One of These… is not like the Other?

I think I’ve been insulted. Okay, Okay! I know… I’m normally very deserving of the shots thrown my way, but these words cut to the quick!

Being the avid advocate of the proclamation Sola Scriptura (not that I’m qualified to even define the term), how could I help but be offended? Oh… you haven’t a clue as to what I’m talking about? Well, here… read these statements for yourself.

Statement A: “Unlike Protestants, who make heroes of those who break away from another group and start their own, in the early Church this was considered among the most damnable sins .”

Statement B: “Obviously, one of three statements is true: either (1) there is no correct Tradition and the gates of hell did prevail against the Church, and thus both the Gospels and the Nicene Creed are in error; or (2) the true Faith is to be found in Papism, with its ever-growing and changing dogmas defined by the infallible “vicar of Christ;” or (3) the Orthodox Church is the one Church founded by Christ and has faithfully preserved the Apostolic Tradition. So the choice for Protestants is clear: relativism, Romanism, or Orthodoxy.”

Yes, yes! I’m still here rambling over the article at Jim’s place (that guy sure doesn’t tolerate any itching ears). Don’t I have anything better to do, you ask? Probably, but as I said, “These words sting!”

I must admit, at first glance, these arguments sound plausible. After all, John did say that those who left the fellowship were simply proving they were never of the fellowship. Also, Jesus made it very clear that He would build His Church, and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Meaning, we should be able to trace the history of the Church all the way back to Pentecost, with no breaks. Right?

Can we do this? Is there a unsevered historical trail of the Church’s existence? If so, does it add credence to the author’s points from his article? Should Luther’s revelation (faith alone) have led him to the receptive arms of the Orthodox Church, rather than the Reformation (Okay, Mrs. C, you asked for a re-visit, and Turkey Day is gone… quickly, Christmas is coming!)?

I am no scholar. Nor has anyone ever identified me as a theologian. As a matter of fact, on most days, I find myself confounded by the words, “For God so loved the world (me), that He gave His only begotten Son.”

Still, it seems that the Bible presents those who have entered the ecclesia, the fellowship of called-out ones, the Church, as those who have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Isn’t the Church made up of believers of all walks of life, from every nation and every generation? Don’t we have differences? My goodness, what a silly question… of course we do. Isn’t that what makes the Church unique; what makes it the Body of Christ? No earthly organization could survive if it were structured as Jesus builds His Church. Diversity and yet in Unity!

Gaining some guidance from my Pastor (thanks, Joey), he reminded me that Paul could speak to one audience and say, “honor that day if you choose to,” and then to another, “you really don’t have to honor that day.” Why? Because the Church finds its all in Jesus, and in nothing else. Does it mean it’s wrong to pay respect to past heroes of the Church? I don’t see how. Does it mean we have to pay them respect? No… although I think we would be much better off if we spent time learning the history of the Church, and of those who went before in the name of Jesus. We’d probably understand why some do the things they do and others do not, and we might even find it possible to respect our brothers and sisters in Christ who conduct church differently than we do.

I guess I fail to find the necessity of division over the less essential doctrines and traditions. Do we divide the fellowship of believers over the time of day that Easter (or Paschal, or Resurrection Sunday) is celebrated? (Yes, that’s recorded in history)

Or do we hear the words of Jesus, “By this all will know you are My disciples, that you love one another.” And then work together, without pride and self-serving attitudes to seek the truths, maybe truths that can only be found through the Traditions of the Church Fathers.

[A special thanks to Jim, author at ‘Not For Itching Ears‘ for his willingness to present views from abroad, doctrinal beliefs that have been intact for a long, long time, and we should be willing to allow them to be heard. ]

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About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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30 Responses to One of These… is not like the Other?

