The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Should we form universalist congregations?


#101

That’s some heavy and interesting academic stuff there, Dave. I fluctuate between hard-core academic style presentations (in the media and elsewhere), to reading a comic book or watching old vaudeville comedians on TV (i.e. Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and the Marx Brothers) :exclamation: :laughing:


#102

I hear ya, Randy. Add ‘Farty Towels’ to the mix - oops, I meant ‘Faulty Towers’ :smiley: - and I’m good. That ‘silly stuff’ is the only thing that snaps me out of intellectual obsessions that I regularly suffer/invite. :blush:


#103

AGREED!


#104

Geoffrey said:

I appreciate your ambassadorship for the Orthodox church. So I assume that you think that Christians outside the real church (Orthodox) are missing vital sacramental privileges?


#105

It sounds to me like Orthos don’t consider Protestants and Catholics to be Christian. Is it possible for there to be a Christian who is not a member of the church?


#106

Yes.

The Orthodox Church teaches that there are real marriages outside of the Church. The Church also recognizes that trinitarian baptism performed outside of the Church is real baptism.

Those are the only two mysteries (which is the Orthodox Church’s word for “sacraments”) which exist outside of the Orthodox Church.


#107

The Orthodox Church recognizes that Protestants and Roman Catholics are Christians who are members of heretical groups.

Yes, a great many Christians exist who are not members of the Church. Orthodox Christians are members of the Church. All other Christians are not members of the Church.


#108

Geoffrey said:

I would comment that part of the idea of universal reconciliation is lost by Geoffrey, because he is involved in a organization that excludes those of us that don’t agree with his organization. :unamused: :unamused:


#109

If heresy is a sin, most Christians in the world are in trouble.


#110

yes sir my friend.


#111

I don’t understand.

Even as a Vegetarian Society by its very nature cannot have hamburger-eaters as members, so the Orthodox Church cannot by its very nature have non-Orthodox members.

What does that have to do with universal reconciliation?


#112

Yea but we have to ask if the vegetarians society is willing to accept the idea that the burger crowd might be possibly as much a part of the church as the veggies?


#113

I think you might find various members here, belonging to or attending, churches that may not “officially” be open to UR. For that matter, they also might not be open, to the Holy Fool and P-Zombie traditions. But fellowship of other believers - even if members are not 100% in accord - is very beneficial. Same goes for watching TV evangelists (i.e. Joel Osteen) or Roman Catholic discussions and masses - on TV. :smiley:

On the other matter, I’m a big fan of Asian (i.e. Chinese, Thai, and Indian), Middle Eastern and Italian cuisine. And I dabble in other world cuisines, like Ethiopian, Mexican, etc. I think their use of spices gives me infinite variety - for my palate. It really doesn’t matter that much, if they contain a lot, little, or no meat. :exclamation: :laughing:

In fact, as science and creative artists, perfect the art of “meat substitutes that taste like meat”, they might someday reach the point - to fool the experts :exclamation: :laughing:

See:

10 Meat Substitutes That Are Shockingly Delicious
Fake Meats, Finally, Taste Like Chicken
The (Fake) Meat Revolution

Here’s what Bill Gates said, in Fake Meats, Finally, Taste Like Chicken

It brings up so many ideas. Are name brands better than store brands? But give me a Trader Joes or Aldis any day, with all their store brands. And the same battery companies, that make major brand vehicle batteries, also manufacture them for Advance Auto Parts and Auto Zone. And folks visiting manufacturing plants, have seen the same end product (i.e. pineapple), going into both Del Monte’s and store brand cans. :smiley:

Hum. I’m searching for a generic fruitcake, but can’t find it anywhere. Only these really expensive kinds. Help :exclamation: :laughing:

In fact, I remember something I wrote about this, when I decided to become Zarathustra III. Here it is: :bulb:

As I reflected on this piece and generic fruitcakes, I thought about writing ability and knowing different languages. The novelist Ayn Rand, graduated from a Russian university. But she was also fluent in French and German - before migrating to America (under the pretense, of visiting relatives). She then went on to write Hollywood screenplays - in perfect English. All this, before producing her Fountainhead and **Atlas Shrugged **masterpieces. :slight_smile:


#114

It’s almost as if you are making…a Point! :smiley:

Of course, you could be accused of piecing together your own religion, eclectically, instead of toeing the line to one sort of propaganda or another.
I would not make such an accusation.
Part and parcel of what we accept as true is - it is WE who choose to accept it, and it is we who CHOOSE to accept it.

If we say - and here I leave the word-game of the fruits and the veggies for a moment - that:

  • our church is the body of Christ
  • those outside our church are not part of the body of Christ
  • one must be a member of the body of Christ to be a Christian

Then we must be saying - well, we all see what we are saying. :frowning:


#115

Sad, but said well. :cry:


#116

I affirm the first two of those statements. I deny the third.

I am not aware of any time in the Church’s history in which the first two were denied, or in which the third was affirmed.

For example, in the late 1st century and the 2nd century was the time of the Christian Gnostics. St. John the Apostle, St. Ignatios of Antioch (disciple of St. John), St. Irenaeus of Lyons (disciple of St. Polycarp, who was a disciple of St. John), etc. all fought against them. The Church did not permit the Gnostics to take communion. The Church did not conceive of itself as divided between the orthodox on the one hand and the gnostics on the other. The Church did not think the Gnostics were pagans, or Jews, or anything other than Christian heretics.

This exact same situation applied to the Arians, the Nestorians, the Modalists, the Sabellians, the Monophysites, the Monothelites, the Iconoclasts, the Filioquists, and all the rest. None of these groups were allowed communion. None of these groups were considered by the Church to be part of the body of Christ. None of these groups were considered to be pagans, Jews, Muslims, or anything other than Christian heretics.

History has shown that there are Orthodox Christians (who take communion in the Orthodox Church because they believe everything the Orthodox Church teaches), and that there are non-Orthodox Christians (who do not take communion in the Orthodox Church because they do not believe everything the Orthodox Church teaches).

I’m baffled that anyone would have any problems with this. When I find myself in a Roman Catholic congregation, I do not participate in their rites. When I find myself in a Protestant congregation, I do not participate in their rites. I would not expect the Muslims to allow me to enter Mecca. I would not expect Tibetan Buddhist monks to include me in making a mandala. Examples could be multiplied endlessly. I would not desire to enter into any of these rites, nor would I be surprised or disappointed that I would not be allowed to. For that matter, I would be excluded from some rites in an Orthodox monastery because I am not a monk.

Today is the liturgical feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Any Protestant I’ve ever heard of would have denied or at least relativized (“Well, that’s OK for you to believe, but it’s also OK not to believe it.”) most of what we were celebrating. I do not understand why anyone who is not Orthodox would have any desire whatsoever to take communion with us. The only way to do so would be to destroy the Orthodox Church, to render it nonexistent, thus: “For two thousand years the Church has taught the saving truth of everything proclaimed in the liturgy. But now, so Mr. Non-Orthodox Smith here can take communion with us, we are going to cease teaching that everything proclaimed in the liturgy is the saving truth. We are going to start teaching that at least the vast majority of what we have always taught is now very, very optional. In so doing we are no longer the Orthodox Church, but that’s not important. The important thing is that we make Mr. Non-Orthodox Smith happy.”

So, no. The Orthodox Church will never commit suicide by saying that the Orthodox Church is neither Orthodox nor the Church. We can never say, “Well, we are merely a small part of the Church, which is much bigger than us. All of our beliefs beyond a vague faith in Jesus and in being nice are, at best, quaint ethnic superstitions and, at worst, harmful falsehoods.”

Most Christians in history would disagree with lowest-common-denominator-ism. The Orthodox Church denies it, the Roman Catholics deny it, all of the Eastern heresies deny it, the big-name Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, etc.) denied it, etc. Everyone must beware of creating (in the words of G. K. Chesterton) “the vast and universal church, of which he is the only member”.


#117

I just read The Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom at ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/liturgy/liturgy.html.
It is a lovely thing, and I was blessed reading it.

It did not seem to be exclusive - certainly, sinners were invited to confession and repentance and given the comfort of forgiveness and the appurtenant blessings. In fact, it is a very generous liturgy, and full of grace and warmth.

If the EOx statement of beliefs went no further than that liturgy - to ‘go further’ I mean, to be blunt, any rigid exclusivity that interprets the promises of the liturgy as being the property of only one minority group of Christians, that minority defining themselves as the only body of Christ - I would gladly throw in with the group worship. But as a matter of conscience, I could not partake in the liturgy if by doing so I was tacitly agreeing to what I consider to be an unscriptural, and certainly not generous (in my eyes) overall confession.

I realize I am on what EOx considers to be the ‘outside’ and things certainly look different from the ‘inside’.

I


#118

That makes sense, Dave.

I trust any disagreements we might have do not cause any hard feelings. :slight_smile:


#119

No hard feelings at all, Geoffrey!! Thanks for taking the time to respond. :smiley:


#120

Maybe after all, what I have is a logical problem. Take the following syllogism (please):

The members of Church X are THE (not A) only body of Christ;
Believer HC (heretic Christian) is not a member of Church X;

Therefore HC is not part of the body of Christ.

As to form, the syllogism is valid but not sound? :
validity: a property of arguments, i.e., that they have a good structure.
(The premisses and conclusion are so related that it is absolutely impossible for the premisses to be true unless the conclusion is true also.)

soundness: a property of both arguments and the statements in them, i.e., the argument is valid and all the statement are true.
Sound Argument: (1) valid, (2) true premisses (obviously the conclusion is true as well by the definition of validity).

It’s the first premise that I have trouble with. If the premise is no more than a definition set forth by Church X, then fine - it is not binding on anyone else in another Church.

If on the other hand that first premise is supposedly based on the Scripture common to us all, then I think the premise is false.
And this is where the argument from tradition comes into play, I reckon.
So I think the validity of premise one depends on extra-biblical commentary, much as does the trinity doctrine. And if so, I think you can see why people who are not ‘in’ can ask reasonable questions and make reasonable claims of their own.

Over and out! :sunglasses: