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.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

One Final Stab

Okay, let me make two points here and move on. I'll respond to the greek lesson when I have a chance to study it a little.

First, although you admit to arguing from an Orthodox position, you also admit to not being Orthodox. If you aren't Orthodox, then argue from your own position. The problem I see with all your arguments is that you claim to be accepting the authority of the church when in fact you don't accept the authority of any church, except the church of 1600 years ago. This leads to my second point...

Second, although you claim to accept what the early church says on a given subject. The problem with that argument is that the writings of the church Fathers are open to interpretation themselves. I have read articles which quote the church fathers supporting opposite viewpoints on a given subject. How do we know what the correct interpretation is? By what the church today says is the correct interpretation, I would assume. But you don't accept the authority of any church because you don't agree with all of any church's doctrine, which leads us back to the fact that you are guilty of the very thing you're accusing most protestants of.


Blogger Hajiburton said...

A few comments:

"argue from your own position..."
Hear, hear!
(In fairness, Josh, I suspect that PF from what he, based on his own convictions about Scripture, believes, which agrees in most of its substance with Orthodox doctrine.) I think that is probably more intellectually honest than my own position on doctrine at the present, which, if thoroughly evaluated, would leave me unaffiliated with any major group. I will employ PF's strategy. From now on, I will argue as if they were the utterances of a 10th century Cistercian monk.

"The church fathers support opposite viewpoints on a given subject. How do we know what the correct interpretation is?"

Good question. You should found a school or "schola" to investigate the question. You could call the resulting systematization "scholasticism"!! Seriously, though, if Aquinas had never happened, you probably couldn't written that paragraph. Up until the 13th century, there was substantial wiggle room in interpreting Scripture and the Fathers. They were all right, but which one you emphasized was a matter of how well you could justify yourself and who your powerful friends were.

Of course, this is nothing like the present day, when protestants may belong to a group without even knowing or caring what constitutes the group and makes it distinct from other groups.

What I, and, I suspect, Edwin and PF long for, is something more like the early middle ages, when there was authority and tradition, with wiggle room.

Sir R.F. Burton

5:06 PM  
Blogger The Poor Blogger said...

The thing is, nobody has their own position. Mine is a modified Orthodoxy. I argue from an Orthodox perspective because I believe them to be the most right in a plethora of semi-right Christians. It makes sense. It's sound. When I read "River of Fire", it was a revelation!

Also, when I say "This is what the Orthodox believe", I am doing my best to say exactly what I've learned from them. And I say it, usually, because I believe it too. And, Haj, your 10th. c. monk is about 3 to 7 centuries out of date. :-)

As for opposing viewpoints in the Fathers, that is absolutely the case. That said, I'm not just appealing to one Father. I'm usually looking at their collective decisions from the Councils. That is what I consider authoritative.

Finally, I'm not looking for authority and tradition with wiggle room. I'm looking for unity. It was easy to tell who were the "good guys" and the "bad guys" way back when. Now, we're so fractured, that a dogmatic, Orthodox "We're the Church and you're luck if you're 'other sheep'" position is, I believe, untenable.


7:54 PM  
Blogger Hajiburton said...


But Pauper, I never said I would respond AS a 10th c. monk, but that I would respond AS IF THEY WERE THE UTTERANCES thereof. Being thoroughly postmodern, I reserve my right to cannabalize history in order to shroud myself in a particular image.

Caritas et Pacem,
Sir R.F. Burton

6:13 PM  

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