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Orthodox approaches to ecumenism


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#21 Peter Farrington

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 09:26 AM

Hi Olga

Do you want me to list all of the splits between the Western and Byzantine Churches that were doctrinal and which lasted for decades and centuries?

I am also a little unclear as to the difference in Byzantine ecclesiology between a breach of communion for administrative reasons and one for doctrinal reasons. If there can only be one visible Church and any separation from it is to fall away from the Church then there can surely be no basis for any such divisions?

It seems to me that ROCOR separated from canonical Orthodoxy for entirely doctrinal reasons. Likewise all the Greek Old Calendarist groups. Are these Orthodox or not? If they are Orthodox then it is possible for the human face of the Church to be divided, even without introducing any sort of branch theory.

And what of monks who refuse to commemorate the EP? Are they within the Church? Their refusal is entirely doctrinal it seems to me. Which is the representative Byzantine viewpoint? Should the EP be commemorated or not? If not then how is he able to remain as the senior bishop of the Byzantine Church? If he should be then how are these monks not to be disciplined.

I would have to say that a distinction between schisms due to administrative issues and those due to doctrinal is useful for recognising the reasons for a schism but schism IS schism, separation IS separation, and division between Christians is division. It would seem to me to be a revisionist rewriting of history which pretends that everything in Orthodoxy is always rosy.

An ecclesiology that fails to take account of history and reality surely cannot be a complete one. There has often and always been division between Christians, but usually there has been reconciliation in time. To ignore history in support of a particular ecclesiology (that there have never been divisions within the Church) seems just plain wrong. Indeed as I started to move towards Orthodoxy I realised how much the modern presentation of Orthodoxy was not historical but reflected a particular view of what Orthodoxy 'should' be like.

Peter

#22 Scott Pierson

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:45 AM

peterfarrington,

You make some interesting points. What exactly is your view on the Issue of Schism and the teaching that the Church is One, holy Catholic and Apostolic ? It should be noted though that ROCOR is in full communion with Moscow now . Is there a differnce between "walling off" and outright schism ( Ie is it possible to have a temproary lack of communion with other Orthodox (due to extenuating circumstances like the Communist influence of a Church) but still be part of the Church) ? Certainly (IMO at least ) its simple common sense to state that those sects that are not in communion with the Church , havent been for long periods of time, consider themselves to be the one holy catholic ... church and not the EO, teach other things, have been labeld heretics by various fathers/ councils (local and eccumenical) etc ( Prot. , Latins, OO, etc) have seperated themselves from the Church. With others like the Old Calenderists it is a more confusing issue.

#23 Peter Farrington

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 12:58 PM

Hi Scott

I don't think you can have it both ways.

Either according to your present ecclesiology there is only one physically visible Church which cannot be divided, or it is possible to still preserve the one Body of Christ even when human weakness leads to division between Christians.

It is you yourself, not me, who must say whether ROCOR, while being outside the visible ecclesial communion of the Eastern Orthodox Church, was still Orthodox or not. I don't quite see how time comes into it. Either ROCOR was always the Church but there was a human visible division between Eastern Orthodox Christians, or ROCOR was not Orthodox while it was outside the communion of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

It seems to me that you are trying to have your cake and eat it. :-) There are in fact many EO who have said that ROCOR is outside the Church, just as there are ROCOR/ROCIE folk who say that the MP and others are no longer the Church. There is a real division. Either that division is between Christians in the one Body of Christ, or one party is no longer within the Church.

The mistake with this ecclesiology is that it is rooted essentially in a human, imperial, organisational model. Things are more complex and more spiritual. Which is why it was possible for East and West to be out of communion for decades and centuries and then come back into communion without the necessity to prove that one or either had not been the Church all along. The model being described means that large numbers of completely nominal and unbelieving 'orthodox' are counted within the Body of Christ, while large numbers of devout and believing people are counted as being 'outside' the Church and therefore not being Christians at all. (The fudge that Eastern Orthodox do not judge those outside the Church is really just politeness. If you are not in the Church then you are not a Christian. I am sure there are polite and pleasant folk here who do not think I am a Christian). This does not bear much relation to reality spiritual or historical and therefore certainly needs modification.

One ancient example is that of the Georgian Church, which for 150 years after Chalcedon rejected that council and was anti-Chalcedonian, only accepting it in 607 under various outside pressures. I can find no evidence that the Georgian Church was treated as other than Orthodox when received into communion with the Byzantine Church. 150 years was obviously not long enough for it to be treated as beyond the pale.

