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Posts 18
Christopher Grant | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, May 18 2019 4:04 PM

Which reference works (on or off logos) do you consider essential in either bible study or sermon prep?  Prior to getting Logos I would have listed:

  • Young's Analytical Concordance of the Bible
  • The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary
  • Catena Aurea 
  • A good English Dictionary
  • These Truths We Hold

Logos makes Young's somewhat redundant, and has allowed me to access more Patristic commentary directly, lessening the value of Catena Aurea.  It has also highlighted the deficiencies in the Patristic resources I own and in my language skills.  

Which reference works would you list?

Posts 583
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 22 2019 6:00 AM

Hi Christopher:

As a non expert, I like certain very basic books to help me.

From an article related to 9Marks we can see that there are different areas, that may require different resources:

I particularly like very much: (remember I am not formally trained)

https://www.logos.com/product/27749/survivors-guide-to-theology

Anchor Yale Dictionary, Old ISBE has some neat stuff,

 https://www.logos.com/product/4897/the-ways-of-our-god-an-approach-to-biblical-theology

https://www.logos.com/product/16107/dictionary-of-bible-themes

https://www.logos.com/product/8537/the-jewish-encyclopedia, 

Logos Pro Team had some recommendations on good resources for study, but I cannot find the exact article:

https://blog.logos.com/2016/04/top-bible-study-resources-picked-logos-pros/

In a similar article they listed:

https://www.logos.com/product/27277/new-dictionary-of-biblical-theology

In the forums, many persons have given recommendations for resources, an important one for me was:

https://www.logos.com/product/46349/lexham-glossary-of-theology

There are good Mobile ed courses that clarify many concepts, and that recommend good resources according to particular areas.

As you can see I am more drawn to Systematic Theology and topical studies.

One idea is for you to enter "Logos Pro Team" in the search box of Logos Talk blog site and explore what they have to say:

https://blog.logos.com/2016/01/5-ways-the-logos-pros-can-help-with-your-bible-study/

https://blog.logos.com/2010/10/improving_your_bible_study_with_dictionaries/

I have a collection with all my dictionaries / encyclopedias, and some suggested resources by the Logos Pro Team, and I use it to search for particular topics to get a rough idea of the conceptual envelope associated with it.

https://blog.logos.com/2016/12/people-really-studied-bibles-2017/

https://blog.logos.com/2015/07/how-to-grasp-the-flow-of-thought-in-a-passage/

https://blog.logos.com/2018/05/study-concept-senses-ring/

You must remember that many tools in Logos actually harness many resources to help you with the task at hand.

https://blog.logos.com/2017/07/find-every-eschatological-reference-entire-bible/

https://blog.logos.com/2017/07/use-bible-sense-lexicon-logos/

https://blog.logos.com/2017/06/find-everywhere-jesus-discusses-subject/

https://blog.logos.com/2017/06/search-connections-greek-english-bibles/

Then there are timeless classics like:

https://blog.logos.com/2014/07/logos-5-combine-clause-passage-list-and-ln-numbers-for-a-unique-search/

https://blog.logos.com/2014/06/how-do-you-use-logos-dave-moser/

As you can see, there are certain resources that are very good reference works. but Logos software is a platform that goes beyond that to provide tools, workflows, and the like that allow more to be done more effectively.

The amount of help from the Logos Pro Team and others is large and invaluable in tackling tasks suited to particular areas as depicted in the graphic above.

Hope some of the above info is of help to you.

Kind regards.

Posts 18
Christopher Grant | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 22 2019 3:38 PM

Thank you for the well thought out reply, Hamilton.  I will admit the intent was less to gather resources than generate discussion and traffic in the Orthodox products forum.  I appreciate your contribution. :)

Posts 583
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 24 2019 5:25 AM

Ok, sorry.

Any thoughts on good Orthodox systematic theology?

What are some of the key loci, that you think are missing in the systematic theologies of other traditions / denominations?

Tanks ahead of time for your input.

Posts 18
Christopher Grant | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 24 2019 11:15 AM

Well since theology is the study of God, I would have to say that the primary deficit in non-Orthodox books of theology (at least from an Orthodox perspective)  is that they are wrong.  

Also, Orthodoxy has never been overly concerned with systematically organizing anything.  It is probably the single most disorganized organized religion I've ever seen.  Having said that I would suggest

I have not read the last one, but it is highly regarded and may actually do more to explain how Orthodoxy views our interface with God, and the ultimate goal of the Christian life.  

Posts 583
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 24 2019 7:10 PM

Thanks for the recommendations.

Any particular recommendation on the topic of "indwelling of the Holy Spirit", and His relation to deification (theosis).

And do you know if Orthodox groups split over Spiritual gifts cessation vs continuationism?

Lastly, how do you go about moral theology? do you treat it as christian ethics part of philosophy?

Thanks ahead of time for you valuable input.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 25 2019 11:58 PM

Christopher Grant:
Which reference works (on or off logos) do you consider essential in either bible study or sermon prep?

For the Orthodox perspective, that is not an easy question. I would suggest:

  • the books of Johanna Manley as one thread to follow;
  • The commentaries of Theophylact of Ohrid are a definite must.
  • Kallistos Ware provides a methodology so anything that helps you implement that is a plus ... access to summaries of typology, liturgical documents, sermons ...
  • I've seen only a bit of the Chrysostom Bible project but it may deserve mention.

But remember that I am Catholic leaning towards the Eastern rites and I stick to English sources.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 26 2019 12:26 AM

Hamilton Ramos:
Any particular recommendation on the topic of "indwelling of the Holy Spirit", and His relation to deification (theosis).

Abiding in the Indwelling Trinity by George A Maloney S.J.  (an Eastern Rite Catholic who retired as Orthodox)

Also of possible interest The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: “Theosis” in Scripture and Tradition by Christopher Veniamin

Hamilton Ramos:
And do you know if Orthodox groups split over Spiritual gifts cessation vs continuationism?

No ... there are very few splits in Orthodox history. Their groupings are ethnic. The recent Ukraine scuffle is typical of their "splits".  From Wikipedia, quoting three separate sources: "The shared beliefs of Orthodoxy, and its theology, exist within Holy Tradition and cannot be separated from it, for their meaning is not expressed in mere words alone. Doctrine cannot be understood unless it is prayed. Doctrine must also be lived in order to be prayed, for without action, the prayer is idle and empty, a mere vanity, and therefore the theology of demons" Think holistic not analytic theology/philosophy.

Hamilton Ramos:
Lastly, how do you go about moral theology? do you treat it as christian ethics part of philosophy?

Moral theology is simply another aspect of spiritual development.  See the anthology Pilgrimage of the Heart: A Treasury of Eastern Christian Spirituality by George A. Maloney. Ethics comes from Scripture, sacraments, patristic writings, canon law and a few other sources of spiritual development. Or you can look at the bibliography for a more Western influenced writings on ethics:

  • John BreckThe Sacred Gift of Life: Orthodox Christianity and Bioethics (1999) ISBN 978-0881411836
  • John Breck, Stages on Life's Way: Orthodox Thinking on Bioethics, with Lynn Breck (2006). ISBN 978-0881412994
  • Vigen Guroian, Notes Toward an Eastern Orthodox Ethic. The Journal of Religious Ethics. Vol. 9, No. 2 (Fall, 1981), pp. 228-244.
  • Vigen Guroian, Seeing Worship as Ethics: An Orthodox Perspective. The Journal of Religious Ethics. Vol. 13, No. 2 (Fall, 1985), pp. 332-359.
  • Vigen Guroian, Life's Living Toward Dying: A Theological and Medical-Ethical Study (1996). ISBN 978-0802841902
  • Vigen Guroian, Incarnate Love: Essays in Orthodox Ethics, 2nd revised and expanded edition (2002). ISBN 978-0268031695
  • Vigen Guroian, Ethics after Christendom: Toward an Ecclesial Christian Ethics (2006). ISBN 978-1592447671
  • Stanley Harakas, Contemporary Moral Issues Facing the Orthodox Christian (1982). ISBN 978-0937032244
  • Stanley Harakas, For the Health of Body and Soul: An Eastern Orthodox Introduction to Bioethics (1983). ISBN 978-0916586423
  • Stanley Harakas, Let Mercy Abound: Social Concern in the Greek Orthodox Church (1994). ISBN 978-0916586614
  • Stanley Harakas, Living the Faith: The Praxis of Eastern Orthodox Ethics (1993). ISBN 978-0937032923
  • Stanley Harakas, Toward Transfigured Life: The Theoria of Eastern Orthodox Ethics (1983). ISBN 978-0937032282
  • Stanley Harakas, Wholeness of Faith and Life: Eastern Orthodox Ethics. Vol. 1: Patristic Ethics ISBN 978-1885652263. Vol. 2: Church Life Ethics (2004) ISBN 978-1885652294. Vol. 3: Orthodox Social Ethics (2004) ISBN 978-1885652300
  • Christos Yannaras, The Freedom of Morality (1984). ISBN 0881410284

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 26 2019 1:51 PM

Christopher Grant:
Well since theology is the study of God, I would have to say that the primary deficit in non-Orthodox books of theology (at least from an Orthodox perspective)  is that they are wrong. 

Hmmm ...I believe it is a tautology to say the theological books that are correct are orthodox (right opinion) and those that are incorrect are non-orthodox.  But in 70+ years, I have never found the denominational label attached to an author to be more than a loose indication of the orthodoxy of a book. Although the denominational label does indicate the topics in which the author is most likely to be orthodox.

Christopher Grant:
Also, Orthodoxy has never been overly concerned with systematically organizing anything.  It is probably the single most disorganized organized religion I've ever seen. 

This is the largest gap between Orthodox and Catholic - a cultural gap not a theological one. It is interesting to watch Orthodoxy in the West as it begins to develop the academic papers and books tradition that Catholics have dealt with for centuries. It is slowly narrowing the gap.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 10177
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 26 2019 2:33 PM

MJ. Smith:

Christopher Grant:
Well since theology is the study of God, I would have to say that the primary deficit in non-Orthodox books of theology (at least from an Orthodox perspective)  is that they are wrong. 

Hmmm ...I believe it is a tautology to say the theological books that are correct are orthodox (right opinion) and those that are incorrect are non-orthodox.  But in 70+ years, I have never found the denominational label attached to an author to be more than a loose indication of the orthodox of a book. Although the denominational label does indicate the topics in which the author is most likely to be orthodox.

Christopher Grant:
Also, Orthodoxy has never been overly concerned with systematically organizing anything.  It is probably the single most disorganized organized religion I've ever seen. 

This is the largest gap between Orthodox and Catholic - a cultural gap not a theological one. It is interesting to watch Orthodoxy in the West as it begins to develop the academic papers and books tradition that Catholics have dealt with for centuries. It is slowly narrowing the gap.

Mr Grant ... your comments ... what a nice addition to MJ's great forum comments. (I'm from the 'wrong' group.)


Posts 18
Christopher Grant | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 26 2019 2:40 PM

I was hoping MJ would post a response. :)  The Orthodox Church never stopped believing in God's ability to work miracles through his saints, and that's really never been a point of contention.  The biggest points of contention are over the calendar (should we use the "new Julian" or the old Julian calendar), and should the Patriarch of Constantinople be like the pope.  The ethnic splits rarely result in a breaking of Eucharistic communion.  Ukraine is a troubling exception to that.  

I would suggest St. Seraphim of Sarov's conversation with Motovilov as a good jumping off point on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

There is no particular emphasis on philosophy in Orthodoxy, but there is an emphasis on asceticism.  To get a grip on the Orthodox approach to morality I would suggest Way of the Ascetics (not available on Logos), the Alphabetical Sayings of the Desert Fathers, and for a more contemporary look With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man by St. Paisios of Mount Athos.

Posts 18
Christopher Grant | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 26 2019 2:55 PM

I meant no disrespect to those who aren't Orthodox.  If you are looking for the theological views of a particular group, it makes more sense to read the books from that group than to read something else.  Calvin's Institutes would teach me very little about the Theology of the Roman Catholic Church, while The Catechism of the Catholic Church would teach me little about the Theology of the Presbyterians. 

If, as an Orthodox Deacon, I was asked to recommend a book on the Theology of the Orthodox Church, and I suggested that the inquirer read Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott, my Bishop might rightly decide that I needed to go take a few remedial classes.  If someone asked me to explain what I felt was lacking in Mr. Ott's work, even as close as the Catholic and Orthodox Churches are theologically, that would be a major undertaking.  To do so without bruising feelings would be even harder.

A better approach would be to say "If you want to understand Orthodox theology, read the works of Orthodox theologians."  Even better, if you want to understand the Orthodox church, attend an Orthodox service.  

Posts 18
Christopher Grant | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 26 2019 3:06 PM

MJ's note ends with a quote that sums up the Orthodox view on theology very nicely (and riffs of Evagrius of Pontus):

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

MJ. Smith:

This is the largest gap between Orthodox and Catholic - a cultural gap not a theological one. It is interesting to watch Orthodoxy in the West as it begins to develop the academic papers and books tradition that Catholics have dealt with for centuries. It is slowly narrowing the gap.

I can't agree more.  There are two primary points of contention between Orthodoxy and Catholicism: 1) the position and scope of authority of the Pope, and 2) the filioque.  There have always been cultural differences, and unfortunately those seem to be enough to prevent the two groups from working to find a path through those two rather large points.

Posts 10177
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 26 2019 4:35 PM

Christopher Grant:

I meant no disrespect to those who aren't Orthodox.

Please don't misunderstand my 'wrong' ... a new perspective is a welcome addition. By way of explanation, in terms of personal 'theology', a literal take on the Writings (vs doctrines), when viewed as a circle, is closest to the Orthodox/Catholic, and opposite the evangelical.


Posts 583
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 26 2019 4:54 PM

Thanks MJ for the information on the resources.

Some of them are not available in electronic form, but others are.

MJ. Smith:
Moral theology is simply another aspect of spiritual development.

Wonder if there is a relationship between the following (or are they independent and should be worked on individually):

Stages of Faith:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_W._Fowler

Stages of moral development:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Kohlberg%27s_stages_of_moral_development

Spiritual intelligence:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_intelligence

Moral intelligence:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_intelligence

It would be awesome to bring the wisdom of the past (across traditions) and the sophisticated methodology of the present, to see how it all jibes using modern frameworks like the above, but always under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and making sure that there is no contradiction with the progressive revelation as found in the Scripture.

Kind regards.

Posts 583
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 26 2019 5:05 PM

Thanks Christopher for the links and the info.

From:   http://www.pravoslavie.ru/47866.html

"However prayer, fasting, vigil and all the other Christian practices may be, they do not constitute the aim of our Christian life. Although it is true that they serve as the indispensable means of reaching this end, the true aim of our Christian life consists of the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God. As for fasts, and vigils, and prayer, and almsgiving, and every good deed done for Christ's sake, are the only means of acquiring the Holy Spirit of God. Mark my words, only good deeds done for Christ's sake brings us the fruits of the Holy Spirit. All that is not done for Christ's sake, even though it be good, brings neither reward in the future life nor the grace of God in this life. That is why our Lord Jesus Christ said: He who does not gather with Me scatters (Luke 11:23). Not that a good deed can be called anything but gathering, even though a deed is not done for Christ's sake, it is still considered good. The Scriptures say: In every nation he who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to Him(Acts 10:35)."