  1. singingsinglev4 says:

    One thing about Calvinism, or Predestination vs. Free-will. We must expand our concept of God to not one bound by time. And if you think about computer programmer – He writes the program for every possible thing that the person is going to input on the computer, and God being even better than a computer programmer knows our input before we input. So yes He has given us free-will, but He already knows what we are going to do because He is not bound by time and He has already gone before us and He knows us intimately, and the future has already happened. Sometimes we try to put God in a small little box, that we think there is no way that everything can be pre-destined, but even Jesus’ death was foreordained from the beginning of the world. He has put a lot of If then statements in the program –

    For example:

    IF John Doe asks Jesus into his heart
    Then John Doe receives the Holy Spirit
    Else
    For every timeJohndoesnotaccept = 1 to EndofJohnDoe_s_life
    Someone Sows a seed
    Someoneelse Waters a seed
    If EndofJohnDoe_s_life=true
    then If timeJohnaccepts > timeJohndoesnotaccept
    JohnDoeinherits = eternal life in heaven
    Else
    JohnDoeinherits = is judged by God and is punished by going to hell
    End If

    So if it took me about 15 minutes to write this program, don’t you think that the author and finisher of our faith would be able to author a program that was so detailed that we would all be able to fit in it perfectly. We need to magnify God.

    • Freedomborn says:

      Hi singingsinglev4 it seems my answer got lost in the thread so I will repeat it again mainly because it is time for those in the Church who speak error to think through what they are teaching instead of parroting well worn quotes like… if God brought you too it He will bring you through it, He never seeks to cause us to suffer, His plans are for good not to harm us life happens including evil and He strengthens us to endure and brings good from it , what is also misunderstood is His discipline and chastising.

      So once again I agree with you God knows all things even that we will come to heart repentance and accept Salvation and it is in knowing this that He chooses us to be conformed into the likeness of His Son. God does not plan every detail of our lives things happen including evil but He does know what will happen …. I was told that God planed for me to be molested from the age of three, 5 times by differant men the last being a Doctor who raped me in my early Teens after aborting my baby, I was told that God planed this to bring good out of it, the Scriptures tell us this is slander but God is and has brought good out of it, be warned there are some evil or very deceived teaches out there. God tolerates evil not wanting any one to perish… you cannot Love someone who you fear and believe to be a Sadist which is what Satan wants us to believe and to do so makes us a Masochist. God is Love and can do no evil, what we may think is evil may be Mercy and grace. God did not plane for Adam and Eve to disobey but He knew they would and through His Son He planed for Salvation by Grace and to set us free from the bondage of sin.

      Christian Love Anne.

  2. singingsinglev4 says:

    There is someone divine confirmation for you – This post was written on December 1, 2011, and it mentioned how we are not to condemn others for when they celebrate Paschal, or Resurrection Sunday. Well on December 6 around midnight I wrote a post called the Feasts of the Lord without having any knowledge of this post, and then I wrote in my blog, what the Word said about the feasts, and how Christ is the center behind everything. So I believe that the Holy Spirit is moving the Body of Christ in the direction He wants them to go. I think we lose sight of the focus on all this debate about origination and tradition, and we just need to focus back to Christ every time. I too have been distracted and a little bit bewildered by what I read and hear. Remember this – we can go and research about the Church History, but if God really wanted us to have all that detailed information then He would have let us know what happened during the Dark Ages. We are all one body of Christ, and when certain hands have done the digging, and certain feet have done the walking, the main doctrine we have to hold on to Christ Himself, and what is the best way to hold on to that except the Word of God, which is the only thing we need. The Word of God is exalted above His name. So if we depend only on Jesus, then His Word, is all that we ever really need, and the Holy Spirit that makes the Word real to us. Guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. As far as the gates of hell, it did not prevail against it because at some point God was still leading the Church people in their hearts through the Holy Spirit. The gates of hell did not prevail because The Church did not get wiped out completely. What I think is being hinted at is that the suggestion that Church manufactured itself at a certain point so how can we distinguish it is real? In light of that there is a Scripture that says forget about the past. Because even when Jesus was here He did so many great things that not all of them are recorded. In books like Revelation and Daniel it says that somethings would be sealed up for a season. I hope that helps…Our own curiousity sometimes can get us in trouble…A lesson I’ve learned from one too many ouches!!!

    • Freedomborn says:

      Yes I agree our focus is to be on Jesus He is The Living Word, The Living God as the Scriptures both the Old Testament and The New Testament confirm His Name is above every Name and He Teaches us all things through the empowering of The Holy Spirit and the written word confirms it’s Truth but is only understood with Spirit filled eyes. 1 Corinthians 2

      Christian Love Anne

  3. Freedomborn says:

    Hi Mike first let me say that what I am going to share comes from painful experience not a book or what someone else thinks. I found myself looking for another Church after being in one Church family for 20 years and another for 8 this lead to my eyes being opened in regard to differant and varied understanding of the Scriptures and error in their understanding of God’s Truth and Nature this of course affected those who were members. God tells us in the end times their will be shepherds who let their flocks down.

    I will just share about one Denomination which taught Calvinism, with me not even knowing what it was it came as a shock, let me assure you it is mostly not confirmed in the Scriptures and has great error. It’s impact on me was not good and if I had not been strong in my faith and knowledge of God’s Truth and Nature and had my life experiences I would have never gone back to Church and would have believed God to be a hurtful, vengeful God. I was told that my 7 babies were in Hell because I was not a Christian when they were conceived. I was told that God does evil to bring good out of it and also chooses people according to what He decides whether they agree with it or not. That God changes peoples mind to suit His purposes, that he causes us to suffer for our good … I left this Church grieving not for myself but for those who were members. I am happy to share if wanted why each one of these beliefs is not supported by Scripture and also denies the True nature of God which is Love.

    Christian Love Anne

    • singingsinglev4 says:

      Babies don’t go to hell – children under the age of awareness, which is about when they are able to really distinguish right from wrong and until they have rejected Christ they will still make and they don’t go to hell.

    • singingsinglev4 says:

      I agree the true nature of God is love – and out of His love He preordained and fashioned the world, but God is not vindictive in cruel. It is also satan involved in our lives since he fell to take away our victory and to turn us away from God. We must not let abuse from a belief system or a Church crush our faith, I have had one too many ouches you because I let other people to dictate how I am supposed to have a relationship with God, and who God really is. The church is supposed to build up and to edify and if it doesn’t do that, then maybe our role is for us to step up and transform the church that we go to or if it is God’s will to leave because He does not want us to be abused by anyone and that is satan’s plan to tear us away from God. I am so sorry you had to go through that.

      • Freedomborn says:

        Hi singingsinglev4 once again I agree with you God knows all things even that we will come to heart repentance and accept Salvation and it is in knowing this that He chooses us to be conformed into the likeness of His Son. God does not plan every detail of our lives things happen including evil but He does know what will happen …. I was told that God planed for me to be molested from the age of three, 5 times by differant men the last being a Doctor who raped me in my early Teens after aborting my baby, I was told that God planed this to bring good out of it, the Scriptures tell us this is slander but God is and has brought good out of it, be warned there are some evil or very deceived teaches out there. God tolerates evil not wanting any one to perish… you cannot Love someone who you fear and believe to be a Sadist which is what Satan wants us to believe and to do so makes us a Masochist. God is Love and can do no evil, what we may think is evil may be Mercy and grace. God did not plane for Adam and Eve to disobey but He knew they would and through His Son He planed for Salvation by Grace and to set us free from the bondage of sin.

        Christian Love Anne.

  4. lambskinny says:

    Okay, here I am – back again.

    First I may be mistaken, but I don’t think Calvinists believe God foreordains every little action of every person. As a matter of fact, He doesn’t!

    What Paul writes is that God chooses a particular person — i.e. elects that person — before the beginning of time, before that person has done anything good or bad. (Romans 9).

    God hardened Pharaoh’s heart; He didn’t decide for Pharaoh the actions the man committed. There’s a big difference.

    God is not the author of evil.

    In case you are wondering, this relates to that bizarre conversation between supposed CPs and a priest that Jim mentioned. I admit I couldn’t read much of it as I found the CP point of view absurd and not at all scriptural.

    In Christ, Carley

    • mtsweat says:

      Ah, Jim’s new post. I’ve been there a couple of times trying to get through the debate, but haven’t finished reading them yet. I plan to get there soon to finish them. Thanks, Carley. God bless

  5. isaiah43123 says:

    Yes, we fumble the truth when we no longer keep our focus on Christ.

    • Freedomborn says:

      Very True isaiah43123 Jesus Christ is our only Teacher through the empowering of The Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 2 when man trusts in their own understanding or someone elses they can be deceived and often are, this is why the Scriptures tell us the Church will mostly be in darkness at the end times.

      Thank you for sharing – Christian Love Anne

    • mtsweat says:

      Amen, well said! Thanks friend and God bless.

  6. Freedomborn says:

    Quoting you Mike……. Also, Jesus made it very clear that He would build His Church, and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Meaning, we should be able to trace the history of the Church all the way back to Pentecost, with no breaks. Right?

    Wrong…… we need to understand the real History of the early Church and what happened to it and also Prophesy concerning the end times and why the Church has been in darkness and when the real Church of Christ will come together and how …..thankfully it is happening now. .

    Christian Love Anne.

    • mtsweat says:

      Thanks Anne. You’ll have to elaborate on this one some time. God bless.

      • Freedomborn says:

        Do you really want me too my friend Mike, the wordage would be great as detail and Scripture is needed – just let me know.

        By the way I’m sorry about the big Wrong! that was rude of me… also you were not completely wrong, Jesus did make it very clear that He would build His Church, and the gates of hell would not prevail against it, Satan will have no power to deceive Christ’s Church, He also said His Word would not return to Him void and that He word protect it and keep it pure and He has and does His Truth never changes it is eternal and those with willing ears and eyes and a open heart will receive and believe.

        God bless you greatly also Brother Mike -.Christian Love Anne

  7. April says:

    As I continue on this journey of mine, I realize more and more that what is important is that we stay in tune to that one still small voice of Jesus Christ…be aware daily of the Holy Spirit being active in our lives.

    Yes, there are many doctrines, many ways to worship…but it all comes down to hearing the voice of Christ…and having that personal relationship with Him.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Christmas blessings to you and your family this Christmastide.

  8. CC says:

    Jim, “Can the truth be fumbled by God’s people?”…
    What car would Jesus drive?…or The Bible Diet brought straight to you from the pages of Scripture…or any health and prosperity theology…yes, I believe we certainly do fumble the truth! Thankfully our fumble of truth doesn’t dent Truth. Jesus declared that He IS Truth. Maybe we need to discuss how we read Scripture. We find Truth in Scripture but maybe confuse the two. Don’t scream! I am not saying that Scripture isn’t truth..but Truth is bigger than Scripture. Scripture is encompassed in Truth…but Truth is not encompassed by Scripture, we could not conceive a writing that large!

    Point though, fumblings IN Scripture have a different facet than fumblings WITH Scripture. If Scripture is the one truth presented by God in story, than even the fumbling of the Levitical priesthood are part of the truth. Paul made a point of telling the Corinthians that “all these things happened as an example”…sometimes an example of how NOT to do it, but still an example God preserved for us. Our beloved anonymous author of Hebrews says that the story was disjointed and presented in many ways and manners but in these last days, the completed Word is spoken and His name is Jesus. Maybe it comes down to, “What do I think about Jesus?”. Just a thought. And I think we DO have reformers today. They are sometimes treated as poorly as ancient reformers.

  9. lambskinny says:

    Too much to say… Be back later!

