Thursday, April 20, 2017

Orthodox Rod Dreher's "The Benedict Option" Promoted by Christianity Today












The Benedict Option

The culture wars and Dominionism is growing extreme. In the first video, Dreher, tells us Christians are in "exile" from our pagan secular culture, and the best option for Christians who want to live "lives of virtue" is to withdraw and form their own "communities". I find this idea of structured community, interesting given that spontaneous community in America especially among mainstream culture has failed. In the churches I have visited at least locally, I see no more spontaneous community. Everything is planned, formal and authority from the top down. Be careful of what sounds good but is not.

The church system is rapidly going Communitarian, as someone who has needed "charity" at times in the form of church food pantries and co-ops, the churches are intertwining with  governmental, corporate and other groups. At a recent food co-op, we had a visiting nurse and a local job's program person show up to the meeting with the distribution of food. Among the church helpers, is this false, that if we "become more responsible" or "work harder" our poverty will end. There is no discussion of the economic realities of American life today. Even the odd class blindness that most poor people unless disabled are already working seems to have escaped our middle class and above benefactors, as they seem to think mowing some lawns or fast food work is going to rescue people from poverty. They don't realize most in the room are already working for minimum wage.  They are selling everything that isn't nailed down already. Economic despair and the realities of our lives remains suppressed. There's little free speech.

I told my husband, "while we will go when we need to help" and desire to stay polite, we have to be sure to protect our privacy. These are people who will not understand an older man who can't stand for more then 10 minutes due to vein problems, and his work needs. The idea of the "Religious experts" getting together to form "Communities of virtue" scares me. Imagine the "rules", the "pious" would unleash among their set apart exiles.

The idea of some removed "Christian" community as a bulwark against the unbelieving hordes sounds like the dystopian novel "Handmaid's Tale", not only will they have the  subjugated women, they will have the Catholic inspired neo-feudalism to go along with it. 

Do you remember Fanatic for Jesus's other blog, "The Communitarian Trap"? The church system is rapidly going Communitarian. The idea of "Christian" communes or "Utopias" such as what the Shakers set up is nothing new, but you wonder about new marriages between government and churches and neo-feudal set-ups like what is proposed in Dreher's book.

 The Communitarian Trap defined Communitarianism thusly:

"Communitarianism is a global agenda toward world government. It uses a coalition of government, business, and church who shore up the social, moral, and political environment, while slowly robbing the freedom of the participants. A Communitarian adopts and advocates concepts such as a cooperative spirit of community, selfless commitment to community service, and the duty to work for “the common good.” It's tied from the U.N. directly to Agenda 21, the Third Way, Common Purpose, laws, community objectives, Total Quality Management, education, food delivery systems, and the collectivist thinking pattern of the global community. It uses the Hegelian Dialectic to create the synthesis needed to develop the New World Order - and ultimately the totalitarian utopia of the Elite's New Atlantis.



In the first video, Dreher advocates for Christians to separate from mainstream American culture, and tells us that only "culture" can save Christianity.  The many verses that warn against the "love of this world" from scripture contradict his philosophies that are very much of this world. This is advanced Domininionism. The message being that Christians must rule, and build their own kingdoms on this earth.  Around the 10:39 mark he quotes an early church historian Robert Lewis Wilkin.."that apologetics and intellection cannot save Christianity only culture can. By culture I do not mean high culture, Box B high mass Caravaggio as a colleague of St Matthew I mean the total harvest of thinking and feeling to use TS Eliot's phrase the pattern of inherited meanings and sensibilities encoded in rituals, laws, languages and practices and stories that can order and inspire the behavior thoughts and inspirations of a Christian people."  That just sounds like a nice way to advertise some thought control.

In the second video, Fox news interviews Dreher. He mentions the "catastrophic" departure of millennials from churches and Christianity. This actually happened with Generation X. To be frank, most of the young, have become far beyond disgusted with the "culture wars" especially in a culture where our economic disenfranchisement has become so acute. The reality is many of the young have rejected Christianity as a whole. The culture wars actually helped. I was planning an article to do soon, where I predict a "church" bubble bursting like the college bubble. People who can't afford rent, aren't going to be tithing. Millennials are not having children to fill the pews with.

 I can already see on the local level, the churches remaining strongly middle class and above, while poorer people while we may be in the church to get some food, they are not part of the church. I am someone who has left the church system but for the average poor person, they know they do not belong and stay out of the system by default. What happens when mostly more affluent Baby Boomers die off? That said Dreher will ensure more millennials racing for the door, especially with his authoritarian vision of religious life. Of course I always wonder if the race for the one world church door, will be implemented via severe economic collapse or war in America, but as things work now, the churches are not addressing the needs of the young.

Is Communitarianism or a Commune in Your Future? 


Videos three and four are interesting to me because it shows a Bruderhof young woman, advocating for the Benedict Option. Some may ask me, what's so interesting about that? I knew about the Bruderhof, because I am someone who has read quite extensively about intentional communities. They are a religious community where people live in common and their beliefs are very akin to the Hutterites in America. Intentional communities are defined by Wikipedia: "An intentional community is a planned residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision and often follow an alternative lifestyle.". The Bruderhof is a religious one, they share housing, meals and a very close and social lifestyle.


While I know the new world order, is going to use arranged communities and intentional communities [aka today's modern communes], I have had a personal interest in that way of life. Modern American life for many and especially the poor has become very empty.  One ponders escape to a better place.  In my case, I wondered if any true independents and spontaneous associations existed outside the "communitarian" system. I even had fantasies about finding a place that would accept someone with severe chronic health problems but my husband's response to these alternative lifestyles was an unequivocable, "NO, I am not going to live with a thousand brothers and sisters".

I fantasized about finding a loving community to join where someone of my Christian views would be welcomed, but I never acted on this, I was too sick and disabled.  I also noticed someone who renounced Catholicism and the ecumenical vision for Christianity probably wouldn't be too welcomed either. Why am I sharing this? Well in lonely American culture, these new ways of life seem VERY ATTRACTIVE and were/are to me personally. I believe as society goes into more economic and other chaos, selling these ideas will not be hard. As the economy in America crumbles and life for many becomes more hard, people are going to be seeking "new solutions".

Sadly human reality usually steers towards wickedness, this is NOT new stuff that Dreher is selling, American Utopianism especially of the "Christian flavor" took off in the 19th century, with the Shakers leading the charge. Back then these communities also were run like "communes" with new social rules and ways of life. Sadly a majority went into major corruption with false leaders, religious and spiritual abuse, and extreme doctrines. The Shakers died out renouncing all sex and marriage. There was a lot of abuse with wolves in sheep's clothing claiming power and control over people and many grew into out and out cults.

I even looked myself into co-housing, because life in America especially for a childless older couple without a family can feel very isolating but for some reason, they all seem to be relegated to the wealthy and for those of a certain ideological bent. I looked at "Christian" communities and had a fascination with them, on an intellectual level, so yes I knew about the Bruderhof. It does not surprise me that one of their own, is supporting Dreher's book or that Dreher visited one Bruderhof community in America called Fox Hill. [see video #3] Perhaps there is a planned marriage of "Christian" intentional communities with Dreher's vision of set apart Christian villages and communities. Here one sees the ecumenical movement in action as Orthodox meets Ana-baptist.

The Benedict Option has become a best-selling book and made the cover of Christianity Today. Definitely these view-points are being pushed by some powerful interests. The rooms full of wealthy academics and others are on display in the videos.  The question now is to ask Why?  What are they planning?

I asked in 2013, "Is Communitarianism or a Commune in your future?" In 2013, the blogger on The Communitarian Trap, warned about the efforts to turn Christians into an army of workers for the new United Nations sustainability and social justice efforts:

The Hands and Feet of Christ and the Identifying Marks of a Communitarian Social Justice Agenda.

This is definitely one direction the one world religion is building, with different denominations joining together. Rick Warren got this ball rolling. Evangelicals now take no issue with a vision of Christian life based on a Catholic religious order.

63 comments:

Debra said...

There are only two camps- Tares or Wheat. Anything else people drum up is another gospel.

Matthew 13:24-30 King James Version (KJV)

24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Anonymous said...

Good article BB. I wish an apostolic type commune could exist today. The antichrist papacy wiped out people like the Waldenses in the 15th century, if it could happen then, could you imagine how much easier it would be for it to do it today?....James

Debra said...

If we are to seclude ourselves in a Christian commune how are we suppose to fulfill the great commission? How are we suppose to spread the Gospel and use gifts of evangelism? I didn't see Paul or any of the disciples doing this? Sometimes Paul was abandoned and was with no one. Paul listened to God's Holy Spirit when he was to come and go. Christianity is not churchianity. Sounds like this new man made theology opposes the true Gospel of Christ as it is meant to stifle the furthering of the Gospel. It is a very deceitful way of attempting to shut out God's Holy Spirit from working among the unsaved unto salvation. Believers did gather together to pray, break bread, sing songs of worship to the Lord, but this was inspired by God's Holy Spirit and was not a communal living situation. Jesus even said Foxes have holes but He didn't have a place to rest His head. When the believers were being persecuted they ended up in caves and holes. It wasn't a voluntary thing but a need to survive. So Christians are being brainwashed to join a monastery of sorts or FEMA Christian camps so they can be controlled and used for further diabolical purposes. They figure it's a bit tough to control God's Holy Spirit so to make it easy just gather them into groups and market them as Christian communes. The sheep will never get it.
Matthew 28:19-2 0 KJV)
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Heather Noelle said...

Thanks Debra. You are right, and it's a good reminder. I often long for an isolated off-grid mountain home, far from society. The crazier it gets, the more I want that. But you're right, hard to be a light and a witness to others when you're hiding out.

I do think that if/when things really go south, people will form groups just for survival. I have a few like minded friends, that is our plan, we all have a different set of skills and abilities and will help each other out at that point. But not live totally isolated, unto ourselves. As attractive as that sounds...

Heather

Debra said...

This is nothing more than the emergent false teaching seeping into the life of Christians. Benedict was a monk and started 12 monasteries.
Wikipedia: is a Christian saint, who is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Catholic Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Communion and Old Catholic Churches.[1] He is a patron saint of Europe Benedict founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, Lazio in Italy (about 40 miles (64 km) to the east of Rome), before moving to Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy.On his way from Enfide, Benedict met a monk, Romanus of Subiaco, whose monastery was on the mountain above the cliff overhanging the cave. Romanus had discussed with Benedict the purpose which had brought him to Subiaco, and had given him the monk's habit. By his advice Benedict became a hermit and for three years, unknown to men, lived in this cave above the lake. One day, the Devil brought before his imagination a beautiful woman he had formerly known, inflaming his heart with strong desire for her. Immediately, Benedict stripped off his clothes and rolled into a thorn-bush until his body was lacerated. Thus, through the wounds of the body, he cured the wounds of his soul.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to live off the grid in a true Christian commune. Treks into neighboring towns and countries is how the gospel was preached from these communes. There are stories of one such commune who use to set up tables in neighboring towns to sell their produce and goods, and they preached the gospel to the people they came into contact with. Of coarse it didn't last long with the Roman church and their inquisitions, but it was done none the less. I doubt anything like that would be possible today. Being a part of such a commune would give you the label of a "cult" in people's eyes, so your message wouldn't be well received. Radio, television, and the Internet has been successful in giving the majority a group type mentality and anyone outside this group is given certain labels and frowned upon . We are hated by the world for his names sake. It keeps getting worse, and these "information" outlets are the main contributor. I certainly don't believe in hiding from the world by breaking away from it. We are to be in the world, not of the world......James

Debra said...

Some of the worst behaviors and attitudes have come from Christian groups. We think we can escape persecution and mean intentions but even in Christian gatherings we have some ornery and fleshly believers who are all about themselves. I wish I could say they would know us by our love for one another but this is not always the case. In some instances there is so much persecution coming from believers because we don't fit into their church mold. If we aren't attending "their" church we become like secondary citizens in their minds. We belong under the table eating their scraps if they choose to throw us some. So I have no doubt in my mind this communal living would include NPD's trying to rule the roost to divide and conquer. Leaders will self appoint rather than God's Spirit and you would begin to see divisions among the commune. You would hope to see much fruit in these camps but much fruit can be rotten as well. Things that are rotten stink, just like the old flesh man who resurrects itself from the dead even though Jesus crucified it on the cross.

Bible Believer said...

I agree about tares and wheat.

I agree if people are in communes, and set aside groups it would make wiping them out easier James by evil people.

Debra the seclusion seems odd. One thing I have thought about the IFB and other groups have become secluded, the Duggars, Quiverfuls etc, all live in a set apart subculture. Some of this has already grown in Christianity though they are not in formalized communes or intentional communities. I never fit into the IFB subculture, didn't have the money or the "proper" family. Who is there to preach to or witness too if everyone is a Christian? Paul and the disciples didn't hide out, you are so correct. Already Christians in America are kind of in their "own world", I've talked about the cultures I felt apart from economically and otherwise. I thought of FEMA Christian camps too when watching these Benedict Option videos. It's a way to make mainstream society more wretched, separate all the Christians out. Whose going to be saved when there's no Christians about in regular society?

Hey I liked the idea, I thought of secular communes too, when I was interested though oddly there, I got the feeling no bible Christians would be allowed...and disabled people too. once I found this co-housing place in a big city in my state where a rented room in the giant mansion would be 400 a month. it was not handicapped accessible, so a moot point for me but I saw one guy's picture, and thought immediately Satanist, he was so spiritually dark. Wicked people in these communes could really do a LOT of damage. Controlling pastors may demand tithes, but imagine wicked men there living with you.

I thought of this way of life for us, I see it's attraction. I'm a person with no family, so social disconnection could easily sell this to people. One thing I thought off too is whose going to be the leaders? Even the Hutterites and others are under extreme authoritarian bishops. One thing I have noticed in the Utopian societies even of 19th century to know, the men in charge outlaw sex, probably to keep the competition down, even the FLDS made a mockery of marriage, with Jeffers ordering who could stay married or not and marrying off too young girls and being sexual abusers. I didn't want a cult when I was interested so secular/co-op driven places seemed the most possible but those really like cohousing places are for the very wealthy or at least middle class and above. Community in America has become a very limited commodity.

There's a drive now even in fundamentalist circles to "go hide out" not just the uber Catholics and ecumenicals following Rod Derher. I saw elements of that in my old rural town, go off the grid, etc, the prepper's movement majorly pushed for a lot of this separation. This helped to develop the outside Christian subcultures. I lived kind of isolated in my old rural town, I was "in town" but the place was small and remote, so much so when I moved to a more medium sized place, I had culture shock. It was considered a very Christian town.

Bible Believer said...

I think people could form groups for survival too. I'm too sick and would be a burden, poor health and age are barriers from entering the "cohousing" and "intentional community world" I saw a few in other countries gathering the elderly together but they were RARE. I hope your friends would help Heather. I have a few friends who have helped with rides etc in town but don't see a survival community happening, they have their own families.

Benedict yes taught many false tenents of Catholicism and monastery living. Even Protestants historically like Lutherans and others would have rejected these things 50 years ago.
This is nothing more than the emergent false teaching seeping into the life of Christians. Notice the false theology and hatred of women [suppressing natural desires and self-harm to over come those things and the sinful "lust" that was existent]


I don't think any natural Christian communes could happen. Maybe I am wrong, when researching the intentional community world most communes that took the Christian name, were like the Burderhof, very ecumenical, and one saw elements of the emergent movement and new monasticism. Some borrow off the Amish, some are Catholic worker groups. There's a few with alternative theologies [would be cults?]

Here is a sample one...
http://www.ic.org/directory/brotherhood-of-christ-community/
http://www.ic.org/directory/christian-communities/

Yes most people would see these groups as cult and the message of the gospel would not get out. Group type mentalities are in our society but then it can happen in these groups where the authority is more overwhelming in day to day life. I found very few bible based groups, I don't even think I found one, that was near my religious beliefs. [Have I become that obscure? LOL] Even then one would have to be mindful of cults.

My worries is about what happens to marriage in these groups. My husband may accept a senior cohousing place, [we are economically not able to do such a thing since most require home ownership, where we have our OWN locked apartment and independent finances] but one thing I have noticed in all communes and groups, things get weird with men and marriage. The Catholics developed their "do not marry" groups of celibates in set aside living [monastery living] but what is going to happen to "families"? The very structure of marriage and family life would be changed. Many people don't have families now so it is complex stuff. One ponders husbands being told to knuckle under others telling their wives what to do. I am no patriarchialist, but these things confuse a lot of issues.

I don't like the idea of hiding away from the world. In my case, I "need" the world's medicine to stay alive. I don't think everything is evil in the world and untouchable. Christians are getting this fearful seige mentality. Fear is running the whole Dominionist show. I still talk to people even though I may not agree with their beliefs. Am I weird?

I noticed Rod Dreher, used the passage of homosexual marriage to get everyone in an uproar. Should we be afraid of homosexuals? Am I weird to say I am not afraid of them. Or the pagans? I used to be a pagan, so why would I be shivering in my boots and hightailing it to a log cabin out in the woods?

Bible Believer said...

I agree, some of the worse behaviors have come from Christians. I had spiritual abuse from a woman who called herself a Christian who tried to "get inside" What if I lived with someone like that? The damage would be worse. By the way in this case, she talked openly of having a group of like minded Christians living in the boonies with her. She told me she had people come live with her. There's a lot of control freaks who use religion, and deliverance and FEAR of the WORLD, to make for cults and MASSIVE spiritual abuse. If Warren Jeffs [sorry misspelled his name above] can go off the Mormon rails why not Rod Dreher's favorite Orthodox priest. No IFBs would team up with Dreher, but how many of them would go for full separation from the world, there is already a defacto culture that has been set up. I had one foot in that culture for some years and a foot in the regular world and the two did not meet.

I've had more persecution from Christians. I know some nice church Christians, they know I don't go to church but I have met some mean ones too. The Christian commune isn't going to protect people, even as much as Dreher likes to advertise that.

Yes do these intentional communities screen out NPDs and sociopaths? Obviously the churches aren't. The leaders will self appoint. Sadly being realistic, in most groups, the NPDs are the ones seeking power and control.

American Christianity is getting twisted. I've had some weird thoughts about Dominionism and the whole mess, lately, and this idea of being so special too also speaks of self righteousness. Too good for the world and what good are you. Certainly not the salt of the world.

Debra said...

1 Thessalonians 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
So when believers are seeking out that peace and safety along with the world, we may find our expectations have been on the wrong thing. Rather our real preparation should be the condition of our hearts, if we have an eternal perspective or temporal. Abiding in the Lord is what helps us operate spiritually with the mind of Christ, otherwise we can adapt and assimilate in thought and deed right with the world.

Anonymous said...

Here's some recent news about Hank Hannegraaf with comments by Rod Dreher:


http://www.christianpost.com/news/bible-answer-man-hank-hannegraaf-leaves-evangelicalism-joins-greek-orthodox-church-180035/

Anonymous said...

Sallysays

I have toyed with the idea of joining a christian community due to life becoming more stressful and you are fighting harder to keep the faith. I still have battles to overcome and it is frustrating to me when I see other Christians that seem to be perfect.

I think a christian commune is a great idea. One that is biblically based where everyone with some time on their hands take care of the infirm.

However by doing this, we will not be able to be the light. We need some light in this world as it is so dark and another thing, was hooked up under church system for a while and whilst this church started of good, everything is now about ensuring your loyalty to that church. This includes fundraising, soul winning, paying tithes AND offerings and always doing what they want. If they want to buy another church building, you should hand out more money along with the money for tithes, offerings, campaigns of faith where you give everything to the church as a way to show God that you are serious about obtaining that blessing.

Don't get me wrong, nothing bad about soul winning, giving money and so forth. However it becomes wrong when you are made to feel as if you are a wicked person if you are not doing enough of these things. Nobody takes into consideration that you are either sick, extremely tied up with work and family, got a some social anxiety disorder or trying to figure some stuff out.

There' s also the issue with buying buildings that are very large for a very sdsdmall congregants and acting as if coupledom is something all singles should aspire to. You worship and idolise this. What if the person is sickly, crippled? and has carers responsibilities? On the other hand you have the bunch who want to say that being single makes you more holy. It is just crazy.


No. That's the danger of communities, they become culty and for us humans, we are so obsessed with control, control and erm more control.

And everyone knows and has to get involved in your business. I am a very private person and it is bad enough having to put my CV (resume for you guys)out there knowing that people can know my personal information.

Anonymous said...

Of course false religion and its stupidity is promoted by "Christianity Today", which was founded by false teacher and catholic ecumenicalist Billy Graham.

Anonymous said...

BB. I agree, and am not scared of queers or satanists etc. I do know that queers are seared and reprobate, so there's no need to preach them the gospel, they've already rejected God which is what led them to the state they're in. As far as pagans and satanists go, there could possibly be people that are doing such things out of ignorance, so they need the gospel. Its good to see that you're posting more comments. I always enjoy reading everyone's posts. God bless....James

Bible Believer said...

Anyone who expects total peace and safety in this world is very mislead, I agree about depending on God.

Hmm so another big name evangelical leads to Rome or well it's Orthodox daughter.

Another pied piper? How could anyone read the bible and get the Orthodox with their false sacraments as the "answer"? You know I can understand someone born into a religion who doesn't know better. I myself know personally on how one is indoctrinated into Catholicism. I still talk to a few Catholics, one is this very nice lady, she tells me she likes reading the bible but she interprets it still through their lens. I noticed too he is doing the creed quoting...

http://www.equip.org/article/left-christian-faith/

Sallysays be careful of those "perfect" Christians, one burned me bad when I wrote about my spiritual abuser. The "perfect" ones will get you. I know the idea sounds nice. Some of us fear growing old without families too. My family was dumping me as an "impoverished burden" long before I walked [kept around enough just for control] If something was to happen to my husband, I actually hope God takes me home quick. I am so afraid for him growing old alone too it is not funny.

Yes everything is about loyalty to the church. I was talking to some nice church ladies I know and they talked about this big fundraising their church was doing. I feel relief not to be under that pressure in a church knowing I would never have any real money to give one anyhow. This is one reason the poor are leaving churches. Their church at least helps some poor, but I doubt there's many of my socioeconomic level or below in their pews. Yeah the pressures can be hard. I remember the clucking of tongues when I would "disappear" from being housebound or ill.

Bible Believer said...


Everything in my region of the country in the churches is all about families, anyone without children or who is single is left out. I've seen it in multiple places. I think I live in a too much family based area. It can get lonely. Even when you try to make friends they have huge family networks. That is who they spend time with. I wonder in these communes Dreher is proposing if the families would run the show like a fiefdom and some single poor old person would just be one of the peasants. Humans are focused on control and I think it's getting worse. No one backs down on the rules...etc

Yes Christianity Today is basically COME HOME TO ROME TODAY, I have noticed they got the big Orthodox bent going lately....

James I am not sure all homosexuals are seared, I do believe many are, when studying personality disorders, that has been interesting when it comes to homosexuality...I guess I hope a few young ones can be saved. Some do "get out of the life" perhaps those are the non-seared ones. The world of homosexuality is pretty wretched.

With the family members where three members of the family have "gone gay" I am beyond disturbed. The transgendered girl is taking hormones now I think to be a man. Her homosexual brother and father and liberal grandmother and mother are all for this. They have twisted her mind and taught her to hate her own femininity. By the way in my sick wicked family this was attempted on me. They failed and were angry when I got engaged to a man [and never had any dealings with women, I was attracted to men only] I was dressed as very masculinly when young and told to eschew female things. In fact at one point when I wanted to be an art teacher, both parents screamed at me that is a woman's job. Some of the homosexuals are young people being pushed into it or having had suffered severe abuse.

I pray for that girl, and the utter destruction she is being led down. I don't get into this much but I believe my family is "connected". They definitely have major Catholic church ties and others. I saw on Facebook this girls mother [the gay cousin's ex wife] tattooed two giant "dead" birds with empty eye sockets and skeletons on her arms. She has a blue bird with a forked tail tattooed on the clavicle area. I saw it through a cousins page I am still in contact with. The mother looks so evil I am in shock. I only met her twice in my life, and she hated me upon first sight. With her father and brother who reject and hate women and femininity, she definitely has been taught to hate herself. The mother is extremely masculine. My contact with cousins is extremely minimal and could ebb to a close. I know once one finds out my real opinion about his niece, he would be outraged. I was censored in the family and told I could not talk about God or "homosexuality" this was before this family came out of the closet which all three of them have done on Facebook. I hate so much what they have done to that girl, I got steam coming out of my ears, but I don't have contact or a relationship enough with her to have been able to steer her away from any of it.

I am not afraid of gays or Satanists etc. Some of the Satanists are deceived, theosophy is basically Satanism. I came out of the UU and Theosphical/New Age/pagan teachings.

Anonymous said...

