Why Doesn’t Everyone Agree with Me?

I am a Calvinist; others are Arminian. I believe in a premillenial eschatology; others are amillenial. I am a traducianist with regards to the creation of the soul; others are creationists. I believe in reasoned inerrancy; others believe this is an archaic naive doctrine. There are many points of doctrinal division I am going to have with people, some of which are much more important than others.

Why doesn’t everyone agree with me? Who is causing this disunity in the body of Christ, them or me? Do these divisions demonstrate the doctrinal bankruptcy of sola Scriptura? Should we elect a Pope of Protestantism? Or could it be that God has a purpose in his allowance of disagreements?

There are a few different ways that I could answer this.

  1. Others don’t agree with me because they have not studied deeply enough (lack of scholarship).
  2. Others don’t agree with me because they have not studied broadly enough (lack of perspective).
  3. Others don’t agree with me because they have not studied long enough (lack of wisdom).
  4. Others don’t agree with me because their traditional prejudices have created a learning “disability” that keeps them from the truth (lack of freedom of thought).
  5. Others don’t agree with me because they have sin in their life that is blinding them to the truth (lack of holiness).
  6. Others don’t agree with me because we don’t have an infallible authoritative interpreter of Scripture that would bring doctrinal unity (lack of a Pope).
  7. Others don’t agree with me because they are not Christian. If they were, well . . . they would agree with me! (lack of salvation)

Generally speaking, I do not default to these possibilities. Don’t get me wrong, these really are all possibilities. It could be that people deny the truth (assuming that my position is such) due to ignorance, lack of perspective or wisdom, traditional bindings, sin, lack of authority, or a presupposition of godlessness or naturalism. But I think we need to be careful about any negative prejudgments about people’s motives and the ultimate reasons for disagreements. We normally don’t know.

Here are the considerations I would aspire to make before I fall back upon the previously mentioned possibilities.

Others don’t agree with me because they are right and I am wrong.

Granted, I am convicted I am right. If this were not the case, I would simply change my position. But the possibility always exists that I am the one who is in error, misinformed, motivated by false pre-understandings, tradition-bound, or lacking perspective. I must consider this with great humility, as hard as it is to do.

There are some things of which I am more sure than others. For example, I am far less likely to be wrong about the existence of God than I am about my belief in a pre-tribulational rapture of the church. As well, I am humbled by the fact that there are many things I used to believe that I no longer do. I held to these former beliefs with (what seems to be) just as much conviction as many of the beliefs that I hold to now. What do I do with that? In most of those cases, the evidence, or lack thereof, militated against my previous doctrinal commitments and forced me to make hard adjustments. Very hard adjustments. For example, I used to believe that if someone did not accept the doctrine of inerrancy, they were not Christian. This was due to my fundamentalist presuppositions no doubt, but when faced with the evidence – that there are many people out there who do not hold to inerrancy, yet love and trust the same Christ as me – my position either had to change, or slumber in the bedroom of naiveté. I still have those decisions to make. It is called learning.

What I must realize is this: there is not one belief that I hold to which is protected by infallibility. Infallibility is the other side of the coin of absolute certainty. Absolute certainty can only be held by those who have all the information and are interpreting it correctly. To be infallible means that you cannot fail. Since I am not infallible, by definition, I can fail. All of my beliefs are subject to my attribute of fallibility. There is no one who possesses infallibility. Even Roman Catholics who try to alleviate themselves of this reality by trusting in the dictates of an infallible magisterial authority, such as the Pope, inevitably face the same problem, since their own trust in the infallible authority of the Pope is fallible. The same holds true for Evangelicals and our infallible Bible. Our belief in the Bible is fallible, even if the Bible itself is not. No one can escape their own fallibility. Therefore we all could be wrong. We are left to rely on a process of examining and weighting the evidence and following it wherever it leads. This will often cause us to change our beliefs.

Therefore, serious consideration must always be given to the proposition that people don’t agree with me because I am the one who is wrong.

Others don’t agree with me because God does not want us to agree, regardless of who is right.

This may sound odd, but we must consider it. I said earlier that I was a Calvinist. While this does not give me exclusive right to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, it does require me to consider what part it might play in the question: Why doesn’t everyone agree with me? What I am really asking is this: Why isn’t everyone unified around the truth?

I believe that it is a real possibility—even likelihood—that God does not want absolute doctrinal unity right now. In fact, practically speaking, it could do more harm than good. I believe doctrinal disagreements are often healthy for the church. When there is conflict between opposing viewpoints, the issue at hand is understood at a more profound level than is possible in the absence of conflict. Conflict, in the end, can bring about a deeper conviction of the truth. When there is no conflict, there is no iron sharpening iron in the same way.

I am not in any sense trying to relativize the truth, but to help us understand that wrong beliefs, even our own, could be serving the purpose of God and bringing Him more honor than we recognize. It is often said that heresy is God’s gift to the church. Why? Because when a false option is presented the truth becomes much clearer. In contrast there is clarity. In clarity there is conviction.

It is for this reason that we must be continually engaged with alternative options. As hard as it is to engage in beliefs that go against our present convictions, we need to recognize the value of the struggle. Herein lies what I believe to be one of the greatest strengths of the Protestant doctrine of sola Scriptura—it presents the opportunity to wrestle with the issues at a level that is not allowed for in magisterium-based traditions.

What I am saying is this: it may actually be God’s sovereignty that brings about division over the doctrine of God’s sovereignty! This does not mean that wrong belief is always justified. Wrong belief is often (though not always) the result of sin. Neither does it mean that we need to be content with agnosticism or lessen our conviction about any doctrinal issue. To the contrary. It means that we engage in it more vigorously than we did before, being confident that God has a dignified reason for conflict resulting from diversity. In the end, we will find that through the conflict our beliefs become stronger, not weaker. I believe we must open ourselves up to the possibility of being wrong in order to find truer faith and conviction.

In Celebration of Division

We have learned to celebrate diversity in every area of life. We celebrate the diversity of the sexes. Men: can you imagine a world where women did not contribute to a balanced perspective? That is horrifying. Women, can you imagine the opposite (don’t answer that!)? Think of the diversity among personalities, nations, political parties, age groups, and cultures. While we may believe that our opinion is correct (and it may be), from a certain perspective we can appreciate dissent in values, beliefs, and practices. Understanding diversity can often cause us to see that the answer to many issues is going to be more of a both/and rather than an either/or. We could both be right and we could both be wrong.

In the end, if God is in control, then the answer to my question is relatively simple. Why doesn’t everyone agree with me? Because it is not God’s will for them to do so. This is to His glory. Why? His will is better accomplished through diversity. In this I think we can learn to celebrate diversity without yielding to the postmodern matrix of relativism, uncertainty, or apathy.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    276 replies to "Why Are There So Many Divisions in the Church?"

    • Mike O
    • sam

      @craig. Im a preteris. Ihave not taken any sripture of of any time frame. We have no salvation aparts from Isarels promises made ny God. Isarel ( the remnent) was promised to be risen from the dead. Paul said according to the scripture Jesus was the first born from the dead. If Isarel has not been raised from the dead like Jesus (only the remnent out of the old covenant) then wrath (judgment) which john said to the leaders in matt 3 is comming as per the blessing and cursings from the oldcovenant. Craig tell me what i too out of the time frame of scripture.

    • Just walked in..

      @Mike, you take sam for awhile, please! lol

      @Pete, I was somewhat kidding, as an old teacher I was seeking to see where sam is really coming from? But, as you really know sola Scriptura is nothing like his positions. Calvin and Luther were sS, and they were certainly not like this! Nor am I.. It is always Scripture, with Creed for me!

    • @Pete: Btw, I think we can see where the worst of the so-called ‘scripture alone’ came from, i.e. the Anabaptists, or Radical so-called Reformers!

