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Featured Is Eastern Orthodox the one true church?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by ClementofA, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Biblical definition of "the church"
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  2. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    It's probably best to get someone's permission before you quote their post, especially into another section of the forums.

    And for the sake of answering, we say during every Liturgy that we believe in "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church". We also don't believe that Christ intended for His body to be shattered into many dis-unified denominations. And we believe that we have maintained the faith as handed to the Apostles. Please note, this is not the kind of wrangling one often hears that every denomination tends to believe they have returned to "real" first century Christianity. Of course that is what most seek to do, and they are wherever they believe is closest to that. So everyone will vote for their own beliefs.

    But Orthodoxy was not ever part of any Reformation. Rome left us, formed Catholicism, and the reformers and their successors have done their best ever since to restore what they believe is right.

    Orthodoxy has been under persecution for most of Christian history, and often isolated, and so just not a part of all this wrangling. All they have sought is to keep faithful.

    So yes, we believe ourselves to be "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church" ... but that language has been part of our belief since before there was Catholicism, or reformers, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals, or anyone else. It is not triumphalism. But I can understand that others might not like this.

    Voting doesn't mean much. Who will vote for someone else? Most everyone is wherever their beliefs have led them to be.
     
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  3. Basil the Great

    Basil the Great Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Despite my high respect for the EOC, it is hard for me to say that the Eastern Orthodox Church is any more the one true church than the Oriental Orthodox Church. Actually, based upon what I just read yesterday, it looks to me like the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (Oriental Orthodox) is undoubtedly closer to the 1st Century Jerusalem Church than anyone else, due to their affinity with Judaism. They observe the Jewish Sabbath and the Old Testament dietary laws and there is little doubt but what such was done by the 1st Century Jewish Christians in the Holy Land. The faithfulness of the Ethiopian Church is also nothing less than remarkable, at least according to the 2017 Pew Research report on Orthodoxy. Still, I would not make the claim that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the one true Church.

    We then have the matter of the Catholic Church, which now teaches that "the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church". Many will claim that due to the Bishop of Rome, the Catholic Church is the one true Church. Also, lest we forget, Protestantism holds to the doctrine of an invisible Church and the nice thing about that view is that at least in theory, it includes all four branches of Christendom - Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant.

    It would be absolutely wonderful if our divided Christianity could unite into one body, but such seems nothing less than a dream at this point in time.
     
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  4. Light of the East

    Light of the East Ukrainian Greek Catholic Supporter

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    "~Anastasia~ It's probably best to get someone's permission before you quote their post, especially into another section of the forums.

    Not a problem for me. If I am right, I want everyone to see. If I am wrong, I want to be set straight.

    And for the sake of answering, we say during every Liturgy that we believe in "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church". We also don't believe that Christ intended for His body to be shattered into many dis-unified denominations. And we believe that we have maintained the faith as handed to the Apostles. Please note, this is not the kind of wrangling one often hears that every denomination tends to believe they have returned to "real" first century Christianity. Of course that is what most seek to do, and they are wherever they believe is closest to that. So everyone will vote for their own beliefs.

    What then is the "glue" that holds one into the Church? Doctrine? Liturgy? Sacraments? Or is it something greater, so that there are people who really are in the Church, but many of them (perhaps a great many) don't even know it. I believe Bp. Ware said this when he said "We know where the Church is, what we don't know is where the Church isn't."

    But Orthodoxy was not ever part of any Reformation. Rome left us, formed Catholicism, and the reformers and their successors have done their best ever since to restore what they believe is right.

    Yeah, and they came up with some teachings that, when thought about in light of and in comparison to Orthodoxy, are .... bizarre. I just wish I had been better catechized and had done more studying of the differences between East and West when I was a Protestant heading out the Prottie church door.

    Orthodoxy has been under persecution for most of Christian history, and often isolated, and so just not a part of all this wrangling. All they have sought is to keep faithful.

    So yes, we believe ourselves to be "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church" ... but that language has been part of our belief since before there was Catholicism, or reformers, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals, or anyone else. It is not triumphalism. But I can understand that others might not like this.

    Well, waaaaaaaaaa.......too bad. Truth often annoys those who seek to hold onto their fables. The fact is that from the OT typology, there is only one unified body of believers, called the qa'hal (congregation) and which continued, according to Matthew 21: 33-46, as the New Covenant eklesia. The parable of Christ in Matthew 21 speaks of one vineyard which is the Kingdom of God -- not thousands!!!!

    Voting doesn't mean much. Who will vote for someone else? Most everyone is wherever their beliefs have led them to be.

    Having said this, I am off to a local Greek Orthodox parish this morning to experience Orthros and Liturgy. Looks like a nice congregation. Please continue praying for me. This weekend I am visiting with old friends who have converted to Orthodoxy. We have a lot to talk about.
     
  5. Erik Nelson

    Erik Nelson Active Member

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    Two thousand years ago, Jesus warned everybody who listened that unity is more important even than offerings at the Holy Altar in the Temple, as if even anger & hate are incompatible with the Protective Presence of God in heaven:

    “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.
    Matthew 5:21-ff.

    Historically, Religious divisions within Christendom have often coincided with the political aspirations of foreign conquering powers. Byzantine emperor Heraclius tried to re-unite the EOC and OOC in the early 7th century AD, but all attempts were rejected with vitriol & vituperation, and the lands of the OOC were soon conquered in 646 AD. A thousand years later, after the fall of Constantinople and the EOC, the Ottomans reportedly financed the various schisms from the RCC to more quickly conquer the European interior.
     
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  6. Light of the East

    Light of the East Ukrainian Greek Catholic Supporter

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    Okay, then, Eric, I'm gonna tweak you a bit then.

    If your first sentence is true and important -- why are you not Orthodox?

    One Church - one Body.

    That is the way it was for 1,000 years until the Romans left in a huff after rudely interrupting a Divine Liturgy in the Hagia Sophia and slapping a Bull of Excommunication on the altar. They have been at it ever since, and Evangelicalism, Fundamentalism, and Protestantism can lay no claim to being part of or having any connection to the one Church, the Early Church.

    So why be Protestant (non-denominational)?
     
  7. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't recall reading that in the rules here. It is public domain so available to be legally posted AFAIK anywhere on the internet. Though as a courtesy i could see asking someone. In retrospect, knowing the guy as i do, i know it would not be an issue for him. He is zealous to share his beliefs, so probably welcomes the posting of it here.

    The purpose of the post is not, as some appear to think, as a poll or vote, but to see some different perspectives on the comments he posted, which are highlighted in the OP.
     
  8. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Not in Scripture? How can you say that after reading this:

    “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

    Eph.1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.


    Show me where any of that is defined as "the church" in the New Testament.

    Show me where "the church" had to meet in a "distinct place" or it wasn't the church.
     
  9. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do you realize the Old Covenant has been abolished? Why would i want to follow the Old Covenant?
     
  10. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That sounds strange. I'm sure over 99% of Protestants who are loving the Lord would tell you they take orders from Christ. Not that they take orders from no one.

    Scripture sets the example for not obeying men, but God:

    "Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than human beings!" (Acts 5:29)
     
  11. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    They are bound by the Holy Words of Christ in Scripture & the Holy Spirit in their hearts & to respect their Spirit filled leaders in their local church.

    They are not to make men an idol in their hearts that they place before Christ. That is idolatry.

    "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God." (Rom.8:14).

    That says led by the Spirit. Not by men.
     
  12. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you polled the 250 million people in the EO denomination re 100 doctrines, no two of them would be in agreement re all 100. You'ld be left with only 1 person who is "the church"! The fact is there is much disunity in the EO re doctrines.

    Unity isn't thousands of people saying "I agree with everything the EO church says", even if in their hearts they don't know if they really truly agree, even when they've never researched all the issues & come to that position. That's a superficial, even deceptive, unity, like the outward superficial righteousness of the Pharisees. That's the same type of unity that JW's & Mormons have. Except JW's are probably better informed about their beliefs & more likely to have arrived at them through researching the issues than EO.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  13. Hillsage

    Hillsage One for Him Supporter

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    :oldthumbsup:

    I'd say unity based upon 'conformity to doctrine or government' has been a joke since it was used for the first time....whenever 'that' was. For a fact, it would have been after Paul "condemned" Peter for doctrinal disagreement AND how they governed in Jerusalem.

