Trinity, Eucharist, Tradition and the Challenge of Sola Scriptura

Originally posted on Eclectic Orthodoxy:

In his article “The Evolution of My Views on the Trinity,” philosopher Dale Tuggy briefly describes how the writings of the 18th century philosopher Samuel Clarke impelled him to re-read the New Testament with the aim of learning whether the New Testament authoritatively supports the catholic doctrine of the Holy Trinity. At the conclusion of his study he was forced to conclude that it does not:

In the end, it is the Bible vs. catholic tradition. For me, the Bible had to win. So, reading Clarke led me to see the unitarianism (again, just the thesis that the Father is one and the same as the one God) in the Bible, and this made me a unitarian, though I had no desire to be one, and many reasons to not want either that label or that belief.

In a previous post I noted the oddity of someone invoking…

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A Conversation with St Paul: What Does Scripture Mean?

Originally posted on Eclectic Orthodoxy:

Have you ever found yourself reading the Epistle to the Romans and thought, “It sure would be nice if St Paul were here and could explain to me what he meant when he wrote ‘For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law'”? Now let’s suppose that one day you get your wish. You are deep in meditative thought and suddenly the Apostle appears to you in a vision:

“Shalom, friend. Vus machs da? I see that you are wrestling with my letter to the Romans. I think some of my best stuff is in it; but I wish I had had a chance to go back and clarify some of the things I wrote. We didn’t have word processors back then—we just dictated our letters and that was that. Can you imagine my surprise when I got to heaven and discovered that they…

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When Scripture Becomes Scripture

Originally posted on Eclectic Orthodoxy:

The writings of the Bible exist as historical artifacts and may therefore be read as historical artifacts. To properly interpret a text we must seek to understand it within its historical context. We need to know all sorts of things: we need to know who wrote it and why; we need to know its intended audience; we need to know the literary genre to which it belongs; we need to know about the society in which the author and audience lived; we need to know the cultural and literary conventions of the time; we need to know the worldview the text inhabits, etc. Contrary to those who think that the “plain meaning” of Scripture is easy to determine, it is no easy thing at all. Witness the vast scholarship that has been devoted to the Bible over the past two hundred years.

In his article “Can Genuine Christians Be…

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The Challenge of Discipleship in the Modern World

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To See God Crucified: The Theopaschism of St Gregory Nazianzen

Originally posted on Eclectic Orthodoxy:

“We need an incarnate God, a God put to death, so that we might live, and we were put to death with him.” (Or. 45.28)

Before there was Jurgen Moltmann, there was St Gregory the Theologian. Of the early Church Fathers none spoke more directly of the death of the eternal Son. The gospel is nothing less than the proclamation of “God crucified” (Or. 45:29).

Unlike some of the other early Church Fathers, such as even the great Athanasius, Gregory does not shrink from asserting the suffering and death of the Creator:

God passible for our sake over against sin. (Or. 30.1)

To whom was the blood poured out for us, and why was it poured out, that great and renowned blood of God, who is both high priest and victim? (Or. 45.22)

God even died for us. (Or. 33.14)

For this reason…

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The Apophatic Quality of Theological Speech

The more positively God reveals Himself—the more He posits about Himself—the more apophatic our theology becomes. If, on our own and supported only by the testimony of our conscience and the created order, our talk about God bears am apophatic quality, what shall we say about the full light of the Gospel, in which the one God reveals Himself as the Father of a co-eternal, co-infinite, and consubstantial Son?

Fr Patrick Henry Reardon 

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Refugees, Roanoke, and Captain Sulu

Why the mayor of the City of Roanoke felt it necessary to weigh in on Syrian refugees is beyond comprehension. It is hardly the case that Roanoke is overwhelmed by refugees, nor is it the case that the local citizenship has been been clamoring for some kind of stand from our public officials, as if any such stand would affect anything. I confess that I am surprised that a Democrat would issue a reactionary, asinine statement like this. Anyway, it seems to have backfired. Not only has the city council distanced itself from David Bowers, but the statement has gone viral, thanks to George Takei. Roanoke has been publicly shamed. For the record, let it be known that Bowers is not my mayor. I live in the county, not the city.

That the world is faced with a catastrophic humanitarian situation is beyond dispute. What is not crystal clear is how the United States should respond. Many of my fellow Christians on the net think otherwise. My FaceBook and Twitter feeds are presently being inundated by simplistic moral pronouncements. Everyone seems to have a hotline to God. “What would Jesus do?” The answer is obvious and beyond debate, right? If only the formation of public policy were so easy, but it just isn’t. Grownups understand this.

At the moment everyone seems to be “thinking” either from a position of fear and anxiety (“keep out the refugees!”) or from prophetic self-righteousness (“God wants us to let them all in!”). Neither is conducive to mature moral reflection or sound public policy.

My Christian faith demands of me—and my country, I believe—a response of generosity, charity, compassion, and hospitality toward all who are now fleeing the brutality and horror of ISIS. But this judgment need not entail unrestricted and indiscriminate admission of refugees. Other considerations, moral and political, are also legitimately in play here. These considerations need to be thoughtfully identified and discussed, without fear of being labeled xenophobic, anti-American, or whatever.

I am tired of twitter-bites masquerading as prophecy and wisdom.


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