Author Topic: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038  (Read 1561 times)

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Offline Volnutt

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"Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« on: April 18, 2018, 07:09:38 PM »
Orthodox believe that baptism justifies the believer and imputes righteousness; washes away all sin.

Agreed. I think the only real difference with traditional Protestant soteriology on that score is quibbling over what constitutes faith and what constitutes works- a debate I quit caring about a while ago.

Or, "In which Volnutt proves himself a massive hypocrite." lol


So, in another thread we find this quote from Pope Leo I (emphasis mine):

We have learned from divine precepts, dearly beloved, as well from things laid down by the apostles, that every human being situated along the hazards of this life must seek the mercy of God by being merciful. What hope would lift up the fallen, what medicine heal the wounded, if almsgiving did not remit faults, and needs of the poor did not become remedies of sin? So by saying "Blessed are the merciful, for God will have mercy on them," (Matt. 5:7) the Lord made it clear that the entire scale on which he is going to judge the whole world when he appears in his majesty would be tilted while hanging from the following balance: Only the quality of good works directed toward the destitute would determine the sentence (for the ungodly to burn with the devil, for the generous to reign with Christ).

What deeds will not be brought out at that time? What hidden things will not be disclosed? What consciences will not lie open? No one then "will glory in having a pure heart or in being unstained by sin." (Prov. 20:9) But since "mercy will be exalted over condemnation" (James 2:13) and the gifts of clemency will surpass any just compensation, all the lives led by mortals and all different kinds of actions will be appraised under the aspect of a single rule. No charges at all would be brought up where, in the acknowledgment of the Creator, works of compassion have been found. As for those on the left, this is not the only thing they have done that will be brought against them. No, the fact that it will be shown that they have been strangers to human feeling does not mean that they will be found alien to other sins. Rather, though standing accused on many grounds, they will be condemned primarily on this count, that they have not redeemed their crimes with any alms. (Dan. 4:24) Since only the hardest heart would fail to be moved by any misery at all among those in distress, and since someone who has the means but does not help the afflicted must be considered as unjust as the one who crushes the weak, what hope remains for sinners who do not even show mercy for the sake of obtaining it themselves?

-- St. Leo of Rome (d. 461), Sermon 11

So, does this leave open the door for someone to "game the system?" Say, for example, somebody who is glutinous or sexually immoral and gleefully thumbs his nose at God in those areas, but is very moved by the plight of the poor and does all kinds of works of charity? Or how about somebody who strives for the poor but has absolutely no faith in God whatsoever, or who maybe is actually an atheist (sometimes I feel like some very liberal Christians edge into this when they say things like "loving God is loving your neighbor, with no remainder")?

How does this match up with Paul's admonition that giving your body to be burned matters not if you have not love?
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Antonis

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2018, 07:18:00 PM »
https://iconreader.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/the-charitabl-fornicator/

Quote
In Russian Icons of the Last Judgment dating from the 16th centuries onward, there appears at the bottom a naked man bound to a great pillar. Neither in Gehenna nor in Paradise, this man is known as the “Charitable Fornicator” (милостивый блудник)

 :)
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2018, 08:07:16 PM »
https://iconreader.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/the-charitabl-fornicator/

Quote
In Russian Icons of the Last Judgment dating from the 16th centuries onward, there appears at the bottom a naked man bound to a great pillar. Neither in Gehenna nor in Paradise, this man is known as the “Charitable Fornicator” (милостивый блудник)

 :)

That... rather raises more questions than it answers lol. What is this guy's eternal fate supposed to be? Will he spend an eternity in between Paradise and Gehenna? Is there some third eternal state in Orthodoxy like there is in Mormonism? Or is he just having an "easy time of it" right now because of his works and he'll ultimately go to the Lake of Fire?

Conversant to St. Paul, it seems like it would make more sense to say that he went to Hell regardless of his charitable works since not repenting of his adultery would signal that he didn't really love God at all but was ultimately just doing his kind deeds for some other reason.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2018, 08:25:11 PM »
To give a bit more context to the Sermon: "Known together as the De Collectis (Concerning the Collections), Sermons 6-11 deal with the annual collection of alms taken up for the sick and the poor of Rome." (Source)  So it's understandable that St. Leo might have been a little more heavy handed than usual in his attempts to emphasize and inspire having a charitable attitude and conduct.

I think this is one of those cases where the emphasis is more poetic than dogmatic. Or put another way, theology is a symphony and this is one flourish; we're meant to take notice of it, but not think that it is the entire symphony by itself, however much it might sound definitive. We could say the same thing about the virtues that Met. Kallistos said about the way we discuss salvation in general:

"...the Orthodox Church has never formally endorsed any particular theory of atonement. The Greek Fathers, following the New Testament, employ a rich variety of images to describe what the Savior has done for us. These models are not mutually exclusive; on the contrary, each needs to be balanced by the others." (How Are We Saved?, p. 48)

I think passages like this in St. Leo, or the one of St. Gregory (Oration 40.19) which seems to indicate that a single virtue will suffice, or even the words of Jesus: "Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much" (Luke 7:47), are meant to be taken as inspirational and edifying, rather than a how-to for salvation. I think such statements are made with the assumption that someone who has Christian faith won't stop with a virtue or two, or confining themselves to a small range of charitable activities, while blithely continuing on in sinful ways.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 08:27:04 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline Iconodule

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2018, 08:31:30 PM »
Charitable fornicator... is that someone who dates Bronies or something?
Mencius said, “Instruction makes use of many techniques. When I do not deign to instruct someone, that too is a form of instruction.”

