A Retrospective View — Concession and Challenge

After close to 100 days of blogging, I would like offer some perspectives on this blog site.

Some readers have drawn attention to (rightly) my lack of exhaustive scholarly mastery of Reformed writers! 🙂 There is no doubt about it, and I have never tried to present myself as an expert on Reformed theology — though some seem to have assumed it of me.

No, the intent of this blog is NOT my scholarly critique of all Reformed writings.  Rather, my intent for the Blog — from day one — has been to provide a bridge where serious Reformed Christians to dialog/discuss their interests and issues relating to Orthodoxy — a bridge they might want to cross all the way over one day. Nor has this been any secret.  Thus, I’ve sought to interact thoughtfully and fairly with some more recent Reformed writers who have opened the door in various ways to Orthodoxy — using their writing as a foil for serious conversation.  That my scholarly expertise may sometimes be lacking is no surprise.  My strength is that I have been on both sides of the Reformed-Orthodox bridge.

I have sought to promote thoughtful and civil discussion on the Blog.  It does not advance the discussion when certain individuals resort to harsh personal attacks or dominate the discussion with excessively long comments.  When a friend of mine asked me about this, I replied: Where there is light, the bugs will come.  Truth seekers should not be discouraged by the detractors.

What is somewhat surprising is the lack of clear thinking and clear reading of Orthodoxy by those who’ve chided me most!  I studied the Reformed faith as a Protestant, though neither perfectly or exhaustively.  It surprised me somewhat that my greatest detractors seem not to have read the basics of Orthodox writings. But one does not understand or become well-versed on Orthodoxy by reading various Reformed critiques only — any more than one become versed in the Reformed faith reading Roman Catholic and Arminian critiques!

So allow me to exhort all our blog readers sincerely interested in understanding Orthodoxy to read a few books by Orthodox writers. Bishop Kallistos Ware’s two book The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way are both excellent though brief introductions worthy of careful reading. Alexander Schmemann’s For The Life of The World has also been helpful to many Protestants.  A friend recommended Seraphim Rose’s translation of Michael Pomazansky’s Orthodox Dogmatic Theology which offers brief statements of Orthodoxy on a number of topics.

Finally, there is no substitute for standing throughout an Orthodox service singing the Divine Liturgy (or hearing it) at least 4-5 times. It will be an unusual multi-sensory experience for most Protestants, but Orthodoxy must be experienced.  You cannot understand Orthodoxy fully or rightly without experiencing several Divine Liturgies.

Here are a few websites that can be very useful in helping you grasp more fully the Orthodox Christian’s mindset.  Lord have mercy, and bless us all.

Internet Resources

Website    Orthodoxy and Western Christianity: For Reformed Protestants

Videos       Introduction to the Orthodox Church    Part 1     Part 2     Part 3

Videos       Kallistos Ware’s “Heart of Prayer” at Seattle Pacific University (2008)

 

85 comments:

  1. Robert, again, thanks for your efforts here.

    I went to the first video of the three part series you linked to. It is a series I’ve watched before, and which I as an Orthodox can really appreciate, but strikes me as a little polemical also (especially in reading the comments/synopsis) and perhaps unnecessarily off-putting for some would-be inquirers.

    I actually did not became Orthodox from a specifically Reformed tradition (only in the widest possible sense, since I was a conservative Protestant), so perhaps my needs/interests are not as representative of some of your readers who are more narrowly Reformed in their convictions. So with that disclaimer, I’ll offer another resource. My own journey to Orthodoxy was prompted by an increasingly urgent need to find/recover a fully biblical alternative to the popular Evangelical soteriology in which I was schooled as an adult–one of the most troubling aspects of which I found tended to reinforce an impossible bifurcation of the nature of God into two (competing?) attributes: His “truth/justice” and His “love/mercy.” This is perhaps most classically preached by Evangelical Pastors such as Erwin Lutzer, who in one of his sermons I heard on the radio a couple of years ago waxed eloquent about the Cross as the place where the mercy and the justice of God “collide” (his emphasis–and a telling one, I believe). This had led me, I came to realize, a bit afield from the simple childhood faith and perfectly unified image of Christ/God I had from hearing readings from the Gospels in a Methodist Sunday school and by which I had learned to genuinely trust God in His motivation toward me (and all human beings).

    The Orthodox perspective here presented by Bp. Kallistos (Ware) in this talk at Fuller was very helpful in describing the whys of the Orthodox perspective vis-a-vis what are seen as some problems with later theological developments in this regard in Western Christian traditions. It’s long (about an hour and a half), but perhaps worth a listen for some of your readers:

    http://vodpod.com/watch/1635885-metropolitan-kallistos-ware-salvation-in-christ-the-?u=fatherstephen&c=fatherstephen

    1. Karen,

      Thank you for your input! And thank you for the link to Bishop Ware’s talk.

      As far as the link to the 3 part series being polemical, I just wanted to provide the reader a good quick introduction to Orthodoxy. I am open to other suggestions. A fruitful discussion on this blog requires that people become familiar with both sides.

  2. Robert,

    First can you please answer the question I asked you in the previous post: Does the Orthodox Church believe in a living prophetic office?

    Second, In Mat 16:18, when Jesus turns to Peter and says, And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

    Is Christ speaking to Peter as the representative of all Christian or as the Representative of the Apostles?

    Karen,

    Have you ever believed that the Pope was the antichrist? If not a bit of information for you: The word “Protestant” in the context in which it came meant one who Protests the Papacy. Not just an anti-catholic. It had specific reference to the office of papacy. If you did not believe this, then you, like every other Orthodox convert I’ve met were never a Protestant. You were most likely an anabaptist

    Drake

    1. Drake,

      First, I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “living prophetic office.” If you mean something like the Mormon Church then the answer is an emphatic ‘NO.’

      Second, according to St. John Chrysostom “rock” refers to Peter’s confession of Jesus’ messiahship: “…therefore He added this, “And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church;” that is, on the faith of his confession” (in NPNF First Series Vol. X p. 333).

      According to St. Ambrose of MIlan “rock” refers to our faith in Christ: “Your Faith is a rock, and faith is the foundation of the Church. If ye will be a rock, ye will be in the Church, because the Church is upon a Rock. If ye are in the Church, the gates of Hell shall not prevail against you. The gates of Hell are the gates of death…. Then, what are the gates of death, viz., the gates of Hell, if not every single sin? (in Exposition of the Holy Gospel According to Saint Luke, translated by Theodosia Tomkinson, p. 229)

      I would note that in Matthew 16:13-23 Jesus gives Simon two names: Peter (Rock) and Satan. He names him “Peter” when he confesses Jesus as the Christ, and he names him “Satan” when Simon denies his calling to be the suffering Messiah. This indicates that Peter’s standing is contingent upon his faithfulness to the Gospel. This leads me to believe that Christ is speaking to Peter as the Representative of the Apostles. This is because what makes a person an apostle is their faithfulness to their calling to preach the Gospel. The entire church is apostolic in nature, e.g., the Nicene Creed’s, “I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” Both laity and clergy are called to proclaim the Gospel, but the ordained clergy are the official representatives of the Church. This understanding is closer to the Orthodox standing. The first position is the Roman Catholic position which would undermine the conciliar nature of the Church.

