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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : The superiority of the Spirit over the written Word - John Chrysostom

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 The superiority of the Spirit over the written Word - John Chrysostom


"It were indeed meet for us not at all to require the aid of the written Word, but to exhibit a life so pure, that the grace of the Spirit should be instead of books to our souls, and that as these are inscribed with ink, even so should our hearts be with the Spirit. But, since we have utterly put away from us this grace, come, let us at any rate embrace the second best course.

"For that the former was better, God has made manifest, both by His words, and by His doings. Since unto Noah, and unto Abraham, and unto his offspring, and unto Job, and unto Moses too, He discoursed not by writings, but Himself by Himself, finding their mind pure. But after the whole people of the Hebrews had fallen into the very pit of wickedness, then and thereafter was a written word, and tables, and the admonition which is given by these.

"And this one may perceive was the case, not of the saints in the Old Testament only, but also of those in the New. For neither to the apostles did God give anything in writing, but instead of written words He promised that He would give them the grace of the Spirit: for He, says our Lord, shall bring all things to your remembrance. John 14:26 And that you may learn that this was far better, hear what He says by the Prophet: I will make a new covenant with you, putting my laws into their mind, and in their heart I will write them, and, they shall be all taught of God. And Paul too, pointing out the same superiority, said, that they had received a law not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

"But since in process of time they made shipwreck, some with regard to doctrines, others as to life and manners, there was again need that they should be put in remembrance by the written word."

- First Homily on the Gospel of Matthew


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2016/12/15 13:39Profile
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 Re: The superiority of the Spirit over the written Word - John Chrysostom

Good word.

" Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty"


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William

 2016/12/15 15:18Profile









 Re:

Just how is the Spirit superior over the God's written word? Jesus is the Word made flesh.

John 1: 1-3, 14
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were created through Him, and without Him nothing was created that was created.
14 The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.

 2016/12/15 15:44
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Quote:
Just how is the Spirit superior over the God's written word? Jesus is the Word made flesh.



Well said brother, that is worthy for us to meditate on.


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 2016/12/15 16:23Profile
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 Re:

Charitably reading Chrysostom's point, he longs for that writing on our hearts of the Word of God by the Holy Spirit as the best demonstration of the written Word rather than the objectification of that writing as a 'thing'. Right minds can differ on him, there, for sure.

On a personal note, I find the revelation of God as Word to be fascinating. Before I was a Christian, I was a geek about words. Still am a "word nerd". In college, one of the authors I am fortunate to have read was Neil Postman. His book, Technopoly, is excellent if you are interested in the philosophy of words and the opposing philosophy of images and the impact of each on our psyche. It hearkens back to the commandment forbidding graven images and the revelation of Christ and John's statements "and the Word was God" and "we beheld His glory".

For those interested in this, the first chapter of Postman's book (and he has others, one of which I have recommended here before), Technopoly, please read here.

(Please forgive posting a link if this violates a rule.)

http://rws511.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/68739355/Postman_thamus.pdf


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Tim

 2016/12/15 17:13Profile
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 Re:

4th century mystic John Chrysostom believed that the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased after the New Testament era.

He also believed in purgatory and taught people to pray for the dead, writing, “Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice [Job 1:5], why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them”.
(Homilies on First Corinthians 41:5) [A.D. 392]

“Weep for those who die in their wealth and who with all their wealth prepared no consolation for their own souls, who had the power to wash away their sins and did not will to do it. Let us weep for them, let us assist them to the extent of our ability, let us think of some assistance for them, small as it may be, yet let us somehow assist them. But how, and in what way? By praying for them and by entreating others to pray for them, by constantly giving alms to the poor on their behalf. Not in vain was it decreed by the apostles that in the awesome mysteries remembrance should be made of the departed. They knew that here there was much gain for them, much benefit. When the entire people stands with hands uplifted, a priestly assembly, and that awesome sacrificial Victim is laid out, how, when we are calling upon God, should we not succeed in their defense? But this is done for those who have departed in the faith, while even the catechumens are not reckoned as worthy of this consolation, but are deprived of every means of assistance except one. And what is that? We may give alms to the poor on their behalf”.
(Homilies on Philippians 3:9–10) [A.D. 402]

Furthermore, he believed that the communion bread and wine became the body and blood of Jesus when consecrated. He wrote that no one can partake of Christ or be saved outside the Church and faith thereof (which foreshadows Catholicism).

