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I have a ? about Eastern Orthodoxy :)


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I do. It's an honest question, and one of the things I just don't quite get. Also, please be patient with my clumsy attempts to phrase this ;)

 

One of the things (just one, because there are many) that I really appreciate is a statement that I read by, Metropolitan Kallistos saying, "We know where the Church is; we do not know where She is not."

 

and yet there also seems to be this sense of- EO is the one true form of Christianity. This hangs me up :confused:

 

This may very well be a misunderstanding on my part, and I am prone to a few ;)

 

Welcomeing your thoughts.

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One true form as in it's the Church that didn't stray...does not mean that God can't/doesn't work His Grace elsewhere and in other ways. But that is only by His Grace. The EO would consider other Christian denominations to be heterodox.

 

Heterodoxy is generally defined as "any opinions or doctrines at variance with an official or orthodox position".
This means that we do not say that it is impossible for someone to receive salvation while they spend their life in one of those churches...that would be pretty bald of us.

 

However, since we do know where the Church is (aka, we know that the EO has remained) then why would we want to go elsewhere? (btw, I'm a convert, so I've already been many other places and feel like I've come home)

 

 

It's our way of saying that we know where the Church is, but we won't claim to know the mind of God so much as to declare what He will and won't do elsewhere.

 

(I think I explained that okay...FatherofPearl will probably answer in a clearer manner)

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It's our way of saying that we know where the Church is, but we won't claim to know the mind of God so much as to declare what He will and won't do elsewhere.

 

 

This is what I really appreciate! and I get what you are saying! I need to do some reading. As you can see from one of my responses to Fatherof pearl on the post-evangelical thread...I have some other struggles.

 

But it always comes back to Emergent/Eo.

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However, since we do know where the Church is (aka, we know that the EO has remained) then why would we want to go elsewhere? (btw, I'm a convert, so I've already been many other places and feel like I've come home)

 

Mommaduck, I think you answered the question put forth well -- even as we have chosen to become part of this ancient church, that does not mean we are needing to make any kind of judgment on what other people decide; where people stand before God is between them and God.

 

The bolded part above pretty much sums up why we converted. We, too, were part of many different strands of Christianity over the years, but once we realized that the church that was there in the beginning still existed, we found ourselves asking this very question -- why would we want to be anywhere else? Why be part of a church that has changed the faith over the years, or is a reinvention of the Church through modern-day interpretations, when the original church is still very alive and thriving?

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Mommaduck, I think you answered the question put forth well -- even as we have chosen to become part of this ancient church, that does not mean we are needing to make any kind of judgment on what other people decide; where people stand before God is between them and God.

 

The bolded part above pretty much sums up why we converted. We, too, were part of many different strands of Christianity over the years, but once we realized that the church that was there in the beginning still existed, we found ourselves asking this very question -- why would we want to be anywhere else? Why be part of a church that has changed the faith over the years, or is a reinvention of the Church through modern-day interpretations, when the original church is still very alive and thriving?

 

I lost my post :glare:

 

Here's the short version. First, kudos to Milovany for putting up with my questions over the last 6 months!!!!

 

Here's another question....please don't be offended.

 

How do we know that EO is what Jesus wanted His church to be like? I can see makeing the claim that EO is the original organized Christian Church, but how do we know Jesus wanted and organized/hierarchial structure church? I'm not really asking if that's what Peter and James wanted...but is it what Jesus wanted?

 

Does that make any sense?

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I'm not really asking if that's what Peter and James wanted...but is it what Jesus wanted?

 

 

It's a very good question. Kudos to YOU for asking the hard questions. For the EO, this all goes together. The Lord Jesus Christ hand-picked his Apostles and spent three years teaching and training them -- if we're going to think that the Apostles went astray so quickly, we have to ask ourselves, "Did He really do such a bad job that they didn't know what to do once He had ascended? Even after the very same Holy Spirit descended on the Church at Pentecost? Did they really organize the Church within just a few years in a way that went against what He taught them?"

 

Or did the Lord Jesus Christ accomplish what He came to do -- establish a church, the "pillar and foundation of truth," that would be united in faith ("one" according to the Scriptures), and would be His body on the earth? He said the gates of hell would not prevail against His church, so we believe that what developed WAS what He wanted. We trust that God was able to keep His body one, and in reading the early church fathers and the lives of the saints we can see that He did. The Orthodox faith is the faith they were living and dying for in those early centuries.

 

An interesting note is that the hierarchy of the Orthodox church is naturally similar to that which had been given by God in the Jewish faith/temples -- so really, nothing changed in that respect (God had already developed the hierarchy thousands of years previously; it just continued, but with the Church as the foundation, not the Jewish temple). If the hierarchy is not of God, then the burden of proof is sorta more on those who think it should be radically different to show why it changed so drastically.

 

ETA - I would highly recommend this book: The Lives of the Holy Apostles. Apostle by apostle, it shows how the early church developed in the areas where these Apostles went; it shows how a big part of their work was establishing Bishops in the cities/areas where they went. And it shows their dedication to the unity of the faith.

Edited by milovaný
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The question makes sense, yes. But let me think on how to reply. I have a response, but I might butcher it badly. Getting things from my brain out into speech or writing has been difficult lately...preggo brain and all ;)

 

....and Milovany crossposted with me...she stated it well :)

 

btw, they uncovered some of the walls of an early underground church (catacombs) and discovered paintings (iconography on the walls and ceilings) that are nearly identical and structure/set up nearly identical to what the Orthodox Church has continued with throughout history, including today.

Edited by mommaduck
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I have another question - unrelated to the first question, but addressed to EO believers. How does the EO church/leaders/teachers/doctrine view an "average" Christian? What I mean is, what if you never become a martyr, or do anything of note or seeming consequence to the cause of Christ? This is where I struggle internally a heck of a lot. I consider myself an average or below average Christian. When I read about Christians who have done amazing things for the Lord I wonder where I stand in the Kingdom. I know it's not in a notable place. Sometimes I wonder if I stand in the Kingdom at all. I don't mean to seek out all kinds of pats on the back or anything like that to make me feel better. What I mean to ask is, how does the EO teach to or guide the average or below average Christian? In my church the bible studies, which are meant to help our members grow in the Lord, are focused around digging deep into your soul to see what God wants to change. Like, do you have a hidden attitude that you need to let Christ change? Or, do you have something in your life that has become an idol that you need to put down? Stuff like that. These are the classes that I have trouble attending. They seem so self focused and self indulging. Like you do all these surveys and tests to see where you are at, then you dig really deep to find something, even if it's half contrived, just so you can get something out of the bible study. So, how does the EO church handle this issue? Is it just me? Am I just in rebellion to digging deep? Will I ever feel like I belong to Jesus and know him and he knows me, or is it a constant struggle: flesh against spirit, that brings no satisfaction? If anyone can only tackle one of these questions, that would be nice. I know I put a lot out there, and I'm sorry for rambling.

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We do the same things. We study, we go to confession (which includes speaking with our priest about whatever areas we are working on or working through...and even receiving advice from him as well as him praying with us), we have Bible Studies, some have sunday school, we talk with each other and encourage each other, etc. (no tests or surveys ;) )

 

Every Christian is an average Christian...even the martyrs, even the priest (btw, they go to confession also and I have it on good note that their wives will sometimes confess and sometimes complain LOL!), etc. We are all on this journey. My walk will not be the same as yours. You may have conquered certain areas where I need work and vise versa. There is nothing that says God is going to open our eyes on the same things at the same time. Honestly, where I've heard Grace discussed and preached about in certain churches to no end, I see it actually put into practice here. And I'm learning as well (and pray ya'll will forgive me when I really go out on a limb). They view the average Christian as being what we all are and we are all reached out to.

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Okay I'm going to ask questions within the post. Again, not trying to be mean or divisive. Just let me jump in and you can see how my brain works;)

 

It's a very good question. Kudos to YOU for asking the hard questions. For the EO, this all goes together. The Lord Jesus Christ hand-picked his Apostles and spent three years teaching and training them -- if we're going to think that the Apostles went astray so quickly, we have to ask ourselves, "Did He really do such a bad job that they didn't know what to do once He had ascended?

 

It's not that I think He did such a bad job, but Peter did deny Him after spending those 3 years under his teaching. I think they were human. Paul and Peter had some serious disagreements on what gentile converts should be expected to do upon conversion.

Even after the very same Holy Spirit descended on the Church at Pentecost? This one I will give you! Because the Helper is a very unmeasurable factor in this.

 

Did they really organize the Church within just a few years in a way that went against what He taught them?" How do we know Jesus taught them on this at all?

 

Or did the Lord Jesus Christ accomplish what He came to do -- establish a church, the "pillar and foundation of truth," that would be united in faith ("one" according to the Scriptures), and would be His body on the earth? He said the gates of hell would not prevail against His church,

Ah, yes...but let me address this further below...

 

so we believe that what developed WAS what He wanted. We trust that God was able to keep His body one, and in reading the early church fathers and the lives of the saints we can see that He did. The Orthodox faith is the faith they were living and dying for in those early centuries.

 

An interesting note is that the hierarchy of the Orthodox church is naturally similar to that which had been given by God in the Jewish faith/temples -- so really, nothing changed in that respect (God had already developed the hierarchy thousands of years previously; it just continued, but with the Church as the foundation, not the Jewish temple).

The above is a very negative thing in my book. Let me explain...if the original design God gave was such a good thing, Jesus wouldn't have had to come at all. So to design a church structure that reflected the model that wasn't working seems counterproductive. It doesn't seem like Jesus. It has the feel of a bunch of men trying to form something that was recognizeable and controlable. IT was something they were familiar with. What was so amazing about Jesus is how unfamiliar his teachings were.

 

If he wanted an organized structure why did heal on Sabbaths? Why did He go out of his way to disrupt traditions and shine a spotlight on the hearts?

 

Sorry rambling....

If the hierarchy is not of God, then the burden of proof is sorta more on those who think it should be radically different to show why it changed so drastically.

 

ETA - I would highly recommend this book: The Lives of the Holy Apostles. Apostle by apostle, it shows how the early church developed in the areas where these Apostles went; it shows how a big part of their work was establishing Bishops in the cities/areas where they went. And it shows their dedication to the unity of the faith.

 

Does any of that make sense?

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We do the same things. We study, we go to confession (which includes speaking with our priest about whatever areas we are working on or working through...and even receiving advice from him as well as him praying with us), we have Bible Studies, some have sunday school, we talk with each other and encourage each other, etc. (no tests or surveys ;) )

 

Every Christian is an average Christian...even the martyrs, even the priest (btw, they go to confession also and I have it on good note that their wives will sometimes confess and sometimes complain LOL!), etc. We are all on this journey. My walk will not be the same as yours. You may have conquered certain areas where I need work and vise versa. There is nothing that says God is going to open our eyes on the same things at the same time. Honestly, where I've heard Grace discussed and preached about in certain churches to no end, I see it actually put into practice here. And I'm learning as well (and pray ya'll will forgive me when I really go out on a limb). They view the average Christian as being what we all are and we are all reached out to.

Beautiful! :001_smile:

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Okay I'm going to ask questions within the post. Again, not trying to be mean or divisive. Just let me jump in and you can see how my brain works;)

 

Does any of that make sense?

 

Yes, it makes sense .... all I can really do is echo Father Of Pearl in the other thread: Come and see. This is a Biblical answer for those wanting to know Christ better, and it's appropriate in this day as well. The vastness and depth of the Body of Christ can't be explained and contained on a message board or in a book about it, or even in the Bible itself. I would encourage anyone interested to visit an Orthodox church a number of times (I would say for a year, but that's a long time -- ! -- so a minimum of maybe 6-8 weeks, so you can get a feel and understanding for the liturgical prayers and cycles). I think you'll be amazed at the reverence, beauty, history, truth and love that you find there. And in that living relationship, a lot of these questions get answered and the deep longings we have are met.

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Yes, it makes sense .... all I can really do is echo Father Of Pearl in the other thread: Come and see. This is a Biblical answer for those wanting to know Christ better, and it's appropriate in this day as well. The vastness and depth of the Body of Christ can't be explained and contained on a message board or in a book about it, or even in the Bible itself. I would encourage anyone interested to visit an Orthodox church a number of times (I would say for a year, but that's a long time -- ! -- so a minimum of maybe 6-8 weeks, so you can get a feel and understanding for the liturgical prayers and cycles). I think you'll be amazed at the reverence, beauty, history, truth and love that you find there. And in that living relationship, a lot of these questions get answered and the deep longings we have are met.

 

 

It is beautiful! I am in no way denying that. I wouldn't be wrestleing so hard with this if that weren't so.

 

It doesn't answer my questions though...and that's where I come to a hault.

 

The services we attend now are very liturgical and follow the calendar as well.

 

It still comes down to "how do I know that EO is Jesus's design for the church?" But maybe I am asking myself the wrong questions? Why is it imporatant to be a part of it?

 

My brain is starting to go in circles :lol:

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"if the original design God gave was such a good thing, Jesus wouldn't have had to come at all"

 

I'm not EO and cannot speak to the way their hierarchy is set up. But I wanted to respond to the above quote. God's OT design was not set up in order to "save" the people and prevent God from having to send His Son. God proclaims the Messiah's coming all the way back in Gen. 3. And I personally believe that God intended the Messiah's role before he even laid the foundations of the earth. Nevertheless God says in Gen 3 that he is sending a seed that will crush the head of the serpent. The OT worship was a foreshadow of the Messiah. But the Messiah was coming, regardless.

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The above is a very negative thing in my book. Let me explain...if the original design God gave was such a good thing, Jesus wouldn't have had to come at all. So to design a church structure that reflected the model that wasn't working seems counterproductive. It doesn't seem like Jesus. It has the feel of a bunch of men trying to form something that was recognizeable and controlable. IT was something they were familiar with. What was so amazing about Jesus is how unfamiliar his teachings were.

 

I am not EO (obviously) but I have a few thoughts on this.

 

It seems to me that "the original design God gave" has to be "good" by definition. If it came from God it is good, because God is good. If God is not good, He is not God.

 

So there's something else going on here besides God setting up a design that turned out not to be so good after all, and then trying to improve upon it by setting up something entirely different--or by doing away with any form of organization at all and opting to try out anarchy instead. If we come at this with the assumption that God messed up the design the first time around, or gave man a design that was not "good", then there is no reason to be confident that the new plan was really any better.

 

What's going on is not that the 'original' design was intrinsically flawed, but that men messed it up. They misinterpreted, extrapolated, excused, negotiated, and shifted it into something that differed from the original "good" design that God gave. And that was Jesus' message--not that the original design was bad, but that men's understanding and application of the original design had become corrupted and had diverged from the original design. In fact, things had become so muddled that God decided to re-establish His Word, and re-organize His people. Kind of like things got muddled after Abraham, which is why God gave it new to Moses. The truths and given to Moses was not a new message with new morals, distinct and different from what Noah had been taught, or Abraham had been taught, it was a new revelation of God's one and only eternal truth, and a new organization to administer it to God's people. Same thing with Jesus. Things got muddled to the point where God sent not just another messenger, but His own Son to re-establish the eternal truths, and to organize His people. The corruption was prophesied, as was the coming of the Messiah. God didn't set up a 'bad' structure, but He knew in advance what was going to happen to it.

 

My thought is that EVERYTHING God has created is organized and structured, from subatomic particles up to galaxies and superclusters. Even things that seem random, like the arrangement of tree branches, turn out to have organizing principles at work in them, like fractals, once we are capable of understanding those principles. It makes perfect sense to me that God would also establish order and an organized structure among His people.

 

If he wanted an organized structure why did heal on Sabbaths? Why did He go out of his way to disrupt traditions and shine a spotlight on the hearts?

 

 

If you look carefully, though, you will see that he was not attacking the underlying, original structure, but rather chastizing the people from falling away from it, changing and corrupting it. He scolded them for focusing so much on the letter that they missed the intent. He disrupted traditions that were human adaptations, but he conformed with the underlying 'original' structure. One could as easily ask why He would cleanse the temple if He saw the 'original' temple-centric organization as a bad thing. But He didn't tell them that the temple was a bad institution, he told them that they had taken the sacred original of temple worship and corrupted it.

Edited by MamaSheep
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I am not EO (obviously) but I have a few thoughts on this.

 

It seems to me that "the original design God gave" has to be "good" by definition. If it came from God it is good, because God is good. If God is not good, He is not God.

 

So there's something else going on here besides God setting up a design that turned out not to be so good after all, and then trying to improve upon it by setting up something entirely different--or by doing away with any form of organization at all and opting to try out anarchy instead. If we come at this with the assumption that God messed up the design the first time around, or gave man a design that was not "good", then there is no reason to be confident that the new plan was really any better.

