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Geoffry - Argh! Auto reload in the middle of a response. I'll try to re-write it. First, it's impossible to "reform" Islam as I believe you mean it. Unlike in the Western (non-Patristic) world, Islam never accepted the idea of the supremacy of the human intellect. In other words, they never fell for "man as god." Unfortunately, this meant they stayed in the demonic religion they started with. So, no, it's not being "reformed" - it's being adhered to by those guys cutting off people's heads, raping women, and burning people. After all, there can be no reform as you, I think, understand it for Islam's revelatory methodology would never allow it. If everything Mohammed said and did was perfect, to question any of it would be to question the entire religion. As far as "enlightenment" goes: I disagree regarding your description of "tolerance," for that is certainly not what Western (non-Patristic) "enlightenment" has brought us to today. Making man god, the core of Western (non-Patristic) "enlightenment" has given us Marxism and more death than anything the "intolerant" Europe of the Middle Ages even did (see recent reporting re: Obama's drone attacks have killed more people the the centuries long Spanish Inquisition. And, by the bye, during the Inquisition, all over Europe, it was the *secular* courts who killed more people than the religious courts). Individual pursuit of "happiness" has produced just as much death and destruction - especially when the concept of "higher authority" is abandoned for the chaos of egocentrism.
Shrug - no, Ataturk did not. Turkey was founded on the same bloodthirsty Islamism that we're talking about today. With the chant "Turkey for the Turks!", the Turks slaughtered all non-Muslims they could get their hands on (it wasn't just the Armenians, they were just the largest non-Muslim population left to murder). And there is *ample* evidence that it was directed by Ataturk. Read "The Blight of Asia" for a good rundown of this through the focus on the inhuman slaughter at Smyrna. All of this was whitewashed and tolerated by the West who saw Turkey as a potential military and economic ally.
I agree regarding false Christs and false prophets. It happens every single minute of every single day - every time someone thinks they can just "open the Bible and discover the truth" by themselves as the Ethiopian eunuch was wise enough to avoid. The Word is Christ, but I don't think you understand why the Apostles chose to use that word Logos. I think you are confusing the Word with "words." I also think you have conveniently ignored verses like 1 Timothy 3, in which the Church is called the pillar and ground of Truth and Ephesians 3:10 wherein the Apostle tells us that it is through the Church that God's will is made known. I think you ignore the verses that clearly talk of a hierarchy for order and that order, not the chaos of radical egocentrism/individualism that is the heart and soul of Protestantism (and, truly, was begun by Rome). I think you are also ignorant of other first century writers, many of whom are mentioned in the Bible, who learned at the feet the Apostles and wrote while the Apostles still lived and many of whose writings were considered Scripture by many churches for many years. None of them describe a church as you have described it, but one that is consistent with a still existing church, the Church. I know, I was a Protestant for nearly 31 years, but history and the plain truth took me to the Church and away from the egocentrism of the Western (non-Patristic) traditions that are truly of man. For that is what Protestantism is - the triumph of the human will over the faith, the triumph of scholasticism, dualism, egocentrism . . . nothing more, nothing less. It took the faith and removed it from the Church, making it an ideology (whereas the Latins removed the Faith from the Church, making it an institution). Neither is the Body of Christ.
We won't agree, but you want to wade in anyway. That's fine! Hehehe . . . Re: James 2:24 - it's very plaint, and always has been understood as such. Nothing you've written is anywhere in Scripture. In fact, the NT tells us that with faith OR works, we have nothing without love. Acts tells to be saved we need to repent and be baptized. Or, maybe, just maybe, this is all encompassed within one concept that is original to the Church but has been lost long ago to the West (non-Patristic) thanks, in large part, to the influence of Aquinas. Christ is God's Word - the Logos. And you're ignoring what Christ said - that the Truth of who Christ is is what He builds His Church on. NOT His Scripture, NOT His "belief system" or "religion," nor His "loosely associated group of followers who more or less believe much of the same thing." The Church is called the Body of Christ for a Reason. You notice what isn't called the Body of Christ? Scripture. That is because the Body is more than words. No human form of communication can fully convey the Truth that is God. Notice Christ said *I* am the Truth, the Way, the Life - NOT "what I teach." He is speaking of a reality that transcends human communication. Scripture is God-breathed, but it is NOT God. Thus the totality of the Body, that which is the pillar and ground of Truth, is where lives the fullness of Truth insofar as man can comprehend and live it. The Scriptures are merely the highest written form of that Truth. And, as the NT, itself, tells us: the Church is the pillar and ground of Truth. THAT is the highest authority - not a man, or group of men, the Body of Christ as witnessed over the centuries that Christ, Himself, promised would not fall to the gates of hades (untruth, for untruth is death). By the bye, you're barking up the wrong tree re: the bishop of Rome. He is just a bishop like any other bishop. And you would rely on each man as a pope unto himself for your religion. We have less than 500 years to see what man and "bible alone" have created. And, you're right, the Apostles themselves need correction - and they went to the Church to get corrected, as St. Paul, himself, did in Galatians 2:2 (did you not read my citation of this?). He went to the Church to make sure he was teaching properly - not to Scripture, but to the Church, in which Scripture lives. Continued
Or let me clarify: the Reformers took the Latin mistake of making a single human responsible for the contents of the Faith and spread it around to everyone, individually. It was an expansion, not a correction of the Latin heresy of a "bishop of bishops," as St. Gregory the Dialogist once warned against. Further, the Latin heresies of ontological and epistemological dualism, popularized (though not necessarily created) by Thomas Aquinas were part and parcel of the Protestant outlook through the so-called Reformation (and the scholasticism and increasingly worldly outlook and theology).
Leaving aside the question of whether or not "reformation" as an inherently good thing for the moment, if we assume it is something desirable, it is not something that can happen in Islam. One of the core beliefs of Islam is that everything Mohammed said AND did was perfect, directly from God. Thus, if Muslims were to suddenly say "ok, it's NOT good to marry a 7 year old and then consummate that marriage when she turns 9," they'd have to condemn something Mohammed did. That is unacceptable within Islam because then you are questioning the very revelatory methodology of Islam itself, bringing the whole religion under scrutiny.
Shrug: sola fide is directly contradicted by scripture. (James 2:24). It introduces something new to the Faith, and inaccurately portrays the Faith. Sola scriptura is all but directly contradicted by Scripture (see Matthew 16:18 - Christ establishes His Church, not Scripture; Ephesians 4:4 - there is one faith, one baptism, one body [Body of Christ - Church, not Scripture]; 1 Timothy 3 where we are told that the Church is the pillar and ground of Truth, not that Scripture is - though Scripture is said to be *profitable* for reproof, correction and instruction in 2 Timothy 3, this is not the same thing being the pillar and ground of Truth; Ephesians 3:10, wherein it is said that it is through the Church that God's will is made known; Galatians 2:2, wherein St. Paul admits that even after 14 years he submitted (Greek: anatithemai) what he was teaching to the Church in Jerusalem to make sure he wasn't "running in vain," that is, teaching something incorrect - he doesn't say he consulted Scripture, but that he went to the Church for confirmation). The Reformation followed the Latin heresy of believing that an individual, through self-study and Scripture, could somehow "rid the faith" of mistakes, ignoring the lesson of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts who let's us know the he cannot know what Scripture means without someone to show him.
Fallacies/heresies: sola scriptura and sola fide top the list. The idea that the Faith had to be "reformed" (for Christ, Himself, promised that He would establish His Church so that the gates of hades - untruth - would not prevail against it. If it needed to be "reformed," that would mean that the gates of hades did prevail, making Christ a liar and the Holy Spirit a failure). The idea that man, of his own will, can determine the Faith (to varying degrees according to sect). Etc., etc., etc. Of course, not every one of these fallacies/heresies can be attributed to every single Protestant sect - but, then again, when you have tens of thousands of organized sects (and the millions of "my own definition of Christianity" types) it's impossible to see anything *but* chaos there. To be fair, much of this is simply the natural rot on the dead branch of Latinism (aka, Roman Catholicism), and none of it questions the sincerity or heartfelt honesty of any of those within these differing sects. That isn't the point, of course, but it is often made into the point these days. What I am questioning is Geoffrey's assertions regarding how the canon was closed (his assertion - by committee at the First Ecumenical Council) and his use of the terms "logic" and "rational." I was also, somewhat, questioning his implied assumption of a "lost Faith" when he asserted that the Reformation was an attempt to "return to the original text of the New Testament." What I, possibly mistakenly, assumed he meant by that was the common Protestant claim of "re-establishing" the "original Faith." This claim, too, I think is faulty.
I would have to disagree with many things you have written here. To start, the New Testament was not, in fact, "pieced together by committee at Nicea." The First Ecumenical Council did not address the closing of the canon. Nor, when the canon was closed was it done "by committee." Next, the Protestant Reformation was actually a fulfillment, a full realization, if you will, of what Rome started in the first place - the idea that man could determine the Faith. Not only that, but it introduced a host of heresies of its own (that were not just heresies but logical fallacies/inconsistencies as well). And then there's the opening remark about "logic" and "rational." These terms have become colloquialisms that really have lost all true meaning because there is always an assumed standard that, in the Western (non-Patristic) tradition usually harkens back to some watered down Christianity filtered through the egocentrism of the so-called Enlightenment. That way there are "standards" or "absolutes" but these have shifted and changed over the years as egocentrism has metastasized in the Western (non-Patristic) worldview. Logic and reason are only methodologies - systems of activity that need to work on starting assumptions. It is the starting assumptions that have to be examined. "Reformation" can be "proven" to anyone at any time - the question is what is the standard, i.e., what are the starting assumptions, that fuel the "reformation?"
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