Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The monolithic early church

DavidW, my EO debate opponent, keeps asking me things like this in the various threads in which we've been informally debating things (mostly on his blog):

And for the umpteenth time I ask you kindly to show me a single Father who disagreed concerning essential matters of Faith. Baptismal regeneration? Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist? The visible unity of the Church? Anything, really. Better yet, show me one that agrees with you on any of these matters.
I of course take issue with artificially restricting such questions to pet issues of his like baptismal regeneration, visible church unity, and Eucharistic dogma, and I've told him that, but helpfully this time he adds "anything, really". With that in mind, I'd like to give a few summary links and demonstrate where I've already done so.

My first comment is to note that he seems to be labeling these three issues as essential matters of Faith. That's very interesting indeed. Me, I'd've picked, I don't know, the Gospel, the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the guilty status of a sinner before a holy God. Like I said, that's just me. Maybe I'm just being too Western, or too Protestant, or (gasp!) too Calvinist.
Which leads to another salient point, because DavidW and other EOx and RCs like to challenge Sola Scripturists to point out "just one" place where our theology and ECF theology agree. So the answer is very easy, and it exposes the disingenuous nature of the challenge - we agree with the entire content of the Apostles' Creed. So, what does that contain?

-God
-Father
-Who is Almighty
-Who made heaven and earth,
-Jesus Christ
-The Father's only Son
-Who is our Lord
-Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost
-Who was born of the virgin Mary
-Who suffered under Pontius Pilate
-Who was crucified
-Who died
-Who was buried
-Who descended into Hades
-Who arose again from the dead on the third day
-Who ascended into heaven
-Who now sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty
-Who thence shall come to judge the quick and the dead
-The Holy Ghost
-The holy catholic (ie, universal) church
-The communion of saints
-The forgiveness of sins
-The resurrection of the body
-The life everlasting

That's a lot of agreement! Oh, that's not what the EO or RC questioner meant? Well, maybe they should have asked a question they meant instead of the question they asked!
The question they of course meant was: Who in the early church believed in the distinctive doctrines of Calvinism? And of course our answer is: Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the other NT authors including most certainly the author of Hebrews, who had a particular interest in the Penal Substitutionary Atonement and Covenant theology.

Anyway, on to the list of places where I've already answered DavidW's challenge, and which he has so far refused to take into account.

Athanasius, Chrysostom, and the modern EOC
More disunity in Eastern Orthodoxy, in which I quote official EO clergy anathematising other self-labeled EOdox for such crazy important and essential matters as which calendar one uses and what kind of bread one uses in the Eucharist. I mean, crucial stuff, "concerning essential matters of Faith", as DavidW would say.
Taking sin seriously, or, the Gospel, in which DavidW exposes his clear disagreement with a fairly important Early Church Father - Jesus Christ.
1st Clement on sola fide, in which I quote the very early letter of 1st Clement extolling the doctrine of sola fide, and with which DavidW misleadingly protests that he agrees in its totality.

Also, I just thought I'd go ahead and throw in the testimony of Epiphanius with respect to iconoclasm. And a link to Jason Engwer's helpful Catholic But Not Roman Catholic index (not that EOC is the same as RCC, but many of the entries are relevant).

Plenty more could be said, but I've tried to narrow my focus to mostly what I've said, to be as specific as possible to DavidW's challenge.

39 comments:

Lucian said...

You do not believe that Christ is the Father's eternal Son, which is the meaning of that sentence; nor do You believe in the catholic church in the way that the ancient Christians who confessed the Apostles' Creed did. -- Keeping the words while rejecting their meaning is neither logical, nor honest.

Rhology said...

You're wrong on both points. Thanks for playing, though.

Lucian said...

I wish I were; but unfortunately I am not.

David said...

1. I was referring to those things upon which you and I disagree -- essentially, I'm asking you to show me how I in any way disagree with the early Church and how you in any way agree with it in those things upon which we differ. You have yet to even attempt to do that -- and it's because you can't.

2. "Athanasius, Chrysostom, and the modern EOC" - you said: "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)."
I don't mean to be offensive (or at least more offensive than is necessary), but of all the loads of crap I've smelled, that is by far the stinkiest. I can say with certainty that we hear more of the Scriptures in an hour of the Divine Liturgy than in an hour of any Protestant service I've ever been to. And I've met very few Orthodox who don't read the Scriptures at home and teach them to their children. This statement is nonsense.
And, by the way, Ss. John and Athanasius weren't Sola Scripturists -- I've get to them eventually on my list.

3. "More disunity in Eastern Orthodoxy" -- What does a modern dispute with schismatic Old Calendrists have to do with the Fathers? My question wasn't to show people who call themselves "Orthodox" (although the Old Calendrists aren't) disagreeing with the Orthodox Church -- it was to show early Church Fathers who disagree with the Orthodox Church. This one doesn't even apply.

4. "Taking sin seriously, or, the Gospel" -- sounds to me like you're the one not taking sin seriously, but okay, right...

David said...

5. "1st Clement on Sola Fide" -- Apparently, you didn't finish the letter. Clement's position is not "faith alone" but "faithfulness alone" (as was St. Paul's, but that's another discussion) -- read the four chapters that follow your prooftext, especially chapter 35. Clement's position is the same as the Orthodox Church's today -- not the same as the Calvinists' by a long shot.

6. "the testimony of Epiphanius with respect to iconoclasm" -- well now! That's a good one. I haven't looked into this particular reference very much, but it sounds pretty conclusive to me. It's an interesting one, though -- I think that there were definitely some iconoclastic tendencies in some regions of the early Church (it seems, especially, Asia Minor) -- while there were iconodulic tendencies in Syria, Alexandria, and Rome -- the latter eventually triumphing, probably because those three (Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch [Syria]) were the highly-respected, revered, and obeyed original "Patriarchates," as Petrine sees. It never seemed to be a particularly great issue, though, as it seems that there were an awful lot of images (if archaeology is any clue) and an awful small group writing against them (every time I see an early Church author who is [apparently] writing against images, it's always in passing, as he makes another point, just as in this reference by Epiphanius). If it was such a big deal, I have to wonder why none of these Fathers who wrote volumes against seemingly minor doctrinal errors (like Quartodecimanism, for instance) wouldn't put pen to paper on a treatise against images. It's a very interesting issue, historically speaking. See, and you said that the Seventh Ecumenical Council destroyed all of the iconoclast writings of the early Fathers! Glad to see you've started to look!

7. "Jason Engwer's helpful" - Yeah, I've looked through his index before -- he doesn't seem to even know Roman Catholic beliefs well enough to refute them, much less touching on anything Orthodox. And anybody who is that willing to take passages from the Fathers absurdly out of context on a consistent basis isn't trustworthy anyway.

Keep up the good work! You're on the right track with St. Epiphanius!

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhology said...

I'm asking you to show me how I in any way disagree with the early Church and how you in any way agree with it in those things upon which we differ.