Offline Justin Kolodziej

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2018, 10:07:11 PM »
The other "loophole", so to speak, is to never judge anyone. March 30 in the Prologue of Ohrid has the story of the monk who never judged anyone in his life, and so the angels had to tear up the long list of his sins because the Lord said "Stop judging and you will not be judged."

Too many theologists, not enough theologians.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2018, 01:37:57 AM »
To give a bit more context to the Sermon: "Known together as the De Collectis (Concerning the Collections), Sermons 6-11 deal with the annual collection of alms taken up for the sick and the poor of Rome." (Source)  So it's understandable that St. Leo might have been a little more heavy handed than usual in his attempts to emphasize and inspire having a charitable attitude and conduct.

I think this is one of those cases where the emphasis is more poetic than dogmatic. Or put another way, theology is a symphony and this is one flourish; we're meant to take notice of it, but not think that it is the entire symphony by itself, however much it might sound definitive. We could say the same thing about the virtues that Met. Kallistos said about the way we discuss salvation in general:

"...the Orthodox Church has never formally endorsed any particular theory of atonement. The Greek Fathers, following the New Testament, employ a rich variety of images to describe what the Savior has done for us. These models are not mutually exclusive; on the contrary, each needs to be balanced by the others." (How Are We Saved?, p. 48)

I think passages like this in St. Leo, or the one of St. Gregory (Oration 40.19) which seems to indicate that a single virtue will suffice, or even the words of Jesus: "Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much" (Luke 7:47), are meant to be taken as inspirational and edifying, rather than a how-to for salvation. I think such statements are made with the assumption that someone who has Christian faith won't stop with a virtue or two, or confining themselves to a small range of charitable activities, while blithely continuing on in sinful ways.

Yeah, I suppose that this is the best interpretation.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Tzimis

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2018, 03:52:03 PM »
Luther had the printing press. Just when he needed it. Its like the internet for those who dont know history.

Offline pasadi97

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2018, 04:45:43 PM »
Neither faith neither work will matter if protestants don't become immortal by coming to Eastern Orthodox Church. John 6:53-54
God the Father is great. God the Father is good.

Offline Tzimis

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2018, 05:49:30 PM »
Neither faith neither work will matter if protestants don't become immortal by coming to Eastern Orthodox Church. John 6:53-54
They severed there ties with the RCC years ago. For good reason. What makes you think they would look back?

Offline Volnutt

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2018, 06:38:48 PM »
Luther had the printing press. Just when he needed it. Its like the internet for those who dont know history.

And this is germane how, exactly?
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Antonis

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2018, 07:37:58 PM »
LOL. Poor Volnutt. No good thread topic left unpunished.

"This is the one from the beginning, who seemed to be new, yet was found to be ancient and always young, being born in the hearts of the saints."
Letter to Diognetus 11.4

Offline Volnutt

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2018, 07:56:12 PM »
LOL. Poor Volnutt. No good thread topic left unpunished.

lol, it is penance from God for my sins of low content posts in everybody else's threads ;)
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Tzimis

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2018, 04:12:13 AM »
Luther had the printing press. Just when he needed it. Its like the internet for those who dont know history.

And this is germane how, exactly?
I think you would appreciate the author Eric Metaxas. He is a greek / german /american.
You can skip to 32:00. For your answer. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gQD52TMgjnI

Offline Volnutt

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2018, 04:46:17 AM »
No, I really don't appreciate Metaxas. He's nothing but a political hack.

I do know all about how the Reformation would not have been possible without the printing press (among other historical developments at the time), though. I just don't think it has anything to do with the question that began this thread.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2018, 07:31:53 PM »
No, I really don't appreciate Metaxas. He's nothing but a political hack.

I do know all about how the Reformation would not have been possible without the printing press (among other historical developments at the time), though. I just don't think it has anything to do with the question that began this thread.
Your correct. I was just trying to clarify a point brought up earlier. 

Going back to your original questions.  My feeling is that faith and works go hand in hand. If we do works or faith alone we fall into sin. Works alone is an outward expression of what the other person thinks of us. Its based on pride and is engaged in the pursuit of what we want to portray but inwardly we dont actually care for the actual work preformed.  Even if it actually helps others.

Faith alone is asking god to do all the work for us. Putting our hands up and saying lord its up to you. Please save me.
In this we see a giving up, i cant do it Lord.  I try but my will isnt strong enough and I need you to take over.
This is sinful because man is expected to do his fair share.  To contribute to others. Family,  friends and colleagues who are in need of works.
Your brother or sister is in need. Do you neglect that need and put your hands up. Or Do you put on the tool belt. Do the best you can do and let god fill in the pieces.  You see? Faith and works are parts of the same process.

I have an obstacle before me. Do I put my hands up? Or do I try my best and if my best isnt go enough god than intervenes. That is true faith.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2018, 07:05:37 PM »
No, I really don't appreciate Metaxas. He's nothing but a political hack.

I do know all about how the Reformation would not have been possible without the printing press (among other historical developments at the time), though. I just don't think it has anything to do with the question that began this thread.
Your correct. I was just trying to clarify a point brought up earlier. 

Going back to your original questions.  My feeling is that faith and works go hand in hand. If we do works or faith alone we fall into sin. Works alone is an outward expression of what the other person thinks of us. Its based on pride and is engaged in the pursuit of what we want to portray but inwardly we dont actually care for the actual work preformed.  Even if it actually helps others.

Faith alone is asking god to do all the work for us. Putting our hands up and saying lord its up to you. Please save me.
In this we see a giving up, i cant do it Lord.  I try but my will isnt strong enough and I need you to take over.
This is sinful because man is expected to do his fair share.  To contribute to others. Family,  friends and colleagues who are in need of works.
Your brother or sister is in need. Do you neglect that need and put your hands up. Or Do you put on the tool belt. Do the best you can do and let god fill in the pieces.  You see? Faith and works are parts of the same process.

I have an obstacle before me. Do I put my hands up? Or do I try my best and if my best isnt go enough god than intervenes. That is true faith.

Yeah, the Mormons say the same thing, "Saved by grace after all we can do." The only problem is that we don't know when we've done all we can do. We're always going to have some laziness or ulterior motive that we don't realize (I think St. Nicodemus of Athos talks about that, being condemning for sins you willfully forgot). So, if something really depends on us then it seems like our situation is truly hopeless no matter how much God loves us.

Then again, this is the same logic that has inclined me towards Calvinism at various points in my life.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Onesimus

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2018, 12:22:12 AM »
Who gives us good works to walk in?

God Himself. 

We participate in what is given to us to do, and in this way participate in His love...and this is the great secret; the gift of works He gives us to do not only unleash love to others, but they can help to transform our heart and teach us about love by experiencing and participating in sacrificial Love (sometimes to a small degree, sometimes to a great degree - to each as he/she is capable of receiving grace).  Thus, we are saved by grace.   

What we are given to do by God in faith and love transforms us.  Works done outside of faith have their own reward.   “I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” (Matthew 6:2).  There is no “gaming the system.”   But works done in faith, even faith as small as a mustard seed, have a potentiating and symbiotic effect. 

When our faith is weak, our works can engender and fortify weak faith.   There is an old saying that sometimes illustrates this; “motivation follows action.”   If I don’t want to pray, I might do a few prostrations, and soon, my bodily action can draw my idle soul into prayer - because what the body does, draws the soul to it - whether good or bad.  Likewise, if I am not particularly loving, but I have faith and am acting in faith that God will accomplish His will in me, alms can Unleash more love within me by the grace of the work given.   

The alms given us to do by God save us not because we are righteous as if they were from us—since all things are from Him...we ought rather say “for this purpose I was born” or “not my will, but your will be done”or  “ I am only an unworthy servant.”   

they save us because —- to the extent we participate in them in love and faith; is the extent we allow ourselves to transformed by the the grace of God and be drawn into learning selfless sacrifice and walking to some degree in the life of Christ.  In this way, God gives grace upon grace which can snowball into an avalanche.   

As St. James says clearly, faith and works are active together, perfecting (making more complete) faith.   The works are themselves a grace (gift) from God.   We will be judged according to the response to grace....in this case the grace of God is manifest / or “quenched” in the works He has prepared for us to do.   

I suspect that St Leo is encouraging participating in works of faith knowing that they can draw people to God - just as participating in works of the flesh draw people away from God.   His encouragement is not legalistic, but didactic.   


Offline Volnutt

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2018, 09:25:22 PM »
Who gives us good works to walk in?

God Himself. 

We participate in what is given to us to do, and in this way participate in His love...and this is the great secret; the gift of works He gives us to do not only unleash love to others, but they can help to transform our heart and teach us about love by experiencing and participating in sacrificial Love (sometimes to a small degree, sometimes to a great degree - to each as he/she is capable of receiving grace).  Thus, we are saved by grace.   

What we are given to do by God in faith and love transforms us.  Works done outside of faith have their own reward.   “I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” (Matthew 6:2).  There is no “gaming the system.”   But works done in faith, even faith as small as a mustard seed, have a potentiating and symbiotic effect. 

When our faith is weak, our works can engender and fortify weak faith.   There is an old saying that sometimes illustrates this; “motivation follows action.”   If I don’t want to pray, I might do a few prostrations, and soon, my bodily action can draw my idle soul into prayer - because what the body does, draws the soul to it - whether good or bad.  Likewise, if I am not particularly loving, but I have faith and am acting in faith that God will accomplish His will in me, alms can Unleash more love within me by the grace of the work given.   

The alms given us to do by God save us not because we are righteous as if they were from us—since all things are from Him...we ought rather say “for this purpose I was born” or “not my will, but your will be done”or  “ I am only an unworthy servant.”   

they save us because —- to the extent we participate in them in love and faith; is the extent we allow ourselves to transformed by the the grace of God and be drawn into learning selfless sacrifice and walking to some degree in the life of Christ.  In this way, God gives grace upon grace which can snowball into an avalanche.   

