Skip to comments.The Top Ten Most Important Church Councils
Posted on 10/29/2012 1:25:18 PM PDT by NYer
To be deep into history, John Henry Newman wrote, is to cease to be a Protestant. Put another way, to be deep into history is to become stronger in the Catholic faithsomething we are all called to do in this Year of Faith.
To make that journey into the history of our faith is to discover anew its most basic tenets. Who was Jesus really? How can God be three persons in one being? What is the proper role of the Church in salvation? And how does Mary fit into all this?
These questions, and many more, were raised and answered in the ecumenical, or universal, Church councils.
Ironically, one key to understanding the orthodox teachings of these councils is heresy. The councils, especially the earliest ones, were essentially anti-heresy conventions, called to sort the wheat of dogma from the chaff of heresy. This could be a dizzying and disorderly process: no sooner had one bastion of orthodoxy had been defended, than the Church had to rush to the defense of another. So, while one council had to correct heretics who falsely divided Christ into two persons, the next council had to make a course correction in the other direction, reining in heretics who falsely united His human and divine natures into one.
To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame, G. K. Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy. But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.
In all, there were 21 ecumenical councils. All were important in their time, but only some of them stand out for the lasting significance they have had on the faith and life of the Church today. Here, then, are the top ten must-know councils, listed chronologically by the date they were convened:
1. First Council of Nicaea, 325: One of the earliest heresies to rear its head was Arianism, which asserted that Christ was created by the Father and later adopted as His Son. Refuting this heresyby declaring Christ one in being with the Fatherwas the chief task of the Council of Nicaea. In the process, the Nicene Creed was born.
2. First Council of Constantinople, 381: This council defended dogma on two fronts. It affirmed the divinity of the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity. And it condemned a new heresy that claimed Christ was part man and part God but not completely one or the other. Instead, the heresy, known as Apollinarism, put forward the harebrained theory that Christ was comprised of a human body and a divine mind.
3. Council of Ephesus, 431: This council defined the dogma that Christ is one person, not two persons, as the heretical Nestorians claimed. This council also has the distinction of being the only ecumenical gathering that made any dogmatic statements about Mary, declaring her to be the Theotokos, or Mother of God. The other great achievement of this council is its least known: repudiation of one of the most insidious of heresies in Christian historyPelagianism, which denied original sin and said men can use their free will to attain salvation on their own merits, without Gods grace.
4. Council of Chalcedon, 451: After Ephesus declared that Christ was one person, some Christians took that teaching too far, concluding that He also had just one nature, a mystical blend of the human and divine (this heresy was known as Monophysitism, from the Greek words for one and nature). That obviously throws a wrench in the entire message of the gospel. If Christ wasnt fully man, had mankind really been redeemed? If He wasnt fully divine, had God really saved us? Needless to say, the Church quickly pulled together another council to clarify its earlier teaching: Christ was one person, but had two natures. The council ended up achieving more than it bargained for, in ways good and bad. On the upside, it helped to cement the primacy of the Pope as the leader of the Church. But it had the tragic and unintended consequence of sending the Orthodox churches in Syria, Egypt, and Ethiopia into schism.
5. Third Council of Constantinople, 680: This council squashed a new heresy about Christ called Monothelitism, which held that Christ had just one will. You may be thinkingnow were really getting into the weeds, arent we? But Monothelitism was a serious heresy that was a throwback to Monophysitism (the heresy that Christ had one nature). In saying Christ had one will, the Monothelites were essentially saying he had one nature. In rejecting this heresy, this council closed a major chapter in Church history, putting to rest any major lingering debates over who Christ was.
6. Second Council of Nicaea II, 787: This council declared that venerating icons was not only permissible, but also necessary. And it lambasted anyone who claimed that veneration was akin to worship of God or that veneration of icons violated the Old Testament commandment against worshipping false idols. Protestants who repeat such accusations today could use reminding that this controversy was settled centuries ago.
7. Fourth Lateran Council, 1215: By all accounts, this was an epic council. Both St. Dominic and St. Francis attended; a Holy Roman Emperor was named; and the council helped launch a new crusade. In matters of strictly faith and morals, its achievements were equally staggering: the council defined the doctrine that there is no salvation outside the church, approved the use of the term transubstantiation, mandated that Christians go to confession at least once a year, and condemned the erroneous Trinitarian teachings of Joachim of Fiore, calling them heretical and insane.