    2. Drake,

      Maybe you could clarify for me:

      1) What is your definition of “the antichrist” and how does this square with that of the Apostle John in his 1st Epistle (which is the only place in Scripture, if I remember correctly, that this term appears)? (I’m looking for a brief summary here, not an exhaustive explanation.)

      As you probably understand, I use the term Protestant in good faith in its present-day popular sense to indicate that I belonged to and believed in accordance with those Christian traditions that are descended from various off-shoots of the Protestant Reformation and Radical Reformation, but whose only real commonality today is: 1) a commitment (in the abstract at least) to the Trinitarian theology and Christology of those who framed the Nicene Creed, 2) the practice of some form of Trinitarian water baptism and celebration of the Eucharist/Lord’s Table, and 2) their rejection/dispute of Roman Catholicism’s definition of the papacy and “apostolic succession,” i.e., the Roman Catholic claim that only those churches in communion with the Pope qualify as belonging to the “one true Church.” A fourth element could be added in that as I became an adult and sought to live in accordance with the Scriptures, I accepted the beliefs and changed affiliation to remain in communion with those traditions that, at least in theory, had a strong emphasis on inspired Holy Scripture as the only authoritative and inerrant/infallible rule by which doctrine and Christian practice are to be measured and whose adherents sought to live corporately and individually in accordance with what they sincerely believed this meant (which made the actual wide variety of practices and interpretations of Scripture among sincere believers in these tradition–even about the meaning of practices as central to the Church as baptism and celebration of Holy Communion–a bit perplexing!).

      Robert,

      Since you are more conversant with sources in Protestant theological history, perhaps you could summarize why the first Protestants (and the Puritans?) equated the Pope with “the antichrist,” (assuming Drake’s assertion here to be accurate). I certainly could hazard a guess based on the corruption and error of the papacy of their time as well as its vicious persecution of dissenters, but I hesitate to speculate, knowing my ignorance of details here.

  3. Roberts,

    “Second, according to St. John Chrysostom “rock” refers to Peter’s confession”

    >>>Amen. Agreed

    “This leads me to believe that Christ is speaking to Peter as the Representative of the Apostles.”

    >>>Amen. This is the same view as Rutherford in Due Right of Presbyteries.

    “This is because what makes a person an apostle is their faithfulness to their calling to preach the Gospel.”

    >>>Good. My issue with this is, the Puritans used this principle to disqualifiy corrupt ministers as lawfully called and holding the power of the keys. This leads to the idea that the visible Church is not given the unconditional promises of preservation but the invisible Church. That being the case the invisible Church can pass into obscurity while the viisble Church may grow in its corruption.

  4. Karen,

    Antichrist simply means one who is against Christ by means of substitution. In the NT the context is always apostasy. He is someone who is in the Church and defects from it, just like 2 Thess 2. 2 John 1:7 couches the theme in gnosticism as well. Now the gnostics believed that in order for the common man to understand the Bible he had to go to the hierarchical intermediary to get a hidden interpretation of the scripture. He alone could give you this information, due to his authoritative status in the hierarchy. He was a substitute for the prophetic office of Christ. 2 Thess 2:3-4 teaches that this apostasy will culminate in an office. “He will take his seat.” It says that this man will take his seat in the temple of God. This “temple” is not the physical Jewish temple but in the greek this is the word Paul uses for the Church as he describes it as the temple of the living God. 2 Thess 2:8 says that this office will end at the second coming. So the apostasy was already beginning at the time of the apostles (very difficult for your ecclesial views of preservation) culminated in an office that sought to substitute for Christ and the authority of his prophetic office; proclaimed his own authority of interpretation of scripture; and this office will not be destroyed until the second coming. Who is it? Methinks as with virtually every other Protestant divine for the first 300 years of the Reformation, the Papacy. I suggest two works for you:

    1.Francis Turretin’s 7th disputation: http://www.iconbusters.com/iconbusters/htm/catalogue/turretin.pdf

    2. The Papacy Is The Antichrist by Wylie
    http://www.historicism.net/readingmaterials/thepapacy.pdf

    1. Karen,

      I haven’t researched the issue but what Drake wrote seems to echo what I read a while back. I would also add I John 4:1-3 in which the antichrist party consisted of certain people who denied that Christ became man, apparently out of the belief that pure Spirit could not commingle with lowly physical matter.

      1. Thanks Robert and Drake,

        I understood the 1 John references to indicate someone who denies Orthodox (and orthodox) Christology, and, further, in the context, a reference to the gnostic or gnostic-like sects in existence in the Apostle’s time. I’m quite familiar with the broad brush-stroke issues with the Gnostics and their rejection of matter as worthless or evil, elevation of the “spirit,” and elitist mentality, etc.

        The question I have, and which Drake’s explanation does seem to answer, is can this refer to someone who has not overtly denied Orthodox Christological dogma by trying to change this teaching within the Church, nor yet been declared apostate and ejected from formal membership in the Church?

        I understand also that prophecies in the Scripture of the “man of lawlessness” refer to a particular manifestation of the same antichrist spirit at work in a worldly leader–in the context seems to be a worldly/secular leader, though I know these have been conflated (in the post-Great Schism era) in the Roman Catholic papacy. I have also read some commenters who believe the man of lawlessness alluded to in the book of Revelation whose number is 666/616 is a cryptic reference to Roman Emperor Nero, who certainly fit the bill in all respects!

        Recently I have borrowed from my local library a five-part DVD series put out by the BBC, “A History of Christianity,” by Diarmaid MacCulloch, Oxford U. professor. It’s quite well done, and might be worth a watch for you Drake especially, if you haven’t seen it, as it can give you a big picture overview of the different character of Eastern Orthodox polity, history, and spirituality from that of the Roman Catholic Church. In any event (others can correct me if my impression is inaccurate), to my knowledge, no Orthodox bishop or synod of bishops has, attempted to assert authority (beyond pastoral/moral influence) over even a local king or worldly government (much less world-wide), western accusations of “Ceasaro-papism” notwithstanding, and in the modern age has been mostly under the thumb of hostile worldly authorities. It has never denied the laity access to the Scriptures, and Orthodox “Tradition” contains no “secret” knowledge. There will be no healing of the Great Schism without the RC Pope first renouncing all of the heretical developments, including and especially his assertion of authority over all other bishops, that have been solidified or taken place post-Schism within the RCC.

