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Author Topic: What is the fate of heretics?  (Read 10908 times) Average Rating: 0
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stanley123
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« Reply #45 on: February 22, 2009, 05:02:06 PM »

Do you seriously think that this means that anyone who is not baptised is doomed to hell? So all the billions of Hindus, Zoroastrians, Muslims, Buddhists, Animists etc who have died without baptism are in hell?
What makes sense to me in this respect is a liberal application of the Catholic teaching on Baptism of Desire. "Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity." CCC1260
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« Reply #46 on: February 22, 2009, 05:33:35 PM »

^I guess Orthodoxy isn't as technical with it's answer as that, but it amounts to the same thing.
So no. Fr. Anastasios was not saying that you and your family are hell-bound.
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« Reply #47 on: February 22, 2009, 05:34:13 PM »

Do you seriously think that this means that anyone who is not baptised is doomed to hell? So all the billions of Hindus, Zoroastrians, Muslims, Buddhists, Animists etc who have died without baptism are in hell?
What makes sense to me in this respect is a liberal application of the Catholic teaching on Baptism of Desire. "Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity." CCC1260

This theory of "Baptism of Desire" seems superfluous.

Saint Paul has already given the apostolic teaching quite cogently and without any artificial construct of a "Baptism of Desire."

Romans 2 - the salvation of non-believers:

  "...for when Gentiles, who do not have the law,
  by nature do the things in the law, these, although
  not having the law, are a law to themselves, who
  show the work of the law written in their hearts,
  their conscience also bearing witness, and between
  themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing
  them in the day when God will judge the secrets of men
  by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel."
 
~ Romans 2:14-16


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« Reply #48 on: February 22, 2009, 11:47:21 PM »

^I guess Orthodoxy isn't as technical with it's answer as that, but it amounts to the same thing.
So no. Fr. Anastasios was not saying that you and your family are hell-bound.

Still, there are other questions which might arise with the Orthodox POV of rebaptising Catholics. For one thing, the Catholic teaching is that it is wrong to repeat the Sacrament of Baptism. And then taken to its logical conclusion,  the Orthodox POV basically means that the Catholic baptism is not accepted, and therefore, neither would be the Catholic priesthood. So under such a scenario, the Pope and his Catholic cardinals and archbishops would be nothing but laymen, devoid of any Sacramental powers or Apostolic authority.
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« Reply #49 on: February 22, 2009, 11:59:49 PM »

^I guess Orthodoxy isn't as technical with it's answer as that, but it amounts to the same thing.
So no. Fr. Anastasios was not saying that you and your family are hell-bound.

Still, there are other questions which might arise with the Orthodox POV of rebaptising Catholics. For one thing, the Catholic teaching is that it is wrong to repeat the Sacrament of Baptism. And then taken to its logical conclusion,  the Orthodox POV basically means that the Catholic baptism is not accepted, and therefore, neither would be the Catholic priesthood. So under such a scenario, the Pope and his Catholic cardinals and archbishops would be nothing but laymen, devoid of any Sacramental powers or Apostolic authority.

And the Catholic position that Anglican Orders are invalid means that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Anglican priests are "nothing but laymen, devoid of Sacramental powers or Apostolic authority."  You can dish it out... 
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« Reply #50 on: February 23, 2009, 12:01:11 AM »

Still, there are other questions which might arise with the Orthodox POV of rebaptising Catholics. For one thing, the Catholic teaching is that it is wrong to repeat the Sacrament of Baptism. And then taken to its logical conclusion,  the Orthodox POV basically means that the Catholic baptism is not accepted, and therefore, neither would be the Catholic priesthood. So under such a scenario, the Pope and his Catholic cardinals and archbishops would be nothing but laymen, devoid of any Sacramental powers or Apostolic authority.

Not too long ago a very dear friend of mine, who is converting to Orthodoxy, stated: "Well, since the cat is out of the bag, yes, I believe the Roman church to be an apostate organization masquerading as the true apostolic church."

This is not something out of the ordinary for Orthodox to hold. There are many polemic sources which take these general views to their ultimate conclusions and simply admit them. I can appreciate those hear for being kind but as my friend so pointedly revealed to me... there is merit in your conclusion.

For Roman Catholics this is striking because we see a necessity in the Sacraments. Depending on who you ask, among the Orthodox, there is not the same emphasis on the necessity of the Sacraments but that doesn't seem to be the whole story.
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« Reply #51 on: February 23, 2009, 12:02:50 AM »

And the Catholic position that Anglican Orders are invalid means that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Anglican priests are "nothing but laymen, devoid of Sacramental powers or Apostolic authority."  You can dish it out... 

This would not extend to the Sacrament of Baptism.... nor prayer. Between these two 'sacraments' any group of separated Christians have the means to effect their own Salvation.
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« Reply #52 on: February 23, 2009, 12:16:43 AM »


And the Catholic position that Anglican Orders are invalid means that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Anglican priests are "nothing but laymen, devoid of Sacramental powers or Apostolic authority."  You can dish it out... 
I think that Catholics recognise the Anglican Baptism. There is a problem with the other Sacraments. For example, many Anglicans take a Zwinglian attitude toward Holy Communion, and view Holy Communion as a memorial banquet. This amounts to rejecting the Real Presence, which is very important from the Catholic POV. Also, Catholics see a problem with female bishops and same sex married bishops.
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« Reply #53 on: February 23, 2009, 11:33:08 AM »

I think that Catholics recognise the Anglican Baptism. There is a problem with the other Sacraments. For example, many Anglicans take a Zwinglian attitude toward Holy Communion, and view Holy Communion as a memorial banquet. This amounts to rejecting the Real Presence, which is very important from the Catholic POV. Also, Catholics see a problem with female bishops and same sex married bishops.

Don't be too shocked by 'many' Roman Catholics take the same "Zwinglian" view. This is a real problem within our own community.
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« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2009, 12:23:09 PM »

"An heretic is someone who knowingly holds and teaches a false doctrine. I don't think we can call those born into heterodox Churches "heretics". The only heretic would be an Orthodox Christian who leaves Orthodoxy and adopts heterodox doctrines."  ozgeorge

This reads like a bit of polished sophism.

St. Paul is accused of being a heretic (sect) in Acts 24: 5, 6. 

I doubt also that a heretic is only one who " knowing(ly) holding and teaching" a doctrine he believes to be false..   

Also, if someone leaves Orthodoxy and adopts a heterodox doctrine, it would seem that he/she has apostatized into a heresy.  It would seem that ozgeorge statement opts for a position that the only heretic which may be found among the heterodox will be the apostate Orthodox.   

How then should we understand our Lord's warning to the Disciples to beware of the leaven of both the Pharisee and Herod.   It seems that a Heretic would be anyone leavened by any Heresy, whether dogmatically formulated or only held or and maintained insipidly, i.e., "I was born and raised to believe and live like this."

Heresy is not just a deviation from a dogmatic formula; otherwise Arius (and others) did not become a heretic until after that moment when the Ecumenical Council made its vote.  But what then of Origen?   
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« Reply #55 on: February 23, 2009, 12:35:07 PM »

"If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, Eutyches and Origen, as well as their impious writings, as also all other heretics already condemned and anathematized by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and by the aforesaid four Holy Synods and [if anyone does not equally anathematize] all those who have held and hold or who in their impiety persist in holding to the end the same opinion as those heretics just mentioned: let him be anathema."                                                                         Ecumenical Council decision


Who is being identified in "If anyone" also, "if anyone" and"all thosewho have held and hold or who in their imipiety persist in holding to the end "?  What about Only Orthodox Christians?  In which case it would only mean:

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« Reply #56 on: February 23, 2009, 12:52:18 PM »

Not too long ago a very dear friend of mine, who is converting to Orthodoxy, stated: "Well, since the cat is out of the bag, yes, I believe the Roman church to be an apostate organization masquerading as the true apostolic church."

For Roman Catholics this is striking because we see a necessity in the Sacraments. Depending on who you ask, among the Orthodox, there is not the same emphasis on the necessity of the Sacraments but that doesn't seem to be the whole story.

