Resources for Reformed Christians

Right now my church is wherever I am. I stopped going to Church even though I know the Bible says I am supposed to. It seems to me like Amos 8:11 came true:

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD,
“That I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine of bread,
Nor a thirst for water,
But of hearing the words of the LORD.
Amos 8:11 NKJV

I can't find a church where the Word is preached honestly, except preachers from at least 150 years ago on the Internet. So I do my best to be a Christian by myself in my day-to-day life without going to Church.

About election and predestination, I know that was a big issue among the Reformers. I know major leaders were divided, and churches split because of it.

I decided to follow Charles Spurgeon's advice and believe everything in the Bible is 100% true, even if it seems contradictory. Using that as a starting point, over time, things like election and predestination seem to make more sense to me. I know God knew everything beforehand because He knows everything, and has total control over everything in His creation. Of course I also have a free choice to move toward or away from Him, because that's my obvious moment-to-moment experience. Also, that is the only way true love and goodness can work, they have to be done by choice. I know I am not good by myself, also from personal experience, I know it's impossible for me to do the right thing by my own power. So I attribute anything good I think, say, or do to the power of Christ, God's promised Redeemer, working in me. I believe His suffering on the cross is how God gave me a new nature that wants to do good things. Still, much of the time I can't help thinking, saying and doing wrong because I only have the final victory over sin at the point of death when my mortal body which is full of sin finally dies. When my sin is very strong in life I follow Martin Luther's advice and "let my sin my strong, but my faith in Christ greater." Those times are when the atonement becomes very important, to keep away despair and keep my faith strong. Of course every time, things turn around and get better, and it is all due to God.

Thankfully none of us need to understand or agree on these things, because the Gospel is simple enough that even a simple, uneducated person can understand it and benefit from it. I think we have extremely limited knowledge while we're on Earth, and have forgotten many important, simple things that will make a lot more sense one day. I remember feeling a much stronger knowledge of who I was, where I came from and was going, and my relationship to God as a small child than I do today. I think more time on Earth just makes us forget more, but knowing Christ teaches us and fixes all those problems.
You should read Bavinck's and Mueller's books and read the Lutheran and Calvinist confessions, if you want to know about the two classical Evangelical traditions. Most Protestants nowadays are crypto-Catholics/Orthodox in regards to soteriology; they are synergists, which Lutherans and Calvinists reject as unbiblical. The essential part of Sola Gratia is unconditional election.

There are holy paradoxes in Scripture. Here is an article on the differences between Lutheran and Calvinist predestination, which mentions this point. https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/f...-predestination-isnt-calvinist-predestination

You also could read the Brief Statement of the Missouri Synod, it speaks on such paradoxes in the article On the Election of Grace. The articles on conversion and justification could also be of interest for you.
 
I ought to have specified Transubstantiation, the Lutheran Consubstantiation differs from this, though I suppose they do believe in the presence of Christ. I was being lazy, didn't want to go into all the fine details right now. I would like to suggest two books: The History of Heresies & Their Refutation by S. Alphonsus Liguori & The History of The Variations of The Protestant Churches by Jacques Bossuet. They can both of them be found on Archive.org for free. I have several Protestants in my own family, thankfully they aren't the rabid type that virulently hates the Church. I pray for their conversion.
Lutherans reject consubstantiation for the same reason they reject transubstantiation; as philosophical speculation. I read an article by Sproul yesterday about the different views on the Eucharist, in which he calls the Lutheran doctrine consubstantiation, just to say in the next sentence, that it should be respected that Lutherans reject that term. I often find such sneaky punches in Calvinist writings.
Does Liguori tell us who was right on predestination, the Dominican Thomists, who taught unconditional election, or the Jesuit Molinists? Isn't it odd, that there are several Marian dogmas, but no dogmatical teaching on predestination?
 
