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 Post subject: A debate about the role of Christ in the Early Church
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:52 pm 
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Alright, so a little while ago I came upon a website that is maintained by James Hannam, an historian of science. His recent book God's Philosophers, details how medieval scholars laid the foundations for science. Upon finishing reading his book I found his online forums which appear to be populated with very well educated people. Several of the forum members, however, claim that the early Christians did not believe that Christ was God. The discussion is here:

http://jameshannam.proboards.com/index. ... 135&page=1

I am in the process of learning more about the classical period. I have studied Latin for several years and am reading as many primary sources as possible from Sallust to the Didache. However, these people are saying things I have never heard of before. I am really hoping that someone with more education than I can shed some light on this. I hope that from this discussion I can learn more about this period. I feel that my knowledge is so woeful right now.

Thank you all very much!

Edit: I am sorry to throw this whole big thread into our forum. It's only two pages though. It is just that I really want help with understanding this. Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: A debate about the role of Christ in the Early Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:31 am 
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Being well educated can make one startlingly stupid.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/73597949/Christology PDF page 15


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 Post subject: Re: A debate about the role of Christ in the Early Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:16 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Being well educated can make one startlingly stupid.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/73597949/Christology PDF page 15


That scares me too. Throughout my life I have tried to learn languages, history, philosophy and theology. I am a young man of only 23 years of age. However, I have always thought that through learning I could see God. I fear that without Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy I may very well have converted to atheism and been duped by the New Atheism. I want to find the truth but not get led astray.

Thanks for the link. I will look it over after work/school today.

-Blessed Karl


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 Post subject: Re: A debate about the role of Christ in the Early Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:36 am 
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It is an extremely popular line of thinking, by secular historians and people in general (just watch programs on Christianity on the History Channel. :roll: ), to declare that all sorts of non-Christian groups and heretics from the early period of the faith, were actually "Christians". I wish I could remember what blog it was, but I read a convert's blog who had been Evangelical Protestant, and finally came over when he actually read through the ECF's and realised that his old church and popular historic thinking on that very point, were quite wrong. There was a uniformity of belief that was challenged from the beginning by various forms of heresy and by those who wished to blend Christianity with other popular emerging beliefs, but the Fathers were consistent, and so the Church has always been, on who Jesus of Nazareth actually was.


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 Post subject: Re: A debate about the role of Christ in the Early Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:39 pm 
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Desertfalcon wrote:
It is an extremely popular line of thinking, by secular historians and people in general (just watch programs on Christianity on the History Channel. :roll: ), to declare that all sorts of non-Christian groups and heretics from the early period of the faith, were actually "Christians". I wish I could remember what blog it was, but I read a convert's blog who had been Evangelical Protestant, and finally came over when he actually read through the ECF's and realised that his old church and popular historic thinking on that very point, were quite wrong. There was a uniformity of belief that was challenged from the beginning by various forms of heresy and by those who wished to blend Christianity with other popular emerging beliefs, but the Fathers were consistent, and so the Church has always been, on who Jesus of Nazareth actually was.


Thanks for the information. But what about all of this discussions of semantics in my link? People saying that Christ was subordinate to the Father and that the Greek meaning of Lord was different from our modern theological interpretation of it? That one guy in that thread, Sankari, is attacking the likes of Polycarp and other ECF's and claiming that certain things are just interpolations or misinterpretations in which we are reading our modern views into the sources. Is there any truth to what he is saying?
It's attacks like that which I am concerned with.


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 Post subject: Re: A debate about the role of Christ in the Early Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:47 pm 
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There were some early Fathers with subordinationist leanings. There were plenty of others who disagreed. Pohle/Preuss should cover it.


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 Post subject: Re: A debate about the role of Christ in the Early Church
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:57 pm 
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BlessedKarl wrote:
Desertfalcon wrote:
It is an extremely popular line of thinking, by secular historians and people in general (just watch programs on Christianity on the History Channel. :roll: ), to declare that all sorts of non-Christian groups and heretics from the early period of the faith, were actually "Christians". I wish I could remember what blog it was, but I read a convert's blog who had been Evangelical Protestant, and finally came over when he actually read through the ECF's and realised that his old church and popular historic thinking on that very point, were quite wrong. There was a uniformity of belief that was challenged from the beginning by various forms of heresy and by those who wished to blend Christianity with other popular emerging beliefs, but the Fathers were consistent, and so the Church has always been, on who Jesus of Nazareth actually was.


Thanks for the information. But what about all of this discussions of semantics in my link? People saying that Christ was subordinate to the Father and that the Greek meaning of Lord was different from our modern theological interpretation of it? That one guy in that thread, Sankari, is attacking the likes of Polycarp and other ECF's and claiming that certain things are just interpolations or misinterpretations in which we are reading our modern views into the sources. Is there any truth to what he is saying?
It's attacks like that which I am concerned with.

