The Final Proof: Mary had several children.....

jmbejdl

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Armchair Theologian said:
Clemente said:
Why do you think that which is normative in Christianity is only found in Scripture? Scripture says that we should believe more than just written Scripture: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle". 2 Thes 2:15. For the first four centuries of Christianity, there was no fixed canon of the New Testament, yet Christians still managed to transmit the faith from one generation to the next.
You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was? The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles, which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts. That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of.  

Clemente said:
The doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos is not taught for the sake of upholding the sanctity of the Virgin Mary, but because of the uniqueness of her Son Jesus Christ. By being ever virgin, the Theotokos fulfils prophecy from the Old Testament, thereby elevating Christ.  

"Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut." (Ezekiel 44:2). This has always been interpreted by the Fathers of the Church to be a reference to the Virgin Mary and the Incarnation. When we consider that God took flesh from the Virgin's womb, it is not difficult to imagine that this womb would remain virgin.
What if the Fathers were wrong? What if they had a hand in corrupting apostolic teaching? Look at any protestant study Bible, and you'll see there are other possible interpretations of the passage. It may be a literal vision of a future temple, it may be symbolic of the Church (whatever that truly is). The East gate may remain shut signifying that once God had interfered, he would never leave. It may be shut to prevent or signify the end of the solar worship in the temple described earlier in the book of Ezekiel.  

Clemente said:
The Church believed the ever-virginity was part of the faith transmitted faithfully from the Apostles.
What if it wasn't transmitted faithfully? What if things were added, like the perpetual virginity, the dormition, the intersession of the saints in heaven, monastic traditions, and so forth, all clearly built up over time? If the Church is that which faithfully preserves the teaching of the Apostles, and if Orthodox tradition contains later corruptions and merely human teachings, then the Orthodox Church is not the Church, and has no authority, any more than the Baptists or the Pentecostals. In the end, only the Lord knows who is His.  
If what you are speculating about here were true you'd have a problem with more than just the Orthodox Church, you'd have a problem with the Church entire. What you're effectively saying is 'what if the Church is not the pillar and ground of the Truth'. Honestly, if you can't be sure of the Church you can't be sure of Scripture either. As long as you put your own personal interpretations and doubts ahead of the consensus of the Church you'll never understand Orthodoxy. I know someone here said that beliefs about the Theotokos were often hard for Protestants to accept. That wasn't particularly the case for me (I was well aware of and accepted Luther's veneration of her already), though the veneration of icons was. What I can say is that I think that it's letting go of your personal opinions and accepting that you don't know better than the Church that makes the difference, whatever your particular stumbling block. If you can't do that, and I know it's difficult, your enquiries into Orthodoxy will certainly never become anything more.

James
 

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Armchair Theologian said:
You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was?
Then Jesus was either a liar or He was incompetent when He said that Hades would not prevail over His Church. If the faith of the Apostles is the only faith that saves, and it was lost and/or corrupted, then there is no hope.

The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles
Who's to say that the epistles weren't "gradually corrupted over time"? What makes the Bible anymore accurate or reliable than the rest of the Apostolic Tradition? In fact, there are many atheistic scholars who would love to point out challenges to the Bible.

...which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts.
You realize that we have no original texts, but every text we have is a copy of another text? And on each of them, there have been slight differences. For the secular scholar, or for advocates of Sola Scriptura, this is a huge problem. But being Orthodox and having the authority of the Church, we can be at ease knowing that whatever the background is on the epistles, we know that they still bear witness to the faith.

What if the Fathers were wrong?
Many of them were in certain respects, and many of them were right in certain respects. No one saying that they are infallible. But what matters is that we believe God has given the Church the authority and spiritual guidance in discerning the truth from errors, and thus, we can use this to judge the Fathers.

What if they had a hand in corrupting apostolic teaching?
Jesus wouldn't let the apostolic teaching which established the universe--the teaching which we are saved by, the teaching which bears witness to the Saviour of the world--be corrupted because it would spell doom for us.

Look at any protestant study Bible, and you'll see there are other possible interpretations of the passage.
Doesn't matter. All of those other possible interpretations do not have the authority of the Church and can be dismissed.

What if it wasn't transmitted faithfully?
Then once again, Jesus didn't keep His promise to protect His Church from Hades if He allowed it to sanction blasphemy for all these years.

What if things were added, like the perpetual virginity, the dormition, the intersession of the saints in heaven, monastic traditions, and so forth, all clearly built up over time?
Most of those things are rather rooted in the Apostolic Tradition, but were developed over time. You can examine the history and claims yourself. But the point is that we have faith in Christ's promise to protect His Church and thus this isn't a problem for us.

If the Church is that which faithfully preserves the teaching of the Apostles, and if Orthodox tradition contains later corruptions and merely human teachings, then the Orthodox Church is not the Church
That's a tautology, and you're assuming that the Church has corrupted the Apostolic Tradition. The burden is on you to prove that it has. And if it hasn't, then this is irrelevant.

and has no authority, any more than the Baptists or the Pentecostals.
How could the Baptists or Pentecostals possibly have any authority at all? Let alone equal to the Orthodox Church? The Baptists and Pentecostals don't have any apostolic succession at all, therefore the possibility of them being the true Church is literally impossible. The Orthodox Church on the other hand does, and thus, at the very worst, you can conclude that the Orthodox Church is at least possibly the true Church, whereas the former don't even stand a chance.

In the end, only the Lord knows who is His.
Personally I've never seen how this argument means anything. Saying that you belong to the proper Church doesn't mean you believe that everyone in it is "saved" or "His"--indeed, many members of the Church probably are destined for Hell. Still though, that doesn't mean you aren't supposed to join the true Church that He established and try your hardest to adhere to His teachings, even if only He knows whether or not you are "His."
 

LBK

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Romaios said:
It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 
St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.
 

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LBK said:
Romaios said:
It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 
St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.
Some Synaxaria identify him with the Jude that replaced the Iscariot after the Resurrection:

Ο Θεάδελφος Ιούδας, συγγραφέας της ομώνυμης Επιστολής της Καινής Διαθήκης, προστέθηκε στον κύκλο των μαθητών μετά την ανάσταση του Κυρίου.

"The Brother-of-God Jude, the author of the Epistle with the same name from the NT, was added to the circle of disciples after the Resurrection of the Lord."

Source
 

LBK

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Romaios said:
LBK said:
Romaios said:
It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 
St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.
Some Synaxaria identify him with the Jude that replaced the Iscariot after the Resurrection:

Ο Θεάδελφος Ιούδας, συγγραφέας της ομώνυμης Επιστολής της Καινής Διαθήκης, προστέθηκε στον κύκλο των μαθητών μετά την ανάσταση του Κυρίου.

"The Brother-of-God Jude, the author of the Epistle with the same name from the NT, was added to the circle of disciples after the Resurrection of the Lord."

Source
If this were the case, then both Sts Jude and Matthias (who is explicitly named thus in Acts) would have a common feast day. They do not. St Jude's feast is on June 19, St Matthias' on August 9. The feast they do share is that of the Twelve Apostles, on June 29.
 

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LBK said:
Romaios said:
LBK said:
Romaios said:
It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 
St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.
Some Synaxaria identify him with the Jude that replaced the Iscariot after the Resurrection:

Ο Θεάδελφος Ιούδας, συγγραφέας της ομώνυμης Επιστολής της Καινής Διαθήκης, προστέθηκε στον κύκλο των μαθητών μετά την ανάσταση του Κυρίου.

"The Brother-of-God Jude, the author of the Epistle with the same name from the NT, was added to the circle of disciples after the Resurrection of the Lord."

Source
If this were the case, then both Sts Jude and Matthias (who is explicitly named thus in Acts) would have a common feast day. They do not. St Jude's feast is on June 19, St Matthias' on August 9. The feast they do share is that of the Twelve Apostles, on June 29.
You are right - he cannot be one and the same with Matthias, but I'm not sure that he is the same as Jude Thaddeus which was among the Twelve either.

Opinion is divided on whether Jude the apostle is the same as Jude, brother of Jesus, who is mentioned in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-57, and is the traditional author of the Epistle of Jude.

Source
The Feast of St. Jude the Brother-of-God is June 19th - that of St. Jude Thaddeus on August 21st. 
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
freddief said:
PeterTheAleut said:
freddief said:
PeterTheAleut said:
freddief said:
PeterTheAleut said:
freddief said:
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
Whereas a Psalm can be considered prophetic of Christ, prophecy was not the primary purpose of the Psalms. For instance, this passage from Psalm 68 was not written to speak directly of the future Messiah; rather, it was written primarily to speak of issues the psalmist faced while he was writing the Psalm. We see in this Psalm imagery that we also see to some degree in Jesus Christ, but that can't be seen as proof of any position for or against Mary's ever-virginity.
I understand what you're saying, but would have thought that prophesy in relation to the Lord was as primary as any other purpose of the psalms.
By definition, there can only be one primary purpose. There can be a number of secondary purposes, but only one primary purpose.

freddief said:
The quotation I have given is all related to Christ.  We know the zeal of God's house consumed him - John 2:17.  This is absolutely a direct prophesy.
[

freddief said:
I think we are just going to have to disagree.  The person who speaks in the quotation bore disgrace, humiliation and insults.  He was consumed by the zeal of God's house, had brothers who did not believe him, and a mother who had sons who did not believe him (that they, or some of them, later came to faith does not alter the initial fact).  I believe that person is the Lord Jesus Christ, that the psalmist is speaking prophetically of Him.
Well, then, how is your belief the final proof of anything?
The "final proof" title of the thread is an attention seeking device to get folks to read what I put in it, to consider their beliefs in the light of the text I quote, and so I can find out what orthodox say about it.  My belief is not the final proof of anything, what God says is
 

freddief

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PeterTheAleut said:
freddief said:
Clemente said:
freddief said:
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and always a virgin, and born of her:  let him be anathema.
If you are right that Scripture does not allow for the ever-virginity of the Theotokos, than the Church universal fell into significant error and material heresy rather quickly, manifesting itself in its declaration of an anathema at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

However, that would suggest that the Church was not the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). Christ promised He would be with the Church always: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matt 28:20). So, if you are right, that would suggest that either Christ was not truthful, or that He was trying to be truthful but that He was ineffectual and impotent. Either way, I cannot imagine following that sort of Jesus.

Moreover, given that the Church universal disagreed with your interpretation (as expressed in this Council and at the 4th Ecumenical Council), you are effectively putting yourself above the Church in your understanding of Scripture. Scripture is our most reliable, "infallible" authority for Christian faith and praxis, but it is a material authority. Scripture does not interpret itself any more than the American Constitution interpretes itself. Both need a formal authority to do so. You have made yourself a formal authority above the Church, which begs the question: On what basis is your understanding of Scripture more normative than that which was believed "everywhere, always by everyone" in the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins warns us that the worst heresies of the Early Church arose when individuals tried to interpret Scripture apart from the Church:
"But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters .For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another.Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation".A Commonitory by St. Vincent of Lérins
The Holy Spirit never left the Church and we have no reason to believe she fell into universal error. The Church is the Bride of Christ and she is trustworthy. We should therefore interpret Scripture as she does.
If this is about interpreting the Holy Scriptures, exactly which scripture are you interpreting when you proclaim the perpetual virginity of Mary?
If you see Psalm 68 as prophetic of the Christ, then why do you not see Ezekiel 44:1-3 as prophetic of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos?
Well we know from the New Testament that the psalm has to do with Christ, and I gave you the scripture for that.  We do not know from the New Testament that Ezekiel 44 has anything whatsoever to do with Mary or her alleged perpetual virginity.  Are you saying that this gate is a type of Mary's womb?  It seems very far-fetched
 

LBK

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Romaios said:
LBK said:
Romaios said:
LBK said:
Romaios said:
It is clear from the Gospels that his half-brothers (whom the Church calls Theadelphoi - "brothers of God") were not among his followers during the years of his ministry. They believed in him only after the Resurrection. 
St Jude Thaddeus was the brother of St James, the Brother of the Lord. St Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles.
Some Synaxaria identify him with the Jude that replaced the Iscariot after the Resurrection:

Ο Θεάδελφος Ιούδας, συγγραφέας της ομώνυμης Επιστολής της Καινής Διαθήκης, προστέθηκε στον κύκλο των μαθητών μετά την ανάσταση του Κυρίου.

"The Brother-of-God Jude, the author of the Epistle with the same name from the NT, was added to the circle of disciples after the Resurrection of the Lord."

Source
If this were the case, then both Sts Jude and Matthias (who is explicitly named thus in Acts) would have a common feast day. They do not. St Jude's feast is on June 19, St Matthias' on August 9. The feast they do share is that of the Twelve Apostles, on June 29.
You are right - he cannot be one and the same with Matthias, but I'm not sure that he is the same as Jude Thaddeus which was among the Twelve either.

Opinion is divided on whether Jude the apostle is the same as Jude, brother of Jesus, who is mentioned in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-57, and is the traditional author of the Epistle of Jude.

Source
The Feast of St. Jude the Brother-of-God is June 19th - that of St. Jude Thaddeus on August 21st. 
There are two apostles named Thaddeus: Jude of the Twelve, and Thaddeus of the Seventy. The Seventy, like the Twelve, were chosen by Christ Himself, as recorded in chapter 10 of St Luke's Gospel. The latter is only ever referred to as Thaddeus, never as Jude; he was a native of Edessa, and, among other notable acts, brought the Mandylion to King Abgar for him to be healed. St Jude of the Twelve refers to himself in his epistle as "the brother of James", i.e. James the Brother of the Lord.

 

TheTrisagion

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Heres the thing, freddie.  You can come up with all kinds of cool explanations and proofs for what you believe, but unless it is something that has been taught consistently by the Church, we don't give a hill of beans about it.  We take very seriously the statement by Christ that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.  We know that Satan can deceive us, so we cannot trust our own intuition, but we trust the Church.  If you can show that the Church has consistently taught whatever you are proposing, it is something that can be considered, but in the 2,000 year history of the church, the concept of the Virgin Mary having additional children was completely foreign for about 1,800 of those 2,000 years.  Therefore, it is safe for us to assume that perhaps  the novel explanations about her additional children are just modern misunderstandings rather than any belated inspiration.
 

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Armchair Theologian said:
You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was? The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles, which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts. That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of.  



What if the Fathers were wrong? What if they had a hand in corrupting apostolic teaching? Look at any protestant study Bible, and you'll see there are other possible interpretations of the passage. It may be a literal vision of a future temple, it may be symbolic of the Church (whatever that truly is). The East gate may remain shut signifying that once God had interfered, he would never leave. It may be shut to prevent or signify the end of the solar worship in the temple described earlier in the book of Ezekiel.  



What if it wasn't transmitted faithfully? What if things were added, like the perpetual virginity, the dormition, the intersession of the saints in heaven, monastic traditions, and so forth, all clearly built up over time? If the Church is that which faithfully preserves the teaching of the Apostles, and if Orthodox tradition contains later corruptions and merely human teachings, then the Orthodox Church is not the Church, and has no authority, any more than the Baptists or the Pentecostals. In the end, only the Lord knows who is His.  
Unfortunately for your argument, the Fathers who wrote both before and after the acceptance of the 27 books of the New Testament as Scriptural agree with each other. The 27 books were acknowledged as Scriptural because they affirmed and confirmed the teaching of the Church. Writers in the third century praised the virginity of our Lord's Mother - and in terms as glowing and effusive as those who came after.

I won't pretend to have any expertise on the Early Church Fathers, but it didn't take more than a few minutes to confirm what I just wrote. I would encourage you to do a bit of reading and research yourself on those early (i.e. pre-NT, pre-A.D. 397) years.
 
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Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Personally, I think it's important to recognize her as one of the great saints of Christian/Jewish history, but her sex life (after the birth of Christ) is utterly unimportant. Maybe I have this opinion because I'm missing something?
 

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Armchair Theologian said:
You're assuming the faith of the apostles, transmitted in this way, was not gradually corrupted over time. What if it was? The only way to be sure of what the apostles transmitted to the early Christians through word and deed is to look at their epistles, which fortunately seem to have been preserved with minimal alterations in most texts. That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of.  

