Sola scriptura does not exist

Could you be a Christian without the bible?

... keep silence or talk about ordinary things elder thaddeus of vitovnica

I am currently reading several books written by Orthodox ancient fathers. One of which is; Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives by, Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica. An amazing man of God who details for us how to walk out the love of Christ in our everyday lives, to everyone around us. His words are loving, hard and yet easy. That is one of the beautiful things about Orthodox Christianity, there are multiple truths. It is hard to walk out love if we try to do it in our flesh, but so easy to do when we die to ourselves and let God truly take over and lead us. This is just a tiny blurb about his book which includes a mini biography of this incredible man who was so at peace the little birds would fly to his chest, land, and eat the crumbs out of his beard that ended up there after a meal. I want that kind of peace in my life. His book is a spiritual road map to the land of internal peace according to the word of God. How does this relate to sola scriptura? Keep reading, please.

One of the main (read tired old) arguments that Protestants try to use against Orthodox Christianity is that they believe we all should be able to read the bible without any outside assistance because Holy Spirit will illumine us and help us with anything we do not understand. If that were true for them, there would not exist; Mathew Henry’s Commentary or the myriad of Christian bookstores. Also; Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, Joel Olsteen and a host of other Christian writers would be out of jobs. Some Protestant writers develop bible studies. Why? If they truely believed in sola scripture (which, ironically, is not actually IN the bible) there would be no need for any Protestant to write anything and yet they too have their own versions of ancient fathers and mothers. Corrie ten Boom, Smith Wigglesworth, Watchman Nee, etc..

The real truth is that, while Protestants have their writers, for some reason they think it is wrong that Orthodox Christians have our own. I believe they do not like it because our writers are not their writers, but also because our writers talk about this life, and the life hereafter in a way that does not line up with the heretical teachings found in Protestantism. The writings of the ancient fathers focus largely on our inner conflict between our flesh & the Spirit of God, which we will submit to and allow to lead us through life. when I read the writings of the lives of those who have gone on this path before me, I receive comfort and guidance knowing that although these people lived in like-minded communities, they still had to struggle through life & many of the same issues we as Christians struggle with outside of monastic life. Struggle with loving those around us, being obedient, living below our means, relying on God to fill our plates, keep us healthy. Some ancient fathers and monastics struggle with severe mental and physical ailments. One father in particular said, ‘if you can live with the pain and suffering, do not pray for God to deliver you from your affliction!’.  Quite different, and more difficult to hear, than the message from Protestant writers.

There is a part of me that wants to open a big orthodox Christian book store here in town. There is already a small one connected to a coffee shop that is also a missions. They serve coffee and ancient wisdom… love it! On Friday nights, our head priest is behind the counter slinging coffee & food. He sets the example for the rest of us on walking out the word of God.

If you are someone who has hopped onto the ‘sola scriptura’ band wagon, I challenge you to look around your house and count how many books about God and Christianity you have that are not the actual bible. Why do you have them and how have they enriched your life? As with anything we read, even the bible, it only works if we do what is written on the page. Love your neighbor, yes even the one that does whatever it is that upsets you. Speak kind words to everyone around you and consider others better than yourself. Forgive, forgive, forgive. I only have to deal with rude, inconsiderate people while some of the Orthodox writers have had to forgive those who tortured them and held them in prison for many years. Do you want God to forgive your sins? Then you must forgive the things other people do to you. True deep forgiveness. None of this, ‘I’ll forgive but I’ll never forget!’ nonsense. Jesus forgives AND forgets!! So too must we do the same.

Sola scriptura does not exist. It is a lie from the enemy to keep those who would become Orthodox Christians from doing so. It is such a feeble excuse. The bible came along 300-500 years after the Orthodox Church was started. Holy tradition, and the stories about those who went before them, was all the early Christians had to guide them on how to live a Christian life. Then, they wrote the bible and now modern churches claim to be based on the bible but they look nothing like the ancient, and original church.

BY M. D. TALBOT.       LETTER I. TO THE LORD BISHOP OF EXETER. cont     4th. Luther with his Consubstantiation, setting aside tradition, wo...

If you would like to visit my Pinterest board for more Orthodox wisdom and humor you may do so by following this LINK but remember, it too violates the sola scripture fairy tale.

Lord have mercy.

 

 

Evil called good

iconforbabies
Icon of aborted and miscarried babies.

