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Millenium - Peter Cvek - 25-06-2012

... Does a belief in a literal millenial reign of Christ on a rejuvenated earth disqualify one from acceptance and entry into the Eastern Orthodox Church, particularly the Coptic? I have heard the following arguments presented by Copts on the subject: (Bishop Irenaeus of Lyons, who claimed that the Apostle John wrote his Gospel to refute Cerinthus ( including Cerinthus' abuse of the teaching and reality of Chiliasm), is, along with Justyn Martyr and Barnabas and Hippolytus, my main port of call in holding to the belief that a literal kingdom will be established in the near future, yet one that will certainly NOT be ushered in by us).

a) Coptic Christians believe that when Jesus claimed that His " Kingdom was not of this world" he was refuting any claims to a millenial kingdom, yet at the same time claim that the " millenial kingdom" which is clearly depicted in the Apocalypse, lasts NOT 1000 years but 2000 years, namely, from the crucifixion and resurrection until about now.. ( This does not appear logical, since with one hand the possibility of a millenial reign is refuted, yet with the other it is said to last 2000 years);
b) Coptic Christians believe that Chiliasm is somehow equated solely with the kingdom-ushering-in teachings of the Gnostic heretic Cerinthus;
c) Coptic Christians do not differentiate between the promises given to the literal Jews who, as the Apostle Paul tells us, are " dear to the Father" ( the " apple of His eye" infact), whereas we are " dear to the Son", which said promises concern a LITERAL restoration of the jews ( which has occured), and a literal millenial reign on earth ( in the millenial " Kingdom of the Father", which is a literal kingdom on earth, as opposed to the spiritual kingdom of " the Son" of which Christ spoke of as not being of this world);
d) Coptic Christians do not believe that when we pray the Lord's Prayer we are at every instant remembering and affirming the truth of a coming " Kingdom of the Father" where His will is done on Earth as it is in Heaven ( this has not occured over the last 2000 years, as history affirms)...

Could you please address my above observations and confirm whether holding to pure Chiliasm as taught by the Apostle John, by Barnabas, by Hippolytus, by Irenaeus and by Papias and Justyn Martyr, excludes me from acceptance and entry into the Coptic Orthodox Communion... In Sincerity.... Peter Cvek..

RE: Millenium - Dougherty - 26-06-2012

good luck, lol the Orthodox church in general is "amill" not in the same form as the protestant groups version but close enough. The early church was a mix of chiliasts like you named and "amill" and it was never really addressed until later on, Andrew of Caesaria wrote the first orthodox approved exegesis on the apocalypse and from his words on chiliasm disappeared now the non-chiliast view is the orthodox view, this however does not necessarily mean that you must blindly believe it. I am still struggling with my eschatology, I would say that the best thing you could do is make it a priority and a struggle to seek out why The Church holds this opinion and why you should this can take a life time but it shouldn't be something that keeps you outside of the faith. I dont think at least, maybe someone else would disagree though.

RE: Millenium - Peter Cvek - 26-06-2012

...Thank you for the reply.. For many years I battled with Eschatology also, and came to the conclusions I did solely from the almost universal assent given to pure Chiliasm by the ante-Nicene Fathers... It seems there were in the main three contributing factors which determined the eventual demise of the early view of the Fathers... The first ofcourse, was the heretic Cerinthus and his almost " fifth monarchist/ Camisard" view ( from what little we know of it) of the millenium; the second concerns the Septuagint chronology, which was much longer than the Hebrew and did not allow a millenial fulfillment past @ 600 AD.. When that era came and went without a Kingdom realized, the entire doctrine was abandoned and discarded; the third concerned the victories of the visible church from the time of Constantine, when it grew fat and comfortable in the world and thought that the Kingdom " had arrived", or was surely about to. To discard the pure Chiliast view and to persecute it on behalf of such a rejection, would be an ignoble slight on the earliest testimonies of the Fathers, to whose labors the post-Nicene Fathers owe much, if not almost everything... If there is anyone who is certain that I could not be admitted into the Coptic Orthodox Fold holding these primordial beliefs, please inform me of the fact, so that my exertions and sincere enquiries are no longer wasted... Peter Cvek...

RE: Millenium - Dougherty - 26-06-2012

i think you are being a little narrow in your perspective, i dont mean to discredit you but you give off the idea that all the early fathers were agreed on this, even St Irenaeus confirms that many others did not hold his view, there were equally just as many non chiliasts from credible early fathers... the reason it came to be what it is now cannot be so simple as that but keep wrestling with it!

