Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Belief or sacraments: What makes a person Orthodox?


  • Please log in to reply
33 replies to this topic

#21 Ryan

Ryan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 837 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 06 May 2009 - 12:27 PM

Sorry, but I'm not so sure. Talk to many Copts and you will not hear a word of disagreement over matters of faith. I have.


Unfortunately, one could talk to many Orthodox who have no clue why we are not in communion with Rome (see Fabio's disturbing post above). Anecdotal evidence doesn't amount to much.

That said, if there is really no disagreement, then the anathemas pronounced by Dioscoros against Chalcedon should be repudiated and the council accepted. Instead, there continue to be assertions coming from the non-Chalcedonian camp ranging from that the council was dangerously capable of Nestorian interpretation to that the council was Nestorian plain and simple. (In fact, to be consistent, they should also anathematize St. Cyril's letter to John of Antioch).

Or perhaps there are too many elder brothers to resent the return home of the prodigal?


This suggests (and I would agree) that "home" is the Orthodox Church, and that the "prodigals" are those who left the church by wrongly rejecting the council of Chalcedon. The prodigal repented of his sins. As far as I know, none of the non-Chalcedonians consider their schism something to repent about...

Perhaps nobody was wrong, perhaps there was merely some serious linguistic and cultural misunderstanding on both sides? Like that has never happened before.....


Have there been two Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Churches? Did God allow his church to be split for over 1000 years?

If it was simply a misunderstanding, and not a real difference, then obviously somebody was wrong to perpetuate the schism for so long.

If it's just a linguistic and cultural misunderstanding, then there's no reason to continue rejecting Chalcedon. If, as is claimed, the theology of the "Oriental Orthodox" is indeed orthodox, then accepting Chalcedon need not have any dramatic effect on the life of their churches.

In actuality, the "Oriental Orthodox" continue to maintain that their rejection of Chalcedon is based on principle, not semantics or politics.

#22 Peter G.

Peter G.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 15 posts

Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:22 AM

I used to know a number of Copts and I have met Pope Shenouda. Theological differences between them and us there are to be sure but I have never met in any other Christian community such warmth, gentleness, humility, spiritual depth and love as I have among Copts and I cannot call them heretics. They may not be in communion with us, but I feel sure they are in communion with God. I am confident they will not lose their reward. Much the same goes for the Ethiopians. Where else but in Egypt and Ethiopia do men still sit in caves with nothing but a Bible and chotki, and pray?


They are heretics and that's the bottom line. I believe it was in the 3rd Ecumenical Councel that they were declared to be schismatics according to our Holy Fathers. Accepting Christ as being completely Divine is a huge heresy.

#23 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 12 May 2009 - 09:45 AM

They are heretics and that's the bottom line. I believe it was in the 3rd Ecumenical Councel that they were declared to be schismatics according to our Holy Fathers. Accepting Christ as being completely Divine is a huge heresy.


Except that is not what they believe. If they don't actually believe the heresy they are accused of, are they really heretics?

Herman the wondering Pooh

#24 Peter G.

Peter G.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 15 posts

Posted 12 May 2009 - 05:01 PM

Except that is not what they believe. If they don't actually believe the heresy they are accused of, are they really heretics?


Herman the wondering Pooh


I always thought that's what they believed in. Also if they don't believe that now, they did back then and neve repented for it. I could be wrong though

#25 Fabio Lins

Fabio Lins

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 139 posts

Posted 12 May 2009 - 07:20 PM

I think the question is:
Have they really never meant that Jesus is just God or are just today's copts interpreting it that way despite their predecessors having believed otherwise?

You know, I am always flabbergasted by our modern attitude of being so sure of the "real meaning" of events hundrends, thousands of years in the past *better* than the people who were living the situation. This is so sistematic, so impervious to our societies today that it is hard to explain and, IMO, it is the source of much suffering.

On a second look, this attitude is the very source of Roman schism. One day the West woke up and said: "You know what? All those fathers always saying the same thing can't be right. *We* understand they all better for the simple fact that we came after. We, the current day people, can be the judge and improvers of the past. Let's call it development of the Revelation" and Presto! an infallible judge pops out from thin air. Than an infallible book. Than an infallible "human nature". Than the "course of history". Maybe, if development happens in God revelation, why not in history instead of in the eschaton? And if so, why not the same in the biological kingdom? Creation by development... society itself may evolve.. through race, through the struggle of classes, through global tolerance... today better than yesterday.

All these, put together, have one common base (notwithstanding their other different bases): today can judge yesterday. The fact that I came after should not put me in a position of humble obedience to the experience of the past, but puts me in an arrogant position of thinking that I can understand, if not the details, the general framework of everything that came before and use it as an element of my own ideas. The past is not my teacher, it is my tool. I am not an atom in a ocean of human experience, I am the synthesis of it all, the qualitative leap forward.

----

Not very related to the topic, but putting things together: if today's Copts want to say that their predescessors said what they say they said, they have to prove not only that, but how could some of the brightest minds of the time have got it so wrong and also how such an intricate knot that the people of the time, to whom the languages we examine were their first languages, could not untie, suddenly became so clear.

And the same goes for all the ecumenical arguments of "it's been just a cultural and linguistic misunderstanding all along. Let's move on from the culturally intolerant ways of the past to the new, modern tolerant culturally sensitive ways of today".

In Christ,
Fabio L. Leite

#26 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 12 May 2009 - 07:58 PM

I always thought that's what they believed in. Also if they don't believe that now, they did back then and neve repented for it. I could be wrong though


Do you ever get frustrated when a Protestant comes up to you and says, "well YOU guys worship idols!" "YOU believe that you can earn salvation!"

How can you repent of something you were never guilty of? "I'm sorry that I don't really believe what you think I do"?

You are going to have to prove that "they" ever believed that Our Lord Jesus Christ was not fully God and fully man, with a reputable reference please, and not mere rumor and hearsay, especially when you are throwing around that "H" Bomb.

At any rate, I believe we have gone well off-topic here and if there are any further contributions along these lines I suggest you search and find one of the many older threads on this topic or start a new one.

O Bother!
Herman the moderating Pooh

#27 Ryan

Ryan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 837 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 12 May 2009 - 10:53 PM

Do you ever get frustrated when a Protestant comes up to you and says, "well YOU guys worship idols!" "YOU believe that you can earn salvation!"


Yes, that is frustrating. It's also frustrating to be told that the 4th Ecumenical Council was Nestorian and that "You may not be heretics, but Pope Leo certainly was!"

You are going to have to prove that "they" ever believed that Our Lord Jesus Christ was not fully God and fully man, with a reputable reference please, and not mere rumor and hearsay, especially when you are throwing around that "H" Bomb.


Fr. Paul Verghese, a priest of the Syrian church in India, wrote the following:

We are unable to say what this council says when it affirms "two wills and two operations concurring most fitly in him"....

To summarize: Acceptance of the Sixth Council is much more difficult for us than the acceptance of Chalcedon. The following are the chief reasons:...

b) We are unable to accept the dithelete formula, attributing will and energy to the natures rather than to the hypostasis. We can only affirm the one united and unconfused divine-human nature, will and energy of Christ the incarnate Lord.

c) We find that this Sixth Council exalts as its standard mainly the teaching of Leo and Agatho, popes of Rome, paying only lip-service to the teachings of the Blessed Cyril. We regard Leo as a heretic for his teaching that the will and operation of Christ is to be attributed to the two natures of Christ rather than to the one hypostasis. The human nature is as "natural" to Christ the incarnate Word as is the divine. It is one hypostasis who now is both divine and human, and all the activities come from the one hypostasis (Review, pp. 140-141; Does Chalcedon Unite or Divide, pp. 134-135).


This passage was quoted in this article, which demonstrates why we really do not share the same beliefs with the non-Chalcedonians.

If Fr. Paul Verghese's opinion, expressly rejecting the 6th ecumenical council and dyothelitism, is representative of the non-Chalcedonian position, they are indeed heretics.

#28 Owen Jones

Owen Jones

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,341 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 13 May 2009 - 02:23 PM

Let me thank the participants in this thread on their knowledge of Christological controversies, which I have always found to be totally befuddling, and still do. I'm trying....

#29 D. W. Dickens

D. W. Dickens

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 287 posts

Posted 13 May 2009 - 03:26 PM

I've got a question for our more learned members.

Is the problem with these heresies which involve such unapproachable terminology primarily a problem with the language or what that language implies about our experience in the Church and our life in Christ?

