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A question for protestants...

David Young

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katherineofdixie said:
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?
I believe it was you, Katherine, a multitude of posts ago, who asked about Church History books which assert that there was variety within the Body of Christ in early days, and I promised to look out some titles. Could I suggest

- F F Bruce "Men and Movements in the primitive Chruch"
- Hans Küng "Christianity"
- J G D Dunn "Unity and Diversity in the New Testament"

The first is an Evangelical, the second Catholic, the third I don't know what he is, but I believe he is a much-quoted and respected academic theologian. But the point is, that every book I read seems to me to give this impression.

In re the two contradictory statements, I see no contradiction between variety and unity. I just don't see them as contradictory.

In response to others who say I have not addressed their questions, I'm sorry: the huge volume of posts has overwhelmed me. I work full-time for the Mission, have a wife, daughter and grandson in Wrexham, preach most Sundays, and have other leisure activities than posting on the forum. I can't keep up with the deluge of posts this time. And tomorrow I am away to Devon to preach to the Methodists on Sunday, then hold other Mission for meetings in the South, and shall perforce fall silent for that reason. You may never get the answers you seek. I hope you won't liken me to the biblical waterless cloud.  :( By the time I get back, everything will have moved on.

 

ialmisry

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Seraphim98 said:
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."
I was somewhat like David in my study of Orthodoxy.  It took an agnostic friend to point out to me that I had reached that 7/8's point "Why aren't you Orthodox?"  I had no answer, and went that Sunday to the nearest Orthodox parish and got it.
 

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Seraphim98 said:
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.
<snip>
Yes, forums are a messy business, which is why I usually only get involved in one thread at a time.  I've also come to realize that I can 'tap out' at any time if I don't feel like commenting.

I don't know how David feels, but there is one thing for sure: each of us is responsible for his own feelings.  If he decides to feel put-off, that's a decision he will make.  Some folks will experience what you have, being offended at first but then wondering how you can make any relevant point you hold without be accused of 'back-patting.'

The mark of Orthodox is that, despite whatever 'self-congratulations' go on in public, those who follow God mourn over their own sins rather than rejoice in another's downfall.  True Christians also know that with knowledge comes further condemnation: if I sin against what I know to be True, then I am more guilty than one who sins in ignorance.

I can liken this thread-experience to what we all go through when we encounter someone who is 'unzipped.'  We generally weigh the consequences of feeling bad when we embarrass someone (thus place ourselves above the other enough to correct him), rather than simply smiling and allowing the person to go on unzipped, thus avoiding a potentially uncomfortable situation.  A similar problem occurs in recovery groups, wneh one member harshly chastises another.  The more 'mature' person will welcome the harsh chastisement as saving him from hardship, while the more fragile person will often recoil with a bruised ego.

If I did not care about David, I could terminate with a rather snotty retort, claim victory and be off to my PB&J and other assignments.  However, there is an opportunity to possibly help him and others watching the thread.

If I am guilty of 'self-congratulatory' behavior, I apologize to anyone who is offended.  I do not generally see myself (other than in sheer fantasy) in exulted terms.  I have embarrassed myself too many times to think I am any kind of Wunderkind.  I certainly hope I have not done to again.

 

katherineofdixie

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David Young said:
katherineofdixie said:
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?

In re the two contradictory statements, I see no contradiction between variety and unity. I just don't see them as contradictory.
Ok, let me explain why they seem contradictory to me. Here's the definitions I was working from:

Definition of “variety”
1. The quality or condition of being various or varied; diversity.
2. A number or collection of varied things, especially of a particular group; an assortment
3. A group that is distinguished from other groups by a specific characteristic or set of characteristics.

Definition of “unity”
1.condition of being one: the state or condition of being one
2.combination into one: the combining or joining of separate things or entities to form one
3.something whole: something whole or complete formed by combining or joining separate things or entities

So what is the criteria or standard used for variety and unity?


And I promise not to pout if you don't answer! ;)
 

Seraphim98

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If you mean a certain variety of expression within certain theological/ecclesial boundaries, then yes I can agree that this was present in the nascent Church.  That however, needs substantial qualification for from an Orthodox perspective, such variety is only permissible in a highly charismatic context.  Note, I believe the Didache, which prescribes the types of prayers used during the celebration of the Eucharist. But adds that should a prophet be present they may pray as they will, and are led. So this clearly shows me, there is in principle a normative boundary in the Church for day to day life and worship in the Church, but that boundary is more permeable for those of very deep spiritual life, since their perception and experience of the Life of Christ in the Church is more immediate on both sides of the veil, so to speak. 

This depth of life though represents a pinnacle of spiritual life and not the necessary common denominator. Those who have achieved a measure of theosis in this life, like a mature son, have more freedom in the Father's house than do those of less mature accomplishment. In the history of the Church we know there was a decline in the normative level of spiritual life compared to the earliest days. Hence in the Church we see the best and most instructive variants of the common model being set and standardized, thus giving us our particular forms of  liturgy, art, music, etc.  None of us now would dare to compare our own spiritual life and our experience of Christ with that of the Apostles and their peers in the first generation of the Church.  They knew Christ in depths most of us do not know and will not know this side of the grave...that's why we need Scriptures, hymns, icons, and the form and flow of the Divine Liturgy itself.  The saints though, now and of yesteryear are less constrained in the expression of their spiritual life for it is already highly conformed to the image and stature of Christ. They do not make up/imagine what they should or shouldn't pray or do, like in the Scriptures, the Spirit Himself is their Teacher.  Consider St. Mary of Egypt who knew so much Scripture directly from the Spirit though she had had little exposure and no formal training in it before she went to the desert. The same is true for other saints. 

So to say their was variety of form of worship needs a couple of caveats, first, that such variety as there was was anchored in the revealed liturgical experience of the Hebrew people, going back to Moses; and second it was possible only because of the very high spiritual caliber of Christian to be found in those early days, something not true of most Christians today of any confession.  There was no variety for varietie's sake.  Finally we must say that such variety as there may have been had to be constrained by the common life and vision of the Church. Recall how St. Paul instructed the Corinthians to permit the exercise of certain spiritual gifts within a known (to them) orderly context...a context which still survives in a more or less fixed form in Orthodoxy to this day.

So as the Church and its life grew, certain ways of doing things became fixed, and were no longer subject to any claim or need for variety.  Consider a sapling. It's limbs are thin and tender and very flexible. The circumstances of its growth can shape how that limb matures.  However at some point there is little flexibility left in the limb, and trying to force it can break it.  However, that firmness is not deadness or the verdigris of history...but the structure necessary in its maturity to bear the great weight of the tree's growth. It is no different in the Church. There was certainly a little more flexibility in the very early days...but we are no long in those days and need of the Church in our time precludes the limbs trying to get back to being a sapling...that is just a recipe for self-destruction.
 

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David Young said:
Alveus Lacuna said:
Cognitive dissonance.
Quid in terra est hoc?!
Actually the proper Latin saying for this is: Quae Daemonia est hoc! literally Qué Demonios es esto Spanish, What the demons is this!, but it means what in the world is this? ( I use the classical pronunciation, ae is still pronounced in spanish as ai).
 

ialmisry

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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.
Not at all.


You know as well as I do that neither the Orthodox Church nor Baptists regard Mohammed and Mormons as somehow "in Christ".
I've seen you say things to that effect, but I have no idea what weight that carries.  You have hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Baptist parishes/congregations across the globe.  I have no idea how much your ideas about Muhammad and the Mormons or anything else for that matter (as you state "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.)"  Curious: what do you swallow second hand? ::)).  Some Baptists ordain (appoint,..whatever.  I don't recall or know what you, or some of you, call it)  women, others don't.  I enjoyed watching the conservative Baptists in the Southern Baptist Convention fight off those wanting to ordain women: how soon sola scriptura was abandoned!  Some Baptist celebrate Passover (but won't celebrate Pascha), others don't.  Some have have taken the adoption of the Masoretic text and the rejection of Apostolic Tradition to its logical conclusion, and have placed themselves under the tutelage of the rabbis, forming the B'nei Noach, Gentiles for Judaism, rejecting the Incarnation and Trinity as they rejected the saints and icons.  I don't know if they still consider themselves Baptist, but they do recruit among the Baptists. I've warned some, but what do I know?  I'm a deluded Orthodox.

I don't know if you have met with Muslims who insist that they are the True Christians, but they exist in great numbers, and eagerly adopt as their own Radical Protestant tracts about the "Great Apostacy" and the corruption of the Church: after all, the Quran says the same thing.  They claim hisotrical continuity with Christ's "pure gospel," which am I sure you will deny them, but since historical continuity isn't seen as a vital criteria, so what? It has not proved a problem for many Baptists who have embraced Islam: all their testimonials speak that their first steps towards Muhammad was the insistence in their Baptist days to find the pure doctrine of Jesus (upon him peace!) by prying off the "accretions the Institutional Church made." The NT ended up being just another of those accretions.

And of course, the link is even easier for the Mormons.  They come from the same milieu as the Radical Reformation, restorationism, etc., clear in their book of Mormon.  You may protest that they follow another Gospel, but they also claim Galatians and scripture, and needless to say interpret St. Paul differently than you do.  How can you say that your interpretation is correct, and theirs is not?

Your third point is near the fulcrum of the debate:
All the points accumulate at the fulcrum.

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).
Indeed, that brings us back to the OP:
Christianus said:
Whatever happened to the Greek speaking churches in Antioch, Greece, Jerusalem, and in Alexandria?
most protestants can't answer me on this, the best answer I can get is orthodoxy.
We are still around, as the Romans and Muslims found us.

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.
The promise was that Christ would build His Church (singular,not plural), and the gates of hell would not prevail.  As St. Paul would ask: is Christ divided? Does  He keep a harem, or does He have one bride? "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."  Either the gates of hell have prevailed, in which case we can discount any promise of Christ, or there is one with which He has been "always (lit.all of the days) even until the end of the world."
 

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Some Baptists ordain (appoint,..whatever.  I don't recall or know what you, or some of you, call it)  women, others don't.  I enjoyed watching the conservative Baptists in the Southern Baptist Convention fight off those wanting to ordain women: how soon sola scriptura was abandoned!
In all fairness, both sides of the female ordination debate, regardless the evangelical tradition, argue from sola scriptura.  The conservatives will argue from St Paul: "I do not permit a woman to speak", while the liberals will also argue from St Paul "In Christ there is neither male nor female" (of course, these same liberals will tell you that St Paul was a woman hater, still too attached to his Patriarchal Judaic upbringing). 

This, to me, was always the failing of sola scriptura, especially in the Baptist tradition of private interpretation.  Scripture is supposed to be the sole authority, but everyone is more than willing to pick and choose those points of Scripture which emphasize their particular stance.  This leads to further fragmentation and schism, the exact opposite of the unity Christ prayed for.

Oh, and the term "ordain" works for most of the Southern Baptist pastors (and deacons) I've known.  Sometimes there's even a laying on of hands (actually, most of the ordinations I've witnessed have involved a laying on of hands, but I understand there are some Baptists who consider even this to be a ritual too far).
 

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FormerReformer said:
Some Baptists ordain (appoint,..whatever.  I don't recall or know what you, or some of you, call it)  women, others don't.  I enjoyed watching the conservative Baptists in the Southern Baptist Convention fight off those wanting to ordain women: how soon sola scriptura was abandoned!
In all fairness, both sides of the female ordination debate, regardless the evangelical tradition, argue from sola scriptura. 
I was referring to the debate that was had at their general convention or some such meeting in the late 90's or early this century (I forget exactly the year): the conservatives may have argued from scripture but they appealed to tradition. It seems to be vast majority of their argument.
 

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ialmisry said:
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.
Not at all.


You know as well as I do that neither the Orthodox Church nor Baptists regard Mohammed and Mormons as somehow "in Christ".
I've seen you say things to that effect, but I have no idea what weight that carries.  You have hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Baptist parishes/congregations across the globe.  I have no idea how much your ideas about Muhammad and the Mormons or anything else for that matter (as you state "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.)"  Curious: what do you swallow second hand? ::)).  Some Baptists ordain (appoint,..whatever.  I don't recall or know what you, or some of you, call it)  women, others don't.  I enjoyed watching the conservative Baptists in the Southern Baptist Convention fight off those wanting to ordain women: how soon sola scriptura was abandoned!  Some Baptist celebrate Passover (but won't celebrate Pascha), others don't.  Some have have taken the adoption of the Masoretic text and the rejection of Apostolic Tradition to its logical conclusion, and have placed themselves under the tutelage of the rabbis, forming the B'nei Noach, Gentiles for Judaism, rejecting the Incarnation and Trinity as they rejected the saints and icons.  I don't know if they still consider themselves Baptist, but they do recruit among the Baptists. I've warned some, but what do I know?  I'm a deluded Orthodox.

I don't know if you have met with Muslims who insist that they are the True Christians, but they exist in great numbers, and eagerly adopt as their own Radical Protestant tracts about the "Great Apostacy" and the corruption of the Church: after all, the Quran says the same thing.  They claim hisotrical continuity with Christ's "pure gospel," which am I sure you will deny them, but since historical continuity isn't seen as a vital criteria, so what? It has not proved a problem for many Baptists who have embraced Islam: all their testimonials speak that their first steps towards Muhammad was the insistence in their Baptist days to find the pure doctrine of Jesus (upon him peace!) by prying off the "accretions the Institutional Church made." The NT ended up being just another of those accretions.