Likewise when the majority of Churches in the West broke communion over their support for the Three Chapters some groups remained out of communion for 150 years, yet I can also find no evidence that they were treated in the way you are describing as necessary.

Of course my own Orthodox Church has canons and a rich Tradition which considers that your own Byzantine Church is heretical and outside of the 'True Church'. But it seems to me that what is required of me by God is that I honestly ask what you believe and deal with you on that basis, as I would wish to deal with all people on the basis of what they actually believe. This is also the view of my bishops and clergy. To insist that you must be a Nestorian heretic would be very easy. It would make life very simple. But I do not find that the Spirit of God gives me any peace to act in such a way. So I will continue to hold my fathers in the greatest respect and seek their prayers at all times, as I do, but I will also seek to find out what Byzantines believe and if it is substantially the same as I do then I will give thanks and continue to work for the reconciliation I believe that God desires and requires.

Even in the darkest times when the full force of the Byzantine empire was bent on a genocide of those who rejected Chalcedon it was still the case that a Chalcedonian Christian could become a member of the Orthodox Church simply by a right confession and an anathema of heresy, and after a year of probation a priest or bishop would be able to continue to exercise his ministry. Therefore it seems to me that from th every beginning the Oriental Orthodox have taken this view of wanting to find the grace of God in those who believe the same and who show by their rejection of error that they have the same faith. Unlike the Byzantine Church the Oriental Orthodox have never, as far as my studies show, baptised Byzantines when they became Orthodox.

An ecclesiology that doesn't match the facts seems to me to be an obstacle to being the True Church not a means of furthering the will of God.

Best wishes

Peter

#24 Kris

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 06:02 PM

It seems to me that ROCOR separated from canonical Orthodoxy for entirely doctrinal reasons.


Hi Peter,

I'm a little curious as to how you reached this conclusion. The separation of the ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate was due to the stranglehold militant atheists had over the latter.

It was not a doctrinal separation at all as far as I'm aware.

In XC,
Kris

#25 Peter Farrington

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 09:06 PM

Hi Kris

I wonder then what the heresy of Sergianism is then? Since this is what the MP has routinely been accused of over the last decades and even to the present.

A quick google on that term will probably show clearly that the MP has been accused of heresy by ROCOR/ROCIE/ROCA members. I have been on the internet since 1992 and regularly found the MP accused of heresy.

Peter

#26 Ty Pearson

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 10:14 PM

Dear All,
The problem with characterizing Protestants as standing in doctrinal opposition to the apostolic traditions is that while this is historically true it is not always the case regarding specific Protestant Christians. An ironic benefit of our historical amnesia is that no matter how often we espouse scriptura sola we end up leaning on the orthodox traditions in our doctrine (most Protestants embrace the idea of the Trinity, for example, or Christ's dual nature). Millions of us strive for orthodoxy in doctrine and many thousands have been martyred for our beliefs.

I realize the Orthodox tradition cannot acknowledge the Protestant churches to be part of the Church and I respect this, I see the logic there. Nevertheless, we did not leave the historic Church but were born outside of it and yet find ourselves in traditions that affirm the orthodox teachings of the Church as established in the seven Ecumenical Councils.

In the grief and confusion of this situation is seen the value of the WCC. Its existence (not necessarily avery affirmation associated with it) expresses an energy toward Christ's prayer for unity as well as the unifying energy of the Holy Spirit. I have been nourished by the documents coming from the WCC (which are suprisingly orthodox by the way) and what they represent: the fellowship and recognition of historically aware Protestants by Orthodox Churches. No, this has not caused me to turn to Orthodoxy, but it has influenced me to attend last years Pascha service at a small Antiochene Orthodox Church here in Tennessee, so there are fruits at the grass-roots level. I would ask your patience with the WCC or, if that venue to fellowship is one day not viable, your continued commitment to ecumenical conversation.

Peace in Christ,
Tyler

#27 Ty Pearson

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 10:19 PM

On that last post I was responding to post # 20 of this thread which reads:


The point must be made that many of these "splits" in the various Orthodox groups Peter mentioned are largely administrative/political, not doctrinal, and cannot be compared to a true schism as occurred between Rome and the East, or Rome and the Protestants.


