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Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
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PainPositive Offline
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Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
I want to use this thread to talk about Christian religious practices and if they are in accordance with the teachings of Christ and the Bible.

Some guidelines:
1. Don't attack someone's religion. If you disagree talk about the merits or dangers of the practices. Don't say "(Insert denomination) is evil."
2. Use references so if we don't know about a topic so we can read more about it from your viewpoint.
3. Respond at some length.

Some good topic ideas:
Female Preachers
Confession
Homosexuals in the congregation
The Pope being infallible when speaking from the throne
Baptism (who should be baptized)
Salvation
Prayer

I'll start on prayer. Prayer is important for all christians (or should be).

Christ was the master of prayer.
Quote:And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
Mark 1:35 King James Version (KJV)

Prayer is a resource for christians.
Quote:Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
James 5:16 King James Version (KJV)

You are to pray all the time.
Quote:Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 King James Version (KJV)

Let's discuss repeating prayers as is practiced by many denominations. (Hail Mary prayer, Jesus Prayer, Lord's Prayer, etc.) Catholics Priests say "Say 10 Hail Mary's." Orthodox monks pray the same prayer (Jesus Prayer) hundreds of times morning and night.

I'm really attracted to the Orthodox religion because I like the old style and how they have not let modern contemporary stuff seep in to their church. There is no rock-and-roll music for Jesus nonsense in Orthodox Churches. They seem to be the best in terms of keeping out the modern nonsense and don't have many of the rituals Catholics practice.

Recently though, my Orthodox friend sent me some info on prayer from the orthodox church and how to pray. This is the brochure.

https://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Articles_...ochure.pdf

It says to pray the "Jesus Prayer"

Quote:"LORD JESUS CHRIST SON OF
GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME A SINNER,"

Numerous Church Fathers tell us that the Jesus
Prayer is "essential" to our spiritual growth. It
proclaims our faith and humbles us by asking
mercy for our sinfulness and is thought to be as
old as the Church itself
.

Quote:Metropolitan Anthony Bloom says the Jesus
Prayer, “more than any other,” helps us to be able
to “stand in God’s presence.” This means that it
helps us to focus our mind exclusively on God
with “no other thought” occupying our mind but
the thought of God. At this moment when our
mind is totally concentrated on God, we discover
a very personal and direct relationship with Him.

Here is what the Christ says on praying in repetition:
Quote:"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."
Matthew 6:7

The *manner in which Christ tells us to pray after telling us not to be repetitive.
Quote: 9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11. Give us this day our daily bread.

12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Matthew 6:9-13 (King James Version)

The brochure says to repeat the "Jesus prayer" prayer hundreds of times.

Quote:Practice of the Jesus Prayer

The way our holy Fathers tell us to use the
Jesus Prayer is to say it over and over
hundreds of times as part of our daily
prayer rule.
It is best to add it to your
morning prayers as this is when the mind is
the quietest. Begin by saying it verbally
focusing on each word. Repeat it
continually for 15 minutes at first and then
expand to 30 minutes as you begin to see
the challenge in dealing with your
thoughts. Attention is important. Be sincere
in your prayer with contrition. It is that
simple!

I notice there are tons of quotes from saints in the brochure and other references but hardly any from the Bible or what Christ teaches us about prayer in the Bible. This is a red flag for me.

When I point out how these man-made practices/prayer contradict the Bible or the teachings of Christ my friends get angry at me. To that I say "If I wanted to say things over and over and practice rituals made by man I'd be a Catholic." (A bit of humor. My whole Dad's side of the family is Catholic.")

Seriously though I really don't understand how they put so much emphasis on these prayers/rituals because they are "As old as the church." when there are prayers older and taught to us by Christ himself in the Bible.

Since Jesus says not to repeat prayers over and over we should not use the Lord's Prayer in vain repetition either, but you can use it as template.

Quote:1. Exalt the father
2. Acknowledge his kingdom will come
3. Ask for what you need. (Food, water)
4. Ask for forgiveness/ Forgive others
5. Pray for protection from the devil and temptation
6. Give the lord Glory/power/honor
7. Praise Him and make your requests.
8. End in the name of Jesus Christ
"The Next Step for Growing Christians."

Anyway what do you guys think about repeating prayers and rituals in Churches?

Is it possible to say the same prayer (or words for that matter) 100 or more times without losing the meaning of the prayer and just babbling or is it a way to connect with God while calming your mind? Let me know your thoughts and remember to remain civil to each other.
06-05-2019 10:38 AM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
I’m not sure about the other stuff but I think prayer has value, even though I’m not super religious/conventionally spiritual. I think it’s good to vocalize gratitude, once you speak something into the world it becomes real and not just a neurochemical impusle (thought) in your brain circuitry
06-05-2019 11:12 AM
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Roosh Offline
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
This thread presupposes sola scriptura, that only the Bible is a valid source of God's word. The problem is that sola scriptura is not in the Bible! In other words, there is nothing in the Bible that says to only rely on the Bible.

I'm not arguing that we shouldn't rely on the Bible, but if a tradition or ritual is not in the Bible, that doesn't mean it's automatically wrong (though it very well could be). For example, performing the sign of the cross is not in the Bible, though millions of people do it daily. Should they stop doing it? How about the emitting of holy smoke in Orthodox churches that yields a fragrant aroma. Is that blasphemous?

