Tuesday, September 25, 2007

“No doctrine concerning the divine and saving mysteries of the faith, however trivial, may be taught without the backing of the holy Scriptures. We must not let ourselves be drawn aside by mere persuasion and cleverness of speech. Do not even give absolute belief to me, the one who tells you these things, unless you receive proof from the divine Scriptures of what I teach. For the faith that brings salvation acquires its force, not from fallible reasonings, but from what can be proved out of the holy Scriptures.” Saint Cyril of Jerusalem: to his catechumens.

I’ve been indulging myself further into the very fascinating study of Church history. I found this quote by Cyril very interesting as it relates to the topic around here lately. I’m sure brother Cyril will be pleased to learn that this statement and teaching here meets my approval.

As a side note…I’m sure my Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox friends can and will flood me with other quotes by other fathers…maybe other’s by Cyril himself…contradicting “Sola Scriptura” or anything remotely resembling it such as this particular quotation. What I have been finding (and confirming in my own head) is that the early fathers frequently spoke out of both ends of their mouths…so the Roman Catholic’s and Eastern Orthodox pick, choose and stress quotations that fit their current doctrines and ignore the ones that contradict them. Equally, Reformed Evangelicals pick the ones that fit our doctrines…and in turn we ignore the ones that contradict them. Hey…even Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons have gotten into the fun lately! This is a minor point I’d make in passing and is not the meat of my argument…that is…this nearly undeniable “fact” assists in proving that tradition can not and should not ever be placed on equal footing with holy Scripture! The entire process is shown to be suspect because it is impossible to separate the historian from his own prejudices, beliefs, limitations and agendas. Therefore how can we reasonably know which historians we ought to trust when establishing what is and is not “official” and “sacred” tradition? Each of the three main “branches” of “Christianity” all praise these early saints for when we agree with them and admit they were off when they spoke of things we do not agree with…the only difference amongst us is which teachings we now graciously “forgive”. In the Scriptures no "grace" or "mercy" is needed...and is therefore superior to tradition.

Ok…enough with that appetizer…bring out the meat! “Where’s the beef?”

I thought I would stretch this series out into two more segments…but nah…I’m going for the “2 point conversion” right now…for the game! Actually, I just don’t have enough time to write as often as I’d like…which then prevents me from hitting the topics I’d like to hit as soon as I’d like to hit them…and I’ve got a doozy of a topic coming up next…

So here we go…the end all…THE verses that PROVE Sola Scriptura once and for all…the centuries of confusion and debate are will now and forever evaporate…right now…you can thank me later…are you ready? Drum roll, please…

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 niv

For the life of me I do not understand why Sola Scriptura is not plainly recognized here because it is plainly taught. It saddens me when I see, without exception, groups that deny Sola Scriptura insert themselves in place of “all Scripture…” They teach “___insert name of group___...is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work…”

Each of these groups have done this. The Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses...just to name off the big ones...does that come across to harsh? Well, I’m sorry…that is not my intent. But they have each done just that...they have, practically speaking, replaced "All Scripture" with their group. They direct attention and emphasis away from the Scriptures and take a “just trust us…we’ll teach you everything you need to know…” tone. This is not what Paul had in mind. The Scriptures are God breathed, he says, and are USEFUL!!! Now, are they are or they not? He then explains what they are useful for…for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. We see plainly the Scriptures are complete in doing this job! They are not viewed by Paul here as awkward, strange or hard to interpret. No! Paul describes them as “useful”. I’ve spoke with several missionaries who have evangelized and planted churches in various portions of the world who have interacted with Eastern Orthodox priests who don’t even own or really care to own Bibles! They already have the proper interpretations which have been passed down to them…what use would owning the Bible have for them? The same has been reported throughout the Roman Catholic world. The Lord saved one young women at Southside out of Roman Catholicism who never once read or was ever strongly encouraged to read a Bible. She would simply go to mass and they would hand her a little hand out with the gospel passage printed for her and she would just follow along. Reading the Bible would have made as much sense to her as sitting down and reading the Encyclopedia she once told me. Why would she need to do that?

If the Bible is not useful to the average Joe then why give him one? And if you do, why give him one printed in his own language? Heck…if reading the Bible is not all that useful for the average guy…why work to educate him enough to read in the first place?

Paul is teaching that the Scriptures, in and of themselves, are useful to accomplish everything he listed in that passage. THAT is what they are useful for…and THAT is the very thing these groups find the Scriptures LEAST useful for. Read that list again.