The dialogue preceding this post led to my encouragement for patience with the WCC. Sorry about any confusion- Tyler

#28 Scott Pierson

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 10:30 PM

You have made some really thought provoking points again ... given me something to think about.

As I said above though If the Saints of my Church claim a certain sect is outside the pale of the Church I trust them. I'm sure you’re aware that many of the OO saints and fathers have labeled the EO church schismatic and heretical (and outside the Church) I would assume you adhere to their teaching ? Well, the Saints of my Church have done the same and I have no reason to disagree with them. I don’t see any reason to set myself up as a greater expert on the subject then the vast numbers of saints and fathers who have made their view on the subject very clear.

I will readily admit though that I don’t know all the complexities of Ecclesiology and there are some gray areas. That doesn’t however make every Church or sect , etc fall into some gray area. Some things are fairly obvious.

#29 Scott Pierson

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 12:49 AM

but it has influenced me to attend last years Pascha service at a small Antiochene Orthodox Church here in Tennessee, so there are fruits at the grass-roots level.


Their are other ways to influence people to attend Orthodox Churches that are much more effectual. With the amount of effort , time and money invested you would think the Church would have more of a "payoff" then a few people visiting Orthodox Churches now and then. Certainly if that visit causes you to grow spiritualy or whatnot it would be a wonderful thing ( I dont mean to minimize it) but I cant help but thinking there are better things to invest the Churches manpower in that will show more fruit then what the WCC has so far.

#30 Peter Farrington

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 08:08 PM

Dear Scott

I would have to say, and this is a personal point only, that I would consider it almost cult-like to ignore the statements of present day EO and merely repeat mantra like 'the Melkites are heretics'.

I could easily do this, but it seems to me to be a response that has nothing to do with faithfulness to the tradition and even more is not a Christian response.

I am quite sure that the Fathers were able to distinguish an heretical idea and see the dangers of allowing it to flourish. This was after all why Chalcedon was so strenuously rejected. But we do not live then, and the faith of the EO is clearly not that of Chalcedonian period un-modified. Indeed it has had to be clarified several times to exclude errors which were still able to perservere and claim the authority of Chalcedon.

I find it rather disturbing that any person would ignore what another states they believe and insist that they must believe something else entirely. That can't be right surely under any circumstances unless it is assumed the person is lying. Do you doubt all of the things that I and others have posted about our faith? Do you think we are not speaking the truth?

The Fathers were clear about heretical ideas, generally speaking, but they were less clear about who actually accepted these heretical ideas. The heresy of Nestorius is rejected firmly by me, but it also seems clear that most EO do not accept this heresy. Should I therefore continue to insist that you are a Nestorian?

That is surely plain crazy and doesn't seem to me personally to be at all Christian. I would love to be able to take a polemical attitude towards the EO, since that is the one that I generally have to deal with, but I cannot. It would not be right, whatever the circumstances and decisions of my Fathers. They are not infallible and their decisions are not applicable for all time.

There seem to be only two understandings of your post, and both sadden me.

Either you think that I am not telling the truth in what I have said all along, and therefore I am entirely an heretic as you believe.

or

Even though you can see that I believe the same as you about the substance of the latter councils you would prefer to consider me a heretic because you believe this means you are faithful to Orthodoxy.

Peter

#31 John Charmley

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 01:15 AM

There seem to be only two understandings of your post, and both sadden me.

Either you think that I am not telling the truth in what I have said all along, and therefore I am entirely an heretic as you believe.

or

Even though you can see that I believe the same as you about the substance of the latter councils you would prefer to consider me a heretic because you believe this means you are faithful to Orthodoxy.

Peter


Dear Peter,
You pose the question in its starkest form. Scott will answer for himself, but I don't discern in his posts a positive desire to take up either of the positions you mention; however, the question, as I understand it, is whether he is implicitly taking up such a position; is that so?

Reading the 'Orthodox Christian information center' I see that there are those who still take up the positions you mention. I was struck by this article:
http://www.orthodoxi...copts_orth.aspx
and wondered what view our Eastern Orthodox bretheren take on these things?

I am particularly struck by the lines:

Anyone who believes that the Orthodox Fathers were wrong in condemning the Monophysites, and that the Copts have always been Orthodox, is guilty of blasphemy against the Church Fathers and the Ecumenical Synod at Chalcedon, which condemned the Monophysite heresy. He is also guilty of heresy, in that such a proposition presupposes not only that the Fathers of the Church were in error and that this error entered into the conscience of the Church, but that the Orthodox Church has for centuries been "divided" between the two "families" of right-believing Orthodox and the supposedly "right-believing" Copts. Moreover, such a view presumes that our Orthodox Fathers, ignorant of the truth, "divided" the Church over semantics and over word games.


