Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Restoration

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Restoration

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:C...tyBranches.svg

    Hello all,

    I have a question relating to restorationism. Perhaps somebody more knowledgeable about history can help me.

    Anyway, I frequently hear from Catholics and others that evangelical protestantism was not the faith practiced by the early church. As the above diagram shows, there is a dotted line between the early church and the supposed corruption that entered.

    If this is correct, and modern day evangelical christianity is the restoration of the early church, what accounts for over 1000 years of discontinuity? What does the dotted line in the above diagram indicate?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I have moved this to World Religions for discussion.
    Seek ye FIRST the kingdom.
    Not second or third, but first.
    Only when all else pales to God, when He receives all glory,
    when He is the source of all hope,
    when His love is received and freely given,
    holding not to the world but to the promise to come,
    will all other things be added unto to you.

    Comment


    • #3
      I will tell you what the common argument is in favor of the position you have heard (whcih corresponds to the graph). They say that for the first 300+ years Christianity was pure and the pure Gospel was preached. This is the claim made by virtually every group (including the JW's). The "pure Gospel" is the gospel that the person telling the story believes. So, if you are talking toa a JW, the "pure Gospel" is that Jesus was not God. If you are talking to a Baptist, the "pure Gospel" corresponds to his or her beliefs.

      They claim that the Gospel remained pure and untainted until the 4th or 5th century. Some will mistakenly claim that Constantine make Christiainity the State religion in the year 313AD and forbade all other, but actually, the "edict of Milan" only legalized Christianity. Before that Christians were killed for the sole crime of being a Christian. With the Edict of Milan, Christianity was now legal along with many other religions. It was later in the 4th century (around 384AD), that Theodosius forbade the public profession of a false religion, and/or heresy. This is what he said:

      Theodosius: "We will that all people who are governed by our clemency should practise the same religion as the divine apostle Peter delivered to the Romans, as the religion proclaimed by him up to this time declares it; and which it is clear the pontiff Damasus follows, and Peter, the bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic sanctity . . . "

      The argument claims that after this people converted to Christianity, not because they wanted to, but because they were forced to. This alledgedly resulted in these "converts" mixing certain aspects of their pagan religions in with Christianity, which eventuall produced the dreaded "Roman Catholicism", which, they claim, is a corruption of the "pure Gospel" preached for the first 300 or 400 years.

      That is the argument. It sounds reasonable, but unfortunately it does not correspond to reality. There are several ways to show that this argument is not accurate, but the best way is to simply read the writings of the Christians who lived before the corruption supposedly entered in after the year 384 AD. And since it would have logically taken a while for the corrupt practices to infiltrate into Christianity, you could probably safely read the writings up to about the year 430 or so, which would include al the writings of the great St. Augustine - one who both Protestants and Catholic recognize as a great Father of the Church.

      Reading the writings of those who lived before a particular doctrine was said to be "invented" by the Catholic Church, will show whether of not the allegation is true. After all, if someone claims that auricular (verbal) confession to a Priest was invented at the IV Lateran council in the 1200's (which is what many claim), all you have to do is read the writings of the Christians before that time to see if they speak of confessing their sins to a Priest. If you do so, you will find quotes such as these:

      St. John Chrysostom, A.D. 387: ""Priests have received a power which God has given neither to angels nor to archangels. It was said to them: 'Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose, shall be loosed.' (Mt 18:18) Temporal rulers have indeed the power of binding; but they can only bind the body. Priests, in contrast, can bind with a bond which pertains to the soul itself and transcends the very heavens. Did [God] not give them all the powers of heaven? 'Whose sins you shall forgive,' he says, 'they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.' (Jn 20:21) What greater power is there than this? The Father has given all judgment to the Son. And now I see the Son placing all this power in the hands of men." (John Chrysostom, The Priesthood 3:5 [A.D. 387])"

