Their walks home together quickly became a ritual. They both lived in the same neighborhood, and had English class together, which was the last period of the day. One day they were paired up in class for peer reviews on an essay they had to write about a topic of their choice. Phoebe decided to write about Christianity, and Ricky wrote about engines. Her paper intrigued Ricky because in it she had mentioned about being an Orthodox Christian. As a Protestant, he had never heard the term Orthodox Christian before. Over time, they got to talking about their families, and eventually religion in general. Once they discovered that they were practically neighbors, their friendship began, and continued to build as they walked home from school.
“So what you’re ultimately saying is the Church has more authority over the Bible?” Ricky asked perplexed.
“Yes I am. Because the reality is Christ established the Church and set forth His apostles, and the Father sent the Holy Spirit to guide the Church. Scripture is clear about this. If Christ’s intentions were strictly to make the Bible the sole authority, then He would have surely written it Himself, and it would be a lot longer than what it currently is. But Christ didn’t write; He built. And what He built was the Church,” Phoebe replied.
After she said this, Ricky started kicking rocks. Phoebe learned to pick up on certain cues from Ricky. For example, when Ricky started kicking rocks, it usually meant that he was thinking about something. And the harder he kicked them, the harder he thought.
“Let me be clear,” Phoebe added. “I’m not saying that the Bible isn’t authoritative. Of course, it is. It’s the infallible Word of God. What I am saying, is that it’s not the SOLE authority, as most Protestants are taught. If you consider the whole chicken and egg and what came first – when it comes to Christianity – history will attest that the Church came first and brought forth the Scriptures.”
This was all very interesting to Ricky because he had always been taught that the Bible was the sole authority when it comes to Christianity. It was the end all to be all.
“Well, how can you be sure the Church wasn’t corrupt, or at the very least fell away?” Ricky asked. “After all, the Bible has never been proven wrong, though many have tried.”
Phoebe nodded. “Yes you’re absolutely correct about the Bible. But also realize that the Orthodox Church, of which openly claims to be the true Church of Christ, going back to the apostles, also has never been proven wrong in her claim. Because any historian worth their weight can go back and study the history of the Church and the councils and see for themselves that the Orthodox have been toting the line from day one. Remember, everything we know – to include Protestants – regarding the doctrine of the Trinity, who Christ is, and even the written Scriptures themselves came from the Orthodox Church. She decided it all through councils of her Bishops who got together during times to refute heresy. So every Christian, at some point, has to come to the reality that you can’t place your entire salvation in the Bible and Christ, and at the same time reject the Church that Christ built and who gave the Scriptures to us. The bottom line is, if you claim the Church is corrupt, then so is the Bible.”
“Well the Church could have fallen away after the Bible was written and established,” Ricky quickly added.
“Well, that of course is a possibility, but then you have to look at the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church and ask yourself one thing: does the Orthodox Church contradict the Scriptures in her theology and worship? I can tell you, from what I’ve read and studied, that answer is a resounding no. The Orthodox Church is completely in line with the Scriptures in everything. But that’s what I’ve concluded based off of my research. I think you need to look into it for yourself and make your own conclusion. And I’d be delighted to discuss with you at any time what you’re discovering. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I can direct you to certain books you can read on different topics of interest.”
Ricky stopped kicking rocks and liked the idea of being able to look into it himself. One thing he always appreciated about Phoebe was that she never tried to convince him of her beliefs. She was just grounded in hers, and he respected that.
“Sure,” he finally said. “I’ll keep you posted.”