Irenaeus and Icons

Irenaeus is an important father of the church for a number of reasons. His extensive writing and fairly impeccable theology situated in the period which saw the end of the apostolic fathers and apologists. Even though Irenaeus was bishop of Lyon, he was from Asia Minor. He also had direct contact with Polycarp, the disciple of John the Apostle.

Often in discussions concerning the making and veneration of images with Protestants, there is a passage that is adduced to prove that the early church was either iconoclastic or the weaker claim of being iconophobic. The passage is as follows,

“They also possess images, some of them painted, and others formed from different kinds of material; while they maintain that a likeness of Christ was made by Pilate at that time when Jesus lived among them. They crown these images, and set them up along with the images of the philosophers of the world that is to say, with the images of Pythagoras, and Plato, and Aristotle, and the rest. They have also other modes of honoring these images, after the same manner of the Gentiles.”

Against Heresies, 1.25.6

This passage is situated at the end of Irenaeus discussion of the Gnostic sect of the Carpocrates and I will give them their due attention in a moment. But first we need to just look at the text itself and see what it bears.

There is no open and absolute condemnation of representational art here. Irenaeus in condemning the Carpocrates isn’t condemning them for having art work per se of things in heaven, earth or under the earth. He doesn’t invoke biblical language as read to prohibit all image making. Nor is there here an unconditional condemnation of veneration of images. Irenaeus doesn’t say that veneration is evil and therefore what the Carpocrates are doing is evil. Nor does Irenaeus tell us much about what the kind of objectionable veneration is taking place.

There do seem to be three things that have warranted Irenaeus’ condemnation. First, they claim to have an image made by Pontius Pilate of Jesus. They seemingly use this to bolster their claim to apostolic authenticity. Second, that they set up this image of Jesus along with various philosophers-Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle. This implication seems to be that Jesus is one of many men of wisdom.

Here it is important to understand what a man of wisdom was thought to be in the ancient world of the Mediterranean. Socrates is the prime example. A man of wisdom is commissioned by the gods or divine powers, sometimes without even knowing it. He is a “seer” of sorts who interprets signs from the gods. Signs from the gods were ambiguous and deliberately so to instill respect and humility. Someone suffering from hubris would misinterpret the signs, usually to their own downfall. And of course language was a system of signs that Socrates or any other man of wisdom could interpret to find the truth, customarily in such a way as to humiliate the arrogant and ignorant since those two defects often ran together.

Third, that they have other modes of honoring these images on top of the aforementioned practice of crowning them and that these ways of expressing honor are essentially the same as those found among the pagans for honoring their gods. What these exact modes are, Irenaeus doesn’t tell us.

Just looking at the text then, there seems to be no good reason to think that Irenaeus is expressing belief in iconoclasm or even iconophobia. Even the most ardent defenders of iconodulism would find the claims and practices of the Carpocrates objectionable. An iconodule can reject all of the practices mentioned here without any inconsistency. The text then offers no support to the thesis that the early church at the time of Irenaeus was iconoclastic. 

But we can take the matter further. To understand what exactly Irenaeus is objecting to it might help to sketch the beliefs of the Carpocrates to situate his remarks. For them the world was created by angels inferior to the “father.” Among these architectural angels there is one superior to the rest by far and this is the deity of the Old Testament. This archon or ruler imposed order and law and so the world itself bears these marks. Morality is the construction of an inferior agent. Law and order then are turned on their heads from the position of both Hellenism and Christianity grounding Gnostic antinomianism. Morality and law are sub-moral and sub-legal.

Jesus is taken as an important figure because while raised in Judaism, according to the Carpocrates, he despised the Jewish law and so was endowed with particular powers above those of ordinary men enabling him to throw off bodily passions. The “purity” of Jesus soul then marks him off from other men rather than a miraculous birth. This purity was in part the result of recollecting more of his bodily pre-existence than other men. He is a great soul. The soul upon embodiment in Platonism as well as Gnosticism suffers from confusion and ignorance. This is in part due to the matter of the body. Matter in the ancient world was by and large propertyless unlike contemporary conceptions of matter which take matter to have its own form or property, namely extension. Matter in Platonism is metaphysically indeterminate. The power of the soul as life is spread out over the matter to form body and its power becomes thus dissipated and ineffective. To be precise, the soul is not in the body, but the body is in the soul since the soul comes to matter and forms body. This constitutes the fall of soul into body.

Since Jesus retained this knowledge of a pre-embodied existence and received the appropriate powers, he could transcend the ruler of this world and hence its moral laws. “Christ” is the spirit that comes upon the man Jesus or is a status achieved by the man Jesus. Here we have the meeting of an adoptionistic Christology with the Platonic notion of a man of wisdom. The efficient principle is supplied by Plato’s early to middle period teaching of education as recollection from a pre-embodied existence with the result in Carpocrates being docetism. This is why Irenaeus remarks that the Carpocrates thought of themselves on a par with Jesus, Paul or Peter. Salvation then was achievable via the efforts of the soul in and of itself.

“The soul, therefore, which is like that of Christ can despise those rulers who were the creators of the world, and, in like manner, receives power for accomplishing the same results. This idea has raised them to such a pitch of pride, that some of them declare themselves similar to Jesus; while others, still more mighty, maintain that they are superior to his disciples, such as Peter and Paul, and the rest of the apostles, whom they consider to be in no respect inferior to Jesus. For their souls, descending from the same sphere as his, and therefore despising in like manner the creators of the world, are deemed worthy of the same power, and again depart to the same place. But if any one shall have despised the things in this world more than he did, he thus proves himself superior to him.”

Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1.25.2

Plato held the recollection thesis early on that education is not conveying information but remembering things known from a prior existence because he took knowledge to be an all or nothing deal. And he thought that because the objects of knowledge were simple either the soul grasped them or it did not. If that is so, it is impossible to learn about something you don’t know about since you don’t know about it. Eventually he drops the recollection theory since he moves to the idea that forms are anatomic or intrinsically related. Anyhow, the soul being life or the power of life cannot die, since then it would not be itself but its opposite and a thing can never be itself and its opposite. Given that the objects of knowledge for Plato are eternal and like things go with like, the soul knows these things prior to embodiment. “Forgetting” is what takes place when soul comes to matter to bring about body. The man of wisdom delivers not only knowledge of things, but our true identity from the immaterial world.

This is important to note since Carpocrates was probably more indebted to Platonism and Pythagoreanism than other Gnostics like Basilides. Like Plato, but to a more accentuated degree and put to different purposes, the body is a prison for the soul. After liberation from the body the soul then chooses a new embodied life based on its past experiences. It must do so until it has learned everything required and can be free of the cycle of death and reincarnation. But if it has limited experiences it will most likely choose badly and so it was necessary for Carpocrates that persons choose to enjoy as many experiences as possible. In order to make this possible, then no act can be good or evil in and of itself.  This is why they embraced libertinism and antinomianism. Hence order and law were evil since they returned the soul to its prison by limiting its choices and experiences.

So the Carpocrates also engaged in various debaucheries.

“So unbridled is their madness, that they declare they have in their power all things which are irreligious and impious, and are at liberty to practice them; for they maintain that things are evil or good, simply in virtue of human opinion. They deem it necessary, therefore, that by means of transmigration from body to body, souls should have experience of every kind of life as well as every kind of action (unless, indeed, by a single incarnation, one may be able to prevent any need for others, by once for all, and with equal completeness, doing all those things which we dare not either speak or hear of, nay, which we must not even conceive in our thoughts, nor think credible, if any such thing is mooted among those persons who are our fellow-citizens), in order that, as their writings express it, their souls, having made trial of every kind of life, may, at their departure, not be wanting in any particular. It is necessary to insist upon this, lest, on account of some one thing being still wanting to their deliverance, they should be compelled once more to become incarnate.”

Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1.25.4

The gatekeeper to transcend this life was the devil and the Carpocrates reinterpreted Matthew 5:25ff concerning reconciling with someone with whom you have a dispute to refer to the devil. The “adversary” or the devil had to be paid off in order to lead souls back to their true home. And the devil is naturally paid in sins. So one has to “sin it up” in this life to escape. As with all forms of Gnosticism there is an inverted moral order-the devil is the good guy of the story.

This is one reason why they engaged in a fair amount of religious syncretism. Crossing religious lines is another way tp cause offense and the Gnostics relished causing scandal and offense.

“They practice also magical arts and incantations; philters, also, and love-potions; and have recourse to familiar spirits, dream-sending demons, and other abominations, declaring that they possess power to rule over, even now, the princes and formers of this world; and not only them, but also all things that are in it.”

Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1.25.3

It should be obvious that we aren’t dealing with a form of Christianity that its’ advocates are attempting to cash out in philosophical categories, but something else. Carpocrates’ is essentially a Platonic syncretist with a nihilistic twist trying to wed his views to Christianity. What is specifically Gnostic rather than Hellenistic or specifically Platonic is the opposition to order and law. While Plato too thought of the body as a prison of the soul and ignorance the product of embodiment, the world, while a mixture of conflicting powers was still good due to its harmony.  This is not so with Carpocrates’ Gnosticism which turns the Hellenism on its head.

 The preceding sketch fills in explanatory space as to why Irenaeus finds the practices of the Carpocrates objectionable. But there is more evidence that will support my reading of Irenaeus. It should be kept in mind that the text we have of Against Heresies is a Latin translation of a Greek original which we do not have. The same passage is found in other writers who cite Irenaeus or depend on him for information about the Carpocrates. Hippolytus is one such author who gives the passage this way.

 “And they make counterfeit images of Christ, alleging that these were in existence at the time (during which our Lord was on earth, and that they were fashioned) by Pilate.”

Hippolytus, The Refutation of All Heresies, 7.20

Hippolytus’ text is important for three reasons. First, because it is relatively early and not far removed from Irenaeus. Second, Hippolytus’ text indicates that the Carpocrates make counterfeit images of Jesus. And third that they use these images to bolster their claims to apostolicity. Hippolytus makes it seem as if what is objecitonable is not the possession of images or even honor given to them, but that these images are fakes.

Further down the historical road, other writers give us information that fills out probably what Irenaeus had in mind as to how the Carpocrates used these images. Epiphanius of Salamis in his Panarion writes the following.

“They possess paintings-some, moreover, have images made of gold, silver and other materials-and say that such things are portraits in relief of Jesus, and made by Pontius Pilate! That is, the reliefs are portraits of the actual Jesus during his sojourn among men!  They possess images like these in secret and of certain philosophers besides-Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, and the rest-and also place other reliefs of Jesus with these philosophers. And having erected them, they worship them and celebrate heathen mysteries. For once they have set these images up, they then follow the customs of the heathen; yet what are the customs of the heathen but sacrifices and the rest?”

Panarion 27.6.10

Like Irenaeus and Hippolytus, what Epiphanius is objecting to is not representational art or iconic veneration per se with respect to Christ or apostolic figures, but the Carpocratic syncretism and the inclusion of Christian figures in pagan sacrificial practices. In such rites, given what we know of the Carpocrates, there was probably a fair amount of sexual immorality thrown in for good measure. Consequently, there is nothing in the passage from Irenaeus that grounds iconophobia or iconoclasm.

 

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73 Responses to Irenaeus and Icons

  1. I would like to thank whichever of the authors took the time to help educate me in this fashion. I have too little academic training in early church history and am enriched by the experience of reading more about it.

    (I write about philosophical and arts topics, but for an extremely colloquial audience. I read this as part of warming up for an article on Warner Sallman’s “Head of Christ” (1941) painting, and its effect as an icon.)

  2. Lucian says:

    If Irenaeus woukld’ve been an iconoclast, then this passage would’ve made no sense.

  3. Rhology says:

    Even the most ardent defenders of iconodulism

    Not so. Apparently the Carpocrates party, certainly identifiable as ‘iconodules’ (they weren’t iconoclasts!) thought it was perfectly fine to do what they were doing!

    The text then offers no support to the thesis that the early church at the time of Irenaeus was iconoclastic.

    When Irenaeus says “They style themselves Gnostics”, that doesn’t seem like a fairly negative thing to you?

    The preceding sketch fills in explanatory space as to why Irenaeus finds the practices of the Carpocrates objectionable.

    Why doesn’t the quote itself do that? He gives his reasons, after all.

    Hippolytus makes it seem as if what is objecitonable is not the possession of images or even honor given to them, but that these images are fakes.

    Since Christ didn’t leave us any image of Himself, why isn’t it true that any and all images of Him are counterfeit?
    (Which demands the question of how anyone, including Hipploytus, would know that. Seems like he’s just asserting it.)

  4. Rhology,

    Given that the Carpocrates didn’t distinguish between idols and images, worship and veneration, and Christian images and pagan figures, I can’t see how it is correct to label them iconodules. But perhaps you can make an argument to demonstrate that.

    Second, given that they were deeply influenced by and had co-opted paganism, it isn’t hard to see why they thought such practices were permissable as I already noted and that seems to be what Irenaeus, Hippolytus and Epiphanius object to and not to the image making per se.

    I agree that designating them so called knowers, Gnostics is negative, but he doesn’t pick out the mere making of images or veneration of images that is problematic. It seems the text indicates it was of whom the images were made, associated together and that they claimed to have an image of Jesus made by Pilate and that therefore they were the legitimate inheritors of the Apostles’ teaching.

    I used some material from Irenaeus but also from other sources to give a wider and deeper gloss on the Gnostic cosmology since I thought it would be helpful to see in what ways it was similar and different than Platonism. Also, this helped explain why they had images from across religious traditions given that in part it is the mixture of images of Jesus and Plato that seemed to be problematic for Irenaeus.

    If you think the citation does the work of supporting iconophobia or iconoclasm,then you’ll need to make the argument since there is nothing in the text that indicates that image making of Christian figures or their veneration is impermissible. Irenaeus doesn’t give the usual reasons that iconoclasts have for his objection and he doesn’t make the principled claim of prohibiting all images whatsoever. Irenaeus doesn’t write like John Knox.

    Well, if you read Eusebius, among other sources, there were images made of Christ during his earthly sojourn. Second, your remark equivocates on the term counterfeit. Here is how. If by counterfeit we mean that something is presented as accurate, authentic and directly from the source as in the case of couterfeit currency then no icon we have today is so.

    If we take counterfeit more widely to mean an imitation, then icons qualify, but then again so do images of presidents on currency or any number of other images. To call these “fakes” or “counterfeits” in the usual use of those terms goes beyond appropriate usage. To say that good ole Abe didn’t really look exactly like the figure on the penny and that therefore its a fake representation shows that one doesn’t understand. Likewise, I seriously doubt that when Jesus is asked about the temple tax and the coin with Caesar’s depiction on it that the depiction of Caesar was a perfect representation. (Interesting that Jesus didn’t object to the image per se.)

    No one takes the icons of Christ to be a veritible photograph and they are not presented that way. And iconic art doesn’t work that way in the first place. It isn’t supposed to be a photograph per se, which is why the vast majority aren’t attempting to depict a natural scene. That is, they are more Idealistic than Naturalistic in terms of artistic representation.

    As for what Hippolytus would know, I think that kind of epistemic question is beyond finding out, just as how he would know that the four Gospels were of apostolic origin. We can give a plausible answer though. Perhaps he was familiar with the images that Eusebius mentions. Or perhaps he knew of no such tradition from the apostles that the Gnostics asserted and reasoned that what they have is a fake. Or given their habit of writing fake documents it wasn’t much of an inferential stretch tha the images were fakes too.

    But it is important to remember that it is quite likely that Hippolytus is working with another text from Irenaeus. This wouldn’t explain how he would know the image was a fake, but it would explain his variant reading from the Latin text that we do possess of Against Heresies. This would push the epistemic question back on to Ireneaus, but it would explain why Hippolytus renders the material from Irenaues as an objection to making counterfeit images. This seems in line with the Latin text from Irenaues which seems to be objecting to the claim that they have an image made by Pilate. The sense between Hippolytus’ use of Irenaeus and Irenaeus’ Latin text seems the same. So the question would be how Irenaeus would know. In any case, it supports the claim that what Irenaeus was objecting to wasn’t image making and veneration per se.

    Given Irenaeus’ firsthand experience with them and their texts I think he is in a good position to know what he claims, both that they have images and such practices, and that such an image isn’t authentic.

    It is important to remember that in dealing with sources like this that the benefit of the doubt goes to the writer. So when we ask how he would know that their image was a fraud and not made by Pilate, we can’t do this with the underlying assumption that Irenaeus is lying, not in a position to know, or is making a baseless assertion.

  5. Rhology says:

    Perry,

    Carpocrates didn’t distinguish between idols and images, worship and veneration

    From my perspective, EO distinctions are distinctions w/o a difference. So, your argument seems to be that the Carpocrates were more consistent than EOx.

    I can’t see how it is correct to label them iconodules.

    Why? He bowed down to icons. Not an iconoclast, for sure.

    given that they were deeply influenced by and had co-opted paganism

    Which I’d argue that EOx have in their iconodulatry.

    that seems to be what Irenaeus, Hippolytus and Epiphanius object to and not to the image making per se.

    So one wonders why he didn’t just say that.

    It seems the text indicates it was of whom the images were made, associated together and that they claimed to have an image of Jesus

    1) EOx use icons of Jesus.
    2) Are you saying that EOx will argue that the character and spiritual state of the icon-maker is relevant to the icon itself? You have to be absolutely certain of every icon-maker before any of his icons can be used in an EOC?

    If we take counterfeit more widely to mean an imitation, then icons qualify, but then again so do images of presidents on currency or any number of other images.

    ?? I doubt you’d argue that it’s wrong for a person to bow down to the almighty dollar…
    Then, if not “counterfeit”, then I’ll use your word: “fakes”. Since, as you say, no EO icon definitely represents Christ, it would seem that ANY icon of Christ would be under equal suspicion of being a “fake”.

    Interesting that Jesus didn’t object to the image per se

    Why? Nobody was bowing down to it.

    it would explain why Hippolytus renders the material from Irenaues as an objection to making counterfeit images.

    But as you explained, “if we take counterfeit more widely to mean an imitation, then icons qualify”.

  6. Rhology,

    I understand that from your perspective there isn’t a difference between idols and images, worship and veneration. Of course, one has to wonder what to make of these,

    http://blog.christianhistory.net/upload/2009/01/ReformationWallGeneva2.jpg

    Given the abbreviation of the name of Jesus underneath it certainly has religious content. Are these idols? If not, why not?

    Second, simply stating your position isn’t a demonstration that it is correct. So just noting that you don’t accept it is not informative and doesn’t advance the argument. Third, we’d need to know if your position is that of Irenaeus as well. But as I pointed out, Irenaeus doesn’t invoke the 2nd Commandment in the way you would here. Fourth, noting that your position doesn’t admit these distinctions places your previous remark in the position of begging the question at issue.

    One can bow down to persons and images without adoration. Jesus himself speaks of having Jews bow at the feet of the church and that is not worship/adoration. Second, we need to distinguish between iconophobia and iconoclasm. Take the Franks for example. They were by and large iconophobic in the 8th century, but not iconoclastic. They didn’t forbid images, just veneration. So the mere fact that the sect of the Gnostics bowed before images isn’t a sufficient condition to label them as iconodules. Second, it is clear from the data or so I have argued that they honored such images with the intention of worship and not veneration in terms of expressing love and respect. Hence this is why I don’t think it is appropriate to label them iconodules.

    A brief digression on sarcasm. It can be helpful to make a point, but if the argument is good, you shouldn’t need it. So I’d ask to keep it to a minimum. It often adds heat to the discussion and not very much light.

    You’d need to show that the Orthodox got their teaching and practice of iconic veneration from paganism. Iconic veneration largely grew out of the veneration of relics, which is not only much earlier in terms of physical evidence, but is quite biblical given OT and NT instances of it.

    As for Irenaeus, Hippolytus and Epiphanius, I think they did say it, though not directly. Its clear from their texts that what they are objecting to is the false claims of apostolicity which were grounded in part in fake images of Jesus and that they associated Jesus with pagan figures and that they practiced the typical pagan “mysteries” and debauchery. That’s what the texts say. If you wish to claim that they endorse either directly or by implication either iconophobia or iconoclasm, then you’ll need to make that argument.

    As I have noted, Irenaeus doesn’t seem to be objecting to the idea of an image of Jesus, but that the Gnostics associate it with pagan figures, perform pagan rites and immoral acts with them and that they claim the image was made by Pilate. So this seems to leave untouched the question of whether making images of Jesus in and of itself is problematic since Irenaeus isn’t objecting to that. If he does so, it isn’t in this text.

    As to your second point, I can’t see how this is relevant to this text from Irenaeus. I don’t see why I need to be absolutely certain (certainty is irrelevant for knowledge anyhow) of the spiritual state of the iconographer. By and large what matters is how the icon painted and is used first and foremost by the recipient. The iconographer should be approved and under the supervision of the local bishop. Icons can be placed around the alter for forty days prior to be taken home, but this is not necessary.

    Let me clarify about the usage of counterfeit. I meant with respect to currency the depiction of presidents and not per se the monetary value of the paper in terms of it being authentic. The artistic representations aren’t photographs and don’t need to be to be legitimately representative. So in this sense no Orthodox icon is a fake since it isn’t representing Jesus as a woman or something else we know to be false. If “fake” were used in terms of not being photographic, then lots of representations are “fake”, but as I noted, this is rather absurd and such usage betrays a deficiency in grasping the difference between a representation and a photograph.

    Given that the coins had the inscription, “Tiberius Caesar, Augustus, son of the divine Augustus” on the front and an image of Livia as the goddess of peace on the back with the inscription “high priest” it would be problematic for Jews and it was. Pagan images and ascriptions of deity to Roman political figures were problematic for many Jews, which is why they refused to carry the coinage. So the fact that no one is bowing down before the coin doesn’t imply that the image on the coin wasn’t a form a honoring. Consequently you are glossing veneration too narrowly to entail just overt bodily acts. This is why statures of Knox or Calvin seem problematic on your reading of the 2nd Commandment since it forbids making any images or honoring them.

    Sure, if we take counterfeit more widely to mean an imitation, then icons qualify, but then again so do statues of Calvin and lots of other things. Are they fakes and counterfeit images of Calvin, Luther, et al? Second, the qualification then places them outside the sense that Irenaeus and Hippolytus uage since their usage of counterfeit is in the more narrow sense and not the more wide sense. Then the passage is not applicable to icons.

  7. Don Bradley says:

    Rhology,

    I have a hypothetical question for you. If you had a piece of the true cross before you, and you knew it was the exact piece of wood Christ was crucified upon, and you could clearly see blood, would you bow in divine worship to that blood?

  8. Rhology says:

    Perry,

    one has to wonder what to make of these,

    Oh, did the picture cut out the droves of faithful bowing down and offering incense and candles and prayers to these statues?

    Are these idols? If not, why not?

    No, b/c nobody is bowing down and offering incense and candles and prayers to these statues.

    simply stating your position isn’t a demonstration that it is correct

    You act like early church writers can do that all the time, though, and they have some kind of intrinsic authority. Why the inconsistency?
    Maybe you should tell Irenaeus this same thing; will you?

    Irenaeus doesn’t invoke the 2nd Commandment in the way you would here.

    Have I so far invoked the 2nd cmdmt? No.

    noting that your position doesn’t admit these distinctions

    I reject the distinctions; that’s probably why.

    One can bow down to persons and images without adoration.

    Sorry, it strains credulity when you tell me that it’s OK to do all of the above:
    1) Kiss their image. While they’re not there.
    2) Burn incense and light candles to their image. While they’re not there.
    3) Set up that image in church. You know, the place where religious activity frequently takes place. While they’re not there.
    4) Pray inaudibly to them and expect them to read your thoughts and carry the prayer to God. While they’re not there. And you can’t say it audibly to their ears since the dead don’t hear with their physical ears.

    Why divorce the one action (bowing down) when it’s never alone in real practice? Unless you were trying to hide something or commit the fallacy of division?

    So the mere fact that the sect of the Gnostics bowed before images isn’t a sufficient condition to label them as iconodules.

    This question would seem to come down to semantics and definitions. For the purposes of this discussion, I’ve been using “iconodule” as “someone who uses images in worship”.

    You’d need to show that the Orthodox got their teaching and practice of iconic veneration from paganism.

    That principle doesn’t seem to stop you when you compare Reformed theology to Nestorianism, or when your friends do so with Gnosticism. You first.

    Its clear from their texts that what they are objecting to is the false claims of apostolicity which were grounded in part in fake images of Jesus

    Irenaeus’ citation doesn’t mention false claims of apostolicity.
    Even if it did, in the context, for example, I don’t see how that helps you since I’m concerned about the exact same thing with respect to the EOC and its “apostolic succession”.

    Irenaeus doesn’t seem to be objecting to the idea of an image of Jesus

    But in your last comment you thought he was mad about its “fake” nature. Which is it?

    I don’t see why I need to be absolutely certain (certainty is irrelevant for knowledge anyhow) of the spiritual state of the iconographer.

    OK, didn’t think so. So the point: “It seems the text indicates it was of whom the images were made, associated together and that they claimed to have an image of Jesus” is moot.

    So the fact that no one is bowing down before the coin doesn’t imply that the image on the coin wasn’t a form a honoring.

    But not *religious* honoring, at least not to Christians. Unless you think Jesus thought it was fine to participate in pagan Roman emperor worship.

    Are they fakes and counterfeit images of Calvin, Luther, et al?

    Remember – YOU were making the argument wrt ‘fakes’, not me. This is not an argument I produced, and doesn’t apply to my position.
    I don’t object to pictures hung on the walls of the church; actually I kinda think it can be helpful, but in the worship hall I’m not so sure, and for sure we worship only God and don’t flirt with worshiping mere men.

    Don Bradley,
    I think the question is impossible to answer in reality – the blood of Christ is all dried up (at least, the blood that spilled during His passion) and I can’t imagine how anyone would be able to identify it or the True Cross. So b/c of the impossibility of the question, I’d have to say that I’d just stick to what I know is true and bow down to God alone, in Heaven, and give Him all my worship. What’s wrong with bowing down to God alone? It’s like EOx think that they give plenty of adoration to God so there’s plenty of time on this Earth left over to bow down to lessers, like JWs. It’s so bizarre to me – does not God deserve infinite praise, infinitely more than anyone else?

    Peace,
    Rhology

  9. Rhology,

    It doesn’t matter if the statues of the Reformers have people bowing before them or not and here is why. First, on your reading of the 2nd Commandment it forbids making images and not just bowing to them. Second, because the mere making of an image and setting it up in a special place is a form of honoring. Now if honoring is the same as worship then this violates the commandment on your reading. It doesn’t matter if your cultural expressions of veneration aren’t the same as others. There are many ways to express veneration or worship. People worship their car or money and they don’t bow down to them or burn incense in their presence. Why have such images if not to instil and show respect, honor and extol their virtue?

    So I’ll ask again, are these idols or not? Are these permitted by the second commandment or not?

    As for church writers, let me clarify. I distinguish between witnesses and fathers. Persons like Tatian, Origen and Tertullian function as witnesses but not fathers since their teaching and in some cases, their eventual position outside the church warrants caution when said teaching falls outside the rules for establishing a patristic consensus. When statements from fathers are within the consensus I take them to be authoritative, with or without a demonstration and here is why. A religion of tradition is one where the truths it delivers do not all receive the same air time and are not all derivable from reason or a reconstructive process. This is why for example there is no example or command to permit women to partake of the eucharist. This doesn’t imply that such a religion is irrational, but just not derivable by reason alone.

    Second, in many cases, they do give a demonstration or give reasons why they put forward that position. It may not always be explicit, but implicit. In the case of Irenaeus, I think it is clear upon reading the text what he is objecting to and why. Nothing you have written so far even attempts to show an endorsement of iconophobia or iconoclasm. So I don’t think I am being inconsistent. If you think I am, please take a case and construct an argument to demonstrate as much.

    If you do not take the 2nd Commandment to forbid the making of images and the veneration of images, then what biblical references would you adduce and how would they be consistent with that non-iconoclastic reading of the 2nd commandment? Second and more directly, I didn’t say that you had invoked the second commandment, but the way you would do so. Noting what you have or haven’t done is therefore not relevant. Third, the point was that there is nothing either explicitly iconoclastic about the reference in Irenaeus or that follows the usual line of reasoning condemning idols in the period of the apologists or the reasoning of later iconoclasts. Therefore, Irenaeus isn’t condemning images of Jesus in and of themselves or veneration of them as you seemed to claim.

    Again, noting that you reject the distinctions doesn’t establish your rejection of them as correct.
    First, the point was in part that one can bow to persons without adoration. I gave a biblical example which you ignored. Please address it. Is the bowing of persecuting Jews before Christians a form or worship or veneration?

    Second, your phrase, “while they’re not there” at least borders on equivocation. Strictly, the soul isn’t anywhere. Granted that their body in the case of icons, but not relics, isn’t there, but the person isn’t the body (or the soul) for the matter. The question is whether they (the persons) are accessible via or invenerating practices. So far, I haven’t seen a reason to think that they aren’t.

    Kissing isn’t a form of adoration whether the person is physically present or not so even if they were bodily absent, it wouldn’t follow that it’s a form of worship in either case. Kissing the flag, American soil or the picture at a funeral of a deceased loved one isn’t a form of adoration.

    Strictly speaking, we light candles in the presence of their image and not to the image per se. Image and the person aren’t the same things. This is a well established point in iconodule literature. Putting a light on the American flag at night as required by law is a form of honor and yet there is no person for which the flag stands and it is not a form of worship.

    Churches and even the OT temple and 2nd century synagogues had images without the presence of the physical object or person and yet that wasn’t in and of itself a form of adoration or worship. These were contexts of religious activity as well. And it is important to note that you seem to be glossing religious activity too narrowly in terms of worship alone. But lots of religious practices are not worship. Reading the Scriptures is a religious activity but its not worship. Jews kiss the Torah and Christians have historically kissed the Gospel book without this being worship, even placing images on or in such books. Further, the images of the Reformers I referred to have a religious designation underneath them so their location in or outside of a church building is not really relevant. These aren’t “secular” images in either the ancient or modern sense of that term.

    I don’t think God “reads” my thoughts. I don’t think God is a cosmic psychic. I think God knows about them and they are accessible to the Trinity. By divine power that the saints have via theosis in Christ, access to them too, or at least some of my intentions. I am not sure how a belief in their divinely empowered ability constitutes or demonstrates an act or adoration to am image of them on my part. As for the dead not hearing with their physical ears, I suppose Jesus couldn’t hear our prayers either since he has physical ears too. When one thinks of the saints as intercessors for us and hearing our prayers, the hearing isn’t meant in terms of sound waves so this is quite irrelevant. To “hear” also can carry the sense of “understanding.” The Father and the Spirit don’t “hear” our prayers in terms of having an ear drum on pain of Mormonism.

    You ask why divorce the action when it is never alone the real practice? First I am not sure how asking a question amounts to an argument for your position. Second, the question isn’t very clear, but I suspect you mean that the action is performed while the person isn’t physically present and so this is abnormal or illegitimate use of the practice. This would be a problem if we already had a reason to think that their physical presence was a necessary condition such that a lack of it constituted a divorce or an improper usage. Is it improper to render honor to the incarnate Christ since Christ is not physically present on earth too? And this pushes us back on to the Christological question. Is rendering honor and worship to Christ while he was on earth passed on from his humanity to his divine person or no? So when Thomas falls down before Jesus and renders worship is worship of his body or is it passed on to his divine person? If so, then the principle of transfer of honor or worship is conceded to be legitimate, we would just disagree on its application. In sum I reject the assumption that “real practice” is as narrow as you assume. Here you are begging the question at issue. Further, do you mean to imply that if the saints were present, it would then be permissible to bow to them and kiss them? Do you do so now? If Athanasius, Peter, Paul, Cyril or Mary were physically present before you, would you bow and kiss them? It seems that if you answer in the affirmative that the underlying reason you reject veneration of images is because the image must be the same as the prototype in order for that veneration to be licensed or legitimate. But why assume that?

    Of course the matter comes down to semantics and definitions. What do you propose it should come down to other than what we mean when we use certain terms of art? To claim that the Gnostics were iconodules simply because they have images and render worship to them or honor them is question begging since it assumes that all forms of veneration are forms of adoration and vice versa, which is the very point at issue. Consequently, the definition of iconodule that you give not only fails to map on to the historical usage of that term, it is too wide a gloss or it begs the question. You may take it as such for your position, but it will not advance it.

    Your counter point about historical derivation is not relevant for the following reasons. First, I can show a historical and not just conceptual isomorphism between Nestorianism and Calvinism. Start reading Augustine’s Christology and then to say Peter Lombard’s Christology to start. I’ve already noted implicit problems in Augustine’s Christology. http://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/christic-grace-in-augustines-christology/ Other Reformed scholars have traced out their Christological dependence on various Medieval Christological glosses already. So I don’t need to demonstrate what hostile witnesses already have. I’d suggest then that you start reading serious monographs by Reformed scholars on medieval Christology and Reformed Christological development.
    So I can demonstrate historical linkage and conceptual linkage. So far I haven’t seen either from you. When exactly and where was this supposed absorption of pagan worship taking place? What century? What locales and what persons were responsible?

    Granted that Irenaues doesn’t explicitly mention false claims of apostolicity in that specific text, but he mentions them all over the place in Against Heresies. That was a cardinal point among the Gnostics and the Carpocrates were no exception. This is undisputed across the primary and secondary source material on Gnosticism. Second, in either the Latin text or Hippolytus’ text, the sense is that these images were frauds and they were made to help ground their claims to apostolicity. They weren’t made by Pilate and so don’t support the claims of having secret teachings of the Apostles. This is how later writers like Epiphanius took the text also. Again, nothing you have written shows that this is not the sense of the passage. You need to show that it isn’t there by implication and not by mere mention or that the reasons I put forward for thinking so aren’t in fact good reasons.

    I am sure you are concerned with the same claims regarding the Orthodox and Apostolic succession, but then of course you’ll have to do a couple of things. First you’ll have to make an argument. And in that argument, you’ll need to show the same concept was taught by both the Gnostics and the Orthodox. And further, you’ll need to indict not only Ireneaus, but Athansius, Basil and most Christian theologians prior to the Reformation. But the claim is implausible on its face, since the Gnostics didn’t claim a succession from the Apostles based on physical rites and the passing down of normative teaching and divine power through physical rites. In fact they rejected it. This is why they thought that anyone could be and in fact in many cases were equal to or greater than the apostles. This is why also they drew lots to allow anyone regardless of sex or age to perform their rites. The body and bodily actions were not relevant to salvation.

    Furthermore, where exactly do you think the society of people that Jesus established was in say the 4th through 9th centuries if these were not the Orthodox bodies of say Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, et al? What other societies would you propose? If you reply the elect are invisible and so they are there invisibly, this sure has more in common with Gnosticism and seems to divorce the notion of the invisible church from the church in “real practice.” The church may be more than physical existence in a given society, but it isn’t less than that. The NT doesn’t advocate “X-Files” ecclesiology or some unhistorical soceity.

    You propose a dilemma. Either Irenaeus was condemning the image of Jesus or that the image was fake. As I’ve written before, Irenaeus isn’t condemning the mere having of an image of Jesus. He condemns what they do with the image, first that its associated with pagan figures, so he by extension condemns syncretism and that it is included in pagan rites and debauchery. He rejects the claim that the image is authentic and by extension the implicit claim that said image supports claims apostolic derivation. The entire point of having an image of Jesus made by Pilate is to ground Gnostic claims of apostolicity. The image is a fake since it wasn’t made by Pilate and so this doesn’t serve to support Gnostic claims of apostolicity. So there is no real dilemma here.
    Jesus to be sure I think would object to honoring Caesar or Livia as gods and goddesses, but that is different than objecting to the idea of images or representational art in and of itself. I can object to the former without objecting to the latter. The pagans and many Jews took the representational art with the inscriptions to be of itself a form of honoring deities. I think Jesus would recognize that, but what Jesus doesn’t do is indicate that the entire notion of veneration and representational art is out of bounds. The point was that honoring or not, the coin belongs to pagans, so just give back to pagans what is theirs. The principle that goes between either of the two options posed to Jesus in the dilemma is that possession trumps their concerns.

    I agree concerning the argument regarding fakes at lest in part. But as I noted that you then seemed to argue that all icons would be fakes. It follows that all images of Calvin and company would be fakes too. Not only that, as I showed above your argument against veneration of images depends on the thesis that in order to be permissible, the image and the prototype must be the same, but since they can’t, the veneration is not licensed. So in this case too, using your own implied principle, the image of Calvin is not Calvin and so honoring him by building a statue and then setting it apart in public with religious designations on it as a form of veneration is also forbidden. Why then aren’t the Reformed guilty of idolatry? (the same goes for the images on T-shirts, coffee mugs and other Reformed indulgences-pay for this trinket and you get to participate or at least feel that you do, in the virtue of the Reformers.)

    If you don’t object to pictures on walls of churches, does this include pictures of Jesus? If so, how do you square that your understanding of the 2nd commandment which forbids not the mere bowing, but the making of images too?

  10. Rhology says:

    Perry,

    You’re all over the place. Try to deal with one thought at a time, please.

    on your reading of the 2nd Commandment it forbids making images and not just bowing to them.

    1) How do you know what my reading of the 2nd Cmdmt is?
    2) The tu quoque appeal doesn’t absolve you of responsibility, you know.
    3) Surely you’re aware of the rest of the OT which clarifies that those who worship AND SERVE the images is God’s main concern. Besides, God told the Israelites to make images, but limited ones and not to worship or serve them. Thus the images in Geneva.

    There are many ways to express veneration or worship.

    What ways is the population of Geneva doing so to the statues?
    It’s far easier to be vague and make implications, I know.

    Why have such images if not to instil and show respect, honor and extol their virtue?

    To remind us where we came from and the contributions the men made.

    Why then aren’t the Reformed guilty of idolatry?

    We already talked about that above.

    If you don’t object to pictures on walls of churches, does this include pictures of Jesus?

    Some would object, but I don’t think their reasoning is good enough. I’m unsure, though.

    If so, how do you square that your understanding of the 2nd commandment which forbids not the mere bowing, but the making of images too?

    B/c of the entire testimony of the OT. Since you seem to think you can mind-read my understanding of “the 2nd Cmdmt”, it’s no wonder you make such errors.

    But as I noted that you then seemed to argue that all icons would be fakes.

    Well, they PROBABLY are, given that faces weren’t preserved; writings are. It’s hard to reproduce a face 100 yrs from when the man lived based on verbal descriptions.

    I distinguish between witnesses and fathers.

    In light of what The Modern EOC has said. Entirely question-begging.

    said teaching falls outside the rules for establishing a patristic consensus

    Haha, b/c if they WERE in the patristic club, you wouldn’t have a consensus! So you exclude them and then claim a consensus. That’s a great trick. Unfortunately, ANYone can play.

    I think it is clear upon reading the text what he is objecting to and why. Nothing you have written so far even attempts to show an endorsement of iconophobia or iconoclasm.

    Except when he ripped the guys who had images.

    I didn’t say that you had invoked the second commandment, but the way you would do so.

    More mind-reading. Where did you pick up that skill?

    noting that you reject the distinctions doesn’t establish your rejection of them as correct

    Which wasn’t your argument when I responded last time. I’d suggest you try to keep track better.

    I gave a biblical example which you ignored.

    Um, no I didn’t. Let the reader judge.

    Second, your phrase, “while they’re not there” at least borders on equivocation. Strictly, the soul isn’t anywhere.

    Don’t be absurd.
    1) Oh, so souls are omnipresent?
    2) Is the icon of the SOUL or of the BODY? How would you make an image of a soul?

    Kissing isn’t a form of adoration whether the person is physically present or not so even if they were bodily absent

    I’ve been to DLs before. Don’t patronise me.

    Kissing the flag, American soil or the picture at a funeral of a deceased loved one isn’t a form of adoration.

    Make an argument. It CAN certainly be.

    Strictly speaking, we light candles in the presence of their image and not to the image per se

    Yes, I know you say that, but I see that as nothing more than to save face in the presence of critics. That’s not the biblical command.

    Churches and even the OT temple and 2nd century synagogues had images without the presence of the physical object or person

    So, no consensus, right?

    I don’t think God “reads” my thoughts.

    So to you, God is not omniscient. Does your priest know this?

    As for the dead not hearing with their physical ears, I suppose Jesus couldn’t hear our prayers either since he has physical ears too.

    ?? I was under the (obviously mistaken) assumption that Jesus ALSO has a divine nature and powers. Silly me.

    You ask why divorce the action when it is never alone the real practice?

    It’s not that hard. You took ONE element of EO image-worship and said “why is this one practice so wrong?” when that’s never been my argument. The argument is that you do all of them TOGETHER, on a consistent basis. So defend putting them all together.

    Is it improper to render honor to the incarnate Christ since Christ is not physically present on earth too?

    Christ is God. Saints aren’t. How are these obscurantist tactics helping your position?

    So when Thomas falls down before Jesus and renders worship is worship of his body or is it passed on to his divine person?

    Passed on…to His divine person? You who were ripping me for confusing the Gk words for nature vs person a month ago…might want to rethink this sentence.

    If Athanasius, Peter, Paul, Cyril or Mary were physically present before you, would you bow and kiss them?

    No. I might kiss them, but never bow. If I bowed, I’d probably hear:
    Revelation 19:10At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

    To claim that the Gnostics were iconodules simply because they have images and render worship to them or honor them is question begging since it assumes that all forms of veneration are forms of adoration and vice versa

    Up to you to show how they’re substantively different.

    Consequently, the definition of iconodule that you give not only fails to map on to the historical usage of that term, it is too wide a gloss or it begs the question.

    I don’t see how it begs the question, and whether historical or not, I don’t care much. It’s reasonable; that’s what I care about.

    First, I can show a historical and not just conceptual isomorphism between Nestorianism and Calvinism.

    In my experience, you tend not to quote Scripture in such examinations, which is your downfall. You need to cut off Scr from Calvinism, since Scr came first and that’s my foundation.

    When exactly and where was this supposed absorption of pagan worship taking place?

    Go ahead and answer the same questions for the perversions of RCC and when EOC determined the Canon of Scr and we can talk.
    I don’t think you can, so I’m not worried about exact dates either.

    Second, in either the Latin text or Hippolytus’ text, the sense is that these images were frauds and they were made to help ground their claims to apostolicity.

    And that’s exactly my claim about you.

    First you’ll have to make an argument.

    You’re making it for me.

    you’ll need to indict not only Ireneaus, but Athansius, Basil and most Christian theologians prior to the Reformation. But the claim is implausible on its face, since the Gnostics didn’t claim a succession from the Apostles based on physical rites and the passing down of normative teaching and divine power through physical rites.

    Since your “father/writer” distinction begs the question and you don’t seem to see that, it’s no surprise you don’t see this either.

    where exactly do you think the society of people that Jesus established was in say the 4th through 9th centuries if these were not the Orthodox bodies of say Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, et al

    The same place the 7000 who’d not bowed the knee to Baal were in Elijah’s time.
    Seriously, if anyone wants to read me interact with an EO about that exact issue at great length, you can see how well he did over here. I’m not going to rehash everythg now.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  11. David Richards says:

    Rhology,

    Sorry to butt in (Perry) but it is not conducive to dialogue to take statements like “I don’t think God ‘reads’ my thoughts” out of context and adduce from this that one does not believe in divine omniscience, when Perry went on to add that “I don’t think God is a cosmic psychic. I think God knows about them and they are accessible to the Trinity.” God knowing the thoughts is what omniscience amounts to, not “reading” them which is a pretty flippant way to put it. Sort of like saying God has big muscles because He’s omnipotent. When someone takes such a statement obviously out of context when it is clarified in the next two sentences, just to score rhetorical points, that is called sophistry and said person loses their credibility as a person who honestly engages in dialogue.

  12. Rhology says:

    What do you think “I don’t think ‘God reads my thoughts’” means, then? Besides, the statement was obviously responding to my own: “Pray inaudibly to them and expect them to read your thoughts and carry the prayer to God. While they’re not there. And you can’t say it audibly to their ears since the dead don’t hear with their physical ears.”

    But if Perry thinks that omniscience and “God can’t read my thoughts” go together, he’s more than welcome to tell us all how.

  13. David Richards says:

    Rhology, did you read the part where Perry says “I think God *knows* about [my thoughts] and they are accessible to the Trinity”? He was responding to the way you parsed it, not to the idea of omniscience. This is not to “stick up” for Perry (he is more than capable of defending himself) but to point out that your sound-bite form of argumentation is simply unhelpful and uncharitable; you failed to give the benefit of a doubt and note the context, because obviously if someone can believe God knows things without “reading” them, like a psychic. But if I am out of line here Perry can correct me.

  14. Lvka says:

    Rho,

    there wasn’t a thousand years gap between Moses and Elijah, during which no single monothists can be named, and after which a remnant of 7,000 people suddenly appears out of the blue… this simply isn’t what the text says.

    After Moses there was Joshua, the son of Nun; after him the Judges of Israel, like Gedeaon and Samson; and after them, the first kings annointed by the Prophets (Samuel). Then two kings come alone that introduce idol worship: but the Priests and Prophets never ceased during all this time, nor did their monotheist religion and worship. Ahab and Jezebel had to slain the Priests of God. Elijah and the 7,000 live during his reign. So there’s no stop or cesation anywhere in the worship of the true God and the practice of the true religion. — they (Priests and Prophets) were very visible, and so was Israel’s non-idolatrous population. — there’s no interruption or invisibility there, especially not for centuries or even millennia, making comparison extremely forced and inappropriate.

  15. Rhology says:

    David,

    Yes, but “they are accessible to the Trinity” is not the same as “God is omniscient”, sorry.

    your sound-bite form of argumentation is simply unhelpful and uncharitable

    Actually, I find it extremely helpful, personally, and I’m not alone – I learned the method from an EO blogger, David Bryan.
    As for uncharitable,
    1) where?
    2) doesn’t that totally depend on whether I wield the method well or badly? Or is their some kind of biblical or traditional case to be made for the morality of another method over and against my own?

    Lvka,

    Feel free to comment on the other thread where I directed you.

  16. Rhology,

    Your complaint is noted, but I am not all over the place. I’ve followed and responded point by point as you gave them. If you find that problematic, then just give one point and we can deal with that and then move on to the next.

    I know what your reading of the 2nd Commandment is due to your adherence to Calvinism. If you are not Reformed or take an idiosyncratic view, then let me know. If your view is one of few variances on the Reformed spectrum of views it will still invoke the 2nd Commandment as read as I have sketched.

    I don’t believe I made a tu quo que argument. If you think I did, then please quote it. I believe I charged you with inconsistency. Further, I don’t grant that what you charge as problematic affects my position, but it does yours, which is why my remarks can’t be constructed as a tu quo que argument. My argument was one of an internal criticism rather than a tu quo que since it was premised on principles you accept, but I don’t.

    I am aware of how the Reformed read the rest of the OT and how they take that reading to support their reading of the the 2nd commandment. I do not know why I need to take that reading as correct when evaluating your remarks since I reject their reading of the OT. Second, not all approved images were commanded by God according to Scripture. 1 Kings 6:23-35 & 7:15-37.Consequently according to the Bible images can be made and approved by God without explicit divine command.

    Also on your own principles the statues of Geneva fall outside biblical warrant since God did not command them to be made, nor command the attaching of the name of the 2nd person of the Trinity to them. Consequently, I can’t see how appealing to the rest of the OT helps your position here.

    The population was moved to venerate these men by making statues of them and then attaching the name Jesus to them. You charge me with being vague, but it is customary when making a charge to supply evidence or argument and neither are present so I will just disregard this charge.

    When I speak of implication, I mean it in terms of logical implication of say the rules of implication or equivalence in any logic text. If you find logic problematic, then there’s not much I can do to help you. Since you seem not to be aware of this common usage, I’d suggest picking up a logic text or taking an introductory course in logic.

    If the statues of the Reformers are there to remind us of our past, to argue based on your own principles, I don’t see why a book can’t do that just as well. Second, as to the contributions they made, making a statue on that basis is a form of honoring men, dead men I might add who on your principles do not benefit from and are not aware of such ascriptions of honor among men. Consequently, if, again, all forms of veneration are forms of worship, then please explain why the Reformed aren’t guilty of idol worship in this case since they are honoring/worshipping these men with graven images?
    If you recognize that some would object and that you aren’t sure, perhaps you could explain why you aren’t sure. Do such images violate the 2nd commandment or not? You mention the entire testimony of the OT as somehow licensing the making of images but not venerating them. So on your reading would it be correct to say that making an image of Baal would be permissible, but not bowing to it? Or making an image of God is permissible but not bowing to it? Or making images of angels in the temple or synagogue is ok just not bowing to them?

    Comments like “it’s no wonder you make such errors.” Are really rather insulting, condescending, and rude and don’t serve the arguments. Consequently, I’d ask you to refrain from making those kinds of remarks, otherwise I’ll just edit them out. It would also be helpful if you are going to cite my remarks that you cite more than part of a sentence or a single sentence.

    If representational art isn’t supposed to be pictographic, charging it with producing fakes is fallacious. Its like charging poetry with being deceitful since it isn’t prose.

    The distinction between witnesses and fathers is much older than the modern period so it isn’t an invention of modern Orthodox. Sources in the fourth century make this distinction as well. If you do not distinguish between them, please first lay out your taxonomy and some rough and ready reasons for it. It isn’t question begging to class certain people as giving information about Christianity who are by their own judgment outside the church such as Tertullian or whose specific teachings stand condemned by councils that even Protestants claim to accept. How someone like that can be a father through the gospel and be outside the Christian church and embrace heresy is a bit beyond my understanding.
    Its true that if such authors and everything they said were taken to be authoritative we wouldn’t have a consensus but this doesn’t really demonstrate anything, other than perhaps the consistency of my position. First, you seem to imply that this is done on an ad hoc basis, but to substantiate that claim you’d need to lay out or refer to my principles employed for establishing consensus and then show how my inclusion or exclusion is ad hoc or how the principles are such. So far, I haven’t seen you attempt to do this other than make unsupported claims.
    Its true that Irenaeus condemned those who have images, but he also condemns those who have candles. It doesn’t follow that he condemns having candles per se or images per se. You need to show that Irenaeus condemns the Gnostics for having images per se. Please point me to your demonstration from the text that he does so since I have already supplied a good amount of material showing that this isn’t the case.

    I am not “mind reading” but rather going off the assumption that you are a professing Calvinist in a Calvinist body that subscribes to one of the Reformed confessions. If this is not so, then please inform me.
    As for keeping better track, I’ve responded pretty much line by line and my remarks are still relevant. You have yet to even try and show that Irenaeus is condemning images per se or that he doesn’t distinguish between images and idols or veneration and worship. Consequently, your rejection of these distinctions is purely biographical and doesn’t advance the argument or justify your position. I don’t think I’ve changed the argument at all on that point. If you think I have, please point out where I have done so.

    I refereed to a passage in Revelation and looking over what you wrote you didn’t address it. In any case, you can address it now directly. Is all bowing down to saints in Revelation a form of worship or no? If not, why not? If so, how do you understand Rev 3?
    To charge you with the fallacy of equivocation is not “absurd.” To address your questions, no, souls are not omnipresent. They aren’t locally present at all because souls are not spatial entities. So strictly speaking or precisely speaking, the soul isn’t anywhere because the soul takes up no space at all. It is immaterial. God is said to be omnipresent not because he is circumscribed by every place, but because all places are accessible and present to him. It seems you do not understand even what the Reformers, let alone Augustine meant when they used such a term as the soul. I’d recommend picking up Calvin’s earliest work on the soul or any Reformed systematic work to see how they understand soul within your own tradition. If you think the soul takes up space and is a spatial entity, then not only is your view idiosyncratic but requires scriptural justification on your own principles.

    Icons do not generally represent the soul of a person, though there are cases if I am not mistaken. They aim to represent the person, usually when they have been perfected through suffering, which is why many of them depict the method or circumstances of their death. The person is depicted bodily. To the point, the fact that their body isn’t present in the icon but it is represented there and in so far as it is represented it has a place or is “there.” This is what I meant in terms of equivocation. Representation makes something present but not in a physical sense.
    I am not patronizing you. Kissing in and of itself isn’t a form of adoration and your balking at my thesis and examples to support it doesn’t amount to a refutation. So you need to show that kissing is always or in these circumstances a form of worship. Again, there has been no demonstration on your part to think so.

    Kissing the flag perhaps can be a form of worship. But suppose we take the average American Marine coming home who happens to kiss the flag or American soul. You ask him or her, are you worshipping like a god the flag or American soul? What do you think they are going to say? No. Therefore more often than not kissing objects isn’t a form of worship. More to the point, your claim is that it is a form a worship and not that it could be. So you need an argument here but there isn’t one.

    If the distinction in fact evades the classification of lighting candles to the image then it isn’t merely to save face. You need to show that it doesn’t do so. Lots of things in NT worship are not biblical commands, some of which I have noted previously. Women taking communion is not a biblical command either. Neither is an exchange of vows or a wedding ring or a blessing of rings, worshipping on Sunday, celebrating Christmass or lots of other things. Some things are also not commanded but permissible so we need to know not so much if it is commanded but if it is permissible since your position is that such practices are impermissible.

    When I noted that the OT, 2nd century synagogues had images (and the earliest churches in the catacombs too) had images and you responded that “So no consensus, right?” I am not clear on what point you wish to make. Please clarify.

    I think I made clear that I adhered to omniscience of God by saying that God knows my thoughts. What I rejected was the idea of “reading” in terms of your usage of “mind reading.” God is not a mind reader. This is obvious from what I wrote such that you are making an argument and a charge which is really unfair and borders on breaking one of the commandments. As for what my priests know, since I make them aware of my blogging activities they are aware of what I write. Personally, you aren’t going to win people by assuming the worst about them and treating them like crap. Give your defense with some respect. I am made in God’s image like you.

    Jesus is also deity, but it is also said of him that he “hears” prayers. Since your argument was that disembodied saints could not “hear” prayer, seemingly even by divine aid since they lacked lack physical ears, then it follows that either that Jesus hears them with physical ears or he doesn’t. If he doesn’t then the mere lack of physical ears has nothing to do with “hearing” prayers. And besides, natures don’t do anything, persons do so the “hearing” is said of the person and not the divine nature.

    When you write that I have to defend all of them together, I am not clear on what you mean by “all of them.” Do you mean bowing, invocation and having of images? I think I’ve done a fair amount of that already and nothing in Irenaeus’ text speaks to those practices in and of themselves. Again, where is your proof that Irenaeus veneration and worship are the same, that images and idols are the same and that he is universally condemning the making and venerating of images in and of themselves? So far you’ve given no demonstration whatsoever or even attempted to do so.

    Granted that Christ is deity, but when Thomas falls down before Jesus since deity is omnipresent, where is Thomas directing his worship but to the humanity of Jesus? Is this worship passed on to his divine person or not? And we’ve gone over this previously, the flesh of Christ has divine power (immortality for starters) and so is worthy of veneration on that basis alone. The same goes for the saints’ flesh, souls and persons. This explains why say articles of theirs are said to have healed persons via divine power in the book of Acts.

    When you ask, “How are these obscurantist tactics helping your position?” This an instance of the fallacy of a complex question. Have you stopped worshipping Calvin? Or how has being a liar helped your cause? Let me suggest that such fallacious and rather insulting tactics on your part really do your cause a disservice. I am not engaging in obscurantist tactics, but giving principled arguments. The fact that you don’t seem to know what an implication is, aren’t familiar with basic theological concepts like the soul or in our last exchange didn’t know what the term “hypostatic union” picked out I think shows that the confusion is on your part. I don’t say this to make a personal remark, but just to note that when you make charges about obscuring things or making confusing statements to your opponent that instances of misunderstanding or a lack of understanding can be legitimately deployed against you.

    When I remarked that the worship and honor that Thomas offers to Jesus is passed on to his divine person, in no way did I confuse person and nature. Jesus is a divine person and not a human person and this was the same point I made to you previously. What I corrected you on if you recall was that you confused person and nature by saying that the hypostatic union amounted to two hypostases coming together, which betrayed a complete lack of understanding or familiarity with the term and the doctrine. Your position a la WCF 8.2 confuses person and nature by saying that since Jesus has a human nature, he is also a human person. Jesus is always and only a divine person in two natures. So there is nothing I need to rethink here, it is just that you haven’t advanced in your understanding of Christian teaching about Jesus in a months time. In other words, you still dissent form Chalcedonian and Biblical Christology.

    I grant that Rev 19 forbids worshipping saints, but it doesn’t forbid bowing down to them for honor. Rev 3:9 ESV “Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you.” Consequently not all bowing down is worship, otherwise Rev 19 and Rev 3 contradict if worship and honoring mean the same thing. I’d also bring up the fact that in some cultures bowing is not worship. Japanese bow out of respect and the same was true of OT kings and Christian emperors and this never amounts to worship so bowing before Mary or Joseph or Athanasius wouldn’t fall under Rev 19 per se.

    I think I have already shown how the practices of the Gnostics were substantially different than that of the iconodules both in terms of intention and outward acts. So I don’t think I need to do anymore and I think I’ve met my burden, whereas I am still waiting for a demonstration from you that what Irenaeus is objecting to is image making and veneration in and of themselves. So far, I’ve got a blog comment box full of nothing in that respect. Second, since you made the initial charge its up to you to show how from the text that Irenaeus condemns what you claim he does.

    In such examinations of conceptual and historical linkage and derivation with respect to Nestorianism and such I don’t need to quote scripture since the terms and concepts as established by Scrtipture are by and large already justified and recognized by both sides. Second if I can take your system as is and generate an internal inconsistency then there is a problem that shows that your exegesis of the bible is incorrect.

    Your judgment of what the bible says and the canon that you agree to is what is your foundation. Your judgment may not always map on to scripture and even if it did there is no reason to take it as obligatory. It could map it and you not know it for example. In any case, what I supposedly need to do to “cut off” Calvinism from Scripture is not relevant to what I wrote, namely that I can show historical dependence on and derivation from previous heterodox Christological glosses by the Reformed.

    I think I can answer when the Orthodox church made a formal canon. (Can you indicate when Protestants established a formal canon?) I think I can and already have written a fair amount when, where and how Rome botched it. And I think I can demonstrate as much in the same historical, theological and philosophical ways I demonstrate that the Reformed are heterodox. So it is not as if I am bereft of a principled position from which to make those kinds of arguments. I can and have done so. Secondly, throwing another question at me doesn’t answer the question I asked you. I’ll just assume that you can’t address it.

    As for the icons being frauds in Irenaues and your claim about my views, these two are not the same. Your claim is that they are frauds because they are not pictographic, Irenaeus’ claim is that they are frauds because they claim to be made directly by Pilate. Hence the two claims are not the same and are grounded on two different principles. When I buy an icon, I don’t think its made by Pilate or the Apostles or Luke and is therefore authentic.
    I am not in fact making any argument for your case. If so, once again, you’ll need to line up some premises and grab an inference rule or two to support your bald claim.

    If you think the distinction between father and witness begs the question, you’ll need to do more than just keep asserting this claim, but give a reason or demonstration. You’ll also need to specify what question you think is being begged. In any case, the argument you need to construct would indict Ireneaus, Athanasius and just about every major Christian theologian prior to the Reformation. And second, its implausible as I noted concerning the Gnostics on a prima facia basis.

    Given that we have revelation to say that there were those known to God who were a remnant and we don’t have that with the post NT church as you conceive it, these two cases seem to stand on a different footing. Second, the whole period of Christian history prior to the Reformation is hardly comparable to the relatively short period of Baal worship in Israel during the time of Elijah. Third, you are assuming that there was such a remnant on an ad hoc basis because your position requires it and not because there is any reason beyond this to think it is true. As for what you wrote at the link you gave, I can’t see how anything there really advances your position or gets around this problem.

    In any case, I’ve laid out the text and material regarding what Irenaeus meant. He didn’t condemn making representational images. He didn’t’ condemn the veneration of them. If you think otherwise, please give me an argument with some evidence from the text or other relevant material.

  17. Androgen says:

    Which is more offensive, to reverently eat an idol or to kiss one? Which is more offensive, to reverently drink an idol that represents human blood or to light a candle?

    From what I remember, the standard reformed position denies a real presence and therefore makes taking communion idolatry according to what I am understanding from Rhology.

    Are Calvinists suppose to have reverence for just the bread and wine, or to what they represent? Either way, it must be OK to give the highest religious reverence and respect to symbolic items in worship. From my reading it was the bread and wine that was blessed and called the body and blood of Christ that made people sick, not just any piece of bread or wine they irreverently consumed. To say its OK to do so because God commanded us is to say that God demands us to be “iconodules” in worship.

  18. Don Bradley says:

    Rhology,

    The point of my hypothetical question was to understand how you view matter and its relation to God, therefore I chose the most sacred material object, that being the very physical body of Christ (represented by the blood on the wood). Let me try a simpler question: Does God use any material object whatsoever to save man?

  19. ioannis says:

    What is all that fuss about the 2nd commandmend? Where does God say that He disapproves of making icons of Himself?

  20. Cyril says:

    Ioannis,

    Next thing you know you will say things like we have to honor the images we make in our mind, can’t have a triumphal entry/Palm Sunday without a riderless mule, and something really crazy, like God has a body.

    Greetings on the Feast to all.
    Cyril

  21. ioannis says:

    Cyril,

    I am not sure that I got your point.

    After the incarnation, yes, God has a body.

  22. Ioannis,

    I think Cyril was being sarcastic or tounge in cheek.

  23. Cyril says:

    Indeed I was.

    Great thread Perry.

    The point about images in the mind needs unpacking, in that we cannot think apart from images. Even the prohibition against making images of the Father speaks to this in that the Father is beyond circumscription, and thus beyond thought; whereas the Son is not forever circumscribed, and it is both blasphemy and heresy to think of him as not enhypostaticized. Consequently, even with our intellects we bow before Christ, and should as well before the saints. Otherwise, how can we think of blasphemies such as cheering with the Romans as the burned St. Polycarp, without guilt?

    Perry, as for the iconography of souls, there is the image of the soul of the BVM in the Dormition icon (who Jesus is holding), in that her soul is seen as purified, as was her body, and thus ready for the Assumption.

    Lastly I should note that the Reformed, as well as the Lutherans, both follow the logic of Anselm (though more robustly so in Abelard) in that the ancient church had no concept of things (res or pragmata) that existed apart from the soul. Anselm was put to pains by Gaunilo about the existence of God being something that is more than a perfection predicated by the mind. This Anselm attempts to do, but it is nothing that would ever have occurred to Augustine or St. Athanasius. Thus the independent world of externals demanding interpretation both formally and materially separates the image from its prototype. This is why there is such visceral rejection of the fourfold sense of scripture also.

    I must away and ready my meats, cheeses, and beers for the feast tonight. May our Lord and all the Saints be with all of you this Pascha!

    Cyril

  24. Cyril,

    Philosophically, I am not sure it is not possible to think without images. Even if so, it is not possible or seems plausibly not possible for certain kinds of ideas or thoughts.

    As for the depiction of souls, I was thinking of that example primarily of the Theotokos, but it is still depicted bodily. Same with images of the pre-incarnate Christ, though thats not his human soul, but he is depicted bodily.

  25. ioannis says:

    Perry Robinson,

    I see. Thank you.

    Cyril,

    I apologise.

    Christ is Risen!

    All the best to everyone!

  26. I think it’s significant that those are statues of stone in the picture. Significant or ironic, not sure which is more accurate. From where I sit, the way Calvinists idolize their own old dead masters is idolatrous in a way that far exceeds what I’ve seen from being with the Orthodox in the past few years. Do they pray to Calvin? No, but I’d say they put their faith and trust in Calvin which is the very nature of what constitutes idolatry.

  27. Robert says:

    @ Tundra,

    As a former Calvinist I can say we didn’t put our trust in Calvin, but I understand where you are coming from.

    Calvinists do venerate their departed Saints. I remember when I stood in the presence of the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen’s library. It was a truly religious experience, I reached out and held the books he had used, flipped through the pages of the bible he had owned. Granted, I didn’t kiss his relics, but the same connection was there. These earthly items which had belonged to Dr. Bahnsen worked as a bridge, a connection between me and him. I wasn’t the only fan of Dr. Bahnsen in the library of his son, but we were all having the same feelings and emotions.

  28. I was a fan of Greg Bahnsen as well. Not being a Calvinist, I had other reasons for admiring him.

  29. Robert says:

    Well, while I am no longer Reformed I still greatly admire the man.

  30. Rhology says:

    Perry,

    When I said “all over the place”, I meant that you deal with one topic, move on to another, then come back to the previous. It’d be better to hash out one topic before you move on. Look at your previous comment and you’ll see what I meant. This one degenerates into the same kind of mishmash, and I’ll point out when it happens.

    I know what your reading of the 2nd Commandment is due to your adherence to Calvinism.

    Any recognition of the possibility that I’m a Calvinist partly b/c of what the 2nd Cmdt is? No, for you I suppose everything must be blamed on my presuppositions. Too bad you’re blind to your own, and can’t see that it’s not always the case.
    My view of the 2nd Cmdt is probably not far from what you think it is, FWIW, but the OT gives us numerous occasions to see that worked out in practice, to see better what God meant.

    I don’t believe I made a tu quo que argument.

    Sure you did – the Geneva “idols” are exactly that. If my side “worships statues”, that doesn’t mean EOC is right to worship their pictures.

    I believe I charged you with inconsistency.

    And in this case, ‘twould be the same thing. If I’m inconsistent (which I’m not), that means nothing for the worth of the EO position.

    Second, not all approved images were commanded by God according to Scripture. 1 Kings 6:23-35 & 7:15-37.

    Predictable red herring. Please show where the 1 Kings Jews treated those images in the same or similar ways to the ways you treat your icons.

    Also on your own principles the statues of Geneva fall outside biblical warrant since God did not command them to be made, nor command the attaching of the name of the 2nd person of the Trinity to them.

    I don’t subscribe to the regulative principle, FYI. Baptist.
    Are you telling me that one of them is representing Jesus Himself? Which one and how do you know?

    The population was moved to venerate these men

    Equivocation. More reasonably, the pop was moved to HONOR them and REMEMBER them. Which is not what EO do to their images.

    When I speak of implication…taking an introductory course in logic.

    Sorry, I don’t know what you’re referring to here. Sometimes line-by-lines like I do is helpful.

    Or making an image of God is permissible but not bowing to it?

    Making an image of THE FATHER or THE HS is not permissible, no. How could they be pictured?
    Of Jesus, sure, but not to bow down to it or worship it. What’s wrong with just worshiping God?

    If representational art isn’t supposed to be pictographic, charging it with producing fakes is fallacious. Its like charging poetry with being deceitful since it isn’t prose.

    YOU were the one who introduced the “fakes” discussion. I was just responding.

    The distinction between witnesses and fathers is much older than the modern period so it isn’t an invention of modern Orthodox.

    Everyone was modern at some time, during their time. My argument has to do with the fallacy of ascribing truth just b/c of age.

    Sources in the fourth century make this distinction as well.

    Doesn’t make them any more right than when you do it today.

    If you do not distinguish between them, please first lay out your taxonomy and some rough and ready reasons for it.

    B/c plenty of ppl have been wrong about plenty of things thru the course of time. So we are supposed to judge by what God has said.

    It isn’t question begging to class certain people as giving information about Christianity who are by their own judgment outside the church such as Tertullian

    Sure it is – Tertullian didn’t claim he was wrong when he joined the Montanists, did he? Regarded the MOntanists as the proper teachers of proper truth, didn’t he? Otherwise, why join them?

    How someone like that can be a father through the gospel and be outside the Christian church

    Someone is a “father thru the gospel” when they teach the gospel. Not before, not after, and not otherwise. I’m concerned with TRUTH; you seem to be far more concerned with pedigree.

    Its true that if such authors and everything they said were taken to be authoritative we wouldn’t have a consensus but this doesn’t really demonstrate anything, other than perhaps the consistency of my position.

    Far from it; it demonstrates the circularity of your position, to claim that you know for sure what Guy X thought b/c you have SOME of his writings, to claim that you know that Guy X definitely represented the thought of the rest of the Christians at the time, and b/c you pick out some of what Guy X said, call it “orthodox”, and leave the rest aside. Then you appeal to the picked-out pieces of writing to substantiate your claims to authority to pick out what is orthodox.

    First, you seem to imply that this is done on an ad hoc basis, but to substantiate that claim you’d need to lay out or refer to my principles employed for establishing consensus and then show how my inclusion or exclusion is ad hoc or how the principles are such.

    Actually, all I need to do is:
    1) Watch you fail to substantiate your burden of proof in demonstrating that Guy X did indeed represent the rest of the church laity, and
    2) Point out examples in early writers where you ignore what Guy X said.
    Fortunately, #1 is obvious, and #2 you’ve already admitted just above.

    It doesn’t follow that he condemns having candles per se or images per se.

    I don’t suppose it bothers you that you “crown these images”, or that you have images of Christ, and “have also other modes of honoring these images, after the same manner of the Gentiles”.

    Is all bowing down to saints in Revelation a form of worship or no? If not, why not? If so, how do you understand Rev 3?

    Nobody could read what I’ve written on icons and think that.
    I assume you mean Rev 3:9 ‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.
    That would be a gesture of submission and contrition. Please prove that it would be anything like what EOdox do to their images.

    To charge you with the fallacy of equivocation is not “absurd.”

    Sure it is, when the charge is obviously wrong. I say “person”, you say “but, but, but, their SOUL isn’t necessarily not there!”
    That, sir, is absurd. Especially since you go on to agree with me here, as if you knew it all along. Why even bring it up?

    It seems you do not understand even what the Reformers, let alone Augustine meant when they used such a term as the soul.

    1) I’m no great expert on either.
    2) Could I just speak for myself?

    If you think the soul takes up space and is a spatial entity,

    More red herring from you. One wonders whether you ever tire of it. YOU were the one who introduced the concept of the soul. I was talking about the person.

    Icons do not generally represent the soul of a person, though there are cases if I am not mistaken. They aim to represent the person

    Haha, speak of the devil.

    Kissing in and of itself isn’t a form of adoration

    I’ve been to numerous DLs. You ARE patronising me by separating the kissing from the context. You seem allergic to context, but you come by it honestly – I haven’t met an EOx yet who isn’t.

    When I noted that the OT, 2nd century synagogues had images (and the earliest churches in the catacombs too) had images and you responded that “So no consensus, right?” I am not clear on what point you wish to make. Please clarify.

    It’s not that hard. You claim a consensus for early church, then you break it up by acknowledging that iconoclasts existed, but then you seem to set that aside with willful ignorance. I’m just trying to remind you.

    I think I made clear that I adhered to omniscience of God by saying that God knows my thoughts.

    Not clear enough, sorry. But I allow retractions – you DO believe that God is omniscient? And knows all your thoughts, all the time?

    treating them like crap.

    You want “treat them like crap”, go observe the way atheists treat me on my blog and the way Mark Shea has treated me. My guess is you’re just mad b/c I don’t roll over and play dead, and let the EOC rub my soft underbelly.
    If you don’t want ppl to speculate on your state of mind, here’s an idea – stick to the ISSUEs, not to the person or all your complaints about how horribly I treat you.

    Jesus is also deity, but it is also said of him that he “hears” prayers.

    Yes, b/c He is DIVINE.

    Since your argument was that disembodied saints could not “hear” prayer,

    Are they divine?

    And besides, natures don’t do anything, persons do so

    Said the guy who earlier asked: “So when Thomas falls down before Jesus and renders worship is worship of his body or is it passed on to his divine person?
    That’s rich.

    where is Thomas directing his worship but to the humanity of Jesus? I

    That’s just the point – He isn’t directing his worship to a NATURE at all. How are you missing this?

    When you write that I have to defend all of them together, I am not clear on what you mean by “all of them.” Do you mean bowing, invocation and having of image?

    Yes.

    Is this worship passed on to his divine person or not?

    ???? As opposed to “His human ‘person’”? You’re not making any sense.

    The fact that you don’t seem to know what an implication is, aren’t familiar with basic theological concepts like the soul or in our last exchange didn’t know what the term “hypostatic union” picked out I think shows that the confusion is on your part.

    Said the guy who just asked: “ Is this worship passed on to his divine person or not?” Yes, *I’m* the one who doesn’t understand the Hypostatic Union.

    Your position a la WCF 8.2 confuses person and nature by saying that since Jesus has a human nature, he is also a human person.

    Sorry, you can’t quote me making that confusion. Jesus is ONE PERSON. YOU’RE the one making Him into “a divine person”, as opposed to some other kind of ‘person’, “human” presumably. Go back, read it again, make sense this time.

    I grant that Rev 19 forbids worshipping saints, but it doesn’t forbid bowing down to them for honor.

    See, here’s an example of your being all over the place. Didn’t we discuss this like 6 paragraphs ago? Yet here it makes a reappearance.
    How do you know that John had in mind to “worship” the angel? can the angel read John’s mind now, even though God apparently can’t?
    Maybe the angel was interesting forestalling his bowing down to him, b/c that would be inappropriate in such a context – worship God!

    Your judgment of what the bible says and the canon that you agree to is what is your foundation.

    Lame, postmodern conversation-killer. When will you tire of such childish tactics?
    Your judgment of what the tradition says and the canon of Tradition that you agree to is what is your foundation.

    Your judgment may not always map on to scripture and even if it did there is no reason to take it as obligatory.

    Lame, postmodern conversation-killer.
    Your judgment may not always map on to Scr and Tradition and even if it did there is no reason to take it as obligatory.
    Your judgment may not always map on to what The Church® says, and even if it did there is no reason to take it as obligatory.

    I think I can answer when the Orthodox church made a formal canon. (Can you indicate when Protestants established a formal canon?)

    Why does Kallistos Ware disagree? Why should I believe you rather than him?
    “PRotestants” never did, and so what? My trust is in God, not “a church”, especially when you clumsily say “Protestants”, as if that term carries any real meaning.

    Irenaeus’ claim is that they are frauds because they claim to be made directly by Pilate.

    See, here’s an another example of your being all over the place. Didn’t we discuss this like 6 paragraphs ago? Yet here it makes a reappearance.

    If you think the distinction between father and witness begs the question, you’ll need to do more than just keep asserting this claim, but give a reason or demonstration.

    Done so quite a few times, actually. Here’s one.
    Did so above, too. I’ll repaste it for you: Far from it; it demonstrates the circularity of your position, to claim that you know for sure what Guy X thought b/c you have SOME of his writings, to claim that you know that Guy X definitely represented the thought of the rest of the Christians at the time, and b/c you pick out some of what Guy X said, call it “orthodox”, and leave the rest aside. Then you appeal to the picked-out pieces of writing to substantiate your claims to authority to pick out what is orthodox.

    Third, you are assuming that there was such a remnant on an ad hoc basis because your position requires it and not because there is any reason beyond this to think it is true.

    ?? I’m just holding over an OT paradigm to the NT period. Sue me for thinking that God might work similarly since the coming of Christ as He did before in some ways.

    Androgen:
    Which is more offensive, to reverently eat an idol or to kiss one? Which is more offensive, to reverently drink an idol that represents human blood or to light a candle?

    Don’t know.
    But I do know that EO deny the Real Presence as RCs mean it. They prefer to take a more defensible position of “Christ’s MYSTICAL presence”, which when you examine it means next to nothing at all. It’s in practice pretty indistinguishable from Baptist practice. I’d be comfy saying Christ is MYSTICALLY present, after all.

    Are Calvinists suppose to have reverence for just the bread and wine, or to what they represent?

    For what they represent, and Christ Himself and His command.

    Don Bradley:
    Does God use any material object whatsoever to save man?

    Yes. The Cross, for example. Christ’s body, more to the point, was and remains material.

    ioannis:
    Where does God say that He disapproves of making icons of Himself?

    1 Tim 6:He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

    How can you picture that?

    Peace,
    Rhology

  31. ioannis says:

    Rhology,

    Thank you for agreeing with me that there is nowhere to be found in Scripture a disapproval by God of making icons of Himself. I see that we agree at least that the Orthodox do not violate any law in depicting God Jesus Christ. I am saying that because, as you understand, disapproval, that I asked about, is one thing and impossibility, that you referred to, is another.

    Second, the passage you cited has nothing to do with the 2nd Commandmend. The commandmend refers to those things that we can see. As you pointed out it is impossible to picture something that you can not see. Therefore, it would be pointless on the part of God to impose a prohibition against doing something that men, anyway, can not do.

    Now, since you believe in the Scripture and you accept that God Logos was incarnated and walked amongst us and He is, according to John, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, … the Word of life” you can understand that there is something about God that indeed we can not see as 1 Tim 6 indicates and there is also something about God that we saw and we still can see as John and many other passages state. Don’t you agree that the Apostles saw Christ? Don’t you believe that Christ is God? Yes, judging from your last response, where you wrote that Jesus Christ is one divine person (and not two), you believe that Jesus Christ is God. That means that in depicting Jesus Christ we depict God and that He made it possible by His incarnation.

  32. Androgen says:

    Rhology,

    My questions about idols stem from a few statements you made:

    “Sorry, it strains credulity when you tell me it’s OK to do all of the above:

    1. Kiss their image. While they are not there

    3. Set up an image in church…. While they are not there.”

    If communion is an image of Christ’s body and his body is not truly there, then the action of taking communion during church would seem to fall under idolatry from what I am getting from you. You also said that Baptists actually hold to a real presence, and you then say that like the EO, it really means nothing at all, which makes it meaningless, and therefore you are still stuck with idolatry. The bread and wine obviously do not represent His person (This is my body), so just saying he is personally omniscient doesn’t fit with what is being imaged at communion

    From what I understand of the EO position of real presence (I am not EO so I can’t really say), they prefer not to be as exact like RCs, but I am not sure they would say the RC position is out of the question.

    My intent is not to add more issues to the dialog, but I do see a connection with ones view of communion and icons because what you say about one will circumscribe what can be said of the other. From what I see, Protestants that practice communion are no different then those who use icons in worship because that’s what the bread and wine are…icons. Protestants eat icons which is by far more of an act of worship then kissing them, and so as you seem to ask, how do you justify divorcing an action from its most common and obvious intent?

    How do you separate eating the body and blood as an act of worship from just an act of remembrance, especially at the time it was instituted? To me, eating and drinking blood icons is much harder to separate from an act of worship then separating the act of kissing or bowing.

  33. Krause says:

    Rhology:

    Just because we reject one specific metaphysical gloss on the real presence does not mean that we do not believe in the real presence. Nor do we use the term “mystical” to denote “in words only.” We deny the transubstantiation because it implies a docetistic Christology, because it’s not found anywhere in the Fathers, and perhaps (although this might only be me) because it is a metaphysically ridiculous thing to say that something has the essence of one thing, and all the accidents of another.

    By “mystical” we simply mean: in a way that transcends understanding. We don’t know exactly how it works, but we firmly believe that the bread, while not ceasing to be bread, becomes the very body of Christ, and the wine, while not ceasing to be also wine, becomes the very blood of Christ. We confess these truths in the Orthodox Church every time before we partake of the Eucharist.

    The idea that we believe basically the same thing about the Eucharist as Baptists is ignorant and absurd.

  34. Rhology says:

    ioannis,

    Thank you for agreeing with me that there is nowhere to be found in Scripture a disapproval by God of making icons of Himself.

    I’m sorry, I think you misunderstood. The 2nd commandment says not to make images. So don’t make ‘em.
    Jesus, however, took on flesh, so I don’t see as much of a problem picturing Him in His humanity. He was (and is) visible, tangible. The Father and HS never have been nor ever will be.

    The commandmend refers to those things that we can see.

    Right, and you can’t see the HS or the Father.

    Therefore, it would be pointless on the part of God to impose a prohibition against doing something that men, anyway, can not do.

    God does that several times in the Scr. He commands man not to sin. Commands man to repent.

    something about God

    Let’s be specific, since you’re in danger of equivocating. Something about JESUS, Who is the God-man.

    Androgen,
    If communion is an image of Christ’s body and his body is not truly there, then the action of taking communion during church would seem to fall under idolatry from what I am getting from you

    I dispute the 1st “if” – Communion is a command of Christ, an ordinance, which creates unity among the body. But it’s not an IMAGE of His body; rather, it’s a symbol. It doesn’t look like Christ’s body at all.

    You also said that Baptists actually hold to a real presence

    Nope, read it again.

    they prefer not to be as exact like RCs, but I am not sure they would say the RC position is out of the question.

    Then they don’t have a problem with monophysitism. I wouldn’t advertise that!

    that’s what the bread and wine are…icons.

    I guess you can *say* that, but I don’t see a reason to grant it.

    How do you separate eating the body and blood as an act of worship from just an act of remembrance, especially at the time it was instituted?

    Since the body and blood SYMBOLISE Christ, and in obeying Christ, I worship Him, I don’t separate them.

    Krause,
    We deny the transubstantiation because it implies a docetistic Christology

    I agree 10000000%.

    By “mystical” we simply mean: in a way that transcends understanding.

    Which is no diff than what a Baptist would say. Your apophaticism is your weakness here, but that’s no shock.

    We don’t know exactly how it works, but we firmly believe that the bread, while not ceasing to be bread, becomes the very body of Christ

    You mean it MYSTICALLY becomes it, right? In what way is “mystically” the same as “really”?

    The idea that we believe basically the same thing about the Eucharist as Baptists is ignorant and absurd.

    If it’s absurd, I’d expect it’d be easy to explain why they’re diff.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  35. Androgen says:

    Rhology,

    Since it’s OK to eat a symbol representing Christ’s body and blood, and not an image of such, then it would seem to be OK to kiss and bow to the same symbol since it’s not an image.

    Eating a symbol of a body is by far a closer act of worshiping that symbol then bowing. Since I can eat the symbol, which is as close to being one with it as it gets, I sure can bow to it from a distance as an act of worshiping who it represents, without being accused of worshiping the symbol itself. I don’t see a difference in this position and yours concerning the eating of a symbol as an act of worshiping who it symbolizes or represents.

    It seemed, and I may be wrong, that one of your issues was that bowing normally entails worshiping. When I asked you how do you separate eating an item called Christ’s body and blood from worshiping, I was asking how you can justify the claim that that you in fact don’t worship the items themselves. When the EO makes such distinctions you seem to deny their legitimacy, so I was wondering what standard you use to justify your own separation.

  36. Andrew says:

    Rhology,

    If it’s absurd, I’d expect it’d be easy to explain why they’re diff.

    For one, the Orthodox affirm the oral reception of Christ’s body and blood. I don’t know of any Baptist that would affirm the oral reception of Christ’s body and blood.

  37. Rhology,

    There does seem to be a matter unaddressed in this discussion, well at least to my rapid reading of it, which is there is a careful distinction in Orthodox terminology between worship and reverence. Sadly, most English translations of Greek texts fail to consistently maintain this distinction, which can cause great confusion, as happened in the ninth Century with Charlemagne’s rejection of the Seventh Ecumenical Council.

    The Orthodox understand that worship is only directed to God and it is not what is directed or given to icons. The Orthodox reverence or venerate icons but do not worship them. The lighting of candles, offering incense and bowing are signs of reverence but not worship. Worship is given primarily through the communal liturgical acts, especially the offering of the Eucharist.

    All the issues that you raise vis-a-vie icons were raised and answered in the ninth Century during the iconoclastic debates, which were evolving debates covering a broad range of issues. Your position is very close to the second generation of “iconoclasts” after the Seventh Ecumenical Council and is similar to the Frankish position on icons in the ninth Century. Theodore the Studite provided strong theological arguments why this position is not acceptable and that having icons requires venerating them. I suggest you read his works. Also, I invite you to read a 5000 word essay that goes through all the issues in detail, which received a distinction at Master’s level from the University of Wales, meaning that you can trust that it is written to a very good standard of recognised scholarship.

  38. ioannis says:

    Rhology,

    So, where exactly do you disagree with me in regard to the practice of icon making? On the one hand you say “do not make them”, on the other «I do not see much of a problem picturing Him in His humanity”.
    You confuse me. Do you find problem in making them or not?

    Did I say that we picture the divinity of Jesus? But Jesus and Logos is one and the same person which means that in picturing Jesus we picture Logos and Logos is God and in picturing Him we picture God in His humanity. So, I am asking you again. Where does God say that we shouldn’t depict Him or, if you want, that we shouldn’t depict Him in His humanity? Nowhere.

    Perhaps we do not share the same Christology and you believe that Logos and Jesus are two distinct persons. If yes, then you do not believe in the incarnation and that’s the reason why you disagree with the making of icons. But that can not be the case because you wrote that Jesus took on flesh which shows that you identify Jesus with Logos.

    No, the commandmend does not say simply “do not make icons” It says much more than that (and even more if we put it in its historical context since you like seeing things in their context and I like it as well). Do you believe, for instance, that God Logos is jealous of the icons of Himself and of His own humanity? Does that make sense to you? And, if yes, do you believe then as well that the Father is jealous of Christ who is the “icon of the invisible God who came in order to reveal the Father in his own person”? (Col. 1:15)

    We do not depict the HS and the Father. It is prohibited by the Panorthodox Synod of 1666 of Russia.

    You wrote: “God does that several times in the Scr. He commands man no to sin. He command to repent”

    If you imply that we can not repent or avoid sin unless the grace of God make us do so, I could reply then that through the grace of God we can still see and depict God in his humanity. You also imply that the law was given in order to come to the knowledge of our sins but that’s irrelevant to our discussion and my point remains that the meaning of 1 Tim 6 bears no relevance to the 2nd commandment and you shouldn’t, scientifically speaking, use those passages side by side unless you think that God prohibited the making of icons of things that they can not be seen by man and yet He makes mention of the form of those things as though man could see the form of things that he can not see! Do you believe in an absurd God who does idle talking?
    Besides, it is one thing to give a prohibition that can not be kept and another to prohibit something that can not be done.

  39. Lucian says:

    Rho,

    what exactly is so “surpassing of understanding” in the fact nothing happens to either bread or wine, and that they merely symbolize Christ’s body and blood, which is what Baptists believe?

  40. mome says:

    Funny, Rhology has early on expressed his rejection of the distinction between veneration and worship (correct me if I’m wrong). This means that I can’t possibly be telling the truth when I say that I am not worshiping paint or a saint. Rhology knows better than I what I’m doing. That I do these things in the reverential context of a church service seems to prove it for him that I am worshiping my little pieces of paper, as he put it.

    As for bowing to, kissing and censing icons, these are all acts of worship, according the one who objects to people reading his mind but who has no qualms about reading our minds. So when I bow toward the priest who is bowing toward me, are we worshiping each other? When the priest censes me and the rest of the congregation, is he worshiping us? When I kiss the priest’s hand, am I worshiping him? When the kiss of peace is exchanged, is there a mutual worship between human beings going on? The answer to all of these is no, because these are acts of veneration, not worship.

    Rhology himself doubled back and made the same distinction when he said that the statues of the reformers are there because people wished to show honor (i.e. veneration) to those figures depicted. That’s a real head-scratcher. The “context” really doesn’t make a bit of difference.

  41. Rhology says:

    [NOTE: Rhology-since you can't seem to present your remarks without insulting comments, I have deleted those passages that are disrespectful.]

    Hi Androgen,

    then it would seem to be OK to kiss and bow to the same symbol since it’s not an image.

    The main diff is that Christ ordered us to eat and drink the symbol of Christ’s body and blood, and He also ordered us specifically not to bow down to images, to worship or serve idols and created things.

    Eating a symbol of a body is by far a closer act of worshiping that symbol then bowing.

    I’m sorry, I don’t accept human reasoning with respect to questions of faith like this. I trust God’s revelation.

    that one of your issues was that bowing normally entails worshiping.

    NORMALLY, yes, and in religious contexts. That latter is very important.

    Fr Dcn Patrick (Monk Patrick),

    which is there is a careful distinction in Orthodox terminology between worship and reverence

    Sure, but I don’t find a biblical distinction between the two. Over and over in the OT it says “do not worship and serve” the idols. There’s not really a difference.

    The Orthodox understand that worship is only directed to God and it is not what is directed or given to icons.

    You can *say* that all day long, but it doesn’t change the issue of what you actually do to these pictures of dead people and angels. The way you act towards these images does not act like you’re not worshiping them and are reserving sthg for God. Why not just always direct worship to God directly? It’s not as if God doesn’t deserve INFINITE worship, you know.

    All the issues that you raise vis-a-vie icons were raised and answered in the ninth Century during the iconoclastic debates

    I doubt that, actually, especially personnel from the 7th Ecum Council.
    If we take a look here:
    “The Greek Patriarch with whom Leo fii-st entered into conference on this subject was more mild in his manner, but not at all less determined in his resistance than Pope Gregory — less abusive in his language, but equally absurd in the arguments which he brought forward. The Patriarch gave the following reasons for his steadfast adherence to this worship : — First, its great antiquity — that from the very commencement of the Gospel the Theandric image of Christ and the image of the Virgin had been ever3rvvhere set up in churches and had been worshipped by all Christians — that this worship had now endured for seven hundred and twenty-six years, and had never been objected to by any but by the Emperor Leo. Secondly, that it was sanctioned by our Saviour Himself, who made an image of Himself by placing a handkercliief over His face ; that this image was transmitted by one of the apostles to Abgarus king of Edessa, whom it cured of a painful disease under which he laboured. Thirdly, the example of an evangelist is alleged : for we are told that St. Luke* was accustomed to make pictures of the Virgin. And lastly, the Patriarch added the pretended authority of Councils,t which, as he declared, had ever enjoined the making and the worship of images. The Patriarch concludes this conference with the Emperor thus : — ‘* Wherefore, I would that you should know, Emperor, that, if you intend to
    confirm and establish your impious decree, you will never have me as your aUy ; but you shall find that I am ready and prepared to shed my blood for Christ’s image, who refused not to shed His precious blood for my fallen and loiined image.”

    Looks like NONE of those arguments are scriptural.

    I invite you to read a 5000 word essay that goes through all the issues in detail

    Thank you, I will.

    ioannis,

    On the one hand you say “do not make them”, on the other «I do not see much of a problem picturing Him in His humanity”.

    “Don’t make them” refers to “don’t worship them”. Besides, EOC is way too far into the problem of icon-worship to worry about Christian freedoms with respect to it actually being OK to have pictures of ppl in church.

    Where does God say that we shouldn’t depict Him or, if you want, that we shouldn’t depict Him in His humanity?

    I blv I’ve been very consistent in saying that it’s OK to depict Jesus qua the incarnate Jesus. But not to use it in worship.

    Perhaps we do not share the same Christology and you believe that Logos and Jesus are two distinct persons.

    Um, no.

    Do you believe, for instance, that God Logos is jealous of the icons of Himself and of His own humanity?

    I’m not 100% sure of all the reasons why He said what He said, but that’s true of alot of things.
    Plus, given the way that you have been led into man-centered soteriology, thinking you can add to God’s work to save you, I *would* say that He’d have a good reason to be jealous.

    We do not depict the HS and the Father.

    Untrue.

    If you imply that we can not repent or avoid sin unless the grace of God make us do so

    Not I, but the Lord.
    John 6:44-45 makes this abundantly clear.

    Lucian,

    what exactly is so “surpassing of understanding” in the fact nothing happens to either bread or wine, and that they merely symbolize Christ’s body and blood, which is what Baptists believe?

    your question is incoherent. Please clarify.

    mome,

    This means that I can’t possibly be telling the truth when I say that I am not worshiping paint or a saint.

    Sorry, it sure looks like you are.

    As for bowing to, kissing and censing icons, these are all acts of worship, according the one who objects to people reading his mind but who has no qualms about reading our minds.

    God’s knowing every thought doesn’t change the fact that He commanded us not to bow down in religious contexts to idols.

    So when I bow toward the priest who is bowing toward me, are we worshiping each other?

    You’re doing what others have incorrectly done, which is to isolate the various elements of your worshiping idols from the others, to make it more palatable.

  42. David Richards says:

    Rhology, the icon you link is not a depiction of the Holy Spirit or the Father. The Father is not depicted in Orthodox iconography and the Holy Spirit is only depicted as He has been revealed – as a dove at the baptism of Christ and as tongues of fire on the Day of Pentecost. You asserted earlier that the Holy Spirit had never been revealed and therefore could never be depicted but this is just false and I recommend you research “The Visitation of Abraham” (which is what the icon is called – it is NOT an icon of the Holy Trinity but a numeric TYPE of the Trinity) before you assume it is a depiction of the Trinity.

  43. Rhology says:

    David Richards,

    It says “Holy Trinity” right there in the icon. If it were the visitation of Abraham, why doesn’t it say “the Visitation of Abraham”?
    Where is that building in the back in the Genesis acct? The mountain? The cup of wine? The table?

    What would it do to your theology if it did in fact depict the Trinity?

  44. David Richards says:

    Rhology, the Rublev icon (from which this icon is taken) is the canonical icon; I don’t care if THIS particular icon says “Holy Trinity,” and insofar as it does that, it is wrong. It wouldn’t do anything to my theology it would just change my opinion of the icon from canonical status to uncanonical. But since the original, canonical Rublev icon is the “The Visitation of Abraham” then it doesn’t much matter to me what other, non-canonical icons depict. I just won’t reverence them.

  45. Rhology says:

    I just won’t reverence them.

    As Perry said above, your judgment of what tradition says that you agree to is what is your foundation.
    Your judgment may not always map on to tradition and even if it did there is no reason to take it as obligatory.
    So I’m not sure what gives you the right to refuse to reverence an Orthodox icon, to exercise your private, fallible judgment like that. What right do you have?

  46. Rhology,

    Dave is correct. It is not an icon of the Trinity. There are a good number of canonical and theological pieces written about this in Orthodoxy clearly marking this off as typological and nothing more. The scene is taken from an older iconic tradition of the visitation to Abraham, which is why it has historically bore that name. So Dave isn’ton any ground other than that of the Tradition.

    See here http://www.amazon.com/Image-Father-Orthodox-Theology-Iconography/dp/1879038153/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270570510&sr=1-1

  47. David Richards says:

    Rhology, your last comment to me is a non-sequitor and just an excuse to pick a fight. It is not an exercise in private judgment when professional theologians, not to mention the canons and Holy Tradition in general, support my point. Here it is not so important what individual Orthodox take to be normative, and I will gladly and humbly correct them when and if I see fit; what matters is what the Church actually teaches and practices as normative. You should probably engage Orthodox on that level before you take some nominal cradle’s ignorant practice (for example) and proceed to construct an argument against the Orthodox. Notice that I did not ask you why you believe unbaptized babies are sent to hell, even though there are some Calvinists who think so; this is because I give you the benefit of a doubt and don’t presume to know your specific understanding of Calvinist beliefs. And speaking of private judgment, how is that mote in your sola Scriptura eye treating ya?

  48. Rhology says:

    So we can just make any old image of the Father and call it a “type” when questioned. Shrug. It’s your soul, man. Me, I’d be a bit more than nervous in trying to depict in image He Who cannot be seen. There’s a reason why the Bible keeps saying that, over and over. You like to argue that Joseph would’ve been a bit wary of attempting carnal commerce with Mary after her womb housed the Logos, yet it’s OK with you to picture the Father, eh?

    David,
    If you don’t want a debate, no one is forcing you to participate here. You think we’re always going to agree? If you don’t like internal critiques, sorry. Maybe you could ask Perry to make more sense, then, if you don’t like his own arguments used against you.

    It is not an exercise in private judgment when professional theologians, not to mention the canons and Holy Tradition in general, support my point.

    Sure it is. It’s YOUR UNDERSTANDING of what they’re saying. You think you can just upload it to my brain? It’s just as much private interping as when I or anyone else read the Bible.

    You should probably engage Orthodox on that level before you take some nominal cradle’s ignorant practice (for example)

    About whom specifically are you speaking?

    Notice that I did not ask you why you believe unbaptized babies are sent to hell, even though there are some Calvinists who think so;

    Wow, some Calvinists think so.
    1) My relationship to other Calvinists is not analogous to your relationship to other EO, you should know. My church doesn’t make the brainless and constant appeals to unity that yours does.
    2) So what? You need to face the consequences for what you believe. You were faced with a dilemma and you chose a side, so I’m questioning you about your choice. You could always join my church, where fortunately we don’t have to deal with such sticky situations as this. Bottom line, it’s your allegiance to EOC that’s the problem.

    And speaking of private judgment, how is that mote in your sola Scriptura eye treating ya?

    An ignorant half-cocked response.
    Notice that *I’m* the one who ripped Perry’s argument as “lame, postmodern conversation-killer”? Twice? How could you possibly think that you could then press that as an internal critique on my position, since *I’m* the one insisting that the bogeyman of “private interpretation” is a meaningless smokescreen used by Emergents, pomos, RCs, and EOx?

  49. David Richards says:

    Rhology, it is not an internal critique since you do not grasp Orthodox theology. An internal critique requires that you use principles which the other side accepts, to show how they are inconsistent with their own principles. So far you have not done that since you fail to grasp even rudimentary principles of Orthodox theology, such as the hypostatic union.

    It is not the debate I have a problem with, nor do I find your rhetoric difficult to stomach; I can dish it out but I find it unedifying for me personally and distasteful generally. It is uncivil to issue vague threats about my or anyone else’s soul, which you do not know the first thing about. I would think that, on someone else’s blog, you could at least keep the personal comments out of dialogue long enough to discuss the substance of the issues. The fact that you unwilling to do even this speaks volumes. Stop perpetuating the stereotype of Calvinists as inconsiderate and uncharitable jerks, please.

    “An ignorant half-cocked response.”

    That about sums it up for me. No use in throwing my pearls before swine.

  50. Rhology says:

    it is not an internal critique since you do not grasp Orthodox theology

    I’m sorry, I was referring to YOUR attempt to pass an internal critique on MY position.
    I have also performed intcrits on the EO position, but no, I don’t think I”ve misunderstood the EO position at all. If so, I expect EOx to correct me. I also don’t think that returning the favor is too much to ask – when I correct YOU, be generous enough to say “ooops” and move on.

    An internal critique requires that you use principles which the other side accepts

    Right, which is why your attempt failed.

    It is uncivil to issue vague threats about my or anyone else’s soul

    The Apostle Paul didn’t seem to have a problem with it. Galatians 1:6-10, a psg I’d heartily commend to you, BTW, since it deals with your very soteriological position.

    Anyway, see you.

  51. Rhology,

    I bring up points again because I am following your remarks line by line and you make the same mistakes and so I address them again. This may mean that the remarks do not constitute an essay, but it in no way implies that they are untrue or illogical.

    Given that I am a presuppositionalist of sorts I am not sure what the problem would be in attacking your presuppositions. Your next remark is “Too bad you’re blind to your own, and can’t see that it’s not always the case.” These kinds of personal insults really do not advance the argument. If you can’t discuss the matter without insulting people I will just delete your remarks. You are of course free to mistake insults for arguments on your own blog, but this is the last time I will tolerate them.

    Given that I’ve read the OT through a number of times, I am quite aware of how the OT gives numerous examples as to what the second commandment amounts to. Unfortunately I disagree with you as to what it amounts to. In any case, this remark doesn’t advance your case.

    I didn’t bring up the Geneva idols as a tu quo que but to point out inconsistency. I can claim inconsistency without making a tu quo que argument. The two are not logically the same. As I pointed out, it would be tu quo que if I admitted that your principles were appropriate and applicable to my case, which I have not done so.

    If you are inconsistent, it doesn’t imply the truth of the Orthodox position, but it does say something about your own. I would think that all by itself would be worth addressing.

    Claiming that 1 Kings is a red herring isn’t a demonstration that it is. You need to bear your own burden of proof here. If it is a red herring, please demonstrate it. Second, you advanced the principle that images in the OT were permissible because they had been commanded by God. I addressed this by giving an example of images permissible but not commanded by God. Consequently its not a red herring. Where did God command all those things listed to be made?
    Second, given that the Reformed position is one of iconoclasm as well as iconophobia I don’t need to show veneration in those cases to disprove your thesis. Frankish iconophobia disproves your iconoclasm sufficiently well.

    If you do not subscribe to the regulative principle, then please inform me as to what principle you do adhere. As for the Geneva statues, what I referred to was the religious designation at the bottom to them, “IHS” is an abbreviation for the name Jesus. Consequently, these aren’t merely secular statues.
    Again, claiming that I am equivocating on the term veneration isn’t proof of it. You need to bear your own burden of proof. Second, I already laid out that veneration comes in a variety of forms. Certainly building statues to someone is a form of honoring them or venerating them. Regardless of whether the Orthodox venerate in the same way, the Reformed venerate/worship statues of men nonetheless.
    You remarked “It’s far easier to be vague and make implications, I know.” It doesn’t seem you either know what logical implication is or you are using implication in terms of insinuation and that having a negative social connotation. It seemed to me that you wished to say that I was making some kind of ad hominem argument. Hence my reply about logical implication.

    As for images of the Father and the Spirit, we don’t have them, at least not with respect to the Spirit beyond biblical representation as in say the Baptism of Christ. Historically the Reformed have objected to even making images of Jesus. Note for example Turretinfan’s recent objections to images of Jesus based on Christology.

    “And again, we recognize that some will say that when they portray Jesus, they only portray his humanity, not his divinity. Yet will anyone think that Jesus’ image is made on account of his humanity rather than on account of his divinity? Is not the very reason and purpose for the creation of the image and its use because it is acknowledged that Christ is the God-man and not a mere man? Yet even if we were somehow persuaded that those who create such imagines really mean only to portray Jesus’ humanity (somehow separated from his divinity without destroying the unity of his person), how shall we come to accept their practice of representing the Trinity itself in human form (by three-faced or three-headed grotesqueries), or even the Father alone in human form (as so famously found centrally within the Sistine chapel)?”

    http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2010/04/augustine-against-idolatry.html

    TF’s argument here is one of the standard Reformed objection to images of Jesus to ground their rejection of such things. The argument as I have dealt with it previously turns on a faulty Christology where the person of the incarnate Christ is human and divine such that making an image of one entails either mixing the natures or a division of them. Burt of course, contrary to the WCF, Jesus is not a divine and human person, but a divine person.
    This kind of Christological confusion is evidenced in Emperor Leo’s thinking where he argued that an image of Christ can’t be made because if Christ were merely a human being then that it would be possible and vice versa with the divine nature, but since Christ was composite, this was impossible since the person was both. Leo is thinking of persons as individual concrete instances of a class or kind or type. If this were so, there’d be three gods in the Trinity! In fact, this is the same confusion that grounded both the Nestorian and Monophysite heresies. The person is not an instance of a nature and in the incarnation, the divine person of Christ is in both natures so it is perfectly possible to depict the divine person in his human nature without implying any kind of hypostatic division.

    In any case, on this point then it seems you are outside of the historic Reformed position in permitting images of Jesus.

    You ask, what is wrong with just worshipping God. Nothing of course, But this is like asking, what is wrong with just reading a sermon? Why do I have to hear it preached?

    I grant that I introduced the term “fake” but that is beside the point. You claimed that images of Jesus were all probably fakes. (I wonder why you think they are permissible to make them.) I responded that the only way you could claim that they were all probably fakes was by assuming that they needed to be or were intended to be pictographic representations rather than representational art. Consequently, your response is mistaken.

    I think by modern, you mean contemporary, but the term modern doesn’t always have that meaning and certainly hasn’t for the last three hundred years in western culture. Saudi Arabia is a contemporary country, but it is not modern.

    You argue that just because sources in the fourth century use the distinction between witness and father that that doesn’t justify the distinction. But this is beside the point since the argument you gave was that it was a later innovation. My response was quite relevant to your original point.

    If you reject the distinction, which you are free to do, then not only ancient figures but even the Reformers will not be fathers but merely witnesses, which amounts to ecclesiological patricide. The problem then will be that it becomes very hard to see how any theological judgment collective or individual can be beyond possible revision. And this is a problem because the propositions one adheres to in comprising the biblical faith are given an absolute commitment. And this includes the canon of Scripture since the same figures did not agree on the canon and even if they did, agreement doesn’t imply truth.
    I asked if you reject the distinction to lay out your way of divvying up figures, namely to give me your taxonomy. You responded with,

    “B/c plenty of ppl have been wrong about plenty of things thru the course of time. So we are supposed to judge by what God has said.”

    This doesn’t address what I asked. Second, if the fallibility of past figures is warrant for not privileging the judgment of any of them, then this will exclude privileging your own judgment as well since you have been wrong about plenty of things through the course of time. Secondly, it doesn’t follow from the fact that agents are fallible about some things and under some conditions that they are so under any and all conditions. If this were so, you’d have serious problems with the inspiration of scripture.

    Second, when it comes to matters binding on the church, as far as I know the NT assigns this to the body of the church and not to the individual. (matt 18:17) God may leave judgment in terms of fulfilling the conditions on knowledge up to individuals, but as far as the teaching of the church, he doesn’t seem to do so.

    As for Tertullian, your remark to the effect that he didn’t take himself to be wrong about Montanism is not relevant and here is why. First, because you and I agree that Montanism is heterodox and that he placed himself outside the church. The Reformed tradition thinks this is so and so on either ecclesiological model, mine or yours, he isn’t considered a father in any sense. Second, because he admitted to leaving the church for the Montanist prophetesses. Consequently, my taxonomy isn’t question begging.

    If as you say someone is a father through the gospel by conveying the gospel, then was Tertullian a father? Even more pressing, how about Athanasius or Augustine, since neither of them adhered to or professed sola fide?

    You argue that my position is circular since I claim to know for certain what a figure thought based on some of his writings and that said figure represented the thought of the rest of the Christians at that time and then that I cherry pick the information and arbitrarily leave the rest aside. Then I supposedly appeal to these privileged teachings to substantiate authority claims to pick out what is orthodox. That would be problematic if I so argued, but so far, you haven’t shown that I have argued in this way. Second, it isn’t clear exactly how such reasoning is circular. Methodologically, it is problematic to reason that way, but it isn’t circular at least as you have presented it. In any case, I haven’t argued this way.

    I do know what Irenaeus thought on a good number of things based on the writings we do have. Knowing “for sure” is irrelevant since certainty as a psychological disposition really has nothing to do with fulfilling the conditions on knowledge. People were certain geocentrism was true and they were wrong and hence didn’t know what they thought they did. Certainty isn’t a sufficient or necessary condition for knowledge. Further, I have argued on a good number of occasions in the past that witnesses or fathers do not necessarily represent what most professing Christians thought at a given era. Tertullian notes how widespread and popular Sabellianism was in his context for example. What I have argued rather is that what they bear witness to and teach is the authentic teaching and tradition and I give reasons for thinking so when I have discussed such things. I don’t label such teachings arbitrarily as orthodox. I also don’t arbitrarily leave the rest aside. I articulate principles for discerning the authentic tradition. When Origen for example teaches the transmigration of the soul, I can show that this is derived from Platonism and not the Apostles. This excludes such opinions from being taken as the authentic apostolic tradition. When a figure inherits a corrupt reading or manuscript of scripture or some other work and basis his views on it, that too is a principle I use to exclude inauthentic data. Many of these principles are the same principles Protestants appeal to in discerning the canon of Scripture for example. Overall the principles I employ can be found in Irenaeus and Tertullian, ironically enough since they employ them to do the same kind of work.

    To put the shoe on the other foot for a moment, Protestants begin with their canon of Scripture and then usually argue that patristic data for other books is to be disregarded and they do so in quite a dismissive fashion, sometimes in the same text that they use to ground the canonicity of the books they accept. This is why the appeal to the church merely recognizing the canon is rather vacuous. Which church recognized the Protestant canon? If some Fathers had a Protestant canon for example why take their word over others who didn’t? That seems like a far better candidate for circular reasoning and if not that, then question begging.

    I noted that you need to make an actual argument that my selecting behavior is in fact ad hoc. To which you responded that you only need to watch me fail to substantiate the burden of proof demonstrating that some figure did in fact represent the rest of the laity. But in fact I have never argued that this is how I go about it. This is what you have assumed and tried to put these words into my mouth. In fact, on various occasions, I have argued that it is the faith of the episcopate that fundamentally counts as successors of the apostolic ministry and not what rank and file laymen thought, This is particularly germane in a social situation when at best only about 20 percent of the population was literate. Even in our own day as I am sure you are quite aware with much more substantial literacy the masses flock to dead bodies. I’ve done my fair share of passing out anti-Word-Faith literature at Copeland and Hinn Crusades to know. TBN isn’t pulling down a billion dollars a year for no reason. So my position isn’t that the teaching of the church amounts to what each and everyone of its members. This is a burden that no Reformed church could even pass and any pastor with more that ten minutes of experience knows that when they presume what their congregation largely believes that they are rudely awakened by some random remark that reveals some heterodox view.

    As for your second self imposed burden, it is not relevant that I admit that such and so figure got such and so points wrong. That by itself doesn’t justify your claim that my rejection of those views is ad hoc. Again, you need to give an actual argument that it is ad hoc. So far, I’ve seen nothing. My rejection is principled and not arbitrary as I sketched above.

    As for crowing images, to my knowledge, the Orthodox do not crown images. There was a pagan practice of crowning images to designate them as heroes and deities. But your remarks miss the point. You need to show that Irenaeus condemns the making of images per se and that honoring them is in principle wrong. So far, I haven’t seen any attempt to do that from the text. What is more, since you seem to approve of making images of Jesus yourself, you then must agree that Irenaeus isn’t condemning the making of an image of Jesus in and of itself, unless you think he condemns your own position as well.

    As for the same manner of the Gentiles, I think you need to look back at the material from Hippolytus and Epiphanius which makes clear that we do not venerate images after the manner of the gentiles since we do not use them to celebrate orgies or pagan rites and we do not take them to be gods.

    As for Rev 3:9 let’s suppose for the moment that you are correct, that their bowing was a gesture of submission and contrition. Then it follows that not all bowing before the feet of another amounts to worship in terms due to God alone. Consequently, merely bowing before an icon or a saint doesn’t of itself imply worship. So I don’t have to show that it is the same as Orthodox practice in order to counter your usage of Revelation 19. I just need to show that not all bowing logically entails worship and it doesn’t do so in the same book of the Bible. What distinguishes the two cases is the intention so that just so long as the intention is not worship, Revelation doesn’t prohibit it. Furthermore, acts of submission in the OT to theocratic kings was also an act of submission and veneration but not worship so that submission and veneration aren’t prohibited. Consequently it seems quite clear that your claim that veneration entails worship and is coextensive with it, is false.

    As for charging you with equivocation, it is not absurd. You confuse something being absurd with it being false. A proposition can be false but not absurd. Absurdity has to do with incoherence. There are many perfectly coherent yet false concepts or claims.

    Second, I didn’t stutter when I wrote, so please cut the condescension. You erroneously wrote as if the soul was spatially circumscribable or on the other end of your remarks as if it was omnipresent. I brought the point up to clear up your obvious lack of familiarity with the concepts and to correct your muddled thinking. Second, as I pointed out, it was to bring to light the key issue which you failed to grasp, namely whether the person is accessible and not whether the materials contain them or not. Physical or circumscribable presense was irrelevant. And no, I don’t go on to agree with you.

