Craig Truglia, over at Orthodox Christian Theology, has written a brief article with some arguments which attempt to refute Roman Catholic doctrine surrounding the Papacy. I wish I had more time to offer a more in depth response to this one, but this is going to suffice for now. I have two points to show.
As I was reading Fr. Alexander Schmemann’s The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy, I was surprised to read his gloss on the schism between East and West. Of course, I read some things which I expected, such things like it would be dishonest to “place the whole guilt on either side and justify the other accordingly“, and that the dogmatic division centered around Papal supremacy claims and the addition of Filioque into the Creed. However, I was not expecting some of the admissions that came when he sought to speak on the origins of the Papal claims. He openly admits that the view which sees special God-given rights being given to the Bishop of Rome in order to govern the entire Church were “expressed with great clarity” in the works of Pope Leo the Great (see here for more info) in the 5th century (pg. 239). He also says that this conception of ecclesial government “contradicted the idea of the structure of the Church which the whole East had always held” (pg. 240). This leads him to see in the 5th and 6th centuries, already, a division between “two ecclesiologies” which are not merely distinct, but also “mutually exclusive” (ibid). Even more surprisingly is that he emphasizes that the part of the East’s fault in the division of the Church was her lack of confronting that issue and for lacking any “consistent reaction to the growth of the Papacy” (ibid). In no unmistakable terms, he makes clear what the Papal claims were Continue reading
One of the benefits of having the full Canon of Scripture, and having the ability to look back upon a host of godly saints over centuries is that we can look back over their lives and see how they lived out the faith, particularly through tough trials. We have a tendency to know the future outcomes, whether they were eventually delivered, saved, restored, or await the eternal reward of beatitude. We thereby often miss that, during their own time, they had to weather the hour of difficulty without knowing the outcome, at least by sight. There goes the dictum , “Hope that is seen is not hope”. It is only with the eyes of faith that men of old were able to overcome the tormenting fire of trials, and this often involved having to sit content without the comfort of knowing all the answers to difficult questions, and questions that would seem to dispel all reasons to be faithful to God. I can only imagine how many so-called “good” questions that Abraham, Jacob, the Israelites, Job, and many others could have strongly considered as a way to peacefully discard the need to continue following God, who often keeps Himself hidden from our lives. I mean, why does this God stay so hidden? It would appear hiding away is his primary role! Wouldn’t we do it differently if we were God?
But those are the wrong set of eyes. Without our hurt and longing for Him, and without the struggle of having to hold out on what seems next to nothing, we would never become the stones of faith that the Church is made of. And then, all of the sudden, God comes into view. It is only by these set of eyes that we can overcome the challenges set before us by the Lord. When it is the most difficult, as if holding your hand over a fierce flame, do not shriek away or give up for it is right there where the most strength from God will be given, despite how weak it feels.
As one who knows no other than himself who is worst at all of this, I hesitate to admonish, but to him who finishes the race, he not only has the benefit of knowing that God is a rewarded of those who believe in Him, but also that his family who lives after him, and all those who may come to know about him, might also learn to do the same thing, and never have to be paralyzed by the illusion of an “irresponsible” and “negligent” God.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28)