 

What's going on is not that the 'original' design was intrinsically flawed, but that men messed it up. They misinterpreted, extrapolated, excused, negotiated, and shifted it into something that differed from the original "good" design that God gave. And that was Jesus' message--not that the original design was bad, but that men's understanding and application of the original design had become corrupted and had diverged from the original design. In fact, things had become so muddled that God decided to re-establish His Word, and re-organize His people. Kind of like things got muddled after Abraham, which is why God gave it new to Moses. The truths and given to Moses was not a new message with new morals, distinct and different from what Noah had been taught, or Abraham had been taught, it was a new revelation of God's one and only eternal truth, and a new organization to administer it to God's people. Same thing with Jesus. Things got muddled to the point where God sent not just another messenger, but His own Son to re-establish the eternal truths, and to organize His people. The corruption was prophesied, as was the coming of the Messiah. God didn't set up a 'bad' structure, but He knew in advance what was going to happen to it.

 

My thought is that EVERYTHING God has created is organized and structured, from subatomic particles up to galaxies and superclusters. Even things that seem random, like the arrangement of tree branches, turn out to have organizing principles at work in them, like fractals, once we are capable of understanding those principles. It makes perfect sense to me that God would also establish order and an organized structure among His people.

 

 

 

If you look carefully, though, you will see that he was not attacking the underlying, original structure, but rather chastizing the people from falling away from it, changing and corrupting it. He scolded them for focusing so much on the letter that they missed the intent. He disrupted traditions that were human adaptations, but he conformed with the underlying 'original' structure. One could as easily ask why He would cleanse the temple if He saw the 'original' temple-centric organization as a bad thing. But He didn't tell them that the temple was a bad institution, he told them that they had taken the sacred original of temple worship and corrupted it.

 

 

Very good post, and so much for me to think on!!!

 

About the bolded part, a question. Why do you think the temple curtain was ripped upon His death? How did that fit in with this line of thought?

 

I know what I have been taught...but would love your thoughts ;)! Or anyaone else's!!!

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Very good post, and so much for me to think on!!!

 

About the bolded part, a question. Why do you think the temple curtain was ripped upon His death? How did that fit in with this line of thought?

 

I know what I have been taught...but would love your thoughts ;)! Or anyaone else's!!!

 

A very good question, and I promise I'll post a response when I get a chance. I'm almost on my way out the door to a doctor appointment, just waiting for dh to drive up and take over as parent in charge, and he called a few minutes ago to say he's almost here, so I know I don't have time now. But this way I'll have more time to think through how to say what I want to anyway. Oh...here he is, in fact. But I didn't want you to think I was ignoring your question. I don't know if I'll get back in here tonight, but I'll get back to you as soon as I have a chance. :)

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"if the original design God gave was such a good thing, Jesus wouldn't have had to come at all"

 

I'm not EO and cannot speak to the way their hierarchy is set up. But I wanted to respond to the above quote. God's OT design was not set up in order to "save" the people and prevent God from having to send His Son. God proclaims the Messiah's coming all the way back in Gen. 3. And I personally believe that God intended the Messiah's role before he even laid the foundations of the earth. Nevertheless God says in Gen 3 that he is sending a seed that will crush the head of the serpent. The OT worship was a foreshadow of the Messiah. But the Messiah was coming, regardless.

:iagree:

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I do. It's an honest question, and one of the things I just don't quite get. Also, please be patient with my clumsy attempts to phrase this ;)

 

 

I just wanted to say that I LOVE all of the questions you have been asking on the board. I am learning SO much and realizing I have so much to learn. I have been disenchanted with churches for a while-so many seem to be looking to please todays ppl by making the Bible/message soft.

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I just wanted to say that I LOVE all of the questions you have been asking on the board. I am learning SO much and realizing I have so much to learn. I have been disenchanted with churches for a while-so many seem to be looking to please todays ppl by making the Bible/message soft.

 

Aaaawwww, thanks! I actually met dh at seminary..so I guess I have been asking questions for a long time ;).

 

Truthfully, I went thru a faith crisis a few years ago...it was really more of a denominational crisis...that led to a ton of questioning. Thankfully, I'm one of those who encountered God outside of the church. So when my church faith was shattered, my entire faith didn't go with it.

 

Now, I do a lot of seeking and asking. It would be wrong to candy coat and say this is easy...it's gut wrenching! Sometimes, I wish it was simple again. Actuallly, that's not right...my faith is simpler, I'm just not as cocky (or confident) as I once was ;).

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I have another question - unrelated to the first question, but addressed to EO believers. How does the EO church/leaders/teachers/doctrine view an "average" Christian? What I mean is, what if you never become a martyr, or do anything of note or seeming consequence to the cause of Christ? This is where I struggle internally a heck of a lot. I consider myself an average or below average Christian. When I read about Christians who have done amazing things for the Lord I wonder where I stand in the Kingdom. I know it's not in a notable place. Sometimes I wonder if I stand in the Kingdom at all. I don't mean to seek out all kinds of pats on the back or anything like that to make me feel better. What I mean to ask is, how does the EO teach to or guide the average or below average Christian? In my church the bible studies, which are meant to help our members grow in the Lord, are focused around digging deep into your soul to see what God wants to change. Like, do you have a hidden attitude that you need to let Christ change? Or, do you have something in your life that has become an idol that you need to put down? Stuff like that. These are the classes that I have trouble attending. They seem so self focused and self indulging. Like you do all these surveys and tests to see where you are at, then you dig really deep to find something, even if it's half contrived, just so you can get something out of the bible study. So, how does the EO church handle this issue? Is it just me? Am I just in rebellion to digging deep? Will I ever feel like I belong to Jesus and know him and he knows me, or is it a constant struggle: flesh against spirit, that brings no satisfaction? If anyone can only tackle one of these questions, that would be nice. I know I put a lot out there, and I'm sorry for rambling.

 

As mommaduck said, we're all average Christians. I don't feel the need to compare myself to someone else, I just know that I have a lot to work on personally. That is why in the EO there is so much emphasis on praying, fasting, and giving alms. We're working on ourselves, not in some random way, but in a way that is a proven path to bring you closer to God. It's not reinventing the wheel all over again. There is an ever-continuous exploration of the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church elders - people who have BTDT, and we try to pattern our lives after them. Of course, Jesus is our ultimate authority and the one we look to, but to read writings from the early centuries by people who knew the apostles, and to emulate others who have lived out their lives in very holy ways is very helpful to us as struggling Christians.

 

And no, you aren't in rebellion. If anything, I would say you are trying to conform yourself to Christ :thumbup1:

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I lost my post :glare:

 

Here's the short version. First, kudos to Milovany for putting up with my questions over the last 6 months!!!!

 

Here's another question....please don't be offended.

 

How do we know that EO is what Jesus wanted His church to be like? I can see makeing the claim that EO is the original organized Christian Church, but how do we know Jesus wanted and organized/hierarchial structure church? I'm not really asking if that's what Peter and James wanted...but is it what Jesus wanted?

 

Does that make any sense?

 

Because the Trinity is hierarchical. The Son is sent by the Father and so is the Spirit. This gets messy quick because They are also equal and inseparable. So we say the Father is the first among equals in the Trinity.

 

An example of first among equals is the Chairman on the Planning Commission. He sets the agenda and runs the meeting but really only has one vote just like everyone else. If it was needed one of the other members could step in and take his place. The chairman cannot make someone else vote his way. He does not even have veto power.

 

The Biblical model of marriage is the same way (I hope I do not get in trouble here). There is no male and female in Christ they are equal but in the marriage the man is the head. He is only the head as the first among equals. The wife can step and be the figure head if needed. She has a vote and he cannot change that.

 

This is the way it is with the bishops. Bishops may be higher in honor (Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem,) but at a church wide council each bishops gets one vote and that is all (even if the Bishops all agree but if the laity does not accept the council then it does not matter what the Bishops decide. that has happened a few times ie the Robbers Council). The hierarchical model of the church comes straight from the trinity (and Christs teachings to his apostles).

 

When the Lord calls someone to anything, it is always to suffering. Bishop means head slave.

 

Check with other sources on this stuff because I am reaching the level of my incompetence here. Ancient Faith Radio (online) is a good source.

 

ps I responded to the OP but I do not see it. One thing I said in it is that I am not a priest (I kind of regret my user name for that reason). I am just a simple layman. I do not want to misrepresent who I am.

 

pss This is a better teaching of Bishops and Priests http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/namesofjesus/jesus_-_pastor_and_bishop

Edited by Father of Pearl
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I have another question - unrelated to the first question, but addressed to EO believers. How does the EO church/leaders/teachers/doctrine view an "average" Christian? What I mean is, what if you never become a martyr, or do anything of note or seeming consequence to the cause of Christ? This is where I struggle internally a heck of a lot. I consider myself an average or below average Christian. When I read about Christians who have done amazing things for the Lord I wonder where I stand in the Kingdom. I know it's not in a notable place. Sometimes I wonder if I stand in the Kingdom at all. I don't mean to seek out all kinds of pats on the back or anything like that to make me feel better. What I mean to ask is, how does the EO teach to or guide the average or below average Christian? In my church the bible studies, which are meant to help our members grow in the Lord, are focused around digging deep into your soul to see what God wants to change. Like, do you have a hidden attitude that you need to let Christ change? Or, do you have something in your life that has become an idol that you need to put down? Stuff like that. These are the classes that I have trouble attending. They seem so self focused and self indulging. Like you do all these surveys and tests to see where you are at, then you dig really deep to find something, even if it's half contrived, just so you can get something out of the bible study. So, how does the EO church handle this issue? Is it just me? Am I just in rebellion to digging deep? Will I ever feel like I belong to Jesus and know him and he knows me, or is it a constant struggle: flesh against spirit, that brings no satisfaction? If anyone can only tackle one of these questions, that would be nice. I know I put a lot out there, and I'm sorry for rambling.

 

We quote St. Paul often and say we are the first among sinners. This can be true because the only one we are to compare ourselves to is Christ. No pats on the back here. But remember that guy on WTM named Paul is the chief among sinners. :001_smile:

 

ps. I have not read the whole thread I am just starting from the beginning.

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Well, I think that many denominations feel that theirs is the one true faith.... Since EO is older in form than many, many other denominations, it would make sense to me that they might have this feeling, too....

 

To me, and forgive me if I'm wrong, this pre-supposes that denominations are a normal/natural part of the life of the church (it seems to indicate that EO is just another denomination). Our stance from within Orthodoxy is that it is pre-denominational. There was a time when there were NO divisions, no denominations, no independent churches, no schisms. There was just one church and all who called themselves Christians became a part of it. Yes, those divisions started happening, but that doesn't mean that original church disappeared or became apostate. We believe that the same Holy Spirit that led the fallible men of the early Church to put together the Scriptures in an infallible way (which pretty much all Christians believe) was certainly capable of using fallible men in building His Body (the Church) in an infallible way. Things that are impossible with men are possible with God, no?

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Because the Trinity is hierarchical. The Son is sent by the Father and so is the Spirit. This gets messy quick because They are also equal and inseparable. So we say the Father is the first among equals in the Trinity.

 

 

I've really never heard "first among equals" used to describe these things in the Orthodox Church. I've only heard it to describe the primacy of the Bishop of Rome.

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It is beautiful! I am in no way denying that. I wouldn't be wrestleing so hard with this if that weren't so.

 

It doesn't answer my questions though...and that's where I come to a hault.

 

The services we attend now are very liturgical and follow the calendar as well.

 

It still comes down to "how do I know that EO is Jesus's design for the church?" But maybe I am asking myself the wrong questions? Why is it imporatant to be a part of it?

 

My brain is starting to go in circles :lol:

 

If your struggle is between the emergent church and the EO there is an Orthodox priest in South Africa at http://khanya.wordpress.com/ that talks about the emergent church from time to time.

 

The beauty is not why you "come and see". It is the life of the church that is important. It cannot be replicated anywhere else. Taking the calendar or any of the traditions out of the context of the church is like picking a flower. It looks good for a while but soon it will die and wither because it has no roots. Going independent does not work because then the Aleut Church in Alaska or 8th century saint form the Church Ethiopia cannot correct our cultural biases.

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Very good post, and so much for me to think on!!!

 

About the bolded part, a question. Why do you think the temple curtain was ripped upon His death? How did that fit in with this line of thought?

 

I know what I have been taught...but would love your thoughts ;)! Or anyaone else's!!!

 

Because we never entered the Holy of Holy's the Holy One comes seeking us. One tradition is that Mary the Mother of God made the curtain when she was working at the temple in her youth. The life of Mary is not the Gospel so I will not go into it here.

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Hi,

 

I'm Scott. My wife Debbie showed me your post because I'm actually doing my thesis (MA religious studies) on problems in the Evangelical church. To avoid misleading, we are Anglican (under Rwanda) and therefore Liturgical & Evangelical, (not liberal). I am studying with an Eastern Orthodox professor.

 

Anyway, wanted to share a couple of resources I mentioned to my wife.

 

Bradley Nassif is an excellent Orthodox Theologian often involved in dialogue with Evangelicals. One dialogue can be heard here:

 

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/features/eastern_orthodoxy_and_evangelical_protestantism_a_dialogue

 

Also his article here:

 

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/NassifGospel.php

 

Hope they are helpful.

 

SR

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Well now, I'm not sure that Roman Catholics would agree that EO is pre-denominational, unless they are, too, and for that reason I was simply listing all varying faiths as "denominations" for the sake of lumping all together....But perhaps this answers Simka's question....

Actually, they would as Rome was ONE of the several patriarchs. Then Rome separated from the rest and that became the first "Great Schism" (now the disagreement would come in the form of "who still holds the keys and remains unchanged" ;) ).

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Just wanted to say how much I've appreciated these threads. I've got Facing East on hold at the library so maybe I can read it over Christmas break. I've been amazed at how many times I read something about EO and find myself nodding my head. Or, maybe that isn't really that surprising. You have all been very informative, kind and gracious.

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I've really never heard "first among equals" used to describe these things in the Orthodox Church. I've only heard it to describe the primacy of the Bishop of Rome.

 

In Fr. Alexander Schmemann's book "Towards a Theology of Councils he wrote: "Hierarchy is the very form of concilliarity." He sees this as mirroring the divine life of the Trinity. Hierarchy and concilliarity should not be opposed, but go together: "the hierarchical principle belongs to the very essence of the council…", and Orthodox church government must be rooted in a "concilliar ontology."... "hierarchy is, above everything else, the mutual recognition of persons in their unique, personal qualifications, of their unique place and function in relation to other persons, of their objective and unique vocation within concilliar life. The principle of hierarchy implies the idea of obedience but not that of subordination…" He concludes: "To oppose these two principles is to deviate from the Orthodox understanding of both hierarchy and council." (From http://orthodoxwiki.org/Primacy_and_Unity_in_Orthodox_Ecclesiology)

 

Well now, I'm not sure that Roman Catholics would agree that EO is pre-denominational, unless they are, too, and for that reason I was simply listing all varying faiths as "denominations" for the sake of lumping all together....But perhaps this answers Simka's question....

 

I would not identify either EO or RC as denominations. The RC may or may not agree.

 

 

Bradley Nassif is an excellent Orthodox Theologian often involved in dialogue with Evangelicals.

 

SR

 

I like Dr. Nassif. I wish he would do more on Ancient Faith Radio.

 

Getting back to the OP, the Orthodox Church views itself as the fullness of the faith.

 

Basically all our puzzle pieces fall together to make a great picture and this is a mystery. Others may have puzzle pieces (even have many puzzle). I have never seen them make the picture anywhere else.

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Actually, they would as Rome was ONE of the several patriarchs. Then Rome separated from the rest and that became the first "Great Schism" (now the disagreement would come in the form of "who still holds the keys and remains unchanged" ;) ).

My mind is whirling right now. I really never knew this. :confused:

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Very good post, and so much for me to think on!!!

 

About the bolded part, a question. Why do you think the temple curtain was ripped upon His death? How did that fit in with this line of thought?

 

I know what I have been taught...but would love your thoughts ;)! Or anyaone else's!!!

 

Ok...I think I finally have a few minutes (what a day this has been!) so I'm going to try to get some thoughts jotted down.

 

First, a few Bible passages have come to mind relating to what we were talking about yesterday:

 

Matthew 5:17-18

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

 

 

Luke 16:17

17And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

 

 

Luke 24:44

And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

 

Matthew 23: 1-7

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

2Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:

3All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

4For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

5But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

6And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

7And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

 

Note in this one that Jesus tells the people to observe the law of Moses as originally written, but not to follow the example of corrupt leaders whose hearts are in the wrong place and who have added burdensome things to the law. Mark 7 also contains a bit of a discussion from Christ about how Jewish leaders, Pharisees in particular, had gotten to the point where they put undue emphasis on traditions established by men, to the point where they were doing that and ignoring the actual law established by God.

 

Anyway...enough of that. On to the above question. What are my thoughts as to how the ripping of the temple curtain at the death of Christ fits in with this line of thinking.

 

First, I want to be clear that what I'm sharing here are my own thoughts and shouldn't be taken as necessarily representative of LDS thinking in general--I don't think there's anything in them that is actually contrary to LDS teaching, but I'm only speaking for myself and others of my faith might have different ideas.

