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Author Topic: Why Did Jesus Have to Die For Our Sins???  (Read 5952 times) Average Rating: 0
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Irenaeus07
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« on: April 20, 2008, 08:14:18 AM »

I assume most people here, where Christian of some form or another before becoming Orthodox, so the whole dying for the sins made sense to you before accepting Orthodoxy.  But I come from an Islamic Background, followed some form of Islam for the most of my life, and decided to follow Orthodox Christianity mostly based on its spiritual tradition, and not necessarily on any of its doctrine. Most of the Christian doctrine makes absolutely no sense to me. I just want to get close to God. ANd the Orthdox Christians have a good method of attaining Oneness with God.

So let me explain why I have a hard time accepting or understanding the whole dying for the sins, because understanding where I am coming might be able to help you explain it in a way that may make more sense.

In Islam, I was taught, we do not enter into heaven based on our works, but on the mercy of God.  Thus we would always fall short of doing enough works or actions pleasing to God.  Our actions or spiritual works, only determine the level in heaven we will be placed.

So why does Jesus have to die for our sins, in order for us to be forgiven, can't we just be forgiven merely based on His Mercy???  Why did have to come dowe and die for us to be forgiven???

One theory I read on this, is that it is not the crime itself that is of any importance, but who the crime is done against.  If you steal money from a poor man, this crime is less in status than stealing money from a king, for a king is greater.

The problem I have with this theory, and it might be related to my Islamic background, is that stealing money from a poor man is greater, because the poor man is in need of the money more than the king, while the king has alot of money and will probably not be affected financially at all.  The poor man will probably go through hardship while the king will not.

Also God is independent, needless, and the above analogy indicates that God needs, because both the poor man and the king need money to survive, while God does not need anything.

I mention this because Pasha is approaching.  Dying for our sins, has no meaning to me. It seems to me all the Christians, I know, this is a very important event, and some Christian become very emotional about this event. It has no meaning to me because I don't understand why???

Why does He have to die for our sins?  And please don't tell me prophecy. If it is about prophecy, Where in the old testament does it say God need to die for our sins to be forgiven???  There has to be more History behind it, I am thinking that it might be tied into the scarifces that the Jews use to make to God???  It has to have a significance to the Jewish tradition. Is it related to the scarifices  of the Jewish religion??? 

The Cruxifiction has a meaning to me, I look at Jesus' life as an expression of what we will have to go through to reach theosis.  Jesus dying on the cross, the significance to me, is that no matter how close you believe you are to God and love God, you will reach a point where you will feel God has abandoned you. "My God My God why have though forsaken me."   And it is part of the spiritual progress.

Speaking about Silouan, Fr Maximos said, "There is really nothing worse in life, This experience was decisive in the subsequent life of Silouan.  When he reached a state of complete exhaustion, a logismos entered his mind telling him that God is distant, unreachable, aloof, and that it is impossible for a human being to have a relationship with God.  Of course, it was Silouan's darkness in his own heart that led him to that desperate conclusion."

"I believe that all of us will experience such a state if spiritual despair sooner or later, but always in accordance to our capacites and strenghts.  May God provide that we may pass through such a trial only once.  I don't think it is humanly possible to withstand it twice.  But from what my elders told me, all of us will have to go through this trial, through this state of utter exhaustion and despair before our union with God." (Mountian of Silence pg 207)

So the cruxifiction has a meaning for me, but the dying of the sins has no meaning at all to me, because I believe, I will attain heaven merely out of God's mercy. If the dying for the sins, is how Christian believe God expresses His Mercy, than I guess that is an acceptible meaning.

I accept that this is belief of the Orthodox Christian, but I just don't understand it.  People use this "Jesus Dying For Our Sins," as a way to convert people to Christianity, and I use to think before I accepted Christianity, "Why are you talking to me, that makes no sense, leave me alone???"

In Christ,






« Last Edit: April 20, 2008, 08:40:05 AM by Irenaeus07 » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2008, 01:46:11 AM »

Some words of St. Athanasius to give you one perspective on why Christ had to die:

CHAPTER 7: On the other hand there was the consistency of God's nature, not to be sacrificed for our profit. Were men, then, to be called upon to repent? But repentance cannot avert the execution of a law; still less can it remedy a fallen nature. We have incurred corruption and need to be restored to the grace of God's image. None could renew but He Who had created. He alone could (1) recreate all, (2) suffer for all, (3) respect all to the Father.

1. But just as this consequence must needs hold, so, too, on the other side the just claims of God lie against it: that God should appear true to the law He had laid down concerning death. For it were monstrous for God, the Father of truth, to appear a liar for our profit and preservation. 2. So here, once more, what possible course was God to take? To demand repentance of men for their transgression? For this one might pronounce worthy of God; as though, just as from transgression men have become set towards corruption, so from repentance they may once more be set in the way of incorruption. 3. But repentance would, firstly, fail to guard the just claim of God. For He would still be none the more true, if men did not remain in the grasp of death; nor, secondly, does repentance call men back from what is their nature-it merely stays them from acts of sin. 4. Now, if there were merely a misdemeanour in question, and not a consequent corruption, repentance were well enough. But if, when transgression had once gained a start, men became involved in that corruption which was their nature, and were deprived of the grace which they had, being in the image of God, what further step was needed? or what was required for such grace and such recall, but the Word of God, which had also at the beginning made everything out of nought?

5. For His it was once more both to bring the corruptible to incorruption, and to maintain intact the just claim of the Father upon all. For being Word of the Father, and above all, He alone of natural fitness was both able to recreate everything, and worthy to suffer on behalf of all and to be ambassador for all with the Father.


CHAPTER 8:  The Word, then, visited that earth in which He was yet always present ; and saw all these evils. He takes a body of our nature, and that of a spotless virgin, in whose womb He makes it His own, wherein to reveal Himself, conquer death, and restore life.

1. For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God comes to our realm, howbeit he was not far from us before. For no part of Creation is left void of Him: He has filled all things everywhere, remaining present with His own Father. But He comes in condescension to shew loving-kindness upon us, and to visit us. 2. And seeing the race of rational creatures in the way to perish, and death reigning over them by corruption; seeing, too, that the threat against transgression gave a firm hold to the corruption which was upon us, and that it was monstrous that before the law was fulfilled it should fall through: seeing, once more, the unseemliness of what was come to pass: that the things whereof He Himself was Artificer were passing away: seeing, further, the exceeding wickedness of men, and how by little and little they had increased it to an intolerable pitch against themselves: and seeing, lastly, how all men were under penalty of death: He took pity on our race, and had mercy on our infirmity, and condescended to our corruption, and, unable to bear that death should have the mastery-lest the creature should perish, and His Father's handiwork in men be spent for nought-He takes unto Himself a body, and that of no different sort from ours. 3. For He did not simply will to become embodied, or will merely to appear. For if He willed merely to appear, He was able to effect His divine appearance by some other and higher means as well. But He takes a body of our kind, and not merely so, but from a spotless and stainless virgin, knowing not a man, a body clean and in very truth pure from intercourse of men. For being Himself mighty, and Artificer of everything, He prepares the body in the Virgin as a temple unto Himself, and makes it His very own as an instrument, in it manifested, and in it dwelling. 4. And thus taking from our bodies one of like nature, because all were under penalty of the corruption of death He gave it over to death in the stead of all, and offered it to the Father-doing this, moreover, of His loving-kindness, to the end that, firstly, all being held to have died in Him, the law involving the ruin of men might be undone (inasmuch as its power was fully spent in the Lord's body, and had no longer holding-ground against men, his peers), and that, secondly, whereas men had turned toward corruption, He might turn them again toward incorruption, and quicken them from death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of the Resurrection, banishing death from them like straw from the fire.


From On the Incarnation of the Word of God, by St. Athanasius the Great of Alexandria
(http://www.monachos.net/library/Athanasius_of_Alexandria%2C_On_the_Incarnation_of_the_Word)

Christ, the incarnate Word of God and true God of true God, died in order to destroy death and to grant us life by His glorious Resurrection.  Forgiveness alone may remit the penalty for our sin, if you think of sin as offense committed against a holy, wrathful God, but it cannot give us life.  Only through the destruction of death by Christ's death and resurrection can we receive life.
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2008, 05:17:52 AM »

^Indeed, and we have discussed this many a time on this forum.
For example see the threads:
Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
and
How "Orthodox" is this article by Federica........
Personally, I find the notion that God will not forgive sins unless something suffers and bleeds to be abhorrent.
Christ died to enter Hades and rescue us from Death- the consequence of sin.
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2008, 07:14:18 AM »

I wanted to thank you both for your input.  I have to read and ponder over this...  Thanks.

In Christ
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2008, 09:09:03 AM »

I wanted to thank you both for your input.  I have to read and ponder over this...  Thanks.

In Christ

It is my humble opinion that there is no one more informing as to the nature of the Incarnation and the teachings of Christ's purpose for coming down then St. Athanasius' On the Incarnation.

I would encourage you to perhaps get a copy and read it with great reflection.
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2008, 10:33:52 AM »

Personally, I find the notion that God will not forgive sins unless something suffers and bleeds to be abhorrent.
Christ died to enter Hades and rescue us from Death- the consequence of sin.

OzGeorge -  Thank you for this simple and concise statement.  It's the very best explanation I've ever heard.  I hope Irenaeus found this just as helpful as I did. 
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2008, 12:01:19 PM »

Just wanted to comment on how astute you are in rejecting a certain "juridical" idea, the idea that a sin against God is something so great so bad, that it must be forgiven in the manner Christ did.  This was an idea held by Anselm and Aquinas, where they mention that the sin Adam made was a sin against God, and thus it was an "infinite sin."  This idea that the measure of sin is given by who you did the offense to is completely absent in Orthodoxy.  And the idea that sin can be "infinite" is also blasphemous.  You picked up on it very well.  God is not the least affected by anything we do.  But He does have compassion for anything we do against our neighbor as if it was done to Him, as well as anything we do to ourselves as if it was a father looking at his daughter slitting her wrists.

The "juridical" idea however stands when we consider God's "law," i.e. that man shall surely die if he disobeyed the Law God made.  That's what St. Athanasius was saying on his thesis "On the Incarnation" which you should read.  God cannot go back to His word.  It's just as binding as when a man cuts himself, he will bleed.  God cannot reverse the Laws of biology on that person and remove the cut instantly after some sort of "learning from mistakes" or "repentance."  He had to do things that kept God's consistency on things while at the same time trying to help man to fight against sin, and still keep the most important reason of the Incarnation, to unite man to God, i.e. theosis.

So Christ came to be a "replacement" for all men to die and suffer for them under "God's consistency."  He allowed people to "cut" Him, and allowed the bleed to occur, but yet did this without any guilt of sin that may be the cause and effect of death, but takes all men's sin upon Himself, like an immune person taking away the virus in us and destroying it in Himself.  This way, He removes the curse of sin inherent in such a law and makes suffering and death a blessing that destroys suffering and death.  Once the curse is removed, we are able to destroy sin by the help and power of the Holy Spirit, and enjoy becoming God by grace.

This is how I see the salvific work of Christ in a nutshell.

In this Easter however, we celebrate the fact that the "cut" has been healed, i.e. the Resurrection.  So, if you're looking for anything to reflect for Easter, this Easter we reflect on "looking for the Resurrection of the dead."

God bless.

PS  In St. Athanasius' book, he also goes through a list of "prophecies" in the Old Testament.  May I also mention that the sacrificial practices done as written in the first five books are a type of Christ.  There are many "metaphors" or "allegories" you'll find that point to Christ in a "prophetic" manner, not just literal writings of prophets, which are also there.
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2008, 02:02:37 PM »

OzGeorge -  Thank you for this simple and concise statement.  It's the very best explanation I've ever heard.  I hope Irenaeus found this just as helpful as I did. 

May I second this! So simple and strong, thanks, George.
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« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2008, 04:07:26 AM »


Personally, I find the notion that God will not forgive sins unless something suffers and bleeds to be abhorrent.
Christ died to enter Hades and rescue us from Death- the consequence of sin.

So prior to the coming of Christ, death was forever???  So when a Jew died, he was dead??? 

I am trying to grasp this concept, it is new to me, and I don't understand thing quickly in the beginning, I am a slow thinker.
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« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2008, 05:57:09 AM »

So prior to the coming of Christ, death was forever???  So when a Jew died, he was dead??? 

I am trying to grasp this concept, it is new to me, and I don't understand thing quickly in the beginning, I am a slow thinker.

  Have you seen the Icon of the "Harrowing of Hades"? :

This is the Icon of Christ's Descent into Hades, where the souls of the dead were. He is raising Adam and Eve from their graves, and trampling down the gates of Hades which held the dead trapped. To His right (our left) stand the righteous Prophets whom Christ delivered by His Descent into Hades. The one standing closest to Him and pointing to Him is John the Baptist, who descended into Hades before Christ and preached His coming.

