What is Orthodox Christianity?

Panegyric

Newbie
Hermetic Seal, I appreciate your answer and your earnestly seeking the truth. There is too much information in your answer to deal with it in one post so I will try to deal with it over several posts. I’ll address your last comment first:


The problem is that we can't just read the Bible in a vacuum. If God intended for that to be the case, interpreting it would be easy and there wouldn't be a vast number of denominations with significant theological difference between them (and I would expect the Bible to say a lot more about how worship should be conducted, like the Mosaic Law did.) Sola Scriptura would be persuasive if the Catholic/Orthodox churches had their doctrines, and then all or almost all of the Protestants believed the same thing, the obvious truth of scripture that was being suppressed by those aforementioned churches. But of course this is not the case, and never has been, right from the start of the Reformation.

We can't "just read the Bible", we need to read it and understand it in the context of how the Church has historically understood its doctrines. If a doctrine suddenly appears in the 16th century with a "Biblical" basis yet there's no support or evidence for it within the preceding Christian tradition, like Sola Scriptura, we have good reason to be skeptical of this innovation. The strongest Christian doctrines, like Trinitarianism, not only accord with Scripture but also are supported and defended by the patristic writers and the Church throughout history.
Jesus taught us that we need to have good spiritual understanding. (Mark 8:17-18). Job 28:12-13 tells us where to get this understanding: “But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend it’s worth it cannot be found in the land of the living.” But as the Book of Acts tells us (16:4) it is God who gives us the understanding. God opened up Lydia’s heart to feed the things spoken by Paul. You can’t get good understanding simply by reading the Bible. I agree with you on that point. However it is also true that you cannot get a good understanding simply by going to church or by someone preaching to you. These are all important in and of themselves but they are not enough. You can read the Bible from cover to cover but still not have the understanding to apply it. So what is the key to understanding? Obedience to God. Obeying His word. We will be obedient because we fear God. As Psalm 111:10 states: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, all who follow his precepts have a good understanding.”

Fearing the Lord does not mean we are afraid of God but rather that we are afraid of being on the wrong side of God. We are afraid of offending him or hurting him through ungodly thinking or behaviour. We have reverence for him.

Most importantly we must depend on God to give us wisdom not man. As James 1:5-6 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him but let him ask in faith with no doubting for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind”. God will give us understanding if we walk in reverent fear of him, in obedience to him, growing in the fear of the Lord.

My point is this. We need to do most of our learning directly from God‘s word and his spirit not from teachers, preachers, priests, pastors, or bishops, etc. We shouldn’t learn exclusively from fallible man but rather from an infallible and holy God through his word given to us in the Bible which is the logos and through his spirit.
Consider Psalm 19:7-9: “ The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure making wise the simple. The statues of the Lord are right rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean enduring forever.“. See also 1Corinthians 2:4,10,13 and 2 Timothy 2:7.
I hope this helps. God bless.
 

DanielH

Woodpecker
Hermetic Seal, I appreciate your answer and your earnestly seeking the truth. There is too much information in your answer to deal with it in one post so I will try to deal with it over several posts. I’ll address your last comment first:



Jesus taught us that we need to have good spiritual understanding. (Mark 8:17-18). Job 28:12-13 tells us where to get this understanding: “But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend it’s worth it cannot be found in the land of the living.” But as the Book of Acts tells us (16:4) it is God who gives us the understanding. God opened up Lydia’s heart to feed the things spoken by Paul. You can’t get good understanding simply by reading the Bible. I agree with you on that point. However it is also true that you cannot get a good understanding simply by going to church or by someone preaching to you. These are all important in and of themselves but they are not enough. You can read the Bible from cover to cover but still not have the understanding to apply it. So what is the key to understanding? Obedience to God. Obeying His word. We will be obedient because we fear God. As Psalm 111:10 states: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, all who follow his precepts have a good understanding.”

Fearing the Lord does not mean we are afraid of God but rather that we are afraid of being on the wrong side of God. We are afraid of offending him or hurting him through ungodly thinking or behaviour. We have reverence for him.

Most importantly we must depend on God to give us wisdom not man. As James 1:5-6 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him but let him ask in faith with no doubting for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind”. God will give us understanding if we walk in reverent fear of him, in obedience to him, growing in the fear of the Lord.

My point is this. We need to do most of our learning directly from God‘s word and his spirit not from teachers, preachers, priests, pastors, or bishops, etc. We shouldn’t learn exclusively from fallible man but rather from an infallible and holy God through his word given to us in the Bible which is the logos and through his spirit.
Consider Psalm 19:7-9: “ The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure making wise the simple. The statues of the Lord are right rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean enduring forever.“. See also 1Corinthians 2:4,10,13 and 2 Timothy 2:7.
I hope this helps. God bless.
If only Christ established some sort of group in which these teachings would be kept in their fullness until his second coming so that false teachers couldn't deceive others with false interpretations, leading to thousands of denominations. A group in which even the gates of Hell couldn't prevail against. Oh well.

Pardon the sarcasm. I get it, I was in your shoes a couple years ago.
 

Aboulia

Robin
Hermetic Seal, I appreciate your answer and your earnestly seeking the truth. There is too much information in your answer to deal with it in one post so I will try to deal with it over several posts. I’ll address your last comment first:



Jesus taught us that we need to have good spiritual understanding. (Mark 8:17-18). Job 28:12-13 tells us where to get this understanding: “But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend it’s worth it cannot be found in the land of the living.” But as the Book of Acts tells us (16:4) it is God who gives us the understanding. God opened up Lydia’s heart to feed the things spoken by Paul. You can’t get good understanding simply by reading the Bible. I agree with you on that point. However it is also true that you cannot get a good understanding simply by going to church or by someone preaching to you. These are all important in and of themselves but they are not enough. You can read the Bible from cover to cover but still not have the understanding to apply it. So what is the key to understanding? Obedience to God. Obeying His word. We will be obedient because we fear God. As Psalm 111:10 states: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, all who follow his precepts have a good understanding.”

Fearing the Lord does not mean we are afraid of God but rather that we are afraid of being on the wrong side of God. We are afraid of offending him or hurting him through ungodly thinking or behaviour. We have reverence for him.

Most importantly we must depend on God to give us wisdom not man. As James 1:5-6 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him but let him ask in faith with no doubting for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind”. God will give us understanding if we walk in reverent fear of him, in obedience to him, growing in the fear of the Lord.

My point is this. We need to do most of our learning directly from God‘s word and his spirit not from teachers, preachers, priests, pastors, or bishops, etc. We shouldn’t learn exclusively from fallible man but rather from an infallible and holy God through his word given to us in the Bible which is the logos and through his spirit.
Consider Psalm 19:7-9: “ The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure making wise the simple. The statues of the Lord are right rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean enduring forever.“. See also 1Corinthians 2:4,10,13 and 2 Timothy 2:7.
I hope this helps. God bless.
Jesus Christ came to earth and instituted the apostles for a reason. Why bother teaching men first and sending them out later if we can just get all wisdom we need from God?

When you cite the book of James, can you ignore the context that James was sending it to a specific people, who would be familiar with all the scriptures, and their history. He sent it to the 12 Tribes and not the Gentiles. Do you think a James would have said to a Midianite, " “If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him but let him ask in faith with no doubting for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” Or would he have had the Midianite turn from his false gods before making such a statement?

When the Ethiopian eunuch was reading the scriptures, why did he tell the Apostle Philip, "How can I understand unless a man guides me" (Acts 8:27-39) When you divorce a book from it's original framework, and abandon the wisdom of those who preserved the faith handed down by the apostles, How do you think you'll come to the same conclusions as you would if you were taught? Jesus Christ never wrote anything down that was recorded, the only recorded time Jesus writes, it's not recorded, it's in the sand when the Jews wanted to stone the adulterous woman (John 8:6)

Words are very bad tools of communication. We don't use words to describe what the thing is, we use words to point, and only those who use the same terms, in the same way, will be able understand each other. That's what the bible was intended for. You may not like hierarchy, but you will not gain by throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
 

Panegyric

Newbie
I hate to break it to you, but Anabaptists are Protestants too. Anabaptism started in the 16th century, owes more to Ulrich Zwingli than Paul, and the various weird schismatic groups like Montanists (Non-Trinitarian, Charismatic, Proto-Pentecostal), Docetists (Proto-Gnostic, Jesus Was A Hologram), Paulicians (Non-Trinitarian, rejected Old Testament, rejected sacraments, rejected cross, Manichaean Gnosticism) don't even believe the same things as each other, let alone later Reformation-era groups. This same thing was attempted by Baptist Landmarkism (as typified in The Trail Of Blood), but is widely rejected today as spurious nonsense with no basis in history.

