XXXII. Of the Marriage of Priests

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220 Responses

  1. mrtundraman says:

    Seems simple enough to me when we look at the passing of the CC fortune to the Smith family.

  2. mrtundraman says:

    Think about the Levitical priesthood. Suppose Levi’s ggg-grandson woke up one day and said “I want to be a farmer, not a priest”. How would that have worked? There were advantages to the priesthood being passed as a family business but there were great disadvantages. The church was not to be so. Not by relationship to Aaron, Moses or even Abraham.

    Allowing for spouses and children requires rules against passing the property of the church to the families. Is it fair for someone to work their life and not give what they made to their children? How about if that work is for the church? In our secular world we’d say that they have a right to what the earned. Thus the church is Chuck’s church or Skip’s church to do with as they see fit.

    Not the way it was supposed to be.

  3. (from a good catholic raised boy who found out in 1981 that Jesus wasn’t on the Crucifix anymore)

    lots of good history books (Roman Catholicism by L. Boettner; Two Babylons by A. Hyslop just to name two more well known) out there that will tell the story of bastard children and papal/priest properties and titles and ‘bishopricks'(even papacies) that passed to them thru all those out of wedlock children. (the ‘power corrupts’ saying was said of the RCC and the Priesthood/Papacy, you know..)

    celebate priesthood was designed to cut all that off. the RCC says it’s about Paul and Peter but it has nothing whatsoever to do with them or the instruction/command of the Word.

    And to Mrtundra at #1, i’m sure the corruption of nepotism goes far beyond just a RCC or a CC thing. It’s a heart thing… It’s a “Who’s Kingdom are you really trying to build” thing.

    We ALL can be guilty of that from time to time.
    -MIC

  4. … and if you really read the Book of Hebrews, the Priesthood is ‘donefor’ anyways. the ‘mass’ really DID end 2000yrs ago on a hill called Golgatha. No More Sacrifice For Sins, other than the one made on that Cross. And guess what… He’s not there anymore. He Rose from Death to impart Life.

    Modern Day Preisthood, RCC or Protestant nomenclatures, doesn’t exist. Man made religion wants to rule over the masses and “Lord it over God’s Heritage” (1pet5), but remember Jesus said “It shall NOT be so among you” Matt 20:25-26

    … just sayin’.
    -MIC

  5. david sloane says:

    In my opinion Paul was a fanatic with an unbalanced outlook on ministry because of the horrible things he did as a young man against the people of the way. I believe because of this he was driven to extremes in ministry beyond the leading of Holy Spirit by his own inner struggle of knowing what he had done to innocent people.

    He would have had to have mental images assaulting him of the deaths he caused these people to suffer at his own hand.

    His guilt complex drove him relentlessly, even thought he wrote great Biblical balanced letters to others, in his own skin he constantly desired to make up for what he had done to others by none stop ministry.

    How many men have we seen publicly proficient in ministry when in reality their personal life was in shambles when some one pulled back the curtain to reveal their true nature?

    He regarded a marriage relationship as a hindrance to his self being mobile and free to accomplish his mission in life, and his assuaging of his guilty conscience. Therefore he recommended single life if at all possible to others.

    I knew a lot of people in the early Jesus People Movement days who had an unbalanced approach to ministry. They seemed to feel that if they were not out there working for the Lord 24/7 continuously, somehow they would not be having God’s approval or acceptance.

    As a result they rarely joined in having fun or enjoying life with others. In fact they were guilt ridden if they were not constantly “out working for the Lord.”

    They were members of what they jokingly called the “BTTR” club, Bachelors Until The Rapture.

    John 10:10
    The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

    Balance in life with abundance could include sharing your life with a wife.

    Genesis 2:18
    And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

    Did God change his mind about this? Of course not!

    But if one holds to an extreme viewpoint of ministry a wife is a hindrance. Although there are those cases where the wife has no heart or desire for the ministry and holds ministry in contempt. In such cases she becomes like an anchor hindering her husband from his ministerial duties.

    Lonnie Frisbee neglected his wife during the early days of the Jesus People Movement for “the sake of the ministry.” It was considered ok by those around him. It wasn’t until he came across Bob Mumford in Florida that balance came into his world view of ministry. But by then it was too late. His neglected marriage fell apart.

    Succession of ministry in families is God’s will. But not all children take the torch of ministry ably or in some cases not at all. Their father’s have toiled most of their lives to build up the ministry and honorably desire to see their son’s carry on the work. Nothing wrong with that.

    Tundra,

    If Chuck Smith wants to pass the torch of what he labored for to his son, it is a good thing. He does well in my sight. Jeff is more capable and wiser then people realize. He is strong and would carry the torch handed to him honorably. Your perception of CC as a family business may be accurate in some sense but above all it is ministry to people, God’s people. The business is the ministry.

    If the people of God don’t like it they can go elsewhere. The fact that CC even continues to exist fly’s in the face of the idea that it is just some families business.

    Bitterroot judgment is poisonous to the body of Christ.

    Hebrews 12:15
    Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

    The vile poison spreads and defiles others from those who are bitter.

    http://www.joebrockministries.com/john-and-paula-sandford-bitter-root-judgment-and-expectancy/

  6. PP Vet says:

    How important are family relationships vs. kingdom relationships?

    Over time I have seen that relationships formed in the kingdom tend to be so much shallower and less enduring than family relationships. Jesus said His family was the people serving God. But I have found that is hard to live.

  7. Xenia says:

    A few things:

    1. Orthodox parish priests are usually married. They must get married before their ordination and if their wife dies, they may not re-marry. Some Orthodox priests are monastics and of course, they are not married. Bishops are not married. They may be widows.

    2. The Roman Catholics do not believe Christ is still on the cross.

    3. The Two Babylons by Alexander Hyslop is a pack of lies. A devotee of that book told me, at the beginning of Lent, that I was worshiping Tammuz. I understand disagreeing with the RCC- so do I- but use honest arguments. please. Boettner is only marginally better. They are not “good history books,” they are fantasy.

    4. I think RC’s celibate priesthood attracts men who don’t much like women anyway, men whose sexual preferences lie elsewhere.

  8. Some in Baptist circles have taken “husband of one wife” a little too literally, at times. They have said that a man MUST be married to be a minister, and cannot be divorced or remarried.

  9. Agree completely with Article XXXII.

    MTM and others, can we please have a thread that is NOT about Chuck Smith or CC?

    David S., assuming I agree with your take on Paul’s psyche (which I do not), The Holy Spirit still used Paul’s pen to write those words which are part of the canon of scripture.

  10. Believe says:

    I think priests should be allowed to marry as I think the temptation for sex is too strong for many who turn to young boys and girls instead, though marriage, I’m guessing, doesn’t cure deviant pedophilia, so maybe it wouldn’t matter after all.

    From a purely scriptural standpoint, Paul’s example and Paul’s words seem to support a scriptural argument “for” the position of “Priests shouldn’t marry”…and others can counter with other scripture that seems to support an argument that priests can and should marry.

    I guess you should go with whatever you think the bible says on that issue if you view the text of the bible as absolute and authoritative.

  11. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Thank you for #3.
    Hislops book is unreliable at best.
    http://www.equip.org/articles/the-two-babylons/

  12. Believe says:

    X said, “4. I think RC’s celibate priesthood attracts men who don’t much like women anyway, men whose sexual preferences lie elsewhere.”

    I think this is probably true. What very heterosexual and strong-sex-drive man would choose to be a priest and remain celibate? Either a very delusional one who would soon leave the priesthood, or a man with low sex drive or a predilection for homosexuality.

  13. Michael says:

    Rome and the Western church was heavily influenced by an Augustinian view of sexuality.
    We still are.
    The Eastern churches are more soundly biblical on this matter.

  14. Xenia says:

    I don’t want to broad-brush here (as is my tendency) but there is a wholesomeness about Orthodox priests, a manliness, that I do not find in RCC priests. My priest has six children and a dozen grandchildren. He does hard physical labor. His wife is a wonderful Christian example for me and she’s a hard-worker around the parish, too. When I am around an RC priest I am always wondering what he’s been up to…. Again, an unfair broad brush for sure but that’s how I feel.

  15. Believe says:

    “The Eastern churches are more soundly biblical on this matter.”

    How so?

  16. Xenia says:

    I sometimes read a web site that keeps track of sexual misconduct in the Orthodox Church. From what I’ve seen, regular married clergy sometimes fall into sin with women (and are defrocked.). Monastics, who are celibate, are more inclined to fall into homosexual sins. Recently, a mid-western bishop (a widow) was forced to resign because he wrote flirtatious text messages to a young woman.

  17. Michael says:

    Believe,

    Augustine had a rather skewed view of sexuality and because of his enormous (and often worthy) influence on the Western church, his views sometimes ended up superseding Scripture.
    You simply can’t build a case for forced clerical celibacy from the Bible.

  18. Xenia says:

    I think St. Augustine, who had a very lusty youth, in his repentance over stated some things.

  19. Xenia says:

    He was like an ex-smoker.

  20. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Exactly…then those overstatements became dogma.