    1. Is this in regards to what you said about the visible and invisible church? If so, then I would say: “the Visible and Invisible aspects are distinct, but we don’t split apart the two as if there were two separate/divided churches. For just as Jesus is One Divine Person in and of two natures(3rd, 4th and 5th councils). His Body the Church is also one with a visible and an invisible aspect to it. To split the two apart is to make two separate churches instead of one united/undivided Church. To divide the two would be similar to Nestorianianism and Theodor Mopsuestianism in how they had a tendency to make two persons in the area of Christology.

      And so if we were to say something in that area then my guess would be that we would Stress the One Church just as we would stress the One Person of Christ.

      And so the invisible would be those already in Heaven, the Presence of God or Paradise……etc. You know, the Church Triumphant, while the visible would be those still on Earth (the Church Militant), and so it’s One Body with both a visible and an invisible aspect to it.

      1. Jnorm,

        “but we don’t split apart the two as if there were two separate/divided churches”

        Neither do we. Robert Shaw, The Reformed Faith, Chapter XXV. Of the Church

        “When we speak of the visible and invisible Church, this is not to be understood as if there were two Churches, or as if one part of the Church were visible and another invisible. The former includes the latter, but they are not co-extensive; the same individuals who constitute the Church considered as invisible, belong also to the Church considered as visible; but many who belong to the visible, are not comprehended in the invisible Church.”

        http://www.reformed.org/documents/shaw/

      2. Jnorm,

        “And so the invisible would be those already in Heaven, the Presence of God or Paradise……etc. You know, the Church Triumphant, while the visible would be those still on Earth (the Church Militant), and so it’s One Body with both a visible and an invisible aspect to it.”

        Well there is a sense in which the invisible Church while still alive on earth are seated with Christ in the heavenlies. What I wanted to get out of Robert was, if you take Peter to be a representative of the apostles instead of all Christians then the promise of preservation that subsequently follows must be interpreted in this light.

        Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The Roman view is that peter is the representative of all believers. If that is true then the subsequent promise is therefore that the visible Church can never err. All of the roman baggage comes along with this. If you take the view that Peter is here speaking to Peter as a Rep. of just the Apostles i.e. true lawful authority then you must see the promise of preservation to be given to true believers not just the entire visible Church.

        I ma amazed at how ignorant the Apologists for Rome and the East are of Protestant Ecclesiology. Before I take anything seriously from a Patristic Apologist you must read and do a line by line book review (Just like I do of your books) of Samuel Rutherford’s Due Right of Presbyteries and George Gillespie’s English Popish Ceremonies. Until then you do not have a clue what you are talking about.

        1. To be fair, one can also get (and per recent presbytery rulings in the PCA and OPC, one *should*) get the correct interpretation of Reformed beliefs from the Westminster Standards. Yes, Shaw is likely a good interpretation of what the Confession says, but when I was at RTS Jackson, I could count on one finger how many students had heard of, let alone read, Shaw.

          And if a candidate tries to interpret WCF 19.4 by Gillespie and Rutherford, he will probably get barred from the Presbytery (I’ve seen that happen, too).

          After the Federal Vision debacle, it became clear that one interprets Reformed confessions by the confessions themselves, not necessarily by background authors (that was made particularly clear in regard to Calvin).

          So one doesn’t have to have an exhaustive knowledge of 200 small print, double-columned tomes in order to speak on what Calvinists believe (especially if many Calvinists do not know, as evidenced by RTS Jackson).

    2. Jnorm,

      When I said, “I don’t see why an Eastern Orthodox can’t believe this.” I was referring to the doctrine that the Pope is the antichrist.

      1. Drake,

        I’ve come across some harsh rhetoric between Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, but I can’t recall any instances of the Pope being called “Antichrist.” Labeling anyone “Antichrist” is a very serious matter. Orthodoxy is mindful of the fact that the Church of Rome used to be part of the ancient Pentarchy. In light of the parable of the Prodigal Son we need to be mindful of the fact that perhaps one day elder brother will come from his journey to a far away land and rejoin his other brothers.

        1. I agree Robertar. There are a range of views of RC inside of Orthodoxy… from the two-lung theory to those who repudiate it entirely. But I have yet to hear someone take the harsh stance that some Protestants do. Calling someone who believes in Christ, yet holds some views that are different from yours, the Anti-Christ is a very serious matter.

  5. Robert,
    I love this website. Keep up the good work.

    I recently picked up a book by Fr. John Anthony McGuckin, entitled “The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture.” It’s really excellent so far, and an effort to have scholarly explanation of Orthodoxy in English.

    Cheers,
    Jamey

  6. Drake,

    You said: “Who is it? Methinks as with virtually every other Protestant divine for the first 300 years of the Reformation, the Papacy.”

    Personally, the problem I see with this view is that we are told in scripture that it is only through the Holy Spirit that one can confess Jesus as Lord. Given the fact that the Pope’s, throughout history, have continually confessed Jesus as Lord (in the Mass this is done repeatedly in different forms), I am not sure how we can claim that they are *the* “Anti” Christ.

    BTW… I am not RC.

    Darrell

    1. Darrell, this is true. But it is equally true that someone can *profess* Jesus as Lord, i.e., can say the words and appear to mean them, and not be truly *confessing* from the heart. There is a difference. Consider the behavior of those Saints the Orthodox Church terms “Confessors.”

      1. Karen,

        I agree. Just because someone appears to confess Christ, doesn’t mean they really mean it. Believing this to be true is similar to the view that someone can simply mouth a “sinner’s prayer” and be saved. Things have to come from the heart to really be of any effect.

        That being said, Drake’s position that the Bishop of Rome is *the* Anti-Christ naturally leads to the conclusion that every single Pope since the inception of the Church has been “mouthing the right words” but never really meant them. I think that is a position that lacks credulity…. especially given some of the things the Pope’s have said over the past 2000 years. Reading some of their writings and sermons, one can easily see the Spirit was flowing through many of them.

        We can say where the Spirit is, but we can’t say where it is not, so I don’t think we can say the See of Rome is *the* Anti-Christ.

        1. I totally agree, Darrell. Even the apparent cruelty of RC persecution of dissenters during the Inquisitions and Reformation has to be understood in the context of the times (where it appears to have been moderated significantly by Christian mercy vis-a-vis the normal juridical practices of the time, incredible as this may sound to our modern sensibilities). Reformers and Puritans used violence just as hair-raising to advance their own causes when they got power as well. (Just ask the British/Irish Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Anabaptists and Quakers!) We need to be exceedingly careful about calling anyone *the* antichrist, much less the Pope. I’m glad to leave judgment to God, Who is merciful, and acknowledge that I am the chief of sinners!