I don't see why that would matter. At best for you, an appeal to some unanimous consent of CFs would only show that your claims about them are consistent, not that they hold any authority or should be listened to, when critiquing Sola Scriptura. But if you can't show a unanimous opinion of CFs, your position is that much worse. And if they didn't all agree, then they're -gasp!- acting like Protestants.


but of all the loads of crap I've smelled, that is by far the stinkiest. I can say with certainty that we hear more of the Scriptures in an hour of the Divine Liturgy than in an hour of any Protestant service I've ever been to.

Strangely enough, that's not what I said, is it?


And I've met very few Orthodox who don't read the Scriptures at home and teach them to their children. This statement is nonsense.

Tell that to the stuffy folks at orthodoxchristianity.net's forum who told me that. Then give me an argument why your fellow EOdox were wrong and you're right.


What does a modern dispute with schismatic Old Calendrists have to do with the Fathers?

The same thing that disputes between Protestants has to do with the clarity and sufficiency of Scripture.


Clement's position is not "faith alone" but "faithfulness alone"

Unlike you, I take ALL of what someone said and harmonise it ALL. And I don't just drop-kick psgs that are uncomfy for my position. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt, that when he says it's faith alone, it actually is faith alone. I don't propose contradictions like you do when you cite James 2 to "counter" a citation of Ephesians 2:8-10.


"the testimony of Epiphanius with respect to iconoclasm" -- well now! That's a good one.

Oh, well, in all honesty, I'm glad to be able to point out sthg wrt early church writers that you've never seen, haha. I fully recognise you've read alot more than I have.


I think that there were definitely some iconoclastic tendencies in some regions of the early Church

So, why isn't that Sacred Apostolic Tradition?


I have to wonder why none of these Fathers who wrote volumes against seemingly minor doctrinal errors (like Quartodecimanism, for instance) wouldn't put pen to paper on a treatise against images.

Argument from silence.
And there's always this.


See, and you said that the Seventh Ecumenical Council destroyed all of the iconoclast writings of the early Fathers!

All? That'd be pretty hard.


he doesn't seem to even know Roman Catholic beliefs well enough to refute them, much less touching on anything Orthodox.

Ummm, K. Any specifics on that charge?

John said...

Epiphanius of Salamis, Doctor of Iconoclasm? Deconstruction of a Myth

David said...

Rhology:

I don't see why that would matter.

Why do James White and others try to portray the Fathers are supporting Sola Scriptura?

Tell that to the stuffy folks at orthodoxchristianity.net's forum who told me that. Then give me an argument why your fellow EOdox were wrong and you're right.

I'd help tell them, if that's what they really said. But you haven't directed me to the actual discussion thread, nor even quoted their words. I have a hard time imagining any Orthodox telling you that we shouldn't read Scripture or teach it to our children. And you do have a history of taking things out context and distorting the clear meaning of a person's words (James 2, for instance)...

The same thing that disputes between Protestants has to do with the clarity and sufficiency of Scripture.

So, then, it has absolutely nothing to do with the Fathers? Right, got it.

Unlike you, I take ALL of what someone said and harmonise it ALL. And I don't just drop-kick psgs that are uncomfy for my position.

I'm pretty sure you got that backwards here. You're the one quoting a single passage out of context to support your position, while I'm the one asking that you take the chapters that follow into consideration. A look in the mirror wouldn't hurt here.

I am giving him the benefit of the doubt, that when he says it's faith alone, it actually is faith alone.

Show me where he uses the phrase "faith alone."

I don't propose contradictions like you do when you cite James 2 to "counter" a citation of Ephesians 2:8-10.

Your position is the one that makes the two conflict with each other. Mine harmonizes them quite well, and also takes into account the meaning of the Greek word "pistis."

Oh, well, in all honesty, I'm glad to be able to point out sthg wrt early church writers that you've never seen, haha. I fully recognise you've read alot more than I have.

I truly appreciate you showing this passage to me. I plan to research it more, and to read the book John recommended.

So, why isn't that Sacred Apostolic Tradition?

A few reasons:
1. It's not Apostolic -- if this verse from St. Epiphanius is legit (John's book disputes it -- I'm going to look into more, and choose to withhold judgment until that time) it's still the earliest iconoclastic reference we have -- ca. 310. The earliest icons we have, though, date from much earlier than that. The acceptance of icons, then, is closer in time to the Apostles than the rejection of them -- not conclusive, sure, but a valid historical point.
2. It's not Tradition -- we've talked about this before. The single opinion of a single Father doesn't constitute Holy Tradition. Nobody believes the Fathers were divinely inspired in the way Scripture is. They act as witnesses to the Holy Tradition -- they themselves are not the Tradition. Irenaeus, for instance, was probably a chiliast -- but the Church rejects chiliasm. To state it vulgarly, sometimes things come down to majority rule.
3. Because we believe in Christ's promise that the Holy Spirit would guide his Church into all truth -- the gates of hades cannot prevail against the Church.

David said...

I think Protestants make too much of an issue out of the icons, as if they were the make-or-break of the Orthodox Church. They're not, though. When it comes down to it, I freely and readily admit that the theology if icons as we have it today wasn't developed until the 4th century, especially in the writings of the Cappadocian Fathers (note, though, that the seeds of it were already there -- including the images themselves, reverent practices associated with them, and some basic theology of them). This doesn't make it an invalid theology, though. In the end, rejection of the images amounts to rejection of the truth of the incarnation -- St. John of Damascus probably makes this point the best of any of the Fathers. Christ became man; men are depictible; therefore, Christ is depictible.

Question: If the Incarnation had happened today would it be permissible to take photos of Christ?

Argument from silence.

It wasn't an argument at all; at least it wasn't intended to be. Just wondering aloud, I guess.

And there's always this.

Yeah, I don't buy it. I've read it, and it just doesn't meet up to the standard of logic or history. A few obvious objections:
1. Few were shy about condemning those of past ages for things only recently called "heretical" -- think of Origen's anathema 300 years after his martyrdom -- his MARTYRDOM! I have a hard time believing they'd be shy about condemning any of the Fathers of the past found to be condemning the Holy Icons.
2. As with the Gnostics' writings, some would have been sure to survive -- somehow, someway. Gnosticism seems to have been a small fringe element and yet somehow some of their writings slipped through the cracks -- in order for your claim to be valid, iconoclasm would have had to have been a widespread element in the Church -- something would have survived.
3. Also as with Gnosticism, others would have quoted the writings, if for no other reason than to refute them. The best source for Gnostic writings (until the find at Nag Hammadi) have always been the writings of the Fathers who wrote against them -- they quoted them extensively in order to refute them.
4. I don't read the text as a commission to go hunt down every writing of every Father everywhere and search out iconoclastic references -- it reads as a commission to burn the writings against the icons by the iconoclast party of that era.
5. Smacks too much of the conspiracy theories about the mean ole Church burning down the Great Library / burning the Gnostic writings / burning the pagan wisdom / etc. If someone has to posit a conspiracy theory/cover-up in order to have a historical claim, it's probably not a valid historical claim.

