pope St. Clement of Rome, whose letter was considered Scripture by some (like Codex Sianitius, our earliest and most complete Bible).
Are you aware with whom St. Clement had contact, specifically?
SS. Peter and Paul. I am not sure about others, but St. Irenaeus seemed to be:
The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.iv.iv.html
ialmisry said:
PeterTheAleut said:
ialmisry said:
ialmisry said:
It may be not out of place to post a list of those, past and present, who have claimed autocephaly.

The bishop/patriarch of Jerusalem.
...

So it seems the primacy of the Desposyni extened to their race, the Hebrews.
You've just argued a claim to primacy within a certain geographical region.  How are primacy and autocephaly synonymous?  I just don't see the connection. ???
Actually I haven't argued the claim of primacy within a certain geographical region.  But I am about to.  I had intended to go on to argue what was irreducible about Jerusalem's pirmacy, and hence here autocephaly.

One thing I'll deal with this something I posted elsewhere:
ialmisry said:
In the Apostolic Constitutions (3-4th cent) it states:

XLVI. Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these:—James the bishop of Jerusalem, the brother of our Lord [An incidental proof of the early origin of this compilation is furnished by the clear distinction it makes between James the son of Alphæus and James the brother of our Lord. The theory of Jerome, which identifies them, was later]  upon whose death the second was Simeon the son of Cleopas; after whom the third was Judas the son of James. Of Cæsarea of Palestine, the first was Zacchæus, who was once a publican; after whom was Cornelius, and the third Theophilus. Of Antioch, Euodius, ordained by me Peter; and Ignatius by Paul. Of Alexandria, Annianus was the first, ordained by Mark the evangelist; the second Avilius by Luke, who was also an evangelist. Of the church of Rome, Linus the son of Claudia was the first, ordained by Paul  and Clemens, after Linus’ death, the second, ordained by me Peter.  Of Ephesus, Timotheus, ordained by Paul; and John, by me John. Of Smyrna, Aristo the first; after whom Stratæas the son of Lois;  and the third Aristo. Of Pergamus, Gaius. Of Philadelphia, Demetrius, by me. Of Cenchrea, Lucius, by Paul. Of Crete, Titus. Of Athens, Dionysius. Of Tripoli in Phœnicia, Marathones. Of Laodicea in Phrygia, Archippus.Of Colossæ, Philemon.  Of Borea in Macedonia, Onesimus, once the servant of Philemon.Of the churches of Galatia,    Of the parishes of Asia, Aquila and Nicetas. Of the church of Æginæ, Crispus. These are the bishops who are entrusted by us with the parishes in the Lord; whose doctrine keep ye always in mind, and observe our words. And may the Lord be with you now, and to endless ages, as Himself said to us when He was about to be taken up to His own God and Father. For says He, “Lo, I am with you all the days, until the end of the world. Amen.”
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf07.ix.viii.iv.html

Now notice, there is a multiple of Apostolic centers.  Note too, that some of the sees are explicitely mentioned, including Rome, as having successor bishops ordained by different Apostles (fitting, as the episcopacy is an ontological whole).  Such multimplicity fits the image St. Iranaeus gives of the Apostolic succession.  Note too, the order: it is not in the order of primacy.The Pentarcy was of Ecclesiastical, not Divine nor Apostolic origin.  Rather than saying that the Universal Church was administered by three sees (note, it doesn't say "presided over by three sees," I suspect as to not put Alexandria or Antioch in Rome's alleged league), history would say that these three sees dominated the Universal Church.
Unfortunately, I'm going to run out of break time before I finish, but I will start here.  As I said, a work in progress.

The issue here is the canonical history of the Church's hierarchy and the autocephalous Churches.  The importance of this quote is the historical accuracy of what it portrays (although it is corroborated enough for our puruposes here), but that it is the history that the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils were working under (implicitely it seems at Nicea I and Constantinople II, explicitely at Quinsext, c. II
Canon II.

It has also seemed good to this holy Council, that the eighty-five canons, received and ratified by the holy and blessed Fathers before us, and also handed down to us in the name of the holy and glorious Apostles should from this time forth remain firm and unshaken for the cure of souls and the healing of disorders.  And in these canons we are bidden to receive the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles [written] by Clement
ooops, gotta go

to be continued....
 

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David Young said:
if your view of bishops is essential to real Christianity, that view must be wrong.
This is what I do not understand.

We have St Ignatius' epistle to the Trallians, which says "Apart from these there is not even the name of a church." So, we have the charge that the Church cannot exist without the three offices of Deacon, Priest, and Bishop.

St Ignatius, as Katherine pointed out, was a bishop for 40 years before his death, so he entered the office around AD 67, around the time of Ss Peter and Paul's martyrdoms, and long before the last Gospel was written. He worked in parallel with the Apostles, who would not have kept him in office if he was administering his bishopric in Antioch improperly.

So my question remains: on what basis do you view bishops as non-essential, when every indication says they are essential?

Because you say bishops are not essential, therefore at best you must say that St Ignatius was wrong in his understanding of his own office, at worst he was drunk with power to say "regard the bishop as the Lord Himself."

And what does that say about the Apostles? That they lost control over the Church? The men who lived with Christ were unable to keep the ambitions of the clergy under control? If that happened, why are there no writings from the Apostles about such things? Where is the effort to fix this clerical power-grab? And where was the Holy Spirit when this Great Apostasy occurred? Did he abandon the Church after a few decades and only return 1500 years later to set things right?

There are many implications to saying this system arose in error.
 

David Young

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Do you believe the... Scriptures in general, allow for the 'denominations' you preach?
I believe there was variety in the early church.

How can you argue ... the separation of "the administrative and the sacerdotal?
We don't believe there is a priesthood. We don't separate the two: one exists, the other does not. That does not mean that I think Orthodox cannot be priests ministers of Christ in their flocks; it means I believe they are not priests as you understand it, because no-one is.