      St. Augustine: "When you hear a man lay bare his conscience in confession, he has already come forth from the sepulcher; but he is not yet unbound. When is he unbound? By whom is he unbound? "Whatever you loose on earth," Christ says to His priests, "shall be loosed in Heaven" (Mt 18:18, 16:19)... Let no one say to me I do penance (confess) in my heart; I confess all my sins to God and to God alone: it is He Who must forgive me." Then in vain was it said to the Apostles: "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven, and whose sons you retain, they are retained" (Jn 20:23). Thus, you make a mockery of the Gospel!" (St. Augustine, Explanation of the Psalms, circa 400AD)

      Augustine: "All mortal sins are to be submitted to the keys of the Church and all can be forgiven: but recourse to these keys is the only, the necessary, and the certain way to forgiveness. Unless those who are guilty of grievous sin have recourse to the powers of the keys, they cannot hope for eternal salvation. Open your lips, then, and confess your sins to the priest. Confession alone is the true gate of heaven". (St. Augustine, Christian combat PL40:289)

      Origen: ""If we have revealed our sins not only to God but also to those who are able to heal our wounds and sins, our sins will be blotted out." (Origen - On Luke Homily 17, circa 250AD)

      Reading the writings of the early Church ourselves, is the way to determine what they believed. And, when you do so, one thing that is very striking is that they all believed the same things. The differences (when they exist) were usually extremely slight. For example, some thought that, since baptism was prefigured by circumcision, the baby should not be baptized until the 8th day after birth in order to more closely parallel circumcision. This was officially rejected by the Church:

      St. Cyprian: "As to what pertains to the case of infants: You [Fidus] said that they ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, that the old law of circumcision must be taken into consideration, and that you did not think that one should be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day after his birth. In our council it seemed to us far otherwise. No one agreed to the course which you thought should be taken. Rather, we all judge that the mercy and grace of God ought to be denied to no man born." (Cyprian of Carthage - Letters 64:2 [A.D. 256])

      St. Augustine: "Cyprian was not issuing a new decree but was keeping to the most solid belief of the Church in order to correct some who thought that infants ought not be baptized before the eighth day after their birth. . . . He agreed with certain of his fellow bishops that a child is able to be duly baptized as soon as he is born" (Augustine - Letters 166:8:23 [A.D. 412]).

      St. Augustine: "The custom of Mother Church in baptizing infants is certainly not to be scorned, nor is it to be regarded in any way as superfluous, nor is it to be believed that its tradition is anything except apostolic" (Augustine - The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 10:23:39 [A.D. 408]).

      The disagreements were often extremely slight, while the funamental beliefs were held in perfect harmony - and when I say "fundamental beliefs", I am not talking about just one or two doctrines, such as the Divinity of Jesus and the Trinity, but rather the complete body of doctrines taught by Jesus and the apostles.

      Well, I could probably go on and on boring you with this post, so I'll just end by encouraging you to read the writings of the early Church - those who lived during the time of the "pure Gospel" to see what they believed. I personally find these writings very interesting. They allow you to, in a sense, step back into the earliest years of Christinainty. It is interesting to see how they interpret various passages of the Bible, and compare their interpretation to what we hear today. I'll end with a few quotes of interest to get you started:

      The Eucharist:

      1 Cor 10:16: "The chalice of Blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the Blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the Body of the Lord?" (1 Cor 10:16)

      Below, St. John Chrysostom comments on the above verse (392AD): "'The chalice of blessing which we bless, is it not communion of the blood of Christ?' Very trustworthy and awesomely does he say it. For what he is saying is this: What is in the chalice is that which flowed from his side, and we partake of it. He called it a chalice of blessing because when we hold it in our hands that is how we praise him in song, wondering and astonished at his indescribable gift, blessing him because of his having poured out this very gift so that we might not remain in error; and not only for his having poured it out, but also for his sharing it with all of us. ... (St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on 1 Corinthians 24:1(3) [A.D. 392]).

      Cyril of Jerusalem: "As a life giving sacrament, we possess the sacred Flesh of Christ and his Precious Blood under the appearance of bread and wine. What appears to be bread is not bread, but Christ's Body and what appears to be wine is not wine, but Christ's Blood." (St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 22:9, 350 AD)

      St. Irenaues: ""He has declared the chalice, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed chalice [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life - flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?" (Irenaeus of Lyons Against the Heresies 5:2, 189AD).

      St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, disciple of John the apostle and third Bishop f Antioch: 105AD: "Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer (ie. the Mass) because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes." (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2-7)

      The Sacrifice of the Mass:

      Old Testament, Prophecy of Malachias: "From the rising of the sun even until its going down thereof, My name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is offered to My name a pure sacrifice" (Mal 1:11).

      St. Justin Martyr, 135AD: "...God speaks through Malachias, one of the twelve, as follows: 'I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord; and I will not accept your sacrifices from your hands: for from the rising of the sun until its setting, My name has been glorified among the Gentiles; and in every place incense is offered to My name, and a clean offering: for great is My name among the Gentiles, says the Lord; but you profane it.' It is of the sacrifices offered to Him in every place by us, the Gentiles, that is, of the Bread of the Eucharist and likewise of the cup of the Eucharist, that He speaks at that time; and He says that we glorify His name; while you profane it." (St. Justin Martyr - Dialogue with Trypho, 41:8-10, circa 135AD)

      St. Irenaeus of Lyons, 189AD: "He took from among creation that which is bread, and gave thanks, saying, 'This is my body.' The cup likewise, which is from among the creation to which we belong, he confessed to be his blood. He taught the new sacrifice of the new covenant, of which Malachi, one of the twelve [minor] prophets, had signified beforehand: 'You do not do my will, says the Lord Almighty, and I will not accept a sacrifice at your hands. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure sacrifice; for great is my name among the gentiles, says the Lord Almighty' [Mal. 1:10-11]. By these words he makes it plain that the former people will cease to make offerings to God; but that in every place sacrifice will be offered to him, and indeed, a pure one, for his name is glorified among the Gentiles." (Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 4:17:5 [A.D. 189])

      St. Clement: "God has therefore announced in advance that all the sacrifices offered in His name, which Jesus Christ offered, that is, in the Eucharist of the Bread and of the Chalice, which are offered by us Christians in every part of the world, are pleasing to Him." (St. Clement of Rome - Dialogue with Trypho 41:8-10, circa 135AD)

      "What then? Do we not offer daily? Yes, we offer, but making a commemoration of his death; and this commemoration is one and not many. How is it one and not many? Because this sacrifice is offered once, like that in the Holy of Holies. This sacrifice is a type of that, and this commemoration a type of that. We offer always the same, not one sheep now and another tomorrow, but the same thing always. Thus there is one sacrifice. By this reasoning, since the sacrifice is offered everywhere, are there, then, a multiplicity of Christ's? By no means! Christ is one everywhere. He is complete here, complete there, one body. And just as he is one body and not many though offered everywhere, so too is there one sacrifice" (St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Hebrews 17:3(6) [A.D. 403]).

      St. Cyprian: "The Priest who imitates that which Christ did, truly takes the place of Christ, and offers there in the Church a true and perfect sacrifice to God the Father." (St. Cyprian to the Ephesians, 258AD)

      Didache, 1st century: "Assemble on the Lord's day (Sunday), and break bread and offer the Eucharist; but first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one. Anyone who has a difference with his fellow is not to take part with you until they have been reconciled, so as to avoid any profanation of your sacrifice [Matt. 5:23-24]. For this is the offering of which the Lord has said, 'Everywhere and always, bring me a sacrifice that is undefiled, for I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is the wonder of nations' [Mal. 1:11, 14]." (Didache 14 - Teaching of the 12 Apostles, 1st century AD)

      "Accept therewith our hallowing too, as we say, 'Holy, holy, holy Lord Sabbath, heaven and earth is full of your glory.' Heaven is full, and full is the earth, with your magnificent glory, Lord of Virtues. Full also is this sacrifice, with your strength and your communion; for to you we offer this living sacrifice, this unbloody oblation" (St. Serapion, Prayer of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. 13:12-16 [A.D. 350])

      The writings of the Church Fathers are available online.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Kata Loukan
        Originally posted by KATA_LOUKAN View Post
        What does the dotted line in the above diagram indicate?
        Without labels who would know?

        Each denomination, each church even, is an aggregate of different (a) beliefs (b) practice, so it would be more meaningful to have two dozen diagrams for the major issues of belief and pactice. And then churches could aggregate their scores maybe

        PRACTICE : For example, in an area that I, for one, feel reasonably strongly about a line for non-violence would show a sharp jolt during the transition to established, and then often state, religion, with only a tiny set of Quaker dots returning the original line. But is that a "restoration"?

        DOCTRINE : It would be difficult in some doctrinal areas - for example in Christology, I doubt you could show one clear line, a jolt out, and a restoration back. What you'd more likely find was fuzziness and diffusion of parallel lines in the first 2-3 centuries, then a bit, or a lot, of constriction where any one group had the upper hand, and then more fuzziness diffusion and parallel lines in times of tolerance.

        But then what's the point? If we really care what the Bible says, sola scriptura, we won't be trying to reverse engineer into the Bible from Christian history.

        "Restoration" seems to require the impossible, a nice clean line showing a whole church, or whole bloc of churches, returning on all issues of doctrine and practice to an original line, a "restoration", and requires we forget that Paul fully expected and predicted decline in a dozen verses (do we need to list them?). Among them where Paul calls it apostasis, from whence we get apostacy, which sounds more sinister than just simple falling away, but rather than a great historical process it all seems to be very immediate in Paul's horizon - he predicts to Timothy things will go from bad to worse the moment Timothy leaves Ephesus; and it did (see the epistlet to Ephesus in Revelation). Or indeed see 5 of the 7 letters in Revelation. Call me a pessimist but I'm one of those people who thinks the Lord Jesus' Matt13 parable of the woman "hiding" the leaven wasn't a parable of growth-growth-growth big-is-beautiful success, likewise even the mustard seed with those Nebuchadnezzar echoing birds resting in its branches doesn't bode well...

        But that also applies to attempts to "restore" a pristine early Christian Eden that never really existed (although they didn't chop each other up originally , drawers of "restoration" lines please note). Human nature being what it is most positions will reoccur in any age, and any attempts to reform will soon go just as rotten as what they were reforming. As the sorry lives of Zwingli and Calvin illustrate. Luther was little better. The Catholic church constantly tried to reform - Jesuits, Benedictines, Capuchins, Franciscans, Opus Dei - these all started off as reform movements. But we cannot change Christianity, we certainly can't undo the last 20 centuries, so the solution is to each concentrate on reforming/restoring the problem at root, James 1:14,23-24.

        God bless
        Steven

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by KATA_LOUKAN View Post
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:C...tyBranches.svg

          Hello all,

          I have a question relating to restorationism. Perhaps somebody more knowledgeable about history can help me.

          Anyway, I frequently hear from Catholics and others that evangelical protestantism was not the faith practiced by the early church. As the above diagram shows, there is a dotted line between the early church and the supposed corruption that entered.

          If this is correct, and modern day evangelical christianity is the restoration of the early church, what accounts for over 1000 years of discontinuity? What does the dotted line in the above diagram indicate?

          Thanks!
          That dotted line means nothing. When the early church had problems they addressed them by councils. Not by dividing themselves into separate groups. The western church (RC) began a new approach which the eastern church (Orthodox) did not follow.

          The diagram shows the result of the western church and what resulted from that, which is schism in the church body.

          Comment


          • #6
            Torch of the Testimony

            May I suggest the reading of the Torch of the Testimony, which is the chronicling of 2000 year history of those Christians - and churches - that have stood outside the Protestant-Catholic tradition.

            See this link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...wtestamentp-20
            sigpicLife! Just Live It!
            http://www.lifeblog.co.nr/

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Ravi
              Originally posted by Amazon customer review
              The author seems especially to focus in on "brethren" type groups which had no ecclesiastical structure and hierarchy. In interpreting some events he gives away his opinions on some doctrinal issues such as the cessation of apostles and prophets, the need for a prolonged period before baptism and he seems to think there is no longer any special role for Israel in God's purposes, though I may be just be making assumptions on that point
              Seems Kennedy's criteria are organizational rather the doctrinal? Is that so?
              God bless
              Steven

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by KATA_LOUKAN View Post
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:C...tyBranches.svg

                Hello all,

                I have a question relating to restorationism. Perhaps somebody more knowledgeable about history can help me.

                Anyway, I frequently hear from Catholics and others that evangelical protestantism was not the faith practiced by the early church. As the above diagram shows, there is a dotted line between the early church and the supposed corruption that entered.

                If this is correct, and modern day evangelical christianity is the restoration of the early church, what accounts for over 1000 years of discontinuity? What does the dotted line in the above diagram indicate?

                Thanks!
                The church I pastor has its roots in what is referred to as The Restoration Movement.

                Our desire is to be Christians only.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The church I pastor has its roots in what is referred to as The Restoration Movement.

                  Our desire is to be Christians only.
                  My question is this - what accounts for 1000 years of discontinuity?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KATA_LOUKAN View Post
                    My question is this - what accounts for 1000 years of discontinuity?
                    I'm not sure what you mean by "discontinuity".

                    However, the Church transcends time, culture, politics and religious hierarchy. There have always been believers, who are filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, even in times when local churches & denominations were horribly corrupt.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm not sure what you mean by "discontinuity".
                      By this, I mean that there was no sola scriptura, sola fide, etc. until the reformation in the 16th century. All of christendom was pretty unified in their beliefs in the communion of the saints, sacraments, etc. The "ideas" of modern protestantism were pretty modern.

                      What i'm talking about is this.

                      Why, throughout the course of history until martin luther (and to some extent the waldensians in the 13th century), dont we see people insisting on sola scriptura?

                      However, the Church transcends time, culture, politics and religious hierarchy.
                      Good, we agree on this.

                      There have always been believers
                      But there have not always been protestants. how did God let his church go into apostacy so early?

                      even in times when local churches & denominations were horribly corrupt.
                      Right, because the holy spirit guards the church.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by KATA_LOUKAN View Post
                        By this, I mean that there was no sola scriptura, sola fide, etc. until the reformation in the 16th century. All of christendom was pretty unified in their beliefs in the communion of the saints, sacraments, etc. The "ideas" of modern protestantism were pretty modern.

                        What i'm talking about is this.

                        Why, throughout the course of history until martin luther (and to some extent the waldensians in the 13th century), dont we see people insisting on sola scriptura?

                        Good, we agree on this.

                        But there have not always been protestants. how did God let his church go into apostacy so early?

                        Right, because the holy spirit guards the church.
                        Please forgive me, but I really am not sure what you're asking - or what you're driving at. I must be awfully thick-headed. Would you clarify?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Please forgive me, but I really am not sure what you're asking - or what you're driving at. I must be awfully thick-headed. Would you clarify?
                          Dont be too hard on yourself. I am probably being very confusing.

                          What I want to know is - why dont we see "sola scrptura" until the 16th century? Why are so many of our doctrines as protestants relatively "new" theologically?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KATA_LOUKAN View Post
                            Dont be too hard on yourself. I am probably being very confusing.

                            What I want to know is - why dont we see "sola scrptura" until the 16th century? Why are so many of our doctrines as protestants relatively "new" theologically?
                            Thank you!

                            And I'll return to this. But right now my wife wants me to go outside and put up Christmas lights. Grrrrrr! Stinkin' Christmas lights!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KATA_LOUKAN View Post
                              Dont be too hard on yourself. I am probably being very confusing.

                              What I want to know is - why dont we see "sola scrptura" until the 16th century? Why are so many of our doctrines as protestants relatively "new" theologically?
                              It would be interesting to tap into The Parsons study from last year about the anabaptists and other non RCC groups prior to the 16th century; and their history of this topic.

                              I'll PM him about this thread, and see if he has anything to add from his prior research.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X