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Thread: Catholicism Cult?

  1. #161
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    aletheo,

    I understand that you are saying these things because you believe them and because you think all who are outside the Orthodox churches are in grave danger. I do appreciate your concern.

    However, I disagree with your reasoning.

    But I don't want to bicker about it.

    Grace and Peace to you,
    cm
    "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine of Hippo

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    Originally posted by aletheo
    One cannot be 'protest'-ant and under apostolic authority at the same time; and Protestant beliefs and practices are not an expression of the Faith, but of a misguided interpretation of a text without its context.

    The Church that gave us the Canon of Scripture is the Church, the Body of Christ. If it is supposedly 'corrupt' then so is the Canon not to be trusted. [/B]
    I have to ask this. What's the big deal about being "under apostolic succession or authority"? Does it matter? I don't see anywhere in Scripture where Christ said, "You must be in direct line or succeed from these here people and you will be saved." Or does this mean that I am more saved then someone who isn't Orthodox? Is my brother (an Orthodox Priest), more saved then I am?

    These are traditions not to be mixed with salvation. It is tradition that talks about succession, not Christ. Christ outlined very clearly what was needed for our Salvation. There's nothing wrong with traditions as long as they don't contradict our Lord's Word.

    Had to get my two cents in. lol

  3. #163
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    The canon of Scripture was written by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and it is 100% trustworthy. The books that were later recognized as canonical by the churches are the books that had already been in common use for hundreds of years.

    It stands to reason that God, having taken great pains to give us these books, also took great pains to get them recognized!

    aletheo, you take the low view and I'll take the high view, and when this life is over, we'll talk about it.

    Grace and Peace to you,
    cm
    "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine of Hippo

  4. #164
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    Catholic Church "Cult or Real Deal?"

    disciple. . . my brother.

    apology accepted. . .

    You are right. . . I do understand Scripture differently as my background is Catholic as yours is Protestant. It must be frustrating for you as I'm just you average Catholic in the pew. I have an understanding of what Jesus taught but my knowledge of Scripture (chapter & verse) is limited. Picking it apart is not my gift.

    You obviously love the Word of God and are an excellent apologist for the Protestants. But, you should know that there are some very excellent Catholic apologists as well. If you ever feel the Spirit move you to debate some of the issues you've attempted with much frustration with this neophite get in touch with a fellow named James Akin at Catholic Answers. He is a convert to the Catholic faith (was once quite anti-Catholic with a Calvinist background) www.catholic.com www.jamesakin.com He's written some interesting books as well. Another guy you may have heard of is Dr. Scott Hahn (he puts an interesting spin on a variety of subjects that we've only touched on. . .) www.scotthahn.com

    Both of these gentlemen, I might add, look back at their Protestant upbringing with the highest of regards.

    It's probably best that you do bow out as neither of us seems to edify the other.

    God bless. V.J.

  5. #165
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    cm,

    no bickering.

    just thought i would mention a few things.

  6. #166
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    And no offense taken, aletheo.

    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Originally posted by aletheo

    The Church that gave us the Canon of Scripture is the Church, the Body of Christ. If it is supposedly 'corrupt' then so is the Canon not to be trusted.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This is an assumption, and it is erroneous. Israel was corrupt, but that did not cause the Old Testament Scriptures to be corrupt as well. God has always revealed himself to his people through real humans whom he selected. Only when these people spoke through the Holy Spirit did they speak infallibly and with authority. We have this infallible and authoritative revelation recorded in the Holy Bible as God's provision for his people; I trust Him implicitly to have gotten the job done right, in spite of human shortcomings.

    Aletheo, the visible Church consists of fallible human beings, in both its leaders and its people, some of which are hypocrites. It has been that way from the beginning. How marvelous that God is glorified through our weakness! The Church has no right to boast of herself, but only of God's mercy and faithfulness. Perhaps the body of Christ must be fragmented at this time because of a lack of humility; God has permitted it for some very good reason. However, I am fully and unswayingly convinced that God feeds all his own throughout this fragmented body from the same table, and that the baptism of his own is one baptism despite the present condition. God is more than able.

    Soli Deo gloria,
    cm
    "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine of Hippo

  7. #167
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    Soli Deo Gloria (no offense)

    So God can preserve the Bible, but He can't preserve the Church at the same time? He had to superintend the Canon until a thousand years later when mankind would determine what it really meant?

