Protestantism vs Orthodoxy

rvco

Pigeon
Hello!

As a Protestant, I am very interested in hearing the criticisms and critiques Orthodox Christians have of Protestant theology.

Shoot!
 

Lawrence87

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Okay I'll give it a shot

Sola Scriptura is self contradictory. It posits that scripture is the only source of doctrine. Where is that doctrine in the scripture? If you look it actually says the opposite:
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle." - 2 Thessalonians 2:15

Also to assert the authority of the scriptures is to assert the authority of Church tradition. The New Testament canon did not exist for the first couple of centuries of Christianity. It wasn't like there were just the NT texts just waiting for someone to put them all into one book. There were many texts circulating at the time, put forward by heretical sects that taught all kinds of outlandish doctrines. The Orthodox church held to traditions about which of these texts were genuine. Now the advocate of Sola Scriptura, either has to deny the authority of tradition, in which case the NT could just be a totally random sample of these early Christian writings and thus doubt is cast over the whole faith, or there is value in the traditions that preserved the genuine texts. If the traditions of the church can be guided by the Holy Spirit to preserve the canon, why would it be that this would be the only regard in which it guides the traditions?

Sola Fide is disproved by Sola Scriptura:

"work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" - Phillipians 2:12

"Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." - James 2:17

'Once saved always saved' is also refuted by scripture:

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." - 1 Corinthians 1:18

Salvation is an ongoing process...

I'll leave it there for now at let others pick up where I left off...
 

rvco

Pigeon
Okay @Lawrence87 - let me take on your criticisms one by one.

(i) Sola Scriptura is contradicted by Scripture - thus proving it contradictory.

(ii) Sola Fide is disproved by Sola Scriptura.

Let's go.

(i) Here's an excellent short disproval of your argument - https://www.bible.ca/sola-scriptura...ture will "equip us PARTIALLY for good works".

(ii) Working out your salvation with fear in trembling does not refute this concept. It's simply tells you to give your faith when you want and be scared as you make your decision. Likewise, lordship salvationists like me believe that faith isn't just acquiescence, it is a change of nature that produces good works. Salvation being an ongoing process is irrelevant; God might choose who he wills, give them faith, and make it a process.
 

Lawrence87

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Okay @Lawrence87 - let me take on your criticisms one by one.

(i) Sola Scriptura is contradicted by Scripture - thus proving it contradictory.

(ii) Sola Fide is disproved by Sola Scriptura.

Let's go.

(i) Here's an excellent short disproval of your argument - https://www.bible.ca/sola-scriptura-anti-refuted-2-timothy-3-16.htm#:~:text=Sola Scriptura is proven by 2 Timothy 3:16-17.,scripture will "equip us PARTIALLY for good works".

(ii) Working out your salvation with fear in trembling does not refute this concept. It's simply tells you to give your faith when you want and be scared as you make your decision. Likewise, lordship salvationists like me believe that faith isn't just acquiescence, it is a change of nature that produces good works. Salvation being an ongoing process is irrelevant; God might choose who he wills, give them faith, and make it a process.

There is no refutation offered to the problem that the authority of the scriptures is an extension of the authority of the church. The Orthodox church preserved the NT canon for 3 centuries, despite there being many other texts (look at the Nag Hammadi texts for example). If the traditions of the Church have no value, then we cannot trust that they preserved the scriptures correctly. If the Holy Spirit inspired the church to preserve the genuine texts, and denounce the false, then you are saying that there is value in tradition. Either way scripture alone is insufficient.

Well I would agree that faith necessitates works, if you believe in Christ as the saviour then you will wish to follow His commandments which require works of love towards one's neighbour and God.
 

rvco

Pigeon
Well I would agree that faith necessitates works, if you believe in Christ as the saviour then you will wish to follow His commandments which require works of love towards one's neighbour and God.

As a Presbyterian, one understands that one's behavior is related to one's nature and one's nature can only be properly modified by an act of God, thus turning a sinful wretch into a saint. This leads to genuine good works.

