Author Topic: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."  (Read 2009 times)

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Offline serb1389

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So how literally can this be taken?  I have a couple of Fathers' exegesis on Scripture but I know there are people on the site who are a lot more advanced in their research capabilities. 

Would this verse mean that if you believe in Jesus, then your entire household, through you, is considered believers automatically? 

Or do they have to accept Jesus also?  It would seem that this order is not explicitly said in the verse.  However, this might be one of those times that we don't look at things literally. 

Any thoughts?  I'm writing a paper on this so any help would be greatly appreciated. 
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Offline Starlight

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Most likely that would mean that other members of the household will sooner or later accept Jesus as the Savior, presumably by the influence of their family member and her / his missionary work for them.
On the contrary another point of view could be strengthened by much later appeal of St. Seraphim of Sarov "to again the spirit of peace and therefore, thousands around you will be saved".
It seems more reasonable that individual decision to accept Christ shall be needed in order to obtain salvation. Exceptions may be limited to:
- Baptized infants and baptized children of a household, who could die too early to become able to affirm the decision regarding faith
- Persons with certain disabilities
- It cannot be excluded that our merciful God would restore to salvation, some people, who did not accept the Good News, however, the prayers of family and friends may add for the benefit of those souls.

But overall, in my humble opinion, in order to be saved by Jesus Christ, it is much better to accept an offered salvation from Jesus Christ.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2007, 09:59:39 PM by Starlight »

Offline Fr. George

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Part of it probably has to do with the fact that, in Jesus' time and through much of the Ancient world, the whole household adopted the religion of the head of the household, whether they wanted or not....
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
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Offline scamandrius

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Part of it probably has to do with the fact that, in Jesus' time and through much of the Ancient world, the whole household adopted the religion of the head of the household, whether they wanted or not....
That's quite true in Roman households, where the paterfamiliasalso functioned as chief priest of the family.  However, I think the point of this passage is that the head of the family is also responsible for teaching the faith to all the members (though compulsion could be employed) and that his adoption of the faith means that he now has  a responsibility to minister faithfully to those under him.
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Offline GiC

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We also learn from Paul that the believing husband sanctifies the unbelieving wife, and the believing wife sanctifies the unbelieving husband...perhaps the bond of love between a husband and wife, or within a family, is in and of itself sufficient to bring one to salvation in the life to come, independent of their belief in Christ.
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Offline serb1389

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Thanks guys this is awesome stuff. 

If anyone has anything else to add feel free but I think i'm good for my project. 

Thanks again! 
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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*bump*

 So, brother Serb1389, how did your paper turn out?  I'd be curious to read it if you wouldn't mind as this is a great question. 

As to Cleveland's reply #2 above whether they wanted to or not...; this is an interesting consideration.  So a man becomes a Christian but his wife doesn't see the point or attraction; she'll also be saved?  And I understood salvation in Orthodoxy as not just a static event but a process.  How can simply believing save a person?
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Offline prodromas

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Attain the Holy Spirit and thousands around you will be saved.
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Offline ialmisry

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Besides all of the above, the Talmud etc. indicates that proselytes came, and were baptized, as a family.  Hence the connection with this verse and all the household being saved.

This also might have implications for converts:who else is praying in the Orthodox Church for your family, living and departed, but you? (You are praying for them, aren't you?).
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Offline Fr. George

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As to Cleveland's reply #2 above whether they wanted to or not...; this is an interesting consideration.  So a man becomes a Christian but his wife doesn't see the point or attraction; she'll also be saved?  And I understood salvation in Orthodoxy as not just a static event but a process.  How can simply believing save a person?

It's not "doesn't see the point or attraction, but she'll still be saved," but more like "the decision regarding whom or what the wife and children shall worship was often made without their input or consideration, and the decision was not able to be vetoed."  Frequently in that time, the Father of the Household, or the Head of the Family (when speaking about clans and extended families) would make the decision about worship, and all members of the household (many of them adults) would follow out of obedience.  So the idea is convert the Father to Christianity, and the whole household has a chance; and if he believe truly, in word and deed, then the life of the house is converted to a holy life, giving all the chance for salvation.
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2008, 03:31:18 PM »
As to Cleveland's reply #2 above whether they wanted to or not...; this is an interesting consideration.  So a man becomes a Christian but his wife doesn't see the point or attraction; she'll also be saved?  And I understood salvation in Orthodoxy as not just a static event but a process.  How can simply believing save a person?

It's not "doesn't see the point or attraction, but she'll still be saved," but more like "the decision regarding whom or what the wife and children shall worship was often made without their input or consideration, and the decision was not able to be vetoed."  Frequently in that time, the Father of the Household, or the Head of the Family (when speaking about clans and extended families) would make the decision about worship, and all members of the household (many of them adults) would follow out of obedience.  So the idea is convert the Father to Christianity, and the whole household has a chance; and if he believe truly, in word and deed, then the life of the house is converted to a holy life, giving all the chance for salvation.

I remember when I almost married a Protestant Copt (yes, such people exist), I was quite firm that she could remain Protestant, but of course there would be no question that the children would be Orthodox.  One of the main reasons why we didn't marry was that her family told me she would convert, and she told me while with them that she would but told my distant relative that she was upset that she would have to.  I thought, better not get into this.  Another thing was her mother was rather unaware that the umbilical cord was cut: in fact the girl's father was Orthodox, the mother was the Protestant.

My ex wife tried to get a clause in the parenting agreement (so called) that she the children's faith was "Christian," which I would have no say over.  That got taken out rather quickly when I said negotiations were over and I insisted on a trial.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2008, 03:32:48 PM by ialmisry »
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth