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Sunday, June 29, 2008

"Son of God" & other terms

In looking through "a translation of The Dead Sea Scrolls" by Michael Wise & friends, I found a few interesting things.

One is how the Qumran jewish community understood the term "son of God". The idea that the term "son of God" doesn't have anything to do with a claim of "Divinity" in jewish thought is not true. I knew for some time that 2nd temple Judaism was not a monolith, when it came to "Biblical interpretation". I knew this from reading the book of Enoch. Infact, alot of christian interpretation of the Old Testament text can be seen in the book of Jubilees and the book of Enoch. And these were written and compiled by Jews before the first advent of Christ.

Now this book didn't translate most of the biblical scrolls. Instead it translated most of the Qumran commentaries of Biblical scrolls. It also translated alot of their other religious writtings. In order to see the actual Biblical scrolls you will have to get the dead sea bible

What I have is The dead sea scrolls: a new translation. I will have the otherone shortly.

Now, on how to read a dead sea scroll. I will use scroll # 4Q246 as an example.

Eventually each scroll was givin a "Q" number. This indicates what cave the scroll came from. In our example scroll 4Q246 came from cave # 4 of Qumran.

The numbers "246" means the 246th manuscript found at that cave.

1.) Italics found in a translation of a scroll are Explanatory notes or headings.

2.) Brackets [ ] or ( ) found in a translation of a dead sea scroll usually means that it is surrounding lost information due to damage of the scroll.

3.) Frag with a number usually indicates the number or group of the fragment.

4.) Col. usually indicates the column number of the fragment or group of fragments.

Now, on to what the book had to say about scroll 4Q246,

first the commentary:

"50. A Vision of the Son of God.

This small text
ignited a controversy when aportion of it was published in 1974. It speaks of a
powerful figure who shall appear in a time of tribulation and be called the "son
of God" and "son of the most High" and whom all nations obey. The expressions
irresistibly recall the language that the Gospels use of Jesus, especially in
the episode describing the angel's message to MAry that she would bear a son: "
He will be great, and will be no end" (Luke 1:32-33).

At the time, some
scholars argued that the published portion proved an important idea: that an
earthly king destined to come and bring peace (i.e., the messiah) would also be
called by Second Temple Jews the "Son of God". Certain biblical texts could be
taken to support this idea. (e.g., 2 Sam 7:14), and if true, it would shed
substantial light on the New Testament's portrayal of Jesus. Other scholars,
however, understood the text's "Son of God" as a villain, one who usurps the
place of God but is subsequently overthrown by the "people of God," who have God
on their side.
Now that the entire work has finally become available, a
careful reading confirms this second, "Antichrist," option. The historical
background of this text may well be the persecution of the Jews under the Syrian
tyrant Antiochus IV in the period 170-164 B.C.E. This ruler's chosen second
name, "Epiphanes" (greek for "appearance"), encapsulated the notion of a human
king as God manifest. Such human pretensions to deity have never been welcome in
Judaism and were condemned out of hand in the prophecies of Isaiah (14:12-21)
and Ezekiel (28:1-10). Jesus's claims to more -than - human status were likewise
rejected by his contemporaries: "We would stone you for blasphemy, because you,
though you are a man, are making yourself God" (John 10:33). A similar distaste
for claims to divinity seems to animate this fragmentary prophecy.

And now the actual scroll:

The seer receives the power to interpret the King's

"Col.1 1[...a spirit feom God] rested upon him, he fell before
the throne.

The beginning of the interpretation. War and slaughter
are imminent. This tribulation will culminate in the accesion to power of a
cruel tyrant.

2[...O ki]ng, wrath is coming to the world, and your years
3[shall be shortened...such] is your vision, and all of it is about to come unto
the world. 4[...Amid] great [signs], tribulation is coming upon the land.
5[...After much killing] and slaughter, a prince of nations 6[will arise....]
the king of Assyria and Egypt 7[...]he will be ruler over the land 8[...] will
be subject to him and all will obey 9[him]

The tyrant's son will
succeed him and begin to accrue to himself honor due only to God. Yet the reign
of father and son will be brief.

[Also his son] will be called the
Great, and be designated by his name.
COl.2 1He will be called the Son of
God, they will call him the son of the Most High. But like the meteors 2that you
saw in your vision, so will be their kingdom. They will reign only a few years
over 3the land, while people tramples people and nation tramples nation.

Deliverance from distress finally comes when the people of God
arise, bringing peace and prosperity. God is working through them and in them
and his rule shall finally prevail.

4Until the people of God arise; then
all will have rest from warfare. Their Kingdom will be an eternal Kingdom, and
all their paths will be righteous. They will judge 6the land justly, and all
nations will make peace. Warfare will cease from the land, 7and all the nations
shall do obeisance to them. The great God will be their help, 8He Himself will
fight for them, putting peoples into power, 9overthrowing them all before them,
God's rule will be an eternal rule and all the depths of 10[the earth are His].
-E.M.C. [1]

The one above was in regards to an anti-christ. Scroll 11q13 is in regards to the Messiah in whom they thought was Melchizedek. From the looks of it, they pretty much saw him as "Divine". Well at least the names they gave him were Divine.

I'll type the commentary first,

154. The coming of Melchizedek

"The biblical Jubilee year was the fiftieth year, the year following
the succession of seven sabbatical years. Whereas a sabbatical year was one in
which the land had to lie fallow and rest (analogous to the sabbath at the end
of the week)
, in th ejubilee year all land that had been alienated from its
original owners was supposed to return to them. All Hebrew slaves were to be set
free. The jubilee year began on the Day of Atonement and was signaled by the
blowing of trumpets throughout the land and the proclamation of universal

The author of the present intriguing melange of
biblical citations has selected many of the Bible's verses that relate to the
jubilee year and created a work in which those portions receive their "true"
interpretation-one by no means obvious to casual readers of the Bible. He
understands the jubilee-year remission of debts as referring not merely to
prosaic matters of money, but to the forgiveness of sin. The author declared
that th agent of this salvation is to be none other than Melchizedek, a
mysterious figure referenced only twice in the Bible, in
Genesis 14 and Pslam
For our author, Melchizedek is an enormously
exalted divine being to whom are apllied names generally reserved for God alone:
the Hebrew names al and elohim. In the author's citation of Isaiah 61:2, which
speaks of "the year of the Lod's favor," Melchizedek is substututed even for
this most holy name of Israel's God. Yet more remarkably, Melchizedek is said to
atone for the sins of the righteous and to execute judgement upon the wicked-
actions usually associated with God himself. By the power of Melchizedek,
dominion on earth shall pass from Satan (here called Belial) to the righteous
Sons of Light

This latter group Constitutes those who are predestined to
belong to the party of Melchizedek, "the congreation of the sons of
righteousness." These people heed the message of a second figure described in
this writing as "the messenger." The messenger, also designed "Anointed of the
Spirit" (Hebrew messiah), is conceived of as coming with a message from God, a
message explicating the course of history (that is, adeclaration of when the End
shall come)
and teaching about God's truths. This figure dies, an event that may
correspond somehow with the text's references to "jubilee periods."

In many of the scrolls, jubilee periods are not
only times of liberation as described in the Bible, but also ways of keeping
track of time. The present text apparently envisions a scheme in which the
coming of the Last Days is calculated by means of these jubilee periods. Much
about this remarkable text remains mysterious, and considerable further research
will be needed to achieve a truer understanding of its ideas. The figure of
Melchizedek as portrayed here is strikingly reminiscent of the New Testament
reference to a heavenly figure of that name, a high priest desribed as

"without father, without mother, without
genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the
Son of God, he remains a priest forever" (Heb. 7:3). Clearly Melchizedek was a
focus of power salvific imagery among various Jewish groups in the period of the

And now, on to the actual scroll itself.

The figure of Melchizedek, the heavenly savior of those
predestined to belong to him.


2[. . .]And concerning what
Scripture says, "In [this] year of Jubilee [you shall return, every one of you,
to your property" (Lev. 25:13) and what is also written, "And this] 3is the
[ma]nner of [the remission:] every creditor shall remit the claim that is held
[against a neighbor, not exacting it of a neighbor who is a member of the
community, because God's] remission [has been proclaimed" (Deut. 15:2):] 4[the
interpretation] is that it applies [to the L]ast Days and concerns the captives,
just as [Isaiah said: "To proclaim the Jubilee to the captives" (Isa. 61;1) . .
. .] and whose teachers have been hidden and kept secr[et], even from the
inheritance of Melchizedek, f[or . . .] and they are the inherit[ance of
Melchize]dek, who 6will return them to what is rightfully theirs. He will
proclaim to them the Jubilee, thereby releasing th[em from the debt of a]ll
their sins.
This word [will thus co]me 7in the first week of the jubilee
period that follows ni[ne j]ubilee periods. Then the "D[ay of Atone]ment" shall
follow at the e[nd of] the tenth [ju]bilee period, 8when he shall atone for all
the Sons of [Light] and the peopl[e who are pre]destined to Mel[chi]zedek. [. .
.] upo[n the]m [. . .] For 9this is the time decreed for "the year of
Melchiz[edek]'s favor" (Isa. 61:2, modified) and for [his] ho[ts, together] with
the holy ones of God, for a kingdom of judgment, just as it is written 10
concerning him in the Songs of David, "A godlike being has taken his place in
the council[cil of God;] in the midst of the divine beings he holds judgment"
(Ps. 82:1). Scripture also s[ays] about him, "Over [it] 11take your seat in the
highest heaven; A divine being will judge the peoples" (Ps. 7:7-8).

Concerning what scripture s[ays, "How long will y]ou judge unjustly,
and sh[ow] partiality to the wick[ed]? [S]el[ah" (Ps. 82:2),] 12the
interpretation applies to Belial and the spirits predestined to him, becau[se
all of them have rebe]lled, turn[ing] from God's precepts [and so becoming
utterly wicked.] 13Therefore Melchizedek will thoroughly prosecute the vengeance
required by Go[d's] statutes. [In that day he will de]liv[er them from the
power] of Belial, and from the power of all the sp[irits predestined to him.]
14Allied with him will be all the ["righteous] divine beings" (Isa. 61:3).

[Th]is is that wh[ich . . .al]l the divine beings.

figure of the messenger, an Anointed One who comes with a message from God but
is "cut off."

This vi[sitation] 15is the Day of [Salvation] that He
has decreed [. . . through Isai]ah the prophet [concerning all the captives,]
inasmuch as Scripture sa[ys, "How] beautiful 16upon the mountains are the fee[t
of] the messeng[er] who [an]nounces peace, who brings [good] news, [who
announces salvations, who [sa]ys to Zion, 'Your [di]vine being [reigns' " (Isa.

17This scripture's interpretation: "the mountains" [are] the
prophet[s,] they w[ho were sent to procaim God's truth and to] prop[esy] to all
I[srael.] 18And "the messenger" is the Anointed of the the Spir[it,] of whom
Dan[iel] spoke, ["After the sixty-two weeks, an Anointed One shall be cut off"
(Dan. 9:26). The "messenger who brings] 19good news, who announces[ces
salvation"] is the one of whom it is wri[tt]en,

["to proclaim the year
of the Lord's favor, the day of vengeance of our God;] 20to comfort

comfo[rt all who mourn" (Isa. 61:2) This scripture's interpretation:] he is to
inst[r]uct them about all the periods of history for eter[nity. . . and in the
statutes of] 21[the] truth. [. . .] 22[. . . . dominion] that passes from Belial
and ret[urns to the Sons of Light. . . ] 23[. . .] by the judgment of God, just
as t is written concerning him, ["who says to Zi]on "Your divine being reigns"
(Isa. 52;7) ["Zi]on" is 24[the congregation of all the sons of righteousness,
who] uphold the covenant and turn from walking [in the way] of the people. "Your
divine being" is 25[Melchizedek, who will del]iv[er them from the po]wer of
Belial. Concerning what scripture says, "Then you shall have the trumpet
[sounded loud; in] all the land of . . . " (Lev. 25:9, modified)]
- M.O.W.

At least we know that some Jews (before the first advent of Christ) believed that the coming Messhiah was going to be "Divine". I'm over looking their predestinarian views for now. To be honest it's hard to tell how they viewed predestination vs free will. At this point in time, we just don't have enough information to say either way.

But this post isn't about the doctrine of free will. These two scrolls alone shows us that the term "son of God" was also seen by some Jews as a claim of "Divinity". In this case they saw an anti-christ figure as makng that claim.

This agrees with the gospel account of Jesus being stoned by some Jews for making that claim. Thus one can't say that this was just a christian claim. It has it's roots in Judaism itself. Judaism was not a had various interpretations.

We don't know what party the jews were at Qumran. What we do know is that they hated the party of the Pharisees. Some of their writings attack the Pharisees and they praise those high priests and kings that had Pharisees killed. They seem like a warrior blood thirsty theonomic Jewish sect.


The next time someone tells you that the term "son of God" didn't have anything to do with "a claim of Divinity in Jewish thought", just show them the account found in the Gospel of John as well as these two scrolls by a jewish sect who lived before the first advent of Christ. This is more than enough evidence to prove that "some" jews did interprete that term to mean "a claim of Divinity".

So it's not a christian invention. It is not a "reading into the text by christian interpreters". It was a common interpretation of some jews in that era.


[1] 346-347 ,and [2] page 590-593, Tranlsated by Michael Wise,Martin Abegg Jr, and Edward Cook. In the book "A new Translation, The dead Sea Scrolls" copyrighted 1996 & 2005, published by HarperSanFrancisco

Dr. Nassif interviews sister Nonna Harrison

At the Orthodox Theological Society, Dr. Nassif interviews Dr. sister Nonna Harrison

As seen from the website :

"Dr. Nassif introduces you to Sister Nonna Harrison, an Orthodox nun and professor at St. Paul's School of Theology in Kansas City, MO where she teaches Orthodox studies to Methodist seminarians. Listen to how she teaches the Methodists, and what the Methodists have taught her! She also discusses her work as a scholar and author, and the books she has published with St. Vladimir's Press. If you'd like Sr. Nonna to speak at your Church, contact Dr. Nassif through email and he will forward your inquiry to her."

The podcast:


Generation Orthodox Podcast

This is the Death to The World goes to Cornerstone - Generation Orthodox Podcast.

In this podcast they pretty much talk about what they been doing recently, what they have been reading, and some insights about the christian walk in general.

The actual mp3:


Wounded by Love "The Life and the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios

I was told that this was an awsome book, infact, more than one person at the parish told me this. So I finally decided to buy it. I won't be able to read it until maybe late July or early August, but I'm glad I finally have it in my collection.

The amazon link

From the back cover:

"Elder Porphyrios, a Greek monk and priest who
died in 1991, stands in the long tradition of charismatic spiritual guides in
the Eastern Church which continues from the apostolic age down to figures such
as Saint Seraphim of Sarov and Staretz Silouan in modern times. In this book he
tells the story of his life and, in simple, deeply reflected and profoundly wise
words, he expounds the Christian faith for today.

This book was compiled after his death from an
archive of notes and recordings of his reminiscences, conversations and words of
guidance, and was first published in Greek in 2003.

The vibrant personality of Elder Porphyrios at all
times shines through his words with great transparency and charm. In his
introduction to the Greek edition Bishop Irenaeus of Chania writes: "The words
of blessed Elder Porphyrios are the words of a holy Father, of a man with the
gift of clear sight, who was ever retiring, humble, simple and ardent
and whose life was a true and authentic witness to Christ, to His truth and to
His joy. Through his presence, love, prayer, counsel and guidance he supported
an untold number of people in the difficult hours of illness, mourning, pain,
loss of faith and death. He is a god-bearing Father of our days, a true
priest and teacher who in his ascetic way fell in love with Christ and
faithfully served his fellow man. His teaching is deeply impregnated with the
ethos and theology of the Orthodox Church and is dominated by the person and
image of Christ our Saviour.'



[1] from the back cover of "Wounded by Love" by Elder Porphyrios, edited by the sisters of the Holy Convent of Chrysopigi. copy right 2005, published by Denise Harvey )Publisher), 340 05 Limni, Evia, Greece

Wisdom of the Saints "Elder Ephiphanios"

Quote # 1
"My child, you must know that Christ is everywhere: in the kitchen, the living room, and the bedroom."

Quote # 2
"And who told you that the children are yours? They are God's! They are His little sheep and he has put you to guard them!"

Quote # 3
"If afflictions did not exist, we would not seek paradise."

From the parish pamphlet.


Second sunday after Pentecost Sunday

Today is the day of Saints Peter & Paul.

Ft. Thomas Hopko talks about Saint Paul in the Podcast speaking the truth in love.

As taken from the site:
"Fr. Thomas shows how, despite his persecution of the early Church, St. Paul was indeed an Apostle-- by having seen the risen Lord and through his suffering."

The actual mp3: "A Chosen Instrument of Mine - St. Paul"

In this one, he talks about Saint Peter. He shows the difference between how the Orthodox view Saint Peter from that of Roman Catholics.

The actual mp3: "Keys to the Kingdom - St. Peter"

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Answering King Neb "A full preterist" Round 2

As seen from HCR


Let me restate the issue here because
apparently you do not understand the problem - or - perhaps you do understand it
and I can't tell that you do, because you never really addressed it. You
basically implied that I should not be allowed at the table because my view is
"new" - it has no "ancient" precedent. Ok. But here’s the problem. IF PM is
“apostolic doctrine”; AM, PoM, and even much of modern PM is NOT apostolic…it is
erroneous and was at one time NEW. And if AM, PoM, and much of modern PM was NEW
at some point and it is argued that NEW stuff can’t be allowed at the table;
then why are AMs, PoMs, and many modern PMs given a seat at the table?

That’s the jist of the post and you did not answer it, other than to
merely assert that you don’t see a problem with it.

The Bible only
teaches one correct eschatological view. It is simply impossible for PoM, AM,
and PM to all be right. Logically speaking, either one is correct or none are.
So no matter what view you want to plug in as the correct interpretation of
Scripture, that leaves the others as being in error and at some point they too
were “new” in the game. Again, for sake of argument, let’s just say
Premillennialism is the doctrine Paul taught. Then that means that
Amillennialism was a “new” and “erroneous” doctrine introduced into the church.
And so was Postmillennialism and anything else other than premillennialism.

So what you’re telling me is that basically because these other views
got their voice in a little sooner, they get a free pass? That is arbitrary and
complete nonsense.

Others have said, “well, though these views greatly
differ on some points, they ALL affirm the proposition that Jesus WILL
eventually return. This belief has been preserved by God in the church.” The
question then is, why is that one proposition made a test for fellowship? On
what Biblical grounds can that be made a test?

Again, you mean to tell
me that a premillennialist can go off with some of the most wackiest and
unbiblical ideas about a rebuilt temple, reinstituted ceremonies, gaps in
Daniel, etc., and yet because he affirms this ONE proposition, he can sit at the
table and I can’t and all because he got his thesis turned in a little earlier?
Again, complete nonsense.

Norm, I hope you and others truly rethink your
reasoning here. I find it very disturbing. I have suffered because of it and I
hear stories every week from others – true brothers and sisters in Christ – who
are suffering as well from leaders who reason this way.

As for the rest
of your posts, we’ve already been through that.

·The Church is not the
final authority. God’s word formed the church, not vice-a-versa.

a direct disciple of someone does not insure that the disciple carries on the
teacher’s doctrine at all points. Paul’s letters are filled with evidence to the
contrary. How many times did Paul have to remind his listeners and correct them?

PS. I am also tired of J.W., SDAs, and Mormons always being
brought up in a discussion with preterists. They simply don’t compare. In fact,
they have more in common with traditional eschatology than with Preterism.

PPS. It is an argument from silence, hence a fallacy, to claim that full
preterism is “new”. You simply have no idea what all was floating around in
those days. Granted, I can’t prove that it did exist – that whole argument is
irrelevant. Arguments from silence and appeals to tradition are fallacies, plain
and simple.


You can't really call amill new. Most christians rejected the book of Revelations, So most christians never had a pre-mill view to begin with. And when the early PMers started to spread to other regions, this is when you had arguments about such a view. So you can't call Amill (brand new).


If you are going to mention Historic PM then you are going to have to use the Church as being the final authority. It was the Church at a euceminical council that took a stand on the issue. You can't use another standard that did not exist yet. How can you use that as the standard when the canon was still in flux?

You have to use the standard of the time. And at that time, the Apostolic tradition of Saint John (on this issue) was trumped by the Apostolic traditions of Mark, Andrew, Peter, and Paul.

The Christians in Ashia minor had a little more detail about end time views that other regions didn't have. And they lost the fight, just like they lost the fight some decades earlyier at the council of Nicea, in regards to Pascha observance.

The christians in Ashia minor were at one time called " quartodecimans" (because they observed Pascha on the same day the Jews observed Passover, which was Nisan 14)

This custom came from John, so the christians in his region did what he did. But they lost the fight at the council of Nicea, because the other Apostles (in other regions) did it differently.

So they were trumped. I don't see a problem with it. The Circumcision group were trumped at the very first Church council. And they were fighting for the customs of Moses.

This is what happens King Neb, and you shouldn't see a problem with it. Certian customs & beliefs/interpretations get trumped by other customs & beliefs/interpretations.....that are also ancient. It's always been that way.

You can look at the ancient universal councils, and you will see groups with different interpretations about a text fighting it out. We see this with the very first council in the book of Acts, and it's been the same way since.

The idea of a future second Temple was shared by some early PMers. The only difference, in this regard, between them and most of the modern Protestant PMers is that they believed the Anti-Christ was going to rebuild a future 3rd temple. They also believed that the anti-christ would bring the Jews back to Palestine, and they had a view about the rise of China before the coming of the jewish anti-christ. They also believed that the anti-christ would come from the tribe of Dan.

Everything in ancient PM was not declared heretical. Only the literal 1,000 earthly year riegn of Christ, and their carnal view of Paradise in that 1,000 year riegn
As seen below:

"The days will come in which vines having ten thousand brances will grow. In each branch, there will be ten thousand clusters. Each cluster will have ten thousand grapes, and every grape will give twenty-five metretes of wine, when like manner, a grain of wheat will produce ten thousand ears."

Irenaeus, citing Papias 120 A.D.

This is one of the reasons why ancient PM was disliked by most christians in other regions. They saw it as too carnal.....just like how Islam is carnal in how it views heaven.....infanct, some think that "Chilism" was a major influence on Islam in regards to how it viewed heaven.

Justin Martyr believed in the theory, but he admited that everyone did not agree with this idea.

You had two competing views. One group from Ashia minor that believed in a literal 1,000 year reign and embraced the book of Revelations. And those who either rejected Revelations, or just didn't embrace it. And these were the christians that did not believe in a literal 1,000 earthly reign of Christ.

Eventually the majority of christians won the day, for their view silenced the idea of a literal reign. They both were futurist, but they differed about the millenium.

Thus the Millenium was "spiritualized/Allegoricalized" Along with it's carnal understanding of "super foods".

Everything about modern Pm isn't wrong. Their literal view of the Millenium is wrong, their dispensational view of End times is wrong, for they will end up siding with the jewish anti-christ if they keep at it.

But not everything they believe in is wrong. It's a mutation of the ancient view, but so is postmill, and some forms of western amill.

But alot of modern PMers don't know that PM was declared heretical in the 4th century, so for the most part it's a view held in ignorance. I know when I was PM, I didn't know it was heretical until some years ago.

Full-Preterism is different from modern PM because Modern PM is still a futurist system. A system that believes in a future anti-christ, a future second coming as well as a future resurrection. So it's not as dangeruos as full-preterism.

My Godfather is a PMer(ancient PM. He picked it up from some of the early fathers & nonfathers). He is not suppose to be, because he's ORthodox. But as long as he's not dogmatic about his PMism, and as long as he doesn't try to spread it to others then he is still allowed to partake of cummunion.

So yeah, it's a heresy, but it's not a bad bad heresy. There are different levels of heresies/sins/error.....ect.

Historic PM is only on the table in some protestant circles. It is not on the table over all. It's not on the table with Rome, and it's not on the table with Eastern Orthodoxy.....eventhough we may tolerate it in regards to some members.

So at the end of the day, the onlything you can say about ancient christianity is:

Some believed in a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ on planet earth.

Most did not believe in a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ on planet earth.

Both views are old, and eventually one view won over the other one....well....for the most part. Much of what the early PMer's said is still legal so alot of Eastern amill views embrace alot of the other views of ancient PM.....the literal 1,000 year reign is rejected, as well as the carnal view of a 1,000 year paradise with super foods. But alot of the other stuff is embraced.

QUOTing Neb·"The Church is not the final authority. God’s word
formed the church, not vice-a-versa"

Jesus, and his Apostles formed the Church. The Apostles and their scribes wrote New Testament Scripture, so what do you mean by "God's word formed the church"? Where are you getting this from? Are you getting this from Owen again? Owen is not scripture and scripture never said that.

QUOTing Neb "Being a direct disciple of someone does not
insure that the disciple carries on the teacher’s doctrine at all points. Paul’s
letters are filled with evidence to the contrary. How many times did Paul have
to remind his listeners and correct them? Often."

Outside of moral behavior, most of the doctrinal correction came from those who were influenced by outsiders, like the Circumcision party and gnosticism. What we don't see in scripture is error from followers of the Apostles who miss heard what they said. The Apostles spoke to the masses, so in order for their followers to get them wrong is for everyone to miss understand them.. We don't see that in scripture, and we don't see that in the accounts after the first century.

What we see are people erroring from being influenced by either the sect of the circumcision (The later Ebionites), or Gnosticism.

If the apostles spoke to 100 people in a room, and one miss heard him, then the 99 would correct that person by saying "we were there too and I didn't hear him say that". In order for you to be right, everyone who heard the Apostle speak had to hear them wrong. That just can't happen, especially when they sent people in their place to help sheppard the flock.

1 Corinthians 4:17
For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

You will also have to conclude that even Timothy miss understood Paul, and thus was spreading miss information to the flock.

That view just isn't realistic King Neb. If Paul tought the samething everywhere then those who got him wrong would "stick out" like a sore thumb.

QUOTing Neb, "PPS. It is an argument from silence, hence a
fallacy, to claim that full preterism is “new”. You simply have no idea what all
was floating around in those days. Granted, I can’t prove that it did exist –
that whole argument is irrelevant. Arguments from silence and appeals to
tradition are fallacies, plain and simple."

It can be sure that they weren't floating around, the same way we know that JWism, Mormonism, and SDAism wasn't floating around back then. Nobody was arguing for a "fullpreterist" view.

There was no distubance of the faith in regards to the possition that you hold to. The distubance in christian circles came much later in time. Infact, It came from Calvinistic circles.

All the contingencies that reguire your view to form, came much later in time. One of which was the Reformed hermenuetic of a literal reading of a text. The idea that a text can have more than one meaning is rejected by you. There are contingencies in order for your view to exist.

Now in regards to PM. I only gave the historical context of it all. PM has a real ancient christian history, and full preterism doesn't. The ancient councils are more like guidlines of where you can and can't go with a doctrine. So it doesn't really matter if other views pop up. If they don't go out of bounds then what's the problem?

I don't see a problem with it. People can always agree to differ, and that's what the Church did for the first 381 years. But in the 4th century it ruled on the issue and that's that.

As long as your eschatology doesn't go out of bounds then what's the problem?


Introduction to the Bible - Lesson 4: The Oral Tradition

Dr. Jeannie Constantinou is on her 4th lesson in her podcast "Search the Scriptures" .

As seen from the site:

"To talk about how we got our Bible we have to start with the oral tradition."

And from the podcast:

In talking about "Oral tradition" first before talking about written scripture was a good move. Without knowing about "oral tradition", it is hard to understand the topic of "written scripture".

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Answering a question about the Episcopal church

Originally Posted by apokalum
Anyone have any
info on them? Doctrinal, historical, etc.?

What would you like to know about them? They are a mixed group.

I'm sure Kerry could tell you about them as well.

As far as doctrine goes....well, historically it depends on how far back you go, and what you look at. If you are looking at the 39 articles of faith....I think at one time it was 41, but if you are looking at the 39 articles then I would say that based on that they would look very close to "Reformed".

But alot of Anglicans ignore the 39 articles. This is mainly true for the main American branch. The Episcopalians. It seems as if the ECUSA doesn't care about the 39 articles. Well wait. You do have a somewhat conservative group. Well to be honest, they are moderate.

I don't know about now, but three years ago, the more conservative to moderate evangelicals of the ECUSA held to the 39 articles.

This is there main school.

This next link is of a church in Pittsburgh. They are an offshoot, a somewhat independant parish. I don't know about now, but three years ago, they were under the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda.

They are a conservative to moderate evangelical group.

The same is true for Dr. Michael Youssef's parish.

These two groups are seen as "low church".

Another low church is the charismatic type.

They help out alot of the homeless veitnam vets in the Pittsburgh area. The actual church building is in uptown (between downtown & oakland)

In Anglicanism, you have High Church, broad church, and low church.

The high church, was what I was once a part of. Anglo-catholicism is about as high you can get in Anglicanism. And that's pretty much what I was. (at one time)

And this is an Anglo-Catholic parish in the Pittsburgh area.

The only conservative to moderate highchurch & Anglo-Catholic school is:

Historicaly, the evangelical and the Anglo-Catholic had beef. They were at eachothers necks, but in recent years, they have been working together in order to fight a common foe. And the common foe are the liberals.

The braod church is mainly anything in the middle of evangelical to high. I could be wrong about that, but most of the liberals seem to dwell in the "broad" section.

Anglicanism goes by what is called "the via media". It is suppose to believe in a middle way between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.

But the truth is, it's heart has mostly been protestant & eversince the rise of's heart has become agnostic to almost atheistic. But this is only in regards to the mainstream of America, Canada, and England. Most of Africa, and South East Ashia has been conservative. And even in America, the sub-groups are also conservative, and they are called "continual Anglicans". I think what's his name..."convictionmusic" was raised in a highchurch continual Anglican sub-denomination.

But like I said before. They are a mixed bunch. The doctrine on a number of issues can range.

Originally Posted by apokalum
I'm interested
mainly in their core doctrines and their worship/preaching style.

interviewing for a gig at a private episcopalian high school so I'm trying to
figure out what's it about. I know if I get hired on I'll probably have to
attend chapel with everyone else.

All I can see from their site is that
it's diocesan.

Like I said before. Their doctrine can vary from Parish to Parish from Diocese to Diocese.

The same is true in regards to their worship style. It all depends on what they are. Are they "LOW CHURCH"? "Broad CHURCH"? or "HIGH CHURCH"?

And even then you gotta include the charismatics who have their own form of "Low Church" style. Some of them could be "high church", but the ones I been around were low.

The same is true for how they preach. They don't have one style that they stick to. It can be anything. They are suppose to be liturgical, and they are suppose to follow the church calander, some groups in Anglicanism don't always do that.

So it all depends.

A diocese is basically a territory of a local Bishop. His boundaries.


Orthodox Theological Society Interview with Matthew Namee

From the Podcast "Simply Orthodox" Dr. Nassif interviews Matthew Namee

As seen from the site

"For the next few podcasts Dr. Nassif will be interviewing
three people who participated in the annual meeting of the Orthodox Theological
Society that recently met in Chicago. On today's broadcast, he interviews
Matthew Namee, a young historian. This is one young man whom Dr. Nassif believes
holds great promise as a future lay leader in our Church. You'll enjoy getting
to know Matthew as you learn about the vision the Lord has given him for his
work in the American Church. (11:49)"

The Podcast:


Answering King Neb "A full preterist"

This is where it came from. "from this forum" and it was mostly adressed to other protestants, mostly calvinistic protestants that hold to what is called "Amill", and maybe "postmill". I responded because he mentioned an ancient heresy, as well as some church fathers, and nonfathers.

This is what he had to say:

The Embarrassment of Premillennialism


Premillennialism (PM), or Chiliasm (chilia is the Greek number for
1,000), is an embarrasment for Partial Preterists (PP), Postmillennialists (PoM)
and Amillennialists (AM). This short paper will highlight the reasons why it is
an embarrassment and why scholars who are not PM must downplay its place in
"historic Christianity." But, the way they downplay it actually undermines the
very argument they use against Biblical Preterism (BP).

First, the claim
that "historic Christianity" has always been united in eschatology is false.
Charles Hill, professor at Reformed Theological Seminary (and who co-authored a
book with Keith Mathison, When Shall These Things Be?), has tried to show that
PM was not the "only" millennialism around in the second century (Regnum
Caelorum: Patterns of Millennial Thought in Early Christianity, Eerdmans, 2001)
and does so convincingly. However, it is evident that the earliest writings we
have, and the dominant church fathers early on were Chiliasts. Hill lists 2
Baruch and 4th Ezra, two early Jewish documents, as chiliastic. I noted before
that Papias (70 to mid 2nd century A.D.) drew from 2nd Baruch (Hill notes this
as well). Further Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Commodianus,
Victorinus, Lactantius were all "definitely chiliasts" to quote Hill, who is an

The differences are noted. Some believed in an intermediate state
for the dead. Some believed that the translated went to Paradise immediately.
Others denied a subterranean middle state while others affirmed one. Big issues.

Now, the argument we often hear is that of "historic Christianity" and
that BP overturns it on the matter of eschatology. That is, if BP is true, then
God failed to guide the church. But, when one notes the confusion early on in
eschatology one can equally wonder why God failed to guide the church on the
question of the Millennium, or why God failed when the Pope and Medieval
theology arose until Luther recovered the doctrine of God's righteousness (he
simply read the Bible himself to discover this doctrine! Go figure). But, seeing
that this argument is as useless as a dead cat, it does point out interesting

Ireneaus, as we all know by now (those of you that have read
my blogs), claims that Papias got chiliasm from the mouth of Jesus, who taught
John, and John taught his elders who taught Papias who was an associate of
Polycarp who taught Irenaeus. All of this, of course, is questioned by the AM,
PoM and PP. But, this is the very source of the argument of "historic Christian

This is the argument: the Historic Christian Faith has always
been united from the time of the Apostles onward according to the once and for
all time Tradition handed down from them to the leaders of the Second Century.
But, the very claim of that Tradition from Tertullian, Justin and Irenaeus is
that the "elders of John" taught PM! Papias is as early as we get to the time of
the Apostles! How in the world, then, can PP, AM, PoM justify their claims?

It is here that what they really mean by the Historic Christian Faith is
that regardless of what millennial view one hold to, they all believe in a
future Second Coming of Christ. The details don't matter. But, this undermines
the very argument that God guided the church. For, in the end, what it says is
that God guided the church to acknowledge a vague Second Coming, but provided
the same Church with no details! In other words, we have unity in the Second
Coming as future, but we all can tolerate each other on the fact that AM, PM, PP
and PoM contradict each other in the details (not to mention Dispen
-sationalism, Post-trib, Pre-trib, and Mid-trib, just to add a few more
meaningless "details" that God forgot to tell us about).

This is an
example of "unity in spite of the truth"! More dangerous is that this unity
minimizes biblical eschatology and the details as unimportant. In fact,
"pan-millennialism" runs in most churches probably because most Christians it
seems prefer not to talk about eschatology at all. And, when you start
mentioning details like 70 Weeks, Seven Headed Beast, Antichrist, 666, and
hundreds of other passages (the Bible is 1/3 eschatology) then we either argue
or simply leave the conversation since "nobody really knows." Hey, at least we
all agree that He is coming back, and that's enough, right?

So much for
God's word. Each word in the Bible is ordained and inspired by God to be there.
666 is God's holy and inspired word. "Seven heads" is inspired. "1,000 years" is
inspired. God put it there, in fact, He inspired hundreds of minute details and
points on eschatology – so many that very, very early on debates as to how all
these details worked out occurred. Hence, PM, AM and much later on PoM and PP.
What we as BP are asked to believe is that the Church, as a whole, got it wrong
on the details of the Second Coming, and that we can tolerate that, but they did
not get it wrong on ONE DETAIL: the he "shall come again" sometime in the
future! Now do you get the picture? These views must minimize the details of
God's word as unimportant, not important enough to divide over, but maximize a
sentence, not in the Bible, but in a man-made Creed: "he shall come again". The
Creed is an interpretation of eschatology and this single interpretation has
become the standard as to whether or not one is a "Christian." Shame on us

Imagine having a puzzle in front of you and it is not put
together. In fact, it's 8 puzzles all mixed up together. You have in front of
you ONE puzzle box with a picture. So, you know what ONE puzzle is to look like,
but have NO IDEA what the other 7 look like. That's the situation we have here.
God, so they say, has given us 8 puzzles (AM, PoM, PP, PM, Pre-Trib Disp.,
Post-Trib, Mid Trib….oh, I forgot Idealism and Historicism) and mixed them all
together, but gave us ONE PICTURE to work all of them out.

Let's use
another example. If a person tells you eight false propositions and one right
proposition is he to be trusted? Yet, this is what they say God has given to us.
Since all of these eschatologies cannot be right, in fact, none of them may be
right logically speaking, only one of them may be true. Logically speaking, they
cannot all be true. Since, then, we have more views than the one that is right,
I am to tolerate more falsehoods than I am to have the one truthful view! Unity
in spite of the Truth. And, get this, the BP is not welcome to the conversation
because he disagrees with the alleged one truthful proposition out all this
mess! Folks, dear readers, as you can see, this argument is completely shot.

Now, there is more. The BP must account for all these views as well, and
he must do so on account the framework of BP. In fact, BP is the only view that
can account for all these views for they all suffer from one fatal defect. They
are all attempting to apply unfulfilled prophecy to an Age of Fulfillment! Of
course none of them will work! God's Word was not intended to make them work!

Secondly, since the PoM, AM, and PP must discount the earliest view of
PM, then they, too, must admit that very early on something got wrong. Only the
PM view will work here (and some defectors from BP have rightly seen this
advocating that PM is the only biblical view).

In the view of BP,
prophecy CEASED. There was no "guiding" by the Spirit in the sense of inerrant
interpretation (of course, the Roman Catholic would disagree here). The Church
was made Perfect by the Spirit in terms of salvation, but this was not a promise
that in the ages to come she would have all her doctrinal ducks in a row from
day one. God was going to teach his church the ethic of love – which is the
hardest ethic to follow and the design was, according to Romans 14, to have
several views which conflict with each other. In this way we would be stretched
to preach a message of tolerance. We would still have to love one another in
spite of differing views – in short, the perfect church in Christ had to grow up
learning one thing: love one another and in this way would demonstrate
fulfillment of the Law (Romans 12-13).

The BP, on the basis of its
framework, can account for why error crept into the doctrinal formulations of
the church very early on. We are told to tolerate each other on several views of
eschatology, are we not? On what basis? For the creedolytryst, that basis is not
the Bible, but the Creeds. "He shall come again" is a statement of the Creed
that supposedly is the one detail the Church got right out of all the details
she got wrong. We have already exposed that error. The basis for tolerance is
the ethic of love as defined by Paul who was looking forward to the end of the
age and the Age to Come which would be characterized by loving one another.
There is no Prophet to whom we can ask, "which millennial view is correct?" We
are to figure it out together, working under One God, One Lord, One Faith in One

Because we have a different solution to the puzzles on the table,
we are told that we are not included in that One Faith. Take our solution
elsewhere. You can't play with us. But, because God has made the rules, not men,
we are invited by God Himself to sit at the table and begin to put the pieces
together that makes sense of all the other puzzles. Sure, the other kids won't
like us at first because we seem to be putting together these pieces at a rapid
pace. A picture is emerging that makes sense of it all – that explains the
reason why all these puzzles are here in the first place. A puzzle that unites
all these puzzles into one picture of what Christ has accomplished for us on the
CROSS. A puzzle that will show us what we all have been saying since day one of
the Church:

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?

At the
cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart
rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am
happy all the day!

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in
its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might
the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the
mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my
blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can
ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
’Tis all that I can do."

My responce:

King Neb, only the christians from Ashia Minor were mostly PM. Ashia minor is where Saint John mostly lived and died, and so the Apostolic Tradition that came from his region mostly held on to "Chilism". Justin Martyre and some others who were from that region but moved to Rome later in life spread that teaching to other parts of Christiandom.

The book of Revelations wasn't embraced by everyone. It was by those who knew John and lived in Ashia minor, but it wasn't embraced by alot of christians outside of Ashia minor. And this is the heart of the issue. The difference between the views is in the details. The belief that you hold to was not held in ancient christiandom, it wasn't defended in ancient christiandom, nor was anyone arguing about the issue. But they were arguing about this. Why? Because the view existed.......where as yours didn't. What you believe, and in the way that you believe it, came extremely late in time.

And out of mostly Calvinistic churches at that. Yes, I know that some Cambellites believe it, but they too came from Prespyterianism, and yes, I know that some Baptists hold to it, but everyone knows that they (that brand of baptists) too came from calvinistic separatist groups in the Church of England.

Your view is not embraced by Eastern Orthodoxy, nor is it embraced by Rome......not to mention most protestants. So why should that view have a place at the table? It should have no place at the table than does End Time views of JW's, SDA'a, and Mormons. They too are all late views and they never had a place in christian historic thought.

Eventually PM was seen as heretical in the 6th century. However, Eastern Orthodoxy won't kick anyone out the church for holding to the views. But those same people who do hold to it, must keep those views to themself, and they must not teach them to the faithful.

For the most part. The onlything that was discarded was a literal understanding of a 1,000 year reign, and a literal understanding of eating all kinds of huge fruit, and foods here on earth.

All of that has been Allegorized. But almost everything else is still held literaly by most Amills in eastern christianity.

PM was always givin a hard time by christians living outside of modern day Turkey and Syria.

And as a former PM myself, I know that it's not hard to switch to an Eastern form of Amill. Most of what I believe is still the same.

The christian east doesn't hide what happened to PM, but PM was never embraced by all regions of historic christianity.

So is it historic? Yes, but it was only limited to a certain region of christianity. But all that doesn't matter when a universal church council took a stand on the issue. What is sealed in stone is sealed in stone.

And this is why I ultimately changed my mind on the issue......for What the Church says goes..........and that's that.

so at least PM has an actual history in historic christianity....people actually argued over it. At least Amill has a history in ancient christianity, but what we don't have is full-preterism. Unlike PM, full-preterism doesn't have a scene in ancient christianity. We know about historic PM, we know about historic Amill, but full-preterism is not christian historic and it never will be. It is new on the scene, and it always will be.

Quoting King NEb:
"The differences are noted. Some
believed in an intermediate state for the dead. Some believed that the
translated went to Paradise immediately. Others denied a subterranean middle
state while others affirmed one. Big issues."

You will have to change "some" to most. Most believed in an intermediate state for the dead. And in regards to "translation", that is in regards to "the martyres" (those who died for the faith). For those that didn't die for the faith, it was believed that the soul went to Hades(the intermediate state of the dead). This developed when christianity was no longer under constant persecution. So in later times they included "Saints" as being the ones who are "translated" as well.....and not just those who were martyred.

This is still believed today in Eastern Orthodoxy. Just as it can be seen in some of the christian writtings of the 2nd and 3rd centuries.

It's not as divergent as you think. It is only made so by higher critical scholars and maybe other critical scholars who focus on the idea of "the development of doctrine" theory. Yes, it is true that some things did develop, but it is also true that everything didn't develop. So some scholars are just declaring stuff, and begging the question mostly. I like J. Pelikan, but I often find that he does much of the same.

"It is here that what they really mean by the
Historic Christian Faith is that regardless of what millennial view one hold to,
they all believe in a future Second Coming of Christ. The details don't matter.
But, this undermines the very argument that God guided the church. For, in the
end, what it says is that God guided the church to acknowledge a vague Second
Coming, but provided the same Church with no details! In other words, we have
unity in the Second Coming as future, but we all can tolerate each other on the
fact that AM, PM, PP and PoM contradict each other in the details (not to
mention Dispen -sationalism, Post-trib, Pre-trib, and Mid-trib, just to add a
few more meaningless "details" that God forgot to tell us about).

is an example of "unity in spite of the truth"! More dangerous is that this
unity minimizes biblical eschatology and the details as unimportant. In fact,
"pan-millennialism" runs in most churches probably because most Christians it
seems prefer not to talk about eschatology at all."

Unity doesn't have to mean 100% conformity. And in alot of cases it usually doesn't. we can look at the issue with the Jew and Gentile fued. The council of Acts made it possible to have a Unity in diversity. And this slight diversity in eschatology also confirms the historic witness that the Apocolypse of John wasn't known until around 90 something A.D. When he was freed from the ISLAND of Patmos. You mentioned Irenaeus, but did you know that Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp? Who himself was a disciple of Saint John?

You mentioned Papias, did you know that Saint Papias was friends with Saint John? It is said that he didn't like to read alot of books, instead, he wanted the information straight from the Apostles or Apostolic men. You also mentioned Justin, but like I said before. HE was from the same region, and he later moved west, and spread that form of eschatology to other parts of the christian world. the same is true with Saint Irenaeus.

Before the 6th century, this issue was debatable, but once the Church put it's foot down and decided on the issue then case closed. We see this in regards to the Jewish/gentile fued, and it's the same with this fued. Different views can co-exist until the Church puts its foot down. And when it does, it usually shows the parameters. So yes, there can still be unity in diversity. I don't see a problem with it. The Church had a diverse canon for many centuries, and yet they were all united. And when the Church keeps arguing about something, it will eventually form a regional council or universal council to solve the issue. Just as our first anciestors have done in the book of Acts.

God guides the Church. So if you see a problem, it might be in the area of your doctrinal proposition. It is your doctrine and the way you understand the way God works. That is what must change. Not what happened in history. For God had His hands in it the whole time.

King Neb is an extremely intelligent fellow, and I must admit. At times I find it hard to respond to him. Sometimes, I just have to put my hands up and leave him be. He is too witty.



In the podcast Speaking the truth in Love Ft. Thomas Hopko talks about the issue of fasting. I could be wrong, but I think this is the week of the "Apostles fast".
The Orthodox fast for about half the year. I'm still not use to the lifestyle of fasting, but like alot of things in life, it's a journy that one must take one step at a time.

But this is the podcast:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Answering a question about The Deaconess

As seen from the forum

We're tackling this issue at our church now....

shall we discuss??

Any takers?

love ya,

The deaconess didn't have the same role as the male deacons.

Some say they were the wives of deacons, while others don't see them as being wives of male deacons.

But from what we do know, is that they were mostly used as buffers between bishops(who were always male), Priests(who were always male).

They were used to help baptize women. Back then the custom was to be baptized nude. Now I don't know if this was a universal custom, but deaconess were used to help the Bishop Baptize women converts.

Like I said, they were mostly used as buffers, so that no evil could be spoken of the male bishops and priests.

"Let not any woman address herself to the deacon or bishop without the deaconess." Apostolic Constitutions (compiled around 390 A.D.)

"Ordain also a deaconess who is faithful and holy for the ministrations towards women. For sometimes the bishop cannot send a deacon (who is a man) to the women, on account of unbelievers. You should therefore send a woman, a deaconess, on account of the imaginations of the bad. For we stand in need of a woman, a deaconess, for many necessities. For examplle, in the baptism of women, the deacon will anoint only their forehead with the holy oil. And after him, the deaconess will anoint them. For there is no necessity that the women should be seen by the men." Apostolic Constitutions (compiled around 390 A.D.)

Originally Posted by Azriel

I never knew that J....could you post
some links to where I could read up on that??Thanks fam...mad love, D


Some of what they said:

"The Office of Deaconess

The office of
deaconess was abolished in the West before the eleventh century, but in the East
it lasted to the end of the Byzantine period in the fifteenth century. It is now
retained only in some Orthodox convents.

St. Paul mentions the first
deaconess, St. Phoebe of the Church at Cenchrea, in his epistle to the Romans
16: 1-2: I commend unto you Phoebe our sister which is a deacon of the church
which is at Cenchrea. That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and
that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath
been a succourer of many, and of myself also.

The interpretations of
this passage vary. Those who would deny that there ever were ordained
deaconesses say that the word "deacon" simply means servant, and that anyone
could be a servant, male or female, ordained or not. That interpretation is at
odds with the Church's recognition of Phoebe as the first deaconess. It also
fails to take into account that the word "deacon" derived from the Greek and
meaning "helper" or "'minister" is exactly what the deaconess is supposed to be.

Another interpretation, more realistic in view of the historical facts,
is that this passage "refutes the hypothesis that [deaconesses] were appointed
to administer exclusively to their own sex (Coleman 115). In saying that Phoebe
"hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also," St. Paul is saying that
Phoebe ministered unto him, a male. (Some speculate that Phoebe nursed Paul back
to health from an illness or injury.)

"The office of deaconess was
already a position for women in the service of the Christian community in
apostolic times, but it was an inferior office until the middle of the third
century (House 97). It appears to have developed gradually, representing only a
small expansion of the role of widow. The Apostolic Constitutions required that
a deaconess either be a virgin or a once-married widow, and the Council of
Chalcedon (451 AD) forbade marriage after ordination.

The primary duties
of the deaconess were ministering to women in their houses and assisting at
baptisms. The rationale was that it was not proper for a deacon to go to the
house of heathens to visit a believing woman, and it was not proper for a man to
anoint a woman during baptism and to receive her as she emerged from the water,
because men should not see her unclothed. However, anointing the woman's head,
the immersion, and the pronouncement of the words of baptism were duties
reserved to the bishop or presbyter performing the baptism.

By the
fourth century, the deaconess was assigning places to female visitors in the
church, keeping order, admonishing and praying with latecomers, and assisting
"in a minor way" at the altar (House 98). What the qualification "in a minor
way" is not clear. The required age of sixty was reduced to fifty by the
Didascalia and then to forty by the Council at Chalcedon Other duties added to
her charge were to care for the sick and poor of her own sex; to be present when
bishops, priests, or deacons spoke with women; anti to introduce women

Several reasons are given for the ultimate demise of the
office of deaconess:
The decline of missionary activity and the resultant
decline in the number of adult baptisms with which deaconesses would assist.
The rise of monasticism which, to some extent absorbed and redirected the
activities of deaconesses.
The taking over of care of the sick and the poor
by the Byzantine state.
Abuses on the part of some deaconesses who took
ministerial functions upon themselves, such as reading the Scriptures in public.
Reaction against the prominent ministry of women in certain heretical
groups, particularly the Gnostics and the Montanists.
The office of
deaconess was abolished in the West before the eleventh century, but in the East
it lasted to the end of the Byzantine period in the fifteenth century. It is now
retained only in some Orthodox convents.
The office of deaconess was
conferred with an ordination practically identical to that of the deacon. The
ordination took place in the altar, which was not the case with ordination for
the inferior offices. The bishop laid his hands on the candidate and recited two
prayers, the first of which invoked divine grace. In matters of precedence she
came after the deacon and was robed with the sticharion and the orarion.

After her ordination, the bishop handed her the chalice which she placed
on the altar. She had the right to carry and give Holy Communion to sick women.
She could not take a ceremonial part in any of the sacraments or in other
ceremonies that required the assistance of a deacon. She was addressed as
"reverend, "most honorable" or "most pious." During the time when bishops were
selected from among the married clergy, their wives lived apart from them and
were ordained as deaconesses. They could subsequently remain in society or enter
a convent.

St. Elizabeth, New Martyr and Grand Duchess of Russia,
attempted to restore the ancient office of deaconess in Russia. She was
zealously supported by Metropolitan Vladimir of Moscow but opposed by Bishop
Germogen of Saratov.

Particularly in the Eastern Church, the deaconesses
was an important ceremonial, instructional, and social-care intermediary between
the hierarchy and the women members of the Church. Up to the sacking of
Constantinople, during what is now regarded as the golden age of Orthodoxy,
deaconesses played a vital role in sustaining the faith of the family. By their
own good example, and through teaching, advising, and counseling, they guided
wives and mothers to the Orthodox way of living. Interestingly enough, a
significant movement to restore the order of deaconess has been occurring in the
Eastern Church in recent years in fact. St. Nectarios of Pentapolis ordained
deaconesses for his convent.

An attempt to re-establish the ancient
office or deaconess in Russia is described in Metropolitan Amvrossy’s account of
the life of St. Elizabeth, New Martyr and Grand Duchess of Russia. Her efforts
to restore the office were whole-heartedly and zealously supported by
Metropolitan Vladimir of Moscow. However, Bishop Germogen of Saratov opposed the
idea because of a misunderstanding. He even went so far as to accuse her of
having Protestant tendencies - but he later repented of this accusation.
Nevertheless, the Grand Duchess abandoned her plans and submitted to Church
authority. It is significant that she did not take advantage of her position as
Grand Duchess to achieve her cherished dream.

It is clear from the
remarkable lives of women saints which we reviewed in Part 1, and from the
account of the orders for ordinary women in Part 2, that the role of women in
the first century Church was indeed much more extensive then it is today. In
Part 3 we will consider the historical explanations given for the expansive role
of women and what happened to curtail it."

Go to the website for the whole thing.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Missions and Evangelism

He begins with what happened in Alaska in 1795.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

introduction to the Bible - Lesson 3:

introduction to the Bible - Lesson 3: Inspiration and inerrancy (continued)

from the website

"Jeannie continues her discussion about the inspiration and veracity of the Bible."

The podcast.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that "verbal icons" are incapable to express such mysteries in anyway. Instead, I would say that "verbal icons" are limited to what they can express, when talking about such mysteries.

But the gist of the podcast pretty much says that ......just in different words.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Sunday Of All The Saints

The Sunday coming up is "The Sunday of all the Saints". In western christianity this day was moved from May/June to November 1st. The day right after Holloween.

What I'm about to say next may or may not be true.

It's been a while since I looked at it, but the story goes like this:

"The reason why the western church changed "All Saints Day from May/June to November 1st" was because it wanted to combat the pagan feast of Halloween." Now I don't know if this is true or false.

But eastern christianity never moved the day. It is celebrated the Sunday after Pentecost.

Ft. Thomas Hopko does a good Job in talking about "The Sunday of all Saints"

His podcast site:
speaking the truth in love

This is the podcast.



The Holy Spirit

This is takin from the podcast "speaking the Truth in Love" by Ft. Thomas Hopko. In this he talks about the "Holy Spirit". In eastern christianity, the next day after the day of Pentecost is the the Feast of the Holy Spirit.

As seen from the website:

""The day after Pentecost is the Feast of the Holy Spirit in the Orthodox Church and Fr. Thomas uses it to examine more closely the "Sprit who proceeds from the Father.""

And this is the podcast:


The Judaizers

As takin from John Hunt's book "Concise Church History: Clear, Simple, and Easy to Follow Overview of Church History". In it he quotes Philip Schaff, in his History of the Christian Church Volume 1: Apostolic Christianity AD 1-100

On page 13 he quotes:

"1. The Judaizers,

The Judaizing tendency is
the heretical counterpart of Jewish Christianity. It so insists on the unity of
Christianity with Judaism, as to sink the former to the level of the latter, and
to make the gospel no more than an improvement or a perfected law. It regards
Christ as a mere prophet, a second Moses; and denies or at least wholly
overlooks, his divine nature and his priestly and kingly offices.

Judaizers were Jews in fact, and Christians only in appearance and in name. They
held circumcision and the whole moral and ceremonial law of Moses to be still
binding, and the observance of them necessary to salvation. Of Christianity as a
new, free, and universal religion, they had no conception. Hence they hated
Paul, the Liberal apostle of the Gentiles, as a dangerous apostate and
revolutionist, impugned his motives, and everywhere, especially in Galatia and
Corinth, labored to undermine his authority in the churches. The epistles of
Paul, especially that to the Galations, can never be properly understood, unless
their opposition to this false Judaizing Christianity be continually kept in
view. The same heresy, more fully developed, appears in the second century under
the name of Ebionism."

Jerusalem Council, AD 49

The problem
of the Judaizers is discussed under the Leadership of the Apostles in Jerusalem,
Acts 15:6,12
James, Simon Peter, Barnabas and Paul all speak and come to
an agreement that Gentiles as well as Jews are free from the Jewish ceremonial

However they must be sensitive to their Jewish Christians and stop
eating food sacrificed to idols. Leviticus 17:10-14; 19:26; 1 Corinthians 8:7-13

The issue of sexual immorality was also raised because this was a
problem with many greeks. Thus the first Church council set out the practical
outworking of relations between Jewish and Greek Christians. The Jews were
cautioned against legalism while the Gentiles were cautioned against immorality.
Compassion and sensitivity were set over against legalism and hedonism. A letter
and two personal witnesses in the person of Judas and Silas are sent back to
Antioch to calm the Church there. Acts 15:22-29. The Letter sent from the
Jerusalem Council follows:

22Then the apostles and elders, with the
whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch
with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men
who were leaders among the brothers. 23With them they sent the following letter:
The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch,
Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. 24We have heard that some went out from us without
our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said.
25So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends
Barnabas and Paul— 26men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord
Jesus Christ. 27Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of
mouth what we are writing. 28It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to
burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29You are to abstain
from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals
and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

Acts 15:22-29 NIV [1]

This issue was already dealt with. Some in our day are trying to get christians to become some type of modern Judaizing / Ebionite group.


[1] pages 13-14 by John Hunt, in the book Concise Church History: Clear, Simple, and Easy to follow overview of Church History. Copyright 2008 by John Hunt Publishing ltd. Published by AMG publishers.

Sho Baraka's 1st solo music video "higher love"

Sho Baraka just came out with a music video. I've been getting on him about putting one out. His album was one of the hotest and most unique christian rap albums that came out last year. The name of this video is higher love.


Justus, the third bishop of Jerusalem

As seen in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History

"(1) Simeon Also having died in the manner shown above,
a certain Jew named Justus succeeded him in the episcopate of Jerusalem. There
were great numbers from the circumcision who came over to the Christian faith at
that time, of whom Justus was one."


As found in "book 3"

[1] pages 99-100 by Eusebius in the book "Eusebius Ecclesiastical Historical: complete and Unabridged. New updated edition", translated by by C.F. Cruse, reprinted 1998 & published by Hendrickson Publishers.

The Heresy of the Ebionites

As takin from Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History

"(1) The spirit of wickedness, however, being unable to
shake some in their love of Christ and yet finding them susceptible of his
impressions in other respects, brought them over to his purpose. These were
properly called Ebionites7 by the ancients, as those who cherished low and mean
opinions of Christ.

(2) They considered him a plain and common man and
justified only by his advances in virtue and that he was born of the Virgin Mary
by Natural generation. With them the observance of the law was altogether
necessary, as if they could not be saved only by faith in Christ and a
corresponding life.

(3) Others, however, besides these, but of the same
name avoided the absurdity of the opinions maintained by the former, not denying
that the Lord was born of the Virgin by the Holy Ghost, and yet in like manner
not acknowledging his preexistence, though he was God, the word and wisdom. they
turned aside into the same irreligion, as with the former they evinced great
Zeal to observe the ritual service of the Law.

(4) These, indeed, thought on the one hand that all the
epistles of the apostles ought to be rejected, calling him an apostate from the
law, but on the other, only using the gospel according to the Hebrews, they
esteemed the others as of but little value.

(5) They also observed the Sabbath and other discipline
of the Jews just like them, but on the other hand, they also celebrated the
Lord's days very much like us in commemoration of his resurrection.

(6) Whence, in consequence of such a course, they also
received their epithet, the name of Ebionites, exhibiting the poverty of their
intellect for it is thus that the Hebrews call a poor man."


I posted this because I was in a conversation with someone who is in a movement that looks very similar to the ancient Ebionites. Just like the Ebionites, they reject the letters of Paul. It's unclear at this time if the people of this movement rejects the New Testament as a whole. I will have to ask them, but there is nothing new under the sun. This new group was formed in recent times by a former Baptist minister. He seems to have an international following. They call themselves "netzarim". They look like a modern version of Ebionitism. So I will call them "neoEbionites".

Their website claims the New Testament was written four hundred years after the death of Christ. Now this is just pure nonsense, yet, you have some people all over the globe believing the false claims of this man. But their website makes alot of false claims like this, and it seems that some people are just eager to eat it up......without double checking the actual facts.


Ebionites 7 "The word ebion, in Hebrew, signifying "poor," seems to allude either to the opinions or the condition of this sect."

This is found in "book 3"

[1] page 93 by Eusebius in the book "Eusebius Ecclesiastical Historical: complete and Unabridged. New updated edition", translated by by C.F. Cruse, reprinted 1998 & published by Hendrickson Publishers.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jordan archaeologists unearth an ancient church

"Jordan archaeologists have unearthed what could be the
world's oldest church dating back 2,000 years.

Resembling scenes out of
an Indiana Jones movie, scientists explored the underground cavern and
discovered a cave underneath the church which they believe it is an even more
ancient site of Christian worship than the church site above it.

Archaeologist Abdel-Qader Hussein, head of the Rihab Center for
Archaeological Studies, Abdul Qader al-Husan told The Jordan Times:'We have
uncovered what we believe to be the first church in the world, dating from 33 AD
to 70 AD."

the link

'We have evidence to believe this church sheltered the early
Christians - the 70 disciples of Jesus Christ.'

Mr Hussein said there
was evidence that the underground cave was used in the first century after
Christ's death, which would make it the oldest Christian site of worship in the

The cave was unearthed in the northern Jordanian city of Rihab
after three months of excavation and shows evidence of early Christian rituals.

It lies under St. Georgeous church, which was built in 230 A.D.

He described a circular worship area with stone seats separated from
a living area that had a long tunnel leading to a source of water and said the
early Christians hid there from persecution.
A mosaic inscription on the
floor of the later church of St. Georgeous above refers to 'the 70 beloved by
God and the divine' who laid the foundations for the Christian church.
Thomas Parker, a historian at the University of North Carolina-Raleigh, who led
the discovery of the church in Aqaba, said that while he hadn't seen the Rihab
site, any such claim should be taken with a degree of caution.
extraordinary claim like this requires extraordinary evidence,' he said.
need to see the artifacts and dating evidence to suggest such an occupation in
the 1st century A.D.'
Mr Parker asked how archaeologists could be certain
whether the 'cave was actually a center of Christian worship"

the rest of the story go to the website:

the website

Monday, June 16, 2008

When did the Jews(nonbelieving) "officially" reject the Deuterocanon?

For those that don't know what the term "deuterocanon" mean. It's the historical ussage for what many puritan protestants and some secularists call "Apocrypha". These books weren't really called "Apocrypha" by most christians in the past. It is true that some did call these books apocrypha, but this is mostly seen in the west from the 5th century on. Before the time of Jerome these books were never called "Apocrypha".

The word "deuterocanon" simply means "secondary". Or the secondary order of books. The historical title for the other set of books is "protocanon". Which means, "primary", or the Primary order of books. Some Orthodox Scholars prefer not to use the term "Deuterocanon" because that is a western Roman Catholic term. But whatever the case, in varying degrees, the Church has always embraced at least some of these books as scripture.

So when did the nonbelieving Jews officially reject the "Deuterocanon"?

Well, in 135 A.D. "Akiba ben Joseph" was made head of the Academy of Jamnia. It was under his influence that the Jews "officially" rejected the Deuto-canon.

He supported "Bar kochba" by calling him the Jewish Messiah. The christians refused to see him as the Messiah and thus the hatred for the Deuto-canon and New Testament books. According to Wiki....and no....I don't really like wicki, and I reject their cynicism in thinking Akiba didn't realy support Bar Kocka in the rebellion.....but one thing they did include was his dislike for christianity and the D.C.'s

As quoted from wicki:

"He has, however, no objection to the private reading of the
Apocrypha, as is evident from the fact that he himself makes frequent use of
Ecclesiasticus (W. Bacher, Ag. Tan. i. 277; H. Grätz, Gnosticismus, p. 120).
Akiba stoutly defended, however, the canonicity of the Song of Songs, and Esther
(Yad. iii.5, Meg. 7a). Grätz's statements (Shir ha-Shirim, p. 115, and Kohelet,
p. 169) respecting Akiba's attitude toward the canonicity of the Song of Songs
are misconceptions, as I.H. Weiss (Dor, ii. 97) has to some extent shown. To the
same motive underlying his antagonism to the Apocrypha, namely, the desire to
disarm Christians—especially Jewish Christians—who drew their "proofs" from the
Apocrypha, must also be attributed his wish to emancipate the Jews of the
Dispersion from the domination of the Septuagint
, the errors and inaccuracies in
which frequently distorted the true meaning of Scripture, and were even used as
arguments against the Jews by the Christians."

And in Michuta's book he says:

"The first revolt(of 70 A.D.) was a national uprising; this
second Revolt(around 135 A.D. or maybe 150 A.D.) would be a messianic movement.
By means of Akiba's work, a large number of jews joined in the rebellion. Even
Samaritans and pagans joined Bar Cochba in his revolt. However, there was one
Jewish sect which refused to join: that obstinate tribe known as christians. The
Christians, a majority of whom were still ethnically jewish, were pressed to
join in this life and death struggle with Rome, but they refused. To accept bar
Cochba as Messiah, as Akiba insisted, would have been nothing short of Apostasy;
and because of their refusal to do so, Christians were treated by the Jews as
heretics and traitors. It is this same Rabbi Akiba who is the very first writer
to explicity and forthrightly reject the inspiration of both the christian New
Testament and the books of the Deuterocanon. Akiba's declaration is found in
Tosefta Yahayim 2:13 which reads;

"The Gospel and heretical books do not
defile the hands. The books of Ben Sira and all other books written from then
on, do not defile the hands."

Two outstanding points must be drawn from
this impious declaration: first, it must have been common knowledge even at this
early date that the christians accepted the Deutercanon and used it as Scripture
(along with the Gospels), otherwise, there would have been no need to rule
against them; secondly that at least some jews must also have shared that
acceptance, otherwise Akiba's decree would have been superfluous."
Here we
have a hostile witness confirming through his actions that the earliest
christians accepted both the Gospels and the Deuterocanon as inspired and sacred
Scripture. It was in this watershed event- the naming of the false Messiah Bar
Cochba and the Anathematizing of those who rejected him- which occasioned the
very first unquestionable rejection of the Deuteros by a single, widely
recognized Jewish authority. It was under Akiba's tenure that a single textual
tradition of the Old Testament was first adopted; before this time (as we have
a variety of different texts were in use among the jews. It was here,
sometime in the middle of the second Christian century, that Judaism first
adopted an official normative text(i.e. the Masoretic Text or the MT).

pages 68-70 from the book "Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger: the untold Story of the lost books of the Protestant Bible" by Gary G. Michuta

Alot of modern western christians in America don't know this fact of history. But's it's true. It was around 135 A.D. that Jews officially rejected the D.C.'s. Also I would like to make note that alot of people will talk about the council of Jamnia of 90 A.D.

But the truth is, the Jews didn't have church councils in the way that christians do. So there was never really a Jewish council of Jamnia. Jamnia was a Jewish school. A type of rabbinical Academy, so it would be more accurate to call it, the Academy of Jamnia. The first person to call it a "synod" was the Jewish historian H. Graetz(1817-1891). Some christians who read his work speculated it was a jewish version of a christian church council.

And this is where the whole "council of Jamnia of 90 A.D." comes from. It comes from speculation. The sources that we do have about that time never mentions anything about any books being takin out of a canon. Most of the debates was around the Book of Ecclesiastes and maybe the Song of Songs. This Jamnia assembly didn't lay down the limits of the Old Testament canon.

Therefore, in regards to Jamnia, it is more accurate to point to what happened around 135 A.D. for this is when the Jamnia rabbinical school officially rejected not only the deuteros, but also the christian Gospels.

Related Links:

The myth of the closed canon of 70 - 90 A.D.

Lesson 10: The Canon part 2

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