There is no refutation offered to the problem that the authority of the scriptures is an extension of the authority of the church. The Orthodox church preserved the NT canon for 3 centuries, despite there being many other texts (look at the Nag Hammadi texts for example). If the traditions of the Church have no value, then we cannot trust that they preserved the scriptures correctly. If the Holy Spirit inspired the church to preserve the genuine texts, and denounce the false, then you are saying that there is value in tradition. Either way scripture alone is insufficient.

There are a variety of mechanisms Protestant Churches have to determine actual original texts that do not involve having to go through the Early Church's teachings. It's called biblical criticism - look it up.
 

Lawrence87

Woodpecker
Orthodox
There are a variety of mechanisms Protestant Churches have to determine actual original texts that do not involve having to go through the Early Church's teachings. It's called biblical criticism - look it up.

I don't think you understand my argument.

Modern Biblical criticism (let's just assume it's validity for the sake of this argument) did not exist at the time of the canonization of the NT. Yet through the power of the Holy Spirit the Orthodox church canonized the NT. Given that they didn't have Biblical criticism (there wasn't a Bible yet) at the time, how did the church canonize the right scriptures if not being inspired in their traditions?

Thus you have to explain how and why God granted the church the grace to preserve the right scriptures in the NT, but allowed them to fall into error on countless other fronts?

Does not Christ say that the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church? Protestantism posits that it was prevailed against pretty much instantly and was only redeemed in the Reformation, yet somehow managed to preserve accurately, precisely the right texts that are relied upon by Protestants...
 

Lawrence87

Woodpecker
Orthodox
There is also the question of why if the Scriptures alone are sufficient there are now hundreds of thousands of denominations all of whom claim to base themselves in scripture? Surely the opposite would be the case if the scriptures were sufficient, everyone would agree and you'd have unification rather than fracturing.
 

rvco

Pigeon
Modern Biblical criticism (let's just assume it's validity for the sake of this argument) did not exist at the time of the canonization of the NT. Yet through the power of the Holy Spirit the Orthodox church canonized the NT. Given that they didn't have Biblical criticism (there wasn't a Bible yet) at the time, how did the church canonize the right scriptures if not being inspired in their traditions?

Just because it canonized certain scriptures that were perceived as being correct (the Orthodox Deutercanon is valueless, just so you know) does not mean its interpretation of them was correct.

Thus you have to explain how and why God granted the church the grace to preserve the right scriptures in the NT, but allowed them to fall into error on countless other fronts?

Preserving the right scriptures by an act of either luck or by virtue of the Holy Spirit's guidance does not imply correct interpretation. You're not going to Hell in my worldview, Larry. That doesn't make you correct.

There is also the question of why if the Scriptures alone are sufficient there are now hundreds of thousands of denominations all of whom claim to base themselves in scripture? Surely the opposite would be the case if the scriptures were sufficient, everyone would agree and you'd have unification rather than fracturing.

A variety of reasons:

(i) Geography - Protestant denominations often assign themselves to a particular geographic area as a non-competition mechanism despite having virtually identical theologies.

(ii) Universal priesthood of the believers - Unlike more centralized denominations like Orthodoxy and Catholicism, Protestants believe in developing unique, private interpretations of scripture and constantly doubting religious mainstreams. If one were to assume that there are three groups (Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestants United), if Orthodox and Catholicism were wrong and every denomination but one Protestant denomination is wrong, the last Protestant denomination is the true Church.

(iii) Diversity of early Christian thought - Early Christians, especially heretical Nestorians, were not united either. Orthodoxy was one denomination among many.
 

lskdfjldsf

Pelican
Orthodox Catechumen
Gold Member
I don't even think most Protestants believe in Sola Scriptura these days, so it's a bit of a moot point. Acceptance of homosexuality, female leadership, Zionism (a fundamental misunderstanding of the Old/New Covenants) in varying degrees are the norm, rather than the exception. Scripture has become a backdrop from which doctrine can be conveniently hand-selected or discarded based on personal preference.

