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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Assumption talk

Really guys! It is helpful if you keep comments on the blog topic so that when people are looking for information on the Assumption, they can find it!

I'm going to try and gather several of the comments together here, so that those who wish to continue discussing may do so.

Elena pasted from this article:

The Assumption is the oldest feast day of Our Lady, but we don't know how it first came to be celebrated.

Its origin is lost in those days when Jerusalem was restored as a sacred city, at the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (c. 285-337). By then it had been a pagan city for two centuries, ever since Emperor Hadrian (76-138) had leveled it around the year 135 and rebuilt it as Aelia Capitolina in honor of Jupiter.

For 200 years, every memory of Jesus was obliterated from the city, and the sites made holy by His life, death and Resurrection became pagan temples.

After the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 336, the sacred sites began to be restored and memories of the life of Our Lord began to be celebrated by the people of Jerusalem. One of the memories about his mother centered around the "Tomb of Mary," close to Mount Zion, where the early Christian community had lived.

On the hill itself was the "Place of Dormition," the spot of Mary's "falling asleep," where she had died. The "Tomb of Mary" was where she was buried.

At this time, the "Memory of Mary" was being celebrated. Later it was to become our feast of the Assumption.

For a time, the "Memory of Mary" was marked only in Palestine, but then it was extended by the emperor to all the churches of the East. In the seventh century, it began to be celebrated in Rome under the title of the "Falling Asleep" ("Dormitio") of the Mother of God.
I said to Jennie:

Well, I hope you don't celebrate Christmas, or worship on Sunday, or use grape juice instead of wine for the Lord's Supper. Because that all sounds good, but none of it is from Scripture.

Jennie replied:

I don't consider Christmas as a part of church doctrine. It's a tradition that some celebrate as part of church worship and some celebrate as just a family and cultural tradition. It's certainly not something that was commanded in scripture or done in the early church.

As to the other things, they are not major doctrines pertaining to salvation, but would be considered matters of freedom and conscience, as to what day to worship, and whether to use alcoholic wine for communion. There is not agreement on them, so we should do as conscience dictates. We don't believe traditions are bad, just that they must be in line with scripture.

The RC doctrines of Mary are not taught in scripture AND are in contradiction to it. They are myths with no historical support and, in protestant eyes, should not be believed and certainly should not be dogmas that everyone must believe. In the firm belief of many Christians, they take away from the supremacy of Christ and the gospel message, and point people to Mary instead.

I then wrote:

I get very frustrated that things non-Catholic Christians do which are traditions are always okay, even though they aren't Scriptural. Anything Catholics do which smack of tradition (such as pray the rosary) is met with the accusation that it isn't in the Bible, and therefore shouldn't be done.

How does the Assumption contradict Scripture, which is silent on what happened to Mary. Elijah and Enoch were assumed into heaven.

I would also disagree that there is no historical support. In my blog entry which I linked to earlier, you can see that the church which holds Mary's empty tomb is still around. Historical accounts always refer to an empty tomb.

It isn't as if there are accounts of the body being there, and then at a certain point they change to describing an empty tomb, as it would if the body were stolen.

Jennie's response:

I haven't heard of Mary's empty tomb. When does history speak of it? I've heard of many people going to the Holy Land to see Jesus' empty tomb, but not Mary's. I'll go back and look at your earlier blog entry.

The Bible records Jesus' resurrection and ascension, and earlier as you said it records Elijah and Enoch being taken up into heaven alive, so if Mary was assumed and it's so important to Christianity, why is it not recorded in scripture and testified to by early believers by many eyewitnesses as Jesus' death and resurrection and ascension were?

It looks like all the documents that refer to the assumption are from the 5th century or later. That's not the same as the eyewitness accounts of Christ and the historical accounts from the same period as Christ that speak of the events of the time. It still looks like the Mary stories came in later as myths.

Clare chimed in with:

It is a little bit intriguing to observe the lack of relics of Mary. No 'true bones' or anything.

The early church ( and this habit persists) tended to treat the mortal remains of saints with great care and reverence.


Daughter of Wisdom wrote this (in response to Clare):

I can shed a little light on why the body of Mary was not found.

The burial practices of 1st century Jews were markedly different from the modern burial practices of today, or of our culture. In first century Jewry, bodies were not embalmed or preserved. The body was anointed with special herbs such as myrrh or aloes to mask the stench as the body decomposed. Once the body had decomposed, the bones were taken and placed in a box called an ossuary, which contained all the bones of a particular family. These ossuaries were then stored in special burial caves where they could be retrieved at any time so that new bones from newly deceased family members could be added. For more information see Ossuary.

Another thing: The name Mary was very common back then. It would have been difficult to next to impossible for a devout Catholic who came along hundreds of years later (as there were no Roman Catholics in the first century) to to determine which bones belonged to Mary of Nazareth. The destruction of familial records by the then Roman empire, and the Jewish diaspora of 70 A.D would also make it virtually impossible for people to identify remains.

Conclusion: No body of Mary because the body had rotted away, and the documentation to identify the bones were destroyed.

Finally, Barbara wrote:

Much of what is known about Mary is found in the NT apocrypha. While some of these books were rejected from the official canon as heretical, others were rejected because their authorship was questioned, not their validity. Other things were passed down in oral tradition.

The reason that many doctrines about Mary were officially declared was in response to those questioning Jesus' humanity. Jesus was fully human because his mother was fully human. Would you not agree that a central tenent is that Christ was both human and divine.
---------------

Now, let us try to get back to the original question. How does the doctrine of the Assumption contradict Scripture?

The only response I've heard is that it would have been an important enough event that it should have been in Scripture. That is not proof of contradiction, folks.

Can God assume bodies into Heaven? Yes, there is Biblical proof of this.
Is Mary's death recorded in Scripture? No, it is not.
Therefore, this doctrine does not explicitly contradict Scripture.

Going back to Jennie's other original assertion, that traditions practiced by non-Catholic Christians are not major doctrines, but matters of personal choice in minor matters, I would point out the the doctrine of the Trinity is a major cornerstone of Christianity which was not explicitly mentioned in Scripture. It was also not agreed upon by the early Christians for this reason. The early church was nearly torn apart by this controversy, but eventually Arianism was declared a heresy.

So yes, Jennie, it is possible for major doctrines to not be explicitly found in Scripture.


As to the history of Mary. At the crucifixion of Jesus, Jesus gave Mary into the care of the apostle John. It is widely believed that Mary went to live with John in the city of Ephesus. The place where the house stood is a place of pilgrimage for both Christians and Muslims today. While the upper part of the house is newer, the foundations date back to the 1st century.

While Mary lived there, it is reasonable to assume that the disciples of Jesus came to visit her there. Luke does not name his "eyewitnesses" but from whom else would he have heard of the circumstances of the birth of Jesus? Was elderly Elizabeth still around to tell how John the Baptist leaped in her womb when Mary came to visit her?

St. John died and was buried in Ephesus, where a church was erected over his grave. The remains of it are still there. Similarly, the location of the tomb of Mary is still remembered with a church, which was built over the site of 1st century burial caves.

