Church history and Evangelical Protestantism

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by ZeroTX, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. ZeroTX

    ZeroTX
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    Good afternoon,

    Does anyone have any quotes from the Early Church Fathers, historians of the early Church or secular historians of the early centuries who have any witness of Christian worship services or ecclesiology that seems to resemble modern Fundamentalist/Evangelical worship and ecclesiology?

    In other words:

    1) What did worship "look like" in the 1st-3rd centuries? Is there evidence that it was something like a modern Baptist or other Evangelical or Fundamentalist church service? What was similar, what was different?

    2) What was the Church ecclesiology like in the 1st-3rd centuries? Were the regional churches independent or part of a Church hierarchy? Is there evidence that they were more similar to Fundamentalist ideas?

    In other words, forget theology for this thread, what does history say about basic Christian worship and the structure of the Church and/or churches as the case may be?

    Thanks,

    Michael
     
  2. Bro. James

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    What does "History" say..."

    Bible History says: "God does not dwell in temples made with hands. God is Spirit, they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.":BangHead:

    Secular History says: the religions of the world are thus and such...the world is filled with "religion".

    The truth of the matter is written in the Blood of the Saints. Many of the accounts have been repressed and burned. The blood of the saints still cries out across the annals of all history.:type:
    Will the Lord find "the Faith" when He returns? :sleeping_2:

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  3. ZeroTX

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    You really believe that secular history is so generic in its regard of religion that it does not include specifics related to the practitioners of Christianity as opposed to Judaism or Islam or Hinduism, etc? There is much history from historians about Christianity. It is the single most widespread religion in the history of the planet (for the moment) and it has played a critical role in the development of Western society. But, my thread is not about this, it is about 2 specific points from the 1st, 2nd & 3rd centuries and what information we may have out there that could answer these 2 specific questions.

    Could you be more specific? The blood of the saints is "crying out," so what I'm looking for is that "crying out" historical evidence related to the two points in the original post. As you alluded to, there is indeed historical evidence of the martyrdom of many saints, including St. Paul and St. Peter and many, many others, but what I'm looking for is not that right now, but rather the answers to questions #1 and #2 in the original post. If you want to have a thread about martyrs, we can start another, as I'm sure that would be a very interesting thread.

    -Michael
     
  4. EdSutton

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    Michael, your own 'tag line' from one St. Cyprian shows that there are some 'histoical' references from fairly early in Church or ecclesiastical history. I would suppose one can find much on the internet. Some who have long preceeded you or I, in the area of church history, include two rather large treatises on church history, namely Phillip Schaff and Kenneth Scott Latourette. My spelling of both of these names may be off, but both have obviously done extensive research in these fields. Othere sources would include the so-called N.T. Apocrypha, and Pseudopigrapha, which would have information in them. The writings of the so-called Patristic Fathers, Apostolic fathers, Ante-Nicene fathers, etc., are all around to one degree or another. So yes, there is some things out there. How easy they are for you (or me) to get access to, may well be another question. And how detailed any of them are towards 'church practice' is an open question, to me, as well. But I assume several have said something, 'good' or 'bad', a la St. Cyprian. Polycarp, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Origen, Augustine, Clement of Rome to name just a few, could serve as starting points. One might look on the 'Net, searching "Church Fathers", and/or "Apostolic Fathers", and "early Church History", for a few suggestions, and see what 'pops' up. It might surprise you.

    Oh yeah, you might not want to put too much stock into a couple of those you might find. :tongue3: I semi-jokingly accused my closest friend once, that his two favorites from the early days of Church History were Marcion the Heretic, and Julian the Apostate. :rolleyes: :laugh: :laugh:

    Ed
     
    #4 EdSutton, Oct 24, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2006
  5. ZeroTX

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    I know that there's plenty of Church history to support the Catholic or Orthodox perspective, but I am looking to see if someone has somehow justified modern Evangelical/Fundamentalist protestant worship and 'ecclesiology' through some interpretation of some historical quotes. For me as a Baptist, it was starting at the present and going backwards in history and finding a dead end that lead me to keep going and see where the Church really is. There's no mysterious "trail of blood" that links Baptists, nor is there a "lake of history" where things get muddled in the water. As a Baptist, I had always thought that some professional church historian one would actually link up the history in a way that made sense, but nothing before the Reformation looked like anything except Catholic (or arguably Orthodox). So who am I (and who are WE) to decide that our way of worship and organizing a church is better than how Christ himself decided?....

    So, my #1 and #2 questions are a way of seeing if anyone else has some information to share about history that backs up any of the current worship or organization of what has been created in Evangelical/Fundamentalist Protestantism. Even the original Protestants don't look anything like Baptists -- they were "protesting" certain errors in the Catholic Church, with the aim of reforming the Catholic Church... not starting a NEW church. Sit in on a traditional Anglican or Lutheran service and see if it looks anything like what happens in a Baptist church. Note: I am the son of a Baptist pastor, so I speak from decades of first hand experience from BIRTH.

    History... let's hear some.

    -Michael
     
  6. JGrubbs

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    In my studies of the history of the Church I have come to the conclusion that we have to divide the Church history into two time frames. The pre-Constantine church and the post-Constantine church. I believe that Christ and the Apostles set up the pre-Constantine church, but even after the first reformation, we still have the post-Constantine church.

    The first reformation was an attempt to reform the false teachings of the Catholic church, but it failed to reform the practices, instead they simply took the practices brought to the church by Constantine and replaced them with modified practices that changed over the years with each denomination. I believe we need a 2nd reformation to help reform the Church back to what Christ and the Apostles set up before Catholicism and Constantine came on the scene.

    One book that deals with the history of the modern church is by Frank Viola titled Pagan Christianity: The Origins of Our Modern Church Practices. He has another book that looks at the history of the Church from 4 B.C. to A.D. 70, titled From Nazareth to Patmos. I haven't read either of Viola's books yet, but have had them recommended to me numerous times during my study of Church history over the last 3+ years. One that I have read and can personally recommend is Ekklesia: To the Roots of Biblical Church Life by Steve Atkerson.
     
  7. billwald

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    The Jerusalem Church worshipped in the Temple according to Jewish ritual. Paul's gentiles had to improvise.
     
  8. ZeroTX

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    "You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" Ignatius, 110AD

    "And of the elect, he was one indeed, the wonderful martyr Polycarp, who in our days was an apostolic and prophetic teacher, bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna. For every word which came forth from his mouth was fulfilled and will be fulfilled" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 16:2 [A.D. 155]).

    "
    There [in John 6:68–69] speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest, and the flock clinging to their shepherd in the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishops; and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priest of God, believing that they are secretly in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is one and catholic, is not split or divided, but is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere to one another" (Letters 66[67]:8 [A.D. 253])."



    It is pretty self-deluding to continue to believe that Constantine "created" the Catholic Church. His contribution was legalizing Christianity and thus allowing the Church to flourish and spread the gospel. These pre-Constantine quotes from the time when Christians were persecuted doesn't sound like a Fundamentalist ecclesiology at all, does it? One must be with the bishop to be in the Church... the one, holy, Catholic Church, not split, not divided, not "independent"... Would Fundamentalists suggest that Christ's Church had fallen into apostacy by 110AD? That a man who had been appointed to Antioch by the Apostle Peter himself was teaching false teaching on the nature and authority of the Church? Wouldn't somebody have refuted him? Where are these rebuttals in the historical writings? Nobody is suggesting that doctrine and traditions don't develop naturally over time. Developing traditions doesn't make them false, but scrapping everything and making up a whole new form of Christianity without any connection to the Church is not being a part of the Catholic Church (with our without the capital 'c'). Where is the 'bishop' of the Baptist church?... Who's in charge? The pastor? Which one? Who makes the final call in disputes of doctrine or are we all to be "lone rangers" of theology, elevating our opinions to the level of Christ's teachings. One authoritative body was created to lead the Christian flock... the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    Don't agree? Please respond with quoted 1st - 3rd century "pre-Constantine" primary sources as back up evidence for your opinion.

    Hence the questions in this thread (back to question #1 and #2 in the original post)... I'm looking for quotes, references, documents, historical evidence that the Catholic teachings on worship and ecclesiology are wrong and the Evangelical/Fundamentalist way is right. People's opinion of Church history is of no consequence to the historical evidence, particularly when not presented with evidence.

    God bless,

    Michael
     
    #8 ZeroTX, Oct 24, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2006
  9. JGrubbs

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    Just so I'm not misunderstanding you, is the purpose of this thread then your attempt to prove that the Catholic church is the true church? The Catholic church claims to be the first Christian church founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ and built on Peter. I am sure you can find many Catholic quotes from the last 1000+ years that say that, but I'm sure if you look at the other false religions out there, you will find many quotes from their sources saying they are the true church as well.

    I never claimed that Constantine "created" the Catholic Church, I said, "I believe we need a 2nd reformation to help reform the Church back to what Christ and the Apostles set up before Catholicism and Constantine came on the scene." Notice the "and" meaning Catholicism and Constantine being two separate things.

    I belive the false religion of Catholicism and all of the many historical quotes that can be found helped to destroy the Church that Christ and the Apostles created, and Constantine helped promote those false teachings and the destruction of the Church much faster than any Catholic before him was able to do.

    The best thing to do with all the quotes and teachings of the Catholic church is to weigh them against the Scriputures, if they contradict, then the quotes and teachings must be wrong. It doesn't matter if the quotes come from someone who was hand picked by the disciples, we know from reading Pauls writings that there was false teachings and apostasy even in the early churches like the ones in Corinth.
     
  10. JGrubbs

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    Ignatius taught the false gospel and false Christ of the Eucharist. In his epistle to the Ephesians, Ignatius writes,
    . . . so that ye obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ. (ibid., p. 58, chap. XX)
    In his epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Ignatius likewise writes,
    They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again. (ibid., p. 89, chap. VII)
    The above is classic Roman Catholic Eucharistic false doctrine. In the two quotes above, Ignatius makes the Eucharist out to be the Savior and that which will save a soul and grant eternal life. The only bread and blood that can save the soul and grant eternal life is the spiritual bread and blood of the real Lord Jesus Christ (John 6:35, 53, 63). Despite the false claim of the hocus-pocus of Catholic mystical incantations (transubstantiation), fleshly bread (flour and water) and literal wine will save no one ("the flesh profits nothing," John 6:63).

    Furthermore, Ignatius promoted a serious submission to the Catholic bishop. In his epistle to the Trallians (shorter version), Ignatius writes,
    He that is within the altar is pure, but he that is without is not pure; that is, he who does anything apart from the bishop, and presbytery, and deacons, such a man is not pure in his conscience. (ibid., p. 69, chap. VII)
    In his epistle to the Philadelphians he writes,
    Do nothing without the bishop; . . . (ibid., p. 84, chap. VII)
    In his epistle to the Magnesians he writes,
    As therefore the Lord did nothing without the Father, being united to Him, neither by Himself nor by the apostles, so neither do ye anything without the bishop and presbyters. (ibid., p. 62, chap. VII, entitled, "DO NOTHING WITHOUT THE BISHOP AND PRESBYTERS")
    In his epistle to the Smyrnaeans he writes,
    It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid. (ibid., p. 90, chap. VIII)
    Scripture nowhere dictates who may baptize or who may celebrate a love-feast (Proverbs 4:20-27; 30:5-6). Plus, Ignatius exalts the bishop here to Pope-like status claiming "whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God."
    Ignatius further writes,
    It is well to reverence both God and the bishop. He who honours the bishop has been honoured by God; he who does anything without the knowledge of the bishop, does [in reality] serve the devil. (ibid., chap. IX)
    Scripture indeed teaches that believers are to give honor to and be subject to those who rule over them (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13a; ;1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:7, 17). But, Ignatius takes this way beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6) and adds to the Word of God (Proverbs 30:5-6).

    In his epistle to the Ephesians he writes,
    Now the more any one sees the bishop keeping silence, the more ought he to revere him. For we ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household, as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself. (ibid., p. 51, chap. VI)
    This is idolatry! Believers look to the Lord in worship (Isaiah 45:22; John 20:28; Hebrews 12:2). To look to any man as "we would upon the Lord Himself" is idolatry. Therefore, in this alone, Ignatius promotes a damning lie (Revelation 21:8).
     
  11. Bro. James

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    Quoting authors outside the Scripture--

    Is usually a misadventure and always a serious error. Only those inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote without error.:BangHead: The writings of the "Holy Fathers" would not be on list of Holy Writ. This list of spurious writings would also include the "Koran", "Book of Mormon", "Pearl of Great Price" etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum.:BangHead:
    Why do we quote and promulgate the teachings of those uninspired?:BangHead:

    Jesus: "In vain ye do worship, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.":BangHead:
    Are we sure our writ is Holy? Consider who wrote it. Choose wisely.

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  12. ZeroTX

    ZeroTX
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    Do you believe that Ignatius contradicts Scripture?

    -Michael
     
  13. ZeroTX

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    Thank you for your excellent quotes from Ignatius, etc, regarding the Eucharist. However, this is certainly no false gospel. Christ declares this doctrine himself in John 6, and the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist was universally held by all of Christianity for the first 1500 years of the faith. Only during Reformation times did certain individuals (namely Zwingli) begin to debate this matter. Luther had no qualms with the Eucharist as the core of Christian worship, the real presence of Christ's Body and Blood. Catholics did not make an innovation, protestants (and only certain abberant sects of protestants at that) ever questioned the Eucharist.

    "For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" Justin Martyr, 148 A.D.

    "If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?" Iranaeus, 148 A.D.

    "When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life--flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?" Iranaeus, 148 A.D.

    "'Eat my flesh,' [Jesus] says, 'and drink my blood.' The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients. He delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children" Clement, 202 A.D.

    "The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ" Cyril of Jerusalem, 350 A.D.

    "Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master's declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm." Cyril of Jerusalem, 350 A.D.

    Thanks for your response. I still haven't had anyone address my original questions. We know there are plenty of quotes to back up Catholic beliefs, worship practices and ecclesiology dating back to the early church. That wasn't the question.
    -Michael
     
  14. JGrubbs

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    You have posted many more quotes from many more Catholic "heros", but that doesn't prove that they were not false teachers. You can base your faith and religion on the teachings and quotes of men, but if they are not found in the Scriptures or if they contradict the Scriptures then you are following a false religion. The Eucharist is a false teaching from the Catholic church and all your quotes do is show more false teachers from withing the Catholic church.

    Looking at your first example:

    The Apostle Paul once warned, "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8).

    Sadly any who consider that the philosopher Justin was a true saint and who believe any of the untruths he promulgated have not heeded Paul's warning. Please insure that you heed Paul's warnings and the true teachings from the Bible.

    We could start a thread with quotes from the history of the Mormans or the Jehovah's Witnesses, but that wouldn't be proof that they were not false religions.

    You and I would probably agree that what is happening today in the modern church is very far from what Christ and the Apostles set up in the first Church, but I don't agree that they had anythnig to do with setting up the false religion of Catholicism.​
     
  15. EdSutton

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    Actually, you'd think I'd finally learn to read the instructions first, before starting the engine and attempting to put the car in gear. Not me! look quick, compose an answer, then bother to see who I am talking to. You have a post that says you "am the son of a Baptist Pastor, so I speak from..." You previously claimed to be a Baptist. Yet you come across as something far different from any I've ever run into! But not unlike some members of some various sects and/or cults I've met.

    Ed
     
  16. ZeroTX

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    Ed,

    I never claimed that I am currently a Baptist, nor implied it. I claimed I grew up Baptist and I am indeed the son of a Baptist Pastor. My father went to East Texas Baptist University in Marshal, TX between 1975 and 1980, where he got his Bachelor's degree and also became ordained a minister in the Baptist denomination. He later was pastor of 2 different churches at different times in Clute, TX and Diboll, TX. I was baptized in a Baptist church at age 9 and attended Baptist churches, went to youth events, etc, as a teenager with Baptist churches and attended Baptist and non-denominational (run by Southern Baptist pastors) churches as an adult.

    Growing up in a particular faith tradition doesn't mean that it is the completeness of Christianity. I am eternally grateful for my Christian upbringing, but I'm also eternally grateful for the fullness, the "unstripped" faith I have found in the Catholic Church.

    My point of mentioning that I'm the son of a Baptist pastor is to indicate that I have a more broad experience with Christianity than most. In fact, growing up, I'm sure I attended more churches than most people, as I moved about 17 times between birth and age 18 (literally), and I've moved several times since becoming an adult and changing careers, etc, so that has lead me to various different churches. I wasn't born into Catholicism and "brainwashed" into anything. I have a Bachelor's degree in History and my "conversion" was well researched and guided through prayer.

    God bless,

    Michael
     
  17. ZeroTX

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    Fine, let's assume these historical quotes are not valid, because they do not represent "valid" Christianity (though, FYI, if you do a bit of research, you will not find legitimate Baptist or any legitimate scholars who deny the validity of Ignatius, Justin, Clement, Augustine, etc. to the original Christian faith and early church). But, let's assume they are invalid, because they are "Catholic heroes" as you say.

    The Bible is not, nor was it ever intended to be a complete guide to Christian worship, ecclesiology and practice. In fact, it is a disparate collection of books (determined and canonized by the Catholic Church, BTW), which often overlooks entire theological issues, even issues which Baptists fully believe. Church teaching goes beyond the Bible. The Bible is from the Church.

    More to the point, you don't believe the Church leaders and apologist quotes provided, so provide other quotes from 1st, 2nd or 3rd century Christians or secular historians which support Protestant worship and Protestant ecclesiology (this, BTW, is still my original question from post #1 that nobody has addressed). As is the usual "M.O." Fundamentalists attack and break down Catholic resources while never actually providing alternative resources to prove their beliefs. I did not ask for Scripture quotes, I asked for historic quotes.

    -Michael
     
  18. JGrubbs

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    That is where the problem lies, I base my worship and ecclesiology on the inspired words found in the Scriptures not on the historic quotes of sinners. You can publish a book on quotes from those who helped build the foundation of the Catholic church, but if those quotes take away from, add to, or contridict with the Scriptures then they are false teachings.
     
  19. Eric B

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    Still, you, along with Agnus and Inquiring Mind began under the apparent premises of being "Protestants seeking the truth", but rather than "seeking", it seems you have your minds throroughly set in favor of Catholic/Ortodoxy, when you suddenly go from questioning to begin springing on us attempts to "teach us the truth" according to Catholicism. It seems pretty sneaky to me, and at least one person was recently booted for trying to "evangelize" non-orthodox on this board.

    The real debate is not whether the Fathers are true apostolic successors, or just Catholic false teachers. They can have succeeded the apostles, yet still begin putting their own little spins on concepts. THAT is what we see with your quotes on the Eucharist. We go from Christ's metaphorical statement "this is my body", to Ignatius' more ambiguous metaphor ("confess not the Eucharist to be the Body"), to the later fathers declaration of an actual "change" in the elements by the prayer of priests. By now, we added much to a simple scriptural statement, and who's going to challenge it? It is so similar to what the previous leader said. This does not prove it was the apostolic doctrine, but clearly we see a development of a doctrine.
     
  20. EdSutton

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    Point is, if I'd really bothered to read your tagline, and looked at the profile, I probably would have not entered the thread in the first place. I took your post at face value as one asking for some information, as opposed to attempting to verify one's own conclusions. I cited Cyprian, based solely on the date, without bothering to read the quote. Had I read the quote, and then bothered to look at your profile, a huge red flag would have been lifted in front of me. I have less than no interest to becoming an apologist for anyone by default, whether one is in lock-step agreement, or high-steping kick-boxer. I don't need any toadies for me, and I don't intend to become a source of quotations for any others, good or bad, agreed or disagreed. For my opinion is worth exactly what your's, Cyprian's, Ignatius', Augustine's, Calvin's or Julian's the Apostate is worth. Absolutely zilch, unless it agrees with Scripture. And frankly, the general consensus of opinion of the Baptists, the Catholics, the Lutherans, the Orthodox, the Calvinists, the Arminians, or the whomevers is merely mass ignorance, before the face of Scripture's teachings. The one who would guide into all truth is the Holy Spirit- no ecclesiastical organization of any flavor or locale. And the Lord Jesus Christ is the one who said who would be the guide, not any of the above listed individuals, and certainly not me!

    Ed
     
    #20 EdSutton, Oct 26, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2006

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