And of course, the link is even easier for the Mormons.  They come from the same milieu as the Radical Reformation, restorationism, etc., clear in their book of Mormon.  You may protest that they follow another Gospel, but they also claim Galatians and scripture, and needless to say interpret St. Paul differently than you do.  How can you say that your interpretation is correct, and theirs is not?

Your third point is near the fulcrum of the debate:
All the points accumulate at the fulcrum.

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).
Indeed, that brings us back to the OP:
Christianus said:
Whatever happened to the Greek speaking churches in Antioch, Greece, Jerusalem, and in Alexandria?
most protestants can't answer me on this, the best answer I can get is orthodoxy.
We are still around, as the Romans and Muslims found us.

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.
The promise was that Christ would build His Church (singular,not plural), and the gates of hell would not prevail.  As St. Paul would ask: is Christ divided? Does  He keep a harem, or does He have one bride? "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."  Either the gates of hell have prevailed, in which case we can discount any promise of Christ, or there is one with which He has been "always (lit.all of the days) even until the end of the world."
Isa my man...you nailed it. Totally right. I have met tons of people who believe just like that, that they are simply "restoring" the Church...and in the process they completely destroy their beliefs and those of others by this. The Church was never destroyed, to say that is to call God a liar.
 

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Their arguments have been getting rather more tradition based this last decade, I've even heard of a few arguing for return to more liturgical based forms of worship, and one or two argue for frequent communion, something unheard of when I was growing up Baptist!

Now that I think of it I remember hearing of a statement from the late '90s that used downright Augustinian teaching regarding women.  Something along the lines that women couldn't preach because Eve committed the first sin, thus introducing original sin into mankind (funny, St Paul seemed to place the blame for ancestral sin on Adam).  It's all very fuzzy, as the statement came out a few years after I had stopped attending Baptist churches.  At the same time, the few Baptists I still talked to back then argued that tradition had nothing to do with, it's all right there in the Bible.  My dad got a kick out of it, but he was never the best Baptist to begin with.

The funny thing to me is the Southern Baptists who do appeal to tradition use the same pick-and-choose approach they applied to Scripture.  Still, one is less likely to hear the Landmark theory from these, a definite improvement.

There are times I wonder if we aren't on a certain precipice that might see the union of the Protestant sects with a more orthodox understanding within my lifetime.  It would be nice, but they've all still got a ways to go and many pet dogmas to discard.
 

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That's one of the things that gives me a little hope about the emergent church movement among protestants. They are willing to explore, albeit sweet shop cafeteria style, from within historic liturgical traditions.  Just like the "worship" music and ethos of "worship style" eventually reached even the Southern Baptists (hence their current music wars), in time to willingness to sample Church history might soften traditional Baptist anti-traditionalism and open their eyes and ears to things they could neither see nor hear before. And it may be that that will bear some good fruit they never even suspected had been planted.
 

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David Young said:
katherineofdixie said:
bishophood ... church hierarchy ... apostolic succession
As I said before, in reply to our esteemed GreekChef, it is hard to provide evidence for the absence of something. We simply see no reference to, or presence of, the concept of priesthood (apart of course from references to Jewish priests) in the NT, nor to the intention of a Church organised through the decades and centuries on the basis Apostolic Succession with the laying-on of hands in an unbroken line, nor even to a stratum of church organisation such as is currently filled by bishops in the modern sense of the word.

I am not saying this form of organisation is a hindrance to the Gospel or to spirituality, any more than any other structure which has developed in different times and places among the people of God, all of which can be operated by people filled with the Holy Ghost and be a blessing to men, or by ambitious men and women who wangle a position they have no divine calling or gift for. I am not saying the stratum of bishops should be abolished and every denomination should be run on Baptist lines (that is, autonomous local churches linked in voluntary, equal fellowship).

I am aware that certain words were used in the NT, but I suspect that neither of us has the time or inclination to list every occurrence in the NT of the words priest, bishop, presbyter, elder, pastor and perhaps related words, and to debate the meaning of each in the light of its literary and historical context.
ialmisry said:
I'll be posting there.
 

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It seems like at some point though you have to account for such things as bishops, hierarchy, and liturgy as they are very clearly present and understood in the historical record by the time of St. Constantine.

I see only two general options, either one has to say these forms of governance and worship are standardizations of models/forms widely present if not normative within the Christian community from its founding, or

What has in place by the start of the 4th century represents a wholesale departure from the theological and ecclessiological norms of the first generations of Christians, a departure so great, so early, and so widespread that it effectively erased any memory of any other form of worship and organization among all putative Christian communions from Ireland to India.