These people were very important to the early Christians. They began collecting "relics" from them. In Acts 19:11-12 it is recorded that people were healed of illness and possession by being touched by aprons or handkerchiefs which had touched Paul. That proved so successful, they kept track of Paul when he died.

The early Christians visited tombs of the martyrs and of significant Christians regularly. There exists ample historical evidence of this in the form of 1st century graffiti on the tombs. The Christians honored and remembered their dead. They made pilgrimage to their tombs. And when the persecution was over, churches were erected on these sites.

Consider the most significant example of this, the tomb of St. Peter in Rome. No, we can't prove that the DNA on the bones matches that of St. Peter. But it is becoming clear that with so many of these sites, they do date back to the earliest times. Christians honored and remembered their dead.



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87 comments:

Moonshadow said...

Just read Wiki.

I remember the supposed Tomb of Jesus a few years ago was countered by saying Jesus had a family tomb in Nazareth and he would have been buried "back home."

Now, such an argument contradicts the Scripture but also, as Kelli mentioned with Peter's tomb: folks tended to be buried where they died. Not transported back home. Generally. I know Jacob's body was taken out of Egypt but his wife Rachel was buried in Bethlehem, "along the route."

Jennie said...

Christianity comes from scripture and is based upon it as the word of God inspired directly by the Holy Spirit. Scripture always points to Jesus Christ because its purpose is to reveal Him as our Savior, from beginning to end. Everything that is necessary for the gospel is in scripture. If anything is not in scripture, it is not necessary for the gospel and in fact becomes anti-gospel because it adds to and distracts from the specific means of our salvation, Christ Himself. Christ's death and resurrection and ascension to the Father are essential and central to the gospel and ARE the only gospel. Mary was not assumed into heaven. Enoch was and it is recorded in scripture. Elijah was and it it recorded in scripture. Jesus ascended and it is recorded in scripture. If Mary was it would have been recorded in scripture. The Holy Spirit always points to Christ as our gate, our way, our life, our hope, our High Priest, our sacrifice, our mediator, our Bridegroom. If a doctrine glorifies anyone else, and causes us to hope in anyone else in heaven, it is not of God.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Great topic to discuss!

I don't have much time now but later I will pick up on this discussion. I just want to say though that the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary is really based upon asssumptions and speculations, not facts.

As for those apocryphal books which supposedly record her assumption, that is entirely another matter up for dispute as many of those NT apocryphal books were rejected by both Catholics and Protestants alike as psuedographia.

Peace and blessings.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

That's all for now.

Peace.

Jennie said...

The concept of the Trinity is explicitly mentioned in scripture many times. It is in the Old Testament as well as the New.

See these posts:
http://pilgrimsdaughter.blogspot.com/search/label/Trinity
In the NT it begins to be seen at the Baptism of Christ, when we see all three persons of the Trinity together:

Matthew 3:16-17 (New King James Version)
16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Jennie said...

The address of the Trinity posts is cut off at the end, it should have the whole word 'Trinity' at the end of the address I gave.

Jennie said...

Trinity in the OT: http://oldtestamenttrinity.blogspot.com/

Clare said...

D.O.W

Okay. There is no tradition of Mary's bones or relics because that was not something the early Christians of the first century did. They did not preserve bones or relics for religious purposes.

But this is just not so.
They did.
The early Christians prayed at the tombs of the martyrs, they built altars over their bones.
Furthermore, the OT Jews already had a habit of marking the tombs of the patriarchs, including those of women. For millennia, Jews have made pilgrimages to Rachel's Tomb
(http://www.torah.org/features/firstperson/rachel.html )

The tradition was for bodies to be allowed to decompose in shallow graves then the bones were placed in ossuaries. The Biblical record attests to this in its description of the burial of Jesus, our God and Savior of the world...

Yes. That was the way dead bodies were dealt with. But the remain, especially those of honoured saints, patriarchs and martyrs were treated with great esteem.
The place of burial was known, even if the tomb was empty, as was the case with Jesus.

Does it really seem likely that the bones of the mother of Jesus would be thrown into an anonymous ossuary and forgotten about? That she would be numbered other countless other forgotten Miriams?

I mentioned this because it is curious to me that although there is a burial place recorded for Mary, there has never been a cultus of venerating her remains. This is inspite of the fact that there WAS INDEED a habit of treating the remains of such notables with great care.

Please note that I am not claiming that this is 'evidence', purely interesting food for thought.
But I am surprised that you can deny the early practice of honouring the remains of saints when there is such a wealth of archaeological evidence otherwise.

Jennie said...

It doesn't matter whether or not Mary's bones are found. Scripture does not speak of these things. If the Holy Spirit did not give us this information then we don't need it, and, since also there is no historical account of it from the time period, all of it is myth and speculation. It really is an 'assumption' as Hillary said. For these reasons, the doctrines of Mary are baseless and should be avoided as deadly false additions to the gospel.

just evelyn said...

WAIT! WAIT!

Here's one spot where modern science helps us out. It is now known, because of all this stem cell research, that every mother carries in her body, for the rest of her life, fetal stem cells from each child she bore. Actual cells of the baby, with the baby's DNA.

That means that Mary physically carried Jesus for her whole life. That's why I have no trouble with the Assumption of Mary--it wasn't about Mary. It was about Jesus. God wouldn't let Jesus' cells rot away in Mary's dead body.

I suppose one could object that when Jesus ascended into Heaven, that he took his stem cells with him, but that's quite a stretch :)

Jennie said...

Evelyn,
my point is that whatever happened, scripture is what we are to base our doctrines on, as the inspired work of the Holy Spirit who is our teacher and comforter as believers. He did not see fit to teach us anything about Mary after Pentecost, at which she was included as a part of the body of Christ, and was not shown as separate and exalted. God dictates our doctrine.

just evelyn said...

Deadly, huh? That's a significant step above unimportant.

Kelly said...

Jennie, if the Trinity had been explicitly spelled out in Scripture, then the early church would not have been nearly torn about arguing about it.

There are many verses which allude to the Trinity, but they are sufficiently vague enough that heretics argued that Jesus was lesser than God. Because he was human, he was created by God, therefore inferior. Some believed that he was a normal human until such time as the passage you quoted where God began to inhabit him.

I have not read any verses which say that God is three divine persons in One God, and that Jesus was fully human and fully divine.

Now, I can put up another post on the Trinity if it is needed, but my general point holds here. There is a near universal agreement among Christians that the Trinity is not an explicit Biblical doctrine, but is merely implied and a traditional belief.

The Assumption was not because Mary was so great, but because she was the vessel which contained God when He was made flesh. Was the Ark of the covenant tossed out on the trash heap? Wait, it is also missing . . .

just evelyn said...

Does anybody have copy of Mary, Mother of the Son handy? I passed mine on after reading. Anyway, the author goes through each of the chief Marian doctrines, and shows what heresy they were codified to oppose. Each Marian doctrine protects a part of Christology that was debated by heretics in early centuries. It's not about adding to the gospel; it's about protecting and preserving the gospel.

Moonshadow said...

I don't think it's a deadly belief; the translation is our blessed hope.

"[T]he hardest boiled of all the atheists I ever knew sat in my room on the other side of the fire and remarked that the evidence for the historicity of the Gospels was really surprisingly good.

