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Protestantism: Critique and Debate Thread

I've already answered this. There's no exterior standard that can be placed on top of Scripture. The best interpreter of Scripture is Scripture itself, in other words, read it according to its own context. There are hermeneutical tools that assist in this, but even those are not to be placed over the Scriptures themselves.

Multiple people with differing interpretations can claim to be doing this though?
 
Multiple people with differing interpretations can claim to be doing this though?
But can they all defend their interpretations? The reality is that, almost without exception, none of the grossly distorted and often outright heretical interpretations of scripture can withstand even the barest amount of scrutiny. The false teachers who distort the scriptures for their own ends are relying on the ignorance of their followers. The issue is not that the Bible makes a poor standard for the faith, it's that even most so-called Christians have little to no idea what it actually says.
 
But can they all defend their interpretations? The reality is that, almost without exception, none of the grossly distorted and often outright heretical interpretations of scripture can withstand even the barest amount of scrutiny. The false teachers who distort the scriptures for their own ends are relying on the ignorance of their followers. The issue is not that the Bible makes a poor standard for the faith, it's that even most so-called Christians have little to no idea what it actually says.

Yes, but that’s not entirely the point. The problem is having no recourse to excommunicate these people and declare their interpretation anathema when you’ve removed the authority of a body of people to interpret and enforce that text. They can just go down the street or start their own sect.

If the Church is the invisible body of sincere believers, then there can’t really be any enforcement or proclamation of an authoritative interpretation of scripture
 
I've already answered this. There's no exterior standard that can be placed on top of Scripture. The best interpreter of Scripture is Scripture itself, in other words, read it according to it's own context. There are hermeneutical tools that assist in this, but even those are not to be placed over the Scriptures themselves.

Scripture itself tells us that we require instruction in interpretation. The Ethiopian Eunuch is presented as a model convert. He is highly educated for his day, both possessing Scripture & able to read it. He humbly understands that he cannot interpret Scripture himself, and St. Philip doesn't tell him that Scripture interprets itself, rather the Ethiopian invites him to join him and teach him the meaning. Similarly, many of the well-read Jews could recite any piece of Scripture verbatim from the top of their head, but they could not interpret it to understand that Christ fulfilled the prophecies.

There was a serious shift in the Church's approach to Scripture throughout it's history. From Origen, the allegorical method dominated until the Reformation when the literal method was reintroduced. That is why the Church in the medieval period looked less like the Church in the 1st century and more like the Temple of the Jews in the Old Testament.

The Church at its foundation literally gathered and worshipped in the Temple until the Jews kicked them out and started persecuting them as documented in Acts.
 
I've slept and prayed on the issue of the Filioque, and something that popped into my head, that everyone can agree on, is that the Holy Spirit does not enter Christ until he is baptized. After Christ is baptized, then the Holy Spirit descends on Christ in the form of a dove. This is written in Matthew, Luke, and Mark, making it an unquestionable event.

After Christ's Baptism, and the transfusion of the Holy Spirit comes to Jesus, does Jesus begin to perform tons of miracles, and does the Holy Spirit flow through him towards others. But not before. I think this is the hard scriptural evidence that everyone seems to overlook which shows that the Holy Spirit only proceeds from the Father, and proves without a doubt that the Filioque is false.
I would say that this is good evidence that the Scripture does not rigorously follow our dainty Trinitarian formulas. The Trinitarian formula that is traditionally what we maintain is this: from the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit. But the Scripture does not rigorously maintain any such formula. Sometimes, things are said to be of the Son, without reference to the Father. Galatians 4, The Spirit is said to be of the Son, just as Matthew 10 says that the Spirit is of the Father. This is why it is foolish to place an enormous weight on any one such formula.

Combined with the fact that the early Holy Fathers agreed upon the Creed in the First Council as the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, but not the Son, makes the Filioque unsupportable.
It doesn't say that. It doesn't say "from the Father alone" or "from the Father, but not the Son." It simply said "from the Father." If the Spirit is said to be "of the Son" such as it does in Galatians 4 and Romans 8, then the first two views couldn't be rigorously true on a Scriptural basis:
Romans 8:9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
When we receive the Holy Spirit, we do not believe that the Father acted alone but that the Spirit also came through the Son to us.

You've got your history confused brother. Origen was deemed a heretic, his writings burned. He was too allegorical even for the early Church.
Though he was deemed a heretic, he had a lasting influence on the Church for centuries, even to this present day. No different from Tertullian, who also was deemed a heretic, but he remains an influence on us. Even when we use the term 'Trinity' we are showing Tertullian's influence.

For example, the Papacy would kill those who did not submit to their authority. By comparison, the Orthodox Church would merely excommunicate, and then strip people of citizenship. In the Byzantine Empire, membership within the Church was a requirement for citizenship. Justinian the Great made citizenship a requirement for any employment within the government, media, banking, or education. Subversives and heretics like Talmudic Jews or Arians were turned into persons non-grata, but they weren't hunted down like animals.
https://byzantium-blogger.blog/2019...crime-punishment-heresy-and-medical-practice/
 
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Yes, but that’s not entirely the point. The problem is having no recourse to excommunicate these people and declare their interpretation anathema when you’ve removed the authority of a body of people to interpret and enforce that text. They can just go down the street or start their own sect.
They can do this in an Orthodox church too. So what?

If the Church is the invisible body of sincere believers,
It's not a question of if, it is. The membership of the New Covenant is known only to God. Whoever walks into your church on Sunday morning may or may not be a member of that Covenant.

then there can’t really be any enforcement or proclamation of an authoritative interpretation of scripture
Any visible church, including yours, can only discipline someone if that someone is willingly subjecting themselves to it's authority.
 
They can do this in an Orthodox church too. So what?


It's not a question of if, it is. The membership of the New Covenant is known only to God. Whoever walks into your church on Sunday morning may or may not be a member of that Covenant.


Any visible church, including yours, can only discipline someone if that someone is willingly subjecting themselves to it's authority.
No. When a schismatic group in the Orthodox Church develops.... They do so with out blessings of the Bishop or the Patriarch. This they cut themselves off from the remaining body of Christ until they correct the schismatic elements of their beliefs.

All structure and authority comes from the vesting of that authority through the laying of hands as Christ did to his Apostles, and they then did to new members of thier flock as they grew The Church.

As far as discipline....We deny them communion or Anathematize them. This removes their ability to participate in sacraments and thus cuts them off from the body of The Church.
 
All structure and authority comes from the vesting of that authority through the laying of hands as Christ did to his Apostles, and they then did to new members of thier flock as they grew The Church.
If no bishop alive today meets the qualifications for the Apostolic office, that the Apostles themselves drafted, then how can they be said to be successors of the Apostolic office in any way?

When a schismatic group in the Orthodox Church develops.... They do so with out blessings of the Bishop or the Patriarch. This they cut themselves off from the remaining body of Christ until they correct the schismatic elements of their beliefs.
That only means something if the schismatic thinks it means something. To everyone outside of your communion, your anathema is like a badge of honor.
 
I would say that this is good evidence that the Scripture does not rigorously follow our dainty Trinitarian formulas. The Trinitarian formula that is traditionally what we maintain is this: from the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit. But the Scripture does not rigorously maintain any such formula. Sometimes, things are said to be of the Son, without reference to the Father. Galatians 4, The Spirit is said to be of the Son, just as Matthew 10 says that the Spirit is of the Father. This is why it is foolish to place an enormous weight on any one such formula.


It doesn't say that. It doesn't say "from the Father alone" or "from the Father, but not the Son." It simply said "from the Father." If the Spirit is said to be "of the Son" such as it does in Galatians 4 and Romans 8, then the first two views couldn't be rigorously true on a Scriptural basis:

When we receive the Holy Spirit, we do not believe that the Father acted alone but that the Spirit also came through the Son to us.

But this is all false, because the Spirit only comes to the Son after His baptism. Hence any other reference to the Spirit coming to Christ occurs after it proceeded from the Father, which blessed it onto his Son through the sacrament of Baptism.

Ignoring chronology of events is Unscriptural.

Though he was deemed a heretic, he had a lasting influence on the Church for centuries, even to this present day. No different from Tertullian, who also was deemed a heretic, but he remains an influence on us. Even when we use the term 'Trinity' we are showing Tertullian's influence.

We have no idea who influenced who, but none of Origen's works survive so it's impossible to know. We have no idea if it was Tertullian or Tertullian's teacher who taught the trinity. All we know is that early heretics were rejected.

This isn't a religious practice, this was standard Roman crime and punishments that were typical of the era, and predated the Byzantine era, including in surrounding countries. If anything, the introduction of Christianity significantly softened the punishments of criminals in Ancient Rome. Byzantine punishments, while harsh by today's standards, were far more lax compared to Ancient Rome's on many levels. People weren't being fed to lions because they stole something. Merely losing a hand was a big step up for thieves.

I'm talking about the policies specific to the Church - the main way the theocracy was enforced was through the mechanism of citizenship, not by killing anyone who merely did not want to belong to the Church. For the rest of punishments of that time, you have to keep things relative to their context, which was the Ancient Roman world - a savage world.

If you spoke out against the Church in a blasphemous way, sure, you could get punished, because you were also speaking out against the state, but that was exactly the same in the Pagan Roman era that preceded it. Compare apples to apples.

The Papacy used war to enforce their own theological dictates, because they could not strip someone of citizenship. The state model broke down in the middle ages, and calling crusades on heretics was the only card the Papacy had left. In the Byzantine era, people were exiled for heresy generally, it was far more humane by comparison.
 
White evangelical Protestants are the only major group in America against abortion:

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just to let you know that if you openly support abortion in the Orthodox church and the priest finds out about it he can withold holy communion from you are father Josiah Trenham once mentioned
 
none of Origen's works survive so it's impossible to know.
A lot of his works still survive, there are so many that they all haven't even been translated into English yet.

Ignoring chronology of events is Unscriptural.
I don't understand the argument you're trying to make. Are you saying God anointed Jesus with the Spirit after His baptism? OK, no one's denying this, how is this a slam-dunk argument against the filioque?

As for baptism, the legalistic understanding that baptism is required for the Holy Spirit to regenerate a person (the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration) is also an unbiblical novelty:
Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the word. 45And all the circumcised believers who came with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and magnifying God. Then Peter answered, 47“Can anyone refuse water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” 48And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for a few days.
 
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You guys are great debaters, and that's the problem, since I see good points on both sides. For someone stuck hopelessly between Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy, this thread is becoming soul crushing. 🤣

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Our most dedicated female member @starlight PMed me with this info in response to @Get2choppaaa in regard to the Martin Luther pimping allegations, and I told her I would post it in this thread for her:

starlight said:
One of Luther's arguments in his "95 Theses" was against required celibacy for priests, nuns, and monks. He believed that celibacy was unnatural and that celibacy in these realms should be optional, simply put.

During that same time period, convents were occasionally used like an orphanage for young girls. A family might send a young daughter there because they couldn't afford another child, didn't have enough money for a dowery, had too many daughters already... any number of reasons. So it wasn't unusual for a young girl, elementary school age (some as young as six), to be sent to a convent by her parents. These girls would eventually be forced to take the veil (some as young as eleven) against their will because they legitimately had no other choice. If a nun chose to leave, there was a very real risk of being burnt at the stake for these women...

So what actually happened, regarding Luther, was that a group of women who had been given to their convent at a young age didn't desire the celibate life and wanted marriage/family life. Luther's thoughts on this issue made its way around and eventually to the convent at Nimbschen (spelling is probably wrong, recalling from memory). A group of women who had been sent to the convent very young (against their will) sent a letter to Luther beseeching him to help them escape. And Luther, being an outlaw already, committed to help them. Each woman that wanted to escape was hidden in a beer barrel on the eve of Easter, no less.

Luther helped arrange marriages for each one of these women. The last one that no one wanted, he married her himself out of charity.
 
They can do this in an Orthodox church too. So what?

Not if they want to remain Orthodox.

It's not a question of if, it is. The membership of the New Covenant is known only to God. Whoever walks into your church on Sunday morning may or may not be a member of that Covenant.

Still not an answer to the problem of discerning who has the correct interpretation of scripture among them, or the problem of how to discipline or correct anybody and safeguard against heresy. Protestantism has no answer to this, I’m not sure if this problem is even understood at this point tbh.
 
You guys are great debaters, and that's the problem, since I see good points on both sides. For someone stuck hopelessly between Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy, this thread is becoming soul crushing. 🤣

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Ignore the slightly cringe intro, this is a good video.

EDIT: this is also very strong, Reader Paul Trinca - fatal epistemology and the evisceration of Protestantism

 
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I don't understand the argument you're trying to make. Are you saying God anointed Jesus with the Spirit after His baptism? OK, no one's denying this, how is this a slam-dunk argument against the filioque?

It shows that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, and not the Son. It comes through the Son, but it proceeded from the Father. Hence the filioque is false.

As for baptism, the legalistic understanding that baptism is required for the Holy Spirit to regenerate a person (the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration) is also an unbiblical novelty:

The word regenerate is questionable here; no one is saying that Baptism is necessary for one to feel or receive the Holy Spirit. But without Baptism, one will lack Christ, which is the only way to know God the Father. The Holy Spirit moves around all those with faith regardless of their situation, provided they have faith, and leads people to Christ and his Church, so that they can know God.
 
Not if they want to remain Orthodox.
The schismatic would not care about remaining Orthodox if he was the one who left the church. Basically, you're asking me "how do you bind men's consciences?" You can't. A Reformed church can't and the Orthodox church can't. Only the Word of God can do that. When someone loses faith in the Orthodox church after seeing it for what it is then he is going to leave. The excommunications and anathemas only mean something to someone who is already believing in the Orthodox church, that's why they can't bind their conscience. The only consciences that they do bind are the people who are already believing and subjecting themselves to the Orthodox church.

Still not an answer to the problem of discerning who has the correct interpretation of scripture among them, or the problem of how to discipline or correct anybody and safeguard against heresy. Protestantism has no answer to this, I’m not sure if this problem is even understood at this point tbh.
The Scriptures are plainly understood. The Reformers taught so. The Early Church Fathers taught so. Only groups such as the Orthodox, Catholics, Mormons, JWs, teach against this doctrine. This is because they want you to have low confidence in the Scriptures so that you may place your confidence in [insert whatever sect here]. The problem is not the Bible. The problem is your group. Orthodoxy has no answer for this other than to say "whatever the Orthodox church says." Protestantism does not go for the easy answer of 'pick a sect and run with it', which is the answer you're looking for.
 
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It shows that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, and not the Son. It comes through the Son, but it proceeded from the Father. Hence the filioque is false.
Who has the Father sent the Spirit from in Galatians 4:6?

But without Baptism, one will lack Christ, which is the only way to know God the Father.
This is a roundabout way of saying that baptism is necessary to be saved. Did the thief on the cross "lack Christ"?
 
Our most dedicated female member @starlight PMed me with this info in response to @Get2choppaaa in regard to the Martin Luther pimping allegations, and I told her I would post it in this thread for her:
That's certainly an apologetic take over what happened.

An alternative view is that he leveraged young nuns as a marriage opportunity to gather support for his cause and create political allies.
 
BTW despite my vehement disagreements and occasional frustration I gotta give it up to Godfather for patiently and civilly engaging without tire, I don't have a chance talk to knowledgeable Protestants in depth in my day to day life so it's been quite interesting and led me to grow in patience and spend more time studying the Epistles I wasn't so familiar with.

It's easier to keep your cool if you don't actually care about Truth. St Nicolas probably would have given him a backhand by now. Hermetic Seal nailed it earlier in the thread.

