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Re: Wondering about Orthodoxy

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Dan
September 09, 2003 02:53AM
Thanks for the response. I actually felt badly that our discussion got a bit too polemical when what I was originally trying to look for was a bit of common ground as well as answers to some questions.

Interesting that you mention the Jerusalem council. We actually discussed that passage a short time ago in our church. I actually used that as an example of the "consensus" building approach of St. Vincent that Orthodoxy claims and which those in the west who are describing themselves as "paleo-orthodox" are attempting to understand and follow.

I actually agree with you that much of what I questioned in "succession" is more significantly true in the West. I do not know the Eastern church as well. It is also certainly true, if one accepts Vincent's premise that the true faith is established by universal consent, that the more recent councils of the Catholic church that have been local ought to be viewed with a careful eye.

Although I am no expert, what I have been reading here and there in the early writings regarding succession seems not to be conclusive. Examples such as the Didache, which says "Appoint, therefore, for yourselves, bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord" or passages from Jerome "I know that a difference must be made between the apostles and all other preachers. The former always speak the truth; but the latter being men sometimes go astray" seem to indicate a more moderate view. Other passages talk of the consent of the congregations in appointment of leadership. "Apostolic" seems to refer to the apostles themselves and their teaching and the succession seems to be a lesser authority.

It seems to me that the fathers were defending the MESSAGE of the gospel and that the succession of bishops was evidence that the message had in fact been preserved. It is as if to say, "just take a look at the established churches, where nothing is done in secret and the message is the same in all places." "Look as well at the testimony of those men who were directly connected to the apostles themselves." This seems in opposition to the Gnostics who claimed a "secret" knowledge that was not verifiable or the accusations of the pagans about strange practices the churches were involved in. Emphasis on the consistency of the message, rather than the structure of government, seems consistent with what Scripture has seemed to say as I have read it for 25 years.

My hope is that one day, probably not in my lifetime, those churches which have preserved the essential message of the faith preached by the Apostles can once again rally around that faith and show some unity. Rest assured that there is a significant renewal of study of the early Fathers in the west, which can only be a good thing. Tradition is not being ignored or totally disparaged, even by evangelicals. Still the primacy of scripture seems not to be inconsistent with the early fathers.

By the way, my comment regarding Icons came out wrong. I only meant that it seems a stretch to read a fully developed use of icons in worship into Paul's day. In other words, there was a development of Orthodox worship. It may be true that a solid outline of liturgy existed from the beginning, but it seems to be a stretch to think that what Orthodoxy is today is the "tradition" of the apostles preserved "unchanged". Obviously it has changed to some degree. It may not have lost the essential core, but may have picked up some nuances that are "Eastern" and not necessarily "universal".

The one unfortunate thing I must say as a former Catholic with a Greek acquaintance who is a former Orthodox is that the "Form" of worship in both seems to obscure the message for many. There may be great truth in the liturgies and practices of both. But if those truths are not understood, how can it be true act of faith? Does not Paul teach that faith requires understanding? You may be much more aware of the meaning of Orthodox worship precisely because you came from an evangelical background and had a biblical knowledge cradle Orthodox do not.

At any rate, it is the core I seek, the "apostolic" faith, the teaching of the Apostles, understanding that cultures will always have a bit of influence on the way that core is understood and practiced. Sorry if I went overboard in my writing. Just trying to learn and sort things out. I will continue to read and research. Your comments are most welcome and I am glad for an opportunity to respond to each other with a bit less vigor!
Subject Author Posted

Wondering about Orthodoxy

Theophilus July 06, 2003 08:48PM

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Dan Sullivan August 24, 2003 01:44PM

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Dan Sullivan August 24, 2003 01:18PM

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James August 30, 2003 01:35PM

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James September 01, 2003 06:07AM

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Dan Sullivan September 01, 2003 02:13PM

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JERRY September 09, 2003 09:40AM

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Dan September 09, 2003 03:46PM

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JERRY September 09, 2003 08:43AM

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JERRY September 10, 2003 09:39AM

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JERRY September 10, 2003 03:21PM

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JERRY September 11, 2003 01:05AM

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jerry September 12, 2003 01:27AM

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jerry September 12, 2003 01:27AM

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jerry September 12, 2003 12:57PM

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JERRY September 12, 2003 03:19PM

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Radiant January 09, 2007 12:16AM

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Ephraim August 21, 2003 06:23PM

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Ephraim September 08, 2003 10:46PM

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Ephraim September 08, 2003 10:53PM

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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

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Boricua_Orthodox May 30, 2004 05:43AM