And now, for the alley-oop…

Verse 17: so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Hmmm…what do the words “thoroughly”, “equipped”, “every”, “good” and “work” mean to you? Wow. As far as I am concerned Paul just ended the debate here in verse 17. The Scriptures are given to thoroughly equip us…THE MAN OF GOD...the individual!!! For EVERY good work!

Ok, let’s stop and think about this. Is praying to saints a “good work”? Is submitting to the bishop of Rome a “good work”? Is praying for sinners in either Purgatory or Hell a “good work”? Is infant baptism a “good work”?

Think…THINK!!! How can the Scriptures “thoroughly equip” us to do these things they make no mention of? If those are examples of truly “good works” then these two verses are simply wrong. If those are true examples of “good works” then the Scriptures in fact do not thoroughly equip us for EVERY good work then, do they?

The best argument against this point I have heard so far is, “well…you don’t have the authority to interpret Scripture anyway…

I'd be thrilled to read a better counter point then that one. Anybody?


Charles said...

Dr. Fox, How do you go about finding these great quotes? I am an ignorant Baptist who doesn't even know who St. Cyril is. WOW! What a great quote. What are your sources for this? I will have to expand my aging library or clean out some of the books that take up valuable space. CW

irreverend fox said...

brother charles,

I steal them from men who are far more advanced and well rounded than I in history...church history to be exact.

We do have most of the early Church fathers own words...and one could "google"...they are out there for anybody to study...RC, EO or RE (reformed evangelicals)...even JW's are up to it now!

I found this particular quote in the book "2000 Years of Christ's Power: Part One, The Age of the Early Church Fathers" by N.R. Needham...a reformed historian. He might be a Lutheran...I'm not sure. This book is, by far, the book I'd most recommend for someone wanting a readable yet not childish history of Christianity...from the Reformed perspective (of course any historian comes with a perspective and fights against it dominating his work...)

as far as "Dr. Fox"...I'm no doctor by any stretch! I'm a THIEF!!! YOU are the one who is the doctor! and no sir...no one who walks with Christ like YOU is ignorant!

irreverend fox said...

oh...btw...St. Cyril of Jerusalem was a bishop and distinguished theologian of the early Church in the fourth century...315�386.

Tim said...

Don't forget these verses: Isiah 55:10-11 "The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the sower and bread for the hungry. It is the same with MY WORD. I send it out and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it." (NLT) That promise is not, and cannot be, made for anything but the Word of God. Awesome post.

Timothy said...

Greetings! Saw your post in Google Blogsearch. While I disagree on sola scriptura (a tradition of man and not biblical at all), I did enjoy the original writing and reading of a non-Catholic enjoying Cyril, one of my favorite fathers.

For the Baptist unfamilar with Cyril, you might enjoy Cyril's homilies on Baptism and Chrism as they describe early church baptisms by immersion:

Of Baptism

On Chrism

(Perhaps after reading those, you can explain how the Baptist tradition of dunking fully clothed people only once developed.)

>"I do not understand why Sola Scriptura is not plainly recognized here because it is plainly taught."

While you interpret this passage to prove it, the passage when read in conjunction with verse 15 before clearly does not support Bible only (sola scriptura).

Paul in verse 15 says; "...how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures...". What holy Scriptures has Timothy known from infancy? Not the New Testament's gospels and epistles. Timothy knew only the Old Testament from infancy.

What scriptures did the Bereans (Acts 17:1-15) search? Not the New Testament's gospels and epistles. The Berean's searched only the Old Testament.

So, the best you can prove from scripture alone is Old Testament alone. I can prove most Catholic doctrines from Old Testament alone.

For example, The prophecy of Malachi 1:11 accurately describes the daily Sacrifice of the Mass offered by the Catholic Church in all time zones around the world.

Can you prove your doctrines from Old Testament alone?

Also, if sola scriptura is a true doctrine, what scriptures were the sole authority between Christ's ascension an the writing of the first book of the New testament? What was the sole authority during that several decade gap? The Old Testament? The Church?

What does the Bible itself say is the pillar and ground of the truth?
(1 Timothy 3:15)

Finally, one of the reasons I love sola scriptura as a Catholic is that I can never do worse than a draw and the non-Catholic can never do better than a draw. In our case, the best you can do and the worst I can do is that we agree on Sola Old Testament (a draw).