As St. James says clearly, faith and works are active together, perfecting (making more complete) faith.   The works are themselves a grace (gift) from God.   We will be judged according to the response to grace....in this case the grace of God is manifest / or “quenched” in the works He has prepared for us to do.   

I suspect that St Leo is encouraging participating in works of faith knowing that they can draw people to God - just as participating in works of the flesh draw people away from God.   His encouragement is not legalistic, but didactic.

I guess I just have a tendency to get stuck on trying to locate the line between when its ok to have faith the size of a mustard seed and when you lose out because you haven't snowballed enough. "Be perfect as your Father is Heaven is perfect" is a tall order and "With men this is impossible but with God all things are possible" doesn't necessarily help mollify it any.

I suppose this is why Sola Fide was developed in the first place, heh. Of course, the issue there is knowing when you actually have faith...
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2018, 09:07:35 PM »
So, I'd like to hear from any Protestants out there (others can answer as well), do you ever wonder if you really have true faith?

My endless lust for equivocation wants to say that my issues with the whole faith-works tension in Orthodoxy can be solved by finding some way to say that Protestantism is really "just the same" in terms of uncertainty. It seems like the apparent certainty offered by Sola fide might collapse if one could never be certain that they really had faith (this is probably more directed at non-Puritans, I think once you introduce the Puritan reflex syllogism into things, certainty of salvation really does become a practical impossibility).
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Brilko

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2018, 09:28:59 PM »
So, I'd like to hear from any Protestants out there (others can answer as well), do you ever wonder if you really have true faith?

If I’m looking at my faith, how can I remove me from the equation? How firm a foundation can I really be? It seems to me that total assurance must melt away. I’m just floating in the wreckage and hoping that the search and rescue team picks me up.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2018, 09:36:48 PM »
So, I'd like to hear from any Protestants out there (others can answer as well), do you ever wonder if you really have true faith?

If I’m looking at my faith, how can I remove me from the equation? How firm a foundation can I really be? It seems to me that total assurance must melt away. I’m just floating in the wreckage and hoping that the search and rescue team picks me up.

My problem with that is that it would seem that logically everybody would be saved. It's not like the search and rescue team could ever fail to find someone, right (I mean, I'd love to embrace universalism as a certainty, but that would put me outside from the point of view of both Orthodox and typical Protestants)?

I do agree that it's hard to lay a foundation on yourself in any sense. I mean, yes faith is a gift of God, but finding evidence of it in oneself seems exceptionally difficult too.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Brilko

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2018, 11:28:55 PM »
So, I'd like to hear from any Protestants out there (others can answer as well), do you ever wonder if you really have true faith?

If I’m looking at my faith, how can I remove me from the equation? How firm a foundation can I really be? It seems to me that total assurance must melt away. I’m just floating in the wreckage and hoping that the search and rescue team picks me up.

My problem with that is that it would seem that logically everybody would be saved. It's not like the search and rescue team could ever fail to find someone, right (I mean, I'd love to embrace universalism as a certainty, but that would put me outside from the point of view of both Orthodox and typical Protestants)?

I do agree that it's hard to lay a foundation on yourself in any sense. I mean, yes faith is a gift of God, but finding evidence of it in oneself seems exceptionally difficult too.

The search and rescue team might find everyone, but what about those who refuse? Will they be tranqed and tagged like a tiger on Wild Kingdom? (♫Mutual of Omaha is people...who will take you whether you want to go or no-o-ot. ♫) I wouldn’t embrace universalism as a certainty. In fact, I think it unlikely. Look at how stiff-necked and rebellious the Christians and the Jews are.

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2018, 03:01:50 AM »
I struggle with the idea that human stubbornness could ever triumph over the love of God (isn't He who made us capable of persuading and seducing us?)

But either way, I have a problem getting away from the Calvinist suspicion that making anything in salvation depend on our wills makes us, ipso facto, the authors of our own salvation.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2018, 09:11:32 AM »
So, I'd like to hear from any Protestants out there (others can answer as well), do you ever wonder if you really have true faith?

My endless lust for equivocation wants to say that my issues with the whole faith-works tension in Orthodoxy can be solved by finding some way to say that Protestantism is really "just the same" in terms of uncertainty. It seems like the apparent certainty offered by Sola fide might collapse if one could never be certain that they really had faith (this is probably more directed at non-Puritans, I think once you introduce the Puritan reflex syllogism into things, certainty of salvation really does become a practical impossibility).

Hence the evangelists of my childhood: "Are you sure that you're sure that you're sure that you're saved?"
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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2018, 03:31:37 PM »
So, I'd like to hear from any Protestants out there (others can answer as well), do you ever wonder if you really have true faith?

My endless lust for equivocation wants to say that my issues with the whole faith-works tension in Orthodoxy can be solved by finding some way to say that Protestantism is really "just the same" in terms of uncertainty. It seems like the apparent certainty offered by Sola fide might collapse if one could never be certain that they really had faith (this is probably more directed at non-Puritans, I think once you introduce the Puritan reflex syllogism into things, certainty of salvation really does become a practical impossibility).

Hence the evangelists of my childhood: "Are you sure that you're sure that you're sure that you're saved?"

