Prot. (o) (c) here again, thank you for the further reply. I will try to sleep on this and answer at greater length, if you're willing to check on this board again tomorrow.
Just a couple scriptural exhortations to all of us, regarding a common temptation on these boards:
"But everyone must be QUICK TO LISTEN, SLOW TO SPEAK, AND SLOW TO BECOME ANGRY."
"But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment."
Does this include "speaking" on the chans?
Assuming I am not bothering to address any trolls here, the temptation for us to break these commands is a strong one, because of the nature of these boards, the tech we are using, and the fact that the tech shields us from the living presence of the other contributors. It would be wise to keep in mind that we are fellowshipping with other immortal images of God, when this electronic medium can cause us to forget that.
The gracious thing to do is to assume that, unless an user is an obvious troll, we are believers who have been granted salvation in Christ. That is the assumption I work from when posting. Attacking particular errors or atrocities of another brother's Church tradition will simply become a game of rock/paper/scissors, because a different historical instance can always be found and wielded.
I think the OP's question is fair, and a good one.
I have the weakness of skepticism myself, and can identify.
I would like to try to be slow to speak here, and pray and sleep on a more lengthy response to post tomorrow.
The topic of hermeneutics is perhaps one of the most significant battlegrounds of our day, due to the democratization and availability of information, and the fractures of the various branches of the church. Doubts and fears about Christ via hermeneutics are an attack of the Enemy. But God gave us Thomas as an example because He is gracious.
But Christ also "wondered at their (disciples') unbelief." ):
I appreciate your questions, and I believe they are sincere. I will need time to answer in a more orderly fashion, but before then, a couple observations:
Its becoming obvious on this thread that a couple other topics are important, and interrelated:
-The histories of the various branches of the church and how one interprets the sins and errors of a particular branch as having a bearing on the authority of their hermeneutics.
-The eschatological view of each believer has great bearing on this, and on how we interpret "the history of church errors" of all branches of Christ's body. By this I mean, not just the "end times" beliefs we hold, but what story is God telling us through church history so far, to what ultimate teleological story ending/purpose of Man?
I have to get to bed, but just something to meditate on:
-If we slow down and MEDITATE on the word, does it provide us with directions on these difficult questions? (for example, Christ and the Apostles' use of the OT quotations)
-This is a question of semiotics, which has perhaps emerged as the key philosophical question since the (dis)enlightenment. I will try to expand on this tomorrow after I get off work, but just a note: the disagreement over the semiotics of the Eucharist was a key element of the break in the Reformation, as well as in the hermeneutic break in the Reformation. It is not an insignificant topic.
Just some things to pray about and consider. I look forward to discussing more with you brothers tomorrow.
One more topic for OP to consider: it would help if you have particular instances of the most important interpretations over which Protestants disagree. Hope I can provide some insight. Most of the English and United States denominational divisions are not even for valid reasons, I will readily admit. (Valid reasons, though, are separations based on fundamental liberal corruptions, etc.)
Good talking with you brothers, have a great evening.