I see St. Paul actively arguing against ... 'party spirit'
There is a difference between party spirit, which is abominable, and variety.

I also see St. Paul charging the Bishops to be spiritual men
Absolutely! Whatever the word means, that we definitely agree on.
 

katherineofdixie

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David Young said:
Do you believe the... Scriptures in general, allow for the 'denominations' you preach?
I believe there was variety in the early church.
Ok, fine. Give me some evidence, as I and others have provided you, from Scripture and history.

How can you argue ... the separation of "the administrative and the sacerdotal?
We don't believe there is a priesthood. We don't separate the two: one exists, the other does not. [/quote]

Ok, then what about Acts and the letters of St. Paul, let alone St. Clement and St. Ignatius? These reveal bishops, presbyters and deacons, who are set aside for specific responsibilities by the Apostles for both administrative and sacerdotal duties.

My goodness, you can believe anything you want - however the witness of Scripture and history does not support it, IMHO.



 

David Young

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katherineofdixie said:
David Young said:
Do you believe the... Scriptures in general, allow for the 'denominations' you preach?
I believe there was variety in the early church.
Ok, fine. Give me some evidence, as I and others have provided you, from Scripture and history.
Books have been written on the very subject of the variety that existed in the early church, by academic historians who probably aren't Evangelical or Orthodox and have neither axe (or ax, if they're American) to grind. This is a subject we can all have access to easily enough.

Acts and the letters of St. Paul... reveal bishops, presbyters and deacons, who are set aside for specific responsibilities by the Apostles for both administrative and sacerdotal duties.
Not priestly. It simply isn't there!

you can believe anything you want
No I can't - or I'd still be a Methodist!
 

ialmisry

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David Young said:
Papist said:
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?
I would be a fool and very rash if I were to assert that nothing under heaven would or could change my mind on any matter on which different opinions are held. But - continuing to approach the discussion back to front, and writing as my own pope (for so I am seen by some) - it seems to me that the evidence points away from the Orthodox position on so many matters, that if your view of bishops is essential to real Christianity, that view must be wrong.
LOL. As my priest, a proud alumnus from Southern Baptist University, says: if you come up with an interpretation that no one in the Church has come up with before and contradicts the Church's position, you are wrong.

Let's say, for sake of argumetn, that you do not see the Orthodox understanding of bishop in the NT and we don't see the Baptist understanding of overseer either.  As we go forward in history, you admit the Orthodox understanding becomes undeniable from the 2nd century onward.  But we don't see the Baptist understanding at all, except some gnostic groups who, given their other ideas, I don't think you want to associate with (or maybe you would: I don't know.  I've seen Baptist tracts, for instance, that deny the resurrection of the Body).

Now, that a real problem for you, as you can't get to that 1st century texts except through though 2nd century (really 1st century, but we'll leave that aside for sake of argument) to 17th century bishops (I'm applying economia to the Anglicans for the sake of argument, as for this point, they at least pay lip service to what we are arguing), epitomized by the fact that the Bible John Smythe would have been basing his beliefs on when he started the Baptist movement (btw, on a side note, how do you feel about the term "Anabaptist?"  It's come up on another thread) was the "Bishops' Bible." That he turned his back on translation of the Scritpure altogether as he became more radical
http://books.google.com/books?id=eLzxiaGYvyIC&q=Bishops+Bible#v=onepage&q=Greek&f=false
(The theology of John Smyth: Puritan, Separatist, Baptist, Mennonite By Jason K. Lee)
doesn't solve the problem: the Bishops' Bible, the Geneva Bible favored by other Puritans/(Ana-)Baptists and the Textus Receptus Greek New Testament on which they are based all depend on manuscripts produced by the Orthoodx Church from the 11th century onward.  The Orthodox Church full blown as we know her and you know her now.  John Smyth did not have access to the 1st century texts: indeed, neither do we as only a few disputed papyri from the 1st century have only recently been known and no complete NT from that date.  He had to depend on the word of those Orthodox Bishops who supervised the production of those manuscripts.  It is not until the last century, with the discovery and editing of ancient manuscripts that you can even begin to make the claim on a 2nd century (when our definition of bishop had, according to you, become established) manuscript of the New Testament.  By then, the Baptist tradition was over 300 years old, older than the Church was at the time of Constantine.

Of course, since these manuscripts are fragments, the only way you can recognize them as Scripture (as opposed to Apocrypha) is that our Bishops pointed them out as Scripture.  Which, of course, is how they were available for the preceding 300 years to the Baptists, who used them without proper attribution.  So whereas, as I pointed out above, because of the volumnious literature that the Baptist have put out from the end of the 16th century to the 20th century we can clearly see your Baptist administration and beliefs during that period.  We just can't see them the preceeding 15 centuries, and since you couldn't even look at the 2nd century New Testament, let alone the 1st (which still eludes us, or rather you), we ask how you see them.


There are two sides to the discussion, the administrative and the sacerdotal, or hieratic. I feel that the former is a matter of indifference: if you find it best to organise your denomination (oops!) with a stratum of bishops, so what? But if bishops pass on priestly power through the laying-on of hands, distinguishing between a laity and a priesthood, and if they teach infant baptism, and prayer for and to the dead, then that is a quite different matter. As Marc1152 rightly says,  We are talking about a fundamental approach to practicing Christianity .
Indeed we are. But since the New Testament was chosen to reflect our approach to practicing Christianity, rather than the other gospels being preached in the 1st and 2nd centuries, we beg a question of where you are getting your scripture from, and how you are basing your approach on it.  You are rather doing what we in the states would be doing if we read the office of president into what the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is.

