Reformation and the Church

Hi my Orthodox brothers,

I was watching tv a few days ago, when I saw a protestant man (don't know his exact denomination) talking about Christianity and Reformation.

I'm still thinking how to refute a point he made. His point was something like: The Reformation was necessary because the church was corrupted with its hierarchy, there should be no hierarchy in the church (e.g. no Bishops and Pope), because the Bible does not speak about hierarchy, and it does not speak about an institutional church.

Another question, he also said that some texts within the Bible were not holy. Specifically, the Revelation of Johannes the Evangelist. He said that it was unholy because it was very violent and wrong etc etc. How to refute this statement? And is your view that every book of the Bible is completely holy?

What is your view/ the Coptic Orthodox Church's view on this?

God bless you all,

thanks in advance :)

Excuse me Fr. Peter. I just read this

As moderator I would like us to call a halt to the discussion of protestants at the moment.

Please let us discuss our own weaknesses and failings and how to overcome them rather than the situation that others may be in.

Thank you

Father Peter

If you feel the need to close it and reopen it later, be my guest.


  • He is correct, there was corruption in the church. There will be in any church, God forbid. This does not however mean that the church itself is bad or the doctrines are bad or evil. St Paul, forgive me I do not know the verse, in one of his epistles speaks of Bishops, Presbyter (priests), and deacons and what is expected of them, so he is wrong on his argument that the bible speaks of no heirarchal church any church with Christ at its head is a heirarchal church. Mt 16:18 shows us that Christ established His church, "that even the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". This literally means that there should be a church from then to now. Eliminating protestants as they are only about 500 years old at best.

    The Apocalypse is a difficult book, no doubt about that but it is not evil. There was and has been controversy over it in the early church, St. Dionysius the Great believed that it wasnt even written by St. John the Evangelist, although he offered no proof as to why. I dont think it should be condemned for any reason, but it should be read only with the help of the early church fathers or your Abouna. This is why we only read this book once a year, because of all the controversy surrounding it. I actually study this book, and will probably be studying it the rest of my life, mostly because I am incapable of understanding it correctly and its enigmatic nature. If his opinion is "it is bad" well that is his personal opinion. Many protestants have a difficult time with this book because many of these denominations take a literal approach to scripture, this book cannot be interpreted that way only. Hopefully this helps a bit.

    Another thing, you have to remember Protestantism was founded not by Christ but by men. Orthodox believe you cant just make a church. This man seems to have made himself his own authority, which is common amongst evangelical protestants, and protestants in america period. So he feels he has the Holy Spirit and can make judgements like these. Its amazing, God tells him one thing and us another, well who is right?
  • if there was no hierarchy in the church there would be no order. period. just like you see self-ordained pastors in almost all of the protestant denominations, its chaos with no real communion with other churches, even those of the same denomination.
    and about the other point about the Book of Revelations. EVERY WORD in the Holy Bible is HOLY! it is the inspired Word of God, and as we say in the creed, "We believe in the Holy Spirit....who spoke through the prophets..."

    God Bless and please pray for me and my weakness
  • Ioannes is right to say that this man is an example of how it goes very wrong when a man establishes himself as the head of his little Church.

    But this preacher is not from any of the mainstream groups by the sound of it.

    In fact at the time of the 'reformation' there was a need for some elimination of abuses in the Roman Catholic Church, and after the protestant reformation the catholics themselves dealt with many of the abuses in their own communion. It was possible to buy forgiveness of sins, many priests and bishops never visited the places they were responsible for, people could not easily understand the language of worship and the Bible was generally forbidden to ordinary people.

    But Ioannes is wrong to say Protestantism was not founded by Christ but by men, because Protestantism is a sociological word used to describe many groups and there is no such Church as the Protestant Church. It is certainly man made, I agree with Ioanness on that point, but it is not fair to describe it therefore as never with a good intention. I also believe that we need to remember that many groups in the past - not so much over the last 100 years - but many groups were formed by people earnestly seeking a closer walk with God WHO HAD NO CHANCE OF BECOMING ORTHODOX. When the Methodists started they were a group of Episcopalians who wanted to be 110% committed to Christ, and when they didn't fit in and were persecuted they very reluctantly started their own communion. They were not trying to start a new Church - and no Orthodox Christian missionaries had gone to England to teach them the fulness of our Faith.

    Another group which started by accident was the Salvation Army. Their founder was also an Episcopalian who had a burden on his heart of caring for the poorest and most despised people in the cities of England. His missionary work was successful but the well off people in the Churches didn't want smelly poor people sitting near them so he was forced to hold meetings separately. He never wanted to start a new Church and had never met an Orthodox missionary.

    All of these people failed to find the fulness of our Orthodox Faith, and the things they taught were mixed with error. But it is not fair for Ioannes to speak as though all of these people wilfully desired to start a new Church, and since no Orthodox missionaries had ever gone to England to teach them the truth I am not sure how Ioannes can blame them for not having become Orthodox.

    This does not excuse those men, such as the one you heard, who set themselves up as an authority. But once again I would reject Ioannes description of all Protestants in all times and places as being the same. They are not, and never have been, even though they are all, as the Roman Catholic Church, teaching a faith which is truth mixed with error. The most deviant groups tend to be those which are newest. The older groups sought to be corrections of Catholicism and hold more doctrines which are Orthodox. At the other end of the scale some groups verge into being cults.

    As for the Book of Revelation, there are few Protestants who reject it. Very few. So this man is an oddball in a great many respects and does not represent even the mainstream of Protestant groups. It is not fair to observe the worst of any group of people and assume that everyone is like him. Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, indeed every Protestant I have ever met in my life accepts the Book of Revelation.

    Father Peter
  • The factual aspect of Hierarchies is found throughout the Holy Bible:

    1.  The Old Testament:  the Pentateuch
    2.  The Books of Kings
    3.  The Four Gospels
    4.  The Book of the Acts of the Apostles
    5.  Most of the Epistles of St. Paul, especially those to Timothy I & II, Hebrews

    This guy sounds like he never read the Bible.
  • BTW, if that minister has difficulty with the Heavenly Book of Revelation, then he must have a problem with the Book of Ezekiel.
  • I actually blame the earlier reformers Fr. Peter. Its not like the Orthodox and RCC had no contact, just before the reformation St Mark of Ephesus took them on in the council of florence. Martin Luther knew full well that the Orthodox Church existed, he was a priestmonk, and he was not stupid by any means. So in a sense people like Luther, Calvin, Zwingli etc. are responsible for this horrible mess. One could also place some blame on the RCC for caring more about power than actually adminstering to the people.

    In this day in age there really isnt many excuses for not knowing the Orthodox church. If your truly listening to the Holy Spirit how can you not be led to the true church? We have more resources now than ever before, at the touch of a button we can get just about any information. While Fr. Peter and I disagree on this point, thats fine, what we all need to understand that mixing these are not a good thing. If we mix with their ideologies we could possibly taint ours, and being flawed human beings that is a good possibility.
Sign In or Register to comment.