Friday, June 15, 2007

Athanasius, Chrysostom, and the modern EOC

The question has been raised as regarding my claim that Athanasius and John Chrysostom (for ex) did not teach the same as modern EO-doxy. I will paste several statements from each of them below to defend that. I of course don't expect Orthodox the poster to buy it, but he won't have any good reason not to concede the point.

As far as this goes, I'm not going to comment much on these but I will list them b/c I was challenged. I am not a patristics scholar or even very well-read in them. But what I will do is try to head some objections off and then defend those in the combox if challenged.

Athanasius is first in alphabetical and historical order:

1A) Athanasius had a Canon of Scripture (unlike the modern Eastern Orthodox Church [EOC]). Also, his books are different from those that EO-dox usually present as their Canon.

"I also write, by way of remembrance, of matters with which you are acquainted, influenced by the need and advantage of the Church. In proceeding to make mention of these things, I shall adopt, to commend my undertaking, the pattern of Luke the Evangelist, saying on my own account: 'Forasmuch as some have taken in hand,' to reduce into order for themselves the books termed apocryphal, and to mix them up with the divinely inspired Scripture, concerning which we have been fully persuaded, as they who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, delivered to the fathers; it seemed good to me also, having been urged thereto by true brethren, and having learned from the beginning, to set before you the books included in the Canon, and handed down, and accredited as Divine...There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews...there are other books besides these not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness. The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit" (Festal Letter 39:2-4, 39:7)


2A) See above citation - "this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews". Athanasius disagrees w/ EO posters on this very blog in that he was convinced that his was the Canon of the Hebrews.

3A) See above citation - just two 'verses' later in the same letter, Athanasius says: "These are fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these." (Festal Letter 39:6)

4A)
"It is plain then from the above that the Scriptures declare the Son's eternity; it is equally plain from what follows that the Arian phrases 'He was not,' and 'before' and 'when,' are in the same Scriptures predicated of creatures." (Four Discourses Against the Arians, 1:4:13)


"And let them [the Arians] blame themselves in this matter, for they set the example, beginning their war against God with words not in Scripture. However, if a person is interested in the question, let him know, that, even if the expressions [used by those who oppose Arianism] are not in so many words in the Scriptures, yet, as was said before, they contain the sense of the Scriptures, and expressing it, they convey it to those who have their hearing unimpaired for religious doctrine." (Defense of the Nicene Definition, 5:21)


"Vainly then do they run about with the pretext that they have demanded Councils for the faith's sake; for divine Scripture is sufficient above all things; but if a Council be needed on the point, there are the proceedings of the Fathers, for the Nicene Bishops did not neglect this matter, but stated the doctrines so exactly, that persons reading their words honestly, cannot but be reminded by them of the religion towards Christ announced in divine Scripture" (De Synodis, 6)


5A)
"The knowledge of our religion and of the truth of things is independently manifest rather than in need of human teachers, for almost day by day it asserts itself by facts, and manifests itself brighter than the sun by the doctrine of Christ. Still, as you nevertheless desire to hear about it, Macarius, come let us as we may be able set forth a few points of the faith of Christ: able though you are to find it out from the divine oracles, but yet generously desiring to hear from others as well. For although the sacred and inspired Scriptures are sufficient to declare the truth,-while there are other works of our blessed teachers compiled for this purpose, if he meet with which a man will gain some knowledge of the interpretation of the Scriptures, and be able to learn what he wishes to know,-still, as we have not at present in our hands the compositions of our teachers, we must communicate in writing to you what we learned from them,-the faith, namely, of Christ the Saviour; lest any should hold cheap the doctrine taught among us, or think faith in Christ unreasonable." (Against the Heathen, 1:1)


John Chrysostom:


1J) John Chrysostom wanted people to read and hear scripture as often as possible and to possess copies of the Bible. He included unbelievers, even young children. As opposed to the EOC (or at the very least quite a few EO-dox w/ whom I have interacted over the past few years).

"this I say, not to prevent you from procuring Bibles, on the contrary, I exhort and earnestly pray that you do this" (Homilies on the Gospel According to St. John, 32:3)


"It is a great thing, this reading of the Scriptures!...For it is not possible, I say not possible, ever to exhaust the mind of the Scriptures. It is a well which has no bottom....How many persons, do you suppose, have spoken upon the Gospels? And yet all have spoken in a way which was new and fresh. For the more one dwells on them, the more insight does he get, the more does he behold the pure light." (Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, 19)


"And so ye also, if ye be willing to apply to the reading of him [Paul] with a ready mind, will need no other aid. For the word of Christ is true which saith, 'Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.' (Matt. vii. 7.)...For from this it is that our countless evils have arisen - from ignorance of the Scriptures; from this it is that the plague of heresies has broken out; from this that there are negligent lives; from this labors without advantage. For as men deprived of this daylight would not walk aright, so they that look not to the gleaming of the Holy Scriptures must needs be frequently and constantly sinning, in that they are walking the worst darkness." (Homilies on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, The Argument)


2J) "All things are clear and open that are in the divine Scriptures; the necessary things are all plain." (Homilies on Second Thessalonians, 3, v. 5)

3J) John Chrysostom didn't think there was much unity in what is alleged to have been the Eastern Orthodox Church® of his day:

"What is one to say to the disorders in the other Churches? For the evil did not stop even here [Constantinople], but made its way to the east. For as when some evil humor is discharged from the head, all the other parts are corrupted, so now also these evils, having originated in this great city as from a fountain, confusion has spread in every direction, and clergy have everywhere made insurrection against bishops, there has been schism between bishop and bishop, people and people, and will be yet more; every place is suffering from the throes of calamity, and the subversion of the whole civilized world." (Correspondence of St. Chrysostom with the Bishop of Rome, Letter 1:4)


4J) He refers to 2 Timothy 3:17 applying to all Christians, not just members of the church hierarchy:

"'That the man of God may be perfect.' For this is the exhortation of the Scripture given, that the man of God may be rendered perfect by it; without this therefore he cannot be perfect. Thou hast the Scriptures, he says, in place of me. If thou wouldest learn anything, thou mayest learn it from them. And if he thus wrote to Timothy, who was filled with the Spirit, how much more to us!" (Homilies on Second Timothy, 9, 3:16-17)

Many thanks to Jason Engwer for the sourcing of these quotes.


Now, someone might object: You got these from an article meant to refute Roman Catholicism.
True, but the citations stand on their own and refute the EO position too.

This is just your own private personal interpretation.
Ah geez, don't even get me started.
Of course everyone interprets things - that is not open to question. Do you believe, however, that every interpretation is the same? If so, then here is how I interpret your last statement:

MY INTERPRETATION OF OBJECTOR: My feet are made of broccoli and I won 500 corn chips in the lottery.

See how silly it is to talk that way?
If you disagree w/ my statement, you must show me (and any reader) why w/ a reasoned argument. Which will then be interpreted by me and every reader. Just running around questioning interpretation or retorting “That’s just your interpretation!” is a conversation-killer. And it’s an ugly death for the conversation.

(If you're keeping score at home, that's my exact response to a liberal Protestant who used the same line. Just sayin'.)

You've taken them out of context.

i) According to YOU. But you tell me to eschew private interpretation all the time, so why should I listen to your private interpretation?
ii) I don't have time right now to read thru the Fathers, so I don't feel the force of the objection very strongly anyway.
iii) **Main point** Let's just say for the sake of argument that you're right - Ath and JoChr taught in more than one *other* place the opposite doctrine to what I've presented here.
That leaves us w/ CFs who have contradicted themselves. To be consistent w/ these Ch Fathers (and remember, my claim is that modern EO-doxy is inconsistent w/ them), EOC would either have to:
A: Teach just as inconsistently as these two guys do, sometimes saying one thing, sometimes the other, or
B: Call these teachings not actually part of Divine Tradition.

The problem w/ resolution A is that the cognitive dissonance would be pretty much unbearable. The upshot is that I don't know if I'd expect a lot of people to turn away from EO-doxy in real life.
The thing about resolution B is that they have indeed already done just that. Somehow these two godly, forcible, powerful writers, from whom EOC ostensibly derives much of its tradition and doctrine, also produced impious, ungodly, and flat wrong teachings.

Now, how would the EO know this? Apparently from judging these non-"Apostolic Traditions" by... yup, you guessed it! What The Church® Says.
In the end, it's a vicious circle of question-begging. I claim the modern EOC is not totally faithful w/ Ch Fathers and then cite them when challenged. Then they say, "Hey, those aren't part of Apostolic Tradition!" I say, "Thanks for proving my point."

