Originally Posted by NateR
So, how is that different from the situation today, where people will read commentaries, Bible studies, devotionals, books about the Bible, pseudo-religious books, song lyrics, etc. without ever actually reading the Bible?
Either way, your facts aren't accurate. The early Church had a Bible. We call it the Old Testament, but they called it the Holy Scriptures. The Gospel was preached directly out of the Old Testament in the earliest days, before the New Testament was written.
Also, you seem to be leaving the key player out of the equation: The Holy Spirit. All Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit and all Scripture was given by direct revelation from GOD. So, if the Holy Spirit is working in someone, then they will have no problem discerning truth from lie. If the Holy Spirit is not working in a person's life, then they will be dragged away by their own lusts and desires.
So, for you to say that we wouldn't be able to know what was truth and what wasn't back in the first and second century, is nonsense. In fact, with the level of persecution that the early Church suffered, I would venture to say that their faith was stronger than ours is right now.
I was hoping you would bring that up.
So Nathan...explain to me how it is possible, for what you consider a "small cult" of repackaged pagans...were guided enough by the Holy Spirit, that you believe, whilst they were not Christian at the time, and are not Christian now...Yet GOD still guided THEM into selecting which drafts went into Holy Scripture and which did not to create an entire Testament...that YOU ACCEPT
It surely isnt logical, for you to banish Roman Catholicism from Christianity...and then claim it was The Holy Spirit that guided their pagen councils into the New Testament.
Whilst YOU see the difference between Scripture and Christian themed works...dont suppose the Early Church did...Remember EACH DOCUMENT brought to the Councils for possible inclusion WAS ALREADY CONSIDERED WORTHEY BY THE FACTION THAT BOUGHT IT FOR CONSIDERATION IN THE FIRST PLACE
You are right that they all used the Old Testament...but what you dont seem to get is...they all had DIFFERENT NEW TESTAMENTS essentially...and on top of that you admit that only those with the Spirit can detect which of those Testaments are true...but you shun the ONLY institution to have EVER done that in a uniform manner.
Let me put it this way...There are Bibles within some of the Orthodox Traditions that DO NOT Accept the Roman Compilation.
Lets make this even more hard for you...Ever heard of The Jewish Reformation? because your Old Testament is MISSING SOME BOOKS why? coz the Jews changed their minds on what was and was not Scripture and deleted a few books, which Rome had already accepted!
Thats why you get the Apokrapha...Rome didnt know whether to say "hey these are scriptures coz the Jews first believed them" or "no these arent scriptures coz the Jews changed their minds"
CAN you change your mind on Scripture???
That section is not to be confused with Apokraphal Texts in general, which are the fragments taken as Gospel by various different factions of the Early Church...but dismissed by Rome!
YOU niether believe what the Pre Jewish Reformational Jews Believe..NOR Do you Believe EVERYTHING the Early Church Believe.
You have chosen to believe ONLY what Rome has told you...and then have the gall to say they couldnt do it without the Spirit...but somehow did and are not Christian.
...and you think I am illogical at times