• TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:01 PM
    In the Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy, the priest uses a spoon to feed the faithful the Holy Eucharist from a chalice, like this: This can be a line of scores or even hundreds of people. Wine does not kill most germs on contact. Grain alcohol, maybe. But not wine. Especially watered down wine which is used in the Holy Eucharist service. It would require high ethanol content and some time to kill many of the common bacteria and viruses, but there are PLENTY of pathogens that would normally not be destroyed in the short time between putting spoons in people's mouths one after another and then finishing the entire cup. Thus, it is a miracle people do not get sick (especially the priests who consume whatever is left).
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:45 PM
    There is much to unpack here, but I will first start with your misrepresentation of what the Orthodox believe and don't believe with regards to the Church Fathers. We do not believe the Saints before us to be infallible. We do not believe them to be above question. We do not believe in running carelessly after men and succumbing to their teachings, especially when they go counter to what is the shared experience and beliefs of Christians before them. It is true that in time, as the generations went past, it became necessary to use more precise terminology to describe the Christian understanding of God. Using the limits of human reason and the human language, doctrines and terms were written to describe what is actually undefinable and unexpressable, namely God and our experience of communion with Him, in love and abiding in Him. The reason it became necessary to proclaim certain beliefs and dogma, such as the economy of the Persons of the Holy Trinity and the Christological definitions, was because of the various heresies which had grown and caused unrest within the Church. But even with that all said, this greater means of expressing the human experience of an encounter with God was not in itself creating a new experience. It was not describing a different experience of God. It was rather trying to describe what was already known and experienced by Saints of every generation. It is indeed the same Holy Spirit Who revealed the truths to the Apostles as He did to those who followed them. Humans have invented words and terms to describe these truths, but the faith remains the same faith "which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 1:3). The point is that even though the Holy Evangelists did not use the words 'ὁμοούσιον' or 'consubstantial' in the New Testament, doesn't mean that this is not what they believed. The Church had to contend against heresies and the pressures in the world, and so she did. But the Christian experience of the God-man Jesus Christ within a man's heart and the peace, joy and wisdom which comes from it, is something which is indeed personal, but shared and in union through unity, with all who have experienced His presence. Thus while Saints may have erred on particular things, it is not these errors which glorify them to be called 'pillars' and 'fathers', but rather those things they taught which resonate far and wide as being true to the people's own common understanding and knowledge about God and how Christians have always believed and experienced and handed down (namely, the catholic and orthodox faith).
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 11:31 PM
    Which guy? That is a good answer. May you be blessed by God. Hermaneutical skills? How about the hymns and liturgies of the Church, and the hagiography and writings of the Saints. Should these not play in our hermaneutical approach to finding the true and everlasting understanding of the verses in the Scriptures? Does not how the Christians lived and worshipped and understood and applied these verses give some light?
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 11:15 PM
    Have you ever sat around with friends and played the game of 'telephone'? St. Ignatius is like second in the circle. Are you opposed to the idea that you may have some theological errors and misinterpretations, and it is St. Ignatius, who is second in the circle, who is correct?
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 11:07 PM
    CL, would you be interested in helping restart this old thread? There was still much to discuss about St. Ignatius and what he wrote to the Church in Magnesia. We get a great glimpse into the early Church established and formed by the Apostles. If we want to know what the Apostles taught to those whom they handed over the Church to, and how Christian life was very soon after the destruction of the Temple and to the close of the first century, then look to God and the beloved Saint Ignatius, the God-bearer as he was called. For in his letters, we find apostolic teachings and pastoral guidance and indeed the Holy Spirit working strong. We too find in his writings deep theology and everlasting truth. During St. Ignatius' times there were many great Saints, including Apostles. Some have been remembered and commemorated to this day. Others, the pages of man's history books have no mention but whose blood became the seed for more conversions and spread of the gospel. St. Ignatius is a pillar of that era. I am happy to restart this thread but only if you give your commentary as well and answer and ask questions. Deal?
    112 replies | 1130 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 10:39 PM
    St. Ignatius lived in a different time, in a different world. There will be distinctions for sure. But with regards to eternal truths, there must be unity and confirmation. Otherwise, it would not be truth.
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 09:41 PM
    If you kissed a picture of her out of love and piety, does that mean you are worshipping her? Or the picture? RJB hit the nail on the head. We kiss pictures of our fellow members in Christ (the Saints) out of love. It does not mean we are worshiping the Saints or the picture. Our love is directed to the one whose image is on the picture, just as it is when I kiss the picture of my beloved departed grandmother. I am not worshipping my grandmother just as I am not worshiping the Saint, who is also a beloved member of my family through Christ. The Christian Faith is above all about love, and indeed a love enfleshed. It is love with movement and form. It is also a love with spirit and light. In fact, the closest thing we can say regarding the essence and ontology of God is the word 'love'. That is why St. John said "God is love". Our very ontological being in life is in relationship through love. Through communion with the other (both God and neighbor), we find true personhood, true being. That is what it means to be in the image of God - as a person who gives and receives love. This is the very mystery of the Holy Trinity, and our growth in theosis (that is, in the likeness of God) pertains to our ability to love and be loved. Images and pictures are an extension of our great love for God Who has entered into the world and sanctified it. If God is love, and God is infinite, so too is love infinite. Thus while we worship the Uncreated God in Holy Trinity alone for through Him all love finds its source and being, we too have love for those dear to us, such as our family members by birth, our friends by choice, and our baptized brothers and sisters through Christ. There is plenty of love to go around when one has allowed Christ to enter into their hearts and transform them with divine love. From this overflowing love, we find the pious acts of veneration. It is not mandatory to venerate an image of Christ or of a Saint. One is not a heretic because he feels uncomfortable doing so. It can be difficult for some due to cultural upbringing or previous indoctrination. It can be difficult also for some to differentiate between worship and adoration, especially for new converts. Having personal discomfort is not heresy, yet it does demonstrate there is room to grow spiritually. Yet because we may personally find discomfort or unease for our various reasons does not mean that those who do not are necessarily idolaters. And that is when a person is called a heretic within the Church - when they stubbornly place their individual beliefs, interpretations, and judgements to be above all and accuse their brethren falsely simply because they don't yet fully understand or comprehend.
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 06:59 PM
    You would have to be an unrepentant Orthodox Christian in order for me to call you a heretic. Your belief is indeed heretical as defined by a Holy Ecumencial Council, but you yourself are not a heretic since you are not a baptized member of the Orthodox Church. I understand you cannot see the difference between worship and veneration. I leave it up to God to convince you. In the meanwhile, make sure you don't kiss your mother on the cheek when you see her, lest you commit idolatry according to your heterodox standards.
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 09:24 AM
    Once I read how a Roman Catholic parish was transitioning to gluten free wafers because of concerns of allergies. Now, if we truly believe that the elements become the Body and Blood of Christ, why in the world would we be concerned about gluten allergies? Or communicable diseases for that matter? There is not one single case of people getting sick or contracting an illness from sharing of the communal cup. In fact, the priest must consume all of the Holy Eucharist after all the other faithful have communed. Priests are not getting illnesses at a higher rate than the average person. In fact, during the Divine Liturgy on the Holy Thursday service which occurs once a year, a chalice of the Holy Eucharist is kept as an emergency reserve in cases of life threatening illness. This is used for the year ahead until the following Holy Thursday. The priest must consume whatever is left over during the service of the following year's Holy Thursday's service. After being kept open on the altar and servicing it to the parishes most ill members of the year, the Eucharist is as fresh as new, as if the first day it was consecrated, and no priest has ever gotten sick from partaking it. These are just a snapshot of the workings of God within the sacraments of the Church.
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 06:36 AM
    Where again has autocephaly been granted to your community? You made such a claim before but I cannot find it online. Also, if your community accepts the first Six Ecumencial Councils, are they taken wholesome or piecemeal? The Second Council of Nicea was ordained by God 800 years prior to the Reformation and was universally accepted in all places, including the Orthodox Churches that were in Scotland and England at that time. Do you believe that the entire Church fell into heresy simply because you think icons and veneration are questionable? You admit that the use of images come from as early as the second century (and every archeological find which is discovered keep proving this fact). So if the practice comes from so early a time period, the tradition was universally held long before the Reformation, it has been theologically justified and vetted by great and holy saints of the Church since the early Church, and finally a Holy Ecumencial Council was convened to proclaim the orthodox faith out of necessity (on account of the creeping heretical iconoclasm brought in by Islamic influences), what more does a faithful Christian need? Since when do our modern sensibilities and personal feelings trump the ancient and enduring witness of the Church? That sounds like a typical Protestant approach to Church history, foreign to the obedience and faith taught by the Fathers of the Holy Ecumencial Councils. When your girlfriend venerates an icon, is she worshiping the icon? Have you asked her? When the rabbis prior to Christ and since His advent kiss and venerate the scrolls of the Torah, are they worshiping the scroll? Have you asked them? If they say no and you accept it, why is it so difficult to accept what the Orthodox Christian is doing and with what intent? As for the few connections between 'Old Testament Temple worship' which you have stated in the past and seem to use as a sticking point, you must remember that Christianity and Christian worship practices did not sprung up from thin air. Rather, it was the natural liturgical flowering whose foundations came from the Old Covenant and by which the Apostles and their successors transfigured and 'baptized' for the spiritual benefit of the members in Christ. Some things were indeed cast aside as having no further use or even being a cause for stumbling. Some things were kept as being beneficial and worthy towards the glorification and worship of God. Every Holy Father of every Holy Ecumenical Council which you claim to uphold worshiped as the Orthodox Church worships today, using the same liturgical structure and traditions and adhering to the faith handed down. Iconoclasm is not a tradition of the Church but rather the heretical innovation which the Church had to defeat and did long before the Reformers arrived on the scene to legitimately go against Papal abuses, of which the use of images had nothing to do with.
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-21-2016, 05:12 AM
    Thank you for the clarification. I have never heard of either of them before. My point above applies to both of them. Do either have more authority than a Ecumencial Council?
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-20-2016, 11:56 PM
    Wrong, CL. Again, you fail to see the nuance. The Seventh Ecumencial Council did not label those who do not venerate images of Christ as being heretics. What they call out to be heretics are those within the Church who are iconoclastic and make the same false accusations you are making against the baptized believers as being idolaters and worshiping images, when in fact the faithful do not worship images. I am not sure how many times it must be repeated to you before you stop making such accusations. There is a difference between venerating something considered holy, and worshipping it. Unfortunatley, the Islamic influences upon parts of the Church bordering the Islamic lands created this iconoclasm when for centuries dating back to the early Church it was never a problem, likely because the believers back then were more spiritually mature to understand the difference and were not corrupted by Islamic iconoclasm creeping into the faith. As for Dobson, I know very little about him or what he teaches, but if it is true what your are saying, then I can't understand why anyone would chose him to be a teacher of the faith.
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-20-2016, 11:12 PM
    The apostolic line you are referring to broke much earlier than John Knox, HU. The denial of the Seventh Ecumencial Council, which was indeed a Holy Ecumencial Council and occurred almost 800 years before John Knox, alone demonstrates that. We will have to agree to disagree with regards to your community's claim of apostolicity, both in terms of succession and doctrinal teachings. And this is not merely me saying it, but any Orthodox Christian would say the same thing, whether now or 600 years ago. I don't wish to be contentious with you, but I will not hide the facts when called out. You didn't say that James Dobson is more authorative to the great cloud of witnesses who came before him, but you certainly imply it when you take his teachings in the subject over great Saints from the past. Have you considered that perhaps the courses you have taken under him are in fact not 'fully orthodox', especially when they go against orthodox teachings of the earlier Church? In addition, if he is criticizing Eastern Orthodoxy (which you brought up in the first place), then he is not minding his own internal affairs and is inviting criticism on his own personal teachings which go against the earlier Church. As for your claim of autocephaly, where was that pronounced, by whom, and when? I admit I don't know much of the history of your community, and am willing to be educated. If you are going to make the claim that because England and Scotland were once under the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that defacto they can claim apostolic authority, then why can't the same be said of any division of Presbyterian, or Episcopalian, or Nestorian or Arian? Apostolicity is more than succession through ordination. It is also just as importantly through sacramental communion and adhering to the faith as handed down not by John Knox or James Dobson, but of the unified Body of Christ through all centuries.
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-20-2016, 06:49 AM
    When the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal, Christ, the Lamb of God, was hanging on the cross. The Mystical Supper (aka the Last Supper) was held on the Preparation Day for the Passover as stated in St. John's Gospel. The synoptic Gospels call it the First Day of Unleavened Bread because that was the name it was called during that period (the first day in preparing for the feast). St. John used the more exact term of Preparation Day in his later written Gospel likely to stop any confusion which later baptized believers had regarding when the meal occurred. When one studies the rest of the accounts of what happened in the Gospels (such as the trial, the crucifixion, etc), it becomes clear that the Mystical Supper was not a Passover meal. It held some elements found in the Seder and some in a chabűrah (fellowship meal), but it was neither of those. It was a new meal, for the new covenant He was establishing, based upon His life-giving Body and Blood. Read more here: http://www.orthodoxwitness.org/was-the-mystical-supper-a-passover-meal/ As for what type of bread Christ used and what type of drink for the Mystical Supper, there is no question it was artos (leavened bread) and wine. That said, God is not limited to what elements are used in the Holy Eucharist, such that in the days of persecution (for example in the Soviet gulags), other elements were used since wine was not available. God can turn grape juice to His Blood if that is His will. But that being said, there is a good order which Christ has established, a structure and form which He has instituted, thus when leavened bread and wine are available, these should be used according to the tradition and teachings of the Church.
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-19-2016, 08:59 PM
    The Westminister Confession was definitely not a Holy Ecumenical Council. The Second Council of Nicea (787 AD) most certainly was, occuring long before the Great Schism, and it upheld the use of icons and images as being orthodox and according to the faith handed down in the Church everywhere. The truth is, every confession which can trace itself down via apostolic succession to the first century and ordination to the Apostles, incorporate images in their homes and temples (i.e places of prayer), including the communities which split from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church many centuries earlier, such as the Oriental Orthodox (in North Africa, India, and the Far East). The Oriental Orthodox Churches split away in the fourth century, and they were not involved in any Holy Ecumenical Council Church since then, yet they also hold that icons are part of the deposit of the faith handed down by the Apostles. That alone is great proof that the use of images were allowed and used as a remembrance of God going back to the early Church. This makes sense since we worship a Father in Heaven Who was come and revealed His Face in His Son, Jesus Christ. God is with us, and has sat with us and shared our hunger and thirst and suffering. He is not some mysterious supernatural force, but rather, a Person, Whose image we were made in the image of. God's ontology is one of personhood, and we ourselves are truly persons through our relationship with the Holy Trinity. No longer named as YHWH, but known better as the Father, Who is in Heaven, Holy is His Name. Christ revealed that this Father in Heaven loves us and cares for us, and that the Son was sent to restore our broken nature which kept us from our Father. Our salvation is in Christ, Who destroys the power of death through His Holy Resurrection. He came not as a mere pillar of light, or a cloud, but as a true human, with a name Jesus, and a face and voice and hands and feet which were driven through with nails. Christ is an ikon of the Father, as St. Paul says, and we worship Him as God of God incarnated in the flesh, just as the Prophets foretold. He has overcome the world and destroyed the power of Satan over men's souls, and has given hope to mankind. Not in a mysterious, unrecognizable and hidden way, but through the image of the cross, through the image of a death of a son in the arms of His mother. So too through the image of the man of wonders and feeder of crowds and the man who raised Lazarus from the dead. Through the images also of the king riding humbly on a donkey, the quiet lamb being sent to slaughter, and the suffering servant. Through the image of the risen Christ ascending in the air towards Heaven escorted by angels, to sit at the right hand of the Father. So too, with a face which He has now and for always will, with marks in His hands and feet and a stab wound in His side. God is no longer unseen and far away, and unrecognizable, but rather with us, as one of us, and has made His ikon known to us in the God-man Jesus Christ. The Apostles and the Church after them understood that we use images and symbols as aids to our Christian lives, not as the goal of our Christian lives. That is why the Seventh Ecumencial Council in the eighth century was convened to express that accurate Christian teaching since Islamic influences started to infiltrate a region of the Church in the East resulting in the heresy of iconoclasm. And again, it was already decided long before that, as evidenced by the archeological evidence we have and the fact that the Oriental Orthodox Churches have always maintained this doctrinal belief and practice since before separating themselves from the early Church. The real question as pertains to this thread would then be: why would James Dobson be more authorative than such a great cloud of witnesses tracing back through the centuries to the early Church?
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-19-2016, 09:10 AM
    That's a big jump! His family is Reformed Baptist? If so, I am sure that must have took a lot of courage.
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-18-2016, 11:49 PM
    This is the rotten fruit of rampant illegal immigration, as allowed by the European elite. Blowback which only serves to create more smoke and fear.
    48 replies | 681 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-18-2016, 11:41 PM
    Out of curiosity, was your friend a Protestant Christian prior to becoming Roman Catholic?
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-18-2016, 05:14 AM
    I reviewed that study you are mentioning. That is a WOEFULLY done study (a survey in fact) with SEVERE limitations (which conveniently they do not even address in the article itself!). Since we are both in the field of the medical arts where it is important to learn how to scrutinize the literature in order to weed out the scientifically valid studies from crap studies like this, would you like to discuss how reliable the results are in this cdc study which you are referencing to have 'destroyed the myth'? This study only demonstrates how gullible people can be when they think a study is valid or its results accurate simply because it comes from a government agency. Taken as a whole, it reads more like a study designed to fool journalists than to educate scientists. As a medical professional, it is our duty to study a research article prior to claiming that it's results are reliable and it's conclusions are sound. The article you are mentioning fails horribly on both accounts. As far as the studies which dannno is referencing, I can't get a clear idea of the methodology involved (cannot find it on the Internet), so I cannot give much of a comment on it. However, since the studies he is using is tracing a pattern over a period of 50 years, presumably using a validated data collection system and methodology half a century old, it may have less selection bias and be more reliable, but again I cannot be certain without actually studying it.
    42 replies | 830 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-17-2016, 09:56 PM
    Good. I will vote for the person who most likely will if they got elected.
    7 replies | 213 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-17-2016, 09:50 PM
    Do you have any questions regarding other denominations of Christians? Have you sought out to learn about the varying Christian confessions?
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-17-2016, 09:48 PM
    You're exactly right. People have tailored it to conform to their own individual standards, instead of as a community or Church, (as it was done and meant to be done.). Christianity is about being members of a body, in mystical union through the waters of baptism, and in love and faith. Individualism and its child, moral relativism, have dynamically changed how Christians believe they are saved, which is not solely as an individual, but as a community, a Church, a Bride, in communion and encompassing the whole of the elect in the oneness of God's Light and Glory. The neologism of the phrase "personal relationship with Christ" is new to the lexicon of the wold's languages, found only in the past few centuries. Yes, of course, our relationship with Christ is personal, because He is a person and we are persons, and any relationship between us would be personal by definition. It was already understood that our relationship with Christ is the most personal relationship a human can have with anyone. What has happened however in the past few centuries, is that this has overshadowed and diminished the importance of our relationship with one another, as members of the same body, as one organism, made alive by Christ. But this is veering off topic and I am happy to continue this on another thread or by PM.
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-17-2016, 09:33 PM
    Between Trump and Hillary? I don't know. I haven't followed that closely. Have they given any hints or suggestions? I would imagine Hillary would be the worst offender, but I say this mostly because she is about as progressive liberal as a major candidate could be.
    7 replies | 213 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-17-2016, 09:29 PM
    I'm sure there could be a very interesting discussion! What denomination are you, if you don't mind me asking?
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-17-2016, 09:25 PM
    There is 1 true Gospel, but there are many different interpretations which are wrong and distorts the Gospel.
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-17-2016, 09:24 PM
    This is why this next election is so important, because the balance of the Supreme Court is at stake. No way Scalia would have voted for this. But now he is dead.
    7 replies | 213 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    324 replies | 4731 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-17-2016, 09:02 PM
    Yep. Why should we suspect any of their data to be true when it is already pretty established they are being manipulated by a group of international bankers? They own the media, for goodness sake. They own it because they first own the banks!!! Now, as was the reason the whole time, they have bought out the governments of nations, who are losing their sovergnity, to a cabal of money-lusting murderers.
    48 replies | 681 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    08-17-2016, 08:56 PM
    Where is this man obtaining his statistics from?
    42 replies | 830 view(s)
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