Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Does God have Prophets in the Church today? We’ll be tackling this issue soon but before we do I want you to watch this 2 minute clip first.

10 comments:

Na said...

How sad.

Zac said...

Benny is the perfect example of what happens when people assume that they can decide the meaning of the Scriptures for themselves.

irreverend fox said...
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irreverend fox said...
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irreverend fox said...

zac,

I totally disagree with you. Benny Hinn does not believe in Sola Scriptura...he is the perfect example of what happens to people who DON'T believe that doctrine.

Zac said...

Well just for argument's sake, I would distinguish between classical protestantism's doctrine of sola scriptura, and modern evangelical belief that anyone is qualified to interpret the Scriptures for themselves. I disagree with both positions, but I think they are distinct. Benny is part of the latter school of thought-- he twists the Scriptures to his own condemnation, sadly.

This is different from my Christian friends in the reformed tradition, like you of course. You actually believe that you are accountable to Scripture, and that it has a definite meaning beyond subjective impressions. We agree with one another on that.

I don't want to give you the idea that Orthodox Christians are immune from delusion. As I have said before, there is even a special word for it because the great ascetic fathers knew the workings of the soul so well-- they could describe the symptoms of such delusions, as well as the cure: humility, obedience, fasting, and prayer.

irreverend fox said...

Benny Hinn not only twists Scripture, but like JW's, LDS's, RC's and EO's...he adds to it other sources of equal authority as we just heard. That is a massive issue and disqualifies him and all those groups from true Orthodoxy.

Zac said...

It's strange that you put it in this way. Geographically, historically, and theologically, all of these groups-- LDS, JWs, and Roman Catholics-- are all far closer to classical protestantism than any are to the Orthodox.

For a moment, do you see how a person might find sola scriptura weak because of all the conflicting approaches to theology, salvation, worship, and ethics that protestantism has come up with in the last 500 years?

Can you, for just a moment, see how someone might find that those who profess "sola scriptura" are actually quite adamant about their own interpretations of it, such that what they really offer is both the Scriptures AND a tradition of their own devising to understand which verses mean which things, and which verses have priority over others, or help to interpret others?

For just a moment, can you see how the existence of all these various sects-- quakers, arminians, calvinists, pentecostals, mennonites, messianics, sabbath-keepers, instrumentless-ers, etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseam-- might lead one to believe that the Scriptures, at least some of them, are "hard to understand"?

And for just a moment, can you see how someone might be led to concude that if a just and loving God sent forth His message to humanity that He would also have done something in order to provide a way in which people could be sure that they were understanding the Scriptures properly?

And for just a moment, can you see how someone might draw from the Scriptures themselves the idea that there is such a thing as an historically continuous Church, and that perhaps this Church which is, according to the Scriptures, "the pillar and bulwark of the Truth," is the very key for understanding those Scriptures?

And then can you understand how someone might see in Orthodoxy a real unique quality, in that, unlike Roman Catholicism and all Protestant groups, it has no "founding date" in history other than the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell on the Apostles and they went into all the world to preach the Gospel?

And how someone might then conclude that Orthodoxy is in fact this Church of which those very Scriptures speak, which is the "pillar and bulwark of the truth" and which maintains down through the ages the correct understanding of those same Scriptures?

And possibly, just for a moment, could you see how someone might see the lives and examples of Orthodox Christians down through the ages which lived, suffered and bore witness for Christ in ways that make American evangelicalism look shallow, vain, and hedonistic?

If, for just a moment, you could see how a person could believe these things, you will realize that Orthodoxy has nothing in common with those groups you mentioned.

irreverend fox said...

zac,

yes to everything...and I've expressed each of those points in various posts. I certainly do see the problems created by the potential abuse of the Reformed view of the Church. Certainly the RC and EO view is also prone to abuse as history shows us. but none the less I do see each of those points...I always have.

but our problems do not cause me to contort because we do not believe in an infallible Church. our view is summed up best by the phrase "ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda secundum verbum Dei"(the church reformed, always being reformed according to the Word of God).

and again, the "conflicts" within the Reformed camps you speak of are not a problem for us. there has been an agreed framework by all our groups upon which some doctrines are held as "essential" an others are not. that is a common bond...it's not like I'm sitting back and saying "ok, what do all these groups have in common? ok...these things must be the essentials". not at all. all the Reformed groups agree to disagree...that is the framework of the true Catholic and Orthodox Church. I don't know what you want me to say. It is understood that there can be, should be and IS diversity on non-essential doctrines. It is only when someone comes to the issue with the presumption that the Catholic Church must have complete and total doctrinal conformity that a problem arises. As I have stated before, that ancient presumption is rooted in an over reaction to the Gnostic heresies that irrupted in the Church's infancy.

Orthodoxy is bound by two basic doctrines. the Orthodox and historic doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity. And the doctrine of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. A Christian believes no less than those two doctrines (and I have dealt with Christians prior to the Reformation in previous posts…I’ll refer everyone to them). Other issues such as "tongues", "eschatology", "church governance", "women clergy"...are all deemed "non-essential" for salvation universally. Any group who adds one of those doctrines to the “essential” list is “excommunicated” despite their claims of being “Christian” (what else can we do? They might get lumped in with us by outsiders but they are not, especially historically speaking, viewed by us as part of us) various groups take different positions on those issues and so denominations evolved. is it perfect? heck no! but we don't assume it would be either...because we don't believe in an infallible Church on earth. So we continue to work and evolve and develop….the emergence of postmodernism into the mix the past 30 years has caused no small amount of trouble indeed…crisis perhaps…but because Christ promised to guide and secure His true Church I am confidant that, just as we’ve seen in 2000 years of our history, the true Church will survive and thrive again…the storms of heresy are fierce but God’s true Church will stand. This is not the first time His Church has been under attack…from “within”.

Lastly…as much as I desire to not offend you, zac, I do believe Eastern Orthodoxy has much in common with RC, JW and LDS. all four groups believe that they are the infallible “church” or “organization” of God Almighty. All four groups believe they can and do supply teaching authority which is equal with the Bible. And all four groups believe that justification is a faith plus works combo. Although historically speaking it does have roots that date backwards into the stream of Christ’s true Church, it did not continue to move with the Holy Spirit. It is a dead branch that will be cut off and thrown into the fire, sadly. it “has a form of Godliness, but denies the power of it”. It is, I believe, just another false religion, despite its most sincere, devote and morally excellent adherents.

I am remaining open zac, I hope you know that. I respect and now love you and Arlie and I do not think poorly of either of you, your parish, your priest or bishop...as people. As I told you, I was in awe of those two bishops…looking at them was like look at the sea of Galilee or something…they are linked, physically, with the Apostles…with Christ…there is little doubt about that. But I am not finding the answers in EO that must be answered. maybe I'm Gary of Tarsus...or maybe I'm not.

Zac said...

Gary of Tarsus, indeed! I, too, once held a similar understanding, and I respect that these are your convictions.

You still planning on coming to vespers Saturday?