I fully agree with your friend, but that conviction doesn't mean I believe that all non-Orthodox people are destined for hell.  Also, I don't understand how there can be a necessity on the sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church and yet their definition amounts to a more accepting version of salvation than that which is present in Orthodoxy.  By no means do I speak anything official on behalf of the Orthodox - since I'm not one of them yet - but this makes me remember how Jesus requires being born of water and the Spirit, consuming his flesh and blood, being perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect, etc.  Furthermore, the saints enumerate many requirements, usually having to do with sinless perfection, for our salvation.  My viewpoint is that all of these are required for us to be saved, but God is unpredictable.  He is trustworthy enough for us to abide by the commandments he's given, but unpredictable enough for us to say, as some monks have said, "All the world will be saved, and I alone will be condemned." 

May God bless you.
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« Reply #57 on: February 23, 2009, 03:33:08 PM »

"If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, Eutyches and Origen, as well as their impious writings, as also all other heretics already condemned and anathematized by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and by the aforesaid four Holy Synods and [if anyone does not equally anathematize] all those who have held and hold or who in their impiety persist in holding to the end the same opinion as those heretics just mentioned: let him be anathema."                                                                         Ecumenical Council decision


Who is being identified in "If anyone" also, "if anyone" and"all thosewho have held and hold or who in their imipiety persist in holding to the end "?  What about Only Orthodox Christians?  In which case it would only mean:



Zoarthegleaner,

Did you complete your thought "In which case it would only mean:" or was something left out?

Thomas
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« Reply #58 on: February 23, 2009, 04:47:40 PM »

An heretic is someone who knowingly holds and teaches a false doctrine. I don't think we can call those born into heterodox Churches "heretics". The only heretic would be an Orthodox Christian who leaves Orthodoxy and adopts heterodox doctrines.

We can distinguish between two categories of heretics.

Formal heretics:   These are those who initiate a heresy.  The Church has always had harsh words of condemnation for formal heretics.

Material heretics:   These are those who through no fault of their own have espoused heresy, usually by the fact of being born in an heretical group and they simply adopt its heresies.
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« Reply #59 on: February 23, 2009, 06:45:06 PM »

An heretic is someone who knowingly holds and teaches a false doctrine. I don't think we can call those born into heterodox Churches "heretics". The only heretic would be an Orthodox Christian who leaves Orthodoxy and adopts heterodox doctrines.

We can distinguish between two categories of heretics.

Formal heretics:   These are those who initiate a heresy.  The Church has always had harsh words of condemnation for formal heretics.

Otherwise known as heresiarchs?
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« Reply #60 on: February 23, 2009, 06:52:16 PM »

What does the Orthodox Church teach is the fate of heretics?

A touch of humour...?

Song of the Pelagian Heresy
Hilaire Belloc, 1912

FOR THE STRENGTHENING OF MEN'S BACKS
AND THE VERY ROBUST OUT-THRUSTING
OF DOUBTFUL DOCTRINE
AND THE UNCERTAIN INTELLECTUAL
               
Pelagius lived in Kardanoel
and taught a doctrine there
How whether you went to Heaven or Hell,
It was your own affair.
How, whether you found eternal joy
Or sank forever to burn,
It had nothing to do with the church, my boy,
But it was your own concern.

(Semi-chorus)
Oh, he didn't believe in Adam and Eve,
He put no faith therein!
His doubts began with the fall of man,
And he laughed at original sin!

(Chorus)
With my row-ti-tow, ti-oodly-ow,
He laughed at orignal sin!

Whereat the Bishop of old Auxerre
(Germanus was his name)
He tore great handfuls out of his hair,
And he called Pelagius Shame:
And then with his stout Episcopal staff
So thoroughly whacked and banged
The heretics all, both short and tall,
They rather had been hanged.

Oh, he thwacked them hard, and he banged them long
Upon each and all occasions,
Till they bellowed in chorus, loud and strong
Their orthodox persuasions!

With my row-ti-tow, ti-oodly-ow,
Their orthodox persuasions!

Now the Faith is old
and the Devil is bold
Exceedingly bold. indeed;
And the masses of doubt
That are floating about
Would smother a mortal creed.
But we that sit in sturdy youth,
And still can drink strong ale,
Oh -- let us put it away to infallible truth,
Which always shall prevail!

And thank the Lord
For the temporal sword,
And for howling heretics, too;
And whatever good things
our Christendom brings,
But especially the barley-brew!