    The question has never been God's ability, it has always been human weakness and sinfulness. No one has ever claimed the Church is composed of people whose hearts are not "desperately wicked," as the Prophet says.

    The Church does not boast of herself, but only of Christ Who is its Head and its Perfection. Some accuse Orthodox believers of being arrogant and claiming to be the only ones with the truth. No doubt, as ones "subject to like passions," (as the Apostle says of Elijah) we are; and, in fact, much worse.

    But as an Orthodox Christian I have to realize that the truth is not about me, and not about you. It is about Christ and the Faith.

    I am not right - it is not about me being right. It is all about me not being right, and Christ and His Church being right.

    Truth is something greater than me and you, greater than our understanding of the sacred Book. Truth is the "stone cut from the mountain without hands" that breaks into pieces the iron, brass, clay, silver, and gold, as God says by the mouth of His Prophet.

    So it is not about us, our Bible, our Holy Spirit, our understanding. We must fall on the Rock and be broken, or it will fall on us and crush us to powder, as our Lord says - us and our cherished beliefs.

    Amen,

  8. #168
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    [i]So God can preserve the Bible, but He can't preserve the Church at the same time?[i]
    Whoa! When did I say God hasn't preserved the Church? She still lives, whether or not she is perfect in every doctrine! And there is a central body of doctrine to which she has clung, even though she is presently fragmented.

    It is also a misconception that Protestants protest the Church. You can only come to that conclusion if you believe that the Church only exists as the Orthodox communion (or the RCC communion, etc.). As I read the anf's (ante-Nicene fathers), my understanding of schism is that schismatics are those who leave the Church because the schismatics have embraced false doctrine. This applied to heretics such as gnostics, Montanists, and Marcionites. Martin Luther didn't leave to form a new church; the RCC extended to him the left boot of fellowship because they were unwilling to reform, and Luther's 95 theses outlined genuinely necessary reforms. It was the stubborness of the Western Church that spawned the Reformation. While there was a counter-reformation in the RCC, she has not reformed to an acceptable degree.

    While the OC never overstepped the Scriptures to the same degree as the RCC, it has nevertheless overstepped them. Many of the ante-Nicenes made too much of freedom of will and too little of the effects of original sin. (Read Clement of Alexandria ). And "the Holy Spirit is in the waters of baptism?" Can't even find that in the anf's.

    You have been led to believe that the Church cannot exist unless she is infallible; that if she ever makes a corporate mistake she ceases to exist and nullifies what Christ has accomplished. I think you have been led down a primrose path! What does the Scripture say?

    (NIV) 2 Timothy 2: 11 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him;
    12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us;
    13 if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
    Nowhere does the Scripture say that the Church would be always infallible in her doctrine or practices. But Peter himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, claimed infallibility for the Scriptures!

    You have no idea, aletheo, how much I'd like to believe that there is one perfect sect of the Church that I could just go join and get answers for all my questions! I have searched and researched, lol! But the truth is, there isn't one, not even the OC. Even so, I can still trust Christ for everything he has done for all of his people, including me. I do not need to fear that he will fail to finish what he has begun, either in me, or in his Church. I still see him with us, now and always.

    Grace and Peace to you, beloved brother,
    cm
    "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine of Hippo

  9. #169
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    Originally posted by aletheo
    This is a Protestant definition of the "Church."
    no this is a Scriptual definition.

    One cannot be 'protest'-ant and under apostolic authority at the same time; and Protestant beliefs and practices are not an expression of the Faith, but of a misguided interpretation of a text without its context.
    this is a bit unfair, don't you agree? you have not accurately represented what truly transpired historically. none of the reformers were protesting apostolic authority. they wanted to reform what was corrupt and false. no different that what happened in the NT with Jesus and Apostles. the religious establishment had drifted much and much of what Jesus said was a correction and reform to the misconceptions held among the religious establishment about God and the truth of His word.

    looking at it historically, it is clear that what they were protesting was the abuses of the papacy. if you read the 95 theses and were honest with your representation about what happened in the reformation you'll see that what they protested were papal abuses (mainly indulgences, penance, purgatory and such) and perverted unscriptural doctrines and what they wanted, was to return to the true apostolic model and apostolic authority. they weren't protesting apostolic authority as you claim. this may be the way you interpret it or the way you see it but is not a supported statement by what actually happened historically and was not their intention.

