On Earth As In Heaven
Where the Oldest Christian Theology is Discussed- Eastern Orthodoxy
Thanks to their Apostolic heritage, the early Christians made a great deal out of Theology. If anyone was not united with the mind of the Apostles, they were politely not allowed to participate in the Eucharist. So no matter how Christian they called themselves, they were not in communion with the Apostolic Church. This is still true to this day. All this talk today about the same God, the same gospel of Christ and the same love in the Holy Spirit was dismissed by the early Christians when Trinitarian differences were identified.
This is due to the fact that the ancient people, Christian and Pagan, were deeply aware of the meanings and spiritual contents behind terms and definitions. The same words are used, such as love, but different approaches to them produce different spirits. Hence, the doctrinal disputes that we claim are unimportant were treated as highly significant in ancient times. Because modern man has so many spiritual errors, I trust the ancients.
For Eastern Orthodox Christians who obey Apostolic Tradition, true Theology is the Holy Trinity. Thus, a true theologian is someone with an ongoing experience with the Trinitarian God, not someone who has only memorized a lot of Bible verses and Church canons. Knowing the Holy Trinity is more than just religious studies and philosophical categories, but a life of prayer in correct doctrine. In other words, God is worshipped in Personhood, not in abstraction.
The Trinity determines for us everything about the Faith. The early Christians, now the Eastern Orthodox, are famous for inheriting the Trinity as the top priority in all questions and issues. Anything that does not perfectly comport with the Trinity is not treated as divinely guided.
In the Old Testament, prophets were defined by their words being 100% true. In the New Testament, prophets are defined by their words being 100% Trinitarian. And what is meant by Trinitarian is based on the men who first explained it. "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:3)
A lot of people talk about Theology, but its meaning has been made to include various beliefs, even heresy and philosophy. Though it means "the study of God", it is not another academic or literary mental exercise. Islam does not count as theological, for instance.
For the early Christians, Theology was essentially about the Holy Trinity, as God has revealed Himself to us. It was not a man-based study, but the unique experience of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the spiritual study of Three Persons in One Essence. Thus, Theology is a revelation, not a human concept or educational subject.
Organized Religion is Organized?
Don't let them scare you! The way life is now hyper-organized, from a birth certificate to a death certificate, from a social security number to virtual reality, what is called organized religion isn't really all that organized. It's not even a close comparison.
Secularism is organized and so is Atheism organized. Isn't Organized Government the most organized of all? Even unorganized religion is organized, a paradox that is like Protestants refuting man-made traditions yet being the greatest fans of their own religious traditions.
So there's nothing sinister about so-called Organized Religion. It's just a phrase to convince you to stay away from public worship and pray at home, hoping you will eventually give up praying and shop on TV. And if unorganized religion were Apostolic, the first Christians would have said so. But they didn't.
All the Isms of our Times aren't Eastern Christian.
As some scholars point out, everything about Western Christianity and today's Westernization is from Augustine, or Augustinism, which modified certain Trinitarian beliefs. These developments were not accepted in the West at first, but they took root over the centuries as the western Roman Empire fell and its Christians lost important meaningful connections with the rest of the Apostolic Church.
Once Western Christianity was mostly Augustinized by 1100, the Scholastic movement flowered in the West as man's reason was semi-equated with divine revelation. Thus, Rationalism, Humanism, Collectivism, Imperialism, Legalism, Occultism, Racism & other isms were cultivated. Even Eastern Christians were a target of attacks in the crusades, which were another Western innovation.
There has always been ready forgiveness between East and West, but it must be admitted that Western doctrinal and ideological developments have negative fruits, a result of breaking away from the Apostolic Church. Will the Holy Spirit reunite Eastern and Western Christians? Maybe, but it will be in spite of the isms.
Don't Blame us for
The Church is the pillar of Truth, St. Paul says. Thus, the Apostolic Faith has never been corrupted, changed, temporarily died out or gone underground, disappearing in history. In fact, history records no mass debate or epic struggle between followers of an original Gospel and a later corrupt church which took control and brainwashed all Christendom to believe in things that required correction and reform centuries later. Since the Church can't be defeated by Hades, as Jesus Christ promised, She is theologically invincible, not invisible, not indistinguishable.
The Eastern Orthodox Church thrives in Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Ethiopia & other lands. At one time, Eastern Orthodoxy & Roman Catholicism were the same Church for a thousand years, often called the early Church. But beginning in the 9th century, Western Christians introduced new approaches to the Faith, so that between 1054 and 1204, the West developed doctrines for a peculiar change in spirituality. This is when the West broke away from the rest of the Church in the East. Only then did historically-documented debates occur between Apostolic Tradition and the new traditions of the West, which led other Western Christians to split into many conflicting traditional factions in the 1500's. Only Eastern Christianity has never changed the Faith, now known as the Eastern Orthodox Church. All over North America, South America and Europe, you may find a parish in your area.
The Eastern Orthodox Church has never needed to be reformed, nor has Her doctrines ever needed to be recovered. The Apostolic Church and the early Church have always existed, never disappearing from history. There has been no doctrinal transition from the Apostolic Church to the early Church, nor a transition from the early Church to the medieval Church to the modern Church, etc. People may speak like this about spans of centuries and worship customs, but not about doctrinal or spiritual shifts. The Eastern Orthodox Faith has a well-documented history of no additions and no subtractions for 2000 years.
But Western Christians have allowed doctrinal developments. The popes started the papacy. The scholastics started Scholasticism. Luther started Lutherism. Calvin started Calvinism. Wesley started Methodism. And the list of Western modifications to the Faith goes on. But these new standards of Bible interpretation never existed in the early Church and are completely new to history.
As historical documents prove, the Apostles and their disciples, plus their disciples and successors, were not Lutherists, Calvinists, Papists, Presbyterians, Mormons, Liberals, or anything else modern man has morally constructed. Such religious systems did not exist until their founders came along. This is why Lutherans are called Lutherans, for example. This is why Baptists are called Baptists. They are not called Apostolic since their beliefs did not fully exist in early Church times.
Eastern Orthodoxy is called Eastern Orthodox because of its saints, who were strictly orthodox in their Apostolic Faith. While the early Christians called themselves Catholics and Orthodox, the West became known as Roman Catholic and the East as Eastern Orthodox, following cultural lines. But the rest of Christianity is named after and constructed by specifically non-Apostolic doctrinal founders of modern times. This is simply a historical fact, which does not make their followers evil; but it does make them Apostolically and Sacramentally incomplete.