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37 Questions about the Church

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#21 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 10:43 PM

"And since he didn't know Old Testament Hebrew, he was probably ignorant of the Old Testament teaching."

You may be pleased to learn that the Church has always use the Septuagint which is in Greek.

 

"Originally the veneration of icons was tabu in the Church" ect...

It seems you have answered my last question in my above post.



#22 Euthymios

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 10:46 PM

Moderator,

 

I wanted a source showing Constantine had visions (plural). I don't deny the vision of the cross.

I understand what the Church claims and believes. I'm questioning it's authority and circular reasoning.

I'm sincerely seeking answers, but only if they are reasonable and valid. I can't let bogus claims go unchallenged. It would be unethical and unchristian for me to do so.



#23 Euthymios

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 10:50 PM

Yet protestantism has spawned tens of thousands of sects, all of which claim they have the "true interpretation" of scripture. They can't all be right, can they?

 

And Jews do not recognise the New Testament as scripture.

I never claimed the Jews recognized the N.T. I was talking about their Scripture --the Old Testament.

whether Protestants have thousands of sects, is irrelevant to the argument I made. They mostly agree on essentials.



#24 Olga

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 10:56 PM

whether Protestants have thousands of sects, is irrelevant to the argument I made. They mostly agree on essentials.

 

On the contrary, the proliferation of sects is completely relevant. All claim biblical authority for their beliefs, yet these beliefs vary widely and wildly.

 

As for the "essentials", where do I start? There is no uniformity among them as to how they regard Jesus Christ (man? God? both or none of these?), the Eucharist (the real and actual body and blood of Christ? Or a memorial? Or grape juice and crackers?), veneration of saints? The regard for the Virgin Mary?



#25 Matthew Panchisin

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 05:12 AM


Dear Euthymios,


Firstly, most of what you have written is actually 'bogus' from an Orthodox perspective.


One of the reasons that the Orthodox Church (so sad to hear you speak against it so freely) has such great respect for monasticism is because it knows that those that follow the words of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ didn't and don't come from an indian institution.They are among those that take the word of God rightly and very seriously.


In short, read your bible better.


Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof  goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.


Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
 
Dear Olga,
 
We admire your patience and perseverance, send some this way asap.
 
In Christ,
 
Matthew Panchisin
  

Edited by Olga, 26 November 2014 - 06:37 AM.
corrected formatting


#26 Euthymios

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 06:14 AM

On the contrary, the proliferation of sects is completely relevant. All claim biblical authority for their beliefs, yet these beliefs vary widely and wildly.

 

As for the "essentials", where do I start? There is no uniformity among them as to how they regard Jesus Christ (man? God? both or none of these?), the Eucharist (the real and actual body and blood of Christ? Or a memorial? Or grape juice and crackers?), veneration of saints? The regard for the Virgin Mary?

I'm going to make a couple more responses and then move on to my next question. Proliferation of sects does not disprove the truth claims, any more than unity proves truth claims. Historically Protestants affirm the essentials: deity of Christ, his virgin birth, the Trinity, humanity, etc. It's interesting that you mentioned the veneration of saints, because there is no biblical support for this, or any good evidence it was going on the earliest Church.



#27 Euthymios

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 06:20 AM

Matthew, the two biblical passages you quoted do not support the institution of monasticism (under obedience to a superior, the tonsure, etc) or the concept of celibacy. If you read these passages objectively, without any pre-conceived filters and assumptions, you will see that Christ is simply talking about how God and the kingdom must be the first priority in a persons life.

 

Why is monastic obedience to a superior so important today, when the earliest forms of monasticism were loose and without any rule? It was not until St. Pachomius that strict obedience was enforced. Did God
change his mind?

 

When we converge several lines of independent evidence, the probability of pagan influence increases. Based on the evidence (late date for cenobitic monasticism, pagan elements like cutting the hair at tonsure, changes in custom, etc) the probability that this institution developed under pagan influence increases significantly.


Edited by Euthymios, 26 November 2014 - 06:22 AM.