RE: Millenium - Peter Cvek - 26-06-2012

Brother.. I understand what you are saying and do not disparage others who hold, as Irenaeus depicted, to other views.. In my mind at least, it is a view which I find has greater certainty and basis in Biblical fact than the others.. I merely need to know if it barrs me from being admitted into the Coptic Orthodox Church.. I shall not be offended if it does, but would greatly appreciate specific honesty on the matter from anyone who is certain of the outcome..

RE: Millenium - DanielM - 26-06-2012

Hi Peter.

I have seen you having the same discussions on other forums and believe that i share their view on this issue. Chiliasm was condemned at Constantinople in 381 and later also as Ephesus as simply superstition. The Creed itself states 'And his Kingdom shall have no end' so we are not ignorant to Eschatology, we just see there as being more important things like striving for salvation itself.

I personally see Nit-Picking about Eschatology to be irrelivent and more accustomed to some ranting Baptist and his 'I know God better than you' style than an Orthodox Community. We should be living for our salvation, rather than spending our time unprayerfully trying to analyse God's plans in human terms. It is much like the Buddhist Parable about the man shot by an arrow; he spent so much time pondering where the wood came from and this led to him neglecting taking it out, and so he died.

Nit-picking about the mechanics of salvation is not a large field in Orthodoxy because we accept that God's will is God's and the best that we can do is prepare ourselves through Orthodoxy and Orthopraxis. The rationalisation of God is less healthful to our spiritual lives as it takes away from the life of prayer.

To conclude, I do not see your personal eschatological viewpoint as taking away from any ability to join the Orthodox Church but share the concerns of the Monachos community. If you wish to be Orthodox it should be because you Love God or wish to Love God and see the Sacramental life of Prayer and Orthodox Practice to be vital in this. You should not be seeking to join the Orthodox Church based on a view of Eschatology or a wish to follow that, only for God.

RE: Millenium - Peter Cvek - 26-06-2012

DanielM...I consider your answer as not so much a calumny against me, but against the memory of the blessed saints and martyrs whose legacy you disparage with your one-sided dismissal.. It is the legacy of those saints who believed in the same as I do, yet whose memory cannot be erased from true Orthodoxy, nor ever will be, since their worth is far greater than you are able to fathom.. Orthodoxy was shaped by the very men and saints which you so easily, and with one fell swoop, condemn. It is very easy to dismiss and have nothing better to replace the object of scorn with, excepting vaguaries and nuances about " ranting Baptists" etc.etc. It only displays a fear and threat of something not entirely understood, and obviously tainted by the brush of feared abuses that harbour superficial similarities, including superstitions... The Coptic and Eastern Orthodox church has learned the power of slander by being for so long victims of it under the faulty accussation of Monophysitism.. Yet from what I can see, the persecuted has become the persecutor in your case, and proceeds to cast stones whilst clutching with some uncertainty to the broken reed of Egypt: the security of this world's esteem, including the consensus of ecumenical councils ( which have been proven to be wrong at times by Chalcedon)..Once this reed, this arrow which you so surely lean on now breaks, you will no doubt learn that on the day of reckoning there is no consensus, nor safety in numbers... Peter Cvek.

RE: Millenium - DanielM - 27-06-2012

Dear Peter,

Your response confuses me, as it appears that you have come onto this forum to ask about the view on a specific issue but clearly have a view which would not be shaken. It also appears that the same has occurred on other sites where you have formed rants against all who disagree. With this in mind I ask, are you actually hear to ask if we accept you as someone willing to join the Church and thus learn of the Orthodox Faith (which you would as a Catechumen) or purely here to argue against the very faith you are enquiring about?

You asked about Chiliasm and I answered, it was condemned at two councils whch we accept, and therefore not accepted by the Church. You seem to have an issue with the authority of the Church on these matters and quite simply, Councilar authority overwrites the view of a single saint when it comes to doctrine, otherwise we would be accepting the Augustinian view of Original Sin and other views which the EO and OO see as incorrect, though expoused by some who are saints.

When you said "Orthodoxy was shaped by the very men and saints which you so easily, and with one fell swoop, condemn." I agree, I have the highest regard for the Saint. The key here is that I am not condemning a Saint but pointing out the Counciliar (and therefore doctrinally accepted) view on this. If anyone, it is you insulting the Church whose foundation is set on the Faith of the Three Councils accepted by the OO by putting the views of singular figures, however Holy, above her.

