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doctrinal questions – part 3 August 10, 2013

Posted by daniel ayad in Biblical.
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doctrinal_statementSorry about not posting more regularly. If I had a good excuse I would provide one below, but I don’t. This post is the final part of doctrinal questions that random people may ask you to give an answer to the hope that is in you. These include:

I am offered to join a non-Orthodox Bible Study? What do you think of this?

Considering that the Bible is one, I anticipate that the teaching is the same?

But what is the difference between our way in teaching and theirs?

Why do we repeat the Liturgy during our worship? I am suggesting that we pray the liturgy every second week. In the spare week we could turn into a Bible study and singing and praying session?

more questions and answers below…

 

I am offered to join a non-Orthodox Bible Study? What do you think of this?

Considering that the Bible is one, I anticipate that the teaching is the same?

But what is the difference between our way in teaching and theirs?

The first point to note is that there is no single, universally applicable method of interpreting all parts of the Bible. Most Christians understand and accept that the Bible needs to be interpreted and understood in different ways depending on a number of factors. Orthodox and non-Orthodox groups are likely to interpret the Bible in very different ways.

These include:

Literal: The text is to be understood as a literal retelling of actual historical events, much like you might read in a news report or a history book. E.g. The book of Acts is a historical literal book.

Allegorical: Each component of the story is to be seen as parallel to a deeper story. E.g. The four incorporeal creatures refer to the four gospels. The Orthodox church is widely known for having a deep love for allegorical interpretation of the bible. The western world highly lacks this approach in biblical study.

Symbolic/Typological: Objects, people, and events are seen as symbols of things to come. E.g. Joshua is a symbol of Jesus.

Moral: Moral lessons are drawn from the example in scripture. E.g. King Saul died in pride and arrogance.

Non-orthodox bible studies tend to focus far less on allegorical and symbolical aspects to the bible, thus the teaching is not necessarily the same, and it is advisable to attend an orthodox bible study.

2. Why do we repeat the Liturgy during our worship? I am suggesting that we pray the liturgy every second week. In the spare week we could turn into a Bible study and singing and praying session?

The liturgy is a very deep bible study. The whole liturgy involves biblical reading. All the prayers have a biblical basis. See the Gregorian liturgy which quotes hundreds of bible verses in the references.

The liturgy involves the reading of the psalm (3 times), gospel (3 times), section of the Pauline epistle (Romans-Hebrews), catholic epistle (James-Jude), Acts and the synaxarium. 

The liturgy also offers Holy Communion which is a holy sacrament that Christ instituted. Communion is the body and blood of Christ which gives us life in Him. A bible study can never offer that, and therefore should never take precedence over the greatest bible study of all – the liturgy.

3. My Baptist friend wants me to re-baptize as he claims that my baptism when a child is null and void. He also challenges me to prove biblically that Babes Baptism is a biblical principal, how could I reply? I also want to prove to him, from the book of Acts, that water and Spirit baptism is necessary?

The Lord Jesus Christ’s words to Nicodemus were: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John.3:3). The Lord explained this to him, saying: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John.3: 5). Then He added “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. The wind blows where it wishesSo is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John.3: 6,8). Thus the Lord considers that everyone who is born of water and the Spirit is born from above or born of the Spirit.

It also seems strange that some Protestant brethren want to water-down this text by claiming that the Lord did not say, “unless one is baptised of water and the Spirit”, but, “unless one is born”! Of course there is no doubt that both express the same thing, because what is the other meaning of “born of water” except “to be baptised” since the baptised comes out of the womb of the font and moreover the Apostle St. Paul affirms the same meaning when he says:

The Apostle Paul considered that the washing of water (in baptism) is the washing of renewal and the washing away of sins.“…not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration” (Titus 3: 5). And about the Church he said:“… that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Eph.5: 26).

We insist on paedobaptism (infant baptism) for the following reasons:

(1)   We are concerned about the eternal life of children because the Lord says: “…unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John.3: 5). So how can we prevent children from being baptised and expose them to God’s Judgement as long as the Lord did not exempt children when He said the above words?

(2) Through baptism, little children are given the opportunity to practise the life of the Church and enjoy the divine Sacraments. They can also enjoy all the means of Grace in the Church and their effects on their lives. In this way, we practically prepare the infants for the life of faith. If we excluded them from the Church we would be depriving them of faith and of the means of Grace.

(3) The Lord’s saying: “He who believes and is baptised will be saved” is meant for adults who are capable of comprehending the meanings of faith. That is why we cannot baptise adults unless they believe, according to the Lord’s words in (Mark.16: 16). As for infants, we apply the Lord’s saying: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19: 14).

(4) From the point of view of faith, little children are in the stage of believing and accepting everything; they do not refuse or reject faith; the doubt, inquiring, questioning and reasoning of adults have not yet entered their sphere. There is nothing in them to prevent them from the kingdom of heaven. Baptising them conforms to the principle of “Free Salvation” which is believed in and strongly propagated by our Protestant brethren.

(5) If we were utterly strict on the condition of belief, we would have forbidden from baptism many adults who were not mentally mature to comprehend the facts and depths of belief, such as the peasants, labourers, illiterates, the poorly educated and those of too limited understanding to get into the depth of the theological facts. May we ask: What would be the extent of those people’s belief? Should we prevent them from being baptised, as little children should be?

(6) We baptise little children because the Holy Bible indicates this. The Holy Bible mentions baptisms of whole families or of a person with his entire household, and there is no doubt that there must have been children in those families.

E.g. The Philippi Jailer had his family baptised ““Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16: 31).

Also, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16: 31).

There are plenty of other examples

Question 4.

Why priesthood? Is ordination of clergy (bishops, priests and deacons) a divine instruction? Or is it man made?

There is a special category of people who are set aside for this priestly function:

(1 Pet 2:9) But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of

darkness into His marvelous light

 

This is synonymous with what God told the Jews in the Old Testament

(Exo 19:6) ‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

 

Most definitely these words did not mean that all the people were priests and were to carry out the known duties of the priests. So the term priesthood was indiscriminately a common right for all, without differentiation.

Priesthood is a divine instruction, or a “calling” from God. This is so clear and so important in both Testaments, as stated clearly by Saint Paul:

(Heb 5:4) And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.

 

From the beginning we see that God’s plan has never changed. (Heb 13:8) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

(James 1:17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

The Lord Jesus criticised the deviations that man introduced and commanding people to “go back God’s basic plan” (refer to Mathew 19:3-8).

Here we see that the “Laying on of Hands” was not a congregational matter, but rather hierarchical and apostolic.

(Acts 6:6) whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.

5. I am confused. As Christians we believe that Christ is God. But last week 2 people at the door handed me a pamphlet. The pamphlet stated some alarming verses which displays many weaknesses about the Lord!!. This display of weakness gave me the impression that the 2 missionaries by the door could be correct to claim that Jesus Christ is not God?

 

Please help me to reply to this pamphlet and to these people? Please supply me with convincing reply from the Bible to tell them. Also please tell me replies from the Liturgy and the Psalmody for myself to know the Church’s teaching?

Here are the verses in the pamphlet

 

Mark 13:32, Luke 22: (41-42), John(13: 21), John 14 (28), John 19 (30), Luke 4 (2) Hungry? John 19 (28) Thirsty?

The Lord Jesus The True Man   The Lord Jesus The God
Did not Know the Day of Final JudgmentMark 13:32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

 

He knows Every ThingJohn 21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him,

“Feed My sheep.

 

PrayedLuke 22:41-42 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

 

Answers Our PrayersJohn 14:13-14 “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it

 

Was WearyJohn 4:6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus

therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

He was Troubled

John 13:21 When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”

 

He Grants RestMat 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Believe in Him Removes Trouble

John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

 

The Father is Greater Than HimJohn 14:28 “You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. Declared Himself Equal to The FatherJohn 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself

equal with God.

 

DiedJohn 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

 

Raised Himself and Raises others From DeathJohn 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

 

Was HungryLuke 4:2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

 

Fed the MultitudesRefer to John 6

 

Said “I Thirst”John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”

 

The Source of Living WaterJohn 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

“O You who is and who was, the coessential who is before all creation, the co-enthroned with the Father, the only One with Him in Lordship. The originator of mercies, who desired by His will to suffer on behald of the sinners amongst whom I am the first….You Yourself descended from Your Father’s bosom to the womb of the virgin. You became despised and walked upon the earth as a human, and this is the miracle of Your humility….for truly You are more fearsome over all the gods. You arose my Saviour with majesty, and broke the throne of Hades from me.  [Fraction for the Son]

O sing unto Him who was crucified, buried and resurrected, and trampled and abolished death [pg 28 Psalmody].

You are the Son of God, I believe in You, O You who carries the sins of the world, save me [pg 59 – Psalmody]

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