  7. Darrell,

    “Given the fact that the Pope’s, throughout history, have continually confessed Jesus as Lord”

    Mormons say this to. So do many cult groups and for a man that claims that he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, per papal bull in coena domini, and the substitute Son of God, to claim that Jesus is Lord is just lip service.

    Drake

  8. Drake,

    You are assuming that one must have a fully correct understanding of the nature of God to even be able to confess Christ as Lord. I don’t think this view can be supported biblically. When Peter confessed Jesus as Christ, do you think He understood the Trinity perfectly? Of course not. Even children, who do not have the capacity to understand detailed theological points, can confess Christ.

    Just because one holds heretical views on certain issues does not in my mind mean that they are unable to confess that the person of Jesus Christ was the Messiah.
    If it does, then we are all toast… because God is so big and beyond our human understanding that even the most Orthodox among us humans holds some sort of view of Him that is incorrect. Thus, the benefit for using apophatic theology.

    God bless!

    Darrell

  9. Darrell,

    “You are assuming that one must have a fully correct understanding of the nature of God to even be able to confess Christ as Lord.”

    The definition of faith requires an object that the mind understands. One cannot believe in an undefined object.

    “When Peter confessed Jesus as Christ, do you think He understood the Trinity perfectly? Of course not.”

    That which was perfect had not come.

    Even children, who do not have the capacity to understand detailed theological points, can confess Christ.

    “Just because one holds heretical views on certain issues does not in my mind mean that they are unable to confess that the person of Jesus Christ was the Messiah.”

    ok

    “If it does, then we are all toast… because God is so big and beyond our human understanding”

    Depends on your view of incomprehensibility. I believe that man can no only general things about God from his nature UNLESS GOD REVEALS THINGS TO HIM. As is the case with the Bible.

    “Thus, the benefit for using apophatic theology.”

    Per Dionysius the Neoplatonist.

  10. Drake,

    You said: “Per Dionysius the Neoplatonist.”

    Nice attempt to poison the well! 🙂 If we want to talk about Neoplatonists, let us not forget Augustine, who could practically be said to be the father of the modern day reformed theology. 🙂 But I digress!

    You said: “The definition of faith requires an object that the mind understands. One cannot believe in an undefined object.”

    You are setting up a dichotomy that I don’t think really applies, for there is a large distance between an “undefined” object and a “fully correct understanding” of that object, and life for us humans is lived generally somewhere on the spectrum between the two… looking through a glass darkly.

    The position you appear to be taking, and feel free to correct me if I am wrong, is that one must have fully correct understanding to even be able to confess Christ. At least that is what your comments regarding heretical camps such as the LDS leads one to believe. The reality of the matter is that no one, including even the most Orthodox among us, fully understands, in an intellectual sense, the Being of God. Can we expereience God through having Him revealed to us? Absolutely! But, does that mean we fully intellectually understand The Holy Trinity? Absolutely not. Thus, I would suggest we need to be careful drawing lines in the sand saying we know who is “saved” (can confess Christ) and who is not “saved” (has not confessed Christ).

    There is an Orthodox saying I have grown to love and appreciate: “We can say where the Spirit is, but we cannot say where He is not.” Realizing this has made me much more cautious about saying who *is* and who *is not* walking with God.

    1. Darrell,

      I’ve been following this site for a while having just discovered it. I’ve been tempted to weigh in a few times, but haven’t for a variety of reasons. Just felt moved this time to opine upon your post. Essentially: Well said. That is almost exactly a line I took when arguing with my conservative, semi-Pietist, tending Reformed pastor at my last post was positing the normal argument about the Pelagian nature – and thus the likely damnation – of both Catholic and Orthodox confessors. He was a very good man, a good Pastor, and clearly loved and followed Christ. He also was extremely unimpressed by what I took to be clear evidence of the Spirit’s work in the testimony of the martyrs in the Soviet Union. Oh well . . .

      Again, very well stated.

      Regards,
      Eric

  11. When Protestants say “the Pope is Antichrist,” they mean the institution of the papacy is Antichrist according to 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, specifically and especially verse 4. I don’t think Martin Luther ever, for example, called Pope Leo X the Antichrist. Protestants who made (and make) this claim aren’t saying that every pope goes to hell (although some of them probably will), or that the Roman Catholic Church as a whole body and institution is Antichrist (although they do believe it to be apostate, perhaps even a “synagogue of Satan”), or that all the Catholic faithful are Antichrist (although they do believe Catholics in general should be evangelized). The assertion is very specific. The Roman office or institution of the papacy is Antichrist, and so every pope sits on the throne of Antichrist and operates in the spirit of Antichrist. Nevertheless, individual popes may be good Christians, and we may certainly expect to see some of them in the resurrection of the just. This is not a claim about any individuals.

    The word “pope” is often used as a figure representing the institution itself. So insofar as the pope sets himself up as “the prince of the apostles, true vicar of Christ, head of the whole church and father and teacher of all christian people,” the one who possesses a supreme, world-wide jurisdiction and primacy “to tend, rule and govern the universal church” (Vatican I), he is Antichrist—according to the historical Protestant claim and belief.

    Although the Reformation was a few centuries before Vatican I’s definitions, the universal primacy and headship of the pope over the whole church on earth and all the flock of the whole world was a live doctrine at play in the 16th Century. The word of the pope, even in that day, was widely claimed and considered to be irreformable, the very thing Vatican I defines explicitly. So Luther and other Reformers felt perfectly justified in believing the papacy was Antichrist, since the pope had essentially done the very thing 2 Thessalonians 2:4 states of the man of lawlessness.

    This conclusion was not reached carelessly or lightheartedly. Luther agonized over the decision since he had always sought to be an exemplary, faithful Roman Catholic, a loyal servant of the pope. Luther actually dedicated some of his earliest works to Pope Leo X and defended him against having anything to do with the abuses of indulgence preachers. It wasn’t until after Luther came with much trepidation to this conclusion about the papacy that he made the decisive split with the Roman Church. The pope’s church, as far as he could tell, had ceased to be the true church, and so the time to reform that church had passed. It was time to reform the church separately from the pope, and once Luther made the split, he went completely and never looked back.

    Hope this clarifies the historic Protestant claim. Since Drake made the claim in this discussion, and since I don’t know if he had everything in mind just as I have outlined it, he may add, subtract, or modify whatever he likes to make his own personal views clearer.