Also consider that, in theory, after sola scriptura became the basis of Protestant thought, there should be just one interpretation of Christ, since the Bible is not changing, but since Protestantism, we've had more branches of Christianity than ever before! How can they all be correct?

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06-05-2019 11:27 AM
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Post: #4
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
@PainPositive

This is a good inquiry with relevant scripture.

As to repetitive prayer, my guess is that Jesus would be a lot less legalistic about the Bible than we are, and anything that aided in loving God more and loving each other more, he would approve of.

The key for me in the scripture you quoted was the word 'vain.'

I think he is warning against rote, thoughtless, repetitions done in a robotic manner.

This would be very different from a deeply contemplative use of the Jesus prayer or a Hail Mary, both which have a calming effect on the spirit at the same time as remaining focused on Jesus, the first one at least.

You are correct about liturgies that seem like auto-babble. The solution might be learning to focus on the meaning of the words instead of doing away with them.

A lot of practices creep into denominations that are specifically forbidden in the Bible. Icons and relics, both accepted in Catholicism and Orthodox traditions, are right on the edge of the worship of graven images, and yet it would be mean to begrudge them their practices as long as they get people closer to God.

Same thing with veneration of Mary, which is weird, but comes from a sincere place, and it is hard to see Jesus condemning people who loved his mom too.

When you get out on the edges of Protestantism, you have things like snake handlers and babbling in fake languages, both of which are literally in the Bible, but might not be the way to go.

Here you also have prosperity gospels, and people who pray for parking spots and stuff like that. So, they probably have scoured the Bible to find verses to back up what they are doing, and yet you get the feeling that these practices might not be the best use of a believer's time.

It's a dilemma, all right.

I will quote Pastor Howard Storm to sum it up: "Intention is everything."

“The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents.”

Carl Jung
06-05-2019 11:44 AM
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Post: #5
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
Thanks for your response Roosh,

Roosh Wrote:This thread presupposes sola scriptura, that only the Bible is a valid source of God's word. The problem is that sola scriptura is not in the Bible! In other words, there is nothing in the Bible that says to only rely on the Bible.

For those who don't know what "sola scriptura" is or what Roosh is referencing it's part of the "Five Pillars of Reformation" read more here.

Quote:"Sola Scriptura" — By Scripture Alone

The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as inspired by God, are the sole and sufficient authority in all matters of faith and practice. The written Word stands gloriously alone in its majesty. It testifies in God's name.

We reject Rome's authorities, which are "Holy Mother Church, the Apocryphal books, the (supposed) unanimous consent of the Fathers, the decrees of Councils, unwritten traditions, and the decisions of the Popes." See 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17.

Roosh Wrote:The problem is that sola scriptura is not in the Bible! In other words, there is nothing in the Bible that says to only rely on the Bible.

I think the question is not if we can only rely on the Bible but who has the final authority? (especially when our church/pastor/priest/pope contradicts the Bible.) What if our church says that homosexuality or adultery is ok? Who do you side with, the Word God promised us or the Church? The fact of the matter is most people do what their church and religious leader advises them to do. That is why we have the Bible. To have the final say.

The Bible does however say a lot about itself and it's authority.

2 Timothy 3:13-16 (KJV) Wrote:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Luke 21:33 (KJV) Wrote:Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (Christ)

Romans 15:4 (KJV) Wrote:For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Isaiah 40:8 (KJV) Wrote:The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

Hebrews 4:12 (KJV) Wrote:For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

1 Peter 1:25 (KJV) Wrote:But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.


There are more but I think these are enough to get an idea that the Word (who was made into flesh in the form of Jesus.) is the final authority. Notice below "the Word" and Christ are interchangeable. They are the same.
John 1:14 (KJV) Wrote:And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Roosh Wrote:I'm not arguing that we shouldn't rely on the Bible, but if a tradition or ritual is not in the Bible, that doesn't mean it's automatically wrong (though it very well could be). For example, performing the sign of the cross is not in the Bible, though millions of people do it daily. Should they stop doing it? How about the emitting of holy smoke in Orthodox churches that yields a fragrant aroma. Is that blasphemous?


These practices are only wrong if you can find where the Bible says it's bad. It's not bad to stand on one foot to pray, no. But when Christ said not to repeat prayers in vain repetition I believe those were his words and the church telling you do do that is wrong.

Roosh Wrote:Also consider that, in theory, after sola scriptura became the basis of Protestant thought, there should be just one interpretation of Christ, since the Bible is not changing, but since Protestantism, we've had more branches of Christianity than ever before! How can they all be correct?


They are not correct. Man is flawed and the Word is not. This is exactly why the written Word (The Bible) has to be a final authority. Churches, priests, saints and all men are sinners and cannot have more authority than the word. The reason there are so many branches of Christianity is because of the word and people not agreeing with the "mean parts" (Homosexuality, women, etc.)

For example some major denominations have female preachers and ignore the Bible when it comes to women teaching men. Others have homosexuals on the pulpit. Some even say "There are many ways to heaven." or I’m a Minister and a Mother—and I Had an Abortion

If the Word were followed to the letter these things would not have happened.
06-05-2019 01:21 PM
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Post: #6
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
^^ I agree with much of what you said. But...

Quote:I think the question is not if we can only rely on the Bible but who has the final authority?

God has the final authority, not the Bible. The Bible is the best tool we have to know Him and His word, but God is above the Bible. Be careful not to make an idol out of the sola scriptura doctrine, like how the Pharisees made an idol out of the law.