"'Rum thing,' he went on. 'All that stuff of Frazer's about the Dying God. Rum thing. It almost looks as if it had really happened once.'"
- C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life.

Jennie said...

Kelly,
There are many verses which allude to the Trinity, but they are sufficiently vague enough that heretics argued that Jesus was lesser than God. Because he was human, he was created by God, therefore inferior. Some believed that he was a normal human until such time as the passage you quoted where God began to inhabit him.
The Trinity is not just 'implied'. Jesus specifically refers to 'The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit' in the gospels. It is only not understood by 'heretics' who did not want to admit that Jesus is truly God. If you want to class yourselves with heretics who do not understand that Jesus directly taught that He is God and that there is a Holy Spirit and a Father, then that's up to you. It seems like a poor way to support your other doctrines, to deny the expressly taught ones in order to support ones that are nonexistent.

Jennie said...

Evelyn,
it IS adding to the gospel. The gospel is protected by scripture itself which contains it, and hopefully supported by the true church. To add to the gospel to try to protect the gospel IS making the gospel of no effect in those who believe the lies. 'Those who love and practice a lie' will be excluded from the kingdom according to Revelation 22.

Clare said...

my point is that whatever happened, scripture is what we are to base our doctrines on, as the inspired work of the Holy Spirit

Yes. And just as the Holy Spirit inspired the first leaders of the church regarding the canon of scripture, we believe that the Holy Spirit is still guiding the church in doctrinal matters.

Kelly said...

Jennie, are you trying deliberately to be inflammatory, or did you just not read what I wrote?

The Bible does mention God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Which verse says that they are consubstantial? Which verse says that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine?

Also, you're back to your adding to the Bible argument again. Please explain to me where it says that celebrating "minor" traditions such as Christmas or using grape juice instead of wine is allowed, but not celebrating "major" traditions such as the Assumption of Mary? Where is that delineated in Scripture?

Jennie said...

Kelly,
1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.

The gospels and the whole NT reveal that Jesus is fully human and fully divine. He is shown to be the Son of God and the Son of Man foretold by prophecy and Gabriel the archangel. He portrayed Himself as God and He was born of Mary. It's all there. There is no reason it should all have to be in one verse. That's why we have the whole Bible, not just one verse about each subject. The whole thing testifies to the plan of God.

About minor or major traditions,
Can you not see that some traditions can be harmful and some are less so or are harmless? If it was up to me, I'd say forget Christmas, but it'a family tradition involving many so it's not a possibility without agreement.

Moonshadow said...

One of the memories about his mother centered around the "Tomb of Mary," close to Mount Zion, where the early Christian community had lived.

On the hill itself was the "Place of Dormition," the spot of Mary's "falling asleep," where she had died. The "Tomb of Mary" was where she was buried.


You realize these two sites are "across town."

The Tomb of Mary is in the Kidron Valley, near the Church of All Nations. (I don't remember visiting the Tomb of Mary.) Dormition Abbey is on Mt. Zion near the Upper Room and King David's Tomb. (I remember those sites pretty well.)

Look at a map of Jerusalem in your Bible.

Jennie said...

Clare,
the Holy Spirit guides the Church by the word of God. He doesn't introduce new revelation by uninspired people. Doctrine has to agree with what is already revealed.

Clare said...

Moonshadow

You realize these two sites are "across town."

Is there a problem with that?
I don't get your point.

Clare said...

Jennie

Clare,
the Holy Spirit guides the Church by the word of God.


I presume, by 'Word of God' you are referring to scripture here.
Where does it say that the Holy Spirit only guides the church by scripture?

He doesn't introduce new revelation by uninspired people.

But we believe that the leaders of the church which He founded are NOT uninspired people. Jesus promised not to leave us orphans.

Doctrine has to agree with what is already revealed.

Agreed. I think that is what is being discussed here. Some of us are contending that this particular doctrine DOES agree with what has already been revealed.

Moonshadow said...

The only problem is that somebody, maybe the EWTN document, said:

"Tomb of Mary," close to Mount Zion,

What's called the "Tomb of Mary" is in the Kidron Valley, not really near Mt. Zion.

Close to Mt. Zion is the Upper Room, David's Tomb and Dormition Abbey. I don't remember what the German Benedictines there claim their site commemorates.

But as I don't remember visiting the Eastern Orthodox Tomb of Mary and I do remember visiting Dormition Abbey, I wonder how Catholics regard the Tomb of Mary. I don't know. It could be like the Garden Tomb vs. Holy Sepulcher.

Does anyone here know?

Moonshadow said...

1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.

Where's Paul with his trusted ESV when we need him?! :-) I'm ok, actually, about that phrase being in your Bible, Jennie. Really. And I hope you are ok with it not being in mine. I've been waiting for some time to see that verse from you. It is the silver bullet, isn't it.

Here, I typed this out from Ronald Knox's book The Belief of Catholics, the chapter "Where Protestantism Goes Wrong." The book is from 1927 and bears some ecclesial permission for publication, nothing like the nihil obstat/imprimatur Paul relishes. And Knox's "target" is not all Protestantism but Anglicans and Anglican Evangelicals (think J. I. Packer and I suppose McGrath).

So, if we Catholics seem to have a problem with you placing so much authority in the Bible, well, this is why. Peace of Christ to you.

Kelly said...

Yes, I was expecting Jennie to use 1 John 5:7 as well.

This longer reading is found only in eight late manuscripts, four of which have the words in a marginal note. Most of these manuscripts (2318, 221, and [with minor variations] 61, 88, 429, 629, 636, and 918) originate from the 16th century; the earliest manuscript, codex 221 (10th century), includes the reading in a marginal note which was added sometime after the original composition. Thus, there is no sure evidence of this reading in any Greek manuscript until the 1500s; each such reading was apparently composed after Erasmus’ Greek NT was published in 1516. Indeed, the reading appears in no Greek witness of any kind (either manuscript, patristic, or Greek translation of some other version) until AD 1215 (in a Greek translation of the Acts of the Lateran Council, a work originally written in Latin). This is all the more significant, since many a Greek Father would have loved such a reading, for it so succinctly affirms the doctrine of the Trinity.2 The reading seems to have arisen in a fourth century Latin homily in which the text was allegorized to refer to members of the Trinity. From there, it made its way into copies of the Latin Vulgate, the text used by the Roman Catholic Church. Quoted from the completely not Catholic article at http://bible.org/article/textual-problem-1-john-57-8

So yes, you are seeing now that if you concede the point, your argument fails.

There is no reason it should all have to be in one verse. That's why we have the whole Bible, not just one verse about each subject. The whole thing testifies to the plan of God.

Because that is not a specific instance. It is exactly the argument we are making about the Assumption of Mary. If Tradition works for one, it works for the other.

About minor or major traditions,
Can you not see that some traditions can be harmful and some are less so or are harmless?


I asked where this principle was in Scripture. Because clearly we have different ideas on what is and is not harmful.

Clare said...

Yes, I was expecting Jennie to use 1 John 5:7 as well.

Ooh, you guys are such boffins!
I had no clue about that.
This is so interesting!

Kelly said...