I also pause to note how pernicious this is. The Lord Jesus set an authoritative example for how one is to judge tradition - by Scripture. The EO refuses to do that and instead appeals to his own doctrinal construct which is already in place to then look BACK on tradition AND Scripture and pick and choose what he'll believe and what he won't believe. Thus the EO holds to the Scriptural teaching of the Deity of Christ and rejects the Scriptural teaching of salvation by grace alone thru faith alone. He accepts the Trinity and rejects sola scriptura. He accepts the fact that we should pray to God as commanded in the Scripture and rejects the fact that prayer to dead people and angels is strictly prohibited in the Scripture.
It becomes easy to see how this not only dishonors God in ideal (that is, that we should not judge men's teachings by God's) but also later in practice (bowing down to images, praying to dead people, trying to work one's way to salvation).

24 comments:

Lucian said...

He accepts the fact that we should pray to God as commanded in the Scripture and rejects the fact that prayer to dead people and angels is strictly prohibited in the Scripture.

You condemn both Chrisostom and Athanasius by Your own words.

BTW, we all know the reasons Protestantism rejected the Apocrypha, right? So, if these 2 illustrious men rejected them, then tell me what their stance on, say, Scripturally-forbidden prayer to dead-men and angels would be?

Please don't try to simply avoid answering this (standard) question the way the Triabloguers did.

Rhology said...

Not by my words but Scripture's. We are all to be judged by the same standard, as I have consistently explained.

The Apocrypha does not support prayer to the dead, BTW.

And I don't guess I understand your question. Please rephrase it.

Lucian said...

We all know why Luther (and the whole of Protestantism, after him) rejected the Apocrypha. (Because they [Luther & Protestants] haven't been keepin' it a secret; i.e., the reason for rejecting the Apocrypha). >They are full of errors, whether historical or scientifical inaccuracies, or theological mistakes, and heresies<

So ... if these 2 respected Fathers rejected them [the Apocrypha], what's their [the Father's] position on the above-mentioned "inaccuracies", "mistakes", "heresies", etc. that the Apocrypha are supposed to contain?

Rhology said...

Dude, I'm not the one who talks to dead people. *You* ask them.

Lucian said...

:) Cute. Very cute. [But I've speciffically asked You, kindly -very kindly- NOT to try to "dodge" this]. Ok? :|

Rhology said...

OK, so it's a rhetorical question from you.

Sounds like you have something up your sleeve, as you said a few minutes ago in the other combox. ;-)

I don't know what they would or did say. I wonder if they ever dealt w/ it. But maybe you can educate me.

Lucian said...

No, I can't. You can read. So read.
[The American teaching system has its faults, I'll grant that ... but teaching one how to read and write isn't one of them, at least not to my knowledge].

Tolle et lege! :) -- come on, Protestants like Augustinian citations, ... don't You? Or do You want me to spoon-feed You now?

Rhology said...

I'll probably put some time into it later, but not now. Thanks for the exhortation, though.

Lucian said...

There's no rush to it. You have all the time in the world.

orthodox said...

ORTHODOX: LET'S NOT LOSE SIGHT OF WHAT THE CHALLENGE WAS. THE CONTENTION IS THAT ATHANASISUS AND CHRYSOSTOM ARE IN THE TRUE CHURCH AND EOC ARE SUBSTANTIVELY DIFFERENT TO EXCLUDE THEM FROM THE TRUE CHURCH.

RHOLOGY: 1A) Athanasius had a Canon of Scripture (unlike the modern Eastern Orthodox Church [EOC])

ORTHODOX: Whoa, hang on now. You were citing these people as belonging to the true church (as opposed to EOC) as evidence for your 400 year cut off on God's people discerning the canon. But Athanasius' OT canon differs from you. So you ought not be bringing this up. The best you can say here is that neither of us or both of us are in the true church on this evidence. I also note that Chrysostom's canon was different to you.

Let Rhology be plain: Does having a different canon to him exclude you from the true church?

"outside the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us,' Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Esther, Judith, and Tobit, as well as what is called the Teaching of the Apostles and the Shepherd." - Athanasius

RHOLOGY: "Vainly then do they run about with the pretext that they have demanded Councils for the faith's sake; for divine Scripture is sufficient above all things" -- Athanasius

ORTHODOX: "But after him and with him are all inventors of unlawful heresies, who indeed refer to the Scriptures, but do not hold such opinions as the saints have handed down, and receiving them as the traditions of men, err, because they do not rightly know them nor their power." (Festal Letter 2.6)

"Without pre-fixing Consulate, month, and day, they wrote concerning Easter, 'It seemed good as follows,' for it did then seem good that there should be a general compliance; but about the faith they wrote not, 'It seemed good,' but, 'Thus believes the Catholic Church;' and thereupon they confessed how they believed, in order to shew that their own sentiments were not novel, but Apostolical; and what they wrote down was no discovery of theirs, but is the same as was taught by the Apostles. (Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia 5)

Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow (nineteenth century): "The only pure and all-sufficient source of the doctrines of the faith is the revealed word of God"

Do you think maybe any statement needs to be understood in the context of someone's overall writings and not taken out of context as a proof text?

RHOLOGY: John Chrysostom wanted people to read and hear scripture as often as possible and to possess copies of the Bible. He included unbelievers, even young children. As opposed to the EOC (or at the very least quite a few EO-dox w/ whom I have interacted over the past few years).

?????

Where on earth would get such a bizarre idea that EO don't want you to read scripture? You realise that 90% of every Orthodox church service is scripture right?

RHOLOGY: "All things are clear and open that are in the divine Scriptures; the necessary things are all plain." (Homilies on Second Thessalonians, 3, v. 5)

ORTHODOX: "So then, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye were taught, whether by word, or by Epistle of ours." Hence it is manifest, that they did not deliver all things by Epistle, but many things also unwritten, and in like manner both the one and the other are worthy of credit. Therefore let us think the tradition of the Church also worthy of credit. It is a tradition, seek no farther. Here he shows that there were many who were shaken." (John Chrysostom, Homily 4, commentary on 2 Thess 2:15)

RHOLOGY: John Chrysostom didn't think there was much unity in what is alleged to have been the Eastern Orthodox Church® of his day:

ORTHODOX: So the amount of unity you perceive in the church is a distinctive of whether you are a true Christian? What verse says that?

RHOLOGY: He refers to 2 Timothy 3:17 applying to all Christians, not just members of the church hierarchy:

ORTHODOX: Where does Orthodoxy say that 2Ti 3:17 only applies to the hierarchy?

RHOLOGY: Let's just say for the sake of argument that you're right - Ath and JoChr taught in more than one *other* place the opposite doctrine to what I've presented here.
That leaves us w/ CFs who have contradicted themselves.

ORTHODOX: That's about as credible as saying Paul and James contradicted each other by way of out of context proof texting.

That Chrysostom said that "the necessary things in scripture are plain", does not repudiate that he said "It is a tradition, seek no further".

I think that scripture is plain too, but it happens that you still disagree with me. Athanasius: "The blessed Apostle approves of the Corinthians because, he says, 'ye remember me in all things, and keep the traditions as I delivered them to you' (1 Cor. xi. 2); but they [the Arian heretics], as entertaining such views of their predecessors, will have the daring to say just the reverse to their flocks: 'We praise you not for remembering your fathers, but rather we make much of you, when you hold not their traditions.' And let them go on to accuse their own unfortunate birth, and say, 'We are sprung not of religious men but of heretics.' For such language, as I said before, is consistent in those who barter their Fathers' fame and their own salvation for Arianism, and fear not the words of the divine proverb, 'There is a generation that curseth their father' (Prov. xxx. 11; Ex. xxi. 17), and the threat lying in the Law against such. They then, from zeal for the heresy, are of this obstinate temper; you, however, be not troubled at it, nor take their audacity for truth. For they dissent from each other, and, whereas they have revolted from their Fathers, are not of one and the same mind, but float about with various and discordant changes."

Yes, Athanasius said "what need have we of councils when scripture is sufficient", but he preceeded it by saying "what need is there of Councils, when the Nicene is sufficient".

You jump wildly to the conclusion that they are inconsistent, like an athiest with the bible, without letting them speak in their context.

But remember the challenge here. You are to show them to be true Christians and EO not to be. If they are inconsistent, how have you established your case? And since Orthodox are also found saying "scripture is sufficient", how have you shown them different?

