Saturday, February 09, 2008

With all the "Super Duper Tuesday" coverage this past Tuesday very few people really "got" how incredible the Union University story was (and is). Watch this short video to help yourself understand the magnitude and the scope of what really happened...and help yourself more fully appreciate the God of Providence, Sovereignty, Mystery and Might...


Zac said...

Good video-- I didn't realize the wreckage was so horrific.

irreverend fox said...

hey zac!

I didn't either! This goes to show the state of the culture in which we find ourselves in the West. You would think there would be story after story about how NO ONE DIED in all that massive destruction. 16 people were trapped and all made it out alive! 50 were rushed to the hospital and all survived!

No...if many people had died the media would have run 24/7 coverage on and on...asking the big question "why would God allow this..."

Sure...we question God and talk about God when people die. Where was the talk about God in this story in the mainstream? No...LUCK got the glory.

The double standard blows my mind. The world will rail against the justice of God yet will never, ever, give God the least bit of "credit" or praise when He demonstrates Amazing Grace.

We sing "Amazing Grace"'s almost our national hymn perhaps. Yet what hypocrites we are! We are not AMAZED by grace! The way this story has been treated shows that we are not AMAZED by grace! No...we are AMAZED at justice. We should come to expect justice and be amazed by grace, instead, we expect grace and are amazed by justice.

we are so diluted in the West.

Zac said...

Good thoughts... The media's old adage, "If it bleeds it leads," seems to certainly be a big part of the explanation here.

Zac said...

Dear Gary,

I see yet another patristic quotation and I'm assuming you'd like me to weigh in on that one, although you can correct me if I'm wrong-- it could be that you don't really care what I think about them and that's cool, too.

First, I suppose I should say that the real problem with quotations like these is NOT that they're out of context. A quotation by its very nature is "out of context" since it's just a quotation. But problems arise when quotations are taken and put forth to mean something that they were not intended by its author to mean. I have not read St. Jerome extensively, but I am (to put it mildly) highly skeptical that he adhered to any sort of "faith alone" Reformation teaching, as this lone quotation seems to imply here. I say that for a number of reasons, and certainly not the least of which was that he was a member of the Orthodox Catholic Church and a great ascetic western monk who lived the latter part of his life in Palestine.

So, again, I have no problem with "quoting" people or documents. In fact, I think it's awesome that you're looking at the Church Fathers, and I hope that you are as amazed by our Christian heritage as I am. But I think the key issue when it comes to quoting people is whether a quotation, by itself, fairly represents the overall meaning intended by the author. So quotations are fine when they are, in themselves, fairly representative of the author's point in the longer document.

For instance, taking St. Jerome as an example, I can turn him into a Roman Catholic:

(writing to his friend, Pope Damasus) "Although your greatness awes me, your goodness reassures... I speak to the successor of the fisherman, to the disciple of the cross.... I am united in communion with Your Holiness; that is to say, with the see of Peter. I know the Church is built upon this rock... Whoever does not reap with you, scatters his harvest; that is, he who is not of Christ is of Antichrist."

The problem with this quotation is that, by itself, someone not familiar with St. Jerome's other writings and his overall teachings, might be led to believe that St. Jerome's ecclesiology is based upon communion with Rome, and that somehow he attributed to its bishop special authority above the others.

This is a problem because St. Jerome emphatically didn't hold to any of these beliefs. In the same letter he makes it clear that he is "...Following no chief, but Christ."

Elsewhere he is more explicit in this denial: "We must not believe that the city of Rome is a different church from that of the whole world. Gaul, Britain, Africa, Persia, the East, India, all the barbarous nations, adore Jesus Christ, and observe one and the same rule of truth. If one is looking for authority, the world is greater than one city. Wherever there is a Bishop, be he at Rome or at Eugubium, at Constantinople or at Rhegium, at Alexandria or Tania, he has the same authority, the same merit, because he has the same priesthood. The power that riches give, and the low estate to which poverty reduces, render a Bishop neither greater nor less."

So I guess all I'm saying is that not all quotations are equal. I would just encourage you to look for the author's meaning, and not simply words that seem to support or deny a particular position. It's only fair to the people we are quoting to quote a fair representation of what they're actually saying.

irreverend fox said...