I really have little interest in the former aspect, and would hardly take my putative papal name from a bishop if I thought they were unavoidably and in essence a damaging feature to the church; but some of the things Orthodox bishops teach persuade me that somewhere down the years they have left parts of the faith out (or at least seriously under-emphasised them) and added new ideas which, though not damning the soul, are nonetheless erroneous.
That only begs the question, what makes you think they didn't leave anything out or put something in that at least millenium in which they are resposible for your Bible?
 

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bogdan said:
David Young said:
if your view of bishops is essential to real Christianity, that view must be wrong.
Because you say bishops are not essential, therefore at best you must say that St Ignatius was wrong in his understanding of his own office, at worst he was drunk with power to say "regard the bishop as the Lord Himself."
As he was going to his death, St. Ignatius would have little incentive to waste his last words insisting on the centrality of an office he no longer (do to his arrest) enjoyed.  Unless it was essential to real Christianity.
 

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GreekChef said:
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!

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
Not to be too pushy (who, me?), but...  Any response to these, David?
 

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David Young said:
Books have been written on the very subject of the variety that existed in the early church, by academic historians who probably aren't Evangelical or Orthodox and have neither axe (or ax, if they're American) to grind. This is a subject we can all have access to easily enough.
You know this subject of historians commentating on religion is one that always gets under my skin.  Why would you go to a historian to get answers about faith?  What in heaven's name makes you think that they'll have the correct answer?  The word "theology" means "study of God," not "study of history!"  That's like going to a biologist to learn to read music!  The one has absolutely nothing to do with the other!

Further, the basis of theology is PRAYER!  You cannot do correct theology without prayer.  That's like trying to learn to play the trumpet without actually picking one up. 

You're basically asserting that to get an "honest" answer, you have to consult someone who has nothing to do with the subject, as though those who practice their faith are automatically untrustworthy.  I think that's pretty presumptuous and disingenuous.

For that matter, you seem to place no value on traditions being passed down (nevermind that Paul taught us to be faithful to those traditions).  You automatically go outside for the answers.  I have news, though... if you don't trust traditions being passed down, then you'd better not trust the Bible at all!  Because it was an oral tradition long before it was printed with nice little red lettering for the words of Christ, bound in fake leather, and sold in your local bookstore!

I'd rather have a discussion than turn to atheist and agnostic academics for my answers about faith. Maybe it's just me, though.  :police:  :angel:
 

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Dear David,

I'm trying hard not to believe that you are avoiding the main problem of our discussion, since you seem to not be getting the point here of what I have been asking.  I will try again.

David: I believe there was variety in the early church.

Me: Show me the evidence, please.  The only evidence I see was the variety of heresies and pernicious opinions St. Paul fought against.

David: We don't believe there is a priesthood. We don't separate the two: one exists, the other does not. That does not mean that I think Orthodox cannot be priests ministers of Christ in their flocks; it means I believe they are not priests as you understand it, because no-one is.

Me: Show me the elimination of the priesthood. 

As I read it, Jesus Christ is our High Priest, then we have the Apostles, the Bishops consecrated by the Apostles from amongst the Presbyters, the Presbyters or Elders amongst the people, the Deacons and the people themselves are called to the 'Priesthood of All Believers' (c.f. 1Pe 2).  Therefore, we speak in the Church of the 'degrees of the Priesthood' of which Bishops serve the higher degree than the Presbyter/Priest, but to say 'there are no priests' means 'there is no priesthood,' because to eliminate one is to eliminate all.

Not all have the calling of the Presbytery/Priesthood, and I won't bore you with what St. Paul says about the various ministries.  The language is not clear, but we certainly know that just because the Scriptures do not say 'Trinity' or 'Fully God, Fully Man' that these are truths.

David:There is a difference between party spirit, which is abominable, and variety.

Me: Don't see it.  Show me where the Apostle allows for one and not the other.

David: Absolutely! Whatever the word means, that we definitely agree on.

Me: Crikey, mate!  How can you agree to something when you don't know what it means?!?  Now, I'm convinced I'd never make it as an Englishman...  ;)



 

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FatherGiryus said:
David Young said:
<snip> the creeping acceptance (osmosis?) of concepts from other faiths and philosophies. </snip>
[size=14pt]But, isn't that precisely what you have said you are here to do?


Not at all! There is a difference between slowly absorbing beliefs, attitudes and practices from other faiths and philosophies on the one hand, and on the other hand seeing Christ in people who differ from oneself in some matters but who obviously know Him and can tell me about him. Some people delight, for example, in the Puritans and the Reformers: in fact, they don't seem to reach me. Others find no sweetness in the writings I mentioned (mediæval, early Pietist, early Methodist, among others) but I respond to them. The Methodists had infant baptism; the Pietists were Lutheran; the western mediævals were Roman: but there were those among them who not only knew and loved the Lord more closely than, sadly, I do, but committed their thoughts to writing. From those writings I derive benefit. That is far removed from absorbing ideas from outside the Faith.

Now, you good people, on thread after thread, reiterate the argument that it was the Orthodox Church which gave the canon of scripture to all succeeding generations, and thus succeeding generations should submit to the Orthodox interpretation of scripture and to Holy Tradition, of which scripture is a part. I may not have worded that very well (it's getting late this side of the Pond), but you know what I mean - and I think I know what you mean. But the argument holds no water. The church at that time was undivided. What is now the Orthodox Church was then part of what is now the world-wide church. Rome might make the same claim as you. For that matter, so might the Irish. Or any church whose descendants were present at the early Councils and were accepted in good standing with the rest of the Church. To use the biblical phrase referring to Abraham and Melchizedek, spiritually even we Baptists were 'in the loins' of the believers of that time. You can't unravel your part of the process, and say the whole thing was done by what is today the Orthodox Church. At least, you can - but it carries no persuasive power to us in the West, whether Roman or Protestant (or neither, such as Waldensian).
 

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GreekChef said:
David Young said:
Books have been written on the very subject of the variety that existed in the early church, by academic historians who probably aren't Evangelical or Orthodox and have neither axe (or ax, if they're American) to grind. This is a subject we can all have access to easily enough.
You know this subject of historians commentating on religion is one that always gets under my skin.  Why would you go to a historian to get answers about faith?  What in heaven's name makes you think that they'll have the correct answer?  The word "theology" means "study of God," not "study of history!"  That's like going to a biologist to learn to read music!  The one has absolutely nothing to do with the other!

Further, the basis of theology is PRAYER!  You cannot do correct theology without prayer.  That's like trying to learn to play the trumpet without actually picking one up. 

You're basically asserting that to get an "honest" answer, you have to consult someone who has nothing to do with the subject, as though those who practice their faith are automatically untrustworthy.  I think that's pretty presumptuous and disingenuous.

For that matter, you seem to place no value on traditions being passed down (nevermind that Paul taught us to be faithful to those traditions).  You automatically go outside for the answers.  I have news, though... if you don't trust traditions being passed down, then you'd better not trust the Bible at all!  Because it was an oral tradition long before it was printed with nice little red lettering for the words of Christ, bound in fake leather, and sold in your local bookstore!

I'd rather have a discussion than turn to atheist and agnostic academics for my answers about faith. Maybe it's just me, though.   :police:   :angel:
For a classic treatment of this issue:
The historian and the believer: the morality of historical knowledge and Christian Belief By Van A. Harvey, Van Austin Harvey
http://books.google.com/books?id=dTFxhJMR8H4C&pg=PP1&dq=Historian+and+the+believer&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false

His main thesis is that historiography is a belief system that makes truth claims that conflict with other truth claims of another belief system, i.e. Christianity.  The part that intests us here is his analysis that the various documents that make up the New Testament are seperate documents, and that historically it makes no sense to interpret, say, Hebrews, as if it has anything to do with the Gospel of John or Galatians. He has the flip side of David's problem, in that he doesn't recognize that canoization is in the historical record, and so doesn't recognize a canon of Scripture.  That, of course, leaves very little to build a Church on.
 

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FatherGiryus said:
[/i] Me: Show me the elimination of the priesthood. 

As I read it, Jesus Christ is our High Priest, then we have the Apostles, the Bishops consecrated by the Apostles from amongst the Presbyters, the Presbyters or Elders amongst the people, the Deacons and the people themselves are called to the 'Priesthood of All Believers' (c.f. 1Pe 2).  Therefore, we speak in the Church of the 'degrees of the Priesthood' of which Bishops serve the higher degree than the Presbyter/Priest, but to say 'there are no priests' means 'there is no priesthood,' because to eliminate one is to eliminate all.

Not all have the calling of the Presbytery/Priesthood, and I won't bore you with what St. Paul says about the various ministries.  The language is not clear, but we certainly know that just because the Scriptures do not say 'Trinity' or 'Fully God, Fully Man' that these are truths.
Since there is a priesthood of believers, there are priests.
 

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David Young said:
Books have been written on the very subject of the variety that existed in the early church, by academic historians who probably aren't Evangelical or Orthodox and have neither axe (or ax, if they're American) to grind. This is a subject we can all have access to easily enough.
Then pray access it for me. At least the parts that convince you. Preferably Scriptural or contemporaneous accounts, as we have given you St. Ignatius and St. Clement, along with Scripture.

And, oddly enough, I have actually read books on the subject.

I know what I think and why. I have spent a great deal of time and effort and prayer to come to that point.

What I'd like to know, and I'm beginning to suspect that I won't ever get from you, is what basis you have for your beliefs about this subject, referencing Scripture and the early writings of the Church Fathers. Or even historians. Something. Anything.

 

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GreekChef said:
[historians commentating on religion ... always gets under my skin.  Why would you go to a historian to get answers about faith?  ... You cannot do correct theology without prayer.  ... I'd rather have a discussion than turn to atheist and agnostic academics for my answers about faith.
And of course, I entirely agree with you. But I think there is a difference between a theologian whose speciality is Church History, but who would not wish to identify himself as an Evangelical, and a theologian who spouts about spirituality, faith and salvation without knowing the Lord or even believing in him. I think the former may indeed write honest factual descriptions of the situation obtaining at the time he is interested in (his period, as they say). That is a long way from asking an atheist or agnostic for answers about faith. I know a Moslem doing a PhD in Evangelical Church History, and I dare say his historical facts are correct; I doubt he has yet penetrated the inner motivation and experience of the men and women he is studying.

If I have failed to reply to any of your own points, GreekChef (as I think you hint), forgive me: no slight is intended. But there have been such a cascade of posts from so many angles, by so many posters, that my restricted mind tends to lose track of all the matters raised and questions asked - or challenges laid down.

But now, it is time to say kali nihta, or I shall be even more of a wreck than usual tomorrow.
 

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David Young said:
FatherGiryus said:
David Young said:
<snip> the creeping acceptance (osmosis?) of concepts from other faiths and philosophies. </snip>
[size=14pt]But, isn't that precisely what you have said you are here to do?


Not at all! There is a difference between slowly absorbing beliefs, attitudes and practices from other faiths and philosophies on the one hand, and on the other hand seeing Christ in people who differ from oneself in some matters but who obviously know Him and can tell me about him.


Like Muhammad?

Some people delight, for example, in the Puritans and the Reformers: in fact, they don't seem to reach me. Others find no sweetness in the writings I mentioned (mediæval, early Pietist, early Methodist, among others) but I respond to them. The Methodists had infant baptism; the Pietists were Lutheran; the western mediævals were Roman: but there were those among them who not only knew and loved the Lord more closely than, sadly, I do, but committed their thoughts to writing. From those writings I derive benefit. That is far removed from absorbing ideas from outside the Faith.
Would you include Mormonism within the Faith?

Now, you good people, on thread after thread, reiterate the argument that it was the Orthodox Church which gave the canon of scripture to all succeeding generations, and thus succeeding generations should submit to the Orthodox interpretation of scripture and to Holy Tradition, of which scripture is a part. I may not have worded that very well (it's getting late this side of the Pond), but you know what I mean - and I think I know what you mean. But the argument holds no water. The church at that time was undivided.
Really?  According to St. Paul, Corinth was quite divided, the Judaizers who oppressed the Church of Galatia went on for some time and became the Ebionites, not to mentiont the Gnostics of various stripes that St. John had to deal with (e.g. the Nicolatians, against whom Revelation speaks and were founded by one of the original deacons.  The Orthodox Church was undivided, that's true. She still is.

What is now the Orthodox Church was then part of what is now the world-wide church.
No, the Orthodox Church was, as she is now, the world-wide Church.

Rome might make the same claim as you.
The Vatican does make the same claim, but that doesn't help you.  Because that Textus Receptus that Rome and your Reformers still came from our hands.  Up until 1054 the Vatican says we were just part of its Church.  We say that up until around that time, Rome was part of the Orthodox Church, as was Ireland. For the sake of staying on point, the Vatican and we make the same claims, and indeed the Vatican can make the claim that it had Apostolic succession up until 1054 with no (or little) argument from us.  Neither of us dispute the essential nature of the episcopacy.  Up until the 11th century, we had the same story for your purposes, and the 11th century is the earliest basis, as I've shown above, that your founders John Smyth etc.) depending on the Textus Receptus we provided and the Vatican published) had.  Unlike St. Paul in the Sanhendrin with the Pharisees and Sadducees, you have nothing to go on here.


For that matter, so might the Irish. Or any church whose descendants were present at the early Councils and were accepted in good standing with the rest of the Church. To use the biblical phrase referring to Abraham and Melchizedek, spiritually even we Baptists were 'in the loins' of the believers of that time.
Of that no doubt: I never cease to be amused by Protestants defending things they inherited from Rome's misguidance of which they have no idea where they got them, chief of them the filioque.  Another would be, as your coreligionist Cleopas (do you consider him a coreligionist?) on another thread is defending Rome's innovation of unleavened bread in the Eucharist.

You can't unravel your part of the process, and say the whole thing was done by what is today the Orthodox Church. At least, you can - but it carries no persuasive power to us in the West, whether Roman or Protestant (or neither, such as Waldensian).
Oh? the fact that you all have been trying to use us as a foil against the Vatican (married clergy, communion under both kinds, liturgy in the vernacular, the epiclesis in Scotland and then America etc. etc. etc.) ever since 1517 says otherwise.

Onan too was in the loins of Abraham, for all the good it did him.
 

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David Young said:
FatherGiryus said:
David Young said:
<snip> the creeping acceptance (osmosis?) of concepts from other faiths and philosophies. </snip>
But, isn't that precisely what you have said you are here to do?


Not at all! There is a difference between slowly absorbing beliefs, attitudes and practices from other faiths and philosophies on the one hand, and on the other hand seeing Christ in people who differ from oneself in some matters but who obviously know Him and can tell me about him. Some people delight, for example, in the Puritans and the Reformers: in fact, they don't seem to reach me. Others find no sweetness in the writings I mentioned (mediæval, early Pietist, early Methodist, among others) but I respond to them. The Methodists had infant baptism; the Pietists were Lutheran; the western mediævals were Roman: but there were those among them who not only knew and loved the Lord more closely than, sadly, I do, but committed their thoughts to writing. From those writings I derive benefit. That is far removed from absorbing ideas from outside the Faith.

Now, you good people, on thread after thread, reiterate the argument that it was the Orthodox Church which gave the canon of scripture to all succeeding generations, and thus succeeding generations should submit to the Orthodox interpretation of scripture and to Holy Tradition, of which scripture is a part. I may not have worded that very well (it's getting late this side of the Pond), but you know what I mean - and I think I know what you mean. But the argument holds no water. The church at that time was undivided. What is now the Orthodox Church was then part of what is now the world-wide church. Rome might make the same claim as you. For that matter, so might the Irish. Or any church whose descendants were present at the early Councils and were accepted in good standing with the rest of the Church. To use the biblical phrase referring to Abraham and Melchizedek, spiritually even we Baptists were 'in the loins' of the believers of that time. You can't unravel your part of the process, and say the whole thing was done by what is today the Orthodox Church. At least, you can - but it carries no persuasive power to us in the West, whether Roman or Protestant (or neither, such as Waldensian).


[size=14pt]

Now, David, this is positively illogical.  Tell me, how do you determine "who obviously know Him".  A Mormon, Jehovah's Witness or a Moslem?  Perhaps a Hindu who venerates Christ as an incarnation of the Divine (an Indian shop I used to pass had a 'picture' of Christ right there next to Krishna and Ganesha)?

Knowing it is late, I will take that into account for the reason that you entirely missed the point of the origins of the Scriptures: whether or not we are in communion with Rome now or not, the BISHOPS were the ones to establish the canon of Scripture.  And, I don't think you can make any sort of rational argument that the nature of either the Priesthood or the Episcopacy has changed in the Orthodox Church either from before the Roman Schism or after.

The rest of your post is far too cloudy to accurately infer much from, since the status of the Episcopacy and the Priesthood was well-established prior to the Schism, and I think most if not all of what I have said regarding the Priesthood or the Episcopacy would be well-received by a traditionally-minded Roman Catholic.  The same is true of the Scriptures originating in the Church from the BISHOPS, which is what I have been trying (with obvious limited success) to get you to see.

Again, it would be helpful if you would, specifically, tell us:

1. What Scriptures advocate your stance that the early Church was 'theologically diverse.'

2. What Scriptures advocate the believer pick-and-choose his own theology.


Sorry for the bold, but it seems these questions continually get missed in your responses.

