• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.

Orthodoxy and Calvinism in Dialogue

Discussion in 'St. Justin Martyr's Corner: Debate an Orthodox Chr' started by Ignatius21, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

    +289
    Christian
    Married
    We also have the martyred saints in Revelation praying to God for justice, so I have no doubt that the dead pray for us and their prayers are answered. However, I don't see the basis of praying to or specifically with them (i.e. in the specific sense, I cannot summon St. Peter to start praying with me). Further, the practice of trying to contact the dead is considered sorcery and is forbidden (Deut 18:10-11).

    I have read all of Polycarp and I don't remember that. Can you point it out?
     
  2. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

    +289
    Christian
    Married
    I am not sure if there is an easy answer to this, it is sort of like the proverbial frog slowly boiled in water. If my contention were be to correct, Apostolic Succession would have never meant (in the predestined by God sense) to last forever. The Church itself never died, nor did Christ's words never passed away. But the institutional uniformity typical of the early church was perhaps never meant to be, as there was already preaching in Jesus' own time apart from the church and Christ did not forbid it.

    So, I would say in the middle ages, when the faith became specifically sacramental (not that the sacraments didn't exist before hand, but it takes special pleading to argue that they were exactly the same and as wide ranging and extravagant.) I think at this point what it meant to be Christian became so confusing, that it became essentially a neo-levitical system that the early church would have condemned.

    Again, I can be wrong, but I think the obvious differences between the church of the middle ages and the church for the first 200 or 300 years is so stark, it is almost an unavoidable conclusion.

    I would disagree with this, as "justified by faith and not by works" is right in Galatians. It's not some sort of new idea. However, did the Church speak about other doctrines as well? Yes. However, protestants take issue with the church teaching things that would abrogate a "faith alone" understanding.

    I don't know enough about Orthodoxy, but I would point to icons specifically (by God's grace I will never pray to an image) and the banning of credo-baptism, which used to be the primary form of baptism and then, at the very least, existed side by side with paedobaptism.
     
  3. Ignatius21

    Ignatius21 Can somebody please pass the incense?

    +289
    Eastern Orthodox
    Married
    Regarding baptism as somehow magically conferring salvation upon people, nobody teaches that this is what happens. We do teach that regeneration is tied to baptism, but do not specify exactly how or when or in what way they are precisely related. That is not revealed to us.

    And yes the practices changed over time. Even in Augustine's time, people sitll believed that baptism should be delayed until as late as possible to erase as many sins as possible. The Church came to see that this was a misunderstanding of the purpose of baptism and the practice universally subsided over time. We can discuss this further.

    I get what you're saying but I do think you're misrepresenting the Orthodox understanding of baptism.

    And thousands of years of Christians have seen the basis. Why is your opinion greater than theirs? What is the basis of your confidence in your own ability to see what so many generations of saints and martyrs have missed?
     
  4. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

    +289
    Christian
    Married
    Thanks for the clarification. I just wonder how a Church Father can say with certainty that a baptized baby goes to heaven.

    What if paedobaptism now is the misunderstanding? Or, both you and I are wrong and the previous understanding that you laid out there is right? And, if the belief can change over time, why can't there be more tolerance of differing views pertaining to the practice?

    It's not. But, what is the basis and when did it start?
     
  5. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

    +10,047
    Eastern Orthodox
    Married
    US-Republican
    again, then you need to reread Maccabees. which was in the Greek and Aramaic OT. and they are not dead, they are alive in Christ. Christ Himself says that God is the God of the living and not of the dead. and I would add Lazarus and the rich man. if the rich man (who is lost) could pray to Abraham, and get an answer, how come I who still have hope cannot? it does not make sense that saints are aware and pray for our sufferings, we pray for them, but somehow this God who is love has some barrier that prevents us from petitioning them or praying with them......

    it's not one of his writings, but about him: Early Christian Fathers - Christian Classics Ethereal Library

    you can see that at the end it was a post mortem revelation that the author speaks about.
     
  6. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

    +289
    Christian
    Married
    I have only read it twice, the last time probably 5 or 6 years ago, soi had to google this:

    But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear....The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin...He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice....If he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death....Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

    If we were not to take this as foreshadowing the atonement in Christ, we have several issues:

    -Can men be forgiven idolatry to pagan gods?
    -Does an offering of silver drachmas atone for sin?
    -Is the picture that we see here closer to an old covenant understanding of forgiveness for sin, or a new testament understanding?