I am surprised by the paragraph above, I see the aim seems to be the same aim the Charismatics and Pentecostals have, they just do it by different emphasis on certain means.

Very interesting, worth taking a closer look, thanks for sharing.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 26 2019 9:16 PM

Hamilton Ramos:
Wonder if there is a relationship between the following (or are they independent and should be worked on individually):

When dealing with Orthodoxy, everything begins in the liturgy - theology, moral development, spiritual growth ... - it all derives from the Divine Liturgy. Models such as you refer to, are useful as a framework to study development but they don't reflect what happens in an individual case - they are models not reality. Liturgy is the teacher/nurturer of faith, moral development, spiritual intelligence, moral intelligence for the entire population ... individuals absorb what they are ready to absorb and what meets their immediate needs. Think of liturgy as the  Great Feast (Word & Sacrifice) in which people eat that which meets their needs - it is too expansive to even taste it all. But like a feast's nutrition, the nutrients interact with one another in very complex ways. One can emphasize a particular element when needed, but one cannot work on elements separately. For Orthodoxy (or Eastern Catholic) think holistic, think liturgy.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 26 2019 11:38 PM

Christopher Grant:
There are two primary points of contention between Orthodoxy and Catholicism: 1) the position and scope of authority of the Pope, and 2) the filioque. 

Re: the Roman Pope (not the Coptic Pope) have you read "The way forward after the Catholic-Orthodox agreement on primacy and synodality"? It provides some detail on where the dispute arises - it is a surprisingly narrow (but deep) disagreement.

Re: the filioque, have you read US bishops' "The Filioque: A Church Dividing Issue?: An Agreed Statement"? For those reading this thread who have no clue what we are talking about, this is a good summary of the history of the dispute. Also note that the Eastern Rite Catholics are not required to use the filioque ... it is the Western rites that use it. It is not a Catholic/Orthodox split but a East/West split partially explained by heresies that arose in the West but not in the East.

Re: the third element I am used to seeing as a real division is assumption vs. dormition of BVM/Theotokos. "Dormition or Assumption?" provides the Orthodox perspective on the dispute.

Note to Hamilton Ramos: I think the brevity of this list of doctrinal disputes across this "great schism" illustrates why Orthodoxy has not divided over issues such as you mentioned. Essentially, Catholics, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox represent 1,635,000,000 (about 70% of Christians worldwide) a surprisingly solid block of beliefs - Anglo-Catholics and High Lutherans also belong to this block.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 583
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 27 2019 11:55 AM

MJ:

Liturgy as key makes sense.

Problem is that different groups see its functions in varied ways.

From what I understand (from Eastern culture) of which Jesus was part of, discipleship means "teaching them to obey what Jesus said", if it is not done in a mentoring way (applied to the whole life), there may be substandard development in certain areas.

In charismatic / pentecostal liturgies, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are used to point to: needed further development to individuals and ministry teams,

important areas needing priority (e.g. intercessory prayer to avoid the new country government to do huge mistakes), etc.

Gifts are also used to forewarn of impeding unwanted events (natural), and the need to pray and fast to have God mitigate the effect of it.

There are many gifts that the Holy Spirit bestows to individual believers. Many think that those wanting to pursue further the development of such, need to go to formal university training.

Historically, the gifts were more in hands on development in the local congregation and involved in support of one of three key missions:

Exalt Jesus Christ.

Prepare believers in line with their life mission / ministry and taking into consideration their gifts.

Looking for the lost.

So using the models: 

Stages of faith: there are key doctrines and Jesus' ordinances that have to be internalized and applied till they become 2nd nature.

                          Then before ministering there has to be objective evidence that the Holy Spirit has been acquired to an extent that proper Faith can

                              be lived out and reproduced.

