[sword-devel] clean bible or bad phantasy?

sword-devel@crosswire.org sword-devel@crosswire.org
Tue, 10 Dec 2002 11:41:52 -0500

I could find no declaration of theological affiliation on the SWORD
project page, though Crosswire certainly *seems* Protestant. So, I'm
kind of scratching my head wondering why some of the contributors are:

    1) assuming that their fellow contributors are like-minded
       theologically and

    2) "witnessing" to anyone who comes along and shows themselves not
       to share their theological position.

I rather thought that the purpose of the project was development of
the software, which is an applied technological domain and not a
theological one. Discussion of how theology and technology may inform
and/or interact with one another might be better served on another
list--as it's an interesting topic.

That said, I'll comment on the following, with absolutely no attempt
at staying on-topic, so be forewarned! :)

Daniel Russell wrote:


> God's Kingdom would not be so divided, so corrupt, or so
> murderous (in reference to The "Church" as it once existed for
> hundreds of years -- the only major institution of Christianity, and
> certainly the official one -- the early to present Catholic
> Church).

The "early to present Catholic Church", by which I assume you mean the
Roman Catholic Church is not in fact the "only major institution of
Christianity". In the 11th century A.D. Rome split from the other 4
sister churches--the Patriarchates of Jerusalem, Antioch,
Constantinople, Alexandria--in what we refer to as the "Great
Schism". These Patriarchates still exist and have grown into the
following churches: Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem,
Russia, Georgia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Albania,
Poland, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Sinai, Finland, Japan, Ukraine,
and the Orthodox Church in America. Bishop Kallistos Ware's history of
the Orthodox Church is available at this link if you're interested in
more of the history:


> The truth is to be found by a careful study of Jesus' words and the
> prophet's words, with fresh eyes, assuming NO doctrines to be true.

This is a rather odd statement, indeed! Assume *no* doctrine to be
true? This places a rather large amount of reliance upon personal
insight and interpretation. But interpretation in the Church has
always been corporate. What about 2 Thessalonians 2:15--"Therefore,
brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been
taught, whether by word, or our epistle." Or how about Peter
1:20--"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any
private interpretation." After all, in Acts 15:28 "the apostles, the
elders, and the whole church" wrote, "For it seemed good to the Holy
Ghost, and to us..." and not "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and
*me*". And furthermore, Matthew 18:20--"For where two or three are
gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Yes,
we are given the Spirit for understanding, but it is always within the
framework of the entire Body of Christ, the Church and not

This whole issue of obsessive concern with textual analysis is endemic
to Protestant Christianity which abandoned itself to the Solas,
alienating itself thereby, from the guidance of the Fathers and Holy

Orthodox are at best bemused with all the concern for proof texts and
modern scholastic textual criticism and analysis. Not that Orthodox
ignore it or see no value in it, but we see it as very much a
secondary tool. We believe that Christ's teachings have been preserved
by the Apostles and the Church, against which [that is, the Church]
the gates of Hades shall never prevail. We insist that the scripture
is only properly understood within the framework of the life of the
Church no matter how authoritative the text you are reading or how
open your eyes may be.