What is a boffin? Something good, I hope?

Clare said...

What is a boffin? Something good, I hope?

LOL! It must be an english term. Serves you all right for confusing me with words like 'snap'.
A boffin is an egghead, a wonk, a brainiac.
Definitely the opposite of feeble minded so you can consider it 'something good'!

Clare said...

I'm still unclear as to the significance of the proximity of the Kidron Valley and Mount Zion. Perhaps I'm missing something here.
Anyway, in trying to figure it out, I came across this piece on the tomb of Mary:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary's_Tomb

In the light of our discusions about relics of Mary, I found this interesting:

A narrative known as the Euthymiaca Historia (written probably by Cyril of Scythopolis in the fifth century) relates how the Emperor Marcian and his wife, Pulcheria, requested the relics of the Virgin Mary from Juvenal, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, while he was attending the Council of Chalcedon (451). According to the account, Juvenal replied that, on the third day after her burial, Mary's tomb was discovered to be empty, only the shroud being preserved in the church of Gethsemane

And this:

Although many Christians believe that no information about the end of Mary's life or her burial are provided in the New Testament accounts or early apocrypha, there are actually over 50 apocryphon about Mary's death (or other final fate). The 3rd century Book of John about the Dormition of Mary places her tomb in Gethsemene, as does the 4th century Treatise about the passing of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Moonshadow said...

I read that Wiki page, too, Clare. Just look at a map of Jerusalem in your Bible: the Tomb of Mary is in the Kidron Valley near the Church of All Nations, not really near Mt. Zion as the EWTN (I suppose) page says. Geography is important in reading the Bible.

My dictionary had "boffin." But, Kellly, you don't want to come across as attacking the Bible, no matter the version. Besides, if we want credit for "preserving" the Bible, stuff like this doesn't make us look too good. :-)

Clare said...

Moonshadow
So, are you clarifying a point in the interests of geographical correctness, or does the relative distance undermine the veracity of the claim somehow?

I'm not seeing Kellys point as an attack on the bible. I thought that information was worth knowing.

Kelly said...

Moonshadow, I'm a little confused between the two conversations going on. Are you saying that by bringing up the issue on 1 John 5:7 I could be perceived as attacking the Bible? Well, I guess Jennie has already insinuated that I'm ready to toss out the Trinity so I can include the Assumption.

My general point in including the information was so that people who were unfamiliar with the issues about that verse could understand that it is generally regarded as a later inclusion. Even if we include that verse, there is still no verse declaring that Jesus is fully human and fully divine.

But I appreciate your feedback, Moonshadow.

The article with the location info was provided by Elena. I'm not familiar with the geography of the Holy Land, so I wouldn't notice an error if there was one.

I feel that the antiquity of the sites points to the honor the early Christians had for Mary and the apostles, regardless of whether the sites are truth or legend.

Moonshadow said...

the relative distance undermine the veracity of the claim somehow

I would just not say, as the article does, that the Tomb of Mary is close to Mt. Zion, if by "Tomb of Mary" is meant the site in the Kidron Valley near the Church of All Nations. It's possible that "Tomb of Mary" is intended as Dormition Abbey in which case my question about how Roman Catholics feel about the Greek Orthodox "Tomb of Mary" would be answered as rejected, like the Garden Tomb.

See, I put off making this point and asking this question because unless, you look at a map of Jerusalem in your Bible, you won't understand.

Moonshadow said...

I feel that the antiquity of the sites points to the honor the early Christians had for Mary and the apostles, regardless of whether the sites are truth or legend.

Yes, I agree with that.

And even if there are two (or more) holy sites that are venerated doesn't undermine the veneration. Because there are, likewise, two sites venerated as Christ's burial place. Although one hopes that the ESV Study Bible settles matters in favor of Holy Sepulcher as proposed.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

I hope you all had a good Labor Day. I see you guys were quite busy blogging today! Anyway, let me put in my little two cents here.

All this argument about the Trinity is baseless. The word 'Trinity' is just a descriptive word which describes the triune nature of God. God's triune nature has been evident in scripture from as early as Genesis. "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" (Genesis 1:2). "And God said let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness" (Genesis 1:26). Many scriptures attest to their also being a Son. "Kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way" (Psalm 2:12).

Peace.

Moonshadow said...

All this argument about the Trinity is baseless.

I agree because I think there's philosophy in the orthodox understanding of the Trinity

Paul said...

Kelly wrote:
"Now, I can put up another post on the Trinity if it is needed, but my general point holds here. There is a near universal agreement among Christians that the Trinity is not an explicit Biblical doctrine, but is merely implied and a traditional belief."
------------------
Augustine (354-430): All those Catholic expounders of the divine Scriptures, both Old and New, whom I have been able to read, who have written before me concerning the Trinity, Who is God, have purposed to teach, according to the Scriptures, this doctrine, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit intimate a divine unity of one and the same substance in an indivisible equality; and therefore that they are not three Gods, but one God: although the Father hath begotten the Son, and so He who is the Father is not the Son; and the Son is begotten by the Father, and so He who is the Son is not the Father; and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son, but only the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, Himself also co-equal with the Father and the Son, and pertaining to the unity of the Trinity. NPNF1: Vol. III, On The Trinity, Chapter 4, §7.

Paul said...

Augustine (354-430): The lesson of the Gospel hath set before me a subject whereof to speak to you, beloved, as though by the Lord’s command, and by His command in very deed. For my heart hath waited for an order as it were from Him to speak, that I might understand thereby that it is His wish that I should speak on that which He hath also willed should be read to you. Let your zeal and devotion then give ear, and before the Lord our God Himself aid ye my labor. For we behold and see as it were in a divine spectacle exhibited to us, the notice of our God in Trinity, Conveyed to us at the river Jordan. For when Jesus came and was baptized by John, the Lord by His servant (and this He did for an example of humility; for He showeth that in this same humility is righteousness fulfilled, when as John said to Him, “I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?” He answered, “Suffer it to be so now, that all righteousness may be fulfilled”), when He was baptized then, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit came down upon Him in the form of a Dove: and then a Voice from on high followed, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Here then we have the Trinity in a certain sort distinguished. The Father in the Voice, — the Son in the Man, — the Holy Spirit in the Dove. It was only needful just to mention this, for most obvious is it to see. For the notice of the Trinity is here conveyed to us plainly and without leaving room for doubt or hesitation. NPNF1: Vol. VI, Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament, Sermon 2, §1.

Paul said...

Kelly wrote:
"I have not read any verses which say that God is three divine persons in One God, and that Jesus was fully human and fully divine.
----------------------
Bishop Melito of Sardis from the second century A.D.
And so he was lifted up upon a tree and an inscription was attached indicating who was being killed. Who was it? It is a grievous thing to tell, but a most fearful thing to refrain from telling. But listen, as you tremble before him on whose account the earth trembled!
He who hung the earth in place is hanged.
He who fixed the heavens in place is fixed in place.
He who made all things fast is made fast on a tree.
The Sovereign is insulted.
God is murdered.
The King of Israel is destroyed by an Israelite hand.
This is the One who made the heavens and the earth,
and formed mankind in the beginning,
The One proclaimed by the Law and the Prophets,
The One enfleshed in a virgin,
The One hanged on a tree,
The One buried in the earth,
The One raised from the dead and who went up into the heights of heaven,
The One sitting at the right hand of the Father,
The One having all authority to judge and save,
Through Whom the Father made the things which exist from the beginning of time.
This One is "the Alpha and the Omega,"
This One is "the beginning and the end"
The beginning indescribable and the end incomprehensible.
This One is the Christ.
This One is the King.
This One is Jesus.
This One is the Leader.
This One is the Lord.
This One is the One who rose from the dead.
This One is the One sitting on the right hand of the Father.
He bears the Father and is borne by the Father.
"To him be the glory and the power forever. Amen."