With my row-ti-tow, ti-oodly-ow
Especially the barley-brew!

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« Reply #61 on: February 23, 2009, 10:56:42 PM »

Zoarthegleaner,

Did you complete your thought "In which case it would only mean:" or was something left out?

Thomas
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Great question, however I was leaving it open for an answer.  So I guess something was left out "?".
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« Reply #62 on: February 24, 2009, 12:04:21 AM »

An heretic is someone who knowingly holds and teaches a false doctrine. I don't think we can call those born into heterodox Churches "heretics". The only heretic would be an Orthodox Christian who leaves Orthodoxy and adopts heterodox doctrines.

We can distinguish between two categories of heretics.

Formal heretics:   These are those who initiate a heresy.  The Church has always had harsh words of condemnation for formal heretics.

Material heretics:   These are those who through no fault of their own have espoused heresy, usually by the fact of being born in an heretical group and they simply adopt its heresies.
1. This question has most likely been asked before, but what is the difference, if any, between a heterodox Christian and a heretic Christian from the Orthodox POV?
2. From the Orthodox POV, what are the universally agreed upon heresies of the Roman Catholic church?
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« Reply #63 on: February 24, 2009, 10:50:12 AM »

Quote
1. This question has most likely been asked before, but what is the difference, if any, between a heterodox Christian and a heretic Christian from the Orthodox POV?
2. From the Orthodox POV, what are the universally agreed upon heresies of the Roman Catholic church?

Please note this is me speaking personally and not as a moderator.

Many new converts to the Orthodox Church ask these very questions. I am afraid the answers will vary from Jurisdiction to Jurisdiction. A Heretic is always an individual as it is a personal decision or act, while they may group themselves in congregation or "church" the decision to enter into  heresy is an act of knowing and belief. What I have always been told is that a Heretic is one who knowingly rejects the doctrines of the Holy Orthodox Church usually indicating a knowledge of the faith that comes from being a member of the Holy Orthodox Church. Whereas, a heterodox Christian is one who holds other beliefs because that is the way they have been raised, i.e. they have never been a member of or known the Holy Orthodox Church full teachings and must rely upon the great mercy of God who will judge us all.  My youngest daughter when a young child said that being a Methodist, Baptist, or Episcopalian was like taking a bite of a very delicious ripe apple, it gave a foretaste of the apple but if that was all you had that was all you had it was nice but  she says  being Orthodox was  like having the whole apple, not bad for an eight year old at the time.

As to your second question the items that come most strongly into mind are the "Filioque" clause in the creed that changes  basic teachings on the Holy Spirit and the Trinity, the doctrine of  Papal Supremacy and Infallibility along with the resulting decrees on Dogma that vary from the Teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church. These teachings have been passed on in some form or reaction against these teachings of the church of Rome to her daughter churches the various Protestant churches.

My understanding is that Today, Non-Orthodox Churches are in heresy because their teachings and foundations were laid by Heretics, but individuals to enter into Heresy must first have the knowledge of the truth found in the Orthodox Church in order to  reject the true Teachings of the Orthodox Faith. Many jurisdictions have thus adopted the term "Heterodox Christian" which acknowledges that this person's belief in Christ as their Savior but not in the full understanding that an Orthodox Christian would have. This avoids the alienation of the "heterodox christian" that the current term Heretic provides. It acknowledges that that heterodox believer is  a Christian brother or sister  of "Other belief " that needs to be brought into the Orthodox Church.  These jurisdictions believe that once Orthodoxy is truly presented to them, most of them will convert as the Holy Spirit will witness to them of the truth that Orthodoxy teaches. This ideal puts great pressure on Orthodox Christians to evangelize and bring others to the church.

You should be aware that there are other opinions on this topic and that they may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and even from one person in the jurisidiction.