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06-05-2019 01:43 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(This post was last modified: 06-05-2019 04:13 PM by Radu Anghel.)
06-05-2019 04:09 PM
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Post: #8
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
The repetition of a short phrase, whether out loud or silently, does go back to the very earliest days of the Church. It was taught by many monks who achieved levels of asceticism and holiness unlike anything most people have experienced, and often included a verse from the Bible. The specific use of the "Jesus Prayer" as the standard "short saying to repeat" took a while to develop, and has been passed down for one simple reason...it works.

Humility is the our #1 defense against the attacks of the enemy, and the prayer encompasses the entire Gospel: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." It has the theology (He is our Lord and the Son of God), it has the acknowledgement that He alone has the power to grant mercy and forgiveness (have mercy on me), and it drills humility into our souls (me, a sinner).

I find it especially useful when my mind goes off the rails attacking someone and focusing on all their faults and failings, which pulls me off the path of focusing on the only sinner whose behavior I can control: me. The Church Fathers were all very insistent that by keeping our eyes on our own sins, repenting for them constantly and asking for mercy, it protects us not just from demonic attacks but also keeps us focused on spiritual growth - because God will reveal new and deeper layers of your own sinfulness the more you clear out some of the more explicit and obvious ones.

Like St. Paisios said, "If a man does not start to work on himself, then the devil will find another job for him: to seek for flaws in others."

Finally, the authority for Christian teaching is Apostolic tradition. Some of it is written (Scripture) and some of it is not (as per 2 Thessalonians 2:15). Just because something isn't in the Bible does not make it automatically wrong, though nothing we do can violate Scriptural doctrine. That is the standard used by the Fathers.

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(This post was last modified: 06-05-2019 05:46 PM by MichaelWitcoff.)
06-05-2019 05:44 PM
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Post: #9
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-05-2019 01:43 PM)Roosh Wrote:  ^^ I agree with much of what you said. But...

Quote:I think the question is not if we can only rely on the Bible but who has the final authority?

God has the final authority, not the Bible. The Bible is the best tool we have to know Him and His word, but God is above the Bible. Be careful not to make an idol out of the sola scriptura doctrine, like how the Pharisees made an idol out of the law.

Right, and so I would assume the use of the standard of 'judging by the fruits' should be used to determine 'the right' denominations. Would God have a corrupt church bear fruit to fool us?

Various denominations may not even have permanent authority, they may have only had the blessing of God for a season. Quakers for example were the reason that religious freedom exists in England, and by virtue America. Now, the silent worship branch of the denomination is just more like a Democrat propaganda wing.

Alternatively, Pentacostals and Charismatics are the fuel for 'revivals' in the south. Their over the top style brings in people who have zero attention span, or are ADD types that would be tortured by a Catholic or Orthodox liturgy. Is it the vehicle of the Gospel for the low attention span generation?

Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? Psalm 2:1 KJV
06-05-2019 06:20 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
Quote:Would God have a corrupt church bear fruit to fool us?

In order to separate the wheat from the chaff and to test for true believers, I don't see why not. But would he corrupt the "true" church, no. The true church (and everyone believes their own church is true) is infallible, though members of that church are not.

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06-05-2019 07:03 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
I would encourage everyone in this thread to keep in mind that while Christians can debate matters of doctrine all day (especially the differences between Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic theology) the fact is that being exactly correct on doctrine is not an essential part of being a Christian. Doctrine does not save. Faith in Christ saves. Doctrine is only profitable to the extent that it increases and strengthens faith. The Christian faith is remarkably deep and at the same time extremely simple to explain in brief (I personally view this as further evidence of its truth). A learned scholar can spend an entire lifetime studying the Bible and understanding its teachings, and yet at the end of the day the gospel message can also be understood and believed by a mentally retarded person.

The point is that it is not necessary to have a complete understanding of all matters of faith in order to be a good Christian, it is much more important to possess genuine faith and a repentant heart. I believe this is the main reason that God chose faith as the vehicle for salvation (as opposed to knowledge, personal righteousness, achievement, good works, etc...) - it is the one thing that all men can give, regardless of their station in world, and the one thing that can never be taken away by the vagaries and vicissitudes of life. Like Christ himself, genuine faith is humble and unchanging. So by all means, let us discuss matters of doctrine in an effort to better discern the truth of God revealed in scripture, but let us do so solely with the end goal of increasing our own faith and that of our Christian brothers, keeping foremost in mind the faith that unites us in Christ rather than the particular doctrinal disputes that divide us.

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06-05-2019 07:08 PM
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Post: #12
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-05-2019 07:03 PM)Roosh Wrote:  
Quote:Would God have a corrupt church bear fruit to fool us?

In order to separate the wheat from the chaff and to test for true believers, I don't see why not. But would he corrupt the "true" church, no. The true church (and everyone believes their own church is true) is infallible, though members of that church are not.

I agree that there will be separation and testing, but not via deception.

Quote:Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Corruption of a church or denomination would be a sign of the fruit it bears, especially if that Church is undergoing persecution.

Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? Psalm 2:1 KJV
(This post was last modified: 06-05-2019 08:14 PM by Dr. Howard.)
06-05-2019 08:07 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
Quote:I would encourage everyone in this thread to keep in mind that while Christians can debate matters of doctrine all day (especially the differences between Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic theology) the fact is that being exactly correct on doctrine is not an essential part of being a Christian. Doctrine does not save. Faith in Christ saves.

Fair point, though a friendly debate can help solidify or deepen faith, commit important things to memory, and even learn about other Christian branches. I know that if I start teaching from the Bible, I will encounter many counter-arguments from atheists or others with bad intentions. I don't want to end up like Jordan Peterson, who speaks of God but not in a clear way.

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06-05-2019 08:48 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
I have said it elsewhere but it is the truth - "Faith" as a concept is better understood in English as faithfulness, as in trusting in God no matter what, and keeping the commandments.

We have all been saved because God defeated the last enemy, death, but activating our "salvation" --- that is, cooperating with the one true God because he is the source all goodness --- is the ontological salvation, it is what "being saved" really means and yes it is ongoing. It is not mental assent or a one and done, as is so often offered up as an all too easy, cafeteria-like concept by modern day "christians."

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06-05-2019 09:21 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-05-2019 11:27 AM)Roosh Wrote:  This thread presupposes sola scriptura, that only the Bible is a valid source of God's word. The problem is that sola scriptura is not in the Bible! In other words, there is nothing in the Bible that says to only rely on the Bible.

I'm not arguing that we shouldn't rely on the Bible, but if a tradition or ritual is not in the Bible, that doesn't mean it's automatically wrong (though it very well could be). For example, performing the sign of the cross is not in the Bible, though millions of people do it daily. Should they stop doing it? How about the emitting of holy smoke in Orthodox churches that yields a fragrant aroma. Is that blasphemous?

Also consider that, in theory, after sola scriptura became the basis of Protestant thought, there should be just one interpretation of Christ, since the Bible is not changing, but since Protestantism, we've had more branches of Christianity than ever before! How can they all be correct?

These are good questions to be asking Roosh. I challenge you to also ponder in this that the bible also does not mention the trinity directly but implies it.

I could write up something really long addressing each individual point, but I know of resources which do a better job explaining it than I ever would.

https://www.equip.org/article/a-defense-...scriptura/

Quote:Sola Scriptura: Rejection of Tradition Does Not Necessitate Scandal

Kreeft’s claim that the rejection of the Roman Catholic view on infallible tradition leads to the scandal of denominationalism does not follow for many reasons.

First, this wrongly implies that all denominationalism is scandalous. Not necessarily so, as long as the denominations do not deny the essential doctrines of the Christian church and true spiritual unity with other believers in contrast to mere external organizational uniformity.

Nor can one argue successfully that unbelievers are unable to see spiritual unity. For Jesus declared: “This is how all [men] will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

Second, as orthodox Catholics know well, the scandal of liberalism is as great inside the Catholic church as it is outside of it. When Catholic apologists claim there is significantly more doctrinal agreement among Catholics than Protestants, they must mean between orthodox Catholics and all Protestants (orthodox and unorthodox) — which, of course, is not a fair comparison.

Only when one chooses to compare things like the mode and candidate for baptism, church government, views on the Eucharist, and other less essential doctrines are there greater differences among orthodox Protestants.

When, however, we compare the differences with orthodox Catholics and orthodox Protestants or with all Catholics and all Protestants on the more essential doctrines, there is no significant edge for Catholicism. This fact negates the value of the alleged infallible teaching Magisterium of the Roman Catholic church.

In point of fact, Protestants seem to do about as well as Catholics on unanimity of essential doctrines with only an infallible Bible and no infallible interpreters of it!

Third, orthodox Protestant “denominations,” though there be many, have not historically differed much more significantly than have the various “orders” of the Roman Catholic church.

Orthodox Protestants’ differences are largely over secondary issues, not primary (fundamental) doctrines. So this Catholic argument against Protestantism is self-condemning.

Fourth, as J. I. Packer noted, “the real deep divisions have been caused not by those who maintained sola Scriptura, but by those, Roman Catholic and Protestant alike, who reject it.” Further, “when adherents of sola Scriptura have split from each other the cause has been sin rather than Protestant biblicism….”14 Certainly this is often the case. A bad hermeneutic (method of interpreting Scripture) is more crucial to deviation from orthodoxy than is the rejection of an infallible tradition in the Roman Catholic church.

This is remarkable and is in fact in line with what Scorpion has written. So long as we hold the bible as the inherent word of God, whether you believe in sola sciptura or not, we can still spiritually commune together as having a united faith in Christ as our savior.

The kicker is in the last paragraph. I've pulled it out for hilarity:

Quote:Further, “when adherents of sola Scriptura have split from each other the cause has been sin rather than Protestant biblicism….”14 Certainly this is often the case. A bad hermeneutic (method of interpreting Scripture) is more crucial to deviation from orthodoxy than is the rejection of an infallible tradition in the Roman Catholic church.

This is a big one. Speaking from my experience with Lutheranism in America, all of the churches used to be in communion with one another. It wasn't until the latter half of the 19th century and then more recently that all major American Lutheran denominations schismed from one another.

First it was the WELS folks because they felt that their beliefs were the only correct ones and that the shouldn't commune with others who believe differently. While I like hard core traditionalism, I don't like how if someone doesn't believe similarly in secondary stuff like the eucharist, baptism, and church organization I can't commune with them. Ironically, their core beliefs such as faith in Christ as salvation and that the bible is the inherent word of God are completely the same with the LCMS church. Anywho, not being able to commune with others that share that same core beliefs are too limiting and I find is anathema to the message that Christ brought to the world.

There are other denominations out there who also believe this as well. Which again I feel is far too limiting and closed minded.

