Friday, April 09, 2010

More on Energetic Procession about icons and authority

Perry Robinson probably has other stuff going on, but some other commenters have taken up common cause with him and been questioning me.  The comments start here.

Here is my reply:


Hi Fr Dcn Patrick (Monk Patrick),
They are only dead in the flesh but otherwise alive.
And yet God makes that distinction too, and tells us not to practice communication with those who’ve passed on. Let God worry about communicating with them, since they’re alive TO HIM, but not to YOU.
Have you considered that being alive incorporates the ability to relate to others and to communicate, without which there is no meaning to being alive?
And yet you have no evidence, whether pragmatic or biblical, that dead ppl can indeed relate to the living or communicate with them.
And a lot of evidence to the contrary, including God’s repeated warnings not to communicate with them. Like I said, I presume He’s got that covered and doesn’t need my help.
Have you considered that communication does not have to be merely through physical means picked up by the senses?
Tell that to all the RCs and EOx who like to make the argument “So what’s the diff between prayer to the dead and asking intercession of the living saints in our church?” I’m glad to hear someone more reasonable like you on this point.
What does alive in Christ mean? Alive in Christ means that you share His life in and with Him.
Yep. And yet it doesn’t necessarily mean you walk and talk on THIS EARTH. It could mean you’re in Paradise/Heaven, and that means your physical body is (for the moment) dead, and God told us not to talk to those ppl. Why would you? Plenty of ppl in your church who are still alive, and Christ Himself is infinite! Yet you insist on talking to ppl who are obviously dead and making excuses for your sin.
To honour the Saints in Him is to honour Christ,
Actually, God doesn’t really agree.
Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.”
I was referring to the theological debates of the eighth and ninth centuries not to the old Testament commandments.
OK, but I’m referring to the OT. You know, what God said. I don’t care much about 8th century stuff when we need to get to the bottom of what God said.
Please point to texts where it says to reverence God alone.
The point over and over again is not to worship or serve idols.
Here – I’ve already written on this.
It is not right (~97% is not right) by your own testimony thus it is heresy by the thought of this commentator.
Oh wow! A Protestant commentator said sthg that is wrong! SHOCK of shocks.
One wonders where he’d find a church that is 100% right.
1 Tim 3:15 taking into account 1 John 2:21
1 Tim 3: 15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth
1 Jn 2:21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
A pillar and support holds sthg else up – the Scripture, in this case.
Anyway, did not John also write 1 John 1: 8 “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us”?
Presumably you think EOC is 100% right on everythg. If that’s the case, please adjudicate between each of these two warring factions in EOC and tell us who is right, and most importantly, how you know. Thanks!
The Father’s are not chosen arbitrarily so that cuts the circularity on your argument.
I’m sorry (but not surprised) you can’t see it, but naked assertions aren’t particularly helpful.
That whole paragraph was just more circular reasoning, and didn’t prove anythg. Sorry.
There were different lists of Canonical Scripture written by different Fathers in the past.
So which one was right, and how do you know? You were just telling me that anythg less than 100% is unacceptable, and now you want me to swallow “they’re close, and vary by only a few books here and there”? Answer the problem, tell us for sure which ones were right and wrong, and how you know.
You have not demonstrated in your response that you have read Hebrews 13:7-9 with the care that warranted the reason to reference it.
7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
I do remember those who’ve led me. They’re my church elders, and I see them every Sunday.
I also imitate their faith and action.
We don’t hold to a Jesus Who gets eaten and drunk, but rather One Who is actually the same yesterday, today, and forever.
I’m not carried away by innovations, b/c I test everythg by the light of what God has revealed in Scripture.
I don’t practice compulsory fasting, unlike (in practice) EOC.
Looks like YOU’RE the one reading not too carefully. Show me in the text where “those who spoke the word of God to you” = “the early church writers whose writings agree best with our doctrine, whom we accept”.
Elders or teachers either Abbots or Bishops), or Fathers, from generation to generation (does Paul intend this process to last only one generation, if so why?)
No, ELDERS AND TEACHERS are meant to pass on a la 2 Tim 2:2. He doesn’t say anythg about infallibility, however, nor about apostolicity. Watch out for equivocation, no matter how many other EOx run off the cliff before you.
Androgen,
Thanks for your unsupported opinion.
mome,
Forgive me if I was patronizing. That wasn’t my intent in writing about the meaning of prayer
Apology accepted. I hope you’ll make it stick by actually engaging my real objection instead of breaking it up and making me look like I think, say, lighting candles is a bad thing.
I see the distinction you mean to make when you say that it’s untrue to say that Christ WAS eternally the God-man, but it is false.
So Jesus HAS ALWAYS BEEN the God-man? The Incarnation is not an event in time?
You’ve got some problems here…
It is incorrect Christology to understand the Word as ever anything other than the incarnate, crucified and risen Jesus Christ.
Now all you need is an argument.
Now, THIS statement is correct: It is incorrect Christology to understand the Word as, from the point of the Crucifixion on, anything other than the incarnate, crucified and risen Jesus Christ, or from the Incarnation on anything other than the incarnate Jesus Christ, the 2nd person of the Trinity.
But you’re assigning “crucifiED and risEN” before He was crucified or risen. That’s the disconnect.
Eternity doesn’t admit stages of being or becoming.
It’s funny that most EOx have a hard time verbalising their doctrines, retreating to “mystery” all the time with their apophaticism. Maybe this is why – you’re not allowing enough mystery to the Incarnation. How did the eternal God enter into flesh, time, and matter? I don’t know, but I do know one thing – He did so. You need a bigger dose of mystery.
“In the beginning” is a reference to time, the beginning of time, the beginning of creation.
And the Bible uses it multiple times, in reference to the Logos and God’s action in creation.
However, the incarnate Christ has returned to his Father, as incarnate. His crucified and resurrected flesh is now eternal,
Are you using arguments about His nature and state of existence INTO THE FUTURE as justification for reading events that happened in His incarnate life on Earth back into His existence before all that happened? Why would you do that? Is it b/c you don’t have an argument?
Of course, while on earth, Christ as a man moved through time, and events in his earthly life have a temporal “location.”
And of course, since He retains a physical body now and forevermore, Jesus *still* has a temporal and physical location.
The lamb is slain “from the foundation of the world.” The interpretation you offer, that this indicates that his death was planned from the beginning, does not match what the verse actually says.
Thank you for your opinion. Now please offer an argument.
Such a notion is not wrong as far as it goes, but the way you are using it is slightly reminiscent of platonic idealism
I doubt you have any idea what that means; you just like to throw it out there b/c it’s popular among EOx to say “Platonic”. Read Acts 2:23 and get back to me.
God’s foreknowledge and plan is not a knowledge of things that God has yet to witness coming to pass.
That’s rich, coming from an EOx to a Calvinist.
Of course, I never said that it’s “knowledge of things that God has yet to witness”; that would be totally against my view.
Book XI of Augustine’s “Confessions” might provide some decent grist for the mill.
Perry tells me not to trust Augustine. But you’re recommending him? How can I know whom to trust?
Well, first off, I don’t consider my motivations to be “pure.”
Good first step. How about just offering your worship and prayer to God, then?
First, in Moses’ time, the dead were in Sheol and were not accessible to those living on earth except in certain God-deigned cases.
And now the dead are in Hades or Paradise and are not accessible to those living on earth except in certain God-deigned cases.
The Orthodox, however, are not conjuring the dead; they are living in the reality of the Church brought about by the advent of Pentecost.
That’s nothing more than fancy wordplay. Of course you’re COMMUNICATING with the dead. Deal with what you actually do. See, here you’re back to patronising not only me but all the other Reformed critics of EO necromancy that are reading this. It’s disrespectful for those of us who’ve witnessed EO practice with our own eyes and who are concerned for your very souls.
In that reality, all those in Christ, those alive on earth today and those who have fallen asleep, share one life, which is that of the Holy Spirit
What makes you think that the OT reality is so diff than the reality of today? Were not the dead “alive in God” then?
Peter, Paul, Maximos the Confessor? Yes, they have died to this life, which is really something that happened when they died with Christ in baptism, but they are not “dead.”
They’re not “dead”? Where do they live, then?
Haha, trick question – they don’t LIVE anywhere. They’re DEAD, their bodies have rotted in the grave. God has not resurrected them yet.
There is no other life.
EOx are fond of accusing the Reformed of being Docetists, but this is far more Docetistic than anything I’ve ever even gotten *close* to saying.
The command is there because the idols aren’t gods at all.
And are the saints gods at all? What about angels?
No Orthodox makes the claim that any saint is God or equal to God
Aaron didn’t claim that for the Golden Calf.
Nor did the Israelites that worshiped Nehushtan.
Your distinction is not God’s.
ioannis,
You’d asked: “Where does God say that He disapproves of making icons of Himself?
That’s where it all began. “Of Himself” is not specific enough to be useful, so that’s why I quoted 1 Tim 6.
That means that you do not believe Christ as God.
Hopefully you’ll understand better now. You should know better than to say that.
That fact and your interpretation of 1 Tim 6 confirmed to me your judaism.
Now you’re just being idiotic, sorry. You know, I have a 4-yr old blog with 1000s 100s of posts, and thus a massive paper trail. You’re engaging in willful ignorance. Have a good day.

93 comments:

Viisaus said...

Hang on there rhology, and do not let these semi-idolaters psychologically swarm you.

(I am pulling my punches by not calling them pure idolaters.)

Mass hysteria has always played a big part in the phenomenon of idolatry. Images, icons etc. have largely acted as TRIBAL TOTEMS, symbols of the community. That's why so many villages, cities, and nations need their very own wonderworking idols that they don't share with others.

Insulting them triggers a hostile collective reaction against the insolent outside intruder (or an apostate former member of community) who is seen as "dissing us all".

Lvka said...

Were the golden Cherubim also such tribal totems, V.? (And, I mean, you have to admit: they did far greater wonders than our icons: just look at what they did to the poor little Philistines in 1 Sam 5)

Joel said...

A tangential question I'd been thinking about which you nicked in your response to someone: where is Jesus now? I mean, we all know the Creed "sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty." But if Jesus retains a body, and a body is defined as that which occupies physical space, does it then imply that Heaven is material? Could we get satellite photos? An odd notion, no?

Viisaus said...

Lvka, we might call the ark as the proverbial EXCEPTION THAT CONFIRMS THE RULE. Remember, the ark was made after very specific instructions of God Himself.

Would you actually dare to compare your puny icons to the ark? We have received NO Divine order to make icons - let alone specific and detailed orders, like in the case of the ark.


And btw, it was clearly not the "cherubims" that did those wonders to Philistines, but the whole ark in its entirety.

Lvka said...

Christian liturgy and Christian church-building and Christian icon-painting was inherited from Judaism

There are no details in the NT regarding the way one should conduct services or build churches or decorate them because the Apostles and early Christians simply continued and build upon what was already present there in Judaism.

Since my parish-church actually has cherubimical and seraphimical motives all over its walls, I guess I CAN actually compare my "puny" icons to the actual biblical data. -- how about you?

Viisaus said...

"Christian liturgy and Christian church-building and Christian icon-painting was inherited from Judaism"

Not true. Show me some proof of Christians praying to pictures during the first centuries - occasional use of art for decorative purposes does not count.


"Since my parish-church actually has cherubimical and seraphimical motives all over its walls, I guess I CAN actually compare my "puny" icons to the actual biblical data. -- how about you?"

There was one and only Ark - a prefiguration of Christ's body - and there shall never be another.

You EOs (and RCs) have actually "returned to Judaism" with your emphasis on carnal symbols, applying Solomonic temple-worship practises inappropriately in the new Covenant.

Rhology said...

Pretty disingenuous to complain that we use the Jewish OT Canon "B/c they rejected Christ" and yet to claim that "well, the Jews worshiped pictures of dead people!".

John said...

Funny that Prots appeal to the OT as an argument against icons, and then when we actually point out the Cherubim in the OT we are accused of returning to Judaism! This is just too funny.

Rhology: we have church history as "pragmatic evidence" about prayer to saints. You are just highly arbitrary about what you accept as evidence. You accept the pragmatic evidence the church feels it has about the inspiration of some book or other, but you are inconsistent.

Lvka said...

Show me some proof of Christians praying to pictures during the first centuries

Are you familiar with the church and synagogue unearthed at Dura-Eyropos, and which date to the late second and early third centuries? (and whose walls are completely covered in icons)


You EOs (and RCs) have actually "returned to Judaism"

So.. what are we? Jews.. or pagans?
(Make up your mind, please).


with your emphasis on carnal symbols, applying Solomonic temple-worship practises inappropriately in the new Covenant

So, now that "the Word has become *flesh*", it is inappropriate to make "carnal" representations of Him. :-) -- you know what 'carnal' means, don't you?


Pretty disingenuous to complain that we use the Jewish OT Canon "B/c they rejected Christ" and yet to claim that "well, the Jews worshiped pictures of dead people!".

Judaism changed in the first few centuries AD: it abandoned many of its Second-Temple beliefs and practices. (the belief in a second divine being: Wisdom-Metatron-Logos; the adornment of synagogue walls with icons; the intermediary role of living beings [angels, Elijah, and Enoch]; celebrating Easter after the Spring Equinox; the use of the 'Apocrypha'; etc.)

Rhology said...

Lvka said:
Are you familiar with the church and synagogue unearthed at Dura-Eyropos, and which date to the late second and early third centuries?

Judaism changed in the first few centuries AD: it abandoned many of its Second-Temple beliefs and practices. (the belief in a second divine being: Wisdom-Metatron-Logos; the adornment of synagogue walls with icons; the intermediary role of living beings [angels, Elijah, and Enoch]; celebrating Easter after the Spring Equinox; the use of the 'Apocrypha'; etc.)



R: Pretty disingenuous to complain that we use the Jewish OT Canon "B/c they rejected Christ" and yet to claim that "well, the Jews worshiped pictures of dead people!".
L: Judaism changed in the first few centuries AD:


Oh, so you're saying that Judaism's Canon that we acknowledge occurred in the 1st few centuries AD?
And not before the coming of Christ? Where do you get that?
Ironically, as all can see, your objection eviscerates your own argument.

Viisaus said...

Lvka, I hope Dura-Europos is not ALL the evidence you've got. For all we know, they could have been unorthodox Hellenized Jews - not exactly an uncommon thing back in those days! Just look at Philo of Alexandria, whose syncretistic Platonism is well known.

Actually we have clear evidence that Dura-Europos people were slightly syncretistic:

"The strongly representational art on the walls of the synagogue are undeniable characteristics of other Hellenistic religions and cults, and for this reason demonstrates that Judaism drew upon external societal influences to convey its messages and ideas.23 This assertion is further illustrated by the readings of the frescoes advanced by scholars over the years. On the west and most famous wall of the synagogue (Fig. 3), is a painted figure of Orpheus playing to surrounding animals near a great tree that leads up to the ceiling (i.e. heaven).24 Judaism borrowed the figure of Orpheus from the Greeks: he represents the “power of divine song to quiet human savagery.”25 At Dura, Orpheus was a manifestation of the biblical hero David, and was presented as such because, according to the Jewish appropriation of the legend, Orpheus converted to strict monotheism (which was interpreted to be Judaism)."

http://art-history.concordia.ca/cujah/issue03/3-the-significance-of-the-dura-europos-synagogue.htm


Anyways, even Dura-Europos clearly did NOT have "icons" nearly in the same sense as EOs have. It's sheer dishonest equivocation to call those frescoes and occasional portraits as "icons" in the EO sense of the word.

Cite some respectable neutral expert who would agree with your claim that post-Christ Jews "abandoned the adornment of synagogue walls with icons".

Cite me someone who would believe that Dura-Europos Jews thought their images should be prayed to, or could work wonders.


Moreover, it's mere anti-Protestant myth-making for your part to claim that post-Christ Jews abandoned "the intermediary role of living beings." For a popular cult of lower intercessors (which Protestants would object to) DID remain alive and well amongst them - see here for example:

"After the conclusion of the seder's Grace after Meals, there is a universally accepted custom to pour a cup of wine, the "Cup of Elijah," open the front door of the home, and recite several verses from the Psalms wherein we beseech G‑d to pour His wrath upon our persecutors and oppressors.

According to tradition, at this moment our homes are graced by the presence of Elijah the Prophet. There are multiple reasons and meanings behind this age-old tradition."

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/504495/jewish/Why-is-Elijah-invited-in-during-the-seder.htm

Viisaus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Viisaus said...

RCs and EOs only show the bankruptcy of their position when they desperately try to claim every piece of decorative or represational art in the early Christian centuries as a proof of image-worship.

Let's hear a real Byzantinist expert on the matter:

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

"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;"

Sun Apr 11, 10:10:00 AM CDT

John said...

"they could have been unorthodox Hellenized Jews"

And who's going to be the judge of unorthodoxy when it comes to Jews? You?

This is just the kind of Protestant special pleading that always goes on. If you challenge them on the canon or something they'll appeal to some Jew or other. When you counter point with a quote from a different Jew, well their Jews are supposed to be more Orthodox than your Jews! Never mind that the bible itself describes an icon infested temple.

"Anyways, even Dura-Europos clearly did NOT have "icons" nearly in the same sense as EOs have."

Sense? You know what icon means right?

"Cite some respectable neutral expert who would agree with your claim that post-Christ Jews "abandoned the adornment of synagogue walls with icons".

Read your bible. Look at archaeology. Then walk into a local synagogue. Case closed.

"Cite me someone who would believe that Dura-Europos Jews thought their images should be prayed to, or could work wonders. "

So many articles and items in the bible perform miracles, a more pertinent question is why particularly icons should be excluded. If icons are the only items that cannot be associated with miracles, the burden is on you to demonstrate it. But there are images in the bible that perform miracles. The Bronze serpent of Moses comes to mind. I presume the Jews of Dura-Europos believed their bibles.

Viisaus said...

"If icons are the only items that cannot be associated with miracles, the burden is on you to demonstrate it."

The burden is utterly on you to prove the propriety of the cult of icons. Your wretched 2nd Nicene council dared to declare anathema on all who refused to have them - was THAT not presumptuous?

Citing nonjuror Anglican Charles Leslie:

http://www.archive.org/details/MN5106ucmf_2

p. 81

"Lord: Was not a dead man raised by touching the bones of Elisha."

Gentleman: Yes, God may work miracles by what means he pleases. But does this consecrate the dead body of every saint, to be a means of grace, and a worker of miracles? Many miracles were wrought by the rod of Moses; is every rod, therefore, a means of grace, either ghostly or bodily? Or may we consecrate any rod to be such a means? Nothing is such a means to us but what God has commanded and appointed to be done, as Baptism and the Lord's Supper. It is the institution, not an example, that makes anything a means of grace to us. Else we might go and imitate all the miraculous actions of Moses or of Christ, and call them means of grace to us, because so used by them."


"But there are images in the bible that perform miracles. The Bronze serpent of Moses comes to mind."

You are sawing your branch there, for Protestants LOVE to refer to the final end of that brazen serpent - see 2 Kings 18:4.

The Nehushtan case actually proves that even IF some miracle had been made through some image, that image should still be destroyed if it seduced people to idolatry.

Viisaus said...

"Never mind that the bible itself describes an icon infested temple."

And enough with this equivocating untruth that the pictures in Solomonic temple were "icons." They were not.

And neither were the wall paintings in early Christian churches. No, the real cult of icons was a product of ignorant Dark Ages.

Like early Anglican "HOMILY AGAINST PERIL OF IDOLATRY" crudely but honestly put it:

http://www.anglicanlibrary.org/homilies/bk2hom02.htm

"Now shortly after these dayes, the Gothes, Vandales, Hunnes, and other barbarous and wicked nations, burst into Italy, and all partes of the West countries of Europe, with huge and mighty armies, spoyled all places, destroyed Cities, and burned Libraries, so that learning and true Religion went to wracke, and decayed incrediblie. And so the Bishops of those latter dayes, being of lesse learning, and in the middest of the warres, taking lesse heede also then did the Bishops afore, by ignorance of GODS word, and negligence of Bishops, and specially barbarous Princes, not rightly instructed in true Religion bearing the rule, images came into the Church of Christ in the sayd West parts, where these barbarous people ruled, not now in painted clothes onely, but embossed in stone, timber, mettall, and other like matter, and were not only set vp, but began to be worshipped also."

John said...

"But does this consecrate the dead body of every saint, to be a means of grace, and a worker of miracles? Many miracles were wrought by the rod of Moses; is every rod, therefore, a means of grace, either ghostly or bodily?"

Yah, and how did the people know when Moses' staff or Elijah's bones caused a miracle? Maybe because - duh - they saw the miracle? No other way they could have known, that's for sure. And it's the same way we know. We don't claim every icon can cause a miracle or every saints bones. We just observe that some do, just like the bible says.

"The Nehushtan case actually proves that.."

The burden would be on you to prove that this was a case of idolatry, and that the problem of the snake is equivalent to our images. The Israelites burned incense in front of the cherubim on the ark, but apparently no-one thought to destroy the cherubim. Anybody who reads their bible knows that not all images are equal. God commands images within a few chapters of bringing down the 10 commandments .

You're plucking arguments from all over the place. When the image causes a miracle you point to a completely different issue of abuse of the image. When we talk about the fact that images are commanded by God, you claim the situation is different in unidentified ways.

The Gospel says "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up", and to be equivalent, as John says they are, we ought to look to the image of the saviour lifted up, just as the Israelites were required to look at the image of the serpent.

"And enough with this equivocating untruth that the pictures in Solomonic temple were "icons."

Maybe you need to look up "icon" in your lexicon. It's just complete arbitrariness to say that all the icons you like are not icons.

Viisaus said...

"The Gospel says "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up", and to be equivalent, as John says they are, we ought to look to the image of the saviour lifted up, just as the Israelites were required to look at the image of the serpent."

What gobbledygook eisegesis. So transparently made up "ad hoc" to justify the practice of image-worship.


"It's just complete arbitrariness to say that all the icons you like are not icons."

It's offensive intellectual dishonesty to call all pictures as "icons" in the very specific EO sense of the word.

As there is close connection between idols and untruth, idolatry turns men into liars.

Viisaus said...

"We don't claim every icon can cause a miracle or every saints bones."

I know, you think that some of them are super-duper special and worship them in a particularly idolatrous manner (like "the Lady of Kazan"). Thus you show that you think that those images some inherent miraculous quality in them.


"We just observe that some do, just like the bible says."

And we don't believe in your crude fables about wonderworking images. We believe it's insulting to even compare them with Biblical miracles.

John said...

"It's offensive intellectual dishonesty to call all pictures as "icons" in the very specific EO sense of the word."

Blah blah blah, no argument here.

"And we don't believe in your crude fables about wonderworking images"

Blah blah said the unbeliever. Pure arbitrariness on display for everyone to see.

Viisaus said...

"Blah blah said the unbeliever."

Unbeliever? Do you put your profane legends on an equal basis with the Bible, so that one is an "unbeliever" if he does not believe in them?

That it is "purely arbitrary" to make the elementary division between the miracles described in the Bible and miracles claimed in your traditions?


I have lately realized how this teaching of Christ applies to the relations between the Holy Scriptures and "tradition":

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other."

You cannot serve both the Bible and Tradition (with big "T") - that is, there can be no EQUALITY between them. One of them needs to be indisputably the master and the other a servant.

To ecclesiolaters, the Bible is the one that is in the servant-position. For all the lip-service they might give to Scriptures, at the end of the day they basely subordinate it to the church authority and traditions.

For a believing Protestant, the Bible is the boss and the church and traditions are its underlings.

Viisaus said...

And so that you would not have to deal with only our "modern" opinions, here is the reaction of Western Frankish church to the 2nd Nicene council, written in 790s AD:

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

p. 55

After adding much more in praise of Scripture, the author concludes thus: — "None of these things which we have here touched upon, nor the like to these which for brevity's sake we have omitted, canst thou — worshipper of images, worshipper of things insensate — find in thy images, which are utterly destitute of every kind of advantage. Must we not yet more lament over thee than be astonished at thee, that thou shouldest venture to equalize such things with the books of Scripture, in which so many good things are to be found? Do ye, therefore, affirm that by images ye preserve the purity of your faith, take care to stand as suppliant before them with incense — we with careful enquiry will search out the precepts of the Lord in the books of the divine law. Do you attend on your pictures with tapers — we will be busied with the sacred Scripture. Be ye the venerators of dies and colours — let us be venerators and recipients of their hidden meaning. Sooth yourselves with your painted tablets - we will seek our consolation from the word of God. Be ye occupied with your figures of things, which have neither sight, nor hearing, taste, smell, or touch — we will be occupied with the divine law, which is without fault, wherein are found the testimonies of the Lord, the precepts of His justice, the fear of His judgments — all which things are beautifully as well as perfectly summed up in Psalm xix. 7-9 "[of which we have a detailed exposition reaching nearly to the end of the chapter]: after which, it is continued thus:

— “Now, if thou, O lover or worshipper of images, vexed with inward spite, art pleased to murmur, where is the use of such long digressions? Please to understand that these things are more lovely to us than any of your pictures and images, and, therefore, we delight in digressions about them. And, further: be assured that there is a refreshment and a sweetness which we and other lovers of the Scripture find both in the Scripture themselves, and in our comments upon them, which you and your companions can never find in those pictures or images by which you pretend that you preserve your purity of heart"


The 794 Council of Frankfurt, held under Charlemagne (which supported these views) is itself enough to prove that iconolatry was not a truly "catholic" (universal), orthodox tradition even in the 8th century.

John said...

"Do you put your profane legends on an equal basis with the Bible, so that one is an "unbeliever" if he does not believe in them?"

