Problems with Orthodoxy and Catholicism

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Thinkingstuff, Oct 14, 2010.

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  1. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
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    When I study Scripture and History one thing is clearly evident at least to me. The problem of Christianity in its early years has to do with a primary issue. Hellenization of the known world. Consider this Jesus was Jewish, his disciples were Jewish and Christianity started as a subset (or fulfillment of) Judaism. Certain Holidays carried over into Christianity and new ones were applied. Colossians 2 :16-17. However, everything is in an eastern Judaic context. Yet, with the growing number of Christian convertions being gentile and the Jews already assimilating their scripture with Helenistic world views and education (ie Philo); we came into a quick conflict with regard to the faith. The Immediate problem became known as gnosticism however it was a symptom of a greater issue a problem partly purpertrated by Paul himself. In order to describe spiritual truths to this class of believers educated believers made use of a science already fully developed at that time. To define truths they used the language of Philosophy. Much like today Chemist who make modern drugs to deal with alements use a well established language of chemestry that no-one speaks but is exacting in its definition which is Latin. In the Greek world the main science was philosophy and Greek philisophical terms had specific meanings. I think the application of this had two effects 1) it helped people understand certain consepts 2) it fortified problematic consepts and carried forward in the Church. A thread was posted asking when did it all go wrong. Well, in a sence the very thing that helped spread the gospel, ie Hellenization, also modified it from how Jesus presented it to his disciples and how his disciples presented it to their followers. Christianity became less of what it was originally an eastern Kingdom with Jesus Messiah at his head and turned it into a tulmutous western faith. The fact that the earliest Christians needed to distance themselves from Judaism also lended to this issue. Thus by the time the apostles died Christianity was not as it was when the apostle preached the gospel at Pentecost or when they wrote their text. It had included Hellenized language to present spiritual truths some good some not so good. So I might say it went bad for the church in 323 BC at the implimentation of Alexandrian reforms.
    The church didn't stay the same it grew as it incorporated more specific scientific/philisophy terms for understanding scripture and teachings apart from scripture for certainly there was liturgy (jewish form that emphazised communal memory of scripture) during the writing of the NT we can see how forms were put in to help an already establish custom that is singularily Christian. However, these understandings and language were also put in copied text of scriptures. John attempts to use a greek term and redefine it from a jewish perspective giving rise to later gnostics. That term is Logos. There is a specific philisophic meaning of it and John used it but did he mean demurge. I rather doubt it but later believers certainly would have thought so.
    It wasn't long before Roman Legal system and terms (science) begin to clash with Greek philosophy and there was a fight between east and west understanding of scripture. Eventuality would lead to the seperation of east and west and they would develope partially independent of each other however both groups never ceased to use established philisophical terms to explain spiritual truths and became different than original eastern consepts. Both Catholics and Othodox will claim that the use of philosophy helped undertsand God better and point at the term trinity, or hypostasis, or person, or homoosious. But did it not also bring about consepts that weren't as helpful even problematic to the faith of the apostles and contrary somewhat? What do you think?
     
  2. Matt Black

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    Good post! You raise a number of interesting point and time regrettably does not permit me to even begin to attempt to do them justice. What I will say is that I think the Gospel and the Church have to adapt the medium of their message without compromising the integrity of the meaning of the message. This is true today and was equally true then. It was inevitable that the Church would change to spread beyond Judaism otherwise it would not exist today (or if it did, it would be akin to the Ebionites); this spread and change happened during the NT era and caused considerable friction eg: the background to the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15, and would develop further as the Church interacted with the Greek and Latin mindsets to which you allude. It was also therefore inevitable, I would suggest, that the Reformation - or something like it - would have happened as European society moved into the Modern Age (the Catholic Church only belatedly responded to that in the 1960s and I'm not sure the Orthodox ever have or particularly want to!).

    Two further 'posers' to add to your own:

    1. How did the use of liturgy, carried over from the Jewish roots into the Church, give a sense of continuity amidst the changes?

    2. To what extent were the changes envisaged - maybe even intended? - by Jesus?
     
  3. Thinkingstuff

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    Both are equally good questions which I'm not certain can totally be answered. On the face of it question 1 would seem an easy answer. However, actually looking at the writings we must further ask our selves certain things about liturgy. Was the same liturgy in place in all churches? Initially, very possibly having been wrought from judaism. Yet by the quick dispersement of believers over the known world at that time quick adjustments would have occured. You probably couldn't worship in say Alexandria and have the exact same service as they had in Smyrnea. Primary elements would have stayed the same which can be seen in all the early liturgies writen down. However, notice the differences too between the Didache, Hyppolytus, Ireneaus, or the Shepard, etc... So would you really have felt a "continuity of sorts?" Apart from the communion, and scripture reading, I rather doubt it. Baptism was done differently in different places. However, they may have been more continuity than I am aware of however, I don't really see this in the writings of the period.

