Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Opus 2011-293, Attitudes about Authority, Part 2

In a previous post I discussed in general terms the sources of religious authority.  I called them Revelation, Tradition and Reason.  Today I want to touch on how this expresses itself in the different branches of Christianity.

All Christians give credence to each of these three, but in different order and understanding. 

The people I hang with would be considered evangelical Protestants.  We believe that the Bible is the ultimate authority.  We will argue over which translation is best and what the Greek or Hebrew actually means but we believe that there is truth and meaning in the Word.  Nothing can trump it.  Period.

We still have traditions.  We look back to historical figures such as Calvin, Luther and Wesley.  At times I feel like Calvinists put the teaching of Calvin above scripture, but that is because I disagree with Calvin.  His followers would still say the Bible is supreme.  We have denominations and local churches that have something to say about the correct understanding of the Bible.  To an outsider it would seem that they have more authority than the word itself, but that is not the way we see it.  We see the church and its traditions as a way of balancing the third leg of the stool, reason.

We believe in reason.  God gave us minds and expected us to use them.  This is why we are Protestants.  We think our personal opinion is better than our church leaders.  When we disagree we split off and form another church.  We take our cookies and walk.  This can cause all kinds of problems.  It can allow all kinds of foolishness but we believe that the Holy Spirit is still speaking to us and teaching us.  We do not believe that a church official has the final word.

At the other end you have believers who are part of the Roman Catholic tradition.  I am one of those who accept that there will be Catholics in heaven.  Sorry guys.  I asked a serious Catholic I know if he could accept Ephesians 2:8.
(Ephesians 2:8 KJV)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
He thought a moment and said, “Yes.”  He may understand grace differently but he still believes that we are saved by the power of God and the Blood.

But, and it is a big “but,” he has been taught that the final arbitrator is the church, not the Word.  The church would say it’s doctrines are based on the word but the tradition and authority of the church is the final hammer.  When the pope speaks ex cathedra he is the official voice of God.  As Al Gore likes to say about global warming, “the discussion is over.”  But Al is not really the pope, he just thinks he is.  Unlike Al Gore, the popes usually exercise great care in speaking for God.  They do not do it every day.  They think about it and seek counsel.  But the pope still has the final word on the Word.

Reason still exists, but again the reason of the church drowns out the reason of the laity.

The differences between these groups is not acknowledging the three legs of the spiritual stool, it is a disagreement over which one has priority.

Next I will look at the groups outside the fold of the Christian faith.

homo unius libri

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.