Lutherans reject consubstantiation for the same reason they reject transubstantiation; as philosophical speculation. I read an article by Sproul yesterday about the different views on the Eucharist, in which he calls the Lutheran doctrine consubstantiation, just to say in the next sentence, that it should be respected that Lutherans reject that term. I often find such sneaky punches in Calvinist writings.
Does Liguori tell us who was right on predestination, the Dominican Thomists, who taught unconditional election, or the Jesuit Molinists? Isn't it odd, that there are several Marian dogmas, but no dogmatical teaching on predestination?
I wouldn't say it's odd. The human mind is very feeble & there are many things which are beyond its understanding, in this life at least. You'll remember the story of S. Augustine endeavouring to perfectly comprehend & explain the doctrine of the Trinity & how God sent an angel to show him the impossibility of his doing so. It is the same with this. S. Alphonsus treats of it somewhat in his work Prayer The Great Means of Grace & Salvation, & he wrote against Calvin's doctrine in the book I mentioned before The History of Heresies. I haven't read all of his works, so there may well be others.
 
I wouldn't say it's odd. The human mind is very feeble & there are many things which are beyond its understanding, in this life at least. You'll remember the story of S. Augustine endeavouring to perfectly comprehend & explain the doctrine of the Trinity & how God sent an angel to show him the impossibility of his doing so. It is the same with this. S. Alphonsus treats of it somewhat in his work Prayer The Great Means of Grace & Salvation, & he wrote against Calvin's doctrine in the book I mentioned before The History of Heresies. I haven't read all of his works, so there may well be others.
But we have Trinitarian and Christological dogmas, although these are mysteries. The Eucharist is a mystery and we have dogmas on it. These are all mysteries beyond our understanding in its absolute natures.

Calvin's doctrine is not that of Aquinas, who both believed in unconditional election, and Calvinists and Lutherans also differ on predestination, while both affirming unconditional election. Lutherans and Calvinists have dogmatical doctrines on this issue. Election is a matter that is linked to soteriology and therefore there should be a dogma of it or at least the decision, if it is conditional or unconditional. My opinion is, the reason why there is no dogma is, because there are canonized saints and blessed who contradict each other on this matter. Blaise Pascal had a sense for this and who were his enemies? The Jesuits. (The J are behind everything.)
 
But we have Trinitarian and Christological dogmas, although these are mysteries. The Eucharist is a mystery and we have dogmas on it. These are all mysteries beyond our understanding in its absolute natures.

Calvin's doctrine is not that of Aquinas, who both believed in unconditional election, and Calvinists and Lutherans also differ on predestination, while both affirming unconditional election. Lutherans and Calvinists have dogmatical doctrines on this issue. Election is a matter that is linked to soteriology and therefore there should be a dogma of it or at least the decision, if it is conditional or unconditional. My opinion is, the reason why there is no dogma is, because there are canonized saints and blessed who contradict each other on this matter. Blaise Pascal had a sense for this and who were his enemies? The Jesuits. (The J are behind everything.)
Well I don't know about that being a good reason. S. Thomas Aquinas did not believe in the Immaculate Conception, other Saints did. Venerable Pius IX still infallibly defined it as dogma in 1858. If S. Thomas Aquinas had lived during the 19th century instead of the 13th I'm sure he would have submitted to the authority of the Church.
 

MichaelWitcoff

Ostrich
Orthodox
Calvinists believe in a spiritual real presence, because they say, that the human nature is not omnipresent.
For anyone curious, the heresy Calvinists are espousing in this regard is the long-condemned perspective called Nestorianism. Nestorius tried to separate Christ's divinity from His humanity, splitting God in half, and the subsequent debates and anathema resulted in the articulation of the doctrine of "hypostatic union:" two natures perfectly and mysteriously united in one Person. Other versions of Nestorianism are when you hear people say that "Mary is the mother of Jesus, but not the mother of God" or that Christ's divinity somehow left Him on the Cross while His humanity remained behind to die. It is a broken Christology that leads to countless errors.
 
For anyone curious, the heresy Calvinists are espousing in this regard is the long-condemned perspective called Nestorianism. Nestorius tried to separate Christ's divinity from His humanity, splitting God in half, and the subsequent debates and anathema resulted in the articulation of the doctrine of "hypostatic union:" two natures perfectly and mysteriously united in one Person. Other versions of Nestorianism are when you hear people say that "Mary is the mother of Jesus, but not the mother of God" or that Christ's divinity somehow left Him on the Cross while His humanity remained behind to die. It is a broken Christology that leads to countless errors.
Yes, Andreae said the same in his debate with Beza.

 
I would suggest that you read the ancient Fathers & Doctors of the Church. You will find that they were not Protestants in any way shape or form.

Thank you, I benefit often from reading St. John Chrysostom, but I have not looked deeply into many other early Christian writers. I suppose the next people to look into would be St. Basil the Great, and St. Gregory the Theologian, the other two early leaders who make up the Three Holy Hierarchs. Who else specifically do you recommend to start with?

I am encouraged in starting to look at the Book of Concord, which was written to unify Reformed doctrine in Germany about 40 years after Luther's death, to see how it begins with "Three Universal Creeds" that come from very early in the Church: the Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, and Athanasian Creed. Also, in the works of Luther I've read, he frequently refers to certain saints, St. Gregory and St. Augustine come to mind.

From a Reformed point of view of reclaiming the true, simple faith from layers of hypocrisy and false holiness that inevitably build up over time due to natural human unbelief in things that are not seen, I think it makes a lot of sense to learn from the ancient sources as you said, obviously (for me) in submission to the word of God itself. Hopefully that's not considered a "sola scriptura" point of view, because I don't really have a problem with tradition. The problem that required the Reformation was traditions had replaced and contradicted the clear commands of God given in scripture. So, in my opinion we have to be critical of traditions when necessary and always subordinate them to the commands God already gave. For example, I would see it as wrong to try to propitiate God with false works based on man's traditions, such as praying rosaries, lighting a certain number of candles, etc. and make a false supposed atonement by myself, then allow myself to continue in sin and feel I somehow satisfied God's demands. That would show a lack of understanding that Christ died to make me holy, because I could not do it myself, least of all with false holiness and traditions made up by men. In my opinion it is very important to always stay humble by recognizing my own inherent bad nature and inability to follow God's will, attributing everything I think, say and do that is good, to God's kind and undeserved help. Man-made traditions and rituals seem to get in the way of that, at least for me. People like to make idols out of things they can see, that they made by themselves, then expect good from those things instead of from God. That goes against His first commandment to have no other gods before Him and is the sin He equates with a woman's adultery. He destroyed Israel for it many times by sword, pestilence and famine. I know there are many Christian people who benefit from specific traditions and rituals, even bowing down in front of images and statues made by men's hands, and specifically praying to people who are not God. Christian people benefit from those things, and I am not saying they should stop. To me these practices seems like they can be very useful or very destructive, depending on how they are used. It seems like a very dangerous and fine line that I, for one, am not willing to go near.

Protestant theology came out of an environment of toxicity that took 1500 years to mature, so I wouldn't expect the early Church Fathers to be on exactly the same page. From the little I've read so far, the Church Fathers were very much occupied with encouraging the faithful to endure the violent persecution they faced for spreading Christian truth in a hostile world, which was a similar environment to what the Reformers were in 1,000 years later. As Luther wrote "there will not be peace as long as Christ and His word are in the devil's world." One can see that from the very beginning of Christianity, in the enmity between Christ and the Pharisees, who were the "holiest" of all at the time.
 

Dijkstra

Pigeon
Hmm, I'd say you've about hit the nail on the head there @Alexander_English, at least in my eyes.

The simplified history of we Protestants breaking away from the Roman Catholic church very much are points such as that church itself becoming chiefly a corrupt political organization, where works superceded faith and repentance as the means of salvation and saints were elevated to seeming equality with the Savior. It's why I personally have a degree of frustration and sadness about our brothers in the Orthodox churches, because to an extent I hear much more about tradition than I do about the Gospel and teaching and encouragement on living a Christ-like life and fulfilling the Great Commission, if at least on the surface level in this forum space (tis my only exposure with practicing Orthodox). That of course does not preclude Protestants from the same errors any member of the Roman Catholic or Orthodox denominations could make, quite the opposite as we are as human and sinful as any other.

I must admit I'm rather bemused by the historical documents and councils referenced thus far - as someone raised and remaining Protestant, nary a one of those rather deeply theological debates touch what I've ever been taught. I find it ironic - those historical figures arguing theology while professing Sola Scriptura seems a tad funny, as I have always found said doctrine lends itself readily to a wholly literal reading of the Bible in the overwhelming majority of cases (I will concede that while I hold what I gather to be exceptionally unpopular opinions on the sacraments of Baptism and Communion for this forum, those mysteries among others, plus the yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecies of Revelation, have good basis for discussing how literal/figurative the language might be).

That said, I believe much further up this thread someone linked a video in which a Orthodox priest was discussing the history of Protestantism - though it's done the exact opposite of its intent in my personal case, I have found by and large it was still very edifying, like many discussions I've read here. I'm thankful for not only having so much history thrown my way to read and learn from, but to be able to appreciate the point of view of Orthodox Christians, as you are widely underrepresented here in the US.
 

Lawrence87

Sparrow
Orthodox
Hmm, I'd say you've about hit the nail on the head there @Alexander_English, at least in my eyes.

The simplified history of we Protestants breaking away from the Roman Catholic church very much are points such as that church itself becoming chiefly a corrupt political organization, where works superceded faith and repentance as the means of salvation and saints were elevated to seeming equality with the Savior. It's why I personally have a degree of frustration and sadness about our brothers in the Orthodox churches, because to an extent I hear much more about tradition than I do about the Gospel and teaching and encouragement on living a Christ-like life and fulfilling the Great Commission, if at least on the surface level in this forum space (tis my only exposure with practicing Orthodox). That of course does not preclude Protestants from the same errors any member of the Roman Catholic or Orthodox denominations could make, quite the opposite as we are as human and sinful as any other.

I must admit I'm rather bemused by the historical documents and councils referenced thus far - as someone raised and remaining Protestant, nary a one of those rather deeply theological debates touch what I've ever been taught. I find it ironic - those historical figures arguing theology while professing Sola Scriptura seems a tad funny, as I have always found said doctrine lends itself readily to a wholly literal reading of the Bible in the overwhelming majority of cases (I will concede that while I hold what I gather to be exceptionally unpopular opinions on the sacraments of Baptism and Communion for this forum, those mysteries among others, plus the yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecies of Revelation, have good basis for discussing how literal/figurative the language might be).

That said, I believe much further up this thread someone linked a video in which a Orthodox priest was discussing the history of Protestantism - though it's done the exact opposite of its intent in my personal case, I have found by and large it was still very edifying, like many discussions I've read here. I'm thankful for not only having so much history thrown my way to read and learn from, but to be able to appreciate the point of view of Orthodox Christians, as you are widely underrepresented here in the US.

The Orthodox are big on tradition because that is how the Christian life is preserved. It is tradition that you have to thank for the scriptures themselves. Without the traditions that held which of the many books circulating in the early Christian period were authentic, none of us would have our Bible. This is why tradition must be staunchly defended and preserved, because without it things become degraded and eventually lost. You only have to look at certain more liberal Christian sects to see the effects of throwing tradition out of the window.

Also I'm not aware of any Orthodox traditions that are vastly removed from living the Gospel and following Christ.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
I had a little chat with a dutch reformed Christian recently. The way he explained his faith from a historical perspective was that upon the protestant break from Catholicism, it took about 200 years for the reformed faith to truly take root to what it is now, and that the interim was a period of turmoil. I'd be interested if other reform Christians would generally agree with this statement.
 

Dijkstra

Pigeon
The Orthodox are big on tradition because that is how the Christian life is preserved. It is tradition that you have to thank for the scriptures themselves. Without the traditions that held which of the many books circulating in the early Christian period were authentic, none of us would have our Bible. This is why tradition must be staunchly defended and preserved, because without it things become degraded and eventually lost. You only have to look at certain more liberal Christian sects to see the effects of throwing tradition out of the window.

Also I'm not aware of any Orthodox traditions that are vastly removed from living the Gospel and following Christ.
I feel you more or less proved my point with your response. I'm not saying tradition and living a Godly life are exclusive (again, consider that we are expressly commanded to follow Christ in baptism and maintain the sacrament of communion as prime examples of traditions we must actively participate in), it's that it feels like the only point of focus I see in most posts is the abstract concept of "Orthodox tradition."

Perhaps it's symptomatic of the rather short-form structure of forum posts. Or perhaps it's because the overwhelming majority of those who participate in this subsection of the forum are presumed to all agree on the same foundational beliefs of which is best summed up short-hand in the Nicene Creed (for brevity's sake, the actual Filioque-less one), so all we have to debate are those very obvious differences.

Ultimately I presume the issue's between my ears since I'm trying to understand something where I do have both theological and practical differences with, while still firmly believing there are repentant, God-seeking elect in both camps.
 

Lawrence87

Sparrow
Orthodox
I feel you more or less proved my point with your response. I'm not saying tradition and living a Godly life are exclusive (again, consider that we are expressly commanded to follow Christ in baptism and maintain the sacrament of communion as prime examples of traditions we must actively participate in), it's that it feels like the only point of focus I see in most posts is the abstract concept of "Orthodox tradition."

Perhaps it's symptomatic of the rather short-form structure of forum posts. Or perhaps it's because the overwhelming majority of those who participate in this subsection of the forum are presumed to all agree on the same foundational beliefs of which is best summed up short-hand in the Nicene Creed (for brevity's sake, the actual Filioque-less one), so all we have to debate are those very obvious differences.

Ultimately I presume the issue's between my ears since I'm trying to understand something where I do have both theological and practical differences with, while still firmly believing there are repentant, God-seeking elect in both camps.
Well Orthodox tradition is based on the concept that in order to have a genuine tradition you need to adopt it wholesale as it is passed on to you, rather than taking the bits and pieces that you deem to have validity. And this is not arbitrary, it is derived from a belief that the traditions of the church are ordained by the Holy Spirit. So it's not something that can be meddled with without going through the proper process.

The reason we harp on about it to Reformed Christians, is because they will arbitrarily say the traditions that guided the church to preserve the scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit, but [insert tradition here] is not. Either the church is inspired or it isn't. It's traditions are not a buffet.
 
Hmm, I'd say you've about hit the nail on the head there @Alexander_English, at least in my eyes.

The simplified history of we Protestants breaking away from the Roman Catholic church very much are points such as that church itself becoming chiefly a corrupt political organization, where works superceded faith and repentance as the means of salvation and saints were elevated to seeming equality with the Savior. It's why I personally have a degree of frustration and sadness about our brothers in the Orthodox churches, because to an extent I hear much more about tradition than I do about the Gospel and teaching and encouragement on living a Christ-like life and fulfilling the Great Commission, if at least on the surface level in this forum space (tis my only exposure with practicing Orthodox). That of course does not preclude Protestants from the same errors any member of the Roman Catholic or Orthodox denominations could make, quite the opposite as we are as human and sinful as any other.

I must admit I'm rather bemused by the historical documents and councils referenced thus far - as someone raised and remaining Protestant, nary a one of those rather deeply theological debates touch what I've ever been taught. I find it ironic - those historical figures arguing theology while professing Sola Scriptura seems a tad funny, as I have always found said doctrine lends itself readily to a wholly literal reading of the Bible in the overwhelming majority of cases (I will concede that while I hold what I gather to be exceptionally unpopular opinions on the sacraments of Baptism and Communion for this forum, those mysteries among others, plus the yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecies of Revelation, have good basis for discussing how literal/figurative the language might be).

