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How much of the Church's teaching must one accept to be Orthodox?


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#1 Speros

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 10:45 PM

To be an Orthodox Christian, am I required to believe that Orthodoxy is the one true church? To what extent am I to agree with the teachings of the church as authoritative and unquestionable? If I have doubts on the perpetual virginity of Mary or petitionary prayer to the saints, would that exclude me from being Orthodox?

The times when I tried to agree with the Orthodox Church 100% were also times when I was the most judgmental and insecure. I cared more about agreeing with church teachings with absolute exactitude than living out my love for Jesus and others. Since I honestly no longer believe that the Orthodox Church or any church is infallible, I'm not sure if I have a place in it.

I do not bring these questions to be argumentative. They are sincere questions. I do not intend to defame the Orthodox Church in any way. While I no longer consider myself an Orthodox Christian, I do not necessarily identify as Protestant or Roman Catholic either. My honest hope is that we could someday move beyond sectarianism.

#2 Speros

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 05:17 AM

I do not mean to cause offense or scandal in starting this thread and I'm sorry if it's given that impression. Please remember the fathers who wrote "We know where the Church is, we do not know where the Church is not."

#3 Paul Cowan

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 06:05 AM

Please remember the fathers who wrote "We know where the Church is, we do not know where the Church is not."


If this is true, then why fight against what it teaches? As I have said in many other threads; my short 43 years of life and 8 years in the OC and my perhaps an hour a day of really trying to understand things does in no way compare to the 2000 years of millions of church fathers that gave their entire lives over to understanding these things. Blind obedience? sometimes. Ask questions? all the time. Turn my back on the answers? never.

If you know what is right, seek it out. If it eludes you, try harder. If you still can't find it, ask for God's help. What did He say about knocking and receiving?

Paul

#4 Michael Stickles

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 06:09 AM

Speros,

Well, if having doubts about Mary's perpetual virginity excludes one from being Orthodox, then I was a "bad boy" - that wasn't fully resolved in my mind until maybe six months after we were received into the church. All I could come to by the time we became catechumens was a realization that I had previously objected to that doctrine, not because of any sound Scriptural interpretation, but because of my western view of sexuality. Praying to saints was a similar issue. (Interestingly, when I prayed to God about the whole issue, the reply I felt I got, was that I needed to ask the Theotokos. I argued with God a bit - wouldn't that be kind of assuming the answer? - but eventually I did it, and got the distinct impression that my doubts didn't bother her at all, and I just needed to trust that it would all get straightened out in the end, which it did)

Regarding Orthodoxy as the One True Church, there was a rather long discussion a while back on The Church: it's nature, limits and boundaries which might be useful in that regard. While I think it is essential to accept that Orthodoxy is the One True Church, one needs to understand what "One", "True", and "Church" mean in that context. If I told one of my Protestant friends that Orthodoxy is the One True Church, I would be speaking the truth, but what he would hear would be a lie even by an Orthodox understanding.

There's a lot more that could be said, but I just looked at the clock and I should have been in bed two hours ago. Hopefully some other folks will chime in here.

In Christ,
Michael

#5 Speros

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:02 AM

If this is true, then why fight against what it teaches? As I have said in many other threads; my short 43 years of life and 8 years in the OC and my perhaps an hour a day of really trying to understand things does in no way compare to the 2000 years of millions of church fathers that gave their entire lives over to understanding these things. Blind obedience? sometimes. Ask questions? all the time. Turn my back on the answers? never.


I've provided this quote from Bishop Kallistos Ware to encourage tolerance. I personally believe that the mystical body of Christ is beyond our denominational barriers and squabbles.

I have more serious disagreements with Eastern Orthodoxy than just praying to saints or whether the perpetual virginity of Mary assumes a negative view of human sexuality, that even in marriage, the sex act is impure and defiling.

My major struggle with Orthodoxy has been its belief in the priesthood as serving a separate and distinct spiritual role from the laity. I believe there are abuses and excesses of the priesthood as an institution than can be very damaging to a person's spiritual life. Saying this however is not intended to defame anyone. I now find solace in Luther's doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, which I believe has Biblical support.