The worst however was the schism between the LCMS and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America which happened in the early 2000s. That was when they decided that gays should be allowed to be married, female clergy is ok, and that the bible isn't the inherent word of God.

Sin in my eyes isn't black and white, but is gray. I'd argue that the ELCA has greater sin (gays and female clergy) than the WELS one (not loving like minded Christians who differ in secondary beliefs).

Regardless, as an LCMS member. I could comfortably commune with different denominations (Orthodox included) simply on the basis that our primary beliefs are the same.

Just because the bible doesn't include bells and smells as a requirement, doesn't mean that it should be thrown away!

Oh and we totally do incense on high holidays Roosh. We just don't do it during the regularly church season Tongue

Shalom Alechem!
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
From that article:

"Only when one chooses to compare things like the mode and candidate for baptism, church government, views on the Eucharist, and other less essential doctrines are there greater differences among orthodox Protestants.

When, however, we compare the differences with orthodox Catholics and orthodox Protestants or with all Catholics and all Protestants on the more essential doctrines, there is no significant edge for Catholicism. This fact negates the value of the alleged infallible teaching Magisterium of the Roman Catholic church."

This quote is the whole problem in a nutshell. What Protestants are calling "less essential doctrines" are among the undisputed, easily-traceable, Biblically and patristically core doctrines of the ancient Christian faith. The mode of baptism is not a "less essential doctrine" any more than Church governance or the reality of Christ in the Eucharist are: there is a clear and solid line, from the Apostles up until the present day, demonstrating that these issues have never been up for debate. He'd actually have a stronger point calling the exact canon of Scripture a less essential doctrine, since that took more than 300 years to become "official" while the others were taught directly by the Apostles themselves.

There were topics that took a while to hammer out; in addition to the core canon of Scripture, there were also things like the essence/energy distinction, whether Christ had two natures or simply one nature composed of two parts, whether calling Mary the "Mother of God" was theologically correct or not, etc. But the reality of Christ in the Eucharist was professed by *every single Christian writer that we have any record of,* right up until the pseudo-gnostic Zwingli decided that all the sacraments were just "symbolic" instead of powerful vehicles of God's grace. There was no deviation of opinion on the reality of Christ in the Eucharist, as is clearly seen by the writings of the Apostles and all their students.

The same is true for Church governance. If you read the Apostolic Fathers (the direct disciples of the Apostles), you will see that the bishop's leadership, supported by the priests and the deacons, is never even in question. There is no debate over it. St. Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius of Antioch, and St. Polycarp of Smyrna - each of whom had one of the Apostles for his priest, and was directly ordained by one - have their writings so saturated with these "less essential doctrines" that you would probably have been excommunicated from the ancient Church simply for calling them that. Many of the most beautiful, enlightening writings of the first- and second- century Church are contained in the book "Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers" which I highly recommend. it's by Maxwell Staniforth and you can find it on Amazon.

The mode of baptism has also never been up for debate. It's a series of three immersions (or sprinkling on the head if immersion isn't possible) in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We have a document from the first-century Church, called the Didache, which was completed before the Bible was done being written and clearly explains how the Apostles taught to baptize. You can find the Didache easily online, and it's also included in the book I just mentioned.

Lastly, let's examine this statement: "This fact negates the value of the alleged infallible teaching Magisterium of the Roman Catholic church."

When the author refers to the "Magisterium of the Roman Catholic church," I assume he's talking about the Church Fathers *who gave us the Bible in the first place.* I certainly don't believe in the infallibility or validity of the post-schism Roman Catholic Church, but for the first thousand years of Christianity, there was only one Church: the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church which later split into Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. The dogmas of the Ecumenical Councils are certainly infallible, and gave the world such language as "fully God and fully man" - language often used by Protestants without realizing who dogmatized the theology to begin with. In fact, we wouldn't have a Bible at all if it weren't for the Church Fathers - and we wouldn't know the authorship of the Gospels either (since the most ancient manuscripts do not contain the names Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The mere fact that Protestants agree there are four Gospel accounts, and those are the authors, means they have accepted the traditions of the Church Fathers - because the canon of Scripture itself IS a Tradition of the Church.

And given that the individual pieces of the Bible weren't done being written until St. John wrote Revelation at the end of the first century, the first several decades of Christians never had anything called a "Bible" at all. If Pentecost occurred in 33 A.D. and the last piece of Scripture wasn't written until 95 A.D. or so - a historical fact - then it's fairly clear that the Church existed before the Bible, rather than the Church being *based on* the Bible. This is why St. Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 that the Church should follow both kinds of Apostolic traditions: those committed to writing (later collected in a book called the Bible), and those passed on orally (what we call Holy Tradition, and was recorded in many non-Biblical ancient Christian writings).

This is why my priest has said that, "trying to follow the Bible without being part of the Church is like taking the heart out of the body and mistaking it for the whole thing."

When someone gets to the point where they're using a book someone else gave them in order to prove that the people who gave them the book are wrong about what the book means, they have strayed far from the path and are not in any sort of "unity" with the Church that the Apostles planted. It would be like insisting Cujo was intended to be a cat, and calling Stephen King wrong for saying it was a dog.

We also have to look at this concept of "spiritual unity." The "spiritual unity" of which many Protestants speak is really code for "be really nice and affirm each others' belief systems, even if those beliefs are heretical and wrong."

But the Scriptures do not tell us to have "unity" with heretics. We can certainly be nice to each other, and in fact my favorite Protestant essay is probably John Wesley's "Letter To A Roman Catholic" which he wrote on the very topic of how Christians of various denominations ought to interact with each other despite doctrinal differences. I agree with what he wrote completely.

But speaking to each other in a respectful way is not the same thing as having "unity" or pretending we are part of the same Church. I have many Protestant friends and am deeply indebted to Protestants for introducing me to the Scriptures and Christianity in the first place; I'd never be where I am now without them. But at the end of the day, their system is simply not what the Apostles taught. Some are closer than others of course (High-church Anglicanism is probably the closest, and Unitarian Universalism is by far the farthest), but the Church Fathers were clear on these issues.

I know that a Protestant hearing these words may take it as harsh and aggressive, because that's exactly how it sounded to me when I was an inquirer into Orthodoxy. But at the end of the day, it's the truth - and anyone who reads through the Church Fathers with an open mind and a genuine curiosity to learn will eventually come to realize it.

May God bless and illuminate you all on your journey.

Return Of Kings contributor and best-selling author of "On The Mason And Their Lies."
(This post was last modified: 06-06-2019 03:53 AM by MichaelWitcoff.)
06-06-2019 03:03 AM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-05-2019 11:44 AM)debeguiled Wrote:  @PainPositive

Quote:As to repetitive prayer, my guess is that Jesus would be a lot less legalistic about the Bible than we are, and anything that aided in loving God more and loving each other more, he would approve of.

I'm not sure about this. New Age churches use this as an excuse to so all kinds of things in the name of "God's love" (again, homos).

Quote:The key for me in the scripture you quoted was the word 'vain.'

I think he is warning against rote, thoughtless, repetitions done in a robotic manner.

This would be very different from a deeply contemplative use of the Jesus prayer or a Hail Mary, both which have a calming effect on the spirit at the same time as remaining focused on Jesus, the first one at least.

I think this is right. I can't see how saying it hundreds of times in a sincere non-reperitous way could be possible. Maybe for some monks, but I think for most people no. BUT the way I've started using is is at Roosh's advice. When a girl walks past me, asks me to workout with her in the gym (this only started happening since I've started reading my Bible and praying again), or texts me to come over at night. I have to delete the message and contact quickly while paying in repetition to resist temptation.

Quote:A lot of practices creep into denominations that are specifically forbidden in the Bible. Icons and relics, both accepted in Catholicism and Orthodox traditions, are right on the edge of the worship of graven images, and yet it would be mean to begrudge them their practices as long as they get people closer to God.

It may begrudge some people but we're shouldn't be worried about how we feel towards God's commandments. If it's specifically forbidden in the Bible it shouldn't be practiced whether it's in "good faith" or not. We have to do our best to follow The Word correctly and as best as we can.

Quote:Same thing with veneration of Mary, which is weird, but comes from a sincere place, and it is hard to see Jesus condemning people who loved his mom too.

Again intention is not everything. "Holy Mary Mother of God" is how my Grandmother prays. Mother of God? Mary played a very small part in the Bible and barely said anything in it. She is not the mother of God and should not be worshiped or prayed to.

Quote:When you get out on the edges of Protestantism, you have things like snake handlers and babbling in fake languages, both of which are literally in the Bible, but might not be the way to go.

This is not really the case. I could go into why snake handling is wrong because of it's basically "testing God" but I think most Christians know you shouldn't handle snakes. Those verses are about God's protection. Paul was bitten by a snake and no harm came to him but he wasn't playing with it when he was bitten.

Quote:Here you also have prosperity gospels, and people who pray for parking spots and stuff like that. So, they probably have scoured the Bible to find verses to back up what they are doing, and yet you get the feeling that these practices might not be the best use of a believer's time.

Yeah man I hear that. That's what I want to use this thread for. To see what we can come up with when we reason together. My intention here is to be stronger in faith and fellowship and before I made this thread I asked God to calm my argumentative nature and to help me make this thread in good faith.

Quote:I will quote Pastor Howard Storm to sum it up: "Intention is everything."

Intention is something but certainly not everything. "Some of the most horrible things imagined have been done with the best intentions." (Paraphrase from Jurassic park 2 or something haha)

Thanks for the response.
PP
06-06-2019 04:52 AM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-05-2019 05:44 PM)MichaelWitcoff Wrote:  The repetition of a short phrase, whether out loud or silently, does go back to the very earliest days of the Church. It was taught by many monks who achieved levels of asceticism and holiness unlike anything most people have experienced, and often included a verse from the Bible. The specific use of the "Jesus Prayer" as the standard "short saying to repeat" took a while to develop, and has been passed down for one simple reason...it works.

Humility is the our #1 defense against the attacks of the enemy, and the prayer encompasses the entire Gospel: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." It has the theology (He is our Lord and the Son of God), it has the acknowledgement that He alone has the power to grant mercy and forgiveness (have mercy on me), and it drills humility into our souls (me, a sinner).

I find it especially useful when my mind goes off the rails attacking someone and focusing on all their faults and failings, which pulls me off the path of focusing on the only sinner whose behavior I can control: me. The Church Fathers were all very insistent that by keeping our eyes on our own sins, repenting for them constantly and asking for mercy, it protects us not just from demonic attacks but also keeps us focused on spiritual growth - because God will reveal new and deeper layers of your own sinfulness the more you clear out some of the more explicit and obvious ones.

