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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I found another one

Some days ago I was seeing what Athanasiosj( was up to and I saw that he found another Orthodox Christian convert that use to follow Bercot back in the day. This is his blog:

Early Church Remnant

As seen from one of his posts:
"David Bercot is a prolific writer on the subject of the early church. He was driven to the writings of the early church in his early days when he converted from the Watchtower Society to evangelicalism. The doctrinal arguments in the evangelical wing of Christianity led him to look to the earliest documents of the Christian movement, to find out what the early Church believed.
His early works led him to conclude that the early Church was strictly pacifist, non-resistant, with respect to fighting in war, and was strictly opposed to the games and to the theater, embracing strict conventions with respect to modesty in attire, and lifestyle, including the wearing of the prayer veil for women in worship, thus having a style of life somewhat akin, in his thinking,to the contemporary conservative Mennonites. The Anabaptist vision was the vision his first edition of Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up, called folks to. On the other hand he found unmistakable evidence of the centrality of Communion in worship, an Episcopal form of government, and a commitment to Apostolic Succession, along with a belief in baptismal regeneration, and adherance to the early Creeds of the Church. His second edition of Heretics called all to follow him into Anglicanism of a classical variety, Jeremy Taylor, Hooker, Cranmer, and so forth.
As a result he and others who were under his influence, of which I was one, decided to practice our distinctive pacifistic and non-conformist Christian lives as a Society within the confines of some of the various 1928 Book of Common Prayer Continuing Anglican Communions, thereby attaining apostolic succession of a sort, episcopal government, and liturgical worship.
This was an unstable combination, and many of the people attuned thereby to various Catholic issues that were mentioned, began to look at the claims of Roman Catholicism and of Eastern Orthodoxy, precisely because the early Church rested its understanding on a belief in the Church as a visible Institution that would preserve the Faith. The Branch Theory of Anglicanism was not early Church teaching. Many went on to become Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox- my family did the latter.
David had earlier attempted to morph himself and his early associates into an ancient Church, but was shipwrecked at the prayers that were offered by Eastern Orthodox to the Virgin Mary. It was too much for him; he expostulated on a tape, 'why didn't they pray to the Holy Spirit or to Jesus?'
With many going in directions that David found untenable, he re-visited his viewpionts and edited his books anew, and came out with the book that now defines his position The Kingdom that Turned the World Upside Down. David's thinking had turned away from the Church. He said the Apostles didn't envision that the Church would fall away from the truth and did not make provision for it. Since in David's view all the historic Churches had erred in doctrine, he opted for Orthopraxy as the touchstone for choosing a Christian Assembly, as long as it somewhat loosely could be said to embrace the Apostles' Creed and the non- supplemented version of the 325 Creed of Nicaea. And in his writing he began to side in many ways with groups that had been identified as schismatic or heretical down through the ages. He opted for what he calls a commitment to the Kingdom in favor of a commitment to Church or a Church, a historical and visible Church. He has embraced then an invisible Church doctrine with various groups appearing and disappearing expressing the spirit of the kingdom though varying quite wildly in doctrine and practice. He for example includes Quakers, who neither baptize nor take communion. He includes Waldensians who practice infant baptism. He embraces Donatists and Novationists who believed that one could only sin once after baptism. He mentions the Lollards who believed in women preachers and denied the Real Presence in the Eucharist.
Constant in David's thinking has been his commitment to total pacifism and to modesty and simplicity in style of life. He likes the word 'radical' to describe the sort of Christianity that he believes to be normative. On the web page he has devoted to his viewpoints, He states his chief aim is to promote a personal, obedient love relationship with Jesus Christ. That is good. We ought to love Jesus, relate to Him personally and obey Him
So, David puts forth an Ecclesiology that is distinctively protestant, an invisible Church ecclesiology, a soteriology that aligns with historical pietism of a personal love relationship to Jesus, and an ethic that is pacifistic and so has an inherent antipathy to any possibility of a Christian bearing the sword or being the one who commnds others to bear the sword, that is to say, to be a politician.

In the Apostles' Creed, there is the statement that "I believe... in the holy catholic church".
That is a heavy thing to confess, and to do so with integrity. In the early centuries when this Creed appears, as a local or regional baptismal statement of belief, the ideas of catholic and church were full of content, and that content did not include the idea of an invisible Church. The catholic Church of that Creed, had apostolic succession by the laying on of hands; it had a hierarchical rulership and three-fold offices of Bishop, Pastor and Deacon. It had a robust Tradition of Prayer facing the East in Assemblies, of the usage of an altar in worship, of the sign of the cross in one's prayers. It had liturgical baptismal formulae and prayer formulae, as is evidenced in the works of Hippolytus towards the end of the Second Century, and liturgies for ordinations and for all the various aspects of worship. The Church was viewed to be Mystically and Adminstratively One, and had a doctrinal consensus that united the entire Church as well. The early Church had a visible Church doctrine. So that when David says that he embraces the idea of a catholic Church, he must break ranks with what the early Church believed about Itself.
The Early Church believed that the Visible Church would persist throughout all of history and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Christ, in His teachings, said as much. Thus, when one begins to state as David has that original faith had been lost and is not fully adhered to by any group, He comes very close to undercutting the veracity of the Lord who built the Church. If the Visible Church did not persist in the fullness of doctrine, then Christ's word ceases to become reliable. David says he believes in the catholic Church but he empties it of Apostolic Content and reconfigures it into an unrecognizable neologism.
This is serious for another reason. Ecclesiology is a subset of Christology because the Church is now the Body of Christ, and in It is continued the ministry of Jesus Christ on the earth. Therefore deviations in Ecclesiology become and lead to and are expressive of a heretical Christiology.

To read the rest please visit his blog

Hmm, I wonder if we could get him to re-post some of his stuff on the Orthodox Apologetics blog? I need to ask the others first to see what they think.



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