I absolutely want your 2 cents worth here about anything and everything! Semper Reformanda is about EDUCATION...not...INDOCTRINATION! (hence the name, “semper reformanda”)

I want to be clear to all...maybe I need to figure out how to put a small disclaimer in that section or something. I certainly do not believe that St. Jerome, St. Clement of Rome, St. Irenaeus or any of the others in at LEAST the first 1,000 years of Christian history were "Reformed/Evangelical/Calvinists or Baptists"...that would be absurd!

They were not.

My entire point is to simply demonstrate that I do believe from time to time the ancient Fathers DID speak inconsistencies and were not as unanimous about that particular issue as both Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics would like us Evangelicals to believe. I would never suggest they thought like we do...and they certainly never CONSISTENTLY articulated that doctrine like Baptists or Presbyterians do today…but I would suggest that this idea of "faith alone" was not made up by Luther or totally unheard of...obviously I believe that doctrine originated with the OT Prophets, Christ and the Apostles.

I also don't believe that at the end of the day, the truly redeemed Saints of God in any era believe that they assisted Christ, ultimately, in their Salvation. In fact the early Church dealt with Pelagianism soundly...yet I would contend that the Church was out of balance, speaking and sounding like Pelagius himself at times, up through the Reformation (and still to this day in all three branches, sadly enough!)

But to be clear…my intent is to simply highlight times, in snap shots of course, when the ancient Church Fathers did evidence the seeds of what came to fruition in the Reformation. The thought that our Fathers were Southern Baptists is laughable!

Again…I believe that theology has evolved very gradually…the center of the most heat and sparks centered about the nature of God/Christ for the first 1,000 years…in fact…the articulation the Holy Trinity was so divisive within the Church that it (along with other less sanctified reasons) led to the Great Schisms of 1054. I contend that the issues involved with both Sola Fida and Sola Scriptura were barely on the radar and it took 1,200-1,500 years for those issues to emerge and demand more precise examination and articulation. The reasons why it took “so long” are both theological, political and sociological.

The only “thing” more ancient than the Church which still thrives today are the Hebrew people. The Church is ANCIENT and there has been Ocean upon Ocean to flow under the bridge…it’s a vast well spring…which makes “debating” the issues of the historical development and articulation of theology a monstrous task.

And finally...all of that is why I provide no commentary at all after the qoute. It is what it is...anyone interested in learning more about that Saint has a world wide web from which to pull more information.

Zac said...

I think I understand your beliefs about the ancient Church fathers (and of course we disagree, but that's another pot of beans). I am still sort of puzzled about how you harmonize your evolutionary view of theology with the "once and for all delivered [lit., 'traditioned']" faith.

I think I held very similar views about the earlier Church not seriously dealing with soteriology, instead focusing on christology... until I began reading the Church fathers. They actually have a quite clear and concise teaching regarding all of this-- and I only bring it up because if we are really claiming to be "in their family" then we need to honestly confront what they really thought about all of these things.

To fail to do so might be disastrous, since if Protestantism is the Truth and the earlier Christians had rejected what would later be Protestantism's conclusions out of thoughtful deliberation rather than simply out of ignorance or negligence, then Protestants should certainly not wish them to be counted as "in the family" or "regenerate" at all.

It is my contention that any focused, substantial reading of the writings and lives of the earliest fathers (including all the ones from which you have gleaned quotations) will reveal that they were decidedly and deliberately (and not ignorantly or negligently) against tenets like the Reformation "solas". I don't know how to prove that to you, though, without simply recommending to you some of their works in their entirety, or maybe secondary theological works that synthesized this ancient Christian thought.

irreverend fox said...

hey zac,

I shouldn't be responding right now, lol...but that is way I am. So don't mistake my briefness with shortness...I need to get to the church to set up!

1. the "once for all faith..." I believe is the Scriptures themselves.

2. again...I believe the redeemed in every age is a very small group...Protestant or not...Protestant religion will assist a should in splitting hell wide open as any other religion I would suppose...if one is trusting in the Protestant/Reformed/Evangelical/Baptist tradition to save them then they are not elect, obviously.

3. Misunderstanding is not the same as rejecting. I don't believe the redeemed in any era flagrantly REJECTED Sola Fida...although they did not articulate it or understand it. it's after the glorious light of the Reformation exploded that I believe the more ancient outward streams fell away.

Sorry to be brief...please don't mistake it for being short...see you guys tonight!