RHOLOGY: Thus the EO holds to the Scriptural teaching of the Deity of Christ and rejects the Scriptural teaching of salvation by grace alone thru faith alone. He accepts the Trinity and rejects sola scriptura. He accepts the fact that we should pray to God as commanded in the Scripture and rejects the fact that prayer to dead people and angels is strictly prohibited in the Scripture.

ORTHODOX: And in all these issues we agree with Chrysostom and Athanasius, contra to you.

Now explain to us how they are in the true church and we are not. And if you can't, have the humility to admit it.

David Bryan said...

Good job, Orthodox...

My basic premise is this: Scripture is indeed sufficient--i.e., all the doctrines that are needed for salvation can be found or inferred through Scripture. IMO, included in these doctrines are veneration of the saints, prayer for the dead, the Real Presence, Baptismal Regeneration, Icons, Infant Baptism, Confession, Apostolic Succession, Theosis, and Salvation through Faith and Works.

Should the need to prove that this is indeed what Scripture teaches arise, we have recourse to the Fathers. I am absolutely astounded at the unity they show in the above mentioned areas, and see that part of that unity comes from their belief in the sufficiency of Scripture, which I and the rest of the Orthodox Church share. Believing in that, however, does not preclude conceding the need for clarification through the tradition of the Church, to which, as Orthodox showed, Ss. Athanasius and Jn. Chrysostom also held.

Rhology said...

David Bryan, you disappoint me somewhat. Sure, you have the right to comment how you like and your points are relevant to what Orthodox said, but you didn't call him out for diverting the argument. He hasn't interacted w/ the theme of my post; see here.

David Bryan said...

Well, your further reflection seems to have cleared up y'all's miscommunication.

Rhology said...

You were citing these people as belonging to the true church (as opposed to EOC) as evidence for your 400 year cut off on God's people discerning the canon.
That was not my intention. I lost sight a bit of what you had said at 1st in order to answer the "JoChr and Ath did not teach comparably to the modern EOC."

As far as whether they were part of God's people, I have no idea. Making that kind of judgment on historical individuals like that is really difficult and well beyond what I am qualified to say at this time.
I confess, what is more, that doctrines that seem to have been held by many writers in the early church, like 200-500 AD, are puzzling to me.
I don't think it's debatable that:
1) None of them taught in their extant writings like I do today in many ways
2) all of them taught doctrines that are demonstrably unbiblical in their extant writings
3) many of them taught things that were very different than modern EOC (or RCC) teachings in their extant writings.

That said, at the end of your comment you said:

Now explain to us how they are in the true church and we are not. And if you can't, have the humility to admit it.
The church of their time was quite different from the one of which you are a member. And I know this about you:
1) You have refused correction on a vast number of biblical topics.
2) You have added works to the Gospel and thus incurred the condemnation of Galatians 1:8.
3) You have routinely committed blasphemy against God by bowing down to images and created things and giving them religious worship activity.

I have no idea about Ath’s or JoChr’s hearts. Perhaps they were not truly justified and perhaps they are not in Heaven today. Perhaps they are. But I don’t really know either way. Alot of the problem is that they're not alive to ask today.

So we can go on that from now on.

But Athanasius' OT canon differs from you...I also note that Chrysostom's canon was different to you.
1) And from the Jews'.
2) And from yours - you don't even have an OT Canon.


The best you can say here is that neither of us or both of us are in the true church on this evidence.
I'm going to call you on this every time.

Here's a difference between us. I don't add to the Gospel.
You add to the Gospel in real life (by adding works to it) and in argument (by adding Holding To The Correct Canon Of Scripture).
I have said nothing that would lead a reader w/o an agenda to the conclusion that I hold the position you're trying to thrust upon me.

Does having a different canon to him exclude you from the true church?
No. Please stop acting like I believe it does.
But these are 2 different questions, again. Individually, no, it's not part of the Gospel.
In terms of historical studies, however, we must look at the Canons expressed by everyone as part of the thinking process about the Canon.

ORTHODOX: "But after him and with him are all inventors of unlawful heresies, who indeed refer to the Scriptures, but do not hold such opinions as the saints have handed down, and receiving them as the traditions of men, err, because they do not rightly know them nor their power." (Festal Letter 2.6)
W/ all of your 'anti-quotes' from these guys, I'm going to repeat what I said in my post.

Rhology from above:Let's just say for the sake of argument that you're right - Ath and JoChr taught in more than one *other* place the opposite doctrine to what I've presented here.
That leaves us w/ CFs who have contradicted themselves. To be consistent w/ these Ch Fathers (and remember, my claim is that modern EO-doxy is inconsistent w/ them), EOC would either have to:
A: Teach just as inconsistently as these two guys do, sometimes saying one thing, sometimes the other, or
B: Call these teachings not actually part of Divine Tradition.

And I'm going to do my best to harmonise them, unlike what you apparently seem willing to do. It's amazing - not only in Scr but also in patristics, I seem to hold both in higher regard than you.

This quote easily fits into my position. Ath could easily be saying that Arians quote the Scr, but wrongly, but they do it wrong. The faithful elders thru time have done it correctly.

Apostolical; and what they wrote down was no discovery of theirs, but is the same as was taught by the Apostles. (Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia 5)

Why should a dispute about what day to celebrate Easter on be relevant to my position? The Scr doesn't deal w/ it.

Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow (nineteenth century): "The only pure and all-sufficient source of the doctrines of the faith is the revealed word of God"
ORTHODOX: Do you think maybe any statement needs to be understood in the context of someone's overall writings and not taken out of context as a proof text?


Yes, but in the case of Metropolitan Philaret, I'd ask a few questions:
1) What is the revealed word of God? The Scripture only?
2) What do YOU, Orthodox, think is the revealed word of God? The Scripture only?
3) Why don't you, Metropolitan Philaret, live and act in accordance w/ what you said?

Where on earth would get such a bizarre idea that EO don't want you to read scripture?
I told you, but I guess you were so quick to launch a million ?????s at me and answer me that you didn't pay attention. Can't help you there.

You realise that 90% of every Orthodox church service is scripture right?
You can't fool me, Orthodox. I've been to quite a few Divine Liturgies and they were nowhere near 90% Scripture. Now, nearly 90% "Lord have mercy"s, I could believe...

(Kidding!)


ORTHODOX: "So then, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye were taught, whether by word, or by Epistle of ours." Hence it is manifest, that they did not deliver all things by Epistle, but many things also unwritten, and in like manner both the one and the other are worthy of credit. Therefore let us think the tradition of the Church also worthy of credit. It is a tradition, seek no farther. Here he shows that there were many who were shaken." (John Chrysostom, Homily 4, commentary on 2 Thess 2:15)

So here you find a quote from Chrysostom showing that he either didn't think through it or didn't interact w/ my criticism of your position on 2 Thess 2:15. Got any others?
This is like in the discussion on Faith vs works over at David Bryan's blog where I was blindly referred to Chrysostom's Homily on the Gospel of John in order that I could "know the EO position on the question" of eternal security.
So I read the alluded-to section and he didn't even discuss the verses in question! Not the question of eternal security, I'm talking not even the verses! Your quotation here is very comparable in reflection.


So the amount of unity you perceive in the church is a distinctive of whether you are a true Christian? What verse says that?
That's an excellent question, and it's one you need to answer.
It's not a critique of my position but rather of the defense of EO-doxy that I often hear from EO-dox.

Where does Orthodoxy say that 2Ti 3:17 only applies to the hierarchy?
Oh, I've only heard "that's just your individual, private interpretation. The Church® is the one who determines proper exegesis" about a thousand times from EO-dox lips.
Are you saying you disagree? Can an individual indeed conduct exegesis of the Scripture? Properly?

That's about as credible as saying Paul and James contradicted each other by way of out of context proof texting.
Laughable - you yourself have claimed that other parts of the Scr ARE INDEED contradictory between themselves.

And that's very interesting - no CFs ever contradict themselves? Never ever?
Origen the universalist and Church Father _______ the Non-Universalist were not contradictory?

On the other hand, absent your ridiculous ignorance of the way the Torah and Gospel fit together, it's good to see you pay at least lip service to a high view of Scripture. If only it would bleed thru to all facets of your worldview...

I think that scripture is plain too, but it happens that you still disagree with me.
Yup. And your answer has uniformly been, "Well, let's give up on that God-inspired stuff! To the Church Fathers! (But only the ones I like!)"