All? That'd be pretty hard.

Exactly.

Ummm, K. Any specifics on that charge?

It's been a while since I looked at his index, but I remember his citations about the Eucharist especially all being off.



John:

Epiphanius of Salamis, Doctor of Iconoclasm? Deconstruction of a Myth

And now I know what the next book I'm buying is. Thanks :)

David said...

Rhology:

One last thing! Arguments from silence can, in fact, be valid arguments according to logic. If I said "the earth used to be ruled by aliens from outer space" and you responded by asking for documentary evidence -- that's a valid argument from silence. Mine wasn't an argument at all, but if it were -- it would be a valid one. :)

Rhology said...

John,

Thanks, that's an interesting topic for a book. I bet it didn't sell much, tho, haha. Who has time to read about that junk when you COULD be immersed in Joel Osteen? :-P


DavidW,
Why do James White and others try to portray the Fathers are supporting Sola Scriptura?

1) SOME Fathers, the majority. Not "the Fathers".
2) B/c it's an internal critique of Romanism (and EOC, by extension), and they (and I) have a heart for reaching out to RCs and EOdox with the Gospel.


I have a hard time imagining any Orthodox telling you that we shouldn't read Scripture or teach it to our children.

I don't have to imagine it anymore. I'd thought it was a myth before I saw it in practice.


The same thing that disputes between Protestants has to do with the clarity and sufficiency of Scripture.

So, then, it has absolutely nothing to do with the Fathers? Right, got it.


So you concede the point wrt Scripture! Awesome, now we're getting somewhere.


it's still the earliest iconoclastic reference we have -- ca. 310. The earliest icons we have, though, date from much earlier than that. The acceptance of icons, then, is closer in time to the Apostles than the rejection of them -- not conclusive, sure, but a valid historical point.

And of course there's no chance that he had kept the apostolic trad in the face of growing mistakes or that the records of a stronger iconoclastic tradition have not yet been found. B/c you have faith.


The single opinion of a single Father doesn't constitute Holy Tradition.

Apparently, when I show you a whole bunch of single Fathers teaching Sola Scriptura, that doesn't matter either.
I'd have a lot more confidence in your assertions if you'd actually take into acct the fact that 'patristic consensus' is a myth on most topics.


the Holy Spirit would guide his Church into all truth -- the gates of hades cannot prevail against the Church.

So has the Holy Spirit guided the visible EOC into all truth yet? Which one is true - Old or New Calendar? Unleavened or leavened Eucharistic bread? And is it anathema, double-anathema, or not-anathema to teach one or the other of each? Or to teach that those topics are essentials or non-essentials of the faith?
Since you think EOC is the True Church, and she hasn't been brought into all truth as a visible body (b/c you reject the invisible church concept - too bad for you), shouldn't that tell you a little sumpin' about what "guide His church into all truth" and "gates of Hades will not overcome it" actually means?


rejection of the images amounts to rejection of the truth of the incarnation

I can hardly express how stupid this is. Especially since I reject the images and DON'T reject the truth of the incarnation, along with every single Reformed and Baptist person in the world.


If the Incarnation had happened today would it be permissible to take photos of Christ?

Some would argue it's not, like a guy named Matthew Lankford. I argued AGAINST him on that, via email (but charitably, he's a cool guy). I don't see a problem since Christ was incarnate. But it's not OK to use those images in worship. And it is totally unacceptable to depict the Father or Holy Spirit in image, and yet you guys blasphemously do that too.

Peace,
Rhology

David said...

Rhology:

1) SOME Fathers, the majority. Not "the Fathers".

Is it "some" or a "majority?"

2) B/c it's an internal critique of Romanism (and EOC, by extension), and they (and I) have a heart for reaching out to RCs and EOdox with the Gospel.

Seems more like a sad attempt to justify their/your own beliefs -- but I guess it's a matter of perspective.

I don't have to imagine it anymore. I'd thought it was a myth before I saw it in practice.

And you refuse to show me a source or be specific with quoting/paraphrasing what was said -- which leads me to believe you are either (a) making it up or (b) didn't understand what was said in the first place.

So you concede the point wrt Scripture! Awesome, now we're getting somewhere.

I don't think I've ever claimed that the Scriptures aren't clear and sufficient to teach Orthodox doctrine.

And of course there's no chance that he had kept the apostolic trad in the face of growing mistakes or that the records of a stronger iconoclastic tradition have not yet been found. B/c you have faith.

And there's always the possibility we'll eventually uncover the bones of the alien race which used to rule the world, but until then I got with the evidence not what I'd like to think.

Apparently, when I show you a whole bunch of single Fathers teaching Sola Scriptura, that doesn't matter either.

You haven't shown one, actually. I, though, have shown quite a few who didn't, and I'm not done yet.

I'd have a lot more confidence in your assertions if you'd actually take into acct the fact that 'patristic consensus' is a myth on most topics.

Like the Real Presence and Baptismal Regeneration? What constitutes "most topics." If they disagreed with each other on "most topics" you'd think you'd have some better ammo than whether or not to re-baptize heretics and a calendar. Sufficiently vague, though, as always.

So has the Holy Spirit guided the visible EOC into all truth yet?

Yes -- and continues to guide as new problems arise.

Which one is true - Old or New Calendar?

Why choose just one? :)

Unleavened or leavened Eucharistic bread?

Where does the Orthodox Church use unleaved prosphora?

And is it anathema, double-anathema, or not-anathema to teach one or the other of each?

Triple!

Or to teach that those topics are essentials or non-essentials of the faith?

I'd like to hear in what way you say that the Holy Spirit has guided the Church into "all truth" -- was Calvin the final prophet we were all looking for?



And too bad for St. Paul, St. Peter, Christ, too, right?

Especially since I reject the images and DON'T reject the truth of the incarnation, along with every single Reformed and Baptist person in the world.

Yes, you do. You don't realize the that you do, but you do -- by rejecting its implications.

I don't see a problem since Christ was incarnate. But it's not OK to use those images in worship.

Why? Is it wrong to decorate pictures of family and friends at home? Is it wrong for a soldier to salute a picture of his fallen comrade?

And it is totally unacceptable to depict the Father or Holy Spirit in image, and yet you guys blasphemously do that too.

Where? Read the decrees of the Seventh Ecumenical Council -- such depictions are forbidden except for depicting the Trinity as the members have revealed themselves. The Father, for instance, can be pictured as the "Ancient of Days" seen by Prophet Isaiah or as one of the Three Angels who approached Abrahm. The Holy Spirit can be depicted as a dove. Basically, anything that could be photographed today falls into the category of what can be depicted.

Rhology said...

So John, have you read the book about Epiphanius?
Either way, do you happen to know when the forgeries are alleged to have occurred?

Viisaus said...