  21. Believe says:

    X, as more empirical evidence sort of “show me” type…from what I can glean, the EO has a lower rate of sexual misconduct and molestations etc (unless they just hide it better).

  22. Xenia says:

    The Christian East never paid much attention to Augustine and I think this is a major factor in the theological and philosophical differences between the eastern churches and the western churches.

  23. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I agree…the Reformers were very enamored of Augustine as well.

  24. Xenia says:

    Believe, I didn’t know that. I have heard unsavory stories but they all end with “and Father So-and-So was defrocked” or “Father So-and-So is know wearing an orange jumpsuit in some jail in Texas.”

  25. Believe says:

    X, LOL, yes seems to be “lower” than the RCC but not zero, unfortunately. I guess all Groups are inflicted with the same disease.

  26. Xenia says:

    The RC itself does not have a completely celibate priesthood because the Byzantine Catholics (Orthodox-like churches under the Pope) have married clergy.

  27. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    How about people get married if they want or stay single if they want? What a concept, actually having the freedom of choice without religous folk chastising you for your personal decision. i have seen both extremes from Albert Mohler telling young men that it was their durty to find a wife at a young age and get married and I have also seen those try to discourage people from getting married in the guise of “make sure she is the one”

  28. Believe says:

    X, the RCC seems to carve out a “ministerial priesthood” that must practice “continence” vs. the Apostolic priesthood which must remain celibate.

  29. Believe says:

    The RCC seems to assert that a very literal interpretation of the “infallible, inerrant, perfect” “holy writ” shows two classes of priest:

    1. Apostolic (think Paul the Apostle) who was celibate and commanded by God to be celibate. Jesus was also celibate.

    2. Ministerial priesthood: “Husband of one wife” etc. and these “ministers” in the community are to exercise “continence” or limited sex with their wives.

    Seems a pretty solid argument from scripture and the examples of Paul and Jesus Christ are hard to ignore.

    But, I’m sure many would disagree.

  30. Xenia says:

    St. Peter was married.

  31. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “In my opinion Paul was a fanatic with an unbalanced outlook on ministry because of the horrible things he did as a young man against the people of the way. I believe because of this he was driven to extremes in ministry beyond the leading of Holy Spirit by his own inner struggle of knowing what he had done to innocent people.

    He would have had to have mental images assaulting him of the deaths he caused these people to suffer at his own hand.

    His guilt complex drove him relentlessly, even thought he wrote great Biblical balanced letters to others, in his own skin he constantly desired to make up for what he had done to others by none stop ministry.

    How many men have we seen publicly proficient in ministry when in reality their personal life was in shambles when some one pulled back the curtain to reveal their true nature?

    He regarded a marriage relationship as a hindrance to his self being mobile and free to accomplish his mission in life, and his assuaging of his guilty conscience. Therefore he recommended single life if at all possible to others.

    I knew a lot of people in the early Jesus People Movement days who had an unbalanced approach to ministry. They seemed to feel that if they were not out there working for the Lord 24/7 continuously, somehow they would not be having God’s approval or acceptance.

    As a result they rarely joined in having fun or enjoying life with others. In fact they were guilt ridden if they were not constantly “out working for the Lord.”

    They were members of what they jokingly called the “BTTR” club, Bachelors Until The Rapture.”

    Paul actually had the healthiest veiw of marriage imho. What he said was 100 percent true, if you get married you will have much tribulation and you will be distracted from giving 100 percent to serving the Lord. he also acknwoldged that there were some who would have trouble holding their passions at bay and he said it was not a sin to get married. Paul’s words are a comfor to singles as they are constantly bombarded from the Religous Right and Institutional church system that the “Family” is of utmost importance and that us poor single folks need to go find a spouse to be whole.

  32. Believe says:

    Reading it a little closer…seems the RCC is more asserting that the original intent of Paul was for celibacy but that “continence” was an exception made to married guys in the Early Church who would become priests. It seems this was more a practical concession than an Ideal due to the fact there weren’t that many single men in the Early Church to take on positions of leadership.

    They argue that “continence” is the exception and “celibacy” is the rule and Ideal.

    Dunno. They do have a case from scripture and they do have the example of Paul and Jesus. Seems there’s a big loophole there in the text though with the “husband of one wife” stuff…but as always, different Groups will appeal to “this is what Paul really meant” when they perform their “proper exegesis”.

    Conclusion: Dunno (as with most of the issues).

  33. Michael says:

    “This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?”
    (1 Corinthians 9:3–5 ESV)

    Game, set, match.

  34. Rob Murphy says:

    Isn’t Paul pretty clear when he says he ‘wishes’ that all believers were like him, singly devoted to serving God? It’s not a command . . . there are commands concerning marriage in 1 Cor. 7, but the commands concerning divorce are very upsetting to our divorce culture and off this topic.

  35. Believe says:

    “Game, set, match.”

    Hardly. The principle of “continence” asserts that exceptions were made, but the Ideal is celibacy.

  36. Believe says:

    Michael, ironically, your statement and claim could be used to support an Antinomian position that we have the “right” to do anything we want.

  37. Believe says:

    Murph, Paul expressed the “Ideal”…which he and Jesus Christ exampled (or so the argument can be made).

  38. Believe says:

    “all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable” etc etc.

  39. Believe says:

    Sorry, wish it was as easy as you seem to think.

  40. Believe says:

    Well enough from me, I’ll respect the disagreement and leave you to your own conclusions and own beliefs.

  41. Michael says:

    Believe,

    That’s inane.
    The scripture says that Paul and the other ministers of the church had the right to having a wife.
    Nothing more.
    The principle of “continence” is an Augustinian tradition construct, not a biblical one.

  42. Babylon's Dread says:

    Jesus’ celibacy is irrelevant to this conversation.

  43. Many have made the claim that Paul was married before his ministry as well.

  44. Steve Wright says:

    Given the very high view and value God places on marriage, even to the point of using it as an illustration to the relationship of Christ to the Church, it would seem that as a starting point, common sense would lead us away from the idea that God wants His servants to stay single.

    Then as we look at verse after verse, which you have all done (and I would add Jesus’ remarks about ‘eunuchs’ in this discussion, which was an answer about marriage) then it seems that God certainly endorses His servants being married. However, it is also by no means a requirement and in point of fact it is easier to serve the Lord single than married.

    As any married pastor will tell you. There are many times we say “no” to various demands because we want that time to be with family. I would be happy with a tiny dorm room to sleep and study in, but I’m not going to raise a family with that restriction.

  45. Believe says:

    “The principle of “continence” is an Augustinian tradition construct, not a biblical one.”

    Says the man who appeals to Church Tradition and Church Fathers on so many other issues…

  46. Believe says:

    The principle of “Continence” seems to have been the practice, teaching and Tradition of the Early Church for many many years.

    Pope Siricius enforced Continence as late as the 4th century.

    Obviously, there became a disagreement and splits on the issue and the “truth” of the at-the-time-unified “church” changed over time.

    Today, it’s anyone’s guess as to what the truth is regarding that issue.

  47. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    ““The principle of “continence” is an Augustinian tradition construct, not a biblical one.”

    Says the man who appeals to Church Tradition and Church Fathers on so many other issues…”

    yup, thats why I go by the precious word of God rather than traditions of Man

    Colossians 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

  48. ” at-the-time-unified “church” ”

    When was that?

  49. Xenia says:

    When was that?<<<<

    Before the Great Schism, in 1054

  50. Michael says:

    All serious students of scripture reference the history and traditions of the church.
    Those, however, (for Protestants) are secondary to the teachings of Scripture.

  51. Believe says:

    4th Century.

  52. Believe says:

    “All serious students of scripture reference the history and traditions of the church.
    Those, however, (for Protestants) are secondary to the teachings of Scripture.”

    “all serious” is a loaded phrase and manipulative.

    “secondary to the teachings of Scripture” is entirely subjective and completely dependent on “Tradition” and interpretation of the Scripture by the Group and Council and Authority at the particular time the issue was ruled on.

  53. Believe says:

    “teachings of Scripture” is what was considered by the Early Church and the reason they came up with their Traditions.

    Others came along who disagreed and saw the Scripture teaching things differently than what was interpreted by the Consensus of the Authority of the Church at that time.

    As X notes above, the first big split was the East-West Schism, then the Reformation.

  54. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia, didn’t we discuss last week the lack of unification over The Athanasian Creed well before the Great Schism?

  55. Believe says:

    Everyone appeals to the same/similar “Scripture” and says they have the “correct teachings of Scripture”…appealing to the “correct teachings of Scripture” is like appealing to the “correct interpretation of an artists sculpture or abstract painting”

  56. mike says:

    Has anyone else read that L. Boettner book I also referenced? What are your thoughts on that Michael?
    MIC

  57. Believe says:

    Again, what is the “church”?

    If it has Leadership and hierarchy and structure and offices etc, then?

    If it’s some amorphous un-defined Group of folks loosely tied together by the Holy Spirit with no offices and no Central Authority, then?

  58. Believe says:

    Some would assert that the Institutional “church” that merged with the Government is the Beast and the Anti-Christ and that structure and Authority etc was not what Jesus had in mind and that the “true church” is much different than the Organizations and Church Fathers and Traditions and Creeds and Councils etc etc (though it’s probable there is some cross-over).