I have a lot of respect for Anabaptist descended groups like Mennonites, Amish, and others who have maintained strong Christian communities in spite of some strange beliefs. But I just don't think there's any good evidence that they have any connection to the early Church.
The history of the Anabaptist movement is confusing largely because of the persecution that they faced from the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches. Ulrich Zwingli martyred the Anabaptist. Some historians believe the Anabaptists trace their history to the 16th century but had nothing to do with Catholics or Protestants. They were considered the radical (Greek meaning root) part of the Reformation by historians who did not seem to know their true origins or where they came from. Because they were killed for their beliefs and their Bibles and other records burned and destroyed by their persecutors, I admit, the historical record is not perfectly clear. However, there are some books that give us some good insight into Anabaptists. For example, W. David Buschart’s “Exploring Protestant Traditions.” On p. 59 he states “the Anabapstists were viewed as going back to the roots of earliest Christianity, bypassing established views, values, and institutions, both Roman Catholic and Protestant.” Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, Menno Simmons, and John Calvin, all part of the Protestant Reformation where from the Catholic Church. They were ordained priests. They came from the intelligentsia of the Catholic Church. They got their ideas from Erasmus, also a Catholic Priest, who tried to reform clerical corruption in the Catholic Church from within. Protestants merely came out of the Catholic Church in protest of abuses by the clergy, but they didn’t go far enough in their reformations. They went only as far back as the church fathers. They needed to go back to the Apostles, to Jesus. They still held on to infant baptism and icon veneration as established by the Orthodox Church at the Seventh Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (787). These ideas were largely borrowed from Augustine who brought his Manichean beliefs and Aristotelian philosophies into the church. Councils had to be convened because the Orthodox Church did not have a unified theology as some would argue, and still don’t. If they had, they wouldn’t have needed 7 Ecumenical Councils to get it right. The Roman Catholic Church needed 21, and now a Jesuit Pope. I’m not saying these councils are a bad thing, but it does counter the argument that all Catholics are on the same page in terms of their soteriology and eschatology. Anabaptists had nothing to do with that. They were a grassroots movement. They wanted to rid the church of the Catholic mass with its reliance on imagery and ideas of transubstantiation brought on by Augustine and instead replace it with the Lord’s Supper. They also disagreed with both Catholics and reformers over infant baptism. Most of the Anabaptists were sprinkled as babies but rejected their own baptism and chose to rebaptise (anabaptism). Augustine also introduced this heresy into the church.

For these beliefs, Anabaptists were constantly migrating to avoid persecution from the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches. How they arrived at their doctrine that was contrary to mainstream Christianity at the time is difficult to know for sure, however, in his book “The Pilgrim Church,” E. H. Broadbent gives some insight. He suggests that Anabaptists have been around since first days of the Christian Church, and trace their lineage back to the Apostle Paul. They didn’t arise form the Reformation, they were always there, hiding in the European Alps to avoid prosecution from the Catholic Church. According to Broadbent, they were known as the “Waldenses, Paulicians, Albigenses, Lollards, Anabaptists, and many other names the very mentions of which carried to the mind ether meaning heretic, schismatic, turner of the world upside down…” The Catholic and Orthodox Churches and the Protestants considered them heretics. Contrary to what is on Wikipedia, they were not founded by Zwingli and Calvin. They existed well before them, and were persecuted by them. Broadbent tells of some of the few recorded contacts with these people as recorded by their persecutors: “A Prior of St. Roch at Turin, Marco Aurelio Rorenco, was ordered in 1630 to write an account of the history and opinions of the Waldenses. He wrote that the Waldenses are so ancient as to afford no absolute certainty in regard to the precise time of their origin, but that, at all events, in the ninth and tenth centuries they were even then not a new sect. And he adds that in the ninth century so far from being a new sect, they were rather to be deemed a race of fomenters and encouragers of opinions which had preceded them. Further, he wrote that Claudius of Turin was to be reckoned among these fomenters and encouragers, inasmuch as he was a person who denied the reverence due to the holy cross, who rejected the veneration and invocation of saints, and who was a principal destroyer of images. In his commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, Claudius plainly teaches justification by faith, and points out the error of the Church in departing from that truth.”

Remember, God always leaves a remnant. In 1Kings 19:14-18, Elijah complained to God that he was the only faithful one left in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal. God then revealed to him that he was not the only one, that in fact there were 7000. These Waldenses, Anabaptists, Lollards, etc…were a remnant of believers. They did not bow the knee to idols, or false doctrine. They remained faithful to the Lord. Again, Broadbent points out: : “When they came into contact with the Reformers in the sixteenth century they said: “Our ancestors have often recounted to us that we have existed from the time of the Apostles. In all matters nevertheless we agree with you, and thinking as you think, from the very days of the Apostles themselves, we have ever been consistent respecting the faith." On the return of the Vaudois to their valleys, their leader, Henri Arnold, in 1689 said: “That their religion is as primitive as their name is venerable is attested even by their adversaries," and then quotes Reinarius the Inquisitor who, in a report made by him to the Pope on the subject of their faith, admits, “they have existed from time immemorial." “It would not," Arnold continues, “be difficult to prove that this poor band of the faithful were in the valleys of Piedmont more than four centuries before the appearance of those extraordinary personages, Luther and Calvin and the subsequent lights of the Reformation. Neither has their Church ever been reformed, whence arises its title of Evangelic. The Vaudois are in fact descended from those refugees from Italy, who, after St. Paul had there preached the Gospel, abandoned their beautiful country and fled, like the woman mentioned in the Apocalypse, to these wild mountains, where they have to this day handed down the Gospel, from father to son, in the same purity and simplicity as it was preached by St. Paul."

They also believed the pastor was the first among equals. The idea of a pastor as the top guy was an error invented by Ignatius of Antioch. He created what became known theologically as mono-episcopacy. This was not biblical. The reason Ignatius created this was because people were getting into all kinds of false doctrine, so they looked to the churches that were planted by the Apostles, such as Jerusalem, Corinth, and Antioch. They knew these churches were started by the Apostles, so they looked to the present leaders of those churches instead of the actual doctrine taught by the Apostles. Mono-episcopacy lead to something Jesus hated called Nicolaitanism (Rev 2:6, 14-15) – suppression of the laity, a clergy class under the law, based on Old Testament Levitical priesthood. In other words, overlords over the people. New Testament leadership was a plurality. It was always functional and relational, not clerical and hierarchical. This is what I believe and it is in the tradition of the Anabaptist. I hope this helps. God bless!
 

PainPositive

Kingfisher
Gold Member
@Panegyric - This is not a theological debate forum that strays from orthodoxy. It is not a place for a newbie to join with the intention of arguing and debating with Christians. There are many Protestant forums that hold your views.
I think a lot of this is coming from the fact that the forum rules aren't clear about what this forum is- an Orthodox forum. A lot of people (including myself) were under the impression that this was a "Christian Forum" but in reality it's not, it's Orthodox and Catholic. Catholic threads and opinions that conflict with Orthodox views are allowed to exist but protestant ones are closed or shouted down. I think a lot of these debates would stop if people knew this was a place for people "investigating" Orthodoxy or are already Orthodox or Catholic.
 

Aboulia

Robin
I think a lot of this is coming from the fact that the forum rules aren't clear about what this forum is- an Orthodox forum. A lot of people (including myself) were under the impression that this was a "Christian Forum" but in reality it's not, it's Orthodox and Catholic. Catholic threads and opinions that conflict with Orthodox views are allowed to exist but protestant ones are closed or shouted down. I think a lot of these debates would stop if people knew this was a place for people "investigating" Orthodoxy or are already Orthodox or Catholic.
Not quite, this conversation is taking place in the Orthodox section of the forum. This isn't the general Christianity area.
 

