Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Some notes from the Council of Hieria

A council took place near/in Constantinople in 754 AD, aka the Council of Hieria.  It was well-attended, ~338 bishops, and called itself an Ecumenical Council.
So...why isn't it an official EO Ecumenical Council?  Ultimately, because the church came to reject its conclusions; ie, the more modern church looked back and picked and chose what traditions from church history would become Sacred Tradition.  The point is so obvious as to be beyond reasonable dispute, but that doesn't mean that our friendly neighborhood sold-out on-fire EOx are going to be reasonable.

Here are some notes on this council that I thought are interesting.


This would appear when the enquiry is made, of which of the two Natures was the image of Christ the representation? Of the human nature or of the human and divine conjoined? If it was the picture of the human nature only, then did not the worshippers become practical Nestorians, worshipping the humanity apart from the divinity? But did they, on the other hand, assert that the image of Christ was an image of His human and divine nature conjoined — what was that but the error of Eutyches?
This part of their discussion they conclude by showing that no other image of Christ was needed than that which He Himself had left us — namely, the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper, true and real images of His body and blood. 

(Source)

Satan misguided men, so that they worshipped the creature instead of the Creator.  The Mosaic law and the prophets cooperated to undo this ruin; but in order to save mankind thoroughly, God sent his own Son, who turned us away from error and the worshipping of idols, and taught us the worshipping of God in spirit and in truth.  As messengers of his saving doctrine, he left us his Apostles and disciples, and these adorned the Church, his Bride, with his glorious doctrines.  This ornament of the Church the holy Fathers and the six Ecumenical Councils have preserved inviolate.  But the before-mentioned demi-urgos of wickedness could not endure the sight of this adornment, and gradually brought back idolatry under the appearance of Christianity.  As then Christ armed his Apostles against the ancient idolatry with the power of the Holy Spirit, and sent them out into all the world, so has he awakened against the new idolatry his servants our faithful Emperors, and endowed them with the same wisdom of the Holy Spirit.  Impelled by the Holy Spirit they could no longer be witnesses of the Church being laid waste by the deception of demons, and summoned the sanctified assembly of the God-beloved bishops, that they might institute at a synod a scriptural examination into the deceitful colouring of the pictures (ὁμοιωμάτων) which draws down the spirit of man from the lofty adoration (λατρείας) of God to the low and material adoration (λατρείαν) of the creature, and that they, under divine guidance, might express their view on the subject...



After we had carefully examined their decrees under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we found that the unlawful art of painting living creatures blasphemed the fundamental doctrine of our salvation—namely, the Incarnation of Christ, and contradicted the six holy synods.  These condemned Nestorius because he divided the one Son and Word of God into two sons, and on the other side, Arius, Dioscorus, Eutyches, and Severus, because they maintained a mingling of the two natures of the one Christ.
Wherefore we thought it right, to shew forth with all accuracy, in our present definition the error of such as make and venerate these, for it is the unanimous doctrine of all the holy Fathers and of the six Ecumenical Synods, that no one may imagine any kind of separation or mingling in opposition to the unsearchable, unspeakable, and incomprehensible union of the two natures in the one hypostasis or person.  What avails, then, the folly of the painter, who from sinful love of gain depicts that which should not be depicted—that is, with his polluted hands he tries to fashion that which should only be believed in the heart and confessed with the mouth?  He makes an image and calls it Christ.  The name Christ signifies God and man.  Consequently it is an image of God and man, and consequently he has in his foolish mind, in his representation of the created flesh, depicted the Godhead which cannot be represented, and thus mingled what should not be mingled.  Thus he is guilty of a double blasphemy—the one in making an image of the Godhead, and the other by mingling the Godhead and manhood.  Those fall into the same blasphemy who venerate the image, and the same woe rests upon both, because they err with Arius, Dioscorus, and Eutyches, and with the heresy of the Acephali.  When, however, they are blamed for undertaking to depict the divine nature of Christ, which should not be depicted, they take refuge in the excuse:  We represent only the flesh of Christ which we have seen and handled.  But that is a Nestorian error.  For it should be considered that that flesh was also the flesh of God the Word, without any separation, perfectly assumed by the divine nature and made wholly divine.  How could it now be separated and represented apart?  So is it with the human soul of Christ which mediates between the Godhead of the Son and the dulness of the flesh.  As the human flesh is at the same time flesh of God the Word, so is the human soul also soul of God the Word, and both at the same time, the soul being deified as well as the body, and the Godhead remained undivided even in the separation of the soul from the body in his voluntary passion.  For where the soul of Christ is, there is also his Godhead; and where the body of Christ is, there too is his Godhead.  If then in his passion the divinity remained inseparable from these, how do the fools venture to separate the flesh from the Godhead, and represent it by itself as the image of a mere man?  They fall into the abyss of impiety, since they separate the flesh from the Godhead, ascribe to it a subsistence of its own, a personality of its own, which they depict, and thus introduce a fourth person into the Trinity.  Moreover, they represent as not being made divine, that which has been made divine by being assumed by the Godhead.  Whoever, then, makes an image of Christ, either depicts the Godhead which cannot be depicted, and mingles it with the manhood (like the Monophysites), or he represents the body of Christ as not made divine and separate and as a person apart, like the Nestorians...


The evil custom of assigning names to the images does not come down from Christ and the Apostles and the holy Fathers; nor have these left behind them any prayer by which an image should be hallowed or made anything else than ordinary matter...


Whoever in future dares to make such a thing, or to venerate it, or set it up in a church, or in a private house, or possesses it in secret, shall, if bishop, presbyter, or deacon, be deposed; if monk or layman, be anathematised, and become liable to be tried by the secular laws as an adversary of God and an enemy of the doctrines handed down by the Fathers.  At the same time we ordain that no incumbent of a church shall venture, under pretext of destroying the error in regard to images, to lay his hands on the holy vessels in order to have them altered, because they are adorned with figures.  The same is provided in regard to the vestments of churches, cloths, and all that is dedicated to divine service...


(4)  If anyone does not confess one Christ both God and man, etc.
(5)  If anyone does not confess that the flesh of the Lord is life-giving because it is the flesh of the Word of God, etc.
(6)  If anyone does not confess two natures in Christ, etc.
(7)  If anyone does not confess that Christ is seated with God the Father in body and soul, and so will come to judge, and that he will remain God forever without any grossness, etc.
(8)  If anyone ventures to represent the divine image (χαρακτήρ) of the Word after the Incarnation with material colours, let him be anathema!
(9)  If anyone ventures to represent in human figures, by means of material colours, by reason of the incarnation, the substance or person (ousia or hypostasis) of the Word, which cannot be depicted, and does not rather confess that even after the Incarnation he [i.e., the Word] cannot be depicted, let him be anathema!
(10)  If anyone ventures to represent the hypostatic union of the two natures in a picture, and calls it Christ, and thus falsely represents a union of the two natures, etc.!
(11)  If anyone separates the flesh united with the person of the Word from it, and endeavours to represent it separately in a picture, etc.!
(12)  If anyone separates the one Christ into two persons, and endeavours to represent Him who was born of the Virgin separately, and thus accepts only a relative (σχετική) union of the natures, etc.
(13)  If anyone represents in a picture the flesh deified by its union with the Word, and thus separates it from the Godhead, etc.
(14)  If anyone endeavours to represent by material colours, God the Word as a mere man, who, although bearing the form of God, yet has assumed the form of a servant in his own person, and thus endeavours to separate him from his inseparable Godhead, so that he thereby introduces a quaternity into the Holy Trinity, etc... 



The holy synod cried out:  Thus we all believe, we all are of the same mind.  We have all with one voice and voluntarily subscribed.  This is the faith of the Apostles.  Many years to the Emperors!  They are the light of orthodoxy!  Many years to the orthodox Emperors!  God preserve your Empire!  You have now more firmly proclaimed the inseparability of the two natures of Christ!
(Source)

To forestall possible objections:
-Remember that I am a Sola Scripturist and subject everything, even voices from the earlier church that agree largely with me, to Scripture.  I can identify what is right and wrong out of those voices, praise God for what is good and true, and reject what is false.  Thus I obey Jesus' commands and example from Mark 7:1-13.
-In citing all this I do not seek to establish my own position.  Rather I am showing how the EO (and RC) illusion of an unbroken consensus throughout history for their pet dogmas is bogus.  It is an internal critique.
-Further, I am showing how the modern EOC and RCC beg the very question they're supposed to be arguing for when they cite early church writings.  When you claim to be reproducing and believing what the early church believed, or what the church throughout history believed, ANY dissenting voice from that history proves the claim to be false.  The problem is not with history; the problem is with the claims made by these groups.  They are so overgeneral and so sweeping that it takes only a little digging in history to disprove and embarrass such ridiculous claims as they make.
-"But that council has long been called a 'robber council'!" our EO and RC friends might object.  Thus they'll simply demonstrate what I've said.  These people lived in earlier times and were members of the church.  They disagreed with you. Going back later and slandering them or refusing to accept their conclusions does not change the fact that these disagreements in these earlier times actually existed.

74 comments:

zilch said...

Meh. You just accept the cherrypicking of a different council.

Rhology said...

Negative. I subject it ALL to Scripture.
It's a pretty seriously different approach.

Nathan said...

You can't have Hieria if you don't accept all of it. Arguments are interconnected: if you lose one part, the whole thing comes undone.

"...nor have these [the apostles] left behind them any prayer by which an image should be hallowed or made anything else than ordinary matter..."

You do realize that they are talking about the prayer over the bread and wine that make it into the actual body and blood of Christ, right? Why do you think you can take their argument against images when it depends on some form of either consubstantiation or transubstantiation? Do you believe in the Real Presence in the eucharist?

Rhology said...

You can't have Hieria if you don't accept all of it. Arguments are interconnected: if you lose one part, the whole thing comes undone.

1) This is an internal critique. Tell the EOx that.
2) Give me a good reason to think that's true. If a subpoint is valid, why can't I accept it?


You do realize that they are talking about the prayer over the bread and wine that make it into the actual body and blood of Christ, right?

1) Yes. So what?
2) Talk to EOx, they don't believe in the REAL presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They abstain from making specific positive claims about it, and rather stick to stuff like "He's MYSTICALLY present", which in real cash value doesn't amount to much.


Why do you think you can take their argument against images when it depends on some form of either consubstantiation or transubstantiation? Do you believe in the Real Presence in the eucharist?

I doubt our EO friends would actually argue that these men from the East actually did hold to trans- or consubstantiation. They'd probably argue that you're improperly mixing in Western categories and language, but of course any EOx here can correct me on that.

As for me, here are some of my views. I'm a Baptist, so no, I wouldn't hold to trans- or consubstantiation.

james said...

Rather I am showing how the EO (and RC) illusion of an unbroken consensus throughout history for their pet dogmas is bogus... ANY dissenting voice from that history proves the claim to be false

STRAW CHURCH

No EO or RC I've ever heard of claims that there has never been heresy or schism muddying the waters. If there were never any dissenting voices, there would be no need to call church councils. The existence of iconoclasm proves about as much as the existence of gnosticism, arianism, nestorianism, &c. Arianism's far worse in this respect, actually, it was a far more fundamental disagreement. Heck, Protestantism's proven a more serious and durable dissent than old-skool iconoclasm; if you think Catholic and Orthodox claims are disproven just by people disagreeing with them, why not point at yourself as the ultimate repudiation?

"But that council has long been called a 'robber council'!" our EO and RC friends might object.

'long been called' is irrelevant. For RCs, the definition of a robber council is clear: calls itself "ecumenical" but is not approved of by the Pope. Open-and-shut case.

EOx criteria I'm less sure of, but Hieria is such an obvious example of a secular ruler getting some compliant ecclesiastics together to rubber-stamp his own conclusions that I doubt any EOx are going to lose sleep over it.

james/godescalc

Rhology said...

No EO or RC I've ever heard of claims that there has never been heresy or schism muddying the waters

The point is not whether they claim there have been no schisms or heresies, but the claims to definitely represent the earliest church and the faith of the apostles, etc, AND the question-begging way they appeal to their own picked-and-chosen pieces of church history for the authority to pick and choose pieces of church history that are "orthodox".


If there were never any dissenting voices, there would be no need to call church councils.

But that's not all. Hieria was a council. Had a lot of ppl. Made canons, called down anathemas, all that stuff.


Heck, Protestantism's proven a more serious and durable dissent than old-skool iconoclasm; if you think Catholic and Orthodox claims are disproven just by people disagreeing with them, why not point at yourself as the ultimate repudiation?

Uh oh, you need to read these articles.



For RCs, the definition of a robber council is clear: calls itself "ecumenical" but is not approved of by the Pope. Open-and-shut case.

1) And WHY wasn't it approved by the Pope?
2) What is the consistent diff between this council and other councils that ARE called "ecumenical"?


Hieria is such an obvious example of a secular ruler getting some compliant ecclesiastics together to rubber-stamp his own conclusions that I doubt any EOx are going to lose sleep over it.

What do you think the 1st Council of Nicæa was?
Sorry, my friend, you're still swimming in shallow waters on this question.

Jnorm888 said...

James,

Rhology doesn't care about what we believe and why we believe it. The onlything he cares about is setting up a strawman.

Rhology said...

jnorm,

Now all you have to do is prove it!

james said...

1) And WHY wasn't it approved by the Pope?

As far as I know, it didn't invite him to come or to send observers. You'd have to ask them why, although they're sadly dead so it might be problematic.

2) What is the consistent diff between this council and other councils that ARE called "ecumenical"?

EOx answer: Other "ecumenical" councils tried to be ecumenical. A council like Hieria that doesn't have any of the patriarchs (the heads and representatives of the churches) along for the ride is not even trying.

RC answer: the Pope was involved in the other ones. (Also, what the EOx said.)

What do you think the 1st Council of Nicæa was?

A long, long way from a rubber-stamping of an emperor's opinions.

Regarding the link to articles on "33000 denominations", I'm not totally sure what that had to do with what I said.

Now all you have to do is prove it!

H'mmm. You do seem genuinely unaware that the RCs and EOx have actual standards as to what qualifies as an "ecumenical council".

Rhology said...

As far as I know, it didn't invite him to come or to send observers.

So? Please answer the question, don't answer why He didn't attend.



You'd have to ask them why, although they're sadly dead so it might be problematic.

So tradition is not all that helpful, then is it?
That didn't stop you from saying " For RCs, the definition of a robber council is clear: calls itself "ecumenical" but is not approved of by the Pope. " and acting like I should care.


A council like Hieria that doesn't have any of the patriarchs (the heads and representatives of the churches) along for the ride is not even trying.

Where has EO Official Sacred Tradition informed you that some patriarchs have to be present for a proposed EC to be an actual EC?



A long, long way from a rubber-stamping of an emperor's opinions.

You'd said: "a secular ruler getting some compliant ecclesiastics together", and that's what happened.
Didn't necessarily come to Constantine's preferred conclusions, true.
Please let me know why I should care about this.



Regarding the link to articles on "33000 denominations", I'm not totally sure what that had to do with what I said.

You cited disunity as argument against my position. That link makes shambles of that "argument".



You do seem genuinely unaware that the RCs and EOx have actual standards as to what qualifies as an "ecumenical council".

According to Kallistos Ware, ECs are designated ECs AFTER THE FACT, according to the vague notion of "did the church accept it?"
Look at the way DavidW answered the 1st cross-ex question in our debate for more evidence of that attitude.

james said...

EOx tradition: DavidW's clearly gone over that at length.

Why you should care... dude, you asked questions, I answered. Why ask if you don't care about the answers? If I explain why you should care, will you respond to that with "why should I care"? Because that could get recursive fast. (Should I even care whether you'd respond by asking why you should care about why you should care? Good question!)

The "X billion denominations prove Martin Luther sucked" argument: I wasn't making it. (I agree the argument overstates the divisions in protestantism.) My argument was: if EOx and RCs really had an "illusion of unbroken consensus for their pet dogmas" that totally excluded the possibility of anyone ever disagreeing with them, you could prove EOx and RC wrong by pointing at any number of heretics.* (In fact, you'd do better to point to the Arians - a far more fundamental heresy, whose adherents were members of the Church until Nicaea I, and who held councils before and after Nicaea I.)

(*Scratch my reference to yourself and the Gnostics in the earlier comment; you specifically referred to the Hierians as being "members of the Church". My bad.)

Viisaus said...

You spoke rather too soon, Nathan.

For it seems that this 754 iconoclastic council specifically denied any "transubstantiation", for which it was severely denounced by the 787 iconodulic council.

In fact, I have read elsewhere that it was "an iconoclastic argument par excellence" to say that the Eucharist was THE ONLY LEGITIMATE "ICON" OF CHRIST. An image, not the thing itself. The eucharistic elements were the only image of Christ that He himself provided for us, and thus worthy of religious veneration (not full worship, like with RCs).

From Mendham's book, pp. 352-355 - the acts of 754 council are cited:


"GREGORY reads: —

'Let them rejoice and be glad — let them speak with all confidence — who, with hearts most sincere, make desire, and venerate the true image of Christ, offering it up for the salvation of soul and body, which He, our Priest and God, who took our nature wholly* upon Him did, at the time of His Voluntary passion, deliver to His Priests as a most emphatic type and memorial of Himself. For, when He was about to be given up to His ever-memorable and life-giving death He took bread and blessed it; and when He had given thanks He brake it, and dividing it to them He said. Take, eat, for the remission of sins: this is my body. In like manner, having given the cup. He said. This is my blood: this do in remembrance of me; thus showing that no other form or type from things under heaven was selected by Him as being fitted to represent the image of His incarnation.

See, then, in this the image of His life-giving body made in a manner honourable and becoming to Himself. For what did the all-wise Deity intend by this? - nothing else than plainly and evidently to display to us, men, the mystery which was accomplished by His dispensation. For as that which He took of us was only the material of human essence, perfect, indeed, in all respects, yet not formed with the image of any actual person, lest there should be an addition of that person to the Godhead, so He commanded select materials — that is, the substance of bread — to be offered as His image, and that not wrought into the form of man, lest any occasion might be given thereby to the introduction of idolatry.

As, therefore, the body of Christ, which is by nature holy, as being deified, so it is evident also concerning that body which is His by adoption - that is, His image — that it is holy as being deified by the grace of sanctification. This, therefore (as we have said), our Master Christ plainly intended that, as He had deified the nature which He had assumed with that peculiar natural sanctification which arose from the union itself, so was He pleased that the bread of the eucharist, as being the true image of His natural flesh, being sanctified by the coming of the Holy Spirit, should become a divine body, in which the Priest mediates, making by an offering that which was common consecrate to sacred use. Lastly: as the animate and intelligent flesh of the Lord which was by nature anointed with the Holy Spirit as to the Deity, so in like manner the God-delivering image of His flesh, the divine bread, together with the cup of the life-giving blood from His side, is replete with the Holy Ghost. This, therefore, has been proved to be the true image of the incarnate dispensation of Christ our God, as was said before, which He, the true Giver of life and the Framer of our nature, with His own voice delivered to us'" (Matt xxvL 26-29; Mark xiv. 22-24; Luke xxii. 19-20; 1 Cor.xi. 23-25)."

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

Mendham's footnote follows (pp. 354-55):

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

"* Mr. Stebbing, in his "History of the Church," vol. ii. p. 25, informs us, that "on arriving at that article in the (iconoclastic) definition which stated that no other image of Christ was to be acknowledged but that which He had left of Himself in the eucharist, the whole (iconodulic) assembly expressed its horror in murmurs of execration; and the doctrine of the real presence being proclaimed it was triumphantly asked, 'How there should be an image of Christ in that which was Christ Himself.'"

Where Dr. Stebbing gained his information does not appear, bat it may easily be believed: for, as the good fathers imagined piety when there was none — that is, in falling down before a picture, which was done by the advice of the Roman Legates at the beginning of this schism — to they might equally be alarmed at the idea of impiety when there was none, in the styling bread and wine the image of the body and blood of our Lord."

Viisaus said...

From the Protestant point of view, the 2nd Nicene council pioneered so many pernicious opinions. Not only did it sanction icon-worship, but within it we also find the first formal declarations of the insufficiency of the Bible in the matters of dogma, and the literal transubstantiation of eucharistic elements.

"The Difficulties of Romanism in Respect to Evidence" by George Stanley Faber (1853 edition), pp. 254-55:

http://www.archive.org/details/difficultiesofro00faberich


“(1.) Accordingly, in the seventh and eighth centuries, during which, notwithstanding the check given by the Council of Constantinople in the year 754, the Doctrine of the Substantial Presence was rapidly gaining ground, until at length, in the year 787, it was formally ratified by the second Nicene Council: in the seventh and eighth centuries, we find the ancient phraseology of the Church, which ill suited the favourite novelty, rejected with a high hand and sometimes with a most astonishing degree of intrepid effrontery.

Thus, about the year 680, Anastasius of Mount Sinai, utterly disregarding the statement of the much older Orthodoxus of Theodoret, makes his Orthodoxus propound a statement diametrically opposite.

“So we believe, and so we confess, according to the voice of Christ himself, This is my body. He did NOT say: This is the ANTITYPE of my body and my blood.” 1

Thus, likewise, about the year 740, John of Damascus is absolutely shocked to the heart by the impious language of those earlier theologians, Ireneus, Cyril, Macarius, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Gregory of Nazianzum, Augustine, Theodoret, and Pope Gelasius.

“The bread and wine are NOT the TYPE of the body and blood of Christ. God forbid! But they are the very deified body itself of the Lord: the Lord himself having said; This is, NOT the TYPE of my blood, but my blood”. 1


(2.) Much in the same strain, but with a splendid intrepidity of assertion, proceed the infallible Fathers of the second Nicene Council.

“No one, either of those trumpets of the Spirit the holy Apostles, or of our celebrated Fathers, ever called our unbloody sacrifice the IMAGE of his body. For he did not say: Take, eat, the IMAGE of my body. Thus clearly is it demonstrated, that NOWHERE did, either our Lord, or the Apostles, or the Fathers, call the unbloody sacrifice, offered up through the priest, an IMAGE: but they called it the body itself and the blood itself.” 2

The matchless Theologians of Nice, in their zeal against the Council of Constantinople which in the year 754 had rightly determined the Eucharist to be an image of Christ's body and blood, appear to have unaccountably overlooked the circumstance: that, even to say nothing of the ancient perpetual use of the synonyms, “type, antitype, symbol, figure, sign, and similitude”; the very word image had actually, in the fourth and fifth centuries, been thus employed, both by Eusebius and Theodoret of the Greek Church, and by Ambrose and Gelasius of the Latin Church. 3 Their point, however, was at all events to be carried: and, in the use of that important controversial weapon, hardy assertion, we find them by no means either scrupulous or parsimonious.”

james said...

Viisaus, your 08:54 [CDT] post may be summarised thus: Nicaea II derived what Protestants consider "pernicious opinions" on the Eucharist by ditching patristic consensus and cleaving to the words of Scripture.

Do you not feel the need to comment on this a little?

Viisaus said...

"Viisaus, your 08:54 [CDT] post may be summarised thus: Nicaea II derived what Protestants consider "pernicious opinions" on the Eucharist by ditching patristic consensus and cleaving to the words of Scripture."


If you would read the evidence collected by Faber, you'd see that those who reject literal transubstantiation are not supported only by the Bible, but by early church fathers as well.

Like George Salmon memorably put it:

"An unlearned Protestant perceives that the doctrine of Rome is not the doctrine of the Bible. A learned Protestant adds that neither is it the doctrine of the primitive Church."

http://www.sounddoctrine.net/Classic_Sermons/George%20Salmon/infallibility_church.htm


Writing about Nicaea II, Salmon also wrote:

"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."

james said...

"An unlearned Protestant perceives that the doctrine of Rome is not the doctrine of the Bible."

Depends which unlearned Protestant you're talking about. When I were an unlearned Protestant I never understood why people criticised the Pope for understanding "the body of Christ" too literally (it's in the Bible! And the Pope simultaneously got lambasted for not taking Genesis 1 literally enough! To be making up minds plzkthx?)

Regarding the Church Fathers, I'm still getting into them, so I have no opinion on their doctrine of the Eucharist.

Nathan said...

Viisaus,

...as He had deified the nature which He had assumed with that peculiar natural sanctification which arose from the union itself, so was He pleased that the bread of the eucharist, as being the true image of His natural flesh, being sanctified by the coming of the Holy Spirit, should become a divine body, in which the Priest mediates, making by an offering that which was common consecrate to sacred use.