  10. #170
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    cm ,

    In my statement about preserving the Church/Bible I was referring to the 4th-6th centuries. Generally those who believe the Bible was preserved believe the Church at that same time to be corrupt, so that the Bible was preserved in spite of the Church instead of because of the Church in God's providence.

    Again, I must state, I never said the Church in her m embers is perfect. Go to any Orthodox church and you will see what I mean. The Church is correct in her belief and worship.

    You take it upon yourself to judge the Church and the Fathers according to your understanding. I think we are hitting a wall here.

    The Church's hymns and prayers in the service for the mystery of baptism is where you will find the references to the waters of baptism. Also reference the service for the feast of Theophany.


    disciple, if you read my posts on the 'defining the church' thread you may see that I understand very well what transpired with Luther and I have expressed sympathy for his plight. Indeed, he even sought out Apostolic authority from Constantinople. Later, the Tubingen theologians sought validation from Constantinople but walked away from 'the table' rather than come into agreement with the Church.

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    cm, disciple, others

    Thanks for the lively discussions. However, as I have an increasing amount of homework and church responsibilities, I am afraid I will have to bow out for a while. I am spending my time here and being distracted from my responsibilities! I'll pop in when I can.

    cm, I will try to find the material I was mentioning on baptism and post it on the other thread. I'll stay on there a bit longer.

    VJ, I have enjoyed your posts immensely. Forgive me for providing 'ammo', but it is unavoidable. May I recommend the book "The Primacy of Peter," John Meyendorff (ed.), St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. Peace be to you also.

    Yours in Christ,

  12. #172
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    Thank you, David,

    And we will look forward to continuing the discussion when you have more time.

    Blessings to you,
    cm
    "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine of Hippo

  13. #173
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    Originally posted by aletheo
    disciple, if you read my posts on the 'defining the church' thread you may see that I understand very well what transpired with Luther and I have expressed sympathy for his plight. Indeed, he even sought out Apostolic authority from Constantinople. Later, the Tubingen theologians sought validation from Constantinople but walked away from 'the table' rather than come into agreement with the Church.
    then why have you misrepresented history as above? you make it sound as if they purposed and set out to oppose and contradict apostolic authority. you make it sound as if the purpose of the reformers was for mal intent when it is clear that they were just seeking to return to the simplicity of the apostolic church that is portrayed in Scripture and wanted to purge the corruption and unscriptural doctrines that crept into the church through the abuse of the papacy and the RC heirarchy.

  14. #174
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    I ran across something interesting recently in Dr. Alfred Edersheim's Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah:

    And, lastly, as closely connected with all this, and marking the climax of conrariety: Rabbinism started with demand of outward obedience and righteousness, and pointed to sonship as its goal; the Gospel started with the free gift of forgiveness through faith and of sonship, and pointed to obedience and righteousness as its goal.
    What the RCC, the Orthodox Communion, and even some Protestant denominations teach about salvation appears to fall much closer to the Rabbinical model than to the Gospel model. That is what concerns me most. The emphasis on baptismal regeneration, the transformation of bread and wine in the Eucharist into the body and blood of Christ, refusal to recognize Christ's own words regarding the security of believers and the effectual call of God for the elect: these things are matters of great concern. I can't explain why the traditions of the Church departed so quickly from the true apostolic teachings we find in Scripture, but it's obvious that they did.

    Not only that, but the idea that Scripture cannot be understood apart from a separate, oral, and equally inspired tradition is found in both Rabbinism and gnosticism, as well as the idea that only those who prove themselves worthy through works will gain eternal life in the end. Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons are among the pseudo-Christian groups who will not read Scripture without the commentaries of their founders alongside to tell them how to interpret what they're reading.

    Having said that, the charge that non-Protestants make about Protestant disunity is not entirely unfounded; it is a problem. However, creating a Christian melting pot by compromising truth is not the solution.

    cm
    "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine of Hippo

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    cm,

    Respectfully, I see that it is not profitable for me to continue posting, on the other thread either. I am tired of tip-toeing through the TULIP. You insult me when you say I refuse to accept our Lord's words. You know very well better than that, and you know very well it is a matter of your interpretation of those words, and your dogmatic scheme of the elect. You unhesitatingly claim to abide by the apostolic teachings of the Scripture two thousand years later, and that the next generation of Christians after Christ changed the very gospel and Way of life, of which you know better. You use the polemic term "baptismal regeneration" which came about against the Campbellites, and refuse, if I may use such a word, to accept what the apostolic Church taught and practiced long before the Campbellites, because you don't understand it that way or interpret the Bible that way.