Personally speaking...the red queen might well have been able to imagine 6 impossible things before breakfast, but not I.
 

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Seraphim98 said:
That's one of the things that gives me a little hope about the emergent church movement among protestants. They are willing to explore, albeit sweet shop cafeteria style, from within historic liturgical traditions.  Just like the "worship" music and ethos of "worship style" eventually reached even the Southern Baptists (hence their current music wars), in time to willingness to sample Church history might soften traditional Baptist anti-traditionalism and open their eyes and ears to things they could neither see nor hear before. And it may be that that will bear some good fruit they never even suspected had been planted.
Don't get your hopes too high. They're going to eat the sweets in the wrong fashion because they lack the guidance they need to properly utilize them. What happens when you eat too many sweets? You get a tummy ache. Then they'll just puke up all of the smells and bells with a bad taste in their mouth.

My wife is now moving away from an Emergent "community", not because of doctrinal issues, but because the charismatic pastor left the church. But the last time I went with her was about a month ago, and the new seasoning from the historical buffet was "praying the hours", where they started including daily scripture readings in the church bulletin from the lectionary (whose?) as if they were exactly the same thing.  I was wondering how reading the Holy Scriptures equals praying.  Maybe they were confusing the concepts, or maybe I just don't understand this Western devotion properly. 

At any rate, I still just can't get over the fact that at the end of the service the "speaker" holds out his hand and gives a benediction like a priest, when they have no sacramental theology.
 

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katherineofdixie said:
A local Presbyterian church advertised a new service "Come and experience the worship of the early church!"

I had to be forcibly restrained!

;D
Ugh where was that????  The church up the road?  I say you and I go!!!!  I'd LOVE to see what they're idea of "early church" worship is!!!!
 

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katherineofdixie said:
A local Presbyterian church advertised a new service "Come and experience the worship of the early church!"

I had to be forcibly restrained!

;D
Many Presbyterian churches are still liturgical, and the base of that structure is the traditional Western rite from Rome.  There are some subtractions to be sure, but overall the structure remains, and it is ancient and venerable.
 

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Alveus Lacuna said:
katherineofdixie said:
A local Presbyterian church advertised a new service "Come and experience the worship of the early church!"

I had to be forcibly restrained!

;D
Many Presbyterian churches are still liturgical, and the base of that structure is the traditional Western rite from Rome.  There are some subtractions to be sure, but overall the structure remains, and it is ancient and venerable.
Are you speaking of Anglicans and high church Lutherans? I don't know of any other groups.
 

Alveus Lacuna

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No, I'm talking about Presbyterians in the USA who follow Calvin, and then only some of them.  But the same thing about liturgical worship is also true of many other Protestant groups, like those of the Weslian movements: some Methodist churches like the Church of the Nazarene are also liturgical.  Of course, Weslian groups come out of Anglicanism, so this makes sense.  Presbyterians come straight after the RCC.
 

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GreekChef said:
katherineofdixie said:
A local Presbyterian church advertised a new service "Come and experience the worship of the early church!"

I had to be forcibly restrained!

;D
Ugh where was that????  The church up the road?  I say you and I go!!!!  I'd LOVE to see what they're idea of "early church" worship is!!!!
I bet he wore starch shirts, a king james bible on his hand (saying that the King James was "continued revelation") thought Charles Spurgeon, Darby and Cyrus Scofield were the greatest expositors St.Paul ever had, taught orthodox were deluded followers of satan and part of the "Beast Church" (I'm not being offensive...some pentecostals and baptists actually teach that to their flocks), taught "pre-tribulation rapture" using II Thessalonians as proof of his heresy (ironically the book which says we are not supposed to believe in any such gunk), had "slain in the spirit" sessions, etc. Somebody please go and tell me if this was true.
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
^ Wow. Your assumptions are much, much longer than the factual statement. Wonder what that means....
Means that I have seen every single one of those things before in this type of restorationist fundamentalism.
 

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Rafa999 said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
^ Wow. Your assumptions are much, much longer than the factual statement. Wonder what that means....
Means that I have seen every single one of those things before in this type of restorationist fundamentalism.
Oh? What type of restorationist fundamentalism is this?
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
Rafa999 said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
^ Wow. Your assumptions are much, much longer than the factual statement. Wonder what that means....
Means that I have seen every single one of those things before in this type of restorationist fundamentalism.
Oh? What type of restorationist fundamentalism is this?
What? did I make a false assumption on what is preached in your average Oneness pentecostal church? That is what they believe in, I have seen it.