Like St. Paisios said, "If a man does not start to work on himself, then the devil will find another job for him: to seek for flaws in others."

Finally, the authority for Christian teaching is Apostolic tradition. Some of it is written (Scripture) and some of it is not (as per 2 Thessalonians 2:15). Just because something isn't in the Bible does not make it automatically wrong, though nothing we do can violate Scriptural doctrine. That is the standard used by the Fathers.

Thank you for this explanation. It's the best I've heard so far and I see the value in the Jesus Prayer. Maybe I should have been more clear that I don't think the payer itself is bad just using it in repetitious way is can be in vain, but certainly not always.

I don't know enough about Apostolic tradition as a whole yet but I do know many traditions that are in direct conflict with scripture. I guess it's up to each of us personally to know the Scripture and tradition well so we can tell the the difference.

Hopefully this thread will help answer some of our questions about the different traditions. I want to use whatever resource I can to be closer to Him so if these traditions are good and not in conflict with Scripture I want to use them.

Thanks
PP
06-06-2019 05:13 AM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-06-2019 05:13 AM)PainPositive Wrote:  
(06-05-2019 05:44 PM)MichaelWitcoff Wrote:  The repetition of a short phrase, whether out loud or silently, does go back to the very earliest days of the Church. It was taught by many monks who achieved levels of asceticism and holiness unlike anything most people have experienced, and often included a verse from the Bible. The specific use of the "Jesus Prayer" as the standard "short saying to repeat" took a while to develop, and has been passed down for one simple reason...it works.

Humility is the our #1 defense against the attacks of the enemy, and the prayer encompasses the entire Gospel: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." It has the theology (He is our Lord and the Son of God), it has the acknowledgement that He alone has the power to grant mercy and forgiveness (have mercy on me), and it drills humility into our souls (me, a sinner).

I find it especially useful when my mind goes off the rails attacking someone and focusing on all their faults and failings, which pulls me off the path of focusing on the only sinner whose behavior I can control: me. The Church Fathers were all very insistent that by keeping our eyes on our own sins, repenting for them constantly and asking for mercy, it protects us not just from demonic attacks but also keeps us focused on spiritual growth - because God will reveal new and deeper layers of your own sinfulness the more you clear out some of the more explicit and obvious ones.

Like St. Paisios said, "If a man does not start to work on himself, then the devil will find another job for him: to seek for flaws in others."

Finally, the authority for Christian teaching is Apostolic tradition. Some of it is written (Scripture) and some of it is not (as per 2 Thessalonians 2:15). Just because something isn't in the Bible does not make it automatically wrong, though nothing we do can violate Scriptural doctrine. That is the standard used by the Fathers.

Thank you for this explanation. It's the best I've heard so far and I see the value in the Jesus Prayer. Maybe I should have been more clear that I don't think the payer itself is bad just using it in repetitious way is can be in vain, but certainly not always.

I don't know enough about Apostolic tradition as a whole yet but I do know many traditions that are in direct conflict with scripture. I guess it's up to each of us personally to know the Scripture and tradition well so we can tell the the difference.

Hopefully this thread will help answer some of our questions about the different traditions. I want to use whatever resource I can to be closer to Him so if these traditions are good and not in conflict with Scripture I want to use them.

Thanks
PP

Happy to help. There's a book called "On The Apostolic Traditions," by St. Hippolytus of Rome, that you might be interested to check out. He was a leader of the Church at Rome in the third century, who basically compiled everything he could that had been passed down from the Apostles. That's mostly what Orthodoxy is: receiving something from the generation before you, and then passing it down to the next. This is how the Church preserves itself from theological error and guarantees that nothing is being added or changed from the initial first-century teachings.

Return Of Kings contributor and best-selling author of "On The Mason And Their Lies."
(This post was last modified: 06-06-2019 05:40 AM by MichaelWitcoff.)
06-06-2019 05:39 AM
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Post: #20
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
You let me intrigued with "female preachers", do they truly exist?, coming from a person that has been in churches all his life (my father is a deacon, I was an altar boy), I have never seen a single one, or perhaps you are talking about nuns?.
06-06-2019 05:48 AM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-06-2019 04:52 AM)PainPositive Wrote:  [quote='debeguiled' pid='1988714' dateline='1559753069']
@PainPositive

Quote:As to repetitive prayer, my guess is that Jesus would be a lot less l

...

Thanks for the response.
PP

Just to touch quickly on the snake handling preachers. The number of churches that do this is incredibly small . I know where 3 of the churches are that are on this list and they are all congregations of maybe 100 or less. The one that is nearest me is also the most famous. Its run out of what looks like a large shed when you drive by it from the road. The town itself has 10,000 people probably 40 of which go to this church. However the preacher and his father before him are the ones that are on the news nationally quite often.

It makes for great television (they also drink poison and put their hands in fire) and a good stereotype of both extremist protestants and backwards hillbillies but is a minute movement.

It alludes to my previous post about persecution as part of testing a denomination. Major News outlets fawn over the Pope and make his appearances national news stories, pretend that the orthodox church doesn't exist and goes out of its way to paint Evangelical protestants as either members of snake handling churches or Westboro baptists. If you believe in a Globalist agenda, is there a reason why Catholics are the Christian denomination that gets the "puff piece" treatment?

Bringing it back on topic though, "Religious Practices, are they Biblical?" The snake handlers and pentacostals are doing something that they will point to exact passages of the bible and say "there, that is why we do this" so I would say that their practices are very Biblical when looking at it objectively (remember the test is "is it Biblical" not "is it right").

