Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A compendium of resources on Eastern Orthodoxy, so far

James was contacted by an acquaintance inquiring about Eastern Orthodoxy, because he was alarmed at the rate of conversion to EOC among seminarians with whom he is familiar.  James (perhaps unwisely) forwarded him on to me, and I gave it my best shot.  I'd like to reproduce a distillation of our brief correspondence here, for future reference.  May the Lord use this information for His glory.

----

Hello!
I'm a coblogger/underling on James' blog, and in my blogging career, I've written on EOC and interacted a significant amount with EOdox.  That is mostly b/c a close friend of mine with whom I grew up in the faith, after some 6 years as a Bapticostal and a student at ORU in Tulsa, converted to EOC.  I was alarmed, of course, and tried to stop him, and our discussions actually for a time had me on the ropes.  I was unprepared for the things he'd already thought through a few steps ahead, and so for a time I felt my own foundations shaking.  Then, however, I was able to get on top of things with the help mainly of James White lectures and debates on Romanism (which is in many ways, especially in terms of authority and religious epistemology, very similar to EOC) and on Sola Scriptura, a couple of books by Eric Svendsen, and the 3-volume set "Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith" by Webster and King.

That started me down the road of being able to deconstruct the arguments that EOx put forward, and with all that behind me now, I can say with confidence (Lord willing) that EOC is totally off the table as a live option for piety toward God.  My further interactions with knowledgeable EOx, both in person and in the blogosphere, both have convinced me further of the folly of EOxy and have helped me develop even more powerful arguments against it.

I'd encourage you to learn a little about EOC.  A good place to start is Timothy Ware's "The Orthodox Church", but unfortunately it's a pretty sanitised version of EO theology.  All the really heretical and "red flag!  Danger, Will Robinson!" stuff is removed out of its presentation of EO theology, but not a bad place to start.  If nothing else, someone will ask you if you've read anything, and you can tell them that.  It might help satisfy them that you're not just shooting in the dark.
I've read a fair amount of "dialogue" and "conversion" stories, but most of them weren't any good, weren't helpful.  Two I think would be helpful would be:
--Conversion-themed stuff written by Peter Gillquist
--My friend's conversion story
Also, I'd recommend this short e-book/long pamphlet from a Romanian who is quite familiar with EOC theology and especially the more unsavory elements and sayings from their "church fathers".  I just finished reading it and recommend it because of its lengthy quotations and evaluations of what you might call "EOC's source documents" - the church writers who have gone before.  Point these pagan and Platonic ideas out to those who are wavering, and if they respond with "but that's not what the Church itself believes!", ask them on what basis these same early church writers are cited sometimes to back up EOC's authority and are sometimes cast aside as "speaking only as a private theologian".  It's a fatal epistemological flaw in EOC, and one that is, if nothing else, sort of fun to exploit, to watch the dancing and writhing commence.

Now, as for refuting EO assertions, I'd recommend, just like with a Romanist or a Mormon, majoring on the majors, and that would be the question of authority. I think you'll have a fairly difficult time if  you try to go at it from any other position than Sola Scriptura.  That is to say, the 3/4-legged stool I've heard expressed in certain Protestant contexts will not serve you well in this arena, but perhaps that's not where you're coming from.
Anyway, you can start with my recent debate on Sola Scriptura with a knowledgeable EO blogger.  It's maybe not the best ever done, but I think it was quite good, it raised a lot of good issues, and it was accessible, not super super long.

