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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The corruption of the Church

Dostoevsky understood that when the Church becomes the State, it ceases to be the Church, as he described in The Brothers Karamazov:
In many cases there are no churches there at all, for though ecclesiastics and splendid church buildings remain, the churches themselves have long ago striven to pass from Church into State and to disappear in it completely. So it seems at least in Lutheran countries. As for Rome, it was proclaimed a State instead of a Church a thousand years ago.
The State Churches of Great Britain, Norway, and Sweden bear testimony to this perspective. Temporal power has always been the great temptation of the Christian, as it was of Jesus Christ himself.

The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.  “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 

Of course, Dostoevsky very well understood that others accepted the offer that Jesus Christ rejected.
All that I can say is known to Thee already. And is it for me to conceal from Thee our mystery? Perhaps it is Thy will to hear it from my lips. Listen, then. We are not working with Thee, but with him--that is our mystery. It's long--eight centuries--since we have been on his side and not on Thine. Just eight centuries ago, we took from him what Thou didst reject with scorn, that last gift he offered Thee, showing Thee all the kingdoms of the earth. We took from him Rome and the sword of Cæsar, and proclaimed ourselves sole rulers of the earth, though hitherto we have not been able to complete our work. But whose fault is that? Oh, the work is only beginning, but it has begun. It has long to await completion and the earth has yet much to suffer, but we shall triumph and shall be Cæsars, and then we shall plan the universal happiness of man.
Beware those who preach the unity of Man and the healing of the world. Those who do have taken the Grand Ticket.

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85 Comments:

Blogger Ominous Cowherd February 25, 2020 9:04 AM  

Take the Grand Ticket, or stay home. If you're going to take a ticket to hell, it would be silly not to go first class, because every car on the train arrives at the same destination.

Either you get on God's side, or you're on the train to hell.

Blogger Beau February 25, 2020 9:16 AM  

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” - Acts 2:38-40

Will you?

Blogger John Regan February 25, 2020 9:16 AM  

The traditional Catholic position is that monarchy is the natural form of government and that the monarchs should subordinate themselves to the church, maybe not just like everyone else but subordinate just the same. This was the nature of governments in the fairly high Christian civilization that developed between the fall of Rome and the Reformation of the 16th century. This tradition regards the separation of church and state as deviant and ultimately unacceptable. Which is not to say that wedding church and state doesn't have corruption problems, too. You pays your money and you takes your chances, I guess. But I think the Catholic model is better, even in practical terms. For just one example, it's better at self-correction. As VD has often pointed out here, we need a jubilee, pretty much to head off an economic and political collapse at some point. Jubilees were practiced in antiquity, and as far as I know they were always done through an edict by a monarch. In the US we don't have monarchs, the constitution is the highest authority, so a constitutional amendment is required to enact a jubilee. Which means it will never happen. Too hard, too esoteric a subject for popular support.

Blogger MaxEMiller February 25, 2020 9:22 AM  

Brings to mind the slogan on a sign I've seen outside a synagogue from the Jewish United Fund: "Let's Repair the World Together"

Blogger Johnny February 25, 2020 9:26 AM  

In Europe there is the peculiar situation of a state religion in countries where few people are even interested in religion. It has had the effect of making the religion a null entity. At least that is what I think is going on. The more common outcome is that the religion becomes the creature of the state and helps enforce state doctrine.

Adolph Hitler got the Christians off his back by running church funds through the government. The ministers all became government employees. It created an odd situation. By funding Christianity was the Nazi state religion, even as Nazi doctrine was hostile to Christianity. Like the French Revolution, the Nazi's wanted to create their own in house pagan inspired religion.

Blogger maniacprovost February 25, 2020 9:43 AM  

In Europe there is the peculiar situation of a state religion in countries where few people are even interested in religion. It has had the effect of making the religion a null entity

Wow, what a strange coincidence that occurred in those different places, and such an unforseen consequence.

Blogger Unknown February 25, 2020 9:46 AM  

Notice this was written before Vatican II

Blogger Ranger February 25, 2020 9:57 AM  

Reading this right after finishing "The Papacy", by Abbe Guette, is very enlightening. Dostoievsky understood well the Roman Church and knew where it would end.

Blogger Kraemer February 25, 2020 10:16 AM  

Didn't know Churchianity expanded to the people who offed Jesus. Thanks

Blogger Sam February 25, 2020 10:19 AM  

@3
That is the Catholic position after it got out of the thumb of the Holy Roman Empire- it is as traditional as mandatory clerical celibacy. Religious authorities are subordinate to secular rulers is the stable arrangement and can be seen repeated throughout the historical record.

The idea of separation of church and state is less deviant then incoherent. Nations without official state churches are still run by religions; just instead of Christianity they have insane death cults.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia February 25, 2020 10:32 AM  

"...we shall triumph and shall be Cæsars, and then we shall plan the universal happiness of man."

Nice. I think we have just discovered a unique campaign slogan for Bernie Sanders!!

I am reminded of a conversation between Mark Steyn and Douglas Murray discussing Murray's book, "The Strange Death of Europe." One of Murray's key points -- an obvious one but one always worth mentioning -- is how even the SENSE of a Christian religion, let alone a religion that is truly practiced, has disappeared from secular Europe.

Steyn related a story of how the vacuous dauphin, Prince Charles, was scheduled to attend a Sunday service in a rural English church, and when he showed up, the place was packed, and Charles, concluded that religion was alive and well in the land.

No, Charles it was a state visit.

And Steyn later recalled one of his acquaintances, who told him, "I'm not religious: I'm Church of England." A joke, of course, but telling indeed.

There you have it.

Blogger rumpole5 February 25, 2020 10:33 AM  

The Apostle Paul explained the Christian's proper relationship to civil government in Romans 13:1-6. It is remarkably flexible, and applicable to any form of civil government, including one actively hostile to Christ (of course, all civil governments are hostile to Christ to some degree). In John 18:36 Jesus explicitly distinguished and separated his kingdom from any worldly one. Likewise, in Matthew 22:17-21, the discourse about rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, Jesus drew a bright line between our obligations to civil government and to God. Worldly focused folks just can't grasp this concept, and that is why they are drawn to the folly of passing "Godly" laws in a fallen world. There is no such thing as a Godly civil law. The purpose of civil law is to keep the natives from getting too restless and to dampen down the chaos a little.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 February 25, 2020 10:43 AM  

Beware those who preach the unity of Man and the healing of the world. Those who do have taken the Grand Ticket.

Indeed. God even deliberately breaks up institutions, governments, and kingdoms when He sees that them getting too uppity. From the Tower of Babel to the Protestant Reformation, it is always about ensuring that mankind is divided so the evil he commits is not on a global scale.

There is no perfect system man can build. The best we can do is be faithful to Christ in all things.

Blogger Bernard Korzeniewicz February 25, 2020 10:52 AM  

I think the State and the Church should be working like father and wife.
Common goals and separate structures.
Separate laws and training and doctrines and so on.
And of course no, absolutely NO religious toleration. Any "new Church" is like inviting "that other woman" to the house.

My country, Poland, was unfortunately the place where all great Christian branches met. The end result was not pretty.

In XVII and XVIII, when grabbles shone some gold, Protestants betrayed Christiandom...
... Yea, I know you are good and proper Christians, I talk history....
... selling their loyalty to Sweden and later to Prussia. Of course Orthodox decide they loved Moscow (never mind Ivan the Terrible killing more Russian civilians than all Polish-Moscow war combined, never mind the Old Believers being hunted like animals, never mind Peter "the Great" literally raping Moscow Orthodoxy). Of course that made Catholic clergy run to the nearest Catholic monarch, to Vienna
and The State collapsed.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 25, 2020 10:58 AM  

Become too invested with power and it is power that rules you rather than the other way around.

Blogger Kevin February 25, 2020 11:00 AM  

I enjoyed this post. I have always had a problem with caesaropapism. One hand shaking the other using subjective reasoning to rationalize decisions. Its probably the reason for the decay of the Byzantine empire as well as the state churches of today.

Blogger tublecane February 25, 2020 11:02 AM  

@3- Dostoyevsky was of course anti-Catholic. He saw it as !more or less the Beast incarnate, infecting the East with its corruption. Christian rebirth was to come from the people of Russia, who are mystically tied to the soil, and all that which we call panSlavism. So on and so forth.

There's some truth to this--speaking as a cultural Catholic--in that Catholic power has seen itself as literally "catholic," i.e. universal. Which in the minds of some zealots translated into some form of globalism as we now know it. Though lately--meaning the last several centuries--globalism has been more of a Protestant thing.

Instead of sticking to being the go-between for communicants and God has sought for to capture worldly authority and extend itself that way. Including by allying itself with Godless communism in the Third World.

The main point here, I think, is that modern state churches are barely even churches at all. Their believers believe in the state more than God. They go through the motions merely. Church institutions have been consumed thoroughly by secular culture.

If it is possible to have official churchdom without theocracy, and it is (there are historical examples), it won't look like England.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd February 25, 2020 11:03 AM  

Kraemer wrote:Didn't know Churchianity expanded to the people who offed Jesus. Thanks
Pretty sure those are the people who started Churchianity. Paul preached against them in Galatians.
swiftfoxmark2 wrote:. From the Tower of Babel to the Protestant Reformation, it is always about ensuring that mankind is divided so the evil he commits is not on a global scale.
Best explanation I've heard yet for why God encourages denominations.

Blogger Crush Limbraw February 25, 2020 11:29 AM  

Bertrand Russel (and, apparently, also Voltaire) once brilliantly wrote that “God created Man in His image and Man returned Him the favor“. - The Saker

Blogger LAZ February 25, 2020 11:34 AM  

"...the Nazi's wanted to create their own in house pagan inspired religion."

Made even more sinister by the fact that Hitler was part of a certain tribe and controlled opposition.

Blogger Nathan Hornok February 25, 2020 12:57 PM  

When the Church starts acting like the state (using violence, and not just excommunication, to acquire and retain political power) it is no longer the Church. But then again, if a "sword bearer" doesn't base it's action on God's law of morality, then it becomes a Promethean tyrant. There is no permanent solution to this conundrum in this fallen world (until Jesus Christ comes and every knee kneels to Him).

So what do we do in the meantime?

Recognize that our current State has set itself up as a false religion (for example, the wall in the Lincoln memorial says "in this Temple," it's all hiding in plain sight). Don't place your faith in men and their silly plans. Recognize the false Christians for what they are. In other words, don't give to Caesar what is God's, yet be subject to the ordained leaders God has provided.

In practical terms, take every opportunity to politically decentralize, preferably without violence. However, there are times when you must sell your coat and buy a sword because the other side has forced your hand, and there are times to put down the sword lest you die by it. Sometimes God's ordained leaders are considered illegitimate rebels (like the founding fathers) by the current Prometheans, but only cross that bridge when you know you are acting in perfect love for your family and Nation without hatred or vengeance.

Blogger Durandel February 25, 2020 1:10 PM  

It matters not if the Church runs things or is subordinate to the State. If the institution has power, it will be pursued by deviants and psychopaths. The arrangement matters little, it’s the quality of the rulers and the ruled that matters most. A theocracy run by a good, faithful Pope that holds power over virtuous, Godly people, will do well just as a Republic made up of good, faithful, orthodox Christians would.

Take power away from the Instituions, and they’ll be discarded and ignored, incapable of shaping the world. Yet give them power, and entrysts will seek to take it for their own. We need to figure out a way to promote virtue and to get the truly virtuous to be in charge.

Blogger NixonRespector February 25, 2020 1:17 PM  

"I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church"

- Nicene Council (325 AD), 300+ Bishops from the far reaches of the Roman Empire representing the entire Christian faith

"...God encourages denominations."

- Ominous Cowherd (2020 AD), 21st century blog commentor

Anonymous Anonymous February 25, 2020 1:27 PM  

"Either you get on God's side, or you're on the train to hell."

Well, yeah, without Christ, hell may be a possible reality. But the sad fact -- it's more than two years I was born-again -- is that most people d o n o t c a r e about "the last things."

Meaning that most of my relatives are either in hell or destined for it. Further, the Christian himself has to live in fear and trembling. Luther's first thesis is exactly about that: that the Christian shall live a life of repentance. We do not know if we will be saved; Christ Himself teaches that only few will be. I have been backsliding, and the Churches (here in Germany) are all dead, the Protestants lost their mind completely, being pro-diversity, pro-refugee. They even read islamic verses/suras in the local Church here -- aptly accompanied by islamic/oriental music. I am not baptized even. Not that I believe you need to be in order to be saved, but such Churches I do not want to be part of

Blogger Doktor Jeep February 25, 2020 1:32 PM  

I say the same for people who preach about "saving lives". Everybody who wants your money or your rights so that "lives can be saved" will be found out to have other things they are for that cost lives and make life hell for the living. When someone tells me they are trying to "save lives" I stop listening right there.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd February 25, 2020 1:37 PM  

NixonRespector wrote:"I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church"

- Nicene Council (325 AD), 300+ Bishops from the far reaches of the Roman Empire representing the entire Christian faith

That One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church is God's church, that Jesus founded on the faith gifted to believers by the Holy Spirit.

All the denominations are human institutions, including yours, and no human institution is God's Church.

Be a member of God's church, and either keep your denomination lined up with His Church, or get out of it.

Blogger John Q Public February 25, 2020 1:48 PM  

Please read "Reflections of a Russian Statesman" by Konstantin Pobedonostsev.

Blogger Up from the pond February 25, 2020 2:10 PM  

>>"We need to figure out a way [...] to get the truly virtuous to be in charge."

We're not going to get Christ to return any sooner than He wishes to return.

Blogger NixonRespector February 25, 2020 2:21 PM  

All the denominations are human institutions, including yours, and no human institution is God's Church.

I think Christ would disagree with you. I think Peter and Paul would disagree with you. In fact, I think every major church leader or bishop for the first 1500 years of church history would disagree with you.

Be a member of God's church, and either keep your denomination lined up with His Church, or get out of it.

Christ's Church is quite clearly a physical body of people with spiritual authority given from Christ himself. He quite clearly placed the Apostles at the head of this institution, who in turn past it on to their successors, and so on ad infinitum. "Denominations", as you call them, only exist in ignorance or denial of this reality.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd February 25, 2020 2:34 PM  

Loser in training wrote:We do not know if we will be saved; Christ Himself teaches that only few will be. I have been backsliding ...
More works, faster!
Or go read the Gospel. You're saved by faith.

Blogger Nathan Hornok February 25, 2020 2:53 PM  

@12 rumpol5 I disagree. I do think a civil authority can enforce Godly laws. Namely, the last 6 of the 10 commandments; don't steal, don't kill, obey parents, etc. (the first 4 of the 10 commandments set the philosophical foundation for the remainder of the Decalogue, but that's another matter).

In the enforcement of these human to human commandments, the Nation can use practical considerations to decide how moderate or severe the punishments should be. Not every violation requires capital punishment, otherwise no one would be alive. But if a Nation is generally aiming toward obeying those commandments, you will likely see a healthy and righteous society. Many pagan societies rose to great heights based on their obedience, more or less, to these laws. Furthermore, since the first of these commands is to obey parents, it infers a system of family based hierarchies that moderates how heavy handed the "state" is in enforcing these laws. But generally speaking, if a Nation is using these commands as a guide to choosing what is against the law, then the society is enforcing God's commands. If a society is enforcing laws contrary to these commands, like policies of income redistribution that violate injunctions against theft and coveting, then the policy itself is "lawless." It's all a matter of how well your Nation's laws match THE LAW. Also, these laws are basically written on the human heart, so even Nations lost in pagan darkness can seek God and find Him in a limited way.

This is all implied in Romans 13 when it says "there is no authority except from God" and "for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil." Both these statements imply that there is a "pre-political" understand of right and wrong behavior, namely, the 10 commandments.

If you meant that the civil authority can't enforce the first 4 of the 10 commandments, there I agree with you. But we do see that if a society rejects the principles found in the first 4 commandments (as our post Christian western liberal democracies have) then the ability to obey and enforce the second half of the Decalogue will also fad away.

Blogger CarpeOro February 25, 2020 3:22 PM  

I thought about writing something much more detailed and convoluted, but on reflection it comes down to the following. Any time Christ ceases to be the head of a church it will start to fall away from the path. It is a narrow path and we all have to strive to stay on it - no label (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant) gives you a pass.

Blogger Unknown February 25, 2020 4:02 PM  

1st Corinthians chapter 10 offers an ominous warning to the Church. All Israel passed through the Red Sea, but most were idolators and grumblers, many were sexually immoral, and God was not pleased with them. Nearly all died in the wilderness, failing to reach the promised Land.

This happened as a warning to us. It is possible to be a part of the visible Church, yet lack true faith, and fail to reach the eternal city of God.

We must be faithful to Christ. Many church members (probably most), and many pastors (probably most) will fail to enter the New Jerusalem.

Like Caleb and Joshua, may we be men of true faith who please God, and receive the promised inheritance. Let us run the race before us and cast off everything that distracts and entangles.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 February 25, 2020 4:29 PM  

NixonRespector wrote:"I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church"

- Nicene Council (325 AD), 300+ Bishops from the far reaches of the Roman Empire representing the entire Christian faith

"...God encourages denominations."

- Ominous Cowherd (2020 AD), 21st century blog commentor


OK Boomer.

Blogger Ransom Smith February 25, 2020 5:02 PM  

"I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church"

- Nicene Council (325 AD), 300+ Bishops from the far reaches of the Roman Empire representing the entire Christian faith

The word Catholic there is the Greek for universal.
Not the name of an organization based in Rome.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 February 25, 2020 5:10 PM  

NixonRespector wrote:All the denominations are human institutions, including yours, and no human institution is God's Church.

I think Christ would disagree with you. I think Peter and Paul would disagree with you. In fact, I think every major church leader or bishop for the first 1500 years of church history would disagree with you.

Be a member of God's church, and either keep your denomination lined up with His Church, or get out of it.

Christ's Church is quite clearly a physical body of people with spiritual authority given from Christ himself. He quite clearly placed the Apostles at the head of this institution, who in turn past it on to their successors, and so on ad infinitum. "Denominations", as you call them, only exist in ignorance or denial of this reality.


Hey TradCatholic, do you even read the Bible or do you just trust what the priest tells you?

Because Israel was God's chosen people. And then he prevented them from entering Israel for their sins.

Phinehas and his descendants were to be a perpetual high priest. Until the times of Samuel where his descendants spent their days stealing from the people and fornicating with women.

David and his descendants were to be kings of Israel. Until Solomon worshiped idols and thus doomed Israel to split into two kingdoms.

I could go on, but those were all situations very similar to the Apostles and the early church. But the Church sinned against God by keeping the salvation of Jesus from the people and demanding money in exchange for absolution. This was a grave sin, quite possibly a mortal sin or a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

And so God broke up the Catholic Church.

500 years later and you still don't learn any humility.

Blogger Bartolo February 25, 2020 6:10 PM  

To unite the humanity, they will destroy your country. To heal the world, the will demand total power. The logic is very simple.

Blogger RedJack February 25, 2020 6:15 PM  

As a confession Lutheran, I am VERY glad my ancestors got out of the state churches.

There are "free" churches in some areas of Europe. We support one in Germany, and one in Russia. Both do not take money from the State.

Because when you take the king's coin, you play the king's tune.

Blogger FrankNorman February 25, 2020 6:33 PM  

I see that this discussion is in danger of turning into yet another slapfest between Protestants and Roman Catholics.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd February 25, 2020 7:08 PM  

NixonRespector wrote:Christ's Church is quite clearly a physical body of people with spiritual authority given from Christ himself.
OK.
NixonRespector wrote:He quite clearly placed the Apostles at the head of this institution...
No, He quite clearly is the head of His church. Anything the Apostles headed was a human institution. Humans can be part of Jesus's church, but human institutions aren't. Denominations can be aligned with God's church, but since they are human institutions, they don't stay that way forever.
NixonRespector wrote:... who in turn past it on to their successors, and so on ad infinitum.
The idea that Apostles could appoint their successors, who in turn would be apostles sent by Jesus, is ridiculous. You're only an Apostle of Christ if Christ Himself appointed you. The last Apostle of Christ was Saul of Tarsus. Apostolic succession is one of those self-serving traditions that brings its holders into disrepute, or worse.

There is one Christian Church, and Jesus is its head. If you think your denomination is that church and your leader is its head, you are trying to elbow aside Jesus. That's true no matter which denomination is yours.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 25, 2020 7:47 PM  

"Christ's Church is quite clearly a physical body of people with spiritual authority given from Christ himself."

What you presume exists neither apparently exists nor does it even fulfill its name. It's name is a lie just as plainly as your definition of its nature.

""Denominations", as you call them, only exist in ignorance or denial of this reality."

Denominations prove it a lie.

Blogger Hammerli 280 February 25, 2020 8:54 PM  

There's a flip side to this. Will and Ariel Durant, in "The Reformation", argued that the Catholic Church gave up secular power in Europe...and by doing so, gained spiritual power worldwide.

Blogger John Rockwell February 25, 2020 9:11 PM  

"Temporal power has always been the great temptation of the Christian, as it was of Jesus Christ himself.

The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” "

The devil sought to give him the Kingdom prematurely without the Cross only that he give in to evil.


But the Millennial and Eternal Kingdom can only come about with a Redeemed Creation via the Cross.
Jesus will reign as King and decree as LORD from Zion in the 1000 year reign.

Blogger John Rockwell February 25, 2020 9:17 PM  

swiftfoxmark2 wrote:Beware those who preach the unity of Man and the healing of the world. Those who do have taken the Grand Ticket.

Indeed. God even deliberately breaks up institutions, governments, and kingdoms when He sees that them getting too uppity. From the Tower of Babel to the Protestant Reformation, it is always about ensuring that mankind is divided so the evil he commits is not on a global scale.

There is no perfect system man can build. The best we can do is be faithful to Christ in all things.


Globalists would be looking at the History of China to counteract that.

The periods of unity in China once the Bureaucracy is in place lasted longer and longer.

Blogger NixonRespector February 25, 2020 9:43 PM  

OK Boomer.

Imagine thinking the Nicene Creed is boomer

The word Catholic there is the Greek for universal.

Please explain how 45 thousand different squabbling denominations is "universal" in any way shape or form.

The idea that Apostles could appoint their successors, who in turn would be apostles sent by Jesus, is ridiculous.

I never said that more apostles were generated after their deaths. Your assumption proves your ignorance of church history. The Apostles appointed successors who eventually became bishops of certain regions and as the Church grew more and more bishops were appointed. This is historical.

Anything the Apostles headed was a human institution. Humans can be part of Jesus's church, but human institutions aren't. Denominations can be aligned with God's church, but since they are human institutions, they don't stay that way forever.

Christ established his Church to last for all time (and yes, that includes humans). "His kingdom will have no end" and so on

Denominations prove it a lie.

Did the Arian heresy prove Christ's Church a lie? Did the Gnostic Heresy prove Christ's Church a lie? Why then with a 16th century German priest? Why a 21st century evangelical pastor? Many people have been wrong before. Many people will continue to be wrong.

The bottom line is an issue of authority. You can claim your authority as a theologian comes straight from Christ himself. But the fact is that Christ gave his authority to a certain set of 12 men (Matthew 16). I personally have no more authority on this issue than a snail or a mouse, which I am willing to accept. If I were to think otherwise I would risk falling into the sin of pride, or worse, falling out from the Body of Christ.

Blogger Student in Blue February 25, 2020 10:57 PM  

A friend of mine tried going to one of the state Lutheran churches in Germany. He wasn't impressed; if I recall correctly, it was along the same lines as most churches that have lost the Holy Spirit, where there's a sense of 'going along to get along'.

@38. RedJack

The independent one in Germany is SELK I know, but I don't recall hearing about the one in Russia. What's the name of that one?

Blogger James Lovebirch February 25, 2020 11:45 PM  

I want to lay out the position like what Ominous and Azure are describing in a more full way from a historical perspective. Please point out any information I'm missing or ways I might be strawmanning. My intention is to steelman the position, but in laying it out this way I think it will show why this position is unlikely to be true.

The history would go like this:

Jesus incarnates, establishes the new covenant and his church, and he hands the church over to his apostles as He leaves Earth. In doing so he promises them that the gates of hell shall never prevail against his church in toto, whatever "his church" means.

There's a miscommunication either from Jesus to the apostles or the succession of the apostles to the ensuing bishops. The church during the first 1500 years shows a consistent belief that "his church" is conceived of as a living community administered by bishops, who maintain a line of succession from the apostles, with laymen attending physical church buildings and activities. The only exception is the shift in Rome to papal supremacy circa the schism, but framing it that way is controversial to RCs. The church is meant to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic according to the leaders of the living institution that claims to be his church. Much weirdness and some fracturing occur during that millennium and a half, but several living institutions exist to this day that can trace their lineage back to Jesus's apostles. By their logic, only one of them could be the one true church, but one of them IS that church or else Jesus was lying.

During the protestant reformation, a small group of Christians in Western Europe realized that "his church" refers to an non-physical church or a church in spirit. You don't need to be apostolic, you can just figure out the truth by yourself. As long as you have the right way of thinking, you are a member of this church in spirit, and you don't NEED to physically attend church activities at all to be a Christian; though it's probably better if you do. It's on this part conceptualizing Ominous and Azure's idea of the church that I could almost certainly use feedback, so feel free.

So for a millenium and a half, all Christians were wrong. OR the truth evolved. Did Jesus goof when he left humanity with the wrong idea of what his church was? What happened here?

My opinion is that denominations are encouraged by God as much as any other form of error. There's only one truth, so I'd like to know the denomination that's correct or closest.

Blogger Dan Karelian February 26, 2020 12:08 AM  

To separate the church of the apostles artificially into a human institution and some platonic ideal of the church of Christ, is to impose a heretical Nestorian ecclesiology.

People in the church may not align with the will of God most of the time but that does not lead into God abandoning the historical church in favor of some newfound protestant branch.
Chastise yes, like the Israelites many times, but abandon even for a short period, no. The church is not Novatianist either.

Then again mainline protestants usually fall into either Nestorianism or Arianism, once their starting points are followed to their conclusion.

The church of Christ in history is called the Orthodox Catholic Church, which is in direct continuation with the Old Testament church of Israel, the church of Abraham, of Noah, of Seth, of Adam, even though they weren't officially named so, the typology holds true.

Denominations prove heresy and schism, regardless of whether the denomination in question is Oriental 'Orthodox', Roman Catholic, Old Calendarist or otherwise.

The church is both material and spiritual, just as the incarnation Himself.

Blogger Akulkis February 26, 2020 6:09 AM  

"Please explain how 45 thousand different squabbling denominations is "universal" in any way shape or form."

If the Roman Church were The One True Church (R)(TM), then it wouldn't be so screwed up from bottom to the very top.... for going on close to a whole millenium now.

Blogger Guy B February 26, 2020 8:53 AM  

“Be a member of God's church, and either keep your denomination lined up with His Church, or get out of it.”

Be your own judge of what constitutes God’s Church? Place yourself as the ultimate Earthly authority?

Blogger Guy B February 26, 2020 8:54 AM  

I agree. There are not many possible claimants to the title. Maybe three.

Blogger Unknown February 26, 2020 9:00 AM  

This is real meat. Thank you, VD.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 February 26, 2020 9:58 AM  

Imagine thinking the Nicene Creed is boomer

Nice try boomer.

You made the Nicene Creed into justification for the existence of the Catholic Church.

If you really wanted to be a universal church, you'd join the Orthodox Church as they are the first church. The Catholic Church broke from them because they didn't like the Emperor and wanted to pray to statues.

So again, I say, OK BOOMER!!!!

Blogger NixonRespector February 26, 2020 12:27 PM  

You made the Nicene Creed into justification for the existence of the Catholic Church.

The Nicene Creed was constructed by the universal Church. If you don't believe in the Church's authority then why do you even care what the Nicene Creed says?

If you really wanted to be a universal church, you'd join the Orthodox Church as they are the first church.

The protestant tactically shills for Orthodoxy when it suits his purposes of discrediting Catholicism, even though he disagrees with nearly everything that entails Orthodox Christianity.

So again, I say, OK BOOMER!!!!

You're cringe dude

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 26, 2020 1:08 PM  

"Imagine thinking the Nicene Creed is boomer"

Imagine picking here to either play or actually be dumb.

"Please explain how 45 thousand different squabbling denominations is "universal" in any way shape or form."

If it's all of the church it's literally universal. United and universal mean entirely different things. Learn English. Now your turn, please explain how one entity that neither is nor represents all of the churches can be universal.

"I never said that more apostles were generated after their deaths. Your assumption proves your ignorance of church history."

You're a hypocritical moron. Two words from your own people: Apostolic Succession.

""His kingdom will have no end" and so on"

If that were applicable the way you say, then when something becomes corrupted and breaks apart or dies that would prove that it is not his church.

"Many people have been wrong before. Many people will continue to be wrong."

You don't get to take that stance without proclaiming everyone outside of the Catholic brand name heretics. Either they are of the church and are not united with the Catholics and therefore the Catholic church is Catholic in name only, or they are heathen, pagan, or heretic. Pick one.

"The bottom line is an issue of authority."

No, that's your personal issue because of your acquired identity. See above. Either all of the other churches aren't churches, or you're not the catholic church. But then again, you're a Boomer, so OK.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 26, 2020 1:21 PM  

"It's on this part conceptualizing Ominous and Azure's idea of the church that I could almost certainly use feedback, so feel free."

It's not just about the spirit of the thing. It's about the soul, the whole package. Without the spirit the body is dead. Without a body the spirit has no manifestation.

Longstanding tradition, if righteous, is excellent and should by all means be preserved and perpetuated. Without that base it becomes very hard and very painful to determine what is right, and yet it is possible through the Holy Spirit. "Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you." And: "From the beginning of the world, God's invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being made known so that all men are without excuse."

People are partly flesh. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit they can reconstitute the body of Christ's church. It is of course not optimal to do this if it is not necessary to do so.

"The church during the first 1500 years shows a consistent belief that "his church" is conceived of as a living community administered by bishops, who maintain a line of succession from the apostles, with laymen attending physical church buildings and activities."

I would say you're wrong here, although very finely. Therefore: "So for a millenium and a half, all Christians were wrong. OR the truth evolved." does not necessarily follow. Those who love him and are called according to his purpose are ________?

Do you think that if Christians can be grafted into Israel's inheritance that they cannot be grafted into the church as well? The original stalk can also be discarded if it does not bear good fruit.

"Did Jesus goof when he left humanity with the wrong idea of what his church was? What happened here?"

He left us with? You make it sound as if we have no agency. As with all things sin, missing the mark is still missing even if it's by an imperceptible margin. Divergence starts slow, like a ship at sea that is off its course by a tenth of a degree, and so misses its destination by fifty miles.

"is to impose a heretical Nestorian ecclesiology."

Dan, you know the word, yet completely missed its meaning. Nestorianism is specifically about Jesus, not ecclesiology. Stop talking if you don't want to further embarrass yourself.

Let's get some other terms straight for you too. A church is, by strict etymology, those who pertain to a lord, either belonging to him or at least in service to him. Ecclesia and church are not quite the same thing, nor does one strictly depend on the other.

Nor does ecclesia mean what you think it means. The closest English translation I'm aware of is "assembly", as in "do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together". If there are Christians and they assemble, that's a Christian ecclesia. Church of the apostles? Meet the Church of Christ, wormtongue.

Blogger NixonRespector February 26, 2020 2:16 PM  

Two words from your own people: Apostolic Succession.

That doesn't mean the Apostles appointed more Apostles. It means the Apostles appointed "successors", which were the Bishops. The East will also agree.

If it's all of the church it's literally universal. United and universal mean entirely different things.

How can you possibly believe that all protestant denominations are united? They are in fact defined by their differences. They disagree on baptism. They disagree on communion. Many don't even believe in the trinity. There are 45 thousand denominations in the United States alone and they all have a bone to pick with each other.

"Well they all believe in Jesus", but what good is that? Even Satan himself believes in Jesus.

I suppose the one unifying factor is their disdain for Catholicism.

Now your turn, please explain how one entity that neither is nor represents all of the churches can be universal.

"Other people have created churches therefore the Catholic Church is not the True Church". That's a post hoc rationalization and hardly worth addressing.

Either they are of the church and are not united with the Catholics and therefore the Catholic church is Catholic in name only, or they are heathen, pagan, or heretic. Pick one.

Heretic. Although the vast majority of protestants are ignorant of the reasons for why their beliefs are incorrect. So they would be material heretics as opposed to formal heretics.

It's up to God to judge such things. Most protestants have good intentions so I would like to believe he would show mercy due to the circumstances.

Either all of the other churches aren't churches, or you're not the catholic church.

They are not churches in the sense you intend. Christ established One Church. Anything beyond that is a mere imitation, whether well-intended or not.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 26, 2020 8:33 PM  

"That doesn't mean the Apostles appointed more Apostles. It means the Apostles appointed "successors""

Succeeding them at what, exactly? Nice try. Either they succeeded with special apostolic authority or they carry no special authority, which you require them to carry in order to support your claim that the Catholic is the only church.

"How can you possibly believe that all protestant denominations are united?"

I don't, you illiterate. What part of "United and universal mean entirely different things." is hard to understand? Universal means entire, or always applicable. Even beyond that, you yourself are united to the Catholic church in that you share certain particulars with it, and divided from it in that you are your own entity, among other things. Divisions in particulars do not necessitate divisions entire.

"That's a post hoc rationalization and hardly worth addressing."

Lie. Every last one of them has to be illegitimate for that to hold, Including the Orthodox churches.

"Heretic."

On what grounds? I want you to state specifically where you want to be buried on this.

"They are not churches in the sense you intend. Christ established One Church."

And the "Catholic" isn't the entire entity. Hell, look at Revelation. Seven different churches mentioned with specific exhortations and warnings from God for each of them.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 26, 2020 8:59 PM  

"Oh, hey, no, you guys are all frauds and heretics without salvation because you won't kowtow to the MAN we bow to."

Blogger Dan Karelian February 26, 2020 9:33 PM  

@56
Azure you do not understand that ecclesiology and sacramentology directly derive from one's understanding of Christology and by extension Triadology. Educate yourself and look up the term Nestorian ecclesiology.
Start here: https://classicalchristianity.com/2013/07/30/on-the-relationship-between-christology-and-ecclesiology/

I use the term 'church of the apostles' in reference to the current period or phase in history, that is the Church of Christ from the beginning of time. Lay thy worms to the ground.

The term is ecclesiology, not simply ecclesia. Ecclesiology is inseparable from the church and has specific meaning in the EO world, which differs from secular definitions just like the terms economy or logos, which in turn is referring to the second person of the Godhead. That is not the secular definition or etymology, obviously.

The issue lies in differing paradigms and how that affects definitions of terms when comparing world views. It is usually more helpful to understand the paradigm and it's inter-relations as a whole or to the extent possible, rather than try to understand the parts of it alone first and fall into the word-concept/etymological fallacy.

Lastly my embarrassment is not your concern. No jane tells me when to talk.

Blogger James Lovebirch February 27, 2020 12:09 AM  

@56

"It's not just about the spirit of the thing. It's about the soul, the whole package. Without the spirit the body is dead. Without a body the spirit has no manifestation."

So it sounds like my characterization was pretty accurate. It's interesting that you bring up an analogy to the human soul and body because a physical body of the church is what you're denying is strictly necessary, or at least that it does not require continuity. Yet physical bodies we make that analogy to do require continuity, or they are dead permanently.

The Catholics and the Orthodox have a coherent body. Maybe you would argue that your church has an incoherent body? I would argue that the church body must be physical, coherent and continuous. This is how the historical church viewed it.

"Do you think that if Christians can be grafted into Israel's inheritance that they cannot be grafted into the church as well? The original stalk can also be discarded if it does not bear good fruit."

"He left us with? You make it sound as if we have no agency"

We can't oppose God's promises for history. The temple was promised never to be rebuilt, and it never has been despite multiple attempts resulting in violent consequences. If wicked men were on a trajectory to capture his protected church, he could have them hit by buses. If it began to veer into error, he could protect the goodhearted men who would set it straight. There are examples of the latter like the monothelitism issue.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by grafted into the church. Do you believe that my description of how the early church conceived of what the church is is correct, or do you think they conceived of it as you do?

If my conception, how do you account for how they were wrong? Do you think we just know better now than to trust that a human institution could or would be protected by providence or something like that?

If your conception, then I suppose this could be like a final point of disagreement. How would you view Jesus's promise to Peter in that case though?

"Those who love him and are called according to his purpose are ________?"

Right, but now we must ask what is entailed by that. I believe in the EO and RC systems that entails participating in the community of the church. And then it becomes do you choose your worldview that we can trace to the protestant reformation that was a renunciation of continuity from Jesus, or do you choose the position of the historical church founded by Jesus's apostles. I'd like to tell you how you could prove me wrong, but I'm not sure off the top of my head what kind of evidence I'd like to see that would make me choose the former over the latter.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 27, 2020 6:53 AM  

Dan you couldn't be much more wrong about what I do and do not know. Show me one, single instance of the word ecclesiology occurring in scripture, and I'll then have reason to assume that your entire lexicon depends on something other than the Catholic claim to highest Earthly authority.

I'll cut to the chase, it doesn't appear even once, no matter the translation. The best possible version of your argument therefore boils down to "'cause we said so". Yes, I know the scripture you'll quote sans context to try to back it up, and you either know or can easily find the boilerplate objections to it as well.

You classify the protestants as like nestorian heretics, not because they reject either body or spirit or the nature of the relationship between them, but because they reject your claim to be the whole of either or both. They don't reject the spirit, or the body, or the Christ. They reject you, and you aren't Jesus, nor is the Pope, nor the apostolic succession. I hope you are at least wise enough not to state or imply or base further argument upon the Catholic leadership being representative of Christ, given the current leadership.

"I use the term 'church of the apostles' in reference to the current period or phase in history, that is the Church of Christ from the beginning of time."

No you don't. Your use it in reference to the capital C Catholic church, a-priori. I raise the same objection again, what of the Orthodox?

"It is usually more helpful to understand the paradigm and it's inter-relations as a whole or to the extent possible, rather than try to understand the parts of it alone first and fall into the word-concept/etymological fallacy."

Your paradigm is as incoherent and separated from even the perspective of other Catholics as your use of words from their actual relations and meanings. A paradigm can't even begin to be conveyed without first understanding the correct words to use.

FFS, you either aren't even aware that there are multiple versions of ecclesiology, or you've excluded all the ones you disagree with a-priori.

A-priori is an apt description of all of your arguments. There is no point in further discussion with you.

In the end it is simple. Who wishes to be first in authority among Christians is supposed to be first in service to all of them. No amount of sophism defining itself as the perspective of Christ himself of the assembling together of Christians will suffice when the result defies meaning itself. The fruit shows. Look at the rotten fruit in your own eye, Dan.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 27, 2020 7:05 AM  

"It's interesting that you bring up an analogy to the human soul and body because a physical body of the church is what you're denying is strictly necessary"

No...

"or at least that it does not require continuity. Yet physical bodies we make that analogy to do require continuity, or they are dead permanently."

...and no. There's the interesting thing. Physical bodies apparently die and yet physical life continues. Progeny. Of his children, God ensures a remnant. The Catholics are convinced that the remnant has always been and will always be them, but that bears more resemblance to a snake shedding its skin annually than anything else.

Interestingly, the analogy of the snake shedding its skin IS more accurate with regard to what happens to individual bodies. They die, or rather fall asleep, and are not found, nor move again until the final resurrection when the vessel is transformed.

"Unless a seed falls into the ground and dies..."

"I would argue that the church body must be physical, coherent and continuous."

We don't disagree on that, however a child has long been considered to be flesh of his father's flesh, part of his body in a way, because it is true.

"We can't oppose God's promises for history."

What exactly those promises are would be the disagreement between us. The fruit will be increasingly evident.

"If wicked men were on a trajectory to capture his protected church, he could have them hit by buses. If it began to veer into error, he could protect the goodhearted men who would set it straight."

You do realize that this is most readily seen as an argument against the Catholic position?

"Do you believe that my description of how the early church conceived of what the church is is correct, or do you think they conceived of it as you do?"

Likely neither if we want to parse finely enough. For rougher purposes, I think that yours very slightly oversteps its bounds, and that that whisker too far has eventually compounded. The weakness of unbreakable traditions is that any errors are not correctable.

The errors define what we can distinguish as an entity as much as the admirable things, and are why the seed has to fall into the ground and die.

"If my conception, how do you account for how they were wrong?"

If so, let God be true and every man a liar. I hold to no doctrine of the infallibility of any man by any measure. I don't even expect men to be able to see the truth any more than they eat of and practice more readily apparent truths first.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 27, 2020 7:05 AM  

"How would you view Jesus's promise to Peter in that case though?"

I don't view that to have been entirely to do with Peter specifically. I think it was also about faith, and spiritual sight, and bold profession of the truth. "For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood..." Others have said that it was about the location they were at, however I think that to be the flimsiest interpretation based on the context.

I think it also informative that within five sentences after that, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me. For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men" is aimed at the same person.

If you consider the first to have been entirely and only about Peter in himself, then the second is awkward at the very least.

In addition out of the four Gospels, all of them record Peter's admission of Jesus as the Christ, the son of God, yet only Matthew records the words on which the Catholic claim is based, where the admonition against Peter thinking like Satan is in both Matthew and Mark, the admonition not to tell people about Jesus' identity is in all but John, and John only records a warning about Judas after Peter's confession. You'd think something so crucial would have some redundancy, the way God likes to do when telling us important things.

"Right, but now we must ask what is entailed by that."

Context. The entire passage is about acting in accord with the Spirit, because the body is sinful, rebellious, and dead. That the body is dead because of sin, and the spirit alive because of righteousness. That all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God, and if we are sons of God then we are heirs of God. That it is not man who justifies, but God.

"And then it becomes do you choose your worldview that we can trace to the protestant reformation that was a renunciation of continuity from Jesus, or do you choose the position of the historical church founded by Jesus's apostles."

Disagree with this statement for two different reasons. One, I do not agree that that interpretation was strictly from Jesus. Two, what was renounced was not the church entire. Protestants would argue that what they renounced was not of the Christian assembly at all, but of outsiders, infiltrators, and fakes. For some that may be true, for many it must be false, each depending on what they rejected and whether correctly or not.

If you think I'm taking the general Protestant side, this is your heads up that I'm not. There were some good points and some bad ones that used the good ones as excuses. The Spirit like seeds falling on their different types of soil.

Blogger Dan Karelian February 27, 2020 11:52 AM  

@62
Your ignorance is ridiculous. The Orthodox Catholic Church. Care to look it up and a few other terms too before responding.

In your criticism you A-priori assume sola scriptura in your paradigm. Sola scriptura is not some self-evident maxim without the need for justification. Where does the scripture state sola scriptura? Where does the scripture state what is to be included in the canon?

I classify many protestants as Nestorian because of their soteriological endpoints, if followed consistently.
In their ecclesiology protestants clearly reject the necessary nature of the unity between the body and the spirit.

The words required for conveying a paradigm are themselves part of a paradigm, which gives meaning to the words. All paradigms are ultimately circular at the highest level of analysis. The foundationalists would deny this but there are no self-evident maxims. All truth claims are theory-laden, the claim being no exception.
Chris Langan to his credit has realized this a long time ago, in explicitly incorporating the necessary circularity in his paradigm of the CTMU and explains the issue rather well.

Are you too obtuse to understand that my use of the term ecclesiology does not exclude it's use in the design of church buildings for example? It doesn't change the fact that the term even in that context is interpreted through the lens of higher level theology.

You demonstrably do not understand my paradigm, it's terms or it's coherence. You think I am Roman Catholic.

You are too uneducated in theology and it's lexicon to start throwing rotten straw man fruit at anyone in your confusion.

Blogger michimartini February 27, 2020 12:07 PM  

You sound very bleak. Try finding a church through global awakening europe. Our church is part of that network and i've met many uncucked people in it.

Blogger James Lovebirch February 27, 2020 4:29 PM  

@63

For the record, I agree with you it's quite evident Roman Catholicism is not the protected church. I'd argue for Eastern Orthodoxy instead.

My final criticism of your position is that you believe you're setting up a system where it's God who is the final arbiter of truth, but you've figured this out in your own mind under influence from protestant thinkers whose fruits have been just as foul as Catholicism in my opinion. You may not be taking their side, but you do think like them. Without God to directly tell us your message, you're setting yourself up as the final arbiter of truth; the final authority you will submit to is your own intellect. This is historically incoherent as Jesus gave his apostles that authority, and that authority is carried on in the bishops.

It's goofy rhetoric to say "random commenter 2020 vs all the church fathers", but that does accurately point to the choice. The revelation of one man's intellect vs the continuous body of tradition of the church established in the wake of Jesus's coming. Maybe I'm committing a consensus fallacy there, but I believe we've been told to reject all revelations that might come after Jesus. I'm not remembering how I learned that right now and could be wrong though.

The protestant movement gained traction due to real rot in Catholicism, no question aboout it. I think they should have returned to the historical church instead of what they did.

Final point, Dan's being testy, but he is right that you are assuming sola scriptura when you argue "Show me one, single instance of the word ecclesiology occurring in scripture". Scripture is not the ultimate authority and the container of all knowledge in the historical church; it wasn't finalized until centuries into the history of the church by church fathers who didn't believe sola scriptura. Sola scriptura is an idea that didn't exist until the protestant reformation when some schismatics made it up because it gave them a foundation to break from Catholicism onto.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 27, 2020 10:49 PM  

"In your criticism you A-priori assume sola scriptura in your paradigm."

No. You think this because you yourself assume only scripture and the succession in yours.

"In their ecclesiology protestants clearly reject the necessary nature of the unity between the body and the spirit."

Liar.

"The foundationalists would deny this but there are no self-evident maxims."

That there are no self evident maxims must itself ultimately be a self evident maxim then. You drank the relativist kool-aid. Your statement defeats itself.

"Are you too obtuse"

Irony.

"It doesn't change the fact that the term even in that context is interpreted through the lens of higher level theology."

Why do you think theologians are so hated? For their sophistry. Our interpreter is the Holy Spirit.

"You demonstrably do not understand my paradigm, it's terms or it's coherence. You think I am Roman Catholic."

No, I probed because you were cagey about it and I was unsure. Your rejection answers that. Regardless, you still must lay claim to paramount Earthly authority to support your argument. Nice gotcha attempt, gamma.

"You are too uneducated in theology and it's lexicon to start throwing rotten straw man fruit at anyone in your confusion."

You are too dishonest to be worth further argument. I'm done with you Dan, don't expect any further replies.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 27, 2020 11:11 PM  

"you've figured this out in your own mind"

That contains two assumptions, one explicit and one implicit.

"under influence from protestant thinkers"

Once upon a time, years ago, you would have been correct in that assumption.

"Without God to directly tell us your message"

Same explicit assumption as above.

"you're setting yourself up as the final arbiter of truth; the final authority you will submit to is your own intellect."

Definitely not. Reality will assert itself without regard for my thoughts. I'll say it again, the fruit will show.

"This is historically incoherent as Jesus gave his apostles that authority,"

Disagree. State your case?

"and that authority is carried on in the bishops."

Debatable even if the above is correct.

"It's goofy rhetoric to say "random commenter 2020 vs all the church fathers", but that does accurately point to the choice."

No, it's random commenter 2020 vs random commenter 2021's conception of the opinions of those whom he considers all of the church fathers. Does that clarify?

"The revelation of one man's intellect vs the continuous body of tradition of the church established in the wake of Jesus's coming."

Tradition. After contingency on all above, is it righteous or not, that is the question.

"Maybe I'm committing a consensus fallacy there, but I believe we've been told to reject all revelations that might come after Jesus."

That would exclude at least one book of what I assume we both consider scripture, just on the basis of its name.

"I think they should have returned to the historical church instead of what they did."

I am particularly interested in this. However, I first have to ask what you consider the historical church.

"Final point, Dan's being testy, but he is right that you are assuming sola scriptura when you argue"

You're both assuming it for me. I specifically said that his claims were either based in scripture or in claims of Earthly authority granted by Christ. Since it's not in scripture, Dan must intend the latter. I do not consider scripture to be the sole authority. Realistically even much scripture has to be interpreted to us by the Holy Spirit.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 27, 2020 11:17 PM  

"I would argue that the church body must be physical, coherent and continuous."

This is particularly important. The church is, by any standard, the assembly of Christians. It would be ideal that it be physical and its continuity readily identified, but I am not certain that it must be anything beyond coherent, and I would argue that scripture itself says that the church is not continuous in certain ways, such as when it refers to different churches.

Blogger Rex Little February 27, 2020 11:45 PM  

The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

I've never quite understood this. What could Satan offer Jesus that He couldn't take on His own if He chose to?

Blogger Akulkis February 28, 2020 12:05 AM  

"Without God to directly tell us your message, you're setting yourself up as the final arbiter of truth; the final authority you will submit to is your own intellect. This is historically incoherent as Jesus gave his apostles that authority, and that authority is carried on in the bishops."

So, the only credible authorities are in the hierarchy of the religious establishment.

Wow. All those Old Testament prophets who were utterly reviled by the Hebrew establishment would like to have a word with you.

Did you pay attention at all in Sunday School?

The Roman Church of praying to statues and "[X], the patron saint of [Group Y] and [Group Z]" is nothing more than Roman pantheistic paganism dressed up with Christianity. Peter attempted to bring Christianity to the pagans of Rome. Unfortunately, over several centuries, what happened was Roman brought paganism to most of Europe and the Americas, especially Central and South America.

And that's only ONE of a good 150 reasons of why Protestants exist.

Blogger Akulkis February 28, 2020 12:07 AM  

"The revelation of one man's intellect vs the continuous body of tradition of the church established in the wake of Jesus's coming."

You obviously missed what Jesus thought about traditions of men vs. what's written in the scriptures.

If the two are in dispute, the scriptures are the authority. If you disagree, take it up with Jesus, because he's the one who made that point.

Blogger Akulkis February 28, 2020 12:08 AM  

"The protestant movement gained traction due to real rot in Catholicism, no question aboout it. I think they should have returned to the historical church instead of what they did."

So we can all pretend to be following Christ while submitting to Gay Queen Francis?

Blogger Akulkis February 28, 2020 12:12 AM  

" it wasn't finalized until centuries into the history of the church by church fathers who didn't believe sola scriptura. Sola scriptura is an idea that didn't exist until the protestant reformation when some schismatics made it up because it gave them a foundation to break from Catholicism onto."

If "Church Traditions" were all you've got them cracked up to be, then Jesus wouldn't have criticized the Pharisees for the EXACT SAME THING.

Every time he contradicted them, his reply started with "Is it not written...." or other words pointing to the scriptures which they were intending to override with their oh-so-precious traditions.

Traditions are great... UNLESS they contradict the scriptures. If you can't figure that out, either your reading of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) is kooky, or you were never properly introduced to them -- most likely by someone trying to push the same "traditions are uber important, even more important than the written word" BS like what you're trying to push here, just like how the Pharisees tried pushing it 2000 years ago.

Blogger Dan Karelian February 28, 2020 10:18 AM  

@68
If you do not accept sola scriptura like most protestants, great.

That there are no self evident maxims is not a foundationalist position. The claim relies on a multitude of unproven transcendental categories like logic and syntax for example. Relativism is self-defeating but that's not what's being implied here. Can you prove the validity of the logic upon which the claim relies on, without appealing to logic in your proof?
Logic itself is not self-evident either. It can be proven through transcendental argumentation, the impossibility to the contrary.

Certainly The Holy Spirit is the interpreter given to us in history. That is also how we know ecumenical councils to be true. Our ordo theologiae from triadology downwards also depends on the epistemic certainty given by the Holy Spirit to the church. None of that avoids circularity. The faithful know the faith, through the Spirit. Because they are faithful.

The protestants split the earthly church further into a multitude of parts with differing faiths and claim to be united to the spirit all the same. So did the Orientals and Romans too. But the earthly church is one and inseparable with the heavenly.

Liar? you project. There was nothing cagey about my position if you would have simply looked up the terms and done some simple inference.
You did not probe, you did not ask, you just assumed completely wrong. Liar.

Blogger James Lovebirch February 28, 2020 4:50 PM  

@69

"Disagree. State your case?"

I've stated my understanding of the historical ecclesiology. You've responded that you think my understanding is only slightly wrong without telling me how (in language that was thorough, plain and straightforward enough for me to understand anyway). Given your responses, I thought you were granting that my ecclesiology is pretty close and that whatever the early church believed was nothing like what you believe.

My understanding might be wrong. I'll keep reading and see if I can find your view in the fathers, but I don't think it's there.

"You're both assuming it for me"

"Realistically even much scripture has to be interpreted to us by the Holy Spirit."

Totally agree, but the issue I'm raising is we can trace your ideas as originating outside continuity with Jesus, and I'm asking why I should believe you over the continuous tradition of Orthodoxy. And it is your worldview that resulted in the first churches to have lesbian preachers, etc., etc. The denominational protestants have no realistic claim of superiority over Rome, and the shellshocked non-denominational Christians still think exactly in the protestant way. You say you don't assume sola scriptura, yet to justify Dan's ecclesiology you ask him to cite scripture. That's protestant and incoherent. The people who canonized the Bible did not think of it as the authoritative container of the ecclesiology. That is the kind of discontinuity and incoherence you continually display.

In our paradigm, the holy spirit guides the totality of the continuous church, not isolated people. Note that that doesn't mean no one is allowed to fall away; the majority of Western Europe did. It also doesn't mean you as someone isolated from the church can't be right about some or even most things. Scripture is one part of the church, all parts of which must cohere with each other in the present and into the future and past. When we achieve that kind of coherence, we're fulfilling our humanly potential to understand things.

And ultimately this paradigm is circular if you would like to object over that. I believe my view over your view because mine is coherent and yours is not, and there's no way to avoid circularity when you enter the realm of justifying how we know things.

"I am particularly interested in this. However, I first have to ask what you consider the historical church."

Right now I believe it continues into the present as Eastern Orthodoxy. It's possible I could learn something in the future that changes my mind though.

Blogger James Lovebirch February 28, 2020 4:50 PM  

@Akulkis

"So, the only credible authorities are in the hierarchy of the religious establishment."

The religious establishment has no authority to break continuity with the past; that's what Rome did in altering its ecclesiology to papal supremacy and we are observing the result now. So it isn't free reign, but there should be a hierarchy in the body of the church I think. I'd like to give you an example of how that works, but I'm not knowledgeable enough yet.

"So we can all pretend to be following Christ while submitting to Gay Queen Francis?"

Hah, don't strawman me dude. I see that man's boner hat.

"Traditions are great... UNLESS they contradict the scriptures."

You are assuming sola scriptura, on which I already wrote: "Scripture is not the ultimate authority and the container of all knowledge in the historical church; it wasn't finalized until centuries into the history of the church by church fathers who didn't believe sola scriptura."

YOU now have to justify why your church and way of thinking is the truth rather than that of the apostles while providing a coherent account for all of the obvious historical discontinuities your view creates.

"If you can't figure that out, either your reading of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) is kooky,"

I must choose your protestant reading or the reading of the succession of the apostles. Why should I choose you?

"Jesus wouldn't have criticized the Pharisees for the EXACT SAME THING."

Is there no way the Pharisees could have acted as religious leaders to cause Jesus not to criticize them?

Ultimately you and Azure appear to be reasoning like this "I have observed no righteous, hierarchical human institution of the church, therefore it is illogical that one can exist."

Blogger Akulkis February 28, 2020 11:43 PM  

>> You are assuming sola scriptura, on which I already wrote: "Scripture is not the ultimate authority and the container of all knowledge in the historical church; it wasn't finalized until centuries into the history of the church by church fathers who didn't believe sola scriptura."

The Pharisees taught you well in their methods of discounting the written word for the traditions of men.

Blogger Akulkis February 28, 2020 11:46 PM  

Our argument isn't with the concept of a religious hierarchy. Is any of us including the Orthodox churches in our arguments?

No.

Our argument is with the self-serving, obviously bogus arguments promulgated by the Roman not-at-all-catholic Church, which in addition to the lies, is steeped from bottom to top with pantheistic Roman paganism.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash February 29, 2020 12:09 AM  

Anyone still commenting in this thread needs a helicopter ride.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 29, 2020 4:56 AM  

"I've stated my understanding of the historical ecclesiology. You've responded that you think my understanding is only slightly wrong without telling me how"

I don't think the the event recorded only in Matthew means what you think it means. Please allow me to rewind to some of your earlier statements.

"The church during the first 1500 years shows a consistent belief that "his church" is conceived of as a living community administered by bishops, who maintain a line of succession from the apostles, with laymen attending physical church buildings and activities.... ...The church is meant to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic according to the leaders of the living institution that claims to be his church."

We need to go back to what it means to be "one". Any thing, distinguishable from any other thing, is in that manner not one with it. Converse, when any thing is indistinguishable from any other thing in some manner, they are in that manner the same thing and not separate things.

"By their logic, only one of them could be the one true church, but one of them IS that church or else Jesus was lying."

As much as I dislike the term inclusive, I think Jesus was considerably more inclusive than that. In any event it would be difficult to argue that we have not divorced what should be united, and in other ways adulterated ourselves with what should be kept apart.

If, on the other hand, you're talking about being precisely correct and accurate, I strongly suspect that no one on Earth is, and even less likely any earthly organ. If we're talking about simply being the "best" as if that mattered, we have bigger problems than figuring out which it is.

I am aware that Jesus is the Word which we identify with the Greeks' concept of Logos, and from which the discipline of logic is derived. However if we choose our construction of logic where it parts from his words, we place our mental process of logic as an idol before him. In the same vein:

"the issue I'm raising is we can trace your ideas as originating outside continuity with Jesus"

No, you think you can. When I was younger I memorized three quarters of the book of Romans, and chapter eight is among that, which you will recognize me having quoted from earlier, and also stated my understanding of the whole chapter.

Christ defines who are Christians, not men. The ecclesiology is a study, a conception of what the proper ecclesia is, and there are varying concepts even of that. It's simple. The ecclesia is the ecclesia, the assembly of true Christians, in what ways they can be united, regardless what names they take or what lines they like to think they have authority to draw.

All true Christians can be united in the ways necessary to Christ.

As for Matthew, the same words, "Whatever you bind on earth is already bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed in heaven." Is repeated later in the book, and not just to Peter. This is all in context of Jesus' response to his disciples asking him who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. His reply is that it is ones who are converted and become like children, and woe to those who mislead them, leading straight into the parable of the lost sheep and continuing afterwards about what to do with sinful brothers who will not repent. Next he repeats the words about binding and loosing, immediately followed by "If two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or tree are gathered together in My name, I am there among them." All in context, one continuous speech.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 29, 2020 4:58 AM  

Jesus spoke about tradition, and if not never well, then certainly often not well. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, he says that those who speak against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but not those who speak against the Spirit. It would be better if choosing between them is not necessary, however if it is necessary it should be an easy choice.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 29, 2020 5:27 AM  

"So it isn't free reign, but there should be a hierarchy in the body of the church I think. I'd like to give you an example of how that works"

Oh! This I can answer. Jesus said that whoever would be greatest must serve.

As for the Apostles, what is the point of an apostle? To rule, or to testify?

Blogger Dan Karelian February 29, 2020 10:31 PM  

To return to the original point, if there is a separation between the heavenly church and an earthly church, as conceived here, which as a consequence of it's imperfect bond with the heavenly, disunites and adulterates itself with sinfulness, we must realize that clearly the heavenly church and the earthly are of different modes of willing. This is Nestorian and reductionist.

If oneness in theology also, is defined as that which has no distinction, then as logic consistently applied we can say goodbye to the Trinity, Jesus being God incarnate, Creation being ex nihilo created (therefore losing it's meaning) and even God's connection to His creation as the two are separate. The other way out is pantheism, three gods etc. This is the absolute divine simplicity doctrine in the West.
Augustine admitted that his conception of God in this manner made it very difficult to reconcile the possibility of the Incarnation.

That is one reason why the Orthodox Church places divine revelation above philosophical speculation based on earthly conceptions. What is revealed even long before it's Palamite articulation, is the essence-energies distinction. But to comprehend that one must humble oneself to accept that with regards to Him, distinction does not entail division or composition. God is united in His Trinity and Triune in His unity, both one and many because He transcends any such categories relating to creation.

Christ not only defines who are Christians but also what the true Christian church is. The knowledge of which is given to the faithful belonging to that church through the Holy Spirit.
The Church is Visible and One. The Church is In the World but Not of It.

Matthew 18:19 is highly contextual, as any other verse. The audience in question is the then established clergy, not laymen who can jump ship from that specific succession, tradition and start a different clergy and faith of their own.

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