PainPositive

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Not quite, this conversation is taking place in the Orthodox section of the forum. This isn't the general Christianity area.
Did you not read what Roosh just said or am I missing something? The statement was that this forum is not for theology debates and that there are many Protestant forums that are better suited for protestant viewpoints. He didn't say "This is not the thread for this." Is said this isn't the forum for these discussions/viewpoints.
 

Aboulia

Robin
Did you not read what Roosh just said or am I missing something? The statement was that this forum is not for theology debates and that there are many Protestant forums that are better suited for protestant viewpoints. He didn't say "This is not the thread for this." Is said this isn't the forum for these discussions/viewpoints.

7. Do not blaspheme God. You are not permitted to insult, ridicule, mock, or desecrate Christian beliefs or practices on the forum. While you can participate in polite intellectual discussions concerning Christianity, attacks against God that come from a place of atheism, hedonism, or secularism are not allowed. You are also not allowed to have heated debates with a fellow Christian for his views, dogmas, or doctrines. Do not emotionally argue with fellow Christians.

Well technically it's in the rules. It's not saying you cannot have a Protestant viewpoint, it's saying that don't fight with others about their theology. Why do you think that Orthodox Christianity / Catholicism / Christianity General are segregated forums, it's so that there is no fighting. We had a lot of fighting early on when the forum shifted over, I was part of that problem.

Reading what Roosh said, I read that as this is the section of the forum for Orthodox thought, and contesting this will not be tolerated in this area, for if it were true we could not have opinions that strayed from Orthodoxy, Then "Catholicism" "Christianity General" and "Other Religions" wouldn't exist.

Edit: Those 3 listed forums would only exist for the disparaging of those beliefs
 

PainPositive

Kingfisher
Gold Member
7. Do not blaspheme God. You are not permitted to insult, ridicule, mock, or desecrate Christian beliefs or practices on the forum. While you can participate in polite intellectual discussions concerning Christianity, attacks against God that come from a place of atheism, hedonism, or secularism are not allowed. You are also not allowed to have heated debates with a fellow Christian for his views, dogmas, or doctrines. Do not emotionally argue with fellow Christians.

Well technically it's in the rules. It's not saying you cannot have a Protestant viewpoint, it's saying that don't fight with others about their theology. Why do you think that Orthodox Christianity / Catholicism / Christianity General are segregated forums, it's so that there is no fighting. We had a lot of fighting early on when the forum shifted over, I was part of that problem.

Reading what Roosh said, I read that as this is the section of the forum for Orthodox thought, and contesting this will not be tolerated in this area, for if it were true we could not have opinions that strayed from Orthodoxy, Then "Catholicism" "Christianity General" and "Other Religions" wouldn't exist.

Edit: Those 3 listed forums would only exist for the disparaging of those beliefs
I think this is a great example of why 'sola scriptura" doesn't work. Your interpretation and mine are completely different. :) Go back and read what he just wrote. What does "This is not a theological debate forum that strays from orthodoxy." mean to you?

The "Other religions" section isn't where other religions can come and promote buddhism or islam it's where people can discuss these religions through the Orthodox lens. Christianity general is for general discussions on Christianity and pro Protestant, sola scriptura, etc threads have been closed there recently. Catholicism is the only exception in terms of "other religions".

I'm not saying I have a problem with this being an Orthodox forum it should just be more clear to stop confusion and people like @Panegyric wasting their time coming here to discuss their protestant viewpoints when they're clearly unwelcome. As Roosh just said, there are other protestant forums they can go to and it would be better for everyone. This is a forum for Orthodox, Catholics, or those investigating one of the two.
 

Roosh

Cardinal
It's not that this forum is against Protestants, but the newbie member seems to have simply registered to debate. He was warned more for his newbie status than his Protestantism. Even if he was Orthodox, he would have been warned in some way.

But it's true, if you are pushing a viewpoint that is aggressively anti-Orthodox, you will have issues here. Still, you are allowed to share other views if it's a part of your faith, just not as part of debate-centered posting. There are many Protestants who are here and don't have a problem with the rules.
 
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