    GAL 2:11 But when Cephas/PETER came to Antioch I/PAUL opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

    He goes on to elaborate how Peter was scared of the 'circumcision party'(Gal 2:12 Acts 21:20) (the 'circumcision party' was the Jews who became Christians, but were still "zealous for the law". Peter's fear of them, along with the rest of the Jerusalem leaders, or "those who seemed to be pillars" (according to Paul Gal 2:9) then allowed that Jewish influence to come up with a gospel which was a mixture of the 'gospel and the law'. Paul even called 'their hybrid gospel' the "gospel OF the Circumcision" (Gal 2:7).

    I quit the Catholic church long ago, but coming to this truth many years later, simply confirmed to me that 'church unity' based upon 'doctrinal agreement' or 'form of governing based upon man' never happened then and has never happened since.

    When God looks down from heaven He only sees ONE CHURCH. And 'that' church is filled with His people, no matter what name hangs on the front door of the building. And all the rest of the 'congregants' in those buildings are unsaved religious people.
     
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  14. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Evangelical Catholic Supporter

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    Unity would be nice but I'm not going to become Orthodox or Catholic just to be on a religious quest, to sabotage everything I am just to flip a checkbox on a hospital admittance form. I am too old and too settled in my life for that.

    And that's the reality for most people, religious seeking is draining and taxing and it can disrupt your life (Orthodoxy and Catholicism in particular are no picnic). That's why there are so many churches still around, IMO. Most people are happy with what they got. And if the religious quest is driven less by curiosity, but instead fuelled by fear, then we have to ask ourselves what are we seeking?

    That's why I just accept the baptism I was given and rest in it:




    That's one of my favorite hymns, BTW. It sums up what our faith means so well, and so beautifully. It's practically a Lutheran anthem.
     
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  15. Erik Nelson

    Erik Nelson Active Member

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    Those tensions were resolved in the first Council of Jerusalem in about 50AD = Acts 15

    You are quite correct that there has always been contention in the Church, yet up until the time of Constantine, the Church always managed to mend fences and maintain unity.

    Modern disunity stems from as yet unresolved disputes, as yet unsettled by the binding ruling of a Council. Early on, facing the common tribulations of persecutions from the pagan Roman empire, Christians apparently favored unity over personal favorite interpretations of Scripture. The opposite is now true.

    Hypothetically maybe people could agree to one year binding decisions or something like that
     
  16. Hillsage

    Hillsage One for Him Supporter

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    I'm going to disagree. For one thing, the book of Galatians was written AFTER the "private" meeting of Acts 15. And scripture doesn't support that the council of Acts 15 resolved ALL the issues, of which there were many. The sect of pharisee Christians demanded they not only keep 'circumcision' but 'the law of Moses' in Acts 15. And Peter agreed that the yoke of the law was something that even the Jews were never able to bear.

    15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples (GENTILES), which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?"

    In the end, the leadership of Jerusalem agreed to only one requirement of the Gentile Christians concerning the law of Moses and it was;


    ACT 15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

    But Jerusalem's gospel of the circumcision rules were still different than the Paul's gospel of the uncircumcision. So the only agreement was this; When in Jerusalem submit to the gospel of the circumcision with ALL its Jewish influence, including circumcision. And circumcision was something that even Titus refused to get while with Paul in that Jerusalem meeting. The only 'unity' which was truly the main agreement, was this; When in Jerusalem follow the "gospel of the circumcision" (2:10), but when in Galatia follow Paul's "gospel of the uncircumcision". And that was the very argument that Paul was condemning Peter for (2:11)...Paul rebuked him for his hypocrisy concerning eating non kosher food with the 'Gentiles', UNTIL he got back to Jerusalem and in the presence of the Jewish Christians whom they feared. And that fear continued long after chapter 15 until chapter 21 of Acts when Paul went back to Jerusalem the 'last time' and submitted 'not to the prophesies of the Holy Spirit telling him not go to Jerusalem' but instead he submitted to the Jewish influenced leadership, who told Paul to do what 'they said' instead.

    ACT 21:20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: 21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. 22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. 23 Do therefore this that we say to thee:

    NOT what the Holy Spirit prophesied for Paul to do (Act 21:23).


    Acts 21:4 And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.

    Your thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  17. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    There was never a "perfect" time of the Church. From the beginning it has involved human persons, so there have always been contentions. We are all in the process of being healed from our sins (hopefully). But that is not the only hint of disunity found in Scripture.

    However ... there used to be the value of unity held above the contentions. Schism was considered a worse sin than the theological or practical errors in many cases. And these things were worked on, at least. Not counting Chalcedon, Rome was the first major split and not officially made until 1054.

    But contrast the attitudes today with the early Church - I have been in (non-denominational) churches that split over incredibly minor doctrinal differences, or personality conflicts. More than once. It can be devastating to persons in the community, leaving spiritual scars that persist for decades. We don't seem to value "leaving our gift at the altar and reconciling with our brother". In fact, for many it has become a point of actual pride that they have created some division.

    This ought not to be in the Body of Christ.

    Human beings have always been prone to such issues. It just used to be handled differently and the Body of Christ (in the Church) properly discerned, where today it seems often not to be.

    Lord have mercy on us all.
     
  18. 1213

    1213 Disciple of Jesus

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    Are Catholics or Eastern Orthodox disciples of Jesus? If not, then they are not the body of Christ, or the church of Jesus.
     
  19. Erik Nelson

    Erik Nelson Active Member

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    well, I can't prove it, but I accept the early dating of Galatians, prior to the Jerusalem Council. I'm generally inclined to accept the earliest scholarly supportable dates of Scripture.

    Acts 15 freed new gentile converts from having to become Jews first.

    Acts 21 dealt with native Jews who rightly knew that Jews had to keep keeping the Law, even after they accepted Jesus as the Messiah... Such that they rightly feared to hear rumors that Paul was teaching "born again native born Jews" to illegally backslide. Just as James the Just, brother of the Lord and second Bishop of Jerusalem after Peter, prayed daily in the physical temple of Jerusalem until his knees were as calloused as a camel's, and kept the Law, so all Jewish Christians had to keep keeping the Law (Acts 21) even while new gentile Christian converts were allowed to bypass the Law and enter the Church under what modern Jews would call the Noachide Laws (Acts 15) which apply to all children of Noah, Jew and gentile.
     
  20. Hillsage

    Hillsage One for Him Supporter

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    As you've undoubtedly noticed I'm try to quote scripture in my posts for support. And concerning this 'point of difference', I'll do the same. Paul is 'recounting' his AD 50 Jerusalem visit in AD 52 Galatians.

    GAL 2:1 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.

    That too is an opinion you are entitled to have, but I don't see scripture supporting it. If you do please provide it. But as I read it, Acts 15 never implied that Gentiles would ever have to be Jews. I think it just allowed the religiously indoctrinated "stiff necked" Jewish Christians to continue practicing a mixture of law and grace concerning things which no longer had any value for justification. So again please support that opinion with a verse if you would.

    This is a another point where I think scripture disagrees with you.

    ACT 21:21 And they are informed of thee/PAUL, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.

    Paul was teaching, correctly IMO, that justification is never accomplished under the New Covenant, with the laws of the then 'fading away Old Covenant'. And that's what he was teaching his Jewish converts who were outside of the influence of Jewish influenced Jerusalem.

    It's really just a fact that anytime God introduces something new to the church, even today, old timers fight the change just like the stiff necked Jews did in the day of the early church. Only by Paul were the Gentiles were getting an unadulterated gospel, along with any Jews who lived among those same Gentiles.

    HEB 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

    Anyone can keep beating a 2000 year old religiously 'dead' horse, but I'm of the personal opinion that he ain't ever gonna get up again.
    But it wasn't a 'rightful fear' IMO. It was a religious fear of the new religion's leadership waffling because of the influence of the 'old religion's leadership' who were now "Christians".

    I appreciate James piety and commitment, but he wasn't Jesus or the Holy Spirit. He was a fallible man, just like all of us. And it was that fallibility that Paul came against declaring it as a 'different gospel' than the one he preached.

    I simply will just have to disagree with your opinion, based upon scriptures I've provided. Paul never limited any of this to 'just' the Gentiles as I shared above in Act 21:21. The religious spirit of our Adversary has been around since the conception of the church. And it has grown in its influence to the point that it has splintered Christianity into hundreds of 'factions and schisms' from those first two concerning Paul and 'James and the elders'. But when God looks down He only sees 'one church'. And that the spirit of error lives on today with Noachide Laws still just sounds like old 'religious man' and not Holy Spirit or scripture to me. :)
     
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