Thank you for your thoughts, kindly shared. I'll address your main point stated here:
The problem, as I see it, is not about the Holy Spirit 'contradicting' Himself, but rather with the vessels which are supposed to receive the Holy Spirit and be guided by Him. I think that Christ's church has prevailed not because of the absolute purity of these vessels, but instead has prevailed despite the impurities. From my point of view, I believe that the birds of the air have nested themselves in the mustard seed tree's branches, resulting in division and contradictions.
I can understand how this can lead to the objection "So what hope is there then?" To which I can only say, I only know my sins, and can only pray the Jesus prayer. My prayer is that Christ would find faith in me when He returns. I do not claim to know anything or have definitive answers for others. My understanding of my own theology is that it is both weak and deeply fallible. I have no objections to others criticizing me for this admission, in fact, I respect the criticism.
Thanks for this. That is my prayer as well. I don't have all the answers either. I appreciate your kindness. I'm trying to understand your position on these things, so this helps.
The problem, as I see it, is not about the Holy Spirit 'contradicting' Himself, but rather with the vessels which are supposed to receive the Holy Spirit and be guided by Him.
I think what you are getting at is this: The problem is not so much that the Holy Spirit contradicts itself as much as it is that groups who claim to have the Holy Spirit
Perhaps I didn't make my point clearly enough or was confusing, since you are saying precisely what I was saying. Let me modify what I said a bit, which I'll indicate with an underline.
If group X and Y claim that their teachings are the result of their having the Holy Spirit, and X teaches doctrine D, and Y teaches not
D, then we have a problem: Only one of those groups is teaching a doctrine according to the Holy Spirit, or neither of them are, since we know for a fact that the Holy Spirit does not contradict itself
How is this relevant?
It forces us to answer the following question:
Can the Holy Spirit instruct a group X toward teaching doctrine 'D', and then, at the same time
, instruct another group Y toward teaching the doctrine 'not D'?
Sorry if this sounds pedantic. I hope the above is lucid enough.
I think that Christ's church has prevailed not because of the absolute purity of these vessels, but instead has prevailed despite the impurities.
If by "Christ's church" you mean the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, then what you say is exactly what the OC believes, given its long history of battling heresies coming from within, even. If this is what you mean, then why not join "Christ's church"? This is a rhetorical question.Full disclosure
: The general argument I'm making is that there is only One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. If this is true, no argument of circularity is possible.
Respectfully and in Christ's love.