If some modern scholars say that Epiphanius' writings against images are inauthentic (which I myself do not believe), many other scholars ALSO say that 2nd Nicene Council cited loads of brazenly forged pseudo-patristic writings to support its position.

This iconolatrous council downright reeked with dishonest forgery.

It is argued by some that the "Apologia against Jews" supposedly written by Leontius of Neapolis (that EO apologists like to proudly tout) was in reality a 8th-century pseudepigraphical iconophile work:


"37. The document survives only through fragments quoted by John of Damascus in his treatise On the Divine Images and in the Acta of the Second Nicene Council in 787 CE. ... Paul Speck (“Zu dem Dialog mit einem Juden des Leontios von Neapolis,” Poikila Byzantina 4 [1984]: 242–49), however, believes it to be a work of the eighth century."

http://www.escholarship.org/editions/view?docId=ft6k4007sx&chunk.id=d0e1092&toc.id=ch1&toc.depth=100&brand=eschol&anchor.id=bn1.27

Viisaus said...

"I think Protestants make too much of an issue out of the icons, as if they were the make-or-break of the Orthodox Church. They're not, though."


But it was your own precious 2nd Nicene Council that DID MAKE the icons a "make-or-break" issue! Behold their loving and compassionate approach:


"Let them who do not venerate the holy and venerable images be anathema! Anathema to those who blaspheme against the honourable and venerable images! To those who dare to attack and blaspheme the venerable images and call them idols, anathema! To the calumniators of Christianity, that is to say the Iconoclasts, anathema! To those who do not diligently teach all the Christ-loving people to venerate and salute the venerable and sacred and honourable images of all the Saints who pleased God in their several generations, anathema! To those who have a doubtful mind and do not confess with their whole hearts that they venerate the sacred images, anathema!"

"We salute the venerable images. We place under anathema those who do not do this. Anathema to them who presume to apply to the venerable images the things said in Holy Scripture about idols. Anathema to those who do not salute the holy and venerable images. Anathema to those who call the sacred images idols. Anathema to those who say that Christians resort to the sacred images as to gods. Anathema to those who say that any other delivered us from idols except Christ our God. Anathema to those who dare to say that at any time the Catholic Church received idols."

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3819.htm


You are a soft Western EO convert. Thus you apparently cannot understand or accept how vicious, how Pharisaical the old-school, unreconstructed Eastern Orthodox position on icons really was (or is).

By thus condemning the icon-rejecters without qualification AND MAKING ICON-WORSHIP AN INSEPARABLE PART OF SAVING FAITH, this apostate council condemned itself. Its own rapid curses will rebound back at it on the Judgment Day.

Like the Judaizing heretics that said that "you cannot be saved unless you let yourself circumcised," 2nd Nicaean councilmen said: "you cannot be saved unless you proskuneo images."

Viisaus said...

"it's still the earliest iconoclastic reference we have -- ca. 310. The earliest icons we have, though, date from much earlier than that."


Your claim is false, as by no means all pictorial representations are images to be worshipped (or wonder-working images) - that is, "icons" in the modern sense of the word. Let us hear what a Byzantinist-expert historian John Haldon has to say:


"On one level, Iconoclasm was about positioning images within the cult of saints: of allowing images of the holy to perform like relics of the holy. To say that a saint’s bone, or a bit of cloth or oil that once touched a saint or the saint’s bones, conveyed saintly presence was a major step in itself; to extend that power to an object physically unconnected to the saint in anyway – the portrait painted by human hands – did indeed smack to many of idolatry, and was condemned as such by early churchmen. Images of pre-Christian gods and goddesses had to be long forgotten as real actors before the sacred portrait could first be admitted into the company of the holy through the medium of miraculous images not made by human hands, A SHIFT WHICH ONLY OCCURRED IN THE MID-SIXTH CENTURY.

These relic-images were agents of conversion, providers of revenue for their owners, and protectors of cities and the state. Sacred portraits made by human hands, however, are only rarely – and usually problematically – ascribed any such miraculous powers before the last quarter of the seventh century, after which the church responded with the first canonical legislation concerning religious imagery at a council held in Constantinople in 692;"

http://www.lsa.umich.edu/UMICH/modgreek/Home/Endowments%20and%20Gifts/Platsis%20Endowment/Haldon_Iconoclasm_talk.pdf


History is on the side of iconoclasts. Secular historians do not take even remotely seriously such spurious EO traditions as Luke painting icons of Mary.

Viisaus said...

"Yes, you do. You don't realize the that you do, but you do -- by rejecting its implications."


With such Kevin-Bacon-degrees game one could ultimately anathematize anything one would please.

Claudius of Turin, a 9th century Frankish bishop who was a stern opponent of icons, ridiculed such "by-implication" iconodule reasoning:


"The answer to them is that, if they wish to adore all wood made into the shape of a cross, since Christ hung from a cross, then the same thing ought to be done for the memory of many other things which Christ did in the flesh. For he only hung from the cross for six hours, but he was in the womb of the virgin for nine lunar moths and eleven more days, which is the same thing as two hundred and seventy-six solar days, that is nine months and six added days. Therefore let virgin girls be adored, since a virgin bore Christ. Let mangers be adored, since he was lain in a manger just after having been born. Let old linen be adored, since, when he was born, he was wrapped in such old linens. Let boats be adored since he frequently sailed on boats, and taught the crowds from a little boat, and slept on a boat, and commanded the winds from a boat, and it was to the right side of a boat that he ordered them to place the nets, when that great, prophetic, catch of fish was made. . . Finally let lances be adored, since one of the soldiers at the cross opened his side with a lance, and from that wound flowed blood and water, the sacraments by which the church is formed. These things are all jokes and should be laughed at rather then written down."

http://urban.hunter.cuny.edu/~thead/claudius.htm


Although most 8th and 9th century Franks were not as firm iconoclasts as Claudius (they approved the images in educational art, but not as objects of religious veneration), they outright rejected the 2nd Nicene council and its authority. Only afterwards, through papal machinations, did this council came to be considered as the seventh ecumenical one in Western Europe.

Viisaus said...

And again I must advertise this old gem brought back to life by the Internet:

"THE SEVENTH GENERAL COUNCIL, THE SECOND OF NICAEA, HELD A.D. 787, IN WHICH THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES WAS ESTABLISHED: WITH COPIOUS NOTES FROM THE "CAROLINE BOOKS," COMPILED BY ORDER OF CHARLEMAGNE FOR ITS CONFUTATION."

http://www.archive.org/details/seventhgeneralc00mendgoog

The lengthy introduction of this book that describes the history of Byzantine AND Carolingian image-struggle from Protestant perspective is also very much worth reading for people who wish to hear more than just the standard EO/RC propaganda line about the Iconoclasm.


This source is so valuable because the RC "New Advent" website offers only a VERY ABRIDGED, bowdlerized version of the 2nd Nicene council:

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3819.htm

They have cut out all the most embarrassing parts of this council's acts, obviously not wanting people to see just how puerile the pro-icon reasonings of the 787 council were.


