There is nothing new under the sun Christian denominations

I was reflecting a bit on Ecclesiastes “there is nothing new under the sun” and the various faith traditions.

Ecclesiastes 1:8 All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing. 9 That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which one might say, “See this, it is new”? Already it has existed for ages Which were before us. 11 There is no remembrance of [k]earlier things; And also of the [l]later things which will occur, There will be for them no remembrance Among those who will come [m]later still.

Overall, I came to these conclusions:

The Great Schism when the Church was split into Orthodox and Roman Catholic is pretty much similar to what happened when Israel was split into the ten tribes and two tribes. They started following two different kings.

Now, I don’t think the two different faith traditions will end up necessarily the same as Israel and Judah did, but the fracturing and dispute over authority is similar. While the RCC has a ‘pope’ as ‘king,’ Orthodox have ecumenical councils which I suppose don’t really fit the mold. So it’s not a perfect analogy.

Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Protestants, unfortunately, are like the time of Judges, which is probably a step backward without authority. God didn’t want Israel to have a king like the nations surrounding it, but they tended to be more righteous if they were under a righteous authority figure than being non-governed .

The Protestants tend to have less resiliency and constantly turn away to cultural idols, and the faithful ones keep praying that God brings “revival” (e.g. a judge) to save them.

Anyway, I didn’t think about it super hard, so it’s not perfect. But it is close I think.

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9 Responses to There is nothing new under the sun Christian denominations

  1. donalgraeme says:

    These are similar to my thoughts on the matter. The East/West split has left the Kingdom in a weaker state, at least here on earth. We should be united, and thus stronger, and thus better situated to fight the good fight. Alas we are not.

    As for Protestantism, I fully agree on the time of the Judges comparison. There is a specific quite from scripture which gets to the heart of it:

    25 In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes.

    (Judges 21:25)

    Protestantism is ultimately about just that- doing what is right in your own eyes. And since every man sees differently….

  2. jvangeld says:

    Well, there were 43 total kings from the time of Saul to the Babylonian captivity. Only seven of them “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” The rest of the kings actively led the people into idolatry. And the Major and Minor Prophets are largely about calling the kings and the people back to God. Meanwhile, there were 13 Judges. And, while their failings are recorded for us, they all removed idolatry from Israel while they ruled. I don’t remember, but one of them might have set up an idol later. But, really, the ~400 years under the judges had far more and lengthier periods of peace and righteousness than the ~400 years under the kings.

    Still, there can be no doubt that it is better to live after Pentecost than to live in those times.

  3. One of the reason Proverbs & Ecclesiastes is so hard for many Christians to deal with is the nature of Wisdom. Wisdom is of the Spirit, but it isn’t intelligence. That’s the mistake that Learned regularly make. You cannot use Logic to find your way to Wisdom, as Wisdom is granted by God and has to be desired & requested.

    Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
    in the markets she raises her voice;
    at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
    at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
    “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
    How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
    and fools hate knowledge?
    If you turn at my reproof,
    behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
    I will make my words known to you.

    Because I have called and you refused to listen,
    have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
    because you have ignored all my counsel
    and would have none of my reproof,
    I also will laugh at your calamity;
    I will mock when terror strikes you,
    when terror strikes you like a storm
    and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
    when distress and anguish come upon you.
    Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
    they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
    Because they hated knowledge
    and did not choose the fear of the LORD,
    would have none of my counsel
    and despised all my reproof,
    therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
    and have their fill of their own devices.
    For the simple are killed by their turning away,
    and the complacency of fools destroys them;
    but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
    and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

    Proverbs 1:20-33 ESV

    Reread that passage.

    Got that?

    Wisdom is of God, which means “Wisdom is”. Or, as I’ve worked down for a simple explanation: “Wisdom tells you What to do; Intelligence let’s you understand Why that was the right choice after the fact.” It’s a trap theologians constantly fall into, as they’re normally quite Intelligent but no one wants to Listen.

    That’s the core issue: for getting on near 2000 years, Christians really don’t want to listen. The darker truth is almost no one actually wants to listen. Listening requires self-control, but it also requires humility. You aren’t God; you cannot be God. Only the Christian, comfortable within the Spirit and their own skin, ever seems capable of reaching that point. That’s the starting point for what goes into the broader topic DS brought up.

    The actual answer for the problems within the Church is fairly simple. The Systems don’t work. It’s easier to understand with a Protestant Church. How much time, effort, money, energy and faith has go to into maintaining a building? Can you see the problem, just by asking that question?

    The Roman Catholic Church is functionally setup like an Empire. That’s the problem with it. The only way the RCC is coming back from complete disaster is to execute the Jesuits and a significant chunk of the leadership. That’s not a joke. In the outer parts of the world, the RCC is a Neo-Babel satanic influence agent. Which is something to be expected: they’re setup like an Empire, so they’re corrupted in the exact same way. (It’s also why their evangelism acted as little more than an infiltration scheme for the Great Powers at the time.)

    The Orthodox are setup along “national” lines, in the pre-Nation State sense. This is how they’ve maintained themselves, but then their ability to evangelize becomes constrained due to being functionally an extension of the Leadership of the Nation. The Russian Orthodox Church was brought to a heel in the 1700s by the Tsars. The Orthodox, thusly, will always survive because they’re so deeply intertwined with their nations, but that’s all that it becomes. Survival Christianity.

    Protestantism stems, again, from issues over Authority & Corruption. (This is an utterly repetitive theme with this topic.) What makes it so powerful, in the evangelizing aspect, is also what makes it fracture so much. It’s actually in the name. “Protest” against the corruption, which creates an amazing amount of energy to address problems. The issue, as with all Enlightenment-derived movements, is far too much energy & emotion and far too little planning. “Want” rather than “Set About To Do”.

    Compounding the problem with Protestantism is that it developed among the highest average IQ populations in history. That matters because little details are never dealt with because a Northern European population killed off anyone that would do quite a large collection of destructive things, so no one even thinks about certain issues. You can see this most in the Pentecostals & Charismatics, as they’ve done some amazing evangelism work and it all goes wrong really, really fast in the rest of the world. (Contentiousness & Self-Control being highly variant with IQ matters a lot more when you don’t come in with specific lists of do’s & don’t’s.)

    The general solution, since none of these are actually “working”, is reflected in a lot of the Asian churches right now. The church goes massively when it’s under stress and kept small. The “Church” needs to be structured to be self-replicating (the point of meeting is to praise the Lord and grow in Christ, not sit there and get lectured), high-trust and able to fail. Which is to say, actually listen to Paul and listen to Revelations 1-4.

  4. William Gould says:

    Martin Luther did not leave the Catholic Church. He was pushed.

  5. Lost Patrol says:

    Men are involved so the waters will get muddy. Great Schism was a thousand years on. While the Apostles yet lived the confusion had begun.

    St. Paul to the church at Corinth:

    Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”

    St. Paul to the church in Galatia:

    But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.

    St. Peter about Paul:

    Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

    Well then just trust your religious leaders. You mean like this guy?

    and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.

    Caiaphas is my high priest, and he says kill Him…

    What was a man supposed to do that time there were three simultaneous Popes?

    There’s just no room for smugness on the part of any of His followers, yet it always turns up.

  6. purge187 says:

    “Martin Luther did not leave the Catholic Church. He was pushed.”

    This, and thank God he was.

  7. earlthomas786 says:

    ‘Martin Luther did not leave the Catholic Church. He was pushed.’

    I believe the term is excommunicated.

  8. Novaseeker says:

    From my own perspective, I used to believe more strongly in Christian “reunion” (for lack of a better word) a decade or more ago than I do now. It isn’t that my mind has changed about it being a good thing for the church as a whole (and for the world), but I don’t see it as being particularly feasible. I used to think otherwise, but I have come to see things a bit differently, gradually, over the course of years. The differences are too great — and not necessarily due to what people think are “differences that matter”, if you will. It’s rather that the “way of being” has become too different as between the three main strands of Christianity such that even if formal differences were to be resolved at some stage (as unlikely as that may appear), the very different ways of being between the three strands would make any actual reunion rather difficult to actualize and achieve — and that’s even the case if you “leave out” the Protestant strand due to its fundamentally fissiparous nature. Even as between Catholics and Orthodox an actual reunified church (again assuming the formal issues were all resolved) is hard to imagine to me.

    I do think that greater knowledge of each other, and greater cooperation with each other, is a very good thing and something all Christians of any stripe can benefit from. Perhaps ultimately it is in being the church for the world in these various and different ways of being that we can help the world the most, given our divisions. I think this is also in line with what the Moscow Patriarchate has been proposing for Catholic/Orthodox cooperation in the European context, due to shared concerns about an increasingly hostile secularism, and I suppose this is the kind of thing we will see more of in the years ahead as well.

  9. Pingback: The Sirach on women | Christianity and masculinity

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