Theological Process

Theology is an interaction.  First Arius gave a theological interpretation on the role of Christ and God.  Second the leaders of the Church considered it carefully and came up with their decision.  Then Arius did not accept the decision.  He then was removed and excommunicated or cut off from the communion of the Church.  This problem led to discussion and consensus.  The lived faith in the worship service experience led to a consensus about the most appropriate expression.  The final result was the Nicene Creed, the oldest and most important creed.  Most dogmas came out of disputes.  Over the last two thousand years there have been many more disputes within Christianity.

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Criteria for the sacred Christian books

The first collection of these Christian books (biblia) was the Pauline letters and the Acts of the Apostles around the year 100 CE.  The collection of the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John was present by the year 200 CE.  By 367 CE, Christians had arrived at a consensus about the twenty-seven books of the New Testament that we have today.  The criteria for the sacred books of the biblical New Testament were a connection with the apostles and one of the major Christian communities, while being orthodox in its views.

Different points of view

The New Testament references the Hebrew Bible that came to be known as the Old Testament.  The New Testament books were not referred to until the second century of the common era.  Consensus on its contents did not occur until the late fourth century.  There is nothing wrong with different points of view or inconsistencies.  The first two chapters of Genesis are not contradictory.  The synoptic gospels give different versions of the Baptism of Jesus.  Most of us just say “so what?”  We understand different points of view.  The Bible had different authors over a considerable amount of time.  The Old Testament took hundreds of years to complete.  The New Testament took thirty to sixty years to finish.  Very few could write, so that oral tradition dominated in that society.  The texts themselves were rewritten, so that we say that the texts we have, with all its corrections, is the one that God wants us to have.

The high priest Simon the builder (Sir 50:1-50:4)

“Simon the high priest,

Son of Onias,

Was the leader

Of his brothers.

He was

The pride of his people.

In his life

He repaired the house.

In his time,

He fortified the temple.

He laid the foundations

For the high double walls.

These were

The high retaining walls

For the temple enclosure.

In his days,

A water cistern was dug.

He made a reservoir

Like the sea in circumference.

He considered

How to save his people

From ruin.

He fortified the city

Against any siege.”

Sirach ends his work with a whole chapter about the high priest Simon, son of Onias. Who is this guy and why is he important? This high priest Simon is Simeon the just or the righteous one. He may have been one of the last members of the questionable Great Assembly. There is a question whether he was Simeon I (310-273) or Simeon II (220-195) since both their fathers were called Onias. The general consensus today is that it is the later which would make him a contemporary of Sirach. Maybe that is why he got so much ink. He certainly was a leader among his fellow priests and a source of pride for the people. He repaired and fortified the Temple, always a good thing to do. He put down some foundations to make the walls higher around the Temple. He helped to build a large reservoir of water for the city. He tried to save his people from ruin so that he fortified the city against any kind of siege.