I have accepted the councils because that is what was required of me and to my limited understanding of the fathers I read before converting I believe they are correct (frankly I'd rather accept them out of obedience than attempt to sit in judgment over them, but as a convert you're stuck doing both).

Before I read the exact nature of the problem, the debate over the title Theotokos made no sense to me. But without understanding that I still believed the 2nd Person of the Trinity was born of her. That is that Jesus was actually God. So, if Mariology is primarily about preserving Christology and my Christology was already sound, was my misunderstanding heresy?

Is it possible that hypostasis, ousia, nature, energies, etc are being misused? That they serve to protect, preserve, safe-guard, communicate the truth about God but are not the Truth themselves? To be utterly blunt, can someone use the wrong words, or use them wrongly, but still believe the same thing we do?

#30 Peter F.

Peter F.

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • 1 posts

Posted 13 May 2009 - 08:23 PM

I don't mean to stir the pot but I was curious if you were aware of the Agreed statements of the Joint Commission of the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches

First Agreed Statement which deals mostly with Christology

Second Agreed Statement which deals with other issues
(points 2 & 3 touch upon Ryan's point of monotheletism)

Finally their Proposal for Lifting of Anathemas

Just some food for thought.



#31 Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 79 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 20 May 2009 - 03:34 AM

Anathemas are only indirect confessions of faith: they are to the dogmata and kerygmata what apophaticism is to mystical theology. We should be aware that both sides of this issue anathematize (at least) the founders of the respective heresies: arius, apollonarius, eutyches and nestorius.

As regards dioscorus and severus and Leo and agatho, none of what these write confirms to anyof these heresies because all sides condemn them! Therefore: may the church error in personal anathemas if the persons DO hold the orthodox faith?

#32 Ryan

Ryan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 837 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 20 May 2009 - 03:45 AM

Dear Peter F.- For some reason I missed your post and did not respond. I'm aware of the various agreed statements and have read them over. I do not find them particularly convincing of anything other than the desire of some theologians on both sides to merge our churches. It seems to me that the rush for union is hasty and reckless. Even in the agreed statements, we find troubling bits like this:

8. Both families accept the first three Ecumenical Councils, which form our common heritage. In relation to the four later Councils of the Orthodox Church, the Orthodox state that for them the above points 1-7 are the teachings also of the four later Councils of the Orthodox Church, while the Oriental Orthodox consider this statement of the Orthodox as their interpretation. With this understanding, the Oriental Orthodox respond to it positively.


I am not convinced that the non-Chalcedonians really believe we are Orthodox, as they are unable to accept the orthodoxy of councils 4-7 without qualifications or weasel-wording. The overall impression I get is that they regard us as erstwhile Nestorians who eventually saw the errors of our ways. This attitude cannot be the basis of any honest union- it is an insult to our Church's history, to its saints, to its tradition.

I have seen many contradictory and confusing statements coming from the non-Chalcedonian camp, so the apparent rejection of monothelitism here does not convince me, especially since I have seen other statements that do affirm monothelitism.

As for lifting of anathemas, even some of those non-Chalcedonians who participated in the talks still regarded St. Leo as a heretic and will probably continue to say so behind closed doors even if anathemas are lifted. And in my opinion, no one today really has the authority to lift the anathemas given by our Fathers at the ecumenical councils.

#33 Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 79 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 20 May 2009 - 02:24 PM

"I am not convinced that the Chalcedonians really believe we are Orthodox, as they are unable to accept the orthodoxy of yhr Cyrilline Christology without qualifications or weasel-wording. The overall impression I get is that they regard us as erstwhile Monophysite Eutychians who eventually saw the errors of our ways. This attitude cannot be the basis of any honest union- it is an insult to our Church's history, to its saints, to its tradition.

I have seen many contradictory and confusing statements coming from the Chalcedonian camp, so the apparent rejection of Nestorianism here does not convince me, especially since I have seen other statements that do affirm a Nestorian understanding of "In two natures" and two independent centers of "Will."

The Knife Cuts both ways friends.

#34 Ryan

Ryan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 837 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 20 May 2009 - 02:29 PM

By all means, produce these Nestorian statements (no, the Tome of Leo doesn't count). At any rate, if the "knife cuts both ways" as you say, that is all the more reason why the rush toward union is foolhardy and baseless.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users