Paul said...

Hilary of Poitiers (c 315-67): I do not know the word [homoiousion] , or understand it, unless it confesses a similarity of essence. I call the God of heaven and earth to witness, that when I had heard neither word, my belief was always such that I should have interpreted (homoiousion by homoousion);. That is, I believed that nothing could be similar according to nature unless it was of the same nature. Though long ago regenerate in baptism, and for some time a bishop, I never heard of the Nicene creed until I was going into exile, but the Gospels and Epistles suggested to me the meaning of [homoousion and homoiousion]. Our desire is sacred. Let us not condemn the fathers, let us not encourage heretics, lest while we drive one heresy away, we nurture another. After the Council of Nicaea our fathers interpreted the due meaning of [some more numbers] with scrupulous care; the books are extant, the facts are fresh in men’s minds: if anything has to be added to the interpretation, let us consult together. Between us we can thoroughly establish the faith, so that what has been well settled need not be disturbed, and what has been misunderstood may be removed. NPNF2: Vol. IX, On the Councils or the Faith of the Easterns, §91.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

About traditions:


God is not opposed to harmless traditions. What He is opposed to are traditions that negate the word of God.

Matthew 15:1-3, NKJV:

"1Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,

2Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

3But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? ...

9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

Do you want to celebrate Mary's assumption into heaven? That would be fine if it does not cause us to break God's law, or leads us into falsehood. God demands that we worship Him in spirit and in TRUTH (John 4:24).

Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Kelly wrote:
"I have not read any verses which say that God is three divine persons in One God, and that Jesus was fully human and fully divine.".
-----------------------------------

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God"(John 1:1).

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).

Peace.

Moonshadow said...

The bishop of Sardis wrote some pow'rful words, Paul. Thanks for sharing them.

Paul quotes Hilary of Poitiers: ... nothing could be similar according to nature unless it was of the same nature. ... I never heard of the Nicene creed until I was going into exile, but the Gospels and Epistles suggested to me the meaning

And Hilary of Poitiers was going into exile for holding the minority, that is, the Athanasian view, which is now the orthodox view.

I like Hilary of Poitiers' reference to baptismal regeneration, too. A nice touch.

Paul said...

D.O.W
Good point about the distinction of tradition :custom and practice
Vs.
tradition: as contra-Scriptura

The Roman Catholic doctrine of the assumption of Mary teaches that she was assumed body and soul into heaven either without dying or shortly after death. This extraordinary claim was only officially declared to be a dogma of Roman Catholic faith in 1950, though it had been believed by many for hundreds of years. To dispute this doctrine, according to Rome’s teaching, would result in the loss of salvation. The official teaching of the Assumption comes from the decree Munificentissimus Deus by pope Pius XII

Jennie said...

Hurray for Paul! Those are great quotes!

Teresa and Kelly, actually you both come across as attacking the authority of scripture to uphold the authority of the RCC. Teresa, that book by Ronald Knox says that inspiration of scripture is based on the authoritative teaching of the Church. Sorry, the church bases ITS authority upon truth of scripture which is the inspired revelation of the Word Himself. He is the ultimate authority and no one has authority over His word; no one approves it or disapproves it. We only recognize it as His sheep or we don't recognize it if we are not, by the Holy Spirit.

Jennie said...

Here is an article by William Webster on the Assumption that Paul linked to in a comment on my blog:http://www.christiantruth.com/assumption.html

In it Webster shows that the doctrine of the assumption comes from writings of gnostic heretics that were at first condemned by two popes of the 5th and 6th centuries and then later by means of several forgeries supposed to be written by some of the Fathers, these writings were gradually accepted by the RCC.
Does it not concern Catholics that they are believing something that was condemned as heresy by the earlier popes and Fathers?

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Let me now address Clare's issue.

Clare said:

"The early Christians prayed at the tombs of the martyrs, they built altars over their bones.
Furthermore, the OT Jews already had a habit of marking the tombs of the patriarchs, including those of women. For millennia, Jews have made pilgrimages to Rachel's Tomb."
---------------------------------

When analyzing history, we must be careful that we do not attribute the attitudes of the later Gentile converts to Christianity to be the same as the those of the early, primitive Christians, who were mainly Jews. Jews had different attitudes towards the dead than their Gentile neighbors. Jewish traditions regarding the dead were based upon laws written in the Torah. While the dead was generally respected, especially for their life work, the gravesites of the deceased were not considered sacred or holy places.

"And whosever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days" (Numbers 19:16).

As a matter of fact, Jews were commanded not to seek guidance from the deceased.

"But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead?" (Isaiah 8:19, NLT)

When Peter saw the transfigured Christ standing in the presence of Elijah and Moses, Peter wanted to make three tabernacles to honor Christ and the two saints, but God prevented Peter from doing this. While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice out of the cloud spoke saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him", then Moses and Elijah vanished from their sight (Matthew 17:1-9).

I have no doubt that of the Gentile Christians who came later into the faith, some of those had imported pagan practices within the Christian religion, such as praying to the dead. Praying to the dead was NEVER a part of either the Jewish or early Christian culture of the 1st Century or before.

Peace.

Moonshadow said...

Kelly wasn't as sweeping as the Knox quote but, unless I'm unusual, this is how Catholics see it: the Bible requires someone's witness.

But, anyway, more from Knox on how Catholicism makes more sense from the inside ... I think the Catholics here will agree that our Faith can't be fully understood from the outside.

that Paul linked to in a comment

Paul said those things here on "Where We Got The Bible."

I do like Pope Gelasius' "inclusive" Old Testament canon:

Item Sapientiae liber unus.
Ecclesiasticus liber unus.
Tobiae liber unus.
Judith liber unus.
Machabaeorum liber unus [libri duo].

Very nice.

Moonshadow said...

Jennie said the Holy Ghost is her Witness. Fr. Brown replies this way:

Two proposed criteria for what Scripture teaches authoritatively reflect divisions in Western Christianity since the Reformation. One is that the Spirit guides the individual reader of the Bible to religious and theological truth, i.e., "private interpretation" of the Bible. The other is that the Spirit supplies guidance through church teaching. Each criterion has difficulties. Private interpretation is logically paralyzed when two who claim to have the Spirit disagree. Not every Spirit is from God (1 John 4:1-3), but how does one know which spirit is? Moreover, at least in the mainline churches which emerged from the Reformation, church tradition of various kinds (e.g., creeds, confessions of faith) has had a role, explicit or implicit, in guiding private interpretation."

Clare said...

