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Cleopas
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« on: February 20, 2008, 04:59:52 AM »

The Gospel has as it's primary aim to see lost and sinful man converted. The Scriptures speak in numerous ways of this experience and/or state. Jesus says we are to  make converts of all nations in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus tells Peter, "when you are converted..." as He prophesies of his lapse of faith and thrice denial of the Son of God.

The apostle Paul in addressing the Corinthians about various kinds of sinners notes "and such WERE some of you. But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)"

He says to the Romans while we WERE yet sinners God commended His love towards us.

He emphatically declares, "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new."

Do you believe conversion is a necessary occurrence in the life of every individual in order to truly be a follower of Christ?

Have you had a personal experience of conversion in your heart and life? Do you recall a moment when you were yet in your sins and after repentance and faith in Christ were freed from them and granted life, grace, and fellowship with God by His Spirit?

Has the Spirit of God given you that personal inner witness (Romans 8:16) that you are a child of God? a Convert?

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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2008, 11:05:30 AM »

Isn't this precisely the meaning of repentance (metanoia = to turn around)? This is the focus of our Christian life, and is to be continuous.
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2008, 11:28:04 AM »

I can very clearly recall a turning point in my life when I suddenly very sharply understood that I am a sinner and need to change.

However, I still, to this very day and hour, do not feel that I am "free from my sins." That's perhaps very bad and un-Christian, but that's how I feel. I know that I must turn away from sin and serve Christ, but in reality I am way too fearful and egotistic and I do serve my sins.
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2008, 11:42:28 AM »

The Gospel has as it's primary aim to see lost and sinful man converted. The Scriptures speak in numerous ways of this experience and/or state. Jesus says we are to  make converts of all nations in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus tells Peter, "when you are converted..." as He prophesies of his lapse of faith and thrice denial of the Son of God.

The apostle Paul in addressing the Corinthians about various kinds of sinners notes "and such WERE some of you. But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)"

He says to the Romans while we WERE yet sinners God commended His love towards us.

He emphatically declares, "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new."

Do you believe conversion is a necessary occurrence in the life of every individual in order to truly be a follower of Christ?

Have you had a personal experience of conversion in your heart and life? Do you recall a moment when you were yet in your sins and after repentance and faith in Christ were freed from them and granted life, grace, and fellowship with God by His Spirit?

Has the Spirit of God given you that personal inner witness (Romans 8:16) that you are a child of God? a Convert?



There has not been a definite point. I have been Christian practically my whole life but the process of "conversion" has been a slow and gradual one, and is still ongoing. I repent every day and I sin even more often - unfortunately. There have been moments I have felt my fall more intensely than usually and then I have struggled more. Each day, a new step is made although sometimes it is backwards. What grows every day though is the consciousness of being Christian and its consequences.
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2008, 12:19:45 PM »

The Gospel has as it's primary aim to see lost and sinful man converted. The Scriptures speak in numerous ways of this experience and/or state. Jesus says we are to  make converts of all nations in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus tells Peter, "when you are converted..." as He prophesies of his lapse of faith and thrice denial of the Son of God.

The apostle Paul in addressing the Corinthians about various kinds of sinners notes "and such WERE some of you. But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)"

He says to the Romans while we WERE yet sinners God commended His love towards us.

He emphatically declares, "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new."

Do you believe conversion is a necessary occurrence in the life of every individual in order to truly be a follower of Christ?

Have you had a personal experience of conversion in your heart and life? Do you recall a moment when you were yet in your sins and after repentance and faith in Christ were freed from them and granted life, grace, and fellowship with God by His Spirit?

Has the Spirit of God given you that personal inner witness (Romans 8:16) that you are a child of God? a Convert?




You sound NEO-gnostic. Conversion is a life long journy. We are in Christ when we are Baptized (Romans 6). And if you look the Holy Spirit leads people to the Church. To the original body of believers.

The Holy Spirit moved Phillop to see the Ethiopian. The Ethiopian was reading scripture yet he needed help.

The Holy Spirit didn't help the Ethiopian apart from the original body of Believers. In your form of protestantism all you need is the Bible. You believe that the Holy Spirit will give you all of the answers apart from the original body of believers.


In the book of Acts the Roman centurian was sent by an Angel to Peter. And the Holy Spirit filled him. The Holy Spirit waited until he came to Peter. The Angel sent the man to the orginal body of believers. The Angel didn't have him start another church. The Holy Spirit never sent someone to start a different church. If you look they were sent to the Body that Jesus started.

Likewise, if you want Jesus then you will want His Church.


Acts chapter 9:4-5

"Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”



Saul(Paul) was persecuting the Church, yet Jesus said he was persecuting Him.


Their is a unity between Jesus and His body.....the Church. Did Jesus make Paul start a new church? No he sent him to see someone else. To the original body of believers.


Just as the True Jesus is both 100% Divine and 100%human....of HEaven and Earth so the True Church is also visible and invisible....of both Heaven and Earth.

Your form of American Protestantism stresses the invisible church. The inner witness......ect. But what good is the invisible witness if you don't have the Church? Which is both physical and spiritual.