    • Ryan

      I think the Preterist’s believe that the second coming occurred during Nero’s reign. I knew some growing up. However, when Jesus said, “There are some among you who will not see death…” it was before the Transfiguration and the Resurrection. Tell me that either event could not be understood as seeing the Son coming into the glory of the Kingdom and with power?

    • sam

      Now i know where you get your false teaching from. Luther, and the creeds. But once again no acripture that supports your view!! That only proves truth.

    • sam

      The transfiguration has nothing to do wirh His kingdom . He said He was co.ing withthe fathera angles and his reward is with him. He said that also in matt25, and rev, 22 its the 2nd comong the establishment of the new covenant which is the kingdom of God.

    • Ryan

      Is it a good idea to be calling each other liars? Don’t we all presuppositions? Don’t we all have teachers? So Fr trusts Luther and the creeds. We all trust things, so please, let’s not judge his sources. BTW, without Luther this website and most of the denominations represented on this site don’t exist.

    • I did want to say to @Ryan, that the Trinity or Trinitarian doctrine is almost in near complete ignorance today with so many so-called Bible alone Christians. I say this sadly! And they are proud of their ignorance too! Unbelief however is also here! And this is the real “heterodoxy” here!

    • Craig Bennett

      Sam, I am a preterist also, with some caution. I believe that the second part of Revelation was intended to be read as being fulfilled with the destruction of the Temple.

      But the first part of Revelation where John is given the 7 letters, was a distinct prophecy to the 7 individual churches at that time and they needed to be interpreted within their context.

      However, one has to be careful in reading prophecy to understand its metaphorical poetry and that its not meant to be understood completely within a literal framework, such as is found within the context such as one of the Epistles.

    • Pete again

      @Fr. Robert,

      LOL I agree, I know, I grew up in an anabaptist home. It’s been a long, winding road for me. But of course it has been very rewarding obtaining the pearl of great price. 🙂

      I’m re-reading Lossky’s “The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church” during Great Lent, which I see that you have already read. After that, it’s John Climacus’ “The Divine Ascent”, the ultimate “must read” during the Fast for Orthodox Christians.

    • Ryan

      Mr. Sam, I appreciate your zeal. I don’t understand your argument, but I appreciate the zeal with which you present it. I don’t understand it because it seems (to my meager mind) to be anachronistic (out of context historically) and a very much an interpretive hodge podge. The new covenant is Christ, the Kingdom is already a reality (and was established at the foundation of the world) and we are waiting for it to be revealed and opened to us.

    • Ryan

      Fr. Robert, I agree with you. It isn’t just the Bible only crown though, it’s most all of us. The Trinitarian Dogma is very sophisticated and nuanced, and very difficult to grasp. Most people also see it in a static way, but the Trinity of the Cappadocians is dynamic and beautiful. If we read Athanasios, Basil and the Gregorys our understanding of the Trinity might not be that it’s not true, but that we just can’t fully grasp it. Those guys knew their stuff, and that’s why millions of people over 1600 years have looked up to them.

    • Mike O

      @sam “That only proves truth” is a bold statement. “Supporting a case” is hardly the same as “proving truth.” it’s interesting that you make such bold statements. You are very sure of yourself. are these statements found in scripture (the mirror you are holding EVERYTHING else to)?

      “The transfiguration has nothing to do wirh His kingdom” Show me scripture that says that. (sorry ;/)

      “you get your false teaching from. Luther” show me that based on scripture ;/ Show me the scripture that says Luther is a wrong. (that’s the requirement you’re holding everyone else to).

      Here’s a few more sam-isms that are not scripture. I say we throw them out since they don’t have a reference, they are uninspired.

      “We have no salvation aparts from Isarels promises made ny God.”

      “Isarel ( the remnent) was promised to be risen from the dead.”

      “If Isarel has not been raised from the dead like Jesus (only the remnent out of the old covenant) then wrath (judgment) which john said to the leaders in matt 3 is comming as per the blessing and cursings from the oldcovenant.”

      “The 1000 year reign of Christ is not literial.”

      “No where in the old testament is 1000 used as a literial number.”