To my utter horror, persons masquerading as ‘faith leaders’ have created an ad campaign in support of Planned Parenthood and abortion. This has all been done under the deception of supporting marginalized women in need of health-care. What a load of lies, deceit and non-sense. Here in my city, we have an organization that helps unwed mothers deal with an unwanted pregnancy without abortion. Do I hear the same kind of support for that organization? NO. ANYONE who claims to be a ‘faith leader’ who supports abortion is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. ANYONE. Yes, my words are strong and they are intended to be so. No one who calls themselves a follower of Christ could support abortion. We as Christians must acknowledge the sanctity of the soul and respect for life. We are not the ones who give life, God is and only God can determine when it is time for a soul to return to heaven.

The ‘faith leaders’ who spoke out in this advertisement did so while spouting the lie of women in need of health-care need Planned Parenthood. Abortion is not health-care. I’ll say it again… ABORTION IS NOT HEALTH-CARE. People who support abortion and claim to be ‘of faith’ rarely come right out and say they support baby-murder. Some part of them deep down knows that this is wrong so they skirt the issue and make it sound like there is a noble purpose to their madness and if the rest of us do not join up in the false crusade, we’re the evil ones not those who support Planned Parenthood. Do not be fooled. You are NOT evil for not supporting Planned Parenthood.

Stick to your convictions. support those who oppose Planned Parenthood. Speak out for those who have no voice, the unborn babies. Do not allow yourselves to be hoodwinked into supporting the mass murder of unborn children. Not just in America, but in other nations as well. Oh yes… Planned Parenthood has their evil, blood-stained claws in the wombs of women in other nations as well.

The above photo is of an icon representing the innocents who have died. Not just aborted babies but also babies lost to miscarriage or infant deaths for any reason. Jesus is there looking over them… and offering comfort. Comfort for the babies and for the mothers. Yes, comfort for the mothers. We must remember that as Christians, God also loves the mothers who, under the spirit of deception, aborted their babies. These women are suffering, and will most likely continue to suffer until the day they die, for what they have done. The act of abortion creates two victims, not just one. This is what PP and others who support it do not tell you. This is why it is especially heinous that so called ‘faith leaders’ are supporting such an insidious, and evil organization. Have none of these people ever counseled a woman post-abortion and seen the horror she goes through?

I strongly believe that anyone, anyone at all, who calls themselves a ‘faith leader’ who verbally supports or gives money to Planned Parenthood should immediately be removed from their position on grounds of abuse of power/authority. Any organization that calls itself a church or synagogue that receives tax exempt status should have that status removed. See, there is a certain criteria that should be met and followed before an organization should be allowed to classify itself as being linked to Christ. The major one should be NOT advocating the murder of unborn children.

Wolves In Sheeps Clothing Quotes. QuotesGram

We must no allow ourselves to be drawn into the culture of death that has grown in our society. The beginning and end of life is when we are the weakest and most vulnerable. This is where evil lies in wait for those unable to defend themselves. When murder is advocated from the pulpit… who will protect them from harm? Lord have mercy.

C.S. Lewis: The Great Divorce

Why You Should Read C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce" | Catholic World ...

I’ve been attending my local Orthodox parish since September and I’m looking forward to my upcoming baptism into the Orthodox Church. I’ve ventured out a bit more into the social aspects of the church by attending the Lady’s Group. It’s a study group in a book club type format. Presently we are reading The Great Divorce written by, C.S. Lewis. For me, it is a refreshing change from the fill-in-the-blank bible studies I’ve become accustomed to, but never really liked. Some, like me, enjoy this format while others struggle with the lack of traditional structure and conformity of read and answer ‘here’ type studies.

Conviction from an Orthodox brother in Christ.Kind of sounds like something Piper or Spurgeon would say...or what Jesus clearly demonstrates in the Word...hmm...:

As I said, I am enjoying the study but it is sad to read about people unwilling to give up their passions for the Ultimate Passion… Christ. Also, because I am going to be baptized soon, as I read the book, it is helping me to remember items that need to be added to my life confession I will be doing with my priest soon. Believe it or not, little memes I run across on Pinterest, as well as reading books on the lives of the ancient fathers and their experience with confession, sin, and temptation are helping me not to be too panicked about baring my life’s dirt to a priest. This concept is unheard of in protestant churches and is very new to me. As a protestant, I would confess to God, or my husband and hope no one else ever caught wind of what I did because people, especially Christians, can be incredibly judgmental. I have also been judgmental, and it is something I work on everyday. It is something I work on with the help of; the writings of the ancient fathers, (a resource not available in protestant churches sadly), my priest, the weekly opportunities for prayer & worship in my temple, and my at home prayer life.

