This has been quite fascinating. It would be interesting to know how many who have responded are cradle Orthodox and how many are converts like myself. Having partaken of the confusion and grotesque distortions of Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism---especially the teachings spouted by Augustine--I deeply appreciate the sanity and spirituality of the Eastern Church. I spent a couple of years "tasting" the Roman church, and it's not very palatable at all. I bring this up because perhaps many here are cradle Orthodox who have never actually read much of Augustine beyond quotations or a few paragraphs here and there. I'm puzzled that anyone who has immersed themselves in Augustinian thought, then found the Eastern Orthodox Church, would cling to Augustinian theology.Deeply puzzled
, considering the blazing Light of the Eastern Church versus the relative
gloominess of Augustine. He never did completely shake the influence of Manicheanism.
However, I am simply a layman, and the Eastern Orthodox Church is God's Church, not my own. If it is God's Will that Augustinian thought pervade the Eastern Church, who am I to stand in the way of God?
LOL. In that case, Orthodox who champion Augustinian thought are Heroes for the Truth and I am merely an obstacle. If the Eastern Church should become saturated with Augustinian thought within my lifetime, I would accept it as God's Will, but I would not return to studying Augustine for myself.
According to Augustine:
One of the greatest joys of Heaven will consist of watching the torments of the damned.
Hell is literally
a place of fiery torments. The fire is not a metaphor.
One is predestined
to either Heaven or hell.
Each of us is born bearing the actual guilt
of the Adams sin. (In the NT and EO it is DEATH that passed thru Adam to us, mortality has come to us via Adam, not the guilt
of Adam's sin.)
We are born with a sinful nature
. (The EO Truth is, we are born with mortality at work within us; sin did not change our nature. It remains human nature. We were cut off from the "Tree of Life"---God--our nature did not change. We simply began to die. Being cut off from God, moral and ethical "rot" set in, just as if you had plucked an apple from a tree. The apple is still an apple, but cut off from it's source of life, death begins to work in the apple, and within days one may observe the results in the form of rot. Death manifests as rot in an apple, it manifests as sin in we humans. This is a good illustration of the human condition. It's stayed with me courtesy of Father Peter Staviski, the Russian Orthodox priest who catechized and chrismated me.)
At any rate, as I said, may God's Will be done just as we pray in the Our Father. I am not very PC in religion or politics. My economic/political/social views would probably shock many of you here, because now you have the idea that I am a conservative. That only holds true in the realm of Spirituality, and even then I do not really agree with an all-male priesthood and episcopacy.
I was raised by a rageaholic atheist father who was very physically abusive, and an agnostic mother who is now RC, as is my oldest sister. I became a Jehovah's Witness at age 15 and remained involved until a few months after my 19th birthday. (I'm now 54) I then became an evangelical Christian in the "Jesus Movement." I even wrote a book about my experiences as a JW, but as I read the rules of this board it would be against them to mention the title.
Having run the gauntlet of Western thought, the East is a marvelous home.
Nowhere did I say that Augustinian thought is worthless. It isn't. One can find some very attractive features, especially to a Westerner such as myself. However, I simply do not understand the attraction to Augustine, who is someone whose theology has generally been rejected by the EO Church. I especially do not understand the attraction when the riches of the Eastern Fathers beckon! I have only scratched the surface in the nearly 21 years I have been Eastern Orthodox. May God grant me at least another 21 years to partake of such sweet nectar! I have been healed of so much inside since becoming Orthodox. God has proven Himself to be very good.