Monday, October 15, 2007

How much Heresy can you stomach?

Francis, in your last answer you seemed to be perfectly happy with church hopping as a system. If you don't like what's going on, you jump ship.

This makes me wonder how you advise applying this to either different times in history or different situations. For example, what issues would cause you to jump ship from a church that otherwise has many compelling reasons to stay.

Do you need to jump for:

  • believer baptism

  • not following the Calvinist system

  • venerating the scriptures like Jews do

  • venerating other holy items like Jews do

  • religious imagery in church

  • icon veneration

  • chrismation and other sacraments that protestants perceive as unscriptural

  • seeking the intercession of the saints in heaven

  • monarchial episcopate

  • eschatology

  • what you perceive as the wrong canon of scripture

  • details of moral discipline (e.g. WC XXIV on divorce)

  • the perpetual virginity of Mary

  • the assumption of Mary

  • the nature or reality of the eucharist

  • ecclesiology

  • anything else you can think of

Having told us what issues are necessarily unpalatable to you, it will be interesting to see where the early church become unpalatable to you. Apparently you would not have been in the catholic church of the Fathers.

I take it that you recognize that God at least places some value on unity. So having given us your list from above, how do you know this list is the true list? Because it would be a pretty major step when there was just one Church, to separate yourself from it to form the first schism. So I take it you need to be pretty sure of your list.

Now if your list doesn't at least contain most of the above items, what hope is there for the traditional presbyterian church, which I take it you are a member of? If you don't recommend that Christians MUST bail out on any significant breach of the list, then what you're saying is there are other important considerations that can cause traditional presbyterians to join other wrong churches, or conversely, to allow wrong believing christians to be in the presbyterian churches and dilute their belief in their WC distinctives, leading to the church's ultimate demise as a WC church.

How can there be unity in the church when everyone has a different list? Some have equal indifference to unity with Roman Catholics or presbyterians alike. Others draw a circle around themselves so tight that only they can stand in it.

On the other hand, if your list does contain most of the above items, that means you would have advocated leaving the established church in the early 2nd century. That makes me ask how your hypothetical tiny family breakaway church that you would have been in, would have known the canon. Would your tiny schism have figured it all out by yourself? Would you have lied to the established church, or someone in the established church in order to get a chance to make your own copy of the scriptures for your schism?

And if everyone had been doing what you advocate back then, and we had the explosion in denominations that we have in protestantism, except with all of them deciding for themselves what the canon is with the same alleged lack of clarity and discernment that they did on all the list of issues (above) which you consider the church went off the rails, how much clarity would you have about the canon today with 1000 different ancient traditions with 1000 canons? Because history has shown that every major schism has had a different canon.

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