Thursday, May 8, 2014

Confusing, or did I miss something ???

Yesterday, I received in the mail Chalcedon's magazine, Faith For All of Life (May/June 2014). The first article was "From the President", Mark R. Rushdoony, with the title: "Defenders of the Faith" (pp. 2,3, 25). This opening article is essentially a defense of "ecumenical" creeds and councils of "the first seven centuries of the church". The article begins with the following:

In its rejection of the Roman Catholic Church, modern Protestantism has sometimes erred by steering to the opposite extreme of an anarchistic repudiation of all the church accomplished before the Reformation...

There is a modern hostility to councils and creeds. Many wrongly suspect the creeds of Christendom came out of the ecclesiastical equivalent of the political "smoke-filled room," where a tiny cabal of churchmen decided to mold Christianity to their own preference...

The councils and creeds of the church were a very practical response to the need to clarify doctrines that were being challenged...

The focus of the controversies for the first seven centuries of the church was the incarnation of Christ. The reason this was a source of controversy was that in order to "fit" prevailing thought into Scripture, the Biblical teachings on the incarnation and the doctrine of the Trinity had to be rewritten.

This changed the gospel, of course, and was resisted. Far from an attempt to mold Christianity, the councils and creeds were a defense of what was often called the "apostolic tradition," by which was meant Biblical faith as understood and taught by the apostles.  (Page 2)

Aside from the somewhat annoying use of capitals when using the terms "Biblical" and "Scripture" while neglecting to do so for the term "church" (except with reference to the RCC), and an incorrect/narrow understanding of what "apostolic tradition" entailed in the early Church, we have a solid affirmation of the ecumenical creeds and councils of "the first seven centuries of the church". Though not stated, I would argue that this affirmation implicitly points to the work of the Holy Spirit in those ecumenical creeds and councils.

Mr. Rushdoony then goes on to contrast what he believes to be the most important distinction between the 'true' faith of Christianity with that of Greek philosophy: "the Creator-creature distinction" vs. "a continuity of being, where all being was seen as one, so that the difference between men and gods was only one of degree, not substance." (Pages 2,3)

Now, "a continuity of being, where all being was seen as one", is a description of monism. But, in the very next sentance, Mr. Rushdoony writes:

The Greek thought which dominated was dualistic. It held to at least two metaphysical realms, material and spirit.

This is quite confusing to me on two important points: first, most Christians embrace, "two metaphysical realms, material and spirit." And second, if Greek thought is predominately "dualistic", then how can it also be seen as, "a continuity of being, where all being was seen as one" ??? What am I missing here...

I would also like to mention that Mr. Rushdoony seems to be ignorant of the fact that the Bible and early Church Fathers held to a doctrine termed deification. This fact/issue further complicates stark metaphysical distinction that he attempts to affirm in his article. [See the threads at AF which delve into this doctrine, especially the last two: LINK.]

So in ending, I would like to ask yet once again: what have I missed ???

Grace and peace,