  59. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “all serious” is a loaded phrase and manipulative.

    “secondary to the teachings of Scripture” is entirely subjective and completely dependent on “Tradition” and interpretation of the Scripture by the Group and Council and Authority at the particular time the issue was ruled on.

    This^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  60. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Yup!! It’s the Holy Spirit that guides us into all truth not Man or his traditions and Opinions

  61. You guys realize that Jesus prayed that His followers would be unified…because they weren’t unified.

    Subsequently, Paul’s letters often deal with lack of unity in the Church. 4 th century, 1024 or whatever…there has not been a unified church.

  62. Michael says:

    MIC,

    Boettner has some very good things in that book and some not very good things.
    Again, the problem is in his sourcing.
    If we are going to critique another tradition or theology, Christian integrity demands that we interact with primary sources and the best primary sources those traditions or theologies offer.
    I was and am a big fan of James Whites debates with Roman Catholics…not because of White as much as because the Roman Catholics speak for themselves and they are worthy representatives of their tradition.
    That eliminates caricatures and throwing slop to see where it sticks.

  63. Xenia says:

    Steve, the Monophysites were considered heretics back then and not part of the Church. It would be as if today a group left the church because they no longer believed in the deity of Christ. We wouldn’t call it a church split because the heretics were no longer part of the Church, it was a departure from the true faith. Some conservative Orthodox say today that there was no church split, ever, because those who remained faithful were “The Church” and those who left (the RCC, for example) were not part of the Church anymore. That’s an extreme view. Anyway…. most Orthodox no longer consider the Monophysites to be such terrible heretics but it was a raging concern at that time.

    Another example: when the Arians were cast out of the Church for denying the deity of Christ, that was not a church split. The people who departed were not part of the Church anymore.

  64. Believe says:

    “Yup!! It’s the Holy Spirit that guides us into all truth not Man or his traditions and Opinions”

    If that’s true, then the Holy Spirit can’t make up His/Her mind on what is “truth” regarding each issue in Scripture that’s disputed by so many Groups to tune of 9,000 to 30,000 denoms.

    Or, it may be that it really is more akin to Art than Math and God has a reason for such a diversity of “truth” between all the Groups who claim the same or similar Jesus and the same or similar bible.

  65. david sloane says:

    Cap @ #9

    I wrote:

    “His guilt complex drove him relentlessly, even though he wrote great Biblical balanced letters to others,”

    I agree with you when you wrote:

    “The Holy Spirit still used Paul’s pen to write those words which are part of the canon of scripture.”

    I have learned to respect you and your opinions. Thanks for your comment!

    As for the CC thingy…I was responding to the fact that Tundra had to bring it up immediately. I should have let it go but, I, like you, am tired of everything being brought back to CC and or Chuck Smith in a bad light. I admit to being defensive.

    If I speak of CC it is because I have spent more time under the pulpit of Chuck Smith then most here and it was a major part of my Biblical foundational training…therefore for me it is with great fondness that I speak of CC.

    Prior to CC I was raised a Catholic and that was when the Mass was only in Latin and no one spoke of a living Christ to me. As a kid all I knew was some dead guy suffered and hung up there in front of us. I understand that today the Catholic Mass is in english and would be told of the Living Christ.

    Oops…spoke of CC again…sorry…

  66. Steve Wright says:

    Believe, I will try this once.

    You are 100% correct that every church thinks they have the correct interpretation of Scripture. And you are then correct in concluding that obviously we all don’t.

    The rest of us here all admit to imperfect knowledge of the things of God. We all admit to God being the Author of the Scripture, and as Author He will show us one day where we were wrong.

    Despite many, and sometimes significant disagreements, yet we all agree on certain key foundational truths. They are few, but they are foundational – and they separate us as Christians from other heretical groups.

    The in-house Christian disagreements we have may keep us from formal worship together, as we each seek a local church that matches our understanding of Scripture. They do not (at least here in this community) lead us to conclude that those with differences on the in-house stuff are anything less than a true brother or sister in Christ – with a high value of Scripture as the word of God.

    That said, it seems like you insist that the existence of these differences, and the centuries of history where they were formed, is somehow an indictment on the Scripture itself as to being so worthless towards establishing any authority, and that then is leading you to indict God Himself, Who has revealed Himself and His ways in the Scriptures – which is truly concerning to those who care for you.

  67. Michael says:

    I don’t necessarily see all division as problematic.
    The “kerygma” is accepted by all traditions and my fellowship with someone is based on that.
    Perhaps it takes all of these different “flavors” for us to even begin to have a picture of God as He is.

  68. Michael says:

    Steve,

    You wrote yours better than I wrote mine.

  69. Believe says:

    “Believe, I will try this once.”

    Manipulative statements like this don’t foster a discussion. I won’t reply in kind as I’m intent on 6 months of playing nice to see how things are perceived and how the Group responds.

  70. Michael says:

    Believe,
    All he was saying was that he wasn’t going to exhaust himself arguing with you.
    I’m not either.
    I hope no one else does either.

  71. PP Vet says:

    “If we are going to critique another tradition or theology, Christian integrity demands that we interact with primary sources and the best primary sources those traditions or theologies offer.”

    You keep saying crap like that and this place is going to turn into just another forum for balanced, in-depth discussion of serious issues of theology, the church, and Christian living.

    Like we need more of those.

  72. Believe says:

    Michael, I disagree. I think you and Steve communicate in a way (often) that engenders either a submissive response or a push-back that then is judged as negative or detracting from the blog community. I tend to do it to the extreme (often polemically) and then judged as dominating or abusive.

    I think you guys both are guilty of the same in a lower dosage when you choose to communicate the way you just did to MIC and the way Steve did above.

  73. I don’t see why people disagreeing is a problem at all. Seems like that should be a given.

  74. Believe says:

    The real issue is Group Dynamics and control and human-to-human relations. That underpins a lot of the controversy on here no matter the subject or issue.

  75. Of course it does. You expected different?

  76. Believe says:

    Folks will give you a pass, Michael, because it’s your blog and you are the guru here and the subject of much admiration. Steve gets some lee-way because he’s a pastor and is fairly subtle in his ways.

  77. Xenia says:

    A synopsis, if you are interested 🙂

    1. On the Day of Pentecost, the Church was born. (Although, in a sense, all the people of God, even those in the Old Testament, were part of the Church.)

    2. The Church grew, from mostly Jewish to mostly Gentile. The New Testament was written, people were martyred, bishops, priests and deacons were ordained, etc.

    3. In the year 313 )1700 years ago!) the Edict of Milan was signed by Emperor Constantine, legalizing Christianity. The New Testament books are canonized around about this time.

    4. Time passes, heresies arise and are dealt with at Ecumenical Councils, of which there were seven. The teachings of the Arians, Nestorians, Monophysites, Donatists, etc, etc were found to be heretical. Groups wanting to hang on to these heretical teachings were no longer part of the Church. These were not church splits, the Church remained unified under her bishops, the Councils, and the Creed.

    5. Time passes, The Greek East and the Latin West diverge. The Westerners can’t read Greek and the Greeks can’t read Latin. The Mediterranean Sea is full of pirates and the roads are full of brigands, thanks to the fall of the Western Empire. Philosophical and theological differences increase.

    6. The Pope comes to think he has universal jurisdiction and that the other four ancient Patriarchs are to submit to him.

    7. 1054, the Great Schism occurs, not all at once but that’s the date given. After 1054 Rome developed quite a few novel doctrines such as purgatory, papal infallibility, treasury of merits, limbo, immaculate conception of Mary, and so on.

    8. In conclusion, the Orthodox believe we are the Original Church and the Romans believe they are the Original Church. However, the Orthodox point to all the innovations the Catholics have made over the centuries and say Ha!

    9. So yes, there was a time when there was one Church with a system of bishops, priests, deacons, etc, all interconnected and in communion with each other. People did leave this church but they were heretics, Arians and such.

    10. Nowadays, we prefer to use the word “heterodox” instead of heretic.

  78. Believe says:

    Steve W said, “You are 100% correct that every church thinks they have the correct interpretation of Scripture. And you are then correct in concluding that obviously we all don’t.”

    Believe: Agreed.

    Steve W said, “The rest of us here all admit to imperfect knowledge of the things of God. We all admit to God being the Author of the Scripture, and as Author He will show us one day where we were wrong.”

    Believe: I disagree. When pressed on some issues, you profess a certainty on some issues which seem to be mysterious and uncertain. The Trinity is one issue.

    Steve W said, “Despite many, and sometimes significant disagreements, yet we all agree on certain key foundational truths. They are few, but they are foundational – and they separate us as Christians from other heretical groups.”

    Believe: Agreed, though I would assert they are fewer than your “few” in reality.

    Steve W said, “The in-house Christian disagreements we have may keep us from formal worship together, as we each seek a local church that matches our understanding of Scripture. They do not (at least here in this community) lead us to conclude that those with differences on the in-house stuff are anything less than a true brother or sister in Christ – with a high value of Scripture as the word of God.”

