As far as atonement, feel free to start a thread on it. It is an interesting discussion and there is enough silliness that goes on threads in this forum that a discussion on atonement would be far more beneficial than those.
I'll "pass"on that for now, at least. People can be defensive.... and take offense as a result. Forums can be quite debative, and people feel a compulsion to convert or at least convince. Having been active at interdenominational forums since I was 10 years old, I've LEARNED (the hard way, I confess) some discussions require a lot of mutual trust and respect before they become fruitful. I'm new here. I'VE not learned the "lay of the land" here or the people here - and it's mutual. And since I doubt I'll be active here, I doubt that will happen... this is an ORTHODOX site that permits outsiders to peer in (if done respectfully) - and I not only "get it", I honor that. All I'd want is a better understanding.... but that's not necessarily the agenda of others. But maybe someday..... Or if we meet in some other venue...
I agree with the top section. I can understand how the issue is very important as it pertains to relations between protestant and Catholic, but for us, it is little more than an intellectual exercise in trying to tease out the different positions.
Perhaps you can appreciate how Protestants do not regard it as purely an intellectual exercise since we don't see Christ as that?
From our perspective, Christianity is - foremost and above all - CHRISTO
centric. It fundamentally is about HIS Incarnation, HIS Death, HIS Resurrection - and what that accomplishes, why that matters. For us, it's the central reality, not a mere "intellectual exercise."
Can you appreciate that perspective?
And yes, I understand that Orthodoxy may have other focuses.... and even that this has is now (and perhaps always has been) "off the radar" so to speak. I don't mean that judgmentally at all... it may just be how it is.
In regards to your second section, perhaps it would be beneficial for us to define what "salvation" means. What do you mean by the phrase: "you are saved" that you have in the top line?
Sorry, I can't find a top line where I state, "you are saved" so I don't know what you are referring to exactly.....I'll TRY
To the general point of "salvation", I addressed that at length above and don't think it wise to "rehash" all that all over again. "Salvation" is a somewhat difficult term - since it is broad and diverse, but I would agree that in MODERN Protestantism anyway, it has become almost the equal of "justification" in the narrow sense (and I admit, I TEND to use the terms interchangeably too - which is unhelpful in my discussions with you). I can get all technical with you, give you links to LONG and very technical sites (and I'm willing to do that, lol) but since we are laymen, let it suffice to say "justification" in the narrow sense is our new relationship with God. I compared it above to my being given life (Perhaps on April 23, 1987 since I was born on January 23, 1988 wink), so that I am now alive, a homo sapiens, living. Before this, we are DEAD. Before this we are ENEMIES. Zombies - physically alive but that's all (to use a weird illustration I read from a Baptist recently, lol). Before this, there is no forgiveness, no life. In Christ, because of Christ - we are spiritually alive, able to live. Several of my posts above relate more (and maybe better). The Orthodox link you provided was pretty good on this point (although I disagree with HOW justification is accomplished - which that site credited to Baptism rather than Jesus, and to MY maintaining it rather than to the Holy Spirit).
The classic Protestant position ON THIS
, on Justification (narrow) is "Sola Gratia - Solus Christus - Sola Fide"
as ONE, single, united, inseparable doctrine. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world (Sola Gratia) that HE gave His Only Son (Solus Christus) that whosoever believes in Him will not parish but has everlasting life (Sola Fide)." Protestantism on this is CHRISTOCENTRIC. Protestants would stressed that this new relationship is brought about by GOD - by God's unmerited love, favor and mercy. That it is achieved by CHRIST - His
resurrection; by HIS love, HIS obedience, HIS holiness. And that this is apprehended by means of faith (reliance is the role in justification) which is the gift of God (ALL justification is the gift of God). I'M not the Savior (Justification, narrow sense) of ME - not now, not ever - not in full, not in part. The Protestant view is to look to the Cross, not to the mirror. Of course, the RCC condemned all this as heresy, split itself over this, and excommunicated Luther (and essentially all Protestants) over this. Orthodox may have the same conclusion? Perhaps all this is just entirely "off the radar" of the Orthodox?This is distinctive
(but inseparable) from sanctification
(narrow sense, as well) which is OUR RESPONSE to this changed relationship, our growing, maturing, development, becoming more Christ-like. My being GIVEN life as a human is not the same thing as my LIVING as a human; almost as soon as I was born - God, my parents, soceity called me to morality, to service, to civility. My parents called me to obedience, love, humility. And I "tap" God's grace to empower that growth so that what good I do is because of God's empowering (to him be the glory) and what bad I am is because I fail to respond to Him as I could and should (MY "bad"). With Paul, I am not perfect in morality, not perfect in love - I am the chief of sinners - BUT I press on to make it my goal.... THIS is Sanctification..... and as far as I can tell, nearly 100% of Chrsitians agree (in theory anyway!) with this... CERTAINLY Catholics and classical Protestantism agrees (and it SEEMS so does Orthdoxy). As a Protestant, I'd add to this, ".... not SO THAT God will love me and perhaps someday begin to bless me, but because He has made me His own."Does that help?
Thank you for the respectful discussion...... again, note, I'm ONLY noting the hint of misunderstanding in the opening post.