Home Forums HIST 101: Pentecost to 313 HIST 101: Lesson 4 (Sample)

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    • #7723
      Julian Roberts
      Participant

      In a multitude of doctrinal teachings, how would an apologist have known which teachings were Orthodox?

    • #8318
      kamiciccanti
      Participant

      I guess I would want to first assume that the question is referring to early Christian apologists because it is so easy for present apologists and even apologists of the most recent preceding centuries to determine which teachings are and are not Orthodox. When the Traditions of the Church were originally being formed by early Christian apologists and Fathers, though, I guess I would assume that they lived the faith in a way that we are no longer really able to. When you live the faith, you just know the faith. I think heresies are rooted in spiritual and mental infirmities, so people like Arios or Nestorios who were originally part of the true Christianity must have had this sort of infirmity. But early defenders of and apologists for the Faith were living the Faith, and knew God in the way Saint Paul said he wanted to know Him.

      • #8377
        Grace612
        Participant

        Is it always easy for present apologists to determine which teachings are and aren’t orthodox? Perhaps I am just blown around like a leaf in the wind too often, but I feel like sometimes things can get so confusing when you have such varying perspectives, and it’s hard to know what to think. Though, I suppose the easiest way to test the spirit and know if it’s rooted in orthodoxy or not is to look back at our long history of orthodox men and women; did any of them agree or dispute the topic in question? That is how we can today, I guess. Back then, perhaps it was more, as you are saying, from first-hand knowledge? If Jesus taught His disciples what orthodoxy looked like, and rooted them in the Christian faith, then they taught more people, and so on; I think the apologists *always* had somebody to look back at and ask questions/reflect on/with, right? Whether that was Jesus Himself or their elder or spiritual father if they used that term back then.

    • #8368
      Jacob Inzerillo
      Participant

      An apologist would know what teachings were Orthodox by examining what beliefs and traditions were universally practiced. If something wasn’t universally believed in or practiced, then there might be an issue/heresy there.

      • #8380
        Grace612
        Participant

        If traditions are universal and everyone agrees on them, it is clearly in accordance with the heart of orthodoxy. Though, I wonder how the early apologists would have accomplished this. It’s not like they could google what saints say on the matter! They would have had to inquire for some time, I would imagine, write letters, and study the outcomes of the churches and parishioners who followed certain paths, for example, maybe in the partaking of the Eucharist. Many of the people were sick and even dying after partaking; how did they figure out why? Did they ask God directly? Did they inquire with those sick how they were living? Or discerned from the outside that they were not participating in the fullness of the Church or seeking God truly but merely taking action steps without any true heart? I wonder. So if you are an apologist trying to teach people how to prepare for the eucharist and the depth of this reality, where did you start as an early apologist? How did you gather information and determine the best way to speak on this? Perhaps they simply had lots of help from the Holy Spirit, and I am overthinking it. :)

    • #8376
      Grace612
      Participant

      We face this today as well! Certainly, I do, at least. Converts to the faith, or those who are not rooted in orthodoxy and have the discernment to know what teachings fit the orthodox ethos and which ones do not. This is where the word Phronema comes into play, I would think. To have the mindset of orthodoxy, a mind that is rooted in Christ’s teachings and the Spirit of God, if you know God, you will recognize when something is not of God. I was told once, “How do you know if a $100 is counterfeit? You study the real thing. Same with orthodoxy, study the real thing, and when you come across something that isn’t, you will be able to recognize this. To have the orthodox phronema, you must be immersed in the life of the church, the teachings of the church, and the lifestyle of a Christian! This is why Sunday church attendance solely has never been a thing. Of course, some people *cannot* attend more frequently, but there are akathists and services at home that can be done! There are options. We should never forget God. Every day as much as we can, we should pray and behave, to the best of our abilities, like a Child of God and *not* of the evil one. I constantly tell things like this to the kiddos I nanny. One hits the other, and I say, “Was that an action for God? Or for the evil one?” And I let them identify *who* they are in a relationship with when they behave like that.

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