    Grace to you and peace

  12. “Since it was so, the children whom such idolaters bore were spurious, instead of being worthy of such honor that God should call them his sons: this is true with respect to them, but as concerns the covenant, they are called sons of God. And this is worthy of observation, because in the Papacy such declension has grown up through many ages, that they have altogether denied God. Hence they have no connection with him, because they have corrupted his whole worship by their sacrilege, and their religion is vitiated in so many ways, that it differs in nothing from the corruption’s of the heathen. And yet it is certain that a portion of God’s covenant remains among them, because although they have cut themselves off from God and altogether abandoned him by their perfidy, yet God remains faithful. (Romans 3:3, 4.) Paul, when he speaks of the Jews, shows that God’s covenant with them is not abolished, although the greater part of the people had utterly abandoned God. So also it must be said of the papists, since it was not in their power to blot out God’s covenant entirely, although with regard to themselves, as I have said, they are without it; and show by their obstinacy that they are the sworn enemies of God. Hence it arises, that our baptism does not need renewal, because although the Devil has long reigned in the papacy, yet he could not altogether extinguish God’s grace: nay, a Church is among them; for otherwise Paul’s prophecy would have been false, when he says that Antichrist was seated in the temple of God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4.) If in the papacy there had been only Satan’s dungeon or brothel, and no form of a Church had remained in it, this had been a proof that Antichrist did not sit in the temple of God. But this, as I have said, exaggerates their crime, and is very far from enabling them to erect their crests as they do. For when they thunder out with full cheeks — “We are the Church of God,” or, “The seat of the Church is with us,” — the solution is easy; the Church is indeed among them, that is, God has his Church there, but hidden and wonderfully preserved: but it does not follow that they are worthy of any honor; nay, they are more detestable, because they ought to bear sons and daughters to God: but they bear them for the Devil and for idols, as this passage teaches.”

    [Calvin’s Commentary on Ezekiel 16:20, available at ccel.org]

  13. Wesley,

    You said: “The Roman office or institution of the papacy is Antichrist, and so every pope sits on the throne of Antichrist and operates in the spirit of Antichrist. Nevertheless, individual popes may be good Christians, and we may certainly expect to see some of them in the resurrection of the just. . . . The word “pope” is often used as a figure representing the institution itself. So insofar as the pope sets himself up as “the prince of the apostles, true vicar of Christ, head of the whole church and father and teacher of all christian people,” the one who possesses a supreme, world-wide jurisdiction and primacy “to tend, rule and govern the universal church” (Vatican I), he is Antichrist . . .”

    I can understand what you are getting at with this. Nevertheless, one of the problems I see with this line of thinking is that it sets Satan up to ultimately be fighting against himself. If the office of the Roman Pontiff is the Anti-Christ, yet it can and has been filled by Christian men using the office to do God’s work, then Satan is completely divided. However, our Savior has addressed this as illogical.

    Mark 3: 23-27 “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end. No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.”

    If the Roman See were the Anti-Christ, there is no way it could be filled by men who are seeking to lead millions upon millions of people to worship Christ. Yet this is exactly what has happened over and over again in the 2000 year history of the Catholic Church. This lacks credulity.

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  14. Darrell,

    I just simply disagree. I understand your point, but I don’t see how it follows from what I said. And credulity is gullibility, so I’m not sure what you mean by “lacks credulity.” Lacking credulity is a good thing, isn’t it? lol

  15. Or we can take the partial preterist route and not have these strained interpretations which make sense only in the context of early modern Western history.

    Corollary to above point: biblical hermeneutics must be determined by the context of early modernity.

    1. LOL. “strained interpretations” – perhaps we could also avoid the arrogance of a later age casting a disapproving and all too convenient eye on our spiritual forefathers…OR perhaps it would be better to understand that there were legitimate reasons for the Reformation whether we agree with the particulars concerning a doctrine like this or not. I really don’t have a problem seeing popes (and the hierarchy itself) as antichrists when the systemic problems of Rome proceed much more like the cosa nostra over the last several hundred years and continue to sexually victimize children and other innocents as they go about continuing to lay claim to being the sole representatives of Christ’s Church.

      But, hey, yeah, feel free to call the Reformers crazy on something like this. I’m sure our Lord would give full endorsement to the papacy from the High Middle Ages going forward. Yeah. Right.

      1. Kevin,

        I agree that there were some valid reasons for the reformers to take issue with the RC Church. I don’t think those issues approach anything close to the Pope being the Anti-Christ, and, in my opinion, the radical reformation led to throwing the baby out with the bath water.

        Also, bear in mind that the reformation is foreign to the East. They never had a reformation and many of the issues with that the initial reformers had with the RC Church were post schism and are unique to the Western Church.

      2. I actually agree there were legitimate reasons for the reformation (and would also had that it was likely philosophically determined), and yes the papacy is flawed; however, that does not mean that the claim “the papacy is the antichrist” is logically warranted from the above premise.

        1. I’m just waiting for you to tell me why you think you’re better than the Reformers at exegesis especially when you’re completely removed from the context of their remarks by over five hundred years (and probably a few thousand miles as well, to say nothing of the social context).

          1. Well, if we want to say, “why are you better?” then I can turn it around and ask why do the Reformers think they are better than the church fathers, when the reformers are even more hundreds of years removed?

            I’m not better. But that doesn’t mean I can’t ask questions about exegesis related to eschatological time texts.

            In case you missed it the past few times, I AGREE with you per their context, but that does not equal a logical argument that historicism is correct. What they said about the papacy is a good application of Scripture, but that does not mean the same as the correct exegesis.

            Why do I think I am “better”? (again, why do you always phrase the conversation in such a manner as this?). I’m not, but after reading some Reformed guys like Wilson, Leithart, Jordan, bahnsen, Gentry, Allis, Sproul, Wright (I know he isn’t Reformed), it’s simply hard to …ah heck, why I am even responding.

  16. Concerning men considering the title universal bishop; Gregory I Book V, Letter 21:

    “Still it is very distressing, and hard to be borne with patience, that my aforesaid brother and fellow bishop, despising all others, should attempt to be called sole bishop. But in this pride of his what else is denoted than that **the times of Antichrist are already near at hand?*** For in truth he is imitating him who, scorning social joy with the legions of angels, attempted to start up to a summit of singular eminence, saying, I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven, I will sit upon the mount of the testament, in the sides of the North, and will ascend above the heights of the clouds, and I will be like the most High Isaiah 14:13. Wherefore I beseech you by Almighty God not to allow the times of your Piety to be polluted by the elation of one man, nor in any way to give any assent to so perverse a title, and that in this case your Piety may by no means despise me;”

    1. I have mixed thoughts on that quote by Gregory Dialogous. I used to use it in debates with Catholics all the time, and I even used that against the dread lord himself, Jay Dyer!

      Exegetically, the case for partial preterism is almost air-tight. However, if we are speaking on the level of application I can affirm something like what Gregory said (to be sure, though, I wonder if Gregory and the Patriarch of Constantinople were even talking about the same thing per the term “ecumenical”).