In other blogging arenas, a great deal of superior material has been delivered on the Triablogue.
http://triablogue.blogspot.com/search/label/Eastern%20Orthodoxy
I am in awe of these men's abilities and output.  I would encourage you not to unwisely confuse earnestness and gladness to know and be able to communicate the truth with nastiness.
My blog also has a lot of material on EOxy, so here you go:
http://rhoblogy.blogspot.com/search/label/Eastern%20Orthodoxy

My most fundamental recommendation would be, as I said, on the topic of authority.
Here are some posts I'd encourage you to focus on:
http://rhoblogy.blogspot.com/2010/02/reflection-on-sola-scriptura-debate-1.html
http://rhoblogy.blogspot.com/2010/03/irony-in-patristics.html

You'll probably also find that EOx will challenge you with "But there are so many denominations in Protestantism!"  Don't let them get away with it!
http://rhoblogy.blogspot.com/2009/12/special-pleading-of-sola-ecclesia-ists.html
http://rhoblogy.blogspot.com/2009/12/jesus-prayer-for-unity-in-john-17.html
http://rhoblogy.blogspot.com/2010/01/more-special-pleading.html

---/---

The correspondent replied:  I have been shocked and saddened by the number of seminarians turning Orthodox.  It seems to be the cool, sentimental thing to do.

I responded:  Yes, it is the cool sentimental thing to do.  It's embracing "ancient" faith, "the church of the church fathers", "the early church", with liturgy and all that stuff.  It looks mystically attractive.  It's much more sensibly rich than a Protestant service.  I can relate to the attraction.  But the false Gospel, you know...sorta spoils it for me.
And that is, of course, the bottom line - does this church preach the Gospel?  Does it teach that the filthy, spiritually dead, enemy of God, God-hating sinner can be reconciled to God and have peace with God by God's grace alone by repentance and faith alone in Christ alone as mediator for the forgiveness of sins?  Ask any Eastern Orthodox, and make the question specific enough so as to eliminate wiggle room, and you'll find that the answer is a very clear no.  Which makes the answer to the question, "Should I join this church?" pretty clear as well.

62 comments:

John said...

Yah right, point them to Triablogue where they have censored and excised pretty much everything that anyone EO has posted over there. That tells you how much conviction those jokers have got.

As important as issues of authority are, winning that battle doesn't win you the war. (not that I think there is any danger of you winning it). The reason EO is so compelling is it is just the collective wisdom of smart and godly men in the church who lived prior to the influence of later polemical arguments, philosophising, and attempts at systemisation. Or in other words, it is Christianity as it naturally evolved in its primitive form. It's obviously going to be a compelling interpretation of the gospel because its what the original people in the original culture thought of it, untainted by extraneous traditions.

But I encourage you in your efforts to promote The Orthodox Church by Ware and Gillquist. Make some more converts for us by all means. And thanks for the encouragement about all the seminarians coming our way.

John said...

BTW, if James White is so helpful, I for one would like to see if there is any rebuttal to this commentary on his Sola Scriptura book.

Rhology said...

It's obviously going to be a compelling interpretation of the gospel because its what the original people in the original culture thought of it, untainted by extraneous traditions.

Right. All those Bible psgs I quoted were added later by evil Protestants, around the 18th century.

Rhology said...

Triablogue where they have censored and excised pretty much everything that anyone EO has posted over there. That tells you how much conviction those jokers have got.

Yes, they have excised multiple comments from EO commenters that refused to be reasonable and actually respond substantively to substantive arguments made. Anyone can read those interactions. It tells you alot about these EO commenters' convictions that they would flatly refuse, every time, to respect the blog owners, and violate the ban so frequently. But you want us to believe that the EO bannees are the victims here?

Viisaus said...

"The reason EO is so compelling is it is just the collective wisdom of smart and godly men in the church who lived prior to the influence of later polemical arguments, philosophising, and attempts at systemisation."

Actually it was "Eastern Orthodoxy" that out of all Christian variations first got seriously tainted by philosophical speculations. From the impact of Alexandrian thinkers like Origen onwards, to be precise.

Late 4th century fathers like two Cappadocian Gregories (Nyssen and Nazianzen) were soaked in Origenist thought.

And then came along a fraud falsely known as "Dionysius Areopagite" and led EOs even deeper on Neoplatonism.

EOdoxy is far from being "untainted by extraneous traditions".

Viisaus said...

Moreover, EOs never seem to have really understood how bad thing Pelagianism is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cassian#Doctrinal_controversy

"John Cassian is considered to be the originator of the view that later became known as Semipelagianism. This emphasized the role of free will in that the first steps of salvation are in the power of the individual, without the need for divine grace. His thought has been described as a "middle way" between Pelagianism, which taught that the will alone was sufficient to live a sinless life, and the view of Augustine of Hippo, that emphasizes original sin and the absolute need for grace. Cassian took no part in the controversy that arose shortly before his death; his first opponent, Prosper of Aquitaine, held him in high esteem as a man of virtue and did not name him as the source of the conflict. Semipelagianism was condemned by the Latin church in the local Council of Orange in 529.

Since Semipelagianism has never been condemned by Eastern synods or the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the doctrine of St. John Cassian is regarded by many Orthodox theologians as the right descernment of "ancestral sin" in the Orthodox Church.[7]"

Matthew D. Schultz said...

John writes:

Yah right, point them to Triablogue where they have censored and excised pretty much everything that anyone EO has posted over there. That tells you how much conviction those jokers have got.

Let's assume that's true. Take note that they allow, among others, various atheists, Roman Catholics and liberal Protestants to post without impunity. If anything, that should tell you how poorly the Eastern Orthodox participants behaved, not what "jokers" the Triablogue members are. If your habitually supercilious behavior is any indication of the state of Orthodox apologetics, I wouldn't blame them in the least for banning every similarly behaved Orthodox commenter.

As it stands, they've spent a lot of time interacting with Eastern Orthodox claims:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/search/label/Orthodoxy

So your charge of lacking "conviction" is baseless.

Btw. Are you the same "John" that interacted with Steve Hays of Triablogue at Green Baggins:

http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/determining-the-doctrine-of-the-church/#comment-74513

If so, it seems Steve Hays, the most prolific poster at Triablogue, also has no trouble putting his "conviction" into practice on territory over which he has no administrative authority.

Viisaus said...

Indeed, wavering people should be told that some militant EOs (like Michael Azkoul) are so hostile to doctrines of free grace that they openly assault Augustine of Hippo, even to the point of seeing him as the fountainhead of all later Western heresies - thus they indirectly admit that Augustine's ideas cannot be reconciled with EO semi-Pelagianism.

Here is an example of what I'm talking about:

http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_roman_catholics_augustine.shtml

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"James was contacted by an acquaintance inquiring about Eastern Orthodoxy, because he was alarmed at the rate of conversion to EOC among seminarians with whom he is familiar."

These were Protestant seminaries? If they were liberal Protestant seminaries, I could see and understand the conversions.

Pastor Aaron said...

As the fellow John is talking about, it's not a liberal Protestant Seminary.

Pastor Aaron said...

I was on the road when I left my last post-- not driving, but also not able to say much. The seminary in question is Asbury Theological Seminary. ATS is in a state of flux; when I went there, it was pretty distinctly conservative welseyan. Now it is becoming what I call "blandly evangelical."

I think it is a deeper issue than conservative/liberal. There is a genre of Catholic radio that focuses on Protestant Pastors who have gone Catholic. There is some kind of effort to enocurage such conversions. For a while I consoled myself, as it seemed it was mostly Reformed pastors heading to the RCC.

I thought to myself some years ago, "Methodists would probably go EO, because of the Cappadocian influence on Wesley..." and lo and behold, it starts to happen...

John said...

"All those Bible psgs I quoted were added later by evil Protestants, around the 18th century."

The new interpretations were added, yes.

" Anyone can read those interactions. "

How are you going to read an INTERACTION where one side of the discussion has been systematically removed from the record? [shakes head].

"Actually it was "Eastern Orthodoxy" that out of all Christian variations first got seriously tainted by philosophical speculations."

And everyone in the known world, from Carthage to Rome to Alexandria to Syria to Greece all got influenced in the exact same direction at the exact same time without being aware of it and without anyone putting up a fight? Yeah riiiight.

"Dionysius Areopagite" and led EOs even deeper on Neoplatonism."