    The second question is impossible to answer.
     
  4. Matt Black

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    I think that certainly the Eucharistic Prayers were similar (cp the Alexandrian Liturgy of St Mark with the Jerusalem Liturgy of St James, for example) and bear a striking similarity with the EPs used in Catholic and Anglican and Divine Liturgy used in Orthodox Churches today.

    I think the changes had to be at least envisaged by Jesus, at least as far as His Divine Nature was concerned; whether they were intended is another matter...
     
  5. Eric B

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    John or Paul did not perpetrate the problem; they were divinely inspired to write/teach what they did. It's uninspired men who get things mixed up, and try to take the concepts and run with them (extend them beyond what was inspired, backed by claims such as unwritten "traditions"), whether Judaic or Hellenic and all the other influences.
     
  6. Thinkingstuff

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    So you're saying John's use of the Greek Word Logos didn't confused Educated Greek thinkers using the Greek connotation of Logos for their understanding? Or you don't think that Marcion's understanding of Paul's letters morphed his view?

    Neither of these problems question the inspiration of the writers. Moses was an inspired scripture writer as well and did he not makes some errors? I mean they were still discussing the nature of divorse in Jesus' day.
     
  7. Agnus_Dei

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    Although I'm not well versed in our History of our Divine Liturgy, other than what was covered during Catechesis, but I have friends that have studied the History of our Divine Liturgy and our Church has many Roman Catholics that left Catholicism after Vatican II, due to the constant changes in the Liturgy...

    St. Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea of Cappadocia wrote the Divine Liturgy on the basis of ancient Church Tradition...this isn't to say that St. Basil invented the Liturgy...there was already a liturgy in place across the Church, Byzantine History and the many testimonies in ancient writings establish this fact...what St. Basil did was shorten an already lengthily Liturgy when he noted the slothfulness and degeneracy of men, how they were wearied by the length of the Liturgy...Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople (434-446) wrote of this...we Orthodox celebrate the Liturgy of St. Bail the Great in its entirety 10 times a year...

    St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, took the essence of the Liturgy of St. Basil, and while not changing it, he shortened it and it's the form in which we celebrate Divine Liturgy in our Churches on Sunday's and weekdays throughout the year...and depending of the Readings of Holy Scripture, based off our Calendar and other elements like our Troparion, our length of Liturgy can be upwards to 2 hours
     
  8. Agnus_Dei

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    St. Basil the Great advised young monks to use Greek philosophy as a bee uses the flower...take only the "honey"...the truth, which God has planted in the world to prepare men for the coming of the Lord...

    Take your "Logos" example...The Greeks had a doctrine of the "Logos"...St. John opens his gospel..."In the beginning was the Word ("Logos" in Greek)...For pagans, the "Logos" was not God, as He is for Christians; rather he is principle, a power or force by which God, formed and governs the world. The Fathers pointed to the similarity between the Logos or Word of the Bible and the Logos of Greek philosophy as a sign of Providence.

    The difference between them the Fathers attributed to the sinfulness of men and the weakness of the human intellect. The Fathers remember the words of St. Paul..."Beware least any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Col 2:8).
     
  9. Thinkingstuff

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    It would be interesting to do a comparitive study of all liturgies down to John the Golden Mouth. There are differences and liturgy has gone through a series of reforms. Even now the Catholic Church is revising their liturgy to match the intent of the latin. So there is some back tracking there. Its interesting also to note that Chysostom's liturgy is absent of OT readings.
     
  10. Agnus_Dei

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    yes, we have an Epistle reading and a Gospel, which is governered by our Church Calendar...but don't let that fool you...we have plenty of OT literature within our Hymnography and Troparions, throughout our Divine Liturgy and Orthros or Matins (the service that leads into Divine Liturgy).

    In XC
    -
     
  11. Dr. Walter

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    How about dealing with what the scriptures predict and attribute to be the causes for departure from apostolic doctrine and practice??????? Your hypotheses assumes the orthodoxy of what the scriptures predict to be the very characteristics of apostasy. What is very clear is that "Catholic" tradition as developed in the Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post-Nicene periods cannot possibly be harmonized with apostolic faith and practice as seen in the New Testament. They have no kinship but rather are in opposition to each other in the very fundementals. The very characteristics of Catholic tradition is the predicted apostasy by the Scriptures.
     