8. Council of Florence, 1431: This council is important for two apparently unrelated reasons. First, it decided what books belong in the Bible. Second, it made a heroic attempt to reunite Catholic Church with the Eastern Orthodox Greek churches that had broken off several hundred years earlier. But the reunion was short-livedalmost immediately dissolving after the council ended.
9. Council of Trent, 1545: Its hard to imagine a more influential council. Trent defined and defended a whole swath of Church dogmas and teachings about the Eucharist, the authority of the Church, the role of Scripture, and the nature of the Sacraments. The council also led to a standardized Mass, launched the Counter Reformation, and inspired the baroque movement in the arts. In short, Trent gave Catholicism its definitive shape and substance for the next half millenniumat least, up until Vatican II. (But thats another story.
10. Vatican I, 1869: Although it had been an article of faith since the earliest times, it wasnt until Vatican I that the Church defined the dogma of papal infallibility. Two criteria were put in place: the Pope had to be speaking in an official capacity, that is, from the chair, or cathedra, of St. Peter and he had to be speaking about matters of faith and morals. Since that council, there has been only one infallible papal statement, in 1950, on the Assumption of Mary. (The other commonly cited ex cathedra statement, on Marys Immaculate Conception, was in 1854.)
Why Vatican II didnt make the list: Obviously, Vatican II looms the largest of all the councils not only because it was the most recent one but also because it brought sweeping changes to the Church. The significance and salience of those changes remain a subject of controversy and confusionand therefore the lasting impact of Vatican II is unclear. If those changes mark the beginning of a new course for the Churchwhatever that might bethen Vatican II will go down as a pivotal moment. But history has yet to render its verdict.
[ Put another way, to be deep into history is to become stronger in the Catholic faithsomething we are all called to do in this Year of Faith. ]
He must mean “in Roman Catholic Church History”..
Because accurate church history is much different.. much much different..
RCC church history is one thing, actual church history is something else..
There are some places where they both more or less agree somewhat but vast areas where they don’t agree..
Only way to know this is to read them both(all).. almost nobody does that..
I know that the RCC needs to support its hierarchy and dogma I appreciate that..
And other church historys needs to support some biblical view.. which they all say they do..
My point is their are several views of church history not just the RCC one..
WHOs RIGHT!... Ah! thats what dreams are made of..
Conevntional Wisdom (that is to say, the slander of Protestants and secularists) is that Vatican I was an incredible power grab of the papacy. The reverse is actually true: By delimiting the infallibility of the pope, all other matters of the church became open to ecclesiastical introspection. Which is not to say that all ecclesiastical introspection is valid, or that any challenges to theology which has not been doctrinally asserted is valid; it is a grave heresy, inconsistent with the magisterium, that any matter not infallibly resolved is questionable. Quite the opposite: Vatican I affirmed that deference must be made to tradition. One can deny with intellectual honesty theology which has not been ruled infallible, but which represents the current theological consensus any more reasonably than one can doubt any other science which represents the current scientific consensus.
To delve really deep into history and you’ll realize Martin Luther was not only right but only halfway through the tangled webs of deceit and confusion spun by the church he loved. To follow the Word of God or to follow church “tradition” is a choice we all have to make. They lead to different destinations.
Did you miss that?
Are you saying that you would rather believe in heresies than the truth?
“To be deep into history, John Henry Newman wrote, is to cease to be a Protestant.”
Ha! I JUST finished making a short reformation day workbook for my youngest to do on Wednesday. I read a lot of history. I am more a Protestant than ever.
Did I say that? No. I'm saying I believe more in the plain truths of the Bible than 100 of these self important councils. The Word of God trumps the councils and papal edicts any day of the week.
The Top Ten Most Important Church Councils
On the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council
Vatican II, 50 Years Later : The council brought great controversy, but eventually, a greater gift
It is the Decision of the Holy Spirit and Us .On the Council of Jerusalem...(Catholic Caucus)
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: General Councils of the Church, 1870-1962
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: General Councils of the Church, 1123-1545
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: General Councils of the Church, 49-870
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Acts 15 Model: General- Ecumenical Councils of the Church Universal
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Biblical Model for Handing On Truth and Refuting Error: Acts 15, The Council of Jerusalem
A Timeline of Catholic Church history, 1-500 A.D. (includes Councils, Canon of the Bible)
MAJOR COUNCILS OF THE CHURCH - 1st Council of Nicaea - 325 A.D. (1st in a series)
MAJOR COUNCILS OF THE CHURCH - 1st Council of Constantinople - 381 A.D. (2nd in a series)
MAJOR CHURCH COUNCILS - The Council Of Chalcedon - 451 A.D.
Perhaps the first Council of Carthage (AD 397) should also be included, because that’s where the books of the Bible were arranged in the order in which they exist today.
In the tautology of Protestant education there is a tendency to believe that Church doctrines emerged at the first Pentecost wholly intact awaiting only the Reformation to add their brilliance to it. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Early Church Fathers taught that Catholic doctrine was more like a sculpture than a painting. Just as a stone must be challenged by a hammer and chisel to reveal the complete beauty hiding within it, Orthodoxy must be challenged by controversy and heresy to reveal the complete beauty previously hidden. It is not what the artist or the reformer adds to doctrine that strengthens and reveals it, but it is what is stripped away over time that reveals it.
Over time, each of the Councils stripped away heresy, error and uncertainty, adding to the understanding. They added nothing new, the Church doctrine was always there, it was just clouded.
Peace be with you.
To follow the Word of God or to follow church tradition is a choice we all have to make. They lead to different destinations.
Everyone who worships their own, Most High and Holy Self says their own personal interpretation of Scripture is the Word of God.
Therefore, everyone is right, no one is wrong, and no one can be wrong, because there is no authority other than personal authority.
Like Eve, all such folks see nothing wrong with modifying His Word here and there, interpreting things to fit their personal preconceptions, or even throwing portions of the Scripture into the trash, in order to rationalize whatever they want to do. Once people decide their personal authority trumps Scripture every time by granting themselves the final word in all matters of interpretation, they're at the very least on the fast track to Self Worship if they're not already there.
For example, prior to 1931, every single Protestant group taught that contraception was a sin. After 1931, they all reversed themselves and to this day teach that there's nothing wrong with contraception, much less that it's a sin.
Were all Protestants basing what they believe on Scripture as they were led by the Holy Spirit prior to 1931 and have now gone astray, or were they all wrong prior to 1931 but are now in agreement with Scripture and the Holy Spirit?
Or do the majority of history scholars believe that the Holy Spirit occasionally reverses what it is Truth the same way Mooze Lames say All Uugh does?
Here's a little history tidbit. In March of 1931, speaking to Catholics with regard to all Protestant groups, Bishop Fulton J Seen said, "Since a week ago last Saturday, we can no longer expect them to defend the law of God. These sects will work out the logic of their ways and in fifty or a hundred years there will be only the Church and paganism. We'll be left to fight the battle alone and we will.
It's about eight years since then and only The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church Jesus Christ Himself founded is still standing against paganism and the mass murder of infants with contraceptives.
He was right, no one can any longer count on folks who wake up one morning and teach the exact opposite of what they said was based on Scripture and the Holy Spirit the day before. Unfortunately for those who have fallen prey to the family of heresies Wycliffe and Luther spread, the Bible teaches that the Church is the rightful interpreter of Scripture which means that those who each interpret it for themselves are acting in direct opposition to the Word of God.
Are you doing OK? Just stormy where you are, no huge drama I hope?
It's too bad that question of whether Protestants were in touch with the Holy Spirit when they interpreted Scripture prior to 1931 requires ultra enlightenment and ultra inspiration to answer. Mere enlightenment and mere inspiration, though, obviously doesn't count for too much given the fact that huge numbers of enlightened and inspired people approve of ordaining queers and even of marrying one queer to another.
So, while I was very interested in whether Protestants are right now or were right before they reversed themselves on contraception, it was good of you to agree that no one can be wrong when personal interpretation trumps Scripture itself.
Do you have these conversations with yourself much? Remember this my literary friend, one + God is always a majority.
