while people who seek to redefine doctrines that the church has believed since its inception are defended as heroes. In the meantime, no one wants to celebrate their church, or where they worship. They want to point out flaws in their own denomination, or belief system. They especially want to point out the flaws in others' belief systems.
I'm not meaning to be argumentative with this comment, but I've been pondering what you've said here and I have some thoughts. I think one of the things that is going on and why certain people are disenfranchised with the church is that there isn't that many denominations that are actually teaching doctrines that the church has believed since its inception.....being a more loving, merciful God, and a more community based Ecclesia. There are virtually none that hold close to what the very early church (pre Constantine) believed, and little in Western Christianity that is holding close to what the church before Augustine believed, and then even less that are holding close to what the church before Calvin believed in regards to the atonement.
1)Before Constantine and the Nicene Creed the church at large celebrated sabbath on Saturday beginning at Sundown on Friday night, like the Jews. They also held easter on passover instead of its current dating. They were not operating out of a heirarichal parish system.
2)Before Augustine the vast majority of the early church didn't child baptize...... why..... because they didn't believe in the Augustinian understanding of original sin, which is to be found (to varying degrees) in pretty much all of Western Christianity...... The pre-Augustinian church thought that mankind was basically good and became corrupted through their choice to sin, and was born with a free will and able to choose God..... they thought that we inherited "death" not a "sin nature" from Adam but were born into a world were sin abounded and could/would impact people to sin. The Eastern Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic, Celtic, Ethiopia Orthodox, Indian Orthodox churches still reject this doctrine..... Its only to be found in Roman Catholocism and its Protestant offshoots.
3) Before Augustine a good chunk of the church didn't believe in eternal torments, but instead of the sacrament of correction and purification.... Augustine was the first to dogmatically teach this doctrine. Augustine himself has said in his writings that "the mass of men believe that there will be an end to the torments"(he called them tender hearted doctors). The Eastern Church especially taught Apostastacasis (meaning the ultimate reconciliation of all - which is the Greek wording found in Peters sermon in Acts 3)..... this understanding was widespread amongst Christians who read, thought, and wrote in the Koine Greek language, which is of course the language of the original Biblical texts. The doctrine of Apostastacasis is slowly being restored to some of the church.
4 )Before Anselm the entire church believed in the Christus Victor view of the Atonement. The Penal Substitution view which is so dominant in Protestantism was completely foreign to the church, before Calvin. The Christus Victor view is still found amongst some Protestants, some Anglicans, and all the Orthodox branches.
5) Most (if not all) of the church did not believe in an ultra-literal interpretation of the scriptures until Christianity was influenced by the age of reason.
6) Until the 1800's the vast majority of Christianity believed in what is known as "historic preterism"... being that they thought that a good chunk of the prophecies that much of Christianity is currently throwing onto "end times doctrine" were fulfilled at 70 AD during the fall of Jerusalem and the temple. Also before this time rapture theology was unheard of.
7) The early church didn't use Icons....not that this is such a big deal... but it shows that even Orthodoxy has
made some changes..... they just haven't really made changes in the last thousand years or so.
8) Before the reformation ALL of Christianity was liturgical...... All of Christianity believed in the real presence during the Eucharist, and that it was a gracious life giving sacrament. That being said the very early church was closer to the Eastern Orthodox and Anglican understanding of the Eucharist than the Roman Catholic understanding.
That's just a few example touching on some huge huge doctrines. What I'm trying to get at.... is that there isn't one denomination (major at least) that Hasn't
got some form of changed doctrine. In fact there is little room in Christianity for someone who holds their doctrines and beliefs close to the Ante-Nicene church (Myself being one). But look at the changes I've listed (and there are a lot more than this)..... pretty much every change progressively leads to either a darker view of humanity, or a darker understanding of God being an angry tyrant.... instead of a loving, gracious,merciful, and yes just (true justice) father to humanity. So what do we do..... we just go to a church and learn when to shut up, and therefore not be considered a heretic for believing what a good chunk (in some docrtrines all) of the early Christians believed.
So a lot of what's sometimes seen as trying to redefine doctrines is actually trying to restore them (at least to those people).
I've probably said a little something here to tick off pretty much everybody
...... my point isn't about who is (or what is) right or wrong but merely that nobody is believing everything that the church has believed since its inception...... and some of these beliefs are reasons why people have left church.
Edited by Attica, 24 March 2012 - 12:15 AM.