Thomas

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« Reply #64 on: February 24, 2009, 12:25:20 PM »

I fully agree with your friend, but that conviction doesn't mean I believe that all non-Orthodox people are destined for hell.  Also, I don't understand how there can be a necessity on the sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church and yet their definition amounts to a more accepting version of salvation than that which is present in Orthodoxy.  By no means do I speak anything official on behalf of the Orthodox - since I'm not one of them yet - but this makes me remember how Jesus requires being born of water and the Spirit, consuming his flesh and blood, being perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect, etc.  Furthermore, the saints enumerate many requirements, usually having to do with sinless perfection, for our salvation.  My viewpoint is that all of these are required for us to be saved, but God is unpredictable.  He is trustworthy enough for us to abide by the commandments he's given, but unpredictable enough for us to say, as some monks have said, "All the world will be saved, and I alone will be condemned." 

Yes this tends to be what I interpret to be understood when Orthodox refrain from condemning all other non-Orthodox to the Fires.

If one goes through the Sacred Texts and finds every 'conditional' and then assumes that each must be met for Salvation I can truly understand this conclusion. I'm not sure I agree with the conclusion but I can understand one reaching such a conclusion. Ultimately I believe we are saved by Faith. I am not sure what is the fate of one who is without Baptism. I know what the early Church taught concerning the necessity of Baptism but I must admit that to think that all humanity whom have not received Baptism are doomed to the Fires is tough for the modern conscience. When one extends this view to all who have not been Baptized by this tradition or that priest I find it again to be tough for the modern conscience to accept. I like the approach of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which seems to recognize Faith in good conscience to be hopeful for the Salvation of all. St. Paul made strong arguments toward the Jews that our father Abraham's Faith was accorded to him as righteousness without the Law which can 400 years later. There was a 'promise'... on which all our spiritual efforts are built. Should we now do as the Jews had done and conflate the Law with Faith? I'm not so sure anymore.
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« Reply #65 on: February 24, 2009, 01:06:52 PM »

Do you seriously think that this means that anyone who is not baptised is doomed to hell? So all the billions of Hindus, Zoroastrians, Muslims, Buddhists, Animists etc who have died without baptism are in hell?
What makes sense to me in this respect is a liberal application of the Catholic teaching on Baptism of Desire. "Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity." CCC1260

This theory of "Baptism of Desire" seems superfluous.

Saint Paul has already given the apostolic teaching quite cogently and without any artificial construct of a "Baptism of Desire."

Romans 2 - the salvation of non-believers:

  "...for when Gentiles, who do not have the law,
  by nature do the things in the law, these, although
  not having the law, are a law to themselves, who
  show the work of the law written in their hearts,
  their conscience also bearing witness, and between
  themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing
  them in the day when God will judge the secrets of men
  by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel."
 
~ Romans 2:14-16



Its not superfluous when the scriptures teach that "whoever believes and is baptized will be saved," and that you must be born of water and the Spirit.
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« Reply #66 on: February 24, 2009, 04:44:21 PM »

Do you seriously think that this means that anyone who is not baptised is doomed to hell? So all the billions of Hindus, Zoroastrians, Muslims, Buddhists, Animists etc who have died without baptism are in hell?
What makes sense to me in this respect is a liberal application of the Catholic teaching on Baptism of Desire. "Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity." CCC1260

This theory of "Baptism of Desire" seems superfluous.

Saint Paul has already given the apostolic teaching quite cogently and without any artificial construct of a "Baptism of Desire."

Romans 2 - the salvation of non-believers:

  "...for when Gentiles, who do not have the law,
  by nature do the things in the law, these, although
  not having the law, are a law to themselves, who
  show the work of the law written in their hearts,
  their conscience also bearing witness, and between
  themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing
  them in the day when God will judge the secrets of men
  by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel."
 
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Its not superfluous when the scriptures teach that "whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,"
That's different from saying "salvation is absolutely contingent upon believing and being baptized."
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and that you must be born of water and the Spirit.
What's the Greek form of "must"?
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« Reply #67 on: February 24, 2009, 11:29:21 PM »

 "...heresy is an act of knowing and belief."

I find the above statement to be inconclusive and imprecise as also other thoughts expressed within the post and offer these thoughts as an ammendment.

First, a heresy can be entered to unknowingly and with only sensual convictions.  Our first Mother Eve entered into a heresy by this means through a process of thought which I suggest is described by the Apostle Paul to Timothy as "idle talk."   "Idle talk" as the Apostle Paul names it in his first Epistle to Timothy follows his assessment of "some having strayed " and "having turned aside."  This appears to describe our first Mother Eve's transgression and heresy [remember Thomas' definition: A Heretic is always an individual as it is a personal decision or act,"].  The Apostle Paul states unequivocally that Eve's transgression was a result of her being deceived.