Protestant bashing is a popular sport. How dare they only worship God through Jesus, don’t they read the Bible says you have to worship Popes, Bishops, Councils, Icons and weeping toast-Jesus??
Asking the sort of folks who claim their personal authority exceeds the authority of all Scripture a question is pretty much like talking to oneself..
I guess such folks can't rely on the Holy Spirit to lead them to the Truth so they go along with whatever spirit is hanging from a tree in their backyard.
Clarity in writing is not your long suit but I take this as a reprimand of sorts. I'm sure you are sincere in your beliefs and love your church very much. I disagree with much of what your church teaches but that doesn't mean I dislike you. God has a judgement coming and all will be judged individually NOT by denomination. Be prepared.
Apparently their Bible reads “Man does not live by bread alone but by every tradition that precedes from every council”. But mine reads we are to go into battle against the forces of evil with “the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God”. Ephesians 6:17 may not be in their Bible though. It would be a poor soldier that went into battle without his sword.
Luther's novel tradition of "the Bible alone" is not in the Bible.
Yet Jesus tells us, "if he refuses to listen to the church, treat him as a pagan or tax collector.
According to Martin Luther’s restoration of the historical Christian faith, a great many that followed him, including most Protestants today are off track.
Do you believe according to the Lutheran Confession are one of those?
Hello boatbums. What about nonCatholic churches that hold to their own traditions? Are those congregations devoid of truth? I'm thinking of one of the pastors in my family. Each year his congregation votes whether to retain him or fire him. I understand that Judas' office was replaced by drawing lots. Hardly the same thing is it? Is his congregation putting a tradition above scripture when it comes to acceptance/rejection of who feeds them the word of God? If so, are they cut off from God's truth?
What if my cousin's church observes traditions that originated in the Catholic Church? Has he separated himself from the truth? If so, mustn't he abandon the celebration of liturgical seasons? The New Testament doesn't tell us to celebrate Easter, Good Friday, or Christmas annually. Or to make lenten sacrifices or use advent wreaths. If his church observes these practices are they in violation of God's truth?
Or what if he preaches on the Holy Spirit? Scripture doesn't explicitly tell us that the Spirit is the 3rd Person of the Most Holy Trinity. Is he putting tradition above God's truth to portray the Spirit as part of the Godhead?
Not trying to be argumentative. I'm just confused as to the criteria that should be employed to determine if a nonscriptural tradition places someone outside God's truth, as you say it does. I'm hard pressed to think of any nonCatholic Christians I know in real life who don't observe some traditions that originated in the Catholic Church. I would hope you'd not view these people I cherish as good Christians as having separated themselves from God's truth!
Peace be with you.
Funny, but that isn't what happened to me - The deeper I got into history, the more certain I became in my opposition of the Roman church. Go figger...
I never said it was. We also have the Holy Spirit to guide us and that will never be in contradiction of the Scriptures or the will of God.
Yet Jesus tells us, "if he refuses to listen to the church, treat him as a pagan or tax collector.
The church today is a far cry from the pure Church which Jesus is referring to. Has error crept into churches doctrine? I would say yes and the way to get right is to study the Bible and see what the early church taught that is not followed today.
Although it is not widely known in our Western world, the Catholic Church is actually a communion of Churches. According to the Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, the Catholic Church is understood to be "a corporate body of Churches," united with the Pope of Rome, who serves as the guardian of unity (LG, no. 23). At present there are 22 Churches that comprise the Catholic Church. The new Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, uses the phrase "autonomous ritual Churches" to describe these various Churches (canon 112). Each Church has its own hierarchy, spirituality, and theological perspective. Because of the particularities of history, there is only one Western Catholic Church, while there are 21 Eastern Catholic Churches. The Western Church, known officially as the Latin Church, is the largest of the Catholic Churches. It is immediately subject to the Roman Pontiff as Patriarch of the West. The Eastern Catholic Churches are each led by a Patriarch, Major Archbishop, or Metropolitan, who governs their Church together with a synod of bishops. Through the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Roman Pontiff works to assure the health and well-being of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
While this diversity within the one Catholic Church can appear confusing at first, it in no way compromises the Church's unity. In a certain sense, it is a reflection of the mystery of the Trinity. Just as God is three Persons, yet one God, so the Church is 22 Churches, yet one Church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes this nicely:
"From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them... Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions. The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity" (CCC no. 814).