D.O.W
As a matter of fact, Jews were commanded not to seek guidance from the deceased.

As.Are.We.
*Sigh*
I could run off and chase this hare but I'm sure it's been covered here before. Exhaustively.
(Could someone share a VTC link? I can't find one)
Catholics do not pray to, worship or seek guidance from the dead.
Anyway, I don't see what it's got to do with this discussion on the doctrine of the assumption.

You hypotheisized that Marys bones would have gone into a collective family ossuary, and no great attention would have been paid to them until hundreds of years later when Roman Catholics ( a novel religion) went looking for them.
They would then have difficulty not least because Mary was a very comon name back then and one lot of 'bones of Mary' would have been pretty indistinguishable from the next.
I'm paraphrasing of course, but that is the gist of what you said.

I answered you by saying that your hypothesis was not convincing to me because of the practice of both the Jews of the OT and the Christians of the early church with regard to the earthly remains of their saints and patriarchs.

My point was strictly that, in a context where one might expect a particular honour and respect given to the mortal remains of Mary, we have a tradition of her alleged burial site, but none in all of history ( that I am aware of) of honouring her remains.

Your answering with the old canard of 'not praying to the dead' is a red herring and fails to respond to the pointI am actually making.

And now I must attend to the toddler who is pulling my arm...

Clare said...

Jennie

Hurray for Paul! Those are great quotes!

Well I think they are great too.
But I don't understand why it's great for paul to be quoting people from the 2nd and 4th century rather than scripture to support his view, but it's not ok for catholics.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Clare wrote:

"Catholics do not pray to, worship or seek guidance from the dead.
Anyway, I don't see what it's got to do with this discussion on the doctrine of the assumption."
---------------------------------

Clare, this has everything to do with the assumption. According to the discussion presented here by your Catholic sources, Mary had died and her remains were placed in a tomb and the tomb was found empty three days later per your quote.

A narrative known as the Euthymiaca Historia (written probably by Cyril of Scythopolis in the fifth century) relates how the Emperor Marcian and his wife, Pulcheria, requested the relics of the Virgin Mary from Juvenal, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, while he was attending the Council of Chalcedon (451). According to the account, Juvenal replied that, on the third day after her burial, Mary's tomb was discovered to be empty, only the shroud being preserved in the church of Gethsemane(posted by Clare, September 7, 3:33 pm).

In addition, you claimed 'evidence' was found in the 3rd century book of John (is this supposed to be a book written by the apostle John in the 3rd Century?) and a 4th Century treatise.

The 3rd century Book of John about the Dormition of Mary places her tomb in Gethsemene, as does the 4th century Treatise about the passing of the Blessed Virgin Mary.(posted by Clare, September 7, 2009, 3:33 pm).


Obviously, you and other Catholics believe that Mary died. NOTHING in scripture or in the Jewish or early Christian culture of the 1st Century or before, teaches that prayer to the departed or deceased is to be a practice that should be followed.

In addition, what are all the prayers to departed saints all about? Is that not a form of contact to the dead?

It is really surprising that when a doctrine is in question that one can quickly deny it without hesitation. I have no problem with people questioning my doctrines, and I certainly won't deny my belief in something if I truly believe it. If I am found to believe something that is in error, then I would confess the error of my ways,and make the change, and not deny that I ever believed that error in the first place. Jenny can attest to that.

Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Clare wrote:

"But I don't understand why it's great for paul to be quoting people from the 2nd and 4th century rather than scripture to support his view, but it's not ok for catholics."
----------------------------------

It is absolutely okay to quote from the works of people to corroborate views and to get opinions. The problem arises when the sources quoted are misused to 'prove' points that are contrary to scripture. It is like you are saying that the words of men are more truthful than the words of scripture, even if those words contradict scripture itself. Sola scriptura is abandoned in favor on some new and novel doctrine which contradicts scripture.

I do not doubt or deny the ongoing revelations of God, but God is not an author of confusion. All new revelations that are of God, will confirm the veracity of the original revelations. The new fulfills the old and confirms it, hence the New Testament is a confirmation and fulfillment of the Old Testament, and the ongoing revelations of truth are all based upon the firm foundaton of scripture, and will forever confirm the veracity of scripture. If one is grounded in the truth of scripture, then that will form the basis of spiritual interpretation and discernment of truth.

The reason why we have so many diverse doctrines floating around is because people have relied upon their own understanding to interpret scripture, instead of relying upon the Holy Spirit. It is understandable and EXPECTED that people are going to make erroneus assumptions about Biblical doctrine as no one is perfect. The problem arises however when God reveals truth to them, and in unbelief they refuse to accept the truth of God, and cling onto their own beliefs.


Peace.

Clare said...

D.O.W
In addition, you claimed 'evidence' was found in the 3rd century book of John

Where?!! Where did I say that?

This is what I actually said about that 3rd century book:

In the light of our discusions about relics of Mary, I found this interesting

I said it was INTERESTING.

I also said this:

Please note that I am not claiming that this is 'evidence', purely interesting food for thought.
But I am surprised that you can deny the early practice of honouring the remains of saints when there is such a wealth of archaeological evidence otherwise.


I said I was NOT claiming 'evidence'.
I was contesting your hypothesis about how the bones of Mary would likely be treated.

Your raising the issue of "Praying to the dead" IS, in the context of this, a red herring.

Kelly said...

I have a busy day today, so as eager as I am to reply to some of the new messages, it will need to wait until this evening, or possibly even tomorrow.

Please do not discuss the saints/praying to or for the dead on this thread. I will put together a post with what we have previously written and Daughter of Wisdom's (is your name Hillary?) question for later in the week and we can discuss it then.

I believe Elena will be back today, so perhaps she will jump in later, too.

Kelly

Clare said...

In addition, what are all the prayers to departed saints all about? Is that not a form of contact to the dead?

No. It is not.

The saints are alive in Christ.
Mark 12:27
" He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!"

Hebrews 11 lists the patriarchs of old, notable for their great faith and goes on, in Hebrews 12 to say
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses"

"Witnesses", and we are "surrounded" by them.

I don't think he was talking about the zombies.

This discussion has been had before, and much better.
I found a couple of links:

http://mdcalexatestblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/catholic-necromancy.html

http://mdcalexatestblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/prayers-for-and-to-dead.html

Clare said...

Posted before I saw kellys comment.

Elena said...

Well I am back but I have to unpack, wash clothes, and get read to get bck into real life.

It's a good discussion. But I want to pick this one sentence out that absolutely astonished me.

Jennie said: "Christianity comes from scripture and is based upon it as the word of God inspired directly by the Holy Spirit."

No Jennie- Christianity comes from Christ and Christianity survived for centuries without the scriptures being available to the majority of people who would have been unable to read it anyway. Christianity comes from Christ and it was preserved then as now - by the Catholic Church. The assumption is one example to me of the Church preserving the story of the early church and the beginnings of Christianity- doing a superb job over thousands of years.

Jennie said...

Clare,
But I don't understand why it's great for paul to be quoting people from the 2nd and 4th century rather than scripture to support his view, but it's not ok for catholics.