As if the followers of Moses looked up the miracles in the bible before believing them. That's why your whole world view is completely a-historical.

"That it is "purely arbitrary" to make the elementary division between the miracles described in the Bible and miracles claimed in your traditions?"

As if the Israelites looked up the bible before it was written to see if the miracles they saw were going to be recorded as miracles. You're totally out of touch with reality, which is why your whole epistemology fails for the reason it is ridiculous.

John said...

Charlemagne fostered and pampered any and every heretic because he had his eyes on the title of Holy Roman Emperor, and anything that could drive a wedge between the west and the rightful Emperor was fodder for that. He failed with the iconoclasm controversy but hit pay dirt with the filioque.

Viisaus said...

"Charlemagne fostered and pampered any and every heretic because he had his eyes on the title of Holy Roman Emperor, and anything that could drive a wedge between the west and the rightful Emperor was fodder for that. He failed with the iconoclasm controversy but hit pay dirt with the filioque."

Thank you for this nice sample of EO conspiracy-crankness. It reminds me not take you too seriously.

:)

Charlemagne merely represented the catholic feelings of transalpine Western Europe.

John said...

It's not a conspiracy theory, Charlemagne said exactly that! The Emperor of Constantinople claimed jurisdiction over all of the historical empire, and Charlemagne needed to bring a charge of heresy against the Emperor as an excuse to justify his own claim to power.

The Eastern emperor, argued Charlemagne, could not claim to be the successor of earlier Christian rulers because he worshiped images and because he confessed that the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father by the Son" instead of "from the Father and the Son."Charlemagne issued his "Libri Carolini," stating as such, and sent it to Pope Hadrian in 792.

If you can't see through the transparent power grab that other careful historians can see in the words of Charlemagne himself. then you can add naivety to your list of problems. You think politics are not involved when one wannabe emperor accuses the Roman Emperor of heresy? Yah right, and I've got this bridge over here I want to sell you.

Viisaus said...

John, you may poison the well with suggestions about Charlemagne's motives as much as you like, but the fact is that his subjects spontaneously supported him - no contemporary of his accused him of heresy.

In the decades that followed the council of Frankfurt, clergymen like Claudius of Turin and Agobard of Lyons would have actually wanted to go even further in iconoclasm than it did.


Moreover, even the church of England that was not under Charlemagne's rule supported his position.

I cite Anglican bishop Bull - he wrote this in response to French bishop Bossuet who had praised his book on pre-Nicene Christology and wondered why Bull was not a Roman Catholic:

http://www.archive.org/details/worksgeorgebull00unkngoog

pp. 278-279

"With what indignation and abhorrence the decree of the Nicene pseudo-synod was received by our British church, our historians tell us. Hear Roger Hoveden.

"Charles, king of France, sent the book of the council, directed to himself from Constantinople, into Britain; in which book, alas! alas! many things were found unagreeable and contrary to the true faith; especially, that by the unanimous assertion of almost all the eastern doctors, that is to say, of not less than three hundred or more bishops, the worship of images was confirmed; which the church of God utterly abominated. Against which, Alcuinus wrote an epistle wonderfully supported with authorities out of the holy Scriptures, and brought it with the same book to the king of France, in the name of our bishops and princes."

From whence it appears, that the Nicene acts, sent from Constantinople to Charles the Great, were by him before the Frankfort synod first sent to Britain; and being examined and abundantly refuted, and that from the holy Scriptures, by our most learned Alcuinus, were carried back again, together with that refutation of them, to the emperor in the name of our bishops and princes: so that even then the British church was protestant in this article concerning image-worship.

And indeed, I am persuaded that no man of judgment and integrity, that hath been conversant in the holy Scriptures, and in the writings of the more ancient doctors of the church, will be able to read those acts of the pseudo-synod of Nice, without indignation and abhorrence of it, when he observes upon what ridiculous fables, gross misinterpretations of Scripture, falsifications, and impertinent allegations of the ancient Fathers, the bishops of that convention built their decree concerning image-worship."

Jnorm888 said...

Viisaus,


If protestants can think that they will be carnally blessed with a new house, car, job......etc. loans, and bills disappearing......etc. Blessed with money....etc for just paying 10% of their income to a church, or by giving the first fruits of their income to their pastor or to the Nation of Israel......then why is it wrong for us to have miracle Icons?

If Protestants can have miracle water, oil, and green and red handkerchiefs.........then why can't we have miracle Icons?








Christos Anesti

Rhology said...

you all have real strong Nestorian tendencies.

According to what I've seen from Perry Robinson, more like you have real strong monophysite tendencies. It's obvious, but Nestorianism is not obvious chez nous.

Jnorm888 said...

Viisaus,

The Frankish church started out Arian, and then they advocated the opposite extreme of the Filioque error.

But one should expect former Arians to dislike icons. The Arians and Nestorians didn't like icons, and we all know they both had a wrong christology.

Viisaus said...

"The Frankish church started out Arian,"

Now where on earth did you pull this nonsense from? Franks were actually quite unusual among Germanic peoples in that they did NOT subscribe to Arianism at any point, but converted to orthodox Christianity straight from paganism.

The conversion of Clovis and all that - not exactly an unknown historical topic. Besides, the last embers of Arianism has died out of Western Europe already a century before the beginning of iconoclast controversy with the conversion of Lombards.

So your attempt to connect Frankish anti-iconism to Arianism is one big FAIL.


"and then they advocated the opposite extreme of the Filioque error."

We Protestants do not care that much about this shibboleth between RCs and EOs.

Jnorm888 said...

Viisaus,

Oh yeah, I forgot.....you are right about the Franks not being Arian before being converted. But the Franks were still wrong anyway. And yes, you should care about the Filioque error. And no, it is not just an EO vs RC thing. Alot of protestants inherit that RC thing.

Lucian said...

Hi, V.!


you asked me to "show you some proof" of iconography during the first centuries, and I did: for both Jews and Christians.

Now that I actually did that, you complain that:

1) it's the only one: -- there are other synagogues with OT righteous depicted on their walls, but they date from later on (e.g., from the sixth century; etc);

2) that they're the product of hellenism: -- were the Cherubim that Moses or Solomon build also the product of hellenism? Or of Egyptian syncretism, perhaps?

3) that they're not even icons(!):
-- the Jewish synagogue had mural paintings representing various OT scenes, like the Sacrifice of Isaac and other Genesis stories, Moses receiving the Tablets of the Law, or leading the Hebrews out of Egypt, the visions of Ezekiel, etc;
-- the Christian church uncovered at the same site had mural paintings representing Christ, the myrrh-bearering women, St. Peter, Adam & Eve, David & Goliath, etc.
-- you didn't even bother reading the short wiki-articles I linked!


Cite some respectable neutral expert who would agree with your claim that post-Christ Jews "abandoned the adornment of synagogue walls with icons".

As I said, there are examples of such synagogal mural paintings depicting OT righteous dating from late antiquity as well as the early middle ages. (I could offer you an example of a Romanian Jewish scholar, if you like, whose small booklet on Judaism I've incidentally browsed through this past Sunday in the religion-stand of a local book-store).


Moreover, it's mere anti-Protestant myth-making for your part to claim that post-Christ Jews abandoned "the intermediary role of living beings."

I hardly doubt that the Jewish professor Meir bar Ilan, from the University of Jerusalem, could be suspected of "anti-Protestant myth-making", of all things! (See also Matthew 27:47 and Mark 15:35).


RCs and EOs only show the bankruptcy of their position when they desperately try to claim every piece of decorative or represational art in the early Christian centuries as a proof of image-worship

See #3) above.

Viisaus said...

That article by bar Ilan that you posted actually proved very opposite of what you originally argued:

"Judaism changed in the first few centuries AD: it abandoned many of its Second-Temple beliefs and practices. ... the intermediary role of living beings [angels, Elijah, and Enoch];"

He writes:

"The sources presented above clearly indicate that the Jews in Palestine in the Talmud period did not pray exclusively to God, but also to various intermediaries, including celestial bodies and natural phenomena, leaders, and the saintly, both living and dead."

He was speaking about the TALMUD PERIOD, not the "second-temple era"

In other words, "during the first few centuries AD", Talmudic Jews did NOT give up their lower-intercessor practises like you claimed.

I would argue that Jews in pre-Christ times had not yet been so religiously corrupted as Jews in the centuries following Christ were.

Protestants would be quite ready to believe that both Pharisaic Talmud-era Jews and early-medieval RC/EO churches experienced similar corruption. Both of them represented decaying religions that glorify human traditions.

(Although I am not claiming that they were equally corrupt.)


During the first centuries of Christian era, the young church had better things to do than to pray to saints. Tertullian and Cyprian wrote whole treatises on prayer without mentioning the subject.