As I said, this is all very new to me because in protestant churches, especially evangelical and charismatic churches, sin seems to be encouraged as a way for the grace of God to move in our lives. I call it ‘The Chili Dog Gospel’. Why? Because I have heard many pastors say that since scripture tells us we can tread on poisonous things and not be harmed, we should also be able to eat ‘poisonous’ things, like chili dogs, and not be harmed. ‘Go ahead and eat that chili dog and watch God move mightily in your life!!’. Um, no thanks I’d rather not eat it, fast & pray and see what happens when I move in obedience. There is very little talk, at least that I ever heard in the churches I attended, about giving things up for our sanctification. Sanctification was not something openly spoken about or encouraged. What does all this have to do with, The Great Divorce’?  This is a book that talks about the things that people do that they are unwilling to give up in ordered to be perfect as Christ is perfect. From homosexuality, to one’s intellect, to one’s ‘rights’ (the right to be offended, angry, greedy, respected, etc.) to people not wanting to give up what they perceive as security even though it keeps them in hell. Lewis lays it all out for examination by the reader. ‘Pick one or all that apply.’, he seems to be saying. Even now, over 70 years since its writing and publication, it is relevant in the life of, Believers.

St. Seraphim of Sarov:
Is being judgmental of others your passion?

People these days like to think they are, ‘modern’ and ‘progressive’. What do these words mean? If you are not willing to give up whatever sin you are justifying with these words, they are just as much a chain holding you back from heaven as they’ve ever been. We are not the first generation to use those words, or to try and talk ourselves out of giving something up we love… our ‘pet sin’. Is the need to always be seen as being right important to you? Is it so important that you are willing to give up the blessings that come from being a peacemaker? Trust me, there are more blessings from God for those who are peacemakers than those who are willing to assassinate relationships in order to be right. Interestingly enough, I don’t know of a single person who was argued into the kingdom of God…do you?

One of my favorite quotes from Saint Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox
St. Seraphim of Serov Orthodox has a word of knowledge for you if you love to stir things up and cause strife in your life and the lives of those around you.

Our passions are creating a spirit of disunity within our churches and our communities. Not only do they separate us from God, but from one another as well.

People’s passions against icons keep them out of the Orthodox Church.  Here is one that you might enjoy. You’re welcome.

Creation of the sun:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Here we see, Jesus or the Word of God, creating the universe.) This is an Orthodox icon.
Christian Art: Thomas Blackshear and Thomas Kinkade
This is a protestant icon. Just in case your passion is iconoclasm.

This bit about icons is a bit off track but not too much as there are those who are passionately against icons and yet are ok with nativity sets, Easter eggs, crosses, etc. All of which, including our bibles, are icons. I just wanted to show those who are passionately against icons and point fingers at the Orthodox church that protestants also have icons. They just call them ‘Christian art’. This iconophobia is just an example of a passion that needs to be given to the Lord. The passion that only fill-in-the-blank bible studies are real bible studies is another passion that can be given up. We all have them. Some people refuse to try anything new unless it was their idea first and they were able to lead their friends and family to it. This passion causes them to lose out on so much!

I hope this partial review (more to come possibly) has given you food for thought about the passions you hold on to that are holding you back from a more mature, complete, and fulfilling relationship with God. Oh, how I wish this book was read in schools all across America! Would people, ‘get it’? Would it help us to be more unified and to let some things go that we needlessly hold on to that are killing us and our communities? Or would most people read it and think it is for someone else but not for them?

If you’re looking to change your community, you must first be changed. How? How do we transform our communities, our places of work, school and worship through ourselves?

May I recommend asking God to show you right now your passions that are interfering with your sanctification? Then, if you’re Orthodox, take them to your priest and confess before Sunday and enjoy a Liturgy and Eucharist free from hidden passions/sins. What a weight will be lifted from your shoulders! If we do not kill our passions, they become our idols. They interfere with our sanctification, drawing nearer to God and our quest for perfection. I’m actually looking forward to my life confession. With appropriate trepidations of course. It’s not going to be fun, but it will be freeing.

I’m working on it. Lord have mercy.

 

Leading by example

doxprayerDoes it bother you when someone says to you, ‘Do as I say, not as I do?’. It bothers me. This is just one of the things, Jesus came up against in His ministry. The pharisees were oppressing people with impossible standards while they continued to behave in a manner totally opposite of what they were preaching. They tweaked the law to feed their greed and corruption all the while they enjoyed a life filled with gifts, bribes, and treachery. Even unto their own parents.

I have had protestant pastors admit on the pulpit that they are picking and choosing which scriptures they will obey. The audience chuckles but no one confronts him on his own admission of sin and heresy. Imagine my surprise when the head priest of our local parish submits himself to the same rigors of scripture we are all trying to walk out daily.