The "Harrowing of Hades" is based on the second part of the apocryphal "Gospel of Nicodemus". If you read the Liturgical Hymns of the Orthodox Church for Holy Saturday- the day on which we commemorate Christ's sojourn among the Dead, you will find that it is full of this imagery. For example:
      Today hell (Hades) cries out groaning:
      'I should not have accepted the Man born of Mary!
      He came and destroyed my power.
      He shattered the gates of brass.
      As God, He raised the souls that I had held captive.'

      Glory to Thy Cross and Resurrection, O Lord!

      Today, hell cries out groaning:
      'My dominion has been shattered!
      I received a dead man as one of the dead,
      but against Him I could not prevail.
      From eternity I had ruled the dead,
      but behold, He raises all.
      Because of Him do I perish!'

      Glory to Thy cross and resurrection, O Lord!

      Today hell cries out groaning:
      'My power has been trampled upon!
      The Shepherd is crucified and Adam is raised.
      I have been deprived of those whom I ruled.
      Those whom I swallowed in my strength I have given up.
      He who was crucified has emptied the tombs.
      The power of death has been vanquished!'

      Glory to Thy cross and resurrection, O Lord

              (Sticheria, Vespers of Holy Saturday)

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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2008, 11:14:10 AM »

This might help some, but I do encourage you to read those many pages of other discussions. From a catechism of the Russian Orthodox Church:

http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/10/1.aspx#31

REDEMPTION

In the New Testament Christ is a called the ‘ransom’, or ‘redemption’, for the sins of the human race (Matt.20:28; 1 Cor.1:30). The original Greek word lytrosis means ‘ransom’, that is, a sum of money the payment of which gives freedom to a slave or life for someone sentenced to death. The human person fell into the slavery of sin and required redemption in order to liberate him from this slavery.

The early Church writers posed the following question: to whom did Christ pay this ransom for humanity? Some suggested that the ransom was paid to the devil through whom humans had become enslaved. Origen, for example, asserted that the Son of God surrendered His spirit into the hands of the Father and gave His soul to the devil as a ransom for humanity. St Gregory the Theologian rebuked Origen for his interpretation of redemption: ‘If the great and most glorious blood of God the high priest and sacrifice is given as the price of redemption to the evil one, then how grievous this is! The brigand receives not only the price of the ransom from God, but God Himself!’

St Gregory of Nyssa interprets the redemption as ‘deception’ and a ‘bargain with the devil’. Christ, in order to ransom people, offers the devil His very own flesh, ‘concealing’ beneath it the Divinity; the devil rushes upon it as bait, but swallows along with the bait the ‘hook’, Christ’s Divinity, and perishes.

A different interpretation has it that the ransom was paid not to the devil, as he has no power over humans, but to God the Father. This point of view was articulated by some Western medieval theologians (in particular, by Anselm of Canterbury). They claimed that primordial humanity’s fall aroused God’s anger and that divine justice necesserily required satisfaction: as no human sacrifice could suffice, the Son of God Himself became the ransom in order to satisfy divine justice. Chirt’s death satisfied divine anger and grace was returned to the human race. The acquisition of this grace is impossible without certain merits like faith and good works. Since humans do not possess these merits, they can derive them from Christ and from the saints, who in their lives accomplished more good works than was necessary for their salvation, and so had them in abundance to share. This theory, which rose at the heart of Latin scholastic theology, bears a juridical stamp and reflects the medieval concept of an offended honour that demands satisfaction. According to this understanding, the death of Christ does not abolish sin, but merely liberates the human person from responsibility for it.

The Eastern Orthodox Church reacted to this understanding in the twelfth century. The Local Council of Constantinople, which was convoked in 1157, stated that Christ brought His redemptive sacrifice not to the Father alone, but to the Trinity as a whole: ‘Christ voluntarily offered Himself as a sacrifice, offered Himself in His humanity and Himself accepted the sacrifice as God with the Father and the Spirit... The God-man of the Word offered His redemptive sacrifice to the Father, to Himself as God, and to the Spirit...’

Many early church authors avoid altogether the topic of ‘ransom’ in the literal sense, taking redemption to mean the reconciliation of the human race with God and adoption as His children. They speak of redemption as the manifestation of God’s love for humanity, a view supported by the words of St John the Theologian: ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16). It is not the anger of God the Father but His love that lies behind the sacrificial death of His Son on the Cross.

