Friday, January 26, 2007

Two questions:

What do you have to believe to be Evangelical?

What do you have to believe to be orthodox (not Greek, just normatively Christian)?


Ben said...

I usually think of evangelical as believing in "born-again" experiences and seeking to go out and lead others to Christ. The missionary thing - evangelism - is central to evangelicalism as I understand it.

Ρωμανος ~ Romanós said...

I would describe myself as an evangelical (believing in the primary authority and infallibility of the Holy Scriptures) Greek (participating in and promoting the continuation of Greco-Roman hellenism in thought and language) Orthodox (accepting the doctrinal formulations of the seven ecumenical synods as binding).

All that aside, I accept as evangelical and orthodox in others anyone who acknowledges the Holy Bible as the Word of God, Jesus as Lord and Savior, and all the statements in the original Symbol of Nicaea (called the Nicene Creed by Western Christians), not including the addition of "filioque".

Since most Catholics and creedal Protestants don't give a hoot about the "filioque", I wouldn't bring it up, unless they did. But it's non-biblical.

If you are talking about folks who actually believe what their "church" teaches, I'm afraid that I would have to lump most Protestants and all Eastern Orthodox together as "orthodox" by my second set of criteria; but Roman Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, most Pentecostals and other cultists as "heterodox".

Sorry. Let me know when you want to start the stoning, so I can cover my head.

Ben said...

What is the "filioque"?

Ρωμανος ~ Romanós said...

Sorry, but I haven't been looking in much lately.

Ben, if you haven't found it on your own, using Google or Wikipedia, the "filioque" is a word meaning "and from the Son" inserted into the Latin translation of the Symbol of Nicaea, and thence into English, as in the phrase "…and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and [from] the Son…"

Besides being unscriptural and therefore unsupportable, no one can add to or subtract from the Symbol of Nicaea. It seems like a small thing, to make such a fuss over a single word, but there are many theologians who assert that by adding this word, knowledge of the integrity and nature of the Divine Triad is corrupted. It is no longer three Divine Persons in a single Essence, whose principle of unity is the Father, but has become a kind of dyarchy with the Father and the Son equally being sources of the Spirit.

The Orthodox symbol of the Triad (Trinity) that comes from nature is the Sun, which never exists without Light and Heat. All three are distinct entities, yet they exist in inseparable unity. There's never a time when the sun exists without giving off light or heat; nor is there light without the sun or without heat; nor is there heat without the sun or light. This is a classic symbol, to which modern science has added an interesting twist: Light itself has two natures, waves and photons, just as the Son of God has two natures, divine and human.

Although I don't completely understand the argument, many theologians believe that by making the Spirit proceed from Father and Son, also, this corrupts the structure of the Church, introducing a false authority, resulting in the papacy and other Roman Catholic deviations from evangelical truth.

Check out the Romanity website on the internet by typing in "Romanity" into Google or another search engine. Dr. John Romanides (now deceased) is the main proponent of the extreme form of this anti-Roman anti-papal position within Orthodoxy. Ironic that his name is Romanides, and that his position is broadly known as "Romanity" which is an English construct for the Greek term "Romaiosyne" which merely defines the Greco-Roman heritage.

Ben said...

Interesting....the only theological controversy I've ever heard about the Nicene Creed was the part about "he descended into Hell"....that part, as far as I can tell, has no Scriptural basis.

Ρωμανος ~ Romanós said...

Excuse me, Ben, but "he descended into hell" is NOT in the Nicene Creed. You are thinking of the local Roman creed called "the Apostles' Creed" which is yet another fictitious formula of the Latin church.

Only the Symbol of Nicaea is "binding" on Christians who call themselves "orthodox" with lower or upper case O.

We are not saved or even made righteous by adherence to creeds. The Symbol of Nicaea is only that—a symbol. Salvation and righteousness (justification) come only through Jesus Christ to those who adhere only to Him.

After reading the Bible, take a look at the basic church fathers, those who lived in the first and second century, and then tackle Eusebius' History of the Church. Evangelicals need to pay more attention to the roots, so as not to get blown down by the current windstorm of "other books."