This may not have been the intent of the first Protestants, but the result is the same -- literally tens of thousands of denominations, most of which scarcely resemble what Christ and the Apostles established. It's like filling out a long questionnaire which parts of the Bible you do and do not agree with, then being shuttled off to a like-minded group. Jumping around from one denomination to the next is common; membership and beliefs fluttering around like leaves in the wind.
 

Lawrence87

Woodpecker
Orthodox
If the Orthodox interpretation of the scriptures is wrong, why did it manage to preserve the exact right ones that you happen to use? Luck? Divine inspiration? Which is it? Does God work through the church or not? If not then why even value the scriptures that it canonized?

You are saying the church that gave you the Bible you use are wrong, they interpret it wrong, they fell into error, so on and so forth... But you trust that it correctly canonized all the right scriptures. So the Holy Spirit favoured them not in their interpretation, nor in any of their other traditions, just in the list of books that they used and nothing more?
 

rvco

Pigeon
I don't even think most Protestants believe in Sola Scriptura these days, so it's a bit of a moot point. Acceptance of homosexuality, female leadership, Zionism (a fundamental misunderstanding of the Old/New Covenants) in varying degrees are the norm, rather than the exception. Scripture has become a backdrop from which doctrine can be conveniently hand-selected or discarded based on personal preference.

Refer to my previous comment responding to Lawrence. The Universal Priesthood of the Believers bit.

This may not have been the intent of the first Protestants, but the result is the same -- literally tens of thousands of denominations, most of which scarcely resemble what Christ and the Apostles established. It's like filling out a long questionnaire which parts of the Bible you do and do not agree with, then being shuttled off to a like-minded group. Jumping around from one denomination to the next is common; membership and beliefs fluttering around like leaves in the wind.

You seem to make the assumption Christ established Orthodoxy and Catholicism. You'll have to back it up.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Pelican
Orthodox
There are many good criticisms of Protestantism, but as an Orthodox inquirer, you need not worry yourself about them.

The best thing you can do, right now, is to remove yourself from intellectual arguments. Seek an Orthodox parish and attend a few Divine Liturgies. Talk with the priest, and get to know some of the parishioners. Don't just attend one parish -- try a few.

The best rejoinder against Protestant heresies is to experience Orthodoxy. Christ is in our midst!

And for those of us who are Orthodox, read the words of St. Theophan the Recluse:

"You ask, will the heterodox be saved... Why do you worry about them? They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such a concern. Study yourself and your own sins... I will tell you one thing, however: should you, being Orthodox and possessing the Truth in its fullness, betray Orthodoxy, and enter a different faith, you will lose your soul forever."

The best way to win the Protestants over to our side is to live as holy examples.
 

rvco

Pigeon
If the Orthodox interpretation of the scriptures is wrong, why did it manage to preserve the exact right ones that you happen to use? Luck? Divine inspiration? Which is it? Does God work through the church or not? If not then why even value of the scriptures that it canonized?

You are saying the church that gave you the Bible you use are wrong, they interpret it wrong, they fell into error, so on and so forth... But you trust that it correctly canonized all the right scriptures. So the Holy Spirit favoured them not in their interpretation, nor in any of their other traditions, just in the list of books that they used and nothing more?

Because it doesn't. You use several NT books we don't have. It's possible several books you preserved were done so correctly. Orthodoxy managed to preserve all of the correct ones with some false ones to spare. That doesn't refute my point.

The Holy Spirit isn't the only force involved. Orthodox Christian churches are still run by fallible men.

@MichaelWitcoff - Both.
 

Aboulia

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Oh look it's this thread again.
Just because it canonized certain scriptures that were perceived as being correct (the Orthodox Deutercanon is valueless, just so you know) does not mean its interpretation of them was correct.
Are you honestly putting forth that those compiling the scriptures, didn't actually understand their meaning? What do you think they did, use some proto-Pentacostal Ouiji board to point at specific books?

Protestants believe in developing unique, private interpretations of scripture and constantly doubting religious mainstreams.