What if the Fathers were wrong? What if they had a hand in corrupting apostolic teaching? Look at any protestant study Bible, and you'll see there are other possible interpretations of the passage. It may be a literal vision of a future temple, it may be symbolic of the Church (whatever that truly is). The East gate may remain shut signifying that once God had interfered, he would never leave. It may be shut to prevent or signify the end of the solar worship in the temple described earlier in the book of Ezekiel.  

What if it wasn't transmitted faithfully? What if things were added, like the perpetual virginity, the dormition, the intersession of the saints in heaven, monastic traditions, and so forth, all clearly built up over time? If the Church is that which faithfully preserves the teaching of the Apostles, and if Orthodox tradition contains later corruptions and merely human teachings, then the Orthodox Church is not the Church, and has no authority, any more than the Baptists or the Pentecostals. In the end, only the Lord knows who is His.
If, as you suggest, the orthodox Christian faith delivered once and for all to the saints (Jude 3), became corrupted over time, then the consensus of the Fathers and the decisions of Ecumenical Councils regarding the ever-virginity of the Theotokos are not trustworthy.

However, the Fathers such as St. Irenaeus, St. Vincent of Lerins and others certainly claimed that the orthodoxy of the Church was due to her faithfully transmitting the Apostolic faith from generation to generation. St. Irenaeus said the following:
The Church, which has spread everywhere, even to the ends of the earth, received the faith from the apostles and their disciples....The Church, spread throughout the whole world, received this preaching and this faith and now preserves it carefully, dwelling as it were in one house. Having one soul and one heart, the Church holds this faith, preaches and teaches it consistently as though by a single voice. For though there are different languages, there is but one tradition.The faith and the tradition of the churches founded in Germany are no different from those founded among the Spanish and the Celts, in the East, in Egypt, in Libya and elsewhere in the Mediterranean world. Just as God’s creature, the sun, is one and the same the world over, so also does the Church’s preaching shine everywhere to enlighten all men who want to come to a knowledge of the truth. Against Heresies
So the Church certainly believed that changing the Deposit of the Faith meant corrupting it. In many cases, they literally preferred to die as martyrs rather than change the faith. So it does not seem plausible that the Church would consciously change the faith.

Moreover, the historical evidence is strong that the perpetual virginity was believed early in the Church (we have evidence from 150 AD), widespread (basically all the Fathers) and in every part of Christiandom. Opposition to the belief only arose in the late 4th century by two writers, who were strongly condemned. Ecumenical Councils, clearly at the 5th Council, demonstrated that the Church universal accepted the ever-virginity of the Theotokos. There was no remnant of the Church that believed she was not ever-virgin. Why is it historically plausible to think an entire Church would enter quickly into heresy by accepting an error regarding the Theotokos without leaving a paper trail of opposition?

In addition, Christ's promises to the Church render the idea that it quickly entered into widespread heresy inconceivable. He said that He was the head of the Church, (Eph 4:15) and that the gates of Hades would not prevail against the Church (Matt. 16:18). He promised to send a Helper, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:16-17). He said
I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20
If the universal Church fell into heresy regarding the ever-virginity, then you have one of two choices: either the the Holy Spirit did not lead the Church to truth, in which case, Jesus lied, or the Holy Spirit was impotent and therefore somehow less than divine (in which case you are rejecting the Trinity) or somehow ineffectual. Which do you believe?

Similarly, and more practically, why would you want to be a Christian, if with such a simple thing--the ever-virginity of Theotokos--the Church could not even keep that strait and true for one generation? Why would you have any confidence that the Church correctly understood and transmitted more important doctrines such as the Trinity?

Finally, your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation? You say, regarding Scripture "That's the only thing we can be sure of, I think. At least it's the only thing I'm sure of." If Scripture is the only thing you can be sure of, than you cannot be sure of your statement "That's the only thing we can be sure of", since it is not Scripture. Your position is self-defeating and you are thus in error. You are concerned that individual Fathers err, but so do you.

Yes, individual Fathers can err, but the Spirit guides the Church to truth. We can be confident of that truth when the Church speaks in unison, as it has regarding the ever-virginity. Scripture does not interpret itself; it needs a formal authority to do so. Why are your interpretations of Scripture better than that which the Church universal believed "everywhere, always and by everyone".

Moreover, after casting doubt on the reliability of the Church's decisions, you exalt the authority of Scripture. Do you believe the New Testament Canon is closed? If so, why do you accept the Scriptures that a "corrupted" Church selected from amongst many more possible documents? Do you think Hebrews is Scripture? Who wrote it? Why is its inclusion in the Bible trustworthy? Here is a list of Christian documents floating around during the time of the Early Church: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ The existing NT Canon says nothing about these books, so according to that which you are "sure of", we have no means to select the NT Canon. How do you do it without the Church and why is your decision normative?

For the reasons I have outlined, we can conclude that the Church did not fall into universal corruption over time, and thus the consensus of the Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils are trustworthy witnesses of the doctrine, including the doctrine of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos.
 

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Happy Lutheran said:
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?
You can get any number of answers: typology, allegory, tradition, puritanism, spiritualizing one's own sexual hangs up, etc.

And anyone can take to excess their reason regardless of the merit the reason might have.
 

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Clemente said:
Finally, your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation?
Google alerts let me know someone tried using a big word here.

There are no private interpretations, not in the sense you mean. Really what is begged here is your own epistemological prejudices.