      “The language of rev. is of the old testament.”

      My point is, much of your belief is *derived from* scripture but it is *not* scripture. Just like Luther. Just like anyone else that has “chewed the cud (scripture)” before us in history.

    • Karen

      Regarding End Time views: We must remember that those who are seeking Truth on the End Times are getting their views from the Bible. I do not believe they are clinging to other sources, but on verses that are found in the Bible. For example, I think I read years ago that Preterist views have a good point –when Jesus died on the Cross and dead people rose from the grave. A resurrection, indeed, truly happened. Hence, Preterist count this as a resurrection count. Pre-trib cling to the idea of a Jesus secret return. I also find it difficult to embrace simply because Jesus told us how He would return. Other than that, a lot of views are similar to other views…mid trib, post trib, yes? Yet, I think there are many points of contention because, frankly, there are details I believe are purposely not revealed to us. But it will become clear as the Bible prophesies are fulfilled. I think that every End Time view has some good points and some neglected points, for we all are getting our views from the Bible…yet it simply is not fully apparent yet. I don’t think anyone has a corner on the Truth regarding End Times. For I do believe we are to live each day as though it can be the last. If we knew too much, perhaps we would become too scared to move out and be a Light and Love others. We might instead be packing our bags and waste a bunch of time waiting and self occupied. Perhaps.

    • The Transfiguation! Now there is something our EO Brethren could share with us! Talk about a Trinitarian Witness! Btw, here too we Christians are called to be transformed, by the Spirit into the likeness of Christ, but also into God the Father’s likeness, as Paul writes: “To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 1:1)…Only in Thessalonians, (2 Thess. 1:1), also. Btw, the grace and peace flow out of this relationship of the Father and the Son, the Father is the regal and the monarchy of the Godhead. But the Spirit moves between the Father and the Son, in love. (Augustine) Would my EO brothers agree?

    • Ryan

      Regal and monarchy yes. The Father is the “source” of the shared essence, if you will. Grace and Peace, and all Divine energies (that part of divine life which can be experienced) flow out of the Trinitarian relationship itself. Augustine is right in a way. But we can’t diminish the Spirit to a bond between the Father and Son. The Spirit has his own economic purposes too.

      We have tons of theology based around the Transfiguration.

    • Mike O

      The whole trinitarian/non-trinitarian thing, to me, really comes down to how do you count God. 🙂 it’s all based on interpretations of scriptures we all agree are inspired. Whether God is three persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), or God manifested himself in 3 ways, or whatever, don’t we pretty much all agree that what the Bible says is true? We may put the puzzle pieces together differently (wrong?) but we all pretty much agree to use the same pieces, don’t we?

      I guess I’m a “hey, man, can’t we all be brothers” kind of brother. 🙂

    • @Pete: A Blessed Lent as you read! I love to read myself. Funny I grew-up in Dublin Ireland, with my “books”, and my Bibles (the Douai-Reims, and the KJV). As a Roman Catholic (then), I was into English Lit., but I had a “fundamentallist” Greatgram (thus the KJV). That world (50’s and early 60’s) in Dublin, was almost heaven on earth for me! And now look, we are sadly so godless in our culture! I guess seeing that come along, and with my over ten years as a Royal Marine (saw Gulf War 1 in my early 40s), and then living in Israel in the late 90’s, has pressed me somewhat into the place of my eschatology. (I know this is not an EO position.) But at least I am not full preterist! lol

    • @Ryan: Oh if people (Evangelicals) would listen to the beauty of Orthodox Christology & Trinitarian witness! They might learn and be “changed” into something besides the mere “letter” of the Word! Too many “letter” of the Word types! Of course, this affects all of us in some measure, we all tend toward the “letter”. The flesh loves it! Even as believers. 😉

    • Ryan

      @ Fr. You’re very correct, the flesh loves being distracted, gratified and lazy. We are fragmented people in a fragmented age. Orthodox theology is beautiful and rich.

