The Instigator
SurvivingAMethodology
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
GenesisCreation
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

The Eastern Orthodox Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ in 33 AD

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
GenesisCreation
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/23/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,777 times Debate No: 25768
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (25)
Votes (3)

 

SurvivingAMethodology

Pro

My goal with this debate is to conclusively prove that what we now call the Eastern Orthodox Church is the same Church founded by Christ. The same "one, holy, catholic and apostolic" Church referenced in the Nicene Creed.

I suspect that prior to the debate, the position I am staking out will be accepted by an extreme minority here, and I know it is quite taboo these days for any Christian to claim their Church is the true one (infact, truth of any kind is pretty quaint these days, isn't it?). But I am hopeful that both my fellow debater and our audience can set aside their biases and hear the arguments out in as objective a manner as possible. This is after all how I came to the Orthodox Church - I was not raised in it (I was raised agnostic), and did not even know much of anything about it until my late 20s.

Let the first round be for acceptance and also for clarification on any definitions as deemed necessary by the con side. I would also like to point out that I intend to stick as closely as possible to facts and reasoned arguments, in the spirit of this site, and will avoid unnecessary polemics. I would ask the same from anyone who would take up the challenge. This could be a doozy!
GenesisCreation

Con

I accept the challenge.

I will be arguing the CON position. In this debate, I will argue from the perspective of reformed theology, holding firmly to the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.


My burden is this:


The Eastern Orthodox Church is not the "one" Church.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is an apostate of Christianity.

The minority element of misled, truly saved Christians within the EOC are part of the undivided body of Christ, which encompasses all True Christians, regardless of denomination.


I'd like to thank my opponent for the resolution and the patient voting audience for it's unbiased, honest review.



In Christ,

-GC-
Debate Round No. 1
SurvivingAMethodology

Pro

Thank you, GenesisCreation for taking up the challenge. I look forward to a healthy debate! The subject may be impossible, but we shouldn't let that stop us from seeing where it takes us.

I would like to begin my argument with a preface that my position that the Orthodox Church is the 'true Christian Church' does not reflect in any way on either my or my Church's opinions on the salvation of people's souls. Our Church is not a "salvation club" - there are people within it who will not be saved, and people outside of it who will. The Church is a living entity which we serve, and which acts in the world in ways we do not understand. This is not just my personal opinion, but the feelings of the vast majority of priests and bishops throughout the history of the Church. So please do not mistake my argumentation on the nature of the true Church for a presumed judgment on the status of any individual's salvation. As Bishop Kallistos Ware says, "While there is no division between a "visible" and an "invisible Church", yet there may be members of the Church who are not visibly such, but whose membership is known to God alone. If anyone is saved, he must in some sense be a member of the Church; in what sense, we cannot always say." [a] Or, more succinctly, "We can say where the Church is; we cannot say where she is not." It is from this vantage point I approach the subject, so please do not mistake my enthusiasm for an actual 'one and true' Church as a judgment on anyone or any group outside of it.

Before I get to my main argument, I would like to provide the definition of
ecclesiology I will be using:

"The Church is the Body of Christ, a theanthropic (divine-human) communion of Jesus Christ with his people. The sole head of the Church is Christ. The Church is an object of faith, that is, Orthodox Christians believe in the Church. The traditional belief in the Church is attested to in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed as the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. By this phrase is meant that the Church is undivided and not many (one), sanctified and set apart for the work of God (holy), whole and characterized by fullness and universality (catholic), and has as its essence the going out into all the world to preach the Gospel and baptize the nations (apostolic)." [1]

Now, to the main course. There are many ways I could approach this subject, but I have chosen to present in deliberately simple terms initially to see where the objections lie, which will hopefully let us get into some more depth in future rounds. I will present a summarized timeline for the Church, and let my opponent tell me where it is along this timeline where the Church 'fell away', or however he/she wishes to phrase it.

1. The Birth of the Church. The Church is born on the first Whit Sunday during the feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles, as described in Acts 2:2-4 [2] On the same day, three thousand men and women were baptized through the preaching of St. Peter, and the Christian community in Jerusalem was formed. [3] After the martyrdom of St. Stephen [4], the community in Jerusalem is scattered through persecution and begins its never-ending goal of "making all nations My disciples."

2. Christianity spreads very quickly throughout and beyond the Roman Empire. The internal structure and tasks of the Church are formed and made clear in the earliest known documents written by these first and second generation Christians, with reference to the Eucharist (ie, Communion) in the Didache [5], and reference to bishops, priests and deacons in the letters of St. Ignatius [6]. During this same time period, certain cities became points of focus for early Christians, including Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome. [7] Christians tended to look to the bishops and priests of these cities for guidance, although they had no formal authority outside of their sees.

3. Fast forward about 200 hundred years to the infamous conversion of Constantine and legalization of Christianity in the Roman Empire in 313 AD with the Edict of Milan. The age of martyrdom ends as Christianity becomes the religion of the Empire. The First Council of Nicaea is called by Constantine whereby a gathering of bishops from all over the Christian world come together to spell out more explicitly certain of their creeds and beliefs. This council is modeled after the gathering in Jerusalem mentioned in Acts 15, and all bishops in attendance are at an equal footing, as spelled out in Canon 6 of the Council. [8] During the next 400+ years, six more Ecumenical Councils meet to decide points of Church doctrine, these, known as the First Seven Ecumenical Councils, are universally accepted by Orthodox, Catholics, and Anglicans. (I suspect your argument will come from here somewhere if your objection isn't more related to the definition of Church I have given, and I am uncertain of particulars of Reformed opinion on the Councils, so I will keep the rest of the timeline short, but I would be glad to shift focus in the following rounds based on your reply)

4. Gradually during the time of these councils and later, a divide grew between Christianity in the east and the west. While in the east, the Church worked with and under the Roman (Byzantine) Empire in a 'synergia' - where the Church would cede to the Empire the matters of the world, while retaining control over its theology (thus, a 'synergia' of human and divine) - the Church in the west instead became more and more involved in taking the reigns of the politics of the time. [9] This split became 'official' in 1054, when Rome attempted to gain authority in the Church just as it was doing in the realm of politics, by issuing an order to the Ecumenical Patriarch (ie, Bishop - "Ecumenical Patriarch" is an honorary title) of Constantinople demanding he accept Rome as the head of all Churches (citing the forged "Donation of Constantine"). He refused, and they ex-communicated each other. [10] Now, going back to the 6th century, there was a concept called the Pentarchy, which is really just a way of saying that there were five major sees in the Christian world geographically speaking. These five sees were Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. It was often the case that other Bishops would first look to these sees for guidance in matters outside of Ecumenical Councils. When news of the mutual ex-communication of the papal legate and the Ecumenical Patriarch reached the rest of the sees of the Pentarchy, they all sided with Constantinople, which is what turned the ex-communication of one bishop into a real schism.