It's great to see that many of the Church Fathers understood from scripture the same things that we understand today, such as the Trinity. It's not great when people develop later doctrines that are not in scripture and then go back and try to use things in the Fathers to support these doctrines, or as we have seen, to make forgeries to try and make the Fathers 'say' things they never said.

Jennie said...

Jenny can attest to that.

Yes I can. I've showed Hillary things from scripture once or twice that corrected a mistaken understanding and she has accepted that correction and has made corrections in a post to reflect that. She has done the same for me also.

Elena said...

It's not great when people develop later doctrines that are not in scripture and then go back and try to use things in the Fathers to support these doctrines, or as we have seen, to make forgeries to try and make the Fathers 'say' things they never said.


I agree... like Protestants using the ECF to support sola scriptura -very irritating as well as false.

Jennie said...

Elena said,
Jennie said: "Christianity comes from scripture and is based upon it as the word of God inspired directly by the Holy Spirit."

No Jennie- Christianity comes from Christ and Christianity survived for centuries without the scriptures being available to the majority of people who would have been unable to read it anyway. Christianity comes from Christ and it was preserved then as now - by the Catholic Church.


Yes, Christianity comes from Christ, who IS the Word, and the scriptures are the inspired word that reveals Him. Don't forget that the Old Testament is scripture too, and Jesus and the Apostles used it to show the plan of God prophesied and brought about from the beginning. The new church had the OT scriptures and the Apostles, who spoke the gospel as eyewitnesses and also used the OT to show how it revealed Him. The Apostles wrote down scripture under inspiration very early, mainly within 30 years after the church began. So when the Apostles were gone, the NT scriptures were there for the believers. All the NT books were not available for all believers in all places at first, but gradually they were more and more widely available, and even if people couldn't read or have their own copies, they could hear it read in their churches.
The scriptures are the only sure 'canon' which means guide or measure, the same word that describes the lines on a race track that keep the runners in the right path, so they don't make each other stumble or go off the wrong way. The Holy Spirit is our teacher and guide to help us understand the truth in scripture.

Clare said...

It's not great when people develop later doctrines that are not in scripture and then go back and try to use things in the Fathers to support these doctrines, or as we have seen, to make forgeries to try and make the Fathers 'say' things they never said.

Can you give an example of what you mean?
I find this an ironic observation.
I see this happening when protestants selectively quote Augusine or Jerome to imply that they disbelieved in the catholic understanding of the Real Presence for example.

Elena said...

Yes, Christianity comes from Christ, who IS the Word,

But not exclusively the WRITTEN word. Jesus never told anyone to take anything down. He never as far as the bible tells us, wrote anything down Himself and said, "Here, now this is part of scripture." In fact all of Jesus' words were passed on ORALLY!! If you really want to be correct Jesus is primarily the word made flesh and then shared with us Orally.



and the scriptures are the inspired word that reveals Him. Don't forget that the Old Testament is scripture too, and Jesus and the Apostles used it to show the plan of God prophesied and brought about from the beginning.

Right. and they did that ORALLY!! Oral Sacred Tradition.

The new church had the OT scriptures and the Apostles, who spoke the gospel as eyewitnesses and also used the OT to show how it revealed Him.

Agreed. That is what the early church, which of course started with the Apostles did and they did it ORALLY. The scriptures weren't bound in leather, they weren't even codified and and Kelly pointed out, the new testament was still being written!


The Apostles wrote down scripture under inspiration very early, mainly within 30 years after the church began.

This is where Jennie you like to do your two-step with your favorite strawman. No one is arguing that point. Not sure why you continue to bring it up. Catholics agree that the scripture was inspired by the Holy Spirit. You don't need to keep telling us that.



So when the Apostles were gone, the NT scriptures were there for the believers.


They weren't codified
They weren't bound in a single book.
The majority of believers couldn't read or write.

It was the church that gathered these writings and kept them for the people, and taught the people about then... ORALLY.



and even if people couldn't read or have their own copies, they could hear it read in their churches.

Exactly! Which were decidedly Catholic in their practice and belief at the time.


Jennie, this is why I could never ever be Protestant - you have to turn a blind eye and ignore so many historical facts to make it fit that it's not worth the effort. This is one of the reasons I am and will always be Catholic.

Barbara C. said...

Historically, the apostles and those that they commissioned taught orally. The people worshipped based on what they learned from oral tradition. As things started to get written down snippets of what would be considered the NT started getting copied and passed around, however, everyone knew they were incomplete. That is why they would apply to the apostles for clarification.

Even after all of the apostles died people still did not have a full NT and would apply to those who had been commissioned by the apostles for clarification. The first known attempt at a canon was by the heretic Marcion in 140, and it was incomplete. The NT in the exact form we have it wasn't mentioned until 367 in the writings of Anthanasius.

So for close to 200 years the people relied on those commissioned (the presbyters aka priests) to fill in orally the information that was not in the writings and to discern what was true and what was not.

These presbyters/priests belonged to one, catholic Christian church. There was one catholic Christian church until 1040 when the East and West finally split. Now objectively you could flip a coin to determine which side is the "true" Christian Church and which one is the "schismatic" one.

I personally adhere that the Western church formally known as the Catholic Church is historically the true Christian Church. (It started being referred to as "Roman" around the 16th century as opposed to the "Protestant Catholics" of the newly formed Church of England.)

However, even if you were to take the side of the Eastern church formally known as the Orthodox Church, your beliefs would still be closer to that of the Catholic Church than what you are currently holding. Although less well-defined than in the Catholic Church, the Orthodox doctrines also venerate Mary and the Saints, believe in Christ's True Presence in the Eucharist, and reject sola scriptura among many other things.

Therefore, a person who knows their history (as acknowledged by the majority of scholars of various denominations rather than fringe "scholars") would logically and historically have to give more credence to the doctrines and understanding of the Catholic or Orthodox churches as more authentic than of those that sprang up some 1600 years after the death of Jesus and his apostles or individuals who are trying to figure it all out for themselves in their spare time 1900 years after the death of Jesus and his apostles.

Kelly said...

DOW wrote: It is really surprising that when a doctrine is in question that one can quickly deny it without hesitation.

Yes, I'm sure we are a frustrating bunch. You keep telling us not to earn our salvation by works, and we deny trying to do that.

Then, you tell us not to worship Mary, and we deny doing that.

Now this praying to the dead thing comes up. It's so easy for us to deny this stuff that our faith can't mean that much to us, yet we stubbornly resist your attempts to teach us the truth.

Wait, maybe there is some other explanation . . .

Okay, that was a fun bit of humor. Now I'm off the the second half of my day. Have a good afternoon, guys!

Elena said...

yea... a very frustrated bunch. I don't know if you caught Jennie's latest. I didn't read most of it and I'm glad because she disabled comments anyway.

But for the record - my non reply doesn't necessarily mean that you "hit a nerve" unless it's the "I'm exhausted and don't have time to get into this argument - yet again."

We've got the Whore of Babylon" stuff in the side bar. That's enough for me.

Jennie said...

Clare,
The forgeries were cited in an article I mentioned in this comment: Here is an article by William Webster on the Assumption that Paul linked to in a comment on my blog:http://www.christiantruth.com/assumption.html

Some of the 'quotes' that Catholic apologists like to use to prove early acceptance of certain doctrines of Mary, for instance, are based on these forgeries or other spurious writings that have been shown not to be the actual writings of Fathers.

Many of the quotes used to try to show that the early church had a Roman Catholic view of the eucharist are not really showing a belief in transubstantiation, but a belief in the real spiritual presence of Christ along with a belief that the bread and wine are signs of the body and blood. One quote from a father may sound like he believes like the RCC but if you compare it to other things he has said you will see he believes it is sign and not physically the body and blood. I believe this is true of Augustine and others. I need to go look up some examples, since I'm not an expert on the Church Fathers. Here is a search result from Turretinfan's blog which has debates and posts about the ECFs on the eucharist. http://www.turretinfan.blogspot.com/search/label/Eucharist

Elena said...

You guys need to learn how to html your links.

Elizabeth@Frabjous Days said...

Hello, everyone. Came here via Clare's blog. Fascinating discussion.

Haven't got time to trawl through the comments but just had to fire off this Bible bullet in the light of the discussion about tradition:

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
2 Thess 2: 15.

There you are. Tradition. In the Bible (KJV, natch). Not sola scriptura, which is, of course, unscriptural!

Jennie said...

Elena,
But not exclusively the WRITTEN word. Jesus never told anyone to take anything down. He never as far as the bible tells us, wrote anything down Himself and said, "Here, now this is part of scripture." In fact all of Jesus' words were passed on ORALLY!! If you really want to be correct Jesus is primarily the word made flesh and then shared with us Orally.
Jesus didn't have to write it down. He lived it and then sent the Holy Spirit to inspire His disciples to write down what needed to be remembered. His words were passed on orally AND of course written down as the gospels, which were taught orally and copied in written form. Oral transmission is not reliable for long periods of time without the written scripture to refer to. Yes, Jesus presence is shared orally by the word and by the Supper, by faith, spiritually.

Elena said...

Oral transmission is not reliable

and yet that is the primary way Jesus chose to leave us the Gospel. I guess no one clued him that there was a better way!

just evelyn said...

Actually, oral transmission is highly reliable, and non-literate cultures have special people within the community whose job it is to maintain the body of works they have passed down.

I remember learning that the genealogies of Jesus, which go in sets of 14 iirc, were a hallmark of an oral culture. And that some African tribespeople who were recently evangelized, had trouble respecting the Hebrews/Jews because they only had 14! These African folks traced in sets of 17, and were very proud of their skill and the culture it represented.

When we, as a literate culture, try this, we get the game of "Telephone." Not so for non-literate peoples.

Paul said...

Elizabeth wrote:
"Hello, everyone. Came here via Clare's blog. Fascinating discussion.

Haven't got time to trawl through the comments but just had to fire off this Bible bullet in the light of the discussion about tradition:

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
2 Thess 2: 15.

There you are. Tradition. In the Bible (KJV, natch). Not sola scriptura, which is, of course, unscriptural!
---------------------
Elizabeth,please tell me exactly what those traditions that came from Paul through "spoken word" are and how early they are identified in their fullness?"

This was in the context of your citing 2 Thes. 2:15.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 (ESV) So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

Jennie said...

Elena,
You quoted me:
and the scriptures are the inspired word that reveals Him. Don't forget that the Old Testament is scripture too, and Jesus and the Apostles used it to show the plan of God prophesied and brought about from the beginning.

And said:
Right. and they did that ORALLY!! Oral Sacred Tradition.

Yes they did it orally and also in the NT scripture. The point I have been trying to make is that the word of God was available, the OT scripture, and the Apostles' teaching at first orally, then quickly written down and read and taught. There is no separate 'oral tradition' that is not also taught in scripture. There were ecclesiastical practices that are mentioned in the Church fathers that apparently began early and were passed down and then were also changed over the years. They mention things that are not done in the later Church, like facing the east when praying.
Scripture and the oral word, which are the same, were always available, and always point to Christ, and all the Godhead, as the only One exalted and glorified as our salvation in all aspects of it.

Elena said...

There is no separate 'oral tradition' that is not also taught in scripture.

Prove it.

Jennie said...

Hi Elizabeth,
You quoted:
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
2 Thess 2: 15.

Those two are the same: traditions (doctrines) taught both orally and by epistle (scripture). They are not two different bodies of information, but the same information taught in two different ways. This is Paul's way of saying that the word the Apostles teach is God's word, whether oral or written. It is never said that these are different. That is a gnostic teaching, that there is secret knowledge passed down separately. There is no reason to do this unless there is going to be an elite, separate class of leaders who have knowledge no one else can have. This is forbidden in scripture. All believers have access to God's word alike and all are priests to share in God's kingdom and bring it to others.

Jennie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

Well, I see that the conversation is drifting to the favorite Scripture versus Tradition argument. I'm going to bow out now, and let you guys finish up amongst yourselves.

I'll still try to put together that saints post for discussion later in the week, if you want.

Elena, I'd love to know the html for links.

Kelly said...

Oh, and Jennie, it gets annoying when I got out of my way to quote from neutral sources, and all you can give me is William Webster, over and over and over. Do you have anything that doesn't come from a disgruntled ex-Catholic? How about some nice respected scholars such as Bruce Metzger?

Because I have personally read big long sections of the Early Church Fathers, and they do not say what Webster says that they say. I am not relying on quotes from someone else that are telling me what I want to hear. I have given you several resources previously for you to read this yourself. I really, strongly encourage you to give up Webster as your favorite resource for all things Catholic and do some reading of primary resources yourself.

Jennie said...

Elena,
I said:
There is no separate 'oral tradition' that is not also taught in scripture.
You answered:
Prove it.

Well, where IS this oral tradition? What doctrines does it include? Where do you see them taught and when in the church history? The only way to know if something is an oral tradition that is separate from scriptural teaching is to see that it was and is taught but that IT IS NOT TAUGHT IN SCRIPTURE. This makes it false teaching, unless it is just a harmless type of tradition which might include ecclesiastical practices that are not either necessary for or harmful to salvation. If this tradition, however, is something that effects salvation and is not in scripture, then it must be false, not being in God's inspired word. We know the Fathers after the Apostles were not inspired because they did not agree on many issues and in some cases did not match up with scripture, the revealed word.

Elena said...

Well you're the one asserting so I think the onus is on you to prove...maybe I'll put a posting up about this later.

but kelly is right and this is getting way off topic on the assumption of Mary. So let's get back on topic. Kelly and I have lots of kids and lots of work so we can't chase every rabbit hole. Let's stick to this one.

Jennie said...

Kelly,
Because I have personally read big long sections of the Early Church Fathers, and they do not say what Webster says that they say.
Webster says he has done the same thing, as has Turretinfan and our friend Paul, and they are looking at it in the light of God's word, not the Catholic Catechism. Which one sheds more light, I wonder?

Elena said...

hmmm???? Light in the works of Webster Turretinfan or the CCC... I think I'm gonna go with the CCC.

and on that note I think we're done with this discussion.

Kelly said...

Why do you assume I was interpreting in light of the Catechism rather than the Bible?

I notice you are avoiding my point about the bias of your sources versus mine.