    So, I am not sure if anyone can take this example and say we can avail those who did not Christ on earth that they may attain to the resurrection of the righteous.

    We just don't have an indication that this is a prescribed practice or preferable. Do they pray for us? Yes. Are we asked to pray to them. Certainly not. Can we pray for them, though they are dead? Why not?



    I presume you are referring to:
    I, Pionius, again wrote it from the aforementioned copy, having searched for it according to a revelation of the blessed Polycarp, who appeared to me, as I shall explain in the sequel.

    All I can say is, perhaps he was mistaken. Even I can claim revelation from God, but I can hardly use it as proof to you that I really heard or saw something prophetic.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  7. Ignatius21

    Ignatius21 Can somebody please pass the incense?

    +289
    Eastern Orthodox
    Married
    People have said all kinds of things with certainty. The bigger picture is more important. Broadly considered, Orthodoxy does not have a dogmatic explanation or answer to this. We trust in the mercy and love of God. We also do not believe that every person is conceived condemned for sins that aren't theirs, thus there is no reason to conclude that a baby would be "punished." And yet if you read the opinions of others, like St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, they often leave the answer vague. They do believe there is a difference between baptized and unbaptized, for sure, but I don't think there's a dogmatic position.

    Then at least 1700 years of Christians around the globe all got it wrong, and God allowed his entire Church to be plunged into error regarding the central sacrament by which we enter into the fellowship of the Church. Until the Reformation, when...wait...OK, shortly after that, when Baptists finally uncovered the truth and stopped baptizing infants. Which would be a major victory for God's guidance over his people, except that just as he was recovering truth about one sacrament, God simultaneously allowed the Baptists to get their doctrine of the Eucharist completely wrong. He really needs to get better at guiding his Church into truth, huh?

    Then what I just said above still applies.

    Because paedobaptism became universal practice for all Christians, at all times, everywhere, until it was thrown out by one group of Protestants who were reacting against the main group of Protestants who were reacting against Rome, whose doctrine and practices of infant baptism/chrismation/communion had already departed from the ancient practices. And it's not like the Orthodox won't baptize adults, "Sorry pal, your parents missed the boat when you were 40 days old, good luck with that!"

    Now, if it happens that paedobaptism is the correct practice, then the same Church that was right on the real presence, the Trinity, Christology and a host of other key issues, also was right about the central rite by which one becomes Christian at all? What are the odds? :p

    The basis is God's promise to guide his Church into truth and not to let it fall away. Combined with the basis that there is no notable opposition to such things as real presence, infant baptism, prayers for the dead, prayers to saints, liturgical calendars, observance of holy days, and the like. There are a host of things that were opposed...such as Augustine's doctrines of predestination, or Cyprian's hardline views of church polity, or Origen's more wild philosophical speculations. Even if certain things were never rejected outright, there's at least some record of serious discussion or debate over some matters.

    So I'll ask again, can you give me the rough date and time when the Church ceased to be the Church? When did the last bishop in the world tip the scales and go a hair-breadth over the line into another gospel? And if that didn't happen, why NOT be in communion with the same Church today?

    And explain also, how are you NOT setting yourself up as the standard against which all of the Church, ancient and modern, is to be judged for its orthodoxy?
     
  8. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

    +289
    Christian
    Married
    As a quick note, Augustine's views of predestination had the acceptance of half the unviersal church and are still today central RCC doctrine. The RCC rejects "predestinarianism" which includes the notion of double predestination, which was also rejected at the Second Council of Orange.
     
  9. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

    +289
    Christian
    Married
    Closer to 1600 years, and being the some form of baptist has existed for the last 500 years, and you have 1100 years of 99% paedo-baptism, closer to half the history of the church. But nice job exaggerating!

    I know you say this with sarcasm, but you have a serious underriding presumption: that God would protect the institutional Church from all error for all time. However, this is not true, and if your underriding presumption is wrong it throws everything built upon it into question.