Although there are 22 Churches, there are only eight "Rites" that are used among them. A Rite is a "liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony," (Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 28). "Rite" best refers to the liturgical and disciplinary traditions used in celebrating the sacraments. Many Eastern Catholic Churches use the same Rite, although they are distinct autonomous Churches. For example, the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Melkite Catholic Church are distinct Churches with their own hierarchies. Yet they both use the Byzantine Rite.
To learn more about the "two lungs" of the Catholic Church, visit this link:
The Vatican II Council declared that "all should realize it is of supreme importance to understand, venerate, preserve, and foster the exceedingly rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern churches, in order faithfully to preserve the fullness of Christian tradition" (Unitatis Redintegrato, 15).
Orthodox catholic hierarchy is all the same to me..
We were talking of “church history” and RCC church history is unique and branded..
A microcosm of unique myths and legend some of which may have actually happened in some sense.. OR NOT..
Whether it/they(things) actually happened or not is not the question..
That there several versions/types of church IS the question..
KEEPing Roman Catholics ignorant (of this) is paramount to some in the hierarchy I understand..
Its just that I hate lies.. no matter the good intent..
Please get the facts, either from NYer's link or from this one.
[ Its just that I hate lies.. no matter the good intent. / Name one. ]
Thats a different conversation... we’re talking about church history here..
Please try to stay on the subject..
Bouncing around confuses the issues.. unless thats what you want to do?..
Brilliant strategy.... won’t work with me tho..
[ This is not about “Orthodox” churches. This is about Catholic Churches with different rites. ]
I didn’t bring up orthodox church history someone else did..
I merely responded to him/her..
My point so far totally IGNORED is that Roman Catholic History is only one view of church History.. there are
Was hoping for a sidebar on other church historys..
But it seems most all Roman Catholics have no inkling there is even other church historys.. let alone what they are..
Most protestant scholars I know are well versed in Roman Catholic church history..
Its just that it seems almost all Roman Catholic scholars are pretty much ignorant of other views..
And RCC laity are even more ignorant..
Ignorance is not stupid.... its just willful.. willful ignorance..
I ‘m not a protestant or catholic.. and am just observing what seems to be..
Dogmatic ignorance is another story completely..
But interesting just the same.. and interests me...
That is simply not true. Every Church council was brought about by challenges to Church orthodoxy from within and from without. A study of the proceedings from the Councils can more clearly spell out the cultural and political history of Western civilization than any college history text book I ever read.
Other church histories are always presented in the context of secular and Protestant revisionism, which is always at odds and in opposition to Church history. Even the terminology of secular history is tainted, a perfect example is the term "Dark Ages".
Peace be with you.
Who are the revisionists the protestants or the "catholics"...
The "catholics" didn't fair well during the dark ages.. Actually few did..
If you(anyone) gives benefit of the doubt to dark ages historians toward "truth" (accuracy) they may be playing PollyAnnas GLAD Game.. Even scripture may have been "tainted".. Church History is even more at risk..
I may be a bit jaded even cynical.. but I am at the least suspicious.. There would much pressure to make church history jive with common dogma at the time.. Which could make some of it "BE Jive"..
[ Other church histories are always presented in the context of secular and Protestant revisionism, which is always at odds and in opposition to Church history.]
I see, so there is no roman catholic revisionism?..
RCC church history is the base the standard?...
So, Anything that disagrees is suspect challenging the standard..
I see where you are coming from...
But I disagree.. BOTH can be in error one or the other..
You are not appearing logical.. or even fair..
I am not here to convert you to anything..
If your historical views are parochial then they are..
I post mainly for lurkers that do not post but ARE logical..
And you know..... not parochial..
OR have not ever heard Roman Catholic Church History is
NOT THE STANDARD.. but just another “view”..