    • Dan Martin

      @Matt Beale, I can see where you’re coming from, but I’m not there. I’m absolutely not a Biblical inerrantist, but I do believe that if we can’t trust the testimony of the Evangelists as to what Jesus said, we have essentially nothing left. The words of Jesus as recorded–even by John at a later date than the other Evangelists–may not be verbatim, but they’re close enough to trust. Something as weird and unexpected as Jesus’ “Before Abraham was, I am” seems to me unlikely to be a fabrication or a distorted memory, unless you’re prepared to dismiss the veracity of John’s gospel entirely. I’m not.

    • Dan Martin

      @pete again, those creeds were only “established beliefs” coming out of the councils…history records quite a bit of discussion and controversy going into them, which is part of why they were called.

      There’s a pretty broad spectrum between “the Holy Spirit had abandoned the Church by the 3rd century…and that the Church went to hell-in-a-handbasket” and infallibility of the magisterium. It’s not an either-or proposition.

    • Dan Martin

      @Fr. Robert “Btw, I think we can see where the worst of the so-called ‘scripture alone’ came from, i.e. the Anabaptists, or Radical so-called Reformers!”

      Ouch…well, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. One thing the Catholics and the Reformers all agreed on was we had to go. I guess I’m just glad y’all aren’t burning heretics these days!

      Even so, I would hope one as academic as you can see a difference between honest inquiry with Scripture as the only accepted source, and some of the other rants we’ve been observing. Not that it ought to matter to me, but somehow I expected better…

    • @Dan Martin: Of course I am speaking theologically, I actually have some Amish friends in England. It is hard times for the Amish btw, of course mostly with the culture.

      Yes, I am of the conviction that when you loose the historical church, you will certainly loose proper theology. I am certainly Creedal, especially with the Ecumenical Councils. And I am, as I have stated here.. close to the Orthodox on Christology and the Trinity of God! But, as to the doctrines of grace, I am certainly Augustinian and somewhat Calvinist. In fact I am close to the man Calvin himself! His theology seeks a real biblicism, though he is rather problematic on the Trinity. Here he presses his biblicism a bit too far, at least to my mind.

      The real difference between honest inquiry, and not, is I believe in the historical. One simply must own up to, and see the historical in the great Salvation History of God! God is simply actively involved in His redemptive life for the Church, and this is always covenantal, and revelation has always been progressive. It is here btw, that I would also see the Incarnational, but always in Law & Gospel. If we don’t see the central place of the Law of God as we approach the Gospel of God, we will miss the great Pauline emphasis and ministry. Paul the Jew and the Pharisee simply had to rightly place the Law of God! And here also btw, I see the Pauline doctrine of Christ’s active and passive obedience, with the Reformed theology.

    • Dan Martin

      @Fr. Robert, there are so many ways we simply approach faith from opposite sides, it’s pointless to catalog them. But I do have to ask one final question: in that historical inquiry of which you speak, is there no room to reevaluate the conclusions of your spiritual forebears? Are the Father’s and councils, for you, entirely beyond challenge?

    • @Dan: There is somehow this idea that the Councils & Creeds are some kind of absolute from God, this is not really the issue. The Ecumenical Councils, especially the Nicene, simply fence the doctrine of God triune. And as have been noted, the essence of the Trinity was and is in the NT especially. So we can use the Creeds, or not use the Creeds, but we cannot violate the biblical truth they contain. Btw, if you have not read a good historical book on the Seven Ecumenical Councils, I would recommend that you should. There are several out there. WE simply must see the Church as itself under the authority of God’s Word, but also itself the “mainstay” (pillar and support) of the truth itself, (1 Tim. 3:15).

    • Paul Leonard

      Hi Robert,

      You said: @Paul: Here ya go mate, really pretty simple if ya believe God’s Word! ~ Eph. 2:18 / 1 Peter 1: 2 / 2 Cor. 13: 14. There are many more verses, as the NT is shot thru with the Triune God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit! 🙂

      A.P. OK lets look at the first one.