At the same time gossip is a bad thing so I apologize for bringing this up. Even if it is true.
 

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Rafa999 said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
Rafa999 said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
^ Wow. Your assumptions are much, much longer than the factual statement. Wonder what that means....
Means that I have seen every single one of those things before in this type of restorationist fundamentalism.
Oh? What type of restorationist fundamentalism is this?
What? did I make a false assumption on what is preached in your average Oneness pentecostal church? That is what they believe in, I have seen it.
You did make a false assumption: that we're speaking of a Oneness Pentecostal church. Katherineofdixie specifically stated that it was a Presbyterian church that wrote this sign.

At the same time gossip is a bad thing so I apologize for bringing this up. Even if it is true.
The point is that you don't know it's true. The only information you have is that a Presbyterian church invited people to come see worship like the early Church worshiped. Everything else is speculation.
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
Rafa999 said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
Rafa999 said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
^ Wow. Your assumptions are much, much longer than the factual statement. Wonder what that means....
Means that I have seen every single one of those things before in this type of restorationist fundamentalism.
Oh? What type of restorationist fundamentalism is this?
What? did I make a false assumption on what is preached in your average Oneness pentecostal church? That is what they believe in, I have seen it.
You did make a false assumption: that we're speaking of a Oneness Pentecostal church. Katherineofdixie specifically stated that it was a Presbyterian church that wrote this sign.

At the same time gossip is a bad thing so I apologize for bringing this up. Even if it is true.
The point is that you don't know it's true. The only information you have is that a Presbyterian church invited people to come see worship like the early Church worshiped. Everything else is speculation.
It is not speculation: Presbyterians donot have Apostolic succesion which violates Paul's instructions to Timothy. Therefore they donot worship in the manner of the early Church where the laying on of hands was of extreme importance in deciding who was telling the truth ("Hold on to the tradition delivered" I Thessalonians). Therefore they lie if they say their practice is that of the early church where Bishops with their last dying breath would remind their flocks not to neglect this command. They are not telling the truth.
 

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Rafa999 said:
It is not speculation: Presbyterians do not have Apostolic succession which violates Paul's instructions to Timothy. Therefore they do not worship in the manner of the early Church where the laying on of hands was of extreme importance in deciding who was telling the truth ("Hold on to the tradition delivered" I Thessalonians). Therefore they lie if they say their practice is that of the early church where Bishops with their last dying breath would remind their flocks not to neglect this command. They are not telling the truth.
You're of course correct on many fronts, but honestly liturgical Presbyterian worship is still very close to the early church in the West in many regards.  Their theology, despite being severely deficient in plenty of areas, still also retains many elements that we treasure.  They do not traditionally have the aversion to ritual that the later Baptist "fundamentalist" (whatever that means) groups do.  They retain covenant theology for one thing, so they still practice paedobaptism.  They also hold a somewhat distorted, but still an essentially sacramental view of baptism and the "Lord's Supper."

Anyway, they didn't throw out everything, and the basic structure of the traditional liturgical worship in many ways accurately reflects the forms of Western Christian piety dating back to antiquity.  I only say all of this to stop people from making fun of their marquee, because it's true in many ways.
 

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Alveus Lacuna said:
Rafa999 said:
It is not speculation: Presbyterians do not have Apostolic succession which violates Paul's instructions to Timothy. Therefore they do not worship in the manner of the early Church where the laying on of hands was of extreme importance in deciding who was telling the truth ("Hold on to the tradition delivered" I Thessalonians). Therefore they lie if they say their practice is that of the early church where Bishops with their last dying breath would remind their flocks not to neglect this command. They are not telling the truth.
You're of course correct on many fronts, but honestly liturgical Presbyterian worship is still very close to the early church in the West in many regards.  Their theology, despite being severely deficient in plenty of areas, still also retains many elements that we treasure.  They do not traditionally have the aversion to ritual that the later Baptist "fundamentalist" (whatever that means) groups do.  They retain covenant theology for one thing, so they still practice paedobaptism.  They also hold a somewhat distorted, but still an essentially sacramental view of baptism and the "Lord's Supper."

Anyway, they didn't throw out everything, and the basic structure of the traditional liturgical worship in many ways accurately reflects the forms of Western Christian piety dating back to antiquity.  I only say all of this to stop people from making fun of their marquee, because it's true in many ways.
OK, I concede that Presbyterians are in general faithful to many practices of the early church. Apologies to comparing them to oneness pentecostals and other groups who didn't retain those practices in any way.
 

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Alveus Lacuna said:
katherineofdixie said:
A local Presbyterian church advertised a new service "Come and experience the worship of the early church!"