Citing George Salmon of the topic:

"But a more plentiful crop of illustrations may be drawn from the proceedings of the seventh General Council, the second of Nicaea. The Fathers attempted to prove the propriety of image worship from Scripture; BUT, AS IF CONSCIOUS THAT THEY WOULD HAVE NO EASY TASK, THEY PROPOUNDED THE THEN NOVEL DOCTRINE OF THE INSUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE, and anathematized those who say that they will not receive any doctrine on the bare authority of Fathers and Councils, unless it be plainly taught in the Old and New Testament. Their Scripture proofs were not what would be very convincing to us. For instance, the antiquity of looking at images is proved from the Psalms, since David says, ‘Show me thy face’: and ‘Like as we have heard, so have we seen’; and again, from Canticles, ‘Let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice, for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.’"

http://www.tracts.ukgo.com/george_salmon.htm

(see "General Councils Part 2")

Lucian said...

So, why isn't that Sacred Apostolic Tradition?

It is part of Patristic Tradition, but we sort authoritative Church Tradition by the three well-known characteristics needed: antiquity, universality, and consensus: because it is not to certain distinct individuals that Christ promissed endurance in faith, but to the Church in its entirety. When it comes to fathers who opose sacred Christian images, for instance, we don't see a lot of them. Actually, they're just a few.

David said...

Viisaus:

First of all, you don't know me -- so watch your language at me. If you want to have a civil discussion on the issues, I'm down; if you want to exchange insults like you calling me a "soft Western EO convert" and me calling you a "devil-worshiping pseudo-Gnostic," I don't care to speak to you.

By the way, we read those anathemas aloud after Liturgy every year on Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. So, no, I'm not unfamiliar with them. And, yes, I wholly and fully support them -- you are indeed anathema, not only for the icons but for teaching a different gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).

Viisaus said...

"By the way, we read those anathemas aloud after Liturgy every year on Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. So, no, I'm not unfamiliar with them. And, yes, I wholly and fully support them -- you are indeed anathema, not only for the icons but for teaching a different gospel (Galatians 1:6-9)."


Sory to hear that. I have met EOs online that did not have actually have stomach to stand fully behind Deutero-Nicene bigotry. "Blessed inconsistency", they were better Christians for it.

You are still young. I hope and pray that Holy Spirit will lead you away from the lying traditions and mongrelized gospel of Eastern Orthodoxy.

Rhology said...

if you want to exchange insults like you calling me a "soft Western EO convert" and me calling you a "devil-worshiping pseudo-Gnostic,"

Seriously, DavidW, don't whine like that. You've shown no restraint in calling me a worshiper of the devil many times. You could grow up a little.
Besides, he didn't call you that, he suspected you were. Now we know you're just a holder-to of ridiculously extreme anathemas and antibiblical theology. (Not sure which is better, though...)

Lucian said...

You've shown no restraint in calling me a worshiper of the devil many times.


The God you worship makes you write blog-posts of joy and thank-fulness for the deaths of some people (deluded heretics, for instance). And not only you, but others of your Calvinist persuasion as well (like TF, for instance). And what's worse is that you (and they) don't even seem to realise, think, or notice that there might be something wrong about such thoughts, feelings, attitude, and behaviour. So, yes, religions do matter for the redemption of the soul (unfortunately). You also tend to become like the God you worship. Yours is a vengeful and unforgiving God [and I say this without any metaphor, ill-intent, or rhetoric]. Maybe you haven't pieced it all together yet... but remember Christ's stupidly-simple, clear-cut, easily-understandable, and seemingly-oh-so-obvious words: ``after their fruits you'll know them": so ask yourself this: what is the fruit of some distinctively-Calvinist teachings in your life? What effect do they have on your soul, and on the hearts of others who also share them?

Rhology said...

Is it "some" or a "majority?" (that taught Sola Scr)

Either way, the myth of patristic consensus is dead. And as it matters to me only insofar that it leaves your position bleeding, that's sufficient.



Seems more like a sad attempt to justify their/your own beliefs

Why? Suddenly we DON'T blv Sola Scr? Keep your armchair psychoanalysis to yourself, plz.



which leads me to believe you are either (a) making it up or (b) didn't understand what was said in the first place.

Don't blv me, I care not.
It would appear that OC.net's forum has archived stuff that was more than 2 yrs ago or so; I have no way to verify it. 'Twould be more honorable of you to accept my statement and deal with it. Or just call me a liar w/o substantiation. Whatever.


I don't think I've ever claimed that the Scriptures aren't clear and sufficient to teach Orthodox doctrine.

Really? Derive the Marian doctrines, the worship of icons, apostolic succession, the infallibility of councils once recognised by "a consensus of the church", and theosis from the Scr.


You haven't shown one, actually.

And you haven't even read the books to which I pointed you, so that's a pretty disingenuous thing to say.



Like the Real Presence and Baptismal Regeneration? What constitutes "most topics."

Here's an example of what I mean.
Another.
Another.
And of course, baptismal regeneration and sola fide, such as that 1st Clement teaches, are incompat. So there you go.



Which one is true - Old or New Calendar?

Why choose just one? :)


Um, b/c church officials anathematise the one. So make up your mind, and answer the question.



Unleavened or leavened Eucharistic bread?

Where does the Orthodox Church use unleaved prosphora?


Obviously a part of it was doing so before such was anathematised. I don't know about after. But that's enough.
You give only mocking answers to this quandary, so I'll consider that your concession. Thanks!



Or to teach that those topics are essentials or non-essentials of the faith?

I'd like to hear in what way you say that the Holy Spirit has guided the Church into "all truth" -- was Calvin the final prophet we were all looking for?


Since the church = those who are regenerate, it's simple.
Further, He has already done it in the sense that He has revealed the Scr in its fulness.

Rhology said...

You don't realize the that you do, but you do -- by rejecting its implications.

Oh, OK. So if I deny that images are OK, I somehow deny the incarnation took place. Even though I don't have a problem with picturing Christ. Even though my only problems are with:
--Worshiping pictures of DEAD PEOPLE.
--Picturing the Holy Spirit and the Father.
--Talking to DEAD PEOPLE.
--Wasting time in prayer to DEAD PEOPLE when you should be using all your prayer time to talk to Jesus.

You don't have any idea what you're talking about, but you've got the EO talking points and by golly they can't go to waste!



Is it wrong to decorate pictures of family and friends at home?

Oh, you bow down to them and expect them to hear your silent prayers, read your mind?



such depictions are forbidden except for depicting the Trinity as the members have revealed themselves.

Which only the Son has. Defending the blasphemous is very telling.
This is what I mean.
And our favorite EO, Lucian/Lvka is only too happy to post it!


Lucian,
You who think you can contribute some holiness to your own salvation, the sin of pride, the very sin of the devil in the Garden, want to accuse me like that? Go for it.
1 Cor 11:18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.