      NIV Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

      OK what Trinity??? I see Jesus being spoken of as the one (In Greek a distinct individual: autou’ pronoun personal genitive masculine singular); through whom we have access TO the Father. The “Spirit” is not refereed to here as equal, God, or even a “Person”. In fact the word for Spirit is in the: dative neuter singular; which is not used of living beings.

      The verse seems to deny the Trinity and certainly is neither clear nor explicitly in teaching such a doctrine.
      You sure that is the verse you meant? IT seems to solidly support my position, not yours.

    • Paul Leonard

      Hi Robert,

      OK lets look at the second verse you list:


      NAS 1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.

      A.P. Again just looking at the word “spirit” we see the same problem.

      pneumatos: noun genitive neuter singular.

      Again in the neuter gender and not used of a living being.

      Beyond that not clear statement that supports the Trinity. NO indication of equality, eternal existence, etc.

      As was observed by a Jesuit Scholar:

      Trinity. The trinity of God is defined by the [Roman Catholic] Church as the belief that in God are three persons who subsist in one nature. The belief as so defined was reached only in the 4th and 5th centuries AD and hence is not explicitly and formally a biblical belief. The trinity of persons within the unity of nature is defined in terms of “person” and “nature” which are G[ree]k philosophical terms; actually the terms so not appear in the Bible. In the N[ew]T[estament] the Father is “the God” (G[ree]k – ho theos), and Jesus is “the Son of God” (ho hyios tou theou). The Spirit is “the spirit of the God” or “the holy spirit,” in this context a synonymous term. Deity [in the Bible] is conceived not in the G[ree]k [philosophical term] of nature but rather as a level of being … What is less clear about the Spirit [in the Bible] is His personal reality:…

    • Paul Leonard

      Hi Robert,

      The quote got chopped so here is the full quote:

      Trinity. The trinity of God is defined by the [Roman Catholic] Church as the belief that in God are three persons who subsist in one nature. The belief as so defined was reached only in the 4th and 5th centuries AD and hence is not explicitly and formally a biblical belief. The trinity of persons within the unity of nature is defined in terms of “person” and “nature” which are G[ree]k philosophical terms; actually the terms so not appear in the Bible. In the N[ew]T[estament] the Father is “the God” (G[ree]k – ho theos), and Jesus is “the Son of God” (ho hyios tou theou). The Spirit is “the spirit of the God” or “the holy spirit,” in this context a synonymous term. Deity [in the Bible] is conceived not in the G[ree]k [philosophical term] of nature but rather as a level of being … What is less clear about the Spirit [in the Bible] is His personal reality: often He is mentioned in language in which His personal reality is not explicit….The O[ld] T[estament], does not contain suggestions or foreshadowing of the trinity of persons. (e.a.)-Dictionary of the Bible, John McKenzie, S.J., (Society of Jesuits) 1965, pp. 899-900.

    • C Michael Patton

      Love discussions about the Trinity. But this post is not about that. I will have to delete any further conversation about it. Please keep on topic.

    • @Michael: Indeed your blog! 🙂 And this thread has been all over the place! Sorry if I too moved it in this direction. And sadly too, people that try to use the Greek Text in some literal sense, to proof text, not good! Allow me to recommend E.W. Bullinger’s little book: Word Studies on the Holy Spirit! A helpful book about the Spirit certainly, and how “Pneuma” is used of all the persons of the Godhead, but certainly Bullinger is/was a Trinitarian!

    • Mike O

      It’s interesting how clearly the original article manifested itself in this discussion! If we didn’t see reasons 1, 2, and 4 played out unabashadly, and reason 3 to a lesser degree …

      It’s was almost prophetic 🙂

    • Dan Martin

      It’s interesting how clearly the original article manifested itself in this discussion! If we didn’t see reasons 1, 2, and 4 played out unabashadly, and reason 3 to a lesser degree …

      It’s was almost prophetic 🙂

      I agree, Michael, and I apologize. I really do appreciate the spirit with which you started, and I should have left it alone. Your (rare) attitude toward these things needs to be spread far and wide. Peace!

    • sam

      The letter was written to 7 chuches, paul wrote letters to 7 churches, 7 is perfection, in scripture. All of the churches read rev. The first part is judgment on Isarel, for playing the harlot, and rejecting Christ. The judgments are in 7 and they are the same. It also mentions that tr church is gonna go thru percacution by the beast. All culmanating with the desctructipn of old covenant Isarel and the passing of the 1st heaven and earth. The new heaven and earth comes out of heaven as a bride, we are the bride of Christ. The body of Christ is the temple where God dwells. And luther thought that rev. Was about his day, and the cathlic church. Sorry….! Time has proved him wrong! Like I said un inspired, and a false teacher in that area. And the bible is supportive of a 2nd coming in there time. If not, then james wouldn’t say the day of the Lord is at hand. He also said the judg is standing at the door. John says in 1st John it is the last hour. Hebrews says it is the last days!! The last days were then! 2000 years ago. Im not pulling scripture to say what I want it to. Its what the scripture says, the words are relavent to the first readers. The futurist have not flow of scripture to support a end of world coming, or even an end of world passage. The kindgon was being preached by John the baptist as being AT HAND!! Not far in the future.

    • One of the biggest needs in the Church today, is a certain and real dialogue, which would help the whole historical Church, and all the Christian members to be able to see the real historic Church’s differences. But, this does not mean the place of attacking the verity of the Bible itself. The Holy Scripture is the only place that we can approach the lasting revelation of God!

    • Pete again


      “infallibility of the magisterium”? I think you have the eastern church mixed up with the Roman Catholic church.

      We have holy tradition, because we followed the Holy Scriptures: “Keep the traditions that we have taught, and pass it on”.

      As I have explained before, the Church is infallible because it is the Body of Christ, and Jesus Christ is the head of the Church.

      The Radical Reformers such as Mennonites are in a tough spot. To justify their positions – because they threw all traditions out and all they have are their sects’ interpretations of the Holy Scriptures – they have to take pot-shots at the Church. So they are taking shots at Jesus Christ Himself, whether or not they know or acknowledge it.

      To make things even tougher, anabaptists are trying to re-create the early Church using a Bible that is missing 10 books from the version (Greek Septuagint) that the early Church used!

      Lord have Mercy

      Glory to God for all things

    • And btw, sadly today I think many Christian’s can loose their own “spiritual pilgrimage”, right with an open Bible before them. I am speaking of their approach to the Holy Scripture… too literal, or too so-called theologically liberal. And here I am also speaking of the social gospel. We must be seeking Christ, and a Christology that is theocentric! And we simply can’t do this without the Historic Church!

    • Myself, as a Reformational and Reformed Christian I don’t see the Church as “infallible”, but certainly historical and having the authority of God. The Church will always be a “pilgrim” church in this life and on the earth, sustained alone by the Holy Spirit. This is the Church that the Reformers sought, and yes it is always “catholic” and “orthodox”… ‘Ecclesia semper reformada’ (always reforming)…by the Word of God, “spirit and truth”.

    • Dan Martin

      @pete again, I’m afraid in this we come to incompatible definitions the Church. That “infallible” Body of Christ unfortunately is comprised of several competing institutions who all make exclusive claim to the title. Which one of you guys are part of the “infallible” Body… Michael the Reformed Calvinist, Robert the Anglican, or you the EO? Or was the infallible body irrevocably broken later but existed at Nicaea?

      I, of course, argue that the Body of Christ includes in its diverse members, all of you and us believers who don’t buy the supremacy of any institution’s apostolic claims. But we’ve already established that I’m on the outs. Funny thing is, if I were ever to see the light, whose light might that be? And how would a seeker evaluate that since you all agree Scripture is an inadequate metric?

      Finally I hear you all basically saying that the Body is ultimately not all, even, of that limited subset who you adjudge orthodox, but only their clergy. I doubt the real, original apostles would countenance that narrow scope.