#28 Euthymios

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 06:31 AM

QUESTION 4 (I think) ABOUT CONFESSION TO A PRIEST

 

 I want to say a word about Father Seraphim Alexiev's concept of confession. In the book "Forgotten Medicine," Father Seraphim Alexiev said that no person will be saved unless he confesses every single sin in detail to a priest. This idea is no where taught in the New Testament, nor in the early Church. Who decides how much detail has been given? I personally can give a lot of detail. The concept of detail is totally subjective, and depends on the person making the confession. Does that mean nobody was saved until the invention of confession to a priest? In "The Emergence of the Christian Tradition," volume 1, Jaroslav Pelikan said that confessing to a priest was optional in the early Church. Since it was optional, who is Father Seraphim Alexiev to put such a heavy burden on people, when Scripture and the early Church never taught his concept? If confessing every single sin in detail to a priest was so important, that a persons salvation depended on it (like Fr. Seraphim is teaching) don’t you think God would have included this important truth in the original message of the New Testament? Father Seraphim’s view is obviously a man-made development. It’s just another example of man trying to control, and destroy the liberation and freedom we have in Christ, by keeping us bound by fear and guilt. A ROCOR priest recently told me that Fr. Seraphim's teaching on confession was not accepted by the Orthodox Church.

In the parable given by Christ about the publican who went to the temple to pray, the man simply said "God be merciful to me a sinner." And Christ said he went home justified. He did not confess every single sin in detail like Father Seraphim would demand.

 


In the early Church, confession to a priest was optional. Why is it mandatory today?The evidence shows that confession evolved from public confession to private confession, and was made to monks, not priests. Why the changes? In the West, it was not until Aquinas that confession was elevated to a sacrament.

Public confession is found in the Didache and Epistle of Barnabas.6:2.

J.N.D Kelly writes:  "With the dawn of the third century the rough outlines of a recognized penitential discipline were beginning to take shape. In-spite of the ingenious arguments of certain scholars, there are still no signs of a
sacrament of private penance (i.e. confession to a priest, followed by absolution and the imposition of a penance) such as Catholic Christendum knows to-day." "The system which seems to have existed in the Church at this time, and for centuries afterwords, was wholly public, involving confession, a period of penance and exclusion from communion, and formal absolution and restoration - the whole process being called exomologesis." (J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines: Revised Edition, p.216.).

In Augustine's later writings,  confession was for grave sins like adultery. (On the Creed, 15,16). Smaller sins were taken care of by prayer to God.

"Modern biblical scholars today, however, do not find either in the text or in the context of these passages [Matt. 16:16; 18:18; John 20:23] an account of an institution of a reconciliation ritual." (Osborne, The Harper Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, p. 1083) (brackets mine). (J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines).


Edited by Euthymios, 26 November 2014 - 06:36 AM.


#29 Olga

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 06:51 AM

I'm going to make a couple more responses and then move on to my next question. Proliferation of sects does not disprove the truth claims, any more than unity proves truth claims. Historically Protestants affirm the essentials: deity of Christ, his virgin birth, the Trinity, humanity, etc. It's interesting that you mentioned the veneration of saints, because there is no biblical support for this, or any good evidence it was going on the earliest Church.

 

Such sects have a multiplicity of views on whether Christ was divine (many simply regard Him as a wise teacher, some as a revolutionary, others as a divine spirit who seemed to take the appearance of a man, and discarded His body after He ascended to heaven).

 

On the Trinity, again, there are multiple versions of it, ranging from unitarianism (one God, not a trinity of persons), through to inequalities between the Persons (such as Jesus was a created being, and was "adopted" as a son by God the Father), through to modalism (one person, but manifesting in three different forms), and more besides.
 

The early Church had to deal with heresies of all stripes on the nature and person of Christ, and triumphed over them all. Heresies, are at their heart, distort who and what Christ was. It is a shame that so many sects which call themselves "Christian" continue to reinvent these creaky, wobbly wheels.

 

Christ is Truth, and there can be only one Truth.



#30 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 06:54 AM

Father Seraphim Alexiev said that no person will be saved unless he confesses every single sin in detail to a priest. Post #27

 

When we confess, we must tell briefly and accurately the nature of each of our sins.
We see that general terms do not benefit the confessing person. He must recount individually
each of his transgressions before God. Of course that does not mean that he
must begin to tell long and detailed stories. The priest is usually a very busy man. During
the feasts, and especially before Communion, many are waiting their turn to confess
to him. That is why conciseness, accuracy, and briefness are needed. - Father Seraphim Alexiev



#31 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 06:57 AM

Euthymius - you write in a way which is not the way of an Orthodox Christian. Most particularly, you say in your post #21 that you challenge the Church's authority. Who gave you the right to do that?