      I think a better case can be made that someone like the Rothschilds or George Soros is antichrist. here’s the problem though: no one has *exegetically* demonstrated that the Beast of Revelation is the same as *an* antichrist mentioned in 1 John.

      I understand what Gregory is getting at and I certainly agree with the application–he who assumes to himself the title of universal bishop is enacting the narrative of Antichrist. that is as far as I am going to take it.

      1. Triadic,

        “dread lord himself, Jay Dyer!”

        LOL!

        I empathize with you here. I too have fallen under the imperious keypad of Lord Dyer. It was when he was leaning East though. Is he back in the Roman Church?

        1. As of approximately a month ago, Jay informed me that he is no longer a Christian. I believe he mentioned something about looking at Judaism. Not sure where he is going or where he will end up.

          1. I don’t even think he is leaning towards Judaism, anymore. He just said he was “studying” it. I suspect it’s some kind of Platonic, neo-paganism, though don’t quote me on that.

          2. Crap!
            I don’t care who it is, it always hurts to hear when someone leaves Christ our God. I read Jay’s stuff when he was an Orthodox catechumen, a little.

  17. Robert,

    “Finally, there is no substitute for standing throughout an Orthodox service singing the Divine Liturgy (or hearing it) at least 4-5 times.”

    When I was in college there was a woman who worked in the Bakery of the Restaurant I worked at. SHE was the pastor of a Charismatic Church, hard core Pentecostal type and she told me that I had to attend a church that held to a five five ministry 5 times for the gift of tongues and other spiritual delicacies to be bequeathed to me. I did it. I went 5 times and nothing happened. Mostly because I knew my bible. So what makes your proposal any different from her’s?

    1. Drake,

      The word “orthodoxy” comes from “orthodoxia” which can be translated: right belief or right worship. The Orthodox Church believes that right belief will lead to the right worship of God. The two cannot be separated.
      The point I wanted to make was that one cannot understand what Orthodoxy is about just by reading books. A good first step to understanding Orthodoxy is to attend the Divine Liturgy and observe how the Orthodox understanding of God find its highest form in the worship of the Trinity.

      I had done some reading on Orthodoxy but it was not until I had attended an Orthodox parish for two years that I began to understand the importance of having my theology and my spiritual life shaped by the church’s liturgical life and prayers in addition to my reading of Scripture. I’m sure that for others attending Orthodox worship had a different impact on them.

      I have two questions for you: (1) Did you learn anything new about Orthodoxy after attending the Divine Liturgy several times that you did not learn from the books? And, (2) do you agree or disagree with the ancient theological principle: “lex orans, lex credens” (the rule of worship is the rule of faith)?

  18. Robert,

    One suggestion for your blog: put a list of recent posts to the sidebar. That way we can easily access previous articles without having to scroll down five pages. It’s under WordPress’ “widgets” section.

    Also, a “search” bar would be helpful.

    1. Amen, amen, amen.
      Also, a list of recent comments in order would be great instead of scrolling through each subthread.

      1. Canadian and Triadic Reality,

        I agree with you that this blog site needs more features. I will do my best to improve it.

        Robert

  19. Robert,
    “one cannot understand what Orthodoxy is about just by reading books.”

    Ps 1:2 But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

    “A good first step to understanding Orthodoxy is to attend the Divine Liturgy and observe how the Orthodox understanding of God find its highest form in the worship of the Trinity.”

    I’ve done that. I even took a class explaining each element of the liturgy.

    1. Drake,
      Continue your Psalm 1:2 to verse 5 and 6……

      “Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
      nor sinners in the CONGREGATION of the righteous;
      for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
      but the way of the wicked will perish.”

      The written word is always in reference to and in connection with the communion of persons…….the church. The Law as well as the NT documents are inherently liturgical.

      You said: “I’ve done that. I even took a class explaining each element of the liturgy.”

      Indeed you have. You obviously have not just been playing games at a distance. But you said before that you bolted from the liturgy you did attend, not allowing it to play out on it’s own terms and doubting that God would have his people participate in Him in such a fashion. I went on and off for 4 years wrestling with issues as they presented themselves in the context of the worship of the church. Not only did those issues become less and less just abstract ideas or even dogmas, they were dramatized before my eyes in an amazing way as if participating in the events as they originally took place.
      For example, the events of Christ’s life and the church are enacted from the calendar so that you live liturgically and participate in the time frames similar to how they actually happened, and dogma is embedded in the services in conjunction with the historical event being celebrated liturgically. The liturgical actions, processions, chant etc mean almost nothing academically on paper, but need to be participated in to be understood in a real human way.
      To hear the readings continually and daily in services “on this day in the year 139 or 370 or 922 or whenever, _____ was martyred in this fashion and for this reason…..”
      You constantly share the real life communion with every generation, with those in heaven and on earth.

    2. Drake,

      You still haven’t answered my two questions.

      I have two questions for you: (1) Did you learn anything new about Orthodoxy after attending the Divine Liturgy several times that you did not learn from the books? And, (2) do you agree or disagree with the ancient theological principle: “lex orans, lex credens” (the rule of worship is the rule of faith)?

      Your reticence to answer the two questions makes me wonder how much you understand the Orthodox approach to worship.

      Robert

  20. Canadian,
    “The Law as well as the NT documents are inherently liturgical.”

    Define liturgical.

    “You constantly share the real life communion with every generation, with those in heaven and on earth.”

    Then will you admit that your religion is not objectively falsifiable. There is no way to disprove it because it is completely subjective to the individual’s experience.

    Robert,

    “I have two questions for you: (1) Did you learn anything new about Orthodoxy after attending the Divine Liturgy several times that you did not learn from the books?”

    Since I clearly told you that I have only attended a Sunday Mass once your question was inapplicable to me.

    “And, (2) do you agree or disagree with the ancient theological principle: “lex orans, lex credens” (the rule of worship is the rule of faith)?”

    I am currently reading Florovsky’s Volume 1 Bible, Church, Tradition so I know what you mean by that. I am ten pages from finishing it. Personally, I don’t see any coherent rule of faith so far. Tradition is supposed to be the final authority on hermeneutics but then on page 99 he mentions that certain developed traditions were wrong. He gives no basis on how he comes to that knowledge. Is there then a standard above tradition? So then Tradition is appealed to, to understand scripture. Then what is appealed to, to understand proper tradition? Sounds like an infinite regress or circularity problem.

    “Your reticence to answer the two questions makes me wonder how much you understand the Orthodox approach to worship.”

    Reticence to answer? I am reading entire books from your best scholars on every specific issue you guys bring up and you say I am reticent? I pour out my life for years making sure I understand every argument your Church makes and I am reticent? Would you seriously like for me to catalogue the dozens of issues that I have brought up that you have not even touched Robert? You have got to be kidding me.

