Scripture, tradition, the Church

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by Rexlion, Aug 16, 2021.

  1. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    REMOVED (Duplicate)
     
  2. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I would argue that Calvanisism is near heretical but today is not that place. But this is what you wrote", or did you bring yourself in response to his call? If the latter, God is no longer your sovereign Lord; he is simply whispering sweet nothings into your ear while holding the door open for you to enter. " How can you be answering the call of God if it is your own inclination? The two do not go together. You are answering the call of the Holy Spirit, his previenient grace. You are responding to the call of Christ. Nothing is being done on your own. It is all being done in answer to the move Christ has already made.
     
  3. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    If you have no ability to resist, then how is this any different than what I just said? How is this any different than what a Calvinist would call "irresistible Grace"?

    EDIT: I think Article XVII of the 39 Articles fully supports the position I'm taking.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2021
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  4. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    You can resist. The Holy Spirit calls but you can resist. It is called Prevenient Grace not irresistable grace. Article 39 allows for both views.
     
  5. JonahAF

    JonahAF Moderator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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  6. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    The problem is, the magisterial Reformation - Anglicans, Lutherans, Continental Reformed - didn't reject any of this. What they rejected was the notion of merit, and that there was a 'treasury' of merits of Christ and the saints, which were applied to the Church Militant in exchange for the commission of acts (external) or prayers (internal), which either were not commanded in the Scriptures, or which seemed to contradict their plain meaning. This led into superstitious practices, e.g., reciting X number of Ave Marias or having Y number of Masses said for one's soul would reduce one's time in Purgatory by Z number of years, etc. Then there was the issue of granting such indulgences in exchange for donations to cathedrals, crusades, etc. At some point all this late medieval development reached a certain critical mass, and the system had to be reformed. These practices were superstitious, and it was right that the Reformers abolished them, but I think we also have to look at the Reformation era Confessions and polemics as representing one moment, rather than the central focus, in the Church's ongoing effort to declare the Gospel to the world.
     
  7. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    What is “the church” though? Which church? A hierarchy, or the local church? I’d argue it’s way different to have apostles assigned by Christ himself teach authoritatively on a matter they deduced from the Lords own teachings, rather than most things churches want to seem to enforce nowadays. Sure, churches have authority to interpret and teach scripture. But to a degree. I feel like every church over does it. The RCC with all their ridiculous dogmas. Reformed churches teach Calvinism as a biblical doctrine and not merely their own interpretation. Baptists believe infant baptism is not scriptural and teach it as so (again, their own interpretation). The EO does the same thing with all the beliefs they share with Rome. At some point we have to realize we aren’t the apostles, and that the apostles didn’t even teach Torah interpretation. All they taught was what Christ taught and what was revealed to them by God as the people assigned to spread the gospel. Most things we believe are just interpretations.
     
  8. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Yeah but this is no different from the patristic era. The trinitarian sect of Christians insisted on the Trinity. The arian Christians insisted Jesus was not God. The monothelites taught that Jesus had one will. The pelagians taught that our will is capable of taking us to salvation. These are all just interpretations. The issue is, we need to be able to have a way of judging between interpretations, and see the ones that are valid and the ones that aren't. What's needed is the right method, the right hermeneutic. So instead of saying how each church has different teachings, what you should be looking at is, how they have different methods/hermeneutics. Can the method of a specific denomination carry the weight of putting the whole burden of the Church, now and in the future to come, upon the shoulders of that hermeneutic?

    So with Rome, the hermeneutic is: "what the Pope declares is law". Today, even the blind can see that this is their hermeneutic. Okay, is it something that can support the weight of the church? For now and in the future to come? I'd say not.

    With Baptists, the hermeneutic is, "what the Bible says to me, is Christianity." Is that something that can support the weight of the church, for now and in the future to come? I'd say not. That right there is to me the real problem in the baptist worldview; not their theology of baptism.

    With the Reformed, the hermeneutic is, "what the Reformed tradition says, is Christianity." It has a semblance of stability, except there's a distinct moment when it appears on the world stage; which immediately shows that it is man-made.

    With Anglicans, the hermeneutic is: "one faith, two testaments, three creeds, four councils, and first five centuries". That to me seems the most robust hermeneutic in all of Christendom. It is grounded in a tradition, but it also encompasses the points defended at the Reformation. And most importantly, it is impervious to any kind of progressivism.
     
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  9. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This is a very post-modern thing to believe, actually.

    Did your mother love you? How would you know? Because she told you she did, of course...but maybe she was lying. How can you know for sure? If you apply the same skepticism to everything in your life, you'll soon lose all contact with actual reality.