Which leads to things like the "anxious bench" of the Great Awakening and the obsession with emotional experiences as proof (which itself would eventually morph into Pentecostalism).
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline maneki_neko

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2018, 06:04:32 AM »
The only problem is that we don't know when we've done all we can do. We're always going to have some laziness or ulterior motive that we don't realize (I think St. Nicodemus of Athos talks about that, being condemning for sins you willfully forgot).
Yes of course, this is the reason behind asceticism, is it not? A constant refinement, versus a "resting on Jesus' laurels" approach that OSAS sort of encourages, or doing good works to prove to others that you're saved.

So, if something really depends on us then it seems like our situation is truly hopeless no matter how much God loves us.

For me this is the problem that the mysticism of the Church solved. It's not strictly up to us although we certainly play a determining role. It's not for us to know the "secret sauce formula" that determines yay or nay. God in His perfection can judge us perfectly and fairly. But us in our fallen state, even if we knew the precise measurement we'd disagree with it anyway because we are incapable of perfect objectivity.

So it makes sense that we have a very good general idea of how salvation works, but in our own best interest are also denied the specific details.
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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #27 on: September 08, 2018, 03:12:46 PM »
https://iconreader.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/the-charitabl-fornicator/

Quote
In Russian Icons of the Last Judgment dating from the 16th centuries onward, there appears at the bottom a naked man bound to a great pillar. Neither in Gehenna nor in Paradise, this man is known as the “Charitable Fornicator” (милостивый блудник)

 :)

That... rather raises more questions than it answers lol. What is this guy's eternal fate supposed to be? Will he spend an eternity in between Paradise and Gehenna? Is there some third eternal state in Orthodoxy like there is in Mormonism? Or is he just having an "easy time of it" right now because of his works and he'll ultimately go to the Lake of Fire?

Conversant to St. Paul, it seems like it would make more sense to say that he went to Hell regardless of his charitable works since not repenting of his adultery would signal that he didn't really love God at all but was ultimately just doing his kind deeds for some other reason.

Still curious about this element, honestly.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2018, 12:23:23 AM »
Neither faith neither work will matter if protestants don't become immortal by coming to Eastern Orthodox Church. John 6:53-54
They severed there ties with the RCC years ago. For good reason. What makes you think they would look back?

On this point, conversion to the Orthodox Church, whether Eastern or Oriental, or indeed I would argue the Assyrian Church of the East, would be a step forward for them, and not a turning back.

The Roman Church, due to the expansion of Roman Catholic regimes such as the Holy Roman Empire deep into Central and Eastern Europe, into traditionally Orthodox lands like Moravia, Carpathia and Livonia, and also many would argue, Great Britain and Ireland, modified the praxis of the church and deprived the laity of things they had previously enjoyed, such as a vernacular liturgy and communion in both species (they were denied the Chalice and received only the consecrated Host).

Thus, we see an implicit, or indeed in many cases, explicit, attempt to return to Orthodoxy in the earliest Protestant movement to make any real success, the Hussites in Prague, and the groups derived from them, such as rhe Moravians and the Utraquists, which was not per se heretical or potentially influenced by late Gnostics like the Waldensians, who may have been influenced by the Albigensians (I personally doubt this, and believe the Waldensians dissented due to a feeling of something being wrong with the post-schism RCC, but lacking any knowledge of the Orthodox Church they embraced inadverantly various doctrinal errors, such as a semi-Donatist interpretation of the Priesthood of All Believers; later they were persuaded to adopt “reformed” theology ala Calvin)l

It is for this reason that, last I heard, the Czech and Slovak Church is now regarding Jan Hus as a martyr.

Now Hus doubtless inspired Luther, but Martin Luther made several doctrinal errors, although he thought he was restoring Orthodoxy (later, when several Lutheran theologians finally succeeded in contacting the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, they were shocked that he did not agree with various tenets of the Lutheran faith, and then made an ill fated attempt to persuade the EP to change his mind; the Patriarch graciously requested they cease pestering him anout theological differences while expressing a willingness to continue to correspond on other matters; if memory serves the Lutherans were so stunned by this cognitive dissonance caused by realizing their faith was not the same as practiced in the East that they did not reply).  So in a sense we can say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  That said, I do not believe Lutheranism is inherently the road to Hell; it is a defective form of Christianity, but there are many forms more defective, and remember what St. John Maximovitch said about Protestants, that they worship Jesus, who is all loving, and thus we should not worry about their salvation (it is good to pray for them however), but rather trust the matter to God.

Interestingly the word “anathema” also can be read as meaning “delivered up to God”, so when the ancient Church anathematized various heresies, while you can read anathema as meaning “accursed”, you can also say that the Church essentially entrusted to God any hope for the salvation of people who embraced these heresies, who the Church had been unable to persuade to return to the fold.

In our dealings with Protestants I feel it is imperative to approach them with extreme love, and not automatically assume they are more removed from Orthodoxy than the Catholics; the RCC made some severe errors which alienated these people, and Luther made errors in his attempt to correct Catholic doctrinal positions.  If there is a villain in Protestantism, and I think there is, it is to be found in John Calvin, who was a power-hungry, craven, theocratic despot who ruled Geneva with an iron fist, using his ecclesiastical office to coerce the civil government into following his direction, under the threat of extreme and brutal penances.  He also embraced a diverse array of heresies like Nestorianism and Iconoclasm, consciously setting his schismatic group against most principles of the ancient faith, and indeed very much against Luther.  Calvinism and related movements like Zwinglianism influenced the Church of England, and the Radical Reformation, like the anarchist Anabaptists, and as a result these corrupting ideas seeped into various Protestant churches; even Lutheranism was eventually affected due to the forced merger of the Lutheran ane Calvinist churches in Prussia (and in the US there are various descendants of the Prussian “Reformed Lutheran” diaspora, such as parts of the UCC, the WELS, the LCMS, which to its credit purged itself of most Calvinist errors, and other minor denominarions such as the Protest-ants).