2 Peter 1:20

As a Presbyterian, one understands that one's behavior is related to one's nature and one's nature can only be properly modified by an act of God, thus turning a sinful wretch into a saint. This leads to genuine good works.

To be consistent, in this view, God not only made us perfect in the beginning, but also caused the fall in your eyes. Anathema.

We don't have these threads anymore, as nothing good ever comes from them. To have a debate/discussion involves specifics. You bring nothing worth discussing with "I'm a Protestant, and therefore my beliefs are right, debate me".

 

MichaelWitcoff

Hummingbird
Orthodox
Because it doesn't. You use several NT books we don't have. It's possible several books you preserved were done so correctly. Orthodoxy managed to preserve all of the correct ones with some false ones to spare. That doesn't refute my point.

The Holy Spirit isn't the only force involved. Orthodox Christian churches are still run by fallible men.

@MichaelWitcoff - Both.
It doesn’t sound like “both.” So far it looks like you pretended to be inquiring but were just waiting for your opportunity to “teach” us why we are all “wrong.” If you want to learn, shouldn’t you be asking questions rather than giving lectures?
 

Lawrence87

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Because it doesn't. You use several NT books we don't have. It's possible several books you preserved were done so correctly. Orthodoxy managed to preserve all of the correct ones with some false ones to spare. That doesn't refute my point.

The Holy Spirit isn't the only force involved. Orthodox Christian churches are still run by fallible men.

Which New Testament books do the Orthodox use that Protestants don't?

I think you are getting confused with the Old Testament, the Orthodox use the Septuagint which is what the NT authors quote from most often...

You are wrong in your assertion that the Orthodox NT is different. Do you think the Orthodox Church was guided by the Holy Spirit to preserve the NT that you use? Or was it luck?
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
You seem to make the assumption Christ established Orthodoxy and Catholicism. You'll have to back it up.
My Church is the one that wrote the bible which says that He created our Church.
Because it doesn't. You use several NT books we don't have.
Literally not true, we both have 27 NT books.
It's possible several books you preserved were done so correctly. Orthodoxy managed to preserve all of the correct ones with some false ones to spare. That doesn't refute my point.
According to whom? A group of people protesting the Catholic Church 500 years ago who now have lesbian pastors? Kinda silly.
The Holy Spirit isn't the only force involved. Orthodox Christian churches are still run by fallible men.
There is a difference between a local Church, i.e. the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the Orthodox Church as a whole. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of Orthodox ecclesiology.

Not trying to be harsh, nor do I hold anything against you, it's just that this same exact topic comes up perennially on the forum, with the same arguments rehashed.
 

lskdfjldsf

Pelican
Orthodox Catechumen
Gold Member
You seem to make the assumption Christ established Orthodoxy and Catholicism. You'll have to back it up.

It's a straightforward argument:

1. If the Bible is legitimate, the Church that made it must be legitimate.
2. If the Church that made the Bible is illegitimate, then the Bible cannot be legitimate.

I'd suggest checking out Father Josiah Trenham on YouTube if you're genuinely interested in the Orthodox perspective and want a more detailed response.

 

rvco

Pigeon
Okay, lots of responses, not much time to respond

It doesn’t sound like “both.” So far it looks like you pretended to be inquiring but were just waiting for your opportunity to “teach” us why we are all “wrong.” If you want to learn, shouldn’t you be asking questions rather than giving lectures?

I am both inquiring as to the criticisms you have of Protestantism (which you have given me) and rebutting perceived criticisms. I have asked questions at the start and have answered criticisms.

2 Peter 1:20

What the prophets have said is not the same as individual beliefs and their interpretations of what the prophets have said. The rest of your thread is just spite.

@Lawrence87 - Fair point about the NT and the Sept

@DanielH - ''According to whom? A group of heretics founded 500 years ago who now have lesbian pastors? Kinda silly.'' - Refer to my previous point about this to Lawrence.

Okay I'm going to wait for other posts before I respond again given the timer. Keep pelting criticisms.
 
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