I could go more in depth about disagreements that I've had with Orthdodoxy, presenting well thought and well researched opinions as irenically as possible, though I'm not sure yet if this is the kind of forum that tolerates that kind of discussion.

Please keep in mind, I in no way wish to condemn those who choose to be Orthodox Christian. I just don't believe that every Christian is meant to be Orthodox.

#6 Speros

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:23 AM

Please keep in mind, I do not wish to convert you to my position or have you convert me. My hope is to help foster tolerance and mutual understanding.

#7 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 11:05 AM

Questioning which results in a deepening of faith is beneficial; the Holy Spirit leads us into truth. Questioning which causes a loss of faith is a temptation; the evil one leads us into falsehood. Christ promised to send us the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. His Church invoked this promise when it met in the ecumenical councils. If the faith formulated at those councils is not infallible, either Christ didn't keep His promise, or the Holy Spirit didn't lead the Church into all truth.

#8 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 01:50 PM

Please keep in mind, I do not wish to convert you to my position or have you convert me. My hope is to help foster tolerance and mutual understanding.


Sometimes "tolerance" is the most intolerant thing there is, because it demands I "accept" as equal to truth that which is clearly error. It refuses to allow disagreement, and refuses to acknowledge that the difference between right and wrong is not merely one of opinion.

We "understand" the teachings of other "belief systems". Many of us once advocated them ourselves, before we realized they were simply falsehood and we exchanged them for the Truth. To simply claim we "don't understand" and are "intolerant" I personally find condescending.

I am not out to force Hindus and Buddhists and Protestants to convert to Orthodoxy. I "tolerate" their continued existence. But I refuse to quit praying that they may come to know Christ in love and in Truth, and to believe and preach that the Orthodox Church, alone in all the religions and philosophies and "belief systems" of the world, preserves and teaches the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I will defend the hope that is in me as the Apostle Paul commends me and I will not be silenced when "tolerance" demands I simply shut up and "accept" error and claims that I merely don't "understand" it. But that might just be me.

Herman the Pooh

#9 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 02:02 PM

To be an Orthodox Christian, am I required to believe that Orthodoxy is the one true church? To what extent am I to agree with the teachings of the church as authoritative and unquestionable? If I have doubts on the perpetual virginity of Mary or petitionary prayer to the saints, would that exclude me from being Orthodox?


You can believe whatever you want. If you want to believe that the Theotokos had other children or that the Sun circles a flat earth and the moon is made of green cheese, then go right ahead, knock yourself out. Are the things you do believe and accept justified and capable of defense or are they merely an inability to understand the Truth, or merely a matter of opinion? Is opinion the same as Truth? What if things like the perpetual virginity of the Theotokos are just as justifiable as the true shape of the Earth, the "Flat Earth Society" notwithstanding

The times when I tried to agree with the Orthodox Church 100% were also times when I was the most judgmental and insecure. I cared more about agreeing with church teachings with absolute exactitude than living out my love for Jesus and others. Since I honestly no longer believe that the Orthodox Church or any church is infallible, I'm not sure if I have a place in it.


That certainly sounds like a personal issue that you need to deal with. You are not alone according to Holy Scripture, see John 6:65-66.

I do not bring these questions to be argumentative. They are sincere questions. I do not intend to defame the Orthodox Church in any way. While I no longer consider myself an Orthodox Christian, I do not necessarily identify as Protestant or Roman Catholic either. My honest hope is that we could someday move beyond sectarianism.


So, um, what was the question again? Really?

Herman the questioning Pooh

#10 Owen Jones

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 02:18 PM

I really cannot state the nature of the problem better than this:


On Doctrinal Truth and Skepticism

When doctrinal truth becomes socially dominant, even the knowledge of the processes by which doctrine derives from the original account, and the original account from the engendering experience, may get lost. The symbols may altogether cease to be translucent for reality. They will, then, be misunderstood as propositions referring to things in the manner of propositions concerning objects of sense perception; and since the case does not fit the model, they will provoke the reaction of skepticism on the gamut from a Pyrrhonian suspense of judgment, to vulgarian agnosticism, and further on to the smart idiot questions of "How to do you know?" and "How can you prove it?" that every college teacher knows from his classroom. . . .