So, Protestants in most cases don’t know anything about Orthodoxy; those who do either form a staunch opposition to it as being akin to the Roman Church, or in other cases form extremely favorable opinions of it (I daresay most Anglicans who know about the Orthodox Church have an enthusiasm for it, albeit they are afraid to convert due to the more rigorous nature of Orthodoxy compared to the relative ease of being an Anglican).
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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2018, 12:58:07 AM »
Quote
It is for this reason that, last I heard, the Czech and Slovak Church is now regarding Jan Hus as a martyr.

I need to go find the link, but as I recall it's not so much "he was a martyr" as "we hope he was a martyr and we'll do pankhidas for him."
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #30 on: September 11, 2018, 09:45:50 AM »
Neither faith neither work will matter if protestants don't become immortal by coming to Eastern Orthodox Church. John 6:53-54
They severed there ties with the RCC years ago. For good reason. What makes you think they would look back?

On this point, conversion to the Orthodox Church, whether Eastern or Oriental, or indeed I would argue the Assyrian Church of the East, would be a step forward for them, and not a turning back.

The Roman Church, due to the expansion of Roman Catholic regimes such as the Holy Roman Empire deep into Central and Eastern Europe, into traditionally Orthodox lands like Moravia, Carpathia and Livonia, and also many would argue, Great Britain and Ireland, modified the praxis of the church and deprived the laity of things they had previously enjoyed, such as a vernacular liturgy and communion in both species (they were denied the Chalice and received only the consecrated Host).

Thus, we see an implicit, or indeed in many cases, explicit, attempt to return to Orthodoxy in the earliest Protestant movement to make any real success, the Hussites in Prague, and the groups derived from them, such as rhe Moravians and the Utraquists, which was not per se heretical or potentially influenced by late Gnostics like the Waldensians, who may have been influenced by the Albigensians (I personally doubt this, and believe the Waldensians dissented due to a feeling of something being wrong with the post-schism RCC, but lacking any knowledge of the Orthodox Church they embraced inadverantly various doctrinal errors, such as a semi-Donatist interpretation of the Priesthood of All Believers; later they were persuaded to adopt “reformed” theology ala Calvin)l

It is for this reason that, last I heard, the Czech and Slovak Church is now regarding Jan Hus as a martyr.

Now Hus doubtless inspired Luther, but Martin Luther made several doctrinal errors, although he thought he was restoring Orthodoxy (later, when several Lutheran theologians finally succeeded in contacting the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, they were shocked that he did not agree with various tenets of the Lutheran faith, and then made an ill fated attempt to persuade the EP to change his mind; the Patriarch graciously requested they cease pestering him anout theological differences while expressing a willingness to continue to correspond on other matters; if memory serves the Lutherans were so stunned by this cognitive dissonance caused by realizing their faith was not the same as practiced in the East that they did not reply).  So in a sense we can say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  That said, I do not believe Lutheranism is inherently the road to Hell; it is a defective form of Christianity, but there are many forms more defective, and remember what St. John Maximovitch said about Protestants, that they worship Jesus, who is all loving, and thus we should not worry about their salvation (it is good to pray for them however), but rather trust the matter to God.

Interestingly the word “anathema” also can be read as meaning “delivered up to God”, so when the ancient Church anathematized various heresies, while you can read anathema as meaning “accursed”, you can also say that the Church essentially entrusted to God any hope for the salvation of people who embraced these heresies, who the Church had been unable to persuade to return to the fold.

In our dealings with Protestants I feel it is imperative to approach them with extreme love, and not automatically assume they are more removed from Orthodoxy than the Catholics; the RCC made some severe errors which alienated these people, and Luther made errors in his attempt to correct Catholic doctrinal positions.  If there is a villain in Protestantism, and I think there is, it is to be found in John Calvin, who was a power-hungry, craven, theocratic despot who ruled Geneva with an iron fist, using his ecclesiastical office to coerce the civil government into following his direction, under the threat of extreme and brutal penances.  He also embraced a diverse array of heresies like Nestorianism and Iconoclasm, consciously setting his schismatic group against most principles of the ancient faith, and indeed very much against Luther.  Calvinism and related movements like Zwinglianism influenced the Church of England, and the Radical Reformation, like the anarchist Anabaptists, and as a result these corrupting ideas seeped into various Protestant churches; even Lutheranism was eventually affected due to the forced merger of the Lutheran ane Calvinist churches in Prussia (and in the US there are various descendants of the Prussian “Reformed Lutheran” diaspora, such as parts of the UCC, the WELS, the LCMS, which to its credit purged itself of most Calvinist errors, and other minor denominarions such as the Protest-ants).