He goes on to say that the Spirit indwells the "image," which appears to mean the consecration by the priest deifies the elements. But if the elements are deified, they are not "image" in the sense you mean.

Of course, if Christ's body is the "image" of God, and the elements are a true "image," how can transubstantiation be anything but true? If the iconoclasts really denied transubstantiation, they're self-contradictory.

Now, as to Nicea II, so far as I can tell, it says nothing of transubstantiation. Read it yourself and see if I'm wrong. Mayhaps you rebutted too soon.

Lvka said...

why isn't it an official EO Ecumenical Council?


Because according to Jesus and Gamaliel, the Church can never die; if it dies out, it CERTAINLY comes from men, and NOT from God. The iconoclast Coucil of Hieria of 754 definitely falls under that category.

Viisaus said...

"Because according to Jesus and Gamaliel, the Church can never die; if it dies out, it CERTAINLY comes from men, and NOT from God. The iconoclast Coucil of Hieria of 754 definitely falls under that category."

Since when has Gamaliel been an inspired teacher?

Ecclesiolaters must insist on the infallibility of visible church (which one of them it might ever be), because without it their position is toast.

By your principles, how can you prove that the Assyrian "Nestorian" church is not the real article, the visible apostolic church that we should follow?

Nathan said...

2) Give me a good reason to think that's true. If a subpoint is valid, why can't I accept it?

Because Hieria connects the fundamental doctrine of the incarnation with the validity of images and the "image" of the Eucharist, denying the former and upholding the latter. If they are wrong on either icons or the Eucharist, they are wrong on the incarnation. Therefore, if you reject their understanding of the Eucharist, you reject their doctrine of the incarnation. By implication, the only reason to cite them is to score cheap points.

Viisaus said...

"If the iconoclasts really denied transubstantiation, they're self-contradictory."


The scandalized reaction of 787 Nicene council is proof enough that iconoclasts had denied the "Real Presence" in the same sense that THEY understood it.

To quote them (in reference to the passage cited above, p. 355):

"Epiphanius reads: —

The whole of this passage now before us makes it manifest that when men once turn aside from the truth, they are brought, under the guidance of error, into many most dangerous absurdities: which, indeed, has been the experience of the patrons of this innovation; for, having deserted the truth in respect of the formation of images, they have fallen into another extremity of outrageous madness."

Nathan said...

The scandalized reaction of 787 Nicene council is proof enough that iconoclasts had denied the "Real Presence" in the same sense that THEY understood it.

But that's equivocating. Yes, the iconoclasts had a different understanding of the Real Presence than Nicea II. No, they emphatically did not (it seems rather obvious to me) deny the Real Presence, or at least they didn't intend to.

Epiphanius is objecting to the term "the image of His body." The iconoclasts had altered the wording historically used for the Eucharist, and Epiphanius excoriates them for changing the faith and being contrary to scripture. And he actually does, in so many words, accuse them of being self-contradictory in how they affirm the Real Presence:

But, for awhile leaving their lies, they bring forward a fragment of truth, saying that it is 'a divine body;' but if it be 'the image of a body,' it cannot be admitted to be 'a divine body' at the same time. As they themselves are carried up hither and thither, that which they have muttered amongst each other can have no weight or authority: for, just as the diseased eye cannot see clearly, so they, having distracted and made turbid their own minds with the confuion of wicked reasonings, experience the same thing; and like madmen, who imagine all things different from what they really are, they style the holy offering of the sacred body of Christ at one time an image, at another His body by adoption.

Viisaus said...

"No, they emphatically did not (it seems rather obvious to me) deny the Real Presence, or at least they didn't intend to."


Neither do many Protestants. It's clear that they DID deny the RC notion of "real presence" or transubstantiation.

In fact, it would be still in the 8th century anachronistic to talk about "transubstantiation". Only in the following century did Paschasius Radbertus introduce this scholastic idea in the West, and only at Fourth Lateran council (1215) it was declared as binding for all RC believers.

Rhology said...

james/godescalc,

EOx tradition: DavidW's clearly gone over that at length.

Yep, and not very well, which is why I'm even less EO today than I've ever been.



Why you should care... dude, you asked questions, I answered.

Well, I meant why should I care with respect to granting the claims that EOC makes.
You know, if EOC would stop saying that it's the same faith as the apostles and the Bible, we'd have little problem. If they'd stop claiming infall and indefectibility, we'd have little problem. But, unfortunately, they claim both.



The "X billion denominations prove Martin Luther sucked" argument: I wasn't making it.

Glad to hear it, but it's one of the most popular RC and EO anti-Protestant arguments out there.



if EOx and RCs really had an "illusion of unbroken consensus for their pet dogmas" that totally excluded the possibility of anyone ever disagreeing with them, you could prove EOx and RC wrong by pointing at any number of heretics.

They don't look at it that simplistically, of course, but the question-begging way that they set themselves apart from post-facto-labeled heretics and then appeal back to only the ECWriters who've passed their dogma tests to support their position as being the continual faith of the early church is what I'm pointing out is so ridiculously circular.



Scratch my reference to yourself and the Gnostics in the earlier comment; you specifically referred to the Hierians as being "members of the Church".

No problem!



Nathan,

Because Hieria connects the fundamental doctrine of the incarnation with the validity of images and the "image" of the Eucharist, denying the former and upholding the latter.

1) Do you think that Hieria holds authority or normativity on my position?
2) Do you think no other council in the history of the RCC or EOC have ever been inconsistent?



By implication, the only reason to cite them is to score cheap points.

Not at all - I explained in the post why I cite Hieria. If internal critiques = cheap points, you have quite a bit to repent of yourself.

Nathan said...

So Hieria is based on flawed argumentation, is self-contradictory, yet you claim it's an "internal critique" when the EO reject it? I'm not sure I follow your logic. If a council is clearly defective, why should they be faulted for rejecting it?

The Arians had plenty of councils, why not cite one of them? The only reason not to is because you disagree in principle with the Arians and agree in principle with the Iconoclasts. The actual arguments used are irrelevant, and that's why I say it's scoring cheap points. If you can demonstrate that Hieria was not using flawed argumentation, then you can criticize those who reject it.

Rhology said...

If a council is clearly defective, why should they be faulted for rejecting it?

B/c of their reasons for rejecting it.
Also, they're not Sola Scripturists. I know it was faulty b/c I compared it with Scr. What recourse does the EO have?


The Arians had plenty of councils, why not cite one of them?

Actually, that would be germane to my point as well, yes.


The only reason not to is because you disagree in principle with the Arians and agree in principle with the Iconoclasts.

Not at all. Both are quite useful to my internal critique, but since we've been talking icons so much recently I went with Hieria.

Lvka said...

Since the author of the Book of Acts quotes him in an affirmative manner, defending the Christian faith.

(I'm surprised you didn't ask me "since when is Jesus an inspired teacher?" also, since He says the same thing as Gamaliel).

The Nestorians MAY be the true Church, but the Iconoclasts *definitely* aren't. -- in other words, the condition is necessary, though not sufficient.

Rhology said...

No, Acts merely quotes him, but does not commend or condemn him.

Please quote where Jesus said the same thing as Gamaliel. Also, if you say what I think you're going to say, please, for the last time, tell us where the remnant of true believers was in Elijah's time. Thanks!

Lvka said...

I already told you where: in Elijah, in the Priests and Levites (and in the Temple worship in Jerusalem), and in the 7,000 men. -- and it's not like the Jerusalem Temple worship ever ceised either during the OT, so...

Viisaus said...

"and it's not like the Jerusalem Temple worship ever ceised either during the OT, so..."

Wrong. It DID cease during the Babylonian exile. Prophet Ezekiel even had a vision of YHWH's glory departing from the temple.

(After it had been thoroughly defiled by syncretistic apostasy.)

Looks like you don't know your Bible history that well after all.

Viisaus said...

Martin Luther might have actually been making a conscious comparison to the Jewish exile when he wrote about "the Babylonian captivity of the church."

Protestants could see themselves as comparable to Judean exiles returning to their ancient homeland to start re-building true worship after the interruption of many generations.

"Come out of her, my people... come out of Babylon."

Rhology said...

What? Lvka doesn't know his Bible history???!?!