 

At any rate, I think to explain where I'm at on this one it might be helpful to review a little about the temple and the temple curtain. I'm sure you probably learned a lot about it in seminary and this won't be new information to you, but just for the sake of review and to point out a few things I find significant to this particular topic. The temples of ancient Israel are quite interesting. Piles of symbolic meaning in practically every aspect of the structure and functions. This temple curtain, or veil, that was torn at the death of Christ separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies in the temple. The Holy of Holies was the heart of the temple, the most sacred space. In the temple built by Solomon, modeled after the tabernacle carried by the Israelites in their wanderings, and on which all other temples were modeled, the Holy of Holies housed the ark of the covenant containing the stone tablets Moses brought down from the mountain. And if I remember right also some manna (bread of life from heaven) and maybe Aaron's staff that budded? Maybe your memory is better than mine on this. Anyway, the ark sat between two guardian cherubim, and the cover of the ark was called the Mercy Seat, and was considered to be the throne of God on Earth. Symbolically, if not literally, the Holy of Holies was the presence of God. Only the high priest was allowed to enter that space. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies, and sprinkled blood from specific sacrifices on the Mercy Seat on behalf of the people, to obtain mercy for their sins. The curtain, or veil, represents (in my understanding) the separation between God and man brought about by the Fall, and by sin.

 

Keeping in mind the rather lengthy discussion in Hebrews about Jesus being our High Priest, I understand the tearing of the temple curtain as part of Jesus' fulfillment of this part of the law of Moses. The sacrifices and ceremonies of the Day of Atonement under the law of Moses typified and anticipated the Savior's sacrifice of atonement. But His sacrifice was Himself. The blood of His sacrifice was presented before the literal, actual throne of God--THE Mercy Seat--in heaven, on behalf of His people to cleanse them from their sins. But his sacrifice was not just a symbol, it was THE sacrifice toward which the symbolic sacrifice pointed. The symbolic sacrifice did not in itself cleanse any sins; it served to point to the actual source of atonement and to lay claim as God's people, under covenant with God, to their part in that infinite and eternal sacrifice of sacrifices.

 

Jesus's sacrifice was the fulfillment of that symbolic, anticipatory sacrifice. The tearing of the veil showed, symbolically, what was happening literally. THE true High Priest of all mankind was literally entering the true presence of God to present His sacrifice of His own blood before the actual Mercy Seat and atone for the sins of all mankind, past present and future. As His sacrifice was accepted, sin and death were overcome--the things which separated man from God literally lost their power over us, making it possible for those who have part in that sacrificial atonement to pass through the barrier into the actual presence of God. To me, the tearing of the temple curtain is symbolic evidence on Earth that Christ's sacrifice of atonement was officially pronounced accepted by The Father, in heaven, on the Mercy Seat, and that this part of the law had indeed been fulfilled, every jot and tittle. It was God's acknowledgement that the true Atonement had at last taken place.

 

HTH. :)

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Today, on our way to Disneyland, I listened to this podcast. I was intrigued to learn more about the Eastern Orthodox faith, so I went to ancient faith radio, and found this one: http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/series/foundations_of_the_orthodox_faith.

 

I've listened to the first 4 so far. I'm pretty much blown away with most of what I heard. It's nothing like I've ever heard before. Especially the EO view on Sola Scriptura, and Communion. I have much to digest here. I've been sharing what I can remember with my husband, and his response was, "If I had heard any of this 4 years ago I would have cried, 'heresy.'" However, he didn't cry "heresy." He's been listening and contemplating, as am I.

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I'm pretty much blown away with most of what I heard. It's nothing like I've ever heard before. Especially the EO view on Sola Scriptura, and Communion. I have much to digest here. I've been sharing what I can remember with my husband, and his response was, "If I had heard any of this 4 years ago I would have cried, 'heresy.'" However, he didn't cry "heresy." He's been listening and contemplating, as am I.

 

Jennifer, hugs and prayers for you. Two years ago tomorrow night -- Christmas Eve -- we attended our first EO service (with Patty Joanna and her family!) after learning these things that you speak of, having never ever heard them before. I love this time of year .... may you find the God of truth and beauty on your journey.

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I understand the tearing of the temple curtain as part of Jesus' fulfillment of this part of the law of Moses.

HTH. :)[/color]

 

MamaSheep gave a good explanation. My wife asked our priest about this and he said the tearing of the veil showed that the old covenant was fulfilled (basically what MamaSheep said).

 

If you are at an Orthodox Liturgy the tearing of the veil is shown dramatically (especially at a Russian or OCA parish) when the priest pulls open the purple curtain and comes out with the Eucharist (the Body and Blood of Christ God) and we the people, can commune with our God because he came to us. These little things are why we say "come and see."

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To me, and forgive me if I'm wrong, this pre-supposes that denominations are a normal/natural part of the life of the church (it seems to indicate that EO is just another denomination). Our stance from within Orthodoxy is that it is pre-denominational. There was a time when there were NO divisions, no denominations, no independent churches, no schisms. There was just one church and all who called themselves Christians became a part of it. Yes, those divisions started happening, but that doesn't mean that original church disappeared or became apostate. We believe that the same Holy Spirit that led the fallible men of the early Church to put together the Scriptures in an infallible way (which pretty much all Christians believe) was certainly capable of using fallible men in building His Body (the Church) in an infallible way. Things that are impossible with men are possible with God, no?

 

Well, some groups(which others would label protestant) believe that they are in the business of restoring the original church and that they are not denominations, rather non-denominational. They claim the original church is to be found in the scriptures, not in "the traditions of men."

 

This is actually where I hit a wall in Christianity. I see multiple interpretations of scriptures as having possible validity, none of them seem to really matter when you look at the big picture. It is Tradition that stops me cold.

 

I can see the beauty in ritual and symbolism, but not the necessity. I believe that the original church possessed an extraordinary simplicity. I have seen ruins of a 2nd century church being excavated in Greece. There was no evidence of elaborate ritual (except for baptism) or iconography.

 

Then there are the traditional teachings about Mary. I just can't wrap my brain around them.

 

No offense intended, just chiming in with my own thoughts.