I know you aren't trying to be argumentative and you ask a reasonable question, but go back to what I actually said: "the truth is not found in those who hold their "traditions" above the Word of God". That is the key in determining what is the truth about our faith - can it be proved by the Holy Scriptures. My concern is certainly not with "traditions" at all but with those traditions that are placed above what the Bible says. Here's an example:
You brought up this issue:
You are right, Scripture makes no such demands, so it should be viewed in light of what the tradition is and what the importance is placed on it for the Christian. Scripture DOES tell us in Colossians 2:16, "So don't let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths." and also in Romans 14:5, "One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.". We can understand from these passages and others that anyone who comes along and makes observances of certain "holy days" mandatory upon a Christian and makes them essential for salvation, has disobeyed what Scripture says. They have placed their "tradition" above the word of God.
St. Augustine was said to have made this statement:
I think it is a good rule to follow. There are certain essential doctrines that all Christians should be unified on, i.e.; Deity of Christ, salvation through Christ, the authority and accuracy of the Bible. But where the Bible is silent, we still have its guidance to light our path and the indwelling Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth.
Thanks for the question. Peace be unto you.
in all things, charity.
I'm so glad you said that. Thank you! I don't know why Catholics or nonCatholics believe that posts filled with venom can possibly be perceived as bearing any Truth. If no fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5) are manifest, seems to me the poster has already forfeited credibility. So it becomes more about throwing stones than behaving like children of the same Father.
May Christ's peace reign in your heart always.
The "you" and "your" in that verse are plural. Are you claiming that a promise given to the apostles extends to each individual believer? If so, doesn't 1 Cor 12:28 tell us that the office of apostle, while enjoying primacy of place, is appointed by God, not chosen by individuals (1 Cor 12:29)? Doesn't 1 Cor 12:4-11 tell us that there is variability in the gifts the Spirit gives us? If I'm not an apostle, am I given the gifts of an apostle or the gifts the Spirit has individualized for me (1 Cor 12:11)? What need is there to send out the eleven apostles (Mt 28:19-20) to teach all Jesus commanded if Jn 14:26 applies to all believers?
Please understand I"m not trying to be argumentative. I just do not see how, with no offense intended, the promise in that verse applies to you. Or me :)
Peace be with you.
The Apostle Paul remanded the Thessalonians in II Thess. 2:15, to, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.". So we know that the "traditions" he was referring to were his teachings which he both preached to them in person or wrote to them in his epistles - as well as his other epistles and those of the other Apostles which were also distributed among the local churches. Paul also praised the believers at Corinth who he said, "I praise you for remembering everything I told you and for holding to the traditions that I passed on to you." (I Cor. 11:2).
But Jesus frequently rebuked the religious leaders of the Jews for distorting the word of God BY their traditions, he said in Mark 7:8, "For you ignore God's law and substitute your own tradition." This same thing can happen with religious leaders today and we must be mindful of what the Scriptures say as well as listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit within our hearts. If we are members of the Body of Christ, are believers in Him, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit and we will be given discernment to know truth from error.
As to your contention about capital "T" Tradition versus small "t" tradition, part of being able to "rightly divide the word of truth" as Paul said would come from studying the Bible, we will be able to know the difference. Like I said, I have no problem at all with traditions of various churches with regard to liturgy, order of worship, leadership set ups, songs, etc., but Scripture is always the authority and guide even with these issues.
For example, the Corinthian church had a serious problem with some in the church boasting of their gift of "tongues" and they caused confusion and discord because they were not discerning about God's purpose for the gift. Paul had to teach them the proper place and time for using the gift as well as who and what it was to benefit. - and it was NEVER to glorify the one doing the speaking. I fully understand and accept that through the centuries the Christian faith community developed as it met challenges from within and without. Those who had been gifted with the grace of leadership were set up as the pastors and overseers of the congregation and they had an enormous responsibility to not only know the Scriptures but to be fully committed to the care of their flock. Added to that in the first century was the constant persecution they all faced but it only served to strengthen the faith and endurance of those who lived on and continued to spread the faith far and wide. God guided and encouraged those first believers and the Christian faith grew as the years progressed.