During the annual Forgiveness Ceremony at temple, there he is with all the other priests, deacons and sub-deacons prostrating before his spiritual children, asking us for forgiveness. Our priest!! Then, the other night in class, he talks about how he is headed up to Alaska soon to help build a monastery for some nuns. This is a 50+ year old man but because he had been up there 15 years ago and they remembered him, he is going because they asked him to! I love that our parish has such an example. In Orthodox Christianity, it’s not about, ‘The Guy’. You know, who is going to be the one who preaches well, as a charismatic personality, who can get the people wound up and in a frenzy to give, give, give. No. While our head priest is gone, another priest will step in and fill his shoes, so-to-speak while he is gone. Life will go on without him because our lives are about God, not ‘The Guy’. Will Father be missed? Yes. He is part of ‘the family’. He is our spiritual father & confessor and we love him (he will come back). But that’s not the point. The point is, he gets his hands dirty, literally and figuratively. I’ve been in churches where the pastor’s anointing was carefully guarded as if he were some sort of demi-god who needed to be locked up in some protective inner chamber. Well removed from those who might sully him. Who… his congregation? Yes. He needed to be protected from his congregation. I’ve been to churches, and I have heard stories from people in other churches as well, where the pastor never interacted with the church community. They felt they only had to deliver the sermon on Sunday and they left the ‘ministering’ (praying and interacting with the congregants) up to the deacons and elders. They are not true shepherds. They are not spiritual fathers. I like having a spiritual father. Especially one who walks out the scriptures. When you have a spiritual father who sets the example, it’s hard to find an excuse as to why you’re not being obedient with what you have been given to do by the Lord. The speed of the leader is the speed of the ‘gang’. If your spiritual leaders are leaning on the shovel and not giving their all, neither will you. I believe this is part of the reason why so many churches have fallen asleep and then ended up shuttering their doors.

Physics applies to churches. Newton’s 1st law of motion;  In an inertial reference frame, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a consistent velocity, unless acted upon by a force. In other words; an object in motion tends to stay in motion while a body at rest tends to stay at rest, unless something happens to change either attitude.

People are looking for more in their religious journey. I was, and my search lead me to the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church does its best to walk out scripture. To live in peace with those around them, to die to their passions & desires, and they take it (the Christian Way), and God very serious. Serious enough that His Word is for every member of the body in the parish, even the head priest. There is no, ‘us and them’ mentality that I have seen to date. I don’t know if I can fully express how important this is to me to see those in leadership being treated as a part of the body and not apart from the body.  It fills my heart with joy to know my parish priests, and others in leadership are in the same boat as I when it comes to walking out our faith. We are imperfect, struggling and doing the best we can. Lord have mercy.

Hank Hanegraaff’s religious persecution by former employer; Bott Radio

Hank Hanegraaff, ‘The Bible Answer Man’ has faced swift retribution for converting to Orthodox Christianity on Palm Sunday. The owner of the radio station that hosted his program has removed Mr. Hanegraaff’s program from their roster. You can read the full story HERE.

Doxchurchpersecution
Orthodox Church facing persecution.

I’m not at all surprised. Kind of saw this coming a mile away. I wonder if it bothers these people to be so transparent in their intolerance and bigotry? ALL MODERN CHURCHES CAME FROM THE ORTHODOX CHURCH. The bible you read has its roots in the Orthodox church because the Orthodox Church wrote the first bible. Hanegraaff is THE BIBLE ANSWER MAN. He had been exploring Orthodoxy for  TWO YEARS before converting and not once did he say anything unbiblical but suddenly when he is transparent about joining THE CHURCH, his biblical accuracy is called  into question. I’d like to know who all put pressure on Bott Radio Network owner, Richard P. Bott, II to drop Hanegraaff’s show.  Just as those in the crowd were, ‘encouraged’ to scream for Jesus’ blood, so too do individuals today face pressure from their peers to tow the line or lose sponsorship. Money talks, but it also silences. In this case, people professing to be Christians showed the world their true colors by demanding the termination of a radio show that has aired for decades because the man hosting it does not subscribe to their party line.

May the retribution of the Lord fall upon those who have shown Mr. Hanegraaff religious intolerance and persecution in the name of Christianity. Shame on you.

Get back to church

Extreme Humility Icon Orthodox
Icon of Extreme Humility. No one forced Jesus to go through the trials of the cross. He humbled Himself for us. Can we not humble ourselves for Him?

‘I love God, it’s His people I have a hard time being around!’ I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard this phrase spoken from the lips of Christians. going to church is hard. It’s so hard in fact that it’s not a suggestion, but a directive. here is a small collection of bible verse on the topic of assembling together.