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MamaSheep gave a good explanation. My wife asked our priest about this and he said the tearing of the veil showed that the old covenant was fulfilled (basically what MamaSheep said).

 

If you are at an Orthodox Liturgy the tearing of the veil is shown dramatically (especially at a Russian or OCA parish) when the priest pulls open the purple curtain and comes out with the Eucharist (the Body and Blood of Christ God) and we the people, can commune with our God because he came to us. These little things are why we say "come and see."

 

This was my general understanding as well. I'm trying to think back to some of my theology courses, but it was something along the lines Jesus taking away the division between us and the Holy of Holies.

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Well, some groups(which others would label protestant) believe that they are in the business of restoring the original church and that they are not denominations, rather non-denominational. They claim the original church is to be found in the scriptures, not in "the traditions of men."

 

This is actually where I hit a wall in Christianity. I see multiple interpretations of scriptures as having possible validity, none of them seem to really matter when you look at the big picture. It is Tradition that stops me cold.

 

I can see the beauty in ritual and symbolism, but not the necessity. I believe that the original church possessed an extraordinary simplicity. I have seen ruins of a 2nd century church being excavated in Greece. There was no evidence of elaborate ritual (except for baptism) or iconography.

 

Then there are the traditional teachings about Mary. I just can't wrap my brain around them.

 

No offense intended, just chiming in with my own thoughts.

 

 

Your post really resonates with me. I struggle with Taditions being elvated to a certain place. I'm noticeing that with EO I don't actually struggle with the traditions themselves, but when do they cross the line of becomeing "traditions of men."

 

Your point about Mary is something I struggle with as well. This is what I've come to...If it's true that she was ever virgin (which I am pretty sure I don't believe) I'm the one who loses out. I don't think Eo belifes it's needed for salvation...but I could be wrong;).

 

I'm learning...and seeking.

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Your post really resonates with me. I struggle with Taditions being elvated to a certain place. I'm noticeing that with EO I don't actually struggle with the traditions themselves, but when do they cross the line of becomeing "traditions of men."

 

Your point about Mary is something I struggle with as well. This is what I've come to...If it's true that she was ever virgin (which I am pretty sure I don't believe) I'm the one who loses out. I don't think Eo belifes it's needed for salvation...but I could be wrong;).

 

I'm learning...and seeking.

No, they don't. It is a belief of the Church, but they do not insist that it's something a convert has thoroughly wrestled out before conversion ;) However, they do have more to this belief (aka, that Mary was most likely much younger than Joseph and became widowed).

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I am reading a lovely book with my father called "Light From the Christian East" by James R. Payton. It is written with such kindness for both East and West, and clearly elucidates some of the basis for the differences (rather than just talking about the differences themselves as many book do). We are enjoying it; high praise as my father is a Reformed pastor and not really interested in changing that. This book has been a great jumping off point for discussion

 

The way I came to the Church is the way others have mentioned.. I went and I saw :). I drank it up like I was a dying of thirst (which I was). Books and podcast were both essential in my journey, but nothing replaces the direct experience of being there and moving from learning about Him, to meeting Him.

 

I do not reject my protestant upbringing (nor have I been asked to); rather I see it as a part of my journey... God has built on those parts and is leading me to a more complete understanding of Him. Perhaps others will not be led to Orthodoxy (I adore the "we do not know where God is not" quote! ) but we were. Thank God! The Orthodox Church offers me a fullness that I was not finding any where else... sorta like eating real French cake after a diet of Twinkies. Fullness. Deep nourishment. Yummy!

 

Being in the Church has radically changed my family in truly miraculous ways. I could go on about this (certainly you can pm me if you like) but I know it is digression from the OP; I guess I am so overwhelmed with gratitude right now that I am finding it hard to contain myself.

 

Christ is Born!

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MamaSheep gave a good explanation. My wife asked our priest about this and he said the tearing of the veil showed that the old covenant was fulfilled (basically what MamaSheep said).

 

If you are at an Orthodox Liturgy the tearing of the veil is shown dramatically (especially at a Russian or OCA parish) when the priest pulls open the purple curtain and comes out with the Eucharist (the Body and Blood of Christ God) and we the people, can commune with our God because he came to us. These little things are why we say "come and see."

 

Thanks. That is interesting to know. I am often surprised by how often LDS and Orthodox agree on things, especially since there are a few truly key things about which we don't. I am glad to find some more common ground.

 

And incidentally, LDS temples also have a veil, which is split from top to bottom.

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Well, some groups(which others would label protestant) believe that they are in the business of restoring the original church and that they are not denominations, rather non-denominational. They claim the original church is to be found in the scriptures, not in "the traditions of men."

 

This is actually where I hit a wall in Christianity. I see multiple interpretations of scriptures as having possible validity, none of them seem to really matter when you look at the big picture. It is Tradition that stops me cold.

 

I can see the beauty in ritual and symbolism, but not the necessity. I believe that the original church possessed an extraordinary simplicity. I have seen ruins of a 2nd century church being excavated in Greece. There was no evidence of elaborate ritual (except for baptism) or iconography.

 

Then there are the traditional teachings about Mary. I just can't wrap my brain around them.

 

No offense intended, just chiming in with my own thoughts.

 

These are some of the reasons that in LDS belief the original church (which had been altered to incorporate too many "traditions of men", some replacing original revealed teachings) had to be restored by God through revelation. It cannot be "figured out" by man through scholarship, as clearly shown by the disagreements over interpretation prevalent among Bible scholars. And men cannot just 'assume' authority because they want it, it has to be given by God. But I know that modern, ongoing revelation is harder for many people to believe in than tradition or scholarship.

 

Anyway, this is not a thread about LDS beliefs so I won't say any more about it, but thought I'd just mention that there is a third position (restoration through revelation) in addition to the two you mentioned (restoration through scholarship, and ongoing tradition that may or may not be intact).

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