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Why did God allow the schisms of His Apostolic Church?


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#21 Angelos

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 11:10 PM

Father Moser, you stated "In order to be saved a person must be joined to the Church, because the Church itself by definition the Body of Christ of which we are members...this can happen by the grace of God after one has rejected the visible Church all his life"

So according to you, someone can be joined to the visible Church he has rejected all his life without even knowing it? Well these Church members as you call them, are not very visible (as far as their "membership" is concerned) to anyone on earth. So if by "visible" you mean visible only to God (and "invisible" to mere mortals like you and me), sure we do not disagree.

#22 Father David Moser

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 12:27 AM

What I am saying is that God alone determines who is saved and who is not and I'm not about to usurp His job. I can only tell that salvation is found within the Church - not outside - and that the Church is visible and it is the Orthodox Church. How you want to interpret that is up to you - but then you could be wrong.

Fr David (I was never ordained "Fr Moser" only "Fr David")

#23 Father David Moser

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 02:50 AM

In response to a few questions (sent privately) about my last response here, let me suggest the importance of reading the three articles that I linked. I think there is a great deal of information there that answers the questions. The authors are much wiser, more experienced and certainly more spiritually mature than I. Having read those, feel free to repost your questions, if they are remain unanswered.

Fr David

#24 Rick H.

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 01:07 PM

The answer to the question lies within . . .

. . . if we want Church unity, we must first find that unity within ourselves, and demonstrate it in our lives, and perhaps it is best to even avoid talking about the problem, because as soon as we talk about it as an external problem, or in terms of sociological or historical phenomena, we have begun to contribute to the problem.


I am fully convinced this is the bottom line here as it relates to the answer, the inner kingdom. This is wisdom from above that is first peaceable and easy to entreat.

It is almost always best to avoid talking about it because to shine a light on one's particularism is to just throw gas on a fire and ignite passions.

The only way to unity now is through a transcending of all divisions in Christ just as Owen has stated above . . . I have found that talking about unity often just contributes to the problem as he has said.

#25 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:15 PM

Unity means unity of faith under a canonical jurisdiction, nothing more and nothing less, doesn't it?

#26 Rick H.

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:38 PM

Unity means unity of faith under a canonical jurisdiction, nothing more and nothing less, doesn't it?


That's one definition.

But as it applies to this thread, probably one that is more meaningful to some of us would be to see unity in the sense of the Church as referring to an authentic catholicity and a genuine catholicity of the faith.

Much as the Late Fr. Florovsky was fond of saying:

The authentic catholicity of the Church must include both the West and the East.



#27 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:57 PM

I cannot think in what sense the Church and its unity as I have described it is not 'authentic' or 'genuine'. The Church clearly does include both the West and the East: it exists in both hemispheres.

#28 Rick H.

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 04:28 PM

I cannot think in what sense the Church and its unity as I have described it is not 'authentic' or 'genuine'. The Church clearly does include both the West and the East: it exists in both hemispheres.



I'm not sure you are understanding what is being discussed in this thread or the meaning of Fr. Florovsky's quote above, but then again you probably are and do.

#29 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 05:04 PM

I'm not sure you are understanding what is being discussed in this thread or the meaning of Fr. Florovsky's quote above, but then again you probably are and do.


Well, I thought my post #3 was not in error - no one said it was - so I think I am understanding what is being discussed in this thread. In 'Catholicity and The Church', John Meyendorff, writing of the Florovsky expression quoted, says it means, 'its [the Church's] mission to all'. I take that to mean all peoples, those in the hemisphere from the Prime Meridian eastwards to 180 degrees, and those in the hemisphere from the Prime Meridian westwards to 180 degrees.

#30 Rick H.

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 05:45 PM

That's odd, when I see Father Florovsky quoted on this its intended meaning has absolutely nothing to do with geography and longitude and latitude (or missiology) . . . but, everything to do with the great schism of the Church and the "theology of the East" and "the theology of the West."

His quote is used to show that what is divided needs to be united in order for there to be an authentic/genuine catholicism.

#31 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 07:43 PM

That's odd, when I see Father Florovsky quoted on this its intended meaning has absolutely nothing to do with geography and longitude and latitude (or missiology) . . . but, everything to do with the great schism of the Church and the "theology of the East" and "the theology of the West."

His quote is used to show that what is divided needs to be united in order for there to be an authentic/genuine catholicism.


There was no 'great schism of the Church': the patriarchate of Rome split from the Church. The 'theology of the East' is a meaningless expression: there is Orthodox theology and there is heterodox theology. Orthodox theology is to be found wherever the Church is, from Alaska to New Zealand. The expression 'the theology of the West' is equally meaningless: I live in the east (just - 00 degrees 27' E) and the theology in the Church here is Orthodox (necessarily) just as it is in Anchorage Alaska (about 150 degrees W).

It is nonsense and heretical to say that the heterodox churches such as the Roman Catholic Church must be united with the Orthodox church for the Orthodox Church to be possessed of 'authentic/genuine catholicism'. We do not say in the Creed, 'In One, Holy, Catholic (when it is united with the heterodox churches) and Apostolic Church'.

#32 Kosta

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 08:34 PM

The fullness of the catholic church is found even at the local parish level, as long as its united with a right believing bishop with apostolic succession and adheres to proper praxis.

All this stuff about unity requiring being buddy buddy with every bishop is nonsense. The names on the diptychs only represent which bishops are in unity with each other, but they can be struck down even posthumously, precisely because heresy seperates them from the Body.

#33 Angelos

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 01:00 PM

Jesus has been very clear about what it takes to be saved and who is in His body.

In Matthew 25 He says:

"Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, you blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: 36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me."


Also in John 14 He says

"15 If you love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father: and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever: 17 The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, nor knows him. But you shall know him; because he shall abide with you and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world sees me no more. But you see me: because I live, and you shall live. 20 In that day you shall know that I am in my Father: and you in me, and I in you. 21 He that has my commandments and keeps them; he it is that loves me. And he that loves me shall be loved of my Father: and I will love him and will manifest myself to him."


Jesus says nothing about following certain bishops, or certain churches or certain dogmas. He is very specific that He cares about Loving God and Loving neighbor; about loving others as He loved us. The rest, in my humble opinion, are just human inventions. If anyone here can point to something that Jesus said that points to be in unity with specific church leaders as a requirement to be in His body, please post it and I'll be happy to correct my error. If I'm not mistaken the only comment that can come close to something like that, is in Matthew 16 when He was talking to Peter, the future Bishop of Rome.

Edited by Olga, 03 February 2012 - 01:32 PM.


#34 Owen Jones

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 04:16 PM

I tend to cringe at most of the conventional responses to this question. I think one has to look at the issue through spiritual eyes, to the extent we have been properly trained, and to the extent we are capable of seeing things in terms of their spiritual essence. You also have the problem of institutional structures and cultural influences becoming, for some, a substitute for the spiritual essence, rather than a necessary structural element. btw, every "church" has its own doctrine of infallibility of its teachings and practices. For the Protestant, it is individual conscience (technically it's the Bible but the Bible is interpreted exclusively by each person's individual conscience). For Roman Catholics its pronouncements by the Magesterium. For Orthodoxy, it's pronouncements by the Ecumenical Councils (although this comes relatively late, in which the Justinian Council proclaimed its pronouncements to be infallible -- correct me if I am wrong on this).

I must say I am attracted to Fr. John Romanides' arguments regarding Orthodoxy -- that it's theology is a case, par excellence, of peer reviewed science as to the diagnosis and cure of the soul. The divisions in the Church reflect the tendency toward theological quackery, just as in every scientific discipline there are controversies regarding the correct scientific approach and scientific conclusions. It just so happens that in the history of Christianity, Orthodoxy has tended to be the minority viewpoint. It was the minority viewpoint during the Arian controversies. It was the minority viewpoint during the Donatist controversies in the West. It was the minority viewpoint for quite a while during the iconoclastic controversy. It was the minority viewpoint during the monothelite controversy. It is the minority viewpoint today.

So what do we mean when we say the Church, and that the gates of hell will not prevail against it, when historically Orthodoxy has always been the minority viewpoint? I think that gets more to the heart of the matter. And I think the underlying argument is that the Church Fathers reflect the mind of the Apostles. And Church teaching and practice that embodies that spirit is only found in Orthodoxy. It is consistent and clear to this day. And this is not something that you can easily recognize unless you have embodied, to some degree, that spirit within yourself.

#35 Rick H.

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 05:48 PM

What a treat Owen, thanks.

After reading your post, I realized that I had forgotten what clear and balanced writing looked like. It's good to see you stopping in. Also, after reading your post (especially the last paragraph), a recurrent thought popped into my mind viz. 'there's nowhere else to go' but somehow this thought didn't taunt me for once and both the question of this thread and the responses to it just don't seem to matter anymore. Hopefully this is a transcending of divisions in a good way, I know it feels good right now anyway.

Either way, thanks for putting the football on the ground and then not pulling it away.

http://images-partne...cy-football.jpg




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