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HolyGround >> The Sufficiency of The Word


6/20/12 4:52 PM
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zealot66
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colubrid1 - 
zealot66 -  Which scripture ? the one pre cannon or after cannon? IMO, making the bible an idol is not what God intended christianity to be. You are worshiping and replacing God and Christ with the Bible, literally.



Z-
I don't know if this post was meant for me or not. But if it is why do you attack me when it is about scripture. argue from that!

The bible is NOt "God". The paper is not divine. , but the thoughts are Gods thoughts written down.

Sure the bible are not Gods only words. We know that God has spoken audibly to people. He speaks to us through His creation, through the holy spirit in impression, but ultimatly He speaks to man through his holy scripture.
It wasn't a personal attack. The internet is hard to communicate on. I think over the years, I've come to recognize a pathology in christianity. worship of the 'Word'. If you are a christian, it contains the divine thoughts relayed by man. I think they are records of people in a certain time, place, and such. Of course some of the principles are timeless. 

Your version of the bible, your theology, that is, you consider to be correct or you wouldnt adhere to it. No christian thinks he or she has a wrong understanding of the bible. When you block out all else besides the bible and your interpretation, you become a right fighter. Being right is the most important thing there is, because to think otherwise would mean you aren't right with God ( by most christians understanding). 

As long as you Believe the right thing about the Bible and theology, you are saved, in essence. I would say to a young christian to read and get to know the bible. I think like the majority of Americans are completely ignorant of our own history, Christians are even more ignorant of what they believe. The only time the open the book is when they go to church and then have someone tell them what it says. 

Christianity is not bound to a book, imo.
 
6/20/12 9:58 PM
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Ridgeback
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 Not only is sola scriptura historically untenable, but the whole reason there is almost zero discipline (in the good sense of helping Christians to grow and mature spiritually) in Protestant and post-Protestant sects is rooted in the notion of the "individual as pope"  approach to scripture.  The moment a parishioner is challenged to grow and accept criticism in love he can simply take his ball and move to the church down the road that is eager to have him and has found scriptural justification to ignore the sins that are hindering his path to sainthood.  Honestly I don't think the majority of Protestant and Post-Protestant Christianity is even focused on creating saints anyway.  By the way, I think Anglican, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions have their own issues with discipline, but  these do tend to run counter to the overall tenor of those traditions.  The call to sainthood is at least made much clearer even if large swaths of these traditions are currently ignoring it. 

A spiritual community needs to work like a hospital or bjj school.  This community needs to produce results in terms of spiritual healing and perfection.  If people are taking the therapy or medicine or program of the community then they should be transforming over time (obviously those that don't put in the effort won't see results).  There should also be clear examples of people made well or champions of the faith or however you want to describe the transformative power of a life in Christ (Methodists call this sanctification and Orthodox call it theosis).  Then you have the basis for discipline, which should take the form of helping people to be made well or to become saints, rather than as a set of rules for inclusion or exclusion in a private club.  Most spiritual communities don't even work along these lines so people are certainly not going to tolerate the discipline of love when they see no reason to submit to its authority.  People who think they are well are not going to listen to a doctor who is calling for surgery or painful treatment or unpleasant medicine.  Inclusion in a spiritual community should feel like an AA meeting to the people in it.  It should be full of people convinced of their own brokeness and sickness who want to be made well.  Many modern "churches" are full of people who think they are perfectly fine because "Jesus paid it all" and there is nothing more to be done.  

Imagine a Jiu-jitsu school where people don't train, but rather simply get black belts for joining and are told they are already good so training is, at best, optional.  Now imagine a book that was created long ago to help people who were serious about jiu-jitsu and already part of a serious jiu-jitsu school was adopted by this other school that simply gave black belts away.  The book would not only be incomprehensible to people who were not in the middle of the struggle of training, but it would certainly be powerless to get them to train harder or put up with a coach that tried to push them.  
6/25/12 9:46 PM
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DyingBreed
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colubrid1 -
Lahi - Do you think there is a place for the Christian psychologist?


No
Yes


As long as (as the title suggests) Jesus is the foundation of method.


We all have thought and thought process, and nothing wrong with healthy guidance in such areas.

God created the mind...why would we leave him out of the study of such? Phone Post
6/26/12 10:30 AM
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reverend john
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The bible says very clearly that Christ is in the midst of His church. Which means that the church must be part of our interpretive hermeneutic. The bible by itself is in fact not sufficient, it is not the way, the truth or the life, it points to Him, but does not replace Him.

rev
7/1/12 11:03 AM
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Grakman
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I've seen this BJJ school analogy used a number of times. Let's expand on this idea and make it a little more realistic:

I have this book on BJJ and wanting to know more I look for a school in my area. But the only school in my area will only teach Brazilians. The non-Brazilians have to sit in the corner, and none of the students will speak to them, let alone roll with them. So I find another BJJ school quite some distance from my home. They're more welcoming but then I find that no one really practices BJJ, most of the instructors and other students are really out of shape, they do not practice BJJ and spend a lot of time arguing and gossiping instead. So I keep looking. I find another BJJ school that is more welcoming, and the students are enthusiastic, but... it doesn't look like they are practicing BJJ at all. They say it's BJJ but the techniques look nothing like the pictures in my BJJ book; in fact it looks like they're practicing karate or some other sort of martial art.

Then I find another BJJ school that seems to teach BJJ, but the instructor spends a lot of time bashing other BJJ schools. He says his BJJ school is the only true descendant of the first BJJ practioners and traces his lineage back to the one who created BJJ. But his techniques do not match those in the book either, which was purportedly written by the one who created BJJ.

So I decide to take my BJJ book and find a few others who want to practice this BJJ and we begin training in my garage.
7/1/12 1:48 PM
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reverend john
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But then you meet other groups that have done the same thing. Some from those other groups who have chosen not to leave but to try and convince them

You continue to do your best and to compare notes with these other groups. Every once and a while you meet someone who appears to be an expert in bjj and says he or she have been practicing much like you have but for many more years. They come and share with your groups some of the pitfalls they have experienced teach you what they have learned and encourage you to keep at it

Rev Phone Post
7/1/12 3:52 PM
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Ridgeback
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Grakman - I've seen this BJJ school analogy used a number of times. Let's expand on this idea and make it a little more realistic:

I have this book on BJJ and wanting to know more I look for a school in my area. But the only school in my area will only teach Brazilians. The non-Brazilians have to sit in the corner, and none of the students will speak to them, let alone roll with them. So I find another BJJ school quite some distance from my home. They're more welcoming but then I find that no one really practices BJJ, most of the instructors and other students are really out of shape, they do not practice BJJ and spend a lot of time arguing and gossiping instead. So I keep looking. I find another BJJ school that is more welcoming, and the students are enthusiastic, but... it doesn't look like they are practicing BJJ at all. They say it's BJJ but the techniques look nothing like the pictures in my BJJ book; in fact it looks like they're practicing karate or some other sort of martial art.

Then I find another BJJ school that seems to teach BJJ, but the instructor spends a lot of time bashing other BJJ schools. He says his BJJ school is the only true descendant of the first BJJ practioners and traces his lineage back to the one who created BJJ. But his techniques do not match those in the book either, which was purportedly written by the one who created BJJ.

So I decide to take my BJJ book and find a few others who want to practice this BJJ and we begin training in my garage.

You are twisting the analogy and all analogy falls apart when you do that.  Even so, the problem with how you have reshaped the analogy is that in these scenarios you assume that you have a better understanding of how to interepret the book than any of the existing communities, including those that can trace a direct lineage to the original instructors of the original schools that made the book.  In other words, they not only have the book at their school that you have, but they have the whole package, and the notion that the book was meant to stand alone as a complete guide to BJJ is a head scratcher for them actually.   Plus, you are ignoring the fact that these communities continue to produce champions in BJJ (saints) unlike your little garage training group.

Starting a little garage training group where you get to set yourself up as the interpreter of the book and never having to deal with the challenge of training under a real master at a real school with advanced students who expose just how little you know is a tempting thing, but don't expect to ever become a black belt that way.   And it isn't a neutral thing either.  Training the wrong way can make it twice as hard to do things the right way when you do find a qualified school.  You pick up bad habits and tendencies based on your own assumptions about the book.

On a side note, I would like to know what real churches are like the examples in your scenarios.  Which church only allows Brazilians?  Which tradition has an old lineage that bashes other traditions?  I've never seen that happen in an Orthodox, Anglican, or Catholic church and they are the ones with the actual historical lineages.  The language used towards other Christians in those traditions is ten times more charitable than going the other way.  I only heard that kind of rhetoric in Baptist churches to be honest.  More often than not the attitude is one of appreciation for the effort, appreciation for at least having some of the truth, but also a real concern that people can be mislead by the things they believe.  

Finally, I did start garage training in BJJ for lack of any place to train in the Midwest.  When I travelled to places like California or Texas to train at real schools many of my assumptions were shattered.  The way that BJJ felt against a black belt was very different from rolling with a blue belt that trained in our garage because he moved there or whatever.   It is bad for a student to identify as a teacher early on.  He becomes unteachable many times.

7/1/12 4:31 PM
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reverend john
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So... Shane Claiborne isn't a saint? Ched Myers? William Booth?

And when you are talking about a pure fighting system, the Gracies are often years behind because of their refusal to accept anything knew, in tourney jiu jitsu as well. If you compare the average person in the new monastic movement, with the average person in a Catholic, or Anglican pew, you are talking about a huge difference in the actual practice of life changing faith. Where every soul is engaged in prayer, sacrament, sharing, giving, teaching, supplying to the general assembly, living a sacrifical life for their neighborhood. Making saints of every single person not just a few in holy orders in a monastery.

When you just show up and watch the black belts roll and dont roll yourself, you don't learn shit. In our garage churches, we love it when black belts come and roll with us, but the fact is... everyone rolls, nobody sits in the bleachers and watches

rev

rev
7/1/12 5:39 PM
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Ridgeback
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reverend john - So... Shane Claiborne isn't a saint? Ched Myers? William Booth?

And when you are talking about a pure fighting system, the Gracies are often years behind because of their refusal to accept anything knew, in tourney jiu jitsu as well. If you compare the average person in the new monastic movement, with the average person in a Catholic, or Anglican pew, you are talking about a huge difference in the actual practice of life changing faith. Where every soul is engaged in prayer, sacrament, sharing, giving, teaching, supplying to the general assembly, living a sacrifical life for their neighborhood. Making saints of every single person not just a few in holy orders in a monastery.

When you just show up and watch the black belts roll and dont roll yourself, you don't learn shit. In our garage churches, we love it when black belts come and roll with us, but the fact is... everyone rolls, nobody sits in the bleachers and watches

rev

rev

 Like I said, the analogy (which is not how I used it in the first place) falls apart.  I only used the analogy to point to the problem of extracting the written text from the whole experience of a community.  

I don't make commentaries on who is and isn't a saint outside of my tradition.  That would be none of my business and certainly not something I am qualified to judge.  

Sounds like the New Monastic Movement has Christianity all figured out.  
7/1/12 9:15 PM
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reverend john
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No we are just committed to walking out what we do know together and sharing our journey.

Kind of like the way you talk about the orthodox community... Oh except for the true historical heirs to the apostolic lineage and teaching bit

Rev Phone Post
7/2/12 1:24 AM
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Ridgeback
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reverend john -  No we are just committed to walking out what we do know together and sharing our journey.

Kind of like the way you talk about the orthodox community... Oh except for the true historical heirs to the apostolic lineage and teaching bit

Rev Phone Post

 As I have pointed out, Apostolic Succession in Eastern Orthodoxy is not some "guarantee" of being the "true Church."  Anglicans, Coptics, and Roman Catholics can also claim Apostolic Succession to various degrees, but from an Orthodox perspective they are misguided or outright heterodox in their belief and practices (in such things as Purgatory and Indulgences for Catholics).  The "value" of Apostolic Succession lies in the value of anything that needs to be passed down (the meaning of the word tradition) in person as most truly worthwhile things must be.  The value is in giving all the Christians who have fallen alseep in Christ a vote in the matter rather than assuming that one can simply pick up a Bible and reinvent the wheel.

I don't doubt the sincerity of men like Shane Clairborne and I understand the feeling that all the blood has gone out of mainstream Christianity to the degree that if the typical Western "church" is supposed to represent Christianity then who would want it.  Lot's of people who don't self-identify as anarchist or new monastic would agree (Stanley Hauerwas was saying this stuff before Clairborne was, well, born).   But it is easy to distinguish what you might call an active priesthood of believers in a small and new movement from the old traditions that have been around for centuries.  What will Clairborne's own church look like in three generations if it lasts that long?  Will it become subverted (especially if it grows) and have nominal members?  Would this movement survive a wave of real persecution such as the Orthodox survived in the Soviet Union?


7/2/12 1:26 AM
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Ridgeback
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 This is a description of early Christianity from 150 AD and written by Justin Martyr.  With minor variations, this is exactly how the EO works as a community.  If a modern community has serious differences (like an open table) should that matter?  

The Eucharist

And this food is called among us Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.

Weekly worship of the Christians

And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.

7/2/12 9:14 AM
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reverend john
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The church in china that not only survives the persecutions but grows exponentially and against the culture during the persecutions of Chinese communism was house church and anarchic and not of apostolic succession.

And it is interesting that I have only one problem with what you posted the closed table. As Christ did not close his table bit admitted the betrayer judas. But when I want show how our church is modeled and growing towards I actually use acts 2:42

Funny how you accuse me of having it all figured out... Your pot ness is astounding

Rev Phone Post
7/2/12 2:25 PM
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Grakman
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The BJJ school analogy is sound, even when expanded upon but on that we will have to agree to disagree. And Ridge, there have been previous discussions on the Holyground about issues of assimilation of non-ethnic believers into ethnic Orthodox churches. I can't recall the exact thread or specifics, but I seem to recall even you saying that some Eastern Orthodox congregations can be somewhat exclusive, unwelcoming to those who are not Greek, Russian, or whatever the case may be. This doesn't mean they're not Christian, it just means that the analogy for the exclusive BJJ school is an appropriate one.

Are there any writings in the first 200 years after Christ that discuss the founding of national churches that are supported by the state? Any writings that call for the construction of elaborate cathedrals?

I am not singling out Orthodoxy for criticism, I believe there are and have been many devout believers in their ranks. But I also believe this to be true about Baptists, Christian anarchists, Catholics, etc. However, just my opinion but for me it is difficult to read the Gospels and imagine Jesus setting up another temple system to rival the one of Judaism.
7/2/12 3:15 PM
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Ridgeback
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Grakman - The BJJ school analogy is sound, even when expanded upon but on that we will have to agree to disagree. And Ridge, there have been previous discussions on the Holyground about issues of assimilation of non-ethnic believers into ethnic Orthodox churches. I can't recall the exact thread or specifics, but I seem to recall even you saying that some Eastern Orthodox congregations can be somewhat exclusive, unwelcoming to those who are not Greek, Russian, or whatever the case may be. This doesn't mean they're not Christian, it just means that the analogy for the exclusive BJJ school is an appropriate one.

Are there any writings in the first 200 years after Christ that discuss the founding of national churches that are supported by the state? Any writings that call for the construction of elaborate cathedrals?

I am not singling out Orthodoxy for criticism, I believe there are and have been many devout believers in their ranks. But I also believe this to be true about Baptists, Christian anarchists, Catholics, etc. However, just my opinion but for me it is difficult to read the Gospels and imagine Jesus setting up another temple system to rival the one of Judaism.

 I want to point out that how I use the BJJ analogy is very different from the way you are using it.  My use of the analogy has to do with the relation of a written text to the whole experience of a BJJ school.  You are using the BJJ analogy more to refer to the problem of finding the true Church among a variety of churches.  Once again, however, in your example you always take your judgment as the best judgment.  Everything is measured by what you think is right, but if you are only a white belt then you couldn't possibly know what is right.  You are also not accounting for why you give the book on jiu-jitsu any creedence or why jiu-jitsu is something you even want to learn.  In other words, you are leaving some giant holes in the analogy.  

And for the record, my impression is that you simply don't train at all, which is a whole other problem.  If you believe that all these different traditions have the power to make you a saint then you might want to pick one and stick with it.  As it stands, you are pretending to a neutrality that doesn't exist so you can equally criticize all the traditions but you will never be a black belt if you don't train at any school.
7/2/12 3:21 PM
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Ridgeback
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reverend john -  The church in china that not only survives the persecutions but grows exponentially and against the culture during the persecutions of Chinese communism was house church and anarchic and not of apostolic succession.

And it is interesting that I have only one problem with what you posted the closed table. As Christ did not close his table bit admitted the betrayer judas. But when I want show how our church is modeled and growing towards I actually use acts 2:42

Funny how you accuse me of having it all figured out... Your pot ness is astounding

Rev Phone Post

 I am sure the Christians who lived 130 years after Christ had it wrong and you guys have it right.  No matter how often you accuse me of arrogance you won't see me sheep stealing or pointing out all the things that are wrong with people's traditions.  You do that on a regular basis.  You created a post on the OG that told people going to church was a waste of time and they would be better off working a soup kitchen.  Most of your posts are based on pointing out to active Christians how they are subverted and actually wasting their time because they are really serving the powers.  I challenge you to find a single post of mine where I write that people should become Orthodox because it is the only right way.  Furthermore, there is a huge difference between submitting to a very old tradition and accepting that I dont' know shit and a group of people who decide that nobody else knows shit except them so they will have to reinvent the wheel after their own image.  Hence the arrogance at the heart of your ministry and the hubris of your posts.  When I start telling Baptists to stop going to their Baptist churches let's talk about the difference in our posts.
7/2/12 3:42 PM
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reverend john
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Edited: 07/02/12 3:43 PM
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I started a post that said for an entire church to not go to church one sunday a year to go do something socially responsible. I back you up continuously that there is no such thing as individual discipleship. I also often praise groups like the Catholic worker that work within their ancient tradition. You read my posts from your own condescending arrogant and twisted bias.

I am not the one saying that the word Christian doesn't mean anything, that people should call themselves Christians anymore, or that they don't even have the same religion, that is you. The truth is, in this very post you said that other traditions are deviations or deviations of deviations. I find it hard to believe someone as apparently smart as you can't see what a smug comment that is.

I have never once told someone to leave their tradition, their church, nor asked anyone to join mine. I do find that the church is subverted as it embraces power, whether it is economic, political or religious. Apparently its ok for you to talk about your traditions shortcomings in this area but not for me. But that is all groups. What I call people to do is actually follow Jesus, do what he did, what he taught. Is that a threat to you in your lavish temples, if not then stay where you are and follow as you are able and lead.

rev
7/2/12 4:53 PM
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reverend john
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www.patheos.com/blogs/jonathanwilsonhartgrove/2012/07/clarence-jordan-and-gods-movement-today/ 

a baptist saint, a christianarchist saint and a new monastic saint

rev
7/2/12 5:07 PM
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zealot66
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reverend john -  The church in china that not only survives the persecutions but grows exponentially and against the culture during the persecutions of Chinese communism was house church and anarchic and not of apostolic succession.

And it is interesting that I have only one problem with what you posted the closed table. As Christ did not close his table bit admitted the betrayer judas. But when I want show how our church is modeled and growing towards I actually use acts 2:42

Funny how you accuse me of having it all figured out... Your pot ness is astounding

Rev Phone Post
One thing that I will comment on, just a side note. About China. I spent 4 months in Hong Kong and smuggled bibles into mainland china. I had many an opportunity to talk with those who were involved with the chinese church in the 90s. The anarchist part of the church is not the intended evolution so to speak, it is a force one. Cells operate independently of eachother and there was a wide variance of groups. Some were extremely charismatic, others not so. But for better or worse, they wanted communication with eachother. I guess thats just social animal instincts. 

Oh and quite a few 'heros' would go into china, cause a big stir, a revival meeting bringing out the christians who were then identified by the police and then beaten or worse. The heros simply walked back across the border to leave the others to clean up the mess. The govt wants groups isolated because if they were able to operate openly, they would garner power to stand up to the govt. 

So, its just an insight. For me, listening to you two, I think each has chosen their own path and are convinced its correct. Ridge, you sound pretty high minded at times to the point I feel like you are looking down your nose ( just being honest ). Its hard not to fight back. 

I've got my own island to tend to and I feel just fine. Reminds me of a john lennon song Ill post.
 
7/2/12 5:09 PM
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zealot66
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7/2/12 5:26 PM
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reverend john
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Zealott, I believe in the church being in contact with each other, and standing against injustice with each other. I don't agree with the church coalescing to have power over others.

I also believe the variety of the church is its strength, not a weakness, we all have different charisms. What I do not accept is a structure that dis-empowers others.

rev
7/2/12 5:46 PM
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Ali
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Cool song, choice, Zealot...
(I was just last night listening to demo versions of that, just Lennon on a gutar or a piano, solo, singing his heart out).
7/2/12 8:04 PM
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Grakman
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Ridgeback said: "Once again, however, in your example you always take your judgment as the best judgment. Everything is measured by what you think is right, but if you are only a white belt then you couldn't possibly know what is right. You are also not accounting for why you give the book on jiu-jitsu any creedence or why jiu-jitsu is something you even want to learn. In other words, you are leaving some giant holes in the analogy.

And for the record, my impression is that you simply don't train at all, which is a whole other problem. If you believe that all these different traditions have the power to make you a saint then you might want to pick one and stick with it. As it stands, you are pretending to a neutrality that doesn't exist so you can equally criticize all the traditions but you will never be a black belt if you don't train at any school."

Well, it goes without saying that I take my judgment as the best judgment, once I've made a judgment. It is just as obvious that you have taken your judgment to be the best judgment as well, otherwise you would be following a way that is not in your, well, best judgment.

Now what forms my judgment is another question. I do not rely only on reading the Bible and pronouncing it 'so.' I read and study the works of various scholars and theologians, ancient and modern, who have extensively studied the era of the Bible, translations, history, and so on. I interact with people of different faiths. I observe. I listen. I analyze. I then piece together what seems reasonable to me. I doubt you will agree but you essentially had to do the same thing before you arrived at the conclusion, that in your judgment, Orthodoxy was the best 'way'.

Regarding my personal philosophy or school, for someone who derided the use of the term Christian, you seem to think it very important that I pick a way or 'school' with which to label myself, at least publicly here on the HG anyway. You have chided me in the past on the Holy Ground for not following a denomination or church and have admonished me on more than one occasion to 'pick something' and stick to it. If I recall correctly you have told me that all I do is pick apart traditions because I have none, and that I see myself as superior because I am 'inclusive.' Or something like that. If I am wrong or have paraphrased incorrectly, please correct me.

You really don't know me Ridge, you don't know anything about my personal spiritual practices, what church I attend, what works I am involved in, the state of my heart, nothing. So it's a bit disingenuous for you to say that I do not 'train.'

I believe I have a 'way'. If you desire to label me, call me a Universalist Christian, who adheres to the moral influence theory of the atonement, who believes that all men will be judged according to their works. I do not believe in an everlasting hell of eternal torment, but believe that God's punishments are purificatory and of only sufficient duration to bring about repentance. I believe my views are rooted in the ancient traditions of Christianity, with the moral view of the atonement and universalism being among the earliest views held by Christians immediately following the death and resurrection of Jesus.

I do *not* believe that to be a disciple of the Lord that one must adhere to a certain doctrine about the Trinity, Hell, apostolic succession, belief in the salvific properties of the sacraments, confess sins to a priest, or tithe. I do not believe that believers are commanded to give to the 'church' in order to build cathedrals or $25 million dollar churches with big screen tvs and sound systems.

I do not believe that only rich people go to 'Hell,' I don't believe that people are called to give up all of their wealth and move to the ghetto in order to help people or follow the 'way.'

I *do* believers are called to do just as Jesus did, helping others and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, and I think that as long as we are on the 'way', attempting to follow Jesus with all our heart and mind, well then we are, well, on the 'way.' Ultimately, God will be the one to determine how far along the way one is, or if one is indeed on the 'way' at all.

Blessings to all.
7/2/12 10:42 PM
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Grakman
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Member Since: 6/21/08
Posts: 4270
I considered deleting my last post, but I know others have probably already read it so I will let it stand. But I want to make one thing clear:

Ridge, I do not want to argue or fight with you man. We have exchanged emails in the past, very friendly exchanges I might add, you've sent me books, shared links and stories with me. You were generous with good advice and counsel when I asked questions about Orthodoxy, some of the things you recommended to me have become part and parcel of my belief system. I have no quarrel with you at all.

In fact, I'd venture that we have more in common with our beliefs than disagreement. You have told me before that you too, hold to the 'Greater Hope' of universal salvation; that your patron saint was known for his belief and defense of universal salvation. You have said that you do not believe a person must belong to the Orthodox to be saved or even to be a Christian, or a saint for that matter. Given those things, I don't think there is much left to argue about. :) I call you my brother in Christ, both walking on the Way the best we know how.

God bless.
7/3/12 3:25 AM
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Ridgeback
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Member Since: 7/3/07
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Grakman - I considered deleting my last post, but I know others have probably already read it so I will let it stand. But I want to make one thing clear:

Ridge, I do not want to argue or fight with you man. We have exchanged emails in the past, very friendly exchanges I might add, you've sent me books, shared links and stories with me. You were generous with good advice and counsel when I asked questions about Orthodoxy, some of the things you recommended to me have become part and parcel of my belief system. I have no quarrel with you at all.

In fact, I'd venture that we have more in common with our beliefs than disagreement. You have told me before that you too, hold to the 'Greater Hope' of universal salvation; that your patron saint was known for his belief and defense of universal salvation. You have said that you do not believe a person must belong to the Orthodox to be saved or even to be a Christian, or a saint for that matter. Given those things, I don't think there is much left to argue about. :) I call you my brother in Christ, both walking on the Way the best we know how.

God bless.

 I'm truly not offended by your post and if I am coming off as pissy that is not my intention.  

And yes for the record I don't think a person must be Orthodox to be saved nor do I believe that being Orthodox is any guarantee that you will be saved.   In one respect I think the whole cosmos is saved including all men which is certainly the biblical langauge regarding "first fruits" and "new Adam" and "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."  To the degree that we are then free to live as citizens of that new order of Justice (called the Kingdom of Heaven) or not that would be what determines whether it is heaven or hell.  Several Orthodox writers have actually pointed out that the Church does not have the power to "send" people to heaven or hell, but rather it is a way for people to live according to a Kingdom ethic right now and also to be given the power to be transformed into citizens of that Kingdom.  In other words, it prepares people for an experience that every human will have.  And the notion that every human is called to sainthood is something that not only Christians have acknowledged.  Many Jews, Muslims, and even atheists (like Albert Camus for example) recognize this call.  I think it is the thing for which people don't have an excuse.  With that said, however, if you recognize the call to sainthood then it is imperative to find a way to live that allows you to fulfill that call.  I don't think there are guarantees in this regard since you have to participate in the process, but I do believe there are traditions that have more potential of helping you achieve this while others apparently don't believe becoming a saint is even a goal (since heaven and hell are perceived as places you are sent rather than the experience of what you are at your core when you find yourself in the direct presence of God).  

And this is why I dont' quite get the accusations on this thread and the other.  For example, the Rev says that saying that some traditions are "deviations of deviations" is a smug thing to write, but this is something that can be easily traced historically.  I don't consider the term "deviation" to be a value judgment.  Obviously some deviations can lead to better things.  And of course the whole point of my posts was to try to account for the stark differences between a poster like Pastor Josh and the Rev. who I still argue appear to believe and practice entirely different religions despite using some of the same terminology and sacred texts.  

The one other thing I will mention regarding Judgment is that of course to some degree you can only go with what you believe to be true and right, but I also think that if something meets your expectations and fits your own ideas perfectly when you still have a lot of growing (and dying to yourself) to do, then that is a huge red flag.  And my own experience of Orthodoxy has not been 100% approval or agreement.  There have been things that I have found completely contrary to what I think is right only to have my view change over time.  So while I think we are called to be "wise as serpents" a time comes where we have to surrender our own fallen wills in order to grow.  Otherwise we are like people with cancer who think we only have a vitaming deficiency.  What the doctor tells us will seem cruel or ridiculous and we surely know better, but we will not be cured unless we surrender to his judgment.  

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