When you say stuff like this it's obvious to anybody who's spent even a short time in the Orthodox world that your knowledge of Orthodoxy is shallow and seemingly based on second-hand sources (eg., some Protestant apologist in a YouTube video trying to respond to Orthodoxy) and not spending any real effort to understand what Orthodox believe, just enough to try to cram a caricature of it into box of Calvinist argumentation.

Of course you're under no intrinsic obligation to study Orthodoxy in depth, and one from the Western world can't be faulted for misunderstanding Orthodoxy, as it has an outlook that is very different from that of the individualistic western mind and isn't something that will immediately be picked up, especially not just from reading about it. But if you're going to opine on what you think we believe, as you've done on a regular basis for the last several years, constantly making these kinds of erroneous statements makes you come across as a bad-faith actor with an axe to grind.

He'll reference church fathers when it suits him, and disregard others like St Ignatius, even though he was a disciple of St John the Theologion. He doesn't actually care about what they say unless he can shoehorn it into a defence of his beliefs. He's like King Zedekiah, who ignored Jeremiah's advice even though he knew everything he had prophesied had come to pass. The truth is there for anyone to see, and it's their choice whether to ignore it or not.

You are free to think of me however you want. I view these kinds of discussions as both a way to learn, and as a sparring match, or like playing chess. I would not make it out to be anything bigger than it is. I am not under the expectation that I will convince you, so I do not experience anger or disappointment when you remain unconvinced.

You don't play chess, or spar to come to the truth, it's an ideological battle taking one side of the fence, which is entirely missing the purpose of the scriptures, but in the same vein, it's behaving in a similar manner as the Jews have. The Jews being around longer as a group just have more cohesiveness using the laws of Moses and their tradition of abrogating those laws through the Talmud their idol, whereas Protestants have very little unity and cohesiveness, and can just put themselves as the center (just as the Jews have), and have words on a page as in idol. Because whether Protestants like it or not, words on a page do not interpret themselves. Just as the Filioque Clause isn't immediately obvious in it's meaning, it requires elaboration, yet the lack of awareness is clear as no cognitive dissonance is triggered.

Although one good thing he's done is given an excellent illustration of why St. Paul says what he does in Titus 3:9-11. By discussing with him, all you're going to do is make a obstinate heretic more clever in his argumentation.

Generally, the denying of the Filioque is tied up with a Monarchian view of the Trinity, where only the Father is the true God and both the Son and the Spirit are communicated their Divine Nature from the Father alone. Thus, the Father remains the only uncaused cause.

If the Spirit is caused from the Father through the Son (as in the Filioque), then the claim is that this makes Him "subordinate to both the Father and Son." But if causation necessitates subordination, then both the Son and the Spirit are subordinates in the Monarchian Trinity.

If any of this sounds strange to you, it's because the Bible doesn't talk about any of this. It relies on extra-Biblical philosophical categories, of which both the Greeks and the Latins were importing their own.

And what you call a "Monarchian view" has nothing to do with Orthodoxy. Anyone persistently and obstinately promoting such a view would be tossed out and deemed a heretic as many have been in the past. Even Roman Catholics would disagree with that view of the Trinity. Stop talking carelessly about things that you're either talking about in bad faith, or that you don't understand.

Does this sound to you like Christ endorsing tradition over the revealed word of God? I have no doubt the Orthodox have some argument on how their own traditions don't fall under this category. But that strikes me as a rather tortured rationalization to contradict what seems a VERY clear teaching from Christ Himself.

As you referenced Mark 7:1-14 If Christ came to abolish all traditions, why do you think he obeyed the customs, like paying the temple tax? Or telling others to observe what they say, but not what they do? Certainly the Pharisees were only rebuked because while they observed the forms of outward cleanness, and it is indeed important to be clean while coming to share communal food, but to be truly in communion with others, it is more important to be inwardly clean, than outwardly clean so you can actually share a meal together while loving one another.
 
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