A Follow-up to the “Filioque” Post

Trevin Wax has posted an interview about a student who graduated from SBTS, and then converted to orthodoxy.

Timely, I think, given the recent discussion here.


About Danny Slavich

I am a Christian husband, father, pastor, and poet. I lead Pembroke Road Baptist Church a multi-cultural, multi-generational church in urban South Florida.
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11 Responses to A Follow-up to the “Filioque” Post

  1. Ben says:

    Argh! Perhaps Orthodoxy is not the idyllic dreamland I thought … the penalty for being right, is never being allowed to think for yourself? I’m drawn to Orthodoxy because I think that in many cases they are closer to the truth than Evangelicalism, and yet at the same time I’m starting to get really turned off by this, “I was tired of thinking for myself” stuff. I already feel like Evangelicalism is intellectually stifling. But I never realized that Orthodoxy would be even worse … ?

  2. Theron says:

    read some Vladimir Lossky…the contemporary Orthodox monk Seraphim Rose stated he had to crucify his mind as well as his passions.

  3. Ben says:

    And yet, I trust myself more than Fr. Seraphim Rose, intelligent as he may be (and assuredly, is). I’ve never seen anything to suggest to me that being a Christian requires me to let another flawed human being decide for me what I’m going to believe. As St. John would say, “You have no need for anyone to teach you.”

  4. Theron says:

    I did not mean that we cease to think as Orthodox. As you can see from the filioque discussion there is much engaging and athletic thought going on understanding the implications of the Trinity for life and theology. I really do encourage you to read some Lossky, not necessarily to persuade or agree, but to see the rigorous nature that Eastern theology can take. One thing Lossky does beautifully is clarify the East’s insistence on apophatic theology, this injects a level of humility into our discussions about God.

    As far as letting another flawed human decide for us what to believe, I think we Orthodox might be in more agreement here than disagreement. Letting an individual make inspired/inerrant proclamations smacks of Roman Catholicism. Yet at the same time, there is a danger in becoming your own pope. We submit to the mind of the Church and not a sole individual. I think this is is what St. John is referring to above. You (the church) have no need for anyone to teach you because you (the church) have the mind of Christ. I am sure in this passage he is speaking specifically about those Gnostics teaching on that which is outside of the church. The apostolic deposit has been made and they were to hold onto and pass on that fullness rather than rely on something beyond or different. Much like Paul’s anathema on someone preaching a gospel different than what had been delivered to them by apostolic hands.

  5. Ben says:

    Hm, yeah, I agree with you on the danger of becoming your own Pope. That is also an interesting take on the interpretation of that 1 Jn passage — I had never approached it in that way before, but it certainly makes sense.
    Conversely, there are other passages that would indicate the importance of, as Kierkegaard might put it, “coming out of the crowd”. Gal. 1-2, for instance, could be indicating that Paul felt a healthy skepticism of the “authority of the church”. I would say, as well, that Paul’s anathema deals more with the message, than the messenger. He says, if I recall correctly, “If we or anyone else speak a gospel contrary” … indicating to me that the principle laid out (the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice?) is the key, and even if the “church” were to contradict it, that they should stick to that belief.
    In this way, while I feel that being humble and aware of the opinions of those in authority in the church is definitely crucial to following Christ, there is also a dimension in which you are ultimately responsible for your beliefs and actions, just as it is your relationship with God rather than your membership in a community that determines your standing with Him.

  6. Theron says:

    Paul seems in Gal 1 & 2 to affirm the Church’s authority. After his revelation he went to Jerusalem to double check that his ministry was true, and the apostles affirmed him Apostle to the Gentiles as Peter was to the Jews. No doubt, he later chastises Peter, but this is brother to brother and not questioning of the Church.

    I guess it matters what “church” you are willing to trust. What did Jesus Himself establish to safeguard and deliver Truth to the world?

  7. Ben says:

    I authored a post here
    regarding the implications of Gal. 1-2 on the individuality/community dichotomy, or as I might also phrase it, High Church vs. Low Church.

    Kierkegaard also puts it much more esoterically.

    In response to your comment, I think that although Paul does seek out the approval of the church leadership, he makes it clear, particularly in 2:6, that although he chose to abide by their authority in that instance his ultimate link to truth was directly with God and not mediated by the “apostolic deposit”. I think this is not an affirmation of the church’s authority any more than admonitions to stronger believers “not to cause a brother to stumble” are an invitation to legalism. Here he is not saying that the church is the ultimate authority; he is merely saying that he chose to show them respect.

  8. Ben says:

    I’m looking more into your statement that the 1 John verse is referring to truth residing with the church community as a whole, rather than with the individual who is indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Although I initially thought you might be correct, on a closer reading I think that regardless of background, the fact that this knowledge comes from “an anointing” seems to indicate that it is a personal “impartation of knowledge” and as such indicates, if not independence, at least a lessened dependence on the community, as I suspected.

    This exegetical site has some interesting information on it regarding the passage.

    In response to your “Jesus established to safeguard, etc” I would counter that Christ himself called his church out of the establishment. He did not seek to transform the current structure; I believe scripture will not contradict me when I suggest this is because he intends the church to be personal and not merely collective in nature. In fact, many of the greatest figures in the Bible are noted for their faith in the face of opposition, rather than their conformance to the context in which God places them (Abraham, Elijah, any of the early Christians). Though I feel that there is certainly room in this world for differing opinions as to the nature of God’s placement of truth in the world and the responsibility of the individual for their own beliefs, I think it speaks poorly of a High Church (or any church) that they would belittle any opposition or — shall we say — distinction. As regards politics, in the west we would generally feel that an opposition party is the sign of a healthy government — and an unhealthy government is one which can tolerate no dissent.

    I am comfortable appreciating the ideas of those who I can be reasonably sure are fellow believers, even if I disagree with them in some areas … and I think that although discussion and interaction can aid us, as “iron sharpens iron”, belittlement of and opposition to other traditions and beliefs within the context of Christianity as a whole, whether originating from the Orthodox Church or the SBC, is ultimately damaging to the work of Christ and betrays the Father’s purpose in creating “many different parts of the same body”.

  9. Theron says:

    I will look at the site, on a quick glance it was more than I could skim quickly.

    Also, I hope you don’t feel I am “belittling”. If so, please forgive.

    Those prophets called people back to the faith that was delivered to them which the people had departed from. They never set out to create a new Israel. Jesus did establish something new but it was built upon the old and was grafted into the stock of Israel.

    I believe the church is the pillar and ground of the truth, but I think we may be talking past each other. My guess is that our defintion of the church may be different.

  10. Ben says:

    Oh yeah, I’m not pointing fingers at you, necessarily — it’s just this whole idea of “well, we’re the true church” — which the Orthodox Church certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on.

    Yeah, I see what you mean about not creating a “new Israel” — and yet, that’s not really what I, or even the Reformers, considered themselves to be doing. I am sure that they, like the prophets of old, viewed themselves as “calling the faithful back to the true faith”.

    My perspective is that the Reformed faith, the Orthodox, the Pentecostals, any branch of Christianity that could be said to hold to the essential tenets, are mostly equal partners in the Church Universal. Therefore, my job is not so much to pick which church to follow, and to decide which of their systems to accept completely; but rather, I feel that a much more effective way of following Christ is to learn what I can from each tradition, without excluding the others.

  11. Pingback: Amped 2 » Comment on A Follow-up to the “Filioque” Post by Ben

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