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Orthodox church and authority

Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby Bluegoat » 04 Apr 2009, 12:18

rusmeister wrote:(Edit) Yes, I have since found what you are referring to. Knowing its name was of great help. (It's actually called "primacy of conscience", but you set me on the right path.) I can see a contradiction there (between authority and conflicting personal consciences) which seems to me to be the problem of the entire western world. People's consciences can be dulled to the point where they no longer perceive them - witness the Nazis - and certainly they can be in error. How then to make them the ultimate guide? (I understand this is in dispute within the Catholic Church and will not dispute it here.) In that sense I would agree with you (that the Orthodox Church "goes further"), but say that the OC is right to not rely on personal conscience as the supreme authority to determine what is true. That may be a foundational point of disagreement.



This is an interesting comparison, since many Nazi's and especially soldiers claimed that atrocities they committed were done under authority, and therefore they were not personally responsible. Do you think if someone submits completely to the Church (and I don't mean an individual in the church) he no longer has responsibility for actions taken under their direction? That is the only result I can see from what you have said.
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Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby rusmeister » 04 Apr 2009, 13:19

Bluegoat wrote:
rusmeister wrote:(Edit) Yes, I have since found what you are referring to. Knowing its name was of great help. (It's actually called "primacy of conscience", but you set me on the right path.) I can see a contradiction there (between authority and conflicting personal consciences) which seems to me to be the problem of the entire western world. People's consciences can be dulled to the point where they no longer perceive them - witness the Nazis - and certainly they can be in error. How then to make them the ultimate guide? (I understand this is in dispute within the Catholic Church and will not dispute it here.) In that sense I would agree with you (that the Orthodox Church "goes further"), but say that the OC is right to not rely on personal conscience as the supreme authority to determine what is true. That may be a foundational point of disagreement.



This is an interesting comparison, since many Nazi's and especially soldiers claimed that atrocities they committed were done under authority, and therefore they were not personally responsible. Do you think if someone submits completely to the Church (and I don't mean an individual in the church) he no longer has responsibility for actions taken under their direction? That is the only result I can see from what you have said.


I'm not sure where you get "a person is not responsible". We are always responsible for what we do.
If you mean, "Could spiritual leaders try to get you to commit sin?" then the answer is "of course they could".
If you mean "Would the Church lead us to sin?" then of course not.

The Nazis (and any other atrocities you could name - esp. ones in the name of Christianity) fall under the simple question of discernment - the urge to sin is led by sinful people in conflict with the Holy Tradition of the Church. If you could posit an insane scenario where a Patriarch (for example) called for violence against the government, or against ethnic groups or whatever, it would be clear that that leader(s)' orders conflict with the teachings of the Church. Such leaders would be deposed - and Patriarchs can be deposed by a Synod. In short, the Church does not tell us to do things that are clearly wrong/sin.

Where this usually impacts us in real terms is when we feel something is not wrong but the Church tells us it is - and we don't like to hear that. (Modern sexual mores are especially in conflict with the Church. for example.) I would say that is an example of the dulling of our consciences - via language, modern education and media - Lewis might call it "the spirit of the age" - and we lose the ability to discern. It is here that we are wrong and the Church is right.
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Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby postodave » 04 Apr 2009, 15:34

If I understand the position Rus is espousing it is something like this. The authority of the Church is something a person comes to accept as a result of argument (I am not sure if Rus is saying this is or ought always to be the case of it just happened to be so in his case) once he has accepted this authority he must in some matters submit his reasoning to it.

Now it seems that the argument by means of which a person reaches the conclusion that the Church is authoritative is not simply that the Church is authoritative because it says so which would be viciously circular. It follows then that at this point of deciding whether the Church is authoritative the argument must have greater authority than the Church; Rus confirms this when he says people do not accept the authority of the Church because their reasoning is flawed. He rejects the idea that Orthodoxy just feels true to him so we know that he feels reason has greater authority for him than feeling and that would presumably include any feelings generated by religious experiences and in so far as they are felt by him the religious experiences themselves. Now if this argument is a purely deductive one it must have premises, so the next question will be where these premises come from. Are they the product of a prior argument and if so where do the premises of this prior argument come from? We know that they cannot come from a person's own experience as Rus has rejected the self as a source of authority and we know they cannot come from the Church as it is the authority of the Church that is being judged. If on the other hand the argument is a hypothetical one then there is the problem that the truth of a hypothesis can never be conclusively proved and so someone will have to make the judgement as to whether the argument is compelling; this cannot be the self because Rus rejects the self as a source of authority.

