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  • TER's Avatar
    Today, 01:07 PM
    Yes. That is why I was sure to write down that the Holy Scriputres are the ultimate written authority, and why I explained that it is the Holy Spirit which gives anything in creation authority, including the Scriptures and the Church. I agree. Thankfully, God established a Church in which the gates of hell would not overcome so that the wolves in sheep clothing and false prophets might be revealed when they teach things against what the saints before them taught and the holy matrys died confessing. If that is the way you understand religion, then I agree, it is similar.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Today, 11:33 AM
    The Holy Scriptures are the ultimate written authority. But the Holy Spirit, Who is God of God, gives it this authority, just as the Holy Spirit gave the first council in Jerusalem it's authority. The Scriptures can unfortunately be misinterpreted and mistranslated. In order to discern the correct interpretation and correct understanding, we must above all pray for the Holy Spirit to enlighten us, and then seek the Church, which St. Paul says, is the pillar and foundation for truth. This is what St. Paul did and what he and the Apostles taught. It is easy for us to individually misinterpret something (because our framework and knowledge and wisdom is limited to our own personal experience, and we are sinful and imperfect beings), that is why we must seek the community of the faithful and especially the pious and graced amongst them, and seek what their voices say, to learn what the consensus and voice of the Church is. This is what St. Paul did after his conversion. Although he was graced by the Holy Spirit and baptized and beheld the risen Lord, he still travelled to Jerusalem to consult with those who were the leaders of the faith, those who were before him, so that he would not preach in vain things he believed which were actually against the witness of the Church and the teaching of the saints. Though full of zeal and purpose, reborn a Christian true believer, and graced with the Holy Spirit from God on high, he still understood the importance of self-examination and humility and obedience to those before and above him. We may believe we are inspired by the Holy Spirit, but our own passions and desires can also cloud our thoughts and distance us from truth. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of Truth and not division. So, when we believe or interpret something which is different from what the voice of the Church proclaims and has proclaimed, we must be ever cautious lest we are preaching a new gospel and distancing ourselves further from the truth and that holy communion. There is no religion in Christianity. There is a way of life, which is as a member of the body of Christ, the Church, which is the communion of united believers around Christ Himself. Christ said He came to establish His Church, which is to be His Bride in the culmination of this age. We should then take seriously, as St. Paul did, and as all the holy men and women since the day of Pentecost did, to deny ourselves, humble ourselves, and in faith and trust, enter into this communion, united in mind, spirit, and flesh, as one body partaking in one divine and sacramental love which is the Holy Trinity. For this is the Kingdom of Heaven, as taught by the Saints, to be united with God.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Today, 09:26 AM
    Thank you! I guess the next questions is, what scriptures were they studying? As there was no official canon of Scripture for the Jews at that time, I would guess it included the Prophetical books, the Psalms, and the Wisdom books in addition to the Torah. St. Paul was a Pharisee (who were regarded as the most noble of the Jewish sects, notwithstanding that Christ reprimanded them about hypocrisy), and they held on to the dual authority of the Written Law (the Torah) and the Oral Law (the traditions and teachings and other revered texts from the fathers and holy men before them). Likewise, within the Christian Church, the Holy Bible is authoritative (the most, it can be argued) as are also the teachings of the Saints and Holy Traditions which followed the time period of the Scriptures and which the believers have held to be God-pleasing, God-inspired and beneficial to the faithful.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:18 PM
    I think she comes back repentant and saves Winterfell.
    407 replies | 15110 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:07 PM
    I don't understand. Who are the Bereans and what did they check against what? The Church is full of sinners. Christ did not say that there would not be troubles or difficulties. In fact, He warned them it would be the case. That the forces of hell try to destroy the Church, that is a given. This group of men and women and children called the Church has had to endure through innumerable challenges and pressures and sinful people doing sinful things both within and without. What distinguishes Her, however, is that She is not overcome, as Christ promised. Look then and learn where such a Church exists, whose saints span every era, through the rise and fall of Empires and Kingdoms, through glory and subjugation, in basilicas and in chains, through every century going back, and then from them, learn the correct doctrines so that you too might be worthy to become a martyr for Christ.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:51 PM
    The Holy Spirit is what intervened in the Council of Jerusalem (the first recorded synod). Likewise, He has continued to act within the life and experiences of the Church. Even after the last page of the Book of Acts.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:46 PM
    The Scriptures are one long history of switches from not only institutional polity, but from Convenants! The acts of the Apostle's did not end on the last page of Acts. But even there, we find the forming of the ecclesiology of the Christian Church, that by the turn of the century, when Apostles still lived, the basic structure (which is still used in the Orhodox Church) is appearing. Namely, one Bishop per city. And because of this conciliar and synodical structure, the Church has remained united even from the first century, because the Head is Jesus Christ. Not hidden, or underground, but visibly and outwardly, whose real Saints shed real blood on the earth to witness to the faith of their fathers.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:58 PM
    Exactly, which is why the Church developed into one Bishop over a geographical area. To prevent factionalism and to protect the deposit of the truth, as guardians of the truth, in the communion of the Saints, in the eschaton as the people of God, in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Church developed its synodical system by the grace of the Holy Spirit. This was the movement of the Holy Spirit, the work of God, working within the body. It was the people of God uniting in order and faith and confession, speaking against the current of this sinful age.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:24 PM
    Interestingly, there were Bishops over cities by the end of the first century (especially in those missionary ones in far away lands and in the Roman Empire), though it is true that until that time there could be more than one bishop in a city. We do find, however, by the end of the second century, and going into the third and after, singular Christian Bishops over cities or one geographical area had become widely practiced. Why do you think that happened?
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:17 PM
    You can chose your sources, and I can chose mine! :) Let's go back to the second century saints as I think it will help shed light on what Christians mean by 'Apostolic succession' and the ecclesiastical structure of the growing Church in the first centuries.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:12 PM
    Actually, St. Patrick was ordained by the Church in Rome which was part of the One Church at that time (there was a Pentarchy of Patriarchates, and Rome was one of them).
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:03 PM
    Please, name them. Would you like to discuss St. Ignatius? I think he says some things which contradicts what you have written above. Or St. Ireneaus? St. Cyril? Who is the model you look for to what the Church believed and practiced in the second and third centuries?
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:01 PM
    Erowe, can you name me a Christian of the second century? Also, we have discussed before the ancient writings, including the Holy Bible, which demonstrates that God's grace is active in ordination. Indeed, as Christians, we know it is the Holy Spirit which is transferred, which are explicitly said to happen in writings of the first centuries. Now, if you can name some the Christians who followed after the Apostle's, then we might be able to learn what Bishop and presbyters and deacon meant to mean to the Christian Church at that early time.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:50 PM
    When Presbyterianism was created after the Reformation in the British Isles, there existed other ancient cities whose Bishops were from the One, Holy, Catholic Church as called by the First Ecumenical Council, and ordained in a direct line of succession from the Apostles, around a common faith and sacramental unity. These are the cities of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, Serbia, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Athens, Corinth, Thessalonica, Ephesus, etc etc etc (it was quite widely spread due to the missionary vigor and blood of the Saints.) Indeed, in the first millenium, it was this same Church which existed in the British Isles. These local churches claimed to be One Church, spanning nations and different empires, and shared one Holy Eucharist and could trace their sacramental unity back to the early Church via the mystery of holy ordination. I am simply saying that these Presbyterians you allude to were not in sacramental communion with this ancient Church NOT because of their form of presbyterial church governance, but because of their doctrines which the ancient Church professed to be heretical and impediments to sacramental and spiritual communion and unity.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:36 PM
    The Apostle's established a Church. Can you name me some members of this Church in the second century?
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:34 PM
    So when did they stopped ordaining priests and bishops?
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:33 PM
    I am not saying that the Presbyterian Church does not practice a Presbyterial form, I am stating that it lacks apostolic succession going back through the centuries to the early Church.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:14 PM
    The next sentence in Wiki says: "Presbyterian churches derive their name from the presbyterian form of church government, which is governed by representative assemblies of elders." This form of Church governance is indeed biblical and the Apostle's taught it. It was what we find in the early centuries centuries in the Bishops of the early great Christian cities and in the Holy Ecumenical Councils. This form has extended all the way down in apostolic succession in the Orthodox Church, and has not in the modern Presbyterian Church, which formed after the Reformation.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:04 PM
    Wiki is not infallible, but it says on the first sentence that "Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition within Protestantism which traces its origins to the British Isles". There is a long history before they started.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:50 PM
    Thank you for your response. Before I address the bold above, where did the Church of the first 7 centuries go?
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:41 PM
    Hi erowe, You said above that the Eastern Orthodox Church has been around for 1400 years or so. What date, then, would you more specifically state it started?
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • Theocrat's Avatar
    06-26-2016, 09:11 AM
    I believe in the decentralization of power, which is a Biblical principle, first derived in Genesis with the formation of the tribes of Israel (I don't have time to delve deeply into that, but it can be proven). So, to answer your question, I would advocate a system that is similar to what we had in our early republic, where local, state, and county governments are formed by Christians from various denominations to assess how crimes should be punished within their respective jurisdictions. So, for example, if a Presbyterian is living in a county full of Roman Catholics, and those Catholics have laws which he believes do not square with Biblical justice, then he can find another county where there are mostly Presbyterians and from there, they can work together to apply God's Law based on their Biblical convictions. That's what we had in the earlier days of America, with entire states being composed of one Christian denomination from another state of a different Christian denomination. It's one of the reasons why the First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," because their definition of "religion" was related to Christian denominations, understanding that each state was by and large composed of a particular Christian denomination.
    68 replies | 1072 view(s)
  • Theocrat's Avatar
    06-26-2016, 08:51 AM
    Because if you want to have a just society, then there needs to be an absolute standard for determining what is just and unjust behavior. Once you have established that, then you can deal with how unjust behavior ought to be punished. Why is that? Because God desires holiness from His creatures, not just internally but also externally, which is why God expects us to put away evil from society as it emerges. And, of course, evil is defined by God's Word, not majority opinion nor by current trends of acceptable behavior.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • Theocrat's Avatar
    06-26-2016, 08:45 AM
    If you're a Christian, then you should already know how one determines what governments God has ordained. That's why we have disciplines such as Biblical and systematic theology to delve into the subject on what the Bible teaches about the nature of government. But it is a topic that can be ascertained, and it is one that no other worldview (secular humanism, Islam, etc.) can account for.
    68 replies | 1072 view(s)
  • Theocrat's Avatar
    06-26-2016, 08:24 AM
    No, it doesn't make me an anarchist; it just means that I hold to the view that God rules society, and therefore, He is the One Who delegates authority (those who minister to others) and sets their jurisdictions within a civilized society. That's why an elite subset of society should never manipulate the rest by force. All people should be self-governed by God's Law before they take any position of authority within God-ordained governments (family, church, and state) to ensure that an elite group do not take over society by their own whims. When that happens (as it is currently in American civics), then it is a good indication that people in positions of authority are not self-governing themselves in God's Law.
    68 replies | 1072 view(s)
  • Theocrat's Avatar
    06-26-2016, 01:22 AM
    The only way we can answer the question, "Should X be criminalized," is by, first, answering, "What does God say about X?" The two questions go together, when we are discussing what sexual sins should receive civil sanctions. But, of course, it takes wisdom to understand how to apply those sanctions in our modern world, and that can be challenging at times, I admit. But, nonetheless, it still needs to be considered when we're assessing public policy and its relation to sexual taboos. Another thing to keep in mind is that the page marked "New Testament" in our Bibles is not inspired by God. That fact is very important because when we are talking about continuities and discontinuities between the Old and New Covenants, we need to realize that the Old Testament laws still applied when the New Testament was being written. Thus, the authors' approach to how Old Testament laws would apply to them in their own day would not have been riddled with many of the assumptions that we face today in modern Christianity (with ideas such as the "Two-Kingdoms Approach," "Law vs. Gospel" dichotomies, Dispensationalism, and other concepts which inherently but inadvertently pit the Old Testament against the New Testament). Unfortunately, you, yourself, are guilty of those very approaches to the New Testament, which is why you fail at understanding how the Old Testament applies to us today. Remember, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness..." (2 Timothy 3:16). If sexual acts were condemned with civil penalties in the Old Covenant, then those penalties apply civilly, in some way, in the New Covenant. Otherwise, you would have to say that God made a mistake when He decreed those sexual acts as punishable by civil law under the Old Covenant. But, once again, it takes wisdom to understand how they apply today because the world has changed since the times of the Old Covenant. But the moral indictment against certain sexual behaviors does not change because moral laws are eternal, by nature.
    139 replies | 1514 view(s)
  • Theocrat's Avatar
    06-26-2016, 12:48 AM
    Ronin, you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about in relation to Paul's theology. It's funny how you consider yourself more educated about the relationship between Jesus and Paul when world-renown Biblical scholars, such as N.T. Wright, have been applauded for their research and writings about Paul's life and theology. If you have any serious, objective interest in how Paul's theology was consistent with Christ's doctrines, then I recommend that you watch this lecture from one of the best Pauline scholars in the world, and learn something:
    42 replies | 512 view(s)
  • Theocrat's Avatar
    06-25-2016, 09:20 PM
    What "uncontrolled systems" are you referring to, fisharmor?
    68 replies | 1072 view(s)
  • Theocrat's Avatar
    06-25-2016, 09:16 PM
    Exactly, erowe1. That's all Ronin Truth does. He can't give a definitive, comprehensive rebuttal to anything in which he disagrees with. All he knows how to do is copy and paste links. That's why his credibility, especially in these kinds of discussions, is always suspect because of his laziness and ignorant flippancy of facts that he has no intention of researching. He seriously needs to leave these forums and stick to playing Solitaire online or something.
    42 replies | 512 view(s)
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