Only after hordes of nominal converts poured into the church in the post-Constantinian era, lowering the spiritual standards, did the cult of the saints really develop.


Not a single psalm was addressed for departed saints or angels in the Book of Psalms, asides from few rhetorical calls for angels to praise God (I have seen that feeble argument).

That alone would be a solid Biblical basis for rejecting the lower intercessors (as if Christ's uniquely efficient mediation would not be reason enough).

Lvka said...

The Talmudic Period is 200-500 AD.

I also told you to pay attention to two New-Testament verses, where Jews present at Christ's cross (~30 AD) mistakenly thought Him to be calling upon Elijah the Prophet: there's a reason they did that.

Lvka said...

During the first centuries of Christian era, the young church had better things to do than to pray to saints


Then why are there instances of intercessory prayers being asked of saints on the walls of the catacombs?

Viisaus said...

Moreover, popular Islam around the world worships saints too:

"All over the Muslim world one finds domed shrines and other elaborate structures covering the tomb of a departed saint. In India such a shrine is known as a mazaar. Believing that the saint's powers can still be acquired after his death and that his spirit frequents his tomb, Muslim devotees, both men and women, flock to these shrines and express their petitions in various ways."

http://www.answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/Vol1/8c.html

See also:

http://www.answering-islam.org/Books/Zwemer/Animism/index.htm


Much of this stuff reminds Protestants of EO/RC practices all too closely and embarrassingly.

We firmly believe that it should be the glory of pure Christianity to be the only religion in the world with "ONE God, and ONE mediator between God and men"(1 Timothy 2:5).

Viisaus said...

"I also told you to pay attention to two New-Testament verses, where Jews present at Christ's cross (~30 AD) mistakenly thought Him to be calling upon Elijah the Prophet: there's a reason they did that."

Should we follow every foolish un-Biblical folk tradition that Jews in Christ's days might have had? (like perhaps even believing in re-incarnation) Or instead glory in rejecting them?

Speaking of Elijah, one Puritan writer made a good point:

"When Elijah was to be taken up to heaven, he said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you," 2 Kings 2:9, clearly implying that there was no place to ask him, after he was gone."

http://www.gracegems.org/Watson/roman_catholicism.htm

Lvka said...

V.,


you asked for proofs and I offered proofs, granting your wish.

Don't you find it rather odd that ALL you can do to counter these historically-attested proofs is either to quote statements which already assume what you have yet to proove (but failed to), thus begging the question; or offering original interpretations of obscure Bible verses, which have little or nothing to do with the question at hand?

John said...

Nobody can seriously claim that Britain was iconoclastic up to the time of 2nd Nicea. There is just too much surviving evidence against that proposition.

Just to cite one of many examples, the Ruthwell cross, dated around 664 from the synod of Whitby, it is inscribed with several icons in a style very similar to Eastern Orthodox.

Or another example, the Lindisfarne Gospels, a manuscript from a monastery dated around 715 and now in the British Museum is full of many icons.

So this idea that Britain had some kind of history of Protestant style iconoclasm is just laughable. That various iconoclastic factions came into being around the 8th century is certainly true, but it hardly helps your cause.

As for Alcuin, he was nobody of importance in the British church, and even as your quote says, he was famous for being the tutor of Charlemagne more than anything. Supposedly Alcuin wrote a refutation of them, took it to Britain, and then brought back his own work as the supposed refutation of Britain. Could no priest or bishop in Britain speak for themselves without Charlamagne's lackey doing the dirty work for them? Apparently not.

Viisaus said...

"Don't you find it rather odd that ALL you can do to counter these historically-attested proofs is either to quote statements which already assume what you have yet to proove (but failed to), thus begging the question; or offering original interpretations of obscure Bible verses, which have little or nothing to do with the question at hand?"


Who are you kidding? The Bible is clearly on the side of Protestants - why else would RCs and EOs be so eager to denigrate its value, subordinate it to traditions and deny its perspicuity?

They fear the Bible, and thus try to neutralize it.


Btw, show me some neutral scholarly corroboration for this claim:

"Then why are there instances of intercessory prayers being asked of saints on the walls of the catacombs?"

It smells like RC propaganda, for how can we even know whether those inscriptions date from pre-Constantinian era?

In medieval times, clergymen and monks perpetrated outrageous frauds in peddling fake martyr relics supposedly gotten from catacombs, so pardon me for being skeptical on the topic.

John said...

As for the Muslims, we all know that they are a heretical off-shoot of Christianity, so that some of them took from Christians the veneration and prayer to saints is hardly surprising. Why you think that is important, I cannot imagine.

Viisaus said...

Yeah right John, just keep telling yourself that Western distaste for iconolatry was only due to Charlemagne's plots, if it makes you feel better.

(I notice you keep dishonestly calling all images and pictures as "icons.")

Lvka said...

I also offered considerable scriptural support for my position before being asked to back it up with history, so there's no point in trying to create a diversion here, V.

Viisaus said...

"Why you think that is important, I cannot imagine."

None so blind as those who will not see. Protestants are repulsed when they see pagan religions around the world practising things that all too much remind them of RC/EO popular fetishism.

We think the religion of Christ should be gloriously different from paganism, instead of resembling it.

And don't think that heathen too could not come up with sophisticated excuses:

http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2009/08/we-dont-worship-statues.html

Lvka said...

We think the religion of Christ should be gloriously different from paganism, instead of resembling it.


Tell it to Moses and Solomon. Tell it to God.

Lvka said...

And don't think that heathen too could not come up with sophisticated excuses.


So do Protestants when it comes to Exodus 25:18, 26:1; 1 Kings 6:23-29; 2 Chronicles 3:7, 3:10-13; etc.

Viisaus said...

"So do Protestants when it comes to Exodus 25:18, 26:1; 1 Kings 6:23-29; 2 Chronicles 3:7, 3:10-13; etc."

What a lame attempt, Lvka. All your citations deal with shadows of the Old Covenant that are things of the past for us now.

"And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more."

- Jeremiah 3:16

Lvka said...

So.. which is it? Are we pagans, or are we Jews? Pick one, V., and stick with it.

John said...

Is it our fault when heretics copy us? I suppose I can hold you guys responsible for everything you have in common with Mormons?

We came before Muslims, not vice versa. So to point to a religion coming after us and criticising us for resembling them is off-the-charts stupid.

And just keep telling yourself that all the archeologists are in an anti-Protestant plot.

And yes, every image is an εἰκών, that's what the word means - duh. Although the ones I refer to are very much in the EO style.

Viisaus said...

"So.. which is it? Are we pagans, or are we Jews? Pick one, V., and stick with it."

Your thinking seems rather limited. Actually one can well be BOTH.

Samaritan religion would be an example of "Judeo-Pagan" syncretism. So is Islam, actually - a mixture of eisegeted Old Testament material and pagan crap like the Kaaba cult.

RCs and EOs have partly returned to outdated Old Covenant formalism and legalism, and and on the other hand introduced pagan-like innovations.

They have thus both "taken away" from faith (by ignoring the New Covenant gospel of grace) as well as "added to it" (superstitious nonsense).

Lvka said...

Are Samaritans pagan AND Jewish with regards to the SAME tenet or aspect of their religion?


RCs and EOs have partly returned to outdated Old Covenant formalism and legalism, and and on the other hand introduced pagan-like innovations.

So are icons a pagan inovation, OR an outdated OT formalism and legalism?

Sophocles said...

Rhology, Viisaus and the other Protestants here,

You all had better be careful because if you continue this debate and engage the historical evidence honestly rather reading into it your rather "modern" interpretations(i.e. all Protestant teaching/thinking), you may end up being Orthodox Christians.

Christ is Risen!

Truly He is Risen!

John said...

"All your citations deal with shadows of the Old Covenant that are things of the past for us now."

It's amazing the picking and choosing that goes on in protestant land.

Nothing in the NT says that the overall style of worship services ought to go through a radical change. In fact, the earliest Christians continued to worship in synagogues, as the bible says.

Here's the thing: when the bible gives the go-ahead for images in worship, and when archaeology tells us that the earliest Christians and 2nd century Jews had images too, then we have a continuity of worship that would take a direct and specific command of God to have overturned. There was no such command, and historically it was not overturned. Judeo-Christian worship remains in a line of continuity. 1st C BC Jews had images. 1st C AD Jews had images. 2nd C AD Jews had images. Those are all documented facts. Yet Protestants are all huffy about it, even after it's all documented.

Viisaus said...

In your dreams, Sophocles. The idea that "to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant" is just a self-serving RC/EO myth as far as I can see.

Actually I just came upon this piece, which goes into detail on Eastern Orthodox debt for pagan Neoplatonism:

http://reformedorthodoxy.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/reformation-within-e-orthodoxy9.pdf

After reading this, I now detest Eastern Orthodoxy more than ever.

I suggest you people would stop spreading erronous EO doctrines if you value your souls. EOdoxy is withering away in its old world strongholds, and misguided Westerners should not be giving it a new lease of life.

Viisaus said...

"Here's the thing: when the bible gives the go-ahead for images in worship, and when archaeology tells us that the earliest Christians and 2nd century Jews had images too, then we have a continuity of worship that would take a direct and specific command of God to have overturned."


Here's the thing, John: a Byzantinist expert John Haldon testifies that

"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."

Iconodulic innovation began with fairytales abour acheiropoieta images, hundreds of years after Christ.

Viisaus said...

"So are icons a pagan inovation, OR an outdated OT formalism and legalism?"

Icons specifically are "pagan" (as is also chanting the same prayers again and again, Matthew 6:7), while your stiff liturgy overall represents a return to Old Covenant temple-worship style. And you have re-instituted continuous unefficient priestly sacrifice that replaces Christ's once-and-for-all sacrifice.

John said...

Haldon is talking about images "not made by human hands", a claim that was made about specific images. He isn't making any claims about the history of Christian images. His statement on this topic in "Images of the Mother of God" is "Given the lack of sources the early history of images remains a field of conjecture and speculation".

Lvka said...

Icons specifically are pagan


Why don't you feel free sharing the same view about the OT icons?

Why don't you attack Moses as being influenced by Egyptian paganism?

And, more to the point: why do you view 99% of our church-stuff as being Jewish, while at the SAME time saying that the remaining 1%, (which also has a parallel in OT Judaism and looks strinkingly similar to OT Jewish practices), is supposedly pagan?

John said...

"Why don't you attack Moses as being influenced by Egyptian paganism?"

I might add that Snake cults had been well established in Canaan in the Bronze Age: archaeologists have uncovered serpent cult objects in Bronze Age strata at several pre-Israelite cities in Canaan: two at Megiddo, one at Gezer,one in the sanctum sanctorum of the Area H temple at Hazor, and two at Shechem.

So all this talk about similarities between Paganism and the Judeo/Christian religion is an awful argument, unless you want to accuse the God of the Israelites of being pagan for introducing the snake staff to Moses.

Nathan said...

"You cannot serve both the Bible and Tradition (with big "T") - that is, there can be no EQUALITY between them. One of them needs to be indisputably the master and the other a servant."

Tradition can be both written and oral (2 Thess 2:15) and on that basis scripture itself is simply tradition in written form. Looks pretty equal to me. That's not my definition (I'm not EO or RC), the NT scripture defines itself as written tradition. Your statement is directly contrary to the apostle Paul's teaching.

How did you learn how to speak intelligibly? How do you know how to read and write? How do you learn the meaning of words? How do you gain knowledge from important eyewitness whom you have never met? How do you know which purported apostolic writings are authentic? How do you know what a passage of scripture means?

I could go on. Here's a hint: you cannot properly answer any of these questions without reference to tradition. It's an inescapable part of reality. Your understanding of scripture is of necessity shaped by tradition: you are not and cannot be fully objective.

Sophocles said...

Vis,

Apart from answering me by putting a cliche in my mouth,

"to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant",

you would better serve your cause to begin with, by ceasing to equivocate between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. Address the Eastern Orthodox Church on its own terms. The differences between both are immense. They are completely different.

You also wrote,

EOdoxy is withering away in its old world strongholds, and misguided Westerners should not be giving it a new lease of life.

Speaking of the Roman Catholic Church, is it not "Western"?

The whole Eastern/Western thing is another quite large can of worms. You dismissed John's earlier comment as a "conspiracy theory" but a little study and you will learn it is not.

As well, the charge that the Orthodox Catholic Church is built on philosophical principle is erroneous. Further, without clouding this discussion further, the Orthodox Faith maintains the only way into Person. It specifically guards against man's philosophy barring the one seeking salvation from entering into Presence and theryby obtaining salvation: the healing of the entire person in union with Christ Who is perfect union with the Father and the Spirit.

I wonder, has it occured to you that many of us are former Protestants? I mention this because I don't think you have taken into account this piece of evidence against your position. Meaning, many of us have experienced Protestantism and done and believed all the things Protestants are supposed to do and believe, and this not just superficially, but in truth. To overlook this is to miss something.

Now having said that, the story in Romania you offered does you no service either. Such stories are nice when preaching to the choir and I would even say to an extent good and necessary. But, I and many others could easily offer a number of comparable stories about Protestant conversions to Orthodoxy and point and say "See? Orthodoxy good, Protestantism bad."

These stories do not offer the evidence you are hoping they will by investing weight into them to bolster your position.

Rhology said...

John said:
Is it our fault when heretics copy us?

What IS your fault is the question-begging way you look back on history, decide who was heretic and who was orthodox, then appeal back only to those you've later identified as 'orthodox' to substantiate your claims to being the historical church. Unfortunately for you, it's the best you've got. You can't win on Scripture alone.



Nothing in the NT says that the overall style of worship services ought to go through a radical change.

That's great! And the OT is chock full of warnings against talking to the dead and addressing pictures of dead people in a religious pious context.
Thanks!



when the bible gives the go-ahead for images in worship

Um, it never did, so...



when archaeology tells us that the earliest Christians and 2nd century Jews had images too

And early Christians also had problems with Gnostic infection into their churches. And Marcionism. More post facto selectivism on your part.


Lvka opined:
Why don't you attack Moses as being influenced by Egyptian paganism?

Um, b/c he received direct revealed commands from God to build the tabernacle a certain way.
Now that we have that out of the way, why don't you recognise that the analogies to OT cherubim and such are disanalogous at the very key points of contention, and you are thus being accidentally stupid, deliberately stupid, or satanic to bring them up?



Nathan said:

Tradition can be both written and oral (2 Thess 2:15) and on that basis scripture itself is simply tradition in written form. Looks pretty equal to me. That's not my definition (I'm not EO or RC), the NT scripture defines itself as written tradition.

Now please give us some evidence that the content of the msg passed on orally was diff than the content of the msg passed on in writing.
If you can't, or decide to backpedal and say it doesn't matter, don't feel bad; that's exactly what all our EO and RC friends do. Well, I take that back - alot of them assume what they need to prove and just say, "The oral msg is contained in the tradition of the church", when that's exactly what we're doubting.
Or you could drop this lousy argument and join the Sola Scriptura position.



How did you learn how to speak intelligibly? How do you know how to read and write?

Do you think we're Scripturists, claiming that Scripture is the only way we learn anything? Where would you get that idea?



How do you gain knowledge from important eyewitness whom you have never met?

If we're talking about the Scripture still (you weren't specific), I believe them less than I believe God.



How do you know which purported apostolic writings are authentic?0

I trust God to reveal that which He wants to reveal to His people.



How do you know what a passage of scripture means?

1) Words mean things. I can read.
2) This might help.
3) Ask an EO or RC "How do you know what a passage of tradition means?" and let me know how it's different than how a Sola Scripturist would answer the question about Scripture.



you cannot properly answer any of these questions without reference to tradition

Sorry, that's wrong. I just did.

Rhology said...

Sophocles said:

the Orthodox Faith maintains the only way into Person.

Sophomoric quasi-philosophical mumbo-jumbo.



It specifically guards against man's philosophy barring the one seeking salvation from entering into Presence and theryby obtaining salvation

Said the guy whose position puts more stock in what men have said than in what God has said.



the healing of the entire person in union with Christ Who is perfect union with the Father and the Spirit.

If you don't think that's the Reformed position, I'm afraid you don't know much about the Reformed position.
Just b/c a living man hasn't been perfectly sanctified or glorified yet doesn't mean God hasn't promised that it WILL happen in the future. And believe me, that = "healing of the entire person in union with Christ". Don't miss out just b/c we argue about justification all the time. We argue about it b/c it's the biggest area of error for your church.



I wonder, has it occured to you that many of us are former Protestants?

In my already fairly-generous and always-growing experience, even the best of you (among whom I'd count my friend David Bryan) fall woefully short of expressing key concepts with anything approaching a full understanding. It's easy to see how you fell into the snare of EOC; you didn't know much about the position you were rejecting. I'm not saying it's all your fault, but at least some of it is. Probably alot of it falls at the feet of your former pastor.

Jnorm888 said...

Rhology,


Why in the world would we even want to leave EO to become a Reformed Baptist? I didn't like Calvinistic Baptists even when I was a Baptist......so why in the world would I or any of us want to be a Reformed Baptist now?

Orthodoxy is the historic Faith.....no it's and's or but's about it. The Reformed Baptists are not and they never were, and they never will be. No it's and's or but's about it.

Rhology said...

You wouldn't want to leave EOC to become Reformed Baptist unless Jesus changed your heart to love the Gospel and to realise the shallowness of your arguments.


Orthodoxy is the historic Faith.....no it's and's or but's about it. The Reformed Baptists are not and they never were

Thank you for your repetition of your catechesis and blind faith. However, the Bible is ancient-er than "the Early Church Fathers", and unless and until you can prove FROM THE BIBLE that your position is correct, statements like this are totally false.

Nathan said...

Rhology,

Your "answers" are completely lacking in substance, so, no, you didn't properly answer my questions without reference to tradition.

I notice you avoided my question, "how do you know what words mean?" You claimed that words mean things, but how do you know what that meaning is?

Do you think we're Scripturists, claiming that Scripture is the only way we learn anything?

I am not claiming that you think that Scripture is the only way you learn anything. I don't even expect the answer to say anything at all about scripture. It's a simple (perhaps deceptively so) epistemic question: how do you learn to speak, read, and write?

I trust God to reveal that which He wants to reveal to His people.

That begs a whole host of questions. How does God reveal? What is He revealing? Who are His people? What is your taxonomy for ascertaining them?

If we're talking about the Scripture still (you weren't specific), I believe them less than I believe God.

I was asking a general question. But your (non) answer simply begs more questions. Do you mean you believe the scriptures less than you believe God? Do you mean you believe eyewitnesses less than you believe God? Are not the scriptures the product of witnesses of eyewitnesses inspired by the Holy Spirit?

Now please give us some evidence that the content of the msg passed on orally was diff than the content of the msg passed on in writing.

Exactly why do I have to prove that the unwritten tradition is different than the written? "Different" is not the same as "opposed to" or "contradictory to," which seems to be what you really mean. Scripture is tradition, and nowhere does scripture state that it contains the entirety of tradition. The burden of proof is on you to show that it does.

Clearly the scripture doesn't explain how to perform baptisms, how to go about fasting, nor how and how often to "do" communion, yet it expects all of those things to be done. How can we know those things (and this list could be much longer, by the way) without some sort of tradition?

At this point, your claim that scripture must (or even can) be put over tradition remains entirely unsubstantiated. I asked a number of new questions, but if you can't answer the original questions, there's no point in trying to address the new ones.

Rhology said...

You claimed that words mean things, but how do you know what that meaning is?

1) Lots of ways.
2) Now, you don't think that this is only a question that the Sola Scripturist has to answer, do you? Doesn't the EO or RC have to answer the same question?
3) What I understand you to be asking is whether future fly much and the further they beef the seven.



How does God reveal?

By "carrying men along" "by the Holy Spirit" - 2 Peter 1:20. By speaking to them.



What is He revealing?

The Scripture, and msgs to prophets.



Who are His people?

The entire thrust of Scr, not least John 10, explains that God has chosen His people for His own possession to glorify Himself.



What is your taxonomy for ascertaining them?

God did not give a definitive way, but the approximate best I can do is to listen to the profession of the person and see if their life matches up to it.

Now, please answer those questions for yourself: How does God reveal? What is He revealing? Who are His people? What is your taxonomy for ascertaining them?


Do you mean you believe the scriptures less than you believe God?

No, the "them" refers not to the Scr but to "important eyewitnesses" you referred to. Sorry I wasn't clear. This can refer to the Scr authors themselves on any other matter except the inspired Word of God, that's what I meant.



Are not the scriptures the product of witnesses of eyewitnesses inspired by the Holy Spirit?

Yes, INSPIRED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. Not merely human creations. Human AND divine revelation is the Scr.



Exactly why do I have to prove that the unwritten tradition is different than the written?

B/c you quote 2 Thess 2:15 as if a Sola Scripturist should think there's some merit to tradition.



"Different" is not the same as "opposed to" or "contradictory to," which seems to be what you really mean.

No, I meant different.



Scripture is tradition

God-inspired tradition, which sits in judgment over all other tradition.



and nowhere does scripture state that it contains the entirety of tradition.

Obviously it doesn't contain all tradition, b/c it specifically instructs us to judge tradition by the Word of God.



Clearly the scripture doesn't explain how to perform baptism

Sure it does.



how to go about fasting

Yes it does.

Rhology said...

nor how and how often to "do" communion

It most certainly tells us an awful lot about HOW to do Communion, and seems to assume we'd do it often.



At this point, your claim that scripture must (or even can) be put over tradition remains entirely unsubstantiated

You haven't exactly done a bang-up job so far, so I'd suggest you start over. Read Mark 7:1-13 and go from there. Here's some help: Mark 7:1-13 is the other main passage on which I'd like to concentrate, especially 7-13. The Pharisees claimed to have a rule, a tradition handed down from the elders. It was old and respected and generally held to among the leaders and hierarchy of the covenant community of God. And yet, it was wrong. How did Jesus prove it was wrong? By appealing to the Scripture. The tradition was in conflict with Scripture, and therefore, it was incorrect. Thus Jesus tells us – do not invalidate the word of God by tradition handed down (v. 13). Scripture stands as judge over tradition.
One can easily imagine someone dissenting and breaking away from the unity of the synagogue to practice what the Scripture actually says, much like the Reformation, and then being called factious and sinful for doing so, much like our Romanist and Eastern friends do. Oh wait, we don't have to imagine that at all. Jesus did that very thing…and was crucified for it.

John said...

" How did Jesus prove it was wrong? By appealing to the Scripture. "

Jesus: Mark 7:15 Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.’”

Lev. 11:8 ‘You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you. ‘By these, moreover, you will be made unclean: whoever touches their carcasses becomes unclean until evening. and whoever picks up any of their carcasses shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening and whoever picks up any of their carcasses shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening.

"One can easily imagine someone dissenting and breaking away from the unity of the synagogue to practice what the Scripture actually says"

Perhaps you can explain to us the exegetical steps to get from the OT teaching to Jesus' proclamation that nothing going into you can make you unclean.

John said...

"What IS your fault is the question-begging way you look back on history, decide who was heretic and who was orthodox, then appeal back only to those you've later identified as 'orthodox' to substantiate your claims to being the historical church."

It's not question begging. It comes from a profound conviction that the scripture's promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church which indicates that no group that dies out can have a claim to be the true church.

Contrast this to your approach where in most parts of history *everyone* is a heretic, or at least everyone we know about, not withstanding the group of Reformed Baptists holed up in a cave in Shangri-La.

"Unfortunately for you, it's the best you've got. You can't win on Scripture alone".

If I suddenly became sola scriptura, I would not be therefore Protestant, I would still be remaining Orthodox. The reason is I have read and understood the interpretation of the Fathers, and I've come to believe it is more in line with the culturally original understanding.

I fully understand where you are. You are steeped in a particular interpretational tradition which you find it hard to see beyond. Been there, done that.

"That's great! And the OT is chock full of warnings against talking to the dead and addressing pictures of dead people in a religious pious context. "

Still waiting for you to quote the verse explaining what is this "religious pious context" concept.

"Um, it never did, so..."

Ex. 25:18

"And early Christians also had problems with Gnostic infection into their churches. And Marcionism. More post facto selectivism on your part."

Your source for widespread gnosticism and Marcionism in the catholic church would be what?

"Um, b/c he received direct revealed commands from God to build the tabernacle a certain way."

And... we did not receive any instructions on building places of worship. But when we do it in a way similar to what God commanded back then you complain. Go figure.

"Now please give us some evidence that the content of the msg passed on orally was diff than the content of the msg passed on in writing."

Exegetically, historically and contextually, that is a simple fact. 2 Thessalonians is dated around 51AD, thus predating almost all of the New Testament. Thus exegetically, the oral tradition of 2 Th means everything the church taught that is not in 1&2 Thessalonians, which includes most of Christian doctrine.

Lvka said...

because he [Moses] received direct revealed commands from God to build the tabernacle a certain way.


Then why do you find fault with us for obeying God's direct commands?

Rhology said...

Lvka,

Simply provide citations that you've been commanded by God to worship pictures of dead ppl and I'll be on board!

Lvka said...

Do you agree that God revealed Himself to Moses between the two golden Cherubim on top of the Ark of the Old Covenant? (eg, Numbers 7:89-8:1). What was Moses' bodily position when the Lord spoke to him?

Ugh! said...

How amusing that after so much sweat has been poured out in arguing the Sola Scriptura position, it could be so easily undermined by a supporter whose answers can be found in exchanges such as these:

Q: How do you know which purported apostolic writings are authentic?"
A: I trust God to reveal that which He wants to reveal to His people.

i.e. extrabiblical revelation sets up biblical authority

Or these:

Q: How does God reveal?
A: By "carrying men along" "by the Holy Spirit" - 2 Peter 1:20. By speaking to them.