I had to be forcibly restrained!

;D
Many Presbyterian churches are still liturgical, and the base of that structure is the traditional Western rite from Rome.  There are some subtractions to be sure, but overall the structure remains, and it is ancient and venerable.
Having been a lifelong Lutheran (up until a course correction to Orthodoxy) and something of a liturgical nerd, I am actually aware that many if not most Episcopalian, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches still use liturgical forms of worship. Also I have been to several Presbyterian services (one of my bestest friends is a Presbyterian minister).
I'm sorry that I was not more clear. This was not their usual Sunday morning service but an optional "emergent-type" service so that people could "experience worship the way the early Church worshipped" (from an ad).
 

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katherineofdixie said:
Alveus Lacuna said:
katherineofdixie said:
A local Presbyterian church advertised a new service "Come and experience the worship of the early church!"

I had to be forcibly restrained!

;D
Many Presbyterian churches are still liturgical, and the base of that structure is the traditional Western rite from Rome.  There are some subtractions to be sure, but overall the structure remains, and it is ancient and venerable.
Having been a lifelong Lutheran (up until a course correction to Orthodoxy) and something of a liturgical nerd, I am actually aware that many if not most Episcopalian, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches still use liturgical forms of worship. Also I have been to several Presbyterian services (one of my bestest friends is a Presbyterian minister).
I'm sorry that I was not more clear. This was not their usual Sunday morning service but an optional "emergent-type" service so that people could "experience worship the way the early Church worshipped" (from an ad).
I have been to exactly ONE Church service outside of the Orthodox Church so I am just giving my impression. It was a Lutheran Church with a Senior Pastor (Openly Gay fellow) and a Female Junior Priest.

Communion consisted of EVERYONE no matter your affiliation or religion for that matter, going up to partake. I was the lone hold out sitting in my seat like a grumpy old guy.

They stood in a circle around the Priest as he went around chatting up each person and broke off a piece of Pita Bread which he handed to them. The Woman Priest then followed up with the Chalice. A few people dipped the Pita and few drank from it ( I think). They had set up an "Alter Table" in the middle of the circle which they then folded up and put away after everyone was done.

Far be it from me to stand in judgement, but simply compared to what I am used to in the Orthodox Church, I was rather stunned and I am still mumbling to myself about it.
 

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Well, based on that formula, one could say that all religious communities follow a 'liturgy,' in that all of them follow some type of structure.  After all, the essence of 'liturgical worship' is thus defined in the Encyclopaedia Brittanica (1911):

LITURGY (Low Lat. liturgic; Gr. X€Ztos, public, and gpyov, work; XEcrovpyos, a public servant), in the technical language of the Christian Church, the order for the celebration and administration of the Eucharist. In Eastern Christendom the Greek word Xetrovpyia is used in this sense exclusively. But in English speaking countries the word " liturgy " has come to be used in a more popular sense to denote any or all of the various services of the Church, whether contained in separate volumes or bound up together in the form of a Book of Common Prayer. In this article the liturgy is treated in the former and stricter sense. (For the ancient Athenian Xetrovpyiat, as forms of taxation, see Finance.) In order to understand terms and references it will be convenient to give the tabular form the chief component parts of a liturgy, selecting the Liturgy of Rome as characteristic of Western, and that of Constantinople as characteristic of Eastern, Christendom; at the same time appending an explanation of some of the technical words which must be employed in enumerating those parts.

By this definition, even a 'holy-roller' service can be considered 'liturgical' in that it has a specific order established prior to the service, even if it ends with utter chaos so long as it is intended to do so and someone is in charge of managing the whole thing (a.k.a. an officiant).  The only difference it that the 'sacrament' in such an event is usually an ecstatic state rather that the chnage of bread and wine into Body and Blood.

However, I will be obstinant and insist that wearing my father's helmet does not make me a fireman, no matter how truly authentic the helmet is.  Just because someone has picked up this or that and added it to whatever else one is doing does not make the rest 'authentic' as well.  We Orthodox see this all the time when some group uses vestments and service books purchased off the internet as proof that they are 'authentic.'

There is something more to worship than the acquisition of bits of 'historical elements,' because the elements themselves have no meaning without their context.  This is the inherent problem of the 'reconstructionists' in the Orthodox Church, who decided on their own to leap back through the centuries over what we do now.  It has not worked, because this stand ignored the work of the Holy Spirit that got us to where we are now for whatever reason.