Our salvation isn't just the saving of our spirit/soul. It is the saving of the whole man. Soul and Body. Spirit/soul and Body.


Is the True Jesus only spiritual/unseeable?

If not then why do you think the True Church is only spiritual/unseeable?



But in regards to the inner witness. We are united with Christ at Baptism and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at chrismation/confirmation.

When one is awakened they are feeling and understanding the grace that was given to them at BAPTISM. The seed was always there(since Baptism and chrismation/confirmation) but the person has been made aware of it later in life.



Conversion is not a one time event. Conversion is dynamic.



But to answer your question yes. But conversion is dynamic from faith to faith. And the Church is one whith two dimensions(Heaven and Earth).

I was raised Baptist. I fought in Sunday school a couple times. I fought once at Bible summer camp. And I really didn't understand much about the Faith. I remember my mother forcing me to be Baptized around 5 or 6 years old and I was told to tell the deacons that I believed in the Trinity and that God is Spirit.

Well when I went to see the deacons I told them that God was a Pirate. And they denied me Baptism. I felt bad about it. I said "oh no". I meant to say "Spirit". I recall the Bible story lessons but they weren't deep. they really didn't teach us heavy doctrine about Jesus being God and the Trinity. Maybe they thought we were too young to learn, but they did teach us Baptist distinctives like Baptism being symbolic.

I recall us(kids) playing around in Sunday school. When the teacher would leave we would give eachother the middle finger. Well we had it pointed down because we thought having it pointed down meant it was pointed at the Devil.


In 1987 or 88 I was Baptized. I didn't understand alot of things. But I knew Jesus was Lord and I believed in the doctrine of the Trinity....although I didn't have a firm grasp of the doctrine, but I mostly got Baptized out of pressure from my moms. After I was Baptized I felt different. At that time I thought something bad happened because I use to use people for what they had(NINTENDO and SEGA master systems) and now I no longer had the desire to use people. ...I thought I wasn't nice anymore. I would beat up the people I use to use. I thought something was wrong with me. Before I would overlook a persons wrong if I wanted something from them. But now I didn't care what they had. I would just beat them up for getting on my nerves or when I thought they were unjust.



In 1990 or 1989 I heard a voice that told me to read these Bible bed time story books on my shelf. I was 12 or 13 at the time.

It was 2 or 3 days before the first day of school and it was nice outside. But I was in my room reading these books. I believed what I read and at the end of the story book there was a prayer and I heard the voice again. It told me to pray. So I did. I told God that I needed a friend. Someone to help me walk the walk.

It was very emotional. I felt a burden lifted off my shoulders. And when school started their was this new kid on the bus. A white guy. And he was a pentecostal christian and alot of people on the bus were making fun of him. And yet he turned the other cheek. He would give his stuff away so I felt moved to help him. I became his friend and I stopped my friends from picking on him.

However, he moved a year later and I eventualy back slid for two years.

It wasn't until I moved to a new Highschool that I started to find other christians who were really fun and active. Both Protestant and Roman Catholic. In my junior year of highschool I was introduced to christian rap by a girl in my art class. Before that time I thought all christian rap was corny. I tried to do one when I was in middle school but I thought it was corny so I stopped. Well I was hooked on christian rap from that day onward and the same girl that gave me the tape introduced me to a christian club that we had in our highschool. It was called B.O.L.D.

Believers of our Lords disciples. And I had a ball. I eventualy left the rap group I was in from my former highschool and started raping at christian rock events near Pittsburgh.

My former friends didn't like it. They thought I left them hanging, but I couldn't rap about the things they wanted me to flow about so I had to leave....and I wanted to leave.


In College I met more people that were christian. After my first two years I no longer was doing christian rap, but I was still involved in production and making beats. But it was around this time that I was introduced to Eastern Orthodoxy.

It's a long story so I'll give you the blog


http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/search/label/about%20me







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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2008, 12:50:30 PM »

The Litanies exclaim "Let us commit ourselves to each other and our whole life unto Christ Our God."
Everyday we must remind ourselves to do so.  As Christians we called to be but one thing; More like Christ.  That indeed does require daily, hourly, even moment by moment reminders that we are commited and constantly converting ourselves into a deeper spritual life into Christ Jesus. 
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2008, 03:01:23 PM »

The Litanies exclaim "Let us commit ourselves to each other and our whole life unto Christ Our God."
Everyday we must remind ourselves to do so.  As Christians we called to be but one thing; More like Christ.  That indeed does require daily, hourly, even moment by moment reminders that we are commited and constantly converting ourselves into a deeper spritual life into Christ Jesus. 

What a wonderful summary. Thanks, Username!
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2008, 02:51:43 AM »

Though I admit we are still in the process of becoming all that God wills for us to be (1 John 3:3), and are yet being (all the more) made into the image of His Son, nevertheless we are NOW the children of God (1 John;3:2) born of the Spirit, born again (Gospel of John 3:6-7). There is a moment (in accord with the Scripture in my initial post) at which one can definitely say they have converted or personally committed to be a follower of Jesus.
The believer certainly is in need of growing in both grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 peter 3:18). He is instructed to perfect holiness (2 Corinthians 7:1). As he does so, he is counted whole in Christ (Colossians 2:10). No longer then is he classed as sinner, but instead as saint.

