1. Andy, you speak of the Bible being the only authority you need when you declare your version of Christianity. Many years ago, before I heard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I was confused by the very large number of Christian denominations that taught very different beliefs as to who and what Jesus was. All of them used only the Bible to get the many different definitions.
    Of all the different Jesuses taught of by the many Christian denominations, why is your Jesus better then the other Protestant Jesuses?


  2. OK . . . so . . . ?

    Fred, what do the Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and Pentecostals, etc. teach differently about who and what Jesus was that confused you?

  3. Fred, while I of course do not hold to “sola Scriptura”, this is not a good argument against it. These groups (except for some Pentecostals) all accept the Trinitarian doctrine of God.

    But with regard to sola Scriptura” itself, the solution is surely to return the Bible to the context which produced it and not to attempt to create a new out of whole cloth.

    Besides, it’s not like the LDS and the Community of Christ hold a common doctrine of God, and both are based on the Book of Mormon and the career of Joseph Smith, Jr.

  4. [Trinitarian doctrine of God]

    “Trinitarian doctrine” is a defination forced apon the Christian workd by Men.

    If Lutheranism is true then Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and Pentecostals are false. After all it was started by men that said the others were wrong.


  5. FrGregACCA–I notice that your favorite book about my Religion is written by a couple of outsiders who got it wrong. If you want to see how the Oslings miss-lead you follow the link.


    “Since the authors claim to have made a close reading of the textbook, these sensationalized misrepresentations can only be intentional.”

    “If Mormon America “is probably as thorough and fair a treatment of the LDS by outsiders as they are likely to get,”[24] we Latter-day Saints can only depend on ourselves to get the truth out about the church, its doctrines, and the scholarly evidence supporting our faith.”

    A review of “Mormon America: The Power and the Promise” by Richard N. Ostling and Joan K. Ostling


  6. Fred, that is a pretty big claim about Trinitarianism. Are you prepared to defend that claim?

    Regarding the Ostlings: this looks like nitpicking to me. The Mormon version of theosis is obviously going to be different than the Orthodox Christian version because the respective doctrines of God, and subsequently, the respective anthropologies, are going to be very different.

    But here’s the bottom line difference: y’all believe that there was a Great Apostacy, both necessitating and making possible a restoration. We Orthodox deny this. The Church is the same, one and continuous through time, from the Day of Pentecost until now, and through the Parousia.

    If we are right, then Joseph Smith and his followers are wrong. Even if they are correct about the Great Apostacy (a doctrine they share, to one degree or another, with Protestants), that still doesn’t mean that they, the followers of Joseph Smith, are correct. For Smith, et. al. to be vindicated, it is necessary, but not sufficient, that such an apostacy occurred.

  7. “Better yet, show me that they are the same.”

    Fred, you should know. Joseph Smith became the national “anti” to what they were the same in the doctrine of Christology.

  8. [Fred, that is a pretty big claim about Trinitarianism. Are you prepared to defend that claim? ]

    Defend what?
    The definition of Trinitarianism is man trying to make sense of what God teaches.
    Men fought over what God meant in His Word.
    The winners got to define Trinitarianism.
    The definition of Trinitarianism is forced upon God’s Word by men.
    Try reading the Bible without the man made definition of Trinitarianism.

    Unless you can show that the men who defined Trinitarianism had the same authority from God as Peter, James, John, and Paul, you are looking at a man made definition.

    Maybe you should defend there right of the definition makers to add definitions to God’s word.
    Definitions that narrow and take away from God’s Word.


  9. “Unless you can show that the men who defined Trinitarianism had the same authority from God as Peter, James, John, and Paul, you are looking at a man made definition”

    I can, and I have. Christ commissioned and ordained the Apostles, giving them plenary authority in the Church (the power to “bind and loose”).. Using this authority, the Apostles in turn ordained and commissioned bishops, passing their authority, in the power of the Holy Spirit, on to them, and these in turn do the same, generation by generation, from the Day of Pentecost until the Day that Christ returns in glory. “He who hears you, hears Me, and he who rejects you, rejects Me,” says the Lord.

    The Creed is every bit as inspired, every bit “God’s Word” as the Bible itself.

  10. On Apostolic succession, see Clement of Rome, Ireneus, and Eusebius’ “Church History”. Eusebius gives succession lists for major sees (such as Rome, for example, or Antioch), beginning specific Apostles and Ireneus refers to these lists as well.

    Not Apostles per se, but successors to the Apostles, with all the charisms and authority possessed by the Apostles. The bishops of the Orthodox Churches.

    Now, riddle me this: when did the “Great Apostacy” occur, and how do you know?

  11. I am a priest in an non-chalcedonian Orthodox Church,.Fred. The complete unity of the universal Church is apparently something that will not be manifested until the Day of the Lord.

    Now, about that “Great Apostacy”…

  12. No, Fred, “they” (I assume you mean Rome) hold that one bishop, the Pope, as the successor of Peter, is the primary holder of that authority. This claim, more than any other, separates Rome from the Orthodox Churches.

    However, Christ gives this authority to not only to Peter, but to all the Apostles (and, in a sense, to the Church as a whole: see Acts 15. The Apostles and the entire Church come to consensus). The Apostles as a whole pass this authority on to the bishops (as empowered by the Holy Spirit in the sacrament/mystery of Holy Orders).

    My Church, a “particular” local Orthodox Church, indeed shares in that. It does not possess it exclusively.

    Anyway, so when did the Orthodox Churches apostacize?

  13. Further, the Church is counciliar from top to bottom. No one bishop can claim supremacy, either regionally or universally.

    Beyond that, it must be recognized that no one normally speaks for God in the senFred, “catholic” comes from the Greek “kata holos”, “according to the whole”.

    Therefore, a specific, local Church is Orthodox and Catholic to the extent that it teaches and practices the WHOLE Faith for the WHOLE of humanity for the WHOLE of time.

    In practice, this comes down to a)the full and complete confession of faith, as witnessed by the Nicene Creed (without filioque) and contained fully in the whole of the Apostolic Tradition, of which the full canon of Sripture is the cornerstone and primary expression but including the witness of the forebears, etc. (and including the traditional canons of ikongraphy); b)worships according to traditional norms of the historic liturgical rites. This includes an acceptance of baptism as regeneration, confirmation/chrismation as conveying the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Eucharist with bread and WINE as the elements celebrated as a sacrifice and being truly the Body and Blood of Christ after the consecration, sacramental absolution in the Mystery of Confession/Reconciliation, and the rest of it. c)the three-fold ministry of priests\presbyters, deacons, and bishops, the latter ordained in Apostolic Succession and the other two ordained exclusively by the bishops.

    se that the prophets of old did. If such a prophet arises, he or she exists outside the normal hierarchy of the Church even if, as with St. John the Worker, they are bishops; these are often “fools for Christ”.

    However, after having said that, the gifts that priests manifest in the confessional, or in other contexts of spiritual direction or consultation, are, as a result of their ordination and personal sanctify, often comparable to the old prophets in this restricted context.

  14. Second-to-last paragraph: “No one functions today like the prophets of old did. If such a prophet arises, he or she exists outside the normal hierarchy of the Church even if, as with St. John the Wonder-Worker, they are bishops: these are often “fools for Christ”.

  15. While I would have a few quibbles with Greg here (for example, I affirm the Real Presence in the Eucharist for the forgiveness of sins, but not as a sacrifice, although that might be the Aristotelian Roman version I am objecting to here), I would second him in affirming the Nicene Creed (I don’t mind the filioque, but I understand the objection and its “illegitimate” insertion via the eastern perspective), and would also include the major decisions of the 7 Ecumenical councils like most Roman Catholics, Byzantine Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans etc… (where Greg holds to 3, which I do hold as well, and believe the dispute with “oriental orthodox” is largely one of semantics). As a “high-church” Protestant, I am accused of being “catholic” by some Protestants, which I actually take as a compliment, since the church is after all, “catholic, apostolic, etc…” I’ve seen Greg make this point before, but the LDS movement only makes sense in the context of 19th century American religious history and its obsession with end-times theology and civic religion, giving birth to the LDS, JW’s, SDA etc…

  16. Indeed, Hayes, and specifically, in the absence of anything remotely Catholic or Orthodox in the areas where Mormonism first began, took off or where Mormons migrated, until long after it was firmly established in Utah.

    Mormonism tries to fill in the gaps created by the Reformation, and those lines of thought stemming from it, in the latters’ attempts to return the contours of the Faith to that which allegedly prevailed in the First Century. IOW, Mormonism posits answers to questions addressed by the Orthodox-Catholic Tradition that are largely ignored by virtually all of Protestantism.

    Regarding the Eucharist as sacrifice, I strongly encourage you to research the early data in this regard, beginning with the Didache, most likely dating before AD 100, and which is the first extant source to cite Malachi 1:11 as a prophecy of the Eucharist.

  17. Yes.

    “But every Lord’s day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: “In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.”

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