First 7 Church Councils

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Thinkingstuff, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
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    Out of another thread I came across an interesting discussion about the church councils and it has me wondering about it. It is commonly heald that Catholic, Orthodox, and many Protestants hold to the first seven church councils (I want to be specific here: starting with 325 AD at Nicea). How many people here agree with the first seven councils? Why or why not?
     
  2. Doubting Thomas

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    I agree with all the Trinitarian and Christological teachings of all SEVEN of the 'Ecumenical' Councils, as does the Anglican Catholic Church of which I'm a member (and so does the other 'Continuing Anglicans' and many of the traditionalists who are yet still in the Anglican communion).

    As for as other Anglicans (not counting the liberal apostates of the TEC for instance), I know many accept the first four or the first six. I think this is primarily because at the Reformation these first four--Nicea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), and Chalcedon (451)--were considered the most important, given their crucial subject matter, and as they took place in the first five centuries of the Church, while the different geographical areas of the Church were still largely unitied and the limits of the canon was just being officially "closed". However, it's easy to demonstrate that the Christological clarifications of the next three--Constantinople II (553), Constantinople III (681) and Nicea II (787)--are conformable with those of the first four, which is why as the years progressed many classical Anglicans have embraced at least the first six if not all seven (some still have a hang up on the 7th particularly in regards to iconography).

    If I'm not mistaken most Lutherans and Reformed accept at least the first four as well, as do most conservative Methodists and knowledgeable Baptists.
     
  3. Matt Black

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    I don't have a particular problem with all Seven; although icons don't personally float my boat, to me it's about authority and as they were all genuinely Ecumenical, then I have to go along with Niacaea II as much as the others. I know some Anglicans (eg: the recent Jerusalem Declaration of the GAFCON Bishops) and some Protestants generally only accept the first Four, but I've never really understood that; as you say, I can understand rejecting Niacaea II ("We don't like pictures because they're too Roman Catholic") but not the other two, since they are both Christological dogmas flowing from Chalecedon
     
  4. Doubting Thomas

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    I know what you mean. At first glance the 7th council doesn't seem to fit with the previous six, and the whole icon aspect makes a lot of folks nervous about condoning possible idolatry. However, as you are aware, the whole idea of icons is intimately associated with the Incarnation and Christology. Since Christ is truly God in Word in flesh and blood, the invisible becoming visible, He truly can be depicted artistically, and His images can thus be treated with the proper respect.

    He's a good treatment on it for others who might be interested:
    http://anglicanhistory.org/cbmoss/seventh.pdf


    Of course, one could go back to the 'source' and read John of Damascus' thoughts on it as well. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  5. Doubting Thomas

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    (bump)

    Anyone else care to chime in?
     
  6. Zenas

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    DT, I don't think you will find much support for all seven councils on this board. Right now there is a discussion in the Baptist Theology and Bible Study section about Nestorianism, which was rejected at the Council of Ephesus, and the prevalent line of thought is that Nestorius was more trustworthy than the Catholic Church who declared him a heretic and came up with the doctrine of the Theotokos. You will find a few, but not many, who agree with the Theotokos doctrine. However, you won't find any who agree with veneration of icons as promulgated in Nicea II.
     
  7. Doubting Thomas

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    You may be right. I think the real problem with Nestorius (other than his 'political' rivalry with Cyril of Alexandria) was that he seemed reluctant to affirm the unity of the Person of the Word Incarnate--his refusal to call Mary "Theotokos" flowed from that reluctance I think. He represented somewhat an extreme of the Antiochene Word-man Christology which tended towards separating Christ into two persons (while the Alexandrian Word-flesh Christology tended in its extreme to blur the distinction of the natures to the extent that Christ was less than fully human).

    The Church correctly steered between the extremes of Nestorius and Eutyches, just as she earlier had proclaimed the middle way between the opposite (and more extreme) errors of docetism and adoptionism. (Likewise she navigated the narrow path between Sabellianism and 'Arianism')
     
  8. Thinkingstuff

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    I would be glad to once I've finished reading them in their entirety. I've read synopsis on them all but I would rather actually read them before I chime in to deeply. This is a very curious thing for me.
     
  9. Thinkingstuff

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    BTW wasn't Theotokos more about Christ divinity then about Mary?
     
  10. Doubting Thomas

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    Yes--about the Divinity of Christ and the unity of His Person.
     
  11. CarpentersApprentice

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    It is also interesting to look at the canons of each of the ecumenical councils. Gives you a sort of "behind the scenes" look at what issues the church was facing at that time and how they dealt with the problems.

    CA
     

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