I don't wish to simply gloss over the next, oh, 1000+ years (!), but there are a couple good reasons for not going into much detail there in this round. First, Orthodox theology has not changed in that time, believe it or not. There has only been one Ecumenical Council in the Orthodox Church since the 7th in 787 AD which elucidated a theological position, the Fifth Council of Constantinople, which addressed Hesychasm, held between 1341 and 1351. [11] Secondly, I am running out of space!

I thank you for your time and look forward to going into more detail on specific issues in subsequent rounds.

Sources
[a] http://www.beliefnet.com...
[1] http://orthodoxwiki.org...;
[2] http://www.biblegateway.com...
[3] http://www.biblegateway.com...;
[4] http://www.biblegateway.com...;
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...;
[6] http://www.newadvent.org...;
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org...;
[8] http://www.newadvent.org...
[9] http://en.wikipedia.org...;
[10] http://en.wikipedia.org...;
[11] http://en.wikipedia.org...;

GenesisCreation

Con

Clearly, the apostles where charged with stewardship over the Church. This fact, however, does not preclude the Baptists, Presbyterians, Christian Orthodox, 7th Day Adventists, Pentecostals or even Catholics. The Church is defined as a “body of believers in Christ.”

If the EOC, as a corporate body of believers, was dissolved today, would the Church of Christ still exist on planet Earth? The answer is a resound “YES”. We do not require the banner or title of “Eastern Orthodox” to be a Christian. Nor do we need to submit to the EOC tradition to be considered a Christian. The church of Christ is rooted in the scripture, not the traditions or practices of corporate worship. Therefore, a Catholic with saving faith in Christ is a member of the same church as a Baptist with saving faith in Christ.

The assembly we gather in (Catholic, Baptist, EOC, etc) is a lense through which we view the Gospel message. It's not itself a Church, but a mechanism of understanding the scripture. It would much more accurate to say:

“I am a member of the Church of Christ and I interpret the scripture through the Baptist heritage.”

“I am a member of the Church of Christ and I interpret the scripture through the Catholic heritage.”

What is the Church?

  • The body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12)

  • The bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25)

  • The chosen people (1Peter 2:9)

  • The Royal Priesthood (1Peter 2:9)

  • A Holy Nation (1Peter 2:9)

  • A people belonging to God (not to the Church itself) (1Peter 2:9)

  • The elect (Matthew 24:31)

Who is part of the Church?

  • The blood purchased sinner (Acts 20:28)

  • The sinner made blameless (Ephesians 5:26)

  • The recipient of mercy (1Peter 2:10)

  • The saved (Acts 2:47)

Where is the Church?

  • Not in a physical location.... – (John 4:16)

  • ….but Inside the believer – (Ephesians 2:22)

  • Again, Inside the believer – (Hebrews 3:6)

  • If two Christians meet for worship in the basement of a house in China, there is a Church. - “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
    (Matthew 18:20 ESV)

Who is the head of the Church?

  • Jesus Christ is the head of the Church – (Colossians 1:18)

  • Not Men - (1Corinthians 11:13)

  • Not Tradition – (Colossians 2:8-19)



The marks of the True church -

  • Composed of regenerate believers (Acts 2:38)

  • Include non-believers in worship service (1Corinthians 14:22)

  • Appointment of Elders (Acts 14:23)

  • Gathers to observe ordinances (Acts 2:42)

  • The scripture is spoken (Romans 10:17)

  • No worship aid is presented (Statues, icons, golden crosses, etc) (2Corinthians 6:16)

  • Teaches the Gospel. (Not Gospel + Tradition) (Galatians 1:8)



The heresies of the EOC doctrines -

1.> No bondage to sin – The EOC doctrine teaches that unsaved mankind is not a slave to sin. This directly violates Romans 6:15 thru 23. (But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.)

2.> No elected Salvation - The EOC does not teach the doctrine of election, that God knows his followers and elects them to salvation. This violates the entire old testament, concerning the “chosen people of God” (obviously God elects). This also violates the new testament scriptures. Paul said he was “set aside for the Gospel” before birth. He did not chose God, God chose him. We have other examples of election in: Romans 9:11, Romans 11:5,1 Thessalonians 1:4, 1Peter 1:2, 2Peter 1:10.

Christ himself said:” No man can come to me, unless the Father who sent me, draws them.”
A clear-cut scripture from the mouth of Christ, all who come to Jesus are first called by God. If you're not called, you won't come. This eliminates free will, because a truly free intelligence could choose God without having him call.

3.> Theosis – The EOC doctrine of progression to “godhood” is the most flagrant heresy. Not only is it unscriptural, it's a mathematic impossibility. If God is infinite, how much do I need to progress to become like him? An infinite amount.

No matter how much progress I make, I will never reach the fullness of God. I could spend 80 million years progressing toward godhood and I would still be infinitely separated from my goal. When the Bible speaks of human beings partaking in the divine nature of God, it does not mean we will become like God.

In Genesis, God created us in his image. There was a divine nature about us. From an outside perspective, we where immediately recognized as belonging to God. We are image-bearers of God. Through Christ's work on the cross, we are promised a restoration from our current state, to the intended state. The book of Revelation calls the resurrected Christian “incorruptible”, meaning, our flesh will no longer be at war with our spirit. We will not be made corrupt by sin any longer. That does not make us god, that makes us whole.

4.> No original Sin – The EOC heresy of non-inherited sin directly denies the work of Christ and thus refuses on of the core tenants of Christianity. By this heresy alone, we could mark the EOC as a cult.

The Bible clearly teaches that all of mankind inherited the sin of Adam. The scriptures teach:” The wages of sin is death.” and it continues with “In Adam all die”. For a condition like this, mankind needs a redeemer. However, the EOC teaches that Christ is not “The Way”, but rather “He is the revealer of the way”, making it our responsibility to save ourselves by walking in his footsteps.

The denial of original sin thus denied the whole act of salvation by faith and seeks to enslave the Christian under the bondage of the law. Righteous living is now the saving factor, not the crucifixion of Christ.

Consider these verses on Justification by faith: Romans 3:22-28, John 3:16, Romans 4:3-16, Romans 5:1, Romans 5:9, Romans 9:30-33, Romans 10:4, Romans 10:9, Romans 11:6, Galatians 2:16, Galatians 2:21, Galatians 3:5-6,Galatians 3:8,Galatians 3:14,Galatians 3:22, Galatians 3:24, Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 2:8, Philippians 3:9, 1 Timothy 1:16 and so many more. The scripture is not vague on this topic. We cannot save ourselves.

5.> Unbroken succession – The idea that Church tradition was guarded and perfectly kept by the EOC since 33 AD. Considering that the Church underwent a schism, which separated it from the Church in Rome, we can easily conclude that such a notion is refuted by history itself.