And Viisaus is right on the money, thank you sir.
Even if Epiphanius' quotation is inauthentic, there is no question it dates from a really long time ago, and this alone destroys the myth of consensus. It shows that I am just fine and in line with the tradition of doubting the propriety of rendering worship to dead pictures of dead people. This is a killing point for your rule of faith.


Peace,
Rhology

Lucian said...

Be constant with yourself: I thought you were of the opinion that there's a difference between justification and sanctification.

David said...

Rhology:

Either way, the myth of patristic consensus is dead.

You keep saying this but have yet to show it. And, as we've covered before, St. Vincent's canon even covers those [minor] points of disagreement -- when in doubt, go with the oldest, most widespread of the traditions witnessed to. The Fathers are not infallible -- they are witnesses to an infallible Tradition.

Why? Suddenly we DON'T blv Sola Scr?

No; because the Fathers didn't.

Don't blv me, I care not.

I don't; you've have more credibility with me if you hadn't already proved yourself so willing to distort the clear meaning of the words of Scripture (James 2 comes to mind), the Fathers (Athanasius comes to mind), and even me (a little conversation about who's doomed and who isn't comes to mind).

'Twould be more honorable of you to accept my statement and deal with it.

I've dealt with it. It's completely wrong. I think the more likely scenario is that they told you that the Orthodox don't read the Scriptures enough at home (which is absolutely true -- but equally true of Baptists I know) and you took that as a condemnation of reading the Scriptures at home. But, then, I don't know -- I wasn't there; I can only base it on what I've myself heard about this topic from other Orthodox Christians. And not a single one I've ever met, "convert" or "cradle," has ever told me that I'm in the wrong for reading the Scriptures at home every evening with my family as I do -- in fact, they've encouraged me -- in fact, many of those I know do it themselves. So much for a Church full of people who don't think you should read Scripture.

Really?

Yes, really.

Derive

I didn't say "prove" -- I said "teach." There's a difference. One is abuse of Scripture; the other is using Scripture within the Church under Christ.

the Marian doctrines, the worship of icons, apostolic succession, the infallibility of councils once recognised by "a consensus of the church", and theosis from the Scr.

Sure, all in one verse: 1 Corinthians 11:2

David said...

And you haven't even read the books to which I pointed you, so that's a pretty disingenuous thing to say.

I've read more than enough of the garbage put out by James White, Max Webster, and David King online to know that it's a bad idea wasting my money (not to mention financing satanism) by buying one of their books. Even a cursory reading of Athanasius' works destroys their theses. Did you actually open up the Ante-Nicene Fathers and check their quotes and the context or just take their word for it?

Here's an example of what I mean.
Another.
Another.


He does a great job of distorting the evidence, doesn't he? (except for that darned synagogue and church at dura europos, the oldest examples in existence of either class, hm...).

And of course, baptismal regeneration and sola fide, such as that 1st Clement teaches, are incompat. So there you go.

"Let us cleave then to His blessing, and consider what are the means of possessing it. Let us think over the things which have taken place from the beginning. For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith?" - 1 Clement 31

Doesn't sound like "faith alone" to me.

We've already covered this. I suggest you reread chapters 30-33 and look at the point Clement is trying to make -- which just so happens to be the Orthodox understanding of "faith and works," not the Calvinist one.

Um, b/c church officials anathematise the one.

Actually, neither the New nor the Old Julian calendars have been anathematized by any Orthodox body -- the Gregorian has, but not either of the Julians.

So make up your mind, and answer the question.

Sometimes questions are hard, not because they're good questions, but because they're based on layers of misunderstanding and falsehood. Example: Why does the purple water make the sky green?

Obviously a part of it was doing so before such was anathematised.

And why was it anathematized again?

Since the church = those who are regenerate, it's simple.

So everybody who's regenerate is a Calvinist?

Further, He has already done it in the sense that He has revealed the Scr in its fulness.

He was just a little late with the correct interpretation of said Scripture?

I always thought the meaning of the words existed before the words -- I guess I was wrong.

David said...

Rhology:

Oh, OK. So if I deny that images are OK, I somehow deny the incarnation took place.

Well ... yes. There's a reason that the first major movement against icons in Christianity came from Islam, a Christian heresy which specifically denies the incarnation. Not a coincidence.

Even though I don't have a problem with picturing Christ.

That's good -- at least you're half-way logical.

--Worshiping pictures of DEAD PEOPLE.

Yes, and you clearly understand exactly what we mean when we say worship in this context.

"WITH this Ring I thee wed, with my Body I thee worship, and with all my worldly Goods I thee endow" - Anglican wedding service, husband speaking to wife

Well, at least some Protestants get it...

--Picturing the Holy Spirit and the Father.

Only insofar as each has revealed himself in ways which allow him to be pictured.

--Talking to DEAD PEOPLE.

And all this time I thought that Christ had defeated death.

--Wasting time in prayer to DEAD PEOPLE when you should be using all your prayer time to talk to Jesus.

You ever leaned over to the person next to you at church and asked for his or her prayers? Or perhaps asked the pastor to say a prayer for you? You heathen!

Oh, you bow down to them and expect them to hear your silent prayers, read your mind?

Sometimes.

Which only the Son has. Defending the blasphemous is very telling.
This is what I mean.


So, if Abraham had a camera would he have been able to take a picture of the three angels (symbolic of the Holy Trinity) that visited him? (you do realize that this icon, also known as the "Hospitality of Abraham," depicts the three angels -- symbols of the Holy Trinity -- who visited he and sarah, correct?)

Rhology said...

Lucian,

There is.



DavidW,

The Fathers are not infallible -- they are witnesses to an infallible Tradition.

But only consistent when you pick and choose from them, which I've illustrated in this very post. Of course I've shown it.
And like I've said many times, ANYONE can do that. I could pick and choose only what I like out of the CFs and yell about how I'm part of an unquestioned tradition since the apostles. It's my point about the LDS and JWs, RCC, OOC, etc.


So much for a Church full of people who don't think you should read Scripture.

I'm glad you've met those ppl, but I've met other kinds too. Maybe you should get out more, open your eyes a bit to see the unsavory side of the church whose blemishes you ignore.


the Marian doctrines, the worship of icons, apostolic succession, the infallibility of councils once recognised by "a consensus of the church", and theosis from the Scr.

Sure, all in one verse: 1 Corinthians 11:2


Hahaha, thanks for that. A Calvinist couldn't hope for a better (non-)response.


Did you actually open up the Ante-Nicene Fathers and check their quotes and the context or just take their word for it?

The quotes are super long and provide their own context. But then again, you wouldn't know that, would you?



He does a great job of distorting the evidence, doesn't he?

Oh yes, surely he does.


"Let us cleave then to His blessing, and consider what are the means of possessing it. Let us think over the things which have taken place from the beginning. For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith?" - 1 Clement 31

"And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Uh oh - we've got a problem.
Thank God the Scriptures aren't like that.


