05 February 2009

Can you spot the incoherence here?

The Lord has given the Sacred Scriptures to the Church to be the rule and judge of all doctrines and teachers.
Whenever she teaches according to them, she speaks a certain and joyful truth, and is to be obeyed.
Whenever she teaches contrary to them, or insists on a teaching or practice for which they give no grounds, she should not be heeded but rather called to repentance.


npmccallum said...

Umm... Its not taught by Scripture?

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Also, what Scripture teaches, someone other than the Church knows better than the Church herself does, to whom the Book was given? And someone other than the Church can call her to repentance?

Also that this thinking tries either to displace the Holy Spirit or to box Him in, Who like the wind blows wherever He pleases?

Also... naw. I'd say don't get me started, but it's too late.


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

(Sigh... hooked._

Also, that Scripture refers us to the Church as, well, the name of your blog says it. The Church is God's letter to the world. "And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." (2 Cor. 3:3)

Also, that Christ, in His Body, is not subject to any text, but is the Lord of the text.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Note, in paragraph 1, who is being judged and who, implictly, is judge.

Now, in paragraphs 2-3, note who is being judged and who, implicitly (Elsewhere the poster spoke of 'private judgment' in a positive way) who is judge.

Christopher D. Hall said...

Ah, the problem is all the passives...as usual :)

s1 Implies the Scriptures judge the Church.
s2 Implies that we are the judge of the Church when we decide to obey or not.
s3 Implies again that we are the judge of the Church.

But it is fair to say that the Scriptures are our guide to doctrine, as they are God's revelation to us through the Apostles and Prophets. I mean, all over the place the Fathers appeal to the Scriptures for their theology.

Could you share with me how the Orthodox view the Scriptures--in a positive definition and not just a negative?


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

The paragraphs, taken together, imply that the individual (a creation of the Renaissance and Reformation) judges both Church and Scripture.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

The Bible, as understood by the Church (such understandings having been passed down to us from the beginning), illumines, explicates, and corroborates our faith. It is the single most authoritative witness to it, the single most authoritative “artifact” of Holy Tradition. It is indeed a guide, but in a more limited sense than Sola Scriptura would have it. That is, we do believe we must reject anything that conflicts with the Scriptural testimony – this determination being up to the entire, Spirit-animated Church. We even (going farther than many Sola Scripturists in this respect) reject any theology that makes Scripture contradict itself, as in, 1. God wills for all to be saved, 2. salvation is accomplish by God alone, yet 3. not all people are necessarily saved. Such a contradiction, for us, would be a sure sign of some error somewhere.

If Holy Scripture had been intended to be used as described in this post, you’d think Jesus Himself would have written it. If this Book were to be our main inheritance, our source and arbiter of all doctrine, then for Jesus to write it Himself would have been so very important. Not only that, He should have spent large portions of His ministry explicating every page, every paragraph, every word of it. He should and could have said, “Here are six different ways men in the future will be tempted to misinterpret what I’ve said, and here’s why these interpretations are each wrong…” He would have made it very clear whether, for example, the Bread and Wine do or not remain His Body and Blood after the Communion service is over.

But Fr. Stephen put it very well in his recent reply to an atheist commentator:

Also I would agree that the Bible does not convince. That is not it's proper purpose. I believe because I know the Resurrected Christ- not as an idea in which I have faith but as a Person who has made himself known to me. That reality has continued as the treasure and ground of the Orthodox faith for 2000 years. Christ is risen. God give you peace.


Chris Grindstaff said...

Very good points, Anastasia. I see another problem with this "textual" approach to the faith, and I tried to point it out - without much success - on Pr. Weedon's blog. It seems to me the burden this puts on the "individual" is immense. The "true faith" would be virtually inaccesible to most people - me included. Even if we accepted that a person could read the Scriptures privately without bringing any "biases" to the text and still reach the "right" interpretation of the text, wouldn't this require a great deal of academic training. I mean, at a minimum such a person woudl have to be steeped in NT Greek, and probably Hebrew as well. Not to mention, they would have to have a firm grasp of all the schools of phiosophical thought that have been the source of many theological disputes over the centuries, e.g. Platonism, Aristotelianism, the list goes on and on.

Does what I'm saying make any sense? It's something that has bothered me about this approach for a long time.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Chris, it makes such good sense that I am minded to write a whole blog post on it.

Christopher D. Hall said...

Chris (G),

I think you've hit on something there--the exact reason that we LCMS pastors are trained in Greek and Hebrew, ancient History--and the reason most of my profs were glad to see I had a BA in Philosophy.

But...how do we know enough? How do we know that what we have learned is right? There are no easy answers to these epistemological questions. Second, it reduces Truth not to the Person, but to how smart I am. If I am to know the truth, I need to be smart--smarter than I am today.

Now, when I was at the Sem there was one prof who understood this problem and tried to find the answer in appealing to the hermenuetics of the church. Many of the students were aghast at the idea. Even then I saw that this was the only way.

I think this is the prime motivator for folks like Weedon, too, in culling quotes then from the Fathers to prove that their reading of Scripture is the Church's reading, and not their own. Coupled with rigorous academic study, they see their exegesis as being historical fit and congruent with their sample quotes of the Fathers.

Now, I am a Lutheran pastor, but I firmly realize that what we teach is not what Jerome, Chrysostom, and Augustine, et al., taught. We do not teach the same faith as they do.

Now, the stalwart Lutheran who confesses this will be forced to say that Rome and Orthodoxy do not teach what they taught, either. Otherwise they become someone like Fr. Hogg ;)