Incredibly, he railed against those who abstained from alcohol, and encouraged violence against blasphemers: “Paul is not ashamed, and does not blush, after the many and great signs which he had displayed even by a simple word; yet, in writing to Timothy, to bid him take refuge in the healing virtue of wine drinking. Not that to drink wine is shameful. God forbid! For such precepts belong to heretic … But since our discourse has now turned to the subject of blasphemy, I desire to ask one favor of you all, in return for this my address, and speaking with you; which is, that you will correct on my behalf the blasphemers of this city [i.e., blaspheming against God by saying that wine is evil] And should you hear anyone in the public thoroughfare, or in the midst of the forum, blaspheming God; go up to him and rebuke him; and should it be necessary to inflict blows, spare not to do so. Smite him on the face; strike his mouth; sanctify your hand with the blow, and if any should accuse you, and drag you to the place of justice, follow them thither; and when the judge on the bench calls you to account, say boldly that the man blasphemed the King of angels! For if it be necessary to punish those who blaspheme an earthly king, much more so those who insult God.” (Homilies on the Statues 1,7)

Lastly, John Chrysostom was terribly anti-Semitic, comparing, in his Adversus Judaeos (Against the Jews) homily, the synagogue to a pagan temple, representing it as the source of all vices and heresies. He described it as a place worse than a brothel and a drinking shop; it was a den of scoundrels, the repair of wild beasts, a temple of demons, the refuge of brigands and debauchees, and the cavern of devils, a criminal assembly of the assassins of Christ. Chrysostom hated both the synagogue and the Jews, saying that demons dwell in the synagogue and also in the souls of the Jews, and describing them as growing fit for slaughter. The Nazis quoted him (and Martin Luther) during the Holocaust.

Again, I do not look to (wrongly) celebrated men, but to the Word of God.


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Alec

 2016/12/15 18:59Profile









 Re:

Brother Alec

Always enjoyed your guitar playing and Robin Mark hairdo at TSC!
And yes this guy was really quite the heretic sadly.

 2016/12/15 20:55
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Quote:
4th century mystic John Chrysostom believed that the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased after the New Testament era.



Brother Alec,

When reading Church history we have to have grace towards leaders as they were simply men who did not see in full and some circumstances around them caused them to be in error at times or imbalanced.


towards cessationism he simply writes about tongues and notices that what occurred then was not happening their midst:

Chrysostom (d.407) – writing on 1 Corinthians and the gift of tongues said, "This whole place is very obscure; but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur but now no longer take place. And why do they not happen now? Why look now, the cause too of the obscurity hath produced us again another question: namely, why did they then happen, and now do so no more?". (AD 347–407)[21]



He did teach about "purgatory" but along with many church fathers stated varied beliefs of praying for those deceased who did not know the Lord yet. Perhaps one thought why they would think more this way we do not, is that they saw the dead still alive just passed from time. The modern belief of purgatory held by the Catholic Church is not the thinking of these early men who made random comments about these things. Jesus did preach to spirits in prison (1 Peter 3:19). Could the Lord do that again?



Towards Communion (Eucharist) it is held by many all through Church history that the Lords Supper was more then a symbol. Many evangelicals believe this, there is a mystery and holiness to the taking of the Lords Supper. It is clear to me its more then a symbol in that if we eat it unworthily we will suffer judgment, and even death!



Towards wine this is probably gnostics who say all matter and physical things were evil. It does not excuse his language or encouraging people to strike them. There probably is much more context that we do not know or have not read to this also.




Quote:
Lastly, John Chrysostom was terribly anti-Semitic, comparing, in his Adversus Judaeos (Against the Jews) homily, the synagogue to a pagan temple, representing it as the source of all vices and heresies. He described it as a place worse than a brothel and a drinking shop; it was a den of scoundrels, the repair of wild beasts, a temple of demons, the refuge of brigands and debauchees, and the cavern of devils, a criminal assembly of the assassins of Christ. Chrysostom hated both the synagogue and the Jews, saying that demons dwell in the synagogue and also in the souls of the Jews, and describing them as growing fit for slaughter. The Nazis quoted him (and Martin Luther) during the Holocaust.




I just read the entire homily he wrote against jewish people in his city. One needs to read the "entire" sermon to understand why he speaks against them. believers were being converted to judaism and also some starting to practice the festivals, similar to the jewish roots heresies and problems in our day. Of course many words he said were not proper and this is very similar to Martin Luther.

