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 Post subject: Rome's numerical superiority
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2021 12:10 pm 
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«Some of our Roman Catholic friends attempted to persuade us to remain with Rome by appealing to Rome's numerical superiority», — says Michael Whelton, a former Roman Catholic who converted to to Orthodox Christianity in 1995. Do you agree with those Whelton's Roman Catholic friends, in other words, do you consider numerical superiority of the Roman Catholic Church to be an argument in favour of her being the true Church founded by Christ?

I heard the same argument from Fr. Richard M. Price, Roman Catholic scholar who translated and wrote introductions, commentaries and footnotes to Acts of several early Ecumenical Councils.

I asked him (in an e-mail, in 2012): «Why don't you convert to Orthodox Catholic Church? You could thus give a good example to many other Roman Catholics.»

He replied: «One of my main reasons for not considering becoming Orthodox is the failure of the Orthodox Churches to recognize that the Catholic Church is equally part of the Church of Christ. It is ridiculous to think that the Church of Christ our God is restricted to the small family of the Byzantine Orthodox.»

This response surprised me. I thought he would recommend me to read some papers or books, but he just pointed to numerical superiority of the Roman Catholic Church.


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 Post subject: Re: Rome's numerical superiority
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2021 2:29 pm 
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Hello Vadim,
I may be misreading you, but it sounds as if the argument against going to the Orthodox entailed the Orthodox not recognizing the Catholic Church as part of the Church of Christ. If that were true, and the Orthodox really thought that (I don't think they do) then the argument seems reasonable. While not "proof" that the Catholic Church is part of the Church of Christ, the fact there are more "Roman" Catholics than all other Christian groups combined....kinds of weighs in that direction don't you think? I mean Jesus said the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church. How could we take that statement seriously if the majority of Christians on earth had been deceived to imagine they were in Jesus' Church when they were not?

I don't think that the size of the Catholic Church is proof of anything in and of itself other than....it's members are obviously Christian and therefore, part of His Church in a real sense.


Regards,
SDS


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 Post subject: Re: Rome's numerical superiority
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2021 5:19 pm 
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A gigantic straw man


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 Post subject: Re: Rome's numerical superiority
PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2021 11:18 am 
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SDS1966 wrote:
Hello Vadim,
I may be misreading you, but it sounds as if the argument against going to the Orthodox entailed the Orthodox not recognizing the Catholic Church as part of the Church of Christ. If that were true, and the Orthodox really thought that (I don't think they do)

No, we do. Why do you think we don't? There were several councils which officially condemned Filioque and other dogmas (for instance, Council of Constantinople held in 879-880).

SDS1966 wrote:
then the argument seems reasonable. […] I mean Jesus said the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church. How could we take that statement seriously if the majority of Christians on earth had been deceived to imagine they were in Jesus' Church when they were not?


Yes, He said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church, but He didn't say that the majority of Christians on earth will always belong to the Church. On the contrary, St. Gregory Nazianzen says:

    Where are they who reproach us with our poverty, and boast themselves of their own riches; who define the Church by numbers, and scorn the little flock; and who measure Godhead [«Arians taught that Son of God was inferior to Father», — comments Fr. Michael Pomazansky in his «Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition»], and weigh the people in the balance, who honour the sand, and despise the luminaries of heaven; who treasure pebbles and overlook pearls; for they know not that sand is not in a greater degree more abundant than stars, and pebbles than lustrous stones — that the former are purer and more precious than the latter? (Oration 33)


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 Post subject: Re: Rome's numerical superiority
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2021 7:55 am 
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o, we do. Why do you think we don't? There were several councils which officially condemned Filioque and other dogmas (for instance, Council of Constantinople held in 879-880).

Vadim,
While the Orthodox Churches have some points of disagreement....that doesn't equate to saying that the worlds billion Catholics are not p[art of the church of Christ. I know of no pronouncement of the Orthodox that says that.

SDS1966 wrote:
then the argument seems reasonable. […] I mean Jesus said the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church. How could we take that statement seriously if the majority of Christians on earth had been deceived to imagine they were in Jesus' Church when they were not?



Yes, He said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church, but He didn't say that the majority of Christians on earth will always belong to the Church. On the contrary, St. Gregory Nazianzen says:

Where are they who reproach us with our poverty, and boast themselves of their own riches; who define the Church by numbers, and scorn the little flock; and who measure Godhead [«Arians taught that Son of God was inferior to Father», — comments Fr. Michael Pomazansky in his «Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition»], and weigh the people in the balance, who honour the sand, and despise the luminaries of heaven; who treasure pebbles and overlook pearls; for they know not that sand is not in a greater degree more abundant than stars, and pebbles than lustrous stones — that the former are purer and more precious than the latter? (Oration 33)



Hmmm. Isn't that just the same argument that you have rejected in reverse? In other words, the smallness is what matters. Not the bigness. Also, I have not defined the Church by "bigness, our own riches, by numbers, reproach or scorn". Neither does the Catholic Church.

Also, if the vast majority of Christians alive today and throughout history were not part of Christs Church...I would say that the "gates of hell" had beat it right off the starting line. I wouldn't take a thing the Christians said seriously and Jesus was as wrong as can be...He WAS NOT who he claimed to be.

This is why I reject the argument.


Regards,
SDS


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 Post subject: Re: Rome's numerical superiority
PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2021 12:42 pm 
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Vadim,
It doesn't look like too many people participate here. I used to come here many, many years ago.

I should clarify so if you stop in, you will better understand my point? As you undoubtedly know, Jesus prayed that we all may be one so that the world would see it. I myself take the incredible doctrinal unity of the Catholic and Orthodox world, along with the valid Apostolic succession in each, to be a strong motive of credibility.

It seems to me that St. Gregory was speaking about those who would boast about the size or riches against his brother. And, in that case, he is is right, of course.

Regards,
SDS


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 Post subject: Re: Rome's numerical superiority
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:08 pm 
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1 Corinthians 12
New International Version

1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

And yet I will show you the most excellent way.


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