Every human being is recreated and renewed in Christ. The redemptive act of Christ was not accomplished for an abstract ‘mass’ of people, but for each concrete individual. As St Symeon says, ‘God sent His only-begotten Son to earth for you and for your salvation, for He has seen you and destined you to be His brother and co-heir’.

It is in Christ that the whole history of the human race receives justification, perfection and absolute meaning, including the Fall and expulsion of humans from Paradise. The Incarnation of Christ and His redemptive act have even greater meaning for humans than the very act of their creation. From the moment of God’s Incarnation our history begins anew: we find ourselves again face to face with God, so close to Him, and perhaps even closer to Him than were the first human beings. Christ brings us into the ‘New Paradise’, the Church, where He reigns and where we co-reign with Him.

It is in Christ that the purpose of human existence is realized: communion with God, union with God, deification. According to a work ascribed to St Maximus the Confessor, God ‘yearns for the salvation of all men and hungers after their deification’. In His immeasurable love for humans Christ ascended Golgotha and endured death on the Cross, which reconciled and united the human race with God.
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« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2008, 01:54:14 AM »

Personally, I find the notion that God will not forgive sins unless something suffers and bleeds to be abhorrent. Christ died to enter Hades and rescue us from Death- the consequence of sin.

Amen.

I've been in a discussion on another unnamed forum about a similar subject and when I made a statement with those same sentiments they jumped on me as though I had just said I thought Hitler was right.  laugh


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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2008, 05:23:58 AM »

I've been in a discussion on another unnamed forum about a similar subject and when I made a statement with those same sentiments they jumped on me as though I had just said I thought Hitler was right.  laugh
Welcome to my world! I've even been told I was "anti-Christian" for not believing in a god who is a bloodthirsty Kali-like deity that demands pain, suffering and blood sacrifices before it will accept an apology.
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« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2008, 06:29:18 AM »

Welcome to my world! I've even been told I was "anti-Christian" for not believing in a god who is a bloodthirsty Kali-like deity that demands pain, suffering and blood sacrifices before it will accept an apology.

It's strange, I know - but I wonder if some people are simply wired to expect a kind of justice that really just turns out to be vengence - so many people seem positively delighted at the prospects of the endless suffering of all sinners but themselves. People are odd, aren't we? Lord have mercy on us all.
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« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2008, 04:42:04 PM »

Tangent about hell split off and moved here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,7741.msg223775.html#msg223775
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« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2008, 06:36:23 PM »


Ever since I begin my studies in Orthodox Christianity, I have come to realize, all my ideas of Christianity were completely Protestant Christianity, most of what I disliked about Christianity is actually Protestant Christianity, it seems to me that Orthodox Christianity is in reality completely different to Protestant Christianity, as if it is a different religion all together. I've been listening to Thomas Hopko on the Theotokos and I can't believe the things he is saying. Awesome.  It is like the more I learn about Orthodoxy as whole, the more I like it. The Orthodox Fathers aren't intellectual idiots, like protestant pastors.

At anyrate, thanks for everything.

Although I haven't grasped this concept of Jesus dying on the cross yet, where I feel comfortable with it, everyones input has given me a new prespective on Orthodox Theology.



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« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2008, 07:11:09 PM »

Ever since I begin my studies in Orthodox Christianity, I have come to realize, all my ideas of Christianity were completely Protestant Christianity, most of what I disliked about Christianity is actually Protestant Christianity, it seems to me that Orthodox Christianity is in reality completely different to Protestant Christianity, as if it is a different religion all together. I've been listening to Thomas Hopko on the Theotokos and I can't believe the things he is saying. Awesome.  It is like the more I learn about Orthodoxy as whole, the more I like it. The Orthodox Fathers aren't intellectual idiots, like protestant pastors.

At anyrate, thanks for everything.

Although I haven't grasped this concept of Jesus dying on the cross yet, where I feel comfortable with it, everyones input has given me a new prespective on Orthodox Theology.

This is true. Every time I discover something new about our theology, a concept that if you preached it at a Protestant Church, you would be removed, it makes perfect sense. Such is the Faith of the Apostles. At the same time, it's not shallow philosophy....it's DEEP!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43F72sbiYuM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtt0vIMuejY&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIfnN2CZSu8&feature=related

These three videos are from Abp. Lazar of the Orthodox Monastery of All Saints in Canada. The episodes I highlight are from the middle of the series (segments 8, 9, 10) that is in 28 parts, where the Abp. responds to the Southern Baptist "Manifesto" found here: http://www.namb.net/atf/cf/{CDA250E8-8866-4236-9A0C-C646DE153446}/BB_E_Orthodox_Manual.pdf . The episodes relate to Sin and Heaven and Hell. There are other episodes on Theosis and Salvation which are relevant.