As we walk in the light the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). So, then, if we should return to darkness there is no assurance of the application of the atoning work of Christ to our failings.  Christ says it thus, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (John 3:17-21) To walk in darkness, by failing to come to the light, or even by turning from the light, then, is to cease to follow Christ.

What if we, who have been converted, sin? Praise be to God, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous (1 John 2:1).  Notice however that the Apostle says if we sin; if not when. It is possible for a convert to yield to sin (on occasion), but it is not expected, nor is it inevitable. Indeed, seeing we partake of the divine nature, how can it be any less (2 Peter 1:4)?  Thus we can understand why John declares that those born of God do not go on sinning, that is practicing sin, for the seed of God is in them ( 1 John 3:9, & 1 Peter 1:23).
What then of those who continue in sin? What shall we say for them? Simply, that they are not yet truly converted. That, or either they have failed to abide in Christ; to walk in the light. Their continuance to practice sin is the proof the Apostle lays for the charge that these cannot be Christ’s disciples (1 John 3:7-8). These are those who walk in darkness, and do not the truth (1 John 1:6).
Is that you?
Search your heart.
If it is, then reach out by faith and lay hold of this great truth, “if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins AND to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Indeed, upon the one true act of confession (to God, & by faith in Christ) we receive this dual work of God in our hearts: we are both pardoned and cleansed. This then is the experience of the truly converted.

Again, I ask, have you been converted?
For those who have, I praise God for His redeeming work in you, and encourage you to faithfulness as He brings you to completion.
For those of you who have not (and you know who you are, not I) I challenge you to genuinely repent and believe on the Son God (Gospel of John 3:16). You can trust Him to redeem and to keep you. Will you?
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2008, 02:52:18 AM »

What a wonderful summary. Thanks, Username!

Я ВАМ ДУЖЕ ВДЯЧНИЙ!
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2008, 03:54:03 AM »

Cleopas,

From an Orthodox perspective, I think you are asking the wrong question and one that really doesn't make any sense to most of us.  See username!'s reply.
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2008, 07:07:29 AM »

Again, I ask, have you been converted?
For those who have, I praise God for His redeeming work in you, and encourage you to faithfulness as He brings you to completion.
For those of you who have not (and you know who you are, not I) I challenge you to genuinely repent and believe on the Son God (Gospel of John 3:16). You can trust Him to redeem and to keep you. Will you?

An altar call on OC.net?  Grin
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2008, 12:39:47 PM »

Though I admit we are still in the process of becoming all that God wills for us to be (1 John 3:3), and are yet being (all the more) made into the image of His Son, nevertheless we are NOW the children of God (1 John;3:2) born of the Spirit, born again (Gospel of John 3:6-7). There is a moment (in accord with the Scripture in my initial post) at which one can definitely say they have converted or personally committed to be a follower of Jesus.
The believer certainly is in need of growing in both grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 peter 3:18). He is instructed to perfect holiness (2 Corinthians 7:1). As he does so, he is counted whole in Christ (Colossians 2:10). No longer then is he classed as sinner, but instead as saint.

As we walk in the light the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). So, then, if we should return to darkness there is no assurance of the application of the atoning work of Christ to our failings.  Christ says it thus, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (John 3:17-21) To walk in darkness, by failing to come to the light, or even by turning from the light, then, is to cease to follow Christ.

What if we, who have been converted, sin? Praise be to God, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous (1 John 2:1).  Notice however that the Apostle says if we sin; if not when. It is possible for a convert to yield to sin (on occasion), but it is not expected, nor is it inevitable. Indeed, seeing we partake of the divine nature, how can it be any less (2 Peter 1:4)?  Thus we can understand why John declares that those born of God do not go on sinning, that is practicing sin, for the seed of God is in them ( 1 John 3:9, & 1 Peter 1:23).
What then of those who continue in sin? What shall we say for them? Simply, that they are not yet truly converted. That, or either they have failed to abide in Christ; to walk in the light. Their continuance to practice sin is the proof the Apostle lays for the charge that these cannot be Christ’s disciples (1 John 3:7-8). These are those who walk in darkness, and do not the truth (1 John 1:6).
Is that you?
Search your heart.
If it is, then reach out by faith and lay hold of this great truth, “if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins AND to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Indeed, upon the one true act of confession (to God, & by faith in Christ) we receive this dual work of God in our hearts: we are both pardoned and cleansed. This then is the experience of the truly converted.

Again, I ask, have you been converted?
For those who have, I praise God for His redeeming work in you, and encourage you to faithfulness as He brings you to completion.
For those of you who have not (and you know who you are, not I) I challenge you to genuinely repent and believe on the Son God (Gospel of John 3:16). You can trust Him to redeem and to keep you. Will you?


Converted to what? To an abstract idea? An abstract theory? To some emotional experience that will come and go? Converted to what? I've been to many alter calls and rededications back when I believed in Once saved always saved(about 12 years ago) not to mention lifting my hand to a TV screen repeating the words of a TV preacher...........or to a radio preacher while driving.

 I've been there & done that. And I'm glad I left it. It was shallow........nothing but modern day gnosticism. I can grow with the grace that God offers in His Church.



How can you be in Christ and not be in His Church?





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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2008, 06:11:30 PM »

The biggest discrepancy I see here with my own experience and the Protestantesque conception of Cleopas is that the various dispositions of the heart, experiences of the energies of God, and human energies in response and synergy are sometimes but not always collapsed into a single "conversion experience" that consists of all these occurrences simultaneously.  In my own life, this has not been the case.  I believe (though I may be wrong) that in the early Christian Church these processes of conversion normatively came simultaneously or in rapid succession because of the size of the Church and the greater simplicity with which a person was converted.  Even then, though, we have different experiences.  The Holy Apostle Paul was converted by a vision.  Jews heard the Gospel and believed, or were healed and believed.  Some (Lazarus and others) were risen from the dead.  Some righteous and God-fearing gentiles were living as best they could, so their shadows and anticipatory faith were fulfilled by the advent of Immanuel. 

Why reduce each individual person's complicated relationship with our Father to a formulaic mechanism?  Despite all the Protestant focus on having a relationship with God as opposed to formal religion, the Orthodox are much more Traditionally personal in their mystical approach through prayer.  Just examine the complicated and various operations of the Holy Spirit in all of creation.  He is the breath of life in all men, but somehow he comes and regenerates those who are baptized and believe.  He is everywhere in the universe, yet he makes his home in our hearts through prayer.  This shows us that there is a fundamental dimension of God's existence that is expressed cataphatically by spatial language and yet is infinitely and incomprehensibly beyond spatial relation, even ALL created relation.  He is everywhere and "fillest all things" and yet the "wind (Spirit) blows where it wishes".

In my life, I have always implicitly - in my conscience - felt the condition of death and the call to repentance, even while I was a practical nihilist.  I was baptized Roman Catholic as a child, converted and baptized in the Southern Baptist faith when I was older, became more Reformed in my thinking, and then after many years have become and Orthodox catechumen.  There were many times when I felt the power of God, and there are many complications in my conversion because of my multiple baptisms and multiple conversion experiences.  I believe that all of these were legitimate but incomplete.  I look forward to when this long process of conversion is sealed by the Holy Spirit at my chrismation, although the conversion will take the rest of my life because of my sin.  What a longsuffering Father we have!  What a gentle and patient Shepherd!

All glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever and unto ages of ages!  Amen!

If I have said anything that is wrong, please correct me if you are Orthodox.
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2008, 06:42:56 PM »

Я ВАМ ДУЖЕ ВДЯЧНИЙ!

Нeма за що. До рeчі, дужe радий нашому "знайомству." Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2008, 07:06:21 PM »

The biggest discrepancy I see here with my own experience and the Protestantesque conception of Cleopas is that the various dispositions of the heart, experiences of the energies of God, and human energies in response and synergy are sometimes but not always collapsed into a single "conversion experience" that consists of all these occurrences simultaneously.  In my own life, this has not been the case.  I believe (though I may be wrong) that in the early Christian Church these processes of conversion normatively came simultaneously or in rapid succession because of the size of the Church and the greater simplicity with which a person was converted.  Even then, though, we have different experiences.  The Holy Apostle Paul was converted by a vision.  Jews heard the Gospel and believed, or were healed and believed.  Some (Lazarus and others) were risen from the dead.  Some righteous and God-fearing gentiles were living as best they could, so their shadows and anticipatory faith were fulfilled by the advent of Immanuel. 

Why reduce each individual person's complicated relationship with our Father to a formulaic mechanism?  Despite all the Protestant focus on having a relationship with God as opposed to formal religion, the Orthodox are much more Traditionally personal in their mystical approach through prayer.  Just examine the complicated and various operations of the Holy Spirit in all of creation.  He is the breath of life in all men, but somehow he comes and regenerates those who are baptized and believe.  He is everywhere in the universe, yet he makes his home in our hearts through prayer.  This shows us that there is a fundamental dimension of God's existence that is expressed cataphatically by spatial language and yet is infinitely and incomprehensibly beyond spatial relation, even ALL created relation.  He is everywhere and "fillest all things" and yet the "wind (Spirit) blows where it wishes".

In my life, I have always implicitly - in my conscience - felt the condition of death and the call to repentance, even while I was a practical nihilist.  I was baptized Roman Catholic as a child, converted and baptized in the Southern Baptist faith when I was older, became more Reformed in my thinking, and then after many years have become and Orthodox catechumen.  There were many times when I felt the power of God, and there are many complications in my conversion because of my multiple baptisms and multiple conversion experiences.  I believe that all of these were legitimate but incomplete.  I look forward to when this long process of conversion is sealed by the Holy Spirit at my chrismation, although the conversion will take the rest of my life because of my sin.  What a longsuffering Father we have!  What a gentle and patient Shepherd!

All glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever and unto ages of ages!  Amen!

If I have said anything that is wrong, please correct me if you are Orthodox.

Welcome to OC.net, Ignatios!!!
May God bless your journey!
With Love in Christ,
Presbytera Mari
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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2008, 09:07:16 PM »

I can very clearly recall a turning point in my life when I suddenly very sharply understood that I am a sinner and need to change.

However, I still, to this very day and hour, do not feel that I am "free from my sins." That's perhaps very bad and un-Christian, but that's how I feel. I know that I must turn away from sin and serve Christ, but in reality I am way too fearful and egotistic and I do serve my sins.

As the Fathers show, such an attitude is not only not un-Christian, it is quintessential Christian  consult Romans 7.
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« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2008, 11:21:39 PM »

Cleopas,

You're 'Trojan horse' posts aren't fooling many of us here.  If you wish to enter into a dialogue about our respective views, then feel free to do so.  Attempting to proselytize will simply hinder sincere and meaninful dialogue.
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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2008, 12:04:46 AM »

Cleopas, do you believe in "Once Saved Always Saved"?  Or maybe the Wesleyan doctrine of entire sanctification as a second work of grace as the Nazarenes believe?
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« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2008, 01:21:28 AM »

Cleopas,

You're 'Trojan horse' posts aren't fooling many of us here.  If you wish to enter into a dialogue about our respective views, then feel free to do so.  Attempting to proselytize will simply hinder sincere and meaninful dialogue.

I'm not sure I understand your application of the Trojan horse to this or any other topics I have started. Forgive me for evidently not seeing the obvious.

As to proselytizing ...if you mean that in seeking to stir in the hearts and minds of readers awareness of their need and condition before God (be it good or bad), then I'm afraid I cannot comply. The post was sincerely meant to offer a thread for reflection for any who might read it, in the hopes of being a tool of the convicting power of the gospel for any who were not yet converted, and as a tool to the sanctifying and maturing grace of he Lord in the life of those who are converted. I specifically attempted to word myself ion such a way as to not appear to cast aspersions on a persons standing before God based on which branch of Christianity they align with.

It was meant to be exactly what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. I suppose the descriptive of altar call would be pretty accurate.

I would to God that I might be a vessel to aid in stirring up your pure minds, and in seeking out any who as of yet be estranged from God  and Christ.
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« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2008, 01:34:51 AM »

Cleopas, do you believe in "Once Saved Always Saved"?

No! I believe one can be once saved and always stay saved. Buy I also believe (and know, from my own experience) that one can fail of their faith and relationship with God, and live apart from His life and grace if they so choose. To put it simple, I believe it is possible for an individual to "lose" their salvation.

Quote
Or maybe the Wesleyan doctrine of entire sanctification as a second work of grace as the Nazarenes believe?

Not exactly. I do believe in personal sanctification as an "entire" work done in the heart of the converted, and yet still an ongoing work or process in the life and growth of the believer. I, however, believe such sanctification in the heart to be part and parcel of conversion itself (along with justification and regeneration). That is I believe among the things the grace of God accomplish on the behalf of a convert, and works in his heart and inner being at the moment of (initial) conversion includes justification, sanctification, and regeneration.
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« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2008, 01:54:59 AM »

I'm not sure I understand your application of the Trojan horse to this or any other topics I have started. Forgive me for evidently not seeing the obvious.
Oh, I think you understand exactly what I mean.  This forum was set up so that Orthodox Christians can discuss their differences and ask questions of one another.  But your latest thread, as you admit, is an 'altar call', i.e, proselytizing.  Forgive me for being blunt with you here, but Orthodox Christians do not need a Protestant to help them, guide them, or otherwise offer any theological assistance.  Orthodox Christianity is not a 'branch' of Christianity, my friend.  It is not 'denominational'; it is pre-denominational.  I appreciate your sincerety, but oftentimes one can be sincere and be sincerely wrong, and as a Protestant- that is exactly where Orthodox Christians see your theology. 

I suppose the descriptive of altar call would be pretty accurate.

Although I am not a moderator, I would ask that you stop abusing this forum as a lectern to preach to us.
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« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2008, 02:10:11 AM »

So what you are saying is that  I have disturbed your sensibilities, being that I essentially treat you as equals in respect to Christendom?

And since you do not see me that way it seems to you I am unfit to magnify the person and work of Christ among those who are his followers here and hopefully encourage them in their walk, as well as in the hopes that any who may chance by here that are not his followers, or any who may have turned from or neglected their following, in the hopes that they would find occasion to repent, as improper merely because I ma not a member of the Eastern Orthodox family of churches?

Is that a proper interpretation of your reply?

For the record, I had no intention of causing a disturbance or leering people away from the Orthodox church (if that is what you are implying, and I am beginning to think so). I simply desired to use this post as an opportunity to reach out into cyberspace and plant a gospel seed. If that can be watered and/or produce a harvest, then to God be the glory, who causes the increase!

At worst it can only serve to hopefully stimulate discussion (and it has).

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« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2008, 02:12:07 AM »

May I suggest a review of the rules of this private forum found here http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13455.0.html
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« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2008, 02:17:45 AM »

This forum was set up so that Orthodox Christians can discuss their differences and ask questions of one another. 

Though I realize this site as whole serves that general purpose, this specific forum permits Other Christians (your site's choice of terminology), even Protestants (like myself) to also participate, discuss, and share our views, beliefs, and convictions.

So far, for the better part of a year, I have been permitted to do so without any hint of that being problematic from any of the staff.
I see not where I have been disorderly or otherwise out of order in any way.

What harm could come from exhorting each of us to "examine ourselves whether we be in the faith?" That, friend, is all this post was -- a challenge for each and everyone who may read it to examine themselves, and search their own hearts before God.

To their own Master they stand or fall, not to me. I am just a fellow servant and brother in the work of the Lord.
I hope that this will be received ( from this point onward at least) in the same meek and loving spirit it was given.
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« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2008, 02:26:30 AM »

May I suggest a review of the rules of this private forum found here http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13455.0.html

I read it, again.
I do not see where I have violated any part of any of those compiled announcement and instructions.

I assume you refer to the stand against proselytizing. That specific injunction refers to recruiting folks to swap orthodox jurdistinctions it seems to me.

Nevertheless, as I have already clearly stated, this was not an attempt at proselyting or leering away any Orthodox believers from the Orthodox Traditions and Church. Nor is it an attempt to leer any poster or viewer to MY church or tradition.

It was simply an exhortation to draw near to Christ, and an attempt to help any who may happen by who are not where they should be with Christ to become aware of that need and be moved to do so.

Plus, I figured if all else failed it might lead to some questions and interaction on the similarities and or differences in how we view the various aspects and outworking of conversion. At that, I attempted not to say anything that might construed as saying Orthodox folks are not converted. I am sorry if in spite of my efforts to the contrary I somehow gave that impression. It was not my intention.
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« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2008, 02:26:52 AM »

Gabriel and Username,

I think Cleopas' message of repentance and embracing Christ is something we all believe in.  It's just that the language and approach used by Evangelicals is different from ours.  Just because he is using the language he is familiar with does not mean he is trying to "sheep steal," as they say.

Cleopas,

You need to realize that we have on this board a lot of "refugees" from Evangelical and other Protestant churches.  That means we have a lot of people who initially encountered Christ in other churches, but left those communions because they found them wanting in some way.  Some of them may have even left their former churches as a result of hurtful experiences.  Thus, you will find some persons here who may find Evangelical language and techniques to be at best ineffectual and at worst offensive.  That doesn't mean we don't believe in Christ or repentance.  We just have a different approach, and for various reasons there are going to be people here who don't appreciate the Evangelical approach.  No offense.  It's just that you need to be sensitive to that.

 Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2008, 02:30:34 AM »


Cleopas,

You need to realize that we have on this board a lot of "refugees" from Evangelical and other Protestant churches.  That means we have a lot of people who initially encountered Christ in other churches, but left those communions because they found them wanting in some way.  Some of them may have even left their former churches as a result of hurtful experiences.  Thus, you will find some persons here who may find Evangelical language and techniques to be at best ineffectual and at worst offensive.  That doesn't mean we don't believe in Christ or repentance.  We just have a different approach, and for various reasons there are going to be people here who don't appreciate the Evangelical approach.  No offense.  It's just that you need to be sensitive to that.

Yes sir. And I want you to know that I am attempting to do just that. Of course, in the end I am an Evangelical Christian, and that can only show through. How can I be anything else but me?

Nevertheless I have no desire to be offensive or hurtful, and will redouble my efforts to avoid such.

Thank you for being able to see and communicate my intention.  Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2008, 03:13:55 AM »

Of course, in the end I am an Evangelical Christian, and that can only show through. How can I be anything else but me?
No one's asking you to pretend to be something you're not.  I declare, why, that'd be downright rude of us. Smiley  Yet, fair or not, Cleopas, this is an Orthodox forum, and the onus is on you to learn our language.  How would you take it if one of us were to visit your forum and begin to ask y'all to put up Icons and begin to petition the Saints?  I'm pretty sure I can answer that one correctly.  Look, I'm not trying to tell you your 'bidness'.  Just tone down the preaching way down, that's all. 
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« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2008, 03:20:39 AM »

Though I realize this site as whole serves that general purpose, this specific forum permits Other Christians (your site's choice of terminology), even Protestants (like myself) to also participate, discuss, and share our views, beliefs, and convictions.

So far, for the better part of a year, I have been permitted to do so without any hint of that being problematic from any of the staff.
I see not where I have been disorderly or otherwise out of order in any way.

What harm could come from exhorting each of us to "examine ourselves whether we be in the faith?" That, friend, is all this post was -- a challenge for each and everyone who may read it to examine themselves, and search their own hearts before God.

To their own Master they stand or fall, not to me. I am just a fellow servant and brother in the work of the Lord.
I hope that this will be received ( from this point onward at least) in the same meek and loving spirit it was given.

My post was merely a link to the forum rules. 
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« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2008, 03:45:42 AM »

My post was merely a link to the forum rules. 

My apologies. I suppose I was a bit defensive.  Tongue
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« Reply #30 on: February 24, 2008, 03:48:11 AM »

No one's asking you to pretend to be something you're not.  I declare, why, that'd be downright rude of us. Smiley  Yet, fair or not, Cleopas, this is an Orthodox forum, and the onus is on you to learn our language.  How would you take it if one of us were to visit your forum and begin to ask y'all to put up Icons and begin to petition the Saints?  I'm pretty sure I can answer that one correctly.  Look, I'm not trying to tell you your 'bidness'.  Just tone down the preaching way down, that's all. 

I'll take that under advisement.  Wink Smiley

BTW, it's hard to tell over this medium of communication, but I sincerely hope I have not been a source of offensive to you. If I have I ask you to forgive me, and hope that my clarifications have dispelled any lingering suspicion.

As for the lingo and what not, I'm sure I'll pick up some of the dialect the longer I'm around.  Grin



P.S. Though I understood your comparison, I just wanted you to know that you'd be welcomed on my forums. I prolly wouldn't put up those icons or what not. But I'd sure let you talk about it. Probably spin off several threads related to it as well. When it comes to Christians and truth, despite our differences, I'm all about building bridges.  Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: February 24, 2008, 03:59:37 AM »

Cleopas, if you ever have any question as to the lingo, etc.. that the Orthodox use feel free to ask.
We'll all be glad to explain and teach.  After all, the sharing of knowledge is the hallmark of our generation.
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« Reply #32 on: February 24, 2008, 07:22:15 AM »

No! I believe one can be once saved and always stay saved. Buy I also believe (and know, from my own experience) that one can fail of their faith and relationship with God, and live apart from His life and grace if they so choose. To put it simple, I believe it is possible for an individual to "lose" their salvation.
So what happens if sonmeone backslides after they have been saved. Can they be saved again?
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« Reply #33 on: February 24, 2008, 10:59:58 AM »

So what happens if sonmeone backslides after they have been saved. Can they be saved again?

Yes, they can return to fellowship with God, if and when they repent. For "if we sin we have an advocate with the Father" and "if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
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« Reply #34 on: February 24, 2008, 11:46:21 AM »

Yes, they can return to fellowship with God, if and when they repent. For "if we sin we have an advocate with the Father" and "if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
So conversion is not a once only thing then. There may be a need for conversion after one's initial conversion?
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« Reply #35 on: February 24, 2008, 04:17:05 PM »

So conversion is not a once only thing then. There may be a need for conversion after one's initial conversion?

In a respect, yes. Yet a person who is converted (read as "and in fellowship with God") will definitely know it. There will be a change in heart and life so that one can say emphatically they are indeed converted.

I'm not sure, despite any difference in terminology, but I think we are essentially in agreement on the idea of initial conversion and the progressive nature of Christian growth that conversion facilitates. No?
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« Reply #36 on: February 24, 2008, 06:23:47 PM »

I'm not sure. I've never heard the word "conversion" used as you have used it here. It seems like you are using that word to mean "sanctification," or continously becoming more holy. Our concept of salvation is more like the idea of sanctification in the West. The terms we most often use for this process, besides salvation, are deification or theosis (lit. "becoming God," but we mean simply "becoming like God," i.e. doing the things Christ would do in every situation).

Because we view salvation as a process, some of us may not be able to remember a particular point at which this process began, especially if we were raised in a Christian family. So I'm not sure we would agree that there has to be a point at which one was "converted." Certainly for some of us there was such a point, but I do not think any Orthodox would say that there must be.
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« Reply #37 on: February 25, 2008, 12:39:49 AM »

And since you do not see me that way it seems to you I am unfit to magnify the person and work of Christ among those who are his followers here and hopefully encourage them in their walk, as well as in the hopes that any who may chance by here that are not his followers, or any who may have turned from or neglected their following, in the hopes that they would find occasion to repent, as improper merely because I ma not a member of the Eastern Orthodox family of churches?

Is that a proper interpretation of your reply?

For the record, I had no intention of causing a disturbance or leering people away from the Orthodox church (if that is what you are implying, and I am beginning to think so). I simply desired to use this post as an opportunity to reach out into cyberspace and plant a gospel seed. If that can be watered and/or produce a harvest, then to God be the glory, who causes the increase!

At worst it can only serve to hopefully stimulate discussion (and it has).
Cleopas,

Let me begin by saying that, so far, it seems as though you are being sincere.  I appreciate that.  And in no way would I want you to feel unwelcome here.  Forgive me if I gave that impression.  You are welcome here and I hope that, not only do you enjoy your time here, but that you will learn something about the Christianity that was founded by our Lord, Jesus the Christ, as well as His Holy Apostles and Saints.  I believe you when you say that you had no intention of 'causing a disturbance' here.   But the way your post was worded was very reminiscent of a pastor speaking from the pulpit.  And since you are a pastor and you did admit that you were performing an 'altar call', you'll have a difficult time persuading me that you were not preaching to us and, perhaps subconsciously, hoping that we will leave Orthodoxy for your understanding of Christianity.  You're a pastor afterall, Cleopas, that's what pastors do.  And, as you also stated, you hoped to "reach out into cyberspace and plant a gospel seed"; but you cannot do that here, Cleopas.  What I'm going to say next, friend, will probably sound harsh but it is something I say in all sincerety.  You, as a Protestant, have nothing to offer us- theologically speaking.  Your message, and again I understand you're being sincere, is viewed by Holy Orthodoxy as heresy or at the very least as quasi-heresy.  And though everyone here is quite capable of of discerning false doctrines from the Truth, it is the duty of an Orthodox brother and sister to let his/her brothers and sisters know to be careful when someone comes along preaching a different Christ, as Saint Theophan the Recluse says.  You stated, "'What harm could come from exhorting each of us to "examine ourselves whether we be in the faith?"'- but you are not in the faith, Cleopas, at least not the fullness of the faith.  I respect your understanding of the faith, but you must understand how odd it sounds for a Protestant to exhort Orthodox Christians to 'examine ourselves'.  You didn't offend me, friend, but I cannot heed your 'altar call', nor can I stand by in silence.
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« Reply #38 on: February 25, 2008, 04:14:32 AM »

In a respect, yes. Yet a person who is converted (read as "and in fellowship with God") will definitely know it. There will be a change in heart and life so that one can say emphatically they are indeed converted.
You see, to "change one's heart" is half the meaning of the Biblical term "metanoia" which you are translating as "conversion". The other half is "repentence". In "repentance" we turn away from sin, and in "conversion" we turn to God. These two actions "repentence and conversion" are contained in the Biblical term "metanoia". Christ began his preaching with the words:
Koine: "μετανοειτε ηγγικεν γαρ η βασιλεια των ουρανων"
Translit: "metanoiseite ingiken gar i basileia ton ouranon"
Translation: "all of you repent/be converted for the Kingdom of heaven is touching (near)".

I'm not sure, despite any difference in terminology, but I think we are essentially in agreement on the idea of initial conversion and the progressive nature of Christian growth that conversion facilitates. No?
Not exactly.
As discussed above, there are two aspects to Gospel metanoia: repentence and conversion- turning away from sin and turning to God. The word "convert" comes from "com" (together) and "vertere" (to turn). If you are ever privelidged to attend an Orthodox baptism, you will see this literally take place. The candidate for Baptism faces West- the direction away from the Altar, and they are asked whether they renounce Satan and his works. The candidate responds that they do, and they are then asked to blow and spit on satan to show their rejection of him. This is repentance- the rejection of sin and turning away from it. The candidate is then turned towards the East to face the Altar, and asked if they accept Christ and worship the Holy Trinity, which they affirm and bow in worship- this is conversion- the turning towards God.
The opposite of "metanoia" (repentance and conversion) is sin. Sin is a rebelling and turning away from God. Would you agree? Yet the Apostle John, addressing those who have already entered fellowship with God in the Church says:
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
" (1 John 1:8-10).
And the Apostle John tells us that we are called to avoid sin, yet even if we do sin, we can still be forgiven through Christ:
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1John 2:1)
But how can sins be forgiven unless we repent of them and turn back to God? In other words, unless we confess our sins and turn away from them and turn to God, we will remain in our sins. So if we sin after what you call our "initial conversion", yet do not turn away from that sin and be converted to God again because we mistakenly believe that that "conversion is a once-only requirement and only those who completely reject God need to convert again", then how can our sins be forgiven?
"Metanoia"- turning away from sin and turning towards God is a continual, life-long act, and if we say that it is not, then we are deluding ourselves, and as the Apostle says: "we make him a liar, and his word is not in us," no matter how much we think we are right.
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« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2008, 12:37:47 PM »

Salve!

This whole thread causes me to ponder my own twisted journey to Calvary (i.e. the foot of the cross). I continue to find the whole experience as a series of ups and downs and falling and getting up. Sometimes I'm doing better than others. For some reason I just keep on, keeping on. Thank you Jesus!

I tried to say all of that in the lingo I hear from Baptists...  laugh

I hear a lot of interesting concepts but in the end aren't we all saying the same thing?

Personally, I'm not offended when any Christian challenges me to exercise some introspection as to the fullness of my relationship with our Lord and Saviour. I don't think just because I was Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox that I have the fullness encounter with our Lord as I can. I think Catholicism and Orthodoxy are wonderful and very full expressions of our faith but I don't equate 'their' fullness with my depth of participation in them as an assumed attribute of my own. There's a lot of grace out there for individuals to receive and I always welcome dialogue with those whom might have a stronger or deeper relationship with our Lord and Saviour than I. Aren't we to assume ourselves to be less and others more? Isn't the the error of presumption?
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St Basil the Great (330-379 A.D.): “I think then that the one goal of all who are really and truly serving the Lord ought to be to bring back to union the churches who have at different times and in diverse manners divided from one another.”
Tags: conversion Protestant Christianity 
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