That said, I believe much further up this thread someone linked a video in which a Orthodox priest was discussing the history of Protestantism - though it's done the exact opposite of its intent in my personal case, I have found by and large it was still very edifying, like many discussions I've read here. I'm thankful for not only having so much history thrown my way to read and learn from, but to be able to appreciate the point of view of Orthodox Christians, as you are widely underrepresented here in the US.
If God's Church became so corrupt that new sects that teach novel doctrines entirely at variance with those that had been taught for the past 1500 years had to take its place, then Jesus Christ did not keep His solemn promise He made to S. Peter in the Gospel of S, Matthew 16:18. If this were so then one might as well become an infidel. Perhaps the Mahometans are right, the earlier Scriptures were corrupted & the Koran is the true word of God. The councils & writings of the Fathers & Doctors impart the Faith as it was given to the Apostles by Christ. Why should Mahomet be reviled by Protestants when their own heresiarchs did the same as he did, holding fast to those doctrines of the Church which pleased them & rejecting those that they didn't like? It was the Fathers of the Church that determined which books of the Holy Scriptures are to be considered inspired by God & inerrant. That brings one to another point; how can you trust the Bible? The Canon wasn't settled until hundreds of years after the Death & Resurrection of Christ. If the Church had become false & full of error (again contradicting the words of Christ Himself) in the 16th century, how can you be sure it didn't also err in earlier ages? Perhaps there are books that are inspired that no one knows of, & others now included in the canon that ought to be taken out. Luther certainly thought so. He called the Epistle of S. James an "epistle of straw" because it clearly refuted his pernicious doctrine of salvation by faith alone. The doctrine of private interpretation is pure lunacy, a delusion from the father of lies which is clearly refuted by S. Peter in his 2nd epistle 3:16. As for corruption, does the blessing of the bigamous marriage of the Elector of Hesse, or stirring up the peasants until they revolted & then telling the nobles to massacre them sound like the conduct of a man of God, a reformer of the Church? These crimes were nothing compared to the blasphemies he uttered, such as claiming that Our Lord Jesus Christ committed adultery with the woman at the well & with S. Mary Magdalene. This is a small sampling of his enormities. Calvin made God Himself a monster of cruelty by affirming that He makes some men to be damned, no matter what they do. This contradicts the entire 18th chapter of Ezechiel in the Old Testament & I Timothy2:4 in the New Testament among others. Not to mention that Calvin was branded for having engaged in unnatural vice in Noyon. These fellows resemble much more the locusts boiling forth from the bottomless pit written of in the book of the Apocalypse. They tormented men by infecting their souls with the poison of their abominable heresies. May all Protestants see the truth & renounce & abjure all heresy.
 

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
This discussion reflects how badly the concept of "tradition" tends to be understood by protestants. In Orthodoxy, "Tradition" doesn't mean, "this is the way we've always done it, so we should never change!" (Although there are some elements "lower-case-t tradition", like kissing the priest's hand when receiving prosphora, or receiving the Eucharist via a spoon, that are practices which developed over time for various reasons, that isn't the type of tradition under discussion here.)

Holy Tradition is the body of teaching passed from Jesus to His disciples, then transmitted from the Apostles to the Churches they founded throughout the world. It is a continuous stream of consistent thought and interpretation and understanding of the Christian faith. This is why, in the disputes resolved by Ecumenical Councils in the first millennium, both sides argued not only with Scripture (which ends in a stalemate, as Protestantism shows, since relying on Scripture detached from any tradition of understanding leads to relativism) but how Christians had always practiced and understood their faith, as reflected in worship and the practice of the Church.

This is why the iconoclasts lost: they could make arguments from slinging Bible verses, but couldn't account for the consistent, largely uncontroversial practice of iconography and veneration over the centuries, which can be identified very early in Christian history. This is why the Arians lost: they couldn't account for Christ consistently worshipped as God if he was just the first and greatest creation as they claimed. This is why Nestorius lost: his faulty Christology was incoherent with Jesus always being understood as fully man and fully God. The development of doctrine in the first millennium was really the process of more precisely articulating what Christians believed to combat heretical ideas emerging over time.