It is an excellent series, and to be honest I recommend starting at the beginning!

In Christ John

P.S. Well we are talking YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj4pUphDitA is beautiful!
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« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2008, 10:09:23 PM »

This is true. Every time I discover something new about our theology, a concept that if you preached it at a Protestant Church, you would be removed, it makes perfect sense. Such is the Faith of the Apostles. At the same time, it's not shallow philosophy....it's DEEP!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43F72sbiYuM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtt0vIMuejY&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIfnN2CZSu8&feature=related

These three videos are from Abp. Lazar of the Orthodox Monastery of All Saints in Canada. The episodes I highlight are from the middle of the series (segments 8, 9, 10) that is in 28 parts, where the Abp. responds to the Southern Baptist "Manifesto" found here: http://www.namb.net/atf/cf/{CDA250E8-8866-4236-9A0C-C646DE153446}/BB_E_Orthodox_Manual.pdf . The episodes relate to Sin and Heaven and Hell. There are other episodes on Theosis and Salvation which are relevant.

It is an excellent series, and to be honest I recommend starting at the beginning!

In Christ John

P.S. Well we are talking YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj4pUphDitA is beautiful!

Wow is all I can say. I just finished listening to some of Archbishop Lazar's videos and want to thank you, John, for posting these links. They were incredibly helpful to me. I never received any of this teaching and seriously had no clue this was what the Orthodox Church taught. I think it's a terrible shame catechumens are not taught these things- at least I certainly wasn't. I will listen to all of Vladika's talks-very, very helpful. If only we could have sermons like this in church on Sundays! Thanks again!
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« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2008, 11:30:35 PM »

Wow is all I can say. I just finished listening to some of Archbishop Lazar's videos and want to thank you, John, for posting these links. They were incredibly helpful to me. I never received any of this teaching and seriously had no clue this was what the Orthodox Church taught. I think it's a terrible shame catechumens are not taught these things- at least I certainly wasn't. I will listen to all of Vladika's talks-very, very helpful. If only we could have sermons like this in church on Sundays! Thanks again!

Have you ever read River of Fire by Dr Alexandre Kalomiros? Vladyka mentions it in the second talk linked above.

Here's a link
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« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2008, 11:40:28 PM »

P.S. Well we are talking YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj4pUphDitA is beautiful!
Beautiful. Just Beautiful!
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« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2008, 01:07:17 AM »

Beautiful. Just Beautiful!

I can't help but mention that there are photo's of our archbishop, priest and parish all featured in that video.  Grin


Yours in Christ
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« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2008, 05:44:32 AM »

If it's true that the message of Christ is universal, then Salvation should have a different meaning to many people.  To the philosophical Greeks, Christ is the Logos.  To the spiritual Chinese, Christ is the Tao.  To the Copts who seek eternal life, Christ is the "Ankh" or the key of life.  And to the legalistic Jews and Protestants, Christ is the Lamb who atones for the sins of the world--The Messiah. 

In the past, I flatly rejected all soteriologies other than the therapeutic model that many of us Orthodox know by heart.  Now I realize the folly of insisting that God gave his life for one reason only.  I have learned over time that there are many dimensions to the greatest sacrifice that the Cosmos has ever witnessed.  From the Juridical to the Therapeutic, not a single stone was left unturned.

Perhaps if we learn to open our minds to other viewpoints, we can better understand not just our neighbors, but ourselves as well.


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« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2008, 06:22:38 AM »

If it's true that the message of Christ is universal, then Salvation should have a different meaning to many people.  To the philosophical Greeks, Christ is the Logos.  To the spiritual Chinese, Christ is the Tao.  To the Copts who seek eternal life, Christ is the "Ankh" or the key of life.  And to the legalistic Jews and Protestants, Christ is the Lamb who atones for the sins of the world--The Messiah. 

In the past, I flatly rejected all soteriologies other than the therapeutic model that many of us Orthodox know by heart.  Now I realize the folly of insisting that God gave his life for one reason only.  I have learned over time that there are many dimensions to the greatest sacrifice that the Cosmos has ever witnessed.  From the Juridical to the Therapeutic, not a single stone was left unturned.

