I recently had a FaceBook conversation with a Protestant (Baptist background) whom I know well. This photo was posted and the jokes ensued. I found it illustrative, however, of a systematic wandering from the Faith of our Fathers and took the opportunity to point out a few things. Protestant heels were dug in and a non-productive exchange ensues. Here is that exchange:
ME: Illustrates why there are so many "truths" in Protestantism- so many interpretations leading to so many denominations. Illustrates clearly the problem with the Protestant practice of Sola Scriptura. So many versions written with an individual's commentary included giving us their interpretation of what the Bible means. Scofield was one of the first. His version spread through all of the English- speaking West with the the belief in a Pre-tribulation rapture theory ( the secret snatching away of the saints years prior to Christ's return). An un-scriptural eschatology that was never heard of in the church before 150 years ago. Read the "Early Church Fathers" (google it) to see what what was believed by ALL of the Church-everywhere, at all times- for the first 1000 years- that is the faith- that is the truth. 1 Timothy 3:15 tells us where that truth may be found. The CHURCH is the "pillar and foundation of all truth." The church gave us the Bible, the bible didn't give us the church. If the Orthodox church met in counsel and determined what was to be in the Bible, why can they not be trusted to say what it means? The Orthodox Christian Church is the original pre-denominational church established by Christ and His disciples. It is still here today and predates Protestantism by 1600 years. "To be deep into history is to cease to be Protestant."
POSTER: The church is you and me. Not going to put my faith in a mans word apart from inspired scripture. Would be the same argument you used in this comment against commentary. The priesthood of the believer and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and scripture alone is my stay. Commentary should always be weighed against the Word and so should the comments of any preacher or teacher. But this does not mean don't preach and teach. Man is fallible. The Holy Spirit is not.
ME: Man is fallible but you trust each individual man to hear the Holy Spirit correctly concerning what the Bible means? Then how do you know the "Scripture" is infallible if man is so fallible? Where did the Bible come from? It didn't just fall out of the sky- leather bound. The visible church headed by bishops with names, gave it to us 400 years after the church was established.. The Holy Spirit "inspired" them- the bishops- the unified, Spirit breathed group-not individuals-to know what were true and what were spurious. That's why we don't have a book of Thomas today. It was floating around at the time along with others. That's why we used the Septuagint version of the scriptures that Christ quoted from and not the Hebrew preferred translation from which the Protestant Bible is translated. Once again--a question that still goes unanswered: If you can accept the authenticity of the scriptures so readily, why can you not accept the authority of the visible church that gave them to you--the original Orthodox.
POSTER: Because the Holy Spirit is not fallible and scripture says he is the one that reveals truth to the heart. Jesus said he knew what was in the heart of man and did not put his trust in them. Pilate asked what is truth. Jesus had already answered that. "I am the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the father except through me"... Not a visible church or group of men who are fallible. That's why the scripture is for . It does not contain the word of god. It is the word of god.
ME: Says He revealed truth to the church- not individual members but a body- His body. The church IS HIM- His Body. Back to this...where did you get your Bible? This is not a theological question but a historic one, so "well God gave it to us" is platitude. Where did you get the Bible you believe in? How did it come about? In what historic context? Who was involved and how did they have the authority to say what the Bible contains? Why are these questions so offensive? Should not all who profess Christ have a ready answer for this? It was a group of men- you dismiss them, but why? On what basis? You accept what they gave you as authentic but discount them in every other way. Why? We know that God chose a group, the Apostles, to breath His authority into. Those Apostles chose others to be their successors- Bishops- with the laying on of hands- which imparted the same Spirit/authority to govern the church, that Christ gave them. These Bishops met together in counsel seven times over several centuries. (see the 7 Ecumenical Counsels) This is historic fact. Being so, one must prove when and where this changed. It did not. The original churches are still in the same place- Alexandria, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Rome, Antioch- and now beyond, still governed by Bishops. The Apostle's bodies still kept in some of these Churches. "To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant." Protestantism- the new Coke.
POSTER: The ones Jesus choose while he was here were enough and fulfilled their purpose. We weren't to build legacies for anyone as Jesus tried to teach them when they wanted to build a monument to Elijah and Moses . We are a royal priesthood. The veil was torn from top to bottom an entrance I to his presence is individual and does not need the permission or dispensations. Of earthy priest. The cross and the resurrected Christ made that happen. Now we go boldly to the throne.Galatians is a good read about standing fast to liberty and not to out yokes of bondage around your neck or be subject tot the traditions of men. So again here I stand. Is Certain he has me and will keep me. I am a priest of he gospel and respect others but I know who saves and keeps. I just spread the word. Not searching for another foundation. I already have assurance. Certainly no man is going to be placed above what Christ has already done. That is a snare. I choose to be free in The Lord And the power of his might.
ME: Free in Lord". All men are equal ""priests" and each gets one vote? No one gets to rule over anyone else? This is called democracy. The church is not a democracy but a theocracy with hierarchy. It is patterned after heaven that also has a hierarchy and an angelic order of rule. Even the demons have this order. The church was established in the same order: "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." The Apostles purpose was to establish this order. Only then was their purpose fulfilled. This order is what has preserved the truth for 2000 years. Protestantism left that rule and now is in doctrinal disarray, every one adhering to whatever they feel the Holy Spirit says to them. They live in deception and teach the doctrines of demons. Some more than others. True liberty is found only when lived out within the life of this church which is not built on the tradition of men, but on the Tradition of the Apostles. "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
POSTER: Nope. Your interpretation is not accurate and is legalistic bondage and not sustainable by comparative scripture. Of course I could point you to scripture to support that but have found this forum not productive. So as in the past I choose not to. You have chosen your path. If you are truly happy in it then you shouldn't have to keep trying to engage me in theological debate. Not interested. Your search will bring you full circle. I'm don't desire the conversation. I'm not on the walk with you. I am not between two opinions. In Christ alone I put my trust. I choose liberty not legalism. Just read scripture. The Holy Spirit will bring you to truth and final peace. Trying to convince me is pointless because I'm not going to exchange liberty for chains. Love you.
ME: This is not a theological debate. No theology being discussed here. Ecclesiology is the topic- church history. Whenever I see something posted that flies in the face of history and does not follow logically I engage the poster in a question, like "Where did you get your Bible?" or "Who founded your denomination"? Seems like non-debatable questions but the answer to such to often reveals a gaping hole in someone's belief system or education...and is met with resistance and viewed as threatening. The picture posted seems to be a joke or a misplace wrapper, but in actuality, I have seen the authors of such Bibles with unique Bible notes autographing copies for the buyers at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention and the Evangelical Publisher Association. This is a product of an ideology that is 1000 years separated from the original ecclesiology of the Church. Isn't it relevant to know from where you get your faith and to be able to give a ready answer and not platitudes? The reason the "Where did you get your Bible" question is difficult is because pursuit of the answer leads one to discover that Orthodox Bishops gave them their Bible. The more troubling discovery that follows is that they do not belong to the Church that gave them their Bible, and they are hard pressed as to why. I did come full circle and found the original church waiting for me to enter. I did , and so should all. It is the One, holy, catholic and apostolic church- the Orthodox Church.