Sola Scriptura from and Orthodox perspective

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
My wife, daughter and I were in TN this summer. My wife always wanted to go to Dollywood so we drove from Albuquerque (not all at once of course lol). Stayed a couple of nights in Nashville and a few nights in Pigeon Forge. Spent a few days in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park and hiked a little bit of the Appalachian Trail. Beautiful area!
Very! Love the dogwoods all over the place.
I have always liked the RSV but have recently been using the NKJV. The Orthodox Study Bible uses the NKJV New Testament and the Septuagint for the Old Testament.
I'm cool with the NKJV.
Sure. As an Orthodox Christian, I don't see where that verse teaches the Bible alone? When looking at verse 10-15 you can see that St. Paul is first appealing to what St. Timothy learned (from St. Paul himself) then St. Paul reminds St. Timothy of the Scriptures of his childhood, which of course would be the Old Testament since the whole of the New Testament had not been written yet. We Orthodox would see this as an appeal to Tradition, what was not only taught but what was also written.
I understand. Again, I'm not really here to argue with you about your faith, but I'm happy to answer questions about mine since you asked.

We believe that Paul was divinely inspired and that what he wrote was scripture so his teachings were equivalent to scripture. We also believe that the immediate, personal, supernatural indwelling of the Holy Spirit was for the establishment period of the church during the first century and no longer happens today. Today, the indwelling of the Father, Son, and Spirit are in our hearts by faith (Eph. 3:17; John 14:23).
It seems if this these verses proved the Bible alone, it would prove Old Testament alone. This of course is the Orthodox interpretation of 2 Timothy 3.
We believe that 2 Tim. 3:16-17 refers to both Old and New Testament scripture, even those that hadn't been written yet (of the 66 books we have now). We also believe that a significant portion of the NT had been written not only before 2 Timothy was written, but considering Timothy's youth, written early enough for him to be brought up on. Timothy might even have been born at the time of or after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and never lived in the Old Testament age. The reason we believe this is because of what effect the scriptures had on Timothy in verse 15.

"able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

The Old Testament could not save and spoke only of the coming Messiah prophetically. It is the gospel (the NT) that speaks of salvation in Jesus specifically and salvation through obedient faith in Him.

I hope that makes sense what I am saying.
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
Question @Kade Rystalmane,

I'm sure you have heard many times that Protestant Christians are divided due to Sola Scriptura. What is your opinion?

Thanks,
I would argue that Protestants are divided over a whole bunch of things and it isn't the scripture's fault. I believe that division comes from personal desires and perhaps too much reliance on leadership to do the believing for them. At risk of hurting feelings, most of them have not made their faith their own. They believe based on another's faith for them.

I am not Protestant, though, so I can only speak of them as one on the outside looking in.
 

ziapueblo

Active member
I am not Protestant, though, so I can only speak of them as one on the outside looking in.
I apologize for using the work "Protestant." I usually want to say "non-Orthodox Christian." Protestant is just to general of a term.

I believe that division comes from personal desires and perhaps too much reliance on leadership to do the believing for them.
This makes sense.

I would argue that Protestants are divided over a whole bunch of things and it isn't the scripture's fault.
I pose this question, not to debate, just curious. What do you say, for example, the difference between a Lutheran and someone who attends Calvary Chapel? They obviously have a different take on Scripture when it comes to Baptism or what the Eucharist is, at least this is what I gather.
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
I apologize for using the work "Protestant." I usually want to say "non-Orthodox Christian." Protestant is just to general of a term.
No worries. Just wanted to make sure I am properly labeled in your mind. :)
This makes sense.
Agreement is the foundation on which all fruitful discussions are built.
I pose this question, not to debate, just curious. What do you say, for example, the difference between a Lutheran and someone who attends Calvary Chapel? They obviously have a different take on Scripture when it comes to Baptism or what the Eucharist is, at least this is what I gather.
While there are superficial differences, functionally I see no difference. Both teach things that are outside of what the scriptures actually teach following the doctrines of men (Matt. 15:9).

One of the biggest problems I have with these and with other Protestants or even those who embrace the concept of denominationalism is that they acknowledge that they all have different doctrines and religious practices, yet they all embrace one another as part of the same body. One denomination teaches that men are selected individually by God to be saved or lost before time began, another teaches that man has true free will and responds freely to God's gospel call. Yet they embrace one another as saved. One teaches that baptism (in its many varied forms) saves - such as the Lutherans - and another that baptism is an outward sign to men that one has already been saved - Baptists. One teaches that baptism is for infants and another that it is for those who have reached an accountable age. One teaches that rock bands are acceptable worship to God, another teaches only a piano, and others that mechanical instruments are sinful. They all have different organizational structures, different manuals, creeds, confessions of faith, and other external sources of authority, secondary in most cases, but authority nonetheless. Their worship differs. One is millennialist, another is amillennialist, another is preterist believing that Catholicism/Rome is the great whore.

