Protestantism vs Orthodoxy

Indeed I'm approaching this from a scholarly angle. For what it's worth, correspondence today is no big deal, but in the 16th century it was quite a big deal since no established mail routes existed. Writing and sending letters then was expensive and fraught with getting lost. I would caution couching modern expectation against those of the past.

Consequently, the book of Concord was published in 1580, well past Phil's and Marty's life and more as a response from the emperor's desire to calm the tensions created by unanswered religious questions. So much at that time was in flux and wasn't "solidified" until 1580s.

It's tough separating what is political versus religious since it was so intertwined in those days.

Regardless, I'm going to seek out the book I mentioned above.
There was widespread international correspondence, of course it was not as easy as today. Some Reformers wanting to find out the state of doctrine in the East is not surprising, and many problems they had with Rome were then also found in Constantinople (justification, predestination and so on). For theological reasons there was no union between Protestants and Constantinople and the political situation was that Constantinople was already Istanbul.
 

OrthoSerb

Pigeon
Orthodox
The Protestants I know don't believe in special classes of "holiness". We believe that every believer is a priest of the holy nation of God (1 Peter 2:5, 9). As for sainthood, we believe that every believer is by definition a saint. That goes hand-in-hand with being a priest of a holy nation. So to that end, we do not believe in applying that label to anyone, alive or at home in Heaven. However, we do believe that there are believers who are especially demonstrative of their faith in their works, and these would be men and women that we honor, not with trophies, not with special titles and plaques, but with our love, appreciation, and expressions of gratitude for their hard work.
There is definitely a historical basis for referring to all baptised in the Church as saints. However that doesn't negate the fact that there is also a more deliberate use of the term to refer to specific people who stood apart in their love of God and love of their fellow man (and attained a level of sanctification which most baptised Christians do not). My motivation for looking at this angle is not about creating "classes of holiness". Who we regard as our examples speaks to what we even mean by the term holiness and what we are striving for. The point is that without such clear and unambiguous examples you end up with ambiguity and mediocrity in the spiritual life.

Such a man was my first pastor. He is a man who constantly works in the field of the Lord to gather the souls of the lost to Him. And God called him to establish a new church in a very godless place, and he uprooted everything he had, his whole life that he had spent at his original location and of his children, to leave all their friends and loved ones for a strange new place of darkness. He was, as the Bible advised as fit for an elder, above reproach.

There are also many Protestants who work as missionaries in underground churches in China. They face the danger of oppression, of imprisonment and even death, for teaching the Chinese about Jesus Christ in a way that does not worship or glorify the CCP or falsify Scripture as the official state churches do. I personally knew a few of them.

I would also argue that C.S. Lewis deserves a special mention.

Of the people you mention I obviously only know of CS Lewis. I have respect for him and have enjoyed some of his writings. For the record, he didn't believe in predestination, at least not in the way that some contributors here have been defining the term.

There is also the story of Saeed Abedini, though he got #MeToo'd, but that does not deny the fact that he was responsible for a number of churches in Iran, also an oppressive regime for Christians.

I also had friends from my church who gladly volunteered to contribute to projects to help the poor, such as building playgrounds and shelters. While that's not as flashy as some other stories, the Lord still knows what they did and will give them their reward.
This really speaks to my comment above about ambiguity and mediocrity in the spiritual orientation where there is no tradition and no canonised saints. You've put forward someone who is divorced from his wife. Leaving aside all the allegations of abuse and addiction, he is not even an example of an average believer, yet alone a saint. This is really scraping the barrel in the search for holiness.

And then of course, how can I end this post on the internet without also remarking on the work that Andrew Torba is doing with Gab? I am not certain what denomination he is, but what he does would be considered commendable by the wise Protestant.

Vox Day may not necessarily be what you consider a traditionally holy man because he flouts many of the traditional rules and expectations we might have of a holy man, but it also cannot be denied that he believes in Christ and that he has produced the fruits thereof - he has produced some of the greatest, most influential Christian works of this century so far. The Irrational Atheist introduced several counter-arguments against New Atheist arguments. Those counter-arguments have entered the mainstream consciousness, such as the argument that religion is not a major cause of war. He also introduced strategies for combating the instruments of Satan's Globohomo - SJWism and political/corporate cuckery - in his books, SJWs Always Lie, Cuckservative, and Corporate Cancer.