Really. And what EO doctrines do you ascribe to Dionysius Areopagite? If I find them earlier than him, you will of course make a full retraction?

" Take note that they allow, among others, various atheists, Roman Catholics and liberal Protestants to post without impunity."

For a little while they do, so they can beat on them before banning them.

"they've spent a lot of time interacting with Eastern Orthodox claims:"

"Interaction" does not mean excising one side of the discussion. They simply don't allow anyone EO to interact with their nonsense.

"If so, it seems Steve Hays, the most prolific poster at Triablogue, also has no trouble putting his "conviction" into practice on territory over which he has no administrative authority."

Hays did not have any reasoned response over there. Being a ridiculously long thread, I don't necessarily blame him for that, except that its indicative of his long history of hit and run apologetics.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

John writes:

How are you going to read an INTERACTION where one side of the discussion has been systematically removed from the record? [shakes head].

1. Not all of the comments were deleted and there is a simple method to read comments from banned members.

2. Usually the arguments being addressed or refuted are quoted before a response is given. You don't always need the entire post made by someone to be able to sufficiently judge an interaction.

3. You're conveniently ignoring the fact that many others of competing and hostile religious (and a-religious) traditions are still allowed to post at Triablogue. The fact that some Eastern Orthodox were banned and some of their posts deleted is due to their poor behavior, behavior which continues to this day with your fellow blogger Lvka continuing to make posts over at Triablogue (even though he knows he is banned and his comments will be deleted).

"Interaction" does not mean excising one side of the discussion.

It does if hours of interaction failed to produce anything but rude and obnoxious behavior on the part of the Eastern Orthodox participants:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/07/orthodox-bans.html

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/07/lvka-has-been-banned.html

There comes a point where the quality of arguments, whether good or bad, is irrelevant. There is only so much to tolerate in terms of obnoxious, divisive and rude behavior.

They simply don't allow anyone EO to interact with their nonsense.

Unless you think the few banned visitors represent all possible Eastern Orthodox visitors, you simply have no way of knowing that they "don't allow anyone EO to interact."

Hays did not have any reasoned response over there.

Whether his argument was "reasoned" is beside the point. The fact is that he addressed your specific argument on a neutral thread where it wouldn't be possible to ban or delete interaction with you. Yet you earlier tried to suggest that the banning of Eastern Orthodox participants at Triablogue was indicative of his overall "conviction."

Being a ridiculously long thread, I don't necessarily blame him for that, except that its indicative of his long history of hit and run apologetics.

As far as I can tell, you didn't respond to Steve Hays' latest response in the Green Baggins thread. He also continued to make regular interaction in that thread after you left. How is that evidence of "hit and run" apologetics? Do you have any such evidence? If not, you are engaging in slander.

John said...

"there is a simple method to read comments from banned members. "

In many cases they have gone further and completely excised all reference to the comments.

"You don't always need the entire post made by someone to be able to sufficiently judge an interaction. "

It's called the ostrich methodology.

" You're conveniently ignoring the fact that many others of competing and hostile religious (and a-religious) traditions are still allowed to post at Triablogue."

I guess they feel like they can refute those lessor positions. It's unsurprising that those most able to deal with them are those most likely to be banned.

"There is only so much to tolerate in terms of obnoxious, divisive and rude behavior."

Give me a break. The Triabloguers epitomise rudeness. And I've seen Orthodox folks there banned with no rudeness on their part whatsoever. So please, enough with the nonsense.

"As far as I can tell, you didn't respond to Steve Hays' latest response in the Green Baggins thread. "

He didn't comment on my response, he ignored it as far as I see. And he has a long history of ignoring Orthodox over at Green Baggins when he gets pushed into a corner. His inability to have rational interaction has been many times documented.

David Waltz said...

Hello John,

You posted:

>>"there is a simple method to read comments from banned members. "

In many cases they have gone further and completely excised all reference to the comments.>>

Me: You raise a very good point; I have witnessed more than a few instances were moderators delete (and/or ban) certain comments from fellow Christians that do not serve the interests of the blog and or web owner(s).