Yes, Athanasius said "what need have we of councils when scripture is sufficient", but he preceeded it by saying "what need is there of Councils, when the Nicene is sufficient".
And I would say that too.
If he said the former, then clearly the council is subservient to the Scripture, but the Council itself is sufficient for this matter; we don't even have to bother w/ Scripture b/c this is so easy.


And since Orthodox are also found saying "scripture is sufficient", how have you shown them different?
1st, as demonstrated, these 2 CFs are not "Orthodox" as in "modern EO-dox".
2nd, you don't believe Scripture is sufficient, so you differ w/ them there.

Rhology said...

DAVID BRYAN:
prayer for the dead (can be found or inferred through Scripture)
Where?


Icons
Where?

Confession
Confession to whom? Priests? Where?

Apostolic Succession
Where?

I think it would serve my position well if you'd just provide a laundry list of psgs to support each of these "Where?"s. I promise to comment, if at all, very sparingly upon them.

Salvation through Faith and Works.
I invite anyone to take a look at the previously alluded-to thread to see how biblically tenable that claim is. And I'm still up for continuing that discussion if you have time for it.

orthodox said...

RHOLOGY: As far as whether they were part of God's people, I have no idea. Making that kind of judgment on historical individuals like that is really difficult and well beyond what I am qualified to say at this time.

ORTHODOX: Well hang on now. This puts all your previous statements into confusion. You were claiming you know the canon from God's people. Now you're not certain that the first Christians to state the canon were even Christians. You strongly rejected the idea that Luther was the first Christian to state the canon, but you can't point to anyone earlier. You rejected the idea that the false Christians were led into all truth, but you point to people who may have been false Christians as evidence for your canon.

Ouch.

RHOLOGY: 1) None of them taught in their extant writings like I do today in many ways
2) all of them taught doctrines that are demonstrably unbiblical in their extant writings
3) many of them taught things that were very different than modern EOC (or RCC) teachings in their extant writings.

ORTHODOX: It seems to me you would apply these complaints to most protestants also.

RHOLOGY: Now explain to us how they are in the true church and we are not. And if you can't, have the humility to admit it.
The church of their time was quite different from the one of which you are a member. And I know this about you:
1) You have refused correction on a vast number of biblical topics.

ORTHODOX: You mean I have refused YOUR supposed correction. Now if you'd turned up in Constantinople asking to see Bishop Chrysostom, do you think he would have taken your correction?

I very much doubt it. He did after all say "It is Tradition, look no further".

In light of this, how does your claim that his church is different to mine have credence? I must have missed that.

RHOLOGY: 2) You have added works to the Gospel and thus incurred the condemnation of Galatians 1:8.

ORTHODOX: And your proof that what I have allegedly done is different to what Athanasius/Chrysostom have done is... where?

"He that believes in the Son has everlasting life [John 3:36]... "Is it ENOUGH, then, to BELIEVE in the Son," someone will say, "in order to have everlasting life?" BY NO MEANS! Listen to Christ declare this Himself when He says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord! Lord!' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven" [Matt 7:21]; and the blasphemy against the Spirit is alone sufficient to cast him into hell. But why should I speak of a PART of our teaching? For if a man BELIEVE rightly in the Father and in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, but does not LIVE RIGHTLY, his faith will avail him NOTHING TOWARD SALVATION. (Chrysostom, Homilies on John 31:1)

For what he saith is this, "Your salvation is not our work alone, but your own as well; for both we in preaching to you the word endure affliction, and ye in receiving it endure the very same; we to impart to you that which we received, ye to receive what is imparted and not to let it go." Now what humility can compare with this, seeing that those who fell so far short of him he raiseth to the same dignity of endurance? for he saith, "Which worked in the enduring of the same sufferings;" for not through believing only cometh your salvation, but also through the suffering and enduring the same things with us. (Chrysostom, Homily on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, NPNF1: Volume 12, page 277)

(Galatians 5) Verse 6 "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love." What is the meaning of "working through love?" Here he gives them a hard blow, by showing that this error had crept in because the love of Christ had not been rooted within them. For to believe is not all that is required, but also to abide in love. (Chrysostom, Commentary on Galatians 5, NPNF1: Volume 13, page 37)

RHOLOGY: 3) You have routinely committed blasphemy against God by bowing down to images and created things and giving them religious worship activity.

ORTHODOX: i.e. exactly the same as Chrysostom and Athanasius. Yet they are in, and we are out. How does that work again?



RHOLOGY: I have no idea about Ath’s or JoChr’s hearts. Perhaps they were not truly justified and perhaps they are not in Heaven today. Perhaps they are. But I don’t really know either way. Alot of the problem is that they're not alive to ask today.

ORTHODOX: So you have no idea about Chrysostom and Athanasius, but you do know for sure about modern Eastern Orthodox. How does that work?

And wasn't your thesis that you know the canon from looking to God's people? But now you don't know people's hearts, so scrap that theory.

RHOLOGY: But Athanasius' OT canon differs from you...I also note that Chrysostom's canon was different to you.
1) And from the Jews'.
2) And from yours - you don't even have an OT Canon.

ORTHODOX: So are you giving up the theory that the early church was led into the truth concerning the canon?

RHOLOGY: Here's a difference between us. I don't add to the Gospel.
You add to the Gospel in real life (by adding works to it)

ORTHODOX: So is it your contention that doing good works is in no wise a part of the Christian gospel?

RHOLOGY: and in argument (by adding Holding To The Correct Canon Of Scripture).

ORTHODOX: I thought it was you who was adding this. You define the true church as those led to your canon.

RHOLOGY: I have said nothing that would lead a reader w/o an agenda to the conclusion that I hold the position you're trying to thrust upon me.

ORTHODOX: But you've been lecturing us that you can know the true canon by looking to the people of God. Surely then it is reasonable to ask where these people of God are? Either tell us, or abandon that argument.

RHOLOGY: This quote easily fits into my position. Ath could easily be saying that Arians quote the Scr, but wrongly, but they do it wrong. The faithful elders thru time have done it correctly.

ORTHODOX: Aren't you stretching credibility? He quotes a scripture that condemns abandoning one's Fathers. He talks about the "power" of the traditions handed down. He says it is to "err" to regard them as traditions of men.

RHOLOGY: Why should a dispute about what day to celebrate Easter on be relevant to my position? The Scr doesn't deal w/ it.

ORTHODOX: Isn't that the exact point? They considered things apostolic, authoritative and "the faith of the Catholic Church", things that you don't care about at all.

RHOLOGY: Yes, but in the case of Metropolitan Philaret, I'd ask a few questions:
1) What is the revealed word of God? The Scripture only?
2) What do YOU, Orthodox, think is the revealed word of God? The Scripture only?
3) Why don't you, Metropolitan Philaret, live and act in accordance w/ what you said?

ORTHODOX: Don't you always assume that any verse referring to "the word of God" means scripture? Or is that only when it's convenient?

Let's look at some more Orthodox comments. St Vincent of Lerins (4th century) said "the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient".

Hmm, he agrees with this Metropolitan, right? And some other Church Fathers. Maybe he is a protestant? But let's put the quote in its context:

"Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church’s interpretation? For this reason – because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters…Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of ecclesiastical and catholic interpretation."

So my answer to your question, why don't I live in accordance with the statement: I do! Scripture is sufficient when interpreted according to the catholic interpretation.

RHOLOGY: Where on earth would get such a bizarre idea that EO don't want you to read scripture?
I told you, but I guess you were so quick to launch a million ?????s at me and answer me that you didn't pay attention. Can't help you there.

ORTHODOX: Undocumented nonsense.

RHOLOGY: You realise that 90% of every Orthodox church service is scripture right?
You can't fool me, Orthodox. I've been to quite a few Divine Liturgies and they were nowhere near 90% Scripture. Now, nearly 90% "Lord have mercy"s, I could believe...

ORTHODOX: Lord have Mercy is in scripture.

Get a commentary on the Divine Liturgy. It is all directly related to what scripture commands. Some of it is verbatim, the readings (obviously), the beatitudes, the Lord's prayer, the communion. A lot of the hymns are more or less taken from scripture. E.g. the closing hymn, Ps 113:2

RHOLOGY: So here you find a quote from Chrysostom showing that he either didn't think through it or didn't interact w/ my criticism of your position on 2 Thess 2:15.

ORTHODOX: LOL, you are pretty high and mighty to claim that John Chrysostom didn't think it through. But the point remains proven, the criteria you put forward to try and put EO out of the church but let Chrysostom in, failed.

RHOLOGY: This is like in the discussion on Faith vs works over at David Bryan's blog where I was blindly referred to Chrysostom's Homily on the Gospel of John in order that I could "know the EO position on the question" of eternal security.

ORTHODOX: How it is like this supposed situation? You claimed Chrysostom was "in" based on his alleged sola scriptura stance. When we find you misrepresented him, we find poor Chrysostom didn't think things out, were that you were there to put him straight. Make up your mind.

RHOLOGY: So the amount of unity you perceive in the church is a distinctive of whether you are a true Christian? What verse says that?
That's an excellent question, and it's one you need to answer.
It's not a critique of my position but rather of the defense of EO-doxy that I often hear from EO-dox.

ORTHODOX: Hardly. Problems with unity were a great concern to Chrysostom. For you, they are irrelevant, there being an invisble church always in unity.

RHOLOGY: Where does Orthodoxy say that 2Ti 3:17 only applies to the hierarchy?
Oh, I've only heard "that's just your individual, private interpretation. The Church® is the one who determines proper exegesis" about a thousand times from EO-dox lips.
Are you saying you disagree? Can an individual indeed conduct exegesis of the Scripture? Properly?

ORTHODOX: Sure, if he is in the Church®, and cognizant of the fullness of God®'s Revelation® to his Church®, with the Common Understanding® of God®'s People®, just like Timothy would have had.

RHOLOGY: Yup. And your answer has uniformly been, "Well, let's give up on that God-inspired stuff! To the Church Fathers! (But only the ones I like!)"

ORTHODOX: You mean, as opposed to protestantism, whose reaction is "let's give up altogether, we'll live with the schism"?

RHOLOGY: 1st, as demonstrated, these 2 CFs are not "Orthodox" as in "modern EO-dox".

ORTHODOX: But I demonstrating that in all your quotes, modern EO talk in the exact same way about things. So where was the proof again?

RHOLOGY: 2nd, you don't believe Scripture is sufficient, so you differ w/ them there.

ORTHODOX: Apparently we think it is sufficient in the same way as the early church fathers. See St Vincent of Lerins.

Rhology said...

For those interested in David Bryan's claims in this combox, please see here for a discussion of the "cloud of witnesses" of Heb 12:1, one of David Bryan's prooftexts for his position on prayers to the dead. I encourage anyone to follow Dr. White's next few posts on the topic, as they should be interesting.

Lucian said...

Alternative opinions don't count as rebuttals. I think You should understand this. (Ask Yourself rather: does it DISPROVE the OD opinion? -- just because it makes a case for something else, doesn't mean that it can positively demonstrate the wrongfulness of other opinions).

-----
P.S.: The OrthoDox don't have "prooftexts", because we are lacking the S.S. mentality, which would give any meaning or content to such an expression. (There are no "proofs" here, just faith).

Rhology said...

Yes, I confess that right now early church beliefs and their implications are kind of confusing.
But I do know what the answers CAN'T be: there is an infallible interpreter from whom we derive the Canon.

Then again, you obfuscate the issue yourself:

You strongly rejected the idea that Luther was the first Christian to state the canon, but you can't point to anyone earlier.

I **DID** point to earlier people. OT = Jews. NT = Athanasius.
This isn't that hard, you know.

you point to people who may have been false Christians as evidence for your canon.

All of a sudden it's shocking to Orthodox that a Reformed Baptist would consider it impossible to know for sure whether someone is saved.
And I appeal to Athanasius as a demonstration that someone knew a canon w/o appealing to some infallible interpreter. I don't appeal to him to form the canon; I appeal to God Who guided the process passively thru God's people. God knows who they were and I have an idea but not an infallible one.

if you'd turned up in Constantinople asking to see Bishop Chrysostom, do you think he would have taken your correction?

It depends on the subject in question.
And if he venerated icons, for example, I don't know if he WOULD have accepted the correction, but he would be obligated before God to submit to the Scripture rather than "the tradition". And to thank God for His grace in sending a corrector to him.

how does your claim that his church is different to mine have credence?

You are smushing together two claims, one of which I've never made and in fact already explicitly contradicted above.
1) John Chr did not teach identically to modern EOC
2) John Chr believed identically to a 21st century Reformed Baptist.

Let's all try and guess which one's which.

your proof that what I have allegedly done is different to what Athanasius/Chrysostom have done is... where?

Actually, that is precisely what I meant when I referred to early history as puzzling. Biblically, I don't think the case is strong that you will escape condemnation for what you've done, though.

but you do know for sure about modern Eastern Orthodox. How does that work?

This part is much clearer to me. You have correction available to you, I don't know about them; indeed, your discussion w/ me has been that correction and more. Yet you in your stiff-neckedness still refuse the Word of God.

But now you don't know people's hearts, so scrap that theory.

Repetition of the reason why I don't appeal to INDIVIDUALS.

is it your contention that doing good works is in no wise a part of the Christian gospel?

Correct.

You define the true church as those led to your canon.

It's the other way around. God led His people gradually and passively and subtlely to the Canon.
From an EO perspective, I know it's hard to center things on God and not on man, but if you can try, you might make progress towards actually understanding my position.

ORTHODOX: He quotes a scripture that condemns abandoning one's Fathers. He talks about the "power" of the traditions handed down. He says it is to "err" to regard them as traditions of men.
ATHANASIUS: "But after him and with him are all inventors of unlawful heresies, who indeed refer to the Scriptures, but do not hold such opinions as the saints have handed down, and receiving them as the traditions of men, err, because they do not rightly know them nor their power." (Festal Letter 2.6)

Sounds OK to me, taken correctly w/o unnecessarily superimposing an a priori EO perspective on it. But that's sorta the problem - you seem incapable of reading the CFs for anythg other than being exactly like you. OTOH, I let them be who they were.

They considered things apostolic, authoritative and "the faith of the Catholic Church", things that you don't care about at all.

Maybe you didn't read what I said: Why should a dispute about what day to celebrate Easter on be relevant to my position? The Scr doesn't deal w/ it.

Don't you always assume that any verse referring to "the word of God" means scripture? Or is that only when it's convenient?

Instead of being so snarky, you could've advanced the convo by actually answering my question.

Quote from St Vincent of Lérins

That advances very strongly the thesis that "tradition = exegesis of the Scriptures" is a major, major theme in Church Fathers. Thanks.

Scripture is sufficient when interpreted according to the catholic interpretation.

All that means when you say it is that Scr means What The Church® Says, and it leads to all sorts of ludicrousness.
For example, we've recently seen Lucian, another Eastern Orthodox, go into wild circling of meaningless obfuscations when I asked him this:

Deuteronomy 18:9-13
9"When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations.

10"There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,

11or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.

12"For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.

13"You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.


Scenario: an Israelite has been calling up a dead believing ancestor and has been caught and brought before Moses for judgment.
His defense: "our God is a God of the living, not one of the dead"
Is it your position that he would be exonerated? Should he be?


Maybe Orthodox can do better than Lucian did.

you are pretty high and mighty to claim that John Chrysostom didn't think it through.

Prove he did, then. You could've cut off my objection by just proving it from the start, you know.

Problems with unity were a great concern to Chrysostom.

I don't doubt that, but the fact that it DIDN'T exist in his day (as evidenced by quote 3J) says a lot.

You mean, as opposed to protestantism, whose reaction is "let's give up altogether, we'll live with the schism"?

Fine, criticise Protestantism and its tendency to schism. I'd join you in that.
You don't need to answer what I said; it's obvious.

modern EO talk in the exact same way about things.

Ah, so you DID go ahead and jump on the "the Church talks in constant inconsistency" wagon at least in some situations. I couldn't live w/ that much cognitive dissonance, I've gotta tell you.

LUCIAN:
The OrthoDox don't have "prooftexts", because we are lacking the S.S. mentality, which would give any meaning or content to such an expression. (There are no "proofs" here, just faith).

I can believe that. If you had to actually prove your position from Scripture you'd be dead on the intellectual battlefield in a heartbeat.

Lucian said...

Possibility is possibility; probabilty is even better; but proof remains proof. And these we have none. (No-one does).

orthodox said...

RHOLOGY: "You strongly rejected the idea that Luther was the first Christian to state the canon, but you can't point to anyone earlier. "
I **DID** point to earlier people. OT = Jews. NT = Athanasius.
This isn't that hard, you know.