    Very well. After all our conversation I wonder if you have been sincere with me or simply engaging in apologetics to bolster your dogmatic presuppositions. I am sorry it turns out this way.

    Yours,

  16. #176
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    Originally posted by aletheo
    After all our conversation I wonder if you have been sincere with me or simply engaging in apologetics to bolster your dogmatic presuppositions. I am sorry it turns out this way.
    the pendulum swings both ways my friend. as CM said, it is obvious from looking at history that many false doctrines crept into the post apostolic church which grew in complexity and remained until the reformation. i would say that you know better as well. but you as well insist on interpreting history through the lens of your tradition and refuse to see certain things. but i'm not really sure that it is accurate to say that you should know better since you consider anything outside of that tradition you embrace as aberrant. perhaps you are trying to bolster your dogmatic presuppositions as well. i mean just look at our old Orthodox friend peter who seemingly started a thread for that very purpose (this might even have been seen as trolling, See "Core Doctrine" thread located here http://www.predestinarian.net/showth...=&threadid=744).

    as i posted earlier:

    the origin of apostolic succession arose because of the attack of the heretics on the truth coupled with the fact that the apostles were no longer around and the canon had not been decided upon unanimously. the nature and meaning of apostolic succession at this time (i.e, late 2nd c.) was not what it is today in either the RC or Orthodox traditions.

    the idea of the tradition of the apostles was also introduced at this time (i.e., late 2nd c.) and for the same reasons (i.e., to ward off the heretics and establish the true apostolic faith). but it was not a living or Sacred tradition with equal authority as Scripture (as if set beside Scripture; or which was some supposed authority to rightly interpret the Scripture by the Church) nor was it a tradition which could change or alter in any way. it was the deposit of the faith which was once and for all delivered by the apostles (jude 1:3) and not just by one particular apostle but by all of them together. and this was delivered to them through the Scriptures they had and by virtue of their connection to the apostles and not with the dual vehicle of Scripture AND Tradition or through correct ordainment as the RC and Orthodox churches would claim.

    the interests of the apostolic fathers (2nd-3rd centuries) was to preserve the original apostolic faith as delivered fully grown and with all the truths intact by the apostles. they did not approve of change or development of the faith...only establishing and defining what is already true and had already been delivered complete.


    so to add anything to the faith later or to have anything of the faith change was anathema and rejected by those who you claim as your heirs (also read the quotes i provided on page 9; 5/28/02). yet everyone has the ability to look at things and see that there were changes and later additions and developments within the traditions you espouse as inerrant and perfect in their teachings. therefore because of your presuppositions and the tradition you choose to embrace you cannot acknowledge what all historians accept as factual (for to do so would deny the very tradition you choose to embrace and make its most powerful argument null and void). you must interpret the constantinian era as "good" and beneficial for the church, you must accept the marriage of the church and state and the persecution that resulted (Crusades, Inquisitions, church and the sword, etc.) as something "good" and perhaps commanded by Christ, and you must view all the changes and additions to the faith as ex post facto or as taught in the ancient faith even though neither Scripture nor history bear this out. there are a myriad of things that you must ignore and reinterpret because of the tradition you choose to embrace and the presuppositions that come inherent with that tradition and it is my opinion that you are embracing a revisionist history. so please don't act like you've got it all figured out, that your faith is exactly the same as the Apostle Paul's, and that we are all here (all excluding you and VJ of course) just to "bolster our dogmatic presuppositions." you know better.

  17. #177
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    disciple, your invective has not changed; thank you.

    Are you so sure that all historians agree on history? are you that naive? I never did say everything in the history of the Church is blameless. Neither did I say the bond of Church and State is an unlimited good. And as you mention the Inquisition, are you not aware that it was spearheaded by Jesuits priests in Western Europe and did not include the Orthodox? And as you mentioned the Crusades, are you not aware that this was Western Christendom coming into the East, and that the Fourth Crusade devastated Constantinople and the Church?

    Surely you know better, friend!

    Let's let it lie. I'll not post again. Say what you will.

    The burden of proof rests with the Protestant movement, not with the historic Church, nor with a supposedly "Scriptural" view, which amounts to each one believing what is right in his own eyes.

    As for the other guy formerly on the list - Peter, I cannot speak to that situation. That is up to the moderators. I don't believe I have been "trolling," as it is put, and I have not been made aware of such. If I have, please forgive me.

    Also, I do not deny that I have basic presuppositions and dogmatic viewpoints. But, friend, they are not mine, I did not make them up - they are the Church's. Take that as you will. Twist it, turn it, expose it...whatever.

    And as I said before, thank you for the discussion. And don't say that I ever called you heretic, apostate, or unbeliever. Nor have I ever said you were not "saved." Nor have I said you didn't believe the Bible. Please allow me the same courtesy, especially as I will not be here to defend myself.

    Yours,

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    Originally posted by aletheo
    Are you so sure that all historians agree on history? are you that naive? I never did say everything in the history of the Church is blameless. Neither did I say the bond of Church and State is an unlimited good. And as you mention the Inquisition, are you not aware that it was spearheaded by Jesuits priests in Western Europe and did not include the Orthodox? And as you mentioned the Crusades, are you not aware that this was Western Christendom coming into the East, and that the Fourth Crusade devastated Constantinople and the Church?
    obviously not all historians agree, but pick up any encyclopedia and you'll find the same thing. and isn't this thread called "Catholicism Cult?" surely there is much shared history between RC and Orthodoxy and there was much persecution and death of so-called heretics by sword inflicted by both sides (east and west) under the church-state system before the final split in 1054 or whenever it was. and that really is a side issue taking back seat to the unscriptural doctrines (e.g., veneration of Mary, veneration of saints, veneration of icons, perpetual virginity of Mary, additional ordinances or what you call mysteries, the the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, prayers to the dead, confounding of justification with sanctification, justification by faith+works before God, priests and division of clergy/laity, liturgy, etc.) that crept into the post-apostolic church and are still embraced by the Orthodox and RC traditions.

    The burden of proof rests with the Protestant movement, not with the historic Church, nor with a supposedly "Scriptural" view, which amounts to each one believing what is right in his own eyes.
    of course you think the burden of proof rests with the Protestant movement when you couch it in such terms as to pit it against the "historic Church." what chance does any other explanation than the one you already subscribe to even have? and as far as invective goes i sense it just as much from you and your disdain for anything Protestant (or non-Orthodox for that matter). please pull the plank out of your own eye first my friend.

    As for the other guy formerly on the list - Peter, I cannot speak to that situation. That is up to the moderators. I don't believe I have been "trolling," as it is put, and I have not been made aware of such. If I have, please forgive me.
    i wasn't trying to imply that you were trolling. but what he did bordered on it. i have not seen any posts by you that are clearly trolling but i'll let you know if i think something is. thanks for your concern though. i appreciate you being sensitive to it.

    Also, I do not deny that I have basic presuppositions and dogmatic viewpoints.
    i'm glad you said that. i was beginning to think that you believed that you had none.

    But, friend, they are not mine, I did not make them up - they are the Church's.
    i figured you would say that. and i recognize that it is your church's and this is the case with most people's presuppositions. they usually get them from their tradition and their leaders.

    And as I said before, thank you for the discussion. And don't say that I ever called you heretic, apostate, or unbeliever. Nor have I ever said you were not "saved." Nor have I said you didn't believe the Bible. Please allow me the same courtesy, especially as I will not be here to defend myself.
    thank you. i appreciate your willingness to put up with us (me in particular). i hope you didn't get the impression that i was calling you heretic, apostate, or unbeliever (actually you implied that i was an apostate in your comments to the end that i have left or never come to Mother Church). if you read differently please forgive me. my zeal to defend the faith and what i believe the Bible to teach sometimes offends and for that i am sorry. please don't disregard my words on the basis of my inadequacies to present.

    thanks for your time david and take care. i hope we can discuss more again later and that you do not leave because you cannot convince us and because we seem to be butting heads. perhaps that is just iron sharpening iron. whatever it is i have benefited from it and appreciate all that you have shared. thanks again.ds

  19. #179
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    Aletheo..