Well, your link is a good example of people trying to use the lack of specific information as the proof of something, i.e., because a particular text did not specifically assert "x", that it is somehow proof then that "x" did not exist.

As to what was orthodoxy on the subject, look at Father 'Obi's link. What is consistent with Sacred Scripture? Were there disputes in the early church on the issue? Certainly, but dispute does not equal a lack of orthodoxy. You know, St. Justin Martyr for example, got his theology somewhat wrong on that very issue, but that does not mean that the Church did not know what was objectively true, regarding it.


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 Post subject: Re: A debate about the role of Christ in the Early Church
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:19 pm 
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Desertfalcon wrote:
It is an extremely popular line of thinking, by secular historians and people in general (just watch programs on Christianity on the History Channel. :roll: ), to declare that all sorts of non-Christian groups and heretics from the early period of the faith, were actually "Christians". I wish I could remember what blog it was, but I read a convert's blog who had been Evangelical Protestant, and finally came over when he actually read through the ECF's and realised that his old church and popular historic thinking on that very point, were quite wrong. There was a uniformity of belief that was challenged from the beginning by various forms of heresy and by those who wished to blend Christianity with other popular emerging beliefs, but the Fathers were consistent, and so the Church has always been, on who Jesus of Nazareth actually was.


Honestly, this is not the issue. These people are not talking at all about the Gnostics.

This is what I am hearing:

1) The early Christians were persecuted that for saying that Jesus was God. They persecuted them for saying that Jesus was the messiah, for wanting to move away from the customs of Moses, and for saying that the Gentiles could be saved.

2) Why doesn't Acts and other Early Christian writings talk about the fact that he was synonymous with God? Wouldn't that have been a huge firestorm if they had flatly said that? Wouldn't it have been shocking considering what a change in monotheism it would have been?

3) "Son of God" was a title used before by other Jewish messianic preachers. It is not the same as Jesus or his followers saying that he had divine attributes or was synonymous with Yahweh.

4) There is also this verse being bandied about:
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." One guy was bringing this up and using it as a point to show that Jesus was not omniscient and, therefore, not viewed as God.

I am reading that work on Christology that you have sent me Father. Please do not think I am ignoring that.

But what about all of this other stuff that is being spoken about? How do you guys respond to these points?

Thanks

:( :?:


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 Post subject: Re: A debate about the role of Christ in the Early Church
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:12 am 
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BlessedKarl wrote:
Desertfalcon wrote:
It is an extremely popular line of thinking, by secular historians and people in general (just watch programs on Christianity on the History Channel. :roll: ), to declare that all sorts of non-Christian groups and heretics from the early period of the faith, were actually "Christians". I wish I could remember what blog it was, but I read a convert's blog who had been Evangelical Protestant, and finally came over when he actually read through the ECF's and realised that his old church and popular historic thinking on that very point, were quite wrong. There was a uniformity of belief that was challenged from the beginning by various forms of heresy and by those who wished to blend Christianity with other popular emerging beliefs, but the Fathers were consistent, and so the Church has always been, on who Jesus of Nazareth actually was.


Honestly, this is not the issue. These people are not talking at all about the Gnostics.

Nor was I. I was actually thinking more of Arianism.

BlessedKarl wrote:
1) The early Christians were persecuted that for saying that Jesus was God. They persecuted them for saying that Jesus was the messiah, for wanting to move away from the customs of Moses, and for saying that the Gentiles could be saved.

I think you may have miswrote this. Did you mean to say that they were implying that early persecution was not due to claiming Christ's divinity, but moving away from the OT law and embracing Gentiles instead? Or did you mean that early persecution was based on both reasons? :scratch:

BlessedKarl wrote:
2) Why doesn't Acts and other Early Christian writings talk about the fact that he was synonymous with God? Wouldn't that have been a huge firestorm if they had flatly said that? Wouldn't it have been shocking considering what a change in monotheism it would have been?

They did flatly say that as does scripture, from the Gospel of John to to Acts 3:15 to the NT letters with early Christian writing (St. Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, etc.) chiming in as well. They must simply be ignorant of the fact. There are plenty of examples, if you would like them.

BlessedKarl wrote:
3) "Son of God" was a title used before by other Jewish messianic preachers. It is not the same as Jesus or his followers saying that he had divine attributes or was synonymous with Yahweh.
But Jesus and His followers clearly DID said that He was the incarnation of God. Again, they are mistaken on an easily proven point.

BlessedKarl wrote:
4) There is also this verse being bandied about:
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." One guy was bringing this up and using it as a point to show that Jesus was not omniscient and, therefore, not viewed as God.

There is some diversity of opinion on the issue but I think the general understanding is that it means that only the Father will bring forth that hour on His own good time.


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 Post subject: Re: A debate about the role of Christ in the Early Church
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:24 am 
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Desertfalcon wrote:
BlessedKarl wrote:
Desertfalcon wrote:
It is an extremely popular line of thinking, by secular historians and people in general (just watch programs on Christianity on the History Channel. :roll: ), to declare that all sorts of non-Christian groups and heretics from the early period of the faith, were actually "Christians". I wish I could remember what blog it was, but I read a convert's blog who had been Evangelical Protestant, and finally came over when he actually read through the ECF's and realised that his old church and popular historic thinking on that very point, were quite wrong. There was a uniformity of belief that was challenged from the beginning by various forms of heresy and by those who wished to blend Christianity with other popular emerging beliefs, but the Fathers were consistent, and so the Church has always been, on who Jesus of Nazareth actually was.


Honestly, this is not the issue. These people are not talking at all about the Gnostics.

Nor was I. I was actually thinking more of Arianism.

BlessedKarl wrote:
1) The early Christians were persecuted that for saying that Jesus was God. They persecuted them for saying that Jesus was the messiah, for wanting to move away from the customs of Moses, and for saying that the Gentiles could be saved.

I think you may have miswrote this. Did you mean to say that they were implying that early persecution was not due to claiming Christ's divinity, but moving away from the OT law and embracing Gentiles instead? Or did you mean that early persecution was based on both reasons? :scratch:

BlessedKarl wrote:
2) Why doesn't Acts and other Early Christian writings talk about the fact that he was synonymous with God? Wouldn't that have been a huge firestorm if they had flatly said that? Wouldn't it have been shocking considering what a change in monotheism it would have been?

They did flatly say that as does scripture, from the Gospel of John to to Acts 3:15 to the NT letters with early Christian writing (St. Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, etc.) chiming in as well. They must simply be ignorant of the fact. There are plenty of examples, if you would like them.

BlessedKarl wrote:
3) "Son of God" was a title used before by other Jewish messianic preachers. It is not the same as Jesus or his followers saying that he had divine attributes or was synonymous with Yahweh.
But Jesus and His followers clearly DID said that He was the incarnation of God. Again, they are mistaken on an easily proven point.

BlessedKarl wrote:
4) There is also this verse being bandied about:
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." One guy was bringing this up and using it as a point to show that Jesus was not omniscient and, therefore, not viewed as God.

There is some diversity of opinion on the issue but I think the general understanding is that it means that only the Father will bring forth that hour on His own good time.


Thanks DF.

In regards to point 1: I meant that it was due to those three reasons: A) Gentiles can be saved, B) Jesus was the messiah, C) moving away from the customs of Moses. That is what certain persons on that forum stated. They said that his divinity was not an issue (as no one said he was divine) for the first few decades after his death. They just viewed him as a messiah or a great prophet.

By the way, I really do thank you for this and for offering to provide citations. Can you please provide some? I really would like them to be able to learn more about this. I must confess taht I am rather embarrassed by my ignorance. I am learning though. :oops:


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 Post subject: Re: A debate about the role of Christ in the Early Church
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:29 am 
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BlessedKarl wrote:
By the way, I really do thank you for this and for offering to provide citations. Can you please provide some? I really would like them to be able to learn more about this. I must confess taht I am rather embarrassed by my ignorance. I am learning though. :oops:

I will keep it brief as it is late, but Jesus proclaimed that "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30), and the Jews began to stone Him and understood exactly what He was saying, by stating clearly that, "We're stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy because you, a mere man, claim to be God." (John 10:33). Even before that John 1:1 proclaims that, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.", and goes on to state that, "and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). When Thomas doubted and placed his finger in Christ's wounds, he was shown truth (Do not disbelieve, but believe.) and Thomas proclaimed to Jesus that He was, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). St. Paul says that, "If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living." (Romans 14:8-9).

St. Ignatius of Antioch said, "There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death" St. Justin Martyr said, "Since the Word is the first born of God, He is also God." Clement of Alexandria said that Jesus was, "true God without any controversy". Tertullian asked, "Was not God really crucified?" Tatian the Syrian wrote, "We do not act as fools, O Greeks, nor utter idle tales, when we announce that God was born in the form of a man." Clement of Alexandria stated, "But nothing exists, the cause of whose existence is not supplied by God. Nothing, then, is hated by God, nor yet by the Word. For both are one--that is, God."

Hope that helps some. :wave


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