CW Vol 12 ,
Immortality: Experience and Symbol,
p 54.

#11 Anna Stickles

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 02:37 PM

Speros,

Belief is not something we can force ourselves into, trying to force ourselves this way always causes insecurity, in whatever area of life we find ourselves doing it in. We grow into the truth.

One of my favorite quote is from a Protestant, George MacDonald, speaking to Reformed Christians who thought that the foundational thing that made one a true Christian was having a right belief. MacDonald's reply which very much agrees with the Orthodox approach is that practice and obedience has to come before belief.

‘Do I believe or feel this thing right?’—the true question is forgotten: ‘Have I left all to follow him?’ To the man who gives himself to the living Lord, every belief will necessarily come right; the Lord himself will see that his disciple believe aright concerning him. If a man cannot trust him for this, what claim can he make to faith in him? It is because he has little or no faith, that he is left clinging to preposterous and dishonouring ideas, the traditions of men concerning his Father. ...

I do not attempt to change your opinions; if they are wrong, the obedience alone on which I insist can enable you to set them right; I only pray you to obey, and assert that thus only can you fit yourselves for understanding the mind of Christ. I say none but he who does right, can think right; you cannot know Christ to be right until you do as he does, as he tells you to do; neither can you set him forth, until you know him as he means himself to be known, that is, as he is.

"If in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless whereto we have already attained, let us walk by that same."

Observe what widest conceivable scope is given by the apostle to honest opinion, even in things of grandest import!—the one only essential point with him is, that whereto we have attained, what we have seen to be true, we walk by that. In such walking, and in such walking only, love will grow, truth will grow; the soul, then first in its genuine element and true relation towards God, will see into reality that was before but a blank to it; and he who has promised to teach, will teach abundantly. Faster and faster will the glory of the Lord dawn upon the hearts and minds of his people so walking—then his people indeed; fast and far will the knowledge of him spread, for truth of action, both preceding and following truth of word, will prepare the way before him.

There is plenty of room in Orthodoxy for those who believe differently if they are willing to follow the practices of the Church and trust Christ to help them grow into the truth. The Orthodox view of the Fall teaches us that we don't understand because of our lack of grace. We need to obey to grow in grace. When we grow in grace our minds are enlightened and the truth becomes clear.

On the priesthood

"All the righteous possess the sarcedotal rank. And all the apostles of the Lord are priests who do inherit here neither land nor houses, but serve God and the altar continually." St Ireneaus of Lyons

Priests and the priesthood aren't going to be perfect. We live in a fallen world. But within the Church we find a type or figure of the kingdom of God, and thus the priesthood serves this purpose of showing us a spiritual truth about the kingdom of heaven.

If we remove the priesthood, we mar the figure and never understand what it even means to "serve God and the altar continually". In an effort to make everyone priests, we lose any real experience of what it means that we are "the royal priesthood", since then there is no altar, and no one serving.

Edited by Anna Stickles, 11 December 2009 - 02:52 PM.


#12 Nina

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 03:14 PM

Please keep in mind, I do not wish to convert you to my position or have you convert me. My hope is to help foster tolerance and mutual understanding.


Right. Our forefathers by the Grace of God fought to martyrdom for the Truth, and just an internet posting will convert us away from the Truth. God does not abandon us that easy.

Herman replied very good to you Spiros, but still you should not assume we are not tolerant and have no understanding.

May Saint Spyridon (Spiros) who celebrates this coming Saturday, intercede for you in your struggles.

#13 Speros

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 08:23 PM

If we remove the priesthood, we mar the figure and never understand what it even means to "serve God and the altar continually". In an effort to make everyone priests, we lose any real experience of what it means that we are "the royal priesthood", since then there is no altar, and no one serving.


In the New Testament, "priest" is not used for an office of the church aside from the high priesthood of Christ and the priesthood of all believers.