Such are always begged. We cannot be free from that which first allows us access to understanding. 
 

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Clemente said:
However, the Fathers such as St. Irenaeus, St. Vincent of Lerins and others certainly claimed that the orthodoxy of the Church was due to her faithfully transmitting the Apostolic faith from generation to generation. St. Irenaeus said the following:
The Church, which has spread everywhere, even to the ends of the earth, received the faith from the apostles and their disciples....The Church, spread throughout the whole world, received this preaching and this faith and now preserves it carefully, dwelling as it were in one house. Having one soul and one heart, the Church holds this faith, preaches and teaches it consistently as though by a single voice. For though there are different languages, there is but one tradition.The faith and the tradition of the churches founded in Germany are no different from those founded among the Spanish and the Celts, in the East, in Egypt, in Libya and elsewhere in the Mediterranean world. Just as God’s creature, the sun, is one and the same the world over, so also does the Church’s preaching shine everywhere to enlighten all men who want to come to a knowledge of the truth. Against Heresies
So the Church certainly believed that changing the Deposit of the Faith meant corrupting it.
You aren't taking properly the notion of the Church, faith, etc, thus you are drawing the wrong conclusions.

There is but one Church. One Faith. And over time that faith in terms of how it is understood in time and place has changed. To argue otherwise is just to be blind.

Thing is the Church and the Faith is that which is held within the entirety of the Church which has not yet been expressed within time.

St. Paul knew this. Mirror darkly and all that.
 

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freddief said:
The "final proof" title of the thread is an attention seeking device to get folks to read what I put in it, to consider their beliefs in the light of the text I quote, and so I can find out what orthodox say about it.  My belief is not the final proof of anything, what God says is
And how do you know what God says?
 

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freddief said:
PeterTheAleut said:
freddief said:
Clemente said:
freddief said:
"For Your sake I bore disgrace; humiliation covered my face.  I am become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons; for the zeal of Your house consumed me, and the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me"

Psalm 68:8-10, Orthodox Study Bible page 726
I think your questions are fair enough. But you have a very bad fact that you must tackle from the 5th Ecumenical Council:

The Capitula of the Council.

I.If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons:  let him be anathema.  For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things.

II.If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and always a virgin, and born of her:  let him be anathema.
If you are right that Scripture does not allow for the ever-virginity of the Theotokos, than the Church universal fell into significant error and material heresy rather quickly, manifesting itself in its declaration of an anathema at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

However, that would suggest that the Church was not the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). Christ promised He would be with the Church always: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matt 28:20). So, if you are right, that would suggest that either Christ was not truthful, or that He was trying to be truthful but that He was ineffectual and impotent. Either way, I cannot imagine following that sort of Jesus.

Moreover, given that the Church universal disagreed with your interpretation (as expressed in this Council and at the 4th Ecumenical Council), you are effectively putting yourself above the Church in your understanding of Scripture. Scripture is our most reliable, "infallible" authority for Christian faith and praxis, but it is a material authority. Scripture does not interpret itself any more than the American Constitution interpretes itself. Both need a formal authority to do so. You have made yourself a formal authority above the Church, which begs the question: On what basis is your understanding of Scripture more normative than that which was believed "everywhere, always by everyone" in the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins warns us that the worst heresies of the Early Church arose when individuals tried to interpret Scripture apart from the Church:
"But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters .For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another.Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation".A Commonitory by St. Vincent of Lérins
The Holy Spirit never left the Church and we have no reason to believe she fell into universal error. The Church is the Bride of Christ and she is trustworthy. We should therefore interpret Scripture as she does.
If this is about interpreting the Holy Scriptures, exactly which scripture are you interpreting when you proclaim the perpetual virginity of Mary?
If you see Psalm 68 as prophetic of the Christ, then why do you not see Ezekiel 44:1-3 as prophetic of the ever-virginity of the Theotokos?
Well we know from the New Testament that the psalm has to do with Christ, and I gave you the scripture for that.
That doesn't make it prophetic of Christ as you envision prophecy to be.

freddief said:
We do not know from the New Testament that Ezekiel 44 has anything whatsoever to do with Mary or her alleged perpetual virginity.  Are you saying that this gate is a type of Mary's womb?  It seems very far-fetched
We do know what the Church says about this verse, since this prophecy of Ezekiel is read in very great feast of the Theotokos.
 

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Happy Lutheran said:
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Personally, I think it's important to recognize her as one of the great saints of Christian/Jewish history, but her sex life (after the birth of Christ) is utterly unimportant. Maybe I have this opinion because I'm missing something?
Honest Question:

What is the importance to the Lutherans that she was a virgin when Christ was born? It seems utterly unimportant.
 

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Alveus Lacuna said:
Happy Lutheran said:
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Personally, I think it's important to recognize her as one of the great saints of Christian/Jewish history, but her sex life (after the birth of Christ) is utterly unimportant. Maybe I have this opinion because I'm missing something?
Honest Question:

What is the importance to the Lutherans that she was a virgin when Christ was born? It seems utterly unimportant.
Nowadays, you might not get the answer to that one that you're expecting, unfortunately. I've known staunch Lutherans who would say it's not all that important - and yes I was as shocked as you would be.

James
 

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Happy Lutheran said:
What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?
Dedication to being set apart to fulfill her role as the Mother of God.

Would you use a Communion chalice for anything other than Communion?
 