    As for the nature of the soul, if you wish to speak for yourself, that’s fine, but I took you to be representing the Reformed position. If you wish to advance positions even your own tradition and probably church condemns as erroneous and heretical, I can’t stop you. For my part and for your benefit, I’d think it’d be safer for you to stick with your tradition and take some time to read some systematic theology texts before making remarks in such a dogmatic and self assured way.

    That is true that I introduced the concept of the soul, since it was relevant and necessary to clear up your confused thinking. So I may have introduced it, but you certainly made some logical and theological mistakes with regard to it. I hope you’re more concerned about the latter than the former. The point was that the physical presence of the person was not relevant since I can honor a proxy that is passed on to the figure. We do it every time we say the pledge of allegiance-to the Republic for which it stands…
    When I wrote that icons do not usually represent the soul of the person, you wrote, “Haha, speak of the devil. “ For some reason you think that this addresses what I wrote. Please clarify.

    As for kissing, I don’t know that you’ve been to numerous Divine Liturgies, but I’ll take your word for it. Of course, lots of rank and file have too and are often quite mistaken about what they see or hear. To maintain that I disagree with you isn’t a form lf patronization or condescension. I am not separating the act of kissing from the context. A funeral is a religious observance for example. A key aspect of iconic veneration that is often left out is the familial-these are icons of our family members-our mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. More to the point, noting that you’ve been to various Divine Liturgies doesn’t show that kissing is a form of adoration, which is what you need to show. So far, I haven’t seen a reason from you for thinking that it is. Secondly, the strong separation between secular and religious, (which ironically the Reformers wished to eradicate ironically) didn’t even come about until much much later. So you are being anachronistic in reading this back into ancient sources.

    Your remark “You seem allergic to context, but you come by it honestly – I haven’t met an EOx yet who isn’t.” is just a little insulting. I am not sure why you think it advances your position but it doesn’t. It is surely an expression of condescension and superciliousness and that of course has its root in pride. But of course given your adherence to total depravity (how else do Calvinists do it except with total depravity? ;) ) I suppose I should expect a fair amount of disrespect, insults, lack of self control and of course, pride. Here is some scripture to contemplate and put into practice when you dialog with others. Last I checked, Calvinists still believed in progressive sanctification. (Unless you happen to be Mike Horton.)

    “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” 2 Pet 1:5ff
    I also admit that a consensus existed about the divinity of Christ and that the Arians existed too. How does it follow that the former is incompatible with the latter? You need to actually give an argument to show that they are not. I’ve given reasons for sorting such things out. The mere existence of dissent doesn’t preclude the existence of consensus and a discernable tradition. The problem seems to be that you think that consensus is an all or nothing deal where every single layman or clergy must agree exactly, but this is false and is a notion you are importing into my view that I reject.

    Besides, it is a standard that no Reformed body could meet either. So I am not setting aside the fact that the iconoclasts dissented. What you need to do is find out from my why I think that their dissent doesn’t impugn what I take to be the discernable tradition. So far, you haven’t asked that but presumed a straw man and tried to foist it upon me. Consequently, your remarks do not yet engage my position and so are irrelevant.

    I think from what I wrote that my comments could not be reasonably interpreted to imply a denial of omniscience. Further, given that I am an ardent supporter of my church’s teaching and my church teaches the doctrine, it stands to reason as probable that I also adhere to the doctrine. It seems rather that you wished to argue for arguments sake and score rhetorical points even though it would likely prove not to bear out any substantial victory.

    You say you permit retractions, but there is nothing to retract since I did not in any way deny that God was omniscient. In fact, I fully affirm God’s full and exhaustive knowledge, not just of actual states of affairs, objects, persons and actions, but of all logically possible states of affairs, objects, persons and actions. I have always done so. And while I have made theological mistakes along the way, this was never one of them. If you were familiar with this blog, you’d know that I’ve gone out of my way to attack Open Theism. One of the profs when I did my MA who was most influential is one of its most ardent critics of Open Theism and a published defender of divine omniscience.

    What I objected to was your importation of occultic parlance of glossing God’s knowledge of things, particularly my thoughts as “mind reading.” If you paid attention to what I wrote, it was clear that I affirmed that God knows my thoughts, he just doesn’t know them by “mind reading.”

    The way the atheists treat you is probably poor, but given your behavior here you certainly do not do anything to warrant much else. I spent a year covertly in a university atheist club, I know how atheists treat people. It hasn’t seemed to dawn on you though how to go about earning their respect and that doing so might prove more persuasive. If you care about actually persuading people rather than winning an argument, you might wish to reflect on this. I am not perfect at this so I am not tooting my own horn, but a while back I had an argument with an “Objectivist” on his blog about abortion. I got the usual snide remarks and insults and I just kept making dispassionate arguments and pointing out that the “Objectivists” kept appealing to insulting rhetoric rather than “reason.” Eventually, the head “Objectivist” stated that I emulated the way or argumentation that they upheld (rational) and he was disappointed that the other “Objectivists” didn’t. I went a long way to persuading him and others. Besides, long suffering and kindness works for God, so I’d suggest you try it.

    In any case, how Mark Shea or the Atheists treat you is irrelevant. I am not them and neither are you. And I am talking about your behavior here. So their behavior in other venues doesn’t excuse yours. So don’t use them to make an excuse for yourself. Be a Christian man and man up.

    As for your guessing, given that I’ve taught philosophy for the better part of a decade it is not a very rational guess to suppose that I am upset that you don’t roll over. I am quite used to people not agreeing with me and I routinely read works by people with whom I do not agree. I don’t take Walter Sinnott-Armstrong for example to be a great friend to Christian theism. Second what matters are arguments and not your guesses. If you don’t know what my motivation is, then leave it unmentioned. It is not relevant and even if I had the worst of motivations, it wouldn’t show that my arguments were bad ones.
    You write that I should stop complaining about our insulting remarks and just stick to the issues. I am not clear how my repeatedly calling you to just stick to the issues and not make ad hominem and insulting remarks fails to do this. I wouldn’t have to call you on the carpet on having a respectful conversation and to just stick to the issues if you weren’t making insulting personal remarks. So I’d love to stick to the issues. Can you present your case without insulting remarks?

    I noted that Jesus is also deity and he still “hears” prayers. To which you responded that this is so because he is divine. Given that God shares some of his divine powers with his creatures, like the prophets (foreknowledge, miracle working power, etc.) or with the saints in heaven such as immortality, in order for your argument to really work, you’d need to show that this is some power that God does not share. I’ll wait for that argument.

    I noted that natures perform no acts, but only persons do. To which you responded with noting that I posed the question about Thomas’ worship at the feet of Jesus and whether this worship was passed on through his humanity to the divine person or not and that this was “rich” implying some kind of inconsistency. First, your remark doesn’t answer my question. Please address it. Is Thomas’ worship passed on through the humanity of Christ or not? Second, that question doesn’t propose that natures are the locus of actions, so I am not being inconsistent. If you think so, you need to make an argument. Again, I’ll wait for the actual argument.
    I agree that Thomas isn’t directly it ultimately to a nature, but he is directing it to the divine person through the nature before which is kneeling.

    Consequently, Thomas and Scripture approvingly invoke implicitly the principle that the honor or worship rendered before one thing is passed on to the person. How are you missing this? Consequently, you agree then with the principle that worship or honor can be passed on from something created to a person.

    As for defending bowing, invocation and having an image, my point with this post was to show that Irenaeus doesn’t condemn having or venerating images per se. I’ve done that and you have yet to present an argument from the text that actually engages anything I wrote. Consequently, this post was not meant to be an exhaustive defense of iconodualism. If you want that’ I’d suggest you read John of Damascus or Theodore the Studite. Have you read either of their works yet?

    When I asked if this worship is passed on to his divine person or not, you replied “???? As opposed to “His human ‘person’”? You’re not making any sense.” I am being quite clear. Given that I have repeatedly said that Christ is always and only a divine person I am saying either it is given to his divine person through his humanity or it is given to his humanity. The latter is obviously wrong since it implies the worship of a creature and so the options are these. Thomas doesn’t offer worship at all, or Jesus is two persons or a human and divine person, or the worship is rendered before his physical body but passed on to his divine person. The problem is that you are not clear on what you believe about the Incarnation. Is Jesus always and only a divine person or not?

    As for not understanding the Hypostatic Union, given that in our previous dialog on Beggers All where you confessed a heretical gloss on the incarnation and then admitted to being “confused” it seems clear to me that what I have claimed is correct. Let me refresh your memory.

    I asked “Is Jesus a divine and human person or not?”

    You replied: “Seems to me a loaded question. He is a person, He is divine and since the Incarnation He is also human. He is the God-man. I don’t know what else you want me to say.”

    I asked : “When you say that he is a person of the Trinity, is that person in question a divine hypostasis or a human hypostasis or a resulting composite of both”?

    You replied : “Is He not a human hypostasis and a divine hypostasis, in union? Hypostatic Union?”

    I asked: “What unites them?”

    You replied: “Dunno. As I’ve said before, the Incarnation blows my mind more than any other doctrine.

    That said, I don’t know what relevance this has.”
    http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2010/02/is-transubstantiation-monophysite.html

    Unfortunately, you still seem confused which is why I am trying to unconfused you through clear questions to get you to think through what you are proposing.
    With my citation of WCF 8.2 you note that I can’t cite you making that confusion between person and nature. I just did. It is clear both here and in that dialog that you repeatedly make it and then retreat to more ambiguous terms that sound orthodox, such as “God-man.” Such is the case here with these comments.

    “Jesus is ONE PERSON. YOU’RE the one making Him into “a divine person”, as opposed to some other kind of ‘person’, “human” presumably. Go back, read it again, make sense this time.”

    This is a perfect example of what I mean. If Jesus is just one person, but not a divine person, then who is the Logos if not the one person of Jesus? Is the Logos a divine person of the Trinity or not? Gosh, even James White managed to get this part correct.

    “Again, though Christ died in human terms, it is the divine Person who is said to have been crucified.” http://vintage.aomin.org/CHALC.html

    The problem is that you see the preceding term, “divine” to refer exclusively to nature, but it doesn’t. There are divine persons, angelic persons and human persons and there is divine nature, angelic nature and human nature. To say that Jesus is a divine person picks out the kind of person or hypostasis as distinguished from the other two. It does not imply that the person is a nature.

    In discussing Rev 19 here I am not all over the place. I address points when and where they come up in the conversation. I discuss it here because this is where it was in the flow of the conversation.
    You ask how I know that John meant worship of the angel. Simple. John writes that the angel forbade him to do worship and yet earlier John says that Jesus will have the enemies of the saints worship at their feet. The term is the same, but the usage is different. Any lexicon will bear this out. Proskenaeu has a wider and more narrow usage and Revelation bears this out. Second, I never said God doesn’t know our thoughts. And I never denied that angels can’t know our thoughts either. You assume that angels can’t or don’t.

    As for your judgment of what the bible says, you remarked that this is a “postmodern conversation-killer.” I don’t think you know what Postmodernism is. If I were advancing a postmodernist thesis, I wouldn’t be arguing over truth. Philosophically, since I endorse a species of the correspondence theory of truth and endorse metaphysical realism, what I wrote is not an endorsement of anything Postmodern. You seem to make the common mistake of thinking that Postmodernism is a species of Relativism. Its not and any reading of PM authors will bear this out. PM is a species of aleathic nihilism and the difference between Relativism and it, is that Relativists think that propositions have a truth value, it is just that the truth makers for propositions is dependent on us in some way. Postmodernism denies that propositions have a truth value since there is no truth maker for them.

    What I noted actually turns on your commitment to metaphysical realism, namely that reality is mind independent when it comes to human beings and that therefore there is always logical space between your judgment of how things are and how in fact they might be. Consequently, this isn’t Postmodernism, but its antithesis, metaphysical and epistemological realism.

    As for your remark “When will you tire of such childish tactics?”

    This is a childish tactic. And given that you don’t seem to have a rudimentary understanding of the philosophical issues and terms that you deploy, I’d think it be best if you refrain from making accusations of being childish. Its rather childish to throw out technical terms to try and impress people when you don’t know what they in fact mean.
    Since I didn’t judge what the canon was along with any other dogmatic matter, my judgments on such things can’t be possible candidates for my foundation. Further, there is a difference between making a judgment with respect to knowing such and so is the true church and making a judgment as to what the true church will teach and normatively so. You confuse these in your reply.

    Again, to note that your judgment may not always map on to scripture is not postmodernism, but is just to note that you are fallible. If you don’t think your judgment is fallible, then please let me know.
    I fully admit that my judgments may not map onto scripture and tradition and that therefore they are not obligatory, which is why none of my judgments can function as dogmatic statements for the church. At most what I can do is defend the truth of the propositions that the church has put forth in an authoritative manner. But truth and authority are not the same things.

    If I don’t think that individual bishops are infallible, why would posing the opinion of Bp Ware be problematic? The question then would be the basis for his statements as such. And here is how you can know who is correct. Go read Trullo and 2nd Nicea for yourself.

    If Protestants never defined a formal canon, then none of the Confessional lists are binding lists as far as your church goes, but mere human tradition and hence alterable. But you do not act this way. You act as if the books you retain are grouped in an unrevisable way. This is a performative contradiction. Further, its odd that the classical Confessions and how they are enforced do not permit dissent on the canon either, which treats the tradition of men as something bearing absolute and divine authority.

    If you are willing to concede that the term Protestant is semantically vacuous, I am more than happy to concede. Nominalism comes home to roost

    As for Pilate and the fraudulent nature of the Gnostic images, I brought this up to recapitulate the main point which you have left untouched. Its called a conclusion.

    The OT example of a remnant needs an example in the post NT period in order for your claim to work. So far, I haven’t seen an example given by you. Second, holding over the model from the OT without an example does no work since the OT gives an example of an actual remnant, but yours doesn’t. You presume that there was a remnant, but you give as yet no reason to think that there actually was one in terms of historical evidence. Third, the relevant period is not the NT period since the NT itself applies the OT model to itself with an actual historical society of people. That is uncontroversial. What your argument was, was that in the post NT period there was a remnant between the apostles’ death and the Reformation period. There is therefore no reason to think that the NT church ceased to be the remnant of Israel and that there is some remnant of the church on top of that and beyond that. If you have some actual evidence of such a society of people, then please give it.

    In your comments to Ioannis, you cite 1 Tim 6 about God not being seen. We agree, which is why deny the Catholic and Reformation teaching of the beatific vision. Do you affirm it or no? Second, since that passage is speaking, even on Reformed principles, of God ad intra and not the incarnation, it does not support your contention that God disapproves of making icons of a member of the Trinity. In fact, you agree that it is permissible to make an image of a member of the Trinity, namely Jesus. Here it seems you are inconsistent.

    As for the Icon of the visitation to Abraham, you suggest but do not demonstrate that the icon was made and then given a typological label in an ad hoc manner. If you knew the history of Rubalev’s icon here, you’d know that this wasn’t true. The visitation was taken to typify the Trinity previous to him. So strong was this that there was a period of confusion in Russia, especially in light of Catholic influence that some held initially that the angels were the members of the Trinity, including Rubalev. He and others were corrected on this and Rubalev retracted the claim.

    If you’d be more nervous about him who cannot be seen, why then do you approve images of Jesus? Who is being seen in images of Jesus? Notice, “who.” Not what.

  52. Rhology,

    If you think that Paul’s remarks condemn our soteriology then you must think they condemn Augustine’s, since on the fundamental point, we agree with Augustine’s views on the relation of human activity in justification. If you wish to condemn us based on the later Protestant development of Pauline themes known as sola fide, you are free to do so, but then your activity of condemning us for post biblical theological developments seems a lot like Rome’s behavior that you find objectionable. (And note the Orthodox do not think doctrine develops as Rome and Classical Protestantism has maintained.)

  53. Androgen says:

    Hi Rohology,

    My view of eating as one of the highest acts of worship was based on scripture; I should have referenced it so you would know where I was coming from.

    Here is a couple where Jesus uses the act of eating as an act of worship:

    John 6:51 “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

    John 6:56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

    Jesus does not say he who obeys the command of my flesh and blood. Why he used the physical act of eating to portray such magnitude is important, and I believe Paul explains it:

    1 Cor 10 16 “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?

    1 Cor 10:18 “Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar?

    1 Cor 10:20-21 “No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

    Paul makes it very clear that eating in a religious context is an act of worshiping.

    Also, he does not say it’s the following of the command to eat that makes us sharers in Christ, it is the act of eating communion. This is same reasoning why having sex outside of marriage is wrong…the physical act causes you to become spiritually one, and this is what is behind the command against such physical activity…not the other way around.

    To say that eating is not an act of worship, but worship only comes from just following the command, you make consuming the bread and wine of no more value then consuming a PBJ sandwich…only difference is that you were not commanded to eat PBJ.

    Jesus says you must eat His flesh, which is an act of worship. Yet, you do this very act of worship deliberately to symbols and not the real thing. What biblical principle do you use to justify committing such an act of worship with symbols that only represent Jesus? What principle do you use to escape the charge that the bible commands you to be an idolater?

  54. Rhology says:

    If you are inconsistent, it doesn’t imply the truth of the Orthodox position, but it does say something about your own. I would think that all by itself would be worth addressing.

    Since you haven’t proved any inconsistency, I don’t see why some statues in Geneva would matter to me.

    Claiming that 1 Kings is a red herring isn’t a demonstration that it is. You need to bear your own burden of proof here. If it is a red herring, please demonstrate it.

    The astute reader will note that the 1 Kings example contains only ONE element of the many things I’ve been objecting to, which create a religious/worshipful context. I’ve made that clear many times. You repeat the same mistake.

    Where did God command all those things listed to be made?

    Several during the making of the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy of Holies. But no worship was rendered to those images, and they weren’t of dead ppl like EO images are. I insist you take ALL of my argument into acct.

    If you do not subscribe to the regulative principle, then please inform me as to what principle you do adhere.

    The Augustinian one – In essentials, liberty; in non-essentials, charity; in all things, liberty.
    The biblical one where there are essentials and then there are non-essentials, such as Rom 14 and 1 Cor 8.

    the religious designation at the bottom to them, “IHS” is an abbreviation for the name Jesus.

    They look like Reformation figures to me. PLease provide evidence that one of them supposedly depicts Jesus.
    Then please let me know why *I* (not TurretinFan or some other Calvinists you know) would be bothered by a statue of Jesus before which nobody is bowing down or worshiping. I have in fact debated one of TFan’s friends on that very issue via email before. Thanks!

    As for images of the Father and the Spirit, we don’t have them

    I gave you a direct link to one. Please view it again.

    You ask, what is wrong with just worshipping God. Nothing of course, But this is like asking, what is wrong with just reading a sermon? Why do I have to hear it preached?

    Since there are many ways to learn about God, and many are just fine, the analogy does not hold.
    You analogise to the METHOD; I’m talking about the OBJECT OF WORSHIPFUL DEVOTION. Big difference.

    You claimed that images of Jesus were all probably fakes. (I wonder why you think they are permissible to make them.)

    I’ve told you why I think it’s permissible to make them. The understanding that they most probably do not resemble the actual Jesus would of course be implied.

    the only way you could claim that they were all probably fakes was by assuming that they needed to be or were intended to be pictographic representations rather than representational art.

    That’s what *Irenaeus* was saying.

    I think by modern, you mean contemporary

    No, I meant modern. I even once used both in the same sentence – go back and check.

    But this is beside the point since the argument you gave was that it was a later innovation.

    And I in turn invited you to provide an argument that antiquity=truth.

    not only ancient figures but even the Reformers will not be fathers

    I’m a Sola Scripturist. Why would I have a problem with that?

    but merely witnesses, which amounts to ecclesiological patricide.

    That’s a foolish thing to say. Did you forget about the many fathers of the faith in the Scripture?

    “B/c plenty of ppl have been wrong about plenty of things thru the course of time. So we are supposed to judge by what God has said.”
    This doesn’t address what I asked.

    Sorry, I think it addresses it quite well.

    Second, if the fallibility of past figures is warrant for not privileging the judgment of any of them, then this will exclude privileging your own judgment as well since you have been wrong about plenty of things through the course of time.

    I bet God wished He’d known that when He tried to communicate with mankind!
    No, this is sophomoric category error. I can’t escape my own reason, but I can see errors of logic, in myself and in others. This is a problem of presupps, and you seem to be content flirting with solipsism.

    it doesn’t follow from the fact that agents are fallible about some things and under some conditions that they are so under any and all conditions.

    OK, but so what?
    I can go with what I’m sure God said, or I can go with what you want me to think that man reliably and infallibly said. The two are not identical.

    the NT assigns this to the body of the church and not to the individual. (matt 18:17)

    This is a text about church discipline, yes, which is true as far as it goes. But only that far.

    God may leave judgment in terms of fulfilling the conditions on knowledge up to individuals, but as far as the teaching of the church, he doesn’t seem to do so.

    Now simply solve the problem of how you can communicate or understand what a church says without engaging in “individual interpretation”, and you’ll be set.

    hy. First, because you and I agree that Montanism is heterodox and that he placed himself outside the church.

    Sorry, for the sake of this argument I don’t grant that. This is an internal critique of EO methodology. You beg the question when you put him outside the church b/c he didn’t agree with what you’ve previously selected as your prior authorities, then when questioned, you point back to that which you’ve selected.
    Your testing is circular and no one should buy that kind of thinking.

    Second, because he admitted to leaving the church for the Montanist prophetesses.

    No doubt b/c he thought they were right. Still circular. If the Montanist prophetesses were infallible interpers, no evidence against them counts, b/c they’re infallible!

    If as you say someone is a father through the gospel by conveying the gospel, then was Tertullian a father?

    The question doesn’t interest me.

    how about Athanasius or Augustine, since neither of them adhered to or professed sola fide?

    Perry, do you really think that my position grants them any special authority? Really?
    If not, why would your question faze a Sola Scripturist? It’s as if you’re talking to ghosts.

    That would be problematic if I so argued, but so far, you haven’t shown that I have argued in this way.

    Actually you just showed it in your treatment of Tertullian. QED.

    Further, I have argued on a good number of occasions in the past that witnesses or fathers do not necessarily represent what most professing Christians thought at a given era.

    And yet you just said: “I claim to know for certain what a figure thought based on some of his writings and that said figure represented the thought of the rest of the Christians at that time and then that I cherry pick the information and arbitrarily leave the rest aside”

    What I have argued rather is that what they bear witness to and teach is the authentic teaching and tradition and I give reasons for thinking so when I have discussed such things.

    So you DON’T appeal to “what the church believed”? You’re just appealing to that one guy?

    When Origen for example teaches the transmigration of the soul, I can show that this is derived from Platonism and not the Apostles.

    Same circularity. What if he was the infallible interper? How would you know?

    Which church recognized the Protestant canon?

    The true one, as John 10 makes clear.
    one way I can verify that is when I discover that EOC doesn’t even have a closed Canon of Scr, let alone a closed Canon of Authoritative Teachings/Traditions.

    As for crowing images, to my knowledge, the Orthodox do not crown images.

    You mean to tell me that you’ve never seen an icon of the Virgin Mary with a crown?

    What is more, since you seem to approve of making images of Jesus yourself, you then must agree that Irenaeus isn’t condemning the making of an image of Jesus in and of itself, unless you think he condemns your own position as well.

    Again, why would it matter to me that Irenaeus condemns my position? You seem unable to take on the mind of the Sola Scripturist, even for the sake of argument. It would appear I have little reason to think you can accurately perform an internal critique on my position, and as for discerning one performed on your own, it’s becoming questionable too.

    we do not take them to be gods.

    You sure ACT like they’re gods. The way you treat them is indistinguishable from the treatment of God, which is why I’ve said the things I’ve said here.

    Then it follows that not all bowing before the feet of another amounts to worship in terms due to God alone.

    More of your fallacious divvying up my argument.

    What distinguishes the two cases is the intention so that just so long as the intention is not worship

    Not according to the OT. The OT says you’re not to worship or serve the idols.
    Been over that already.
    -Scenario: an Israelite has been calling up a dead believing ancestor and has been caught and brought before Moses for judgment.
    His defense: I was dulia-ing my ancestor, not latria-ing him. His intentions were thus to worship the God of Israel. Is it your position that he would be exonerated? Should he be?

    I brought the point up to clear up your obvious lack of familiarity with the concepts and to correct your muddled thinking.

    And yet YOU confused “nature” and “person”, TWICE. Is it so hard to humble yourself and say “oops, I’ve been falsely accusing you of the same crime of which I’m guilty”?

    whether the person is accessible and not whether the materials contain them or not.

    Yes, the person is of course accessible. Now the question is HOW. And of course a person who IS THERE is accessible differently from a person who IS NOT THERE.

    Physical or circumscribable presense was irrelevant

    Why? Make an argument.

    I can honor a proxy that is passed on to the figure.

    More separating up my argument. One tires of such strawmen, seriously.

    Of course, lots of rank and file have too and are often quite mistaken about what they see or hear.

    Please give me a reason why I should believe you and not the priests who kiss icons and Bibles and stuff.

    I am not separating the act of kissing from the context.

    Actually, that’s your main offense this entire convo. I wish you’d quit.

    Your remark “You seem allergic to context, but you come by it honestly – I haven’t met an EOx yet who isn’t.” is just a little insulting.

    It would be proven wrong if you’d go ahead and stop divorcing tiny bits of my argument one from another.

    I also admit that a consensus existed about the divinity of Christ and that the Arians existed too. How does it follow that the former is incompatible with the latter?

    Um, b/c the Arians thought Christ was created and the Christians didn’t?

    it is a standard that no Reformed body could meet either.

    Oh, which Reformed body claims infallibility and unbroken apostolic succession? Got a website? A name?

    If you were familiar with this blog, you’d know that I’ve gone out of my way to attack Open Theism.

    Good, I’m glad to hear it. Your 1st statement, however, did not inspire confidence.

    Given that God shares some of his divine powers with his creatures, like the prophets (foreknowledge, miracle working power, etc.) or with the saints in heaven such as immortality, in order for your argument to really work, you’d need to show that this is some power that God does not share.

    That was a response to sthg that either you or another EO said, so it wasn’t a positive argument from me. For one thing.
    Also, God does grant certain things to mortals, sure, but when He proscribes other things, like worshiping images, you should listen. He’s probably not sharing that particular power.

    Is Thomas’ worship passed on through the humanity of Christ or not?

    The question makes no sense. One does not worship a NATURE. One worships a PERSON.

    I agree that Thomas isn’t directly it ultimately to a nature, but he is directing it to the divine person through the nature before which is kneeling.

    Good, then your last question is moot; we agree and can move on.

    Thomas and Scripture approvingly invoke implicitly the principle that the honor or worship rendered before one thing is passed on to the person. How are you missing this?

    There was no THING present with Thomas. CHRIST was RIGHT THERE.

    Is Jesus always and only a divine person or not?

    No, that statement is false. At the time of His incarnation, though He had from eternity past always been only a divine person, He took on human flesh and nature and is from that time forward forever the God-man.
    Surprising, given all your much-ballyhooed qualifications and the way you rip me for one mistake one time, that you continue in these mistakes here.

    If Jesus is just one person, but not a divine person, then who is the Logos if not the one person of Jesus?

    Hopefully, the explanation I just gave clarifies my reasoning. I stand behind it still, but you need to understand it in light of your equivocation of the words “divine person”.

    If I were advancing a postmodernist thesis, I wouldn’t be arguing over truth.

    1) But you argue over the sufficiency of communication, and that’s more or less the same thing.
    2) Don’t equivocate (again) – just b/c you’re not pomo everywhere doesn’t mean you’re not pomo sometimes.

    I fully admit that my judgments may not map onto scripture and tradition and that therefore they are not obligatory, which is why none of my judgments can function as dogmatic statements for the church.

    Yet you are fully comfortable in correcting clergymen and other EOx. Why?

    If I don’t think that individual bishops are infallible, why would posing the opinion of Bp Ware be problematic?

    It wouldn’t be on those grounds, and I didn’t think youu thought he was infall.
    But you DO claim all this unity, so I’m looking (in vain) for it. Seems the Canon would be a big deal.
    Also, why should I blv you over a bishop? You’re not infall either, and he has more authority.