The concept of confession of sin to a priest is nowhere taught in Scripture. First, the New Testament does not teach that there are to be priests in the New Covenant. Instead, the New Testament teaches that all believers are priests. 1 Peter 2:5-9 describes believers as a “holy priesthood” and a “royal priesthood.” Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 both describe believers as “a kingdom and priests.” In the Old Covenant, the faithful had to approach God through the priests. The priests were mediators between the people and God. The priests offered sacrifices to God on behalf of the people. That is no longer necessary. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can now approach God’s throne with boldness (Hebrews 4:16). The temple veil tearing in two at Jesus’ death was symbolic of the dividing wall between God and humanity being destroyed. We can approach God directly, ourselves, without the use of a human mediator. Why? Because Jesus Christ is our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-15; 10:21), and the only mediator between us and God (1 Timothy 2:5). The New Testament teaches that there are to be elders (1 Timothy 3), deacons (1 Timothy 3), bishops (Titus 1:6-9), and pastors (Ephesians 4:11) – but not priests.

When it comes to confession of sin, believers are told in 1 John 1:9 to confess their sins to God. God is faithful and just to forgive our sins as we confess them to Him. James 5:16 speaks of confessing our trespasses “to one another,” but this is not the same as confessing sins to a priest as the Roman Catholic Church teaches. Priests / church leaders are nowhere mentioned in the context of James 5:16. Further, James 5:16 does not link forgiveness of sins with the confession of sins “to one another.”

The Roman Catholic Church* bases their practice of confession to a priest primarily on Catholic tradition. Catholic do point to John 20:23, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." From this verse, Catholics claim that God gave the apostles the authority to forgive sins, and that authority was passed on to the successors of the apostles, e.g. the bishops and priests of the Roman Catholic Church. There are several problems with this interpretation. (1) John 20:23 nowhere mentions confession of sin. (2) John 20:23 nowhere promises, or even hints, that the authority to forgive sins would be passed on to the successors of the apostles. Jesus’ promise was specifically directed to the apostles. (3) The New Testament nowhere states that the apostles would even have successors to their apostolic authority. Similarly, Catholics point to Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 (binding and loosing) as evidence for the Catholic Church’s authority to forgive sins. The same three above points apply equally to these Scriptures.

Again, the concept of confession of sin to a priest is nowhere taught in Scripture. We are to confess our sins to God (1 John 1:9). As New Covenant believers, we do not need mediators between us and God. We can go to God directly because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
http://www.gotquesti...sin-priest.html


*What is stated of Catholic tradition in this articles applies to Orthodox tradition as well.

By relying on Jesus as the sole mediator between God and man, I've sought a relationship with Christ in a way that I hadn't before. I actually want to know Him personally, rather than relying on an institution for mediation. A pastor should serve the congregation as a facilitator, not as one who claims to have a special spiritual role that the laity themselves cannot potentially fulfill.

The early church was more egalitarian than the hierarchical structure which developed over time. For example, there is ample Scriptural evidence of women preaching in the early church that I've provided elsewhere:
http://www.facebook....id=183155061919

#14 Speros

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 08:31 PM

Sometimes "tolerance" is the most intolerant thing there is, because it demands I "accept" as equal to truth that which is clearly error. It refuses to allow disagreement, and refuses to acknowledge that the difference between right and wrong is not merely one of opinion.

We "understand" the teachings of other "belief systems". Many of us once advocated them ourselves, before we realized they were simply falsehood and we exchanged them for the Truth. To simply claim we "don't understand" and are "intolerant" I personally find condescending.


It's hard for me to describe the sense of freedom that I have now and didn't have before, in changing from dogmatism to perspectivism. Instead of focusing on whether a particular doctrine is absolutely right and how this can be demonstrated, I care more about authenticating faith through manifesting God's love for others in one's own words and actions, that love is the ultimate standard. (1 John 2:3-11, Matthew 7:20)

By reading Nietzsche and others, I came to the realization that all human knowledge is fallible and subject to interpretation. I then started caring more about whether a church outwardly manifests God's love in real and concrete ways than whether it preserves a rigid orthodoxy.
"In essential things, unity. In doubtful things, liberty. In all things, charity."

I feel like a barrier has been lifted that prevented me from seeing people as people, rather than as adversaries, as "heterodox". In the words of Karl Popper, "Once we realize that human knowledge is fallible, we realize also that we can never be completely certain that we have not made a mistake."

I used to be a sectarian, insisting that my church is the only true church. I now think sectarianism fogs the mind, hardens the heart, and creates barriers between Christians. If a Protestant is any non-Catholic Western Christian, that could mean I have been Protestant for the past year.

And if I am attending a church that is historically Protestant, that might make me Protestant. But when I think of my relation with the Christian faith, I'm looking at it as a whole, as in catholic with a small "c". The words "catholic" and "ecumenical" are synonymous.

I feel like I could read a book of Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic theology and find it just as enriching as Donald Bloesch or John Howard Yoder. I feel like I can visit a prayer meeting with charismatic Catholics speaking in tongues and not be uncomfortable, and perhaps even feel at home.

So instead of changing from the Eastern Orthodox team to the Protestant team, I feel like I've transcended teams. Perhaps this is what Lewis was getting at with the term "Mere Christianity". It's a very serene place to be. It's an indescribable joy in Christ.

#15 Speros

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 09:24 PM

Right. Our forefathers by the Grace of God fought to martyrdom for the Truth, and just an internet posting will convert us away from the Truth. God does not abandon us that easy.


On my father's side of the family, I have Greek Orthodox Christians going back for thousands of years, many of whom were persecuted by Turks for their faith. My mother side of the family, on the other hand, were English Protestants who may have come to this country on the Mayflower. Which forefathers am I to follow and why? Can I not respect both?

Please keep in mind, I would be a total hypocrite if I didn't tolerate your right to believe that Eastern Orthodoxy is the one true church. I'm interested in the best evidence you'd have to support that claim. I may not end up agreeing with your Orthodox faith, but I'd gain a deeper appreciation for why you believe it.

#16 Paul Cowan

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 01:06 AM

A pastor should serve the congregation as a facilitator, not as one who claims to have a special spiritual role that the laity themselves cannot potentially fulfill.


Yes, this is why the EO priests face east when serving compared to the RC priests who face west when serving.

#17 Ryan

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 02:08 AM

On my father's side of the family, I have Greek Orthodox Christians going back for thousands of years, many of whom were persecuted by Turks for their faith. My mother side of the family, on the other hand, were English Protestants who may have come to this country on the Mayflower. Which forefathers am I to follow and why? Can I not respect both?


Nina was speaking, I believe, about forefathers in the faith, not necessarily forefathers according to blood. It doesn't make sense to believe in something just because your ancestors did. I'd have to be some weird Roman Catholic/ Buddhist hybrid.

Please keep in mind, I would be a total hypocrite if I didn't tolerate your right to believe that Eastern Orthodoxy is the one true church. I'm interested in the best evidence you'd have to support that claim. I may not end up agreeing with your Orthodox faith, but I'd gain a deeper appreciation for why you believe it.


I'm not sure what you mean by "tolerate", but I suspect it is approaching relativism. Your principle, that the different Christian "denominations" are just imperfect, human approaches to the same gospel, is not, in my opinion, qualitatively different from the idea that different religions are just imperfect, human ways of relating to the absolute.

I don't know about evidence or proof, but if you are a Christian, you believe there is one true God, who revealed the one true faith to mankind. Just as God became visible, so the Church he founded is visible, and visibly united. From the standpoint of the incarnation, it seems to me, it makes no sense to allow for multiple churches. Even before the incarnation, when God was only dimly known to man, the faith of the Israelites was undoubtedly superior to the other religions in the world, even if those religions apprehended some valid, if distorted, truths about God. Unless the faith is man-made, the Church cannot be man-made.

#18 Kosta

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 03:26 AM

The Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It is the Church of the Fathers and there is no other. The word denomination is a fairly new protestant invention of a few hundred years. There were plenty of splinter groups in early christianity but no one ever recognized them as denominations or branches of christianity. In fact the splinter groups themselves never conjured up such a theory to describe themselves in relation to the others. There is simply no historical evidence for such a concept.