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Alveus Lacuna said:
Happy Lutheran said:
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Personally, I think it's important to recognize her as one of the great saints of Christian/Jewish history, but her sex life (after the birth of Christ) is utterly unimportant. Maybe I have this opinion because I'm missing something?
Honest Question:

What is the importance to the Lutherans that she was a virgin when Christ was born? It seems utterly unimportant.
Isaiah 7:14
 

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Happy Lutheran said:
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Personally, I think it's important to recognize her as one of the great saints of Christian/Jewish history, but her sex life (after the birth of Christ) is utterly unimportant. Maybe I have this opinion because I'm missing something?
In the same sense the chalice used for the Eucharist will never be used as a beer mug.
 

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Leaving aside scripture, Orthodox hymnography, Church dogmas and doctrines for a moment, do you really believe freddief that Joseph after the dream he had with the angel appearing and explaining to him, that the child, his pregnant young-bride-to-be, carried in her womb, was the Messiah conceived miracuously by the Holy Spirit, and after the second dream he had with the angel advising him (or rather instructing him) to take the young mother and her newborn child and flee to Egypt to avoid persecution and death, the same pious, first century God-fearing Jew, would erase all that, move on and sleep with the woman who gave birth to God?
You are thinking like a 21st century westerner with no sense of awe or fear, before the Sanctity and Holiness of God.
No pious first century Jew, with a basic knowledge of holy scripture, who knew what had happened to Uzzah when he touched the ark of the covenant-which was nothing more than a bier containing tablets made of stone-would have EVER touched that woman who was the living ark and contained GOD HIMSELF.
 

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Happy Lutheran said:
Alveus Lacuna said:
Happy Lutheran said:
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?

Personally, I think it's important to recognize her as one of the great saints of Christian/Jewish history, but her sex life (after the birth of Christ) is utterly unimportant. Maybe I have this opinion because I'm missing something?
Honest Question:

What is the importance to the Lutherans that she was a virgin when Christ was born? It seems utterly unimportant.
Isaiah 7:14
LOL.

That means maiden and not virgin, according to that Masoretic text that Luther so loved. A young lady. Next.

BTW, Luther seemed to think that her ever-virginity was utterly important, but whatever.

"When Matthew [1:25] says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her . . . This babble . . . is without justification . . . he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idiom." Luther, Church Father of the Lutherans
 
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Yawn ::)

Feel free to read Isaiah 7:14 in Luther's own translation.

Can't ask an honest question around here. I also never said she wasn't. Just asked why it's so important to Orthodox. Thanks to the others who gave generous non condescending replies.
 

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Apostolos said:
Leaving aside scripture, Orthodox hymnography, Church dogmas and doctrines for a moment, do you really believe freddief that Joseph after the dream he had with the angel appearing and explaining to him, that the child, his pregnant young-bride-to-be, carried in her womb, was the Messiah conceived miracuously by the Holy Spirit, and after the second dream he had with the angel advising him (or rather instructing him) to take the young mother and her newborn child and flee to Egypt to avoid persecution and death, the same pious, first century God-fearing Jew, would erase all that, move on and sleep with the woman who gave birth to God?
You are thinking like a 21st century westerner with no sense of awe or fear, before the Sanctity and Holiness of God.
No pious first century Jew, with a basic knowledge of holy scripture, who knew what had happened to Uzzah when he touched the ark of the covenant-which was nothing more than a bier containing tablets made of stone-would have EVER touched that woman who was the living ark and contained GOD HIMSELF.
I wish I could like this (bold mine).
 

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Eastern Mind said:
Apostolos said:
Leaving aside scripture, Orthodox hymnography, Church dogmas and doctrines for a moment, do you really believe freddief that Joseph after the dream he had with the angel appearing and explaining to him, that the child, his pregnant young-bride-to-be, carried in her womb, was the Messiah conceived miracuously by the Holy Spirit, and after the second dream he had with the angel advising him (or rather instructing him) to take the young mother and her newborn child and flee to Egypt to avoid persecution and death, the same pious, first century God-fearing Jew, would erase all that, move on and sleep with the woman who gave birth to God?
You are thinking like a 21st century westerner with no sense of awe or fear, before the Sanctity and Holiness of God.
No pious first century Jew, with a basic knowledge of holy scripture, who knew what had happened to Uzzah when he touched the ark of the covenant-which was nothing more than a bier containing tablets made of stone-would have EVER touched that woman who was the living ark and contained GOD HIMSELF.
I wish I could like this (bold mine).
I don't. It is radically anti-Christian. We touch the Theotokos and Christ. GOD HIMSELF was touched by many during His life on earth as was His mother (do you really think Mary was never touched by anyone after giving birth to Jesus?). And GOD HIMSELF has been consumed, not to speak of touched, by untold numbers since.

I guess all those Apostles weren't pious Jews.
 

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orthonorm said:
Clemente said:
Finally, your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation?
Google alerts let me know someone tried using a big word here.

There are no private interpretations, not in the sense you mean. Really what is begged here is your own epistemological prejudices.

Such are always begged. We cannot be free from that which first allows us access to understanding. 
That is perspicuous and begs being nothing more and nothingness. 

To think Being itself explicitly requires disregarding Being to the extent that it is only grounded and interpreted in terms of beings and for beings as their ground, as in all metaphysics.

