Skip to comments.God lost His Truth, His Church? (A civil discussion regarding such issues)
Posted on 01/01/2003 12:24:46 PM PST by Jael
Submitted for discussion, the following statement (and all that can follow from it....
"Finally, by God's grace, the central truths of the Bible were rediscovered by Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other Reformers."
1.) Did God lose his Truth? Or hide it? Or not allow it to be seen or known? (During the period of time in question.)
2.) Why would something that God has promised would continue, need to be "rediscovered"?
3.) Did He allow a period of time to exist where his church did not?
4.) If one holds to the fact that Rome was not the true church, where was the Body before Rome, and during Rome, but before Luther or Calvin?
5.) How does your belief regarding Rome effect your belief about Scripture? Did God give His Word to Rome? If so, why isn't she orthodox according to Scripture?
In an effort to more fully understand my Calvinist friends, I went searching for information. I found that statement on the website for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). I copied it from there, but I believe it probably fits a number of the Calvinistic belief systems. (Different Calvinistic churches.)
In starting this thread, I request that we check our egos at the door. I'd like to discuss this, but I am not interested in people who brag about what they know but never use any Scripture to validate their claims.
Also, this isn't an anti Catholic thread, but I will warn my catholic friends that they will not care for the beliefs many of us have regarding Rome. That doesn't lessen our respect for them as individuals. I invite them to participate here as well, if so desired.
I have friends in other religions who have said (it's a cop out I think, but bear with me) that they could never be __________ (such and such a denomination) because the people who disagree with each other are so rude.
I am not saying I haven't ever been,
but let's try not to be, ok.?
You never know who is watching and reading, and your testimony matters.
2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
If Satan has a will that can take people captive, but God says they can be recovered by teaching, and by acknowledging the truth, does that mean that the person can choose? Or not? Is the will of Satan stronger than the will of God here? What about the person's own will?
Mom ping this to your calvin list.
Personally, I don't think so. The well-known "Trail of Blood", for example, has to embrace incredibly heretical (by the standards of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox!) sects in order to maintain continuity. I see no means by which to establish a claim of a "pure" church, "untainted" by popery.
So how does one solve the obvious problem, from a reformed standpoint? Quite simply by realizing that the truth never "died": while the Church had many problems, and was in need of reform, vital truths lived on, though they may have been limited to individuals. I can gather a number of individuals, mostly monks, whom one might easily consider "semi-evangelical": but still very much within the Church. Were there any that espoused fully Protestant ideas? Probably not- and one must be careful not to strain the beliefs of medieval individuals so as to make them "Reformed".
In 988 Orthodoxy was brought to Russia by Prince Vladimir, where it flourished.
The years of 1350-1550 were the culmination, considered the "golden age of Orthodoxy" in Russia.
In the eastern church we were physically isolated from the rest of the world and protected as well. In Russia some of the most profound spiritual times were during the middle ages.
Andrei Rublev comes to mind.
There was also the problem that much of the medieval church simply was not equiped to propoagate its doctrine to the people. While some of said doctrine was quite sound, local parishes often did a miserable job of spreading it. And corruption was rampant, particularly at the time of the Reformers. These things, along with the general amaglation of bad doctrine, brought about the Reformation.
I couldn't consider them as such. Doctrinally speaking, or in any way, I don't see Rome as ever being a part of Biblical Christianity.
There was a magnificent display of some 125 Russian icons and religious artifacts at our local art museum recently (In South Mississippi- it's actually quite nice, for a largely rural region. A balance of largely traditional art, a sprinkling of "modern"-gagh- and a fine collection of Native American baskets). I don't recall any icons by Rublev (or on his design rather, as most of them were from early-modern to turn of the century periods), though I did not get to view it as well as I would have liked. I came back a few days later only to learn the exhibit had just been packed... I don't agree with many of the practise surronding icons, but they are certainly beautiful works of art and devotion.
"Martin Luther, the famous German Augustinian monk turned Reformer, disagreed on a number of points of faith and practice with the Roman Catholic Church and so began the Reformation and the Lutheran Church.
Luther was actually very well disposed toward the Eastern Orthodox Church. For example, he esteemed the way the Orthodox Church held services and read the Bible in languages understood by the people, distributed Holy Communion in both Kinds and had a married clergy.
During a debate with his Roman Catholic theological opponents, Luther chided the Roman side for casting a slur on the Eastern Orthodox Church. He reminded them that the Eastern Church was half of the Church of Christ and that, as far as he was concerned, it was the "better half" (which is where that popular term comes to us from!).
In terms of the differences between Orthodox Christianity and Lutheranism, that is sometimes difficult to determine.
For example, if we say that the Orthodox Church is different from the Lutheran Church because the former honours the Virgin Mary and the Saints, that would not be true for the entire Lutheran tradition and Church.
As you know, Martin Luther himself venerated the Virgin Mary throughout his life, as did the early Lutherans. He was often portrayed holding a Rosary by the early Lutherans and he wrote movingly about Mary and the "Hail Mary" prayer!
There are High Church Lutherans in Europe and elsewhere who likewise venerate the Virgin Mary and the Saints. There is the "Die Sammlung" movement in Germany which seeks church unity and a revival of Lutheranism's Catholic heritage, as is the case also in Sweden and Finland.
I have also corresponded with Lutheran Ministers (who prefer to be called "Priests") who share with Orthodoxy almost every single point of faith - or at least I found it difficult to determine where they weren't "Orthodox" save for the fact that they were not in formal communion with the Orthodox Church.
And there are Lutherans who, once they've studied the early Luther's writings and the vision of early Lutheranism, become Orthodox themselves e.g. Jaroslav Pelikan is a recent example of a famous Lutheran scholar who became Orthodox.
Orthodoxy differs from Protestantism in general in a number of ways. One way it differs is in its faith concerning the way in which Christ saves us.
Protestantism (and I'm not necessarily equating all of the Lutheran heritage with it - that would be unfair and untrue) believes that Christ died by way of substitution e.g. taking our place to placate God the Father for the offense given by Original Sin and our other sins.
Orthodoxy believes that God became man in Christ to heal us of the disease of sin and sinfulness that is in our nature. Christ's death on the Cross destroyed the record of our sins before God. By dying, Christ gave us life. He rose us from the death of sin by His Resurrection and He gave us the opportunity to participate, by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, in Him and through Him in the life of the Holy Trinity and the Communion of Saints. We are called to become transfigured by the Divine-Human Christ through the Holy Spirit and become Christ-like - something that Martin Luther actually affirmed himself when he said we are called to become "little Christs."
We do have a few blots in our history. We were not always as good to the jews in Russia during certain historical times. And certainly the Old Believers were persecuted, at least by taxes if nothing else, in parts of Russia during Peter the Great's time.
In our faith we consider them to be theology in art. As if the Bible were made into pictures, so to speak. And many of our icons are just that, biblical stories made into art. Thank you for your kind words. I do love your state of residence, having traveled there several times.
In Facing East our fellow EO Frederica M.G. writes of a Georgian preacher whom I have taken great interest in, who recently passed away I understand.
Are you familiar with him?
God is Love
If You Only Had One Sweet Son
And You Gave His Life To Save
Ten Wicked Men. And And They
Returned And Denied That You
Gave Your Only Son For Them
And Said You Child Never Exist
No One Died For Us. Please Go
Right Now And Call You Child To
You And Measure You Love For Him
And Turn And Look At The Most
Sinful Man You Know And
Think If You Would Trade Your
Presus Son For Him. God Is Love."
"Along the way Finster began to do some painting -- mostly on scrap wood and cut-out panels, depicting angels, heavenly scenes, animals, and portraits with large, luminous eyes fringed with long lashes like the rays of the sun. Then he heard a call to "build a paradise and decorate it with the Bible." (Finster says he received "messages" and "visions" from God throughout his life, starting at the age of three). He bought a plot of wasteland near his home in Summerville, Ga., and called it "Paradise Gardens." On those acres he created artworks, sculptures, paintings, and buildings, always seeking to demonstrate the glory of God.
He didn't leave it up to visitors to guess what he was doing; Paradise Gardens' most prominent feature was hundreds of signs tacked up to explain the Gospel and the lessons the artworks sought to convey. "I built this park of broken pieces to try to mend a broken world," read one sign. Due to Finster's limited education, correct spelling was not always a feature of his work, but his hard-hitting wisdom made it unnecessary. Another message at Paradise Gardens appeared on an oil-drum lid nailed to a pine tree. Painted sky blue, then inscribed in red and indigo, it read "Dying daily is a greator sacrifice than dying dead." Misspelled, yes, but no less true because of it."
I guess what I really want to say is that I think this backwoods Georgian preacher, with almost no education and clearly lacking the ability to spell, has/had it all. No church required. He knew the Truth.
Quite simply, that "God is Love" and "daily dying" is harder than dying "dead".
And I will say that he did not require the Eastern Orthodox church or any other to find this truth.
"For my kingdom is not of this world."