You know, there's a reason why good kings of Judah (when they were in power, and there were few) had to clean the idols out of the Temple.
You know how many Sabbath years Israel/Judah celebrated? Zero.
How many Jubilee years? Zero.

Amos 5:25 “Did you present Me with sacrifices and grain offerings in the wilderness for forty years, O house of Israel? 26 “You also carried along Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves. 27 “Therefore, I will make you go into exile beyond Damascus,” says the LORD, whose name is the God of hosts.


Anyway, you couldn't identify where most of the remnant was, and yet you want to tell me my view is invalid b/c I can't locate other remnants? Fail.

Lvka said...

Neither the Jews, nor Judaism, ceised during the 70 years of Babylonian captivity. Moreso, the Prophets Daniel & Esther, Ezra & Nehemiah, and Haggai & Zechariah lived during that time.

Viisaus said...

"Neither the Jews, nor Judaism, ceised during the 70 years of Babylonian captivity."

The priestly cult (which matters a lot from the formalist-ritualist point of view) did cease. There was no "organized Yahwism" in the exile.

Protestants would argue that throughout the Middle Ages, there were many humble people who were "Protestants in spirit" but who could assume their true identity until the Reformation. Thus there was no "organized Protestantism."

Likewise faithful Jews in exile could practice their religion only "in spirit" until the restoration.

Moreover, apocalyptic Protestants saw clear mystical correspondence between the way "carnal Babylon" had imprisoned the Israelites and how "the spiritual Babylon", Rome, had imprisoned the people of the New Covenant. And because Rome's captivity was spiritual, it was much harder to detect than that of original Babylon.

The people of God kept existing through this era of tribulation, but under suffocating conditions.

Lvka said...

Priesthood did not ceise. Nor did the tenets of Judaism. (Priests kept on begetting babies; parents kept teaching their children the Jewish faith; etc).

Rhology said...

Moreso, the Prophets Daniel & Esther, Ezra & Nehemiah, and Haggai & Zechariah lived during that time.

A handful of ppl, out of 100s of 1000s.
Hey, that sounds like a remnant! Which you deny!

Nathan said...

B/c of their reasons for rejecting it.

You seem totally unconcerned for believing them when they tell you why they reject it, so please be specific: what reason is there for them to accept it? At a minimum, I can tell that they claim it is faulty on Christological and indeed logical grounds. Do you reject the law of non-contradiction? Do you agree with Hieria's Christology? At this point, the only way for this to qualify as an "internal critique" is if EO are intentionally internally inconsistent but are here being strangely consistent.

Nathan said...

It's clear that they DID deny the RC notion of "real presence" or transubstantiation.
Actually, it's not clear because they repeatedly contradicted themselves on this point. Since they aren't around to answer our questions, it's hard to prove it one way or the other.

In fact, it would be still in the 8th century anachronistic to talk about "transubstantiation".

True, the term "transubstantiation" is much later, but the idea didn't come from nowhere, as is rather obvious given the Eucharistic language of both iconoclasts and iconodules.

Lvka said...

Those 100s and 1000s of people didn't fall away from their faith, so it's not a remnant.

Rhology said...

Lvka,

If you're not willing to read the OT, I can't help you.

Lvka said...

So the six prophets I mentioned were the only monotheists left in their time? Or what are you trying to say?

james said...

Glad to hear it, but it's one of the most popular RC and EO anti-Protestant arguments out there.

I know, I've seen it around quite a bit, and I think I've seen you refute it at least twice... It's common because Protestant disunity is a problem, or at least isn't terribly desirable (certainly I've not seen many people saying it's a good thing), and pointing at the thousands of denominations is a quick and easy way of making that argument. Albeit not a particularly good way, as you've pointed out... (also, an old and well-known measure of unity is intercommunion, and most of Protestantism intercommunes, making it one big and very chaotic denomination.)

They don't look at it that simplistically, of course, but the question-begging way that they set themselves apart from post-facto-labeled heretics and then appeal back to only the ECWriters who've passed their dogma tests to support their position as being the continual faith of the early church is what I'm pointing out is so ridiculously circular.

I can't think of many occasions where this really happens, to be honest - people are either in the Church or out of it, and people who are in the Church and post-facto labelled "heretics" are invariably corrected by e.g. a Church Council at some point, and either amend themselves or get kicked out. It's not as if the Arians weren't corrected by Nicaea I or the Iconoclasts weren't corrected by Nicaea II (and no, I don't take seriously Hieria's claim to ecumenicity, as I mentioned - it wasn't even close to being a binding apostolic council under EOx, RC, or Protestant standards). If they held erroneous doctrine and there was no correction on the horizon, they weren't "heretics" anyway, they were just in error. (St. Thomas Acquinas: "error" means getting something wrong; "heresy" is refusing correction.) So when someone appeals to the general opinion of the Early Church Fathers, it's pretty clear who's in the running and who's out. Of course, sometimes there's a consensus with a few outliers, which makes heckling easy... ("the Fathers held Mary to be without sin!" "Oh yeah? What about John Chrysostom? Was he a heretic? Eh? EH?") The only grey area is when someone orthodox wanders off into heresy later - Tertullian, for instance, is an important source of information on early Christian beliefs, but turned Montanist.

In terms of cherry-picking councils and declaring some to be ex-post-facto "robber councils", both the EOx and RC standards have been followed quite consistently from what I know - the grounds for criticism, if there are any, are that those standards are themselves a form of cherry-picking and/or circular reasoning. Catholic Christianity requires papal approval for a council. This is reasonable given the understanding of the Pope as successor of Peter, but you can also point out that Pope-approved councils very conveniently tend to generate Pope-friendly dogma. Similarly, Orthodox Christianity sets a council in stone if it's accepted by the Church as a whole - an appeal to the sensus fidei (sp?) which makes sense in the Orthodox mindset, but which could be parsed as circular reasoning. The Orthodox believe X because they always believed X, and this was proven because the council that declared that X was (and always had been) the Orthodox faith was accepted by the generally X-believing Orthodox afterwards - perfectly sensible, but I can see it could be rephrased as "let's have an argument in which the winners declare themselves infallible afterwards".

Lvka said...

let's have an argument in which the winners declare themselves infallible afterwards


Since in most cases "the losers" died out, thus proving themselves by biblical standards to NOT be the Church, the conclusion is that the "winners" were/are the only ones to whom the name Church could be applied.

Rhology said...

Lvka,

They may not have been the ONLY ones, but they were certainly not in the majority.
And if you're not in the majority, you're........a remnant!


Since in most cases "the losers" died out, thus proving themselves by biblical standards to NOT be the Church

Yes, unless a remnant was around. You are apparently totally unable to figure this out, and it's sad to see.



james/godescalc,

It's common because Protestant disunity is a problem, or at least isn't terribly desirable

Just remember that EO and RC disunity is also a problem.
And it might be a bigger problem, since of the claims and common arguments for the truthfulness of their claims is their unity, which is demonstrably false. Neither do their churches live up to such claims, nor can their rule of faith sustain them.



or get kicked out

Yes, but who's to say that the true church wasn't the one who got kicked out? (If we take EO presuppositions and refuse to judge everyone in the light of Scripture, I mean.)



It's not as if the Arians weren't corrected by Nicaea I

But they WERE supported by councils beforehand. And POST FACTO the WINNERS decided Nicæa was "An Ecumenical Council" and the other ones and the Smyrnæan Creed were wrong. But what if the 'orthodox/catholic' party hadn't won? Further, we have to consider what recourse the guy living DURING those conflicts would have justification to believe. And remember, he can't appeal to the Scriptures (since this is an internal critique of EO epistemology).



I don't take seriously Hieria's claim to ecumenicity, as I mentioned

OK, fine, and let's say I do. How are you going to prove me wrong? By some post facto appeal to what the winners (ie, the modern EOC) think? Why would that be persuasive?



it wasn't even close to being a binding apostolic council under EOx, RC, or Protestant standards)

Whether it SHOULD BE binding under EO/RC epistemology is the very question at hand, so this is a throwaway statement.
And the only binding apostolic council on Sola Scripturist standards is the Acts 15 Council of Jerusalem. The other councils are subservient to the ultimate standard of Scr. So there's really no value in this statement.