                          Gifts have to be developed usually working with more experienced ministers that have that same gift.

Stages of moral development:  regardless of our Christian growth, we all have blind spots, and usually carry with us hidden sin and other messes.

                The gifts of discernment of spirits, etc. are needed so God uncovers such in a mentoring relation, and relevant ministry support is used

                  for help.

Spiritual intelligence: Like checklist for Godliness, the decalogue, the sermon on the mount, etc. are used as guides to benchmark the progress along

                                  the spiritual formation / growth continuum.

Many of our admired Fathers, the Jewish religion and other referents had systems, we are the ones gone off the tangent most of the time.

Jews:  they thought that their religion needed 3 key component from the point of view of the individual for it to have effect:

             Education, Worship, good deeds.

Even Peter presented a reasonable system to grow in grace and Godliness (always under the influence of the Holy Spirit):

2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10  Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

The process is not to gain salvation, salvation is of the Lord and is free, we go through the theosis processes to be worthy of the calling to prepare us (acculturation) in our new heavenly citizenship.

So liturgy alone most probably will not cut it. But it is the base.

In my higher studies (secular) I noticed that many times we needed to put together many different views from different experts to get to a coherent, very helpful whole of the topic at hand.

I was shocked to learn that we as students had to do such synthesis, as I would think that after so many years of accumulated knowledge would allow the experts to put something together very well.

The only time I saw such development at a high level was when involved in the EMS service taking the EMT basic course.  I noticed how the top emergenciologists and other specialists got together to put together standard and most effective (up to that training time) the protocols for pre-hospital first responding, 2ndary treatment, etc.

It works, and it does very well.

I wonder how so many experts in theology (biblical, systematic and practical), cannot do the same, as we are talking about something more important: 2nd death prevention.

But no, it seems that they are more concerned about ecclesiastical politics, systems development, and leave in the margins the development of first hand responders, and the very lives of many sheep:

Christian individual responsibility, Christian individual and groups stewardship (including health), gifts identification and development, etc. Seems to be haphazardly done in Church and very dependent on the individual leaders.

Are not christians to be exemplars in organization and methods? Is it not part of good christian testimony? Do sheep every so now and then need a kick in the rear to get going to achieve required standards?

Being a disciple is not easy, and it was not meant to be, we should help construct a conductive environment for high performance in this area, because in my opinion, this is the most important one.

Kind regards.

Posts 583
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 27 2019 12:07 PM

MJ. Smith:
Note to Hamilton Ramos: I think the brevity of this list of doctrinal disputes across this "great schism" illustrates why Orthodoxy has not divided over issues such as you mentioned. Essentially, Catholics, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox represent 1,635,000,000 (about 70% of Christians worldwide) a surprisingly solid block of beliefs - Anglo-Catholics and High Lutherans also belong to this block.

Post well taken, and not contended.

My concern is as mentioned in a previous post that a more systematic way of helping develop the gifts the Holy Spirit bestows to believers is needed, and also a way to match that to actual needed service.

What good is for the common sheep to have such awesome spearhead persons with so much knowledge, and experience if that does not translate to a system that saves lives?

Check the EMS system analogy.

Eventually some of the grandiosity of knowledge and practice has to drip down to the commoners because they are the ones in the trenches were they can help souls that are in danger of being lost.

I do believe in the "Priesthood of all believers", Jesus died for us all, and the Holy Spirit bestows gifts as He wants.

Are we as church a fit aid to then empower such believing sheep for service in accordance with God's plan, or are we trying to make a gold and silver roll in spiritual matters in which a few are in charge, and are overwhelmed, incapable (due to volume), etc.?

Can a doctor be in every corner? or should there be paramedics in every corner so they can help the dying get to the specialist in time for saving?

In 2 Peter, the message is obvious for all the church, not just the leaders.

Thanks very much for the links,  and remember I am on that majority's side, not against them, I just would like to see their true potential kicked into high gear.

Kind regards.

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