ORTHODOX: Point me to one Jew, any Jew at all, who you believe was a member of the people of God AND who lists 39 books.

Athanasius: So are you telling me that you consider Saint-praying, Icon venerating, Tradition following Athanasius is a Christian from your point of view? Don't obfuscate now tell us plainly. And why is it again that modern EO are not?

RHOLOGY: All of a sudden it's shocking to Orthodox that a Reformed Baptist would consider it impossible to know for sure whether someone is saved.

ORTHODOX: Hey, you claimed to know the canon from the people of God. That pre-supposes you know where the people of God are. Don't blame me for investigating your suppositions.

RHOLOGY: And I appeal to Athanasius as a demonstration that someone knew a canon w/o appealing to some infallible interpreter.

ORTHODOX: Athanasius does appeal to those books that were "handed down", and anyone who is familiar with Athanasius' works would know that it is the tradition of the saints which informed him of both canon and doctrine. So there is no difference. You can put the spin on it of calling it "infallible interpreter", but the end result is the same. It was tradition which was his rule of faith.

Furthermore, you seem to be back to arguing in circles. You won't say you consider him a Christian, but you do cite him as someone who knew the canon. But that is assuming you have the right canon in the first place! You can't assume you are right, cite him proof, then refrain from backing him up as a Christian. If he is an apostate, all you have done is prove the apostate canon.

RHOLOGY: I don't appeal to him to form the canon; I appeal to God Who guided the process passively thru God's people.

ORTHODOX: The issue is not God forming the canon, it is how YOU know the canon. You have appealed to Athanasius, so we need to investigate this claim.

>OR: If you'd turned up in Constantinople asking to see Bishop Chrysostom, do you think he would have taken your correction?
RHOLOGY: It depends on the subject in question.
And if he venerated icons, for example, I don't know if he WOULD have accepted the correction, but he would be obligated before God to submit to the Scripture rather than "the tradition". And to thank God for His grace in sending a corrector to him.

ORTHODOX: So you claim, but he is on record as saying "it is tradition, look no further", and Athanasius is on record saying that regarding the tradition of the saints as traditions of men is to err. But you are comfortable citing these two as the people of God when you want to backup your canon?

RHOLOGY: Actually, that is precisely what I meant when I referred to early history as puzzling. Biblically, I don't think the case is strong that you will escape condemnation for what you've done, though.

ORTHODOX: Saying it is puzzling doesn't give you a canon. How about this: why don't you just say it is all too puzzling and therefore you don't really have a canon.

>OR: but you do know for sure about modern Eastern Orthodox. How does that work?
RHOLOGY: This part is much clearer to me. You have correction available to you, I don't know about them; indeed, your discussion w/ me has been that correction and more. Yet you in your stiff-neckedness still refuse the Word of God.

ORTHODOX: So scripture alone is insufficient for correction? People like Chrysostom can write thousands of sermons, write commentaries on the entirety of scripture, but he is home free because he didn't have RHOLOGY's correction? But little old me, I have RHOLOGY's correction, so I'm hosed?

So basically, the fundamental difference between the church of the 4th century and the EO church of the 21st century, is that we have RHOLOGY, and they didn't?

RHOLOGY: "But now you don't know people's hearts, so scrap that theory."
Repetition of the reason why I don't appeal to INDIVIDUALS.

ORTHODOX: What do you appeal to then? Groups? But the belief of groups is even harder to discern than that of individuals. If you can't stand up and say that Athanasius at least seems to be a Christian, what hope do you have of the flock he shepherds? If you can't say that Chrysostom is up to snuff, what hope relying on the Byzantines? Who is left, that you can actually cite?

>OR: is it your contention that doing good works is in no wise a part of the Christian gospel?
RHOLOGY: Correct.

ORTHODOX: So how come my bible (in the gospels no less) say to do good works? How come my bible says that the gospel needs to be OBEYED?

>OR: You define the true church as those led to your canon.
RHOLOGY: It's the other way around. God led His people gradually and passively and subtlely to the Canon.
From an EO perspective, I know it's hard to center things on God and not on man, but if you can try, you might make progress towards actually understanding my position.

ORTHODOX: I understand your position because it is the same as ours. The difference is you have great difficulty telling us where God's people are and were so that you PERSONALLY can know the canon.

RHOLOGY: Sounds OK to me, taken correctly w/o unnecessarily superimposing an a priori EO perspective on it. But that's sorta the problem - you seem incapable of reading the CFs for anythg other than being exactly like you. OTOH, I let them be who they were.

ORTHODOX: What do you mean "taken correctly"? Don't you really mean, by trying to squeeze them into being a protestant? I fail to see how saying that an ECF who says that you err if you regard the traditions of the Fathers as a tradition of men, can be "taken correctly" from a protestant point of view, unless your only aim is to squeeze them into being protestants.

RHOLOGY: Maybe you didn't read what I said: Why should a dispute about what day to celebrate Easter on be relevant to my position? The Scr doesn't deal w/ it.

ORTHODOX: It isn't Easter which is relevant here, it is the attitude of these Fathers towards tradition. That they thought the tradition on Easter was authoritative again begs the question on whether you are willing to adopt Athanasius as a true Christian and thus evidence for your canon. And if you are, how he differs significantly enough to modern EO that you want to cast us out.

>OR: Scripture is sufficient when interpreted according to the catholic interpretation.
RHOLOGY: All that means when you say it is that Scr means What The Church® Says, and it leads to all sorts of ludicrousness.

ORTHODOX: Call it ludicrous if you want, but how about admitting that it is what the Fathers taught? It is what St Vincent of Lerins taught. It is what Athanasius taught when he said you must interpret in agreement with the traditions of the Fathers. It is what Chrysostom said when he said that "it is a tradition, look no further".

RHOLOGY: Scenario: an Israelite has been calling up a dead believing ancestor and has been caught and brought before Moses for judgment.
His defense: "our God is a God of the living, not one of the dead"
Is it your position that he would be exonerated? Should he be?

ORTHODOX: I don't understand. Orthodox do not "call up" the dead. The Hebrew word here has to do with summoning the presence. The LXX here has a word to do with making an enquiry. We don't sit around crystal balls trying to get answers from the dead.

RHOLOGY: "you are pretty high and mighty to claim that John Chrysostom didn't think it through."
Prove he did, then. You could've cut off my objection by just proving it from the start, you know.

ORTHODOX: Since your "objections" have been refuted here already, it begs the question of why he would need to think through to your erroneous conclusions.

RHOLOGY: Problems with unity were a great concern to Chrysostom.
I don't doubt that, but the fact that it DIDN'T exist in his day (as evidenced by quote 3J) says a lot.

ORTHODOX: It doesn't exist in our day either, what with so many schismatic groups. Some things never change.

>OR: modern EO talk in the exact same way about things.
RHOLOGY: Ah, so you DID go ahead and jump on the "the Church talks in constant inconsistency" wagon at least in some situations. I couldn't live w/ that much cognitive dissonance, I've gotta tell you.

ORTHODOX: You see, we've shown Fathers from the 4th century through to today saying that the scriptures are sufficient, but only when interpreted in accordance with the tradition of the saints. The fact that our definition of sufficiency isn't the same as yours doesn't mean we have cognitive dissonance. Rather, it means you have an a-historical understanding of the Fathers, and have fallen into the protestant trap of prooftexting them to make them into protestants.

RHOLOGY: If you had to actually prove your position from Scripture you'd be dead on the intellectual battlefield in a heartbeat.

ORTHODOX: Sadly, you are dead before leaving the starting gate, lacking the crucial verse proving sola scriptura.

Rhology said...

Point me to one Jew, any Jew at all, who you believe was a member of the people of God AND who lists 39 books.

Josephus is a witness to what the Jews believed and he tells us that 22 books were laid up in the temple.
"22 books" is the standard Jewish way of listing the books that are in the modern Prot OT Canon.

So are you telling me that you consider Saint-praying, Icon venerating, Tradition following Athanasius is a Christian from your point of view?
I've made it clear that I don't know for sure.
And you beg the question about the "tradition following" part, that's for sure.


And why is it again that modern EO are not?

Been thru this before too.
You mix faith and works for salvation.
You fall under the anathema of Galatians 1:8.


you claimed to know the canon from the people of God.

Yes, the **people** of God. And you're asking me about individuals.


It was tradition which was his rule of faith.

Begging the question. Based on the above citations, Scripture was the final authority.

So you claim, but he is on record as saying "it is tradition, look no further", and Athanasius is on record saying that regarding the tradition of the saints as traditions of men is to err.