So, Protestants in most cases don’t know anything about Orthodoxy; those who do either form a staunch opposition to it as being akin to the Roman Church, or in other cases form extremely favorable opinions of it (I daresay most Anglicans who know about the Orthodox Church have an enthusiasm for it, albeit they are afraid to convert due to the more rigorous nature of Orthodoxy compared to the relative ease of being an Anglican).

The Lutheran movement coincided with the nationalistic movement. Both had issues with autocratic church leaders and emperors. The nationalist movement saw there chance to give allegiance to a system of constitutions. The Lutheran movement followed suit with there allegiance to scripture over hierarchy. Martin Luther was
able to gain political support for his movement, leading to the establishment of centralized and
sovereign Protestant German states. The first of these states was the Duchy of Prussia, a product
of the Reformation.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #31 on: September 11, 2018, 10:36:01 AM »
You're right in a lot of ways, of course, but I still fail to see how any of this is relevant. If your point is that Lutheranism is somehow automatically invalid because it parasitized off of and fed into nascent German nationalism (as opposed to the theological reasons that it's actually invalid), well then I think there's a bit of a plank in your own eye...
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Alpha60

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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2018, 12:46:21 PM »
Neither faith neither work will matter if protestants don't become immortal by coming to Eastern Orthodox Church. John 6:53-54
They severed there ties with the RCC years ago. For good reason. What makes you think they would look back?

On this point, conversion to the Orthodox Church, whether Eastern or Oriental, or indeed I would argue the Assyrian Church of the East, would be a step forward for them, and not a turning back.

The Roman Church, due to the expansion of Roman Catholic regimes such as the Holy Roman Empire deep into Central and Eastern Europe, into traditionally Orthodox lands like Moravia, Carpathia and Livonia, and also many would argue, Great Britain and Ireland, modified the praxis of the church and deprived the laity of things they had previously enjoyed, such as a vernacular liturgy and communion in both species (they were denied the Chalice and received only the consecrated Host).

Thus, we see an implicit, or indeed in many cases, explicit, attempt to return to Orthodoxy in the earliest Protestant movement to make any real success, the Hussites in Prague, and the groups derived from them, such as rhe Moravians and the Utraquists, which was not per se heretical or potentially influenced by late Gnostics like the Waldensians, who may have been influenced by the Albigensians (I personally doubt this, and believe the Waldensians dissented due to a feeling of something being wrong with the post-schism RCC, but lacking any knowledge of the Orthodox Church they embraced inadverantly various doctrinal errors, such as a semi-Donatist interpretation of the Priesthood of All Believers; later they were persuaded to adopt “reformed” theology ala Calvin)l

It is for this reason that, last I heard, the Czech and Slovak Church is now regarding Jan Hus as a martyr.

Now Hus doubtless inspired Luther, but Martin Luther made several doctrinal errors, although he thought he was restoring Orthodoxy (later, when several Lutheran theologians finally succeeded in contacting the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, they were shocked that he did not agree with various tenets of the Lutheran faith, and then made an ill fated attempt to persuade the EP to change his mind; the Patriarch graciously requested they cease pestering him anout theological differences while expressing a willingness to continue to correspond on other matters; if memory serves the Lutherans were so stunned by this cognitive dissonance caused by realizing their faith was not the same as practiced in the East that they did not reply).  So in a sense we can say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  That said, I do not believe Lutheranism is inherently the road to Hell; it is a defective form of Christianity, but there are many forms more defective, and remember what St. John Maximovitch said about Protestants, that they worship Jesus, who is all loving, and thus we should not worry about their salvation (it is good to pray for them however), but rather trust the matter to God.

Interestingly the word “anathema” also can be read as meaning “delivered up to God”, so when the ancient Church anathematized various heresies, while you can read anathema as meaning “accursed”, you can also say that the Church essentially entrusted to God any hope for the salvation of people who embraced these heresies, who the Church had been unable to persuade to return to the fold.

In our dealings with Protestants I feel it is imperative to approach them with extreme love, and not automatically assume they are more removed from Orthodoxy than the Catholics; the RCC made some severe errors which alienated these people, and Luther made errors in his attempt to correct Catholic doctrinal positions.  If there is a villain in Protestantism, and I think there is, it is to be found in John Calvin, who was a power-hungry, craven, theocratic despot who ruled Geneva with an iron fist, using his ecclesiastical office to coerce the civil government into following his direction, under the threat of extreme and brutal penances.  He also embraced a diverse array of heresies like Nestorianism and Iconoclasm, consciously setting his schismatic group against most principles of the ancient faith, and indeed very much against Luther.  Calvinism and related movements like Zwinglianism influenced the Church of England, and the Radical Reformation, like the anarchist Anabaptists, and as a result these corrupting ideas seeped into various Protestant churches; even Lutheranism was eventually affected due to the forced merger of the Lutheran ane Calvinist churches in Prussia (and in the US there are various descendants of the Prussian “Reformed Lutheran” diaspora, such as parts of the UCC, the WELS, the LCMS, which to its credit purged itself of most Calvinist errors, and other minor denominarions such as the Protest-ants).

So, Protestants in most cases don’t know anything about Orthodoxy; those who do either form a staunch opposition to it as being akin to the Roman Church, or in other cases form extremely favorable opinions of it (I daresay most Anglicans who know about the Orthodox Church have an enthusiasm for it, albeit they are afraid to convert due to the more rigorous nature of Orthodoxy compared to the relative ease of being an Anglican).