There have certainly been echoes of this at times in the EO/OO thread, and perhaps those of us who are not EO need to be sensitive to this view? What do our EO brothers and sisters think? It would be good to hear from you on this one.

Perhaps 'Ecumenism' is so shot through with implications of diluting the Faith through some form of syncretism that for some people it raises more hackles than hopes.

Is there a point here I am not grasping?
I dimly discern two views through the fog of discourse:
- on the one hand a desire to hold the pearl of great price close to one's heart in order to prevent its pollution;
- on the other, a desire to show it to the world that people might begin to approach it and see what is missing in their own worship.

Is there anything in this?

Permeated as I no doubt am with decades of Anglicanism, it makes me sad to see Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians still divided. I have more or less given up hope that I will find an understanding of what Matthew calls the 'hard doctrinal differences' that still remain, but if ecumenism provides a forum for doing that, and then trying to move forward, it won't be all bad.

As it happens, I have as little time for some of the activities of the WCC as some others on this site, but away from the syncretic ambitions, it may do some good.

I should be interested to hear if anyone can enlighten me on some of the issues in this post; I get there, but too slowly!

In Christ,

John

#32 Antonios

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 01:54 AM

There seem to be only two understandings of your post, and both sadden me.

Either you think that I am not telling the truth in what I have said all along, and therefore I am entirely an heretic as you believe.

or

Even though you can see that I believe the same as you about the substance of the latter councils you would prefer to consider me a heretic because you believe this means you are faithful to Orthodoxy.


Although this may be your understanding, Peter, and yours, John, I don't think it is so black and white.

I think we can all agree you think you are telling the truth as you see it. No one is doubting your steadfast belief. You have demonstrated it often in this forum.

What makes you un-Orthodox (from the EO standpoint), is that you do not accept the councils. These councils define the faith of the Church. It is an oxymoron to say that you accept the substance of the councils but not the councils. It is the faith of the councils which one should accept or not. If you do not accept the faith of the councils, than you do not accept the councils. In turn, if you accept the faith of the councils, than you accept the councils. I think, fundamentally, this is the stumbling block between re-union. I dont think the EO Church would expect anything less than acceptance of the councils. Plain and simple. Is it pride? I don't know. The EO would say it is defense of the truth. I think, in my opinion, it is creates more of a stumbling block to sit there and say 'we accept the substance' but refuse to accept the council, knowing the weight such councils hold in the EO Church.

While semantics may have played a role in the schism, I think it is foolish to suggest that was the only difference, that, in fact, there were no hard-core Monophysites in Egypt and elsewhere at the time. Can you really believe the Church would be divided so easily over semantics? We, as EO, submit in humilty to the Councils and the God-bearing Fathers of the Church who defended the truth during Christianity's first schism with the Monophysites. And, still, we submit to the councils. This, my friend, is Orthodoxy, and is similar to how your own Church submits to its own councils.

#33 John Charmley

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 03:25 AM

What makes you un-Orthodox (from the EO standpoint), is that you do not accept the councils. These councils define the faith of the Church. It is an oxymoron to say that you accept the substance of the councils but not the councils. It is the faith of the councils which one should accept or not. If you do not accept the faith of the councils, than you do not accept the councils. In turn, if you accept the faith of the councils, than you accept the councils. I think, fundamentally, this is the stumbling block between re-union. I dont think the EO Church would expect anything less than acceptance of the councils. Plain and simple. Is it pride? I don't know. The EO would say it is defense of the truth. I think, in my opinion, it is creates more of a stumbling block to sit there and say 'we accept the substance' but refuse to accept the council, knowing the weight such councils hold in the EO Church.

While semantics may have played a role in the schism, I think it is foolish to suggest that was the only difference, that, in fact, there were no hard-core Monophysites in Egypt and elsewhere at the time. Can you really believe the Church would be divided so easily over semantics? We, as EO, submit in humilty to the Councils and the God-bearing Fathers of the Church who defended the truth during Christianity's first schism with the Monophysites. And, still, we submit to the councils. This, my friend, is Orthodoxy, and is similar to how your own Church submits to its own councils.