I don't think there is a real "arbitrary line" regarding what we can know is tradition and Tradition. I think God tells us what is essential through His word and the Holy Spirit is who leads and guides to further explain and teach the truths He has revealed. You have mentioned the Holy Spirit several times now regarding His "Godhead". There are ample Scriptures that inform us of His nature, being, purpose and actions so we are not left to our own devices trying to figure it all out. Even in the first century, the believers knew this because they had the teachings of Jesus as well as the Apostles. I do not think the written Epistles were the first time they heard of the truths presented but they were written for the benefit of those who would come after the Apostles died as well as for those still alive - for their encouragement and edification just as us today. After the first thousand years passed, there WAS error that crept in and it was allowed to remain which blurred the line between what was Scriptural and what was man-made tradition. The tradition turned into Tradition and was given an equality WITH Scripture. It is this kind of error that Jesus rebuked and we must all be on guard against even today.
Finally, I think we should all strive to speak the truth in love as much as lies in us. Those who can't find it in themselves to "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." (Col. 4:6) should refrain from commenting on some threads until they can do so without the "venom". I agree with you, it turns people off. I'm not perfect, God isn't finished with me yet, but I DO try.
Blessings and peace to you and yours.
As Peter amply demonstrated when Jesus was arrested,the way the 'sword' is wielded can sometimes make people unable to hear.
Grace and peace to you both,your discussion is a blessing to read.Thankyou.
Some promises were given to the apostles exclusively and some for all believers. Prudence, study and prayer are needed to discern the difference. Look at all references to the workings of the Holy Spirit and its power. Was/is the Holy Spirit limited to contact with the Apostles exclusively and in that time period only? Jesus cannot be here in Person since He has arisen because of His responsibilities as High Priest and Intercessor on our behalf. He has sent the Holy Spirit to all to guide us to Him as our Saviour. Claim this promise as yours.
Peace be to you.
No, it is not. To follow the Word of God is to follow the Traditions of the Church. Scripture, which followed the Traditions, are clear on this too:
"For a whole year they met with the church, and taught a large company of people; and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians." - Acts 11:26
"Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you." 1 Corinthians 11:1-2
"If you will give these instructions to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching you have followed." - 1 Timothy 4:6
"Stand firm, and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter." - 2 Thessalonians 2:15
This is not exclusively a Catholic view either. Two prominent Protestant scholars, A.N.S. Lane and D. H. Williams, wrote that the Early Church Fathers held to the coincidence view of Scripture and Tradition; that Scripture and Tradition do not differ in content, and that both are equally authoritative. This is in recognition that BEFORE there was a Bible the Early Christian Fathers wrote:
Whenever anyone came my way, who had been a follower of my seniors, I would ask for the accounts of our seniors: What did Andrew or Peter say? Or Phillip or Thomas or James or John or Matthew, or any of the Lords disciples? I also asked: What did Aristion and John the Presbyter, disciples of the Lord say. For, as I see it, it is not so much from books as from the living and permanent voice that I must draw profit. St Papias - The Sayings of the Lord (between A.D. 115 and 140)
For even creation reveals Him who formed it, and the very work made suggests Him who made it, and the world manifests Him who ordered it. The Universal [Catholic] Church, moreover, through the whole world, has received this tradition from the Apostles
True knowledge is the doctrine of the Apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place, and has come even unto us, being guarded and preserved, without any forging of Scriptures, by a very complete system of doctrine, and neither addition nor curtailment [in truths which she believes]; and [it consists in] reading [the Word of God] without falsification, and a lawful and diligent exposition in harmony with the Scriptures, both without danger and without blasphemy (Against Heresies 2:9) St. Irenaeus A.D. 189.
"Wherever it shall be clear that the truth of the Christian discipline and faith are present, there also will be found the truth of the Scriptures and their explanation, and of all the Christian traditions" (The Demurrer against the heretics 19:3) - Tertullian 200 AD.
"That alone is to be believed as the truth which is in no way at variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition" (Fundamental doctrines 1, preface: 2) Tertullian 225 AD.
Seeing there are many who think they hold the opinions of Christ, and yet some of these think differently from their predecessors, yet as the teaching of the Church, transmitted in orderly succession from the Apostles, and remaining in the churches to the present day, is still preserved, that alone is to be accepted as truth which differs in no respect from ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition. (On First Principles Bk. 1 Preface 2 Origen [circa A.D. 225]).
While [Ignatius of Antioch] was making the journey through Asia under the strictest military guard, he strengthened the diocese in each city where he stayed by spoken sermons and exhortations, and he especially exhorted them above all to be on their guard against the heresies which then for the first time were prevalent and he urged them to hold fast to the tradition of the Apostles to which he thought it necessary, for securities sake, to give form by written testimony (Ecclesiastical History, 3:36- St Eusebius [A.D. 325]).
Without prefixing Consulate, month, and day, [the Fathers] wrote concerning Easter, "It seemed good as follows," for it did then seem good that there should be a general compliance; but about the faith they wrote not, "It seemed good" but, "Thus believes the Catholic Church"; and thereupon they confessed how they believed, in order to show that their own sentiments were not novel, but Apostolic; and what they wrote down was no discovery of theirs, but is the same as was taught by the Apostles (Letter on the Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia St Athanasius [A.D. 359]).
Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us "in mystery" by the tradition of the Apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force. And these no one will contradict; - no one, at all events, who is even moderately versed in the institutions of the Church. For were we to attempt to reject such customs as have no written authority, on the ground that the importance they possess is small, we should unintentionally injure the Gospel in these matters (On the Holy Spirit 27 St. Basil [A.D. 375]).
While you thrist for the same God, you drink from a half empty glass.
Peace be with you
Church history is the history of Western Civilization and is indeed my baseline standard. However, since you have made an assertion that it deviates from "actual" history perhaps you would care to present some substantiated examples.
Peace be with you
I don't mean to suggest that the Holy Spirit was limited in any way. Then or now :) What I disbelieve is that a promise given to eleven men commissioned with a specific responsibility is a promise given to me personally.
I agree with you that the Holy Spirit guides us. I don't agree that we're all given the same fullness of knowledge that those who walked closest with Christ were given. Still if we're both faithful to the promptings he gives, we'll end up in the same place to marvel at his glory and his mercy forever :)
May the peace of Christ guide and govern our hearts always!
They were commissioned to do what? Go out and preach the Gospel. You are to do the same. There are many many promises in the Bible going unused because we think (1) we aren't good enough (2) doesn't apply to me (3) I don't "feel" like God has chosen me to do this (4) fill in the blank with whatever. We are empowered. God wants us empowered. Blessings unused is like the servant hiding the masters money instead of increasing his wealth in his absence.
Have a blessed day.
bumpus ad summum
But Jesus frequently rebuked the religious leaders of the Jews for distorting the word of God BY their traditions, he said in Mark 7:8, "For you ignore God's law and substitute your own tradition."
And yet in Mt 23:2-3 Jesus indicates the people should follow the teaching but not the hypocritical example of those leaders. And he says it's because of their position of authority (the seat of Moses). If my understanding is correct, the "seat of Moses" is part of Jewish oral tradition. Whether or not Christians of today accept oral tradition, it does seem that Jesus did and told his followers to do the same.
This same thing can happen with religious leaders today and we must be mindful of what the Scriptures say ...
My Bible says Jesus promised three times (Jn 14:17, 15:26, 16:13) on Holy Thursday that he would guide his apostles. Not to be argumentative, but do you consider these verses to apply to leaders of all Christian churches? Or only some? Or none, it's more an individual thing? Just trying to understand, not argue ;) Your posts are helpful to me because you state more succinctly what some of the nonCatholics I know IRL have difficulty expressing as clearly.
as well as listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit within our hearts.
This is why I look for the fruits of the Holy Spirit no matter which denomination is speaking and regardless of lay or clergy status :)
If we are members of the Body of Christ, are believers in Him, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit and we will be given discernment to know truth from error.
I ask this with the sincerest respect and charity. You and I disagree. What means should be used to determine which of us, although genuinely sincere, is in error when we both have scriptures that support our positions?
Scripture is always the authority and guide even with these issues.
I can understand and respect that as a personal preference. What I disagree with is any notion that Jesus asked us to view scripture this way. Given the scandal of the RCC throughout the ages, I think Jesus would understand Christians who take this position. Without intending to sound haughty, I just don't see evidence in scripture that Jesus asked us to take that view.
Thank you again for the courtesy in your response. Peace to you always!