Grace and peace,

David

John said...

David: It is one thing to censor a post you don't want. It is another thing to engage in a long running discussion without apparently any concern about it, and then later on remove all references to one side of the conversation.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

John writes:

In many cases they have gone further and completely excised all reference to the comments.

And for good reason. That was one of the stipulations for someone perpetually violating a ban, such as your fellow Blogger Lvka, who continues to violate that ban to this day. By all accounts, Triablogue would be justified in deleting every comment he ever made.

It's called the ostrich methodology.

So instead of dealing with the fact that the discussions are largely available and that Steve Hays regularly engages in discussions outside of Triablogue, you've been reduced to labeling. Thanks for the admission of defeat on your part. You aren't being reasonable; you're out to slander Triablogue despite whatever evidence is presented to refute your baseless assertions. Perhaps that is because Triablogue has so effectively destroyed the arguments that Eastern Orthodox apologists have raised against Protestantism.

Give me a break. The Triabloguers epitomise rudeness.

Where's the evidence? Or are you just exaggerating to change the subject?

I see you consistently refuse to admit any error on the side of your fellow Eastern Orthodox bloggers for their bans, even after some evidence has been produced for their consistently poor behavior.

And I've seen Orthodox folks there banned with no rudeness on their part whatsoever. So please, enough with the nonsense.

You don't get to call it "nonsense" without proof. Who are these "folks"? Please give some names and evidence of their conduct. Or is slander something you engage in casually?

And he has a long history of ignoring Orthodox over at Green Baggins when he gets pushed into a corner.

There's really no reasonable way to trust you without you producing that "long history" for us to see.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

It's called the ostrich methodology.

I'd also ask when you're going to address the fact that various Catholics, atheists, etc. continue to engage in arguments over at Triablogue.

John said...

Matthew, I can only go primarily on my own experience. I was silently banned over at Triablogue for no apparent reason, and they've been extremely rude to me with no provocation. Whether you want to accept that is up to you.

Rhology said...

I can think of at least one reason.

"Bad company corrupts good morals..." - you hang out at the Society for Orthodox Apologetics with the nearly-brain-dead Lvka/Lucian and with the repetitive, disrespectful, and ban-violating blogger known as "Orthodox". Maybe that's why.

Also, as a bonus, few of your arguments are any good. There's limited value to answering the same old banalities over and over; there are plenty of others out there who could take your place and actually maybe make some cogent arguments.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

John writes:

Matthew, I can only go primarily on my own experience. I was silently banned over at Triablogue for no apparent reason,

If you'd like to understand why you were banned, perhaps it would be best to compare your behavior with longtime Eastern Orthodox participants who aren't banned at Triablogue, such as Perry Robinson and Doug Jones, among others.

Whether you want to accept that is up to you.

Forgive me, but I find it hard to accept vacuous claims.

John said...

Rhology: so I was banned because Triablogue looked into their crystal ball, envisaged that I would be a member of a blog that didn't exist yet, and decided to preemptively ban me. All based on an ad-hominem view of who I hang out with (or rather would in the future hang out with).

Yep, that sounds like about the level of logic that would come from Triablogue. A pretty good theory I'd say.

Rhology said...

Ah, then my former theory is probably not very good. Leaves us with the latter. Which doesn't do you any good. Sadly, that level of argumentation is reflected in this very thread. Instead of answering the many, many substantive questions that EOC needs to answer, you're instead whining about how those nasty boys at Triablogue treated you. *Sniff*

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Perry Robinson and Doug Jones

That should read "Daniel Jones."

Lvka said...

Well, Rho,


feel free to e-mail him this little article as well... :-) -- if THIS won't make him turn around and run for the hills... then nothing else will... :-|

Rhology said...

I'd quote 1 Timothy 4 if I thought Scripture would faze you.

Never mind, I'll do so anyway.


1But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

Lvka said...

Rho,


1) don't be unwise, show the man my article: it's for your own good
(I'm actually doing you a favor here).