There is an empirical element to this as well. There's nothing to stop slick exegetes from marshalling Bible verses to explain why God is really affirming of "same sex marriage." But for the Orthodox, this is a much harder argument to accept since the consistent understanding of Scripture and Christian sexual morality by the Church Fathers totally precludes any such novelty. We interpret and understand Scripture on the basis of how it's been understood by the Church Fathers and aren't free to make up new interpretations. This principle is followed only selectively by protestants, if at all.

If you can find a time when Christians didn't believe your doctrine, that's a problem, such as for Sola Scriptura, baptism-as-meaningless-gesture, and denial of real presence in the Eucharist. These were nowhere to be found in the first 1500 years of the Church. On the other hand, the Church always believed in the Real Presence, in Baptismal Regeneration, in a sacramental priesthood and apostolic succession. Given the tendency of the first-millennium Church to erupt in huge controversies over issues that probably seem nitpicky to modern protestants ("does Christ have two distinct natures, or are they mixed into one?"), you'd think that something like the establishment of a sacramental priesthood or the Real Presence would generate tremendous controversy and great debate between the innovators and the "Bible-believing Christians," but there is no evidence of this.

Of course, in the case of post-Schism Latin innovations these did provoke controversy with the East, and/or emerged after the Schism, so aberrant practices of Rome are no obstacle for Orthodoxy. Heresy and schism are never silent things that happen oblivious to anybody's knowledge, but always end up generating conspicuous public controversy, as the history of the Church makes quite clear.

This all raises the question of why God would transmit the Christian faith this way when He gave Moses stone tablets with everything clearly laid out. Why not just have Jesus drop off a King James Bible before ascending into heaven?

Remember that as modern people spoiled by printing presses, our perspective is fundamentally skewed. In the ancient world, the written word was slow and expensive. The Christian faith Jesus gave us spread incredibly rapidly throughout the ancient world because it was orally transmitted and could be taught in person. This meant that it took quite some time to get everything written down, especially subjects such as worship and sacramental practice, which would make little sense to emphasize in writing: would you get more value from learning how to conduct a liturgy based on reading a scroll, or learning it from the tutelage and observation of someone who knew it? The answer is obvious. It traveled with the Apostles and those they appointed and allowed for quick and effective evangelization. In contrast, the Mosaic Law was given to a single coherent nation which would occupy a defined geographical region, quite a different situation from the Church, and also functioned a full-blown civil law for the nation of Israel.

So in conclusion, a proper understanding of what Holy Tradition actually is, will clear up many misconceptions surrounding Orthodoxy.
 

MichaelWitcoff

Ostrich
Orthodox
Do all protestant denominations go by Sola Scriptura? Is refuting Sola Scriptura enough for protestantism (all denominations) to crumble?
If Protestants believed in what the Scriptures teach then they’d believe in apostolic succession, the Eucharist as life-giving, miracle-working relics, and other things that none of them believe in as a whole. And I say this as someone who used to be a "sola Scriptura Protestant;" in retrospect, I was deluding myself and trying to virtue-signal my piety by saying I believed in "sola Scriptura" without actually knowing how much of the Bible I was missing. The reason is simple: Protestant pastors don't talk about all the parts that disprove Protestantism, so you end up thinking you're a "Bible-believing Christian" based on what you hear at Church, not realizing how little of it you're actually hearing preached on.

For example, 2 Kings 13:21 reads "And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulcher of Elisha. And when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood up on his feet." Right there in the Bible you see an example of miracle-working relics: the bones of a Saint, still possessing so much power and divine grace that they can alter the material world simply by coming into contact with it. In this case, the bones of Elisha brought a dead man back to life the instant they touched his body.

When was the last time you heard about this verse at Pastor Jim's Bible Church?
 
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