Contrast it with Catholic rituals (I don't know enough about Orthodox or I'd pick on them as well). How much of it is "biblical" and how much of it is "tradition" or "decree". Did the Bible say the official language is Latin?

Overall, testing religious rituals by being biblical, starts off with a Protestant slant as that is the authority there. Catholic, and Orthodox rituals have a lot of non-biblical elements but it makes sense because that's not the total authority. Just like how the Pope can re-write the Lord's Prayer Catholics believe he has the authority to do so.

Maybe re-defining it as "Does a religious ritual match the authority of that denomination" would be a more even playing field.

Our own personal test then becomes, do I believe the authority of this Church to be true and am I willing to submit to it as an agent of God?

Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? Psalm 2:1 KJV
06-06-2019 06:20 AM
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Post: #22
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-06-2019 05:39 AM)MichaelWitcoff Wrote:  
(06-06-2019 05:13 AM)PainPositive Wrote:  
(06-05-2019 05:44 PM)MichaelWitcoff Wrote:  The repetition of a short phrase, whether out loud or silently, does go back to the very earliest days of the Church. It was taught by many monks who achieved levels of asceticism and holiness unlike anything most people have experienced, and often included a verse from the Bible. The specific use of the "Jesus Prayer" as the standard "short saying to repeat" took a while to develop, and has been passed down for one simple reason...it works.

Humility is the our #1 defense against the attacks of the enemy, and the prayer encompasses the entire Gospel: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." It has the theology (He is our Lord and the Son of God), it has the acknowledgement that He alone has the power to grant mercy and forgiveness (have mercy on me), and it drills humility into our souls (me, a sinner).

I find it especially useful when my mind goes off the rails attacking someone and focusing on all their faults and failings, which pulls me off the path of focusing on the only sinner whose behavior I can control: me. The Church Fathers were all very insistent that by keeping our eyes on our own sins, repenting for them constantly and asking for mercy, it protects us not just from demonic attacks but also keeps us focused on spiritual growth - because God will reveal new and deeper layers of your own sinfulness the more you clear out some of the more explicit and obvious ones.

Like St. Paisios said, "If a man does not start to work on himself, then the devil will find another job for him: to seek for flaws in others."

Finally, the authority for Christian teaching is Apostolic tradition. Some of it is written (Scripture) and some of it is not (as per 2 Thessalonians 2:15). Just because something isn't in the Bible does not make it automatically wrong, though nothing we do can violate Scriptural doctrine. That is the standard used by the Fathers.

Thank you for this explanation. It's the best I've heard so far and I see the value in the Jesus Prayer. Maybe I should have been more clear that I don't think the payer itself is bad just using it in repetitious way is can be in vain, but certainly not always.

I don't know enough about Apostolic tradition as a whole yet but I do know many traditions that are in direct conflict with scripture. I guess it's up to each of us personally to know the Scripture and tradition well so we can tell the the difference.

Hopefully this thread will help answer some of our questions about the different traditions. I want to use whatever resource I can to be closer to Him so if these traditions are good and not in conflict with Scripture I want to use them.

Thanks
PP

Happy to help. There's a book called "On The Apostolic Traditions," by St. Hippolytus of Rome, that you might be interested to check out. He was a leader of the Church at Rome in the third century, who basically compiled everything he could that had been passed down from the Apostles. That's mostly what Orthodoxy is: receiving something from the generation before you, and then passing it down to the next. This is how the Church preserves itself from theological error and guarantees that nothing is being added or changed from the initial first-century teachings.

I think the scriptures themselves are an example of this. It is passed down from the Prophets and the Apostles.

I'd think that all significant theological teachings would have their parallel's in the written word of God.

And not simply be entirely oral. How to distinguish traditions of men that make void the word of God and that which is ultimately from God.

The Pharisees were guilty of claiming their own "apostolic succession" of oral tradition that is traced back to Moses and passed down that culminated in the Talmud that rendered void the word of God.
06-06-2019 06:51 AM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
We are only just starting talking about faith seriously on this forum and I am already exhausted.

“The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents.”

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06-06-2019 11:59 AM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-06-2019 11:59 AM)debeguiled Wrote:  We are only just starting talking about faith seriously on this forum and I am already exhausted.

We will single-handedly prove that Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox can share one space and find common ground without starting a war.

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06-06-2019 12:37 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
When people say "All you need is faith," it reminds me of leftists who say "All you need is love." Yes, love is what you need as it inspires good behavior, but those who repeat this slogan tend not to behave well. They reduce love to carnal and temporary lust, and don't really understand what love is. They set false equivalencies where their love is equal to my love regardless of how much I've sacrificed or worked for my love. Love serves a function, and Christ displayed the highest amount of love by suffering and dying for the sins of the world. Faith likewise serves a function, and it inspires good behavior that is proof of a person's righteousness.

Doctrine is the function at work, and it begins with faith. Well, actually it begins with humility because humility is the empty vessel in the heart that is filled with faith. Doctrine is the straight and narrow path which we must tread. The doctrine of Christ is to have faith, repent, be baptized, and receive the sanctification of the Holy Ghost. What you need is faith, yes, but that faith isn't much help if it doesn't do anything, and if it doesn't lead to these other things. Each step is achieved by prayer, as the personal and collective gateway communication with God.
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