Dear Antonios,

No doubt Peter will answer these points in his own way, but as my last post on this theme suggested, I remain a trifle puzzled.

How many of these Councils would one be required to accept? It seems to me that some Orthodox say 7 and others have a higher figure. Have I misunderstood this? If I haven't, then how many of these Councils are ecumenical?

I am sure that at the time of Chalcedon there were hard-core Monophysites and hard-core Nestorians on both sides of the divide, as well as just about every position possible in between. It seems equally likely that there were real misunderstandings on both sides. I am unsure whether going over Chalcedon and its aftermath once more will be a fruitful excercise - unless, that is, it leads to you or another of our EO brothers telling us what the

genuine issues of true doctrinal division

actually are.

My previous post suggested that we were not, perhaps, quite understanding where you might be coming from, and it would be helpful if you, or another, can guide us on this. I really am anxious to know what those 'genuine issues' are.

Here you say it is the issue of acceptance of the Councils. Well, Peter has posed the question of what it means to 'accept' the Councils, and that could still use a bit of teasing out. He seems to me to have shown in his posts that there is nothing in the substance of the teaching of the Councils which is unacceptable to the Coptic teaching.

This brings us back to that old vexed question of what constitutes an Ecumenical Council? I have no doubt Peter will have views on that one.

But here I shall confine myself to reiterating the questions I asked in my last post, in the hope that enlightenment will follow.

As an Anglican, I have even more Councils, and the RCs have yet a superabundance of the same, which they think the EO ought to accept before they can come out of Schism. Of course, no one who anyone else thinks is in schism agrees, because if they do, they convert.

There are times it all seems a little sad. I am reminded of something St. Polycarp wrote to the Philippians:

Stand firm, (Eph. 6:14) then, in these things and follow the example of the Lord, strong in the faith and immovable, affectionate to the brotherhood, devoted to one another, united in the truth, serving one another with the gentleness of the Lord, despising no man. When you can do good, do not delay, 'because alms deliver from death' (tob. 4:11). 'All of you be subject to one another' (1 Pet. 5:5), 'maintaining your conduct among the Gentiles irreproachable' (1 Pet. 2:12), so that by your good works you may receive praise, and the Lord may also not be blasphemed because of you. But woe to him through whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed. Therefore teach all men the sobriety in which you also walk.


Sound fellow, St. Polycarp, not sure I keep up with him, but he helps me remain anchored where I should be. I wonder whether our conduct is 'irreproachable' in the eyes of the 'Gentiles', or whether they can say: 'See, how they love each other'?

In Christ,

John

#34 Peter Farrington

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 03:34 AM

If you do not accept the faith of the councils, than you do not accept the councils. In turn, if you accept the faith of the councils, than you accept the councils.


Hi Antonios

This is the point I am trying to make, and have been for some days and even weeks.

I have described here extensively what I believe in relation to the points covered by the latter councils. I will do so again if required.

I will ask you since you are being helpful...

In what way is the faith I have described as my own and that of my Orthodox Church different to the 'faith of the Councils'?

You have said very clearly, and I thank you, that if the faith is accepted then this is the same as accepting the councils and if the faith is rejected this is the same as rejecting the councils.

So please point out in which points the faith I have described can be considered to reject the faith of the latter councils.

I will indicate briefly again what our Orthodox Faith is:

i. Christ is perfect God and perfect man.
ii. His humanity is complete and is consubstantial with out humanity save sin.
iii. His humanity has natural will and energy.
iv. The union of humanity and divinity has diminished or changed neither.
v. The union takes place without division , separation, confusion or mixture.
vi. The Three Chapters are rejected as heretical.
vii. As I have indicated, the humanity of Christ has natural will and energy and the union is as described in the Definition of the 6th council.
viii. The use of icons in education of the faithful and as a means of venerating those depicted is entirely Orthodox and indicates that Christ is truly God incarnate.

As far as I can see this does cover the issues raised in all the latter councils.

Now you very clearly state that to accept the faith of the councils is to be considered as 'accepting the council' so please point out where any of these points are defective or where I have missed some important point out.

Otherwise it seems to me that I do 'accept the faith of the councils' and therefore by your own argument 'accept the councils'.

As to the issue of monophysites in Egypt. I do not expect you to have studied as much as I on this topic but it is very clear that there were very few and these were excommunicated whenever and wherever they identified themselves. I have plenty of documentary evidence from the first years after Chalcedon to show that monophysitism was not accepted as an Orthodox teaching. Neither was Eutyches ever an Orthodox Father, indeed once it was clear that he had made a rather feigned confession of Orthodoxy he was entirely repudiated.