Martin Heidegger
 

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orthonorm said:
Eastern Mind said:
Apostolos said:
Leaving aside scripture, Orthodox hymnography, Church dogmas and doctrines for a moment, do you really believe freddief that Joseph after the dream he had with the angel appearing and explaining to him, that the child, his pregnant young-bride-to-be, carried in her womb, was the Messiah conceived miracuously by the Holy Spirit, and after the second dream he had with the angel advising him (or rather instructing him) to take the young mother and her newborn child and flee to Egypt to avoid persecution and death, the same pious, first century God-fearing Jew, would erase all that, move on and sleep with the woman who gave birth to God?
You are thinking like a 21st century westerner with no sense of awe or fear, before the Sanctity and Holiness of God.
No pious first century Jew, with a basic knowledge of holy scripture, who knew what had happened to Uzzah when he touched the ark of the covenant-which was nothing more than a bier containing tablets made of stone-would have EVER touched that woman who was the living ark and contained GOD HIMSELF.
I wish I could like this (bold mine).
I don't. It is radically anti-Christian. We touch the Theotokos and Christ. GOD HIMSELF was touched by many during His life on earth as was His mother (do you really think Mary was never touched by anyone after giving birth to Jesus?). And GOD HIMSELF has been consumed, not to speak of touched, by untold numbers since.

I guess all those Apostles weren't pious Jews.
I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear, English is not my native language, I did not mean the simple touch, I meant, "touch"
 

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Apostolos said:
orthonorm said:
Eastern Mind said:
Apostolos said:
Leaving aside scripture, Orthodox hymnography, Church dogmas and doctrines for a moment, do you really believe freddief that Joseph after the dream he had with the angel appearing and explaining to him, that the child, his pregnant young-bride-to-be, carried in her womb, was the Messiah conceived miracuously by the Holy Spirit, and after the second dream he had with the angel advising him (or rather instructing him) to take the young mother and her newborn child and flee to Egypt to avoid persecution and death, the same pious, first century God-fearing Jew, would erase all that, move on and sleep with the woman who gave birth to God?
You are thinking like a 21st century westerner with no sense of awe or fear, before the Sanctity and Holiness of God.
No pious first century Jew, with a basic knowledge of holy scripture, who knew what had happened to Uzzah when he touched the ark of the covenant-which was nothing more than a bier containing tablets made of stone-would have EVER touched that woman who was the living ark and contained GOD HIMSELF.
I wish I could like this (bold mine).
I don't. It is radically anti-Christian. We touch the Theotokos and Christ. GOD HIMSELF was touched by many during His life on earth as was His mother (do you really think Mary was never touched by anyone after giving birth to Jesus?). And GOD HIMSELF has been consumed, not to speak of touched, by untold numbers since.

I guess all those Apostles weren't pious Jews.
I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear, English is not my native language, I did not mean the simple touch, I meant, "touch"
What does "touch" mean? I am native American speaker and I am only familiar with such use by those who are rather uptight about sex or by many more who are uptight talking about sex to their kids.

So let's be clear.

Do you mean touch sexually?

If so, what would the account of Uzzah add to differentiate how to touch Mary? Unless my Bible is more PG than I thought . . .
 

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Clemente said:
orthonorm said:
Clemente said:
Finally, your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation?
Google alerts let me know someone tried using a big word here.

There are no private interpretations, not in the sense you mean. Really what is begged here is your own epistemological prejudices.

Such are always begged. We cannot be free from that which first allows us access to understanding.  
That is perspicuous and begs being nothing more and nothingness.  

To think Being itself explicitly requires disregarding Being to the extent that it is only grounded and interpreted in terms of beings and for beings as their ground, as in all metaphysics.

Martin Heidegger
I hope you were chuckling along with the Nazi as you read this when you googled it. In any case, it reminds me of a text I haven't thought about in a while. Thanks.
 
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LBK said:
Armchair Theologian said:
Eastern Mind said:
Pope Siricius I: You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the Flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord's body, chat court of the eternal King (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).
I'm curious, in what way would the 'seed' of natural sexual intercourse with one's spouse be considered a 'contamination'?

Do not the scriptures teach that the marriage bed is undefiled? (Hebrews 13:4)
The marriage bed is indeed undefiled, but, like the OT Ark which contained the tablets of the Law, so sacred that touching it meant instant death, how much holier is the true Ark, the woman whose womb bore God Himself? Some food for thought:

Now, St Joseph was a good Jew, he would have been brought up with a strong sense of the sacred. He would have been raised knowing the stories in scripture of people touching the Ark of the Covenant and suffering instant death. He would have also known that only the high priest dared enter the Holy of Holies of the Temple to offer the yearly sacrifice to the presence of God who "dwelt there". Undoubtedly at some stage St Joseph would have been inspired by the Holy Spirit to realise the true meaning behind these images and stories from scripture, as well as the temple rituals.

Once the meaning of these became clear to him, how, then, could Joseph possibly consider marital relations with this woman, the living Tabernacle, the new Ark, the Holy of Holies, knowing that she has given birth to the Son of God? Not that sex is bad, evil or wrong between married couples, just as eating and cooking meat are not bad, evil, or wrong in themselves, but when put into service to God in the Temple, be it sacrificial animals, or, in the case of Mary who was dedicated to the Temple as a child, they became holy, and only the high priests could participate in the sacrifice. Christ Himself is the great and eternal High Priest, the "prince who eats bread before the Lord" (Ezekiel 44). Good man that he was, St Joseph would most likely have regarded himself as utterly unworthy to even be in the presence of such a treasure blessed and wholly sanctified by God, let alone consider sleeping with her.
You're making 3 assumptions.

1, That Mary and Joseph understood, from the beginning, the fullness of who and what Jesus Christ is, the incarnate God. It's possible all they understood is that the child to be born of Mary was the Messiah.