    We agree, which is why deny the Catholic and Reformation teaching of the beatific vision. Do you affirm it or no?

    I don’t think I understand the term well, and it doesn’t seem relevant, so I’m going to plead ignorance.

    In fact, you agree that it is permissible to make an image of a member of the Trinity, namely Jesus. Here it seems you are inconsistent.

    Oh, I’m inconsistent b/c I think it’s OK to depict under certain circumstances the member of the Trinity Who became incarnate? Why?

    you suggest but do not demonstrate that the icon was made and then given a typological label in an ad hoc manner.

    ??? YOUR FRIENDS were talking about the ‘type’, not me. Go back, read it again.

    The visitation was taken to typify the Trinity previous to him.

    And there YOU go talking about it.
    It says “Holy Trinity” on it. What’s unclear about that?

    So strong was this that there was a period of confusion in Russia, especially in light of Catholic influence that some held initially that the angels were the members of the Trinity, including Rubalev. He and others were corrected on this and Rubalev retracted the claim.

    So why did I find that icon on an EO’s blog? Lucian/Lvka’s to be exact?

    Androgen,

    Paul makes it very clear that eating in a religious context is an act of worshiping.

    1) Then how much more is PRAYING an act of worship?
    2) We worship JESUS thru the Communion.

    What principle do you use to escape the charge that the bible commands you to be an idolater?

    Oh, we bow down and light incense and pray to Communion wafers? What Baptist church was that? I’d like the name.

  55. mome says:

    “No, that statement is false. At the time of His incarnation, though He had from eternity past always been only a divine person, He took on human flesh and nature and is from that time forward forever the God-man.”

    Rhology, you and I have disputed a point similar to this a long time ago. God is not on a timeline. The eternal logos entered time and took on flesh, and that flesh has been taken up into eternity. Thus, he is eternally the God-man. There is no such thing as “eternity past.” Eternity is not an endless stretching out of time. It is outside of time and at once present to all time. The lamb is slain “from the foundation of the world.” I’m sure you still disagree with me, so we don’t need to resume the argument, but I thought it worth making the point again.

    On other topics: I suggested that you seem to believe that you know better than I do when I’m worshiping or venerating. You replied that well, it sure looks like I’m worshiping. But this only shows that appearances have deceived you and you are not open to the explanations of those who know when they are worshiping and when they are not. You said to Perry that what you see done toward an icon at a DL is indistinguishable to you from what is done toward God. But that’s just your unwillingness to make the distinction, which is your prerogative. But the fact that I in particular, and Orthodox in general, take the time to explain to you that we make the distinction should give you some pause before you make blanket statements about our worshiping our pieces of paper. When I’m at a DL, I’m able to make the distinction about what I see others doing because I have good reason to believe that those who are kissing the icons would assure me that they aren’t worshiping them. I know that is true of myself, and I know that is the teaching of the church. So how it “looks” to someone who just doesn’t believe the distinction really doesn’t prove anything.

    Also, to Androgen, you write “Then how much more is PRAYING an act of worship.” But praying is not necessarily an act of worship. “Pray” as an English word — especially, but not exclusively, in older usage — means “ask,” and you can find hundreds of literary instances where one human being “prays” one another to do or give something without a hint of worship there.

  56. Rhology,

    Icons are not of dead people. Yes, their body may have died, although not in all cases, but they live in the soul. God is the God of the living. (Mark 12:27). The context of this Scripture is precisely on this point because it refers to the dead in body Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    Regarding the Biblical difference between worship and reverence. They are different in the Bible because they use different words. The English translations are all over the place in translating the words, which makes things very confusing, especially when it comes to understanding icons. This discussion properly needs to take place in Greek then the words difference in the Bible will be clear. It is understandable that one would confuse worship and reverence in English and the understanding of worship which you put forth is what is understood by reverence in Greek. Worship, which is only to be given to God, is something quite different and is centred on sacrifice. The word meaning worship in the context of discussing icons is often translated as “service” in English, which tends to confuse “to worship” with “to minister”. Romans 12:1 is the Scriptural text for this. The Eucharist is the corporate process of offering the sacrifice of our living bodies as worship, which is only to be given to God (Matthew 4:10). Nevertheless, even the reverence given to icons of Christ, who is the icon of God, (II Corintians 4:4) and people in icons or flesh, who are also icons(images) of God, (Genesis 1:27) because they are icons of God. That is we reverence them because in them we reverence God. We do not reverence objects as ends in themselves apart from God.

    I came from a Sola Scripture background and while I do not hold that doctrine any longer in itself, because it is poorly supported by Scripture and logically inconsistent, I do not minimalise the importance of Scripture and I became Orthodox because it is the only Church that is completely Scripturally consistent. To maintain this consistency requires a Tradition of interpretation that correctly understands the various Scriptures so that they are consistent with themselves and with all other forms of Truth according to all the best rules of interpretation that any Protestant would accept. Heretics are those who reject this Tradition and prefer their own understanding of Scripture or other truths and always end up with doctrine that is not consistent with Scripture or with truth in general. Name me a “church” that you think is completely Scripturally consistent. Yes, each individual understands the Scripture for themselves but this does not deny real communication of the same idea and a Tradition of understanding. We can figure out the Fathers not only by a circular argument but also by testing them against the Canon of Scripture, although this doesn’t really help because, as of course you know, this Canon of Scripture was also established by the Catholic Church (aka Orthodox Church) to be the correct and authoritative Scriptures by testimony from individual Fathers, so they are also chosen by the same circular argument that you reject. To be consistent you must reject the authority of Scripture because you can only trust the authority of any particular book by the word of the Church. It is also why only the Orthodox Church is completely consistent with the Scripture because they are its own Scriptures, they do not belong to heretics. We cannot escape appealing to the Church, that is the Fathers of the Church, when discussing doctrine; the doctrine does not exist in thin air but is found in the concrete writings of the Fathers, who are those that remain consistent with earlier Fathers, the Apostles and ultimately with Christ, who is Truth incarnate. Protestants follow the same model hence the reason for the statutes to identify the Protestant Fathers, who are understood by Protestants to represent accurately the teaching of Christ (allowing for the limits of human ability to do so), hence the use of the name of Christ below them. This following of Fathers must be the correct path unless you reject the Scriptures, that we are to be of the same mind (1 Corinthians 1:10), by saying that this is impossible because each must interpret the Scriptures themselves and that this cannot allow us to be of one mind. You would also reject Hebrews 13:7-9 by denying the place of the Fathers and appeal to them.

  57. Androgen says:

    “Then how much more is PRAYING an act of worship?”

    You are right, all that talk about eating His flesh as a means of union and eternal life was overkill…all He had to do was simply tell us to pray. Its no wonder why he lost so many followers with that foolish talk.

    “Oh, we bow down and light incense and pray to Communion wafers?”

    No, but you eat a cracker and drink grape juice and pretend they are the body of blood of Christ. How is that union with Nabisco and Welches going? I guess you made up your mind as to which act of idol worship is more offensive.

    Sarcasm aside, I asked an honest question and all you do make digs and give a vague answer. Its clear why you have come to this site so I see no point in trying to have an honest exchange.

  58. ioannis says:

    Rhology,

    If God was jealous of His icons He wouldn’t have made man according to His image and He wouldn’t have ordered him to increase in number and fill the earth. And He wouldn’t have taken, through the incarnation, the form of those made according to His icon and He wouldn’t have given His image to die for the salvation of those He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. That means that God loves His images, that’s why He permits in certain cases miracles to be performed through those images whether they are the living and both spiritual and material or the wooden and just material ones, drawing thus the unbelievers to the faith in His Son. Similarly God Logos, while on earth, He made His miracles through His human nature and matter, through His own body and even through the garment He was wearing.

    It is the very misunderstanding of what 1 Tim 6 says that led to the crucifixion of Christ by Jews. If God is someone that “no man has seen or can see” then not only we can not picture Him, as you said, but that man, thought those Jews that did not believe in Christ, that we see and He has a body and a nose and two ears and two legs and He has flesh and blood and yet he says that He is Son of God and therefore God, like Christ did, he is a usurper of the name of God, a deceiver and a blasphemer and we can kill him, thought those Jews, so as to do service to God and to prove that he is nothing more than a mortal human being.

    Therefore the making and venerating of icons is not an issue of exercising Christian freedoms but of, in my opinion, Orthodoxy vs. heresy. Iconoclasm is a heresy in itself which denies in practice the Incarnation and a form of judaism which is a heresy of christianity because, as St Ignatius wrote, it is judaism that believed in christianity and not christianity in judaism. Your fundamental error is, in my opinion, that you do not see the old law in the light of christianity. That’s why you misinterpret the meaning and the purpose of the commandment. But the problem is that you can not find the Christianity somewhere so as to see the Old Testament in its Light. What remains is some letters written in a book. How can you present yourself as Christian then when what you do is to judge what Christianity does by using as criterion what you read in the old law? Haven’t you learnt from the NT that you read, and especially from Paul’s epistles that this is exactly what Judaism does? Do you like to behave like those false brethren who were spying out the liberty of Galatians in Christ? You just adopt a milder policy – make them but do not venerate them, or worship as you call the veneration – in order to make your Judaism seem more palatable.

    We do not picture the HS and the Father. You can not find icons of the HS or the Father whereas you can find icons of Jesus Christ. But in picturing certain events of the OT and the NT, the theophanies included, we picture the HS is the form that He appeared to those that saw Him otherwise there will be something missing from the event as depicted in that icon and the narration would be imperfect. And we picture Him in that form only in picturing those events that He appeared in that form. If we were picturing the HS you could find pictures of the Holy Spirit alone as you can find pictures of Christ alone.

  59. Rhology says:

    mome,

    God is not on a timeline.

    But the Incarnation happenED at a point in time. He entered into time.

    Thus, he is eternally the God-man.

    Yes, but the statement “He WAS eternally the God-man” is not true. Hopefully you can see the distinction.
    Nor is Christ eternally hanging on the Cross. There came a time when He rose.

    There is no such thing as “eternity past.”

    Sure there is. Gen 1 – “in the beginning”. John 1 – “In the beginning was the Word…”

    The lamb is slain “from the foundation of the world.”

    Said that b/c His death was part of God’s predetermined plan – Acts 2:23.

    I suggested that you seem to believe that you know better than I do when I’m worshiping or venerating.

    My contention is that your motivation doesn’t matter, just as it didn’t matter when Moses was with the ppl of God. God has given you a command not to do something, and you think you can get around it b/c you think your motivations are pure. That’s very humanistic – I’m better than what God thinks of me.

    When I’m at a DL, I’m able to make the distinction about what I see others doing because I have good reason to believe that those who are kissing the icons would assure me that they aren’t worshiping them.

    Could you answer the question about Moses that I posed to Perry?

    But praying is not necessarily an act of worship. “Pray” as an English word — especially, but not exclusively, in older usage — means “ask,”

    Don’t patronise me, please. Please name the last time that you talked inaudibly to a dead person and how it was the same as talking to a living person.

    Fr Dcn Patrick (Monk Patrick),
    Icons are not of dead people.

    Peter? Paul? Maximos the Confessor?
    Yep, actually, they’re dead. Alive to Christ, sure, but dead. There is a difference, don’t be tendentious.

    The word meaning worship in the context of discussing icons is often translated as “service” in English, which tends to confuse “to worship” with “to minister”.

    The OT (LXX) makes repeated references to “you shall not worship or serve them (the idols)” – douleo and latreuo. Worship and serve, neither one is OK.

    Name me a “church” that you think is completely Scripturally consistent.

    100%? I don’t know of one, but I do know quite a few that are ~97%, including my own. Better to be 97% accurate than 20%!

    Yes, each individual understands the Scripture for themselves but this does not deny real communication of the same idea and a Tradition of understanding.

    Glad to hear that you disagree with Perry and other Orthodox who make hay out of this “that’s just your interpretation!”.

    We can figure out the Fathers not only by a circular argument but also by testing them against the Canon of Scripture

    But you can’t use the Fathers as a plaything to pick and choose stuff AND as an authority.
    You also can’t just arbitrarily define some guys as Fathers and others as not-Fathers and then appeal only to the Fathers to substantiate your church’s authority. THAT is circular.

    Canon of Scripture was also established by the Catholic Church

    And here I was, thinking that it was established by God!

    to be the correct and authoritative Scriptures by testimony from individual Fathers

    Actually, individual Fathers have different Canons of Scr all the time.
    So what’s the resolution?

    You would also reject Hebrews 13:7-9 by denying the place of the Fathers and appeal to them.

    Heb 13:7-9 refers to “leaders”, and I AM in submission to my leaders, the elders of my church. It says nothing about “Church Fathers”.

    Androgen,
    No, but you eat a cracker and drink grape juice and pretend they are the body of blood of Christ.

    You don’t believe in transubstantiation, do you? If not, you’re there with me.

    Its clear why you have come to this site so I see no point in trying to have an honest exchange.

    ioannis,

    If God was jealous of His icons He wouldn’t have made man according to His image and He wouldn’t have ordered him to increase in number and fill the earth.

    On what basis do you make the statement “His icons”? God is jealous of WORSHIP rendered to those who aren’t Him.

    That means that God loves His images

    It’s equivocation to make no distinction between a human person and a picture drawn on canvas, for the sake of defending the indefensible.

    If God is someone that “no man has seen or can see” then not only we can not picture Him,

    1 Tim 6 refers to the Father, and the Father is not the same as Christ, as it should be obvious. Especially if you’d read the psg.

    Your fundamental error is, in my opinion, that you do not see the old law in the light of christianity.

    Where does the New Covenant give opening to bow down to images of dead ppl and pray to them? I must’ve missed it.

    We do not picture the HS and the Father.

    The icon I linked to does. Feel free to disavow it, though. It’s bizarre to me to see you trying to play both sides of the fence, but I”m not going to let it go. Retract one or the other.

  60. Rhology,

    Regarding dead people, you have only contradicted me on the grounds that I have already stated. This implies that you have not properly considered why I put forth the point that I did; it was to qualify your original statement and to challenge the implications of what you meant by saying dead people. They are only dead in the flesh but otherwise alive. Have you thought through carefully the full implications of what it is to be alive in Christ? Have you considered that being alive incorporates the ability to relate to others and to communicate, without which there is no meaning to being alive? Have you considered that communication does not have to be merely through physical means picked up by the senses? Even if we cannot understand how, does not mean it doesn’t happen. What does alive in Christ mean? Alive in Christ means that you share His life in and with Him. You are honoured when He is honoured and He is honoured when you are honoured. To honour the Saints in Him is to honour Christ, to deny honour to the Saints is to deny honour to Christ because they are alive in Him. Because Christ must at all times be honoured, denying Him honour is to deny Him. So, one cannot honour and believe in Christ without honouring the Saints.

    When I was speaking of the meaning of the word worship in the context of icons, I was referring to the theological debates of the eighth and ninth centuries not to the old Testament commandments. While the word for reverence is used in respect of images in the OT and forbidden, the point that I was making is that worship is to be given to God alone. Reverence is not so restricted in the OT. I raised this point to challenge your insistence to equate worship and reverence. Please point to texts where it says to reverence God alone. The word here in Greek is proskinisis. Douleo in my dictionary means slave or serve, which is not relevant to the debate on icons.

    Thank you for proving my point about completely Scriptural consistent churches. Those apart from the Orthodox are not so and this is from the testimony of those within them, such as yourself. One Protestant commentator stated that if Protestantism is not right then it is the definition of heresy. It is not right (~97% is not right) by your own testimony thus it is heresy by the thought of this commentator. If you wish to challenge this then please provide a detailed explanation of 1 Tim 3:15 taking into account 1 John 2:21 to explain how the church can only be ~97% right.

    The Father’s are not chosen arbitrarily so that cuts the circularity on your argument. The expression “Your church’s authority,” shows a misunderstanding of what the Church is. It is not a group that thinks it is better than other groups and needs to show its authority. This comes from a Protestant mindset that denies the existence of the Church and only accepts groups as churches, each acknowledged to be incomplete and partially correct. The Orthodox, eastern and oriental, and the Roman Catholics, understand something different about the Church, which is the Body of Christ, it is the incarnate Christ Himself and those who are united with Him through Baptism and the Eucharist. The authority of the Church is the authority of Christ, the teacher of the church is Christ and the leader is Christ; He is the head. He speaks through the Fathers until this day guiding the Church; which is why we call them Fathers despite doing so being forbidden by Christ (Mat 23:9); God is speaking in and through them. Thus, saying that the Church established the Canon of Scripture is to say that God established the Canon of Scripture. This is a mystery and involves the presence of the Holy Spirit. When you critique the Orthodox then you must show that they cannot be the Church and so cannot even be a “church”. If the Orthodox Church is not the Church then which group claiming to be the Church is so. It cannot be any Protestant group because they deny the Church as defined. Otherwise you will need to show that the Church does not and can not exist then explain all the Scripture that shows that the Church does exist as I explained.

    There were different lists of Canonical Scripture written by different Fathers in the past. These lists are remarkably similar with only a couple of books differing between each list. By the Council of Trullo, it was firmly established which lists were valid, even if a list did not have all the books it did not include an uncanonical book. The lists are all fourth century or earlier. There is no sense of continuing to make lists or new canonical books of Scripture being recognised.

    You have not demonstrated in your response that you have read Hebrews 13:7-9 with the care that warranted the reason to reference it. On the surface it is about leaders and obeying them but this is not why I pointed the text out; it is to show how the logic of my argument is established in Scripture. Now, let, me explain the reason for referencing the text. I wanted you to consider why is verse 8 found between the command to obey those who brought you the word of God, which by the way confirms that doctrine comes through our leaders (aka Fathers, that is they are recognised as Fathers after death, if they remain faithful to Christ in word and deed) and not primarily from private interpretation of Scripture, and verse 9 that we are not to be carried away by various and strange doctrines, thus showing the doctrines are common, shared and consistent in time, i.e. traditional. The context is about doctrine and the way of life. To say Jesus Christ is unchanging (which is meant by the same yesterday, today and forever) means, in this context, that the doctrine and the way of life are unchanging and also that they comes from and in Christ (or are Christ). So, in support of my position the Scripture testifies that doctrine, in faith and practice) is from, by and maintained in Christ and given through our holy leaders (the word in Greek is used today to refer to saintly (or holy) Elders or teachers either Abbots or Bishops), or Fathers, from generation to generation (does Paul intend this process to last only one generation, if so why?). If you disagree with this understanding of the text then please provide a detailed exposition why you do so and not merely that another reading is possible but that this reading is impossible.

  61. Androgen says:

    Rho,

    Assuming you actually asked an honest question, Id go with the RC, EO, Lutheran or even Calvin’s own position before I would accept the fact that God left his church with pretend worship and idolatry. At least they make the attempted to theoretically escape what you so proudly stew in.

  62. mome says:

    Rhology,

    Forgive me if I was patronizing. That wasn’t my intent in writing about the meaning of prayer. My intent was to challenge what was implicit in your statement about prayer, which was that it is intrinsically an act of worship. It isn’t, and the word’s usage bears out the fact that it isn’t. But never mind.

    On the subject of eternity, I don’t think you grasp it. I see the distinction you mean to make when you say that it’s untrue to say that Christ WAS eternally the God-man, but it is false. It is incorrect Christology to understand the Word as ever anything other than the incarnate, crucified and risen Jesus Christ. Eternity doesn’t admit stages of being or becoming. Eternity is not everlasting time. Rather it is created, limited and limiting. Conceptually, we can hardly describe eternal things without resorting to language of time, but all such language is qualified. Indeed, “eternity past” is an oxymoron. “In the beginning” is a reference to time, the beginning of time, the beginning of creation. “In the beginning WAS the Word” is said because the beginning is in the past, and the eternal is present to the past, but the eternal is also present to all other times. You can say WAS, but you must understand that IS is also true.

    No, Christ is not eternally hanging on the cross, but he is eternally the crucified one. Indeed, there came a time when he rose, but he is eternally the risen one. Yes, the conception of Christ’s humanity, his crucifixion and his resurrection are all events in time. However, the incarnate Christ has returned to his Father, as incarnate. His crucified and resurrected flesh is now eternal, now present to past time and beyond any time. This is to say that the eternal Word is always the incarnate Christ, even “before” creation. The incarnation is not just an episode in the unfolding course life of the Word. There is not an unfolding course of life for the Word, even if from our perspective within time we can trace many of his activities as they took place in time. In God’s eternal life, everything takes place now. To say that Christ or the Father is “in” eternity is to say that they are equally present NOW to every past moment and to the current moment and to every future moment. Or, maybe it is more accurate to say that each of those moments are equally present NOW to them. To speak of God as though he has been cruising through time (knowing what is to come, to be sure), is to misunderstand eternity. Just as God is everywhere all at once while not actually “occupying” in any physical way any space, so he is present to all times all at once while not actually “occupying” or “moving through” any temporally bound parameters. Of course, while on earth, Christ as a man moved through time, and events in his earthly life have a temporal “location.” But Christ is the “I AM” and he IS the alpha and the omega (not “was” the alpha and “will be” the omega).

    The lamb is slain “from the foundation of the world.” The interpretation you offer, that this indicates that his death was planned from the beginning, does not match what the verse actually says. It is more proper to say that he is ever the slain lamb; even at the foundation of the world in time, the creator is the slain lamb. The fact that time would still need to pass before the slaying takes place is not a problem from the perspective of eternity, which is present to beginning, middle and end all at once. “He is … the firstborn of all creation” is another one of those passages that skew our conception of time. The beginning of time can be found in the middle of its course. These things are not explained by a simple recourse to a predetermined plan. Such a notion is not wrong as far as it goes, but the way you are using it is slightly reminiscent of platonic idealism. God’s foreknowledge and plan is not a knowledge of things that God has yet to witness coming to pass. God foreknows things because he is present to them before, while and after they have happened. He knows all possibilities as well and intervenes in what happens, and thus what he foreknows can also be what he plans. I know you are intelligent, so I’m sorry if it’s patronizing for me to say this, but it will take more than a quick reading of my sorry arguments (probably with an eye for picking them apart) for you to begin to grasp what I’m trying to say, but it will certainly be worth your while to give some serious thought to the meaning of eternity. Book XI of Augustine’s “Confessions” might provide some decent grist for the mill.

    But back to matters more at hand. You have said that my motivation (whether I think I’m worshiping or venerating) doesn’t matter, and that for me to suggest that it does is to consider my motivations “pure” and to think I’m better than what God thinks of me. Well, first off, I don’t consider my motivations to be “pure.” I trust in God’s mercy, not my purity, which is not purity anyway, and I certainly don’t consider myself to be better than what God thinks of me. This discussion hinges on something you said: “God has given you a command not to do something, and you think you can get around it …” I’ll say that I’m not trying to “get around anything.” We just disagree on what God’s command means. I suspect that you and I will not come to agreement here, but I think it’s worth engaging with you for a while longer on the topic, as long as you care to indulge me a bit more.

    You ask me if I can answer the question about Moses that you posed to Perry. By this, I think you mean the question of what Moses would or should do when presented with an Israelite who has been caught calling up a dead believing ancestor and who defends himself by saying he was honoring that ancestor rather than worshiping him. I contend that your scenario bears only the thinnest resemblance to Orthodox practice with regard to saints and icons. First, in Moses’ time, the dead were in Sheol and were not accessible to those living on earth except in certain God-deigned cases. Now the saints are not in Sheol but are in Christ, just as we are now if we have believed in Christ and united ourselves to him and received the Holy Spirit. Those people who practiced mediumistic arts were doing business with demonic powers. The same would be true today of anyone attempting to contact the dead via their own means and supposed powers. The Orthodox, however, are not conjuring the dead; they are living in the reality of the Church brought about by the advent of Pentecost. In that reality, all those in Christ, those alive on earth today and those who have fallen asleep, share one life, which is that of the Holy Spirit (the only life of mankind). All in Christ are present to each other, even if not spacially so, by virtue of their union with the Holy Spirit. The transfiguration demonstrates this reality, which is the reality in which we are called to live. In Moses’ time, the Holy Spirit had not been poured out on men and women, so there was no real connection between those righteous living and those righteous dead except when God saw fit to transcend the boundary for the sake of his people. The coming of the Spirit in the Church brought a new reality, and this fact that “we are all members of one another” includes all those in Christ who have passed from this earthly life. The inaudible communication between an Orthodox believer and a “dead” saint is not utterly the same in practice as the speaking between you and me would be if we were sitting together in the same room. It is mediated through the Holy Spirit. The communion of the saints is one of the many affirmations and benefits of the new reality brought about in these last days by the coming of the Holy Spirit.

    This may not be the direct answer you might have hoped for, but it should serve as a response (not a knock-down proof, but a witness to a different understanding) to several of your arguments, including some of those you make to Monk Patrick. Peter, Paul, Maximos the Confessor? Yes, they have died to this life, which is really something that happened when they died with Christ in baptism, but they are not “dead.” Christ said that “whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” The first part of these paradoxical words might suggest that the believer dies now but will live again later, but this does not match the extensive use of the term “eternal life” or just “life” in John’s gospel. In any case, Christ said the believer “shall never die.” This suggests that the dead in Christ are not dead. You concede that they are “alive to Christ.” But the same is true for all Christians. There is no other life. Sure, there is a difference between those who have passed from this earthly life and us who remain on earth. But the one life in Christ is not one of those differences. This shared life unites us, and the difference in our states does not cut us off from each other. Christ has destroyed death, and it no longer has the power on the righteous that it had before his resurrection. Also, you brushed the reference to God as the God of the living and not the dead. Those who are alive and not just provisionally alive. Their flesh awaits the resurrection, but they are alive.

    By quoting from the LXX, “you shall not worship or serve them (the idols),” you meant to highlight that douleo and latreuo are both forbidden, but the key point is that the command is not to worship and serve idols, false gods. What is the main reason for this command, really? Is it there so people can argue about when a bow is right and when it is wrong? No. The command is there because the idols aren’t gods at all. That’s why they aren’t to be worshiped or served. At most, they are demons; at least, they are static rocks or wood or something similar. God is the only God, of course, and so he commands his people to live according to truth and not submit themselves to “gods” that are not gods. The veneration of saints is not worship, and if it can be called service, it certainly isn’t service to any idol. No Orthodox makes the claim that any saint is God or equal to God; it is affirmed by all Orthodox that the saint is a human being like any other, the main difference being that God’s grace in the saint’s life was manifest in such a way that the Church, in its conciliar way, saw fit by canonization to confirm it and hold it up as an example of what is available to all in Christ. So indeed, an Orthodox person is not challenging God’s command or trying to get around God’s command against homage to idols. Saints and icons are not idols, overtly or covertly. The idols condemned in the OT are clearly supposed gods. The saints are clearly human beings who are understood to be indisputably honored by God, and therefore honorable to all.

    In any case, it is anachronistic for you to point to Greek words in the LXX and use those to dispute how they might be used in the same language 1,000 years later. We’re talking about what they signify. This isn’t a proof-text battle, but a difference of understandings. My argument is that the Orthodox understanding is consistent with the new life brought to mankind by the coming of Christ into the world: the one eternal life in Christ through the Holy Spirit.

  63. mome says:

    Clarification: I meant to say above that time, not eternity, is created, limited and limiting.

  64. ioannis says:

    Rhology,

    If 1 Tim. 6 refers, for you, to the Father, when why did you bring that passage up in a discussion about the icons of Christ? Is that, because I asked “where does God say that He disapproves of His icons”? That means that you do not believe Christ as God.
    That fact and your interpretation of 1 Tim 6 confirmed to me your judaism.
    I wonder then why are we discussing about icons. Who knows which heresy you want to revive through your iconoclasm.

    It seems also to me from your overall coversation tactics and from what you wrote in your own blog that you came here not in order to make a discussion but for some personal reasons that I do not care to know. That’s why I can not see the point in keep on talking with you about so important issues.