And they're also on record saying that Scripture is final. So which of the 2 resolutions I proposed are you going to go w/?

why don't you just say it is all too puzzling and therefore you don't really have a canon.

B/c the Canon itself is not puzzling, just the part I've described here.
What IS puzzling to me, however, is how you are all over me about not having a Canon when there is NO question at all that you don't have one. But you're quick to tell me that your church has a superior epistemological position.

scripture alone is insufficient for correction?
You're too much, man.
that's why I've been citing Scripture to you.
And w/ every obfuscating question you increase your condemnation, which is too bad.


People like Chrysostom can write thousands of sermons, write commentaries on the entirety of scripture, but he is home free because he didn't have RHOLOGY's correction?

[rolling my eyes]
I've said over and over that we are to be correctable by Scripture. If you are not or he wasn't, that's not my responsibility nor my fault.

But little old me, I have RHOLOGY's correction, so I'm hosed?
You're hosed b/c you refuse God's correction.

What do you appeal to then? Groups?

now you're getting it! Yes.

But the belief of groups is even harder to discern than that of individuals.
Sometimes yes and sometimes no.
But I'll keep that in mind for the next time you tell me that "the early church was all just like modern EO-dox are." I've many times asked you for data to support that and you just jibber and jabber and avoid the question. And now you admit it's hopeless for you to try to prove it. At least we got there eventually; it would really help if you could answer more of my questions directly.


what hope do you have of the flock he shepherds?
More than you might think. The SCripture is powerful.


So how come my bible (in the gospels no less) say to do good works? How come my bible says that the gospel needs to be OBEYED?
B/c both of those are true.
We do good works to PROVE our salvation. We obey the Gospel BY HAVING FAITH.
See here for more on that. I'll be happy to continue in discussion w/ you over there on that issue. You can start by answering the questions I posed in my last post before David Bryan lost interest and Eutychus posted his hilarious poem.

What do you mean "taken correctly"? Don't you really mean, by trying to squeeze them into being a protestant?

The diff between us is that I don't base my whole position on carefully-selected writings from Ch Fathers.
I can let them be who they were and take ALL their writings. They weren't modern EO-dox, they weren't Prots, they weren't RCs.

I fail to see how saying that an ECF who says that you err if you regard the traditions of the Fathers as a tradition of men, can be "taken correctly" from a protestant point of view, unless your only aim is to squeeze them into being protestants.

See what I mean? You took **ONE** of the quotes to bludgeon me w/. Let's see you deal w/ the other ones that I cited.

It isn't Easter which is relevant here, it is the attitude of these Fathers towards tradition.

I couldn't care less about anyone trying to bind a tradition to me that is not in Scripture.

Orthodox do not "call up" the dead. The Hebrew word here has to do with summoning the presence. The LXX here has a word to do with making an enquiry.

You talk to the dead, though.
You kneel before images of them, light candles to them, talk to them, ask them to save you.
So is it your opinion that if you were caught doing that and brought before Moses for judgment, that he would buy your defense and say "OK, you're cool"?

we've shown Fathers from the 4th century through to today saying that the scriptures are sufficient, but only when interpreted in accordance with the tradition of the saints.

Oh, I didn't see the "only when interpreted according to what The Church Of Your Day® says" in those quotes cited above. can you point out where I missed that?

you are dead before leaving the starting gate, lacking the crucial verse proving sola scriptura.

Then perhaps you could tell me what other rule of faith is presented as equally authoritative to Scripture in Scripture.
2 Tim 3:15-17 tell us that Scr is God-breathed.
Matthew 22:36 calls it God's speaking.
Mark 7:1-13 exemplifies Our Lord testing tradition by Scripture.




And by the way, you DO agree that EO-doxy lacks a Canon of Scr, right?

orthodox said...

RHOLOGY: Josephus is a witness to what the Jews believed and he tells us that 22 books were laid up in the temple.
"22 books" is the standard Jewish way of listing the books that are in the modern Prot OT Canon

ORTHODOX: So you don't get your canon from the people of God as you previously claimed, you get it from a polemicist from an heretical sect.

And BTW, you have no way of knowing that his 22 books are your 49 books, because all the ancient listings of 22 books ARE DIFFERENT.

THERE IS NO LIST.

RHOLOGY: "So are you telling me that you consider Saint-praying, Icon venerating, Tradition following Athanasius is a Christian from your point of view?"
I've made it clear that I don't know for sure.

ORTHODOX: So you don't get your canon from the people of God, you get it from (what you consider to be) an heretical sect.

So how do you pick what heretical sects to get your canon from? There's so many to choose from.

RHOLOGY: "And why is it again that modern EO are not?" Been thru this before too.
You mix faith and works for salvation.
You fall under the anathema of Galatians 1:8.

ORTHODOX: You won't tell us what "mixing works and faith for salvation" means, or document us doing whatever it is. Can't we expect a bit better from someone casting hundreds of millions out of the church?

RHOLOGY: "you claimed to know the canon from the people of God." Yes, the **people** of God. And you're asking me about individuals.

ORTHODOX: Well where are these people of God you look to? You point vaguely in certain directions, but as soon as we look closely, we find they are people who fall under your anathema.

RHOLOGY: Begging the question. Based on the above citations, Scripture was the final authority.

ORTHODOX: Scripture interpreted according to Tradition.

RHOLOGY: And they're also on record saying that Scripture is final. So which of the 2 resolutions I proposed are you going to go w/?

ORTHODOX: That makes as much sense as me asking you whether it is Matthew, Mark, Luke or John which is your final authority.

RHOLOGY: "why don't you just say it is all too puzzling and therefore you don't really have a canon. " B/c the Canon itself is not puzzling, just the part I've described here.

ORTHODOX: You mean the part where you can actually tell us how to know the canon.

RHOLGOGY: What IS puzzling to me, however, is how you are all over me about not having a Canon when there is NO question at all that you don't have one.

ORTHODOX: (a) I've told you what our canon is. (b) Even if we didn't have a final canon (which I dispute), still the books we do agree on would be final by virtue of the authority of Tradition, and authority you lack. (c) The Church with or without scripture, pre-scripture, post-enscripturation, pre-canon, or post-canon has always had The Faith, embodied in the Tradition. (d) The Church decided matters of the faith even before it had a canon. (e) As we have seen, you have no canon, and what's more cannot have a canon. All you can have is a fallible list, never a canon.

RHOLOGY: But the belief of groups is even harder to discern than that of individuals.
Sometimes yes and sometimes no.
But I'll keep that in mind for the next time you tell me that "the early church was all just like modern EO-dox are.

ORTHODOX: I'm not the one hoping against hope that Orthodox Christians through the centuries believed differently to their leaders. When Athanasius says a certain thing, I think it's reasonable to assume the Church of Alexandria was pretty much holding the same thing. When Chrysostom says something, I pretty much assume that the church of Constantinople was holding the same thing. You on the other hand apparently claim ESP.

RHOLOGY: I've many times asked you for data to support that and you just jibber and jabber and avoid the question. And now you admit it's hopeless for you to try to prove it.

ORTHODOX: I don't remember any jibber jabbering on my part. You made a claim that Athanasius and Chrysostom were significantly different to modern EO, and I immediately refuted it and documented it with their quotations. You are the only one here jibber jabbering, saying it is all too confusing and claiming to have ESP knowledge that there were these groups who believed what you do about the canon, but you can't document it.

>OR: So how come my bible (in the gospels no less) say to do good works?
RHOLOGY: B/c both of those are true.

ORTHODOX: So the part of the Gospel plan is to do good works. So you were wrong all along.

>OR: How come my bible says that the gospel needs to be OBEYED?
RHOLOGY: We do good works to PROVE our salvation. We obey the Gospel BY HAVING FAITH.

ORTHODOX: So it's all a big word game about the semantic limits of "gospel"? Jesus says to have faith. Jesus says to do good works. We obey both. We do both. What is the problem exactly?

RHOLOGY: I'll be happy to continue in discussion w/ you over there on that issue.

ORTHODOX: It's not really convenient to jump into the middle of an old discussion with all the water which has passed under the bridge over there. In fact, posting comments on a blog is itself a far from ideal venue. It would be better to go to a forum designed for those kinds of discussions.

RHOLOGY: The diff between us is that I don't base my whole position on carefully-selected writings from Ch Fathers.
I can let them be who they were and take ALL their writings. They weren't modern EO-dox, they weren't Prots, they weren't RCs.