Our gracious host, Roosh, can also attest to Vox Day's assistance in dealing with the SJW mob during a situation that would become a somewhat watershed moment for Roosh in his journey toward Christ.
I don't know too much about either Andrew Torba and Vox Day, but to me this smacks of more mediocrity. You're just naming random good people who have done good deeds.
 
@OrthoSerb The average Christian mother is above, in my opinion, the hermit in the wilderness. But what does that has to do with sound doctrine? I think, Luther was a greater theologian than Seraphim of Sarov, but Seraphim was the nicer person. There are different categories of saintly life. Orthodoxy has the better hermits, while other traditions, in my opinion, have better theologians. Aquinas out-saints Palamas as a theologian, if you ask me. Many buddhist monks live a "saintly" life by certain standards - of course, they go to hell, because they are not Christian, but you know what I mean.
 

OrthoSerb

Pigeon
Orthodox
@OrthoSerb Every Christian is a saint. Seraphim of Sarov is not holier than the average Christian woman I talked about. He probably would agree.
One of the characteristics of saints is that they regard themselves as lower than everyone else. This is one of the paradoxes in spiritual life - the closer one is to God, the more one has disdain for himself and is oblivious of his own merits. That doesn't provide the basis of some egalitarian view that all Christians are equal in their sanctity. This again speaks to the promotion of minimalism and mediocrity. Laypeople can of course be holier than some monastics, but to claim the average layperson is the same as someone like St Seraphim of Sarov is untenable. Out of interest, have you read the life of St Seraphim of Sarov?
Regarding rediscovering doctrine, there are long books about the history of doctrine. It took the Church centuries to define and formulate Nicene Orthodoxy. The Bible teaches the Trinity and the two natures of Christ, but it takes time and controversy to formulate doctrine. Augustine and Pelagius was the first real battle on predestination. Augustine won. The Council of Orange followed Augustine, but softened his views. Gottschalk of Orbais then rediscovered Augustine's doctrine and went beyond him. He was a popular preacher and had influential support, but he was put down. Gregory of Rimini and Thomas Bradwardine taught very similar to Gottschalk, without facing any repercussions. Then the Reformers came along. But the most important question is: Is it Biblical?
This is quite a stunted view of Church history to say the least. The whole way you process and perceive this history is entirely subjective and arbitrary. You pick out one Saint from the first 1000 years, equate him to your doctrine on predestination, claim that one council vaguely affirmed his teaching on this topic and then mention a heretic in passing. After that you name a couple of post-schism Westerners and then along come the reformers. That's your main takeaway of the 1500 years from Christ to the reformers? By the way, on the one council you mentioned, you skipped over the bit where it stated "we not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema". I guess you regard this as a "softening" of St Augustines views?

When you ask yourself "is it Biblical", do you also ask yourself where the Bible came from - the Church existed for centuries before the New Testament was canonised? Why do you accept that the Church was competent to infallibly canonise the scripture you refer to if it was not able to actually crystallise sound doctrine?
 
One of the characteristics of saints is that they regard themselves as lower than everyone else. This is one of the paradoxes in spiritual life - the closer one is to God, the more one has disdain for himself and is oblivious of his own merits. That doesn't provide the basis of some egalitarian view that all Christians are equal in their sanctity. This again speaks to the promotion of minimalism and mediocrity. Laypeople can of course be holier than some monastics, but to claim the average layperson is the same as someone like St Seraphim of Sarov is untenable. Out of interest, have you read the life of St Seraphim of Sarov?

This is quite a stunted view of Church history to say the least. The whole way you process and perceive this history is entirely subjective and arbitrary. You pick out one Saint from the first 1000 years, equate him to your doctrine on predestination, claim that one council vaguely affirmed his teaching on this topic and then mention a heretic in passing. After that you name a couple of post-schism Westerners and then along come the reformers. That's your main takeaway of the 1500 years from Christ to the reformers? By the way, on the one council you mentioned, you skipped over the bit where it stated "we not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema". I guess you regard this as a "softening" of St Augustines views?