2) we don't forbid marriage or sexual relations within marriage, but in the O.T. the Temple Priests had to be chaste when approaching the Holy things. (1 Samuel 21:4-6)

Lvka said...

for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.


Yes, that's why we have marriage-services or say grace before meals.

Ben M said...
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Ben M said...
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Lvka said...

Moreover, EOs never seem to have really understood how bad thing Pelagianism is.


Hi, Viisaus! :-)


Feel free to read this article, if you like..

Lvka said...

the nearly-brain-dead Lvka/Lucian


That's the first time I actually see you insult me.. and just a few weeks back I praised this blog for not doing exactly and precisely that.. now this, and Mat's deleting of my comments.. I just don't know what to think anymore, that's all.. [There were a few times you called me an "apparatchik".. but I guess the usage of that epithet for polemic purposes was to a certain extent excusable in a debate..]



Mat,

see, now THAT's what I call an insult... not "violating bans", or whatever..

Rhology said...

Ben M,

Even so, the celibate apostle encourages universal celibacy!...the Church, following Scripture’s lead, places a high value on celibacy, especially among the clergy

Why are you shifting the terms? An RC priest CANNOT marry, neither before he is ordained/whatever the word is, nor after. That's called "forbidding". It's not "encouraging", it's not merely "placing a high value on celibacy" so please, don't treat us like we're stupid.



It is only for those who “cannot control themselves” – for whatever reason - that the apostle give the concession to marriage

Yup, and that's, you know, quite a lot of people.



the Reformers continued their vindictive war on their former way of life

To which I can only say: Bravo! Let us ALL contend earnestly for the faith and wage war on sin and false doctrine and the Devil. Yes, vindictively so.



on fasting

By which you mean COMPULSORY fasting. Why can't you just man up and affirm openly what RCC really teaches? Are you ashamed of it or sthg?



I would just point out that marriage does not always include sexual relations; there is such a thing as perpetual abstinence even within marriage.

Not biblically speaking. Else, they cannot be one flesh.
1 Cor 7: 3The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.




Lvka,
That's the first time I actually see you insult me

Mmm, I'd say it's more like an evaluation of your argumentation and thinking ability. When a teacher hands you a paper with "F" in red ink on it, you don't think she's insulting you, do you?
But, tell you what - you can ban me on your blog and you can ban this blog from your interactions as well. Fair enough?

Lvka said...

There's a set of permissible words to express your disagreement with someone.. I doubt 'brain-dead' is on that list..

Rhology said...

It's not just that we disagree. It's the way you respond, the things you say.

I'm done talking about you. Anyone else reading who's curious, just google this:

Lvka site:beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com

and

Lvka site:rhoblogy.blogspot.com

to see the glistening nuggets that Lvka has laid down over the years.

Lvka said...

Was calling my opponents brain-dead to be found among such nuggets?

Viisaus said...

The RC system very pointedly makes non-celibate Christians "second-class citizens". They are both explicitly and implicitly branded as unworthy of any position of authority within the church (here the RCC goes brazenly against Paul's pastoral statutes). They are underlings whose only business is to do what celibate elite tells them to.

It reminds me of the Manichaean system of dividing their people into imperfect masses and celibate "perfecti" elite.

Viisaus said...

I have read somewhere that later church fathers who did not understand Paul's Jewish background misunderstood his meaning - rather than marriage being a "concession", it's the CELIBACY that is a concession to circumstances, marriage being the default standard in Judaism that does not idolize celibacy.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"The RC system very pointedly makes non-celibate Christians "second-class citizens". They are both explicitly and implicitly branded as unworthy of any position of authority within the church (here the RCC goes brazenly against Paul's pastoral statutes)."

It's not considered a sin for celibate Catholic clergy to masturbate , is it?

Rhology said...

Ask Bellisario. He apparently loves talking about that.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Hi Rho,

I don't know Bellisario. What do you think he would say? Or what do you think the Catholic answer is about celibate Catholic clergy masturbating?

