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, November 28, 2005

Your Thoughts?

A friend of mine wrote this. What do you think?

If the Orthodox Church is a hospital then his local Evangelical Church may well be a First Aid post or even a Field Hospital. Not as well equipped, but certainly bringing some healing to damaged souls and keeping them on the road when there is no hospital anywhere nearby, or no signs pointing out where it is.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Jewish Humour

You have all probably heard...

How odd
of God
To choose
The Jews

But maybe not the reason

Not odd
Of God
Annoy 'im.

Rich Mullins on Bias

"There are all kinds of things that are pushed on us and we have no say over. And they shape the way we see everything. Because I grew up in Indiana, in the Protestant tradition, in fact in the Quaker tradition-that had a lot to do with biasing me. That's going to have an effect on the way that I interpret the Scriptures; that's going to give me my perspective. And I need to be aware of what my perspective is, so I can both appreciate it and be a little distrustful of it."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Rich Mullins on Sola Fide/Gracia

And folks, sometimes we think that we're saved because of how good we are, or because of how smart we are, or how clever we are, or how much we give. All those things are in a sense salvific. God does save us through our own work. If you don't believe me, then become a Lutheran and cut James out of your Bible. But, we're mostly saved, not because of what we do, but because of what Christ did. Had Jesus not died, all the water in the world wouldn't wash away your sins. Had Jesus not taken away our sins, all the prayers in the world that we could pray would never reach heaven. Had Jesus not come down as God and become flesh, there is no way that you and I could become holy.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Truth Defined!

Mr. White,
You raise an intruiging question, and one that Modernity has circumlocuted at great expense, (after the even greater expense of the Wars of Religion). Provided yourself and Pauper Frater promise not to burn my peasants and slaughter my villages, so that I am forced to emigrate to the New World, I will tell you that I do not think the Filioque is necessary for Christian orthodoxy. The scriptural case for the proposed revision pointed to by Pauper Frater is much stronger than that for Filioque itself, which depends on a logical extension of the economic (or historical or missional) relationship between the members of the Trinity into the eternal (or ontological) relationship. The Orthodox have been sounding this note since Chalcedon, and it is high time that we recognized that it is a dashed good point. The scripture says "though," who are we to add that it is also "from?"
Augustine, on the other hand, was not ourselves, but AUGUSTINE when he decided that it was also "from," and thus our difficulty.

But let us proceed to the main event: I cannot and will not turn on my Protestant loyalties and embrace all seven ecumenical councils, principally because, as you all well know, Mary as "Theotokos" (Mother of God) takes a dangerously speculative step with regard to Christology. (I might add, however, against the austere tastes of the Reformed, that I have no particular problem with Iconography in houses of worship.)

Finally, I feel I must say that the Foundational Truths to which you refer are, in great measure, philosophical ones which the ancient world held unquestioned, and which, in our own time, make the subject of truth a difficult one. As an example, several of the truths which stand, as it were, behind the 3 Creeds are:

The Unity of Reality, The Existence of the Spiritual World, the Knowability of Reality, and, further on, the Reliability of Scripture- (whatever, ecumenically speaking, that is).
I might ask, as a subset of your own question, whether we all agree on these pre-doctrinal theses?

Sir R.F. Burton

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Pride and Reformation

"Ambition is the mother of all Heresies...Almost all corruptions of doctrine flow from the pride of men."
- John Calvin

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
- Act 20:29, 30

Monday, November 07, 2005

What is Truth?

Well, the obvious answer is "Jesus." He is the Truth. So I guess a better question is, "What are the foundational truths that make us Christian that we cannot question without straying from the Christian faith?" The problem is that no one agrees on what the foundational truths are. Must you believe that Jesus is 100% man and 100% God? According to the Council of Nicea, yes. So are all the Copts not Christians? Even at Nicea, they argued and voted and the winners decided what was orthodoxy and what was heresy. Must you believe that the Holy Spirit only proceeds from the Father? According to the Orthodox Church, yes. That leaves the entire western church in heresy. I could go on. We must establish a common basis for deciding the foundational truths before we can ever agree on what they are.

Things that make you go hmmmm....

One day some old men came to see Abba Anthony. In the midst of them was Abba Joseph. Wanting to test them, the old man suggested a text from the Scriptures, and, beginning with the youngest, he asked them what it meant. Each gave his opinion as he was able. But to each one the old man said, "You have not understood it." Last of all he said to Abba Joseph, "How would you explain this saying?"

He replied, "I do not know."

Then Abba Anthony said, "Indeed, Abba Joseph has found the way, for he has said: 'I do not know'."

Saturday, November 05, 2005


I ran across these on the net. You guys have answers for them?
  1. If God will have all men to be saved, and if most men are lost, then how can God be supreme (1 Tim.2:3,4)?
  2. If Christ is the Propitiation for the sins of the whole world, did He die in vain for the lost (1 John 2:2)?
  3. If God is going to reconcile the universe through Christ, how can some be tormented forever (Col. 1:20)?
  4. How can God, in Christ, gather all things together as one while billions remain eternally estranged (Eph.1:10)?
  5. If all die in Adam, and a few are made alive in Christ, how can grace much more abound than sin (Rom. 5:20)?
  6. If all men are condemned by Adam's offense, why are not all justified by the one just award (Rom. 5:18)?
  7. If all die in Adam, why shall not all be made alive in Christ (1 Cor. 15:22)?
  8. How can every knee bow confessing Christ Lord, to God's glory, unless reconciled (Phil. 2:10,11)?
  9. If Christ only hath immortality, how can any of the dead be alive now (1 Tim. 6:14-16; 1 Cor. 15:53, 54)?
  10. If the wicked go to hell as soon as they die, why are they raised and judged later (Rev. 20:11-15)?
  11. Since the lake of fire is the second death, what happens to the wicked when death is destroyed (1 Cor.15:26)?
  12. If "forever" means "eternity" what does "forever and ever" mean?
  13. If God is Love and has all power, will He not find away to save all (1 Tim. 4:9-11)?
  14. If Christ is to reign for ever and ever, what does it mean that He will abdicate His throne (Rev. 11:15; 1 Cor. 15:24)?
  15. Will God ever actually become All in all (1 Cor.15:28)?