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Re: Wondering about Orthodoxy

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August 24, 2003 01:18PM
Your reply is not taken as hostile and mine is not intended to be either. Good
point that no Bishop can ever be perfect, and no one was ever appointed who
perfectly met the requirements. I was referring rather to those cases where
influence of the state or other factors made it such that no attempt to meet
the requirements was made.

And I understand the argument that the church existed before the canon was
finalized. But on the other hand, the New Testament writings were in fact
written by the time of the death of the apostles and were accepted as part of
the canon because, in part, the churches had already accepted them. Most of
the canon was largely agreed upon, it seems, by about 150 AD, with a few books
like Hebrews being debated. And, of course, the whole Old Testament canon was
there and considered authoritative by both Christ and the apostles, while
the "tradition" of the Pharisees was a source of constant conflict between the
Pharisees and Christ. Christ often referred them to the scriptures in their
debates.

My point is, the written record of the teaching of the apostles, which we all
agree on, is solid because it is written and existed from the day Paul sent his
first epistle or perhaps John wrote his Gospel. It did not appear out of
nowhere on the day the canon was finalized. The canon was finalized because
those writings had wide acceptance. I am not an expert on church history or
the fathers, but it seems from what I have read that what happened in the early
councils was largely based on scripture, which the tradition of the church was
seeking to affirm. And the fathers clearly had their disagreements and debates
about many things found in scripture. Tradition, it seems, is messy, while the
writings remain what they are.

Oral tradition may well have its place. As we know the Jews were fairly adept
at memorizing and keeping things pure. But even that somewhat validates my
point. The reason they wanted to preserve the oral traditions EXACTLY, is
because prior revelation always had to stand over newer ideas. And since
apostolic succession as we now know it seems to be a tradition that developed
over the first few centuries, I raised the question. If at any time the
succession of Bishops was broken by appointing someone who was clearly outside of the qualifications, one has to wonder how that succession can be
legitimately restarted and be considered an unbroken succession.

As for stepping out of my "religious conditioning", keep in mind that I was
raised Catholic and converted to Protestantism of my own volition. It is not
mere skepticism that drives my questions, as you suggest. It is actually a
desire to know and be faithful to the teaching of the apostles and evaluate all
subsequent teaching in that light. I do not wish to be skeptical, neither do I
wish to be one who accepts anything blindly. If the Bereans could be called
noble for testing the teaching of even Paul by their scriptures, then I hope my
careful approach can be seen as noble as well. It is too easy to say that one
who seeks honest answers has a "hard heart" or is simply "rebellious". And
anybody can use the word "heresy" fairly easily. I really caution (gently) the Orthodox against relegating all of Western Christianity to the ranks of Heretics like Arius or the Gnostics. Did the Holy Spirit really abandon the whole Western
world in 1054? Or is it as Christ said, "He who is not against us is for us".
If Orthodoxy is the true church, I would think at least that the Western
tradition ought to be considered an ally. We may have some errors to clean up,
but maybe the essentials are still there within at least some branches of the
west.

Thanks again. I will consider your response further. And may unity and
consensus be in the future of the Church - somewhere down the road. God Bless
you as well.
Subject Author Posted

Wondering about Orthodoxy

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Re: Wondering about Orthodoxy

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Re: Wondering about Orthodoxy

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JERRY September 09, 2003 09:40AM

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JERRY September 12, 2003 03:19PM

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Radiant January 09, 2007 12:16AM

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Dan September 09, 2003 02:53AM

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Danny October 25, 2003 04:51AM

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Gordius Ignatius March 21, 2004 09:04AM

wondering about orthodoxy

tom September 24, 2004 02:41AM

Re: Wondering about Orthodoxy

Boricua_Orthodox May 30, 2004 05:43AM