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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Greek Orthodox TV

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A Defense of the Holy Icons!

As seen from Orthodox Apologetics by David

"One of the most common criticisms that Protestants express against Orthodox Christianity is the prominent place of iconography, a uniquely Orthodox Christian figurative art form, in the Church. That Orthodox Christians give a very special place to the Holy Icons is hard to miss. Our churches, homes, and even places of business are filled with them, often outside as well as in. Upon entering a church and before prayers at home, Orthodox Christians generally perform bows from the waist1 and kiss the icons in reverence. During the worship services in an Orthodox Church, the Priest frequently incenses the icons and the worshipers frequently bow and even prostrate toward them. On various feast days throughout the year,2 icons of Christ, of the Theotokos,3 and of various Saints and Angels are raised high and processed in and around churches and streets. And we do, after all, refer to them as the “Holy Icons.”

For Orthodox Christians, icons are an intrinsic aspect of our spirituality and of our everyday lives. We use them for prayer, as gifts, as decoration, as jewelry, and as ever-present reminders of our loved ones and the love and inspiration they offer. We even believe that God can and does work miracles through them. There are many icons referred to as “wonder-working” or “myrrh-streaming” which Orthodox believers bear a special reverence for, accepting that through these particular icons God has done a special act for man.4 Some of these icons are even on the calendar of feast days we celebrate.5"

To read the rest please visit Orthodox Apologetics

Part 2

"An obvious and important question to ask when examining the validity of the presence and veneration of the Holy Icons in the churches today is whether or not the earliest Christians, roughly those of the first five hundred years of the Church, used iconography and, if so, how they used it. The faith and practice of these earliest Christians is supremely important in deciding correct faith and practice of Christians today as these early Christians lived the closest in time, place, and culture to the Apostles and other first century followers of Christ. Many of the Christians who lived during this period were members of churches which had been directly founded by Apostles and lived in cities mentioned in the Bible. In addition, very importantly, most of the Christians of this period spoke the ancient Greek of the New Testament as their own native language. Recognizing the importance and authority of the early Church, John Calvin wrote:

If the authority of the ancient church moves us in any way, we will recall that for about five hundred years, during which religion was still flourishing, and a pure doctrine thriving, Christian Churches were commonly empty of images. Thus, it was when the purity of the ministry had somewhat degenerated that they were first introduced for the adornment of churches.12

Until fairly recently, Calvin's words here were the common assumption of both Protestants and historians of early Christianity. It was widely believed and taught that the churches of the first several hundred years were largely imageless and that Christians themselves were generally hostile to figurative art, rejecting it as an idolatrous pagan practice. This assumption was largely based on a dearth of archaeological evidence and on a false assumption of Jewish iconophobia coupled with erroneous prooftexting of various early Christian writers' criticisms of the idols of the pagans.

All three bases of the theory of early Christian hostility toward images have been dismantled by the introduction of new evidence throughout the 20th century, and more evidence continues to be uncovered today through archaeological exploration.14 The hole that once existed in physical evidence of the worship of ancient Christians and Jews has now been filled with numerous discoveries throughout the Middle East, Southern and Eastern Europe, and North Africa."

To read the rest please visit Orthodox Apologetics


Baptismal Regeneration & Church Fathers

As seen from the Roman Catholic blog "Called to Communion" by Bryan Cross

"According to PCA pastor Wes White, the doctrine of baptismal regeneration is “impossible in the Reformed system.”1 By noting this, he intends to show that we should reject the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. But if the evidence for the truth of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration is stronger than the evidence for the truth of the “Reformed system,” then the incompatibility of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration and the Reformed system serves as evidence against the Reformed system. Here I present both Patristic and Scriptural evidence for the truth of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration

. Introduction

The only sacrament mentioned by name in the Creed is baptism. We confess in the Creed: “I believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” Because Protestants and Catholics share the same Trinitarian baptism, we share a certain real but imperfect unity. But baptism is also a point of disagreement not only between Protestants and Catholics, but also between various Protestant traditions. The Catholic Church has always believed and taught that the grace by which we are born again comes to us through the sacrament of baptism. A small percentage of Protestants agree with the Catholic Church that through baptism we are regenerated with the life of God, cleansed of all our sins, and brought into the Kingdom of God. But many other Protestants think that justification is not through baptism, but by “faith alone,” or by some kind of “sinner’s prayer.” Some Protestants believe that baptism is only a symbol, something not to be done until a person is old enough to understand the gospel for himself. Other Protestants believe that like circumcision in the Abrahamic covenant, not efficacious for rebirth and the reception of the grace of divine life but only a ‘confirmation’ or ‘seal’ of faith through which one is brought into the New Covenant family.

One way that we resolve these disagreements about what baptism is and what it does, is to consider what the Church Fathers believed and taught about baptism. Here I am only focusing on what the Church Fathers say about the relation between baptism and regeneration. I have kept my commentary to a minimum, providing only needed explanatory notes. After examining what the Church Fathers say about this subject, I then offer a brief summary of the New Testament teaching regarding the relation of baptism and regeneration.

To read the rest please visit Called to Communion.


Class Introduction - An Orthodox Appraisal of the Protestant Reformation

This is from Saint Andrew Orthodox Christian Church of Riverside, Ca

Saint Andrew Orthodox Christian Church

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:


Is it necessary that we accept the free Gift of Salvation?

As seen from the Theologica Forum:

Yes it is necessary that we accept the free Gift of Salvation.

In the work called "On the Spirit and the letter" Saint Augustine leaves a little bit of room for free will. Or human consent. Yes, this was in his middle years before he totally seemed to totally cave in to Plotinistic determinism. And so I tend to agree with Saint Augustin's early to mid writings while rejecting alot of his more deterministic later stuff.

But this is what he had to say:

On the Spirit and the Letter Chapter 57 (around the year 412 A.D.)

""it surely follows that it is God who both works in man the willing to believe, and in all things prevents us with His mercy. To yield our consent, indeed, to God's summons, or to withhold it, is (as I have said) the function of our own will. And this not only does not invalidate what is said, "For what do you have that you did not receive?" 1 Corinthians 4:7 but it really confirms it. For the soul cannot receive and possess these gifts, which are here referred to, except by yielding its consent."

The Christian East always embraced synergy, mostly as something simultaneous and so this issue was never an issue for the east, and it could never be an issue now for us either for our development in the area of Essence vs Energies makes such a conflict impossible and only strengthens our view of simultaneous synergy for God's Energies are present everywhere, to assume that our will or even existence can exist where God is not already Present is ludicrous and somewhat atheistic, agnostic or deistic.

In the christian west, Synergy was embraced by the western local council of Arles in 473 A.D.

The council condemned the hard Augustinian teachings of Lucidus/Lucian. In 529 A.D. at 2nd Orange the idea of synergy was embraced post Baptism or at the moment of water Baptism onward.

And so if you combine these two local western councils together, what you get is a synergy of pre and post water Baptism. Ever since Saint Augustine, the western church fought to embrace monergy, but they also didn't totally reject synergy, and so the west eventually became a mixture of semi-Augustinians to moderate Augustinians with individualistic hard Augustinians popping up once in a blue moon. But the official mainstream view seemed to be a semi-Augustinian one. This changed with the protestant Reformation, for they wanted to adopt a more hardcore Augustinian view.

Over all, in the christian west the semi-Augustinian view was one of....... gratia operans(monergy) eventually becoming gratia co-operans(synergy).

Why? Because they saw monergistic grace as healing the will so that after the first contact of grace, the will of man was made able to respond back.

What still divides Protestantism & Roman Catholicism Sola Fide

This snippet of the debate talks about the relationship between grace and free will in passing while talking about the issue of Justification and Sola Fide. I hope this helps!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday Classes at St. Elijah

As seen from the now defunct Google Video

"St. Elijah Orthodox Christian Church in Oklahoma City offers Wednesday classes to help people understand more."


Fr. John Brun at St. Elijah - Our Bridge...From the Past to the Present

As seen from the now defunct Google Video


The Study of Icons Seminar at St. Elijah

As seen from the now defunct Google video:

"Scholar and historian Jim Wright gives an in depth presentation on iconography."


Perry tackles the Iconoclasm issue

As seen from his blog Energetic Procession:

In the history of Christianity, there has never been a century or so where there has not been some kind of theological controversy. In any given controversy it is usually the case that there is a spectrum of positions that occupy some place on the argumentative field. Caution is therefore required in data selection to establish points about who taught what and how widespread a given view in fact was.

Such is the case with the Iconoclastic controversy. Iconoclasm came in a variety of forms and varied over time. Initially iconoclasm in the East identified images of persons and biblical figures as idols while preserving the use of decorative images such as the Cross. Representational (though not necessarily figurative) images of Christ and images of the saints were prohibited. Due to their material composition they could not convey the resurrected glory of the saints. Such was the position around the 750’s.

By the early ninth century in the East iconoclasm became more moderate even under the favorable impetus of imperial backing. Gone
were the arguments by and large that icons were equivalent to idols, along with the Christological arguments that to make an image of Christ implied a major Christological error.

The situation in the West was different for a variety of reasons. The West was a hodgepodge of various kingdoms, with certain parts of the old empire still under the control or influence of Constantinople. The most salient party is that of the Franks, who had forged an alliance with Rome. Politically this had its advantages but also presented problems. With an alliance with the Franks, Rome was far more free and autonomous than under imperial rule. The Franks gained the political and religious legitimacy that they so eagerly coveted.

But no marriage is perfect. On the one hand, the Franks and Rome were at odds over images by the middle of the 8th century as well as over the Filioque’s inclusion into the Creed. Second, a period of possible alliance forging between the Franks and Constantinople put Rome in a pickle. If this were to occur, Rome would come under someone’s imperial thumb, Frankish or Constantinoplian. But Rome was opposed to the iconoclasm of the Franks, as well as the Filioque’s inclusion, while wishing to lend legitimacy to the Franks for the military protection they provided. Rome was also opposed to the iconoclasm of the eastern iconocalsts Such was the situation."

To read the rest please visit Energetic Procession


St. Elijah Presents Fr. Daniel

As seen from the old google video website:
"Bishop Basil welcomes Reverend Daniel from Wales. His insight and passion for the Orthodox Christian Church transcends time and distance. Filmed at the clergy retreat in Topeka Kansas, Fr. Daniel discusses the church as it has existed though history."

It is mostly about the history of Christianity in Wales, and the Welsh people, as well as Celtic christianity in general and the whole area of the British Isles.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer

Thanks Alex!

The link:


Spiritual Travelers

Verenetsky Caves


Vatican: Oldest known images of apostles Andrew and John found

As seen from, CNN Religion blog and elsewhere:

I think they are dated to the 4th century!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

From Empire to Empire

A special that only people from England were able to see. I knew about it last year, but decided to wait it out.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The First Millenium of Christianity

As seen from The Monastery of St. John of San Francisco:

The link:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Nun Katherine Weston

Her website:

Her Presentations and Publications.

You can also get her books at the Saint Seraphim Bookstore (They have Ethiopian crosses too!)


eshon Burgundy- "The Nikon Flash"

One of the best rappers on the planet! But not to many people know about him.

The Nikon Flash:

eshon Burgundy- The Evidence of things not seen(200Bars): (He took this back to the late 70's to the early 80's. Back in those days rappers rhymed for 10 to 20 minutes straight without any hooks or breaks)

I'm sorry y'all, but I like christian rap. I've been into it since highschool. It helped me stay away from gangs, drugs, alcohol(back in those I only drink a few times a year...mostly in social settings), sex(for a good 9 year run) , and it broke me and my old childhood friends up......for a good number of years.
I'm cool with most of them now, but mostly from a distance.....some of them still sell drugs, and I don't want anything to do with that.....I won't even eat their food because of it....long story based on what happened to another childhood friend who is now strung out on heroin.....and so what I do is take them out to eat(once to 3 times a year is when we mostly meet and talk, other than that I really don't see them),. I buy the food, and I buy the drinks. I pray for them, I give them christian rap C.D.'s, and if they need someone to talk to I'm there, but until they want to change, I can't really do anything else for them.....and so it is what it is.

I'm sorry for the rant!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I still have to fix the spacing! It's kinda hard to read at the moment, but it should be fixed soon.


The Not James White’s Blog

The link:


A new template.....maybe

I'm going to be testing a new template soon. I may or may not keep it.


Tertullian & Sola Scriptura by David W

As seen from the Orthodox Apologetics website:

Before I begin, I want to note that Tertullian is not a Church Father. There's no doubt that he was a genius and produced some great writings during his long career as a Christian apologist; however, his rigidity on moral issues eventually led him to renounce the Church and join the Montanist movement, a bizarre heretical group whose leader claimed to be an incarnation of the Holy Spirit. In spite of the great writings which he contributed to the library of Orthodox Christianity, his later heretical affiliations exclude him from being classed with the Fathers.

Although he is not a Father, I've decided to address him here because of his importance to the history of early Christianity. He is often called "the father of Latin Christianity" for having been the first significant Christian author to write in Latin, writing as an Orthodox Christian from about AD 197 to AD 207 and after that, until AD 220, as a Montanist. In his writings he did a great deal to defend the Christians from the various accusations of immorality that had been leveled against them, including charges that Christians cannibalized infants and committed incest during their services. And not only did he defend Christianity from false accusations, he also went on the offensive against pagans and heretics.

One of his most interesting tracts against heretics, which has great bearing on the issue of whether or not he might have held to Sola Scriptura, is a relatively short writing called The Prescription Against Heretics, in which Tertullian provides "the prescription against heretics": the Church! He argues that, in a dispute between the Church and some heretical group which has broken off therefrom, the burden of proof lies strictly with the heretical group, as the Church's very existence, being the only Christian body with a direct physical link to the Apostles, verifies its Truth. I'll let Tertullian speak for himself on this point:

To read the rest, please visit Orthodox Apologetics!

He really nocked this one out the ball park! He really did!


Ecclesial Deism by the Roman Catholic Bryan Cross

Someone told me that I should check it out, and so I did, and the whole concept is something I can really relate to.

The podcast

Or just simply Download the mp3

As seen from the Roman Catholic website Called To Communion/:

"So when the Mormons claimed that a great apostasy had overcome the Church by the time of the death of the last Apostle, I had no ground to stand on by which to refute that claim. The Mormons believed that the true gospel was recovered in the early nineteenth century by Joseph Smith. I believed, as a Reformed Protestant, that the true gospel was recovered in the early sixteenth century by Martin Luther. But we both agreed (to my frustration) that the early Church fathers and the councils were suspect and not authoritative in their own right. Over the course of our meetings with the Mormon missionaries that summer I realized that, with respect to our treatment of the early Church fathers and ecumenical councils, there was no principled difference between myself and the two young Mormon missionaries sitting in my living room.1"


"II. Ecclesial Deism

My point in considering Mohler’s example is not to pick on Mohler or Baptists. This particular dilemma is not unique to Baptists; it follows from the very nature of Protestantism, because Protestantism, like Mormonism, presupposes ecclesial deism. Deism refers to a belief that God made the world, and then left it to run on its own. It is sometimes compared to “a clockmaker” winding up a clock and then “letting it run.” Deism is distinct from theism in that theism affirms not only that God created the world, but also that God continually sustains and governs all of creation. Ecclesial deism is the notion that Christ founded His Church, but then withdrew, not protecting His Church’s Magisterium (i.e., the Apostles and/or their successors) from falling into heresy or apostasy. Ecclesial deism is not the belief that individual members of the Magisterium could fall into heresy or apostasy. It is the belief that the Magisterium of the Church could lose or corrupt some essential of the deposit of faith, or add something to the deposit of faith.

Why is ecclesial deism intrinsic to Protestantism and Mormonism? Because any person who chooses to leave the Catholic Church or remain separated from her, while intending to remain a Christian, has to claim that the Catholic Church has fallen into heresy or apostasy, so that separating from her is justified. We can find this idea throughout the history of the Catholic Church. The Gnostics of the second century justified being separated from the Catholic Church by claiming that even the Apostles had perverted Christ’s teachings. St. Irenaeus (d. AD 200) writes:"

To read the rest please visit Called To Communion.

The concept of Ecclesial Deism is pure genius. I think he first got the concept from a philosophical college professor.

Christ is in our Midst!

Fr. Deacon Nathaniel

Fr. Deacon Nathaniel from J norm on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mr. Webster's understanding that the Fathers appealed to Scripture alone is simply a fantasy

As seen from Corunum Catholic Apologetic Web Page

"Mr. Webster's understanding that the Fathers
appealed to Scripture alone is simply a fantasy.

In support of Mr.
Webster's novel idea that St. Irenaeus and Tertullian embraced sola Scriptura he
cites Ellen Flessman-Van Leer, a non-Catholic scholar. Mr. Webster offers this
cut and paste of Van Leer.

"Irenaeus and Tertullian had to contend with
the Gnostics who were the very first to suggest and teach that they possessed an
Apostolic oral Tradition that was independent from Scripture. These early
fathers rejected such a notion and appealed to Scripture alone for the
proclamation and defense of doctrine. Church historian, Ellen Flessman-Van Leer
affirms this fact:
'For Tertullian Scripture is the only means for refuting
or validating a doctrine as regards its content...For Irenaeus, the church
doctrine is certainly never purely traditional; on the contrary, the thought
that there could be some truth, transmitted exclusively viva voce (orally), is a
Gnostic line of thought...If Irenaeus wants to prove the truth of a doctrine
materially, he turns to scripture, because therein the teaching of the apostles
is objectively accessible. Proof from tradition and scripture serve one and the
same end: to identify the teaching of the church as the original apostolic
teaching. The first establishes that the teaching of the church is this
apostolic teaching, and the second, what this apostolic teaching is'
Flessman-van Leer, Tradition and Scripture in the Early Church(Van Gorcum, 1953,
pp. 184, 133, 144)."[1]
Unfortunately for Mr. Webster, Ellen Flessman-Van
Leer has written in depth and without equivocation on St. Irenaeus' and
Tertullian's understanding of Apostolic Tradition. Mr. Webster wants to leave us
with the impression that Van Leer and the Fathers embraced sola Scriptura.
Nothing could be further from the truth.

"For Irenaeus, on the other
hand, tradition and scripture are both quite unproblematic. They stand
independently side by side, both absolutely authoritative, both unconditionally
true, trustworthy, and convincing."
Tradition and Scripture in the Early
Church, p139
Notice the contrast of the use of the word independent between
Mr. Webster and Van Leer. In one fell swoop Van Leer destroys Mr. Webster's
novel understanding of St. Irenaeus' rule of faith.

Elsewhere Van Leer
comments on Tertullian:

"Tertullian says explicitly that the apostles
delivered their teaching both orally and later on through epistles, and the
whole body of this teaching he designates with the word traditio...This is
tradition in the real sense of the word. It is used for the original message of
the apostles, going back to revelation, and for the message proclaimed by the
church, which has been received through the apostles...[I]n the first case
regula approaches a confession of faith, and in the second case the revelation.
And the fact that these are two nuances, hardly to be differentiated, proves
that for Tertullian the revealed truth and the confession of the church coincide
for all practical purposes...The regula is also normative for the right exegesis
of scripture...And only as so long as the rule is kept intact and within its
ibid.,pp. 146,147,168
Van Leer concludes:

"Irenaeus and Tertullian point to the church tradition as the
authoritative locus of the unadulterated teaching of the apostles, they cannot
longer appeal to the immediate memory, as could the earliest writers. Instead
they lay stress on the affirmation that this teaching has been transmitted
faithfully from generation to generation. One could say that in their thinking,
apostolic succession occupies the same place that is held by the living memory
in the Apostolic Fathers."
ibid., p.188
Clearly, Mr. Webster has not
understood Van Leer, St. Irenaeus and Tertullian."

To read the rest please visit Corunum Catholic Apologetic Web Page


A short History of the Orthodox Church

This one is from a sister Parish in Bridgeville, Pa:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fr. Deacon Nathaniel

Fr. Deacon Nathaniel johnson pt. 2 from J norm on Vimeo.

Christ is in our Midst!
Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tertullian and Tradition/Observances/Customs not mentioned in Scripture


"If, for these and other such rules, you insist
upon having positive Scripture injunction, you will find none. Tradition will be
held forth to you as the originator of them, custom as their strengthener, and
faith as their observer. That reason will support tradition, and custom, and
faith, you will either yourself perceive, or learn from some one who has.
Meanwhile you will believe that there is some reason to which submission is

Christ is in our Midst!
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