I do thank you for clarifying what 'accepting the councils' means and look forward to your comments on my description of our Orthodox Faith which seems to me to entirely be an 'acceptance of the faith of the councils'.

Best wishes

Peter

#35 Antonios

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 06:46 PM

error in post

#36 Antonios

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 06:47 PM

2nd error in post

#37 Antonios

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 06:50 PM

three times a charm!

#38 Mina Soliman

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 08:26 PM

Dear Antonios,

It is very hard for a traditional EO/OO to let go of their fathers' condemnations and trust what has been found in recent scholarly writings, basically because of the mistrust the scholars may have sometimes been receiving for questioning "too much." But is this not the point for the search for truth? I mean if EO's themselves treat the Bible as infallible, but not inerrant, what makes the Councils any different?

You also mentioned an assumption that there were "some Monophysites" in Egypt. Like Peter said, you seem to have not read history or historical records available to disprove your claim. In fact, there was no room in Egypt for such dogma, and was so clearly condemned, especially since Ephesus 475, the one I mentioned to you, which we hold to as ecumenical status.

In a way, therefore, we also contend that there were indeed "some Nestorians" that upheld Chalcedon not only as a victory for their own Christology, but a clear cut condemnation against "Alexandrian/Cyrillian" Christology. How then brother are we to get anywhere if you uphold a mentality that many of us used to uphold (and many still do)? For sure, many would find faults, magnify it 100x, and show how much the EO's are "not Orthodox" for their non-rejection of a "Nestorian council" and a non-acceptance to Ephesus 449 and 475. It was also be expected thus, that by such close-minded methods that to be an Orthodox Christian, you would have to accept both those Ephesine councils.

Or, you can consider how much God saw to it that the Orthodox faith was truly preserved in both churches, regardless of human weaknesses. To me, it seems that EO's uphold to Councils and Chalcedonian fathers no differently than how Roman Catholics uphold the infallibility and Petrine supremacy of the Pope. For then if one bases the "rock of the Church" on a bunch of men (whether it be the Synods for the EO's or the Pope for the RC's), then truly Christ's promise that Satan shall not prevail against Her gates was not kept.

Unless then, you're willing to concede that either our Church or your Church is the One True Church under Her councils, to which I can share with you some of the polemical "offences" against Chalcedon, but to which I wish I cannot regress back to, and would seriously ask you to reconsider and do the research yourself.

I do not mean to be blunt or rude, but rather straightforward and clear, and I hope my clarity is not taken in a negative light.

I think if anything, maybe one should open a new thread to discuss the Orthodox of Ephesus 449, and see where we can go from there, as well as another thread to show the "issues" OO has (or had) on Chalcedon.

God bless.

Mina

#39 Scott Pierson

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 12:45 AM

If I have to choose between trusting modern "scholars" or the Fathers on an issue regarding faith, dogma, heresy, and things of that nature I will choose the fathers 100% of the time. The dogmas and teachings of the faith are not created via rational inquirery and scholarly investigation. If they were, they could be right or they could be wrong.. they would be nothing more then opinion and of a merely human nature. You don’t find spiritual truth through debate, logic, interfaith dialogue or philosophical investigation. The dogma, the ecumenical councils, liturgy and patristic consensus is of a divine origin and can not be subjected to rational critique. The fathers have an illumined mind and posses supra-rational gnosis I don’t know if I can say the same of those who are involved in the WCC dialogue who disagree with the views of the fathers.

#40 Scott Pierson

Scott Pierson

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 01:04 AM

Is there a point here I am not grasping?
I dimly discern two views through the fog of discourse:
- on the one hand a desire to hold the pearl of great price close to one's heart in order to prevent its pollution;
- on the other, a desire to show it to the world that people might begin to approach it and see what is missing in their own worship.


I wouldnt agree with that. I think both sides want to show the faith to the world and help people to approach it they just have differing ways of doing so. I simply want it to be expressed to the world in the manner the Church has traditionaly done so and not through the means of the WCC or modern eccuemenism. Some of the greatest Orthodox evangelists have been opposed to much of what takes place under the banner of eccumenism. The fact that one values the teachings of the fathers on the OO for example doesnt prevent one from shairing the faith with others.




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