#32 Matthew Panchisin

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 07:27 AM

Dear Andreas,

 

That would come from his obedience to himself, as you well know it is rather clearly not an Orthodox Christian minded disposition, monastic or otherwise.

 

It's a massive handicap, we should keep that in mind during the conversations.

 

In Christ,

 

Matthew Panchisin


Edited by Matthew Panchisin, 26 November 2014 - 07:31 AM.


#33 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 07:44 AM

Yes, I see- of course.



#34 Matthew Panchisin

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 07:57 AM

Dear Euthymios,
 
The first that may help you is to attempt to see Orthodox monastics as at least trying to embrace the fullness of Christ's Gospel in accordance with the teachings of the Christ's Gospel as it is known in the Orthodox Church.

Try to discern the difference between indian institutions and Christ's Gospel.

Get back to us when and if you can come to terms with some basic understandings. You can sell everything you have and pray and fast for many years and tell us more.

In Christ,

 

Matthew Panchisin

Edited by Matthew Panchisin, 26 November 2014 - 07:58 AM.


#35 Euthymios

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 09:33 AM

Dear Euthymios,
 
The first that may help you is to attempt to see Orthodox monastics as at least trying to embrace the fullness of Christ's Gospel in accordance with the teachings of the Christ's Gospel as it is known in the Orthodox Church.

Try to discern the difference between indian institutions and Christ's Gospel.

Get back to us when and if you can come to terms with some basic understandings. You can sell everything you have and pray and fast for many years and tell us more.

In Christ,

 

Matthew Panchisin

 

Christ's Gospel doesn't teach monasticism. You are looking at the Bible through a programmed Orthodox lens. The Bible and Christ never taught monasticism, obedience to a superior, the tonsure, cutting hair, vows, etc. Orthodox monasticism has more in common with Indian monasticism than with Christ's Gospel. Christ's Gospel is about sharing the faith. Orthodox monks only focus on their own spiritual life, while leaving the world alone.
 


Edited by Euthymios, 26 November 2014 - 09:36 AM.


#36 Euthymios

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 09:35 AM

I am not in obedience to myself. Do you trust every thought that enters your mind? You know nothing about me. I have every right to "test" the claims of Orthodoxy (1Thess. 5:21).

 

Like I said earlier, don't question my motives and try to psychoanalyze me. This is childish, unethical and even cultic.



#37 Euthymios

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 09:40 AM

My main point is that it seems like there were a lot of man-made developments that have absolutely no foundation in Christ or the apostles. So I see no valid grounds for us to condemn Protestants, since they simply want to stay with the simplicity and purity of the original Gospel.

 

Moderator, I was talking about Protestants who affirm the deity of Christ. The only reason the "orthodox' version gained so much power over the heretics, was because Constantine absorbed it into the empire. Evey thing else was crushed.



#38 Euthymios

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 09:45 AM

The idea that confessions should be short because the priest is limited in time, is ludicrous. Do you people even think about these things? Why should the layman have to suffer because the priest is unwilling or unable to hear a full confession? This is totally subjective. Father Seraphim's concept is nowhere taught in Scripture. He was just giving his own opinion.

 

There is no evidence of mandatory confession to a priest (especially as a requirement for salvation) in the earliest records of the Church. This is man-made, and went through a process of human development. I'm sorry. We blame Catholics for development. We are guilty of the same.



#39 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 10:07 AM

Euthymios, do you accept the authority of the ecumenical councils of the Church?

 

In view of what you say at post #34, it is sad and ironic that you bear the name of a great monastic who undoubtedly embraced what you deny.


Edited by Reader Andreas, 26 November 2014 - 10:12 AM.


#40 Olga

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 12:31 PM

You are looking at the Bible through a programmed Orthodox lens. The Bible and Christ never taught monasticism, obedience to a superior, the tonsure, cutting hair, vows,

 

I repeat that Orthodoxy does not rely solely on the written word of scripture for its teachings, but on the fullness of Holy Tradition. The Bible as we know it is a product of the Church. The Church is not a product of the Bible.







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