    For example, for the first full 200 years of the church, all we have recorded is either the baptism of believers, or warning against baptizing children. We even have a list of baptism instructions (the Didache) that goes into detail what to do if there isn't enough "running water," yet contains no such directions about handling infants. Plus, we have doctors of the Church for the first 400 years, who had Christian parents, yet they were unbaptized as children.

    So, we have the first 200 years where there is only an argument of silence in favor of paedobaptism, while there is actual historical evidence that it was not practiced and discouraged.

    Then, we have the next 200 or even 300 years where the practice was in question as it grew increasingly widespread.

    So, for the first four, or even five centuries of Christianity, where every essential Christological and soteriological doctrine was expounded upon, they just happened to have baptism all wrong?

    What's easier to believe, that the early church had it wrong for 400 years or so when it got all the important stuff right, or that baptism was got all wrong with a bunch of other stuff that didn't exist for the first 400 years (Mariology, icon worship, purgatory, and other widespread unbiblical doctrines.)

    There's a very compelling historical argument here. I just can't ignore it.

    Yes, but GOd allowed his church by your own definition to get baptism wrong for over 400 years. Why wouldn't that be just as jaw dropping?

    Actually, it doesn't, it has to do with tolerance. Christians shouldn't be breaking communion over doctrines that don't save people. You can argue that the Real Presence is one of them, but baptism is definitely not, or the whole early church is in jeopardy by your standards.

    If it is, but the more compelling argument from the Bible and tradition is that it's not. Then, we have other doctrines which by your own admission don't make a ton of sense, but because the other stuff is right they gotta be right. Now, if you think certain doctrines are clearly wrong and opposed to tradition (i.e. baptism) it is easy to see how the idea that the institution is always right all the time just doesn't fly, especially when by your own admission the institution got things wrong.

    God, in His wisdom, just let the true Church to screw up baptism for its first few centuries of existence, meaning 20 generations or so of people died with this central doctrine messed up.

    Maybe, the way God guides His church is not as neat and tidy as you would like it to be, and the way He does it holds a lot more mystery than you may be comfortable with.

    True.

    False. Tertullian opposed it in one of his orthodox works AND the practice was not wide spread for centuries, by your own admission.

    Find an earl;y prayer for the dead from the first five centuries of the church that is akin o the prayers to Saints, Mary and etcetera.

    You mean the same church that was split over the day to celebrate Easter?

    Wow, your statement about the Church having no disagreement about aq list of stuff only to find only one thing on that list actually applies, is pretty sad. I don't want to be disrespectful, but you need to withdraw this point.

    I already answered this, there wasn't a date, though I would say by the seventh or eigth century you can probably make an argument for it, I just don't know enough about the history of ancestor veneration and such. It could very well be almost 1,000 years if not deeper into the Middle Ages.

    Because they would reject us.

    This is your best argument and I don't have a good answer. All I can say is if reasonable people can agree about the obvious (what the church teaches now is not what they taught then), then it wouldn't be just me in this conversation.

    Then again, this is a thread on Calvinism and Orthodox in dialogue, and it appears that we agree that ultimately God has control over the measure of faith each of us have. So, we may strive, but apart from grace we are in error. God guides us all in the truth, but not perfect truth.
     
  10. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

    +10,047
    Eastern Orthodox
    Married
    US-Republican
    not what I was referring to, its in there with the prophet Jeremiah I believe, who wa dead long before the Maccabees. I don't have my Bible on me else I would show the reference.

    again, if this were just a wrong answer to ask their intercessions, why would the rich man petition Abraham? why is it okay for someone who is lost to petition Abraham and not me? it also says nowhere that we are to pray to God only.

    usually, when something like this is delusion or something along those lines, it is isolated. there are countless stories of revelations from the saints, this is just one from the 2nd Century. so either you have 2000 years of being mistaken, or there is something actually to it.

    I would also point out that angels are petitioned and answer in the Bible, so why is it okay to pray to them, but not to a saint?
     
  11. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

    +289
    Christian
    Married
    Well, the quote in Maccabbees doesn't ordain anything, but even so being that you are making an assertion I would appreciate a Scriptual reference. I am rereading through Jeremiah as part of my personal devotion presently, so if I run across it I'll let you know, but you can always go to biblegateway.com and look it up.

    There are 3 issues with that interpretation.