Q: What is He revealing?
A: The Scripture, and msgs to prophets.

i.e. there is room for revelation outside of scripture.

Oh, of course, one of the responses to my pointing this out would likely be that scripture judges what is valid in any extrascriptural revelation (but this will be argued only by those who hold that scripture even allows extrascriptural revelation -- because some Sola Scriptura adherents don't think it does). But this doesn't address the thorny question of how one interprets scripture to use it in judgment. Obviously, in some matters it's less tricky than in others. The Orthodox view of tradition would hold that it is the "carrying men along" "by the Holy Spirit." It would also hold that in the course of the church's life through history, God could and can be trusted "to reveal that which he wants to reveal to his people." It would hold that nothing in the church's tradition is contrary to what has been given in scripture. Some (not all) Protestants will argue the opposite.

In any case, the very acceptance of guidance by the Holy Spirit is the acceptance of some kind of tradition. And the acceptance of the idea that God would reveal to Christians which writings would be included in the NT should, if one wishes to be consistent, also include the acceptance of at least the idea that God would also reveal to Christians other things as well (of course, not contrary to the scripture).

Are you really concerned for our very souls, Rhology? Thanks.

Nathan said...

Rhology,

You claim you can know the meanings of words by "Lots of ways." This is not an answer; at best it's a vague allusion. Second, I'm not going to answer the question for you, so you can just stop throwing the RCs and EO at me for misdirection. You don't seem to be taking my questions seriously.

Likewise the rest of your answers don't begin to actually deal with my original questions. Pronouncements on (capital-T) "Tradition" are predicated upon a coherent schema of "tradition." This is why I asked the epistemological questions, and to this point you have not answered them. I see no point in interacting with the rest of your attempted response if you can't deal with my more basic questions.

Rhology said...

Pronouncements on (capital-T) "Tradition" are predicated upon a coherent schema of "tradition."

Please define it, and how you know it, and how that was derived from apostolic revelation.

Nathan said...

Please define it, and how you know it, and how that was derived from apostolic revelation.

You're trying to get me to answer my question for you: that won't work. Given that "apostolic revelation" is tradition (2 Thess 2:15), you're asking me to define tradition by deriving it from tradition, which is circular reasoning.

Rhology said...

...and that would be my point all along, yes. Thank you.

Nathan said...

Your point is to not answer any questions? Umm, good to know?

John said...

"Please define it, and how you know it, and how that was derived from apostolic revelation."

Scripture? Please define it, and how you know it, and how you know that every bit of it was derived from divine revelation.

Let's see the inconsistency fly again.

Nathan said...

I asked very specific questions related to epistemology and tradition. You have thus far not even come close to answering them. Why in the world should I respond to misdirection and obfuscation when my original question has been entirely ignored?

To repeat myself yet again, your pronouncements that place (T)radition over scripture are necessarily predicated on a right understanding of (t)radition. You have given no demonstration that you grasp the latter, having not answered my questions, so I have no reason to accept your view of the former. My original questions were intended to give you the opportunity to elucidate the prima facie contradiction you pose by placing Scripture (which is in fact Tradition put to writing) over Tradition, which is a non sequitur.

So there are essentially two options, as I see it. First, answer the questions. This is (or ought to be, if you have an explicable epistemology) relatively straightforward. The second is to undermine the validity of my questions. This is easily an order of magnitude more difficult than the former unless your epistemology is not merely explicable, but also thorough, coherent, consistent, and capable of making proper natural and supernatural distinctions.

Rhology said...

John,

Scripture? Please define it, and how you know it, and how you know that every bit of it was derived from divine revelation.

What a surprise, another atheistic argument.
Tell you what, I'll let you know if you'll answer this question: Scripture? Please define it, and how you know it, and how you know that every bit of it was derived from divine revelation. Willing?



Nathan,

Why in the world should I respond to misdirection and obfuscation when my original question has been entirely ignored?

Could it be b/c this is not about MY epistemology, but about EOC's? B/c it's an internal critique of EOC? B/c all your arguments against my position have so far either begged the question in favor of EOC or been atheistic ones? You have no one to blame but yourself here.
You know, no one's forcing you to answer, but these are serious questions. I should think that someone who's concerned for truth and consistency would have a vested interest in defending his position.


My original questions were intended to give you the opportunity to elucidate the prima facie contradiction you pose by placing Scripture (which is in fact Tradition put to writing) over Tradition, which is a non sequitur.

You need to argue for the assertion that it's a non sequitur, especially given the fact that I'm simply following the obvious example of Jesus Himself in Mark 7:1-13, in which He demonstrates how we can differentiate between good and bad tradition. Further, Paul's instructions to Timothy in 2 Tim 3:15-17 demonstrate that, out of all the so-called potential "good traditions", we can distinguish that which is acceptable by Scripture. It is simply self-referentially circular to base a church's authority on "Sacred Tradition", then use that church's dogma to look back at all little-t tradition and pick out what will be qualified as Sacred Tradition. I keep making this point and you keep ignoring it. Probably b/c you know you have no answer.

Rhology said...

Oh, BTW, Nathan, I know the meanings of words by the same means that you do.

John said...

That's funny, when you challenge us it is all holy and pious, but when we ask you to meet your own standard, it is atheistic.

Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument. Either live up to your own epistemological standards, or admit you simply are totally arbitrary in what you believe. You are the one who made the challenge, you need to answer it for your own belief system first before asking others to do the same.

By claiming that anybody whose rule of faith is a superset to your own, you doom yourself so least common denominator Christianity. If someone comes along and says only 3 John is inspired by God, you have no answer. When a new Marcion comes along arguing for a smaller canon, you have no answer. People who subtract from the Christian tradition do not get a free ride.

Rhology said...

If someone comes along and says only 3 John is inspired by God, you have no answer.

This is getting into "Flying Spaghetti Monster" territory.
So prove it. Go for it. Be the 3 John-only guy. How do you know only 3 John is inspired? How do you know the rest of the Scr is NOT inspired?

(You said I have no answer. My answer is in the asking of lots of questions, and I've seen so many before you self-destruct in FSM-esque ways, I have every reason to think your challenge will be hollowed out in just a short time.)

John said...

Instead of being what I'm not, I just point you to Marcion and ask you to refute him. And Marcion was no spaghetti monster.

Nathan said...

You need to argue for the assertion that it's a non sequitur...

Hmm, let's try an example: I must make myself the authority over myself, such that any time there is a question about my actions or beliefs, I am the sole determiner of the correctness of said actions or beliefs. Do I really need to prove the illogic of that?

You keep trying to exegete scripture, but your understanding depends on your epistemology. Since you haven't answered my questions on epistemology, I have no way of knowing if your exegesis of scripture has any real foundation.

Oh, BTW, Nathan, I know the meanings of words by the same means that you do.

Once again, not an answer. I can assume by now that I'm wasting my time.

Rhology said...

Nathan,

Nathan: My original questions were intended to give you the opportunity to elucidate the prima facie contradiction you pose by placing Scripture (which is in fact Tradition put to writing) over Tradition, which is a non sequitur.
Rhology: You need to argue for the assertion that it's a non sequitur, especially given the fact that I'm simply following the obvious example of Jesus Himself in Mark 7:1-13
Nathan: I am the sole determiner of the correctness of said actions or beliefs. Do I really need to prove the illogic of that?


But who's arguing that? Certainly not I. Rather, I'm arguing that SCRIPTURE is the determiner.
If you want to reduce that to "But YOU have to determine how to interp Scripture!", then I simply respond with the obvious "but YOU have to determine how to interp Tradition". It's one of the densest, stupidest arguments I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

You're either not getting it or not paying attention. If you don't have an epistemology, there's no interpreting of anything whatsoever: not scripture, not tradition, not even my semi-imponderous blog comments. You continue not answering my questions and taking all sorts of things for granted; not the behavior of an exegete.

Nathan said...

The last comment was mine, just in case it wasn't obvious...

Rhology said...

Anon,

If you don't have an epistemology, there's no interpreting of anything whatsoever

Agreed. Fortunately, I have one, so...

Your complaining that my identification of your challenge as stupid and irrational doesn't answer your question does not mean I don't have an epistemology. Thanks for playing! Run along to your pomo friends and play "don't judge me" some more, K?

Nathan said...

Of course you have an epistemology, but you can't seem to answer my questions, so what good is it? Sorry, but if you can't answer the questions I can't take your epistemology seriously. Calling the questions stupid and irrational is at best projection bias.

If you're not competent to answer the questions, you can just admit that and we'll be done. Trying to insult me by labeling me PoMo is rather funny, since I expect you couldn't begin to articulate anything accurate about PoMo, much less understand my position, which is not PoMo.