ORTHODOX: I don't base my position on carefully selected writings from the Fathers any more (or less) than you do with carefully selected writings from Fathers (and heretics) concerning the canon. My position is that there is a continuing body of Christ which contains the truth, for which I can find a continuity with the Fathers, but the Fathers aren't the final word. You do the same thing whether you care to admit it or not, because the final word on your canon is based on what the people around you use, and is hardly based on a careful examination of which Father had the best argument.

And you say the Fathers weren't EO, but your attempt to show the same was a bust.

>OR: I fail to see how saying that an ECF who says that you err if you regard the traditions of the Fathers as a tradition of men, can be "taken correctly" from a protestant point of view, unless your only aim is to squeeze them into being protestants.
RHOLOGY: See what I mean? You took **ONE** of the quotes to bludgeon me w/. Let's see you deal w/ the other ones that I cited.

ORTHODOX: What is there to deal with? The Fathers had a high view of scripture. The Fathers had a high view of Tradition. I agree with **BOTH* points of view, not just **ONE* like you do.

>OR: It isn't Easter which is relevant here, it is the attitude of these Fathers towards tradition.
RHOLOGY: I couldn't care less about anyone trying to bind a tradition to me that is not in Scripture.

ORTHODOX: **EXACTLY**. That is why the Fathers were Orthodox, and you are not.

RHOLOGY: You talk to the dead, though.
You kneel before images of them, light candles to them, talk to them, ask them to save you.
So is it your opinion that if you were caught doing that and brought before Moses for judgment, that he would buy your defense and say "OK, you're cool"?

ORTHODOX: Why would I be brought before Moses in the first place, since it wasn't condemned?

But the point is moot anyway, since we don't live under the OT laws. If you were brought before Moses breaking the Saturday sabbath, would he let you off? Hardly. If you were brought before Moses eating pig meat would he let you off? Nope.

RHOLGOY: Oh, I didn't see the "only when interpreted according to what The Church Of Your Day® says" in those quotes cited above. can you point out where I missed that?

ORTHODOX: Really? You missed those quotes? Search for this: "what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church’s interpretation? For this reason – because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way"

RHOLOGY: "you are dead before leaving the starting gate, lacking the crucial verse proving sola scriptura." Then perhaps you could tell me what other rule of faith is presented as equally authoritative to Scripture in Scripture.
2 Tim 3:15-17 tell us that Scr is God-breathed.
Matthew 22:36 calls it God's speaking.
Mark 7:1-13 exemplifies Our Lord testing tradition by Scripture.

ORTHODOX: The Holy Spirit's guidance: John 16:13 "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth." The Holy Spirit guiding a Church council: Acts 15:28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials". The Oral Tradition: 2Th. 2:15 "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth".

RHOLOGY: And by the way, you DO agree that EO-doxy lacks a Canon of Scr, right?

ORTHODOX: No I don't agree, and I'm tired of telling you whatsmore.

But you agree you don't have a canon, only a fallible list, right?

Rhology said...

ORTHODOX: So you don't get your canon from the people of God as you previously claimed, you get it from a polemicist from an heretical sect.
RHOLOGY: No, a witness to what the Jews believed at that time. He's not the only witness but he's important.


ORTHODOX: THERE IS NO LIST.
RHOLOGY: I refer you to the White-Michuta debate on the Apocrypha for that.


ORTHODOX: So how do you pick what heretical sects to get your canon from?
RHOLOGY: That's a question I could easily ask you as well.
Remember that all of the institutional church and the Pope stood against Athanasius on the Arian question. Yet he steadfastly stood on the truth that he believed from Scripture against what The Church® was telling him.
And you want me to do the opposite of him.


ORTHODOX: You won't tell us what "mixing works and faith for salvation" means, or document us doing whatever it is. Can't we expect a bit better from someone casting hundreds of millions out of the church?
RHOLOGY: 1) If you answer No to the question "Is salvation by grace ALONE thru faith ALONE", then you have your answer.
2) Um, I quoted Galatians 1, which I didn't write. Don't shoot the messenger.


ORTHODOX: where are these people of God you look to?
RHOLOGY: They're Christians.


ORTHODOX: You point vaguely in certain directions, but as soon as we look closely, we find they are people who fall under your anathema.
RHOLOGY: I've just learned this, so my answer will change. Semper reformanda, you know. ;-)
The ECFs of that era didn't spend the time or effort on developing a systematised soteriology, so
1) it's not all that easy to know what they believed at the core
2) I wonder how much they interacted w/ Scriptural psgs relevant to sola fide
3) one shouldn't expect them to have the same developed system as I do today since I have so much teaching before me, way more than they did.

So I'll qualify my confusion on the ECFs and say that while the total is not clear to me, it would probably be dumb to say they weren't Christians.
But, as Lk 12:48 tells us, more is expected of someone like you, Orthodox, who have no excuse not to repent of your damnable error.


ORTHODOX: Scripture interpreted according to Tradition.
RHOLOGY: Tradition for the ECFs *was* the interping of Scr. That does not change the fact that Scr is the final authority.


ORTHODOX: That makes as much sense as me asking you whether it is Matthew, Mark, Luke or John which is your final authority.
RHOLOGY: For an EO, you're right, b/c you refuse to keep a biblical paradigm in mind where tradition is separate from and subordinate to Scripture. If you think like Jesus, it's quite simple. For example, it's quite simple to me.


ORTHODOX: You mean the part where you can actually tell us how to know the canon.
RHOLOGY: Your situation is worse (your "authoritative Church" disagrees about the Canon), so I don't see how you have room to talk.
...he said for the 50th time...


ORTHODOX: I've told you what our canon is.
RHOLOGY: Then why does yours disagree w/ a published bishop of the EOC (Kallistos Ware)?


ORTHODOX: Even if we didn't have a final canon (which I dispute), still the books we do agree on would be final by virtue of the authority of Tradition, and authority you lack.
RHOLOGY: Except Bishops seem to find it quite acceptable to spurn your tradition. Why should I respect what your own Bishops won't?


ORTHODOX: The Church decided matters of the faith even before it had a canon.
RHOLOGY: You mean it **DISCOVERED** them from God?


ORTHODOX: I'm not the one hoping against hope that Orthodox Christians through the centuries believed differently to their leaders.
RHOLOGY: True, you're just the one making such a claim absent any evidence though asked more than once for it.


ORTHODOX: When Chrysostom says something, I pretty much assume that the church of Constantinople was holding the same thing.
RHOLOGY: You mean like when the modern EOC says "the Canon is this" and yet quite a few Bishops don't hold to it?


ORTHODOX: You on the other hand apparently claim ESP.
RHOLOGY: Oh, the irony!


ORTHODOX: You made a claim that Athanasius and Chrysostom were significantly different to modern EO, and I immediately refuted it and documented it with their quotations.
RHOLOGY: Congratulations, yes, you showed me that they were inconsistent, which I foresaw in my post. Maybe I *do* have ESP...


ORTHODOX: So the part of the Gospel plan is to do good works. So you were wrong all along.
RHOLOGY: Not at all.
Maybe you can help me out, just so I can know where you're coming from.

Imagine - you walk up to Dr. Albert Mohler and say "Dr. Mohler, please summarise salvation in its totality."
What do you think he would say? I'm looking for how much you know about Reformed theology.


ORTHODOX: That is why the Fathers were Orthodox, and you are not.
RHOLOGY: It's never been in question whether I'm EO.
I cited Ath and JChr and so did you. You proved the points I made in my post. This is actually pretty good fun watching you.


ORTHODOX: Why would I be brought before Moses in the first place, since it wasn't condemned?
RHOLOGY: That's the whole question.
Seriously, try to follow me here. It's a serious question.
***WHY*** wouldn't you be condemned? ***WHY*** do you say that doing such *WAS* not condemned?


ORTHODOX: John 16:13 "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth."
RHOLOGY: Said to the Eleven. We've been over that.


ORTHODOX: Acts 15:28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials".
RHOLOGY: Said by an apostle at a setting where there were apostles present.
More to the point, this teaching and event are recorded in SCRIPTURE, not in "tradition."


ORTHODOX: 2Th. 2:15 "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth".
RHOLOGY: You don't retain arguments well.
Since 2 Thess 2:13-14 tell us what he was talking about (ie, the Gospel), please prove that the traditions taught by letter and by word were substantively different.
And if they were, please provide the words of Paul in your Tradition that account for the difference.