  10. Jim says:

    CC, your words capture my thoughts well:

    “The fork of Orthodoxy troubles Protestant evangelicals as much as the Protestant fork troubles Orthodoxy”

    I am not sure the Orthodox are troubled much by us, but there are things about them that do trouble me.

    One pressing, nagging question is this: can the truth be fumbled by God’s people? They certianly fumbled it during the days of the Old Testament. The worship of God was was diluted by the Levites, even to the point of having idols in the temple. So it is possible for God’s chosen keepers of truth to get lost and off track. What happened when they did? God raised up reformers. If that happened in the OT, is it not possible to happen in the church era?

  11. CC says:

    Wow! A revisiting! An interesting topic that needs much consideration…I am so glad that you ask it to covered with humility and love.

    Along the road of Church history there are many forks. If I take a fork in the road, that does not mean I cannot trace my path back to the point of origin…a fork does not mean broken off! Protestants have forked off from Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy as we followed Truth…so I might say that it is Orthodoxy that forked off…but I won’t! Father John’s article is written in rhetoric not with logic. That includes the kind of limiting of choices that enables the pre-determined conclusion of the writer. It is persuasively written, but forces choices from limited information. I would like to make a couple observations.

    The fork of Orthodoxy troubles Protestant evangelicals as much as the Protestant fork troubles Orthodoxy. By joining Orthodoxy you promise to understand the Scripture in accordance with the interpretation that is held by the Orthodox Church. The Protestant call of “sola scriptura” is often misunderstood…by Protestants as well as Orthodox and Catholics (as I alluded to in your previous post)…the Reformers did NOT reject tradition as a help…what they objected to was the elevation of tradition over Scripture. Orthodox and Catholic interpret Scripture by tradition. Orthodoxy places Scripture and tradition side by side as part of one whole through which God speaks. Protestants place Scripture above the church, Orthodoxy believes the church stands over Scripture.

    As a Protestant of Catholic origins I also am concerned that we (Protestants) tend to throw out the baby with the bath water. Father John’s allusion to the arrogance of Protestants could be a reaction to our tendency of ignoring or degrading two thousand plus years of tradition. To ignore the wealth of wisdom from years of church history and tradition is surely as dangerous as elevating it.

    “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love.” ~ Augustine. May we lovingly affirm what is essential.

    Thanks for helping to keep the brain cells working. Blessings.
    cc

  12. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. – John 14:2 – To me this means Heaven has room for all denominations of the church regardless of doctrines or traditions, as eternal life is based on our HEARTS and not our traditions.

    After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; – Revelations 7:9 – to me this means catholics, protestants, methodists, and a host of others.

    Great topic and post! You sure do get one to thinking.

  13. Jim says:

    Great thoughts!

    The older I get, the more I realize that the beliefs I hold, are truths that others have taught me. Some of them, (like Sola Scriptura) I just assumed were so obviously biblical and undeniable that I never thought to question them. I am grateful for those who slap me in the face and hold my faith accountable to something other than my own thoughts!

    I think it is good for us as followers of Christ to listen to other points of view, from other parts of his body. So our views get challenged some times? That makes us evaluate what we believe. If Marin Luther hadn’t done that, we might not have ever had the Reformation. (Of course some would look at that as a good thing!)

    Some don’t like to have their views challenged and seek to shut down the debate, calling the other side names and trying to marginalize them. If we only listen to what we are saying, how will we ever know if we are wrong?

    Unfortunately, we stirred the pot up this week with another series called “A Strong Argument AGAINST Calvinism? You Decide” It is a series of emails between an Orthodox priest and several Calvinists. Both sides are presented well. I am hopeful discussion will be civil!
    http://notforitchingears.com/2011/11/30/a-strong-argument-against-calvinisim-you-decide/

  14. loopyloo305 says:

    Ah, my friend, at least he bothered to answer your arguments, mine got no response. However, the Holy Spirit gives us the Word, and I certainly have faith that God is able to make sure that we get the message!

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