  65. Rhology says:

    Hi Fr Dcn Patrick (Monk Patrick),

    They are only dead in the flesh but otherwise alive.

    And yet God makes that distinction too, and tells us not to practice communication with those who’ve passed on. Let God worry about communicating with them, since they’re alive TO HIM, but not to YOU.

    Have you considered that being alive incorporates the ability to relate to others and to communicate, without which there is no meaning to being alive?

    And yet you have no evidence, whether pragmatic or biblical, that dead ppl can indeed relate to the living or communicate with them.
    And a lot of evidence to the contrary, including God’s repeated warnings not to communicate with them. Like I said, I presume He’s got that covered and doesn’t need my help.

    Have you considered that communication does not have to be merely through physical means picked up by the senses?

    Tell that to all the RCs and EOx who like to make the argument “So what’s the diff between prayer to the dead and asking intercession of the living saints in our church?” I’m glad to hear someone more reasonable like you on this point.

    What does alive in Christ mean? Alive in Christ means that you share His life in and with Him.

    Yep. And yet it doesn’t necessarily mean you walk and talk on THIS EARTH. It could mean you’re in Paradise/Heaven, and that means your physical body is (for the moment) dead, and God told us not to talk to those ppl. Why would you? Plenty of ppl in your church who are still alive, and Christ Himself is infinite! Yet you insist on talking to ppl who are obviously dead and making excuses for your sin.

    To honour the Saints in Him is to honour Christ,

    Actually, God doesn’t really agree.
    Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.”

    I was referring to the theological debates of the eighth and ninth centuries not to the old Testament commandments.

    OK, but I’m referring to the OT. You know, what God said. I don’t care much about 8th century stuff when we need to get to the bottom of what God said.

    Please point to texts where it says to reverence God alone.

    The point over and over again is not to worship or serve idols.
    Here – I’ve already written on this.

    It is not right (~97% is not right) by your own testimony thus it is heresy by the thought of this commentator.

    Oh wow! A Protestant commentator said sthg that is wrong! SHOCK of shocks.
    One wonders where he’d find a church that is 100% right.

    1 Tim 3:15 taking into account 1 John 2:21

    1 Tim 3: 15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth
    1 Jn 2:21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.

    A pillar and support holds sthg else up – the Scripture, in this case.
    Anyway, did not John also write 1 John 1: 8 “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us”?
    Presumably you think EOC is 100% right on everythg. If that’s the case, please adjudicate between each of these two warring factions in EOC and tell us who is right, and most importantly, how you know. Thanks!

    The Father’s are not chosen arbitrarily so that cuts the circularity on your argument.

    I’m sorry (but not surprised) you can’t see it, but naked assertions aren’t particularly helpful.
    That whole paragraph was just more circular reasoning, and didn’t prove anythg. Sorry.

    There were different lists of Canonical Scripture written by different Fathers in the past.

    So which one was right, and how do you know? You were just telling me that anythg less than 100% is unacceptable, and now you want me to swallow “they’re close, and vary by only a few books here and there”? Answer the problem, tell us for sure which ones were right and wrong, and how you know.

    You have not demonstrated in your response that you have read Hebrews 13:7-9 with the care that warranted the reason to reference it.

    7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.

    I do remember those who’ve led me. They’re my church elders, and I see them every Sunday.
    I also imitate their faith and action.
    We don’t hold to a Jesus Who gets eaten and drunk, but rather One Who is actually the same yesterday, today, and forever.
    I’m not carried away by innovations, b/c I test everythg by the light of what God has revealed in Scripture.
    I don’t practice compulsory fasting, unlike (in practice) EOC.
    Looks like YOU’RE the one reading not too carefully. Show me in the text where “those who spoke the word of God to you” = “the early church writers whose writings agree best with our doctrine, whom we accept”.

    Elders or teachers either Abbots or Bishops), or Fathers, from generation to generation (does Paul intend this process to last only one generation, if so why?)

    No, ELDERS AND TEACHERS are meant to pass on a la 2 Tim 2:2. He doesn’t say anythg about infallibility, however, nor about apostolicity. Watch out for equivocation, no matter how many other EOx run off the cliff before you.

    Androgen,
    Thanks for your unsupported opinion.

    mome,

    Forgive me if I was patronizing. That wasn’t my intent in writing about the meaning of prayer

    Apology accepted. I hope you’ll make it stick by actually engaging my real objection instead of breaking it up and making me look like I think, say, lighting candles is a bad thing.

    I see the distinction you mean to make when you say that it’s untrue to say that Christ WAS eternally the God-man, but it is false.

    So Jesus HAS ALWAYS BEEN the God-man? The Incarnation is not an event in time?
    You’ve got some problems here…

    It is incorrect Christology to understand the Word as ever anything other than the incarnate, crucified and risen Jesus Christ.

    Now all you need is an argument.
    Now, THIS statement is correct: It is incorrect Christology to understand the Word as, from the point of the Crucifixion on, anything other than the incarnate, crucified and risen Jesus Christ, or from the Incarnation on anything other than the incarnate Jesus Christ, the 2nd person of the Trinity.
    But you’re assigning “crucifiED and risEN” before He was crucified or risen. That’s the disconnect.

    Eternity doesn’t admit stages of being or becoming.

    It’s funny that most EOx have a hard time verbalising their doctrines, retreating to “mystery” all the time with their apophaticism. Maybe this is why – you’re not allowing enough mystery to the Incarnation. How did the eternal God enter into flesh, time, and matter? I don’t know, but I do know one thing – He did so. You need a bigger dose of mystery.

    “In the beginning” is a reference to time, the beginning of time, the beginning of creation.

    And the Bible uses it multiple times, in reference to the Logos and God’s action in creation.

    However, the incarnate Christ has returned to his Father, as incarnate. His crucified and resurrected flesh is now eternal,

    Are you using arguments about His nature and state of existence INTO THE FUTURE as justification for reading events that happened in His incarnate life on Earth back into His existence before all that happened? Why would you do that? Is it b/c you don’t have an argument?

    Of course, while on earth, Christ as a man moved through time, and events in his earthly life have a temporal “location.”

    And of course, since He retains a physical body now and forevermore, Jesus *still* has a temporal and physical location.

    The lamb is slain “from the foundation of the world.” The interpretation you offer, that this indicates that his death was planned from the beginning, does not match what the verse actually says.

    Thank you for your opinion. Now please offer an argument.

    Such a notion is not wrong as far as it goes, but the way you are using it is slightly reminiscent of platonic idealism

    I doubt you have any idea what that means; you just like to throw it out there b/c it’s popular among EOx to say “Platonic”. Read Acts 2:23 and get back to me.

    God’s foreknowledge and plan is not a knowledge of things that God has yet to witness coming to pass.

    That’s rich, coming from an EOx to a Calvinist.
    Of course, I never said that it’s “knowledge of things that God has yet to witness”; that would be totally against my view.

    Book XI of Augustine’s “Confessions” might provide some decent grist for the mill.

    Perry tells me not to trust Augustine. But you’re recommending him? How can I know whom to trust?

    Well, first off, I don’t consider my motivations to be “pure.”

    Good first step. How about just offering your worship and prayer to God, then?

    First, in Moses’ time, the dead were in Sheol and were not accessible to those living on earth except in certain God-deigned cases.

    And now the dead are in Hades or Paradise and are not accessible to those living on earth except in certain God-deigned cases.

    The Orthodox, however, are not conjuring the dead; they are living in the reality of the Church brought about by the advent of Pentecost.

    That’s nothing more than fancy wordplay. Of course you’re COMMUNICATING with the dead. Deal with what you actually do. See, here you’re back to patronising not only me but all the other Reformed critics of EO necromancy that are reading this. It’s disrespectful for those of us who’ve witnessed EO practice with our own eyes and who are concerned for your very souls.

    In that reality, all those in Christ, those alive on earth today and those who have fallen asleep, share one life, which is that of the Holy Spirit

    What makes you think that the OT reality is so diff than the reality of today? Were not the dead “alive in God” then?

    Peter, Paul, Maximos the Confessor? Yes, they have died to this life, which is really something that happened when they died with Christ in baptism, but they are not “dead.”

    They’re not “dead”? Where do they live, then?
    Haha, trick question – they don’t LIVE anywhere. They’re DEAD, their bodies have rotted in the grave. God has not resurrected them yet.

    There is no other life.

    EOx are fond of accusing the Reformed of being Docetists, but this is far more Docetistic than anything I’ve ever even gotten *close* to saying.

    The command is there because the idols aren’t gods at all.

    And are the saints gods at all? What about angels?

    No Orthodox makes the claim that any saint is God or equal to God

    Aaron didn’t claim that for the Golden Calf.
    Nor did the Israelites that worshiped Nehushtan.
    Your distinction is not God’s.

    ioannis,

    You’d asked: “Where does God say that He disapproves of making icons of Himself?
    That’s where it all began. “Of Himself” is not specific enough to be useful, so that’s why I quoted 1 Tim 6.

    That means that you do not believe Christ as God.

    Hopefully you’ll understand better now. You should know better than to say that.

    That fact and your interpretation of 1 Tim 6 confirmed to me your judaism.

    Now you’re just being idiotic, sorry. You know, I have a 4-yr old blog with 1000s of posts, and thus a massive paper trail. You’re engaging in willful ignorance. Have a good day.

  66. Rhology,

    As for proving inconsistency I believe I did. Here is one case again. You equate worship and veneration. I showed that veneration or honoring comes in a variety of forms. I also brought up the fact that the Reformed historically have prohibited religious pictures of human agents and especially statues. The Reformed statues are religious in nature given the name Jesus below them in abbreviated form as “IHS”. Therefore the Reformed have rendered worship to statues which they consider idols. If you wish to disavow the Reformed tradition on these points that’s fine, but that won’t overturn the demonstration but will only bring to light the Procrustean lengths you need to go to maintain your position.

    Second, you also noted that you would allow images of Jesus even in a church building even if not in the “worship hall.” (That is generally named the knave, btw.)

    The material from 1 Kings is not a red herring as I noted before. The claim made by you was that the images in the Temple were commanded and approved by God. If such images were not commanded by God then they cannot be approved. But 1 Kings shows things that Solomon put in on his own apart from a command by God and yet God approved them. Consequently your principle is contrary to biblical teaching.
    Second, if 1 Kings contains one of many things you are objecting to, the astute reader will note then that I have refuted at least one part of your argument.

    Third, if you think that I need to refute them all jointly because jointly they have some argumentative force that individually they lack, you will not actually demonstrate that this is so and that my dealing with them one at a time fails to take this into account. You then have your work cut out for you.

    In response to my questions, “Where did God command all those things listed to be made?” you replied that God commanded several of those things and that no worship was to be rendered to images and not to images of dead people. I think you need to go and read the texts I cited in 1 Kings 6-7, since there are articles that Solomon had fashioned which God did not command to be made.

    To say that no “worship” is rendered to them is true if veneration entails worship and is co-extensive with it, but if it doesn’t then it isn’t true since reverence and honor was shown to such things. Certainly these things weren’t treated as every day articles.

    Given that Augustine’s principle is sufficiently vague I don’t see how this helps. First we’d need to know who’s judgment as to what is or is not essential we are to go by. And plenty of biblical teachings are not judged by the Reformed to be “essential.” Secondly, if you think Rom 14 or 1 Cor 8 help make this distinction, then you’ll need to draw it out since I don’t see it. Romans 14 and 1 Cor 8 do not teach that it is acceptable to teach that food can be impure, but rather that one should condescend to someone who does for a time to bring them along to a proper understanding. So I can’t see how this helps your claim that Rom 14 teaches a distinction between essential and non-essential doctrines.

    As for the Geneva statues, I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I wrote that the name of Jesus is attached to the bottom of the statues giving them religious significance. “IHS” is an abbreviation for Jesus. Just look at the bottom of the image. So while the statues are such of men, there is a clear religious ascription. So I can’t see how they aren’t idols on your view.

    I grant that you are not Turretinfan but that is not relevant in so far as you are both defending Calvinism. If you dissent from the Calvinist tradition, that only shows that you have to put yourself outside your own theological tradition to evade the criticisms. It doesn’t show that the criticism is mistaken.

    I grant with the Geneva idols that no one is bowing down and rendering honor to them, but the statues themselves were built to honor them and if honoring is worship, then it is a form of worshipping and so worshipping an idol on your principles.

    As I don’t think that the image of the visitation to Abraham is an icon of the Trinity, I am not sure how it is an icon of the Father and the Spirit. Just because you say it is, doesn’t show that it is. In fact, the discussion of this matter occurred in Russia over a long period of time. Leonid Ouspensky’s two volume work takes over 250 pages to discuss the historical problem, which was grounded in misinformation and mistakes. It was eventually corrected. I’d suggest you become familiar with the matter before simply going off a title. Once Rubalev for example realized this, he never again painted it and denied it was of the Trinity. Consequently no informed Orthodox person, clergy or laity that I have ever met has thought of it as anything more than a type of the Trinity. If you wish to insist that it is, you’ll be putting forward a view that the Orthodox do not accept.

    Your remarks that my analogy about worship doesn’t seem to touch the analogy. It is fallacious to argue from the least one can do to the impermissibility of other practices. Just because I can read a sermon it doesn’t follow that it is superfluous to have it preached. Just because worship is given to God in a liturgy, it doesn’t follow that this renders impermissible honoring those whom God has honored.

    Part of the minimalism you proffer depends on a denial of God sharing divine properties with his people. If God didn’t do so and so honor his people, then minimalism would be licensed. But if we refrain form honoring those whom God has, then this is to take away something that God has given.

    When you say you are talking about the object of worship and devotion, we don’t give worship and devotion to saints so your analogy at best would only hold on the basis of begging the question. I grant that it is adequate on your principles and presuppositions, but it leaves my position untouched. Unless you can show that my position is grounded on your principles and presuppositions the most you can do is continue to beg the question.

    I thought you told me that you were unsure whether it was permissible to make images of Jesus or not. Certainly the Reformed tradition has held that it is impermissible. Is it or not? And if it is, how then do you evade the objections from the Reformed that you are guilty of idolatry and breaking the second commandment? If it is implied that they do not resemble Jesus this doesn’t address my point. If they are “fakes” then why do object to icons being “fakes” but somehow the “fakes” you make of Jesus would be permissible and unobjectionable? This seems like special pleading.

    You claim that Irenaeus was saying that the images were fakes because they were meant to be pictographic representations. Can you demonstrate that rather than assert it? Second, given that icons are not meant to be pictographic, but figural and representational, it would follow that Irenaeus isn’t objecting to them since they would not qualify as fakes since a necessary condition to being a fake is an attempt to be pictogrpahical. Either way, nothing in Irenaeus’ text seems to help your position.

    You claimed that the distinction between father and witness was a later innovation, namely from the modern period and I responded that this was impossible since it was used in the fourth century.

    You then changed the issue to requiring me to make an argument that “antiquity= truth.” I never made such an argument in the first place and never have. So you are ascribing to me a position I do not hold. I do not hold that merely because something is ancient either in the church or outside of it that it is true. So your request here depends on a straw man.
    You might have a problem with the Reformers being witnesses and not Fathers since that would imply that they weren’t your fathers through the gospel, in which case you don’t have the gospel from them and they don’t have it either. Second given that Scripture indicates that God appointed apostles, prophets and teachers (1 Cor 12:28) and given that whomever hears the ones Christ sends, hears Christ, (Mat 10:40, Lk 10:16) the Reformed will be without divinely sent teachers. Not only that, but in rejecting the men who came after the Apostles and prophets as teachers and as your teachers, you will be rejecting Christ who sent them.

    Nor will be of any use to appeal to Scripture since the formal canon of Scripture that you employ depends on these “witnesses.” Given that the witnesses do not all agree on the canon, even if they did, agreement doesn’t imply truth, you will have no selection criteria for canonical books without fathers and teachers. You’ll have Sola, but no Scriptura, except perhaps of your own making.

    This is why your appeal to the many fathers of the faith in the scriptures won’t help your position since we’d need a criteria to find out from all the conflicting witnesses on the canon to figure out which works were canonical to know if the “fathers of the faith” mentioned in various books were in fact so. As I noted above, we’d need a criteria beyond mere agreement among the “witnesses” since even if they all agreed on the canonicity of say Genesis, it doesn’t imply that they are correct since agreement doesn’t convey truth. A church without teachers in the above sense becomes no church at all. This is why I named it ecclesiological patricide.

    When I responded to your remark that plenty of people have been wrong about things through the course of time and so we are to judge what God has said and that this doesn’t address what I asked, it seems to me, you haven’t responded to what I asked. I asked you to tell me what your taconomy was, namely how do you classify historical figures if you reject that classification of fathers and witnesses. Nothing you’ve written so far as I can see gives me that taxonomy. So my queston remains unanswered.

    I don’t think you understand my counter argument just below the previous question. Notice that what I wrote was a conditional and a reductio ad absurdum. It isn’t something I am advocating. If your principle were adequate, it would entail rejecting your own judgment too since the principle of rejection is error and your own judgment has erred. But this is a consequence you reject and so via modus tollens you implicitly reject your own principle.

    You charge me with a “sophomoric category error” and then allege that I argued that you must escape your own reason. Your then proffer as an implicit refutation that you can detect errors in reasoning in yourself and others. First, you never seem to lay out where I am confusing two categories or what the two categories in fact are. More directly it seems this is an error that you failed to see in your reasoning since as I explained above, I wasn’t arguing that you can or ought to give up your own judgment, but rather giving you a reductio via a conditional statement. Consequently, your remarks fail to map on to the criticism. But there is a bit more fun (in the logical sense) we can have with this. It doesn’t follow from the fact that a thing is indispensible to the idea that it is true. It may be that I may not be able to think and function in any other way, but that of itself doesn’t imply the truth of the way that I do think and function. There is no legitimate inference from I can’t help but think x, to, x is true anymore than there is from x is intuitive, to, x is true. As for your remark about presuppositionalism and solipcism, nothing I stated could even possibly imply solipsism. I think you just failed to notice what the argument in fact was.

    I noted that it doesn’t follow from the fact that if agents are fallible about some things and under some conditions that they are so under all. You responded, that you will adhere to what God said and not man. Fine, but if agents spoke infallibly, then it would be under divine power and authority and not man. So I am not clear how what you said is relevant. The point under discussion was your argument, which seemed to be that all agents error through the course of their lives. The disagreement then is whether there are some individuals, either qua individual or collectively who have divine power and authority or not. Consequently, your initial response failed to engage my counter point.

    As for Matt 18:17,it is true that it is about church discipline, but since church discipline will include theology, the church is ascribed the power to judge and not individuals.

    You write that I need to answer the problem how I can understand what a church says without engaging in individual interpretation. But this shows I think that you haven’t understood what I have written here or elsewhere on the subject. It is one thing for each individual to fulfill the conditions on knowledge and another thing to have each individual fulfill the conditions on normative judgments. Epistemology and Normativity are not the same. Let me give you an analogy of sorts that I think will help clarify the distinction I am making between the two. Every American citizen may have the ability to read and understand the Constitution by and for themselves. It doesn’t imply that the judgment of said individuals as to what the Constitution means, even if correct, amounts to having the force of law. By contrast what the Supreme Court says the Constitution means does have the force of law. This means that the judgment in the two cases is different. The first is with respect to knowledge and the second entails the former but has something more, legal normativity. Consequently, I do not confuse the two levels when I argue against the Protestant doctrine of the right of private judgment. That doctrine holds that every individual Christian has the right of judgment and not just with respect to epistemology but normativity as well. No conscience can be bound or obligated by judgments that it itself does not accept or judge to be normative. If we translated this back into the analogy I gave, what it would mean is that every American citizen would be a supreme court justice. In practical terms that would lead to a few problems very quickly. Clumps of people who made similar judgments would emerge and if there was no agreement to go with what the majority thought, you’d end up with civil war very fast or the privatization of religion. And this is essentially what occurred at the Reformation and then the Enlightenment on a social/political level. Either religion has a foot in the social and political sphere and we get wars or we remove it in exchange for social and economic stability in a form of political pluralism-one nation under many gods.

    In any case, since I distinguish between levels, epistemological and normative, there is no regress in having an infallible judge and interpreter. In order to fulfill the conditions on knowledge I don’t need an infallible interpreter, but given that I am not infallible myself, my epistemic judgments aren’t sufficient to meet the standards that the NT gives for ecclesiastical judgments, (binding on one regardless of whether they agree or not, handing over to satan, etc.) What skeptical worries about interpretation are attempting to do is show that if its possible for the judgment to be mistaken, then the judgment lacks the relevant property of divine normativity. If it could be false, it can’t be normative. This often leads Protestant interlocutors to suppose that their opponents are arguing that infallibility is a necessary condition on knowledge. This then leads to a proposed reductio ad absurdum that the interpreter of the interpreter requires infallibility, but it is absurd to suppose that I need to be infallible to know what someone is saying and beyond that, I am obviously not a candidate for being infallible. But as I noted above, this rests on the mistake in thinking that the matter is strictly about epistemology, but it isn’t. Once the two questions are distinguished the kind of objection you raise falls flat.

    As for Montanism, if for the sake of the argument you do not grant that it is heterodox, then I can use Tertullian’s own articulated criteria to show that he is outside the church, namely what was deposited in all the churches as apostolic to exclude Montanism. We come to the same conclusion by a different route. Secondly, people at the time who judged him to be outside the church didn’t beg the question because they weren’t selecting material post facto. They were going off what they knew to be handed on to them, namely tradition. Third, it doesn’t imply that my position is circular since you need to show that my prior selection is grounded in some other dependent principle. What would be circular would be to take such and so principles as Orthodox and then to some other principles, which in turn imply the first principles. I don’t think I’ve done that. I think I’ve moved from data garnered on a historical level to principles on a theological and normative level and then from there to make theological conclusions. So again, I don’t think your remarks map on to my actual position. And let’s suppose for the sake of the argument that my view was circular, you’d need to show that it was viciously so. Not all instance of circularity are fallacious.

    You write that no evidence against the Montantist prophetesses could count since they are infallible. This would be true if in fact they were infallible, but in terms of knowing this examples of error would count against their claims to infallibility.

    I asked you whether Tertullian was a father through the gospel and you responded that that question doesn’t interest you. This is clearly dodging a relevant question and it certainly looks this way given your dismissive answer. As for Augustine, Athanasius, etc. you ask if your position grants them any special authority. This is would be relevant if I my aim were to get you to admit that they did, but this was not my aim. Rather I was trying to get you to cash out your taxonomy and apply it. Hence your dismissive answer doesn’t engage what I asked. Are they fathers through the gospel or no? Is any post apostolic figure?

    Claiming that I have argued in a circular way with my treatment of Tertullian isn’t a demonstration, hence there is no “demonstratum” in your QED and so you’ve got quod est and nothing else. You need to give a demonstration. That means an argument with premises and some at least implicit inference rule-modus tollens, modus ponens, hypothetical syllogism, etc. So far, I’ve seen assertions which function as conclusions for arguments you have not made.

    As for the comments of mine you cite, you didn’t seem to notice that I was giving your take on my position. I wasn’t articulating my position.Please notice the beginning of the sentence that you cited “You argue that my position is circular…” and then comes the portion that you cite. Consequently there I am not giving my position, but rehearsing your comments on mine so you and readers can understand what I am responding to. Consequently either you didn’t pay attention to what I wrote and made a mistake or you intentionally misrepresented my position. I’d prefer to think it was due to an oversight on your part. IN either case, what you impute to me again is not my position.

    Then you skip down to the next paragraph and about half way through splice it with the previous remark which gives an entirely opposite impression of what I clearly wrote. Please note again, what I did write.

    “Further, I have argued on a good number of occasions in the past that witnesses or fathers do not necessarily represent what most professing Christians thought at a given era.”

    This is the exact opposite of what you impute to me. As for appealing to “one guy” this is a strawman. In a given era we have a plurality of sources to draw on for a variety of issues and I employ asset of criteria that I think are effective in weeding out errors whether they are textual or conceptual. So no,
    I don’t appeal to one guy. In the case of the fathers, particularly in those early periods we are usually, though not always dealing with representatives of the episcopate. The episcopate is in a different position than any given layman. They give us insight into what was handed on from the Apostles. If you find this objectionable then you should find what they took to be scripture objectionable to. Do you find what they took to be scripture objectionable as well or not? If not, then I can’t see on what principled grounds at that level you are objecting to me deriving the same kind of information for my position. In any case, you remarks fail to map on to, let alone touch my position.
    You ask if Origen was an infallible interpreter how would I know he was in error? I think you have mistaken my position for asserting that individual church fathers are infallible under any and all conditions. I’ve stated repeatedly that this is in fact not my position. So asking me that question indicates that you haven’t grasped my position yet and haven’t therefore begun to criticize it.

    If the true church recognized the Protestant canon, then this will be an actual historical society of people, which society would that be? Second, an appeal to the invisible church won’t help you for a variety of reasons. First, because we are not talking about the material canon, but the formal canon, a fallible list, on your principles of books “recognized” to be inspired. Hence John 10 won’t help you here since we’d need a document written by people that listed said books as inspired and we’d need to know that said people were elect. Second, can you name any figure in church history who was in fact elect? And then who held to the Protestant canon? Third, even if you could name any or even a good number of the elect it isn’t clear that they would all agree on the books. Being elect doesn’t imply that you don’t make cognitive mistakes. Fourth, it isn’t clear that all true believers have the same kind of experience of self authentication and inner witness about all of or the same books. Historically, this has not been true of professing believers. Even if we could ferret out those problems appealing to the elect or true believers won’t help since we’d need to know prior who they were. The inner testimony of the Spirit won’t tell us that and the Bible won’t either since what constitutes the Bible is what is on the table and the inner witness of the Spirit is not something we can inspect.

    Fifth, just because something appears as self authenticating to someone it doesn’t follow that it is so. So even if the elect took such and so books to be inspired based on the experience of self authentication, it doesn’t follow that the books they choose in fact are inspired and hence self authenticating. Being elect doesn’t render one infallible. So my question, which church recognized the Protestant canon still is on the table.
    I don’t know how you could discover that the Orthodox do not have a closed canon. I’ve been Orthodox for ten years and I’ve always thought they did. My bishop thinks so and all the priests that I’ve known across multiple states and even beyond my country have thought so. And 2nd Nicea thought so too. So if you think the Orthodox do not have a closed canon, you’ll need to give me a reason to think so.

    As for crowning images, you need to show from Irenaeus or Hippolytus’ text that the Gnostics were depicting the figures as crowned or crowned the images or figures. The two are not the same ideas. Second, few if any Orthodox icons of Mary that I have ever seen have Mary crowned. Some images of Jesus do and others like King David or Solomon, but then, they are/were kings. It seems that what the Gnostics did was construct crowns and put them on their figures like the pagans did with their statues of their gods.

    This is a practice at least as far as I am aware that does not exist as an Orthodox practice. So again, I can’t see from Irenaeus’ text how this supports your contention that what Irenaeus is objecting to maps on to Orthodox belief and practice.

    It would matter to you if Irenaeus condemned your position since it would undercut your argument against the Orthodox. You could only advance it by lowering the probability that your own position was the faith of the early church. Second, it would mean that your own Calvinistic tradition condemns your position. It’d be interesting to find out what your local church says about such matters and what their justification is. I am quite able to put myself in your paradigm shoes. Adherence to Sola Scriptura doesn’t on its face eliminate subsidiary authorities or what your tradition professes as scriptural teaching. If you are inconsistent with what your own tradition teaches as scriptural teaching then you need to go one way or the other or show that there is no inconsistency. If you move t what your tradition historically has claimed, then you capitulate that you were in error. If you maintain that your tradition is wrong, then you are closer to my position on this point. Further, you would be conceding that it is therefore scripturally permissible to make images of Jesus. In which case, this would undermine your claims of what Irenaeus said, either in that he isn’t condemning images of Jesus per se or if he is, then he would be wrong. And it would put you in an idiosyncratic position outside the Reformed tradition forcing to condemn your own tradition as unscriptural on that point. If so, then its just one more reason based on your own judgment for thinking that Reformed theology is in error and has been for a long time. Semper reformada then doesn’t seem to be working too well.