The Lutheran movement coincided with the nationalistic movement. Both had issues with autocratic church leaders and emperors. The nationalist movement saw there chance to give allegiance to a system of constitutions. The Lutheran movement followed suit with there allegiance to scripture over hierarchy. Martin Luther was
able to gain political support for his movement, leading to the establishment of centralized and
sovereign Protestant German states. The first of these states was the Duchy of Prussia, a product
of the Reformation.

This is historically inaccurate.  The German states had de facto sovereignity within the Holy Roman Empire, along with some Italian states, long before the Reformation.  The first state to embrace Lutheranism was the Electorate of Saxony, later the Kingdom of Saxony.  The Electorate of Prussia embraced Calvinism, not Lutheranism, but military successes enlarged this state, so when it became the Kingdom of Prussia and the Holy Roman Empire was abolished after Napoleon, there wede a large number of Lutherans living in the expanded Prussian Kingdom, and at that time the Prussian state merged the Lutheran and Calvinist churches into a single Church of Prussia, which was a bit of a broad church not unlike the Church of England.

German nationalism did not really pick up steam until the 19th century, when it became very popular due to the frustration of many citizens with the wars and trade barriers between the German states that had previously been part of the Holy Roman Empire.  Some of these were tiny Duchies and Principalities, two of which still survive (Luxembourg and Liechtenstein), which in some cases occupied a section of the Rhine enabling them to collect tolls, but these tolls interfered with navigation.  In 1848 there was a popular uprising across the German speaking lands, and indeed across much of Europe; that year was called “The Springtime of Revolutions” and marked the beginnings of the sad end of the “Concert of Vienna” which had provided for political stability and peace in the decades following the defeat of Napoleon.   The German nationalist revolution developed the red, yellow and black flag, that was ultimately adopted only after WWII by the Federal Republic (West Germany) and with a modification, the DDR (communist East Germany).  They also composed the German national anthem by taking the music of the old Austrian Imperial national anthem, the Kaiserhymne, composed by Haydn, and setting it to new lyrics (Deutschland Uber Alles, meaning a united Germany over all of the hitherto independent German states, lyrics later reinterpreted by the Nazis and used with a more sinister meaning, Germany over all other nations). 

Finally, in what I consider to be one of the great historical tragedies of the modern era, Prussia defeated Napoleon III at the Battle of Sedan; Bavaria, the only other powerful German state which stood between the Prussian dream of a German Empire and the status quo, had naturally allied itself with France, so in the aftermath of the French defeat by the Prussians, King Ludwig II was forced to write the “Imperial Letter” to the King of Prussia, encouraging him to become Kaiser (Emperor) of a united Germany, consisting of all Germanic states except Austria-Hungary, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein (later Belgium was to acquire a small slice of Germany and a German minority population; the Nazis occupied or annexed all of these except Switzerland and Liechtenstein during WWII, but fortunately after the war the sovereignity of these nations was restored).

Previously the Prussians had defeated Austria in a war shortly after King Ludwig II came to power; they conquered Hannover and deposed the Hannoverian monarch (which would have been Queen Victoria had it not been for Salic Law preventing a woman from ascending to the throne of Hannover, thus breaking the personal union between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Kingdom of Hannover; in the same manner due to the same ancient law, now abolished, the personal union between the Netherlands and Luxembourg was broken in the 1890s when a queen inherited the Dutch throne).  They also would have conquered and deposed the Saxon king, except Kaiser Franz Josef of Austria refused to surrender as a matter of honor unless Saxon independence was preserved.

Of course, after the Imperial Letter, all of these kingdoms lost their sovereignity, and became suzerains under the Prussian Kaiser of Germany.  However, the Kings of Bavaria, Saxony and the various Grand Dukes continued to reign albeit under the Prussian leash until the end of World War I and the collapse of the Old Reich.

The dream of German nationalism then became a nightmare, first under the incompetent Wiemar Republic, and then under the diabolical Nazi regime.  It was not realized in a beneficient way until the reunification of the DDR and West Germany in 1989-1990.

Thus, Lutheranism predated German nationalism by nearly 500 years, and indeed a large number of ardent German nationalists in 1848, up to the present, have been Roman Catholics.  The Austrians for their part sometimes call themselves “Better Germans than Germany” because they retained the Roman Catholic faith.
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Re: "Faith vs. Works" thread #4829038
« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2018, 09:22:58 PM »
In interesting Saint related to all this had his feast a day or two ago. St. Peter the Tax-Collector:

Quote
One day he threw a morsel of bread to a beggar who annoyed him by incessantly begging alms. In a vision Peter saw himself as dead and how the holy Angels weighed his deeds on the scale of the righteous judgment of God. On the side of good deeds nothing was placed except a morsel of bread, thrown at the beggar, but this prevented the opposite side from being pulled down by his vicious deeds.

Peter pondered the meaning of the dream, and thought that if one loaf of bread, thrown involuntarily, was of such help to him, then he might receive much more help for good deeds performed with compassion and from the heart. He repented and completely changed his life. He liberally distributed alms to the needy, and fed and clothed many.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.