  12. Zenas

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    Yeah, right. I suppose it was "Baptist" tradition that protected the faith from the influence of Arianism, gnosticism, docetism, etc., etc. Face it Dr. Walter, if it weren't for the Catholic Church, the Christian faith as we know it today would not exist.
     
  13. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Zenas...or perhaps may I suggest that it could have existed in a much purer form without RCC.
     
    #13 Earth Wind and Fire, Oct 16, 2010
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  14. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Wally, your just making wild accusations without clarifying & proving yourself....show evidence.
     
  15. DHK

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    Many men have been confused by the inspired writers of Scriptures. But that doesn't change what has been written. Opinions of men are not always right. In fact they are often wrong--educated or not.
    A good qualifying statement.
    What kind of errors are speaking of? Whatever Moses wrote is what God wanted him to write. In that it is inspired or 100% accurate and without error. Inspiration does not make the man perfect. Every man is a sinner. But the writings of the authors of the Scripture are perfect, not the authors themselves. It is the Scriptures that are inspired, not the men.
    The final word goes to what is written in the Scripture. Those are the inspired words of God. All other words are simply opinion.
     
  16. Zenas

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    No, thanks. I will stand on my original statement.
     
  17. Earth Wind and Fire

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    OK...but Id beg to differ with you on it. The Catholic Church did more harm than good in it's quest for dominance & control. This I know you know. If it were not for its support late in the game for Countries breaking the grip of Communism, it should be rendered inept.
     
  18. Zenas

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    I agree with you on the matter of dominance and control, but during the first 15 centuries of Christianity there was no one else to defend the faith from the many heresies that challenged it. I repeat, but for the Catholic Church, we would not have Christianity today. We might have gnostocism or Arianism but not orthodox biblical Christianity. Following the schisms of the Reformation, there were several voices to speak up for and defend the faith but before then all we had was the Catholic Church.
     
  19. Earth Wind and Fire

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    1st off Brother ... Im not going to fight with another Brother in Christ, especially over past history & about the Catholic Church. So you know, the 1st 30 years of my life were dedicated to it as a practicing Catholic....my family is from a noted Roman linage (on mom's side) so we can predate. bottom line, I know the subject matter well enough to be dangerous. I also know we have some very educated people on here who want to delve into the History of the church & how it affected Christianity. If we go there, we will have to delve into the good & bad's without emotionality. I hope we can conduct a civilized discussion of this topic without the old contentious mud slinging & back biting. Agreed?
     
    #19 Earth Wind and Fire, Oct 17, 2010
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  20. Dr. Walter

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    I personally beleive the free church movement is responsible for preserving the true gospel and its ordinances. There are sufficient ex-Catholics on this forum to demonstrate Rome perverted both the gospel and the ordinances from a very early Ante-Nicene period even before it apostatized into the Roman Catholic Church. In an earlier post I presented the historical evidence for the Montanists, demonstrating from admissions in the Catholic Encylopedia, from the writings of Tertullian, that many of Rome's chosen historical sources for the Montanists are perverted and false accusations. I presented evidence that Montanist could not possibly have actually claimed to be the Holy Spirit or any other Person of the Godhead. That the earliest source for this slander wrote 40 years after Montanist death. That Tertullian was orthodox on the nature of God and could not have become a Montanists if Montanist actually claimed to be The Holy Spirit or any other Person of the Godhead. There is sufficient evidence from Ante-Nicene records to demonstrate that the Montanists were considered generally orthodox by their enemies and that Montanist himself did not claim the gift of prophecy beyond himself and his two female prophets. That the apostolic group of churches that believed in personal individual regenerated condition and a life of holiness in comparison to those apostolic churches that had been infiltrated by paganism, who railed on these churches by identifying them with the extreme perverted claims attached to Montanists and the same can be said for the Novations as a movement and other free church movements.

    Rome is guilty of perverting the fundementals of the faith, even the doctrine of the Trinity with the perverted "Mother of God" heresy where Mary is given other titles belonging only to the Godhead and treated or revered with the same worship attitudes as God. Indeed, the Catholic Catechism blantantly says:

    "The Church's deovtion to the Blessed Virgin is INTRINSIC TO CHRISTIAN WORSHIP" - #971

    I do not believe it is possible for any Roman Catholic to be a genuine saved child of God if they actually believe in the gospel preached and practiced by the church of Rome - IMPOSSIBLE! If a Roman Catholic is saved it is in spite of the church's gospel and practice not because of it.
     
    #20 Dr. Walter, Oct 17, 2010
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