All these different doctrine are mutually exclusive and distinct. They are not small matters of individual discernment such as Romans 12 presents. We are not talking about whether Christians should be pacifists or are authorized to carry a sword. We are not talking about the order of worship on Sunday morning or whether it should be one cup or many when we partake of communion. These are major, significant, basic doctrines. Worship, organization, salvation, church identity. They all disagree, they are all identifiable by their unique collection of doctrines, yet they all embrace each other as the same church. It is mind-blowing to me that they don't see this.

Jesus built one church. It has one faith, teaches one baptism, has one kurios. Deviations from this are not just simple opinions, they are man's arrogance, another gospel, another baptism, man becoming his own master instead of submitting to the will of God. Denominationalism is not just agreeing to disagree and oh well, we all believe and that's what's important. Denominationalism is an embracing of division in what they claim is the Lord's church and that is, in itself, sinful.

In the above specific examples, some are right about some things but wrong about other things. That's not the point. The point is that they differ on doctrinal issues yet they all think this is okay and that they are all still part of some larger organization. The picture they present is a Jesus mutant with one head and many hundreds, if not thousands, of bodies.

The one that eliminates most of those man-made churches immediately from contention as the church Jesus built...is what it takes to be saved. Anyone who teaches that you can be saved by a dead faith (faith alone), by the same kind of faith demons have, is teaching a devil's doctrine. So I'd start there then work my way through the other issues mentioned until only one church is left. That one? The one that teaches all and only what the Bible teaches? That's the one Jesus built. That's the one I want to be a part of because it and it alone is the bride of Christ, the body of the saved, the kingdom of Heaven.

In Truth and Love.
 

ziapueblo

Active member
No worries. Just wanted to make sure I am properly labeled in your mind. :)
(y)

One denomination teaches that men are selected individually by God to be saved or lost before time began
I'm not up to speed on certain theologies. Would this be considered Calvinism?

Jesus built one church. It has one faith, teaches one baptism, has one kurios. Deviations from this are not just simple opinions, they are man's arrogance, another gospel, another baptism, man becoming his own master instead of submitting to the will of God.
So the Church of Christ is similar to the Orthodox faith or Catholic Church in the belief that Christ mad one Church and not just a bunch of like minded believers?

I am with you on the idea that it's okay to differ on issues.

This is how the Orthodox view it. We see baptism as life giving and that we are born again of "water and Spirit." If someone is baptized with water and proper form - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - that person is part of the Body of Christ, but lacking the "fullness" due to not partaking in the Mysteries (Sacraments) of initiation - Chrismatioin and the Eucharist. So we see all those who profess Christ as Christians, just not having the fullness of it, if you know what I mean. Again, just the Orthodox perspective.

Great insight! Thanks for the discussion!
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
I'm not up to speed on certain theologies. Would this be considered Calvinism?
Yes.
So the Church of Christ is similar to the Orthodox faith or Catholic Church in the belief that Christ mad one Church and not just a bunch of like minded believers?
Yes. One church with specifically identifying marks making it different from all other entities.

Though I think the RCC has waned in holding to that and has become more denominationally minded in recent decades. At least they include as saved members of other denominations.
I am with you on the idea that it's okay to differ on issues.

This is how the Orthodox view it. We see baptism as life giving and that we are born again of "water and Spirit." If someone is baptized with water and proper form - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - that person is part of the Body of Christ, but lacking the "fullness" due to not partaking in the Mysteries (Sacraments) of initiation - Chrismatioin and the Eucharist. So we see all those who profess Christ as Christians, just not having the fullness of it, if you know what I mean. Again, just the Orthodox perspective.

Great insight! Thanks for the discussion!
You are most welcome. At the very least, you understand more about the church of Christ. :)
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
Does the Church of Christ include all the baptized as part of the Church in one way or another?
We believe that baptism is an act of faith and as such must be understood properly by the person being baptized when administered and that the person being baptized meets certain Biblical prerequisites. That means they must:

1) be mature enough to understand sin and morally accountable for their actions, and of course actually have committed sin,
2) be capable of believing, that is understanding basic spiritual truths, and trusting in God, and actually believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,
3) repent of their sins
4) confess their faith in Christ before others,
5) understand that baptism is an immersion, a burial,
6) understand that the element one is commanded to be immersed in is water,
7) understand that water immersion brings us into contact with the blood of Christ and is therefore where God forgives sins,
8) understand that water immersion is how we are put into Christ, where we put on Christ, and when we are added to the church/kingdom/bride/body of the saved.
9) understand that there is only one church/kingdom/bride/body of the saved that is Christ's and that one can be added to, that all others are man made facsimilies and cannot save.

So no, we would not accept everyone ever who had been "baptized" into our fellowship. Only those who had been immersed into Christ according to what the Bible teaches about NT immersion and the church.

That's probably a bit more detail than you were asking for, but I thought perhaps this is where your questions would eventually go.
 

ziapueblo

Active member
We believe that baptism is an act of faith and as such must be understood properly by the person being baptized when administered and that the person being baptized meets certain Biblical prerequisites.
So like the Orthodox you believe that baptism is regenerative, life giving, not merely an ordinance?
 

BJ Bear

Well-known member
Why do we believe in God, the most Holy Trinity, the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ? Because of a verse written in Scripture? Orthodox Christians believe these things because of the witness of the early Church. What was the witness of the early Church? Of course, first and foremost, their martyrdom. Christians who died for Jesus, the anointed one, in the most horrific ways possible. Second, the apostolic Tradition of the Church. What is apostolic Tradition? St. Irenaeus, an early Bishop born in Smyrna cira 130 A.D., wrote in his famous work Against Heresies, "As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the tradition is one and the same." It is what is handed down, paradosis in Greek, meaning a handing down or over, a tradition. Tradition comes in two forms as seen in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions (paradosis) which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter."
Re: Irenaeus
Although there was no citation to see the context the wording reminds me of a section in which the tradition referred to was a primitive creed. Those faith of those who confessed that creed was precious and the same as that of Irenaeus, et al.

We would also quote Irenaeus, for example, Against Heresies, Book III, 1.1, "We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith."

How the word of God comes to a person, for example, through the written word alone or baptism, what is received is the word of God.
I have been curious about forum members views on Sola Scriptura. From my understanding, Sola Scriptura is that the Bible and the Bible alone are all a Christian needs in order to find doctrine, teaching, etc. No other sources than Scripture.
"Scripture alone is lord and master over all other writings on earth." LW,AE. The way this works out in the context of which you write is that all teachings are to be tested according to the scriptural witness and that apart from the Scriptures no doctrine of the faith is to be established. (There was a time when novelty and heresy were synonymous terms.)
This idea comes from Martin Luther. He wrote, ". . . A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it.…Neither the Church nor the pope can establish articles of faith. These must come from Scripture. For the sake of Scripture we should reject pope and councils . . ." Of course I understand Martin Luther is writing in protest of the Catholic Church, for he mentions the Pope of Rome, yet, the words, "a simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council."
The sum is Scripture is to be trusted above the Roman Pope or a council which teaches something outside of Scripture, for example, purgatory and the invocation of the saints.
Luther also writes, "I will confidently confess what appears to me to be true, whether it has been asserted by a Catholic or a heretic, whether it has been approved or reproved by a council." It seems to me that he is saying "I am so sure that I have discovered true Christianity in my reading of Scripture that nothing will shake my opinion."
Not exactly, as he was willing to be corrected by Scripture or reason. In other words, if he misread something or reached an unnecessary or false conclusion he was ready and willing to be corrected.
Am I wrong to think this? If sos, what is Sola Scriptura and what is it that I do not understand about it? What does it mean? I open and honestly as an Orthodox Christian ask this question.
Cited above, but another way of expressing it is Paul's, "Test all things..."
We Orthodox, of course, do not believe that the Bible and the Bible alone is sufficient. Orthodox believe that we must have a lens in which to interpret the Sacred Text and that lens is our Liturgical worship, the councils of the Church and writings of the early Fathers of the Church.
Our lens of interpretation is the one which Scripture presents, Christ. Our liturgy, and those councils and early writers, when they rightly reflect Christ and His word are aids.
It is not my intent to convince others or even to say that the Orthodox Church absolutely right (this is of course what I believe) and everyone else is wrong. This is just the Orthodox perspective.

Thanks,
Just wanted to add some perspective from an Evangelical or Lutheran understanding.
 

ziapueblo

Active member
How the word of God comes to a person, for example, through the written word alone or baptism, what is received is the word of God.
Thanks for you response!

My question would be this, what about when there was no written word? Christ ascended into Heaven lets say 30/33 AD and the first book of the New Testament was not written until 55 AD, give or take a couple of years. How did Christians learn the faith between these two dates? Sure, Old Testament Scriptures were read/sung, we know this, but no Gospels.

I appreciate your perspective and hope to hear from you again!
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
Thanks for you response!

My question would be this, what about when there was no written word? Christ ascended into Heaven lets say 30/33 AD and the first book of the New Testament was not written until 55 AD, give or take a couple of years. How did Christians learn the faith between these two dates? Sure, Old Testament Scriptures were read/sung, we know this, but no Gospels.

I appreciate your perspective and hope to hear from you again!
I believe that during the first century (and only the first century) the Apostles and those they laid hands on had the Holy Spirit supernaturally, personally, and immediately indwelling them so that they had access to those teachings before they were written down, but in such a way that they did not have beyond what would eventually be written down. I believe that John 14-17 is to the Apostles alone, that is, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide the Apostles into all truth during the establishment period of the church. Paul speaks of this in 1 Corinthians 13 and says that once the perfect is come, the partial would pass away. He distinctly refers to the miraculous as the partial and as childish things.

Once the Apostles died out, there was no one to lay hands on anyone to pass on the supernatural indwelling of the Holy Spirit nor was there a need since by that time, the entirety of the scriptures had been once and for all delivered to the saints.
 

ziapueblo

Active member
Once the Apostles died out, there was no one to lay hands on anyone to pass on the supernatural indwelling of the Holy Spirit nor was there a need since by that time, the entirety of the scriptures had been once and for all delivered to the saints.
Although Scripture does show a line of succession does it not?

2 Timothy 2:2, "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."

We see four generations of Apostolic teaching. First, St. Paul himself and the "many witnesses." Second, St. Timothy. Third, the "faithful men" that he is to "commit" to. Lastly, the "others" that the "faithful men" St. Timothy taught will teach.

Second Timothy is of course a pastoral letter. St. Paul is near the end of his life and he reminds Timothy what he has learned. A line of succession continues, even after the Apostles have fallen asleep in the Lord.

This is the Orthodox understanding of course.

Thanks for your response!
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
Although Scripture does show a line of succession does it not?

2 Timothy 2:2, "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."

We see four generations of Apostolic teaching. First, St. Paul himself and the "many witnesses." Second, St. Timothy. Third, the "faithful men" that he is to "commit" to. Lastly, the "others" that the "faithful men" St. Timothy taught will teach.

Second Timothy is of course a pastoral letter. St. Paul is near the end of his life and he reminds Timothy what he has learned. A line of succession continues, even after the Apostles have fallen asleep in the Lord.

This is the Orthodox understanding of course.

Thanks for your response!
We don't believe this is enough to establish a line of succession for the office of Apostle. The Apostles were men that knew Jesus personally and were selected by Him, even Paul out of due time, to serve in that office. That office was only for the establishment of the church and had a particular ability that no other has had, that of laying on of the hands to pass on the Holy Spirit and the miraculous gifts. John 14-17 gives the instructions to these men and Paul received them in the 3 years he was in Arabia.

What Paul is telling Timothy is not that Timothy is Paul's successor as an Apostle, but exactly what he writes to him. The teachings that he had heard preached from Paul he was to teach to others. Timothy had no authority to add to what Paul and the others had already preached. By the end of the first century, God's revelation to mankind was complete (2 Pet. 1:3; Jude 1:3) and there would be no more added to it, thus no more need for the office that facilitated that revelation being given to mankind. Timothy and those preachers that followed him would preach what had already been preached. Same as what I would do when I share the gospel message with others or even stand in the pulpit from time to time (which I've done over the past thirty years often enough). There just isn't anything about an office of any kind in 2 Timothy 2 to draw the conclusion that succession in that office is warranted. At best, its an informal line of gospel preachers, not leaders of congregations akin to the office of elder.
 

ziapueblo

Active member
We don't believe this is enough to establish a line of succession for the office of Apostle. The Apostles were men that knew Jesus personally and were selected by Him, even Paul out of due time, to serve in that office. That office was only for the establishment of the church and had a particular ability that no other has had, that of laying on of the hands to pass on the Holy Spirit and the miraculous gifts. John 14-17 gives the instructions to these men and Paul received them in the 3 years he was in Arabia.

What Paul is telling Timothy is not that Timothy is Paul's successor as an Apostle, but exactly what he writes to him. The teachings that he had heard preached from Paul he was to teach to others. Timothy had no authority to add to what Paul and the others had already preached. By the end of the first century, God's revelation to mankind was complete (2 Pet. 1:3; Jude 1:3) and there would be no more added to it, thus no more need for the office that facilitated that revelation being given to mankind. Timothy and those preachers that followed him would preach what had already been preached. Same as what I would do when I share the gospel message with others or even stand in the pulpit from time to time (which I've done over the past thirty years often enough). There just isn't anything about an office of any kind in 2 Timothy 2 to draw the conclusion that succession in that office is warranted. At best, its an informal line of gospel preachers, not leaders of congregations akin to the office of elder.
Yes, Paul is telling Timothy to transmit the teaching he has given to him, but he also is saying that this teaching should be committed to faithful men. Both the teaching and the men are important. It is clear from Titus 1:5 that Paul wanted Titus to ordain other men as presbyter.

I enjoy your insight.
 
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