2, That after Christ had left the womb of His virgin Mother, it continued to be the 'ark of the covenant'. To the contrary, a thing can only be a temple of God so long as God continues to live in it. Once God has left, it ceases to be His temple.

3, That Mary was the antitype of the Ark of the Covenant, but the Ark does not represent such as 'contains' God, but represents His presence among men, Foreshadowing Christ and His own body which was formed for Him of the Virgin, not the Virgin herself. Perhaps the Ark foreshadowed His body, just as the Temple seems to have in some way (John 2 19-21).
 

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orthonorm said:
Clemente said:
orthonorm said:
Clemente said:
Finally, your line of questioning begs the question of your own epistemology. Why should we trust your (or my) private interpretation?
Google alerts let me know someone tried using a big word here.

There are no private interpretations, not in the sense you mean. Really what is begged here is your own epistemological prejudices.

Such are always begged. We cannot be free from that which first allows us access to understanding.  
That is perspicuous and begs being nothing more and nothingness.  

To think Being itself explicitly requires disregarding Being to the extent that it is only grounded and interpreted in terms of beings and for beings as their ground, as in all metaphysics.

Martin Heidegger
I hope you were chuckling along with the Nazi as you read this when you googled it. In any case, it reminds me of a text I haven't thought about in a while. Thanks.
Which text. Mein Kampf?

(Ok, now I am chuckling. Thanks).
 

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Armchair Theologian said:
1, That Mary and Joseph understood, from the beginning, the fullness of who and what Jesus Christ is, the incarnate God. It's possible all they understood is that the child to be born of Mary was the Messiah.
Lk 1, 35
 

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Happy Lutheran said:
Honest question:

What is the importance to the Orthodox that she stayed ever virgin?
Because its truth and truth is what we seek.  Not someone's personal ideas of what could have been.
 

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I hear the argument the early Church got this and that wrong, messed up here, became corrupt there, but what they don't realize is if this is true, everything which came after is even more so, especially over a thousand years later.
 

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I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?
 

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choy said:
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?
It is what I have always believed, or at least believed possible.  I do not profess it because the Church does not profess it.  Likewise, I do not argue the point since it is one of the more stupid arguments.  Whether or not she had other Children has absolutely no bearing on my faith (although it could gain me an anathema if I say that she did).  I believe that she was a virgin at conception.  After that, I really do not care.  I guess if I was heavy into Mary worship such insignificant points would weigh heavy on me.  But I am not.  I revere her as Mother of God, and find no need to go farther than that.  In fact, isn't Mother of God about as high and far as one can go?  As to those that believe the other way, I really have not seen where their belief that she remained ever virgin did anything for their faith.  As I have written many times on this forum, I have seen more people live Christlike lives outside of the Church than I have inside.  Maybe it is because they spend more time trying to follow the commands of Christ instead of looking for unhewn mountains and locked gates and arguing if cousins are brothers and the like.

So, I think that your question is rather misguided, as is your assumption that those who believe this way are simply after polemics or any desire to prove the Church wrong.  I have no such desire because I really couldn't give a rodent's posterior about the issue.  There are many things that the Orthodox Church professes that I do not believe.  However, like the father of the demoniac in the Scripture,  my answer to these things is "I believe, Lord help my unbelief".  Perhaps one day He will give me the Grace to understand what I do not believe and the Faith to accept it.  If He does not, I do not worry since it must not really have been that big of a deal.  As to those that start stupid threads like this (as is any "final proof" idiocy), I cannot speak for them.  Perhaps you should have rephrased your question as ". . . to those that start stupid threads like this; why?" 
 

choy

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Punch said:
choy said:
I'd like to ask the question to those who believe that Mary did have other children.  Why?  What does that mean to YOUR belief?  Other than polemics and the desire to prove the Orthodox Church is wrong, what does it mean to YOUR belief that Mary in fact had other children?
It is what I have always believed, or at least believed possible.  I do not profess it because the Church does not profess it.  Likewise, I do not argue the point since it is one of the more stupid arguments.  Whether or not she had other Children has absolutely no bearing on my faith (although it could gain me an anathema if I say that she did).  I believe that she was a virgin at conception.  After that, I really do not care.  I guess if I was heavy into Mary worship such insignificant points would weigh heavy on me.  But I am not.  I revere her as Mother of God, and find no need to go farther than that.  In fact, isn't Mother of God about as high and far as one can go?  As to those that believe the other way, I really have not seen where their belief that she remained ever virgin did anything for their faith.  As I have written many times on this forum, I have seen more people live Christlike lives outside of the Church than I have inside.  Maybe it is because they spend more time trying to follow the commands of Christ instead of looking for unhewn mountains and locked gates and arguing if cousins are brothers and the like.

So, I think that your question is rather misguided, as is your assumption that those who believe this way are simply after polemics or any desire to prove the Church wrong.  I have no such desire because I really couldn't give a rodent's posterior about the issue.  There are many things that the Orthodox Church professes that I do not believe.  However, like the father of the demoniac in the Scripture,  my answer to these things is "I believe, Lord help my unbelief".  Perhaps one day He will give me the Grace to understand what I do not believe and the Faith to accept it.  If He does not, I do not worry since it must not really have been that big of a deal.  As to those that start stupid threads like this (as is any "final proof" idiocy), I cannot speak for them.  Perhaps you should have rephrased your question as ". . . to those that start stupid threads like this; why?" 
If it is not polemics, why go to an Orthodox board and insist on it?
 
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