    Believe: Disagree. I think the Tent is probably much wider than you and the other more Fundamentalists would assert and practice.

    Steve W said, “That said, it seems like you insist that the existence of these differences, and the centuries of history where they were formed, is somehow an indictment on the Scripture itself as to being so worthless towards establishing any authority, and that then is leading you to indict God Himself, Who has revealed Himself and His ways in the Scriptures – which is truly concerning to those who care for you.”

    Believe: Not “worthless”…just more akin to a piece of Art than a Mathematical formula.

  79. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Well done!

  80. Believe @ 79 – Cool. Then go that way ( the art way) and argue that way. Your answer to Steve just shows how close you guys really are to agreement, whether you see that or not.

  81. Michael says:

    Believe,

    I wrote MIC a very gracious response…there was no personal animus involved.
    I think you should write up position papers on your view of the church and Holy Scripture and post them on your blog.
    Then people can come from far and wide to comment on your revelations and we can enjoy our ignorance without interruption.

  82. Xenia says:

    The value of disagreements: Heresies must come, said St. Paul.

    Every one of the Ecumenical Councils were called to deal with a heresy. Take the first Council at Nicea. It was called to deal with Arianism. Because of this, the fathers had to really scrutinize the scriptures and pray hard to come up with the proper Christian response. In the East, Arianism ran rampant and most of the Germanic tribes (Ostrogoths and Visigoths, etc) had been evangelized to this form of “Christianity.” So because of the heresy of Arianism, the Church was forced to think deeply about the nature of the Trinity, which has benefited us all to this day.

  83. Steve Wright says:

    We all have a reputation that precedes us.

    Me, Believe, everyone. It shapes how we interact with each other as it is built over years and years. Our willingness to continue discussion for post after post is often dependent on that reputation.

    Michael hit the nail on the head @71. Nothing more, nothing less.

    When my opening six words are condemned and the five paragraphs of substance that follow are ignored, those opening six words become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The reason I wrote at all is to honor the initial effort for change seen here today, and to foster that discussion. In turn I am called manipulative, Michael is dragged into it as well, and eventually the ‘group dynamics’ of the whole blog community is condemned.

  84. And while I do appreciate that Xenia can enunciate her history, I would not be true to myself if I didn’t say that I think it is largely a false history.

  85. Believe says:

    Steve W, I addressed your specific questions in my #79 above.

  86. Michael says:

    I must take my leave…try to keep it between the ditches.

  87. Believe says:

    LOL, it is very much a power struggle between personalities more than it is anything else.

  88. Xenia says:

    Hi Josh, where did I go wrong?

  89. Believe says:

    Gotta go myself. Gotta go be the benevolent dictator of my business 🙂

  90. Xenia, that is the Greek Orthodox history. Well done.

  91. Passing by says:

    The gospels record that Jesus Christ revealed himself to the men on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection. The testimony given is that Jesus began with law then through the prophets explained that everything which had been written beforehand pointed to and found it’s fulfillment in him.

    Unlike Alex, Jesus Christ held a very view of the scriptures…

    Even then, it wasn’t until he broke bread with them that their eyes were “opened”. No amount of reasoning with Alex will do. His problem is not a head problem, it’s a heart one.

    The declaration by Peter, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God”, was more than an intellectual conclusion based on evidenciary conclusions. No, it was a revelation given by God the Father himself to Peter and established as the great cornerstone of the building and sustaining of the Church itself throughout the ages, Christ crucified from the foundations of the earth, the great mystery revealed which had been hidden since the beginning of time.

    Anything discussions or, so called science, human philosophy, etc., are vain and futile. God himself had chosen to use the foolish and base things to confound the wisdom of the wise. Without faith, child like faith, it is impossible to please God.

  92. Passing by says:

    Please excuse my typos, I’m typing on a little phone keypad in between work duties.

  93. Believe says:

    “Unlike Alex, Jesus Christ held a very view of the scriptures…”

    Who’s Alex? 🙂

    The New Testament was written after Jesus ascended (I write from one of my stores in between trips 🙂 )

  94. Believe says:

    We assume that Jesus was literally writing new Scripture as He spoke and that after the Gospel accounts, Paul gave us the rest of the Scripture (pretty much).

    I don’t think Jesus specifically commented on any of Paul’s writings or the writings of those who penned the Gospels (the ones we included as canonical).

    I guess it is a fair position to claim that Jesus had a “high view” of the Torah/Pentateuch and the Minor Prophets.

  95. Believe says:

    “His problem is not a head problem, it’s a heart one.”

    I don’t think so. My heart is sincere. I would like to see God blow my mind with a supernatural miracle.

  96. 1. Passing By was out of line. We refer to people by their user name’s here. Different people have different reasons for anonymity, and we try to respect that, regardless of what may happen at other sites.

    2. You should not judge one’s heart, especially based on a conversation from a blog. Plus, its off-topic and does nothing to further the conversation, which was supposed to be about priests being married.

  97. Passing by says:

    I was addressing Alex Greiner. The same one who has overrun this blog with hundreds if not thousands of posts on threads that have nothing to do with the subject matter. When did a stay on topic requirement become mandatory on this blog?

    If he went incognito, sorry about that. I was addressing Alex and commenting about the hundreds of posts he has made here regarding the subject I addressed.

    Guess Michael will have to ban me now 😉

  98. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “Anything discussions or, so called science, human philosophy, etc., are vain and futile. God himself had chosen to use the foolish and base things to confound the wisdom of the wise. Without faith, child like faith, it is impossible to please God.”

    This in spades^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  99. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Of course I know that God gives the gift of teaching to man but it better be in line with scripture and not his own opinions based on what So Called “Church Fathers” thought. Guys like John Calvin and Martin Luther had errors and they picked up the SWORD and persecuted those that did not go along with their teachings. So I could really care less about putting those men on a pedastol my saviour is Jesus Christ. The Church fathers were the apostles. There are men today to use as an example, women also but they are usually unknown to the public.

  100. tele says:

    Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

  101. mrtundraman says:

    “And while I do appreciate that Xenia can enunciate her history, I would not be true to myself if I didn’t say that I think it is largely a false history.”

    No, that is the same history that I learned at Evangelical Protestant Seminaries (2 of them). I am a Protestant and I would not disagree with a SINGLE word that Xenia wrote in her account of church history. No golden thread of redemption to be found outside of the church.

    A more imaginative version of Church History is the Baptists narrative.

    – Pure church at the start.
    – Early fall into apostacy and compromise with the state to where by the mid 300’s all of the bishops were pagans.
    – Secret groups of believers outside of the Orthodox church which held to the faith. We don’t have any written accounts of any of them because the church (East and West) destroyed the records of these groups.
    – Luther comes along and restores the faith that these secret groups have kept for 1000 years.

    Hard to argue against this narrative. Trouble it’s it’s all fantasy.

  102. mrtundraman says:

    “6. The Pope comes to think he has universal jurisdiction and that the other four ancient Patriarchs are to submit to him.”

    And if I understand it right, the East did a poor job of disabusing the Pope of this notion. The East seems to have believed the Pope to have been the “first among equals” but that position wasn’t supposed to be one of lording it over the others.

  103. mrtundraman says:

    Now, I will make another version adding to Xenia’s account with the story of one particular country – Sweden.

    Christianity comes last to Sweden of all of the European countries. They come to faith in the 800’s AD. When they convert the conversion is top-down starting with the King and on down. They remain “Catholic” until the Protestant Reformation when they all convert (again starting top-down from the King) to Protestantism. However, unlike the other countries of Europe the bishops don’t abandon the country taking refuge in Rome. All of the bishops remain in Sweden and take their place at the leadership of the new Protestant church. All the way along they maintain apostolic succession and pass along it by the laying on of hands.

    How are they any less than the churches of the East? Perhaps it’s because they are not under the jurisdiction of one of the ancient sees?

    Aren’t the Orthodox facing the same issues here in the US where the situation is not canonical at best? Why is there a bishop of Oakland (Pittsburgh) in one of the churches? He’s really the bishop of Pittsburgh, but there can’t be two bishops in the same city. The lack or structural unity in the US is a big mess for the EOC. Won’t the only solution for the EOC be to have a US jurisdiction with their own Metropolitan rather than the multiple Metropolitans which exist now?

  104. mrtundraman says:

    I think that this notion of the Ancient Sees is problematic for the Orthodox. It may be within our lifetimes that there are ZERO Christians left in some of the countries that the ancient Sees were located.

    These Sees were located where they were located for good reason. Rome was the center of the world. Jerusalem was where the church started. Antioch was a pretty important place – Paul was there for a long time. What are most of these places now and why should they have any say about how things are done in a place like the US where there are Greeks along with other Arabs, Ethopians, Egyptian Copts and Orthodox of all sorts.

  105. Michael says:

    MTM,

    Fascinating stuff…I’m enjoying your contributions here.

  106. mrtundraman says:

    As I understand the canons of the church I am not supposed to drive past one Orthodox church to attend another one but should be at the closest church to where I live. But, in fact, I drive past a Serbian Church on the way to where I attend. But the Serbian church is less friendly to converts than the Antiochians.

    When the 2000 Campus Crusade for Christ left Protestantism and decided to become Orthodox, they first went to the Greeks [Greek Orthodox]. The Greek’s response was typical of the Greeks – “Become Greek” they were told.

    They spoke with the Antiochians who offered them a better deal. The Antiochians let their pastors become priests and took them in by the churchload. It hasn’t been without issues (Ben Lomond is one example where the Protestant converts found out that once you are in it’s not as easy to get out – at least with your “stuff”). Here is one account –

    http://theblackcordelias.wordpress.com/2008/08/22/ben-lomond-when-orthodoxy-shunned-its-converts/

  107. Xenia says:

    The lack or structural unity in the US is a big mess for the EOC.<<<

    Ain't that the truth.

    Of the ancient sees:

    1. Jerusalem: Still has some Orthodox Christians plus, this is where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is, with the Holy Fire. They had some parishes in the US but recently gave them to the Greeks. Seem to be under the thumb of the Israelis.
    2. Alexandria: Full of Christians, mostly Copts, not in communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church, see my post about Monophysitism for an explanation. Back in the day it and Antioch were rivals concerning biblical interpretation. Those in Antioch were more inclined towards literalism and Alexandria was given to a more allegorical approach.
    3. Antioch: Syria is largely Muslim, I don't know how many Christians remain in the country but it is a small minority. Recently, two bishops were kidnapped by somebody (hard to tell who) and were released, glory to God!
    4. Constantinople: Home of the Ecumenical Patriarch (Bartholomew, currently). There are very few Orthodox Christians left in (what is now called) Istanbul. However, the EP oversees a lot of Orthodox groups overseas. He now has the "first among equals" job.
    5. Rome, which was, as MTM says, "the first among equals." He would preside over councils. He only had one vote, just like all the other bishops. He oversaw all of western Europe, a huge area which was in the Dark Ages at the time and really needed a strong leader.

    Moscow is not an ancient see but it is currently thriving. Moscow sees itself as "The Third Rome." (At least they used to. I don't know if they still make that claim.)

    Rome, Italy: Fell to the barbarians and to the Catholics
    Constantinople (2nd Rome) fell to the Muslims
    Moscow: After 70 years of "captivity," still up and running.

  108. Xenia says:

    MTM, for six years we attended the parish founded by those Ben Lomond “rebels.” I now attend the parish closest to my house, which happens to be Russian. (ROCOR), After talking to many people who were involved, I now tend to side w/ Met. Philip. (I didn’t at first.)

  109. mrtundraman says:

    Now that I have gone all negative, let me turn to the good. The Orthodox consider disunity to be scandalous and are actively working on solving the problem. The problem is compounded by the nationalism of the churches and well as the relative poverty of the Old World churches which rely on money to flow from the West for their very existence.

    Will there be a single Orthodox Patriarch with a single organization in the US/Canada? It may happen in my lifetime or it may not. I hope it will. Can it include Mexico/Latin America? Perhaps not, but perhaps yes.

  110. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “- Secret groups of believers outside of the Orthodox church which held to the faith. We don’t have any written accounts of any of them because the church (East and West) destroyed the records of these groups.
    – Luther comes along and restores the faith that these secret groups have kept for 1000 years.

    Hard to argue against this narrative. Trouble it’s it’s all fantasy.”

    There were groups outside of the mainstream that held firm the one true faith before Luther came along. Luther was a Johnny come lately. These groups had to live in fear of persecution from the Catholic Pseudo Church. The Waldenses, The Lawlers, The Albigenses

  111. mrtundraman says:

    The parish closest to my home has a couple of old ladies and much of the service isn’t in English. It is very foreign to me. I went there once, didn’t feel welcome, and didn’t go back. I’ve not been into the Serbian church so I can only imagine what I’d see in there. I do know that the Antiochians are friendly to converts and the church I attend has quite a few converts there (I’d say about 1/3 converts).

    The most striking thing to a Protestant may be how many people kiss each other 🙂 The next most striking things is that Orthodoxy really is the “church of all nations”. I worship next to Arabs, Egyptians, Ethopians, Asians and even some other white folks (like me).

    Our priest follows the lead of Met. Philip and is clean shaven because that’s “the American way to be”. Other people kiss his hand but he reaches out his hand to shake mine. He is good friends with a local CC pastor. He wanted to introduce us but I told him to tell the CC pastor my name and the CC pastor refused to meet me for fear I’d “out” him for having a friend who is an Orthodox priest.

    My priest is a former Marine but he’s no Romaine.

  112. mrtundraman says:

    “There were groups outside of the mainstream that held firm the one true faith before Luther came along. Luther was a Johnny come lately. These groups had to live in fear of persecution from the Catholic Pseudo Church. The Waldenses, The Lawlers, The Albigenses”

    And any proof of that narrative was destroyed by the all powerful Catholic church. Hey, if the Catholic Church REALLY is that powerful, maybe we should worship it…

    Here’s one refutation among so many of these fabricated histories:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldensians#Alleged_ancient_origins

  113. Xenia says:

    The Albigenses<<<

    Oh, dear Solomon. You have made a terrible mistake e by mentioning the Albigenses. I happened to write my university history thesis on this very group and the question I asked was "Were the Albigenses really heretics?" And the answer turned out to be "Oh boy, were they ever."

    I have a shelf of books on this group, AKA the Cathars. They were dualists, related to the Bogomils. They believed there were two gods in the universe, the good god and the evil god. It was the evil god who created the material world. He was the god of the Old Testament. It was somewhat akin to Zoroastrianism, in fact.

    The Waldenses were genuine Christians.

  114. mrtundraman says:

    What you need Solomon is not examples of spotty reform movements which came and went but is some continuity of the faith. Otherwise the gate of Hell prevailed at least for some time.

  115. Xenia says:

    In my thesis seminar (five years ago, now) there were 12 of us, assembled under a PhD with the purpose of writing a bachelor’s-level theses paper on a medieval topic, a requirement for graduation. One day we had to tell the group what we were going to write about. Being as this was UC Santa Cruz, most of the topics were on medieval witch craft, medieval prostitution, and florentine homosexual poetry. They got to me and I said “I am going to investigate the Cathars (Albigenses) to see if they were really heretics or not.” All the other topics were met with smiles and encouragement but mine was met with dead silence. Finally, the prof said “What on earth for?” So I told her that now and then I ran across people on the Internet who believed the Cathars were cyrpto-Christians and I wanted to find out for myself, once and for all, if this was true. They all rolled there eyes but I did write my paper and I am satisfied with the results: The Cathars were not remotely Christian. I realize that the RCC didn’t think they were Christians either and launched a crusade against them, but they were not Christians.

  116. mrtundraman says:

    “What you need Solomon is not examples of spotty reform movements which came and went but is some continuity of the faith. Otherwise the gate of Hell prevailed at least for some time.”

    Oh, and a second test as proposed by Xenia, is the test the spirits to see if they are of God. Saying there were groups which stood against the Roman Catholic church isn’t enough. They have to have the right faith – or at least “right enough” faith.

  117. Xenia says:

    MTM, right! No group hates the RCC as much as the Jehovah’s Witnesses but that doesn’t make the JW’s Christians.

  118. mrtundraman says:

    “florentine homosexual poetry”

    Is there really such a thing???

  119. mrtundraman says:

    I just read that Dallas Willard passed away.

  120. mrtundraman says:

    “The test of character posed by the gentleness of God’s approach to us is especially dangerous for those formed by the ideas that dominate our modern world. We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. The fashion of the age has identified mental sharpness with a pose, not with genuine intellectual method and character. Only a very hardy individualist or social rebel — or one desperate for another life — therefore stands any chance of discovering the substantiality of the spiritual life today. Today it is the skeptics who are the social conformists, though because of powerful intellectual propaganda they continue to enjoy thinking of themselves as wildly individualistic and unbearably bright.”
    ― Dallas Willard, Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God

  121. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “And any proof of that narrative was destroyed by the all powerful Catholic church. Hey, if the Catholic Church REALLY is that powerful, maybe we should worship it…

    Here’s one refutation among so many of these fabricated histories:”

    Hey those who win in the end tell the hisSTORY as they see fit. To the winner goes the spoils. Just like American history, you let certain people tell it, this Country was founded by Christian Men yet I never read in the new testament where its okay to rob rape and kill your enemies so you can occupy their land. Hey but keep beleiving the history books taught in school

  122. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “Oh, dear Solomon. You have made a terrible mistake e by mentioning the Albigenses. I happened to write my university history thesis on this very group and the question I asked was “Were the Albigenses really heretics?” And the answer turned out to be “Oh boy, were they ever.”

    I have a shelf of books on this group, AKA the Cathars. They were dualists, related to the Bogomils. They believed there were two gods in the universe, the good god and the evil god. It was the evil god who created the material world. He was the god of the Old Testament. It was somewhat akin to Zoroastrianism, in fact.

    The Waldenses were genuine Christians.”

    If I’m wrong I’m wrong about the Albigenses but my point still stands is that there were groups that held frim to the faith throughout time and chruch history and that Martin Luther was a Johnny come lately.. Just because they weren’t formalized in how we think of Chruch doesn’t make them any less Christian.

  123. mrtundraman says:

    “We must understand that God does not “love” us without liking us – through gritted teeth – as “Christian” love is sometimes thought to do. Rather, out of the eternal freshness of his perpetually self-renewed being, the heavenly Father cherishes the earth and each human being upon it. The fondness, the endearment, the unstintingly affectionate regard of God toward all his creatures is the natural outflow of what he is to the core – which we vainly try to capture with our tired but indispensable old word “love”.”
    ― Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God

  124. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    History is altered by those who win or came out on top, They tell their story and leave out many unflattering parts

  125. mrtundraman says:

    In spite of hundreds of years of looking for any evidence to support their view of history the “Baptists” haven’t been able to prove their alternate history. Is the Catholic church so strong that they could obliterate all history contrary to their narrative? Sorry, I don’t buy it.

  126. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “In spite of hundreds of years of looking for any evidence to support their view of history the “Baptists” haven’t been able to prove their alternate history. Is the Catholic church so strong that they could obliterate all history contrary to their narrative? Sorry, I don’t buy it.”

    They’re sure powerful enough to protect a bunch of Perverted Preists and move them all about World so they can’t face the Music of the Law and still pay them their salaries. How Roger Mahoney still has his job here in L.A. is beyond me. The Catholic Church was and is powerful to do a lot of things. Them guys haven’t changed a bit

  127. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “Sorry, I don’t buy it.”

    What you buy means absolutely nothing, Truth is what matters

  128. Xenia says:

    Solomon, we can cross the Cathars off your list and I’ll grant you the Waldenses (even though they were confined to a small area and were not ancient.) So who else have you got?

  129. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “Solomon, we can cross the Cathars off your list and I’ll grant you the Waldenses (even though they were confined to a small area and were not ancient.) So who else have you got?”

    who else do u you need? point is that there have always been brethren that did not submit to the Catholic church or for that matter later on the protestants

  130. Solomon said…
    “who else do u you need? point is that there have always been brethren that did not submit to the Catholic church or for that matter later on the protestants”
    This ^^^ (blatant and shameless theft of sol’s intellectual property rights to ^^^^)
    -mike

    the Church of Jesus preceeded the RCC by 300+yrs, existed throughout the world during the Dark and Middle Ages… the Inquisitions and the RCC’s attempt to bring all ‘christians’ under it’s control, throughout (before and after) the Reformation period even until today.

    regardless of the group name, the time period or the part of the world, the Church of Jesus Christ has never waned and it has never been prevailed over by the ‘Gates of Hell’.
    (now mike will quietly and surefootedly dismount his soapbox and bow out of the conversation)
    -MIC

  131. Xenia says:

    who else do u you need?<<<

    Evidence. More than wishful thinking.

  132. mrtundraman says:

    “the Church of Jesus preceeded the RCC by 300+yrs, existed throughout the world during the Dark and Middle Ages… the Inquisitions and the RCC’s attempt to bring all ‘christians’ under it’s control, throughout (before and after) the Reformation period even until today. ”

    Yes, it existed in the East and is known today as the Eastern Orthodox Church…

  133. mrtundraman says:

    “There is a strain of Protestant thought – most notably the “Landmark” Baptists – which seeks to find a non-Catholic “apostolic succession” all throughout Church history up to the 16th century. In the desperate attempt to claim spiritual and theological predecessors, all sorts of heretical groups are espoused, including the Montanists, Novationists, Donatists, Docetists, Cathari, Albigensians, Waldenses, Hussites, and Wycliffites. The trouble is that none of these groups fit very well into a Protestant schema. They are either radically non-Christian, even Gnostic (e.g., the Albigensians), or far too Catholic in what they retain (Waldenses, Hussites) to qualify as “proto-Protestant.” Yet that doesn’t stop certain Protestants (especially of the anti-Catholic variety) from latching onto these groups for polemical purposes.” http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2005/03/were-albigensians-primitive-protestants.html

  134. david sloane says:

    Michael,
    I love your tolerance!

    Any other moderator of a blog usually gets heavy handed at some point. But you have demonstrated true grace and have allowed a lot of productive discussion here.

    Mr. Tundra,
    (Even though I still believe you to be Alex, although you probably are not…LOL ) you have stirred up an inquisitiveness in me about Church history. Obviously you have taken the time to explore the topic in depth. Thanks for all your typing here, I am reading and enjoying your input.

    Please continue.

  135. mrtundraman says:

    I believe Michael is a fan of church history…

    Most others have probably lost any interest…

  136. mrtundraman says:

    david sloane – Alex makes my presence bearable for others.

  137. Michael says:

    David,

    MTM is not Alex.
    I love church history and believe it vital for Christians to at least have a minimal grasp on it.
    If MTM has prodded you to investigate it, then his time here has been well spent.

  138. david sloane says:

    I am totally enjoying this thread.

    Mr Tundra your statement:
    “Alex makes my presence bearable for others.”
    Is almost Solomonic in its essence…

    I do enjoy the spice of Alex, IGB, and mrtundraman.

    (What if Michael were all three of these guys…JK)

  139. david sloane says:

    Indeed his time has been well spent!

  140. Reuben says:

    You folks are rad. Thanks for the good thread. Church history is my next venture. I have a couple books on the way. Excited to get into it.

  141. London says:

    Didn’t someone used to write church history articles here?
    Who was it?
    They should do it again.

  142. Reuben says:

    I am starting out with Historical Theology by Allison, and Historical Theology by McGrath. Thanks for the lead, MTM. Any other recommendations would be appreciated.

  143. Xenia says:

    London, it was Papias. He should write some more!

  144. PP Vet says:

    “… this place is going to turn into just another forum for balanced, in-depth discussion of serious issues of theology, the church, and Christian living.”

    I warned you people.

  145. Michael says:

    PP Vet,

    It won’t last… 🙂

  146. Xenia says:

    Reuben, you can’t go wrong with Jaroslav Pelikan’s 5-volume The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine

  147. mrtundraman says:

    If you are in the OC, Paulist Press in Costa Mesa has an Orthodox books section which is pretty good. I haven’t been there in years, but it was a much better bookstore than most other Christian bookstores around.

    If you ever go near Pasadena, the best bookstore around is The Archives Bookshop. Very good quality Christian books at a scholarly level.

  148. The Trail of Blood stuff is largely manufactured. I didn’t know about it until Xenia mentioned to me last year.

    That being said, there were pre-Reformation groups outside of the official Catholic Church that carried the True faith. There were also those inside the Catholic CHurch that carried the True Faith.

    My spiritual ( and some physical) ancestry is rooted in the Radical Reformation more than the Protestant Reformation. In the early 1800’s a group of Waldensians fled Italy to settle the area that I a from.

    Here’s a site : http://www.waldensiantrailoffaith.org/

    Neat stuff.

  149. Goose says:

    Xenia @ 78 said….

    “1. On the Day of Pentecost, the Church was born. (Although, in a sense, all the people of God, even those in the Old Testament, were part of the Church.)”

    I am glad you added the note in parentheses Xenia.

    I often wonder if the “church was born at Pentecost” statement is where we have all gone off the rails a bit.

    As I read Acts 2 I find it to be a major stretch to try and support the idea that some new entity (which we call church) was birthed at this time.

    I am open to correction on this.

  150. The end of Acts 2 describes a fellowship devoted to the Apostles teachings where miralces and such occurred. I do believe this was the first of its kind, I think its fair to call this the birth of the Christian Church.

  151. Those who see 2 separate and different works going on (Israel & The Church) do hold to a birth of the Church at Pentecost.

    Plan B 😉

  152. MLD, do you see a fellowship like that described in the end of Acts 2 anywhere in the Old Testament?

  153. Synagogues met in homes – early Christian home fellowships and liturgies are copycats of what was going on with the 1st century Jews.

    I went with my mom a couple of months ago to her synagogue and right after the service, they all retreated to the fellowship room and to my surprise shared in the broken bread and wine.

  154. So your answer is no? Star with verse 42 if you have trouble remembering what I’m talking about.

  155. Are you asking about the signs & wonders or the communism?

    I am confused, I already said they were copycat knockoffs

  156. 1. They devoted themselves to the apostles teachings. One would assume this was about Christ.

    2. The miracles.

    3. the communism.

    I’m having trouble finding that in the Old Testament.

  157. Obviously the teaching was about Jesus, but does that make for a whole new entity?
    The exodus folks lived in a similar communist society
    There were miracles in the OT

    Ever watch Elijah and Elisha in action with miracles.

    Let me ask this then – back to my #154 – do you see 2 separate and different works today between Israel and the Church? I am sure you do – which is fine with me, but it does define how you read Acts 2.

  158. Read the book of Hebrews – you will find that the whole OT is about Jesus – so when they taught, and perhaps without knowing it, they were teaching about Jesus in the OT gatherings.

  159. Let me ask this then – back to my #154 – do you see 2 separate and different works today between Israel and the Church? I am sure you do – which is fine with me, but it does define how you read Acts 2.

    1. In a sense yes, but in the way you mean it, no. The Church is not plan B. The plan was always to be what it is. The earliest Messianic prophecies were in Genesis. This has ALWAYS been the plan.

    2. However, Israel, did not accept the Messiah, so in that sense, yes, those who accept the Messiah are different than those who do not.

  160. So, God is done with Israel as a separate entity? What I mean for the rest of time God does not and will not deal with Israel any different than, let’s say the way he will deal with Peru.

    Is that your view also?

  161. Well, I can’t claim to know everything that God will or will not ever do, but my scriptural understanding is that God’s purpose for national Israel was fulfilled in Christ.

  162. Josh – that is a good position to hold. 🙂

  163. Still, if the Resurrection was the point that purpose was fulfilled, Acts 2 seems to be the inauguration of The Church as God’s chose people.

  164. Steve Wright says:

    Peter calls Pentecost “the beginning” in one of his testimonies, and Jesus Himself promised that day as something special and unique – all the way back to the Upper Room, not to mention also chapter one of Acts.

    The role of the Holy Spirit to the believer is totally new at Pentecost – in fact, that is why so many (including many CCs) err on eternal security because they look at OT examples of the Spirit leaving people like Saul.

    I think because dispensationalism is so despised, there is an overreach on trying to minimize what happened at Pentecost. God has always saved people by grace through faith (no Plan B). The reference to synagogues as being like local churches is laughable when one realizes just how late they arose in Israel’s OT history.

    And certainly one can admit the obvious about the uniqueness of Pentecost and the Spirit’s role without even getting near to dispensationalism

    (And please, nobody quote the old KJV about “the church in the wilderness” – that translation has been abandoned by all others)

  165. Believe says:

    Just noting how far off topic this current conversation is, so please forgive me if I join in the off topic conversation, it’s not to be off topic, it’s b/c that’s where the conversation has ended up.

  166. Believe says:

    Dispensationalism is and extra-biblical theory to try and make sense of the paradoxical nature of what we consider the Scripture.

    The Dispensational Position assumes that truth changes, which I think I agree with, as the text and example in the bible seems to support that what was true at one time is no longer true today.

  167. Yes, we are super off-topic :). I think it is more acceptable a few days after the thread was posted, ya know? Basically a dead thread, and we are just using it for conversation. But, it’s ok for Priests to marry 🙂

    I don’t think that’s a good summary of the dispy view at all. Maybe actually learning what they are talking about would help you to understand why you are struggling so much with the Bible?

  168. Steve,
    Because something is new or done a new way does not mean that the whole paradigm shifts completely away from what it was before.
    Synagogues began in the Babylonian captivity 500 yrs before Jesus – but Judaism did not cease to exist and we now had this new work of God called Synagoguism – and now God was working with people in a different manner.

    I don’t have my notes here, but I did a 4 week class at church on the Holy Spirit and pointed out many verses where the Holy Spirit worked and acted in people in the exact same manner as post resurrection.

    And I stand by the early church house churches were very similar in congregational style and liturgy as the synagogues they came out of.

  169. MLD – for a while, they even kept going to the temple. You are missing my point.

    There was one central thing post-res that was not followed pre-res…and that’s the resurrection. That is the turning point of human history.

  170. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – in your study, look up the word ‘mystery’ keeping in mind it’s Greek meaning is “something previously hid that is now revealed” (and not, as is common today, something we just can’t figure out)

    It was used of pagan religious rites that only the special initiated were taught. Again, something hidden now revealed.

    So go check it out throughout the New Testament as it relates to Christ, the Church, and the Holy Spirit

    (And to repeat this is NOT about dispensationalism)

  171. Believe says:

    Josh, I used to be a Dispensationalist, I was a big John MacArthur-ite at one time. I intellectually understand the position (and most of the flavors underneath the position). My comment narrowed it down to a very core conclusion if one accepts the premise: Truth changes. What is true for one Dispensation is not true for another. It’s a fascinating fact of Dispensationalism that gets missed (often) by those who adhere to its opinions.

    Even the Minimalists see Law, Grace, Kingdom as periods where truth was relative to that particular Dispensation. The other forms of Dispensationalism (and especially those who adhere to a more radical view of Progressive Revelation) all assert, essentially, that truth has changed and changes, even to the present day.

  172. Believe says:

    When I say “changed” or “changes” in regards to truth, it is usually in the form of a “new revelation” that clarifies or undoes an old truth or interjects a new truth that was not held as a truth prior.

  173. Well, if you understand the premise, you are purposefully misrepresenting it.

  174. It’s one of the base tenets for meaningful dialogue. I don’t have the right to re-define your view for you in a way that you would not describe it your self. I have to listen to your description of that view, and then interact with the concepts presented, not the ones I have made up…even if I believe that understand your point, and my new definition is a better way of saying it.

    That’s the strawman argument.

  175. Steve Wright says:

    Relevant to this are the following two questions (but will have to check back as I am off to a rehearsal)

    1) Is the Church (Universal) the same as what Scripture calls, The Bride of Christ?

    2) Is the Church (Universal) the same as what Scripture calls, The Body of Christ?

    I answer ‘yes’ to both. And they are yes/no questions.

  176. Believe says:

    “Well, if you understand the premise, you are purposefully misrepresenting it.”

    I disagree. I would assert that it is possible you just don’t understand the philosophical implications of the position.

  177. “philosophical implications ”

    Exactly. It is unfair to represent a person’s views based on implications. To have meaningful dialogue, we must interact with what the person is actually saying.

  178. @ 178 – Yes, yes.

  179. Goose says:

    Josh @ 164 said….

    “but my scriptural understanding is that God’s purpose for national Israel was fulfilled in Christ.”

    Josh….can you provide some Scriptue that defends this thought and would help us to understand it more clearly?

  180. Goose says:

    Steve @ 167 said…

    “(And please, nobody quote the old KJV about “the church in the wilderness” – that translation has been abandoned by all others)”

    Steve, I think this is the seconod time I have seen you make this reference in a thread but I can’t figure out what you are trying to prove with it. Isn’t the greek word ekklesia in that verse?

    Tell us what you are driving at.

  181. Goose,
    “Josh….can you provide some Scriptue that defends this thought and would help us to understand it more clearly?”

    If you read the scriptures with Jesus as their sum and substance, by necessity you must come to Josh’s conclusion.

    Now, those who read the scriptures with an Israel centric twist, well those guys come to a different conclusion.

  182. @ 182 – Sure, but it will have to just be a couple or the links will get me moderated. I’d start with:
    Matt 5:17
    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.:

    And then again in Romans 10:4 .

    A very quick overview of human history would look like this:

    Creation
    Fall
    God chooses the Hebrew race to deliver His son, the Messiah to the world, so that the world through Him might be saved.

    Incarnation
    Death of Christ
    Resurrection

    God has chosen the Church for the purpose of spreading His Gospel to the world.

  183. Crap, too many links.

  184. Matt 5:17
    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.:

    A very quick overview of human history would look like this:

    Creation
    Fall
    God chooses the Hebrew race to deliver His son, the Messiah to the world, so that the world through Him might be saved.

    Incarnation
    Death of Christ
    Resurrection

    God has chosen the Church for the purpose of spreading His Gospel to the world.

  185. Believe says:

    “Exactly. It is unfair to represent a person’s views based on implications”

    You don’t seem to understand what “implications” means. Implications in the philosophical context are necessities born out of a particular position. In a math metaphor it’s 1+1 = 2.

  186. Something that is implied, especially:
    a. An indirect indication; a suggestion.
    b. An implied meaning; implicit significance.

    Yeah, i’ve heard the word before.

    Or, to go with your definition: In a discussion that is not about Math, it is not helpful for you to assume that the other person’s 1 and 1 will always equal 2. Again, go with what is actually presented. Implications create strawmen.

  187. Believe says:

    The philosophical construct of Dispensationalism, at its heart, assumes God deals with mankind “differently” depending on the point in history. The implication is that Truth changes. What was an Absolute for a particular period in man’s history and the church’s history was really relative to that particular period as God dealt and deals with mankind and the church differently in other Dispensations.

    Those who hold to a Covenant system pretty much agree that Truth changes, they just articulate it as being seen through Covenants vs. Dispensations.

    The two systems really agree when it comes to the fact Truth as an Absolute has changed depending on the period of mankind and the church.

    For example: Stoning children as an acceptable form of punishment that was righteous.

    Both Camps would suggest this was righteous during that Dispensation or during that Covenant, whereas today, both Camps would say that stoning children to death is unrighteous today.

    Stoning children = righteous is now universally accepted in all contexts (outside of Fundamentalist Islam) as evil and unrighteous.

  188. “The implication is that Truth changes.”

    If you can show me a Dispensationalist who says this, then we can talk about it. Not that it is implied…or any of that. Again, if we are to interact with differing ideas, we must let the others present the ideas, not shoot down what we think those ideas might lead to.

  189. Believe says:

    It’s why I use the term Selective Fundamentalists. There are no true Fundamentalists, as the New Testament and the very recent and ongoing interpretations of the New Testament speak against the Old Testament and the “scripture” that Jesus affirmed in His day (as incarnate).

    Any appeal to Authority shows big shifts in what is “Truth” whether it be appeals to Tradition (The EO and RCC have modified, changed, etc positions over time on a variety of issues), Sola Scriptura (while many appeal to the Scripture, the reality of the Truth from it is a derivation and codification of a particular Group’s interpretation, which is constantly evolving in many areas) or Individual (which is generally a function of each of us gleaning from Tradition and Gurus from the Camps we like and agree with to form our own personal Belief System.

  190. Believe says:

    Josh, I’ll try to demonstrate it the best I can:

    Absolute Truth definition is?

    Relative Truth definition is?

    Was it righteous for lsraelites to stone their children to death for being rebellious during the Old Testament times?

    Is the Old Testament God’s word?

    Is it righteous for you to stone your children to death today?

    Why was it righteous in the Old Testament, but not today?

  191. Why was the Old Testament written?

    Why Did JEsus Come?

    Why was the New TEstament written?

  192. Believe says:

    1. Dunno. I know the pat answers, but I don’t know why God would call as righteous all the barbaric acts similar to the Taliban today.

    2. We assume He appeared in the Garden, then to Moses, then to Jacob, etc. Then He came as a man in the NT to die on the cross and resurrect and ascend for the purpose of being the living sacrifice God required/requires for man’s sin.

    3. We assume to testify of Jesus life, death and resurrection, but we seem to also assume much in addition to that in terms of defining what is the “correct” understanding of all sorts of issues and what is the correct way of doing church, etc etc.

  193. And I’ve got to run, but those aren’t dodges that I asked in that question. You mix books, genres, covenants, and everything else, and you get a mess. That’s what I’m talking about with Biblical Hermeneutics. There are a few basic questions that should be answered when reading, and especially trying to apply any piece of Scripture.

  194. Believe says:

    Watch this stoning by the Taliban and realize this was the law and command of Moses to God’s people and the “truth” and righteous at one time.

    Why is the Taliban “evil” for doing the same today?

  195. Believe says:

    “You mix books, genres, covenants, and everything else, and you get a mess.”

    No, you get a mess…it is your construct that attempts to make order and explain away what is plain to see. Truth changes.

    Stoning as righteous is not an Absolute…or it is an Absolute, but was wrong then and wrong now. You can’t really argue that God’s law is absolute at all times as it changed from then til now.

  196. Believe says:

    Here’s the link. Gruesome: http://youtu.be/rBjkoPZIUco?t=1s

    At one time in “Christian” history…this was deemed as righteous (if you are a Fundamentalist).

    I don’t think it ever was. Stoning a rebellious child to death seems evil and unrighteous in all contexts.

  197. Steve Wright says:

    Goose – Often people quote the verse from the KJV as if that ends the discussion that Israel is the same as the Church. The first time I mentioned it here was in fact to answer someone doing just that! So this 2nd time is to launch the preemptive strike 🙂

    Yes, the Greek word is the common word for assembly or congregation, that also is the word for the church (local and universal) and can even refer to the Ephesian mob. My point is that verse does not establish the point.And all English translations since 1611 have refused to translate the word as church in that context – wisely I might add.

  198. Believe,
    Can you describe what you call a Fundamentalist? I don’t think I have ever met that person you rail against.

    I believe everything in the Bible is true as to what happened and what is said. I don’t tell people I take the Bible literally, but I do say that I take it seriously.

    I do know as true that the Bible says there is no God – does that make me a Fundamentalist? I also know to look for the context to know that although it says that, that is not the point being made.

    So, are you equating Fundamentalism to Absolutism?

  199. @ 198 – Are you really wanting to say that regardless of original author, author’s intent, genre, or original audience, that all the Bible is to be read exactly the same?

    If you read it that way, you will have a mess. My construct is that Jesus is who he said He is, and the Old Testament is fulfilled in Him. That’s the way I read the Bible. And yes, it does bring order to read in that manner.

  200. Goose says:

    Josh @ 185…

    Respectfully, the verses in Matthew 5 and Romans 10, that you mention, do not substantiate your claim that Messiah’s death fulfilled God’s purpose with Israel. They have nothing too do with Israel.

    I don’t think Paul would have agreed with you either, as he continues to mention Israel in his letters post-resurrection.

  201. Goose says:

    MLD @ 184 said….

    “If you read the scriptures with Jesus as their sum and substance, by necessity you must come to Josh’s conclusion.”

    MLD, I believe one can read the Scriptures with Jesus as their sum and substance and still recognize that Israel is important to our Lord.

  202. What is God’s purpose with Israel, after saving the world through Israel?

    That’s an honest question. I couldn’t imagine a higher pupose.

  203. Goose says:

    Steve @ 200 said…

    “”Yes, the Greek word is the common word for assembly or congregation, that also is the word for the church (local and universal) and can even refer to the Ephesian mob. My point is that verse does not establish the point.And all English translations since 1611 have refused to translate the word as church in that context – wisely I might add.””

    Steve, So the ekklesia has been in existence since the OT then right, per Acts 7?

    So, again I ask the question re: Acts 2…..as one reads the chapter what leads one to believe that some new entity called the “church” was started? Couldn’t it simply have been an adding to or an enlargement of the ekklesia that existed at the time?

    You follow me?

  204. Steve Wright says:

    Goose – the word refers to pagans wanting to persecute the Christians in Ephesus also. Surely you see how context would exclude this group as being part of the Church. Pagan worshipers of Diana.

    So why can’t context be applied to that one, single solitary verse? Like every other translation team has done since 1611….Why did these teams (hardly dispensational) deliberately change the KJV choice?

    ekklesia is a very common word. VERY common. I already explained what was new about Pentecost earlier..

  205. Goose says:

    Steve @ 207…

    I am not arguing the ekklesia should mean the same thing every time it is used. I am in total agreement that it is a VERY common word.

    I am simply saying that the ekklesia, that we commonly refer to as church, has actually been in existence since the OT. It was the assembly/congregation of those who followed God, both Israelite and non-Israelite.

    A new entity was not birthed at Acts 2…there was simply an expansion (an adding to, if you will) of an ekklesia that was already in existence at the time.

  206. Goose says:

    Josh @ 205 said…

    “What is God’s purpose with Israel, after saving the world through Israel?”

    Josh, God hasn’t finished saving all of Israel yet, or the non-Israelites for that matter.

  207. Babylon's Dread says:

    Yes Josh the purpose of God through Israel he has to do with Israel. The election of Israel to bring forth the seed that blesses the nations must end in the blessing of Israel through the seed of Abraham. There is, as you suggest, no higher purpose but apprehending their purpose is the highest they can go.

  208. Goose,
    “God hasn’t finished saving all of Israel yet, or the non-Israelites for that matter.”

    The question I always like to ask is this – does Israel have any higher future in God’s plan than say Peru or the Peruvian people?

    I say no, that the nation Israel is just another geo political entity … like Peru.

    What do you say?

  209. Goose says:

    BD @ 210 said…

    “Yes Josh the purpose of God through Israel he has to do with Israel. The election of Israel to bring forth the seed that blesses the nations must end in the blessing of Israel through the seed of Abraham. There is, as you suggest, no higher purpose but apprehending their purpose is the highest they can go.”

    BD, actually the purpose of God through Israel has to do with both Israel and the non-Israelites for if that Seed did not avail Himself to us all then neither the Israelites or the non-Israelites would have a Savior.

    Please define what you mean by “must end”…

  210. Steve Wright says:

    Goose, I asked two questions @178. What do you think as to answers? Thanks.

  211. Goose says:

    MLD @ 211 said…

    “”The question I always like to ask is this – does Israel have any higher future in God’s plan than say Peru or the Peruvian people?

    I say no, that the nation Israel is just another geo political entity … like Peru.

    What do you say?””

    MLD, as I read the Scriptures from front to back I am bombarded with God’s mention, plan for, love for, and concern with Israel, not to mention the covenants and promises that He has given them. I don’t see that same thing for the likes of Peru.

    As for you and me, the non-Israelites, we are strangers to those promises, etc., that God has given Israel until we put our faith and trust in Messiah, at which time we become a part of the commonwealth of Israel, the household of God.

  212. Goose says:

    Steve @ 213 said…

    “”Goose, I asked two questions @178. What do you think as to answers? Thanks.””

    Steve, give me your definition of the “Bride of Christ” and the “Body of Christ”.

  213. Steve Wright says:

    They are Biblical terms, goose. That is my question for YOU. When you read these terms, do you apply them to the Universal Church (which if I understand you includes all the OT saints as well).

    Or are they a more limited group?

  214. Goose says:

    Steve @ 216…

    Believers are the Bride of Christ. Believers are the Body of Christ.

  215. Steve Wright says:

    Agreed. But my question is which believers.

    All believers of all time? (incl. Job, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Daniel etc.)

    Or all those after the resurrection of Jesus?

    (I’m off the rest of the day for a wedding. Will check in later. I think it is a relevant detail to this larger question)

  216. Goose says:

    Steve @ 218 said…

    “But my question is which believers.”

    Steve, all believers of all time.

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