As for the comments on my regarding the asking of the question before anything else, it was simply an observation. In Orthodoxy, love of God, the Bride of Christ (His Church) and the Sacramental life should be what you are asking yourself rather than just stating your view on Salvation Mechanics and being angry if the Church does not share them, or others in the Church have a view contrary to your own. Need I remind you that you were the one here asking for a view from others.

Finally, in my opinion as a humble sinner, accusations, threats and abuse are not accepted in this forum and comments like "Once this reed, this arrow which you so surely lean on now breaks, you will no doubt learn that on the day of reckoning there is no consensus, nor safety in numbers" with regards to my acceptence of the Church's teachings are not appropriate for someone asking whether they are suitable for the Orthodox Faith. We are all brothers in Christ and in the Church here, so to insult someone for accepting the Doctrinal position on a matter is to insult the Bride of Christ.

In Christ, Daniel

RE: Millenium - Dougherty - 27-06-2012

WE honor and venerate St Augustine yet reject the vast majority of his erroneous teachings because they are false, this is the same thing no one is condemning the saints but that particular view has been rejected. and as Dan mentioned earlier, and to me on many occasions :-P, these things arent really the important factor for this life. I still believe they are important to struggle with but its not worth the accusations you make, St Irenaeus never spoke in that manner of his contemporaries with differing views... he does however speak adamantly against those who stand against The Church... BTW you ust had to use Baptist :-p

RE: Millenium - Peter Cvek - 27-06-2012

DanielM..To claim that Orthodoxy is defined simply and only by councils is to sound the death knell of the Coptic, Eastern and Oriental churches, since they were branded as heretics and must succumb to the voice of the Ecumenical Church... My reference to the broken reed of Egypt and the arrow was not a threat but a scorn of a Buddhist proverb that has no application to the situation, as well as a reminder that there will be no council representation on the day of reckoning, but all will have to stand and answer as individuals having " examined THEMSELVES daily to see if they be in the Faith"...I assure you there is no animosity or anger, though there IS great disatisfaction with the slurs directed against the truly Orthodox Fathers of the 2nd century, which have NEVER been anathematised as heretics, as Cerinthus and Montanus were..Since they have yet to be anathematised, regardless of whether one may or may be accepted as a Catachumen for holding their beliefs, in reality there is currently NO grounds for heresy in reference to the chiliasm of the undivided 2nd century Orthodox Church. In a nutshell, though those who hold the keys may wilfully bar entry to those that do not, they do so unlawfully and contrary to undivided Orthodoxy.. I am claiming that to bar an earnest believer from the life of Orthodoxy on the grounds of a presumed yet undeclared anathema of the Fathers ( including Saint John) is unjust and unChristian, as well as contrary to Scripture and Orthodoxy itself. Montanistic theories of "progressive development and revelation" are equally contraventions of Orthodoxy, yet you appear to subscribe to both.. Your arguments remain circular and unconvincing, and for these reasons one must ask whether you would wish to cast the first stone of anathema( in order to cement with any degree of authority the charge of heresy) against the Fathers of the undivided Orthodox church of the 2nd century, yourself..Until you do, your answer lacks all authority and smack only of wilfullness and disobedience.. Peter Cvek

RE: Millenium - DanielM - 27-06-2012

I will end this discussion and in fact use a quote from a member of Monachos you are playing the exact same "your answer lacks all authority" statement with by saying:

1) The authoritative blow in regards to chiliasm was already delivered 1700 years ago but it seems like you are the one who is not convinced in your mind.

2) I already explained to you that if it is between your mind (as lofty, educated and holy as it may be) and the mind of the Church, you lose - every time.

3) If you cannot accept this, then you are not ready to become Orthodox, as this is the first step in humility one must have enter into the Church which is the Body of Christ.

Therefore it is you who is in "willful disobedience" by disgregarding the Church who 1700 years ago labelled the view you espouse as incorrect by the Church's teaching. I do not slur against the fathers, I admit that they sometimes have views which are incorrect, as Augustine, but this does not make them heretical but human.

I am again confused by your point in this, you wish to be part of the Orthodox faith but do not accept it to the point that you are in fact criticising it? Decide whether you are willing to believe in the Orthodox faith, then if you wish to accept it, come back.

