1. “I believe the Bible is God’s direct, fresh communication to me through the human authors of ancient time, etc., etc.”

    Sorry to be so confrontational, Todd, but no, you don’t.

    You deny or attempt to explain away very clear and plain statements in the New Testament concerning the Church, its leadership, Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacramental forgiveness of sins with which you do not agree, because of – dare I say it – the “traditions of men”.

    “All of [Christian] Orthodoxy is found in the Bible, but much of it in passages we did not underline when we were Evangelicals.” – Fr. Peter Gillquist, now an Eastern Orthodox priest and formerly, an Evangelical Pastor and Campus Crusade staffer.

  2. “the Church, its leadership, Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacramental forgiveness of sins”

    We are looking at five points, and I would place them all in my upcoming Ecclesiology statement of faith. But that doesn’t come till more toward the end of the systematized themes.

    But you want me to recognize a man like this as a leader?


    Hmm . . . the guy before him, Spyridon, didn’t sound too cool.

    Or more specifically . . . Victor Mar Michael Herron?


    And what is up with the “self-ruled” over here?


    Now, this is all ecclesiology discussion.

    But clearly Clark over here (http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/tca_carltonrome.aspx) states that he is not a man who is text-centered (back to bibliology), and that is where I disagree, Greg.

    I will trust in God’s direct, fresh communication to me rather than following Clark’s reasonings.

  3. But as you can see in my bibliology statement and the reference to the NKJV, I can thank Peter Gillquist in his involvement in such a fine translation.

  4. Todd, I’m gonna work more or less backwards here.

    Your congregation, being independent, is “self-ruled”. In the case of the Byzantine Antiochians, it is merely a simpler way of saying “autonomous”.

    I have heard no ill report concerning Demetrios. Spyridion, I think, was ill-suited for dealing with the American Greek Orthodox Church. This happens sometimes. It also happens in autonomous, congregational Baptist communities, no? However, for all that, I am hearing some implicit Novatianism or Donatism here which goes against Matthew 23 and, for the most part, there are long established protocols in place for dealing with such situations.

    +Victor? Mar Michael? Mari? I must be very careful here in that bonds of personal and even familial, affection make it very tempting to get quite defensive very quickly. But, to answer your question: yes, yes, yes! In the age and world to come, +Victor will be sitting at the feet of Jesus and the Theotokos and you and I will be back in the pack somewhere, looking on. In short, Bishop Victor is a full-blown Saint in the Orthodox and Catholic sense of that word. He is probably the most holy man that I have ever met, and to meet him is to know that one has encountered Jesus through Him. God is glorified in His Saints.

    Now, regarding Clark Carlton: first, let me point out that this site is sort of the Orthodox equivalent of something John R. Rice’s people might put out in Baptist circles. However, I really don’t see anything that I want to argue with in this piece (except the implication, to the extent that it is present, that Orthodoxy does not include the non-chalcedonians which this site insists on calling “monophysites”).

    In any event, I’m not going to get into a certain type of contest with you over being the propriety of being “text-centered” or not. Gillquist and company were certainly “text-centered” when they started their journey to Orthodoxy. One man in particular, Fr. Gordon Walker (formerly a Southern Baptist), went through a struggle beginning at a place very similar to where you are at, but in the end, he too was convinced by the plain words of Scripture regarding these matters once he was able to shed his preconceived notions regarding their meaning.

    But here’s the main issue: the text in question, the Bible, points beyond itself. It points to Jesus. It points to the historic Church, continuous in time and space from the Day of Pentecost until the Parousia (and from before that and beyond). It points to the Church’s Apostolic leadership, ordained in succession from the Apostles until the end. It points to the sacraments, the Christian mysteries, of which rituals of the Old Testament are but shadows. The text itself says, “the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.”

    You say you will address these issues. Okay, but frankly, I’m not very hopeful. Based on past experience, not only with you, but with others who are coming from the same place you are, I expect more denials and attempts at explaining away. Thus, I stand by my first statement: you do not believe what you claim to believe regarding the Bible. Sorry, but that is how I see it, and I’ve been where you are.

  5. “Sorry, but that is how I see it, and I’ve been where you are.”

    You need to make a u-turn. 🙂

  6. Todd, you obviously have yet to experience the literal hunger and thirst for Christ that can only be satisfied by eating His body and drinking His blood in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. (John 6:51-58, I Cor. 10:1-22, Hebrews 13:10, etc.) You obviously have not experienced the need to hear words of forgiveness pronounced in the Name of Christ by His priest, acting in His place and as His representative. (John 20:22-23)

    I pray that you will come to realize what you are lacking very soon.

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