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 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.

6 Comments:

Blogger The Poor Blogger said...

I would say the three Creeds. Certainly, all Christians can agree on the points of the Apostle's Creed. Also, we can all (aside from certain modalist pentecostals, who I believe are not Christians) agree on the Athanasian Creed.

The only problem is the Nicene Creed. It has two sticking points, the Filioque and the phrase "holy, catholic and apostolic church". Even the Western churches are considering a revision which would change the Filioque to say "Who proceeds from the Father THROUGH the Son" which would heal that rift.

The real problem is the second phrase, though. "One" is not a problem. "Holy" is not a problem. "Catholic", understood a universal, is not a problem. "Apostolic" is a huge problem. Some, following Luther, define "Apostolic" to mean "following the teachings of the apostles." That would be fine, except I really doubt that was what the Council of Nicea meant.

Your thoughts?

10:14 AM  
Blogger David Riewe said...

How about abiding to the seven ecumenical councils then you will be reciting the creed of 99% of the Martyrs in Heaven.

The 3rd prohibited any modifications.

Interesting how the west considers Rome to be 1/2 of 5 equal Patriarchs!!!!

Eternal Memory to St. Photius!!!

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lesson on the Creed, Tradition and Scripture from a catechetical instruction by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop

St. Cyril of Jerusalem was Bishop of Jerusalem and Doctor of the Church, born about 315; died probably 18 March, 386. The catechetical lectures are among the most precious remains of Christian antiquity. The include an introductory address, eighteen instructions delivered in Lent to those who were preparing for baptism, and five "mystagogical" instructions given during Easter week to the same persons after their baptism.

The Creed
From a catechetical instruction by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop

In learning and professing the faith, you must accept and retain only the Church's present tradition, confirmed as it is by the Scriptures. Although not everyone is able to read the Scriptures, some because they have never learned to read, others because their daily activities keep them from such study, still so that their souls will not be lost through ignorance, we have gathered together the whole of the faith in a few concise articles.

Now I order you to retain this creed for your nourishment throughout life and never to accept any alternative, not even if I myself were to change and say something contrary to what I am now teaching, not even if some angel of contradiction, changed into an angel of light, tried to lead you astray. For even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which you have now received, let him be accursed in your sight.

So for the present be content to listen to the simple words of the creed and to memorize them; at some suitable time you can find the proof of each article in the Scriptures. This summary of the faith was not composed at man's whim, the most important sections were chosen from the whole Scripture to constitute and complete a comprehensive statement of the faith. Just as the mustard seed contains in a small grain many branches, so this brief statement of the faith keeps in its heart, as it were, all the religious truth to be found in Old and New Testament alike. That is why, my brothers, you must consider and preserve the traditions you are now receiving. Inscribe them across your heart.

Observe them scrupulously, so that no enemy may rob any of you in an idle and heedless moment; let no heretic deprive you of what has been given to you. Faith is rather like depositing in a bank the money entrusted to you, and God will surely demand an account of what you have deposited. In the words of the Apostle: I charge you before the God who gives life to all things, and before Christ who bore witness under Pontius Pilate in a splendid declaration, to keep unblemished this faith you have received, until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

You have now been given life's great treasure; when he comes the Lord will ask for what he has entrusted to you. At the appointed time he will reveal himself, for he is the blessed and sole Ruler, King of kings, Lord of lords. He alone is immortal, dwelling in unapproachable light. No man has seen or ever can see him. To him be glory, honor and power for ever and ever. Amen.

- Edwin

4:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These be the twelve articles of the christian faith, that every christian man and woman ought to believe steadfastly and firmly (From the Golden Legend, translated into English by Caxton, 1483)

Here follow the Twelve Articles of our Faith.

These be the twelve articles of the christian faith, that every christian man and woman ought to believe steadfastly and firmly, for otherwise they may not be saved, sith they have wit and reason. And twelve articles they be after the number of the apostles that made them, and stablished to be holden and kept. Of which the first longeth to the Father, the seven to the Son, and the other four to the Holy Ghost. For it is the foundation of the faith to believe on the Trinity, that is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, one God in three persoos. And all these articles are contained in the creed. The first is this:

I believe on God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. This first article laid S. Peter in the creed. The second appertaineth to the Son as to his godhead, that is to say in this, that he is God and it is such:

I believe on Jesus Christ our Lord, only Son of God the Father. And this ought men to understand and believe, that he is semblable, like, and equal, to the Father in all things that are belonging to the godhead. And he is one self and like thing with the Father, save of person, that is not like the person of the Father. This article made and laid it in the creed S. John the Evangelist. The third and fourth articles that follow after in the creed appertain to the Son after his humanity, that is to say after that man is mortal.

In which third article is contained that he was conceived of the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary by virtue and work of the Holy Ghost, and not by man's work, and that the Virgin Mary abode ever virgin before and after his birth. And this article laid S. James, brother to S. John the Evangelist, in the creed.

The fourth article belongeth to his passion, that is to say, he suffered under Pontius Pilate, that was paynim and judge at that time in Jerusalem, instituted by the Romans. Under the which was Jesu Christ judged wrongfully at the request of the felon Jews, crucified, dead, and put in the sepulchre. This article laid S. Andrew.

The fifth article is that he descended into hell after his death, for to have out and deliver the souls of the holy fathers, and of all them that from the beginning of the world died in very contrition and repentance, in faith and hope that they should be saved by him. For because of the first man's sin, all must descend into hell, there to abide the good and certain hope of Jesu Christ the son of God, that should come to deliver them after that he had promised by his prophets. And for this reason he would descend into hell, that is to understand, into that part of hell where they that were damned were not, the which were dead in their sins, and those same he drew not out of hell, for they be damned perdurably and for ever. And this article laid in the creed S. Phillip.

The sixth article is of his resurrection, that is to wit that on the third day after his death for to consume and accomplish the scriptures, he rose from death unto life again and appeared to his disciples, and approved to them his resurrection in many manners by the space of forty days. And this article laid S. Thomas.

The seventh article is this, that on the fortieth day after his resurrection, when he ate with his disciples, before them all appertly he ascended above all creatures into heaven, unto the right hand of the Father, where he sitteth. And this article laid S. Bartholomew in the creed.

The eighth article is that he shall come on doomsday to judge both living and dead, the good and evil, and shall render or yield to every one this that he shall have deserved in this world. These be the articles that are longing to the Son. And that last article beforesaid, laid S. Matthew the Evangelist in the creed.

The ninth, and the three last articles, belong to the Holy Ghost. These articles here require that men believe the Holy Ghost is the gift and love of God the Father and of the Son, from whom come to us all weal and grace, and that he is one same God, and one same thing with the Father and with the Son, save the person, that is other than the persons of the Father and of the Son. This article laid in the creed S. James, the brother of S. Simon and S. Jude.

The tenth article is this: I believe on the holy church general, and in the communion of saints, that is to say the company of all saints and of true men, that be and shall be unto the consuming or end of the world, and that were from the beginning of the world together with the faith of Jesu Christ. In this article are understood the seven sacraments of holy church, that is to wit baptism, confirmation, the sacrament of the altar, the sacrament of marriage or wedlock, penance, confession, and the last is the holy unction. This article laid S. Simon.

The eleventh article is to believe the remission of sins that God giveth by virtue of the sacraments of holy church. This article laid S. Jude, that was the brother of S. Simon, and not that Jude that betrayed our Lord Jesu Christ.

The twelfth article is to believe the general resurrection of both the souls and bodies perdurable or everlasting, that is the glory of paradise that God shall give to them that shall deserve it by good faith, and through good works. This article giveth also to understand his contrary, that is, death and the pain perdurable or without end, that God hath apparelled for them that shall be damned. This article ought to be understood in such manner that every one, be they good or evil, shall be judged on doomsday and raised from death to life again in his own proper body, and he shall receive his reward and guerdon both in body and in soul together, after he shall have deserved being in this life mortal, and therefore at that day the good creatures shall be glorified both in body and soul in life that ever shall last. This article laid S. Matthias, apostle and friend of God.

- Edwin

5:00 AM  
Blogger The Poor Blogger said...

Edwin,

While agreeing that what you post is Truth, how do we know?

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edwin replies:
I don't need to "know." I'm not a Gnostic. I need to have faith. :)

12:34 PM  

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