And why was it anathematized again?

I'd ask the anathematiser.


Since the church = those who are regenerate, it's simple.

So everybody who's regenerate is a Calvinist?


Where would you have gotten that notion?


Further, He has already done it in the sense that He has revealed the Scr in its fulness.

He was just a little late with the correct interpretation of said Scripture?


Who, God? You're quite fond of correcting Him, aren't you?


There's a reason that the first major movement against icons in Christianity came from Islam

1) You wouldn't know that for sure, since I've pointed out to you that 2nd Nicea destroyed many iconoclast writings. You don't know, so concede that this point is conjecture.
2) Further, you don't know what most ppl blvd - where's your polling data?
3) Epiphanius and other quotations come from BEFORE Islam's birth.


You ever leaned over to the person next to you at church and asked for his or her prayers? Or perhaps asked the pastor to say a prayer for you? You heathen!

I love how these 'counterexamples' you raise are so disanalogous. It makes me chuckle.


Oh, you bow down to them and expect them to hear your silent prayers, read your mind?

Sometimes.


Oh, I get it - justify one pagan and antibiblical practice by appealing to another, more modern example! Brilliant.


So, if Abraham had a camera would he have been able to take a picture of the three angels (symbolic of the Holy Trinity) that visited him?

SYMBOLIC OF the Trinity? I thought "symbols" can't communicate reality, as you're so fond of telling me about baptism and the Lord's Table. Now alluvasudden they can, eh? Cool.

Peace,
Rhology

David said...

Rhology:

But only consistent when you pick and choose from them, which I've illustrated in this very post.

We've been going round and round with this one long enough; I suggest you actually take the time to read the Fathers for yourself. I don't go around telling people who've studied chemistry my thoughts on protons and neutrons when I myself have never even cracked a chemistry textbook.

And like I've said many times, ANYONE can do that. I could pick and choose only what I like out of the CFs and yell about how I'm part of an unquestioned tradition since the apostles.

Then do it :) Show me the five points of Calvinism in the Fathers.

Maybe you should get out more, open your eyes a bit to see the unsavory side of the church whose blemishes you ignore.

1. Off the top of my head and counting on my fingers: I've visited Orthodox churches in three different countries and of nine different jurisdictions. I've met Orthodox Christians from 19 different countries. I get out plenty -- and I've never heard or seen your accusations, which you derived after attending what you described as "several" Liturgies.
2. I don't think I've ever ignored the blemishes of Orthodox Christians. We've got plenty of problems. It is, after all, a Church full of sinners -- the whole point of the Church, right?

The quotes are super long and provide their own context.

That's a cop-out; read the Fathers or stop talking about them.

Uh oh - we've got a problem.

Not really; what we've got in context, a man trying to make a point. But you'd rather posit the ridiculous claim that he's directly contradicting himself within only two sentences than simply allow him to speak for himself. Disingenuous at best, but more accurately described as slanderous.

Thank God the Scriptures aren't like that.

You'd have them be with doctrines like "faith alone," "limited atonement," and "predestination," that contradict the word of Scripture and pit verse against verse.

I'd ask the anathematiser.

My point was that there would be no reason to anathematize a practice that didn't exist -- of course there were churches using unleavened bread; that's why it needed to be anathematized as a departure from the ancient practice. You don't see how circular your own logic is here?

Since the church = those who are regenerate, it's simple.

So everybody who's regenerate is a Calvinist?

Where would you have gotten that notion?


Because I asked how Christ's promise that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth has been fulfilled in your reckoning. You give me the response that "it's simple" because the Church consists of those who are regenerate. If those who are regenerate have been led into all truth and the truth (according to you) is Calvinism -- they must all be Calvinists, correct?

David said...

Who, God? You're quite fond of correcting Him, aren't you?

Don't confuse yourself with God -- I know it's hard, as he is created in your image, but don't confuse the two. And you say we're the idolaters...

1) You wouldn't know that for sure, since I've pointed out to you that 2nd Nicea destroyed many iconoclast writings. You don't know, so concede that this point is conjecture.

And according to many historians the early Church systematically hunted down Gnostics and their writings -- and destroyed them (both, that is). So, by your token, you don't know if Gnosticism wasn't the original Christianity as its adherents claimed it to be.

2) Further, you don't know what most ppl blvd - where's your polling data?

It's called archaeology and textual analysis.

3) Epiphanius and other quotations come from BEFORE Islam's birth.

That subject is open to debate; and even if the quote from Epiphanius is a legit one, a single man is hardly a "major movement."

I love how these 'counterexamples' you raise are so disanalogous. It makes me chuckle.

I love how you make baseless accusations and don't back them up by showing me how my examples are "disanalogous." It makes me cry.

Oh, I get it - justify one pagan and antibiblical practice by appealing to another, more modern example! Brilliant.

Got it. I'll keep that in mind.

SYMBOLIC OF the Trinity?

Was it literally the Trinity that visited Abraham?

I thought "symbols" can't communicate reality, as you're so fond of telling me about baptism and the Lord's Table. Now alluvasudden they can, eh? Cool.

I'm pretty sure I never said anything like that. In fact, I'm almost certain that I've pointed out that the Church Fathers and the Orthodox Church today use both terms as we don't consider them mutually exclusive.

You make statements like this in which you completely twist what I myself have said to you previously and then wonder why I'm not willing to take your word for it when you quote others saying extreme things.

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

By the way, you didn't answer my question, so I'll try again: if Abraham had a camera, could he have taken a picture of the three angels who came to visit him?

Rhology said...

You're not getting me. When I point out that the fundamental presupp of Sola Ecc is the deciding factor for authority, I mean it.
So you ask me to find the 5 pts of Calvinism in the CFs? Easy. The Church® says that John Calvin is a Church Father, and he taught all 5. I don't want to hear any arguments - I have decided a priori that my church will believe only SOME early church writers, and said church will decide what "early" is and which ones are to be listened to.

This is an extreme example of what EOC does, but EOC does it all the same.

In reality, I take ALL of what the CFs said, and subject them to Scripture just like I do everyone else. You don't have that luxury b/c you stubbornly hold to Sola Ecclesia, and b/c you look to them for your doctrine. Since they're not monolithic, you pick and choose. I don't pick and choose, b/c what they wrote is relevant to my doctrine insofar as they correctly exegete Scr.
I hope that helps you, b/c I don't see very much demonstration on your part of understanding my position.


I get out plenty -- and I've never heard or seen your accusations, which you derived after attending what you described as "several" Liturgies.

And I'm very happy for you. My guess is you're not asking the right questions, or else I was just lucky.


2. I don't think I've ever ignored the blemishes of Orthodox Christians.

When you functionally deny that the CFs are not monolithic, you do just that in practice. Just one example.


The quotes are super long and provide their own context.

That's a cop-out; read the Fathers or stop talking about them.


You wouldn't know whether that's a cop-out, now would you?
Quit with your cop-outs; read Webster and King's books or stop talking about them.