Hebrews 10:25 – Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Matthew 18:20 – For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Exodus 20:8 – Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Romans 10:17 – So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Hebrews 10:24 – And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

Acts 2:42 – And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Hebrews 13:17 – Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.

Also (taken form another website)

Benefits of going to church regularly:

  • During Holy Mass, receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord regularly, brings us into continuous reminder that God is with us and in us. If we believe that, then it has a huge affect on our behavior and mind set.
  • Being with a community of believers is extremely encouraging. When I see fellow believers humble themselves by kneeling or going to receive the Eucharist or giving each other the sign of peace, I feel immense joy and peace. And experiencing this on a regular basis must surely be good for your soul.
  • Hearing the Word of God on a regular basis helps us to obtain the mind of Christ and a healthy Christian worldview.
  • Regular attendance (especially when you don’t feel like it) is like spiritual exercise, training to submit your will to Christ.
  • Consistent attendance makes you more comfortable with the local community of believers and makes it easier for you to fellowship with them.
  • It is a benefit to others because they might find joy in seeing you there.
  • The grace of God trains us to “live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives”.
  • It brings peace and guidance.
  • Regular church, means regular worship, and regular communal prayer.

When we neglect to go to church (especially when we feel that the other people at church are in someway ‘doing it all wrong’) we tend to become our own gods. When we refuse to go to church, we are telling ourselves, and those around us, that we know better than God what is good for us. “I don’t need to go into a building to worship God, I’ll just spend some time in nature. That’s all the ‘god’ I need.’ Well… as lovely as nature is, it is only the created, not the Creator. We are called to worship the Creator in His house. In His temple. Going to church shows obedience to God. It humbles us to be in His presence with other believers. It gives us hope. It strengthens us. It illuminates the dark places  in our hearts & minds, and light chases away darkness. Going to church builds community. Going to church heals. Going to church takes us from the darkness of this world and puts us in the presence of the Lord without distraction. God made us with the need to be with others in holy worship of Him. We are family. We are the body of Christ. Part of your spiritual identity (a large part) is going to church. We cannot be unified in Christ if we never go and fellowship together. If it has been a while since you’ve been to church, it’s time to humble yourself and go back.

Lord have mercy.

Doing what you THINK is right

Whenever I read, or hear, people say the ‘just do what you think is right and I’ll respect you’ routine I cringe. Judges 21:25 is a cautionary tale about NOT doing whatever we think is right. The ways of people are wicked. Only God’s ways are just.
Matthew Henry Commentary- Judges
17:7-13 Micah thought it was a sign of God’s favor to him and his images, (pagan idols/gods-added by me) that a Levite should come to his door. Thus those who please themselves with their own delusions, if Providence unexpectedly bring any thing to their hands that further them in their evil way, are apt from thence to think that God is pleased with them.
Look around you. The world is in terrible shape from people doing what they think is right instead of following the examples put forth to them from God. No one is good. Only God can claim that. Jesus didn’t even claim that for himself. If Jesus didn’t think He was good, what makes you think you are so good? Our ways are not God’s ways. Many Christians claim that God cannot use, Trump. Really? Who are they to put boundaries on The One Who Created EVERYTHING?? This is a classic example of the clay telling the potter how things are going to be instead of listening to the potter.
Isaiah 45:9
Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?
Matthew Henry Commentary
45:5-10 There is no God beside Jehovah. There is nothing done without him. He makes peace, put here for all good; and creates evil, not the evil of sin, but the evil of punishment. He is the Author of all that is true, holy, good, or happy; and evil, error, and misery, came into the world by his permission, through the wilful apostacy of his creatures, but are restrained and overruled to his righteous purpose. This doctrine is applied, for the comfort of those that earnestly longed, yet quietly waited, for the redemption of Israel. The redemption of sinners by the Son of God, and the pouring out the Spirit, to give success to the gospel, are chiefly here intended. We must not expect salvation without righteousness; together the Lord hath created them. Let not oppressors oppose God’s designs for his people. Let not the poor oppressed murmur, as if God dealt unkindly with them. Men are but earthen pots; they are broken potsherds, and are very much made so by mutual contentions. To contend with Him is as senseless as for clay to find fault with the potter. Let us turn God’s promises into prayers, beseeching him that salvation may abound among us, and let us rest assured that the Judge of all the earth will do right.
So I beseech you brothers and sister not to do what you think is right, but to do what you see in scripture. Do not just settle for being familiar with God, but rather develop a deep intimacy with Him and discover His true character.
Lord have mercy.