    I hope that you do not feel that you have to leave this forum. What I have seen in this and other threads is your love for the Church and the Lord. I don't think anyone would question that.

    In my humble opinion, all who read and participated in these threads have learned something from each other.

    I want to point out something else. The Orthodox Church has changed many times in the last 200 years. Original Greek Orthodox Churches in Greece differe drastically from those in the US. Those churches in Greece do not have pews and seperate men from women during services. In the US, you'll see choirs and organs in addition to canters. You'll see pews and everyone standing where they please. In Greece, the priests are part of the government and very much disliked. In the US, priests are paid by the parish.

    Then there are the old calendar Orthodox who have ill feelings toward the new calendar Orthodox. They adamently believe in following the old calendar to the point where they have severed any ties with new calendar Orthodox.

    I point these out because if these fundamental changes can occur in 200 years or so, think of what had changed in the early days of the Church. Does that mean that they didn't love the Lord or the Church? Absolutely not.

    Maybe these are just things to think about. I don't think we can put a steak in the ground and say that things of man can be absolutely perfect without looking to what the Lord said is Truth. And to do that, you have to go to the Source - the Word.

    Just some thoughts of mine.

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    GreekPrincess, how I do appreciate your honesty and humility! I would be grateful for any light you can shed about Eastern Orthodox doctrine.

    David,

    I expressed my personal concerns about the Church, and you took it as a personal attack against you. You know what? It's my Church too. Every Christian congregation that exists on this planet today must trace its roots back through the Church as she existed before the East-West divide. All of us. There is no way around it. I am not interested at all in laying out accusations, but may I not express honest concerns without being rejected? I certainly do not reject you for disagreeing.

    I have been completely sincere with you. I respect you immensely, and I am not at all trying to proselytize you away from your church.

    I do not want to misinterpret anything you have said, so may I ask you some questions?

    Since you said that the Holy Spirit is in the water of baptism, how am I in the wrong in using the term "baptismal regeneration?"

    If, as I think you would say, the bread and wine are in some way transformed into the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, then wouldn't that logically lead to the concept of Eucharistic regeneration? Or am I completely in left field about that? I could be.

    Can you not understand how these things might look like teaching that faith is a change from the outside in rather than from the inside, out?

    If someone says that Scripture can only be understood by using a separate, infallible tradition, does not Scripture become subordinate to that tradition? Is that not the same thing that Rabbinical Judaism taught? Is there no such similar doctrine in gnosticism?

    These are real and honest concerns I have about what I hear from some members of the RCC and Orthodox and even some Protestant churches. As I've said before, I yearn for unity and I pray for unity. I don't think that I have a unique corner on the truth. But there are a few things that seem so clearly and directly taught in Scripture.


    Might I offer my own interpretation of TULIP?

    Total depravity:Original sin, passed down from Adam, resulting in the fact that we all sin if we live long enough, and we are all tainted by Adam's disobedience. All people do at least some morally upright things, but even if everyone were capapble
    of living decent, moral lives with sufficient effort, such living cannot please God, apart from faith in Christ.

    Unconditional election:self-explanatory, I think, and well-substantiated by Christ's teachings in parables and plain sayings, and in the letters of Paul.

    Limited atonement: Christ's atonement is sufficient for every person, past, present and fiuture. No argument from me. But we have learned from Christ and Paul that God knew his own from the beginning. Even if we were to say that God's foreknowledge is like looking into a crystal ball to see who would freely choose to believe the Gospel, and that He chose those he saw doing so, then we would say that before Christ died God knew who would benefit from His death. It would be silly to say that God's purpose in atonement was universal.

    Irresistable grace: Once God has foreseen it, who can change it?
    I believe election is unconditional; nevertheless God does not make robots of us. We still have to respond to God's call. God's call being efficacious does not in any way imply that we are forced to believe. God's call to his elect through the Gospel opens our eyes to our predicament and the sure solution to it; I cannot imagine how we could refuse!

    Perseverance of the Saints: again, self-explanatory, mostly. Good works are the necessary outcome of real faith, as is perseverance.


    I know this isn't the way those doctrines are usually understood by those who oppose them, and even by some who align themselves with Calvin's soteriology. But that's how I find them presented in Scripture.

    I want to believe, and I truly hope that, our differences are basically a matter of emphasis. Tell me what you think.

    cm
    "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine of Hippo

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