I would like to encourage you and others to read the early church fathers. You'll find a short list of easy to read, but important works, on my blog, below my eSword Bible software links on the left.

God bless...

irreverend fox said...


thanks for stopping by!

what does the word "all" mean to you? What is the difference between the “sacred writings” (plural) of verse 15 and the “all Scripture” (singular) in verse 16?

"What was the sole authority during that several decade gap?"

Of course it was the authority of the Church! Who else? Led by the Apostles of Jesus Christ Himself! "Sola Scriptura" is the natural extension of their ministry since they are all dead now.

Now…I am very pleased that you have joined the discussion. Please stick around…and I mean that. Let me advise you however that I’m not into “rapid fire” questioning. One tactic that I fear you might have unknowingly already employed…and one that doesn’t fly here…is to spray a half dozen or a dozen different questions…all at once…without any direct flow of thought….causing me…or whoever…to have to write several massive responses all at once…I’m not into that. This isn’t a sprint…it’s a marathon. One issue at a time, ok?

If I may be so bold as to point to zac as a great example of an individual who disagrees with the Reformed position yet does not “buck shot” in the response section. Please follow his example and you, like he, will be appreciated, respected and defended to the utmost.

irreverend fox said...

Tim...thanks man...and thanks for bringing up the most comforting passage in the Bible...IMHO...

Zac said...

Hey Gary,

Well I suppose it goes without saying that I agree with your quotations of St. Cyril of Jerusalem and of Holy Scripture and completely disagree with your conclusions.

I shouldn't write you a doctoral thesis or anything, but let's just start with St. Cyril. This was the Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem. He is expressing the Orthodox belief that ours is the Faith to which all Scriptures testify. Within the authoritative tradition of the Church, the Scriptures occupy the highest place-- St. Cyril is confident that his catechism is in complete agreement with the Law, the Prophets, the Writings, the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles. Without going into laborious detail, suffice it to say that this bishop who knew most books of Scripture by heart, and his teachings (all of them, by the way) are Orthodox. We still use his catechism.

I do not agree that every Scripture is "easy" to understand. St. Peter writes, as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:15,16)

We see from this passage several things, one of which is that the Scriptures can be misunderstood, twisted, and bring about the destruction of souls. What kind of people do this, according to the Apostle? Two kinds: untaught and unstable. Untaught? Untaught by whom? The Church! For, "knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation" (2 Peter 1:20) and we know that "the church of the living God, [is] the pillar and foundation of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15).

This is all Orthodox ever claim. In fact, it was my own deep conviction that I myself was twisting certain Scriptures away from their true meaning that lead me to Orthodoxy. The apostolic tradition of the Church is the proper lens for the reading of the Scriptures. Without it, you get the chaos of Western Christendom.

I don't know about the stories you've heard concerning Orthodox priests; maybe it's a cultural thing. You see, priests read and hear the Scriptures everyday in the divine services of the Church. In fact, in any given Orthodox service, we probably have about 10-20 times more Scripture than any protestant service. This is because every liturgy we sing several psalms, we sing the beatitudes of Christ, we pray the Lord's prayer, we hear the epistle reading of the day, we hear the Gospel reading of the day, and that's not even mentioning so many other parts of the liturgy where the prayers are directly based off of the wording of the Scriptures.

You must understand that private ownership of the Scriptures was not possible except for the very wealthy prior to the printing press. And now in many communist countries where the Orthodox were tortured and murdered for their faith, they are so poor that they simply cannot own a bible. Many of these priests lead Christian lives that make ours look utterly wicked by comparison. Above all, do not think that somehow the Orthodox are not interested in what the Scriptures themselves say. We are. Very much so. It is our firm conviction that they teach the Orthodox faith. Every day the Church has marked with passages from Scripture to be read, either privately or at Church.

I encourage you to actually take some time and read St. Cyril's writings. He is a witness to the universal, undivided, and unanimous teaching of the Church from the time of the apostles to his own day, up to our own times. Might he have a minor inaccuracy or two when it comes to a private opinion? Of course, since he has no claim on infallibility. Dogmas are one thing and private opinions are another. It is the consensus of the fathers which we should follow when properly dividing the word of Truth.

Further, it is fine to read Church History from a reformed historian, since this is a person you are more inclined to trust. I hope it will spark you to examine more of the primary sources, like Eusebius' History of the Church.

