As Iron Sharpens Iron

An ongoing and online discussion between: an Orthodox informed Ecumaniac without a denominational home, an ordained Baptist youth pastor with an open mind, a Calvinist worship leader/seminarian with a staggering vocabulary and ability to make a point, and a cradle Catholic with a love/hate relationship to Rome.

Monday, December 27, 2004

We and God

What I cannot accept is when a council, of humans, begins to espouse doctrine that is not clearly laid out in the Bible. You have rejected the doctrine of Immaculate Conception for that reason. I reject the doctrine of Real Presence for the same reason.

I don't reject the Immaculate Conception because it's not in Scripture. The perpetual Virginity of Mary is not in Scripture and I believe that wholeheartedly. I reject it because the ancient Church did not believe it. It is an unnecessary innovation which is logically necessary according to the Augustinian doctrine of Original Sin on which the Western Church is hung up.

Your response, apparently, is the church represented by what you have chosen to believe. All you have done is widen the circle of that which influences what you believe from the Bible to the Bible and the councils that you have chosen to accept.

No, not at all. First, let me say that I am arguing as if I were Orthodox. I'm not. I always look to them first for my answers, but no Orthodox priest I know would let me commune at Mass. My personal convictions will wait until later. As for widening the circle, nope. I have placed Scripture in a context out of which it was never meant to be taken. It was done in response to the abuses of the Western, Roman Catholic Church, but never in the East. Scripture has always been part of that Tradition which was identified and upheld by the Church. It is no higher, nor lower, than the Creeds, or the councils, or the dogma of the Theotokos (Mary, Mother of God or God-bearer), etc. The Church recognized that without inspired authors, there is no inspired Scripture, and the inspired authors gave inspired interpretation which was passed down from Apostles to their heirs, the Bishops.

It's not "me and God" but "us and God."

There is no one denomination that represents the one true church any more.

Nope. And that's why even modern Orthodox look to the decisions of the undivided Church and are very Entlike in even considering changes. I consider no one as authoritative as the unified Church once was. Thus, when I look back for answers, I look WAY back! I don't care how logical, based on Scripture, someone's argument is. If it doesn't mesh with the way the ancients interpreted it, it is suspect.

By the way, the doctrine of the Real Presence is in Scripture. Jesus said, "This IS my Body and my Blood." He didn't say, "This REPRESENTS my Body and my Blood." Catholics and Orthodox are very literal that way. :-)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edwin replies:
Although I have read some Patristic literature, I have yet to hear a refutation from the Church Fathers regarding the Immaculate Conception.

The wording of the "Immaculate Conception" is a stumbling block for many. First, the idea that Mary was a virgin is biblical. But what significance is physical virginity compared to spiritual virginity? Mary is the Grail, the original cup that held the Blood of Christ. Indeed, it is the Blood of Mary that ran through the veins of Jesus, and allowed him to be man for our salvation. In a very real way, it was Mary's blood that was spilled on the Cross. This blood was untainted by sin.

If you wish to understand the Catholic understanding of the Immaculate conception, you must understand it at its most spiritual level, not simply as a legal construct or "definition."


1:44 AM  
Blogger The Poor Blogger said...

The point is not that they refuted it, or even that it is not possible or detracts from the Faith. The point is that her Immaculate Conception is unecessary with the Orthodox understanding of Original Sin. Likewise, they consider it an "innovation", a new addition to the deposit of faith necessitated logically by Original Sin (which they don't have), but not otherwise. Kind of a "fruits of the poisinous tree" thing. I don't have a problem with Mary being Immaculately Conceived. I do, however, have a problem being required to believe it when I don't. Thus, one of the reasons I can't be a Catholic.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edwin replies:
Would it help if I offered the writings of St. Ephrem the Syrian (306-373)? He spoke of Mary's sinlessness back when the Church was still one. Better yet, he was neither Greek nor Roman, so he cannot be accused of that bias (I offer this in English and Latin):

O PURE and immaculate and likewise blessed Virgin, who art the sinless Mother of thy Son, the mighty Lord of the universe, thou who art inviolate and altogether holy, the hope of the hopeless and sinful, we sing thy praises. We bless thee, as full of every grace, thou who didst bear the God-Man: we bow low before thee; we invoke thee and implore thine aid. Rescue us, O holy and inviolate Virgin, from every necessity that presses upon us and from all the temptations of the devil.

O PURA et immaculata, eademque benedicta Virgo, magni Filii tui universorum Domini Mater inculpata, integra et sacrosanctissima, desperantium atque reorum spes, te collaudamus. Tibi ut gratia plenissimae benedicimus, quae Christum genuisti Deum et Hominem: omnes coram te prosternimur: omnes te invocamus et auxilium tuum imploramus. Eripe nos, o Virgo sancta atque intemerata, a quaecumque ingruente necessitate et a cunctis tentationibus diaboli.

1:55 AM  

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