Of course, sometimes there's a consensus with a few outliers, which makes heckling easy... ("the Fathers held Mary to be without sin!" "Oh yeah? What about John Chrysostom? Was he a heretic? Eh? EH?")

Witness, however, DavidW quoting me "blvd everywhere, by everyone, at all times" for his rule of faith. And then he wants to go so far as to tell me that ECFs didn't ever differ on these things. Here, your example of heckling is precisely the point that is in question. Either they had consensus or they didn't.



are that those standards are themselves a form of cherry-picking and/or circular reasoning.

Precisely.
and the only response I've been getting to that is, "Oh yeah? Well you appeal to the Scr and THAT'S circular too!" as if the EO himself doesn't do the same thing, and as if the EO doesn't hold that Scr is God-breathed and infallible when it comes to faith and morals (whether the EO believes it's totally inerrant, well, is usually answered in the negative in my experience). Which is an atheistic argument. Which is why I've identified EOC as a humanistic religion, that is only theistic as a sidenote.

Rhology said...

Nathan,

what reason is there for them to accept it?

On EO grounds: B/c it was well-attended. B/c they made serious theological statements. B/c alot of ppl agreed with them.
On my grounds and EO grounds, I'd throw in: B/c their conclusion about iconoclasm matches what the Scripture says.

Now, ask yourself what reason is there for them to REJECT it? The normal EO answer, namely, "The church didn't accept it" doesn't answer the question. It only tells what happenED, but not what SHOULD'VE happened. You can't appeal to what your group did when asking whether what your group did was right.


Do you reject the law of non-contradiction?

What a question!



Do you agree with Hieria's Christology?

I'm not sure what you refer to. Probably, but if you had sthg more specific in mind, I'll be happy to answer.


At this point, the only way for this to qualify as an "internal critique" is if EO are intentionally internally inconsistent but are here being strangely consistent.

Hardly. They could simply be unintentionally internally inconsistent.
Besides, my charge is not so much internal inconsistency but rather special pleading and question-begging.

Lucian said...

They may not have been the ONLY ones, but they were certainly not in the majority.


From where did you get that?

Rhology said...

Reading the OT. Why did Elijah say that he was the only one left? Why did God say "Not so fast, there's still 7000"? Why wouldn't God have said "Not so fast, there's still 400,000 who've not bowed the knee to Baal" if there were 400K? Like, a lot more, not a small bit more.

Lvka said...

We were talking about the Babylonian exile...

Rhology said...

Any time that a small minority remnant exists of true ppl of God (ie, invisible church) is sufficient to disprove your position.

Lucian said...

Minorities aren't invisible, Rho. Elijah (returning now to his period) was anything but "silent" and "invisible". The hundreds of Temple-Priests that the idolatrous king had to slaughter in order to better promote his religion weren't exactly "invisible" either.

Rhology said...

1) You have the timeline confused. Elijah's convo with God on that topic occurred AFTER he had the _00 prophets of Baal killed.

2) Now you're begging the question by assuming that the remnants after the NT was written were silent. You don't know that. Maybe their writings didn't survive to this day. Maybe they were a bit off the beaten path, outside of the more well-known geographical areas.

3) I've asked you at least 4 times to tell me where the 7000 were, and all you do is bluster. Your challenge is dead. Get another one.

Lucian said...

1) I may have a (false?) memory of Ahab killing Temple-priests before Elijah killed the 400 priests of Baal (revenging the blood of those previosuly slain by the evil king)


I've asked you at least 4 times to tell me where the 7,000 were, and all you do is bluster.

In Israel.

Lucian said...

The 7,000 were in Israel.

Rhology said...

1) I think you're right, yes. That only furthers my point - there weren't that many left.

Where in Israel? Be specific.


Also, you've been answered on this before. Pity you rarely if ever learn from your corrections.

Lucian said...

Be specific.


Why the need?

Nathan said...

To start, I suggest you ascertain the meaning of the word "catholic," and secondly, the word "conciliar." Your overriding implication seems to be that the EO equivalent of the Pope is a Council; this is simply and unequivocally false.

On EO grounds: B/c it was well-attended. B/c they made serious theological statements. B/c alot of ppl agreed with them.

Nicea II was also "well-attended:" this criteria seems totally arbitrary, so why should I accept it? Next, all sorts of people make "serious theological statements;" even (especially?) the heretics do this, so again, why does this matter? A lot of people agreed with Arius, Donatus, Marcion, Nestorius, Mani, Novatian, Eutyches, Apollinaris, Eunomius, on and on. A lot of people didn't. Again, why the seemingly arbitrary criteria?

On my grounds and EO grounds, I'd throw in: B/c their conclusion about iconoclasm matches what the Scripture says.

It makes no sense to put it on EO grounds, since they explicitly reject iconoclasm as being unscriptural. Now, you like the conclusion (iconoclasm) but they reached that conclusion by being self-contradictory, so I'm not sure how you can support the use of logical contradiction to achieve the correct scriptural interpretation. This was my point about Hieria's Christology: it and their Eucharistic doctrine both violate the law of non-contradiction.

So if I haven't made it abundantly clear by now: you're trying to accept Hieria's conclusion while ignoring the logical contradictions needed to reach that conclusion. If the EO rejected Hieria on no other grounds than inconsistency, I don't see how that's a problem for anyone who accepts the law of non-contradiction. If you're fine with getting the right conclusion by using flawed argumentation, there's little point in debating anything, because you don't care about correct reasoning.

james said...

The thread moves faster than I can reply! And answering it goes over the 2^12 character limit pretty quickly...

Just remember that EO and RC disunity is also a problem... the claims and common arguments for the truthfulness of their claims is their unity, which is demonstrably false.

(1) EO/RC care about disunity more, in my experience - schism is viewed as a serious sin, whereas in Protestantism schism happens more often and isn't such a big deal. (2) As a result, the EO and RC have done a lot better at keeping things together. Not perfectly, obviously, but there isn't the tendency towards fracturing that there sometimes is among the more hotheaded regions of Protestantism; and (3) neither RC nor EO claim perfect unity anyway; both are quite happy to admit the existence of heretics, schismatics, &c. I've seldom heard of Protestants who're bothered about the disunity of Christendom; but there are Catholics and Orthodox aplenty who grieve over the Great Schism.

Yes, but who's to say that the true church wasn't the one who got kicked out? (If we take EO presuppositions and refuse to judge everyone in the light of Scripture, I mean.)

You're assuming that the EO refuse to judge everyone in the light of Scripture, just because they don't judge everyone in the light of Scripture-divorced-from-apostolic-tradition as you do. I don't buy it; last I checked, Nicaea II was replete with scriptural quotations, and the Arian thing was all about whether "equality with God" (quoth Paul) or "I and the Father are one" (quoth Jesus) were meant seriously.

But that aside... as Luka said (well, quoting someone slightly more authoritative!): the gates of Hell shall not prevail, &c. The Church, praying and trusting in God and poring over the Scriptures and the writings of the early Christians, trusts that Christ will lead us into the fulness of truth (as He promised) and not throw His flock to the wolves. You can't prove it with total certainty, but you can't prove that the Scriptures that the Church proclaims are true with total certainty. At a certain point, you've gotta walk by faith and not by sight - assume Jesus meant what He said, and assume He's trustworthy.

But they WERE supported by councils beforehand.

...actually, I've been trying to check, and I think I was wrong - the Arian councils were all after Nicaea. Could be wrong.

And POST FACTO the WINNERS decided Nicæa was "An Ecumenical Council" and the other ones and the Smyrnæan Creed were wrong. But what if the 'orthodox/catholic' party hadn't won?

What if Joshua and Caleb hadn't won against the Canaanites? What if God had just sat back and let Pharaoh massacre the Israelites? What if Jesus had died and done the obvious thing - stayed dead? Quoth Chesterton:

"It would have been easier to have accepted the earthly power of the Arians. It would have been easy, in the Calvinistic seventeenth century, to fall into the bottomless pit of predestination. It is easy to be a madman: it is easy to be a heretic... To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame. But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth
reeling but erect." (Orthodoxy, ch. 6)

james said...

we have to consider what recourse the guy living DURING those conflicts would have... he can't appeal to the Scriptures (since this is an internal critique of EO epistemology).

Of course he can. Look to the Bible and trust in God. Just because you think Tradition and Scripture are opposed doesn't mean everyone else does.

Also, the impression I get - again, correct me, anyone who knows (preferably in a separate post!) - is that Nicaea was widely understood to be authoritative after it was held: later semi-Arian councils frequently tried to work around it and find Arian-friendly wording, rather than straightforwardly repeal and contradict it. For Arians, Nicaea I was an obstacle, a stumbling block, something that needed negotiating away or explaining away or ignoring or accommodating; the Homoousians looked at the Arian councils and condemned them, or contradicted them, or pointed out their omissions. It looks to me suspiciously like one side was rooted on rock and the other on sand.

(And it's not as if it was a hard argument to get into... Gregory of Nyssa famously complained about everyone and their dog having an opinion.)

And the only binding apostolic council on Sola Scripturist standards is the Acts 15 Council of Jerusalem. The other councils are subservient to the ultimate standard of Scr.

Yes, I know this.

So there's really no value in this statement.

There's plenty. It got you to state what Protestant (well, SolScrip) standards for a binding council are, and agree with me that Hieria does not meet them.

OK, fine, and let's say I do [take Hieria as authoritative]. How are you going to prove me wrong?

Ask you what standards you're assuming, for a start.

Sola Scripturists have a standard on what councils are binding; Hieria does not meet it. Orthodox have a standard on what councils are binding; Hieria does not meet it. Catholics have a standard on what councils are binding; Hieria does not meet it. What standard would you propose under which Hieria is binding? Which other councils would this standard affirm? What justification can you offer for this standard?

Witness, however, DavidW quoting me "blvd everywhere, by everyone, at all times" for his rule of faith. And then he wants to go so far as to tell me that ECFs didn't ever differ on these things. Here, your example of heckling is precisely the point that is in question. Either they had consensus or they didn't.

Depends if you think "consensus" means "unanimity" or just "overwhelming majority". And conceded, that the "believed everywhere, at all times" thing is true only with some degree of quality control (ecumenical councils), so as to deal with the problem when someone somewhere decides they don't want to believe it. Which no-one denies has happened...

[to whether picking a standard is cherry-picking:] Precisely.
and the only response I've been getting to that is, "Oh yeah? Well you appeal to the Scr and THAT'S circular too!" as if the EO himself doesn't do the same thing... Whether [Hieria] SHOULD BE binding under EO/RC epistemology is the very question at hand


Right. It's a question of "who's to say?", or, more to the point in this thread, "what's the yardstick to use?" The EO/RC yardstick(s) reject Hieria, but are they the right yardstick(s) to use? And at this point, we have to go back to your (rather epic) discussion with David over sola scriptura (and by "epic" I mean "really interesting, but so very long I kinda just skipped to the closing statements" >.>). I don't hold to sola scriptura, for the usual reasons, although I do respect it - it's a testament to the power of the Scriptures that anyone can subscribe to sola scriptura - but I've commented about 10k words tonight already, so I'm going to avoid going into that and rehashing your throwdown with David.

Rhology said...

Lvka,

Why the need (to be specific about the location of the remnant)?

Lvka said:

Since in most cases "the losers" died out, thus proving themselves by biblical standards to NOT be the Church (Sun Apr 18, 06:21:00 AM CDT)


I guess I don't need to be specific about the remnant of the true church during the middle ages, then. Thanks for disemboweling your own argument! With a little patience, we finally get there.

Rhology said...

Nathan,

To start, I suggest you ascertain the meaning of the word "catholic," and secondly, the word "conciliar."

I know what they mean. I'm questioning how justifiable they are, and how authoritative they are, given that they're based on question-begging assertions.



Your overriding implication seems to be that the EO equivalent of the Pope is a Council; this is simply and unequivocally false.

No, they're not the same, I know, but at one level they are. Neither can be identified a priori; both are recognised to be ex cathedra/infallible/ecumenical after the fact. Both, if they're ex cathedra/one of the 7 ecumenical councils, are infallible. So at the level I mean, they are not really very different at all.



Nicea II was also "well-attended:"

Yes, I know that. THe fact that Hieria was too is an anticipatory defeater for the common argument that one can recognise Ecum Councils partly thru their high attendance.
As you said: this criteri(on) seems totally arbitrary, so why should I accept it? That's a great question - why don't you ask your EO friends?



Next, all sorts of people make "serious theological statements;" even (especially?) the heretics do this, so again, why does this matter?

Which was another anticipatory defeater for arguments I've heard before to the effect of identifying when a council is an Ecum Council. Again, you're doing my job for me, and I appreciate it! Now we'll see how consistent you're willing to be.



A lot of people agreed with Arius, Donatus, Marcion, Nestorius, Mani, Novatian, Eutyches, Apollinaris, Eunomius, on and on. A lot of people didn't. Again, why the seemingly arbitrary criteria?

PRECISELY my point! Thanks!



This was my point about Hieria's Christology: it and their Eucharistic doctrine both violate the law of non-contradiction.

Please be specific how they do so.

Rhology said...

james,
Yeah, I hate the character limit thing too. It's lame. Almost makes me want to move to Wordpress.


(1) EO/RC care about disunity more, in my experience - schism is viewed as a serious sin,

Then you haven't been to a conservative SBC or RefBap church - we exercise church discipline, and it is itself a serious sin and serious undertaking, to be performed BECAUSE OF serious sin. 1 Cor 5, Matt 18.
So this doesn't help you.



Not perfectly, obviously, but there isn't the tendency towards fracturing that there sometimes is among the more hotheaded regions of Protestantism

So one can identify The True Church® b/c it's less bad than "Protestants". Great, I'll keep that in mind.



(3) neither RC nor EO claim perfect unity anyway

You need to argue with RCs and EOx more; many do claim that exactly as an argument against Sola Scriptura.



I've seldom heard of Protestants who're bothered about the disunity of Christendom

1) You've now met one - me. And all my friends.
2) Yet at the same time we recognise that it's a necessity and expected by God, for a reason: 1 Cor 11:17 But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. 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.



You're assuming that the EO refuse to judge everyone in the light of Scripture

DavidW is on record saying that he does not do so. Disunity. Now, are you concerned?



Nicaea II was replete with scriptural quotations

Really? And to what extend did they interact with the Scriptural arguments against iconolatry?



but you can't prove that the Scriptures that the Church proclaims are true with total certainty.

Sure I can. SPeak for yourself, you who tolerate rank liberals and errantists within your own ranks. Give me an argument why I can't. I'd suggest, BTW, that you check it first to see whether it accurately reflects your worldview or whether it's borrowed from God-hating atheists.



But they WERE supported by councils beforehand.
...actually, I've been trying to check, and I think I was wrong - the Arian councils were all after Nicaea. Could be wrong.


Yes, I think you're right. It doesn't matter, though.



What if Joshua and Caleb hadn't won against the Canaanites? What if God had just sat back and let Pharaoh massacre the Israelites? What if Jesus had died and done the obvious thing - stayed dead?

Then I'd have to change my worldview. Of course, that didn't happen.
But we both accept all that. We both don't accept the post facto recognition of Ecum Councils' infallibility, so I need you to give some arguments for why I should accept them.

Rhology said...

It is easy to be a madman: it is easy to be a heretic

that's nothing compared to the cognitive dissonance from being an EO or RC and claiming to respect the BIble as God's Word and yet be stared in the face by obviously contradictory teachings all the time.



Just because you think Tradition and Scripture are opposed doesn't mean everyone else does.

Just because you think Tradition and Scripture are opposed doesn't mean everyone else does.



is that Nicaea was widely understood to be authoritative after it was held: later semi-Arian councils frequently tried to work around it and find Arian-friendly wording, rather than straightforwardly repeal and contradict it.

This sounds like individual, private, fallible interpretation. Why are you breaking away from your claimed-authority when you're arguing for it?



It got you to state what Protestant (well, SolScrip) standards for a binding council are, and agree with me that Hieria does not meet them.

I'm sorry you got lost; this has never been about whether *I* accept Hieria as a binding council. It's why EOx DON'T, and on what grounds.




Orthodox have a standard on what councils are binding; Hieria does not meet it.

Yes, and that standard begs the very question. that's what I'm saying.



What standard would you propose under which Hieria is binding?

Any standard except for "the modern EOC doesn't think it is binding". And yet we're talking about whether the modern EOC is competent and authoritative to make those kinds of decisions while also appealing back to "church history" (as EOC has chosen it) to ground its authority. With a little patience, we'll get there.



And conceded, that the "believed everywhere, at all times" thing is true only with some degree of quality control (ecumenical councils)

Which, as I'm sure you're aware, is actually NOT EVERYwhere, at ALL times, by EVERYone. When "all, every", means "some", we have a serious problem.



by "epic" I mean "really interesting, but so very long I kinda just skipped to the closing statements"

LOL. It was that. :-D

Lvka said...

Rho,

I didn't ask you for the social security number of every non-existent Arian or Iconoclast between 1,000 AD and 1,500 AD... the idea is that they simply ceised existing, and are still dead, leaving NO traces whatsoever in the historical record past a given date (unlike St. Elijah and the 7,000 men, to whose existence various OT books attest).

Viisaus said...

Protestants would argue that throughout the Middle Ages, there were many blessedly inconsistent "cafeteria Catholics" (as well as cafeteria EOs) who held onto the vital kernel of the Gospel, and more or less ignored the superstitious and/or idolatrous additions that the mainstream church kept adding to Christian faith.

(In pre-modern times, it was hard for central authorities to efficiently enforce rigid conformity, especially in remote areas like French Alps that had loads of Waldensian dissidents.)

With the coming of Reformation, already from Wycliffe and Huss onwards (and with the outrageous corruption of Renaissance papacy), all these half-Catholic, half-Biblical people finally became aware that they could no longer continue like this, but would have to separate themselves in a clear-cut manner from the Roman apostasy.


See this piece, it's rather relevant to the topic:

"The only good Catholic is a bad Catholic"

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2009/12/only-good-catholic-is-bad-catholic.html

Viisaus said...

Moreover, traditional EOs would be practically compelled to "side with Protestants" on the issue of believing that Rome has seriously deviated from true faith.

Even they would be forced to agree that during the medieval era, there was a huge "falling away", in which majority of people calling themselves Christians began to follow a false prophet, namely the pope, who declared that all who were not in communion with him were damned (Unam Sanctam 1303).


I know that many modern EOs believe or would like to believe that their differences with the Vatican are not all that essential. But such EOs are being untrue to their own traditions.

This militant EO site (which we might see as representing an Eastern Orthodox equivalent of sedevacantism) accuses mainstream Orthodoxy of liberal-ecumenical apostasy - and not the least because of its friendly relations with Rome:

http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_world_orthodoxy.shtml

Lucian said...

Waldensians weren't Protestants, V.

there is evidence early Waldensians affirmed doctrines like transubstantiation, prayers for the dead, and infant baptism


the Waldensian absorption into Protestantism led to their transformation from a group on the edge of Catholicism that shared many Catholic beliefs into a Protestant church adhering to the theology of John Calvin, which differed much from the beliefs of Peter Waldo.


(Source)


Wycliffe and Huss lived in the 14th century.


And yes, we're sympathetic to the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation (why do you think I like Luther so much?), but how this is relevant, I don't know. (The same goes for our obvious sympathy for Rome).

Viisaus said...

They most certainly were "protestants" with small "p" at least. A good example of "half-Catholics" that I mentioned, that were finally forced to give up all hope on the Roman church and officially separate from it.

They surely were seen as heretical enough by RC inquisitors to be bloodily persecuted.


Waldensians happened to flourish just around the same area that a noted iconoclastic Frankish bishop (Agobard of Lyons) had ruled over.

The un-Romanist mountain-area population that later adopted Peter Waldo's ideas had existed well before his times:

http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/darby/ECCLESIA/20028E.html

"As to the antiquity of the Vaudois themselves, some remarks may be useful. Waldo's history is well known. He appeared about 1170, was at first well received by the Pope, but forbidden to preach; he did however and was driven from Lyons. He had nearly all, if not all, the Bible translated, and was very active, having given away all his fortune. The upholders of popery have taken great pains to shew that the Vaudois were in many points conformed to the followers of the Pope. Now there were many points as to which they were in the dark. The infamy of the clergy, degraded by species of vice which none can call in question, had roused the conscience of many, and more as to practice and the acts by which they made money than as to dogma. But purgatory, consecration to the priesthood and indulgences, confession to priests, prayers for the dead, were all rejected.
...

It is well known that Claude of Turin resisted what they resisted. He was archbishop of those very valleys. This was in the ninth century. But it is certain that before that the same opposition to superstition was found there. In Jerome's famous letter to Vigilantius, in which he rages with his accustomed abuse and violence against him for resisting superstitions then coming in, he refers to these very districts and states in the most insolent language (the custom of ritualists when opposed, however they fawn on superiors when it suits them), that the bishops there sustained Vigilantius in his opposition to the growing superstition. Thus from 406 and then in the middle of the ninth century the same opposition continues there; and then we find 300 years after the same opposition still, and them and their adversaries tracing it to some seventy years before we find it established there, as proved by Jerome's letter. It was a protest, not there only, but which survived there against the corruption of the professing church after Constantine, when it borrowed the rites and doctrines of Paganism and thus supplanted it. With the testimony we have from Reinerius Saccho and others, it is utterly impossible to think the Vaudois commenced with Waldo of Lyons, though it be very likely their tenets received a very great extension through his means. Reinerius Saccho's inquisitorial activity was sixty years after Waldo's activity began, and he states there were three reasons why the Waldenses or Vaudois whom he was sent to reduce to the obedience of the Roman Church. The first was they were a great deal older (diuturnior) than all other sects; adding, some say from the time of Pope Sylvester, others from the apostles. It has been attempted to say this is merely "some say," but it is Reinerius who says they were older than sects; and it is important to see that it was they themselves who thus held it to be from Sylvester at least, soon after whose time we find traces of it in these districts, the evil having really begun in his time by the christianizing of the emperor. Next, that they were more universally spread, there was scarce any land where it was not received. This could not have been in some fifty years. The third was that they lived justly, and held soundly all the articles of the creed."

Lvka said...

They surely were seen as heretical enough by RC inquisitors to be bloodily persecuted.


So were the Orthodox. (Are we small-"p"-Protestants also?)


Waldo was a French Catholic guy who gave his riches to the poor, and his followers were unhappy with clerical corruption (as are most Orthodox also). The Pope wouldn't let him preach because, though a saintly guy, he didn't earn a theology-degree (unlike all the great Reformers, who were thoroughly well-schooled, and were masters or doctors of philosophy, religion, or law, etc).


France (Gaul) has a historical problem of (Catholic) disobedience to the Pope (which is cool, 'cause he wasn't then what he now thinks he always was): from the Gallican priests who refused to deny their lawfully wedded wives after Roman custom, to the Gallican priests who countered the ultra-montanist position at Vatican I -- are you willing to say that these guys are or were small-"p"-protestants also?

Viisaus said...

From the link that Lucian provided:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldensians#Ancient_origins_asserted_and_disputed

"The supporters of the ancient origin claim the Waldenses' name did not in fact come from Peter Waldo, as modern scholars contend, but from the area in which they lived. [8] They claim Peter Waldo in fact got his name by association with the Waldenses. This thought was current in the early 19th century:

"Some Protestants, on this occasion, have fallen into the snare that was set for them...It is absolutely false, that these churches were ever found by Peter Waldo...it is a pure forgery."[9]

"It is not true, that Waldo gave this name to the inhabitants of the valleys: they were called Waldenses, or Vaudes, before his time, from the valleys in which they dwelt." [9]

"On the other hand, he "was called Valdus, or Waldo, because he received his religious notions from the inhabitants of the valleys." [10]


As for the Gallicans, in the eyes of Ultramontanists their position was indeed just a step or two away from Protestantism, only little better than Anglicanism.

Nonjuror Anglican writer Charles Leslie explained back in 1713:

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

p. 50

"Gentleman King James's fate was very hard. He was abdicated in England because he was a Papist. And the Pope wrought his deposition because he was too much a Protestant. And such Protestants are the French reckoned at Rome, they are called there Haeretici Tolerati, "tolerated heretics.""

Lvka said...

I am not a fan of pseudo-science. (I just thought I should mention that). The Waldensians, as a religious movement, did not pre-exist Waldo.

And the Catholics' phobias are their own.

Anonymous said...

What about the Waldenses?

Rhology said...

Interesting article on this topic.