    In any case, you still need to show that Irenaeus condemns making images of Jesus per se. So far, I haven’t seen an argument from the text for that claim.

    You write that we act like the icons or the saints are gods. Well, we don’t have orgies to them like the pagans (or the Israelites did with the golden calf), we do not mix them with pagan images of Zeus and such. And we do not offer animal sacrifices to them. That much should be obvious in terms of differences. So even externally bowing to them or to embodied humans in front of us doesn’t imply that we treat them as deities any more than when the Israelites bowed to their kings or other figures. (Gen 19:1, 23:7, 33:3, 7, 42:6, 43:28, Ruth 2:10, 1 Sam 24:8, 2 Kings 2:15, 1 Chronicles 29:20) Consequently making the kinds of inferences you do about bodily actions is inadequate on biblical grounds. Please notice for example in 1 Chron 29:20 that the context is worship since the same act is referred to different referents with different intentions-one act of bowing-honor to the king, worship to God and yet the same term is used for both outward acts. The only difference is the intention. Otherwise you convict them of failing to worship God and ascribing the same honor to God that they do to men, or they ascribe worship to God and men, making them idolaters. And in the ancient world in all of those contexts, there was no such thing as a “secular” context.

    With respect to Revelation 3 and 19, when I point out the difference is in the intention, you point to the OT. But the context is Revelation and not the OT. Regardless of what you think you can prove from the OT, it will have to be consistent with the distinction implicit to harmonize Rev 3 and Rev 19.

    Running to other passages in hop scotching the Bible won’t help since if Revelation teaches it, then the OT will have to teach the same. So you still need to explain how I am wrong about Revelation 3 and 19.
    As for what you’ve written elsewhere, you are dealing with there primarily is conjuring spirits and comprecation or invocation of the saints. That is another topic from the intention in veneration. Second, the intention in the case from Is 8:19ff is quite relevant since the intention is to conjur up a spirit which is in direct violation to biblical commands. That intention isn’t in dispute. There is a confusion here in your thinking in applying that case to this. First, their intention may have been to do something good or beneficial but it was wrong. Fair enough. The path to hell as it were. But what is in dispute between us are two cases of different intentions (to honor and to worship) which then inform the same bodily action. They both more widely may have a 2nd order intention to them, of doing something good, but that is not relevant to the question in Rev 3 and 19 of whether the intention is different in those two cases. And further there isn’t any biblical example of conjuring spirits under some conditions that is permissible and then some not. But there are biblical examples of prayers offered for the dead or of the saints being involved in some way with the prayers brought before God (2 Tim 1:16ff, Rev. 6:9, 8:3-4). Further, Paul speaks of the saints as intercessors and I don’t see why such a power ceases at death but perhaps you do. Invocation and comrecation do not require a medium or a witch to cast a spell to bring up a spirit and neither of the former (invocation or comprecation) involve two way traffic per se and they don’t involve inquiring after information like winning Lotto tickets or who will be the next king. And we have archaeological sites which have images of saints with inscribed prayers underneath them going back to the 3rd and possibly 2nd century. We don’t have any examples of Christians conjuring spirits under such a pretext using a medium or some such figure in the early church as the passage from Isaiah clearly has. Consequently, this is not an adequate comparison in the blog post you refer to.

    The example of Aaron and the golden calf doesn’t work either since it was supposed to be an image of Yaweh as a regional fertility deity. We don’t make images of the divine nature or depict God as a fertility deity. Second, their intention was directly counter to the commandment and you have yet to show that bowing in Revelation 3 or any other passage of scripture is identical with worship so that the intention would not be relevant in the case you give. Much the same could be said for Lev 10.

    As for 2 Sam 6 you note the consequences of disobeying with good intentions. But there are a few problems here. First, I am not advocating the making of images as disobedience but it is somehow permissible because my intentions were good. Second, you haven’t shown that I have done so. Third, the case doesn’t seem parallel to the case in Revelation 3 of unbelievers bowing down and rendering obeisance to the saints. It is a case of someone not permitted to touch the ark who did so, as v. 7 seems to make clear. He was a Levite and knew better that the ark was not to be touched. The consequences of doing so shows the honor and respect with which the ark as objects used in worship were accorded.

    You propose a case of someone brought before Moses for judgment saying that he was only honoring his ancestors by calling them from the dead. Well, obviously as I noted before, this is not a apt comparison. Conjuring spirits isn’t the same as kissing an image of Jesus on the Gospel book or asking a saint to interceed.

    The case of Acts 10 isn’t really relevant since Cornelius comes from a pagan background. It isn’t hard to see that his intention was to render worship as he understood it to Peter. Second, there is a similar case in Acts 16:29 which goes unrebuked.
    As to person and nature, I didn’t in any way confuse the two. You seem to think that merely asking a question is tantamount to staking out a position. It is not. Second, the question I asked served a number of purposes. Let me lay it out for you to make this clear. To ask that when Thomas falls down before Jesus and renders worship (or anyone else in the NT for that matter), is the worship passed on through his human nature to his divine person or not? Doesn’t imply much of anything about my position. First because I am asking you a question and not articulating my position. Second, the question was meant to help you think through and to the biblical use of the principle that something given to a created thing can be passed on to the person, who in this case happens to be uncreated. The same principle is at work in iconic veneration. So the question is framed to force you to agree with me that the principle is legitimate and then we can argue about application or if you reject the principle you will have to adhere to an unacceptable conclusion, namely that people were worshipping a creature. So, I will ask again, which is it?

    Second, I didn’t falsely accuse you. In fact I cited exactly where you were, self confessedly, confused about the Incarnation. To say that Jesus was a divine person prior to the incarnation and that he is a divine-human person after confuses nature and person in the following way. Jesus assumes human nature into his divine hypostasis. The divine hypostasis isn’t thereby made into something else than it was previously. If it did, there’d be a fundamental change in the Trinity since the hypostasis or person of the Son as such would not be what he was previously. To say that Jesus is the God-man refers to his two natures and not to an alteration in his divine person. The assumption of human nature into the divine person doesn’t alter the person as such. This is why WCF 8.2 is in error and it is in error because a number of the Reformers were working with corrupted Latin texts on this very question as I have documented to you previously. As I noted, James White says the same thing. It is the divine person who died on the cross. Here is his remark once again since you ignored it,

    “Again, though Christ died in human terms, it is the divine Person who is said to have been crucified.” http://vintage.aomin.org/CHALC.html

    Now is James White wrong too? Is James confusing person and nature too? Why did you ignore it in both your response and the post you put up? This looks a bit duplicitous to me-castigate me for saying the same thing James White does, but you ignore White’s remarks completely. Why?

    Now, why not truck on over to James’s IRC channel and ask him if Jesus is always and only a divine person or a human and divine person? Whatcha think he’s going to say? Now of course James is in a pickle. The London Baptist Confession to which he subscribes make the same error as the WCF does.

    “So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, were inseparably joined together in one Person: without conversion, composition, or confusion: which Person is very God, and very Man; yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and Man.” http://www.ccel.org/ccel/anonymous/bcf.ii.ix.html

    It’d be interesting to see what he has to say on this matter. In any case, I didn’t confuse person and nature and saying Jesus is a divine person doesn’t do so.

    Then we agree that the person is accessible. I think they are accessible via prayer to God in which they are addressed or mentioned and I’ve already given some reasons for thinking so. I’ve also given reasons for thinking that honor and love shown to created things can be passed on to the person they represent. You seem to think that their not being bodily present is problematic as if bodily death prevents us from offering prayers on behalf of them, showing honor and love for them and including them as intercessors in our prayers. I am not sure why you think the death of the body does this and until you clarify this, I can’t see a reason for thinking that a lack of a physical body would render this impossible or that death somehow separates the church into two entities.
    You complain that I divvy up your argument. I think you need to understand that your implied argument consists of a number of premises. If I can refute or rebut any of them, then the argument doesn’t do any demonstrative work. So I haven’t engaged in a straw man. If you claim that I have, you need to show that I picked out such and so concept, but such and so concept is not your concept and here is why. So far I haven’t see that demonstration.

    You ask why you should believe the priests who kiss icons and bibles and stuff. I kiss them too on a regular basis. Just did last Saturday and Sunday for Pascha. I don’t think any priest you ask is going to say he worships the icon or the Gospel book, anymore than a Rabbi who kisses the Law on the Sabbath is worshipping a book. When I referred to rank and file being mistakes, I was referring, if memory serves representing an entire tradition on less than ideally or well informed representatives or representative documents.

    You claim, but do not demonstrate that I am arguing the act of kissing is separate from the context. In fact, I am arguing the exact opposite. Context and intention can indicate such acts are acts of worship and sometimes not.

    I asked how there was a consensus that existed during the Arian controversy in the face of the Arian teaching. You replied that the Arians denied the uncreated status of the Son. I think here you miss my point. The Arians were a party in the church and yet I affirm that there was a patristic consensus. I raised this because you seem to think that the fact that there were people who disagree with my views in a given period shows that my views were not the consensus. This is why I gave you the example of the Arian controversy so you could see how I divvy things up.

    I pointed out that representing the teaching of a given body by what any given member claimed was not a standard that even the Reformed could live up to. You replied with a question of which Reformed body claims infallibility, succession, etc? I don’t think you understood the point since the infallibility that I think is a divine power had by Christ’s church doesn’t necessarily extend to each member, and certainly not in every day conversations. Second, if I wanted to represent what such and so body claimed, I wouldn’t and couldn’t do it on the basis of what any given individual might say. I’d need to go to normative documents or representative sources. Hence your remarks are completely wide of the mark since infallibility of the doctrines expressed is not the issue. The issue is how to know what the doctrines are. Its an epistemological question, not a question about the normativity of said doctrinal statements.
    As for divine omniscience, nothing I said previously could legitimately be taken to imply that I denied omniscience. If it did not inspire confidence it was because you did not understand it. But seeing that you glossed God’s knowledge as requiring some kind of occultic mind reading that all by itself explains why.
    As for God sharing his power with his creatures, it was a response to your claim that the saints did not have the power to hear prayers and such.

    Consequently, you’d need to show that God doesn’t share said power in order to make your claim advance.

    I agree that we should listen when God prohibits worshipping images and we don’t worship images. And I didn’t claim God shares the status of being unoriginate and hence the sole prerogative of worthy of worship. Consequently your remarks leave my position untouched.

    Returing again to Christology in your last salvo, you stated that my question made no sense. The question made perfect sense and you failed to show that it was incoherent. You responded that the worship is directed to the person and not the nature. Quite right, then it follows that we agree that honor or worship directed towards a created thing can be given to God. If you deny this principle, you’ll be forced to say that Thomas was worshipping Jesus’ body or that the woman who kissed his feet worshipped his body. Consequently, the conversation has advanced since no we agree on the principle, even if we disagree on the application. The principle is biblical and integral to a biblical and proper understanding and doctrine of the incarnation.

    You write that there was no thing present with Thomas, but surely there was, Christ’s created human body and soul. Thomas knelt down before the body in front of him. The woman kissed his feet (Lk 7:38) and last I checked, his feet were created. The worship given to the physical created thing is passed on to the divine person. That was the point that you seemed not to grasp. If you deny that there was anything physical and created present to which these people bowed down and kissed then you flatly deny the incarnation.

    Then I asked you directly, “Is Jesus always and only a divine person or not?”

    You replied: “No, that statement is false. At the time of His incarnation, though He had from eternity past always been only a divine person, He took on human flesh and nature and is from that time forward forever the God-man. Surprising, given all your much-ballyhooed qualifications and the way you rip me for one mistake one time, that you continue in these mistakes here. “

    Now if the statement is false, either there are two persons after the incarnation or the divine person of the Trinity is changed after the union into something he wasn’t previously, a divine-human person, as your confessions affirm. Not only do you then have to start doing some fancy foot work on the doctrine of immutability and impassability given that you have now introduced change into the very personhood of a member of the Trinity. You are claiming that the person of the Son was changed at the level of being the person that he was. He is now on your view a new kind of person than he was logically prior to the incarnation.

    Further your insistence that he becomes the God-man at the incarnation is only more proof of your heterodox perspective. The only way one could think that assuming human nature would change the divine person per se or in and of itself is to think that nature is the same thing as person so that taking up human nature into his divine person alters it at the level of person. This is why the phrase “God-man” is not directly relevant to the question, since I am not asking about the two natures, but about the one person, which exists in the two natures and unites them. Existing in them does not alter the Son qua hypostasis of Son. And further Jesus is only one divine persons among many in the Trinity, so saying he is the God man and hence a divine and human person will also entail either tri-theism or sabellianism, since if the “God” part of the phrase “God-man” refers to nature and person, then Christ must be the person of the Father and the Spirit since they are God as well or they must not be God as well or they must be different Gods.

    As I noted already, if you think the statement that Jesus is a divine person is false, is it false when James White says it or just when I do?

    As for Postmodernism, you claim that I argue against the sufficiency of communication somehow and that his is tantamount to Postmodernism, but it isn’t clear that I did so and you offered no proof that I did so. I do endorse that there is no conceptual neutrality between paradigms but plenty of Reformed folk hold the same (See Notaro’s, Van Til and the Use of Evidence) and they certainly aren’t Postmodern or endorse aleathic nihilism. Secondly, I’ve studied Postmodernism at the graduate level in philosophy to know pretty much what it is and why I think its wrong on philosophical grounds. Thirdly, Postmodernism doesn’t deny that communication takes place. What it denies is a specific understanding of what language (please note-birds communicate but have no language) is and how it works. They deny that what we do with words conveys truth since they don’t think there is any truth to convey and language is actually doing something else. Denying the Classical Protestant doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture doesn’t amount to Postmodernism. Anyone who says as much hasn’t studied Postmodernism, understood it or understood much of anything about the philosophy of language.

    You charge me with equivocating and that I am Postmodern in some areas, but you need to learn and should have learned by now that these bald assertions aren’t arguments. You need some premises and an inference rule or two to make an actual argument to support these conclusions. If you claim I am postmodern in some areas, its really simple. Prove it. Define Postmodernism and then show using say the inference rules of deductive logic where I either implicity or explicitly endorse such a thesis. Here, I’ll start you off,

    Postmodernism is the thesis that…

    It’ll help if you can digest works like Grammatology or End of Book. I’d suggest that that really isn’t possible without grasping say Saussure’s semiotic Structuralism. Good luck. :)

    I noted that my individual judgments may not map on to scripture and tradition and that of themselves they are not obligatory. You asked why I feel comfortable correcting clergy and other laity. Uhm because they are wrong since (in some cases) what they say contravenes infallible judgments of the church. The arena is academic. The questions entail the conditions on knowledge and not normativity. I don’t need to be infallible to do that. I don’t know why you seem to argue via the fallacy of composition, namely that if I think the church as a whole has and can exercise the divine power of infallibility that every clergy has it and does so. That isn’t Orthodox theology from any reputable source.

    I do claim unity and under certain conditions. Why would Bp Ware being mistaken imply that I was wrong about the unity of the church? If you think it would, please demonstrate it. If you’re looking in vain for it, perhaps you are looking for the wrong concept of unity, since there are many different concepts of unity. I do think the canon is a big deal and I think historically individual churches have erred on it and other issues, but I think the church has not. Again, if you think Orthodox lack a fixed a canon, please demonstrate it.

    You ask why you should believe me over a bishop. For a few reasons. First if a bishop makes a factual error you can check, then you should believe the facts. Second, if a bishop says things that are contrary to an ecumenical council of the church, then you should go with the council. I may not have more teaching authority than a bishop, but factual claims don’t require it and ecumenical councils trump bishops, its that whole thing of being Orthodox and not Catholic. ;)

    As for the beatific vision, I’d suggest you find out what your church and tradition teaches here as well as other points on the doctrine of God. If Scripture says that God cannot be seen, then the doctrine of the beatific vision is false. It is quite relevant since you used the Pauline material on God not being seen against icons. But as I noted, Icons do not depict the divine essence. And to put the shoe on the other foot, that Scripture testifies against the Reformed, Lutheran and Catholic teaching of the beatific vision. So the scripture you brought up from Paul actually falsifies your tradition’s theology on that point, and not mine.

    You seem to think it is permissible to depict Jesus because he became incarnate. I agree, but I think for very different reasons. First, if you agree then it is permissible to make an image of the member of the Trinity. The fact that Jesus became incarnate doesn’t imply you are not depicting a person of the Trinity. If you think you are merely depicting the human nature apart from the person, then you are contradicting the doctrine of the incarnation, for the human nature is united to the person. There is no separation.

    Second, you’re inconsistent in claiming on the one hand that it is impermissible to make images of God given the 2nd commandment and then turn around and say it is permissible to make images of God in making pictures of Christ.

    I grant that the other commentators, some of whom I do not know, so I don’t know how they could be my friends, claim it is a type of the Trinity. What was at issue was that you claimed that they or I put this gloss on to the iconic representation post facto in an ad hoc manner to remain consistent. Such is not the case. Russian history alone between the 16th to 18th century will show on this question that it isn’t something we made up.

    If the icon has the depiction of “Holy Trinity” doesn’t it depend on how those who made it and use it understand such a designation? If those who made it and understand the designation not to be an image of the Trinity per se, but typological of it. If it were an icon of the Trinity, the Greek letters Ho Ohn, would be in the halo of each member, but they aren’t. Those letters are reserved for the divine persons, specifically Christ. If it were an icon of the Trinity, all three members would have it, but they don’t. besides, the Trullian canons prohibit making symbolic representations of Christ as a lamb or anything else other than a man. An angelic representation is ruled out.

    As for the period in Russia that I denoted, the reason why you found it on Lucian’s blog was because he takes it to be typological which is perfectly acceptable.

    In sum, if you’d like to put your general assault on Orthodoxy aside and just concentrate on the text that this post discusses, that’s fine. Because so far, I haven’t any argument from you to think that Irenaeus is condemning any Orthodox belief or practice.

  67. Perry, please forgive a final digression from the thread.

    Rhology,

    Regarding evidence. Yes, the Saints have appeared and talked with various people a large number of times and continue to do so to this day. They know each other and those living and those living know them, this is assumed in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus and the Transfiguration; how do you think Peter knew who Moses and Elijah were when he had never seen them in the flesh and there is no evidence of Jesus introducing them? They do hear our prayers and answer them, especially the Mother of God. There are a large number of miracles worked by the presence of icons and many give off sweet smelling myrrh. These events are part of my day to day experience when on Mt Athos. Wether you believe it or not, there is plenty of evidence available to show that God does not condemn veneration of icons and prayers to Saints but indeed blesses them, so if we read Irenaeus to be consistent with this evidence and the other Fathers then this would be consistent with all the evidence. The alternate reading is not only not in keeping with the text, as Perry has showed, but would conflict with the experience of Christians for centuries. By the way, the 8th Century matters much because all your Scriptural arguments were brought out against icons and were demonstrated by those who were being killed for continuing to venerate icons that those Scriptures did not forbid the making and veneration of icons. Eventually, this was accepted freely by those in power and not by force but by the persuasion of good theology, tradition and handling of Scripture in the light of the Incarnation coupled with prayer and the witness of holy martyrs. You are not raising anything that the Orthodox have not heard before and dealt with 1200 years ago.

    I asked about the word “proskinisis” and only one of the references that you provided had this word and it did not say that proskinsis is to be given to God alone. “Douleo”, to serve as a slave, God is not what we do to icons, so this term is irrelevant. You need to establish the commands regarding “proskinisis” and all uses this term because this what the Orthodox give to icons not latreia nor doulea. The rest of the matter is covered in the essay.

    Being 100% right is not about sinful lives but about the Church’s doctrine, and rules of practice, and whether they are Scripturally consistent. The issue of living according to the doctrine is not relevant to the point but, nevertheless, I know of cases of such holy living. The fact that Orthodox fight over what is the right doctrine and usually more abut the right practice does not mean that the official position that has been well established is wrong but perhaps that a new situation has arisen that requires establishing the proper understanding of the Tradition on this matter. This is all to be expected and is consistent with the Scripture (1 Cor 11:19). The truth can have no lies and so no false doctrine, that is 100% correct doctrine. Where does it say that in Scripture that truth is the equivalent of the Scriptures? The Scriptures tell us that the truth is Christ and if the Church is pillar and bulwark of the truth it is so of the faith and preaching of Christ, whether recorded in Scripture or not, (John 21:25) and does not support any lies otherwise it could not be the pillar for truth because there is no lie of the truth. False or incorrect doctrine is a lie.

    You dismissed a paragraph of mine as circular reasoning. I wasn’t trying to argue a point based from mutually accepted premises but to explain the premises from which Orthodox are working to show how we understand the matter. This was to move the debate to another level so that we don’t talk past each other but get a better grasp of the premises underlying each of our logical reasons.

    Regarding the point about Fathers, I did not say anything about infallibility nor apostolic succession but that latter at least is inherent with any faith that claims to follow the faith of the Apostles, unless you suggest that we are not to obey or share the same faith as the Apostles or that each generation is not to imitate the faith of the previous generation. You say that you imitate the faith of your elders and are in submission to them; thus accepting them as authorities. So it follows from your own practice that you have a similar practice as we do in recognising the authority of those before us and appealing to them as authorities. This practice was also followed by our elders and so on, which means it is appropriate to appeal to their elders because our elders did and likewise for the previous generation back to the Apostles; the elders in this line we call Fathers. The terminology is perhaps different but the substance is similar. Do you not also pick and choose your elders? Do you not follow them because you agree with them and not others? Do you not reject Orthodox Fathers because they don’t agree with your doctrine, regardless how you claim to source the doctrine? Why don’t you imitate the faith and doctrine of say Ignatius of Antioch, the disciple of John, the beloved disciple? Also, the Orthodox Church did not start with a group of people deciding a doctrine and then picking Fathers to support it. Historically, as such a secular historian could agree on the evidence, there remains an unbroken line of elders from the Apostles to the Orthodox elders today, in line with 1 John, 2 Thessalonians 2, Hebrews 13. They delivered the doctrine to us from Christ and we continue to follow it. Of course there are early writers that are not accepted by Orthodox but Scripture declares that such should appear who are not of us, 1 John 2:19, and the Church identifies them and excludes them. The onus of proof is on you to prove that the Orthodox by their own premises have strayed from the Truth. Hence, the reason for Perry raising the topic of this post; it is a quote that is supposed to be a challenge to Orthodoxy from one of its own recognised Fathers. Specific fasting seasons (Acts 27:9) are in the Scripture as are specific times of prayer (Acts 3:1), which the Orthodox still keep. The question of the Body and Blood is the literal reading of Scripture and since as it seems that you are offended by this, as were many when Christ first taught it, you must interpret Scripture to take a different meaning. By historical evidence on this matter you are an innovator and do not follow the clear teaching of Scripture.

    The fact that the lists of books vary supports the Orthodox position rather than testifies against it because the vast similarities support the common consensus and the continued tradition, and the variance means that there was not a set of texts that feel out of heaven bound together but separate books and letters that needed to be collected and which needed the witness of the Fathers of the Church as to which were indeed genuine and canonical. The decision also had to be made on grounds other than the Scriptures alone, that is the received traditions of the elders, which were largely passed on orally (2 Thess 2:15). Three principal lists, those of St Anthanasius, St Gregory the Theologian and St Amphilochios, were accepted and any books accepted on any of the lists were accepted. They are all correct if understood by their inclusions and not by what was not included. The differences in the lists are also reflected in what Scriptures are in the Bible as a collection, which are read in church services and which books are approved to be read privately that are not formally in the Bible.

    Anyway, this is Perry’s blog and we are heading off track. Please, feel free to respond on my blog, if you wish.

  68. ioannis says:

    Rhology,

    If after supporting trinitarianism for 4 years in your blog, as you claimed, it is so easy for you to abandon it in a conversation in trying to confuse me and in your desperate effort to find errors either in me or in Orthodoxy, it is not my fault if I think of it as a façade of your Judaism.

    If 1 Tim 6 refers for you to the Father then for you only the Father is immortal. And, moreover, what do you make of John 14:9 “Whoever has seen me he has seen the Father”? Anyway, that’s not the subject of our discussion. But we do not picture the HS and the Father, not because nobody has seen them so far in a certain form, but because they have not been incarnated.

    However, if we were picturing the event of the baptism of Christ without the HS in the icon you would claim that it isn’t the real event because the appearance of the HS is omitted and the icon is a false one. Now that we picture Him your problem is that the HS can not be pictured! Well, we do not picture the HS. We picture His epiphany.

    Similarly, but for opposite reasons, we do not make hagiographies of Judas Iscariot. However, one can see him in the icons, for instance, of the Last Supper. Do we venerate Judas when we venerate that icon? Of course, we do not. We venerate the event that it is depicted in the icon. That shows that we do not venerate icons in themselves otherwise you have to accuse us for venerating traitors, demons etc. That means that we do not only distinguish between human person and their icons but also between icons and icons and between what we venerate in them and what we do not venerate. That’s a proof that we do not idolise the icons.

    You asked me on what basis do I make the statement “His Icons”. On the basis that when I‘ll see a picture with you on it I will say that I saw your picture. In Christ’s icons we see Him as He was, more or less, when he lived amongst us and in the human form that He will have when He will return, the same that He had when He was walking on earth. That’s why although we translate His words in other languages we do not “translate” His images. We can not picture a Christ with Chinese or African characteristics. The icons do not only manifest that the God became incarnate but also the form that He took after His incarnation. And as after seeing a picture of you I can say that I saw you (in a picture of course) similarly in seeing Christ in His icons I can say that I see Him.

    Christ, who gave the law to the Jews, did not say that He does not want us to make icons of Himself. Why do you include Him and His humanity in all those things referred to as “anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”? Besides, Christ does not dwell in the heaven that we see with our physical eyes where the commandment refers to but He is seated on the throne of God. Furthermore, where and when did Christ say that we shouldn’t make icons of the members of His body, His Saints? And when did He say that we shouldn’t depict those who are in the Bosom of Abraham? I think it is obvious that the Reign/Kingdom of Heaven, where He is with His Saints, is not the place referred to by the phrase “in heaven above”.

    The Saints are alive as it has been already pointed out unless you believe that Christ was conjuring up spirits during His transfiguration and the apostles did not see the real Moses but a ghost. St John speaks with a presbyter in Revelation. Was that presbyter dead or alive? That the Saints partake of Christ’s divine glory is everywhere in the NT, e.g. 2 Corinthians 3:18.

  69. Andrew says:

    Perry et al,

    This dialogue has been especially helpful to me, as I’m sure it has been to others as well.

    Thank you, and keep up the good work.

  70. Andrew,

    Oh its not over yet. Rhology posted a reply today that got caught in the spam filter. I informed him that I’d let it go through if he did a few things. First, remove the new batch of rude remarks and insults. And 2nd, make arguments for conclusions asserted. He declined and so is publishing his remarks on his web page.

    Personally, I recommend people read them as I think there are some real nuggets (for my positions) among the dross.

  71. Cyril says:

    Perry,

    These guys are as Nestorian as anything I have seen (and certainly more so than Nestorius who eventually embraced Chalcedon). At least when I confront Presbyterians and Zwinglians with this stuff they try to modify their positions to align with holy Tradition, but these guys just seem to shrug and admit to the heresy. The fool who posts at Rhob’s blog under Vox veritatis put out such an enormous howler about Mary as the mother of the Trinity (because that is the logical end of our theology) that you think such a person would be embarrassed by their own stupidity.

    His rhetoric of being unable to sustain an argument, and answering with little more than bumper sticker quips gives the measure of his seriousness about the enterprise of Theology.

    Xristos Anesti!
    Cyril

  72. Cyril,

    Of course you know I agree. But we need to keep the presentation civil.

    I was too happy that Rhology decided to post his most recent comments at his blog. They are digging the hole for me. All I have to do is supply the shovel.

  73. SbDcn David says:

    Perry,

    Where will you respond, here or on Rhology’s blog?

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