Protestantism vs Orthodoxy

Cavalier

Sparrow
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.
But the Orthodox Church is THE CHURCH and of what church do you speak?
 
But the Orthodox Church is THE CHURCH and of what church do you speak?
The Eastern Orthodox Church is wrong on election. I held beliefs similar to Eastern Orthodoxy on soteriology until I looked into the Bible. What Catholics, Orthodox and mainstream Protestants believe on salvation is not that different. You find differences, if you go into detail, but on surface, it is all conditional election, free will theology.
 

OrthoSerb

Pigeon
Orthodox
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.
Your paradigm of denominations did not exist in the first 1000 years after Christ. You're taking the DIY denominational anarchy in modern day Protestantism and projecting the ambiguity in authority and apostolicity back in time. There was unambiguously one Church when the New Testament was canonised. You want to have the option to reject what the Church taught in all kinds of other matters, especially in regards to ecclesiology, but accept the text it canonised.
 

Elipe

Pelican
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.
Yes, and you still have to explain how the Church derives its authority. You can't say, "Because Jesus appointed St. Peter / the apostles", because that still relies on some sort of doctrine that had to be canonized - the doctrine is itself that Jesus appointed these men. How do you know that Jesus really is the Son of God and not as the Jews say a mere man, and how do you know that the apostles were in fact in contact with the Son of God or that Jesus did in fact appoint them as apostles?

Because you have to accept it on faith. That Jesus appointed His apostles with authority to form a Church that possesses authority is a statement itself that must be canonized. How can the Church canonize itself?

It's a logical paradox that is resolved by faith.
 
Your paradigm of denominations did not exist in the first 1000 years after Christ. You're taking the DIY denominational anarchy in modern day Protestantism and projecting the ambiguity in authority and apostolicity back in time. There was unambiguously one Church when the New Testament was canonised. You want to have the option to reject what the Church taught in all kinds of other matters, especially in regards to ecclesiology, but accept the text it canonised.
But why did the Eastern Orthodox Church never excommunicate anyone for lying about an Apostle? St. Luke did not paint icons. Eastern Orthodox claimed for centuries he did. That was a common myth among Eastern Orthodox and an argument for icons. Please explain this to me.

There were denominations in the first millenium. When did Alexandria leave communion with Rome and Constantinople?
 

Hermetic Seal

Pelican
Orthodox
Gold Member
It's a good analogy defending your position but I reject the notion that God makes an offer to us. The way Paul says it, we are adopted into the family of Christ and were formerly sons of perdition. We would always reject Christ were it not for the Holy Ghost causing us to be born-again.

The two needn't be mutually exclusive. I agree that the Holy Spirit works in us: but I would argue that His work includes making us able to choose to follow Christ. The Orthodox do not argue that we are left purely to our own damaged faculties in coming to the faith; only that the involvement of God in drawing us toward him does not negate our will and responsibility.

I agree 100% with reading Scripture holistically which is why I find it odd that you're angry at me for comparing a verse from John to a verse from Matthew.

I'm not angry with you. If I didn't think you were a decent poster I wouldn't have bothered writing more than a single response to you. I can get excitable when talking about theological topics, but that shouldn't be confused with anger or contempt.

As for the other points from the prior discussion, the other posters addressed them well and I don't have much to add. What I will say in summation is that attempts to defend this Reformed doctrine or that by flinging Bible verses is always going to be predicated on the "audience" not noticing the sleight-of-hand, presenting a very particular theological system emerging in the 16th century as the "plain meaning" of scripture.

There is no such thing as "the Bible just teaches it," an unbiased, "neutral" view of Scripture read without any assumptions, biases, or preconceived notions. Everybody is reading it from an interpretative paradigm, from the Calvinist right down to the social justice warrior seeing Jesus as a first-century image of xirself. The Orthodox don't deny that they do this, too; we simply assert they our paradigm is that of the Fathers, presenting a continuous mindset of the Church in interpreting Scripture. This was, not coincidentally, a crucial ingredient in defending Orthodoxy in all the heretical challenges addressed by the Ecumenical Councils.

This is closely related to what Paul means when he calls the Church the "pillar and ground of truth" (1 Timothy 3.15). What's great is that investigating this for oneself has never been easier, as you can go to Catena and see how the Fathers interpreted Scripture, particularly the popular proof-text passages, verse by verse. In my personal study of Scripture I often go to see what the Church Fathers said when I come across a verse I might have previously used to support some protestant doctrine or another, and find little resemblance to a Reformed interpretation in their writings. These commonly cited proof-text verses are not some sort of kill-shot, as if Orthodox haven't been reading Scripture for the past two thousand years and never noticed them until the Reformers excavated them from obscurity. Rather than get further bogged down in verse-by-verse mudslinging, I'd simply suggest those interested to check out this resource and decide for yourself.

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.

This is really grasping for straws. Vox Day doesn't even believed in the Trinity and would be considered a heretic by any first-millennium Christian. After reading the guy for nearly a decade and a half, the overwhelming impression I'm left with is that for him, Christianity is merely a useful tool in pursuit of his own socio-political agenda. Vox is illustrative of a major problem with a protestant reckoning of "saints," that merely doing some positive things does not mean one is holy or worthy of emulation.

For the Orthodox Saints, there is no such thing as someone who wrote some good things but whose personal character was suspect. It is character and behavior, first and foremost, that is most important, not merely intellectual accomplishment. Western Christianity, in its idolization of rationalism and the intellect, has largely lost sight of this, and it's why it can seem bewildering to discover that in Orthodoxy there are many Saints who were not smart, literate, successful people by worldly standards, the Holy Fools being prime examples.

On top of that, this also illustrates the folly of "pre-canonizing" people during their lives, and why it often takes decades for Orthodox Saints to be canonized. We have no idea how they will finish, or what's happening below the surface. Just look at Ravi Zacharias, to give one of many recent examples, who said and taught good things, but who was a modern instance of Christ's "whitewashed tombs" if there ever was one. For the Orthodox, who you are is more important than the great deeds you might accomplish. This is fully consistent with Christ's teaching in Matthew 7.22-23.

Who was holier? The rough and rowdy Apostles or the white-washed Pharisees? God, who is holier than all, bestows His Holiness on whom He may.

It's a mistake to assume that just because the Apostles often come across poorly in the Gospels, that they stayed that way for the rest of their lives. For more on perceived similarities to the Pharisees, see below.

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.

So in other words, you're taking the position of Judas in Matthew 26.6-11. This sounds all noble and stuff, but I've been to many aesthetically inauspicious protestant churches with wealthy members rolling up in their luxury cars. Wouldn't that wealth have better been put to use creating an environment that can help draw our hearts toward God in worship? Besides, there is no shortage of Orthodox practice, especially in contemporary missions, that have few resources and humble worship spaces, yet they are unmistakably Orthodox regardless. On the other hand, in the protestant church the pastor on the stage is the focus of attention and the real star of the show. There is vastly less interest given to any saint-analogues in protestantism who have lived holy lives, compared to superstar preachers who put on a good show. I have found this to be the case across the board, from the reformed (John Piper, John MacArthur) to charismatic (Bill Johnson, Brian Houston.) The emphasis is, ironically, much more on "works" than on the heart.

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.

The problem with directing this criticism toward Orthodoxy (which I realize you're not exactly doing here) is that it's largely superficial. You see an Orthodox priest in vestments and gold chains (which by the way, are worn liturgically in services but not outside of that; if you see a priest at the supermarket, he'll be dressed in a simple black cassock) and make this aesthetic connection to the Pharisees, but if you spend any time actually talking to priests, the difference will be hard to miss: the problem with the Pharisees is that they were consumed by smug pride, convinced of their own morality, superiority, and standing, and public displays of self-aggrandizement. Orthodox clergy, on the other hand, will be quick to admit their own failings and need for repentance, and hopefully exhibit a spirit of humility completely unlike that of the Pharisee.

Listening to the "Fall Of Mars Hill" podcast, I've been struck by how often a Mark Driscoll is far closer to the spirit Christ condemned in the Pharisees than anybody I've met in the world of Orthodoxy, despite the aesthetic dissimilarity. Of course there are many protestant pastors with fine moral character, and I've known them myself, so I'm not suggesting this is characteristic of all by any stretch. But the environment of protestantism is much more fertile ground for this kind of phenomenon than Orthodoxy, where preaching is not the most important part of a priest's job, compared to administering the sacraments, visiting the sick, comforting the sorrowful, and being a servant.
 
@Hermetic Seal The Vox Day Church affirmes the Trinity. Maybe you confuse his stance with that of his friend Owen Benjamin. I looked at the Vox Day Church website some months ago. If Ravi Zacharias, an Arminian (or even worse), who actual Protestants do not claim, is an argument, are Orthodox clerics who do foul things an argument? Do not lump together Mega Church culture with Calvin.
 

GodfatherPartTwo

Kingfisher
The two needn't be mutually exclusive. I agree that the Holy Spirit works in us: but I would argue that His work includes making us able to choose to follow Christ. The Orthodox do not argue that we are left purely to our own damaged faculties in coming to the faith; only that the involvement of God in drawing us toward him does not negate our will and responsibility.
This doctrine is known as Prevenient Grace. I believe in Irresistible Grace.

I'm not angry with you. If I didn't think you were a decent poster I wouldn't have bothered writing more than a single response to you. I can get excitable when talking about theological topics, but that shouldn't be confused with anger or contempt.
I knew "angry" was a poor choice of words even when I wrote that. For the record, I enjoy butting heads with you. The conversation can get prickly at times but in no way do I feel any hatred towards you.
 

MichaelWitcoff

Hummingbird
Orthodox
If you want to call him a liar, I don't. He would tell a lie in your interpretation, a polite lie, but a lie.
Not at all. He would consider the smallest deviations from perfection as horrible sins and, as the Orthodox are taught, meditate on those to such a degree that he would believe himself to be “chief of all sinners” as St. Paul described himself in Scripture. You, on the other hand, call yourself a Saint and compare regular people to glorified Saints because you have not done decades of ascetic practice to burn away your passions and achieve Christlikeness to such a degree that you sometimes command the material atmosphere around you by way of miracle-working and taming wild animals by your mere presence, as St. Seraphim did. You are not his equal, and God knows I’m not either. Lord have mercy!
 

GodfatherPartTwo

Kingfisher
It's a mistake to assume that just because the Apostles often come across poorly in the Gospels, that they stayed that way for the rest of their lives. For more on perceived similarities to the Pharisees, see below.
I'm not assuming that the Apostles were frozen in their Sanctification. Peter was far more Sanctified in Acts than in the Gospels, for example.

My point was that God is the One who is in charge of every individual's Sanctification. The holiness-measuring contest is becoming of the Pharisees, it has no place in the Church. I do not believe everyone is equally Sanctified to the same degree as if God is an egalitarian. We know, Scripturally, that there are different degrees of reward in our heavenly inheritance. What the Elect all do have in common: that they were all guilty sinners but are now bought by Christ.

The rough and rowdy Apostles, who were Elected by God, were holier than the white-washed Pharisees, who were rejected by God. The more matured Apostles were more Sanctified than when they had first begun.
 
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SimpleMan

Sparrow
I’ve been watching Biblical themed cartoons for some reason and came across this:


Calvin seemed alright (although I haven’t read anything from him yet so that’s important). I’m not sure what the Orthodox were up to at this time, but the birth of the reformation looked justified under the circumstances.
 

Hermetic Seal

Pelican
Orthodox
Gold Member
I'm not assuming that the Apostles were frozen in their Sanctification. Peter was far more Sanctified in Acts than in the Gospels, for example.

My point was that God is the One who is in charge of every individual's Sanctification. The holiness-measuring contest is becoming of the Pharisees, it has no place in the Church. I do not believe everyone is equally Sanctified to the same degree as if God is an egalitarian. We know, Scripturally, that there are different degrees of reward in our heavenly inheritance. What the Elect all do have in common: that they were all guilty sinners but are now bought by Christ.

The rough and rowdy Apostles, who were Elected by God, were holier than the white-washed Pharisees, who were rejected by God. The more matured Apostles were more Sanctified than when they had first begun.

It's worth clarifying that in Orthodoxy, the "holiness measuring" as you put it is never done by yourself about yourself; quite contrary to the Pharisaical mindset as exemplified in the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee. Rather, it is crowdsourced, to use contemporary lingo, by the Church. This is why all canonization of a Saint starts with local veneration by the people of the Church. Anybody appealing to their own sanctity is immediately suspect; rather, it is the evaluation of the Church that counts.

I wouldn't dream of appealing to my own perceived goodness as some sort of evidence for Orthodoxy, for example. I'll quickly admit that I'm often a lousy Orthodox Christian and in many ways you are probably doing a better job of living a godly life than I am. Essentially, I can't trust my own judgment about myself, but I don't need to; my priests and godparents are in a better position to evaluate my spiritual growth, and it is their opinion, not mine, that matters. This is a very different matter from holding up the Saints who have finished strong and been "vetted" by the Church as worthy of emulation. Oftentimes these Saints were their own harshest critics and would have told you they were the worst guy in the room.

In my lifetime of experience in protestantism before becoming Orthodox, it was common for me to hear peers say the Holy Spirit told them this or that, and even at the time I found many of these claims extremely dubious. In Orthodoxy we believe that the Holy Spirit leads us as well, but indirectly, through the Church: through the priests, our godparents, spiritual elders, and sacraments. The beauty of this method of decentralized organization is that you avoid having a single arbiter of truth, be it yourself or a Pope; we see this on every level, from Confession to Ecumenical Councils. I feel that this is a critical aspect of Orthodoxy but it can be a bit difficult to articulate. As cliche as it sounds, it's the kind of thing you really have to experience to fully grasp.
 

GodfatherPartTwo

Kingfisher
It's worth clarifying that in Orthodoxy, the "holiness measuring" as you put it is never done by yourself about yourself; quite contrary to the Pharisaical mindset as exemplified in the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee. Rather, it is crowdsourced, to use contemporary lingo, by the Church. This is why all canonization of a Saint starts with local veneration by the people of the Church. Anybody appealing to their own sanctity is immediately suspect; rather, it is the evaluation of the Church that counts.

I wouldn't dream of appealing to my own perceived goodness as some sort of evidence for Orthodoxy, for example. I'll quickly admit that I'm often a lousy Orthodox Christian and in many ways you are probably doing a better job of living a godly life than I am. Essentially, I can't trust my own judgment about myself, but I don't need to; my priests and godparents are in a better position to evaluate my spiritual growth, and it is their opinion, not mine, that matters. This is a very different matter from holding up the Saints who have finished strong and been "vetted" by the Church as worthy of emulation. Oftentimes these Saints were their own harshest critics and would have told you they were the worst guy in the room.
That is fair.

I agree with this. While I do believe I am elected, and all of the Elect are Saints by definition, I believe the proper Christian mindset is: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

In my lifetime of experience in protestantism before becoming Orthodox, it was common for me to hear peers say the Holy Spirit told them this or that, and even at the time I found many of these claims extremely dubious. In Orthodoxy we believe that the Holy Spirit leads us as well, but indirectly, through the Church: through the priests, our godparents, spiritual elders, and sacraments. The beauty of this method of decentralized organization is that you avoid having a single arbiter of truth, be it yourself or a Pope; we see this on every level, from Confession to Ecumenical Councils. I feel that this is a critical aspect of Orthodoxy but it can be a bit difficult to articulate. As cliche as it sounds, it's the kind of thing you really have to experience to fully grasp.
You were right to find such claims dubious. I believe the Holy Spirit does lead us in a very personal manner, not to the extent where I would say God spoke to me, and I also believe that He leads the Church corporately. The Teaching Elder in my Church is under the most authority, not the one who wields the most authority over the other Ruling Elders, Deacons, and the Congregation.
 
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