RE: Millenium - Peter Cvek - 28-06-2012

Since we are cross-referencing forums, please allow me to convey the latest:

I maintain the following: that any blow delivered to Chiliasm was delivered only and solely to the faulty Chiliasm of Cerinthus and Montanus.. To deny a place in Orthodoxy to the almost universal Chiliasm of the 2nd century Orthodoxy, is to misuse the office of the keys and to commit horrible transgression against the memory of the Martyrs and Saints of Orthodoxy who have NEVER been anathematized for their beliefs formally as heretics.

I maintain that this largely due to subsequent ignorance, intolerance and bigotry, and that it was not the intention of the early councils to throw out the baby with the bathwater, and that for this reason they did not openly condemn pure Chiliasm of the 2nd Century, nor anathematize its Saintly and Orthodox adherents.

I maintain that the tolerance toward those who did not accept Chiliasm, as depicted by Justyn Martyr and Irenaeus, during the 2nd century ( who were in the vast minority then as Chiliasts are now) ought to be reciprocated now, unless Bishops are prepared to openly anathematize the ancient Orthodox Church of the 2nd and 3rd century and its Orthodox Bishops and adherents such as Hippolytus and Irenaeus.

I maintain that to bar entry into the life of Orthodoxy to those who hold Orthodox Chiliastic belief is unbrotherly, uncharitable, bigoted and hypocritical, since the councils ONLY dealt with proclaimed heresies, namely and primarily that of Cerinthus and Montanus, and would not dare slander the doctrines and memory of the 2nd and 3rd century Saints who were Chiliasts and entirely Orthodox,and whose charitable acceptance as Orthodox brothers of those who held differing beliefs, even when they were at the time a minority, ought and must be replicated for true and undivided Orthodoxy to be evident.

PS: as for " lofty mind, educated, and holy" I must thank you for the flattery ( though I can be said to be " none of the above, at least for the time being"), but I am afraid it will get you nowhere... Peter Cvek

RE: Millenium - Dougherty - 28-06-2012

Peter your question has been answered there is no need for you to continue this conversation its pointless you are trying to change an unchanging church. I came across that forum and found you to have the same "arguments" as most protestants you take the symbolic for literal and the literal for symbolic, for instance according to you God only owned 1000 cattle on 1000 hills... and those are probably dead by now since David was the one who said that so He now has nothing... Its absurdity, 1000 often, not every time, but often represents many... things like this to get caught up on is pointless and unfruitful you ignored my last comments and honestly i dont really see anyone else carrying this on with you as you brought a question and it was answered very clearly... If you want to be IN the Church you must submit TO the Church the saints you quote werent in violation of the church in thier time it wasnt a real big issue. since it wasnt addressed many bad things came out of it almost to the point that the Apocalypse was not canonized... the church was forced to make a stand and come to an agreement on doctrine and God led her to the way she is, if you dont want to submit to that then go elsewhere its simple... like i said i still struggle very much with the same concept and i will continue until the wisdom of the Church is revealed to me...

RE: Millenium - DanielM - 28-06-2012

Dear Peter, nobody is being ignorant or barring your way into the Church. You are more than welcome to visit a church, attend its liturgies and learn the faith as any inquirer (and later catechumen) would but in doing so you must come to understand the orthodox position and enter God's Church with humility and in the faith of the church, which is something you are not demonstrating in your posts here.

It is your refusal to accept that the view your propagate is not the faith of the Church (something we have explained countless times for you) that is creating a problem, not the churches position, since instead of considering the Orthodox Church through a demonstration of acceping the faith held it, you persist to try and justify a non-orthodox view and steal your way into the church rather than entering into it as all others do. In this way, your original post in asking whether your view would be problematic becomes irrelevant as it seems you never intended to accept the answer given in the first place.

Your question as to your view has been answered repeatedly and still you persist in trying to justify the case you came to ask for the orthodox view on. You asked if the interpretation is Orthodox, we said no and now you expect us to change our minds because you cannot accept the answer.

Now, as I said before. Consider whether it is your own doctrine you wish to pursue or that of the church. If you decide to at least demonstrate a willingness to follow the teachings of the Church you would be more than welcome but if you do not wish this then you have no need to pursue this matter on an orthodox forum any longer.

This Thread Has Been Closed. The question posed has been answered a few times by multiple users so there is no need for it to continue. If people wish for this discussion to continue they can start a new thread.