Now either I have misunderstood Rus completely or there is no way anyone could ever come to accept the authority of the Church in the way Rus claims they do. What I am saying is that there seem to be huge gaps in Rus's epistemology and I'd invite him to fill them in.
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Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby Bluegoat » 04 Apr 2009, 21:11

postodave wrote:If I understand the position Rus is espousing it is something like this. The authority of the Church is something a person comes to accept as a result of argument (I am not sure if Rus is saying this is or ought always to be the case of it just happened to be so in his case) once he has accepted this authority he must in some matters submit his reasoning to it.

Now it seems that the argument by means of which a person reaches the conclusion that the Church is authoritative is not simply that the Church is authoritative because it says so which would be viciously circular. It follows then that at this point of deciding whether the Church is authoritative the argument must have greater authority than the Church; Rus confirms this when he says people do not accept the authority of the Church because their reasoning is flawed. He rejects the idea that Orthodoxy just feels true to him so we know that he feels reason has greater authority for him than feeling and that would presumably include any feelings generated by religious experiences and in so far as they are felt by him the religious experiences themselves. Now if this argument is a purely deductive one it must have premises, so the next question will be where these premises come from. Are they the product of a prior argument and if so where do the premises of this prior argument come from? We know that they cannot come from a person's own experience as Rus has rejected the self as a source of authority and we know they cannot come from the Church as it is the authority of the Church that is being judged. If on the other hand the argument is a hypothetical one then there is the problem that the truth of a hypothesis can never be conclusively proved and so someone will have to make the judgement as to whether the argument is compelling; this cannot be the self because Rus rejects the self as a source of authority.

Now either I have misunderstood Rus completely or there is no way anyone could ever come to accept the authority of the Church in the way Rus claims they do. What I am saying is that there seem to be huge gaps in Rus's epistemology and I'd invite him to fill them in.


Yes, this.
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Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby rusmeister » 05 Apr 2009, 09:59

postodave wrote:If I understand the position Rus is espousing it is something like this. The authority of the Church is something a person comes to accept as a result of argument (I am not sure if Rus is saying this is or ought always to be the case of it just happened to be so in his case) once he has accepted this authority he must in some matters submit his reasoning to it.

Hi, PoD,
No, I'm not saying that argument is necessary to bring one to the Church - Lewis said that not many went the path he went, I'll go further and say that most don't come in by the intellectual route, period. It's (as he said) when your hopes in this life are pretty well flattened out that we become open to something more than the usual race for success in this life. But if one accepts that there must be an authority greater than self and that the Church IS that authority, established by Christ Himself, then one can see how one would have to in some things submit one's reason.


postodave wrote: Now it seems that the argument by means of which a person reaches the conclusion that the Church is authoritative is not simply that the Church is authoritative because it says so which would be viciously circular. It follows then that at this point of deciding whether the Church is authoritative the argument must have greater authority than the Church; Rus confirms this when he says people do not accept the authority of the Church because their reasoning is flawed. He rejects the idea that Orthodoxy just feels true to him so we know that he feels reason has greater authority for him than feeling and that would presumably include any feelings generated by religious experiences and in so far as they are felt by him the religious experiences themselves. Now if this argument is a purely deductive one it must have premises, so the next question will be where these premises come from. Are they the product of a prior argument and if so where do the premises of this prior argument come from? We know that they cannot come from a person's own experience as Rus has rejected the self as a source of authority and we know they cannot come from the Church as it is the authority of the Church that is being judged. If on the other hand the argument is a hypothetical one then there is the problem that the truth of a hypothesis can never be conclusively proved and so someone will have to make the judgement as to whether the argument is compelling; this cannot be the self because Rus rejects the self as a source of authority.


This seems like a (undoubtedly unintentional) shift to ad hominem. I am not the best or only defender of the Orthodox Church - I'm sure you are aware there are a lot more able people out there and there is much more to defend the Church than li'l old me.

There are a number of things that would demand definition for me to comment on your post - by "Church" do you mean any given Church, such as the Anglican Church, RCC or other organized Church, do you mean what many Protestants do by an invisible Church, etc, or do you mean only the Orthodox Church? I only speak about the latter, and mean only that by "the Church", and do not hold any argument to be greater than that. But basically, it is not by reason alone - Chesterton rightly said that it is not the man who has lost his reason who is insane, but the man who has lost everything but his reason. In my case reason did lead me back to Christianity but it was life circumstances that lead me to Orthodoxy - it was only later that I began to get the depth of Orthodoxy as I gradually engaged it.

If I were to put things as simply as possible, or a statement of what I personally believe to be true (A kind of Chestertonian "Orthodoxy"), I would start by saying there is an absolute nature to both the universe and faith, about which some people "get it more right" than others. All major religions contain truth, Christianity more than the others, and within Christian confessions Orthodoxy contains more truth than the others.

Again, it is not only reason. But the simplest model of my personal reasoning that I can offer:
Given: Christ established His Church and the job of organizing and passing down a Holy Tradition was clearly passed to the apostles.

The Church must have existed continually with physical presence - at no time did (or could) the Holy Spirit ever abandon the Church, even in the face of human sin and failings.

The question becomes "Where has that Church been since its inception?"

The claims of Protestantism inevitably lead to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit did indeed abandon the Church, at least for a millenium, because they most often involve denial of the RCC and the organization it was part of prior to the Great Schism. Furthermore, God is not the author of confusion, which reliance on the "invisible Church" to justify the splits in Christianity leads to. All Protestant models immediately collapse and become invalid in their claim of being the actual Church. (That they have large pieces of the truth remains true, of course.)

The Anglican Church was formed from the get-go by Henry VIII, and the titular head has always been an English monarch. Invalid.

That leaves the RCC and the OC - the only claimants with the necessary continuous historical claim. This is where it does get more difficult.
For me, the main objections to Orthodoxy are external - namely, the lack of apparent external unity and jurisdictional squabbles - esp. in America.
The objections to the RCC, to me, are much more powerful, and they are based on the essential problem of papal authority - one man really being in charge (which enables external unity), but it is papal authority which explains pretty much everything that went wrong, and the whole history of western Christianity - the Crusades, indulgences, the Inquisition, and ultimately the Reformation all become the result of a system-wide problem. The other side of the coin is precisely in that personal conscience thing, which explains the internal divisions of Catholics, which is most noticeable in doctrine which Catholics are free to disagree with and still call themselves Catholic. There are lots of little things, but frankly, I don't want to waste time bashing Catholics here - as far as I am concerned they are usually closest to Orthodoxy and I feel a special affection for them, despite our differences.

Orthodoxy, on the other hand, while being apparently externally divided, is almost inexplicably united internally - something which ought to be impossible, given the jurisdictional divisions, and unlike the Anglican Church (which has a similar structure) is unconditionally united on doctrine - and people that disagree either break off (become schismatic - they place the authority of their own reason above the Church - or they don't accept the difficult path of Orthodoxy in the first place. The most awful things in Orthodox history - the Old Believer schism, for instance, and the subsequent establishment by Peter the Great of a controlled Synod (which i believe ultimately lead to the Holocaust of the Russian Church in the 20th century) were, in the first case, over practices, not doctrine, and in the other an ultimately temporary situation imposed by force. In short, it is the simplest solution that makes sense of everything. Why the Western Church became so corrupt, why it lead to the Reformation, why the West sees sin in juridical terms, why Churches began multiplying like agent Smiths and everything else. It makes sense of EVERYTHING.

postodave wrote:Now either I have misunderstood Rus completely or there is no way anyone could ever come to accept the authority of the Church in the way Rus claims they do. What I am saying is that there seem to be huge gaps in Rus's epistemology and I'd invite him to fill them in.

Again, I think you "read in" the idea that reason must be supreme in coming to the Church. The gaps are really in your understanding of my position, which is no doubt my fault - I often miss or forget things, and the sketch I offered above is sketchy and incomplete. I realize a lot of things are not self-evident - although I think they ought to be. And since that is my personal reasoning, I won't present it as stuff the Church proclaims - but I accept that it DOES have the authority to proclaim that it is the Church for those reasons.

Hopefully that filled in a few gaps for you (if I may cop Adam's expression).
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Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby hammurabi2000 » 10 Apr 2009, 23:15

rusmeister wrote:The claims of Protestantism inevitably lead to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit did indeed abandon the Church, at least for a millenium, because they most often involve denial of the RCC and the organization it was part of prior to the Great Schism. Furthermore, God is not the author of confusion, which reliance on the "invisible Church" to justify the splits in Christianity leads to. All Protestant models immediately collapse and become invalid in their claim of being the actual Church. (That they have large pieces of the truth remains true, of course.)

I do not think you will find the official Protestant position, if there is such a thing, being that the Holy Spirit deserted the church after the first century; merely that an increasing percentage of people in the church ceased to be in-dwelt by the Spirit. Perhaps a key question here is the role of laying-on hands is truly physical or symbolic of the spiritual-virtual impact.

I think you are right to think the Papal role significant in underming the credibility of the RCC but I think you list too much to lay at the door of one position. One would of thought that claiming that despite its failings Orthodoxy explains all seems a rather extreme view of explaining church and theological history.
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Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby rusmeister » 11 Apr 2009, 01:04

hammurabi2000 wrote:
rusmeister wrote:The claims of Protestantism inevitably lead to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit did indeed abandon the Church, at least for a millenium, because they most often involve denial of the RCC and the organization it was part of prior to the Great Schism. Furthermore, God is not the author of confusion, which reliance on the "invisible Church" to justify the splits in Christianity leads to. All Protestant models immediately collapse and become invalid in their claim of being the actual Church. (That they have large pieces of the truth remains true, of course.)

I do not think you will find the official Protestant position, if there is such a thing, being that the Holy Spirit deserted the church after the first century; merely that an increasing percentage of people in the church ceased to be in-dwelt by the Spirit. Perhaps a key question here is the role of laying-on hands is truly physical or symbolic of the spiritual-virtual impact.

I think you are right to think the Papal role significant in underming the credibility of the RCC but I think you list too much to lay at the door of one position. One would of thought that claiming that despite its failings Orthodoxy explains all seems a rather extreme view of explaining church and theological history.

Thanks, Hammurabi,
That last post was a personal statement. For me, going from west to east, it was an experience of really knowing next-to-nothing about the east and gradually learning about it. It's a case of a lot of the views and thoughts many of you express here are familiar to me, because I had them, too. Only they didn't explain the divisions in Christendom and most of Christian history was a blank slate prior to the Reformation - from which point I, like many here, was fairly well-informed. But other than a few vague references to the Church as the Catholic Church and a few dissenters in the earlier centuries of the second millenium, nothing. Zippo. No history at all. It (pre-Reformation history) was generally avoided as a topic by the Baptists and certainly nothing was taught in the schools except that the (Catholic and therefore "only") Church (the Eastern Church was a complete cipher and essentially considered to not be Christian at all). When I began discovering the general wealth of history regarding the pre-Reformation Christian Church, and found it comparable to the general wealth of history regarding secular states, and finding that Baptist, and Protestant histories in general had nothing to go on, it became clear to me that it was because it was largely imagined. The typical view of everybody I knew - and all that was ever said in my Baptist tenure, was that somewhere, somehow, some people who were "really saved" hid out in catacombs and met in private houses until people like John Wycliffe and Martin Luther came along. That or the few people they do reference were "really saved" - without any reference to the Church in which they took part - as if they had been converted and learned the Faith in a vacuum - something I now see to be nonsense.

Now how we are capable of gauging how people far removed in space and time are "not in-dwelt by the Spirit" is something that requires major back-up. I don't think I can with any accuracy at all say how many people are so "in-dwelt" today, let alone thousands of years ago. It can by no means be an objective criterion. The answer to such questions as you propose (laying on of hands, etc) depends on what authority you accept as correctly defining and answering the question. The answers of most - "my" church, or worse, "me and some other like-minded people" - I find to completely fail the historical test. Plus, it essentially the concept of a Church that can authoritatively issue things that we DO accept, like the Nicene Creed and the Bible in its focus on individuals. They basically say that there is no Church - or that you can't identify it until Luther or Calvin or whoever got some like-minded people on the correct track - or that you can never identify it - which has the effect of making the Church of no effect, and again, nullifies any validity we could see in the Bible or the Creed.

Anyway, as soon as I began learning Eastern history, all of Western history began to make sense. It wasn't that I simply blindly accepted Orthodox histories. It was that their inclusion filled in all the gaps and turned on the lights to explain Western history. If the Orthodox position is not true, everything remains unexplained. if it IS true, then everything makes sense. (And yes, as it explains all of the divisions of Christendom, then it logically explains all of the theological divisions and developments as well.) If (note I am saying "if") the RCC had gone wrong and actually broken from the unified Church (primarily due to papal authority, which profoundly influenced the Filioque, for example), then the subsequent ills of the Catholic Church - which stem from that Catholic feature of papal authority - make sense (the Crusades, Indulgences, Inquisition...) which explains Luther and the Reformers being right to protest and in seeing that what they were protesting against was unreformable, but going off in an even more wrong direction (rather than returning to the Orthodox Church - of which they were not wholly ignorant, although the Catholic Church, by and large, discouraged even basic knowledge of the Eastern Church). The development of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura made personal opinion possible, which made division possible - in the event of dispute, what authority could anyone turn to if both parties are opening a Bible and reading seemingly conflicting passages out of it? The best you can do is get the agreement of like-minded people - until they disagree with you on some point. And so Christianity in the west fragmented into thousands of little separate and isolated pieces, instead of the unified Church that could be the only thing to ensure that doctrine is correct and true and that everybody has it right, regardless of their individual opinions. The root of "individual" is "divide".
In short, Eastern (Church) history explains Western history. Western History does not similarly explain Eastern history.

Put one way, Lewis had it right rather than Tolkien; seeing the Holy in the East rather than in the West.
Put another way: "Go East, young man!"
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Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby Bluegoat » 11 Apr 2009, 14:47

rusmeister wrote:
hammurabi2000 wrote:
rusmeister wrote:The claims of Protestantism inevitably lead to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit did indeed abandon the Church, at least for a millenium, because they most often involve denial of the RCC and the organization it was part of prior to the Great Schism. Furthermore, God is not the author of confusion, which reliance on the "invisible Church" to justify the splits in Christianity leads to. All Protestant models immediately collapse and become invalid in their claim of being the actual Church. (That they have large pieces of the truth remains true, of course.)

I do not think you will find the official Protestant position, if there is such a thing, being that the Holy Spirit deserted the church after the first century; merely that an increasing percentage of people in the church ceased to be in-dwelt by the Spirit. Perhaps a key question here is the role of laying-on hands is truly physical or symbolic of the spiritual-virtual impact.

I think you are right to think the Papal role significant in underming the credibility of the RCC but I think you list too much to lay at the door of one position. One would of thought that claiming that despite its failings Orthodoxy explains all seems a rather extreme view of explaining church and theological history.

Thanks, Hammurabi,
That last post was a personal statement. For me, going from west to east, it was an experience of really knowing next-to-nothing about the east and gradually learning about it. It's a case of a lot of the views and thoughts many of you express here are familiar to me, because I had them, too. Only they didn't explain the divisions in Christendom and most of Christian history was a blank slate prior to the Reformation - from which point I, like many here, was fairly well-informed. But other than a few vague references to the Church as the Catholic Church and a few dissenters in the earlier centuries of the second millenium, nothing. Zippo. No history at all. It (pre-Reformation history) was generally avoided as a topic by the Baptists and certainly nothing was taught in the schools except that the (Catholic and therefore "only") Church (the Eastern Church was a complete cipher and essentially considered to not be Christian at all). When I began discovering the general wealth of history regarding the pre-Reformation Christian Church, and found it comparable to the general wealth of history regarding secular states, and finding that Baptist, and Protestant histories in general had nothing to go on, it became clear to me that it was because it was largely imagined. The typical view of everybody I knew - and all that was ever said in my Baptist tenure, was that somewhere, somehow, some people who were "really saved" hid out in catacombs and met in private houses until people like John Wycliffe and Martin Luther came along. That or the few people they do reference were "really saved" - without any reference to the Church in which they took part - as if they had been converted and learned the Faith in a vacuum - something I now see to be nonsense.

Now how we are capable of gauging how people far removed in space and time are "not in-dwelt by the Spirit" is something that requires major back-up. I don't think I can with any accuracy at all say how many people are so "in-dwelt" today, let alone thousands of years ago. It can by no means be an objective criterion. The answer to such questions as you propose (laying on of hands, etc) depends on what authority you accept as correctly defining and answering the question. The answers of most - "my" church, or worse, "me and some other like-minded people" - I find to completely fail the historical test. Plus, it essentially the concept of a Church that can authoritatively issue things that we DO accept, like the Nicene Creed and the Bible in its focus on individuals. They basically say that there is no Church - or that you can't identify it until Luther or Calvin or whoever got some like-minded people on the correct track - or that you can never identify it - which has the effect of making the Church of no effect, and again, nullifies any validity we could see in the Bible or the Creed.

Anyway, as soon as I began learning Eastern history, all of Western history began to make sense. It wasn't that I simply blindly accepted Orthodox histories. It was that their inclusion filled in all the gaps and turned on the lights to explain Western history. If the Orthodox position is not true, everything remains unexplained. if it IS true, then everything makes sense. (And yes, as it explains all of the divisions of Christendom, then it logically explains all of the theological divisions and developments as well.) If (note I am saying "if") the RCC had gone wrong and actually broken from the unified Church (primarily due to papal authority, which profoundly influenced the Filioque, for example), then the subsequent ills of the Catholic Church - which stem from that Catholic feature of papal authority - make sense (the Crusades, Indulgences, Inquisition...) which explains Luther and the Reformers being right to protest and in seeing that what they were protesting against was unreformable, but going off in an even more wrong direction (rather than returning to the Orthodox Church - of which they were not wholly ignorant, although the Catholic Church, by and large, discouraged even basic knowledge of the Eastern Church). The development of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura made personal opinion possible, which made division possible - in the event of dispute, what authority could anyone turn to if both parties are opening a Bible and reading seemingly conflicting passages out of it? The best you can do is get the agreement of like-minded people - until they disagree with you on some point. And so Christianity in the west fragmented into thousands of little separate and isolated pieces, instead of the unified Church that could be the only thing to ensure that doctrine is correct and true and that everybody has it right, regardless of their individual opinions. The root of "individual" is "divide".
In short, Eastern (Church) history explains Western history. Western History does not similarly explain Eastern history.

Put one way, Lewis had it right rather than Tolkien; seeing the Holy in the East rather than in the West.
Put another way: "Go East, young man!"



In my experience your criticism of Protestant education about the first 1500 of Christianity is often true, though I wouldn't say it is universal by any means. I think it is often true of the more radical reformed churches, though probably not the Lutherans. And some Anglicans see themselves as going back to the pre-Roman Celtic churches, which could raise some interesting questions about their relation to Orthodoxy.

If it is logical to explain that the Protestant Reformation happened because the RC church wasn't the True Church though, it could be argued that the original split between East and West occurred because neither represented the True Church in it's entirety. One would then have to say that there was no perfect instantiation of the True Church on Earth, but I don't see why we would have to exclude that, although it would seem to be nicer if God wouldn't allow it. I suppose the question would have to do with how the Church is affected by the Fall, in particular the Church Militant. I'm not actually sure what any church says about that, now that I think of it.

It likely would have been totally impractical for the Reformers to think of becoming Orthodox though, rather like converting to Orthodoxy while living in, I don't know, some small inaccessible place with no Orthodox people.
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Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby hammurabi2000 » 13 Apr 2009, 00:30

rusmeister wrote:It (pre-Reformation history) was generally avoided as a topic by the Baptists and certainly nothing was taught in the schools except that the (Catholic and therefore "only") Church (the Eastern Church was a complete cipher and essentially considered to not be Christian at all).

Now how we are capable of gauging how people far removed in space and time are "not in-dwelt by the Spirit" is something that requires major back-up. I don't think I can with any accuracy at all say how many people are so "in-dwelt" today, let alone thousands of years ago. It can by no means be an objective criterion.

Anyway, as soon as I began learning Eastern history, all of Western history began to make sense. It wasn't that I simply blindly accepted Orthodox histories. It was that their inclusion filled in all the gaps and turned on the lights to explain Western history. If the Orthodox position is not true, everything remains unexplained. if it IS true, then everything makes sense.

Pre-reformation history is not a widely popular topic. It certainly is not going to be anything other than a specialist topic. However, it is taught and I do not think your description is an accurate refelection of the official line. What people in the pew think may be of interest but is not the formal view.

I agree that knowing today of spiritual qualities is not possible and therefore we cannot know of the past. I am not trying to pass judgement on anyone. I am suggesting how you move from a vibrant church in the first century to one riven by discord fifteen centuries later. You seem to suggest conformity of form in church substantiates it as a true church. I think we want spiritual substance.

I fear that you have something of a tautology. Once we see Christian history through the eyes of the Orthodox it all makes sense. I am sure the Pope feels the same with the RCC church.
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Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby Xara » 13 Apr 2009, 10:14

Bluegoat wrote:It likely would have been totally impractical for the Reformers to think of becoming Orthodox though, rather like converting to Orthodoxy while living in, I don't know, some small inaccessible place with no Orthodox people.


[aside]
An accurate description of Wales. Though goodness knows, people are converting. 1 a year so far. That's a deluge round here.
[/aside]
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Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby Xara » 13 Apr 2009, 10:23

hammurabi2000 wrote:Pre-reformation history is not a widely popular topic. It certainly is not going to be anything other than a specialist topic.


I did Luther's Reformation as a minor at university. It didn't make me more popular with girls.

That's the second time I've fallen for the sales pitch for a religious course. I did Religious Education at school because the teacher promised all pupils a trip to the Holy Land. After 18 months we challenged him about this and he said the Holy Land was a pub in Birmingham. But we couldn't go because we were under age.

Years of learning about Protestants, and all those unfulfilled promises.
Experience: that most brutal of teachers.
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Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby Bluegoat » 14 Apr 2009, 18:04

Xara wrote:
hammurabi2000 wrote:Pre-reformation history is not a widely popular topic. It certainly is not going to be anything other than a specialist topic.


I did Luther's Reformation as a minor at university. It didn't make me more popular with girls.

That's the second time I've fallen for the sales pitch for a religious course. I did Religious Education at school because the teacher promised all pupils a trip to the Holy Land. After 18 months we challenged him about this and he said the Holy Land was a pub in Birmingham. But we couldn't go because we were under age.

Years of learning about Protestants, and all those unfulfilled promises.



Not even the girls studying the Reformation? Though when I was a classics major, the students in the department seemed to have a difficult time pairing up. Lots more men than women of course, but even so... I'm not sure if it was the women looking for something different so much as the men were. Maybe nerdy types want to mitigate their nerdieness by finding non-nerd partners?

I have to say, having checked out some Orthodox boards lately, there were some nasty places, more so than the RC ones (slightly), which surprised me. Not to be rude about any one religious group, but what is with that?
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Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby Xara » 14 Apr 2009, 22:35

Bluegoat wrote:I have to say, having checked out some Orthodox boards lately, there were some nasty places, more so than the RC ones (slightly), which surprised me. Not to be rude about any one religious group, but what is with that?


What sort of places? Schools? Places of work? Internet sites?
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Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby Bluegoat » 14 Apr 2009, 22:54

Xara wrote:
Bluegoat wrote:I have to say, having checked out some Orthodox boards lately, there were some nasty places, more so than the RC ones (slightly), which surprised me. Not to be rude about any one religious group, but what is with that?


What sort of places? Schools? Places of work? Internet sites?


Yup, internet sites. I suppose maybe they are inclined to attract weirdos.
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Re: Orthodox church and authority

Postby postodave » 16 Apr 2009, 22:59

Hi bluegoat
I would recommend the monachos site. It's well regulated though rather formal. You have to make it clear you are a non-orthodox visitor but you are made to feel welcome. It tends to the philosophical/theological side but I think that would suit you. The guy who runs it is very knowledgeable on the fathers which is where it tends to focus a lot of the time - so it can sometimes but more like a question and answer session than a debate but I quite like that. Just google monachos. You do the occasional oddball but it's all very civil.
I was reading a book of Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox dialogue written back in 1963 - it was all more civilised then somehow. I actually wonder if Orthodoxy is now picking up people who would have joined groups like the Plymouth Brethren at one time. I've no evidence for that though just a suspicion.
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