    • Ryan

      Infallible does not denote unable to be wrong in any sense other than what she preaches, by the inspiration and guidance of the Spirit…Christ Crucified. The Gospel itself is infallible and when the Church (His Body) preaches the Gospel she is indeed infallible. This does not extend to the hierarchy or the members by any other means.

      Who said Scripture is inadequate? Why is only clergy being saved? Roman Catholic theology is not universal and is often grossly misinterpreted.

    • @Dan: Anglicanism is historically both “catholic” and “reformed”, a church of the via-media.. middle way! So historically the Anglican Communion is more Protestant, or Reformational & Reformed but with real “catholic” and historical reality. I would challenge you to read the Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles, and even the Irish Articles 1615. I have both on my own blogroll.

      Also, the Church or Body of Christ, is both visible and invisible, it is always a Mixed (Mixm) group on earth: Wheat & Tares (real believers & those who only appear to believe, note here our Lord’s teaching: Parable of the Sower and the Soils, Matt. 13:10-23, etc.). This is why the “Covenantal” life of the visible Church is so important! (Heb. 10: 29)

      Now both Michael and I would be “Calvinist”, at least on soteriology or salvation. And I would first place my understanding of Augustine or Augustinian doctrine here, as did both Luther and Calvin.

      Btw, just a question, but have you ever read Calvin’s Institutes? Especially volume II, on Calvin’s view of the Church: “The True Church With Which As Mother Of All The Godly We Must Keep Unity”. He even calls The Holy Catholic Church, our mother (and this sure is not Rome!).

    • And I would generally agree with our EO Brother Ryan! At least what he has written in #42. 🙂

    • The true Church can only preach an Infallible Gospel, (Rom. 1:16-17)!

    • Ryan

      What is the root of all of the disagreement that has been discussed here? Is it an anthropological/ecclesiastical issue or what?

    • @Dan: Indeed the “Elect” Church is alone known to God, and is itself “regenerate” by God’s grace itself! But as our EO Brethren teach, it is in the process of some aspect of “theosis”, (2 Peter 1: 1-11). As an Anglican Christian I can and must go there! But note verse 1, “the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” And from here comes our “Grace and peace”, “in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godiness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence (value).” (verses 2-3)

      So to my mind, here is both Justification & Sanctification together! But there is an order here as in verse 1…”the righteousness of our God”, first forensic.

    • @Ryan: For me at least, as concerns the EO and the Reformed, it would be the nature of the soteriological. For both the Pauline Imputation and the doctrine of Adoption are wanting with the EO. This is part of the real difference between us! 🙂

    • Pete again


      Fr. Robert and Ryan have responded to your various questions/concerns better than I could have. (thanks gents)

      Through your anabaptist tradition, you have set yourself up as your own infallible interpreter of the Scriptures. So really I have no wish to aggravate or annoy you any further.

      I have tried to start as many paragraphs as I could with “from an eastern point of view…”, which I believe is the spirit that Michael would like his blog to develop, as an exchange of ideas.

      Is there anything else that I didn’t cover or missed, or that you would like to know about the eastern church?

    • Ryan

      @Fr Robert I’m not sure I understand. Imputation in the sense of “original sin” as understood through Jerome’s Latin translation? Adoption in what way?

    • @Ryan: Imputation, in the sense of Augustine’s doctrine, which is toward the idea of Federalism: and the headship of Adam, both the First and the Last Adam. And Adoption in St. Paul, is also “Federal”, but this gives both the work of God forensic, but also “sanctification” begun, and ending ‘In Christ’, (Gal. 4:4-7).

      Btw, I should admit and state, that for me (as Calvin, as I believe Paul etc.), the Word of God, or the Gospel is an electing and rejecting word! (2 Cor. 2: 14-16)…”to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for such things?” And verse 17 is itself so very important today: “For we are not like so many, peddling (corruping) the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.” – Indeed, ‘who is adequate for such things?’ I pray God would make us sufficient for such! All of Grace!

      Sadly, we live in a day when this Gospel (as the Church) is being terribly corrupted by postmodernity. But GOD is always providential & sovereign, in this fallen age and world.

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