  21. Drake,
    “Then will you admit that your religion is not objectively falsifiable. There is no way to disprove it because it is completely subjective to the individual’s experience.”

    Define objective. Define disprove. Define completely. Define subjective.
    C’mon, man. Anytime you evaluate how I may “define” something, it has become “completely subject to your individual experience.”
    Your sword cuts both ways.

    To be unfalsifiable does not necessarily mean to be false. And when dealing with God, man’s tools stop measuring when they reach the unmeasurable, but they do not prove the unmeasurable does not exist.
    Let’s not get too philosophical, I will lose that game……I’m an untrained peasant and even if I am right I will likely argue it with several detectable fallacies 🙂

  22. Canadian,

    “Define objective”

    An objective argument is something that can be falsified by anyone who considers it. That is, the truth value of something is not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, orprejudice; based on facts; unbiased.

    “Define disprove”

    To show a logical contradiction or incoherency in a value.

    “Define completely”

    The value terminates upon subjective experience. There is no objective referent in it. The value is jointly exhaustive with your subjective experience.

    “Define subjective”

    A value based on a person’s experience alone and in nothing objectively falsifiable.

    “Anytime you evaluate how I may “define” something, it has become “completely subject to your individual experience.”

    I reject it because I believe that men are made in God’s image which means that God’s logic and man’s logic are the same. That is not to say that men don’t use irrational arguments for they do but in this sense both God and man think (or men know they should think) that the law of contradiction is true. I can apply the same objective law to your system of definitions. So if I can find a logical contradiction in your system then I can objectively falsify it by the law of contradiction which is an innate objective standard of truth for all men.

    “To be unfalsifiable does not necessarily mean to be false.”

    Yes it does because if you make truth subjective you have denied that all men are made in God’s image. You have essentially denied the law of contradiction.

    “And when dealing with God, man’s tools stop measuring when they reach the unmeasurable”

    If by immeasurable you are using the scholastic definition of God’s infinity I deny it./ God is not infinite. I wrote a couple article here: http://eternalpropositions.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/divine-infinity-by-drake/ and here: http://olivianus.thekingsparlor.com/theology-proper/divine-infinity-in-john-owen on the issue. Divine infinity is the breeding ground for most irrational errors concerning God. When an atheist asks you can God make a rock so big he can’t lift it he’s got you licked if you believe God is infinite. It is because God is not infinite that his question is meaningless. God can’t lie. God can’t change. Those are limits. This is a denial of divine infinity. This is why epistemology and metaphysics are inseparable from Religion.

    You had previously said,

    “Did you learn your Christology, and receive your scriptures from her founders?”

    Did you learn your Christology and receive your scriptures from her founders? Then you must deny the messiah because the founders on your view of authority was the Jews. The moral person of the Jews rejected the messiah. If you take the view that we have to receive the sense of the scriptures from the moral person who gave us the scriptures then you have to take the sense of the OT from the Jews. Also this scripture.

    2 Cor 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

    From what I remember you have a problem with the decision of the Eastern Church on iconoclasm but you have decided to submit to her authority in this regard. How is the view of authority as you are understanding the eastern Church has over your conscience different from the dominion authority of Paul that he denied to Church officers?

          1. I have read into the double slit experiment of quantum physics but not an expert by any means. Was not aware that contradiction was a distinctive of quantum.

  23. Canadian,

    I would be very interested in your opinion of this book: Dissertatio de S. Scripturarum interpretatione secundum Patrum commentarios http://books.google.com/books/about/Dissertatio_de_S_Scripturarum_interpreta.html?id=hRoPAAAAQAAJ

    by Daniel Whitby. Maybe you can have your priest look at it if he knows latin. This is probably the best book in print on how many different interpretations the early patristic authors have made of the scriptures. If there is ever going to be a “unanimous consent of the Fathers” this book must be dealt with. Every page of it. Good luck!

    1. The Church fathers believed that Scripture had multiple senses. The Reformed believes that Scripture only has one sense. And so we have two different paradigms.

      1. “The Church fathers believed that Scripture had multiple senses.”

        Where has the Orthodox Church said that? Are you giving me your opinion? Can I get a book title and page number for that? So then by definition there is no “unanimous consent of the Fathers”. I don’t remember Florovsky in his Vol. 1 stating that.

        1. If you read the New Testament and looked at it’s quotes you would notice that it doesn’t always interpret an Old Testament passage literally. The same is true when you read a good number of the Church Fathers and their quotes of the Old Testament. They didn’t always interpret it literally as well. Also in regards to the New Testament, sometimes they would have multiple interpretations for a passage. Now in saying this I am speaking in general terms for eventually in the 4th, and 5th centuries you start to see a feud between two schools of thought. One would stress an Allegorical interpretation while the other a literal. But still, even in this you had multiple senses of the text. And so the question back then was which one would take priority. With the Protestant Reformation came (what I would call and so I could be slightly off in trying to define it as sola such and such) a Sola naturalistic interpretation or a sola historical grammatical interpretation of the text. In where Scripture only has one sense and one sense only.

          Now in regards to you asking where the Orthodox Church said such and such and if this is my own personal opinion.

          I knew about the multiple sense of Scripture in regards to early Christianity way back in 1997/1998 when I first started reading them. I use to be a fan of this protestant book way back in those days:
          Common Sense: A New Approach to Understanding Scripture

          I later found out about the difference between the Reformed and Earlier Christianity from this book:
          The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science

          And Peter Enns’s book is a good help in showing that 2nd Temple Judaism also had a multi-sense view as well.
          Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament

          And so we are dealing with two different paradigms. Rome also had a multi-sense view and so it’s not just the Orthodox.

          Yes, there were different interpretations and yes the fathers disagreed with each other from time to time but 100% uniformity has nothing to do with the issue of Patristic consensus. Patristic consensus is not about having no dissent. No, instead, it’s about looking at the unity of a given topic from multiple ages and multiple regions.

          You see, when critical Biblical scholars shuffle though Greek manuscripts, what do they do? How are they able to detect a scribal error on a given passage? If 1,000 greek manuscripts, pieces…..etc. are saying the samething or something similar, but one piece is saying something totally different, well guess what?

          Patristic consensus is similar.

          There is a book that you can get from a Reformed Protestant scholar that will show the Patristic consensus in the area of Grace and Christology in the Early Church. (yes I have the book)
          Grace and Christology in the Early Church

          Also, the American Roman Catholic Archbishop Kenrick showed the patristic consensus in the area of the Church and the Gates of Hell.
          Fr. Ambrose’s(Irish Hermit) post of Archbishop Kenrick’s findings in this area

          Quote:
          “It is important because he lists the five different
          patristic interpretations of Matthew 16:18.

          Let’s look at how the Church Fathers line up over this verse:

          1….”That St. Peter is the Rock” is taught
          by seventeen (17) Fathers

          2….That the whole Apostolic College is the Rock,
          represented by Peter as its chief,
          is taught by eight (8.) Church Fathers

          3….That St. Peter’s faith is the Rock,
          is taught by forty-four (44) Church Fathers

          4….That Christ is the Rock,
          is taught by sixteen Fathers (16)

          5….That the rock is the whole body of the faithful.
          Archbp. Kendrick gives no figure.”

          Archbishop Kendrick summarises

          “If we are bound to follow the greater number
          of Fathers in this matter, then we must hold
          for certain that the word “Petra” means not Peter
          professing the Faith, but the faith professed by Peter.

          And so diversity of interpretation doesn’t mean a consensus can’t be found. It just means that a consensus can be found in the midst of their being diversity. Also the diversity back then was nothing like the way it is today. In modern times the amount of diversity in the protestant world is compounded exponentially. The amount of diversity in the ancient world was to a much lesser degree.

          1. You can find all 5 interpretations in my jurisdiction. Peter first went to Antioch before he went to Rome and so you will find interpretation #1 among us along with the other 4 interpretations. However, the Orthodox are mostly known for interpretation # 3

            And that is the one you will find most often among us.

  24. Canadian,

    Can you show me where your Church has given an authoritative pronouncement on the interpretation of a single chapter in the Bible?

    1. Drake,

      If you want to know how the Orthodox Church understands a bible passage there are two principal ways. One way is to read the church fathers and look for the patristic consensus. The other way is to listen to the liturgical texts for the Divine Liturgy, the Matins and Vespers services, and the prayers for the special feast days. The second approach is especially recommended. We listen to the word of God being read out loud in the context of worship and we hear the Orthodox Church expound upon the meaning of the passage in her hymns and prayers. Ultimately, we come to a true understanding of the word of God together with the people of God.

    2. If we are bent in the direction of being Apophatic then why would we act Catophatically by giving an authoritative pronouncement on the interpretation of a single chapter in the Bible. We know what interpretations we don’t believe in so why not ask that?

  25. Why do I torture myself like this?

    Ok, Mr. Tabula Rasa, you win.
    You crowed: “I can apply the same objective law to your system of definitions. So if I can find a logical contradiction in your system then I can objectively falsify it by the law of contradiction which is an innate objective standard of truth for all men.”

    Wonderful airtight system that has brought you home, sitting with your bible, psalter, and a few other resources, to search and destroy all logical contradictions.
    Again, I don’t think you are really here for that. Maybe you are hoping someone will just meet your airtight logical system with overwhelming force from the Orthodox perspective so you can finally have rest in your heart. Deep down, you may be hoping that all the unquietness that exists in your mind and heart would be resolved, and the unreconcilable paths would coalesce to end the meandering. Maybe not. One thing is certain, I can’t bring that kind of force to bear, nor is my mind properly equipped, but darkened by my own sin.
    Peace in Christ.

    1. Canadian,

      Your just trying to get personal with me now. I find this to be policy among Eastern Christians. When you can’t deal with the arguments you start prying into my personal life.

      1. Getting personal….policy? Sorry Drake if you doubt my sincerity.
        This is way beyond dealing with your arguments. Way beyond.
        Getting personal is not some EO tactic, it’s just me.
        Sincerely, please forgive me if I have offended you regarding your situation with church.
        I am not using it like you think. I spent several years out of church for theological reasons and I know what it is like.
        I may not satisfactorily deal with all your questions and arguments, but I have tried to treat you
        in a real and personal way. I hope you find the answers you desire.

  26. Jnorm,
    “100% uniformity has nothing to do with the issue of Patristic consensus.”

    I did not ask for a 100% agreement. I asked for agreement on a single chapter of the Bible. That’s it. And you can’t produce it.

    “Patristic consensus is not about having no dissent. No, instead, it’s about looking at the unity of a given topic from multiple ages and multiple regions.”

    So first, give me the admission. There is not a consensus on the interpretation of a single chapter of the Bible in your Church. Just admit it.

    “ but one piece is saying something totally different, well guess what?
    Patristic consensus is similar.”

    Nonsense. I can provide numerous chapters in the Bible where there is agreement in the readings of the Greek text.

    “In modern times the amount of diversity in the protestant world is compounded exponentially.”

    I have shown you and David and scores of other Eastern ex-protestants that they never were nor had they ever known a Protestant. I have said this so many times it is getting quite wearisome. A protestant is someone who believes that the papacy is the antichrist. Moreovere, Bishop Hall’s Serious Dissuasives from popery shows 300 controversies among the Roman Church. The Variations of Popery by Samuel Edgar shows tons more.

    “ The amount of diversity in the ancient world was to a much lesser degree.”

    If you want to believe that Jnorm, it’s your soul but I have brought to your attention
    over 1000 pages of scholarship that says otherwise and that is just off the top of my head.

    Florovsky couldn’t get a few sentences to line up into a coherent definition of what this means. Moreover, I wonder if you guys fall to the same ambiguity that the romanists do on the issues of the consensus of the Fathers. Do you mean that a priest has the liberty to say whatever does not contradict the consensus of the Fathers (whatever that means) or do you mean that he can ONLY say what is agreed in the consensus of the Fathers?

    “If we are bent in the direction of being Apophatic then why would we act Catophatically by giving an authoritative pronouncement on the interpretation of a single chapter in the Bible. We know what interpretations we don’t believe in so why not ask that?”

    Translated: Drake, you are right we don’t have a single chapter that we have officially interpreted. This statement is so silly I just don’t even feel like responding to it. The problem with negative theology is that you still have to have positive axiomatic doctrines to determine what you don’t believe.

  27. Jnorm

    Plus how do you separate the topics frI’m the scripture? The scripture contains the topics. To differ on the scripture is to differ on the topic.

    1. Scripture itself has multiple senses. We can see an example of this when the Apostles interpreted portions of the Old Testament through the Lens of Jesus.

      Also interpreting the same passage of Scripture in multiple ways wasn’t unique to the Apostles. It was pretty much in vogue in 2nd Temple Judaism in general.

      1. Thus, Multi-sense Scripture contains the topics and so there are going to be multiple interpretations to the topics.

        One example of this is the woman depicted in Revelations chapter 12. Is the woman talking about:

        1.) Our Blessed Mother the Theotokos
        2.) The Church
        3.) Israel
        4.) All the above

        The answer is # 4! All the above!

        Some might add Eve to the list, but the point is that Scripture can have multiple-senses.

        Now one interpretation may have priority over the other interpretations, but it is what it is………..Scripture is multi-sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *