Friday, March 02, 2007

Looking Eastward the revival of EO?

They say that Club L has a lot more in common with Constantinople than with Rome, for that reason, those who leave Wittenberg move to there rather than Rome.

Here is an article that asks if this might be just the century of Orthodoxy.

Over at Pr. Weedon's blog, one will see an entry on the subject of looking or moving eastward from Dr. Heinhere.

First of all, I often wondered what gives when one leaves Club L, and Dr. Hein's comments strengthened my suspicion, what goes is "sola fide", or justification by faith alone (JBFA) in favour of ancient practice or dogma.

So over in that article I read the commented posts and I was surprized that some EOs do believe that their tradition have always believed in "sola fide".

Here is what one lady said, Anastasia said
We Orthodox also believe that justification is by nothing but Grace, through nothing other than faith.

Here is another one from a gentleman named Chris
It was in the Orthodox Church, not in the Lutheran Church, that I learned what "by grace alone, through faith alone" means, and I could not have joined an LCMS congregation if I did not believe that the same Gospel was being proclaimed there that I had received in Orthodoxy.

BTW, for my RC friends, I also recommend the article of Pr. Weedon on Patristic Choosing and Picking Over there he quotes from Augustine on how Augustine set aside the dogmas of Cyprian - it is a bit funny how Augustine said it. You just got to read it.


Jeff Tan said...

Hi Lito. That is good reading from Pr. Weedon, moreso his comment box with insightful readers weighing in.

"THE father of the Western Church"

I'm not familiar with the notion of St. Augustine as necessarily the father of the Western Church. Perhaps something was amiss in my training..

"laying down a principle for the reading of the Fathers: that which in them agrees with the canonical Scriptures we accept with their approval; that which disagrees with the canonical Scriptures we reject with their permission."

Well one should never set aside Scripture for the sake of any Church Father, nor even the pope. At the same time, however, one must not immediately dismiss the words of a Church Father, nor of a Church Council, nor of a synod, nor of one's bishop, patriarch, nor even one's priest or pastor, until one is truly satisfied that there is a contradiction. And one must not be satisfied thus in one sitting, nor by self-study and in isolation from reliable discussion with trusted companions.

"they [Church Fathers] knew they were not infallible, as the Sacred Scriptures are."

Well the development of the doctrine on papal and Magisterial infallibility speaks to this quite aptly: Scripture is truly unique, not only in that it speaks inerrant, but that it is spoken by the Holy Spirit as the principal author. The pope is not inspired and may therefore be prompted to speak by other motivations, perhaps even wrong ones, or subject to poor timing or tact. Infallibility is only a guarantee that what is spoken is not in error as it pertains to faith and morals, spoken to the universal Church.

L P Cruz said...


You are almost a protestant by the way you talk. Be careful.

Remember the charge of the Reformers - it was the magisterium of Trent who left the real catholicity of the faith. The RC added a lot to the early catholicity of the faith. Their theological method did not follow the method of the Fathers (in principle) and that of Scripture.

I can only claim infallible statements which are statements of God's Word - if I state - Jesus is Lord, I am stating what the Scripture claims and that statement is infallible. Yet I am not allowed to state anything that can not be drawn from Scripture - which in many occassions like the Bodily Assumption of Mary can not be seen from Scripture.

State that Mary died as you may, but stating that her dead body was taken to heaven, with out scriptural support caries no weight but speculation. If the word "body" is not the way we normally use that term, then if the RCC does not mean it, they should stop using that word. Remember the charge of double talk/ double speak/sophistry?

Jeff Tan said...

"You are almost a protestant by the way you talk. Be careful."

Or you might be surprised just how small the difference really is between what we believe. It was Cardinal Dulles who might have said (and Scott Hahn echoes it) that Protestants and Catholics are 99% compatible in their beliefs. I think that, like the Orthodox, what keeps us apart are a few things only, but which cannot be compromised thoughtlessly, of course. As I might put it, the differences are in terms of syntax and semantic nuances. The substance of what we believe are the same.

So if I were to talk to a priest (and I've talked to many), they wouldn't tell me "be careful Jeff, you're becoming a protestant." No one has and I doubt that anyone would.

"Their theological method did not follow the method of the Fathers (in principle) and that of Scripture."

Isn't it strange that this was noted only in the 16th century? How could no one have noticed?

"Yet I am not allowed to state anything that can not be drawn from Scripture - which in many occassions like the Bodily Assumption of Mary can not be seen from Scripture."

I would agree that the bodily assumption of Mary is not explicit in Scripture. But sola scriptura and sola fide as formal principles are both likewise missing in explicit form in Scripture.

Consider also that the typological references to the Lord in the Old Testament are likewise not so explicit, but they are there. The Scriptural references to Mary's bodily assumption are actually found in those references to the incorruptibility of the faithful, the holiness of the ark of the covenant, the glorious vision of St. John in his revelations. The bodily assumption of Mary is not a dogma exclusively about Mary after all. Mary is a type for all of us Christian faithful, of what we hope for in our bodily resurrection. More strongly than the in the bodily assumption of Moses (alluded to in Jude) or Elijah, Mary is a closer type because she is indeed the first Christian. The Angelus gives us the nutshell version of being Christian:

- "the angel declared unto Mary, and she conceived by the Holy Spirit" --> this is God calling us to him, because God loved us first, and it is God who initiates the relationship;

- "'Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to they word.'" --> Mary's fiat is the only proper response of every Christian, which is assent to the will of God made known to us by his Word;

- "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." --> By accepting God's call in humility and obedience, a Christian becomes Christ in the flesh, the Incarnation becomes real in our bodies as we behave in accordance to God's will.

Mary's bodily assumption, in that context, is entirely logical, just as our bodily resurrection is the hope we have for our future, by our perseverance and the continuous work in us by the Holy Spirit.

L P Cruz said...


At the core we are still miles apart and I say in this respect... we still differ on the Authority and Jusftification. Our theological approach is as light to day.

I say is at the core because the whole issue is how one is justified in a holy and terrifying God.

We still differ in this - JBFA. And this is like saying we are planets apart.

Jeff Tan said...

"We still differ in this - JBFA. And this is like saying we are planets apart."

I'm not so sure of that.. :-)

L P Cruz said...


As you clearly articulated in your post here you deny JBFA, meaning you affirm we are justified by faith and works.

Now, you define this work as the work of you and Jesus together and this as per your take on James 2, you claim justifies you. This we deny as to what James mean.

Sure we say that the faith that comes from God works but we are not justified by them as again I said Clement explained *works of holiness* is also excluded, so we do differ. We can only be compatible is you think that A and not A is true in the same sense!

Jeff, it is really in the nutshell Eph 2:8-9. Here works is excluded even the works that you and Jesus perform together - I do not think that is what is being said there.

Works follow faith but what follows faith is not the basis of our justification - grace which is the gift of God through his son's cross, that is what we affirm the basis of our justification is.