When you ask yourself "is it Biblical", do you also ask yourself where the Bible came from - the Church existed for centuries before the New Testament was canonised? Why do you accept that the Church was competent to infallibly canonise the scripture you refer to if it was not able to actually crystallise sound doctrine?
The Church existed more than 1000 years until Palamas developed his essence-energies distinction. You might say, the doctrine is mentioned in the writings of earlier theolgians, but Palamas was the one who made it a cornerstone of Eastern Orthodoxy. If you do not object to him, you should not be too harsh on Gottschalk, Bradwardine and Calvin.

"we not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema" - I read: God is not the author of sin. I agree with that. But even if the Council of Orange means something else, I do no think, every council is perfect.
 

GodfatherPartTwo

Kingfisher
When you ask yourself "is it Biblical", do you also ask yourself where the Bible came from - the Church existed for centuries before the New Testament was canonised? Why do you accept that the Church was competent to infallibly canonise the scripture you refer to if it was not able to actually crystallise sound doctrine?
Scripture does not come from the voice of the Bride, it comes from the voice of the Bridegroom. No one is denying the Bride can solidify sound doctrine but not all her doctrine is sound and so is subject to the doctrine of the Bridegroom.
 

OrthoSerb

Pigeon
Orthodox
@OrthoSerb The average Christian mother is above, in my opinion, the hermit in the wilderness. But what does that has to do with sound doctrine? I think, Luther was a greater theologian than Seraphim of Sarov, but Seraphim was the nicer person. There are different categories of saintly life. Orthodoxy has the better hermits, while other traditions, in my opinion, have better theologians. Aquinas out-saints Palamas as a theologian, if you ask me. Many buddhist monks live a "saintly" life by certain standards - of course, they go to hell, because they are not Christian, but you know what I mean.
This is the crux of the matter. We are diametrically opposed on the following point: you cannot perceive the link between sanctity and sound doctrine and actually think its possible to divorce one from the other. As if one tradition can have a better theology and another one can have more asceticism (or any asceticism full stop) without any correlation between the two things. The fruits of true spiritual life are acquisition of the Holy Spirit - one who attains this is capable of speaking on theology and elucidating sound doctrine. It's not an academic matter, its a question of holiness- real holiness.

By the way, on the topic of the hermit in the wilderness and your statement that the average mother is superior, I'd remind you of Christ's words regarding St John the Baptist that "I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John". And also see 1 Corinthians 7:25-38 for St Paul's commentary on virginity and marriage. Specifically the following: "There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world - how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction." I don't know on what Biblical basis you are extolling marriage over hermits (or monastics in general). There is a place for both, but it should be obvious that monasticism allows one to serve God with less distraction.
 
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This is the crux of the matter. We are diametrically opposed on the following point: you cannot perceive the link between sanctity and sound doctrine and actually think its possible to divorce one from the other. As if one tradition can have a better theology and another one can have more asceticism (or any asceticism full stop) without any correlation between the two things. The fruits of true spiritual life are acquisition of the Holy Spirit - one who attains this is capable of speaking on theology and elucidating sound doctrine. It's not an academic matter, its a question of holiness- real holiness.
What Calvin writes on election (Institutes, Book 3, Chapter 21-24) is sound doctrine, it is biblical. We did not wake up one day saying "let's see, if we can find unconditional election in Scripture". We believed as you do in conditional election, but a serious study of Scripture leads you to unconditional election.
 

Elipe

Pelican
This really speaks to my comment above about ambiguity and mediocrity in the spiritual orientation where there is no tradition and no canonised saints. You've put forward someone who is divorced from his wife. Leaving aside all the allegations of abuse and addiction, he is not even an example of an average believer, yet alone a saint. This is really scraping the barrel in the search for holiness.
You're going to have to explain that remark to God when you stand before Him, that you said that His servants who bled and sweated for His sake, who brought the Gospel to an unchurched people, were "scraping the barrel". And yes, I know Abedini was divorced. But the wrong does not overshadow the right. Nobody is perfect, not even the people you call saints.