Have a good rest and we'll chat tomorrow.

 

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FatherGiryus said:
As I read it, Jesus Christ is our High Priest, then we have the Apostles, the Bishops consecrated by the Apostles from amongst the Presbyters, the Presbyters or Elders amongst the people, the Deacons and the people themselves are called to the 'Priesthood of All Believers' (c.f. 1Pe 2).  Therefore, we speak in the Church of the 'degrees of the Priesthood' of which Bishops serve the higher degree than the Presbyter/Priest, but to say 'there are no priests' means 'there is no priesthood,' because to eliminate one is to eliminate all.
This is analogous to the situation in Exodus 19:6, where God calls Israel a "kingdom of priests"...and then spends the next three books of the Bible explaining the duties of the Israelite clerics. :D

It's perfectly consistent for all of us to be priests, and yet have a Church priesthood with special duties.
 

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ialmisry said:
Like Muhammad? ... Would you include Mormonism within the Faith? ... ... the Orthodox Church was, as she is now, the world-wide Church.
Cleopas ... do you consider him a coreligionist?
With due respect, your first two comments are fatuous. You know as well as I do that neither the Orthodox Church nor Baptists regard Mohammed and Mormons as somehow "in Christ".

Your third point is near the fulcrum of the debate: you all start from the premise that there is, somewhere on earth, one Church organisation which is the true church; we start with the premise that the Church, sadly, is divided in numerous branches, with variety on some points of belief and practice. You argue from your premise - your starting point - to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church is the one true church, an argument largely based on historical continuity (which I have no problem in recognising: you have that continuity, at least in parts of the ancient world where the church survived Moslem domination). But you reach a conclusion which, from our viewpoint, must be fallacious, as we don't think there is such a thing anyway. You write as if we were debating which church is the true one; we don't even commence such a discussion, as (like you) we think we know the conclusion beforehand.

In re Cleopas - yes, of course; I am not aware of a gap between our ideas in our posts into which a hair might be pushed. We do not collude: we simply believe the same things. (Though I doubt not for a moment that, if we sat down together and shared our beliefs in harmonious fraternity for an hour or two, we'd find there is variety between us: that is commonly the experience between any two Evangelicals whose faith is not swallowed in its entirety second-hand.)

The day has begun, with its calls upon my time: I may return this evening. Have a good day.
 

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David Young said:
ialmisry said:
Like Muhammad? ... Would you include Mormonism within the Faith? ... ... the Orthodox Church was, as she is now, the world-wide Church.
Cleopas ... do you consider him a coreligionist?
With due respect, your first two comments are fatuous. You know as well as I do that neither the Orthodox Church nor Baptists regard Mohammed and Mormons as somehow "in Christ".

Your third point is near the fulcrum of the debate: you all start from the premise that there is, somewhere on earth, one Church organisation which is the true church; we start with the premise that the Church, sadly, is divided in numerous branches, with variety on some points of belief and practice. You argue from your premise - your starting point - to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church is the one true church, an argument largely based on historical continuity (which I have no problem in recognising: you have that continuity, at least in parts of the ancient world where the church survived Moslem domination). But you reach a conclusion which, from our viewpoint, must be fallacious, as we don't think there is such a thing anyway. You write as if we were debating which church is the true one; we don't even commence such a discussion, as (like you) we think we know the conclusion beforehand.

In re Cleopas - yes, of course; I am not aware of a gap between our ideas in our posts into which a hair might be pushed. We do not collude: we simply believe the same things. (Though I doubt not for a moment that, if we sat down together and shared our beliefs in harmonious fraternity for an hour or two, we'd find there is variety between us: that is commonly the experience between any two Evangelicals whose faith is not swallowed in its entirety second-hand.)

The day has begun, with its calls upon my time: I may return this evening. Have a good day.
I agree that Baptist do not view Mormons or Mohammad as christians, that was the stance of the Conservative Baptist church I attended for years.

Only problem though, their view of the Church as divided, like so many of the doctrines of baptist and other protestant groups, is a novel new teaching.  It is using a common thinking error of redefinition or rationalization to justify ones position.

I have to say though, unless you were one of the Apostles, everyones faith is swallowed in its entirety second-hand, from faith to faith.
 

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I believe there was variety in the early church.

But the argument holds no water. The church at that time was undivided.


David, when you get a chance, could you please explain these two apparently (or at least somewhat) contradictory statements of yours?

It was the Bishops and the Church who decided, gathered and kept safe which texts constituted the canon of Scripture on the basis of the "apostolicity" of origin and content.

So whether you are aware of it or not, every time you pick up your Bible, you are relying on their judgment, as led by the Spirit to compile and safeguard the writings of Holy Scripture. Thus you are unknowingly validating the authority of the Orthodox Church as a standard of canonicity that recognized which books were and were not to be considered as Holy Scripture. As we say, “the Bible came out of the Church and not vice versa.”

So here’s the part that has always puzzled me: how can you accept the Bible as the rule of faith, which came out of the Church and then reject that same Church and its beliefs/teachings – all in favor of your own personal idiosyncratic interpretation/opinion/belief?
 

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David Young said:
It's perfectly consistent for all of us to be priests, and yet have a Church ministry with special duties.
Yes, we do all have ministries, be it the laity or the clergy. But the clergy also has duties which are sacramental in nature, and only a priest can perform them. This was true in Israel: only the clergy could lead the people in liturgical prayer. Only a priest could offer the sacrifice. The high priest had special duties that he alone could do. And yet, all Israelites were priests.

Similarly, Christian priests have special sacramental duties that only they can perform. Only the clergy can lead the people in liturgical prayer. Only a priest or bishop can offer the Eucharist. The bishop has special duties that he alone can do. And yet, all Christians are priests.

