Is there a true Church in this world today?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by IowaGuy, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    So I'm guessing you accept a spectrum of beliefs for Qumran-Essenes too. One issue I know of at the moment is marriage. They seemed to have varied on whether or not one is to marry or not--at least judging from what Josephus says.

    Again, I also think you are right in your critique when saying:

    "Nonsense — or rather, erroneous and super-ceded scholarship. The Essenes pioneered a very fundamental and hard-line way, not the way of Jesus at all ... the socialism of Jesus would have appalled them, and his mixing with the sinner and the impure would have horrified them. His way was not Essene at all. The Essenes were also a militant society, and would not endore Jesus' message of love, forgiveness and peace, they embraced none of that."

    Although it is possible other Essenes that were not Qumran-Essenes may have prayed for their enemies (as Hippolytus states), there is no historical evidence this is so.

    How do you view John the Baptist's relationship to the Essenes? Do you think he could have learned from them and interpreted their eschatology another way? A more peaceful way?

    Do you think Peter was against this notion of a suffering servant due to possible Qumran-Essene influence or influence from others? Was the messiah's death totally unexpected for him?

    Afterall, I find the notion of Peter carrying a sword during Jesus' ministry interesting:

    "Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.)

    Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"
    (John 18.10-11)

    Now I picture Peter carrying a sword around for self-defense during the entire ministry of Jesus, or does the sword symbolize more? Does it symbolize an anticipation for war, as was expected by Qumran-Essene eschatology? Here is Jesus preaching peace to the people . . . or here is Jesus walking along the road followed by his disciples . . . while Peter is carrying a sword?

    Just figured I would mention that since we are discussing Qumran-Essenes, peace, and what the end of days meant for how they oriented their behavior to outsiders.
     
  2. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    There is an apparent continuity of teaching and of what might be called conciliar Christianity, or “Christianity of the councils,” but I also see a possible rupture in –and discontinuity of- the teaching in the destruction of the Jerusalem Church and the martyrdom of James the Just. I strongly suspect that, if James the Just had survived to serve as the Patriarch of the Jerusalem Church (and had written a few epistles more), Christianity might be, though the distinction be admittedly too facile, more the religion of Jesus than one about him. The Ebionites, it seems to me, possibly stand as both lineal and spiritual descendants of James rather than Paul and as examples of Hebraic rather than Grecian-cum-Roman Christianity.

    To say nothing of “filio que” clauses, when it comes to the all-important task of properly separating homoiousians from homoousians, one should never underestimate the power of a dipthong :D. This, I am not sure even St. Peter, as headmaster, would have been able to solve with his cane in hand.
     
  3. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    Sometimes, you are funny.

    Ok, so his translating the Bible into the vernacular did not stimulate a revolution, or reformation. And, what’s more, he was a curmudgeon who called me, or my namesake, Servetus, a “Moor.” So off with his head, I say.

    I pointed out some of Luther's flaws in my initial comment upon the man. There is thus no need to pursue this further _BUT_ :))) it was exactly some of these traits, especially his anti-Universal (i.e.,anti-Catholic) tribalism which seems to have endeared him so to Heinrich Heine. Heine, when describing the Germans to the people of France, made Luther a hero and said, as I perhaps imperfectly recall, that Luther and Melanchthon were to German nationalism and liberation what Robespierre and Danton were to the French Revolution. I only offer Heine’s viewpoint as a more nuanced history to that provided by James Carroll (Constantine's Sword), but, again, there is no need, from my standpoint, to take this further. I do, however, enjoy hearing your opinion and talking to you.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Yes.

    To be honest, I heven't really gone into it, and I'm not sure we have enough accurate data about either?

    Possibly.

    I think Peter had little time for what he saw as weakness in others, and would not have chosen the destiny Christ told him (cf John 21).

    As for the 'sword', I rather think this was probably a serious knife that any professional sailor/fisherman would carry?

    I think Christ's death was not entirely unexpected — Thomas seems to think it's inevitable if Jesus goes up to Jerusalem (cf John 11:16). But the manner of His death was uncertain ... and the resurrection completely unexpected.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi Servetus —
    Agreed.

    Possibly ... but we can never be sure.

    That rather depends on whom one thinks Jesus to be.

    I tend to disagree ... as I'm sure you would expect.

    James was in receipt of what one might call 'esoteric' or 'gnostic' instruction, by which I mean he, along with James and John, were witness to certain extraordinary events, and as such were instructed in a way beyond words.

    My personal view is that the Ebionite and other groups were founded before Pentecost — there's evidence in Acts to support the idea of inchoate communities — and that these groups remained separate from the post-Pentecost foundation of the Church by the Disciples.

    It's also a point of note that the Jerusalem community did not welcome Gentiles, and were establishing themselves as an elite group from the word go ... or rather, non-Jewish Christians were second-class Christians, and would not have been covered by the promises made by Christ.

    Whether James would have put up with this is another question, but it's evident that some did, and it took Paul's argument with Peter to put the matter right.

    That's no longer a point of contention between us.

    As for the other theological differences, they can be overcome if there was a will to do so (which there generally isn't).

    The Office of Peter is problematic, but not insurmountable, and I think the same applies to doctrine generally.

    Whilst Rome presents a problem for the Oriental Patriarchates, the nationalism of the Patriarchates is equally problematic, sometimes moreso.

    As has long been observed, the West tends to a more determinate outlook, whereas the East are more abstract (not necessarily a good thing on either side); the West is God is One, God is Three, the East is God is Three, God is One.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  6. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    "In the West is God is One, God is Three, the East is God is Three, God is One." And that small detail is really overwhelmed by parochialism (Office of Peter versus nationalism), wouldn't you say, Thomas?
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Indeed I do.

    The Greek East tends to philosophical abstractionism (a constant issue for theologians, the Hellenisation of Christianity), the Latin West tends to a rather litigious attitude (the inheritance of Rome).

    Personally I think Celtic Christianity (as an outlook, rather than the date of Easter) would have usefully grounded Greek intellectualism ... neither Rome nor Athens nor even Mt Athos is particularly 'green' in outlook or awareness, and a more accommodating attitude to the physical world would not have dismissed the old folk ways, craft and knowledge in such an off-hand fashion.

    Then again, the little we did incorporate people assume we just 'lifted' without a thought ...

    +++

    There is no doubt that Rome withstood imperial pressure, whereas Athens succumbed — the iconoclast debacle being a prime example — but there can be little doubt also that Rome too soon saw itself in parochial terms, and this attitude remains, the language of the Curia is Latin, which I suggest is not the most useful language in a 21st century global institution ...

    Christianity in America has taken on its own nationalistic hue, and often owes more to the Old Testament than the New ... I have my own conspiracy theory that the billions the US Catholic Church paid out in settlements was being saved for a Cathedral somewhere to rival St Peters and that one day the US will go its own way.

    In Russia, like Greece, nationalism got a grip, and the Romanovs were raised to almost beatific status after their murder. The Albanian Orthodox Church reckons it has been chosen to wear the martyr's crown above all others ...

    +++

    But the biggest stumbling block to unification is, as you say, parochialism.

    I have read scathing critiques of the overt subjectivity in Augustine from Orthodox pens, and again the dismissal of the writings of St Theresa as 'sentimentalism' and the fruit of an over-active imagination ... then I read the Philokalia, and was astounded to see exactly the same terminology used by St Theresa being used by St Simeon the New Theologian, which for some inexplicable reason is OK, because he's Greek ... so figure that out.

    I have my own critique of the Orthodox view of Original Sin, which wouldn't stand up for a moment in a secular court of law (the whole family condemned for the crime of one of its members), but I assume my understanding of their doctrine is defective, rather than lambast them for not being Roman.

    The tragedy in all these cases is it is the loudest voices, raised in accusation and complaint, that drown out the voice of the vast majority, who think, can't we just get along?

    On a different forum I had a long-running discussion with a Coptic Christian, and I defy anyone to explain to me the actual, real and meaningful theological difference between 'two natures in one person' and 'one person of two natures' that separates us.

    I revel in the anthropology of St Maximus the Confessor or Leontius of Byzantium as they argue against the Coptic position, but really, you need a PhD to begin to grasp the minutiae of theological inference, and all of it counts for nothing to the man in the street.

    I have enjoyed great discussions with my mum, but eventually she smiles and says "I'm happy you're happy with theology, I'll settle for the Eucharist" and she has a point.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  8. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Give her my blessings, Thomas, because I quite agree. The theological hair-splitting seems parallel to the Jewish Halakhah with the exception that they stay united and Christianity splits into maore and more groups. Very odd.

    Pax et amore omnia vincunt.
     
  9. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    Quite right -in this case, one deals in uncertainties. As they stand, history, and the one epistle of his that remains, do, however, provide clues. It is said, for instance, that St. James, like the Nazars, neither cut his hair nor, like the Essenes, ate meat. I would also guess, and again only a guess it is, that, if he abstained from meat, he must also have had nothing to do with the blood rites and rituals which, by the sounds of it, were practically the preoccupation of the Jewish priesthood in Jerusalem at the time (immediately prior to the destruction by Titus).

    Furthermore, in marked contrast to the “vicarious atonement” doctrine articulated in detail by St. Paul and, to a lesser extent, others, I read precious little in St. James’ epistle on the subject. James’ epistle, as I read it, is comparatively long on behavior and short on belief. Again, my only wish -and, from a Christian standpoint, it is a noble one- is that James could have lived to write a few epistles more. But it was not to be, I understand, and “God, in his providence ….”

    It does indeed. It is, after all, to this question that issues of Christology have forever devolved. Our ideas of Jesus are -or at least involve- an inheritance. How we inherited these ideas (e.g., the canonical gospels), instead of others, has, at times, it seems to me, been as much a matter of the vagaries of history as divine providence. Oh me of little faith.

    Thankfully.

    Agreed.

    Possibly … but we can never be sure. Hey, there’s an echo in here. But seriously, your statement reminds me that, from a certain standpoint, it can be said that Christianity itself was born a sectarian dispute with Judaism, or at least the Judaism of its day, and it remained continuously disputatious, all if its talk of doctrinal unanimity and of the original gospel having once been “delivered unto the saints” notwithstanding. The Pauline sect became dominant and we owe as much to Paul, it seems to me, as to Jesus for what we call Christianity. I do not, by the way, begrudge St. Paul for that. On the contrary, I thank him.

    Speaking of either original or unoriginal gospels, for instance, Origen, as I recall, said the Ebionites had a “Gospel According to the Hebrews,” or some such thing, in their possession and quoted portions thereof. It would be interesting to know whether or not and how that gospel related to the Aramaic (or Hebrew) gospel that St. Jerome, some time later, said he had at hand when he composed the Vulgate. These gospels have evidently been lost to posterity.

    I understand. That was part of the debate. And it is a long way from that, the inclusion of Gentiles, to their absolute ascension and to having one of St. Paul’s disciples, St. Luke, report, in his Acts of the Apostles, that St. Peter saw a vision in which, suddenly, pigs, customarily considered unclean and forbidden as food, became edible pork chops. Evidently, if the Ebionites were ever made aware of that reported vision, they questioned its veracity and were not buying.

    I am quite sure that he would not have put up with it: he was altogether too cool. I love the brother and he would have loved my Gentile self in return.

    I wonder if the epistle St. Paul wrote to the Galatians was ever delivered to Jerusalem. The Galatians might have been convinced, but the Jerusalemites, on the other hand, might not have been.

    Oh blessed relief! I know those Christological controversies which, to my view, made Christianity at times as fascinating as at others ridiculous are for the most part spent. May they rest in peace.

    Right. At the moment, I have my money on the redoubtable Marcel LeFebvre and his progeny at the SSPX. Go Marcel!

    It might be advisable, however, if we never, ever, under any condition, call an ecumenical Council to prove it. (Please don't mistake my levity with sarcasm: it's a defense, of sorts, I learned to employ in Sunday School when dealing with subjects of this sort).

    It would be nice, to me, if a Christian catholicity, or universalism, without the “Roman” necessarily attached, could again emerge. Nevertheless, as radarmark and others of us have in this thread hoped, the Brotherhood (which, of course, includes and is often predominated by the Sisters) seems operative, if not always apparent.

    Beware. If we persist, we might have to invite Charlemagne in to add a “filio que” clause to reboot history and force a wedge between East and West …

    And to you.

    (I perhaps ought to have provided references for some of my claims, and am happy to do so, if asked, but, in the meantime, for most of these statements, I rely upon what might, at times, prove a potentially faulty (organic) memory, namely, mine, because it has been a long time since I undertook to study ante-Nicene Christianity and I am trying to recollect highlights of that study and present them here, informally.)
     
  10. BlaznFattyz

    BlaznFattyz Active Member

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    Depends on what you the OP means by "TRUE"..
     
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Well, how ya doin?

    But surely it doesn't it just means the collective "yes, mine"
     
  12. BlaznFattyz

    BlaznFattyz Active Member

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    Then, yes, there are plenty of churches continuing the work of Christ.
     
  13. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    God never had a church or a true church for that matter. Every church is the true church as far as each man is concern. Church is a thing of man and not of God.
    Ben
     
  14. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    You have answered incorrectly and thus have not won the ("oooh, aaaah" says the studio audience) new patio furniture, as displayed by Vanna White, behind curtain number three.

    Regretfully,

    Serv
     
  15. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Nor even the home version for your family's entertainment.
     
  16. NiceCupOfTea

    NiceCupOfTea Pathetic earthlings

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    Yes there is a true Church, its my Church, and everyone else must join my Church or burn in hell for eternity, at least thats how the story usually goes :rolleyes:
     
  17. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Church is a creation of man as are Religions. One can commune with the divine anywhere, at any time. At the same time there is (I believe) a single religion behind the Churches and Religions. The experience of G!d.
     
  18. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    The true church is gone. It was destroyed along with Jerusalem in 70 AD/CE.

    All attempts to bring it back have failed. Mohammed failed. Joseph Smith failed. Sun Myung Moon failed. Nobody has succeeded in bringing the true church back because they never understood how the "true church" actually worked.

    The true church was the Jerusalem Church. It was those closest to Jesus and followed his religion. Because that church was destroyed, we were "cut off" (so to speak) from the "truth" that church taught. We are now orphans without a parent and we are waiting for that church to be restored. The best we could do was cling to Greek ideas. But the true church wasn't Greek. It was something else.
     
  19. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Salty (may I call you that?)--

    Have you ever read PK Dick? That was his bent.
     
  20. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    I think, on the contrary, it is in diaspora, but deeply occluded.
     

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