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2/19/11 3:40 AM
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Juijitsuboxer
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Councils recognised as ecumenical in the Roman Catholic Church

As late as the 11th century, only seven councils were recognized as ecumenical in the Roman Catholic Church.[4] Then, in the time of Pope Gregory VII (1073–1085), canonists who in the Investiture Controversy quoted the prohibition in canon 22 of the Council of Constantinople of 869-870 against laymen influencing the appointment of prelates elevated this council to the rank of ecumenical council.[4] Only in the 16th century was recognition as ecumenical granted by Catholic scholars to the Councils of the Lateran, of Lyon and those that followed.[4]

8. Fourth Council of Constantinople (869-870) deposed Patriarch Photios I of Constantinople as an usurper and reinstated his predecessor Saint Ignatius. Photius had already been declared deposed by the Pope, an act which the Church of Constantinople accepted at this council.

9. First Council of the Lateran (1123) addressed investment of bishops and the Holy Roman Emperor's role therein.

10. Second Council of the Lateran (1139) reaffirmed Lateran I and addressed clerical discipline (dress, marriages).

11. Third Council of the Lateran (1179) restricted papal election to the cardinals, condemned simony, and introduced minimum ages for ordination (thirty for bishops).

12. Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215) defined transubstantiation, addressed papal primacy and clerical discipline.

13. First Council of Lyon (1245) deposed Emperor Frederick II and instituted a levy to support the Holy Land.

14. Second Council of Lyon (1274) attempted reunion with the Eastern churches, approved Franciscan and Dominican orders, a tithe to support crusades, and conclave procedures.

15. Council of Vienne (1311–1312) disbanded the Knights Templar.
Council of Pisa (1409) attempted to solve the Great Western Schism.
The council is not numbered because it was not convened by a pope and its outcome was repudiated at Constance.

16. Council of Constance (1414–1418) resolved the Great Western Schism and condemned John Hus. Also began conciliarism.
Council of Siena (1423–1424) addressed church reform.
Not numbered as it was swiftly disbanded.

17. Council of Basel, Ferrara and Florence (1431–1445) addressed church reform and reunion with the Eastern Churches, but split into two parties. The fathers remaining at Basel became the apogee of conciliarism. The fathers at Florence achieved union with various Eastern Churches and temporarily with the Eastern Orthodox Church.

18. Fifth Council of the Lateran (1512–1514) addressed church reform.

19. Council of Trent (1545–1563, with interruptions) addressed church reform and repudiated Protestantism, defined the role and canon of Scripture and the seven sacraments, and strengthened clerical discipline and education.
Temporarily attended by Lutheran delegates.

20. First Council of the Vatican (1870; officially, 1870–1960) defined pope's primacy in church governance and his infallibility, repudiated rationalism, materialism and atheism, addressed revelation, interpretation of scripture and the relationship of faith and reason.

21. Second Council of the Vatican (1962–1965) addressed pastoral and disciplinary issues dealing with the Church and its relation to the modern world, including liturgy and ecumenism.
2/19/11 3:41 AM
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Juijitsuboxer
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Councils recognised as ecumenical by some Eastern Orthodox

Many Eastern Orthodox consider the Council of Constantinople of 879–880,[5] that of Constantinople in 1341–1351 and that of Jerusalem in 1672 to be ecumenical:

Fourth Council of Constantinople (879-880) restored Photius to the See of Constantinople. This happened after the death of Ignatius and with papal approval.

Fifth Council of Constantinople (1341–1351) affirmed hesychastic theology according to Gregory Palamas and condemned the Barlaam of Seminara.

Synod of Jerusalem (1672) defined Orthodoxy relative to Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, defined the orthodox Biblical canon.

It is unlikely that formal recognition as ecumenical will be granted to these three councils, despite the acknowledged orthodoxy of their decisions, so that only seven are universally recognized among the Eastern Orthodox as ecumenical.[6]

The Pan-Orthodox Council now being prepared has sometimes been referred to as an "Eighth Ecumenical Council".[7
2/19/11 3:55 PM
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Ridgeback
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 Jiujitsuboxer,

Yes, I am aware of the divisions.  But what is your point?  Almost every Christian in the West accepts what was handed down to them and accepts the dialog created by Catholicism (even by being anti-Catholic a Protestant is letting Catholics choose the grounds).   Pointing out divisions as some kind of excuse for choosing no tradition makes no sense to me unless one assumes he alone stands apart from all other Christians in having found an island of truth which none of them occupy.  Far better to plant your flag with a tradition and accept that you don't have all the answers than to hang back and make your own truth.  I fully believe that Orthodoxy preserved the original faith of the Apostles.  Not just because it claims it, or because it has a historical pedigree, but also because Orthodox teaching makes the most sense of scripture and, if the fullness of the faith is actually lived out, it radically changes a person in a Christward direction.  Can other traditions have that effect?  Sure.  How could I deny Catholic and Protestant saints?  But that is different from saying all traditions are equally valid even if they have fundamental disagreements.  
2/19/11 7:51 PM
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Grakman
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 Is it really necessary to choose a tradition? Is it possible to be saved just by believing in Jesus Christ, that he died for our sins and rose from the dead, or must we choose a branch of Christendom to ensure entry into Heaven and peace with God? 
2/19/11 9:58 PM
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Lahi
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It seems like it would be necessary, if nothing else for the practical need to live out Christianity in community.

I'm mostly speaking from my own experience, and from what others have shared, but it seems like sometimes the search for whatever community we end up in is a struggle God wants us to go through. Maybe part of that struggle is the acceptance that we can live The Way even if we don't understand it all (as Ridge said). Maybe for some people the search for a certain amount of Theological certainty beyone the basics of Christianity never ends in this life, I don't know, but I think there are communities that are genuinely Christian but that offer a home to people in this camp as well.
2/19/11 9:59 PM
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Lahi
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I think we can still be saved in the next life if we are solitary Christians, that would be up to God I would guess, but it seems like it really limits the amount of salvation we experience this side of death. At least it has for me.
2/19/11 10:11 PM
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Juijitsuboxer
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Hey Ridgeback,

It is tough to say how I should feel about where I came from in Christ. I realize the peace that can be found in accepting all that comes with a faith tradition without ever having to question if it is God's way or not. In my studies it has been hard for me to justify many of the things that come along with Orthodoxy or Catholicism. Most all of the Orthodox and Catholic I meet have very little devotion to God and I have seen no outward change in their life in a Christward direction. On the other hand I have seen very changed people within protestant denominations. People who walk around with that fragrance of Christ, with the Holy Spirit almost visibly glowing within the person in how they love God and treat others.

I live in Chicago, which is a huge city fully of many Catholic and Orthodox people. I talk with many people of these faith traditions on a regular basis in life. I am someone that connects with these people and lets them know I feel they are my brother/sister in Christ and that we share something special due to our decision to follow Christ instead of the world. I would not say my assumptions are not clear about Orthodox and Catholic practitioners seemingly having less of a Christward walk than many protestants I encounter.

I work closely with many Christians in my work place on a daily basis. One of them is a Seventh Day Adventist, one is a Jehovas Witness, one of them is a Coptic from Egypt (an Oriental Orthodox Christian), there are many Catholics, and many atheists. My neighbors are Russian Orthodox Christians. My landlord is a Greek Orthodox Christian. I have visited and attended mass at the local Catholic Church. I am visiting my friends church from work at his Coptic Orthodox church very soon. I will also be attending my other friends Polish Catholic church very soon as well.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it is not that I have a totally inaccurate idea of what people of many different faith traditions are like. I am really just saying that I have seen the transformational power of Christ, the new birth, so much more powerfully in protestants than anywhere else that I truly have to say that God is present in their churches.

Because I know God is present in protestant churches, and He is so very present in my daily life and walk and with the walk of all the people in my charismatic church, I feel I am in the right place, even if I am stumped sometimes on the small things of theology or history. It is ok. I know I have Christ and that Christ has me. I know what we are doing at my church is good and that people are transforming their lives to be more Christlike and living for God with their all even though we have no traditional faith tradition.



1 Corinthians 4:3-5 (New Living Translation)

3 As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. 4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

5 So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.


1 Corinthians 13:9-12 (New Living Translation)

9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[a] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
2/19/11 10:14 PM
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Grakman
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Lahi - I think we can still be saved in the next life if we are solitary Christians, that would be up to God I would guess, but it seems like it really limits the amount of salvation we experience this side of death. At least it has for me.

 I'm not saying that we should *not* choose a tradition; rather that we should not link salvation to a particular tradition or set of doctrines that may have nothing to do with salvation, whether it's brown scapulars, an understanding of the Trinity, where heaven is located, Rapture/preterism, nature of hell and so on.
2/19/11 10:17 PM
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Grakman
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Juijitsuboxer - Hey Ridgeback,

It is tough to say how I should feel about where I came from in Christ. I realize the peace that can be found in accepting all that comes with a faith tradition without ever having to question if it is God's way or not. In my studies it has been hard for me to justify many of the things that come along with Orthodoxy or Catholicism. Most all of the Orthodox and Catholic I meet have very little devotion to God and I have seen no outward change in their life in a Christward direction. On the other hand I have seen very changed people within protestant denominations. People who walk around with that fragrance of Christ, with the Holy Spirit almost visibly glowing within the person in how they love God and treat others.

I live in Chicago, which is a huge city fully of many Catholic and Orthodox people. I talk with many people of these faith traditions on a regular basis in life. I am someone that connects with these people and lets them know I feel they are my brother/sister in Christ and that we share something special due to our decision to follow Christ instead of the world. I would not say my assumptions are not clear about Orthodox and Catholic practitioners seemingly having less of a Christward walk than many protestants I encounter.

I work closely with many Christians in my work place on a daily basis. One of them is a Seventh Day Adventist, one is a Jehovas Witness, one of them is a Coptic from Egypt (an Oriental Orthodox Christian), there are many Catholics, and many atheists. My neighbors are Russian Orthodox Christians. My landlord is a Greek Orthodox Christian. I have visited and attended mass at the local Catholic Church. I am visiting my friends church from work at his Coptic Orthodox church very soon. I will also be attending my other friends Polish Catholic church very soon as well.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it is not that I have a totally inaccurate idea of what people of many different faith traditions are like. I am really just saying that I have seen the transformational power of Christ, the new birth, so much more powerfully in protestants than anywhere else that I truly have to say that God is present in their churches.

Because I know God is present in protestant churches, and He is so very present in my daily life and walk and with the walk of all the people in my charismatic church, I feel I am in the right place, even if I am stumped sometimes on the small things of theology or history. It is ok. I know I have Christ and that Christ has me. I know what we are doing at my church is good and that people are transforming their lives to be more Christlike and living for God with their all even though we have no traditional faith tradition.



1 Corinthians 4:3-5 (New Living Translation)

3 As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. 4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

5 So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.


1 Corinthians 13:9-12 (New Living Translation)

9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[a] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

 Matt: 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
 

 
2/19/11 10:22 PM
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Lahi
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Grakman - 
Lahi - I think we can still be saved in the next life if we are solitary Christians, that would be up to God I would guess, but it seems like it really limits the amount of salvation we experience this side of death. At least it has for me.

 I'm not saying that we should *not* choose a tradition; rather that we should not link salvation to a particular tradition or set of doctrines that may have nothing to do with salvation, whether it's brown scapulars, an understanding of the Trinity, where heaven is located, Rapture/preterism, nature of hell and so on.


Gotcha. I pretty much agree with that.
2/19/11 10:30 PM
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Lahi
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The only thing I'd add is that I can see times where our beliefs on certain doctrines can damage our relationship with God and with others. I agree that God works through, and in spite of, our misunderstandings, and I'm not sure the whole issue is something that can be worked out neatly. But at the same time, I've known Christians (I've been one myself) who have very sincerely believed some very horrible things, and have as a result mis-represented God to others with the best of intentions. It does give me hope to think about the Saints that have come out of so many different traditions, and been so full of Jesus' love, in spite of their differences.
2/20/11 5:49 AM
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Ridgeback
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Juijitsuboxer - Hey Ridgeback,

It is tough to say how I should feel about where I came from in Christ. I realize the peace that can be found in accepting all that comes with a faith tradition without ever having to question if it is God's way or not. In my studies it has been hard for me to justify many of the things that come along with Orthodoxy or Catholicism. Most all of the Orthodox and Catholic I meet have very little devotion to God and I have seen no outward change in their life in a Christward direction. On the other hand I have seen very changed people within protestant denominations. People who walk around with that fragrance of Christ, with the Holy Spirit almost visibly glowing within the person in how they love God and treat others.

I live in Chicago, which is a huge city fully of many Catholic and Orthodox people. I talk with many people of these faith traditions on a regular basis in life. I am someone that connects with these people and lets them know I feel they are my brother/sister in Christ and that we share something special due to our decision to follow Christ instead of the world. I would not say my assumptions are not clear about Orthodox and Catholic practitioners seemingly having less of a Christward walk than many protestants I encounter.

I work closely with many Christians in my work place on a daily basis. One of them is a Seventh Day Adventist, one is a Jehovas Witness, one of them is a Coptic from Egypt (an Oriental Orthodox Christian), there are many Catholics, and many atheists. My neighbors are Russian Orthodox Christians. My landlord is a Greek Orthodox Christian. I have visited and attended mass at the local Catholic Church. I am visiting my friends church from work at his Coptic Orthodox church very soon. I will also be attending my other friends Polish Catholic church very soon as well.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it is not that I have a totally inaccurate idea of what people of many different faith traditions are like. I am really just saying that I have seen the transformational power of Christ, the new birth, so much more powerfully in protestants than anywhere else that I truly have to say that God is present in their churches.

Because I know God is present in protestant churches, and He is so very present in my daily life and walk and with the walk of all the people in my charismatic church, I feel I am in the right place, even if I am stumped sometimes on the small things of theology or history. It is ok. I know I have Christ and that Christ has me. I know what we are doing at my church is good and that people are transforming their lives to be more Christlike and living for God with their all even though we have no traditional faith tradition.



1 Corinthians 4:3-5 (New Living Translation)

3 As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. 4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

5 So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.


1 Corinthians 13:9-12 (New Living Translation)

9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[a] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

 The issue here is I am not sure how you would really be able to tell what is going on in a person's heart and what they are doing in their lives.  I find that Protestants tend to be much more outspoken about their faith (wearing it on their sleeves so to speak) and this is especially the case with Pentecostal and other newer traditions in America.  Orthodox and Catholic Christians are often much more quiet in their faith and more reticent to talk about their charitable works openly.  The quiet humility I see in Orthodox people I interact with is something I consider to be a positive change from what almost comes across as brazen in some Protestants.  

Another example of this would be the question of salvation.  A Baptist is proud to say that he is saved by the blood of Jesus and guaranteed a place in heaven.  An Orthodox is hesitant to declare the outcome of the final judgment before he meets his Lord and he is also aware of the biblical warnings about failing to finish the race so he would rather not make declarations about how he will live the rest of his life.  Now what is true humility in one person's perspective can often be seen as a lack of faith in another person's.  But all it really means is that an Orthodox may not be very good at using Baptist catch phrases or exhibiting the cultural norms of American Christianity.  Pentecostals tend to see people who are not emotional in their expression of the faith as spiritually dead even though many of the fathers warned that God is not experienced primarily through the emotions and emotional manipulation can just be a delusion.  

I think the real tests of faith that would really exhibit how close a person is to God are often hidden from us.  We don't know how much pain most people are going through and how they handle it.  We don't know how a person will deal with his own death.  We usually don't know the charitable works of others unless they go out of their way to tell us (which would be violating Jesus's teaching on the subject).  So without that data I am hesistant to judge where anyone is at.  What I found in Orthodoxy is a clear direction on that score as in being told to not judge them and stop wasting my time speculating about other people's salvation based on my own measure of what it means to be saved.  The traditions I came out of had people who had no problem speculating about other people's salvation.  A man who had a bad fall and experienced excrutiating pain after the accident (for which doctors could find no relief) finally went out to the woods and blew his head off.  The Baptists at his funeral made a point of telling his wife they were sorry he went to hell.  And I could go on and on about people who displayed surface level piousness about their faith but actually hid some deeply uncharitable hearts under the surface.

And all of that is neither here nor there.  We see what we want to see.  We create the yardstick and then judge those who fail to measure up to it.  
2/21/11 1:04 AM
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Ridgeback
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 Grakman,

Your question about doing it alone strikes me much in the same way that someone new to MMA would if he asked why he couldn't just train to fight at home and has to join a gym and get a coach who yells at him all the time.  
2/21/11 10:48 AM
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Grakman
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Ridgeback -  Grakman,

Your question about doing it alone strikes me much in the same way that someone new to MMA would if he asked why he couldn't just train to fight at home and has to join a gym and get a coach who yells at him all the time.  

 Ridge, did you see my reply to Lahi? I didn't say that one should not choose a tradition, I asked if it is necessary for salvation.

In your analogy it would be like a Gracie BJJ nuthugger saying 'Gracie JJ is the best there is no other way to win a fight, one MUST train Gracie JJ!' intead of acknowledging that there are grappling fundamentals that one needs, not necessarily the Gracie version of JJ.

One can choose any school or gym of MMA and learn to fight; this would be analgous to choosing a tradition. You're still getting the fundamentals but the training times will vary, the methods, etc but all are still walking on the 'way' of fighting.
2/21/11 9:01 PM
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Ridgeback
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 I saw it after.  I think a question like that can't be answered without first defining what you mean by salvation.  It is not as if different traditions are talking about the same things.  And that is where the metaphor for MMA breaks down since the cage is something that can objectively measure the success of a school and Christianity doesn't necessarily have that unless maybe we are talking about Saints and Martyrs as the true measure of a tradition.  

If Salvation is essentially communion with God and with one's fellow humans then no I don't think you can be saved alone because your salvation is wrapped up in being part of a body, part of an ecclesia.  Early Christianity knows nothing of private or personal religion, which is an invention of post-Protestants with almost no ecclesiology.  

I do think it can all be put to a test though.  If a particular tradition isn't bringing about changes in terms of overcoming the passions, charity towards the least of these, and the forgiveness of enemies then either the tradition is flawed or you aren't actually applying the teachings and practices of that tradition.  The problem is many traditions don't even conceive of salvation along those lines so there is no anxiety about how one is being transformed over time.  Orthodoxy doesn't even claim that religion is what saves a person.  In one sense Christ has already saved everybody.  In the Orthodox view every person will have a place in Paradise and the Resurrection.  The problem is they may not see it as Paradise because of how they have made themselves through their own free choices.  So the job of Orthodoxy is to make people more and more into citizens of that New Creation rather than to grant heaven tickets or at least hell passes.  
2/21/11 9:07 PM
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Ridgeback
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 Here is a good quote from an Orthodox theologian to demonstrate what I mean:

According to the Orthodox, since all men will see God, no religion can claim for itself the power to send people either to heaven or to hell.  This means that true spiritual fathers prepare their spiritual charges so that vision of God's glory will be heaven, and not hell, reward, and not punishment.  The primary purpose of Orthodox Christianity, then, is to prepare its members for an experience which every human being will sooner or later have.

John Romanides


PS - I am about to get buried in work for the next few weeks so I won't be back to respond.  I just wanted to add a few thoughts before signing off.

2/21/11 9:29 PM
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Grakman
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Ridgeback -  I do think it can all be put to a test though.  If a particular tradition isn't bringing about changes in terms of overcoming the passions, charity towards the least of these, and the forgiveness of enemies then either the tradition is flawed or you aren't actually applying the teachings and practices of that tradition. 

 I agree with this, and I believe there is Scriptural precedent for it:

Matt 7:16 "By their fruits ye shall know them."

And Matt 25:40 "... whatever you did for the least of these... you did unto me."

From my point of view, this is an excellent standard, and teaches something that I believe anyway which is that Christian people are found in all traditions, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant... and even some of those on the outer limits of Christendom, too. :P


2/21/11 10:32 PM
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Grakman
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"But salvation is not a transaction; it is the formation of a new life. There is but one salvation for all mankind and that is the life of God in the soul." -Rufus Jones
2/22/11 12:22 AM
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TheStewedOwl
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Okay, what started as a question about the scapular tradition became a pretty interesting discussion about lots of other things.

I'll jump in on the scapular background.

I got one at my first communion (very long ago), and remember wearing one when much younger. As a kid, I was always a little unclear on the concept as well.

It is a "sacramental" - a voluntary devotional that helps focus one's mind on holy things, and points one towards the sacraments. Unlike the sacraments, they don't confer God's grace on you but they're generally considered A Good Thing by the Roman Catholic Church. Similar sacramentals include wearing the medallion of a saint, praying the rosary, or having a cross made on your forehead on Ash Wednesday. They're also part of the culture of the Catholic community. As John Zmirak once joked, Ash Wednesday is one of the best ways for young Catholic singles to identify and seek each other out. Scapulars are still popular among trad Catholics, BTW.

A sacramental is a symbol, like a weddig ring - a wedding ring has no magical powers, it is an external symbol representing the internal reality of the marriage compact. (Wedding rings are not sacramentals, however - they're one of those extra-biblical pagan traditions, like the bride wearing white, that were adopted by both Catholics and Protestants...)

It is a common misapprehension that the promise of salvation refers to wearing the little cloth scapular. It refers to the big brown monk's robes that members of the Carmelite order wear. The image on the little cloth scapular refers to the appearance of Our Lady of St. Carmel to St. Simon Stock, who was an early Superior General of the Carmelite order, in the Carmelite monastery in what is now Haifa, Israel. He wanted to retain the Carmelites' traditional hermitic life but also wanted to adapt it to the vocation of the mendicant (travelling) friars such as the Franciscans and Dominicans. According to Catholic tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in a vision to St. Simon and presented him the first scapular robe and made him that promise. It was to the Carmelite robe scapular that the promise was attached. The small scapular was later approved by the church as a sacramental to honor Mary and the Carmelites.

As with all earthly appearances of the Mary after her death (to my knowledge), such as Lourdes, Fatima, etc., the Catholic Church has said the individual believer can accept or not accept the truth, as their faith allows. It's not an issue of doctrine. (More like the Church saying, "Huh. How about that.")

Re the promise to the Carmelites, it's predicated on living a good, holy life, so the scapular won't actually guarantee salvation. Belief in such a promise would be considered a pious superstition.

Currently, the Carmelites downplay the old scapular inscription because it promoted a superstition in the past. The current insciption (Carmelite nuns make and distribute them, as they have for centuries - they're free for the asking but a donation is suggested) read "BEHOLD THE SIGN OF SALVATION - PUT ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST."

Hope this helps.
2/22/11 11:00 AM
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Grakman
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 It helped my understanding, owl. I'm not a Catholic but I might see about getting one anyway, for.. just because.  :)  Thanks for sharing.
2/23/11 6:19 AM
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Juijitsuboxer
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Thanks Owl
2/23/11 6:29 AM
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Juijitsuboxer
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 The issue here is I am not sure how you would really be able to tell what is going on in a person's heart and what they are doing in their lives.  I find that Protestants tend to be much more outspoken about their faith (wearing it on their sleeves so to speak) and this is especially the case with Pentecostal and other newer traditions in America.  Orthodox and Catholic Christians are often much more quiet in their faith and more reticent to talk about their charitable works openly.  The quiet humility I see in Orthodox people I interact with is something I consider to be a positive change from what almost comes across as brazen in some Protestants.  

Another example of this would be the question of salvation.  A Baptist is proud to say that he is saved by the blood of Jesus and guaranteed a place in heaven.  An Orthodox is hesitant to declare the outcome of the final judgment before he meets his Lord and he is also aware of the biblical warnings about failing to finish the race so he would rather not make declarations about how he will live the rest of his life.  Now what is true humility in one person's perspective can often be seen as a lack of faith in another person's.  But all it really means is that an Orthodox may not be very good at using Baptist catch phrases or exhibiting the cultural norms of American Christianity.  Pentecostals tend to see people who are not emotional in their expression of the faith as spiritually dead even though many of the fathers warned that God is not experienced primarily through the emotions and emotional manipulation can just be a delusion.  

I think the real tests of faith that would really exhibit how close a person is to God are often hidden from us.  We don't know how much pain most people are going through and how they handle it.  We don't know how a person will deal with his own death.  We usually don't know the charitable works of others unless they go out of their way to tell us (which would be violating Jesus's teaching on the subject).  So without that data I am hesistant to judge where anyone is at.  What I found in Orthodoxy is a clear direction on that score as in being told to not judge them and stop wasting my time speculating about other people's salvation based on my own measure of what it means to be saved.  The traditions I came out of had people who had no problem speculating about other people's salvation.  A man who had a bad fall and experienced excrutiating pain after the accident (for which doctors could find no relief) finally went out to the woods and blew his head off.  The Baptists at his funeral made a point of telling his wife they were sorry he went to hell.  And I could go on and on about people who displayed surface level piousness about their faith but actually hid some deeply uncharitable hearts under the surface.

And all of that is neither here nor there.  We see what we want to see.  We create the yardstick and then judge those who fail to measure up to it.  <br type="_moz" />



Sorry Ridge, you speak of my perspective as if I am a blind American that is looking for all the "Evangelical" signs that a person is "saved" and that I am oblivious to these people because they keep their faith very personal and hidden. As I have stated, maybe I should have stated this more clearly, I have been around these people for YEARS who live in these faith traditions. I have friendships with many and with many I have professional relationships that have broken down into personal conversations on many levels over time. I am also an avid reader of church history and the saints of the first 500 years of church history. I think I do have a perspective on this situation that is different than many evangelicals you have known in the past. I was also raised Catholic as a child and young man and went towards protestantism as a teenager.

My concern is not so much a Catholic or Orthodox is not passing out religious pamphlets at work to show zeal, but that the ones I have experienced live so free of the concerns of God and live in many many sins. The many things they talk about that they did the night before, what they are going to be doing later, the crude joking, the mean and bitter things said in conversation, and the general lack of love I see in their day to day walk. Maybe it is all an act and they are hiding a big secret from me even though we are openly religious around each other and I am visiting church with them.



12 Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away.
2/23/11 11:28 AM
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Grakman
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Edited: 02/23/11 11:28 AM
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 I live in a predominately Catholic area, and I see the same phenomena as jjboxer. They disregard the teachings of the church almost completely, rarely attend mass, do not go to confession, but they will not miss a baptism or confiirmation, and a Catholic wedding is a MUST. I asked one of my buddies, who was a philanderer and a drunk, multiple-divorced man why he bothers to remain Catholic if he doesn't believe in any of their teachings. He said, "Because I'm MEXICAN bro. That's what we are, Catholic!"  This was many years ago before I had real understanding of the way in which culture and tradition can influence us, and in hindsight his answer makes perfect sense. Most people don't bother hammering out all the theology and doctrine, they just are what they are. 
2/23/11 2:21 PM
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TheStewedOwl
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To a certain extent, Catholicism (especially for cradle Catholics) can almost be considered an ethnicity, like being Jewish. There's an old Irish joke that an atheist Irishman no longer believes in God but still believes that Mary was His mother. As with any Christian sect, you see a lot of C&E (Christmas and Easter) church members. You also see some very poorly catechized people who know they are Catholic but don't really know WHAT they believe. The Catholic Church has done a poor job recently in many respects in that area, and it has led to a high rate of conversion to agnosticism, atheism and other religions, both Christian and non-Christian. I have to admit that the (growing body) of Catholic converts from Evangelicalism I know (maybe half the Catholics I know are converts) probably have a much greater interest - and understanding - of their new faith than many of us who were raised from birth as Catholics. They also tend to be much more aggressive about their apostolic mission, probably because of their Evangelistic upbringing. That's a good thing, I think.

The traditionalist Catholics I know are extremely focused on their faith, and it is an (or the) essential part of their lives. They spend their time discussing it on Catholic message boards, reading books, working in church groups and charities, etc. It's not just the communities centered around the Latin Mass that are like this, there seems to be a general rebirth of faith in most diocese. I think there's a number of reasons for this, but that's probably a topic for another day.

I grew up with a lot of friends who were Evangelicals - many of whom paid lip service to their faith, even as they regularly did many if the things their religion prohibited. Many of those people told me their acceptance of Jesus as a personal savior essentially indemnified them for those acts. (I realize that those beliefs were pretty poor theology, by the standards and teaching of their religion.) As they got older, some were kicked out of their congregations for various reasons (being gay, doctrinal disagreements, adultery or other inappropriate relationships with church members, or misuse of church funds). Some of those moved on to other faith communities, others just, like the REM song, lost their religion.

Generally, Catholics believe that no matter how badly you sin, you're still a Catholic and you won't be drummed out of the church, although you are expected to seek repentance, do penance (both prayer and temporal - forgiveness doesn't mean no punishment) and try to sin no more. This brings its own set of problems for the Church to deal with (believe me), but it's in recognition of our fallen state and in line with Jesus's teachings (in the parable of the wheat and the tares, and the net and the fishes) that there will always be false believers within His own Church. Jesus commanded us not to separate them from the Church but to let him judge and separate them out at the end. Some of my Evangelical friends have a hard time with that hard teaching, but we don't shoot our own wounded. Tempting as it may be, sometime.

2/23/11 4:36 PM
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TheStewedOwl
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TheStewedOwl - To a certain extent, Catholicism (especially for cradle Catholics) can almost be considered an ethnicity, like being Jewish. There's an old Irish joke that an atheist Irishman no longer believes in God but still believes that Mary was His mother. As with any Christian sect, you see a lot of C&E (Christmas and Easter) church members. You also see some very poorly catechized people who know they are Catholic but don't really know WHAT they believe. The Catholic Church has done a poor job recently in many respects in that area, and it has led to a high rate of conversion to agnosticism, atheism and other religions, both Christian and non-Christian. I have to admit that the (growing body) of Catholic converts from Evangelicalism I know (maybe half the Catholics I know are converts) probably have a much greater interest - and understanding - of their new faith than many of us who were raised from birth as Catholics. They also tend to be much more aggressive about their apostolic mission, probably because of their Evangelistic upbringing. That's a good thing, I think.


Sorry, I made a mistake in how I phrased that, as Evangelicals don't "convert" to Catholicism, they "reconcile." Roman Catholicism recognizes a Protestant baptism (using water and invoking the Trinity) as valid, and we don't re-baptize. Protestants are considered as Brothers in Christ, as they follow Jesus's teaching and express their faith through their actions. Bad phrasing on my part, hope I didn't give offense.

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