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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Core Beliefs
Beeswax Altar
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
if there is objective truth, then Jesus is either God or not God.

There may be objective truth but we humans cannot apprehend it in any way but subjectively.
Maybe or maybe not. Either the core beliefs of Muslims or Christians are wrong. There is no way around that. If I've accepted that Jesus is God, it logically follows that Muhammad must be a false prophet and the Koran an idol.

The whole elephant analogy breaks down somewhat when you claim Jesus is God. Being a pluralist means denying that Jesus is God. Most pluralists have figured that out. I say most because you are a pluralist but haven't. You can be an inclusivist and still orthodox. You can be an exclusivist and a universalist. What defies reason is claiming to be both a pluralist and orthodox.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
it logically follows that Muhammad must be a false prophet and the Koran an idol.

How can the Qur'an possibly be an idol?

Islam is the most anti-idolatry religion going and the Qur'an is not an object of worship?

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle Ringer:
I'm curious - what do you preach to your congregation in your Christian church? "Jesus might be God or might not be, we really can't know; Jesus might have been resurrected, or might still be in the grave, or might not have died at all, we really can't know"?

I don't preach doctrine. I understand homiletics to be about teasing out lectionary passages for their relevance to people's lives.

Doctrine is more suited to teaching than preaching.

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shamwari
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Said Leo

I don't preach doctrine. I understand homiletics to be about teasing out lectionary passages for their relevance to people's lives.

Heck!

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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
it logically follows that Muhammad must be a false prophet and the Koran an idol.

How can the Qur'an possibly be an idol?

Islam is the most anti-idolatry religion going and the Qur'an is not an object of worship?

Calling it an idol was a bit strong. I intended to change that but the edit time elapsed. The Koran plays a role in Islam similar to the one Jesus plays in Christianity. Jesus is divine in Christianity. Plus, the reverence shown the Koran borders on the idolatry.

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sharkshooter

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
...
Doctrine is more suited to teaching than preaching.

Not necessarily. In fact, I prefer a doctrine-based sermon to any other.

Of course, I understand why you would prefer not to teach it - it might show up your disbelief in a basic Christian belief.

The same goes for shamwari. How can one preach doctrine if one does not believe it?

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
the reverence shown the Koran borders on the idolatry.

No more so that the way we treat the Book of the Gospels at mass.
In fact, the two are very similar - kissing, special place, carried high.

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Belle Ringer
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I have no problem with the concept that all religions contain some truth - most of what we call "major religions" have similar basic ethics of the "don't murder don't steal" variety. I have atheist friends who are highly moral people too.

I have no problem with the concept that all religions, including Christianity in any and all of it's flavors, each contain some error. No human other than Jesus is (as far we we know) perfect.

I have no problem with the concept that God is bigger and more all-loving than we can imagine.

I have no problem with different religions working together on community welfare projects, or discussing with each other to better understand their similarities and differences and sincerities.

But it is a huge and entirely different kind of leap to go from any or all of those concepts to a theory that Christianity and Islam are in fundamental agreement about whether Jesus is a member of a triune Godhead and whether Jesus is God's best revelation to humakind of truth for all time.

Absolute disagreement on who Jesus was/is today is not an insignificant detail in a discussion of faith! Or should Paul have stayed home?

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hatless

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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
..."Jesus is God" only makes good sense if you have a doctrine of the Trinity. ...

And the doctrine of the Trinity is a "Core Christian Belief".
Is it? None of the apostles could have believed in the Trinity in any formal sense, because it hadn't been expressed.

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
None of the apostles could have believed in the Trinity in any formal sense, because it hadn't been expressed.

That doesn't follow, of course. The Church councils who hammered it all out certainly believed they derived it entirely from the apostolic deposit.

Given the doctrine's prominence and universality through the Church's history, including today, it's a bit difficult to take seriously a claim that it's not a core doctrine. If it doesn't count, whatever else possible could?

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Chesterbelloc

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... the Incarnation aside, that is. And that's a big chunk of what the doctrine of the Trinity's all about.

Father, Son and Holy Ghost - all divine, all distinguishable. After Jesus's teaching (about Himself and the Father), death and resurrection, more teaching, ascension and then Penetcost - do you really not think the Apostles believed this?

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pjkirk
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
None of the apostles could have believed in the Trinity in any formal sense, because it hadn't been expressed.

That doesn't follow, of course. The Church councils who hammered it all out certainly believed they derived it entirely from the apostolic deposit.
Derived it != the apostles expressed it. Perhaps they were trinitarian...given how long other beliefs have flourished, sounds unlikely.

quote:
Given the doctrine's prominence and universality through the Church's history, including today, it's a bit difficult to take seriously a claim that it's not a core doctrine. If it doesn't count, whatever else possible could?
Prominence, yes. Universality, no. It's not universal just because you don't think the non-trinitarians aren't Christian. That of course is why this thread is pointless - the "core" beliefs simply reflect what a person holds in common with others that *they* consider to be Christian. Given what no Christian knows how wide that circle is*, it's a (yet again) pointless exercise.


*w/ the assumption that Christianity is true, of course....

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hatless

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And the Councils that 'hammered it out' had to hammer it out because they didn't all agree. As is always the case, each side in the argument claimed to be the more faithful and authentic.

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Chesterbelloc

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We've all had this "is the Trinity a biblically/apostolically founded doctrine" conversation too many times already, folks - and it's a rabbit-hole I'm not prepared to sink another dozen hours of my life into.

But the fact remains that for the overwhelmingly vast majority of Christains, now and historically, the divinity of the three Persons of the Godhead just hasn't been seriously doubted. It's a principal badge of identity for almost all churches/denominations to this day. It.just.is.

If that doesn't make it a core doctrine, nothing does. Deal.

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sharkshooter

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
...If that doesn't make it a core doctrine, nothing does. Deal.

Well said. I doubt there is any reason for me to continue posting on this one.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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pjkirk
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This was an obvious point this thread would cross from the beginning. That said, I'm surprised that it sounds like you find an argument by numbers to be sufficient. So, what's the magic number when something becomes a core doctrine?

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by pjkirk:
This was an obvious point this thread would cross from the beginning. That said, I'm surprised that it sounds like you find an argument by numbers to be sufficient. So, what's the magic number when something becomes a core doctrine?

Numbers?

Try: numbers x years x centrality x across other jurisdictional/denominational differences x definedness/settledness x explanatory success x some other stuff = core. If it ain't core NOTHING is. Hard-core, in fact.

What other meaningful criteria for core do you suggest? What other doctrine (the Incarnation aside, and that's deeply involved in it) is at once so definitive of Christianity's distictiveness and identity as the very doctrine of the nature of the God we worship?

You don't have to like it, but "truth is what is". Give it up, boys.

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shamwari
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Sharkshooter plans to opt out of this discussion because he has found one person (Chesterbelloc) to agree with him.

Pity. Many others dont.

As for preaching doctrine I preach it every Sunday and believe wholeheartedly in the doctrine I preach.

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pjkirk
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Numbers?

Try: numbers x years x centrality x across other jurisdictional/denominational differences x definedness/settledness x explanatory success x some other stuff = core. If it ain't core NOTHING is. Hard-core, in fact.

What other meaningful criteria for core do you suggest? What other doctrine (the Incarnation aside, and that's deeply involved in it) is at once so definitive of Christianity's distictiveness and identity as the very doctrine of the nature of the God we worship?

You don't have to like it, but "truth is what is". Give it up, boys.

Hmm...throw out the subjective little "explanatory power" bit (obviously it's not strong enough to convince all), and it still sounds like a majority thing.

I'd try to make up a venn diagram or spreadsheet of tenets of belief of every avowedly Christian group that we have knowledge of, and see what's in common. Not much is left....pretty much just 11 letters, JESUS CHRIST, and even some of those might need to go away.

Not very helpful, I know. It's also why the thread should have died after the first reply:
quote:
Originally posted by Spiffy:
Good luck. The Church has been arguing over what the Core Beliefs of a Christian are for 2,000 years (cf. the book of Acts, pretty much every epistle).



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Beeswax Altar
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Make it two.

I agree with the both of them.

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Chesterbelloc

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[x-p'd with BA]

And your local Methodists know what they're getting is Arianism/adoptionism and are happy with that, yeah? Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Methodists hold to the teachings of the first 5 ecumenical Councils, yes? They know what you're preaching is in contravention of agreed Methodist tenets?

If so, that's fair enough - none of my business. But I (and John Wesley and many Methodist, I should think) would be surprised.

[ 11. April 2011, 18:58: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]

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Beeswax Altar
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As would I. And, it wouldn't be any of my business either.

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Chesterbelloc

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pjkirk, supposing my argument were essentially a numbers one (which it's not). Sometimes, despite what your significant other may have told you, size does count.

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shamwari
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Methodists take very serious account of the Church Councils mentioned and the doctrines enunciated.

But we are not fundamentalists or literalists - either in respect of the Bible or the Councils.

We happen to believe in the Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised would lead us into an on-going understanding and apprehension of Truth. Revelation did not stop at the end of the Book of revelation, neither did it come to a full stop with Chalcedon.

And FWIW my Christological understanding is neither Adoptionist or Arian. Neither is it locked into the philosophical assumptions of Aristotle which informed the language of the said Councils.

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Chesterbelloc

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Uhuh. Thought so. Still, not my business.

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pjkirk
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
pjkirk, supposing my argument were essentially a numbers one (which it's not). Sometimes, despite what your significant other may have told you, size does count.

quote:
numbers x years x centrality x across other jurisdictional/denominational differences x definedness/settledness x explanatory success x some other stuff = core.
Hmm...

*Numbers - very unequal
*Years - about equal
*Centrality - about equal
*Across jurisdictiona/denomination differences - about equal. Both are well represented anyways.
*Settledness/definedness - both sides seem to feel theirs is very settled and well-defined
*Explanatory success - subjective, can be ignored. both sides claim the same level of success anyways.
*Other stuff - undefined. Ignored until further defined.

Sure seems to boil back down to the numbers.

And if size does count, as you so so wittily put it, where does it stop counting? Does the full set of doctrine of the largest church suddenly all become "core"? Can that change if the relative size changes? Besides that, it sounds like a very shaky thing for theology, etc, to rest upon (even if only partially). That might be my protestant roots and queasiness about Tradition arguments showing though.

I don't understand how a belief that isn't common to all of Christianity can be considered core.

I would certainly call trinitarianism to be a very MAJOR belief, with an understanding that major != universal. Certainly a driver of many events within Christian history. A driver of doctrine for many. A major branch on the evolutionary tree of Christianity. Not the trunk though. Not core.

The only way I see that this can be core is if you decide that only trinitarians are Christians (which you haven't stated, though it's pretty explicit in the RCC). Pardon me if I think of that as the jackass path to go walking down.

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hatless

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The Trinity may be what most Christians believe. It may be implicit in scripture. It may be the only satisfactory resolution of the experience and understanding of the apostles. I for one am not dissenting from any of that. However, it was not formulated for a quarter of a millennium.

The Christians who lived in those centuries may have been delighted with the doctrine of the Trinity had they come across it, but they couldn't have come across it. They were Christians, without the benefit of the doctrine. So how can this be a core belief, defining or required or however you want to phrase it? It may be descriptive of most Christians through most of history, but it cannot be essential, or Martha, Paul, Mary, Peter, Priscilla, James and the rest are disqualified.

And I think this point shows that to define Christianity in terms of belief is wrong. That which we all have in common is our personal response to the good news of Jesus Christ. It's about faith, as in allegiance and participation. I don't really see what's wrong with 'Jesus is Lord' if you want some words of allegiance that we can say together. Why would anyone want to make it more complicated or narrower?

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by pjkirk:
I don't understand how a belief that isn't common to all of Christianity can be considered core.

Name one that fits your criterion of core then. And show how it qualifies better than Incarnation/Trinity.

And forgive me if I am suspicious of any attempts so to pare down what Christianity is that nothing more (and, actually, considerably less) is left of it than a bare ethical code.

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
The Trinity may be what most Christians believe. It may be implicit in scripture. It may be the only satisfactory resolution of the experience and understanding of the apostles. I for one am not dissenting from any of that. However, it was not formulated for a quarter of a millennium.

So it appeared fully formed at the Council table then, did it? You know it was much more emergent than that. And that the Apostles knew the Father, knew Jesus to be God and knew the Holy Spirit at Penetecost. Unless the Gospels are made up, in which case the whole game's a bogey anyway and we may as well be talking about the golf.

quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
I don't really see what's wrong with 'Jesus is Lord' if you want some words of allegiance that we can say together. Why would anyone want to make it more complicated or narrower?

If all I wanted was a shared code of ethical values, maybe I wouldn't - although I'd still want to know what it actually meant and how it could perform any such function better than, say, "Live, love and keep off the grass".

But what if I want an assurance that God so loved the world he created that He sent his only Son to die for it, to cut through the gnarl of human sin, to give us all an eternal life of the ultimate fulfillment with Him forever? I appreciate that that may be completely off your radar. But some of us are really interested in that bit. We really are.

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Evensong
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I think the Beatitudes or the Sermon on the Mount are core beliefs.

Whosoever does not believeth in them shall not be a Christian and they shall be thrown into the hell of discussing doctrine with other losers where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


Thus sayeth the Lord, the God of Israel.

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Chesterbelloc

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The whole sermon, or just the bare beatitudes?

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Evensong
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You don't think they go together?
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shamwari
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Posted by Chesterbelloc

"But what if I want an assurance that God so loved the world he created that He sent his only Son to die for it, to cut through the gnarl of human sin, to give us all an eternal life of the ultimate fulfillment with Him forever? I appreciate that that may be completely off your radar. But some of us are really interested in that bit. We really are."

You are not the only one.

But why believing that should be contingent on accepting a 5th cent formula on Christology defeats me.

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
You don't think they go together?

I certainly do - I just wondered about the scope youi had in mind. The whole sermon is very big, and has plenty "hard sayings".

Are you really happy defining all those issues as core? I am, but I confess I'd be surprised if you were.

But really, I don't think one can divorce what Jesus is saying from who He Is and still get the same message - or even make full sense of the message.

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Chesterbelloc

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quote:
Originally posted by shamwari:
But why believing that should be contingent on accepting a 5th cent formula on Christology defeats me.

That's a somewhat loded way of putting it, but my answer is: because we need to know Who Jesus Is to make sense of it all.

Help me out a bit here though, shamwari: what about the formulation of the council[s] don't you accept as core? Is the very definition of the three Persons as divine beyond your pale, or is it a technical language issue, or what?

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:

But really, I don't think one can divorce what Jesus is saying from who He Is and still get the same message - or even make full sense of the message.

Viola. The connection between Orthodoxy (correct thought) and Orthopraxis (correct action).

Too much of this thread was concerned about Orthodoxy. I saw bugger all of Orthopraxy.

Faith without works is dead.

So how does Orthodoxy affect Orthopraxy?

If I don't believe in a literal Virgin Birth, can I discount the Sermon on the Mount?

I don't think so.

If I discount Ordained ministry, can I discount the Sermon on the Mount?

I don't think so.

If I discount the understanding of God formulated by church councils, can I discount the Sermon on the Mount?

I don't think so.

Your particular understanding of who Jesus is is different from shamwari's.

Do you both discount the Sermon on the Mount?

I doubt it.


It is core.

[Razz]

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sharkshooter

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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
...
Faith without works is dead.

...

But the thread is about "core beliefs" not "core behaviors".

The beatitudes are behaviors, not beliefs.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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shamwari
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To try and help out.

I suppose my basic problem is with the technical language.

Chalcedon (which is the standard, orthodox formula) was framed using Greek philosophical concepts such as "ousia", "hypostasis", "phusis".

But these are static concepts. As is the ferquently quoted belief that God is immutable and/or impassible.

But the question is how can these words be understood today? Ousia and Phusis indicate a fixed stock of characteristics and I ask if anything is so fixed that it is unalterable.

Is not our being and our nature determined by our relationships? Are ousia and phusis something that we ARE rather than something we have?

The Chalcedon conclusion that we believe in "one person having two natures" begs the question of how these two natures operate in practice. Are the miracles of Christ evidence of the Divine nature operating? I would say NO. In face the reverse. But, to hear many Christians talk, it is as though the Divine nature works very much as the Reserve Fuel Tank in an aeroplane! Thats a bit of a caricature but not too far wide of the mark.

But its basically a question of the philosophical categories within which we try to express what it means to be Truly Divine and Truly Human. And we have moved on from the static Greek categories. For instance, to frame that conviction within more modern Process categories offers a more dynamic understanding.

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
...
Faith without works is dead.

...

But the thread is about "core beliefs" not "core behaviors".

The beatitudes are behaviors, not beliefs.

And the beatitudes come out of the blue.

Nothing to do with Jesus' understanding of the Kingdom of God; and therein, God itself.


[Roll Eyes]

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sharkshooter

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We obviously don't both speak the same language. That is why I bow out of a lot of threads here.

I'll leave you to your meanderings.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
We obviously don't both speak the same language. That is why I bow out of a lot of threads here.

I'll leave you to your meanderings.

But, but, but, but, we're called to be all things to all people sharkshooter.

Really mate, you should read your bible instead of meandering in too much doctrine.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
...
Doctrine is more suited to teaching than preaching.

Not necessarily. In fact, I prefer a doctrine-based sermon to any other.

Of course, I understand why you would prefer not to teach it - it might show up your disbelief in a basic Christian belief.

The same goes for shamwari. How can one preach doctrine if one does not believe it?

Nowhere did I state 'disbelief'.

People seem to assume one believes either/or - I prefer 'both/and'.

BTW I HAVE preached on doctrine twice this past year: once on the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, once on her Assumption - then again, I focussed primarily upon the readings for those feats.

I am glad that this thread has moved away from islam-bashing.

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:

I am glad that this thread has moved away from islam-bashing.

sssshhhhhhhhh.

It's a bit touch and go with this lot. Need to keep on the milk, not quite ready for solid food. [Biased]

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sharkshooter

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
...

BTW I HAVE preached on doctrine twice this past year: once on the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, once on her Assumption - then again, I focussed primarily upon the readings for those feats.

...

Interesting that both of those doctrines are not core Christian beliefs, as most protestant denominations do not subscribe to them.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
We obviously don't both speak the same language. That is why I bow out of a lot of threads here.

I'll leave you to your meanderings.

But, but, but, but, we're called to be all things to all people sharkshooter.

Really mate, you should read your bible instead of meandering in too much doctrine.

[Killing me]

Then, sharkshooter, ignore large portions of it and invent wild and radical interpretations for other parts of it.

[Killing me]

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Chesterbelloc

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Thanks, shamwari - that does help.

But I think you're getting too hung up on the language terms here. It is actually quite clear what the Councils teach, even although they use terms we wouldn't necessarily have come up with ourselves. The two natures thing is really not difficult, I think.

Basically "God-nature and human-nature are clear different things" (to paraphrase the Royal Martyr [Biased] ). And God the Son assumed human nature (i.e., really became a human being) on top of His divine nature (i.e., whilst really remaining God). That's the nub of it, and I don't see how process terms or any other terms could put it better without changing the meaning too much.

The "Athanasian Creed" will get you there too. I don't think the definitions we have from the historic councils could be any simpler or clearer without failing to do justice to (i.e., continuing to make full sense of) the truth about God as we have it from revelation. After all, we're dealing with the mightiest of big mysteries - the nature of God. We should tread carefully on that holy ground.

[ 12. April 2011, 13:26: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
...

BTW I HAVE preached on doctrine twice this past year: once on the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, once on her Assumption - then again, I focussed primarily upon the readings for those feats.

...

Interesting that both of those doctrines are not core Christian beliefs, as most protestant denominations do not subscribe to them.
Good point sharkshooter, good point.

The majority is always right.

Jesus tells us that. [Angel]

Especially on the cross.

[Axe murder]

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Beeswax Altar
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Actually, I believe the majority technically accept those doctrines.

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Chesterbelloc

Tremendous trifler
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
People seem to assume one believes either/or - I prefer 'both/and'.

Once more for luck: believing Jesus is God & to be worshipped and believing he was only a second-ranking wholly human prophet is an either/or thing. You can't both have your cake and eat it at the same time.

Here's what I'd like to know, though: do you know of any Muslims who are as eager to proclaim Jesus as God as you are to proclaim Muhammad as a prophet? If not, what does that tell you?

quote:
Originally posted by leo:
BTW I HAVE preached on doctrine twice this past year: once on the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, once on her Assumption - then again, I focussed primarily upon the readings for those feats.

And mighty "feats" they were. That aside, your priorities baffle me.
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I am glad that this thread has moved away from islam-bashing.

What an, um, interesting way of putting it. I've actually expressed respect for the integrity of the Muslim stance here. What's actually happened is that you've almost completely dodged responding to critiques of your baffling position and I can't be bothered pressing you for an answer.

--------------------
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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
...

BTW I HAVE preached on doctrine twice this past year: once on the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, once on her Assumption - then again, I focussed primarily upon the readings for those feats.

...

Interesting that both of those doctrines are not core Christian beliefs, as most protestant denominations do not subscribe to them.
I am not a protestant!

I just happened to be rota'd for the Feast of the Assumption and I was invited to preach to a Church Union diocesan branch for the Immaculate Conception.

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