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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Introduction to Koine Greek # 2 ( with the Erasmian pronunciation)








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Introduction to Koine Greek-The History





The same video from youtube:



Introduction to Greek #2












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New Testament Greek Class (mostly with the Erasmian pronunciation)











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Learn Greek (modern greek)

Learn Greek: Lesson 1


Learn Greek: Lesson 2



Learn Greek: Lesson 3


Learn Greek: Lesson 4



Learn Greek: Lesson 5



Learn Greek: Lesson 6 (The numbers)






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Learning NT Greek - Alphabet (Modern Greek pronunciation)




How to write the 24 Greek letters




Re: Learning NT Greek - Alphabet





Gospel of John read using the Modern Greek pronunciation:




Learning NT Greek - Grammars and other tips







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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Orthodoxy & Scripture 1: Septuagint vs. Masoretic

This one was made by David!






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Deuterocanonical / aprocraphal books in the septuagint scripture?

I no longer use the 90 A.D. theory/speculation. Instead, I point to what happened around 135 A.D. Also, the Arabic Orthodox didn't always use the LXX, I found this out through the book, "Antioch: Incarnational Theology and Ministry". The Arabic Orthodox first used the Aramiac targums, and then some time latter used the LXX. But it's all good........I still enjoyed the video!



I forgot to mention that Rome has 3 less books than us. The one who made this vid forgot to mention this distinction between East and West in regards to the Old Testament.






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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Answering a question in regards to Solo Scriptura, Sola Scriptura and how some protestants historically were able to combat Arianism

Hint: they did so by embracing and using some of the ancient creeds, and not with just scripture only.

This came from this forum(A mostly calvinist protestant christian rap website....well it use to be, a good number of the calvinists left for a different Reformed and Calvinistic music and doctrine site) .


Quote:
Originally Posted by eternal (a church of God
pastor or assistant pastor)
So, in your
estimation, how much historical viability must there be? For instance, do you
denounce aspects of Catholicism as "heresy" even though it has been historically
acceptable? I think that all claims of heresy will ultimately HAVE to pass the
biblical test, not the historical one.



It should "ultimately" have to pass the test of both History and the Scriptures.........which is nothing more than "Scripture rightly interpreted".

To ignore history as a litmus test is to fall into the trap of "Solo scriptura". At least the classical protestant modal of "sola scriptura" allowed room for subordinate authorities (in modern times, certain forms of solo scriptura also allow for subordinate authorities, but to a much lesser degree. In most cases it is mere lip service).

Now "solo scriptura" and "sola scriptura" are both protestant modals......one is Anabaptist while the other is Lutherian and Reformed.


Alister Mcgrath in the book "Christianity's Dangerous Idea" said:

QUOTE:
Quote:
The Problem of Heresy for Protestantism

"Heresy" is one of the most ominous terms in the vocabulary of Christendom. The Christian usage of the word can be traced back to the New Testament itself, where it is used to designate a sect, faction, or grouping (see, for example, Acts 24:5; 28:22). Similarly, the great Jewish historian Josephus applies the term (airesis) to the three religious sects prevalent in Judea in his day: the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Esenes. At this stage, the term did not have the strongly negative associations that later developed; these, however, were not long in emerging.

By the second century, "orthodoxy" and "heresy" were emerging as significant ideas. The term "heresy" was used to designate deficient, and potentially vulnerable, understanding of the Christian faith that were to be rejected. The identification of heresy was seen as a corporate judgment by the church that rested on a consensus that such views were unsatisfactory, fallacious, and misleading. Yet it is essential to appreciate that heresies were ultimately unacceptable interpretations of the Bible.

This can be seen by considering the fourth-century movement known as Arianism, widely seen as the most important early Christian heresy. Arius and his followers held that Jesus of Nazerath could not be regarded as divine in any meaningful sense of the word. He was "supreme among God's creatures, "but a creature nonetheless. This doctrine was severely criticized by writers such as Athanasius of Alexandria for undermining the internal coherence of the Christian faith. Yet both Arius and Athanasius based their ideas on substantially the same biblical texts, which they interpreted in different ways.

The essence of heresy can therefore be located in flawed biblical interpretation. But who decided which biblical interpretations are flawed and which are orthodox? If all Christians have the right to interpret the Bible as they see fit, how can heresy be identified. let alone combated? If the Bible alone is the supreme rule of faith, how can any authority beyond that text be recognized as its authoritative interpreter? It is at this point that the distinctive approach of Protestantism encounters a seemingly formidabled obstacle, in that it seems to undermine the very idea of an authoritative interpretation of the Bible-in other words, the notion of orthodoxy.

This already significant problem was made acute by the unusual social and intellectual conditions of the sixteenth century, catalyzed by the spirit of inguiry of the Renaissance. This era of science and intelectual restlessness was marked by a determination to explore new options and reevaluate old ones. Some of these were local heterodoxies, whose ideas had little impact at the time, even though they may have caused frissons of intellectual anxiety. Among those, we may include the Italian village miller Domenico Scandella from the mountain village of Montereale, who took the view that the world arose from chaos, just as "cheese is made out of milk, and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels." A surge of alternative viewpoints emerged, posing a powerful challenge to the religious and political stability of late Renaissance Europe. The authorities, political and religious, did what they could to limit their impact by branding such ideas as magic or heresy. Among these new movement, of course, was Protestantism itself-or perhaps we should say, many of the various tributaries that flowed into its vortex.
From its outerset, Protestantism was branded as a heresy by the Catholic church. Protestants responded with indignation, retorting that they had recovered orthodoxy from its medieval distortions. What was Protestantism if not the recovery of the orthodox faith of the early church? Yet Catholics had little difficulty in arguing that, while Protestantism might be perfectly capable of recovering earlier biblical interpretations, it lacked the means to determine whether it had retrieved was orthodox or heterodox. And lacking any such capacity to discriminate between such interpretations, Protestants were obligated to repeat the judgments of the Catholic church on these matters. In their turn, Protestants argued that, since they were committed to restoring the authentic teaching of the early church, this naturally extended to its views on orthodoxy and heresy. In the end, the arguments were not decisive. However, the debate highlighted the potential danger for Protestantism arising from competing biblical interpretations. Who had the right to decide which were orthodox and which heretical?
This led to a further difficulty as divisions emerged within Protestant constituencies. Itself partly a consequence of the intellectual ferment of the Renaissance, Protestantism found that it could not check this innovative and critical tendency within its own ranks. It had merely been relocated, not neutralized. One particular difficulty was the rise of anti-trinitarianism in Italian Protestant circles, a movement that rapidly gained a following in northern Europe. For Juan de Valdes and others, the doctrine of the Trinity was simply not to be found in the Bible, nor could it be defended on biblical grounds. Protestants who were faithful to the Bible not only were therefore under no obligation to accept this doctrine but had a responsibility to challenge it as a distortion of biblical truth. Forced out of Italy by the Inquisition, many anti-trinitarians settled in the independent republic of the Grisons in southeast Switzerland, where their influence upon Reformed Protestantism began to grow.
In this case, Protestantism was able to deal with such heterdox trends by appealing to the consensus of faith of the church, as set out in the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon. Christianity as a whole had declared such teachings to be heretical; Protestantism thus endorsed this pattern of traditional teaching and, in doing so, rejected anti-triniterianism as heretical. But what of other dissident voices within Protestantism that urged teachings that had never been declared heretical in the past by the church as a whole but were nevertheless regarded with intense animosity within certain sections of the movement?" [1] pages 227-229




If you noticed from the quote.......it was some of those who held to "solo scriptura" that eventually adopted Arianism. Those who held to "sola scriptura" were able to use the ancient creeds to help keep their people away from Arainism.

In modern times, something similar is happening to those who hold on to "solo scriptura"........the full/hyper-preterists came from those who were adherents of solo-scriptura, and it was able to convert other protestants who leaned more towards a "solo scriptura" view.





JNORM888
[1] pages 227-229 from the book "Christianity's Dangerous Idea" by Dr. Alister Mcgrath, HarperOne @ 2007
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gnosticism

Gnosticism

1st Timothy 6:20-21
"Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you."

1st John 4:1-3
"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world."

1 Timothy 4
"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons."



The early christians told us who the heretics(those who abandoned the faith and followed deceiving spirits and things tought by demons) were that paul was talking about. Some of them formed gnostic sects.

Some of the early christian gnostics and gnostic groups were:
Simon Magus
Basilides
Valentinus and the Valentinians


"You may have fallen in with some [Gnostics] who are called christians, but who do not admit this. For they venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham....and say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven. Do not imagine that they are Christians." Justin Martyr 160 A.D.

"[The Gnostics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ.....Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death." Ignatuis 105 A.D.


"[The Gnostics] possess no proof of their system, which has but recently been invented by them. Sometimes they rest upon certain numbers; sometimes, on syllables; and still other times, on names." Irenaeus 180


"[The Gnostics] ....are very anxious to shake that belief in the resurrection that was firmly settled before the appearance of our modern Sadducees. As a result, they even deny that the expectation thereof has any relation whatever to the flesh....For they cannot but be apprehensive that, if it is once determined that Christ's flesh was human, a presumption would immediately arise in opposition to them that our flesh must by all means rise again. For it has already risen in Christ." Tertullian 210 A.D.


"The Apostle directs a similar blow against those who said that "the resurrection was already past." Such an opinion do the Valentinians assert" Tertullian 197 A.D.


"On the otherhand, they say that carnal men are instructed in carnal things. Such "carnal men" can be recognized by their works and their simple faith. For they do not have perfect knowledge [gnosis]. The Valentinians say that we who belong to the church are such carnal persons. Therefore, they maintain that good works are necessary for us. Otherwise, it would be impossible for us to be saved. But as to themselves, they hold that they will be entirely saved for a certainty-not by means of their conduct, but because they are spiritual by nature." Irenaeus 180 A.D.



Modern Neognosticism: (I loved the movie)




I only brought this topic up because I was listenning to a podcast about "Revivalism /the Revival movement" that pretty much touched on some of the same stuff.

As seen from the podcast Orthodoxy & Heterodoxy by Fr. Andrew

Play Audio








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Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification

The Amazon.com link




The hardback is $80.00 while the sofback is $35.00

I don't have the book yet, but it looks like a pretty good read. I can't really buy any new books until I relocate anyway, but this is most definately something I'm gonna get as soon as I'm done moving.

From what I saw from the reviews(As well as the author...in whom I like by the way), it seems to be from a mostly western protestant bias, and I reject what one of the reviews said about the greek fathers picking up the idea of "free will" from paganism. The truth is, the greek philosophers were all over the map. Some were determinists of different stripes, while others believed in free will. But to say that they got the idea from them is pure nonsense.....for both the greek and pre-Augustinian(including Augustin in his early christian years) latin fathers, nonfathers, as well as "some" heretics all believed in free will. It just wasn't the greek fathers, and it just wasn't the converts(Clement of Alexandria and Saint Justin Martyr,.....Origen was a cradle) that had a background in philosophy either. Free will was also advocated by all the pre-nicene christians that hated greek philosophy. And so, they didn't pick it up from them. Those who did have a philosophy background simply used what they saw was useful and compatible with what Christianity was already teaching.


I may not agree with everything I saw in the reviews, but I did agree with enough to want to buy it, and so, it is on my things to get list.











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Monday, December 14, 2009

Orthodoxy & Beards!

Some have made their views known at the Orthodoxchristianity.net forum.

And The Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas has also made a post about it at their blogsite:

To shave or not to shave?

As seen from the webpage:
Quote:
"For three tumultuous decades — 1907 to 1938 — Fr. Basil
Kerbawy was the dean of St. Nicholas Syrian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn.
Apparently, in 1911, he was having some issues related to his beard, and things
got so bad that he wrote to William Gaynor, the mayor of New York. I can’t
resist reprinting their correspondence. Here is Kerbawy’s original letter, which
got picked up by the newspapers (my copy is from the Columbus Enquirer-Sun of
Georgia, 4/29/1911):
Most Honored Sir — I want to know if it is a crime to
wear a beard? I suppose that this may appear to be a foolish question to you,
but to me it means a great deal. I am the pastor of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox
church on Pacific street, Brooklyn, and my profession calls for the wearing of a
beard. When I got out on the street the boys and young men mistake me for a
Jewish rabbi and insult and assault me.

They often throw decayed
vegetables at me. If I were a rabbi, would that be an excuse for loafers to
assault and insult me? I am a citizen and as such should be protected from
assault.

I have borne the insults and assaults patiently up to last
Saturday night, when an incident occured that made me lose all patience. I was
alighting from a car at Seventy-third street and Thirteenth avenue, Brooklyn,
when a little loafer hit me with a decayed vegetable, which I believe was a more
than ripe tomato. This exhausted my patience. I went for the lad, who, luckily
for him, escaped."


To read the rest, please visit the blog.













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The Holy Spirit and Evangelism

This is from the podcast Singing the Triumphal Hymn by Fr. John

As seen from the website:
"Fr. John presents a lecture by his late pastor, teacher, and spiritual mentor, the Very Reverend J. Richard Ballew. December 13th marks the one-year anniversary of his passing.

"As much as anything else, evangelism is bringing people to active participation in liturgical worship and prayer." —V. Rev. J. Richard Ballew"



Play Audio







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Jesus - The Resurrection

This is from the podcast The Names of Jesus by Fr. Thomas Hopko

As seen from the website:
"What does it mean to say that Jesus is "The Resurrection"? Today Fr. Tom dives deeply into the significance of the Gospel as it relates to the resurrection of Christ."


Play Audio






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Middle-aged People in Church

This is from the podcast Frederica Here and Now by Frederica Mathew Green

As seen from the website:
" Frederica reads an article by Keith Drury that addresses why people in their fifties and sixties do not worship in a lively manner."


Play Audio







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Saturday, December 12, 2009

ON BECOMING AND REMAINING AN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN

Those who voiced their views about it.

And the actual article itself:
Quote:
"A Talk given at the Orthodox Pilgrimage to
Felixstowe in August 2001


INTRODUCTION

We sometimes hear
people talking about how they came to join the Orthodox Church. Although each
story is interesting and may even be extraordinary, I think that the stories of
how people remained faithful Orthodox Christians despite temptations may be more
helpful. As it is written in the Gospels: 'In your patience possess ye your
souls'.

Moreover, I have called this talk not, 'On Joining the Orthodox
Church', but, 'On Becoming and Remaining an Orthodox Christian'. For joining the
Orthodox Church or becoming a member of the Orthodox Church, which is concerned
with external changes, is not at all the same as 'Becoming an Orthodox
Christian', which is all about internal changes. And remaining an Orthodox
Christian is even more important, which is why I have devoted three times as
much time to it here as to becoming an Orthodox Christian.


ON
BECOMING ORTHODOX

CONVERSION AND INTEGRATION


Let us define our
terms by talking of a number of words which are used in this context. First,
there is the useless phrase 'born Orthodox'. This does not exist. Nobody is
'born Orthodox', we are all born pagans. That is why we first exorcise and then
baptise. More acceptable are the terms, 'born to an Orthodox family' and 'cradle
Orthodox'. It is interesting that people who condescendingly use terms such as
'born Orthodox' call the children of 'converts', 'converts'. In fact of course
in their incorrect language, the children of 'converts' are 'born Orthodox'!

Then there is the word 'convert'. When people say that they are
converts, I first ask them: 'Converts to what?' To Greek folklore? To Russian
food? To Phariseeism? To nostalgia for old-fashioned Anglicanism or Catholicism?
To an intellectual hobbyhorse of syncretism?

True, in one sense we are
all always converts because we all have to be converted to Christ constantly.
That is the sense of Psalm 50. The Prophet David too was converted, 'born
again', after his great sin. Unfortunately, the word convert is generally used
not in this spiritual sense, but in a secular sense.

I hope that when
people call themselves 'converts', it means that they are converted to
Christianity (which is the correct word for Orthodoxy). I also hope that when
they say that they are 'converts', it means that they were received into the
Church very recently. Sadly, I must admit that this is not always the case. Over
the years I have met people who joined the Orthodox Church ten, twenty, thirty
and more years ago, and they are still 'converts' and even call themselves
'converts'. And this even among some clergy, prematurely ordained.

This
is quite beyond me, for it means that even after years of being nominal members
of the Orthodox Church, they still have not become Orthodox Christians, they
still have not integrated the Church, they still have not grown naturally into
Orthodoxy, and still do not live an Orthodox way of life, they still have not
acquired that instinctive feel for Orthodoxy, which means that Orthodoxy is
their one spiritual home, that it is in their bones and blood, that they breathe
Orthodoxy, because their souls are Orthodox. They are suffering from the
spiritual affliction of 'convertitis'. They have remained neophytes. They have
only achieved what the Devil wanted them to achieve - to be incomplete. This is
why Russians, punning on the Russian word 'konvert', which means an envelope,
quite rightly say about some converts: 'The problem with the 'konvert' is that
either it is often empty or else it often comes unstuck'.

There can be
many reasons for the state of convertitis. It may be that people joined the
Orthodox Church and then had no parish to go to, at least with services in a
language they could understand. For example, I have met people who have been
Orthodox for forty years but have never been to an Easter Night service in their
own language! I have met people who have been Orthodox for five years and have
never been to an Easter service at all, because their local Orthodox community
only has ten Liturgies a year on Saturday mornings! I have met people who have
been Orthodox for sixty years and have never been to Vespers or a Vigil service!
In other words, such people have never had the opportunity to learn and
integrate. Unfortunately, however, there are also other reasons why people do
not integrate into the life of the Church.

REASONS FOR CONVERSION

In principle, clergy should only receive people into the Orthodox Church
for positive reasons. The fact is that there are people who wish to join the
Orthodox Church for negative reasons, for instance, out of spite for a
denomination or a clergyman. This is psychology, not theology, and at that,
neither very healthy, nor very Christian psychology.

I remember how in
the 1970's the now Bishop Kallistos told me how a group of converts had asked
him to write a book denouncing all the heresies of Anglicanism. The converts in
question, and they were indeed converts, were all of course ex-Anglicans! They
had not understood that their motivation all came from their personal
psychological problems, their reactiveness, which they were masking behind their
emotional zeal. Quite rightly, Bishop Kallistos refused to write something
negative. In any case, no Orthodox would have bought the book because it could
only possibly have been of interest to ex-Anglican neophytes. That was one book
less to be pulped.

Usually, a priest can find out whose motivation for
wishing to join the Orthodox Church is negative simply by waiting to see if
these people come to church services. Usually these super-zealous people who
love reading about the Faith or talking about the Faith on chatlines or
elsewhere, are the very people who are absent from church services. Their zeal
is all in their heads or in their emotions, not in their hearts and souls and
therefore not in their life and practice.

Then there are the people who
have been attracted to the Church through a discovery on holiday. I call these
people 'Holiday Orthodox'. Their attraction is often not actually to Christ, but
to a foreign and exotic culture - the more exotic the better. Living very
humdrum lives, the Orthodox Church gives them something to dream about, usually
their next holiday in Crete or wherever. Again, a priest can easily find out if
their interest is serious by seeing if they come to church services. Generally,
they do not, because they are not on holiday! Unfortunately, some of these
people have been received into the Church by undiscerning priests in their
holiday destination, be it Romania, Russia, Greece, Cyprus, Mt Athos or
wherever. Knowing nothing about the Orthodox Faith, they then turn up on your
doorstep and you have to explain to them that although they are members of the
Orthodox Church, they have not actually become Orthodox. Often, in any case,
such people may well phone you but never actually come to a church service,
because they lapse before they get round to attending church.

Then there
are the people who come with their own agenda, often 'know it alls', who have
read every book under the sun, but still have no idea of the letter A of the
Christian ABC. And they come with demands which they wish to impose! 'Yes, I
want to join the Orthodox Church, but only on condition that it has first been
'reformed' and 'modernised''! 'Yes, this is good, but I want to add in some
Western hymns before the Canon'!, or 'I will only join the Orthodox Church when
it has the same Easter as my Aunt Susan who is a Methodist'!, or 'Everything is
perfect except that you use too many candles. Take away the candles and I will
join the Orthodox Church'. 'I will only be Orthodox if you have an icon of St
Francis of Assisi'! 'I will join the Orthodox Church on condition that everybody
votes New Labour and goes on holiday to Tuscany'! These are perhaps extreme
examples, but they are all real examples. They are all examples of a lack of
humility. No priest should receive such people into the Church for the simple
reason that they do not love and accept the Church and Her Master Christ.

There is only one criterion for entering the Orthodox Church and that is
because you are convinced that it is for your personal salvation, for your
spiritual survival, because it is God's Will for you, because you know that this
is your spiritual home and that, whatever the cost, you can never be anything
else.


ON REMAINING ORTHODOX

ATTACHMENT TO EXTERNALS


Recently a priest who has received people into the Church for the last
twenty years told me that the list of people whom he has received and who have
lapsed is much longer than the list of those whom he has received and who have
persevered. That priest is relatively cautious about receiving people, but I
know two other parishes where the list of the lapsed is at least twenty times as
long as the list of the perseverers. In those two cases, I must admit that it is
the policy of those parishes which is to blame. Turn up once and ask and they
will automatically receive you into the Church without instruction within two
weeks.

But why then do people give up practising the Faith which they
have chosen to belong to of their own free will? If we look at this question,
perhaps we can learn some lessons which are useful for ourselves and which can
help us remain faithful Orthodox.

First of all, we have to watch
ourselves. What are we actually attached to in the Church? There are people who
say: 'It was so wonderful in church today! The singing was so wonderful, the
incense smelt so good!' Words like those make me think that this person is
unlikely to come again. Such people seem to have a fire inside them which flares
up in a burst of enthusiasm and excitement. But like all fires which flare up,
they then burn out leaving just cold ashes. This attachment to secondary
externals and exotica is dangerous, because we are failing to see the wood for
the trees.

The attachment to externals can extend to foreign clothes,
language, food and folklore. I remember in one Russian church in Belgium, you
immediately knew who the converts were; the men had nineteenth-century Russian
peasant beards and the women wore dowdy long skirts and seemed to be wearing
tablecloths on their heads. You knew who the Russians were because they dressed
normally. In a Greek church here, there were two priests, a Greek and a convert.
You immediately knew who the convert was because he wore huge wide-sleeved robes
and an enormous chimney-pot on his head. The Greek just wore an undercassock.

In another Russian church, the Russians always spoke about singing,
Christmas and Easter, but the 'converts' (and that is what they were) spoke
about 'chanting' and 'The Nativity' and 'Paskha'. One real Russian, born in the
Soviet Union, told me rather cruelly how he liked the convert in his parish
because 'he makes me laugh with all his folklore'. Misguided zeal is always
ridiculous. Zeal must be channelled in order to achieve something positive.

I have a Greek-Cypriot friend, born and raised in London, who told me
that his favourite dish is steak and kidney pie, and how it was the first thing
he would eat at Easter after the fast was over. I asked him if he ever ate at a
Greek restaurant. He answered: 'Oh no, that's only for English people'. He also
told me how in London at Cypriot weddings the guests have a custom of pinning
banknotes to the clothes of the new couple as a form of wedding present. When
for the first time he saw a wedding in the real Cyprus when he was about 25
years old, they did not do this. Why? Because they had stopped doing it in the
1960's, looking down on it as a sort of primitive, peasant custom. In other
words they stopped doing it after most of their fellow Greek-Cypriots had
emigrated to London, but the ones in London had kept the old 1950's practice.
And then converts wanted to imitate this dead custom.

On this subject, I
recently met another 'convert' who had just come back from a holiday in Greece
and talked about it with great enthusiasm as a 'holy land' with all 'holy
people', because 'Orthodox people are holy'. Well, I can only presume that he
had spent the whole time in excellent monasteries - not all monasteries are
excellent, by the way. I would recommend that such people go and visit Greek
prisons. They are full of Orthodox - Orthodox thieves, murderers, rapists,
pimps, extortioners. You name it, they are all Orthodox! You see, human nature
is the same the world over.

What I am saying is that if we attach
ourselves to externals, then we should first ask ourselves: What externals are
we attaching ourselves to? If we do not use our discernment, we can look very
silly indeed. All externals are only natural if they reflect what is inside us.
If Orthodox Christianity is inside us, then our externals will be those of any
Orthodox Christian. We should certainly make a habit of visiting other Orthodox
parishes, countries where there are many Orthodox churches, observing and
feeling our way towards authenticity. The worst thing is little closed
communities of 'converts' who never see anything else. They can end up
practising things which exist nowhere else on earth, and yet they think that
they are 'more Orthodox' than anyone else! Humility is once again the solution
to this illness and humility starts with realism, not with fantasy. No
spirituality has ever been built on fantasy. Without sober humility, there is
always illusion, which is followed by discouragement and depression. This is the
spiritual law.

Seeing the reality of Orthodox churches is an excellent
remedy for the illness of fantasies. Remember that some Orthodox churches are
State Churches, many others have State Church mentalities. It is a sobering
experience to meet any number of deacons, priests and bishops who boast to you
about how much money they 'make', that they are 'off duty' at five o' clock and
on Mondays and Tuesdays, and that they cannot possibly do a funeral then, and
that being clergy is a much better job than what they would have done otherwise,
because they were none too bright at school and the alternative was menial
factory work. But it is reality. Contact with this reality can be very helpful
in putting paid to misguided zeal, to convert ghettos, to what I call 'the
greenhouse effect'. It gets people's feet back on the earth, and remember that
is where they should be, because our religion is the religion of the
Incarnation. What other people think and do is none of our business, our task is
the salvation of our own souls.

On this subject, one of the main reasons
why some converts do not stop being converts and so do not become Orthodox is
because they do not have a job. The need to earn your daily crust, to be with
other people, is an excellent way for people to start living (as opposed to just
thinking about) their Faith. This can avoid what is called the temptations from
the left and the right. Temptations from the left are laxism, weakness,
compromise, indifference. Temptations from the right are censorious judgement of
others, the stuck-up zeal of the Pharisee, 'zeal not according to knowledge'.
These temptations are equally dangerous and equally to be combatted. Both waste
an enormous amount of time and energy on sideshows like the discussion of
irrelevant issues like ecumenism, rather than praying. Being in society is the
way in which we can get to know ourselves, see our failings and avoid being
sidetracked into theoretical concerns."



To read the rest, please visit the website.








ICXC NIKA

MAAFA 21









ICXC NIKA
Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Notes on the Septuagint

Since geocities is no more, I wanted to know what happened to the website......since I depended on it as one of my sources. It turns out that the contents of the site were saved and moved to another location by R. Grant Jones himself.

The link:
http://mysite.verizon.net/rgjones3/Septuagint/spindex.htm




As well as my favorite links on the site:
Appendix: A Collection of References to the “Septuagint Plus” in the New Testament

Appendix: Patristic Guidance for Septuagint Translation

Appendix: The Books of the Septuagint

Appendix: Dead Sea Scrolls-Septuagint Alignments Against the Masoretic Text

Instances where the New Testament quotes the Septuagint against the Hebrew

and

The Septuagint in Early Christian Writings











ICXC NIKA
Saturday, December 5, 2009

Baptists & the meaning of Water Baptism

It looks like some Baptists are starting to change their minds about the meaning of Water Baptism. Some seem to be leaving the theological tradition of Zwingly for a more sacramental view.

The Links:
http://jayguin.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/cross.pdf

Baptism in the New Testament By George Raymond Beasley-Murray

BAPTISTS AND CHURCHES OF CHRIST
IN SEARCH OF A COMMON THEOLOGY OF BAPTISM
Stanley K. Fowler
Professor of Theology, Heritage Theological Seminary
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada








It's good to see some Prespyterian(Auburn Ave, NPP, and Federal Vision) and Baptist groups leave Zwingly for a more sacramental view that is alot closer to the patristic biblical mind & interpretation of Historic Christianity.








ICXC NIKA

The different kinds of Evangelicalism

I'm sure this isn't an exhaustive list. But Craig Allert got this chart from one of Robert Webbers books.




Quote:
Subculture Evangelical Groups


1.) Fundamentalist evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Personal and ecclesiastical separationism; biblicism

Symbols:
Bob Jones University; American Council of Christian Churches; Sword of the Lord



2.) Dispensational evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Dispensational hermeneutics; pretribulationalism and premillenarianism

Symbols:
Dallas Theological Seminary; Moody Bible Institute; Moody monthly; Moody press



3.) Conservative evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Cooperative evangelism; inclusive of all evangelical groups; broad theological base

Symbols:
Wheaton college; Trinity Seminary; Gordon-Conwell Seminary; Christianity today; Billy Graham; Zondervan Corporation; National Association of Evangelicals



4.) Nondenominational evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Unity of the Church; restoration of New Testament Christianity

Symbols:
Milligan College



5.) Reformed evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Calvinism (with a decidedly Puritan flavor); covenant theology and hermeneutics

Symbols:
Calvin College and Seminary; Westminster Seminary; Covenant Seminary; Reformed Seminary; Francis Schaeffer



6.) Anabaptist evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Discipleship; poverty; the peace movement; pacifism

Symbols:
Goshen College; Reba Place Fellowship; John Howard Yoder



7.) Wesleyan evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Arminianism; sanctification

Symbols:
Asbury College and Seminary; Seattle Pacific College



8.) Holiness evangelicalism
Major Emphasis:
The second work of grace Gift of tongues

Symbols:
Lee College; Nazarene Church



9.) Pentecostal evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Gift of Tongues

Symbols:
Church of God; Assembly of God



10.) Charismatic evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Symbols:
Oral Roberts University; Melodyland School of Theology



11.) Black evangelicalism
Major Emphasis:
Black consciousness

Symbols:
National Association of Black Evangelicals



12.) Progressive evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Openness toward critical scholarship and ecumenical relations

Symbols:
Fuller Seminary



13.) Radical evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Moral, social, and political consciousness

Symbols:
Sojourners; The Other Side; Wittenburg Door



14.) Mainline evangelicalism:

Major Emphasis:
Historic consciousness at least back to the Reformation

Symbols:
Movements in major denominations: Methodist, Lutheran, Prespyterian, Episcopal, Baptist

[1] pages 24-25







Jnorm888

[1] pages 24-25 from the book "A high view of scripture? The Authority of the Bible and the Formation of the New Testament Canon" by Craig D. Allert from the Evangelical Ressourcement Ancient Source for the Church's Future

Biola University Talbot School of Theology's Task Force report

I forgot why exactly this was done. I remember recalling that this was about an Eastern Orthodox Christian professor working at the school. I have no clue of what the outcome was. But there are alot of Orthodox Christians teaching at not only secular city and state public schools, but also at private Roman Catholic and various Protestant ones as well.

The Link:
http://people.biola.edu/faculty/alang/EO/Report.pdf
http://faculty.biola.edu/alang/EO/Report.pdf
http://faculty.biola.edu/alang/EO/EO.htm
http://faculty.biola.edu/alang/EO/Summary.pdf
http://faculty.biola.edu/alang/EO/BDaction.htm

What Christianity Today had to say about it:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1998/august10/8t9018.html


I only posted the link because I want to use alot of the quotes in it. I actually like and love what the report doesn't like about EO, and so, I'm gonna put this in storage.

If only those of the task force knew that their view against the Sacraments/Mysteries was gnostic/neognostic and that ours is just the representation of what was always taught by christians, then maybe they would like it too, and stop fighting against it! Also, in regards to the issue of Justification, not all protestants are the same in this regard and so they should be more strict in their usage of the word "protestant". They should explain what "protestant" tradition they are talking about. The Methodist view of Justification and Sanctification is alot closer to the EO view that they are against. Also there is the NPP, Auburn Ave, Federal Vision, and Norman Shepard protestant views that are alot closer to EO, and so they are using the term "protestant" too loosely. The Anabaptists/Ahmish and Mennonite are protestants as well and their doctrine doesn't always line up with other protestants. And the term "Evangelical Protestant" doesn't help either.....for their are different kinds of protestant evangelicals.....evangelicals can be all over the map. I would also like to mention that in regards to the issue of the Baptism sacrament/Mystery, some Baptists are starting to change their minds from symbolism only to a more Sacramental one. As seen here, here, and here. And so, their use of the word "protestant" is too loose for their protestant view isn't necessarily the same as other protestants.


But the report just shows what the school is suppose to teach and adhere to vs what historic Christianity always taught. To me, it all depends on what you have a degree in. But if they have a problem with someone of a different tradition not being able to sign their schools statement of faith or shouldn't be able to sign it.......then that's understandable. But if they really want that person to teach at their school, then they should do what some schools have done, and that is to just open a course or set of classes about Eastern Christianity.......etc.


At the end of the day, it seems as if we are going to have to have more of our own schools. I'm not upset with certain people/professors at Biola for doing this, it's perfectly understandable. However, this isn't gonna stop us from trying to work for private Roman Catholic and Protestant schools. Like I said before, I really don't know what the outcome was, and so I really can't comment on what action the school made in this matter. To me, all they did was just re-affirm what they were suppose to believe..........which is understandable, but I really don't know what happened to the Professor. .....or Professors......if more than one.


An Orthodox article with a link to the same issue:
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Anti-Orthodox


What Judith Iren Matta had to say about the issue:
Part 1:



Part 2:



Part 3:











ICXC NIKA

What the ancient gnostics were like

This is mainly in regards to churchlife...church government....ect. I also find it ironic that those who advocate the book "Pagan Christianity" seem to have a view about church life that is similar to the ancient gnostics, and what they were doing.


Quote:


Quote:
"Quote
"I must not omit an account of the conduct also of the
heretics— how frivolous it is, how worldly, how merely human, without
seriousness, without authority, without discipline, as suits their creed. To
begin with, it is doubtful who is a catechumen, and who a believer; they have
all access alike, they hear alike, they pray alike— even heathens, if any such
happen to come among them. That which is holy they will cast to the dogs, and
their pearls, although (to be sure) they are not real ones, they will fling to
the swine. Simplicity they will have to consist in the overthrow of discipline,
attention to which on our part they call brothelry. Peace also they huddle up
anyhow with all comers; for it matters not to them, however different be their
treatment of subjects, provided only they can conspire together to storm the
citadel of the one only Truth.

All are puffed up, all offer you
knowledge. Their catechumens are perfect before they are full-taught. The very
women of these heretics, how wanton they are! For they are bold enough to teach,
to dispute, to enact exorcisms, to undertake cures— it may be even to baptize.
Their ordinations, are carelessly administered, capricious, changeable. At one
time they put novices in office; at another time, men who are bound to some
secular employment; at another, persons who have apostatized from us, to bind
them by vainglory, since they cannot by the truth. Nowhere is promotion easier
than in the camp of rebels, where the mere fact of being there is a foremost
service. And so it comes to pass that today one man is their bishop, tomorrow
another; today he is a deacon who tomorrow is a reader; today he is a presbyter
who tomorrow is a layman. For even on laymen do they impose the functions of
priesthood." - Tertullian, The Prescription Against Heretics, 41"


Eventhough he changed some of his viewpoints latter in life, and maybe joined a group that had a woman prophetess. What he said here, pretty much describes what was going on with the gnostics of his day.


I wasn't able to trace their quotes, but I may in due time.

http://liberalbaptistrev.wordpress.c...c-perspective/

Quote:
"Of course, there is no human organization that does not include bossy types,
rivals, ambition, and lust for power, but one of my questions has been, and
continues to be, how do you set up church as to cut out as much of the church
crap as possible, or at a minimum, make some new mistakes. There are no perfect
churches, but is God really happy with our edifice complex, our business model
of being and doing church?

So how did ancient gnostics organize
themselves? As Pagel asks, “if they rejected the principle of rank, insisting
that all are equal, how could they even hold a meeting? ” (p. 41) Irenaeus tells
us about one group in his congregation in Lyons led by a Marcus who dared to
meet without the authority of the Bishop, which would be – Irenaeus. Somehow
they pulled it off without the bishop.

How did some Gnostics conduct
their meetings? Irenaeus tell us that when they met all the members first
participated in drawing lots. Whoever received a certain lot apparently was
designated to take the role of priest, another was to offer the sacrament, as
bishop, another would read the Scriptures for worship, and others would address
the group as a prophet, offering extemporaneous spiritual instruction. The next
time the group met, they would throw lots again so that the persons taking each
role changed continually.” (p. 41) It was believed that everyone, through the
Gnostic initiation ritual, had received the gift of direct inspiration through
the Holy Spirit. (p. 41)

In the modern church, using the business model,
we try to find the best possible people to lead worship and to fill different
congregational positions, which can be a camouflage for power plays in the
church and does not take into account biblical narratives which indicate God has
a habit of asking the worst possible people to do stuff.

(On the other
hand, God and the gnostics may want to keep in mind some people seem to be
gifted in some areas and really not gifted in others. You don’t want me doing a
solo, for example. Lord have mercy on my singing and those who hear it.)

Gnostics followed the practice of strict equality. Casting lots
prevented permanent ranks. Gender and social status were of no importance. Wow!
Are you listening modern Christians?"









ICXC NIKA
Friday, December 4, 2009

The Society for Orthodox Apologetics

The Link:
http://societyfororthodoxapologetics.blogspot.com/


It's a blog started by:

Daivd
http://piousfabrications.blogspot.com/

Tony Allen
http://catechumens-tale.blogspot.com/

And Myself:
http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/


We decided to form like Voltron. And so, I'm gonna finish what I started with the review of Robert Morey's book. I gotta up date it as well as change the name of it.

I will continue to post here ....mostly what I've been doing for the past year almost......links, videos, articles, resources, podcasts, personal research .......etc.

As well as more about my personal life and stuff like that. But most of my Apologetics is gonna be at the other site. I have been hibernating for a year......just building up my tool chest of resources.

Right now, it is still in the building stages, and so, it's gonna take a while. At this point in time, I have no idea what direction it will go in the long run. I will have to talk with the others to see what their longterm vision is and go from there.

One of the things I wanted to do.....longterm wise........ was try something similar to what some of my Arminian homies were doing at SEA:
http://evangelicalarminians.org/


I'm not good on every topic under the Sun, and so, I thought it would be good to seek help from others that knew alot about a certain area. There maybe an Orthodox blogger that might know alot about Lutheranism, and so they maybe better suited to defend Orthodoxy against recent Lutheran attacks.

There maybe an Orthodox blogger that might know alot about Roman Catholicism or Islam, and so they may be better suited to handle attacks from that direction.

Also getting help from priests, Orthodox scholars, and other Orthodox Apologists would be a plus as well. But like I said before............I have no idea in what direction this may go.

I have to talk it over with the others to see what direction they would like to eventually take it.










ICXC NIKA

The BBC's Christian History series

As seen here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nxmmn

In 14 days it will be gone. But as you can see, only those in the UK can see it. I really don't feel like spending money on software that will allow me to have a UK proxy......what's the point if I'm only gonna use it for this one documentary?

And so, I may wait until someone from the UK upload it somewhere.










ICXC NIKA

Early Egyptian Christianity

This is from the book Wade In The River by Fr. Paisius Altschul.



You can buy it at:
http://www.amazon.com/Wade-River-Story-African-Christian/dp/0971636508

It's an awsome read. Below is an excerpt about early Egyptian Orthodox Christianity.


Quote:

Pentecost: Revealing the Church to the Nations

Forty days after Christ rose from the dead, He ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives. (Acts 1:1-11) Ten days later, on Pentecost, His followers were supernaturally empowered to become martyr/witnesses for the Messiah (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4). There were twelve major Apostles (Luke 6:12-16), seventy lesser Apostles (Luke 10:1), and many other witnesses of His resurrection, both men and women (1 Cor. 15:5-6). This spiritual flood of the Holy Spirit revealed the international spectrum of the Church. People from all parts of the known world responded on Pentecost to the message of Christ and His Salvation. The Church is the spiritual Ark that offered salvation for the children of Noah from the pollution of the world. The Church is called Orthodox, for Orthodox means true or authentic worship of God (John 4:23; Phil. 3:3).
After Pentecost, the Apostles began to spread throughout the earth. John went to Asia Minor, present-day Turkey. Thomas went to India, Matthew to Ethiopia, ad Mark returned to Egypt. Peter and Paul went to Greece and Rome, and Andrew to Greece and Russia. They covered the known world with the knowledge of the Lord (Heb. 2:14), as in Noah's day the waters covered the earth. But this flood was for the destruction of darkness and sin and the bringing in of everlasting righteousness, peace and joy for all. The way into this Ark was through repentance, a radical change from a self-centered life to a Christ-centered life. The entrance to this Promised land was through a watery tomb called Baptism, like the tomb that Abraham acquired from the Hittites to begin his life in the promised Land. Here one dies to the old life and is born again into the new life of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Divine energy from God, called grace, permeates the soul and life of the newly baptized person, making him a child of God, restoring him to a relationship with the same Creator that had formed the Gihon River and guided Noah and the early God-seekers (Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:18-22). He comes into a living communion with all that have ever believed and trusted in God from the creation of the world to the present age (Heb. 12:1, 22-24). He begins to live according to the teachings of the Son of God, the living Word, who came down from heaven to enlighten the children of Noah with His guidance. Love from God, love for God, love for neighbor, love for enemies, and love for creation fills the newborn soul.

Early Church Growth and Opposition

Thus, the Apostles went forth with Christ's teachings and established communities in hamlets, villages, and cities throughout the known world. Upon their departure, they left bishops as shepherds to care for the flock of God. These were charged by the Holy Spirit to continue in the same way and guide the others who would come after them. As the churches grew, the bishops (overseers) ordained priests (elders) and deacons (helpers) to represent them. But opposition soon arose against this flood of light and truth flowing over the earth. Those clinging to the old power-structures of greed, violence, power, sensuality, demonic sorcery and idolatry began almost immediately to kill and imprison Christians, attempting to break the restored link with God. Yet a strange thing ocurred. The more Christians that were killed, the more their numbers grew. (Acts 8:1,4-8) It became apparent that by linking oneself to Jesus and His Church, one was being linked to immortality itself. Those who were martyred revealed a Kingdom that could not be shaken even by death. They were still alive, only now without the weight and burden of their fleshly concerns and desires. Occasionally they would be seen in the other realm, thereby revealing continuity of life and awareness, and an unshakable and abiding peace.


The Earliest African Christians

It was with this flood of spiritual power that the knowledge of Jesus Christ was brought into Africa. After the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, many heard of this mighty change. In Jerusalem, three thousand people were baptized in one day. (Acts 2:41) They were assembled from all over the Diaspora, including Egypt, Libya, and Cyrene in North Africa. (Acts 2:10) When they returned home they shared their new Faith and teaching. Furthermore, a powerful African teacher, Apollos of Alexandria, received this Faith through the traveling-companions of the Apostles Paul, Priscilla and Aquilla, and he continued to spread it through his life and teaching. (Acts 18:24-28)

The Ethiopian Eunuch

The Holy Scripture record the encounter of the Apostles Philip with an Ethiopian Jew, the finance minister of Queen Kandake, who was returning to his country after his annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem. (The term "Kandake" was Nubian. It referred to either the queen mother or a queen ruling in her own right, as several had done since the second century B.C.)
This was the golden age for Meroe of ancient Nubia, a kingdom which competed with both Egypt and Axum for power, land, and wealth in the ancient world. Meroitic power then extended from Sennar in the south, below Axum, as far North as Maharaqqa, in present-day southern Egypt. At this time, the Meroitic Kingdom surpassed Axum in influence. Weaker kingdoms often served stronger ones in a suzerainty-type of agreement, i.e. they would provide revenue and manpower in return for protection by the stronger kingdom. They traded in ebony, gold, ivory, and frankincense.) This royal treasure had stopped for a rest near Gaza, and was chanting and meditating on the prophecies of Isaiah. (Chanting the Scriptures out loud was the normal mode of reading in those days, as it has continued to be in the Orthodox Church since that time.) St, Philip approached him and explained the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy in Jesus the Messiah. The Ethiopian dignitary believed and was baptized, and returned to Africa with the good news of forgiveness and restoration with God. (Acts 8:26-39)


Lucius and Simeon in Antioch: Africans in Early Church Leadership

One of the qualities of the early Church was its multi-cultural unity. Whereas at the tower of Babel, peoples' tongues were were confused and the human race was divided into ethnic groups, in Jerusalem, on Pentecost, tongues of spiritual fire were poured out on the one hundred twenty disciples, bringing them to a supernatural oneness of the soul that transcended ethnic groups and cultures. Three thousand people from all over the world, including Africa, were immediately brought into this heavenly community. This trans-ethnic unity existed wherever Christianity was established. In Syrian Antioch, for instance, as recorded in Acts 13, the leaders of the church were the future apostles Paul and Barnabas (both Jewish), Simeon, called Niger (i.e. black, after his ethnic background), Lucius of Cyrene, in present-day Libya, and Manaen, who had grown up with Herod the Tetrarch. These five were ministering (Gr. liturgizing) to the Lord with prayer and fasting, when the Holy Spirit spoke to them, commanding them to set aside Paul and Barnabas for apostolic work. The other three then laid hands on them and after prayer sent them out. Thus, African prophets in Antioch shared responsibility for the future missionary labors of the Apostles Paul and Barnabas.

Africa and the Early Church

Early Egptian Christianity: The Apostle and Evangelist Mark

The wife of the Apostle Peter was the cousin of Aristobulus, a disciple of Christ. Aristobulus' wife, Mary, is mentioned in Acts 12:12 as the matron of the home where the early Christians gathered for prayer. This is the traditional site of the Last Supper and of the "upper room" of Pentecost, and the place where the Christians met to pray for the Apostle Peter when he was in prison. Aristobulus and Mary were the parents of John Mark, also called Mark, one of the seventy Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 10:1-24).
He was born in Cyrene, one of the cities of the Pentapolis in Libya, where he and his parents were notable members of the Jewish community. According to Egyptian Christian tradition, this is the Mark who not only accompanied the holy Apostles Paul and Barnabas (Acts 12:25), but later also went with the holy Apostle Peter to Rome. From what he learned from the Apostle Peter, he wrote the Gospel according to St. Mark. To avoid persecution in Rome, and at the Lord's direction, both Peter and Mark went to Egypt. After traveling to Alexandria, they went to Babylon (not the one in present-day Iraq), where the Apostle Peter wrote his first epistle. (1 Pet. 5:13) Remnants of this city, which was named by Jews who settled there from old Babylon after the land of their previous captivity, can still be seen today in Old Cairo. St. Peter left his younger companion there and returned to Rome, where he was later martyred. St. Mark established two churches in the Pentapolis of Libya between A.D. 56 and 60, and in A.D. 61 he returned to Alexandria. Upon entering the city, his first order of bussiness was to have his sandal repaired, which had torn during his long journy. He brought it to a cobbler named Anianus. As Anianus was repairing the leather, his awl slipped and pierced his hand, and he cried out in Greek, "Eis Theos!" which means "One God!" When St. Mark heard this cry, he rejoiced and took advantage of the opportunity to speak to him about the One God, Jesus the Messiah. He took clay and spittle and applied it to Anianus' hand, praying in the Name of Jesus Christ, and the wound was immediately healed. After this miracle, the heart of Anianus was opened and St.Mark told him the story of the Faith. He told him about the creation, about the fall of Adam and Eve, about Noah and the Flood, about how God sent Moses to deliver Israel and give them the Law, about the captivity in Babylon, and the prophecies concerning the Messiah. After he heard the entire story, Anianus brought St. Mark to his house, where, after hearing the Good News of salvation, he and his family were baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. As the followers of Christ spread and multiplied in Alexandria, the hostility of the pagan community was stirred up. They abducted St. Mark and, on a pagan feast day in A.D. 68, dragged him through the streets until he gave holy soul into the hands of God. Prior to his martydom, St. Mark ordained Anianus bishop over Alexandria, along with three priests and seven deacons. Thus the growing movement of the Faith in Africa was linked with the Apostles of Christ, through the hands of the Apostle and Evangelist Mark.

Egyptian Preparation for the Gospel

The people of Egypt were by nature deeply religious. Not only had the Hebrew Prophet Jeremiah spoken to them of the Virgin and child, but the ancient Pharaonic religion also contained foreshadowings of the Gospel. The symbol of the Ankh, which signified life, was later understood to prefigure the Cross, the Tree of Life. The national devotion to the goddess Isis and her son Horus was a preparation for the fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy-a Virgin carrying a child into the temples and causing the gods to fall down. The Egyptians already believed in the concept of the death and resurrection of god, of future judgement and immortality. When the message of the Gospel was confirmed by corresponding miracles, the prepared soil of their heart was able to receive the seed of Christ, allow it to take root, and quickly bring forth spiritual fruit.

Early Ascetics Near Alexandria

In the early years of the Christian Faith in Africa, a life of virginity and monastic-like worship began to emerge, first among the Jewish converts a later among the native Egyptians, the Copts. Their way of life was described by Philo of Alexandria, a Jewish contemporary of early Egyptian Christianity who reposed in A.D. 50, in his book the Contemplative life. The early Church historians Eusebius, and the Western Christian father, Jerome, note that he was referring to Christians. They were called theraputae, or healers, and also "ascetics" in the Church rituals and liturgy. They sought to apply the teachings of Christ on prayer, fasting and simple living in a practical way. They lived in communities away from the city, ate bread and herbs and drank water after sunset, had structured prayer at dawn and sunset, studied the Holy Scriptures and writings of the fathers throughout the day, and met together for all-night vigil on Saturdays. Throughout the week they lived in solitude, yet they were close enough for contact if need arose. The largest community of these early ascetics was on Lake Maryut near Alexandria.

The Prayer Life Of The Early African Christians

The Life of the African converts under St. Mark was examplary. He taught them the seven set times of prayer known as the Hours or Agbeya. The Prophet-King David had referred to these times of prayer when he said, Seven times a day I praise You because of Your righteous judgements (Ps. 118:164 {LXX}, 119:164 {KJV}. Again in verse 62, he declared, At midnight I will rise to give thanks to you.
This divided the day into eight watches of three hours each, and became the modal of constant prayer throughout the early Christian world St. John of Constant prayer throughout the early Christian world. St. John Cassian of Gaul, who traveled to Egypt in the 4th century, recorded that the cycle of prayer in the Church of Alexandria was established before the beginning of monasticism, and that "these arrangement were observed by all the servants of God in Egypt." When some clergy found fault with St. Basil, archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, for his proposed night-vigils, he replied that this was already the practice in Egypt, again showing that it existed before the beginning of organized monasticism.

The level of spirituality among the laity was so high that the Lord showed two of the greatest monastic saints examples of lay people who excelled them in Sanctity. St. Anthony was shown a physician who shared his wealth with the poor and sang "Holy, Holy, Holy" throughout the day. St. Macarius was led to two sisters who lived with their husbands under the same roof, yet never quarreled with each other, nor said a malicious or worldly word, during the fifteen years they lived together. An angel revealed that their sanctity surpassed even that achieved by St. Macarius the Great in his many years of prayer and fasting in the desert.

The African Martyrs

Martyrs for Christ have a very large place in the African Church. Ever since Simon of Cyrene helped carry Jesus' Cross (Luke 23:26), African Christians have been at the forefront of the Cross-bearing path of Christ. Jesus Himself told His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it (Luke 9:23-24).

This willingness to take up the Cross and follow Jesus, to lose one's life for Christ and find it in Him forever, has been recounted again and again in the history of Faith in Africa. Outside of local pagan resistance to the Faith when it was first established in Egypt, Nubia, and parts of Ethiopia, where St. Mark, St. Simon the Canaanite, and St. Matthew were martyred respectively, the Church in Africa enjoyed relative peace for the first two hundred years. But in A.D. 203, the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus issued an edict outlawing Christianity and Judaism. As a result, the famous Catechetical School in Alexandria was closed, and Christians were tortured, persecuted, and martyred. Incredible and horrific persecutions also occurred under the Emperors Decius (A.D. 249-251), Gaius (251-253), and Valerian (253-260), until the next emperor, Gallienus (260-268), issued the Edict of Tolerance, which brought a temporary end to the persecutions and enabled churches to be built. However, in 284 the most severe and bloody of all the persecuations against the Church began when Diocletian ascended the imperial throne. During his iinfamous reign of terror an estimated million African martrs left this world for the Kingdom of Christ. The Church in Egypt dates the beginning og her calender year from A.D. 284, and labels it A.M. (i.e., Anno Martyrium, the Year of the Martyrs). In A.D. 305, Diocletian abdicated his throne and was succeeded by Galerius (305-311) and Maximinus Daia (311-313).

Although the African Church had a brief respite, before long these two emperors issued a new Edict of Persecution. It was not until the Emperor Constantine ascended the throne and issued his Edict of Toleration in A.D. 313 that the persecution against the Church by the Pagan Roman emperors stopped. The last African martyr during this period was the 17nth Patriarch of Alexandria, St. Peter, called the "Seal of the Martyrs." [1]



To read the rest you gotta get the book!





ICXC NIKA

[1] pages 17-27 from the book "Wade In The River: The Story of The African Christian Faith" by Father Paisius Altschul with a foreward by Albert J. Raboteau 2001 CrossBearers Publishing Kansas City, Missouri USA

Saint Gregory Palamas, Prayer, Apophatic Theology, and the Essence vs Energies distinction

Metropolitan kallistos Ware talks about Saint Gregory Palamas, Apophatic Theology, and the Essence vs Energies distinction from J norm on Vimeo.









ICXC NIKA
Monday, November 30, 2009

Fr. John Whiteford

A few Apologetic Responses by Fr. John Whiteford can be found here:

The Link:
http://pages.prodigy.net/frjohnwhiteford/responses_sola.htm

and

http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/sola_scriptura_john_whiteford.htm



I dissagree with the sufficiency argument for you can find fathers and maybe nonfathers that tought a form of sufficiency. I know that modern Roman Catholic Apologists will split the sufficiency argument into two catagories.

I don't know if we should split the issue into real fine catagories or not. I know that there should be an easier and more efficient way to handle the issue......for whatever the fathers and nonfathers had to say about the subject, we know that they didn't see Scripture as being the "only" Authority (solo Scriptura....Anabaptist churches, church of christ churches, and landmark Baptist churches), nor did they see it as the "only" authority in regards to the rule of Worship and church government (the Reformed churches). Nor did they see it as being the "only" authority to bind ones individual conscience (Lutherianism as well as other forms of protestantism).

Instead, what we do see, are the Fathers and nonfathers looking to Church practice, the consensus of the fathers, gathering to form councils.....etc.

In short, they used anything and everything that the Church had in Her possession, and so, the issue of "sufficiency" should be looked at in that context.






ICXC NIKA
Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Divine Mysteries: differences between east and west

I need to find out more about Dr. Paraskeve Tibbs, for she was very informative on the The Illumined Heart podcast by Kevin Allen.


Mystery and Sacramentality: East and West:
Play Audio









ICXC NIKA
Saturday, November 21, 2009

Laurent Cleenewerck

Ok, I was reading another blog today, I think a calvinist one, I'm really not sure, but I assumed it was because of it's bias towards Reformed sources, and ideas.

But anyway, he quoted two paragraphs from a book called "His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism Between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches by Laurent Cleenewerck

As seen from his blog:
"Paul Owen is correct when he notes that the Western tradition tends to the conclusion that each Person is autotheos, but it should be clear that this has never been the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. This heresy of tri-theism was only proclaimed by John Calvin who denounced the eternal generation of the Son as “an absurd fiction”. (Page 327)

and

"For whatever reason, what we call the Western tradition has tended to theologize on the opposite extreme of Arianism. As we have mentioned, the early tendencies of the Roman Church were on the Modalistic side, and it is in Reformed / Protestant Western Christianity that we find such aberrations as ‘Oneness’ theology and the triple autotheos of John Calvin. (Page 341.)"



I recall saying something similar to Steve and them over at Triablog some years ago. But I never heard of Laurent Cleenewerck before, and now I'm interested in knowing more about him, and his works.








ICXC NIKA
Friday, November 20, 2009

Every Zebra is a horse, but not every horse is a Zebra




MG, over at Energetic Procession tackles the issue of early church government:
http://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/apostolic-succession-1-presbyter-bishop/


The Roman Catholic Mark Bonocore looks at the issue as well:
http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/a80.htm



Everyone may not agree with me, but when I looked at the issue, I saw:

1.) Every Bishop was an Elder, but not every elder was a Bishop (because the Apostles were also bishops)
KJV
Acts chapter 1:16-26
"Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."



2.) The Apostles were Elders but not every Elder was an Apostle
NKJV
1st Peter 5:1-4
"The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away."

and

NKJV
2nd John 1:1
"The Elder, To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth,"



3.) A difference among elders is not only seen with the Apostles and the other elders, but also with Timothy, and Titus and the other elders as well.

Timothy 1:5:17-22
"Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality. Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure."

and

Titus 1:5-6
"For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination."


I personally don't see a difference between Titus, and Timothy, and what would later be called "Monarchical bishops". ........for even the Apostles acted like Monarchical Bishops.









ICXC NIKA
Thursday, November 19, 2009

David Bentley Hart

I never knew about the man until I read what someone had to say about him in passing on another blog (an Orthodox convert blog that seems to hate all things American Orthodox......they hate AFR, the OSB, Conciliar Press, they hate the way we sing, they seem to hate anything evangelical converts do. Yet, these same haters refuse to do the hard work and make their own OSB translation, their own podcast network, radio stations, tv channel, films, and publishing companies.......etc. So I tend to ignore them for, if you can't show me by example, then you really don't have anything of worth to say. To be honest, I think some of this evangelical convert hate by other converts is from the fact, that some of them probably hated us in their non-Orthodox years. If you were a liberal protestant that hated evangelicals, then you might still hate us now that you converted to Orthodoxy...........no big deal, it is what it is. I didn't listen to them in my protestant years, and I'm not going to now)

Well, I thought that maybe I should check out this person since I tend to like and love what so and so seems to hate and dislike.

Ok, so I googled him, and I found out that David B. Hart is my kind of person.........someone I would like and want to read more about.

Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies by David B. Hart


And so, if I ever read so and so's blog again, it will be to see who else he dislikes in American Orthodoxy, or what else he might dislike about American Orthodoxy, because I might find a new author or a new network to like and love.










ICXC NIKA
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Classical Reformation - Part 3: Specific Denominations

This is from the podcast Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick

As seen by the website:
"A look at Lutherans, Calvinists, Reformed, Zwinglians, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Methodists, and Wesleyans compared to Orthodoxy"

Play Audio



My critique:

1.) Not all United Methodists are liberal, in the south(Alabama & Tennessee) I met alot of conservative ones. I also have met some conservative United Methodists that believe in the real presence.

2.) In regards to Arminianism and prevenient grace, it maybe true that Weslyian Arminianism believes that prevenient grace is for everyone, it may not be true for Arminianius himself. He believed in prevenient grace, but I am unsure if he tought it in the same universal manner as Wesly.

3.) Alot of Calvinists will deny the arbitrary and no reason charge, instead, many of them will say "He does it for His own glory". Also some Calvinists will deny the rationalism charge as well.

4.) Some Anglicans will deny or downplay the role that King Henry the 8th's divorces had in the English Reformation.






ICXC NIKA
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