    To aver that nothing is really knowable is the worst side-effect of modern relativism. It destroys the entire concept of truth. If the Bible is true, then Christians must at least have some consensus on what that truth is. Did Christ die on the cross? Was he bodily raised three days later? Did Jesus himself raise Lazarus from the dead? The answers to these questions are not interpretation or opinion. They are statements of fact -- either the statements are true or they are not. If Jesus did not raise Lazarus, then Jesus himself was not raised; and if Jesus was not raised, then he did not atone for us and we are still in our sin (1 Cor. 15:1-19).

    Ultimately, the question is this: is Christianity true? Is it universally true, or only true individually and contextually? If the latter, in what sense can we really say it is "true" at all? You might with equal logic say that Hinduism or Islam is true, or that atheism is true, or that nothing is true -- it's all just a mirage, a mist that dissipates as soon as you touch it. Perhaps we are all just figments, constructs who don't realize that they are not real.

    Post-modernist relativism is poison. It places the sole "reality" inside of each person's skull, and renders the rest of God's creation a mere shadow to be interpreted and manipulated as one sees fit.

    It is manifestly untrue that everything is "interpretation", because if that statement is true then Christianity itself is a lie.
     
  10. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    You’re right, but I find it hard to believe how so many different churches believe different things. I’m not talking about things that everyone believes, like the trinity, the nature of Christ, etc. basically the creeds are pretty objective. But when it comes to , let’s say, baptism. The RCC says it’s ex opere operato and washes away original sin and past sin. The Lutherans say it washes away all sin and for infants it gives them faith. The reformed say it’s a sign and seal of the new covenant. That’s not even getting into the intricacies of what the church fathers believed and what it meant to them. Ultimately, you can say your view of how baptism works is correct. But did the Apostles ever really set set out to explain the theology behind how baptism works? I don’t think they did. They just said repent and be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. Anything outside of that is our own interpretation. Which by the way I am not saying it doesn’t matter. What I am saying it’s I don’t believe any one interpretation is 100% right. I myself lean towards a Lutheran/reformed view of baptism. But I am humble enough to admit it was not revealed to me in scripture exactly how it works, Therefore, my opinion cannot be 100% right.
     
  11. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    This is most peculiar, isn’t it? Christianity seems to be unique with regard to the number of sects it can divide into. There are two possible reasons for this:
    1. Either all or all but one of these sects are based on something besides the Scriptures, or
    2. The Scriptures are not as clear as we assume them to be.
    It raises all kinds of questions.
     
  12. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    Since the beginning there have been different different views and disagreements. Just look at the East Assyrian church and oriental orthodox. I think the reason why this has happened is the extreme insistence of Christianity for whatever reason to try and be centralized. Jews go to a local synagogue. They get religious advice from their local rabbis. People are allowed to have different opinions. Muslims are the pretty much the same. Christians are all very adamant their specific position is right. And to be quite honest, I think this is a product of Christianity becoming an empire religion. I also think that if the Roman papacy didn’t exist the eastern split would’ve never happened and the Protestant reformation would have never happened.
     
  13. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I think the way to approach this is with humility. We cannot know God's true mind or purpose. We only know what God tells us, and God surely does not tell us everything about everything. He keeps his own holy counsel on what we need to know. What he wants us to know, he makes sure we know -- he even made sure it all got written down in the Holy Bible so we don't forget.

    We don't know the truth of baptism, not really; all we really know is that God commands it, so we do it. He is our Lord -- his word is enough. We don't need to understand why.

    Of course that doesn't stop us from trying to understand, and God knows enough about us to give us his written Word to help us understand. A lot of our modern confusion springs not from vagueness in the text, but from a modern lack of context (and our post-Enlightenment mind-rot). Scripture was not written for a few intellectuals; God caused it to be written for everyone's edification and instruction. The Gospel isn't hard to understand, even if we don't know all the hows and whys.

    Consider the "Calvinism vs Arminianism" debates we sometimes get into. It's a weighty matter, but in the end I think it's a discussion we can have when we get to Heaven -- holding an Arminian or Calvinist view of soteriology doesn't really matter as long as you have faith in Jesus Christ and live by his commandments as your Lord and King. That's all that's needed. I'm sure God will set us straight when we meet him someday.

    Theological knowledge is vital for Christians, but just remember that salvation only requires a honest acceptance of Christ as your Savior. Theologians call this "justification". "Sanctification" is the process of living out your life in a Godly way, both because the Holy Spirit now indwells you and you can't help yourself; and because God commands it.

    I'm probably more guilty than most in over-complicating the Christian message. But understand that at the end of the day, when all is said and done, I expect to meet my Baptist and Lutheran and Reformed and even Roman Catholic friends in Heaven. We can then laugh at all the stuff we got wrong and rejoice in our eternal fellowship in Christ our Lord.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2021
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  14. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    And yet, despite the decentralization, there is remarkable agreement among Jews and Muslims as to what constitutes normal belief and practice. I think centralization was a response to the diversity, not its cause.
     