You'd have them be with doctrines like "faith alone," "limited atonement," and "predestination," that contradict the word of Scripture and pit verse against verse.

Hahahahah! Says the member of the church whose denizens routinely yelp "James 2!!!!" when an evangelical quotes them Eph 2:8-10. Hilariously ironic.
OTOH, if anyone can figure out the vague soteriology of EOC with any specificity, let him pit it against a decent Reformed systematic theology and judge for himself.


My point was that there would be no reason to anathematize a practice that didn't exist

Hmmm, yeah, that's kinda MY point, actually. You claim consensus, I demonstrate lack of consensus, then you concede the pt and act like it supports your position. Good luck with that.


So, by your token, you don't know if Gnosticism wasn't the original Christianity as its adherents claimed it to be.

How foolish you can be. Of course I do - I have the Scriptures.

Rhology said...

2) Further, you don't know what most ppl blvd - where's your polling data?

It's called archaeology and textual analysis.


You have archaeological data from hundreds of thousands of ppl who lived during that time?
And texts? You who claim that most Xtians were illiterate (ergo, icons) now want to tell me that some huge trove of texts to analyse exists? No, there are some writers, numbering in the dozens to hundreds, some of whom have a few extant writings, some of whom have a lot of extant writings, but you don't have polling info. You're speculating, and you have to b/c The Church® tells you that's the way it always has been.


a single man is hardly a "major movement."

Tell that to Athanasius, nose-counter.


SYMBOLIC OF the Trinity?

Was it literally the Trinity that visited Abraham?


Nope, it was the preincarnate Christ and two angels. It's what the text says.


if Abraham had a camera, could he have taken a picture of the three angels who came to visit him?

Shrug, don't see why not. Since they were, you know, ANGELS.
Now, back to the icon in which your church has depicted THE TRINITY...

David said...

Rhology:

So you ask me to find the 5 pts of Calvinism in the CFs? Easy. The Church® says that John Calvin is a Church Father, and he taught all 5.

This is more telling than you know. Because it's true. I've asked you before, but you refused to answer: did you read the Bible all on your own without any outside influence and just so happen to come to the exact same conclusions as the Calvinists or were you first influenced by Calvinists and then found their doctrines in Scripture?
By the way, you're not even consistent with your chosen "Church Father" -- Calvin defended infant baptism and the perpetual virginity of Mary. But you disagree with him on these (and many other things, really) -- I guess that makes you your own Church Father. Good job.

I don't want to hear any arguments - I have decided a priori that my church will believe only SOME early church writers, and said church will decide what "early" is and which ones are to be listened to.

Are you just mad because we don't include Basilides and Simon Magus, your real forefathers, in our reckoning of Church Fathers? Early:

St. Paul (ca. 55)
St. Peter (ca. 60)
St. John (ca. 90)
St. Barnabas (c. 80)
St. Clement of Rome (writing c. 95)
St. Ignatius of Antioch (c. 107)
St. Hermas (c. 130)
St. Polycarp (c. 120)
St. Papias (c. 120)
St. Quadratus of Athens (c. 125)
St. Aristides (c. 125)
St. Justin Martyr (c. 150)

Not early:
John Calvin (16th century)

This is an extreme example of what EOC does, but EOC does it all the same.

And I assume that you've thoroughly studied the writings of the early Christians as well as the history of Christianity and the modern beliefs and practices of the Orthodox Church so as to be even remotely qualified to make that statement. Right?

In reality, I take ALL of what the CFs said, and subject them to Scripture just like I do everyone else.

And you subject Scripture to your own presuppositions. So, in the end, you are your own Church Father, Pope, and god.

You don't have that luxury b/c you stubbornly hold to Sola Ecclesia, and b/c you look to them for your doctrine.

I do now; I didn't before I was Orthodox. I reached the conclusions I did because I studied the claims of the Orthodox Church and other groups -- and the choice I made was only the obvious choice. (By the way, I was raised in the south -- I knew plenty of Baptists, and never could, no matter how hard I tried, see Calvinism [or what little I knew of it] in Scripture)

David said...

And I'm very happy for you. My guess is you're not asking the right questions, or else I was just lucky.

Again, I was raised in the south -- I knew plenty of Baptists. Quite a few of them were unapologetic racists -- should I assume, then, that this is an official teaching of the Baptist "church"?

Hahahahah! Says the member of the church whose denizens routinely yelp "James 2!!!!" when an evangelical quotes them Eph 2:8-10.

We do so precisely because Scripture does not contradict itself. The protestant interpretation of Paul's writings conflict with the clear meaning of James' words, therefore the protestant interpretation must of necessity be incorrect -- or we need to get rid of James, ala Luther and his forefather Marcion.

Hilariously ironic.
OTOH, if anyone can figure out the vague soteriology of EOC with any specificity, let him pit it against a decent Reformed systematic theology and judge for himself.


You really think it's "vague"? You've got a lot more studying to do...

Hmmm, yeah, that's kinda MY point, actually. You claim consensus, I demonstrate lack of consensus, then you concede the pt and act like it supports your position. Good luck with that.

Okay... so an aberrant practice pops up at a later time and then is condemned -- and this proves your point... ? Nobody said there wouldn't be heresies -- what Christ said is that they wouldn't conquer the Church.

How foolish you can be. Of course I do - I have the Scriptures.

Right -- assembled and preserved (not to mention occasionally edited) by a bunch of heretical liturgical sacramental non-penal substitution non-total depravity non-limited atonement pro-real presence pro-baptismal regeneration anti-faith alone pro-theosis pro-prayer to saints heretics in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries. Good for you.

David said...

Rhology:

You have archaeological data from hundreds of thousands of ppl who lived during that time?
And texts?


You might profit from a class in historical research methods.

You who claim that most Xtians were illiterate (ergo, icons) now want to tell me that some huge trove of texts to analyse exists?

Since it's simply a "claim" of mine that most Christians were illiterate -- I assume that you believe the opposite?

No, there are some writers, numbering in the dozens to hundreds, some of whom have a few extant writings, some of whom have a lot of extant writings, but you don't have polling info.

We actually have a very good sampling and a widespread one at that. Again, a class in historical research methods would do you wonders.

You're speculating, and you have to b/c The Church® tells you that's the way it always has been.

Or maybe I, unlike you, actually read the Fathers for myself and research the history of Christianity?

Tell that to Athanasius, nose-counter.

Athanasius was the only pro-Nicene Bishop of the 4th century?

Nope, it was the preincarnate Christ and two angels. It's what the text says.

Yep, exactly -- so SYMBOLIC of the Trinity...

Shrug, don't see why not. Since they were, you know, ANGELS.
Now, back to the icon in which your church has depicted THE TRINITY...


It's not that you're incapable of understanding; it's that it's easier for you not to.

David said...

John:

Just ordered the book you recommended. I'm sure I'll be blogging about it. :)