A priest is simply a mediator (one who intervenes). Christ, being the Great High Priest, is the Great Mediator who possesses salvation. But in addition, all Christians are priests because we mediate between God and Creation. But between those two extremes, the clergy also mediate between God and Christians in a special sacramental way, and thus have a special sacramental priesthood.
 

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bogdan said:
David Young said:
It's perfectly consistent for all of us to be priests, and yet have a Church ministry with special duties.
Yes, we do all have ministries, be it the laity or the clergy. But the clergy also has duties which are sacramental in nature, and only a priest can perform them. This was true in Israel: only the clergy could lead the people in liturgical prayer. Only a priest could offer the sacrifice. The high priest had special duties that he alone could do. And yet, all Israelites were priests.
It's funny that you say this at this particular time.  KatherineofDixie and I were having this very discussion with a deacon friend of ours (a converted Pentecostal minister and former fundraiser for Charles Stanley).  He said, "It's ridiculous to think that, after 6000 years of Jewish priesthood and Jewish liturgical worship, that the NEWLY converted Christians of the early church would have simply left that behind for the Protestant idea of ministers (an idea which, of course, didn't exist until the Reformation to begin with).  You don't just leave behind 6000 years of liturgical worship."

Indeed, and why would they?  Why would they leave behind sacramental worship and a hierarchy?  When one has an understanding that God is to be approached within worship a certain way, and then God Himself comes in the person of Christ and ALSO follows those same liturgical practices, why would you then abandon that model?  Christ Himself worshiped in the liturgical style of the Jews, following all of the rites and laws pertaining to worship.  Why would we reject what He Himself did?  Makes NO sense to me.
 

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GreekChef said:
GreekChef said:
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!

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
Not to be too pushy (who, me?), but...  Any response to these, David?
Apologies if I'm being a pest, but still waiting on this one... I'm really eager to hear (*read*) your response, David!
 

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You don't just leave behind 6000 years of liturgical worship."
Precisely. I've heard it argued by some that liturgical worship was left in order to "worship in spirit and truth" rather than in preset forms. The problem I have with that is that when Christ gave this answer to the woman at the well He was answering a question in relation to where.  She said, we worship here, you worship there, which is right? He said, that soon worship would be in spirit and in truth... a where, not a how.  Since the forms of Jewish liturgical worship were themselves modeled on the revelation from Heaven given to Moses, it makes no sense that a heavenly form would be displaced by free form make it up as you will.
 

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Seraphim98 said:
You don't just leave behind 6000 years of liturgical worship."
Precisely. I've heard it argued by some that liturgical worship was left in order to "worship in spirit and truth" rather than in preset forms. The problem I have with that is that when Christ gave this answer to the woman at the well He was answering a question in relation to where.  She said, we worship here, you worship there, which is right? He said, that soon worship would be in spirit and in truth... a where, not a how.  Since the forms of Jewish liturgical worship were themselves modeled on the revelation from Heaven given to Moses, it makes no sense that a heavenly form would be displaced by free form make it up as you will.
Nor does it make any sense that beliefs/theology would be replaced by free form make it up as you will. (Aside from the fact that there is really no such thing as truly free form, anyway, every group has their rituals and traditions - they just don't like to call them that.)
It seems to me that Acts, especially the Council of Jerusalem, and St. Paul's Epistles don't show any evidence of or support for making it up as you go along in the early Church. St. Paul in particular seems to be writing for the purpose of explicating theology and praxis, for good order and to keep the new Christians on the narrow path (especially those Corinthians!)
 

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katherineofdixie said:
Seraphim98 said:
You don't just leave behind 6000 years of liturgical worship."
Precisely. I've heard it argued by some that liturgical worship was left in order to "worship in spirit and truth" rather than in preset forms. The problem I have with that is that when Christ gave this answer to the woman at the well He was answering a question in relation to where.  She said, we worship here, you worship there, which is right? He said, that soon worship would be in spirit and in truth... a where, not a how.  Since the forms of Jewish liturgical worship were themselves modeled on the revelation from Heaven given to Moses, it makes no sense that a heavenly form would be displaced by free form make it up as you will.
Nor does it make any sense that beliefs/theology would be replaced by free form make it up as you will. (Aside from the fact that there is really no such thing as truly free form, anyway, every group has their rituals and traditions - they just don't like to call them that.)
It seems to me that Acts, especially the Council of Jerusalem, and St. Paul's Epistles don't show any evidence of or support for making it up as you go along in the early Church. St. Paul in particular seems to be writing for the purpose of explicating theology and praxis, for good order and to keep the new Christians on the narrow path (especially those Corinthians!)
Oddly the book I just linked above on the founder of the Baptists, John Smyth, say that he came to dislike translation of the Bible and that Scripture interferred with the spontinaity of worship.  So much for sola scriptura.  But then, maybe that is more honest. Since the Baptists rejected the Church in favor of their own views and spontinaity, it makes more sense for them to reject the confnes of Scripture, which the Church set up.
 

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GreekChef said:
Apologies if I'm being a pest, but still waiting on this one... I'm really eager to hear (*read*) your response, David!
Dear Presvytera,

I think I have annoyed poor david into silence, as he has not directly responded to my inquiries, either.

The essential problem here is one of standards: whether the question about Mormons/Moslem or that of 'Smörgåsbord Christianity,' there is a problem of establishing a consistent standard.

David is able to express that he has a standard for, let's say, judging what he thinks is valuable about Orthodoxy, but he can't seem to define it.  Sort of like the issue of pornography in the Supreme Court.

For example, he can state he believes in 'diversity' of opinions in the early days of the Church, but he can't name them or set a reliable dividing line between what's 'in' and what's 'out.'

Nothing is more important to a human than his salvation, and so one ought to be the most careful with one's theological decisions.  David surely thinks he is being careful, but I think most of us agree here (at least the Orthodox here) that he is being unnecessarily wreckless by making what appear to be arbitrary decisions about reality.  Yes, theology ultimately is about defining reality, and that reality is God.