Is it a sin? Or is it okay?

If it's a sin, do they have to go in the confessional booth and confess it to another priest?

Rhology said...

You really don't know who Matthew Bellisario is?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I know who he is.

I just don't know him.

Anyways, I have just heard that masturbation is indeed considered a sin in the Catholic Church.

How about the Eastern Orthodox church? Is masturbation a sin for EO's too?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Well, if I do ask Bellisario about the Catholic Church's stance on whether masturbation is a sin, I might as well ask him if he ever committed the sin of masturbation himself. And if he ever confessed it in the confessional booth, if he did.

Rhology said...

Fine, do what you want.
And I don't mean to be rude, but I'm tired of seeing people talk about it in this thread. Any further mention of it will result in the entire comment's deletion. Let's get back on topic, if anyone has any further on-topic comments.

Ben M said...
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Ben M said...
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Lvka said...

I'm afraid *demanding* celibacy from priests is NOT the Biblical premise: St Peter was married, and so were the brothers of the Lord (1 Corinthians 9:5). St. Paul himself does not demand it: 1 Timothy 3:2, 3:12.

Jnorm888 said...

The Orthodox they banned weren't bad at all. Triablog was just trigger happy on the ban button that year. They banned 2 or 3 EO's in 2008. Some of whom were simply defending me. What Triablog did was wrong, and they should be unbanned!




ICXC NIKA

Matthew D. Schultz said...

The Orthodox they banned weren't bad at all.

Yes they were. Look at the evidence for their behavior.

Triablog was just trigger happy on the ban button that year. They banned 2 or 3 EO's in 2008.

How is that "trigger happy"? All that you've done is applied an unsubstantiated label. And we've discussed the banning in this thread already. You're not moving the conversation anywhere.

What Triablog did was wrong, and they should be unbanned!

What you're doing is wrong, but I'm not going to suggest you be banned for it.

PeaceByJesus said...

This is another instance of my coming across on old but intriguing thread,

"the bottom line - does this church preach the Gospel? Does it teach that the filthy, spiritually dead, enemy of God, God-hating sinner can be reconciled to God and have peace with God by God's grace alone by repentance and faith alone in Christ alone as mediator for the forgiveness of sins? Ask any Eastern Orthodox, and make the question specific enough so as to eliminate wiggle room, and you'll find that the answer is a very clear no. Which makes the answer to the question, "Should I join this church?" pretty clear as well.

This is indeed key, as it pertains to sin, righteousness and judgment." While we often explain how one is justifed, the preparatory work is necessary (and which Reformers spoke on), seeking to bring souls to have an Is. 6 :5 revelation of themselves, and which work usually requires the greater labor.

The tendency of man is to resist seeing himself as one damned due to his sins before an infinitely just and almighty God, and destitute of any means by which he may escape eternal punishment in Hell-fire and gain eternal life life with God on the basis of any moral merit of his own - or his church, or anyone else - and so place all his faith in the mercy of God in Christ, trusting Him to save him by His sinless shed blood. (Rm. 3:9-5:1) And resulting in the "obedience of faith."

While some within institutionalized religion - which Rome and the EOs represent, as well as many mainline Prots may see thru the trappings of Saul's amour and lay hold of salvation thru faith in Christ, yet the system overall militates against it.

And which also relates to the issue of what is officially taught and what is effectually conveyed, about which much could be said.

The "tradition" of sola scriptura requires the kind of literalistic interpretation and preaching of the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation," (Eph. 1:13) as being the Word of God, and effects the regeneration from God with its effects, which confirm the word and message, showing the church to be that of the living God.

John said...

"Does it teach that the filthy, spiritually dead, enemy of God, God-hating sinner can be reconciled to God and have peace with God by God's grace alone by repentance and faith alone in Christ alone as mediator for the forgiveness of sins? Ask any Eastern Orthodox, and make the question specific enough so as to eliminate wiggle room, and you'll find that the answer is a very clear no. "

So you throw out a statement dripping in Protestant rhetoric, and the shared knowledge hundreds of years of development and disputes, and you expect someone from another tradition to just nod their head without any explanations or expansions of the terminology or contexts?