  15. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    Is there? The Jews have the talmud to explain the Torah. The Talmud has opinions from several different rabbis. The Mishnah interprets the talmud. Again several different rabbis. I wouldn’t call that unity. Not to mention most Jews nowadays are just theists and believe every “good” person can get to heaven. As for Muslims, I have too little knowledge on them to comment.
     
  16. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    You must not know many practicing Jews. They've got more factions and splinter groups than Christians do. There's about five different flavors of Orthodox practice alone (look up the Lubavicher Jews of New York, for example, or the different Hasidic sects). And then you have the Reform Judaism Jews, the Reconstructionist Jews, the Messianic Jews who believe in Jesus as the true messiah...the list goes on.

    And among Muslims you have Sufi, Shi'a, and Sunni; and within each of those three traditions, you have both regional and ethnic divisions. As with Judaism, you have sects that aggregate around certain Imams (like the Mahdi sect that sprang up around Moqtada al Sadr in Baghdad).

    There is no religion on earth that is not riven with division and faction. It's part of our fallen nature to be fractious.
     
  17. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Actually the Mishnah is part of the Talmud. The rabbinic opinions are the Mishnah and the commentary on them is called the Gemara. The Talmud records the different opinions, but is clear regarding which opinion is to be considered the authoritative one. The point of studying Talmud is not to "learn the rules"; Orthodox Jews already practice them by the time they study Talmud. The point is rather to learn how to reason carefully through the issues that the Torah raises, because to understand the inner workings of the Torah is to know the mind of God and imitate his righteousness. There is a remarkable amount of agreement among Muslims as to what proper Islamic belief and practice is, though there is a certain amount of pluralism among the different schools of jurisprudence. There are four such schools among Sunni Muslims, and they do not all agree, for example, on when precisely the month of Ramadan begins. But this does not present a serious problem for them. There is plenty of theological agreement among Jews and Muslims, and divisions among them are usually not the result of any serious disagreement over what constitutes true belief and practice.
     
  18. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Goodness, if only you knew how mistaken that assumption is. I am in fact extremely familiar with Judaism in all its variety. My point is that the substantive differences between these different groups pale in comparison to that between all the Christian sects. There is very little difference between these groups as to what Jews believe.
    The Sufis are not a separate sect; they are Sunni. The Shi'ites have their own distinct mystical traditions. But if one were to walk into a predominantly Sunni mosque or a predominantly Shi'ite mosque, the differences in ritual would be barely noticeable, and a Shi'ite could worship in a Sunni mosque or a Sunni in a Shi'ite mosque without any unfamiliarity with the content of the prayers or the ritual.

    All of this is quite a remarkable fact when you consider how decentralized these two religions are. It might have something to do with the fact that - with the exception of Reform Judaism - each religion employs a sacred language for sacred purposes.

    Or we could consider the Eastern Orthodox, who have no central authority, and are often in schism with one another, and yet the doctrine and worship in the Orthodox Churches across many different regions, cultures, and languages is more or less identical. I could walk into an Orthodox liturgy anywhere in the world in any language and know exactly what was going on, when to bow, when to prostrate, when to make the sign of the cross, etc.

    So why is it that in the Western world, especially among the descendants of the Reformation, we can't seem to agree even on the most basic things except for the idea that what the Bible has to say is clear? I think @Jellies has raised a very good question here, and I repeat my original answer:
    1. Either all, or all but one, of these sects are based on something besides the Scriptures, or
    2. The Scriptures are not as clear as we assume them to be.
     
  19. Jellies

    Jellies Active Member

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    Idk I don’t personally know any Jews but they seem split to me. There’s several orthodox sects, liberal Jews, traditional Jews. Muslims can’t even agree on whether women need to wear a head covering or if the hijab is an inherent quality of modesty. You try and ask any Muslim about a certain Hadith and they’ll start arguing whether or not it’s valid or whatever. They seem as split as Christians are to me.
     
  20. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    They may seem that way, but they aren't. Those differences have to do with things like, who was the legitimate successor to the Prophet? Or, how much of the halacha should be adapted to contemporary circumstances? These things almost always have nothing to do with scriptures, theology, doctrine, or worship. If you were an alien arriving from outer space with no notion of what these different religions were or believed, you would conclude from your observations that the various Christian denominations were in fact entirely separate religions in many cases, but it would be very difficult to discern the distinctions between Sunni and Shi'a among Muslims. They are there, but they are of a different order than the kind which afflicts Christians. So the question is, Why?