Perhaps if we learn to open our minds to other viewpoints, we can better understand not just our neighbors, but ourselves as well.




Is this what Fr. Alexander Schmemann meant when he said, "Christianity, however, is in a profound sense the end of all religion?"   He also says, "Nowhere in the New Testament, in fact, is Christianity presented as a cult or as a religion." (For the Life of the World pg 19)

He also said, "We believe as well that is present in any seeker after truth. Simone Weil has sid that though a person may run as fast as he can away from Christ, if it is toward whathe considers true, he runs in fact straight into the arms of Christ." (For the Life of the World pg 19)

A proof that could be used to illustrate what you have said, is the Wise men from the East.  Three individuals who appear to be pagans, were able to see Christ for who he was and protected him, yet His own received Him not nor understand Him but sought to kill and destroy Him, because they were fixed in religious dogma, and systematic outward aspects of the religion. Thinking that if it doesn't fit exactly the way I think is should be, then it has to be wrong.

And our Lord knows best.
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« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2008, 10:30:17 AM »

I found this thread very helpful. Great topic.







JNORM888
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« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2008, 04:25:09 PM »

If it's true that the message of Christ is universal, then Salvation should have a different meaning to many people.  To the philosophical Greeks, Christ is the Logos.  To the spiritual Chinese, Christ is the Tao.  To the Copts who seek eternal life, Christ is the "Ankh" or the key of life.  And to the legalistic Jews and Protestants, Christ is the Lamb who atones for the sins of the world--The Messiah. 

In the past, I flatly rejected all soteriologies other than the therapeutic model that many of us Orthodox know by heart.  Now I realize the folly of insisting that God gave his life for one reason only.  I have learned over time that there are many dimensions to the greatest sacrifice that the Cosmos has ever witnessed.  From the Juridical to the Therapeutic, not a single stone was left unturned.

Perhaps if we learn to open our minds to other viewpoints, we can better understand not just our neighbors, but ourselves as well.

Amen...truly a post of the month nomination...reflections of last year's similar post on the same month:

I really think culture conditions what strands of scriptural understanding of the atonement people latch onto and emphasize (or feel speaks to their situation). I read an interview with an Indian (not Native American; but a native of India). He encountered Christianity in Britain and as he read the New Testament and studied Christainity, he felt that he could not understand and relate to the concept that Jesus paid for our sins. But he immediately saw that Jesus paid for our karma. He immediately came to view him as the eternal bodhisattva and came to faith in Christ.

Hence, it's not just east vs. west; this wonderful multi-faceted diamond in scripture sparkles at just the right angle for each culture it is introduced to.

PS. I am not suggesting any sort of cultural relativism. I am saying that this absolute truth and eternal mystery is so big and so awesome as to embrace and speak to all of human culture over all of time.

Amen!
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« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2008, 01:52:41 AM »

With most of us having celebrated our Lord's Pascha this past weekend, I thought it would be very appropriate for this thread to share what our hymnography for Holy Saturday has to say about what Christ accomplished by dying on the Cross.


From the Praises of Holy Saturday Matins (a.k.a. the Vigil of Lamentation, usually read on the night of Holy Friday):

O Life, how can You die?  How can You dwell in a tomb?  Yet You destroy death's kingdom and raise the dead from hell.

You who are Life were laid in a tomb, O Christ: by Your death You have destroyed death and have become a fountain of life for the world.

How could hell endure Your coming, O Savior?  Was it not shattered and struck blind by the dazzling radiance of Your light?

Willingly You die as a mortal man, O Savior, but as God You raise up the dead from the grave and from the depths of sin.

Through Your burial, O Christ, You destroy the palaces of hell: by Your death You slay death, and deliver from corruption the children of the earth.

'To renew the broken nature of mortal men, willingly have I been wounded in the flesh by death.  O Mother, do not strike your breast in grief.'

He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the Cross.  As a lifeless corpse He is laid in the earth, and it quakes in terror, unable to endure His presence.


Do note that this is all from the liturgics of the day between Holy Friday and Pascha, so very little is said of the Passion of the day before or of the Resurrection of the next day.  Most of this service covers the blessed Sabbath on which Christ lay dead in the tomb and His soul dwelt in Hades.

Christ is risen!  Indeed, He is risen!
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