I don't know too much about either Andrew Torba and Vox Day, but to me this smacks of more mediocrity. You're just naming random good people who have done good deeds.
Not mere random people doing good deeds, but deeds that may very well go on to define an entire century of Christian conduct.

You asked if we could point to people we regarded as holy. We gave you answers. I named people who evidently bore the fruits of the Holy Spirit, who worked selflessly and with great personal sacrifice to expand the Kingdom of God. We do not have a formal process of canonization, but we remember them in many other ways, such as by naming institutions (e.g. universities) after them, in like manner as how a nation celebrates its heroes by constructing statues and naming institutions and streets after them. It's not as highfalutin as a canonization process, but that is the fundamental characteristic of much of Protestantism.

Yes, much of Protestantism seems minimalistic, and that is because Protestantism, as distinct from Catholicism and Orthodoxy, intentionally seek minimalism as a humbler expression of faith. We do not believe as much in lavish expressions such as grand cathedrals and objects made of luxurious materials. Most of our crosses are wooden and not golden and we wear plainclothes, not the finest linens. We can be described as a more "earthy", populistic expression of Christianity. Peasants, after all, are not capable of pooling the resources to construct grandeur temples that shine for miles. It is thus fully expected that a faith whose people, even as they progressed from rags to riches over the generations, would maintain a preference for minimalism. It's the reason Protestants like to compare Catholics to Pharisees, who were often described in the Bible as lovers of honors, of fine clothes and jewelry, of being seen as they ministered. The minimalism is, in addition to its background as a faith of the commoner, a backlash against a perception of ministerial self-righteousness and vanity that was probably not unjustified at the time of the Reformation.

In fact, I think you could reasonably describe the Reformation as a sort of peasant's revolution.
 

OrthoSerb

Pigeon
Orthodox
Scripture does not come from the voice of the Bride, it comes from the voice of the Bridegroom. No one is denying the Bride can solidify sound doctrine but not all her doctrine is sound and so is subject to the doctrine of the Bridegroom.
That doesn't answer the question - on what basis is the scripture you use authoritative and definitively the "voice of the Bridegroom"?
 

Elipe

Pelican
That doesn't answer the question - on what basis is the scripture you use authoritative and definitively the "voice of the Bridegroom"?
John 10:4 - "And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice."
John 10:27 - "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
Acts 22:14 - Then he said, "The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth."

Men didn't bumble around and accidentally create the canon. The canon reflects a voice guiding those men who collated it. God, via His Holy Spirit, worked through men to introduce the canon in much the same way as the Law and the Prophets were collated as Holy Scripture in the time of Jesus.
 
That doesn't answer the question - on what basis is the scripture you use authoritative and definitively the "voice of the Bridegroom"?
Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics both believe to have the copyright on the early Church. We do not believe that. Fact of the matter is, the Bible we have, disagrees with Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy on some matters.
 

OrthoSerb

Pigeon
Orthodox
You're going to have to explain that remark to God when you stand before Him, that you said that His servants who bled and sweated for His sake, who brought the Gospel to an unchurched people, were "scraping the barrel". And yes, I know Abedini was divorced. But the wrong does not overshadow the right. Nobody is perfect, not even the people you call saints.
This is rather bizarre. I don't have any intention of denigrating anyone, but you've put forward a divorced man accused of abuse and addiction to pornography as your example of holiness.
Yes, much of Protestantism seems minimalistic, and that is because Protestantism, as distinct from Catholicism and Orthodoxy, intentionally seek minimalism as a humbler expression of faith. We do not believe as much in lavish expressions such as grand cathedrals and objects made of luxurious materials.
The problem is not minimalism in material matters - its the minimalism in the struggle to attain holiness that's the problem.
 

GodfatherPartTwo

Kingfisher
That doesn't answer the question - on what basis is the scripture you use authoritative and definitively the "voice of the Bridegroom"?
Of course it does. Scripture authorizes the Church, not Church authorizes Scripture. God authorizes Scripture, not men.

This is rather bizarre. I don't have any intention of denigrating anyone, but you've put forward a divorced man accused of abuse and addiction to pornography as your example of holiness.
You can't put Jesus or Paul as a model of holiness so if you point out anyone else then I'm going to point at their failures. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. That's why I didn't answer your trap in the way you wanted me to.
 

OrthoSerb

Pigeon
Orthodox
John 10:4 - "And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice."
John 10:27 - "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
Acts 22:14 - Then he said, "The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth."

Men didn't bumble around and accidentally create the canon. The canon reflects a voice guiding those men who collated it. God, via His Holy Spirit, worked through men to introduce the canon in much the same way as the Law and the Prophets were collated as Holy Scripture in the time of Jesus.
Can you see the fallacy in rejecting the authority of those that canonised the text and then attempting to justify your acceptance of the text by citing the said text? God did not work through mere men, he worked through the Church.
 
Can you see the fallacy in rejecting the authority of those that canonised the text and then attempting to justify your acceptance of the text by citing the said text? God did not work through mere men, he worked through the Church.
But the Church is not your denomination. The early Church was very hostile towards images. The myth that St. Luke painted the first icons was invented by iconophiles in Constantinople. Let's forget for a second the question, if icons are biblical or not, St. Luke did not paint icons. The Church is the bride of Christ - can the bride of Christ lie? That St. Luke painted icons is not true.
 

Elipe

Pelican
This is rather bizarre. I don't have any intention of denigrating anyone, but you've put forward a divorced man accused of abuse and addiction to pornography as your example of holiness.
Moses was a murderer, yet he is considered a holy man. Abraham was an adulterer and a serial liar, yet he is considered holy. Jacob tricked his brother into selling away his birthright, yet is considered a holy patriarch.

Again, the wrong does not overshadow the right. Even holy men stumble.

Also, it's worth pointing out that Abedini has been accused, but not charged or convicted. It's also very questionable that his wife ran to the mainstream media and even this year, continues to show up in the mainstream media with sob stories, and they run her stories. What does the Satanic press see in her?

Anyway, I'm not going to presume anything about anyone, but the wrong still does not overshadow the right. Whether or not these allegations are true, the fact remains that Abedini suffered for years for the sake of Christ in order to share the Gospel with Iranians. No greater love is there than that a man lays down his life for another. I would consider that very saint-like.

The problem is not minimalism in material matters - its the minimalism in the struggle to attain holiness that's the problem.
You don't know the hearts of other men, and you are being presumptive.

Can you see the fallacy in rejecting the authority of those that canonised the text and then attempting to justify your acceptance of the text by citing the said text? God did not work through mere men, he worked through the Church.
The Church still consists of men. Men were the ones that had to pore over books and analyze whether or not they were inspired. This was not an arbitrary process, the canon was not determined on a whim. In the end, it is an axiom that must be accepted on faith that God ultimately worked through imperfect, fallen men to produce a canon, and it is by faith that we know that the produced canon is the Word of God. There was no scientific, mechanistic method with objective, quantifiable metrics by which the canon was created, and so ultimately, all of us - Protestants, Orthodox, and Catholic - must accept axiomatically, as a matter of faith, that canon is divinely inspired.

It's not that Protestants reject the authority of the Church, but that we reject that the Church's authority can supersede the authority of Scripture. Men can still be right, but they can't be more right than the Word of God. We do not believe that the Church has no authority, but that its authority is subordinate to Scripture.
 

Cavalier

Sparrow
John 10:4 - "And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice."
John 10:27 - "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
Acts 22:14 - Then he said, "The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth."

Men didn't bumble around and accidentally create the canon. The canon reflects a voice guiding those men who collated it. God, via His Holy Spirit, worked through men to introduce the canon in much the same way as the Law and the Prophets were collated as Holy Scripture in the time of Jesus.
Yet the Church existed for centuries without a bible. And it is that Church that compiled the Bible sorting out heretical texts using only oral tradition as a guide.
 
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