The Orthodox church changed it's stance on contraception, divorce, Primacy of Peter, Mary's perpetual virginity, and Mary's sinlessness.

6.> Holy Traditions – This heresy attempts to place apocryphal writings, ecumenical councils, Church decrees and traditional writings of men at a sacred level. With this doctrine, the EOC justifies any changes it makes to canon scripture, church doctrine or core tenants of Christianity. Yet Deuteronomy teaches:”You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”

Jesus Christ said: “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”



The Character limit has been reached. Further unfolding of EOC heresy will continue in the next round.



http://en.wikipedia.org... [1]
http://carm.org...; [2]
http://www.monergism.com...; [3]
All scripture is derived from the English Standard (ESV) translation.



Debate Round No. 2
SurvivingAMethodology

Pro

"This fact, however, does not preclude the Baptists, Presbyterians, Christian Orthodox, 7th Day Adventists, Pentecostals or even Catholics."

It does not preclude us, and yet we are apostates and heretics? Interesting. I wonder if you could supply me with a meaningful definition of these words which encompasses us being both still a part of the Church and apart from it at the same time.

My previous round was set up as a way for us to easily identify where exactly in time you believe the Orthodox Church became heretical. I will ask again for this to be cleared up. This is very important to the argument on both sides, as it directly pertains to the claim made in the title of the debate. For instance, I can point to the year that the Reformed church came into existence. Can you do the same with the Eastern Orthodox Church?

As it stands, you seem to want to make this a theological debate, where many points which are superfluous to my claim need to be addressed. I am not sure we have the space or time for that, nor am I sure how exactly it reflects on the claim. It doesn't take up much space to lay out a thousand points of difference between our churches, it will take much more however for me to refute each one point by point. Please keep in mind this is not a debate about whose church is closer to your interpretation of Scripture, but a debate about a historical reality. I will attempt however to address your points as briefly as possible while I await your reply which more directly addresses the matter at hand.

"We do not require the banner or title of “Eastern Orthodox” to be a Christian."

I already said as much in the introductory paragraph of the previous round, and that isn't what this debate is about. Here is another quote to state the position more clearly:

"Faithful to its vocation to assist the salvation of all, the Church of Christ values every "spark of life," however small, in the dissident communities. In this way it bears witness to the fact that, despite the separation, they still retain a certain link with the unique and life-giving center, a link that is — so far as we are concerned — "invisible and beyond our understanding." There is only one true Church, the sole bestower of sacramental grace; but there are several ways of being separated from that one true Church, and varying degrees of diminishing ecclesial reality outside its visible limits." - Vladimir Lossky [1]

"The church of Christ is rooted in the scripture"

Christianity existed without an official canon for longer than the United States has been a country, Christianity is the source of Scripture, not the other way around. But this debate is not about sola Scriptura. However, I will state quite unequivocally that there is no doctrine of the Orthodox Church which goes against Scripture.

The questions you pose in bold, giving summaries of Scripture beneath, do not in anyway conflict with anything I have said. In the quote provided to you by bishop Kallistos Ware and in the definition of ecclesiology given, it should be clear enough we do not view the Church as merely a physical place, nor does the outward entity called the Orthodox Church reflect all of the actions of the Church in the world. As stated, the Church is a living entity which we serve. It acts in the world in ways we do not understand. I also said we view Christ as the sole head of the Church, so I do not follow the points you are trying to make here. Your perception of what the Church is does not change what the Church says it is in its own words.

"The EOC doctrine teaches that unsaved mankind is not a slave to sin."

Claims such as this require a source. I am guessing your assertion here comes down to a misunderstanding of the concept of sin as well as a rejection of free will, which again, are separate issues from the claim made in this debate.

"The EOC does not teach the doctrine of election, that God knows his followers and elects them to salvation."

This is a complicated topic which would require more room than there is in this debate to address, but I will quote from the Confession of Dositheus, which is universally accepted in the Orthodox Church, briefly:

"We believe the most good God to have from eternity predestinated unto glory those whom He has chosen, and to have consigned unto condemnation those whom He has rejected; but not so that He would justify the one, and consign and condemn the other without cause." - 3rd Decree [2]

"The EOC doctrine of progression to “godhood” is the most flagrant heresy."

At least you didn't capitalize 'godhood'! This, again, is a highly misunderstood concept which does not address my claim. But, I will address a couple of the points you are making here.

"If God is infinite, how much do I need to progress to become like him? An infinite amount. No matter how much progress I make, I will never reach the fullness of God."

Indeed!

"Intrinsic divinity is never ascribed to humankind or any part of the creation, and no created thing is confused with the being of God. Most certainly, humans are not accorded ontological equality with God, nor are they considered to merge or co-mingle with the being of God as He is in His essence." [3]

"In the Orthodox Church, salvation is understood as theosis, the infinite process of becoming more and more like God." [4]

"The EOC heresy of non-inherited sin directly denies the work of Christ and thus refuses on of the core tenants of Christianity"

You mean, a core tenet of Roman Catholicism.

Ez. 18:20 - "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself." [5]

"However, the EOC teaches that Christ is not “The Way”, but rather “He is the revealer of the way”, making it our responsibility to save ourselves by walking in his footsteps."

This is a complete misrepresentation of Orthodox doctrine. Do you have a source for it?

"We cannot save ourselves."

Can you cite me an Orthodox theologian saying we can?

"Considering that the Church underwent a schism, which separated it from the Church in Rome, we can easily conclude that such a notion is refuted by history itself."

Finally, we are on topic! Am I to take from this that you consider the Roman Catholic Church the Church that was founded by Christ in 33 AD? This seems curious, could you expound on this? Is it the Great Schism of 1054 we should be focusing on here?

"The Orthodox church changed it's stance on contraception, divorce, Primacy of Peter, Mary's perpetual virginity, and Mary's sinlessness."

First of all, I will again ask for sources on this. Can you show precisely how a point of doctrine was changed 180 degrees, and not merely clarified? Secondly, some of these things are not doctrine, but left to individual bishops to decide (particularly contraception and divorce). Thirdly, the Orthodox Church is not static, there is a process by which doctrine can be expounded upon (not "changed") - these are called Ecumenical Councils, and require consensus within the body of the Church.

I ran out of room to address your point about Holy Tradition, so I will end by saying I hope we can get back to the topic of the debate. The Reform Church was established in the 16th century. When was the Orthodox Church established? You say we follow the traditions of men, when you appear to follow the traditions of Zwingli and Calvin.

Sources

[1] introductory note to the article of Patriarch Sergius of Moscow, "L'Église du Christ et les communautés dissidentes," Messager de I'Exarchat du Patriarche Russe en Europe Occidentale 21 (Paris, 1955), 9-10

[2] http://www.crivoice.org...;

[3] http://www.antiochian.org...

[4] http://orthodoxwiki.org...;

[5] http://www.biblegateway.com...;

[6] Leonid Ouspensky and Vladimir Lossky, The Meaning of Icons
GenesisCreation

Con

Pro asked:”It does not preclude us, and yet we are apostates and heretics?

Rebuttal: I would kindly ask my opponent to read my arguments again. I explained that the body of Christ is composed of true believers. The denominational worship is the mechanism for interpretation. The entire (100%) Church of Christ is composed of believers. The EOC is not composed of 100% believing Christians. Therefore the EOC is not the Church of Christ.


Pro stated: My previous round was set up as a way for us to easily identify where exactly in time you believe the Orthodox Church became heretical.

Rebuttal: The EOC was never the one, true Church of Christ. The Church is a body of true believers, so your burden rest in providing proof that every succession of the Apostles where truly saved persons. After all, they created doctrines concerning scriptures. Interestingly, the EOC recognized 153 Popes prior to the schism in 1054 AD. Now they denounce the Primacy of Peter. This constitutes a break in traditions. [3]

Pro said: “For instance, I can point to the year that the Reformed church came into existence. Can you do the same with the Eastern Orthodox Church?”

Rebuttal: The EOC was doctrinally established in 1054 AD. There is no such thing as a reformed church nor is there such a thing as an Eastern Orthodox Church. Instead, it's the church that views scripture through reformed doctrine or the Church that views scripture through EOC doctrine. The Church is a body of believers, not the doctrine it accepts on a Corporate level.

To prove this, I will simply replace the word “Church”, with the word “Body of Christ.” Here is what your statement looks like now:” For instance, I can point to the year that the Reformed Body of Christ came into existence. Can you do the same with the Eastern Orthodox Body of Christ?”

Do you see that your understanding of the word “Church” would create “Two distinct bodies”?

Yet the scripture tells us that the Body of Christ is undivided. That's because the Body of Christ is composed of true believers, not a doctrinal entity. Christ didn't come to save institutions, he came to save people.


Pro claims:”Christianity is the source of Scripture, not the other way around.”

Rebuttal: Christianity, or the tradition of following Christ, is not the author of scripture. It is the author of extra-Biblical content, like the Apocrypha. Again, the EOC doctrine condemns itself with Heresy. Consider 2 Peter 1:20–21 - “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.


Pro said:” But this debate is not about sola Scriptura....

Rebuttal:.....because the EOC does not consider the scripture sufficient by itself. Yet 2Timothy 3:15 shows us that the scriptures “are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

So what's left for EOC tradition and doctrine to teach us?

Pro said:”However, I will state quite unequivocally that there is no doctrine of the Orthodox Church which goes against Scripture.

Rebuttal: The EOC practice of prayers for the dead goes against scripture as does the EOC practice of praying to a Saint. Deuteronomy 18:9-12 specifically outlaws communication with the dead. Consider Psalms 6:4-5 - “Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake. For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?”

Pro objected to this statement:"The EOC doctrine teaches that unsaved mankind is not a slave to sin”, requesting a source. Ask and you shall receive.

Rebuttal: “Sin is not viewed by the Orthodox as a stain on the soul that needs to be wiped out, or a legal transgression that must be set right by a punitive sentence, but rather as a mistake made by the individual with the opportunity for spiritual growth and development.” [4]

Pro gave this source: "We believe the most good God to have from eternity predestinated...but not so that He would justify the one, and consign and condemn the other without cause."

Rebuttal: We see the words “without cause”. These imply the act of free will of the person who is either condemned or saved. This is taken directly from the Confessions of Dositheus. [5]

The problem with the idea of free will is John 10:

The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.”

This passage shows us this:

  • We don't become sheep because we chose to believe.

  • We believe because we are his sheep, given to him by the father.

  • The Jews in this passage didn't believe because they are not sheep.
    They where not given to Jesus by the father.

Pro said: "In the Orthodox Church, salvation is understood as theosis, the infinite process of becoming more and more like God." He then thanked me for not writing “godhood” with a capitalized “G”.

Rebuttal: Saint Athanasius capitalized the theosis goal in his orthodox writings. “For He was made man that we might be made God.” [6] Is this an accident on his part? If so, why do you quote him so often, as if his writing was sacred or divine?


Pro objected
to this:"However, the EOC teaches that Christ is not “The Way”, but rather “He is the revealer of the way”, making it our responsibility to save ourselves by walking in his footsteps", and asked for a source.

Rebuttal: “The Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through his transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself”. This is done through the three stages, called “Katharsis, Theora and Theosis”. A gradual process of following the lifestyle of Christ, to become divine like Christ. [6]


Pro asked for proof that the EOC doctrine teaches that we must earn our own salvation.

Rebuttal: From the EOC 10 step program for salvation, I give you step 2: “Show our gratitude, accept this gift, and retain it, by living a life of devotion in faith to our Savior, Jesus Christ.If you don't put in the work, you won't go to heaven. As per EOC doctrine.

Pro objected: “First of all, I will again ask for sources on this (changes in EOC doctrine). Can you show precisely how a point of doctrine was changed 180 degrees, and not merely clarified?”

Rebuttal: Yes, Prior to 1930 the EOC wholly rejected all forms of contraception. The contemporary EOC does not. That's a full 180 degree change in policy.


Pro said: You say we follow the traditions of men, when you appear to follow the traditions of Zwingli and Calvin.

Rebuttal: Yes. I agree with a large portion of Calvin's writing. However, I don't believe he has exclusive, God-given authority to safe-guard the scripture. The guy was a murderer for goodness sake. I just believe he hit the nail on the head with his understanding of scripture. Nothing mystical about it. He's just a man.

Debate Round No. 3
SurvivingAMethodology

Pro

Very few of the points in the previous post have anything to do with refuting the claim made in the title of the debate, so I will only address those, because we only have two rounds left and still have barely even discussed the subject matter at hand.

You say, "There is no such thing as a reformed church nor is there such a thing as an Eastern Orthodox Church. Instead, it's the church that views scripture through reformed doctrine or the Church that views scripture through EOC doctrine."

It seems your main argument is that there is no such thing as a visible church. Let us assume this is true for a moment and apply it to a different setting in time. Let's go all the way back to the beginning when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles. Was this a real, visible Church? Would it be necessary for all of the Apostles present to be saved for it to be a real, visible Church? Would this then mean that the Church ceased to be a real, visible Church when just one person joined who did not end up being saved? Would you be able to say when that happened?

Going by your definition, this was just another group of men who viewed Scripture a certain way. But, we seem to have another problem here, as the NT was not even yet written. So were they a group of men who viewed the OT a certain way? Then what about the teachings of Christ? How does your definition of church fit into this time period? Does the definition of church change with time?

The apostles had to write these texts, not interpret them. They infact were writing down their interpretation of events they experienced. Simply put, your definition of what a church is is only one side of the coin, which is clearly demonstrated in applying it to this setting. Infact, by your definition, no church could even have existed prior to the Synod of Hippo, nearly 400 years later. Are you saying no one was saved before the Bible was canonized? And by the way, who canonized the Bible? The Church that isn't real? Just some random guys who had a particular view of what Scripture should be? How can you be so averse to the idea of a true Church on one hand, and on the other, be absolutely convinced beyond a measure of a doubt that what this Church produced, assembled and canonized is true?

Another point: if the Church is solely invisible, then what do you make of the following verse?

"Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." 1 Tim 3:14-15

Was Paul saying here that he was going to tell people who were already saved how they should act? Or people 'in' heaven? Why would that be necessary? Why did Paul attach enough importance to the idea of a real, visible Church that he thought it was worth taking the time to tell people how to conduct themselves in it? Your definition of Church again does not hold up here.

You say, "The Church is a body of true believers, so your burden rest in providing proof that every succession of the Apostles where truly saved persons."

May I then ask what is your interpretation of these two parables?

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away." - Matt 13:47-52

"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn." - Matt 13:24-30

The Church could not possibly have 'only caught the good fish', or 'only gathered the wheat' without accumulating the tares. As I stated in my initial post, the Church is not a salvation club. Membership does not equal salvation, nor does being outside the Church equal condemnation.

The logic Con is using is very shaky on many fronts, let's look at it from another angle.

You say, "Interestingly, the EOC recognized 153 Popes prior to the schism in 1054 AD."

"The EOC was doctrinally established in 1054 AD."

I don't know quite what to make of this disconnect, but I will have to assume it was a misstep and move on. You say the Eastern Orthodox Church was 'doctrinally established' in 1054 AD. Can you tell me what 'new doctrine' was introduced in 1054, by which the Church 'established' itself? I know of none. All that happened in 1054 is one Bishop excommunicated another, while practically every other Bishop from anywhere of note in the Christian world sided with the one who was excommunicated. [1] Going by a simple consensus in the Church then, this is not when the Eastern Orthodox Church was founded, but when the Roman Catholic Church was founded, and officially divided itself from the other major sees.

It is worth noting that it was only 41 years later when the Catholic Church began the Crusades [2] - a series of 'holy wars', which would have never found a consensus throughout the rest of the Church. The trajectory here is fairly clear if you look at it objectively.

"Do you see that your understanding of the word “Church” would create “Two distinct bodies”?"

Again, there is a massive disconnect here, as it is precisely your definition which assumes two bodies - one invisible and one visible, with no correlation whatsoever between the two, hence, distinct. While I have already supplied this quote, which denies there are two bodies:

"While there is no division between a "visible" and an "invisible Church", yet there may be members of the Church who are not visibly such, but whose membership is known to God alone. If anyone is saved, he must in some sense be a member of the Church; in what sense, we cannot always say." - Bishop Kallistos Ware

Here is another:

"Orthodox theology refuses to separate the ‘invisible’ and the ‘visible Church,’ and therefore it refuses to say that the Church is invisibly one but visibly divided. No: the Church is one, in the sense that here on earth there is a single, visible community which alone can claim to be the one true Church. The ‘undivided Church’ is not merely something that existed in the past, and which we hope will exist again in the future: it is something that exists here and now. Unity is one of the essential characteristics of the Church, and since the Church on earth, despite the sinfulness of its members, retains its essential characteristics, it remains and always will remain visibly one. There can be schisms from the Church, but no schisms within the Church. And while it is undeniably true that, on a purely human level, the Church’s life is grievously impoverished as a result of schisms, yet such schisms cannot affect the essential nature of the Church." [3]

Con has stated the Orthodox Church was founded in 1054, which I have shown to be simply a historical bias viewed through a western lens.

Con has also tried to argue that the only real Church is an invisible one, thus differentiating and making distinct two separate Churches. This does not hold up to either Scripture, or logic when applied to a different time period.

Sources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...;

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...;

[3] http://www.holy-trinity-church.org...;
GenesisCreation

Con

Pro said: “Very few of the points in the previous post
have anything to do with refuting the claim made in the title of the debate, so
I will only address those, because we only have two rounds left and still have
barely even discussed the subject matter at hand.”

Rebuttal:
The title of the debate seeks to establish that the EOC was the one, true, holy, apostolic
church founded in year 33. I have conclusively shown, through the scripture,
that the EOC does not meet the qualifications of being the one, true, holy, apostolic
Church. The scripture is at home in a debate such as this. If you do not accept
this premise in the context of scripture, then your resolution condemns itself.


Pro assumed
: “It seems your main argument is that there is
no such thing as a visible church
.”

Rebuttal:
Straw man. The term “visible Church” is not scriptural. It was first used in the 4th
century AD [1], and referred to the doctrinal institution which was composed of
both true believers and false claimers of faith. The true Church is composed of
his sheep only, not a blending of sheep and wolves. He never charged Peter with
tending to the “visible church.”

Consider John 21: 15
“Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than
these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him,
Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John,
do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He
said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of
John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that
I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep
.” “

The Psalmist exclaim:” Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
This is in reference to a Shepard.
The staff was designed to hook around the neck of the sheep, to keep them from
going astray. The rod was a weapon, designed to trash the wolves that attacked
the flock. We can clearly see that the Church of Christ is composed of Sheep
only and that God keeps the true sheep from straying too far, as well as
protecting them from the wolves. The true Church does not have wolves in its
midst, the “visible Church” does.

The “Visible Church” is a man-made tradition and yet another example of
EOC heresy attempting to establish doctrine where the scripture is
silent.

Pro argued:” by your definition, no church could even
have existed prior to the Synod of Hippo, nearly 400 years later. Are you
saying no one was saved before the Bible was canonized? And by the way, who
canonized the Bible? The Church that isn't real?

Rebuttal:
The Church was established from the mouth of Christ. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said:”
I will build my Church.” Notice, whom it is that builds the Church, and whom
the Church belongs to. The Church was not built by the Apostles. It was built
by Christ and it belongs to Christ. Knowing this, what are we supposed to do
with your claim that the EOC is the one true, holy, apostolic Church? I’ve already established what the Church is,
and what it is not. Clearly, the EOC is not a church, but rather a doctrinal
institution.

Pro said:” if the Church is solely invisible, then what do you make of the
following verse
? (1Timothy 3:14-15)”

Rebuttal
:
A verse aimed at the sheep, not the wolves. Why would he ask the wolves to conduct
themselves Holy?

Pro established: "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a
dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when
it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into
vessels, but threw the bad away." - Matt 13:47-52

Rebuttal:
“…..but threw the bad away”. Obviously, the “bad” did not get included in the body
of Christ. I’m not sure what this should establish, except that the body of
Christ is composed of “good vessels” only.

The Church is a “Holy Nation”. Are the Non-believers Holy? The Church is the
Royal Priesthood. Are the condemned among them? The Church is the chosen
people. Are those whom are cast into darkness chosen for light? The Church is
the elect. Are the lost within them?


Pro established
: The Church could not possibly have 'only
caught the good fish', or 'only gathered the wheat' without accumulating the
tares. As I stated in my initial post, the Church is not a salvation club.

Rebuttal
:
Logical error. The Church does not catch good fish. The “net” in this parable is the
Gospel, not the Church. Consider the parable of the sower. The word takes root,
not the Church.

Gospel =/= Church

Pro argued:” You say the Eastern Orthodox Church was 'doctrinally established'
in 1054 AD. Can you tell me what 'new doctrine' was introduced in 1054,
by which the Church 'established' itself? I know of none. “

Rebuttal:
The same way that the South became its own national entity after withdrawing from
the United States, so did the EOC become its own doctrinal entity after the
schism in 1054. It makes no sense to appeal to an EOC historical perspective on
this matter, because the Catholic perspective is the polar extreme and negates
it.

Pro argues:” … there is a massive disconnect here, as
it is precisely your definition which assumes two bodies - one invisible and
one visible, with no correlation whatsoever between the two, hence, distinct.
While I have already supplied this quote, which denies there are two bodies
:…”

Rebuttal:
Straw man. I did not describe a difference between
the visible and invisible. I described the absolute separation between the True
Church of Christ and a doctrinal entity. If I recognize the EOC as the body of
Christ, I might as well recognize Microsoft Corp. as the body of Christ. Wouldn’t
you agree that the Company employs professing Christians? Clearly, we see:
Institution =/= Church.

Pro stated: “ Con has stated the Orthodox Church was
founded in 1054, which I have shown to be simply a historical bias viewed
through a western lens.

Rebuttal:
I have shown that the EOC does not qualify to be called the one, true, holy, apostolic
Church. It could have founded on the second day of creation and still not
constitute the true Church. Even so, you have yet to prove your burden in
either regard. My premises have been met with little more than an appeal to
tradition.

Pro has flagrantly negated the burden and openly refused to
address my objections.

Pro said: “Con has also tried to argue that the only
real Church is an invisible one, thus differentiating and making distinct two
separate Churches. This does not hold up to either Scripture, or logic when
applied
to a different time period.”

Rebuttal:
I have not argued that the Church is invisible. I have argued that the Church is not a
doctrinal institution governed by EOC tradition and Dogma. I argued that the
Church was created by Christ, and entirely accepts every soul purchased by
saving faith, regardless of which doctrine their institution preaches.

Sources

http://www.reformationtheology.com... [1]

Debate Round No. 4
SurvivingAMethodology

Pro

I would like to begin by thanking my opponent. This is a massive topic with undeniably important stakes, not taken on lightly. Whatever the results I am thankful for the opportunity to attempt to make my case. I only pray that any lack of skill, experience, or persuasion I have in the art of debating not reflect poorly upon the Church.

Throughout, Con has tried to change what this debate is about. This is not a debate about who has the correct interpretation of Scripture. I would gladly take on this argument with him in a separate debate focused on a particular topic, but I did not feel the need nor have the time to address each one of his objections to Orthodox interpretation.

Con says that my summation of his main argument being that there is no such thing as a 'visible Church' is a "straw man", but then goes on to tell me in his rebuttal that there is no such thing as a visible Church. I am not sure what to make of this.

In his attempt to drive this point home, he cites Scripture which was produced and edited together by members of this same Church which he says is merely a 'man-made tradition'. He insinuates that St. Athanasius was a heretic. The same St. Athanasius who was absolutely instrumental in assembling the Scripture he holds to be the source of his beliefs. From a protestant source:

"There is no question that the emphasis on the exclusiveness and finality of the canon is closely connected with Athanasius' total theological conception, anti-heretical and Bible-related. Over and above that it has to be observed that precisely in the years after 362, his concern was directed towards the unity of the 'orthodox' Church, and hence that for him a uniform canon was also a necessity." [1]

From an Anglican source:

"One Easter Letter (or Paschal Letter) of Athanasius is well known for giving a list of the books that ought to be considered part of the canonical Scriptures, with a supplementary list of books suitable for devotional reading. For the New Testament, he lists the 27 books that are recognized today." [2]

Con evidently believes the Bible was assembled by the Holy Spirit acting through men (to which I wholeheartedly agree), but he denounces one of the same principal men involved in this process as a heretic. I wish I could spend more time on this point, as I believe it is crucial, but I believe I have made the important point here as far as I am able.

Con says "the Church was established by the mouth of Christ" (which I agree with), but then says that Scripture alone is necessary for salvation, even though Scripture itself nowhere says that it alone is sufficient for that. Jesus never commanded that his teachings be committed to a book, even less for us to use this book as a source for everything we need to know for salvation. If this was as important as Con and other adherents of sola Scripture believe it is, why would he never have mentioned this? Again and again, Jesus is recorded as teaching orally, only once writing anything, and that in sand, a symbol for the medium which you may interpret as you will. In fact, we even know that Christ taught things to his apostles which were not recorded:

"But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables." - Mark 4:10-11

This is not to say Christ had 'secret teachings', but that he saw the important of being discerning in whom to reveal what to, he did not 'cast his pearls before swine'.

And in Scripture there numerous mentions of the importance and place for oral transmission, be it in 2 Tim. 1:13 (oral authority did not die with the apostles - St. Paul was not one), Titus 1:3 (God's word is manifest through preaching), Luke 10:16 (He who hears you hears Me), Rom. 10:17 (faith comes through hearing), 2 John 1:12 (John prefers speaking over writing), and many, many more [3] - perhaps most strikingly in Isa. 59:21:

“As for Me,” says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.”

Which brings us to the importance of apostolic succession. What does it mean that Christ built his Church upon the faith of one of his apostles?

"Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” - Matt. 16:17-19

In the west in the Middle Ages, popes were often chosen by secular rulers based on political needs. This never happened in the east. We can draw a straight line from current bishops, selected from within the Church, to Peter and Christ himself - and we acknowledge Christ as the sole head of the Church, not any human being. All authority within the Church comes from Christ, and is only wielded with consensus throughout the Church in the form of Ecumenical Councils, which by anyones standards, are utilized extremely sparingly on a strictly 'as needed' basis (the last Ecumenical Council in the Orthodox Church was nearly 700 years ago!) [4].

Jesus laid the groundwork for apostolic succession by choosing them himself, and bestowing upon them the keys of the kingdom of heaven. This does not mean bishops (or apostles) are infallible and must be followed regardless of where they are leading people. This does not mean we follow the 'tradition of men'. This does not mean men are the head of the Church. Again, we are brought back to the idea of consensus within the Church. If a bishop is corrupt, he is shunned by the faithful and excommunicated from the Church. Bishops are in fact held to a much higher standard precisely because of the position they are in. As St. Athanasius himself said, "The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops!" [5]

Having made the argument against the idea of a purely 'invisible Church' (despite his trying to reframe his argument in regard to these terms), the only point left in Cons argument is his version of what happened during the Great East-West Schism.

Con says, "The same way that the South became its own national entity after withdrawing from the United States, so did the EOC become its own doctrinal entity after the schism in 1054."

I think this is a very poor analogy which avoids answering the question I posed. This comes back I suppose to Con's definition of Church. So we are back where we started.

Con takes issue with me saying 'visible Church' because he does not believe an institution has anything to do with "the Church" as he defines it. To cede to his problem with this terminology, I invite him to insert "institution" wherever I used the phrase "visible Church" and move past this issue of semantics and address the points I was getting at, which I have seen few of thus far.

I want to thank anyone who took the time to read all of this and to remind you before you vote that this was a debate on a specific subject, not a 'my theology vs. your theology' debate. Voting Pro does not necessarily mean you think Orthodox theology is 100% right. I hope to have more of these in the future on more specific topics so we can actually make some headway in understanding them and not be bothered by long tangents which do not affect the proposition of the debate.

[1] http://www.ntcanon.org...

[2] http://justus.anglican.org...

[3] http://scripturecatholic.com...;

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...;

[5] http://www.dailycatholic.org...;

GenesisCreation

Con

I extend my gratitude to the opponent for establishing the resolution. I furthermore extend my thanks to the voting audience for patiently considering the arguments.

This debate was no doubt poorly formatted. My opponent raised objections to my angle of attack, yet provided no limiting action within round one.

Assuming therefor, that my burden is to defy the claim that the EOC is the one, true, holy, Apostolic Church, I set out to discredit the institution through the very principle upon which it was supposedly founded; The Holy Scriptures. Why my opponent objected to this tactic is a mystery. Surely we cannot debate the topic of ordained stewardship without directly appealing to the source.

I make no apology for a thorough dismantling of the EOC doctrine through the authority of scripture. It is a natural course of action, one that my opponent should have prepared for and possibly used himself.


Closing Rebuttals
:

Pro stated: Throughout, Con has tried to change what this debate is about. This is not a debate about who has the correct interpretation of Scripture.

Rebuttal:Since the EOC is claiming to have authority based on the scripture, I see no other logical approach than to take this debate to the scriptures. My opponent instead demanded that we change the context of this debate to "Baptist vs. EOC" or "Catholic vs. EOC". While I see a limited merit in such an approach, the premise would assume that one of the two institutions is correct. As I have argued, none of the earthly institutions are correct. I understand that my opponent was surprised by this. That is the nature of the beast. I respectfully suggest that my opponent adopts a higher degree of adaptation.

Pro stated: Con says that my summation of his main argument being that there is no such thing as a 'visible Church' is a "straw man", but then goes on to tell me in his rebuttal that there is no such thing as a visible Church. I am not sure what to make of this.

Rebuttal: As I have explained before, the true Church of Christ is composed of his sheep only. The condemned, unsaved "wolves" clearly cannot constitute any portion of the "body of Christ". They are, by definition, outside of the Church. Therefore, I established this premise:

If the EOC is the true Church, then one part of your burden is to show that 100% of the global congregation is saved. Since the EOC cannot establish the salvation state of every person within its ranks, it cannot claim to be the one, true Church.

By the same logic, I cannot claim that a Diamond is 100% pure if any portion of it contains impurity. A portion of the diamond may be pure, but not all of it. This can be applied to the context of the debate. A portion of the EOC congregation may have saving faith, but that does not constitute a 100% pure EOC Church.

The Church of Christ only consists of believers, the EOC does not. A simple and rational dismissal.

Pro stated: In his attempt to drive this point home, he cites Scripture which was produced and edited together by members of this same Church which he says is merely a 'man-made tradition'.

Rebuttal: If my opponent has an issue with the ESV translation, he should have objected earlier. Specifically, this is a point to be established in the round 1 guideline. Despite my opponent’s failure to raise a valid objection, I will certainly not shy away from using the King James Version in any future debates.

Pro stated: He insinuates that St. Athanasius was a heretic. The same St. Athanasius who was absolutely instrumental in assembling the Scripture he holds to be the source of his beliefs.

Rebuttal: St. Athanasius did not write the Gospel message. Not a single verse is attributed to this man. He may have been present hundreds of years later to make some suggestions on the arrangement and chronology, but the full canon had already been inspired. This is like Al Gore claiming he invented the internet.

Here are the authors of scripture:

Moses, Joshua, Eleazar, Ezra, David, Solomon, Agur son of Jakeh, King Lemuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, John Mark, Luke, Apostle John, Luke, Paul, James, Simon Peter, John, Jude[1]

Pro stated: Con evidently believes the Bible was assembled by the Holy Spirit acting through men (to which I wholeheartedly agree), but he denounces one of the same principal men involved in this process as a heretic.

Rebuttal: Straw Man. I did not say that the Bible was assembled by the Holy Spirit. I said it was written by the Holy Spirit. The manner in which some ancient heretic "assembles" it has nothing to do with its conception.

That’s like claiming that a librarian shares in the authorship of all the books in the library.

Pro stated: "Con says "the Church was established by the mouth of Christ" (which I agree with), but then says that Scripture alone is necessary for salvation, even though Scripture itself nowhere says that it alone is sufficient for that. Jesus never commanded that his teachings be committed to a book, even less for us to use this book as a source for everything we need to know for salvation.

Rebuttal: God commanded John, verbatim, to write down prophecy. The Apostles claimed several time to have been moved by the spirit to write the Gospel. The Apostles call it "scripture" because it was "scribed". Additionally, no other scripture was written after the end of prophecy.

We know that the Gospel was completed by the traditions of Hebrews 1: Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

No more prophets. St Athanasius was not equipped to ordain scripture. Period.

Pro stated: "But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, "To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables." - Mark 4:10-11

Rebuttal: Exactly. The twelve had been given the mystery of the kingdom, not the EOC or St. Athanasius. Christ provides a clear limit to understanding here. Twelve Apostles, no more.

Pro stated: Which brings us to the importance of apostolic succession. What does it mean that Christ built his Church upon the faith of one of his apostles? (Matt. 16:17-19)

Closing remarks:
Round 2 to 3-
  • Opponent drops arguments for what constitutes a Church and the marks of the true Church.

Round 3-4 -
  • Opponent drops argument of Heresy on Prayer to the Dead
  • Opponent drops argument of Heresy on Prayer to the Saints
  • Opponent drops argument of Heresy on Election
  • Opponent drops argument of Heresy on inherited Sin.
  • Opponent drops argument of Heresy on salvation by works.

Round 4-5 -

  • Opponent drops premise on Calvin
  • Opponent drops premise on the great schism in 1054.
  • Opponent drops argument of broken succession through 153 Popes.

I can conclusively show that my opponent dropped at least nine arguments. I furthermore show that my opponent was therefore unable to refute charges of broken succession and heresy. This effectively destroys his position. I have shown that the EOC is not the unbroken succession of apostolic succession. I have shown that the EOC is guilty of Heresy and that they are not the ordained stewards of the word of God. My burden is met. My opponent has failed his burden with absolute certainty.

I urge the voter to supply an unbiased vote for CON.

Debate Round No. 5
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by MetalheadWolfman 1 year ago
MetalheadWolfman
Protestant arguments make me lose faith in humanity.

The Holy Orthodox Church is the ONLY Church Christ founded. Submit yourself to the authority of Constantinople.
Posted by kjw47 4 years ago
kjw47
If its true that the easter orthodox church is the one Jesus founded--then they would be teaching a single being God named YHWH(Jehovah) ---- This is the God that Moses,Abraham,Job,Noah,Isaiah,Daniel, etc served--also this single being God was the God Jesus was taught in the synagogues when he attended them. Its 100% fact of history that every israelite while serving the true allmighty God served a single being God named YHWH( Jehovah) That is why Jesus never refuted that because this is truth- rev 3:12. trinitarians are being mislead with altered versions of Gods written word.
Posted by GenesisCreation 4 years ago
GenesisCreation
S"lo hablo un poco de espa"ol, pero estoy en lo cierto al suponer que usted es ahora el ateo? Parece que una vez tuviste fe en la Iglesia Cat"lica, "es esto correcto? "Podr"a explicar por qu" dej" la Iglesia?
Si usted habla Ingl"s, tengo un mont"n de grandes recursos en la fe cat"lica. Yo no creo que debas abandonar a Dios, s"lo porque usted dej" la Iglesia Cat"lica. Dios = / = Iglesia Cat"lica.
Nunca renunci" a mi b"squeda de Dios. Yo no lo encontr" en la Iglesia. "l me encontr" a trav"s de las Escrituras. Despu"s de que sab"a qui"n era Dios, entonces busqu" una Iglesia que predica el Evangelio mismo que yo hab"a aprendido.
Me gustar"a discutir este tema m"s a fondo con usted, si usted est" abierto a la idea.
Posted by atomo25 4 years ago
atomo25
Fui educado y hasta novicio fui dentro de la fe catolica, no era real mi vocacion y sali al mundo, otros libros lei, otros amigos tube, otros maestros laicos tambien, por lo que encontre que pesaba mas otras verdades que mi verdad...por lo que fui ateo, si los dogmas catolicos mentian, dios no existia.
Apesar que habian cristianos en Roma, fue atraves de Santa Elena convertida al cristianismo que logro que su hijo Constantino decretara el cristianismo como Unica religion en Roma.
Creo que en el Ano 30 0 40 DC fue donde hubo gran divicion de los cristianos...pues anteriormente los cristianos...habian acabado con los Coptos Cristianos, y esa separacion ocurre porque un grupo decia que debian de seguir la religion como los apostoles la habian llevado, o sea, pelo largo, barba espesa y casados. Los Romanos decian que pelo corto, sin barbas y celibato. Al no ponerse de acuerdo...El jefe de la iglesia que Radicaba en Constantinopla...se fue. Y fundo lo que se conoce como Catolicos Apostolicos ortodoxsos.
Y Otro Jefe de iglesia llamada Catolica Apostolica Romana...durante el primer siglo d.C. los 27 libros del Nuevo Testamento fueron escritos y con el tiempo fueron aceptados como el canon del Nuevo Testamento. Transcurrieron varios siglos de uso de la Biblia en varias traducciones en varios idiomas. Al final del siglo IV y a principios del siglo V las iglesias se dieron cuenta de que debido a los cambios en el primer siglo d.C. los 27 libros del Nuevo Testamento quedaron como canon de la biblia.
Posted by Jessalyn 4 years ago
Jessalyn
This looks like a great one. I will definitely vote on it when I have more time to read through it.
Posted by GenesisCreation 4 years ago
GenesisCreation
@eastcoastsamuel,

I understand it's a tactic and that using it is not an implication on my faith....but it would feel that way to me. There's certain arguments just I wouldn't make. I also wouldn't be as disingenuous as to fabricate a lie. If something I write is wrong, it's out of error...not tactical misrepresentation.

My signature block has a good quote by John Dickson. He said (paraphrasing), "I would be suspicious of any argument without any concessions."

There are a few things, before starting an argument, that need to be acknowledged. I cannot begin a debate on "Violence in the old testament", without acknowledging that Christianity has a violent history. A shameful, violent history. To deny that, and attempt to walk on water...it's disingenuous.

Therefore, I would not and could not misrepresent the argument for the sake of tactics.
Posted by eastcoastsamuel 4 years ago
eastcoastsamuel
@annanicole I understand that the Jesus myth theory is what it says on the tin-- a theory, and one that is far from popular acceptance. It's my personal opinion that I felt that maybe he should try to use it in his arguments, because I personally feel that it is correct and could be used to negate the resolution. I'm fine with the fact that he didn't use it, as it's his debate and his thoughts.
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
History bias is so interesting.

I was just reading a Catholic perspective on the Orthodox Catholic churches, and it said a bunch of stuff about how the Patriarch of Constantinople was picked by the Byzantine emperor, and then about how after the fall of Constantinople, the Muslim sultan picked the Patriarch based on whoever made him the best monetary offer.

Also, I don't think that the schism occurred in 1054, as Cardinal Humbert only excommunicated Patriarch Cerularius (and Patriarch Cerularius only excommunicated the legates), and even the validity of that is questioned as Pope Leo IX was dead at the time.

Just my $0.02.
Posted by annanicole 4 years ago
annanicole
LOL @ trying to suggest that someone "prove" that Jesus never existed. He'd spend a year trying in vain to prove a negative if he were interested in scoring such a point. As for me, I wouldn't spend one second trying to prove it, so I agree with Genesis.
Posted by GenesisCreation 4 years ago
GenesisCreation
I understand...and while I'm not a stranger to tactical debating, I would never deny Christ before men. It's not even an option.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
SurvivingAMethodologyGenesisCreationTied
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Reasons for voting decision: COuntering AMTY
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
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Reasons for voting decision: My vote is as biased as can be, but I might as well cast it anyway. I found most of the doctrinal arguments irrelevant, because any old person can grab a scripture and make it say what they want it to, so that's hardly an objective showing that the Orthodox Church is heretical. Also, I found Con's attempt to claim that Church is intangible to be unconvincing, and while his argument regarding the schism was quite powerful, I feel Pro narrowly managed to overcome them.
Vote Placed by annanicole 4 years ago
annanicole
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro did not specify which source(s) would be authoritative, nor did he specify whether the criteria would be "church identity" (identifying marks of the NT church) or "church history." And Pro, you should have disputed his definition of "church" as a merely a body of believers, with no qualification.