    1. That was a parable.
    2. The rich man was already dead when he asked Abraham.
    3. The rich man was rebuked, so Abraham did not intercede for him.

    "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Tim 2:5)

    Who are these other mediators when there is only one?

    There's a lot of bleeding Mary statues in Latin America for hundreds of years. There are lots of ghosts stories too. Heck, I've seen a ghost, but because I can't prove it I don't put it forward as evidence to you.

    Angels are not being worshiped. They are asked questions, but when there are examples of actual obeisance and worship, God is clearly in view (this includes the visions in both Ezekiah and Isaiah.) In Revelation, when John worships the angel the angel corrects him and says that he must only worship God alone.
     
  12. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

    +10,047
    Eastern Orthodox
    Married
    US-Republican
    I'll look for it, becuase I am fuzzy and should porlly read it again

    1. so? parables convey truth. many think that it was also something that actually did happen, that Christ used as a Parable
    2. so?
    3. saint intercession is not the issue. you have already pointed out that they do intercede for us. the question is whether we can ask them to. the rich man did and he got an answer, the answer was no, but that is still an answer. so if a lost soul can ask and get an answer, why can't someone still on earth?

    we are not talking about Christ's mediation. saints are not mediators like Christ is. there is a difference. again, where does it say to pray to Christ ONLY?

    that just means supernatural stuff happens, which merely shows there is something to it. your opinion was that Photius was deluded or mstaken, where is your evidence that it is all (2000 years of Orthodox saints) delusion? you don't disprove Orthodox saint veneration by saying that Catholics claim that their statues bleed.

    if asking an angel and getting an answer from said angel is clearly not worship, why assume that it IS worship/wrong/whatever when asking a saint?
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  13. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

    +289
    Christian
    Married
    No one thinks Christ was relating a real event. First, Lazarus was alive at the time (though he could have been a different Lazarus). Second, all of his parables related hypothetical events. So, I think you are thin ice here.

    Do parables contain truth? Obviously. However, do we all literally sit on Abraham's lap when we die? Probably not.

    No one is debating that the dead pray (they do). The idea is whether we should pray to the dead, so that they may accomplish something for us. This would be incorrect, as it makes the dead mediators and Christ is our mediator.

    But he was already dead, again, this is not the theological basis for living people to ask dead people for stuff.

    Prayer is a form of worship. It is an abomination to pray to anything else other than God. And, if you disagree that it is not worship, then what is it? Meditation? Well, the pagans do that. An appeal for intercession? Oh yeah, the Bible is specific that only Christ intercedes.

    Plus, praying to (instead of with Saints, as I am sure they pray with us without us asking) creates all sorts of confusion. You have people with mary statues in their house. They pray towards the statues. I'm sorry, but if you can't see that's not wrong, I pray that you ask God to show either of us the light, because one of us is totally wrong.

    But, I add once last appeal. let's say I'm wrong. Is it that bad? I still pray to our Father in heaven and He still hears it, so no harm no foul. But what if you are wrong? You risk offending an all-powerful, jealous God without equal.

    I just don't see the point.

    True, but it doesn't make for convincing argumentation.

    Where's your evidence that 1400 years of Islam is all a delusion?

    Because people aren't praying to angels in the Old Testament. The Angels are hanging around and people talk to them. The same is true of Saints. When they are on earth, we talk to them. When they're dead, not so much.
     
  14. truefiction1

    truefiction1 Fool

    +1,378
    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    Married
    Why do we always insist upon anthropomorphic gods?

    Jealousy (a vile human passion) attributed to God? The underlying assumption behind all fears of saint worship is that our God shares our faults. Is this the religious ground that we wish to stand upon? Or should our understanding of God's "jealousy" be that of those who are themselves become free of such vile attributes by Grace? Asking the prayers of any other creature whether alive or passed on is an action grounded in humility and community, and must not be confused with a failure (at any level of consciousness) to recognize God's absolute sovereignty.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
  15. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

    +289
    Christian
    Married
    I don't worship a depiction of God.

    ...for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God... (Ex 34:14)

    Righteous jealously, like that of a husband indignant over a husband's philandering, is exactly what is in mind here. God hates Israel's adultery for this reason.

    That's just not a fair "gotcha" question, because it's not even a good one. Now that you know that God is, by His own definition, jealous, I am sure you will take all of this back.


    The problem is that it is neither in early tradition, or the Scripture, and the need for it is not there.

    It is interesting that if a deal could be struck to get rid of Protestantism and it meant getting rid of this extra-biblical practice, no one would want to surrender it.

    Now, there could be very good reason for it. If it meant the difference between salvation and damnation, I can see not doing it. That's why us Protestants cling to sola fide. It's not because we want excuses not to be religious, but we fear damnation if we give it up.

    However, when it pertains to this ancestor veneration, it's whole use is questionable. We don't need saints to intercede as CHrist alone is our intercessor. It's confusing, as it can easily become superstition and idolatry. Plus, there are no recorded examples of anyone praying to a Saint such as Mary for over 500 years.

    Again, there are more compelling reasons not to do it than to do it.
     
  16. truefiction1

    truefiction1 Fool

    +1,378
    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    Married
    I find all of these arguments to lack any realistic basis whatsoever. They seem to me to betray a specific underlying problem of a somewhat serious nature. Namely, an inability or refusal to embrace the responsibility of freedom. Nothing to be ashamed of though. We all must struggle against this tendency. Although I do believe this would be much more difficult for a person whose religious culture emphasizes predestination so strongly as to effectively render freedom to be something of small significance.

    BALANCE.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
  17. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

    +289
    Christian
    Married
    With all due respect, can you admit that there was nothing wrong with my use of the term "jealousy" or do you just want to disagree with me on purpose? My post is nothing about "freedom" or Van Halen's 1995 album Balance.
     
  18. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

    +10,047
    Eastern Orthodox
    Married
    US-Republican
    it was a different Lazarus. Lazarus is just the Greek form of Eleazar. I did not say that it was historic, just that many think that it is. it COULD have been a true event that Christ was relating as a parable.

    where does it say that answering prayers means mediation? and what actually IS Christ's mediation?

    so dead people can ask saints, living people can ask angels, God can do all things, but saints cannot be asked anything by living people. that really does not make sense.

    no it's not. sacrifice and offering is worship. prayer means petition. read Shakespeare. his lines on more than one occaision contain the phrase "pray thee" to other human characters in his plays. I don't think the Bard was promoting paganism with that term.

    where does it say that?

    only because nowadays people think prayer to, and worship of are the same thing.

    well I agree. praying to a statue does give me the heebies, but that is not the same thing as worship. it is very modern to think that prayer to a saint is the same as worshiping him or her.

    I don't risk offending anyone, again, prayer to someone is not the same as worship of them. so there is nothing I actually risk. and if you are wrong, is it that bad? I dunno, I have a wife and if I forget to get her something for her birthday, in the long run, is it really that bad? for some bizzarre reason, only when it comes to God, to we try to whittle love down to the bare minimum and actually ask the question if we have to do something.

    I didn't use that as an argument.

    well, since I am a Christian I know God (one cannot know God in Islam), and none of Mohammed's claims that Jews and Christians actually changed the faith actually holds any sway historically. there is no shred of evidence anywhere that Christians and Jews changed the faith like Muslims say (there is actually the opposite).

    talking to them IS praying to them. that is what prayer is. and the saints are not dead, they are alive. Christ Himself says so.

    and again, where does it say only to pray to God in Scripture?

    and I found the verse with Jeremiah. it's 2 Macc 15:11-16
     
  19. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

    +10,047
    Eastern Orthodox
    Married
    US-Republican
    I would also just toss out there that Christ, being fully human, converses with Moses about His Passion on Mt Tabor. so there you have the only Person who actually is human and is alive, speaking with someone dead.
     
  20. truefiction1

    truefiction1 Fool

    +1,378
    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    Married
    I cannot admit that there was nothing wrong with your definition of that term any more than I can admit to the validity of your fundamental assumptions, because I don't agree with them. But it is the existential "given" called freedom that is being struggled against here in your presentations, even if it's not understood by you or anyone else to be the case. My casting of the term "BALANCE" was merely a cryptic reminder of a point that I once attempted to make to you some time ago about the proper way to handle fate and freewill. I'm sure you remember our references to Paul's paradoxical muses.
     
Loading...