The liturgical Tradition of the Church is not an invention, nor is it something tampered with on a whim.  It is something passed down through the ages and only changes under the guidance of the common mind of the Synods inspired by the Holy Spirit, which is beyond reach of both parishes and even 'demoninations.'  Liturgy is inherently mystical in that there is more to it than just a hodge-podge of texts and books.  It is the Spirit worshipping and glorifying the Father and Son through us, so that we might do what we cannot do on our own.  Worshipping 'in Spirit and in Truth' is not within our fallen-nature abilities.  To use those same abilities to assemble a 'service' makes the service worthless when compared to the true liturgical services of the Church.

The tragedy is that we continue to praise people (i.e. "Nice helment, Giryus!  I didn't know you were a firefighter!") for doing what is, in fact, counterproductive to their intended goal.  If they seek to worship God, then they need to enter into the ancient Tradition of that worship rather than trying to make it up on their own.  Some of those who realize the fruitlessness of such pursuits eventually find their way to the Orthodox Church, where they find the 'real thing' as opposed to 'make-it-up-as-you-go-along.'

I recall members of one group that ended up in the Church having their 'service books' supposedly assembled to resemble 'ancient worship.'  What was funny was that the book was full of stickers, covering up superceded versions with newer, yet 'more ancient,' versions of service elements.  Eventually, they became so confused, it was much easier to coax then in the door and give them the real thing.

My hope is that, perhaps, we can some day appeal to those looking for the Ancient Tradition and coax them to the Father's Table so they can have the real thing they are looking for.

 

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It is this element of "fruitless" but serious play that gives me a little hope for the emergence movement.  Just like the Charismatic movement which in its youth asked a lot of interesting and often correct questions, it had neither the roots nor the power to make even right/or rightish answers to those questions effective.  What it did do though was cause them to think about enough of the right sorts of things so that when/if they got a good steady look at the genuine they would recognize it and be prepared to act on their conscience in that moment.  

That's basically what happened to me as a 20+ year charismatic.  It made me aware that God was active and present in our lives, not distant or abstract. It made me aware that what the Apostles knew, lived and taught was not supposed to vanish away. It taught me that an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit was both desirable and possible, and that actual holiness of some substance was also possible.  It could never seem to make good in any consistent way on those things...but it got me thinking, and when I bumped into Orthodoxy and the lives of her saints, I recognized the genuine article and figured out why even though so many of the promises we saw were true, our access to them in fullness was not possible as we were.  

So I am not ashamed to entertain similar hopes for those in the emergent church movement who learn to ask some of the right questions in their serious religious play, questions that in time might enable them to recognize the power and beauty of the genuine when they have opportunity to gaze upon it undestracted.
 

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FatherGiryus said:
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.

I don't think it's just you, Father.  I think, really, we all backed him into a corner that he can't get out of.  I sure do hope he isn't gone for good, though.  That would be a shame.

I didn't respond to this immediately (forgive me, Father) because I didn't want to believe it was true.  Call me naive, but I wanted to believe that this time I had finally been clear and to the point with my questions, specific enough that they would be easier to answer and that David would, indeed, just this once, give a real, honest answer.  I know we overwhelmed him with posts, but I guess I thought he would eventually come back around to mine and stop with the cognitive dissonance.  I guess not...  :'(

Ah well.  A blessed rest of the Lenten journey to you, Father!
 

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Which enemy? I thought David was a friend of all here, whether Orthodox or not. If anything, he should be in everyone's prayers out of love. I certainly do NOT consider myself your enemy simply because I am not Eastern Orthodox.
 

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I too fail to see how David could possibly be our enemy (I think, Alveus, you were being ironic...). To me he appears to be a sincere Christian man and we have no right to think ourselves better than him. In fact, he has always impressed me by his love and kindness to all.
 

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GreekChef said:
I don't think it's just you, Father.  I think, really, we all backed him into a corner that he can't get out of.  I sure do hope he isn't gone for good, though.  That would be a shame.

I didn't respond to this immediately (forgive me, Father) because I didn't want to believe it was true.  Call me naive, but I wanted to believe that this time I had finally been clear and to the point with my questions, specific enough that they would be easier to answer and that David would, indeed, just this once, give a real, honest answer.  I know we overwhelmed him with posts, but I guess I thought he would eventually come back around to mine and stop with the cognitive dissonance.  I guess not...  :'(

Ah well.  A blessed rest of the Lenten journey to you, Father!
[size=14pt]No problem here with waiting.  Patience is good for the soul.

In the meantime, I think we have annoyed Alveus.  :(

If there is one thing I have learned in forums: you can't please 'em all.

As for David and his posts on an Orthodox forum, I invoke the "Law of Super-Chicken"...

You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.

 
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