You can't pick-and-choose what parts of reality you want to believe.  Even a schizophrenic doesn't do that: he sincerely believes that cameras are watching him.

Te greatest difficulty I have with David's premise, which I was hoping we would have gotten to by now had he engaged my inquiries, is the topic of equality.  I know it sounds strange, but I hope you will stick with me on this.

David comes from a place of inequality, in that he does not believe his Baptist forefathers knew as much as he, David, could find on his own.  So, while remaining with the Baptist label, he has gone on a hunt for superior knowledge.  He has placed himself above his forefathers, calling into question their wisdom and experience.

As an Orthodox, I believe in the inherent equality of all believers.  While one may study or pray more than the other, we are all bound by the same Tradition and thus the same reality.  No matter how far I excel, I cannot excel beyond what is set by the Church.  Though I may be a saint or a scholar, I cannot know more than anyone else potentially can.  Furthermore, such knowledge is based on experience of God, which is His to give out and not mine to take.

Though I may read or pray, I cannot err so long as I remain in the Church.  A simple man is just as 'plugged in' to God as a Bishop.  We are all saved by being united in the One True Church, the Body of Christ.  The question is not, then, about theology and academia, but whether I really love God or am just trying to get blessings without love.  On the matter of love, intellectual prowess can even be a detriment: it can make love far more complicated than it need be.

For me, the theological hunt within the Church continues, but only because it is my path and that it has brought be to a deeper sense of God's love.  However, the things I discover are not outside the Church.  I'm still searching inside the Church and find no need to go outside.  I may admire a pagan temple's artistic flare, but it does not compare to the beauty of meeting a living saint.  I don't need Buddhism to teach me about Jesus Christ.

I do not believe the 'gates of hell' have prevailed against the Church.  I do not believe it is 'divided' as an ontological reality.  There are some brethren who are refusing to enjoy their brotherhood by clinging to schism or even erroneous ideas, but I also don't believe that everyone who says 'Lord, Lord' is of Christ.  The standard for me regarding this is the Church decisions in these matters, which I don't have time or energy to get into.  Besides, I have my own path to worry about rather than being overly concerned with those issues best left to the hierarchy who have been blessed by God to handle.

I do feel sorry for those who seek but cannot find.

 

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Well, I fear that perhaps we have just worn David out on this topic and my biggest fear is that he has been pushed further away from the truth on this matter because of the format of this discussion. I hope and pray that I have not pushed to hard. :(
 

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katherineofdixie said:
Seraphim98 said:
You don't just leave behind 6000 years of liturgical worship."
Precisely. I've heard it argued by some that liturgical worship was left in order to "worship in spirit and truth" rather than in preset forms. The problem I have with that is that when Christ gave this answer to the woman at the well He was answering a question in relation to where.  She said, we worship here, you worship there, which is right? He said, that soon worship would be in spirit and in truth... a where, not a how.  Since the forms of Jewish liturgical worship were themselves modeled on the revelation from Heaven given to Moses, it makes no sense that a heavenly form would be displaced by free form make it up as you will.
Nor does it make any sense that beliefs/theology would be replaced by free form make it up as you will. (Aside from the fact that there is really no such thing as truly free form, anyway, every group has their rituals and traditions - they just don't like to call them that.)
It seems to me that Acts, especially the Council of Jerusalem, and St. Paul's Epistles don't show any evidence of or support for making it up as you go along in the early Church. St. Paul in particular seems to be writing for the purpose of explicating theology and praxis, for good order and to keep the new Christians on the narrow path (especially those Corinthians!)
Indeed! In fact, the Liturgy of the Catechumens portion of the Divine Liturgy is practically analogous to the liturgy of Jewish synagogue worship. Liturgical worship and sacramental clergy, in the first century mind, go hand in hand. For that reason alone, it would take a lot of evidence to convince me that Christians suddenly invented this brand new way of worshiping, without sacraments and without clergy.

As my priest says, early Christians did not sit around in their jeans and T-shirts reminiscing about how great Jesus was.

They were people who had always worshiped liturgically, in an age where ALL religions worshiped liturgically and had "priests" and "sacraments", so it would make far more sense to retain that, breathing Truth into it, than to invent something completely new along the lines of Protestant worship and fly by the seat of the pants.
 

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This is unfortunately one of the drawbacks of the forum format. There is so much to read and respond to at times it can get overwhelming and effectively off-putting. So I can understand if David backs off a bit. Theological blood in the water gets messy come dinner time.

With respect to back patting, what some might call a bit of triumphalism has a mixed reaction with me.  It is initially often irritating and unattractive. That was certainly so in my case. One of the first bits of Orthodox literature I ever encountered was written by Fr. Seraphim Rose of blessed memory. He made me so mad with his exclusive claims about the Orthodox Church. It took 20 years for me to get over being mad. But one day I decided just to put away my own views and look at what they thought of themselves and why...I wanted to see their basic premises and reasoning without the bias of what I then believed interfering.  Much to my surprise, the more I read the more sense their positions made and point by point I was convinced they were right or very likely right, or at least had good reason to believe they were right.  Within a few days I had only a couple of objections left...but what they had convinced me of had left me nothing to go back too...there were no 7/8ths points way stations for me to put my feet up. It was theologically a very uncomfortable place to be...not seeing a clear way ahead but having no way at all to justify going back.

My point is that, Orthodox insistence on what it knows of itself to be true can put someone off for a long while, but that same insistence, that calm firmness in the face of immense ecumenical pressure to make nice, can also serve as an attention getter...a reason to take a long slow steady look once more away from the heat and pressure of one's own desire for personal validation.  What I mean is...it is a huge thing to say to oneself, "If they are right, then I AM a heretic and at a minimum outside the formal boundaries of the Church Christ planted...and I need to find out one way or the other."
 
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