I should very much hope that an Orthodox Christian would never say that you didn't have the authority to interpret the Scriptures as a way of dismissing your pointed argumentation. That's not how we roll. ;^)

Zac said...

I should also mention that I like the icon of St. Cyril. You see that he is dressed in the garment of an Orthodox bishop, that he is holding the book of the Gospels, and that his right hand (on our left side) is raised in the way an Orthodox priest or bishop blesses-- his fingers making out the first and last letters of "Jesus Christ" in Greek: iota, sigma, chi, sigma.

And the halo is the symbolization of the Orthodox teaching on salvation-- that our goal is to become one with Christ, being transfigured by the Uncreated Light of God (that's the halo's meaning).

irreverend fox said...

hey zac!

"Within the authoritative tradition of the Church, the Scriptures occupy the highest place-- "

...um...that is called "Sola Scriptura"...at least as it was first understood. That the Bible was "alone" on the top of the "heap"...not that the Church had no other authority...just that the Bible "alone" was at the top. The problem, I believe, in the West is a new one…in other words the chaos we see today was not prevalent 100 years ago…even 50-60 years ago most Reformed Evangelical groups…ranging from Lutherans to Baptists to Pentecostals…held variant views on what we all agreed were secondary doctrines…but all held strongly, in almost complete unison, the heart of the gospel…and even a great deal of secondary issues. It is because of the radical cultural shift of the 1960’s that “authority” was scorned…and in a knee jerk reaction…most in the Reformed world loosened up on church authority and discipline…they gave up on accountability so as to not freak the hippies out (and the groups that did not loosen up got down right hateful…fundamentalists over-reacted to the situation and are still mad to this day!) This led to churches with some congregants living in open rebellion…this lack of accountability in our circles went beyond lifestyle and has also spilt, in some circles, into doctrine. This always will happen. SO…I would suggest that Sola Scriptura is the easy scape goat here…but would point backwards 100, 200, 300 years and so on as proof that Sola Scriptura does not necessarily bring chaos…it is the perversion of it…it is Sola Scriptura APART from discipline, local church authority and accountability…that has caused the chaos.

Perhaps the Eastern Orthodox and (historic) Reformed Evangelicalism is not galaxy's apart when it comes to the place of Scripture in the authority structure of the Catholic Church?

"I do not agree that every Scripture is "easy" to understand."

Nor do I...I am sorry if I gave this impression...or if the evangelical west has given it. I've met so many people who bounce around with the "me, my Bible and the Holy Ghost..." that it is stunning. SURELY God never intened the Bible to be handeled in a vacuum. There is no private interpretation.

"in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction." This is Peter speaking of Paul's letters. A few things to note.

1. "some things". not all things...some things
2. "hard to understand". not impossible to understand…hard to understand
3. "untaught AND unstable". again, it is not God's will for His Word to be read in a vacuum...the obvious implication or reverse logic is that taught men (by the Church indeed) and men who are "stable"...emotionally, intellectually and spiritually I suppose...do not twist the Scriptures to their own destruction.

Eusebius' History of the Church is on my short list! I actually own the book and have only skimmed it in the past...once my library re-emerges I'll dust it off!

And I have yet to encounter an Eastern Orthodox person who ended a discussion with "well, you don't have the authority to handle the Bible..." and I appreciate it!


I'm curious about your thoughts regarding 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and my observations of those two verses.

oh...thank you for your insight into St. Cyril...those things are foreign to us ignorant southern baptists! there is no doubt that Eastern Orthodoxy relates very well with the Church in the 4th century...in Cyril's day! It is amazing to me how much Eastern Orthodoxy I see as I read about the ancient Church...I don't think you all have evolved much at all...and for the Eastern Orthodox...that is a complement!

Zac said...

Haha... yes, the Faith stays the same, even if the tradition as a whole "develops" by being more precise about this once-and-for-all-delivered truth.

I have an article you might be interested in reading. Fr. John Whiteford has written an excellent (if somewhat lengthy) article on Sola Scriptura. You should check it out:


Zac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...

zac and foxxy,

y'all are incredibly long winded and i want to know one thing...do you ever get finger cramps from typing for so long at one time. lol. just reading the back and forth between the two of you has taught me a lot. a wise man knows when he's in a little over his head, so that's why i don't jump in too often.

one thought though...whether the authors of the NT knew it or not, what they were writing was indeed Holy Scripture not at its canonization, but from the moment it was written.

irreverend fox said...


I spend about an hour a day at the gym doing various finger stretches and weight bareing exercises just to keep these guys limber...


I don't know...when I get into a zone my figures just blaze away on the keyboard...typing just comes as second nature to me...

the more important question...

yes, all the Scriptures were inspired at the moment of their recording. but how do you know that your table of contents is complete? how do you know the books in your Bible are all inspired? did God float an inspired table of contents down from the heavens? did any of the Apostles right down an inspired list?

How do you know all the books in your Bible are supposed to be there and how do you know if a book that should be in there didn’t make it?

Zac said...

That's right-- the moment they were written they were "God-breathed." Canonization of the sacred writings by the Church is simply the recognition that they were in fact inspired.

Gary's question brings up an issue that has been answered in different ways. As an Orthodox Christian, I can say that the New Testament canon is completed. It does not matter if we find new letters of Paul or another apostolic Gospel-- the Church's tradition, guided itself by the same Holy Spirit who was promised by Christ in order to guide us into all truth, is what has placed the seal on the canon for us.

While I do not agree with the classic reformed position, I respect its consistency. Gary will correct me if I'm wrong, but the classic statement is that they have a fallible canon of infallible books. In other words, they know these books are Scripture, but the list of canonical books does not come from any divine authority.

This view, while incorrect, is remarkably consistent-- since at least they realize that acceptance of the New Testament canon per se is in some way an acceptance of the authority of the Orthodox bishops who made that decision in the first place. It's a slippery slope from there! =^)

Zac said...

Concerning Fathers and Their Writings

I was re-reading your thoughtful post and something struck me that maybe I should highlight. You seem to have concluded that the fathers of the Church, at times, were "speaking out of both sides of their mouths" and basically that their works are an amalgam of confusion. My recommendation is not to be so hasty in your assessment. Let's be honest-- you haven't read all that much of them yet, so what if you find that your statement is inaccurate?

St. Ignaty Brianchianinov once wrote: "What was it that above all struck me in the works of the Fathers of the Orthodox Church? It was their harmony, their wondrous, magnificent harmony. Eighteen centuries, through their lips, testified to a single unanimous teaching, a Divine teaching!"

So perhaps you should read more?

irreverend fox said...

great dialog!


I'd suggest that perhaps St. Ignaty Brianchianinov and myself are both guilty of over simplification.

while I've never read all of their writings I have read many, many, many summaries from all three of the major "branches" (so to speak...there is only One Holy Catholic and Orthodox Church of course)...and I do believe that at times there was inadvertent double talk. I think, for example, Augustine talked out of both ends of his mouth in regards to salvation...he believe in a the beautiful doctrine of Sovereign election and predestination...yet...also taught that not all Christians are elect and that we could basically fall from grace...and I don't want to go off onto a rabbit trail of all of Augustine’s implications...but that is just an example of something that I look at and go "huh?"

The entire issue of personal salvation, the role of baptism...the mode of baptism...um...church structure and authority...which books were in and which are not in...I could go on and on...to say that the early Church fathers all spoke in unison...even within one of their own writings...is just a drastically oversimplification of how doctrines evolved in clarity. Origen was a fierce defender of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity...yet...he was a universalistic...I mean...come on!

"they realize that acceptance of the New Testament canon per se is in some way an acceptance of the authority of the Orthodox bishops who made that decision in the first place."

right on man, right on...we do recognize their wisdom and authority...why wouldn't we?

"It's a slippery slope from there!"

right on man, right on!

THE issue is "Apostolic succession"...did the Apostles pass down their authority? THAT is the zillion dollar question...and whosoever comes to the conclusion of that question solves this puzzle once and for all.

Tim said...

Zac and G

I do recognize the wisdom of those who canonized the books of the Bible. As I've heard someone say many, many times...we stand on the shoulders of giants. Could there possibly be more books out there that should be Scripture??? I suppose it's in the realm of statistical possibility, but it is extremely unlikely. (read pretty much impossible) If the early church didn't have more Scriptural letters from Paul or the other Apostles, they're probably not out there. We're not talking about something like the Dead Sea Scrolls, which consisted of stuff that was already there. Our "table of contents" is fallible because we are fallen man. Guided by the Holy Spirit as they were (and as all who know Christ should be) the early church fathers were still men after all. There is no claim of infallibility in their decisions.