In the end we do not reject Martin Luther. Luther held to consubstantiation which stats the Lord's Supper is more then a symbol. He was also a cessationist in part. also Luther allowed for prayer for the dead, and only later on made changes towards this:

Quote:
To console women whose children were not born and baptized, Martin Luther wrote in 1542: "In summary, see to it that above all else you are a true Christian and that you teach a heartfelt yearning and praying to God in true faith, be it in this or in any other trouble. Then do not be dismayed about your child or yourself. Know that your prayer is pleasing to God and that God will do everything much better than you can comprehend or desire. 'Call upon me,' he says in Psalm 50. 'In the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.' For this reason, we ought not to condemn such infants. Believers and Christians have devoted their longing and yearning and praying for them."[25] In the same year 1542 he stated in his Preface to the Burial Hymns: "Accordingly, we have removed from our churches and completely abolished the popish abominations, such as vigils, masses for the dead, processions, purgatory, and all other hocus-pocus on behalf of the dead".[26][27]

The Lutheran Reformers de-emphasized prayer for the dead, because they believed that the practice had led to many abuses and even to false doctrine, in particular the doctrine of purgatory and of the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice for the departed. But they recognized that the early Church had practiced prayer for the dead, and accepted it in principle. Thus in the 1580 Book of Concord, the Lutheran Church taught:

"... we know that the ancients speak of prayer for the dead, which we do not prohibit; but we disapprove of the application ex opere operato of the Lord's Supper on behalf of the dead."[28]





So we do not disown martin luther, why would we Chrysostom?

They were not perfect but used of God, none-the-less.



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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2016/12/15 22:07Profile









 Re:

From a Roman Catholic page:

From 386-397 A.D. St. John Chrysostom served as a priest in the main church of Antioch. He soon became renown for his preaching and writing skills. In 397 A.D. he succeeded St. Gregory of Nazianz as Bishop of Constantinople.

"When the word says, 'This is My Body,' be convinced of it and believe it, and look at it with the eyes of the mind. For Christ did not give us something tangible, but even in His tangible things all is intellectual. So too with Baptism: the gift is bestowed through what is a tangible thing, water; but what is accomplished is intellectually perceived: the birth and the renewal. If you were incorporeal He would have given you those incorporeal gifts naked; but since the soul is intertwined with the body, He hands over to you in tangible things that which is perceived intellectually. How many now say, 'I wish I could see His shape, His appearance, His garments, His sandals.' Only look! You see Him! You touch Him! You eat Him!"

-"Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew" [82,4] 370 A.D.

"I wish to add something that is plainly awe-inspiring, but do not be astonished or upset. This Sacrifice, no matter who offers it, be it Peter or Paul, is always the same as that which Christ gave His disciples and which priests now offer: The offering of today is in no way inferior to that which Christ offered, because it is not men who sanctify the offering of today; it is the same Christ who sanctified His own. For just as the words which God spoke are the very same as those which the priest now speaks, so too the oblation is the very same."

Source: St. John Chrysostom, "Homilies on the Second Epistle to Timothy," 2,4, c. 397 A.D.

"It is not the power of man which makes what is put before us the Body and Blood of Christ, but the power of Christ Himself who was crucified for us. The priest standing there in the place of Christ says these words but their power and grace are from God. 'This is My Body,' he says, and these words transform what lies before him."

Source: St. John Chrysostom, "Homilies on the Treachery of Judas" 1,6; d. 407 A.D.:

"'The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not communion of the Blood of Christ?' Very trustworthily and awesomely does he say it. For what he is saying is this: 'What is in the cup is that which flowed from His side, and we partake of it.' He called it a cup of blessing because when we hold it in our hands that is how we praise Him in song, wondering and astonished at His indescribable Gift, blessing Him because of His having poured out this very Gift so that we might not remain in error, and not only for His having poured out It out, but also for His sharing It with all of us."

-"Homilies on the First Letter to the Corinthians" [24,1] ca. 392 A.D.

 2016/12/16 11:09









 Re: Luther

Where in the scripture are we told to never disown or disregard the teaching and practices of any man...no matter how popular and famous they might be? We are to adhere to the Word of God plus the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. These things alone are the foundations of the true Church, not the teachings of the reformers.

Here is just one example of Luthers misguided and malicious thinking towards other believers...does this sound like someone who lives by the Spirit of Christ?

"That seditious articles of doctrine should be punished by the sword needed no further proof. For the rest, the Anabaptists hold tenets relating to infant baptism, original sin, and inspiration, which have no connection with the Word of God, and are indeed opposed to it. ... Secular authorities are also bound to restrain and punish avowedly false doctrine ... For think what disaster would ensue if children were not baptized? ... Besides this the Anabaptists separate themselves from the churches ... and they set up a ministry and congregation of their own, which is also contrary to the command of God. From all this it becomes clear that the secular authorities are bound ... to inflict corporal punishment on the offenders ... Also when it is a case of only upholding some spiritual tenet, such as infant baptism, original sin, and unnecessary separation, then ... we conclude that ... the stubborn sectaries must be put to death."

 2016/12/16 13:47





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