The earliest canons of the ecumenical council for reception of the heterodox into the church, was either thru chrismation only or (re)baptism. Those members of splinter groups who practised baptism in triple immersion and in each name of the Trinity, such as the Arians, were still considered christians, but as cacodox orphans with no Mothers. Anotherwords their previous congregations were not considered the Church in anyway, even though some aspects of christianity was recognized in the individual. The other splinter groups on the other hand, such as the montanists, were recieved as heathens (not recognized as christians at all) and went thru the process as any pagan seeking conversion.

As you can see the Church has recognized in other groups who claimed christianity ( originally falling away from her bosom to create its own schism) depending on their trinitarian baptismal theology whether they should be recognized as christians or not, but this never extended to their congregation which was nothing more than a graceless body. There is NO historical evidence that denominationalism ever existed or was ever recognized. In fact protestantism itself needed time to come up with this novel innovation, to explain away their persuasions.

The type of Christ being crucified. Not a bone of him was broken. What does this mean? It means that Christs Body is not fractured, not in sections, not dividied. It is One and visible. The Orthodox Church is the Body of Christ not the denominations.

#19 Speros

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 03:41 AM

Yes, this is why the EO priests face east when serving compared to the RC priests who face west when serving.


If you believe that only a priest can hear confession, provide absolution, and administer the sacraments, that entails a belief that a priest serves a distinct spiritual role from the laity. Where in the New Testament or clear historical evidence do you find support for such a belief?

#20 Speros

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 03:56 AM

I'm not sure what you mean by "tolerate", but I suspect it is approaching relativism. Your principle, that the different Christian "denominations" are just imperfect, human approaches to the same gospel, is not, in my opinion, qualitatively different from the idea that different religions are just imperfect, human ways of relating to the absolute.


There is a difference between perspectivism and relativism. While relativism claims that there is no real truth, perspectivism is honest enough to admit that humans will interpret the same truth in many different ways.

I don't know about evidence or proof, but if you are a Christian, you believe there is one true God, who revealed the one true faith to mankind. Just as God became visible, so the Church he founded is visible, and visibly united. From the standpoint of the incarnation, it seems to me, it makes no sense to allow for multiple churches. Even before the incarnation, when God was only dimly known to man, the faith of the Israelites was undoubtedly superior to the other religions in the world, even if those religions apprehended some valid, if distorted, truths about God. Unless the faith is man-made, the Church cannot be man-made.


Is the church a building or an institution or is it a mystical reality that transcends buildings and institutions?

Act 7:48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
Act 7:49 Heaven [is] my throne, and earth [is] my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what [is] the place of my rest?

The Jews believed that God is worshiped in a temple, and the Samaritans believed that God is worshiped on a mountain, and Jesus came to preach that worship transcends both.

John 4
21Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

This is an excerpt from Luther's catechism. I do not quote it as Gospel but as a basic example of what I'm getting at. -

The Church, the Communion of Saints

by Martin Luther

169. What is the holy Christian church?

The holy Christian church is the communion of saints, the total number of those who believe in Christ. All believers in Christ, but only believers, are members of the church (invisible church).

596 Eph.2:19-22 You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.

597 John 10:16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to My voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

598 Rom.8:9 If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

170. Why do you say, "I believe" in the church?

A. Because faith, which makes people members of the church, is invisible, the church is invisible to human eyes.

599 Luke 17:20-21 The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, "Here it is, "or "There it is, "because the kingdom of God is within you.

600 2 Tim.2:19 God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are His."
http://www.issuesetc...ives/church.htm


The early church met in houses or catacombs as a counterculture for Christ, standing and dying in defiance of worldly prestige, wealth, nationalism, and violence. In stark contrast, the imperial church meets in a domed building paid for with blood money. Can what begins as a grassroots movement against empire suddenly become the official religion of empire? Do you not see the tragedy in this?

Post-Constantinization, was humanity totally lost? No, because the Gospel could still be received and believed by the individual Christian, despite the corrupted nature of the institution to which he belonged. Martin Luther believed that restoring the first century church is impossible. The true church, being invisible, includes members of Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant denominations as the mystical body of Christ.

I appreciate this exchange we are having. I hope to learn more from your point of view. If you can logically demonstrate that Orthodoxy is the one true church, I'd be very much interested.




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