The question isn't just did the Apostles pass down their authority. Roman Catholics would say yes. What would the Eastern Orthodox say? I don't know. A bigger question is (to me anyway) did the Apostles have the authority or a divine command to pass down their authority? Will we ever know that with 100% certainty? Sure, when we are finally with the Lord in glory. Then we can ask Him for ourselves. Of course we probably won't because at that point the whole thing will probably seem pretty trivial.

Zac said...

Hmm... I'm not sure what to say first. I would just continue to read the fathers, Gary. They are talking about things in an experiential way.

Concerning Augustine. Augustine tended to stress the necessity of Grace to the detriment of our free will, AND YET, he did not deny free will or the Orthodox teaching on salvation as having both the divine and human part. I can get you a direct quotation on his belief in free will if you like-- I just saw it the other day in the City of God. He is a great father and teacher of the Church who ventured over into expressionism at some times in his efforts to counteract the Pelagian heresy that threatened the western Orthodox Church of his day.

Concerning Origen. Origen is not a father of the Church-- in fact the Church anathematized him. That's like calling Tertullian a father of the Church. Only protestants would say it because they think somehow just any Christian writer from an early century counts as a "father." Origen was a heretic, and this was widely recognized in his own day and down through time in the Orthodox Church.

For the Orthodox, there is no puzzle about where/what the Church is-- it knows itself to be the theandric Body which is the doorway to salvation by the Blood of Christ. Neither the tortures of the pagans, nor the temptations of heresies, nor the sword of the Turks, nor the sophistries of the humanists, nor the syllogisms of "reformers, nor the "re-education" of the Soviets can triumph against it-- because it is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

For me, my own personal papacy was a difficult thing from which to abdicate. I said who was in, who was out. I was the criterion, based on my own understanding of the Scriptures. This began to ring more and more hollow with me until Christ saved me from the tyranny of my own intellectual self-abuse, which I confused for spirituality.

Instead of summaries, I would recommend simply reading the teachings of the fathers for themselves. That Orthodox Dogmatic Theology book I lent you is chock full of patristic quotations which show the harmony of their teachings down through the centuries-- a unity unparalelled in any body of Protestants or Roman Catholics.

Do you still want to come to a service? I think you might benefit from it.

irreverend fox said...


I'm sorry to hear about your inner "personal papacy"...I hope that you don't project that onto all Reformed Evangelicals.

Let me tell you what I hear when I hear you mention a "personal papacy".

-No higher accountability
-Final authority

If that was what was going on within you then please understand...it was not due to "Sola Scriptura". "Sola Scriptura", when rightly understood, smashes ALL papacies...personal or otherwise. (Unless you simple are referring to the idea of "patriarch" or "pappa's"...I don't think you are).

Please don't project that onto Reformed Evangelicals...we have struggled with identity, recently...but it is a recent phenomena...and of course the Orthodox Evangelicals remain true non-the-less. Those type of caricatures are just wrong. That is not what is taught in Orthodox Evangelical churches…not at all. I’m afraid you experienced the shallow end of the Evangelical spectrum and came away thinking that we all just admire Joel Osteen, are church hopping, unsubmissive people who “know it all” cause “God shows us”. I don’t know what to say, but, that is not where the Reformed Orthodox/Evangelicals are.

I remind you again. Your choice to trust in Eastern Orthodoxy is just as fallible as mine to distrust it. Perhaps your “personal papacy” is not as dead as you thought?

I'm not sure what your thoughts are on the meat and point of this last post. What did Paul mean when he said that "all Scripture" would equip the man of God for EVERY good work?

When I mentioned “summaries” of the early Church fathers (and writers) I was referring to books like the Orthodox Dogmatic Theology you lent me, the other books you lent me…plus things I read on www.ewtn.com... and of course the Reformed brothers also mention, speak of and give good, healthy (in length) quotations of the early church fathers. That is not to say that I should not nor will not read them directly…because I should and will.

I can not wait to experience an Eastern Orthodox service…honestly! My life feels like a roller coaster right now…it is so hard to do things that I really want to do (things I must do either take most of my time or wipe Naomi and I out lately)…but I do promise that as soon as I can I will go…it will have to be on a Saturday night…or Sunday night…I will be there! There is no doubt that if one wants to see a good representation of what the ancient Christians were doing…Eastern Orthodoxy is the place to be. My study of Church history has proven this to me.