Orthodox Bridge compares the Protestant search for the “early church” to the movie Jurassic Park. As usual, it’s the same thing as the other articles in that site. But here goes:
to adopt an episcopal structure would mean surrendering congregational autonomy so precious to so much of Evangelicalism.
But are the only two options available episcopacy and congregationalism? To anyone who has been to a Presbytery meeting this is silly. For what it’s worth, I have no administrative problems with episcopacy. What RA is not telling you is that False Dionysius’s ontology undergirds RA’s understanding of episcopacy: the bishop mediates grace to the priest who mediates it to you.
He quotes Ignatius on where the bishop is present in the congregation, there is the church. A few minutes reflection will show OB really doesn’t believe this without qualification: the last Greek service I went to did not have a bishop present. So is Ignatius using the term “bishop” like the apostles did, something akin to the president of the assembly?
Many Protestants by reading only the Bible and ignoring the early church fathers end up projecting their Protestant bias onto church history.
This is bearing false. He is equivocating on the terms “evangelical” and “protestant.” I have challenged him dozens of times to clarify his terms, and he occasionally does, so he knows better. When I was in seminary, as lame as the curriculum was, we read more of the medievals and church fathers than we did of the Puritans (or Bucer, or Melanchton, or John Knox, or Samuel Rutherford. Okay, I will stop).
Similarly, for Protestants all they had to go by were ancient patristic texts but no living church tradition that goes back to the early Church. This leaves them guessing as to what the early Church must have been like.
Quick question: Where is the “link” (since we are talking about dinosaurs) between verifiable apostolic documents and traditions like burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and the iconostasis? There is none; therefore, he must admit to his own reconstruction.
Protestants end up having to reconstruct the early Church as they best understood it to have been. The Jesus Movement of the 1970s had house churches where people sat on the floor, played guitars and sang praise songs, and everyone with a Bible in their hands.
More false witness, for he is equating hippies with magisterial protestantism. Martin Bucer did not think he was reinventing the wheel. He (and others) didn’t want to worship God in a way that God had promised to kill his covenant people if they worshiped him in those modes.
The Protestant view of history assumes that there once was an apostolic Church but itno longer exists today. But Protestants and Evangelicals need to ask the question:What if the apostolic Church still exists today? What if there was a church where the errors of the papacy were avoided? What if that church was within driving distance today?
You show me the verifiable, written link between the apostles and burning incense to the Queen of Heaven. I deny that a church that does so is a true church.
But when approached from the standpoint of the Old Testament pattern of worship transformed by the New Covenant of Jesus Christ, the Divine Liturgy makes perfectly good sense. The vestments worn by Orthodox priests are patterned after those worn by the Old Testament priests.
But the OT worship is types and shadows. Why are you gong back to types and shadows? I agree with your comparison. That is why we don’t do it.
If Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb who takes away the sins of the world then it makes sense to view the Eucharist as the culmination of the Old Testament sacrificial system.
But if Jesus was once for all sacrificed, then why repeat it?
A careful reading shows that icons have a biblical basis in the Old Testament (Exodus 26, 2 Chronicles 3).
Church art is a different category than saying we worship God through pictorial intermediaries (which Karl Barth defined as the essence of idolatry). It is bad logic to jump from cherubim on the ark to making a picture of God. Further, if the OT is types and shadows, then the argument, such that it is, nearly refutes itself!
Protestant ecclesiology assumes a major discontinuity in history.
Said no magisterial Reformer ever. Third instance of bearing false witness.
Protestant church history is based on the idea that there once was a pure and apostolic Church but that early Church fell into spiritual darkness.
The apostle Paul said that wolves would come in after he left. He also warned against Hellenistic philosophy. The Orthodox church is heavily Hellenistic. Who is the “BOBO” now?
Caiaphas killed Jesus and he could trace his claim back to Aaron.
The early form of church government was episcopal – rule by bishop. Ignatius of Antioch, the third bishop of Antioch and a disciple of the Apostle John, wrote a series of letters on his way to martyrdom in Rome in 98 or 117 about the importance of obeying the bishop. In his letters he exhorted people not to celebrate the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper) apart from the bishop
Except that most (all?) Orthodox churches do not have bishops presiding every Lord’s Day. Which means that “bishop” was understood more along the lines of presiding elder. The very quote from Ignatius seems to imply this. Did OB even read it?
Continuity in theology
It’s not enough to claim continuity with the apostles. The Jesus-murderers could claim continuity with Aaron. The Episcopals can claim apostolic succession. You must also, per your reading, claim theological continuity. Okay, so where was the essence/energies distinction back then?
While Basil did anticipate elements of it, the Cappadocians saw God’s ousia as his divine life, not a hidden interiority. FTW.