That's a bit like quoting the Nicean creed to a 1st century Christian, and asking them to immediately acquiesce or be damned to hell. There is a lot of shared knowledge and common understandings of concepts and terminology before you can hope for another tradition to accept your catchcrys.

Rhology said...

John,

It's biblical. If Protestantism happens to sound like that, so much the better for Protestantism.
And the modern EO has little excuse not to share the "knowledge (of) hundreds of years of development and disputes". EOx can read too.

John said...

The Nicean creed is biblical too, but it doesn't mean there isn't a lot of terminology that needs considerable unpacking. The Protestant statement above certainly isn't fully biblical in its terminlogy.

Rhology said...

John,

You apparently didn't check all the hyperlinks in the statement.

John said...

I'm not sure which hyperlinks you are referring to, but if you need hyperlinks, isn't that ceding the point that you needed a lot of support to unpack the statement?

Rhology said...

If you don't know what I'm referring to, that would explain your confusion.

See the original post, and look at the part that says this: does this church preach the Gospel? Does it teach that the filthy, spiritually dead, enemy of God, God-hating sinner can be reconciled to God and have peace with God by God's grace alone by repentance and faith alone in Christ alone as mediator for the forgiveness of sins?


Most of that text in the original post is hyperlinked to various Bible verses. I intentionally used explicitly biblical language for each of those statements. Please look at that and then we can talk if you still want to.

John said...

Just because a couple of words here matches a verse over there, and a few words here matches some words over there doesn't mean the entire statement is clearly biblical. That's just crude prooftexting.

PeaceByJesus said...

The only part that i can see that would allow for any discussion is "by repentance and faith alone in Christ alone," clarifying that the "faith alone" refers to faith being alone in instrumentally appropriating justification, as a sinner being destitute of any moral merit or means to be justified apart from the imputed righteousness of Christ. Which a lost soul really does not need to theologically comprehend much to be saved, but that he is
----------------
filthy -
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isaiah 64:6)

" As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" (Romans 3:10)

"Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." (Isaiah 6:5)
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spiritually dead, enemy of God -
" Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)" (Ephesians 2:3-5)
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God-hating sinner -
"For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;" (Titus 3:3-6)
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can be reconciled to God - " And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled" (Colossians 1:21)
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and have peace with God -
" Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" (Romans 5:1)

"And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." (Colossians 1:20)
------
Ctd below

PeaceByJesus said...

by God's grace alone by repentance and faith alone in Christ alone as mediator for the forgiveness of sins? -
" For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

" When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." (Acts 11:18)

" And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." (Acts 15:9)

" Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." (Romans 3:24-26)

" Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." (Romans 4:4-8)
-------------------
To which should be added,
by a faith which is not alone -
" My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28)

" For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come." (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)

" But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak." (Hebrews 6:9)

As for clarity, this is far clearer than trying to channel the nebulous thing called tradition, which exists but needs to be judged by the only transcendent objective authority which are assured wholly inspired of God.

John said...

"clarifying that the "faith alone" refers to faith being alone in instrumentally appropriating justification"

Then you would have much work to do in defining what you mean by justification (is it the same as James 2?), you would have work to do in defining your concept of "appropriating justification", which is sure to be different to Eastern Orthodox, then you would have to show that the verses you quote refer to being "alone in instrumentally appropriating justification", etc etc etc. In short, throwing out some verses into a different theological system doesn't prove the original premise.

PeaceByJesus said...

That is why i acknowledged it was the part that could warrant some discussion. Yet souls that were saved in Scripture did not need to know a lot of theology to do so, but they came to God as described, as damned, destitute and in desperate need of their "day of salvation," and were born again in the same day that they heard how to be saved. They were justifed by grace thru faith, as unGodly not Godly souls, but with a faith that overall followed its object.

Such is the "simplicity that is in Christ." (2Cor. 11:3) .