An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
Clifton has the story of a prominent evangelical returning to Rome. What I found interesting was the quote Clifton included by someone who decried this man's "apostasy" particularly this little gem:
This kind of thing is occurring with alarming regularity these days, due in large part to the post-modern, post-Christian abandonment of fidelity to truth (recall my last blog article on Timothy George). There are warning signs for this sort of thing, and they are not that difficult to detect. Do we really need to wait until someone follows through with his “exploratory” musings, all in the name of academic freedom, before we begin to call him to account?
I'm terribly interested in knowing what my signs were of impending apostasy from evangelicalism? No one called me to account...of course it was easier because I was leaving the episcopal religion and no one cares much to notice apostasy of any sort there.
But "abandonment of fidelity to truth" is an interesting phrase. In reality, the truths to which we have abandoned fidelity are simply truths comprised of a group of individuals' interpretation of the Bible. At what point does one become an evangelical apostate? If I believe in freewill? If I believe in total depravity? If I believe that the initial physical evidence for the baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues? If I believe we should not go to church on sundays? If I believe pre, post, or mid trib? If I believe in liturgy or free form worship? If I pray for health and wealth? If I believe Jesus suffered in hell? If I believe in literal hellfire? If I deny any of these? We could go on and on and on all day about ALL the different beliefs of "bible believing" people. It almost becomes laughable...and if I may say, THIS more than any notions of "post-modernism" plays a bigger role in conversions like mine and Dr. Beckwith.
We begin to see the obvious absurdity of "fidelity to truth" meaning fidelity to Sola Scriptura...plain and simple. Heck I've tried to understand "post-modernism" and I don't. People have tried to explain it to me and I usually glaze over and start looking for some beef jerky and a good IPA that might be sitting nearby.
Pilate asked Jesus: "What is Truth"...Jesus didn't say "my soon to be released book....well...umm..actually it may take a few hundred years to get it all compiled and somewhat agreed upon, but THAT's going to be some serious truth."
No...Truth is a person and fidelity to Him is altogether different. Ecclesiology and authority are the pivotal issues here...seeking truth within that context can by no means be called infidelity. Once we realize that Scripture IS tradition, evangelical apostasy is well on its way.
A question I have always had about Sola Scriptura is the following. Did Christ need to die on the cross given that the Bible exists? In Sola Scriptura, doesn't the Bible become the ark of one's salvation so to speak? Christ's death really isn't necessary is it? Another way to see this would be to say that Christ's death is incomplete without the Bible. If one can't know about Christ, then one cannot believe in Him.