I believe when people begin to change their identity it is a mockery of God. God created them to be male or female but some are choosing to morph into something else. Science can play a part in this as Doctor's agree to change a person's gender or give them hormone replacement. It is stating... see I don't have to stay the way God made me. When a person lives in an environment without boundaries or absolutes your world becomes whatever you want it to be. If you are pushed into liberal ideologies, with the acceptance of anything goes then it is not surprising the outcome of the transgendered girl.

Anonymous said...


BB. I use to believe that sodomites could be saved. After reading Romans 1, Peter and Jude I realized that the reason people do these things is because, "God gave them up unto vile affections". In Romans 1 it says God gave them up, God gave over, and God gave them over to a reprobate mind. It says God gave them over or something similar three times. As a normal person it's hard to understand why people would do things that 95% of people cringe at by just hearing about it. Scripture calls them filthy, brute beasts, and filthy dreamers. It also say they do those things which are not convenient meaning they go out of their way to do the things God says are filthy. It calls them brute beasts because, only animals do these type of things. Brute meaning dumb, and beasts meaning animals. The bible calls them dumb animals. I also believe that "God gave them over to a reprobate mind" would be the same as saying their conscience has been seared. Just my opinion. Great article. God bless.........James


Romans 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Debra said...

He wrote a book how Dante saved his life. Posting a review from Amazon. He said that Dante, a priest, a confessional and Christian counselor helped him. I'm posted the review to show the part where they have a priest do an exorcist their house because his grandfather was haunting it. I personally do not believe people hang out in earth after they die. If you have activity they are demon spirits.
Review: How Dante Can Save Your Life is, in some ways, a cross between a spiritual self help book and an autobiography. The author traces his journey through family struggles, the loss of his beloved sister, and his own physical illness. What got him through all of his personal problems, he says, was reading Dante's Divine Comedy (along with a priest, confession, and a Christian counselor).
If you are seeking a book that will help you understand the Comedy of Dante you will need to find another. The aim of this book is not to help one understand the finer points of the Comedy or the historical background, but rather to describe how one man was helped by reading this great poetic masterpiece. If you desire to read how one man's trip through Dante's Comedy helped him come to grips with his own shortcomings and understand things that were causing him great hardship, them this is certainly the book for you.
While I enjoyed reading this book and was challenged by some of the spiritual insights that the author points out, there were some things that I did not like. One example is in chapter 19 (The Ghost In You) the author tells the story of a haunting that he was involved with. Supposedly his grandfather was haunting the house his parents lived in. He tells the story and how they had an exorcist come and cleanse the home. He then relates this to the idea of forgiving those that have passed on and "Letting them move on toward eternal peace, and allowing ourselves to progress toward love and healing".[1] While I think that we should forgive those who have sinned against us I do not believe that the ghosts of our friends and family members can haunt us and I also do not believe that the spirits who have passed on know what is happening on earth.
Overall the book was well written, had some significant spiritual insights to share, and was fairly enjoyable to read. The book will at least give most people a desire to read or reread Dante's Divine Comedy and that, in my opinion, is a good enough reason to recommend it.

[1] Dreher, Rod. How Dante Can Save Your Life: The Life-Changing Wisdom of History's Greatest Poem (p. 214). Regan Arts.. Kindle Edition.

William Sculley said...

One thing that Dreher is right on is that communal living and structured churches are a benefit. For one, we are called to submit ourselves to human authority as such is put in place by God, both in the secular world, and in the spiritual world. Paul does not say "follow Christ alone", but rather, "follow me, as I follow Christ. This is kinda badly translated, because the "as" in this sense is the Greek word for "because".

We see structure and hierarchy throughout Scripture, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. It shows up in the first five books and again in the final letter of John in Revelations. We are surrounded in Scripture with the idea of structural hierarchy, though the western world has the whole thing upside down. Because the only real experience westerners have with hierarchy is either in governments or in the Roman Catholic Church, they automatically assume that the "higher" a person stands on the hierarchical ladder, the more power he has.

However, in Orthodoxy, this entire thing is flipped upside down. As a lay person, I have more leeway in what I can and can't believe, do, or teach. If I were to step up to a position of tonsured ministers (those who are not ordained, but take up certain responsibilities in the service), I would then be limiting the power and choice I have, and those limits increase the further up the ladder I go. A presbyter is not free to preach whatever he wishes, because his duty is to preach what the Church preaches. A bishop cannot go just randomly to any church and concelebrate with them, but must obtain permission first from the bishop of that parish, and then from the presbyter who serves there.

The fact is that there has been a catholic structure to the Church from the word go. There were already three different offices, with the Diakonia, the Presbyteria, and the Episkopos all three mentioned in the Greek New Testament. Each served different roles

William Sculley said...

Continuing back to the communal living, though, that is one of two options that have always been in Orthodoxy. Communal living, known among the Orthodox as Monasticism, is a form of Asceticism where some Christians would gather together to live like Paul said he wished all could live, devoting all of their time and energy to prayer, fasting, and ministering to the poor and needy in the world. While there are rare monks who remain in their cells, the vast majority spend a great deal of time in some sort of ministry that provides for ministries like the OCMC, which is currently the largest single provider of housing for refugees from the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa. They work completely free as teachers, medical providers, and of course preachers of the gospel to the 3 million people they shelter. They take the teaching of the Good Samaritan to heart, and ask nothing of those they aid, not regarding their religious ideals as a reason to deny them the love which Christ gave to His enemies even as they nailed Him to a cross.

This idea of Monasticism is what most people think of when they hear about asceticism, but asceticism is something ALL people can practice, whether one does so by only praying in their closet and making quiet donations to groups to help the needy, or by being great parents to their children, and yes, by loving their wives and husbands fully in all ways, including those which are described in Song of Solomon. God gave us the ability to be ascetics even in marriage, by following those same two rules:

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

That is all you need to do to be a true ascetic. Sure, there are other rules that one can pull from Orthodoxy, but those rules are not treated in the Orthodox Church as hard and fast rules that apply to all. They are guidelines. You add them into your life one at a time with the guidance of a spiritual guide who has more experience. And the simplest way to start being an ascetic is to take the following simple prayer and make it the motto of your life:

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner"

If your life revolves around that one sentence, and you mean it when you say it, then you will find God turn you from a tiny candle into a wildfire for God, metaphorically speaking, that is.

William Sculley said...

Finally, though this is not really on topic, I would like to request prayers for myself. I recently was admitted to the hospital (Friday, 4/22) for a 103.6 degree fever and pain that was off the charts. I'm still in the hospital and fighting depression because I've been here way too many times and for way too long. Please keep me in prayer. Just a note, BB, if you're ever in the Gainesville or Jacksonville area, I wouldn't mind meeting in person. I know you aren't a big fan of structured Churches, but I would like to show you a place where we have love for all who come in, from the prostitute working the streets near Beaver to the rich man with too much tanning lotion in that big white house of his. We aren't perfect, but I promise that we can laugh and there will always be at least one place you're always welcome. You can always email me at sculleywr1@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

There's a huge difference between the communal living of the NT and monasteries. In the NT the apostles used this type of living as a way of preaching the gospel, not being a hermit and only worrying about oneself. The apostles gathered all their income together and took this money to give to the poor and go from town to town. What monastery does this?

Anonymous said...

William. What about "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved"?

William Sculley said...

@Anonymous April 30, 2017 at 2:17

That verse is certainly true, the problem with most western interpretation is that they try to make a false duality between works and Faith. Pistis, the Greek word for Faith, is not just a mental thought pattern. Faith is an entire lifestyle that reaches from the point of the beginning of one's journey until the end. You do not believe just by thinking or saying, but by doing. Even the thief on the cross had works within his belief, when he stood up to the other thief, thus proving that it is not a quota system, but the two together. See, James says, just as inspired as Paul, "a man is justified by his works and not by faith alone." He was not saying that a man is justified by works in front of men. Rather, man is justified before God. This is why the "Thesis question" of that passage is asking "can faith save the man who has no works?

See, This is the only answer that explains Christ's description of the Judgment as well as Paul's declaration in Romans 2, that "a man is judged according to his deeds".

William Sculley said...

@Anonymous April 30, 2017 at 2:16 PM

Hermits are EXTREMELY rare in Orthodoxy. There is no such thing as a Monk who worries about only himself. Even the hermits will take lists of names of people that they lift up to the Lord in prayer and come to be with the Church regularly. Monks in Orthodoxy are encouraged to perform some form of ministry. The monks that stay in the monastery tend to be limited in mobility. But Mt. Athos is constantly sending monks out across the entire world for ministries. Some will be sent out from the Monastery to plant new churches or to guide existing ones. Some go throughout Greece and encourage the discouraged populace.

That income which comes to an Orthodox monastery pays for the utilities, food and maintenance for the monastery, and the rest, like with the Resaca Monastery in Georgia, goes to sending monks out to serve or donate to local charities like the Red Cross. So when you ask "what monastery does this?", the answer is every Eastern Orthodox Monastery on the planet. It's been that way since the third century, when they were first forced to flee into places in the desert by evil emperors like Diocletian that sought to eradicate all Christians. Erasmus, a Roman historian, recorded that when a plague swept across the empire, while the Hellenic pagan priests would flee, the Christians would come to the aid of the sick, caring for their illnesses, and many times contracting the illness and dying "in the place of those they cared for". That is the example to which Orthodox monks hold, following in the footsteps of Paul. Many are traveling monks, some remain in the Monastery for training so that they are not sent out as novices (as Scripture says that an elder should never be a new person to the faith).

As with all of Orthodoxy, love is the center of Monastic living, because Christ is the center. Monks truly do give up everything for Christ, but that does not mean they are better than people like myself, nor am I greater than they. We all are equal under the loving eyes of our Father in heaven. And any Orthodox Christian that does not display that love to any person that enters the parish doors, or even who we meet at the cashier counter, will be held responsible by God for why he did not display the love of the Almighty.

Bible Believer said...

I've read Dante, it's kind of a scary book, and based on Catholic religious beliefs and legends about levels of hell. A huge part of it is dedicated to Purgatory

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjRsMH70dHTAhVB7YMKHX2AAQoQFggnMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gotquestions.org%2FDivine-Comedy-Dantes-Inferno.html&usg=AFQjCNGslV0yq-5QQBfWfFHKKLujXCDqrg&sig2=MS77lKMS85ivdo3SxqIV_w
He uses sources from other religions and more in there, it is not based on biblical truth. the ghost thing would bother me too. The bible says there is an unbreakable vale between the living and the dead.

I don't believe we are called to submit to human authority, Paul meant it in the way that He follows Jesus, not a clergy class or overseers. Most religious authorities are so bad now, why follow any of them? With intentional communities and communes, there has been endless stories about the abuse of authority from the FLDS to UFO cults, whoever decides they are in charge really go to town. Even the peaceful Hutterites are under bishops who rule with an iron fist but maybe the pacifist teachings keep things a bit less oppressive. I don't know about Orthodox rule of authority but in the Roman Catholic church it is really top down.

1 Peter 5:3


Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

I will pray for you William, sorry to hear you are so sick. yes chronic illness can bring struggles with depression. I live far away from you, but will pray for your health, and well-being. Hope to find out you are out of the hospital soon.

Anonymous said...

William. James is speaking to people who are already saved telling them that by their works their faith would be made perfect (complete). You read Paul also telling his readers to not only hear Gods Word, but be a doer as well. It gives an example at the end of james 2 about Rahab the harlot who was saved by her faith BEFORE she sent the messengers the other way. Go back to the original story of Rahab and read how she believed on the Lord hearing of the miracles he did for the Israelites. She was a harlot showing that God saves sinners. Was Rahab showing "obedient faith" by being a harlot? We know that no man is justified by works in the eyes of God. Romans 4 says Abraham had whereof to glory for his works, but not before God. there is no such thing as "obedient faith" in the bible. You're trying to mix works and faith and that's not the gospel. A persons works has nothing to do with salvation, but is what one does out of love and obedience toward God.......James .......James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Anonymous said...

William. Romans 4 is proof that works has nothing to do with faith. Paul says "but to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for rightousness". ......James ...........Romans 4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin

Anonymous said...

William. Here we see that salvation is not by works, but by grace through faith. It cannot be both because, if it's works then it is no longer grace......James......Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work

Anonymous said...

William. When did you become orthodox? I thought you were Roman Catholic? I seen someone with the same name as yours comment on pro Roman Catholic you tube channels. Unless it's a different "William sculley"....James

Bible Believer said...

Thanks anon and James for your posts to William.

The Orthodox have a lot of overlap with Catholic teachings, some things are different of course,but many of the main themes remain the same, sacramentalism, etc. He is the same poster James.

William Sculley said...

Re: "William. When did you become orthodox? I thought you were Roman Catholic? I seen someone with the same name as yours comment on pro Roman Catholic you tube channels. Unless it's a different "William sculley"....James"


There is a lot of overlap in external practices, like the use of liturgical corporate worship as a carryover from the Jewish faith which the Apostles were coming from, the use of Icons which stems from the many statues and embroideries found in the Tabernacle in Exodus, and at least as early as the 4th century BC in Israel, and the use of vestments based historically on the priesthood, though unlike the Jewish priesthood, every Orthodox Christian receives a priestly robe at Baptism because we are all considered priests.

The differences come down to the much more important issues, such as the nature of sin, salvation, and the nature of man. In this category, Rome shares so much with the western Protestant world that it really does result in misunderstandings. In the west, salvation is about forgiveness, but in Orthodoxy, salvation is about becoming like God. We are not perfect, but salvation is complete when a person is so much like Christ that He shines through them without any error.

Sin, likewise, in the west is viewed more as though it were a crime and punishment, while in the east, it's about disease, sickness and cure. Because we see the relationship with the Father through the lens of a doctor and patient, we do not see a dichotomy between works and faith, like is seen in the west. We see Christ's work in us as the saving tool which Christ gives you, as a gift, but to benefit from that gift, you must put the gift to use. Faith is a tool, not a thought. That is why I will leave this as a response to all of the issues regarding works and faith. James and Paul were both writing to people who were already in the Church, so that argument doesn't work. Scripture wasn't originally intended for personal use because personal use was impossible for the vast majority of people, whether because of lack of literacy, or because of lack of access. We must assume ALL Scripture is written to those of the Church. And by seeing the relationship as the content of salvation, and not the means to salvation, this puts salvation being all the way through sanctification, which is a cooperative process. Hence we say, "I was saved, I am being saved, and I will be saved"

William Sculley said...

I do a lot of debating online. There are places I will be on the same side as the RCC, but just as many where I am patently against. The following doctrines are considered heresy by the Orthodoxy:

1. Title of Mediatrix for Mary. She is an intercessor, just as we intercede for each other on earth in obedience to God's command, she intercedes with her Son. That does not mean she gives any eternal salvation, but she can be the tool through which God dispenses salvation because we will not tell God how He can choose to save someone.

2. Purgatory, or the existence of a temporal punishment in addition to the eternal wages of sin, is considered a heresy in Orthodoxy. There is a small contingency of people who believe in "toll-houses", but it is not taught by any major council of the Church, and most people hold the Toll Houses to be intended to be read much like Pilgrim's Progress, as a metaphor.

3. Papal Supremacy and Infallibility. As the Orthodox teach the Spirit to be the guide and Christ to be the Head of the Church, we do not see the need for the Pope to be supreme or infallible, because the Spirit is the One Who keeps the Church as one.

4. The Filioque, which is the seminal heresy which we disagree with the West as a whole. This doctrine, which makes the Spirit proceed from the Father "and the Son (Filioque)". This large heresy was originally condemned by both Pope and Council in the 9th and 10th centuries, but in the 11th century, under the influence of Charlemagne, the Pope tried to force the rest of the Church to accept this heresy. The reason we consider it heresy is because it makes the Spirit unequal to the other two Persons of the Trinity.

Anonymous said...

As to personal testimony and update on my health, I was discharged from North Florida Regional Hospital in Gainesville yesterday and am getting used to the weird way that Bentyl affects me.

I became Orthodox in 2012, when I began my Catechism under Father Stavros Rousos at Pokrov Orthodox Church in Chattanooga. I discovered Orthodoxy because I was a landmarkist trying to prove the Baptists were the first Church, and wanted to read what the original people to whom the Apostles were writing when they penned the Scripture. That started in 2010, and I found the Orthodox Church through my godfather.

I found Orthodoxy in that manner, though with it being so long a period of time, I have a lot more questions you can ask me over time.

Anonymous said...

William. "In the 11th century, under the influence of Charlemagne". Charlemagne died in 814AD

William Sculley said...

Re: "William. "In the 11th century, under the influence of Charlemagne". Charlemagne died in 814AD"

Yes, he did, but his INFLUENCE spread past his lifetime. Charlemagne was the one who tried to popularize the Filioque because of his connections with Hellenistic paganism that are reflected in the doctrine of the Filioque. It was he who made the Filioque a required creed in his empire, in direct disobedience to the declaration of the Church in the Council of Carthage, which is commonly called the Eighth Ecumenical Council. The Filioque makes the Holy Spirit inferior in authority to the Father and Son, which is why Rome ended up having to make a doctrine of Papal Infallibility and Supremacy to replace the role of the Spirit in the Church.

The Church of the West was fully under the legacy of Charlemagne when they altered the Creed to violate the teaching of Christ and the Church, and nailed the Papal Bull of Excommunication to the Altar of the Hagia Sophia in March of 1054. If you are looking for the beginning of Roman Catholicism as it looks today, March of 1054 is the place to look, because it is at that time that the Pope was put in the place of Christ by Rome.

Anonymous said...

William. Was it truly the "influence" of Charlemagne, or the papal church putting words in his mouth like the infamous "donation of Constantine" or "decretals of Isodore", which are known and admitted forgeries?

Anonymous said...

William. The pagans were not "Christianized". The papal church allowed them to adopt their beliefs under the name of Christianity. This is why the orthodox and papal churches sprinkle water, use incense, "adore" idols, worship "saints" etc etc etc. Cardinal John Henry Newman in his book about the origin of Christian (Roman Catholic) doctrine admitted that most of the papal churches ceremonies and rituals are baptized paganism. I forget the name of the Roman author, but he wrote a book debating the practices of Roman paganism circa 45BC, and one of his points of debate was that the Roman pagans practiced in "eating their own gods". The whole idea of eating "jesus" is a pagan practice. Transubstantiation did not become an article of faith until the fourth Lateran council in 1215AD. If this was truly a "Christian" doctrine, then why did it take 1200 years to make an article of faith? The title of universal bishop (pope) was invented in 606AD some 600 years before transubstantiation. Satan didn't take long in establishing the seat of antichrist, but the articles of faith were invented and changed throughout that last 1500 years. People like you claim "the church never changes", but what about Trent compared to Vatican II? It use to be that salvation could not be obtained outside the church, but now Muslim, Hindus, etc are saved by their "conscience" because, they claim we all worship the same "god". I could literally go on and on.....James

William Sculley said...

Re: Anonymous May 14 2017

re: Incense

Incense comes from the book of Exodus and Leviticus. We use incense because the people of God have used incense in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and will use it in heaven if we are to believe the writing of John in the book of Revelation. You have incense used in the worship of God in Israel and in heaven. It's in the past and in our future. It is NEW to not use incense.

Re: idols AND saints.

There are no idols in the Orthodox Church because the second half of the word "Eidolatreia" is not to be found in Rome or in the East. We do not give latreia to Icons. We give Douleia, which, if you remember your Greek, is the word for HONOR. It is used in Greek forms of the Ten Commandments when you are commanded to "honor your parents". Is God commanding you to worship your parents? Or is what is given and TAUGHT in the actual Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church not the same as worship, thereby defeating your conclusion that we have idols, since it is based on the false premise that we teach people to worship something other than God.

You can follow the writings of people who have no clue about what we teach, or you can ask actual Orthodox Christians. Here's some facts for you:

1. I never claimed that Orthodoxy took things from pagans. I said Pagans took stuff from Orthodoxy.

2. Orthodox do not teach Transsubstantiation. We simply say what Christ said. "This is My Body". Christ said it, that settles it. He did not use metaphorical language, because every single time He used metaphor, the Scripture explains the metaphor IMMEDIATELY. Christ said if you do not eat His Body and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. He never said He was using metaphor. He did not explain what it meant. It is not for us to explain how it is His Body. We accept it because it is what Christ said. It is a pagan belief that everything has to have some kind of explanation. Specifically, it is a hellenistic belief.

3. The title of universal bishop wasn't established until 1054, when Rome established the Pope as the universal Bishop. Orthodoxy has NEVER taught this heretical doctrine, so you can drop it, because we were excommunicated from Rome in 1054 because we would not accept the universal authority of the Pope.

4. All of the new teachings of Iconoclasm and Sola Scriptura and anti-clergy doctrines and anti-catholic nature of the Church found in Protestantism have developed only over the last millennia. Your alternative history is just that: alternative. Liturgical worship and Icons go all the way back to the Jewish practices sourced in the Old Testament and is confirmed as true by archaeology.

William Sculley said...

Re: "William. Was it truly the "influence" of Charlemagne, or the papal church putting words in his mouth like the infamous "donation of Constantine" or "decretals of Isodore", which are known and admitted forgeries?"

No. It isn't something Rome published, because Rome denies that Charlemagne is the reason for their beginning to teach the heresy of the Filioque. Charlemagne started the whole mess because he tried to countermand the whole church at Aix La Chappelle, calling a Council. He did not bet on Pope Leo III, though, for the Pope of the time outright condemned the heresy so much that he took the Creed of Nicaea, which declared the Scriptural Procession of the Spirit "Who Proceeds from the Father", chiseled onto the entry wall of the Basilica of St. Peter. The Pope's influence actually lined up with the Scriptural teaching of the Spirit's procession based on the statement of Christ in the Gospels, Who said the Spirit processed from the Father, but did not say the Son.

It wasn't until the 10th century that Rome fell to the heresy of the Filioque, with the Pope of 1054 finalizing the beginning of Rome's fall into innovations like Papal supremacy and other such things. He did so by sending his legates to Constantinople, where they interrupted the Sunday worship, walking up into the altar of the Hagia Sophia and nailing the Papal Bull of Excommunication to the Altar of the Hagia Sophia.

This is NOT the narrative that Rome wants people to hear, because it portrays a Rome that is not interested in the whole Community of the Church working together as one Body. Instead of having humility and submitting to the correct teaching of both Scripture and Tradition, Rome created an entirely new dogma and cut itself off of the Tree.

I don't tend to trust the interpretations of historical texts made by people today. I don't want someone to tell me what people like Athanasius, Charlemagne, or the people involved believed. It takes me a bit longer to find the information I really want, but I prefer reading the things written by people who were at the event. This is why I reject some of the more absurd things taught by people about Constantine, or Charlemagne. Constantine didn't make Christianity the official faith. That wasn't until five emperors later. Constantine only made it legal, and he was actually baptized near his death by a man who rejected the divinity of Christ. He didn't make the Canon, because he was dead before the Canon was written. He didn't introduce Icons, because Icons are present in the first century churches we have excavated. Iconoclasm (the teaching the use of Icons is idolatry) wasn't invented by Christians or Jews, but by Muslims.

For the record, regarding Icons, they are not worshiped. They are tools used to worship God and they exist as a defense of the doctrine of the Incarnation. You can see this in the writings of John of Damascus "in defense of the holy images".

Anonymous said...

William. Please show one instance of Jesus or any apostle using incense in the NT. Remember, the Levitical priesthood is no more, all believers are priests after the order of Melchisedek with Jesus Christ being the only high priest. Also papal supremacy started well before the 10th century. In 606AD the Roman empower Phocas crowned the bishop of Rome as "universal bishop" giving him supremacy over all other bishops, that includes the bishop of Constantinople. He gave him this title because the bishop of Rome gave validity to Phocas being emperor which he gained by usurpation. I know all about the war of the iconoclast. I also know that what orthodoxy claims on its idols is exactly what Rome claims. When they now to an idol, they're not actually worshipping it, but "adoring" it. We've all heard it before. You're an odd fellow, in one YouTube channel you sound like a staunch Roman Catholic, in the next you claim orthodoxy. Honestly what's the difference?......James

Anonymous said...

William. Rome may not have "published" (I've never bothered to study the issue) the issue on Charlemagne, but I'm saying that it's easy to attribute something to someone after they've been dead for centuries, the same as how the papal church attributed the donation of Constantine to Constantine centuries after he died. Also you claim that Constantine didn't make "Christianity" the official religion of the empire, but it was Constantime who put together the first council, with pseudo "church father" Eusebius being the "orator" of Constantines false state ran and funded church. This was the start of the Roman Catholic Church.......James

Anonymous said...

William. If orthodoxy didn't adopt pagan practices, what's up with all the orthodox Mystics that were turned into saints?

William Sculley said...

Re: William. If orthodoxy didn't adopt pagan practices, what's up with all the orthodox Mystics that were turned into saints?


Mystic =/= pagan. The term "Mystic" refers to the fact that they were knowledgeable about the Mystikos of the Faith. The Greek word "Mystikos" means "mystery". Paul writes about these things himself. Being a "mystic" in Orthodoxy is being someone who has experience with the mysteries of the faith.

Re: William. Rome may not have "published" (I've never bothered to study the issue) the issue on Charlemagne, but I'm saying that it's easy to attribute something to someone after they've been dead for centuries, the same as how the papal church attributed the donation of Constantine to Constantine centuries after he died. Also you claim that Constantine didn't make "Christianity" the official religion of the empire, but it was Constantime who put together the first council, with pseudo "church father" Eusebius being the "orator" of Constantines false state ran and funded church. This was the start of the Roman Catholic Church.......James

The entire last half of that is a great bit of pseudo-history that is not based on anything that is actually there. Constantine called for the first council, but the first council didn't establish any doctrines that were new. And the church was not state-run. Constantine had no vote in the council. And Constantine turned AGAINST the Council only five years later, persecuting the Church and exiling, executing, and otherwise persecuting those who defended the decision of Nicaea.

The start of the Roman Catholic Church was in 1054, not in 320. You somehow think that people who spent the last three centuries being persecuted by the emperor would suddenly start trusting the government to run their Church? Nearly half of the people attending the Council had lost body parts, almost all of them had been tortured by Constantine's predecessor. That's just absurd.

William Sculley said...

William. Please show one instance of Jesus or any apostle using incense in the NT. Remember, the Levitical priesthood is no more, all believers are priests after the order of Melchisedek with Jesus Christ being the only high priest. Also papal supremacy started well before the 10th century. In 606AD the Roman empower Phocas crowned the bishop of Rome as "universal bishop" giving him supremacy over all other bishops, that includes the bishop of Constantinople. He gave him this title because the bishop of Rome gave validity to Phocas being emperor which he gained by usurpation. I know all about the war of the iconoclast. I also know that what orthodoxy claims on its idols is exactly what Rome claims. When they now to an idol, they're not actually worshipping it, but "adoring" it. We've all heard it before. You're an odd fellow, in one YouTube channel you sound like a staunch Roman Catholic, in the next you claim orthodoxy. Honestly what's the difference?......James

you mean aside from the fact that they were Jews and obeyed the commands of the Old Testament? Or are you suggesting that the Apostles and Christ violated the commands of the Old Testament? I thought that neither a jot nor a tittle of the law would pass away until it was fulfilled.

Secondly, for there to be "eidolatreia", there has to be "latreia". It is part of the word itself. You can say there is idolatry all you want. You repeating a lie does not transform that lie into a truth. You can say I am an idolater, but that doesn't make it true.

As to the difference between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, you might want to listen to the following podcasts:
Part 1: https://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodoxyheterodoxy/rome_part_1a
Part 2: https://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodoxyheterodoxy/rome_part_1b
Part 3: https://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodoxyheterodoxy/rome_part_2a
Part 4: https://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodoxyheterodoxy/rome_part_2b

Yes, it's more than 2 hours of information, but to be frank, the differences between Rome and Orthodoxy is greater than the difference between you and Rome.

Anonymous said...

William. The law hasn't passed away. Jesus Christ came to fulfill the law and OT prophesy. Jesus being the Word made flesh is the law. The book of Hebrews makes it very clear that the Levitical priesthood is no more. Jesus Christ is the once for all sacrifice, so no other sacrifices are needed, nor are they accepted. This is why there is no such thing as a Levitical priesthood. Every single sacrificial offering of this priesthood was a picturing of Jesus Christ. It was set up this way so the Hebrews would recognize their Messiah when he arrived. The 70 weeks of Daniel was given as a literal timeline so they would know when he would arrive. I mentioned in another post how Jesus descends into hell after he was buried. The burnt offering is a picturing of this. So no, the law has not been abolished, only fulfilled. Of coarse Jesus nor the apostles violated the Levitical law. The book of Hebrews states that a testament (covenant) is not in affect while the testator is alive, and only comes into effect after he is dead. The NT (new covenant) did not come into effect until Jesus arose from the dead. Also, you're making a completely false statement in saying that I have more in common with the papal church than orthodoxy. I believe in salvation by grace through faith, not a sacramental system of salvation that is set up so a person is never sure in their lifetime if they are truly saved. I don't believe in "the sin of presumption" as 1 John 5 states that one of the reason he wrote that epistle was so that we MAY KNOW that we have eternal life, and this life is through Christ Jesus. I don't bow to anything. I don't venerate any man made object, this includes a wooden cross which scripture says Jesus "despised the shame" that came from hanging on it. I don't call Mary my mother. Scripture says the New Jerusalem "is free and mother of us all". I don't use an alter as there is no need for sacrifices as stated above. No body I know walks around in fancy robes and in adorned with gold and jewels. I don't go to special ritualistic ceremonies set up for dead "saints". I don't use poo foo dust, or a dust buster. Now please ask yourself again, who has more in common with Rome, me or orthodoxy.....James

Anonymous said...

Hebrews 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,

20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.

21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.

22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation

Anonymous said...

William. It's an absolute fact that Boniface III was the first universal bishop ever. It happened in 606AD, which was well before the schism. I don't know why you're denying it. If you can't even acknowledge historical FACTS, then why bother having a discussion? ......James

Anonymous said...

William. You can deny all you want, but that doesn't make it true as well. When you bow to any man made image, it's called idolatry. I don't care if it's a statue or a picture of a orthodox mystic "Saint". I will leave the discussion alone as I can tell you're not being honest and are using apologist tactics. You are a Internet apologist who is trying to spread lies and false doctrine. You do it on YouTube, and you're trying to do it here.....James

William Sculley said...

Re: "William. You can deny all you want, but that doesn't make it true as well. When you bow to any man made image, it's called idolatry..."

No it isn't. Idolatry is the WORSHIP of something other than God. Bowing is not worship. Nobody is bowing to the image, in either case. By that measure, since the high priest would have bowed before the Mercy Seat when making the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement, he was worshiping the golden statues of the angels before which he was bowing by command of God. Idolatry, by definition, requires that the person place the object at a position equal to God. Nobody is doing that. Nobody is ascribing latreia to any object.

You also say that "Boniface" was the first universal bishop, but that's just projection, because there was no time at which any person was ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE CHURCH as universal, and it was even a declaration of the Church in the Council of Chalcedon that there is no universal Bishop. I'm not acknowledging your pseudo-history. Just because a person CLAIMS to be something doesn't mean his claim was accepted by anyone. The first person to claim and have real backing for the claim was in 1054. Sorry, but if you want to discuss with me, you're going to have to deal with a few things:

1. Honor is not the same as worship.
2. The opinions of heretics are not the opinions of the Church from which they separate themselves.

William Sculley said...

James, you asked me for proof that Jesus and the Apostles would have participated in the sacrifice of Incense. The fact that they obeyed Jewish law is enough proof that he would have participated in that action. And since your claim is that incense sacrifice came from paganism, your claim takes a full nosedive.

As to you having more in common with Rome than Orthodoxy, you do, because your basic hamartiology and anthropology is identical. Your definition of the nature of salvation is the same as Rome's. Orthodoxy has a different answer for the questions of those doctrines, which results in a MASSIVELY different theology. You share the same foundational doctrines as Rome, but use a different framing material to build on top of it. If you explain sin as a crime and salvation as forgiveness, then you have the same basic assumption as Rome. This is why I recommended those podcast episodes. It's obvious that you did not pay attention.

Oh, and Icon veneration was around at the time of Christ. We know that is fact because of two things:

1. We have the Icons which were made by Luke
2. We have dug up synagogues throughout East Europe as well as churches, both from the first century, and found them to be full of icons.

The possession of an image does not mean the worship of that image. The temple, built by order of Christ, was FULL of images. There were images across the altars and veil of the Tabernacle and Temple. They were commanded by God. So we are left with 2 options:

1. God was commanding the Israelites to commit idolatry
2. The existence of images does not necessarily mean the existence of idolatry.

I am an apologist. I am arguing for something which is different. It's hard for you to sound serious when you are spending so much time saying that I'm horrible simply because I came to a different conclusion than you did. To be frank, if I had come to the conclusion about the message of Christ as you had, I would have left Christ. The Christ you are preaching essentially abandoned the Church the moment He ascended, basically doing the same to the Church as Obama did when Trump was sworn in: saying "goodbye, fools!"

I don't want a Christ that abandons the Church.

Anonymous said...

William. Actually it doesn't "take a nosedive". Since the Levitical priesthood has been literally changed, incense is no longer used. Why? Because there is no tabernacle here on earth, nor is there a physical temple, because there are no more sacrifices. Sinice the incense in the OT was an offering, and this offering is no longer needed, then what is orthodoxy burning incense for? And to whom? It's a fact that incense is used in witchcraft no shamanism. It's really that cut and dry. I know you're an apologist, and what you claim doesn't hold water. I thought we we in the new covenant? Just realize there are more "religions" that use incense other than OT Christianity. When the Israelites went "whoring" after other gods, I liken this to modern day otthodoxy and Catholicism. Not because they were once a biblical church and fell away, but that they do the same things that the Israelites did when they worshipped other gods. I've written about the "queen of heaven" and the incense that is burned to her in the book of Jeremiah . THIS IS WHO ROME AND ORTHODOXY BURN INCENCE TO. We all know that the Orthodox Church and Rome loves their queen of heaven. Loves burning incense to her as well.these practices originated in Babylon, not Jerusalem......James


Jeremiah 44:18 But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.

Anonymous said...

William.Your "church" takes it upon themselves to burn incense which it claims is from the OT, but it doesn't believe in Leviticus 26? That's rather convenient wouldn't you say?.....James.....Leviticus 26:1
Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God

Anonymous said...

William. "Alternative history"? Even Rome admits this lol. Go to newadvent.org and look under Boniface III and Phocas. It acknowledges everything I have said concerning the two. Your "apologetics" are nothing more than denying every fact that's posted. I wouldn't really call that apologetics. Honestly There isn't nothing you can say that I haven't heard before. Also the reformation was no where near a "millennia" ago. Try half that time.....James

William Sculley said...

Re:James
What they didn't mention is that the Pope and the Council of Chalcedon declared that there isn't a universal Bishop. The Bishop of Rome was never assumed by the REST of the Church to be universal in anything.

Think of this, why would they need to call an Ecumenical Council if they were able to simply as a universally authoritative Bishop? Does that make any sense? Why would even the Pope himself call together the bishops of the other churches to discuss church-wide issues? How then could the Pope Honorius be found by the Council to be a heretic and defrock him? If you were to mention Honorius to a Roman, you'll get a lot of crickets. Or the time there was three Popes?

Just because Boniface declared a heretic to be a heretic does not mean that he was exerting universal authority. They don't mention that in another Council, the Bishop of Constantinople declared the Bishop Honorius to be a Monophysite heretic, and Honorius was defrocked by the Bishop of Constantinople. So, by your logic, the Bishop of Constantinople is the universal Bishop, not the Pope of Rome

William Sculley said...

William.Your "church" takes it upon themselves to burn incense which it claims is from the OT, but it doesn't believe in Leviticus 26? That's rather convenient wouldn't you say?.....James.....Leviticus 26:1
Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God

Response:

1. Mistranslation problem. The Hebrew word was translated to "Graven image" intentionally. Why? Because using the proper translation requires that a person WORSHIP the image, since the proper translation is "idol", so I will rewrite the word based on the proper translation:

You shall set up no IDOL

The problem with your reading? There are dozens of graven images ordered in the construction of the Temple and Tabernacle, including two golden statues of angels. You didn't address that part of what I said. Is God ordering the Israelites to sin or is your interpretation flawed?

Also, the millennia reference you made isn't the reformation in what I was talking about.

William Sculley said...

So incense is in heaven, on earth, and despite there being nowhere in the New Testament that it was discontinued, it's not here now.

I choose to follow God, not man, so tell me, why should I assume it isn't there? It's throughout history. It's in heaven. There's nowhere in the New Testament that it is discontinued. We see it literally from the first century on. It's in every century. So, is it more likely that people removed it because they were anti-Catholic, or that Catholics managed to add it in the first century when the entire Roman Empire was trying to kill all Christians?

The church that is being hunted down manages to manipulate people.

Oh, and Constantine somehow manages to convince hundreds of people that "oh, Rome is changed, give me the keys to run your church even though for the last 300 years we have been torturing, dismembering, raping, murdering, boiling in oil, and beheading your people."

That about the size of it?

Anonymous said...

William. Like I stated, incense in the OT was an offering. The OT priesthood made these offerings. Is there still an OT priesthood? Jesus Christ did follow the OT temple ceremonies, that's because he was under the old covenant still. I'm sure I posted Hebrews 9 that says a testament is not in effect until the testator dies. He has died and risen. We are not under OT temple ceremonies. There is no physical temple to make these incense offerings in anyway. do what you like, but don't try and convince anyone it's Christianity. Also the word "graven" was not mistranslated. It meant carved in the Masoretic texts, and it's means the same in the English bible. It says don't make unto thee (you or yourself" any graven image. God gave clear orders to have the cheribum carved. Did God personally tell the Orthodox Church to have its many idols carved? I must have missed that verse. I'm surprised orthodoxy hasn't removed the second commandment from the 10, then take the last one and split in into 2 so they could still claim to have 10 just like Rome has done. I will not post on this subject on this article again. I feel every point that needed to be made has been. You've literally been caught falsifying several points already......James

William Sculley said...

Incense in the OT was an offering. Incense in Orthodoxy is an offering. Christ said that "Not a jot nor a tittle will pass from the law until all has been fulfilled". All has not yet been fulfilled. We are still waiting for wide swaths of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel's prophecies to be fulfilled as of right now, so the ONLY thing which has been negated for us are those things which are specifically for sin, or that which the Council of Jerusalem specifically said were no longer required for us to follow. If you recall, the offering of incense is NOT for the purpose of sin or its forgiveness, but as a show of gratitude and an image of our prayers. The Psalmist put it greatly: "Let my prayers arise as incense before You".

As to graven, yes, it is mistranslated, because Pecel is not the Hebrew word for "graven". Pecel is the word translated for "idol". It was not translated to a carved image in any language before the KJV. In the Greek Septuagint which the Apostles used (with the exception of Matthew), the Greek word is "eidolon". In Latin, it is Idoli. It is ONLY in the English that the word was first translated to anything meaning "carved". It CERTAINLY didn't mean "carved" in the Masoretic, either, because the Masoretes had Icons EVERYWHERE in their synagogues, as evidenced by such synagogues like Dura Europos, which has Icons EVERYWHERE. In point of fact, synagogues dug up from the 3rd century BC up through the 7th century AD, and Churches dug up from the 1st century through to the 11th century ALL have Icons everywhere.

Here's a tidbit of information for you from history: there isn't a single Christian who rejected the Icons BEFORE the advent of Islam, whose rampant Iconoclasm spread into the east. The reason neither Rome nor the Orthodox have removed the second commandment is because we do not violate it in any way. Not a single image in the Orthodox Church is an idol because for something to be given "eidoLATREIA", it must be given "LATREIA". We do not give LATREIA to any image.

According to you, God is a dad that, when a five year old drew a stick figure image of Him fishing with his five year old son, would take the picture, then tear it up and use it as toilet paper right in front of the five year old.

Those Icons are our stick figure images, and the Church walls are the equivalent to the heavenly refrigerator. They are our photo album. That is our family photo album showing the experiences of the family. They aren't worshiped. But if I came into your house and started burning and tearing up the pictures of your wife, would you just let me? If I told you those images were idols and demanded you to remove them, would you?

No?

Don't call something idolatry unless you have the ability to see into the hearts of the people practicing it. If you aren't God, therefore, you have NO CLUE if it is idolatry. It only APPEARS to YOU to be idolatry. It appears that way because of your subjective frame of reference based on an anti-catholic background divorced from what the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches teach, based only on what people who despise Liturgical churches have said about them.

William Sculley said...

Oh, I should also say, with the fact that we know that Icons were EVERYWHERE in the Jewish world during the time of Christ and the Apostles, the fact that Christ and the Apostles didn't say a thing against those Icons is very telling. We have incontrovertible proof of the Iconography of first century Judaism from archaeology. If you walked into a synagogue in the first century, you would see images of Isaiah, Abraham, Isaac, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, David, Daniel, and many others literally covering the walls and even the ceiling. The entire life of Israel from Creation to the first century would be depicted in Icons. And there is a secondary reason for that: 90% of people in the time were illiterate! Images were used to educate people, because humans are VISUAL LEARNERS!

William Sculley said...

finally, for your claim that I'm falsifying points to actually stand up, you need to have this little thing called evidence. That's a bold claim, but it has no legs on which to stand.