Eve clearly strayed and turned aside from the Holy Commandment, but the Apostle covers her transgression because of deception and a falling into a trap laid by her adversary.  Who will fault a man or woman who falls into a heresy because they were deceived.  Even our Lord speaking from His own Cross says, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."  This in no means denies that their actions are reprehensible and bare dire consequence, but the Mosaic Law itself hanging on the two Greatest Commandments extends exceptional Mercy towards ignorance.  Do we not ourselves excuse children?

Adam's sin however is different.  The Genesis account does not expound on the logical progression of Adam's thought, but rather abruptly states, "and he ate."  Adam's process of thought seems to begin afterwards (the process of repentance) when they hear the "sound of the LORD GOD walking in the garden in the cool of the day (perhaps the hour we begin the six Psalms?)." 

In the account of the eating of the forbidden fruit, Eve's story takes priority over what Adam was doing and thinking during that moment.  However, with the sound of the LORD GOD's footsteps, Adam now takes the lead as it is stated in the text: "Adam and his wife hid themselves..."  Adam is now named before the woman, who is subsequently called "his wife"; perhaps suggesting that "only now" does Adam take the lead to save himself and his wife by hiding among the trees of the Garden.  Sadly, Adam is leading Eve to hide from the LORD GOD; but he did not hide her from the "cunning beast of the field."

The Apostle Paul states with certainty "Adam was not deceived."  These are horrific words, for they lead us to only one conclusion, Adam entered into heresy freely and willingly and he allowed his wife to proceed him into heresy by his silence.  This is horrifyingly more frightening than any Halloween fantasy.

Eve entered into heresy, but she was lead further into heresy by Adam's willful and voluntary entrance into it.  The Law of Moses distinguished sins of ignorance from those of willfullness and so it seems applicable to the question about Heresy and Heretics.  Not everybody is culpable at the same degree(?), level(?) or awareness, but the affect remains the same though the consequences may vary.
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« Reply #68 on: March 03, 2009, 01:43:22 AM »

So what I am reading in this is that we are not saved by faith but actually by efficacious sacraments which are the sole property of an institutional Church? That God does not call individual hearts to a relationship with the Godhead but the Church which isn't the People of God but more of the Body of Christ acting through an institutional... Grace isn't Free... it comes at the price of submission to this institutional body.

The Baptist in me finds this appalling...   laugh



I sure don't miss Protestant "logic" and its inevitable distortions.  Wink Why do you make it an "either or" situation? God founded a visible church and he brings us closer to him by the gift of himself, in the church he founded. If you've got a problem with that, take it up with God. ;-)
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« Reply #69 on: September 14, 2009, 08:46:45 AM »

Since I'm coming into Orthodoxy, if God graciously wills, from a Protestant sect, I'm particularly surprised by those who have been exposed to Orthodoxy and the Fathers and yet deny the unity of the Church for the sake of inclusivism. I don't mean to be harsh on people, since all the Protestants from my former confession probably have a better chance of salvation than myself, but I cannot see the justification for denying the unity of the Church.

It seems that in these threads there are, invariably, some people from a Protestant or Roman Catholic background that have to force the Orthodox here into answering whether he and his relatives are condemned by evil Orthodox beliefs about baptism. When did Orthodox sacramentology, as if that can be isolated in itself, become a brand-new, offensive belief? As Irish Hermit, Fr. Ambrose I think, intimated with the quotes, just because the Orthodox believe the Church is one doesn't mean that everyone else is condemned right off the bat.

Lastly, I'll say this: The preference toward Protestant ecumenism is the same attitude that exists in interreligious ecumenism. If the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers and Christ our Lord Himself dilineate the significance of Holy Baptism, why do we doubt  it? On the other hand, if one is disposed to be ecumenical, what's stopping one from seeing other religions as legitimate? It's the same logic based upon the same gut principle: one can't bear to claim exclusive truth. I've actually found greater possibility for grace for the unbeliever in Orthodoxy than in any of my several, widely divergent Protestant and Roman Catholic experiences. Here I can say that the Church is one, and yet God is gracious to all.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on us.
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« Reply #70 on: September 14, 2009, 10:04:32 AM »

Dear ignatios,
I can see your point.
As a Roman Catholic, I understand the problem of those who wonder what their non-Orthodox family are destined to in the afterlife. Apart from "I dunno" and "I recommend their souls to God", I have no answer. Up to now, I'm still not in communion (technically) with Orthodoxy, yet I know that my baptism isn't valid, and I've got no problem with that.
When somebody (namely, in this case, Jetavan) has a problem that the militant and triumphant Churches seem not to match with each other, i.e. that there are Orthodox who will not be saved and heterodox who will be saved, my answer is this: "The visible militant Church is an Icon of the invisible triumphant Church". This makes room for God's grace, who is not limited by legalisms and denominations, and also to the free will to apostatize. I can see, for example, that my parents and my grandmother (especially the latter) have a good attitude towards Orthodoxy, yet they aren't interested in converting. They doubt many dogmas and positions of RCism, and often reject Papal Infallibility, yet they don't sense any need to live the Roman Catholic Church. My "feeling" is that they might be accused not of heresy, but of laziness. This is not a sin which leads to the second death, IMHO, so I feel I can freely pray God for their redemption, if possible in this life through my exemple, otherwise at least through God's mercy in the life to come.
Indeed, God's grace is offer to all, but the Church is still one, the Orthodox Church!

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #71 on: September 14, 2009, 11:40:44 AM »

"You ask, will the heterodox be saved. Why do you worry about them? They have a Savior, Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such concern. Study yourself and your own sins. I will tell you one thing, however, should you being Orthodox, and possessing the Truth in its fullness, betray Orthodoxy and enter a different faith, you will lose your soul forever."

St. Theophan the Recluse


"many of those who on earth considered themselves to be alien to the Church will find that on the day of Judgment that they are her citizen; and many of those who thought themselves to be members of the Church will, alas, be found to be alien to her."


St. Augustine
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« Reply #72 on: September 14, 2009, 11:57:23 AM »

As I can see, st. Augustine and st. Theophan the Recluse, illumined by God's grace, could say it far better then me LOL

Thanks for your quotations, Sinner Servant... they were useful and inspired even more love for our "separate brethrens" who unvoluntarily find themselves in heresy.

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #73 on: September 14, 2009, 06:54:16 PM »

This thread has given me lots to think about (or to stop thinking about) on this topic. One thing that stays with me is this - I've had conversations with friends and family members about the Orthodox chuch. While they were once totally ignorant of it as I once was, now they're aware and have some understanding of what  fullness of faith means.

I know we're not supposed to look at God in such a juridical way as this, but has the "bar" now been raised on what's "expected" of these people, since they can't claim total ignorance, or  is  the main concern for bona fide Orthodox people who fall away? 

SHould I not think about these sort of things?
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« Reply #74 on: September 14, 2009, 07:11:19 PM »

This thread has given me lots to think about (or to stop thinking about) on this topic. One thing that stays with me is this - I've had conversations with friends and family members about the Orthodox chuch. While they were once totally ignorant of it as I once was, now they're aware and have some understanding of what  fullness of faith means.

I know we're not supposed to look at God in such a juridical way as this, but has the "bar" now been raised on what's "expected" of these people, since they can't claim total ignorance, or  is  the main concern for bona fide Orthodox people who fall away? 

SHould I not think about these sort of things?

You are not endangering the salvation of your family by giving them information about Orthodoxy.  What you may be doing is planting small seeds which could blossom in years to come.  In 10 years time, your mother, father, or brother could walk into an Orthodox church and suddenly think.  "So *this* is what Bogdan was so enthusiastic about!   I'll have to look into it further."

Keep sowing seeds!
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« Reply #75 on: September 15, 2009, 07:41:25 AM »

This thread has given me lots to think about (or to stop thinking about) on this topic. One thing that stays with me is this - I've had conversations with friends and family members about the Orthodox chuch. While they were once totally ignorant of it as I once was, now they're aware and have some understanding of what  fullness of faith means.

I know we're not supposed to look at God in such a juridical way as this, but has the "bar" now been raised on what's "expected" of these people, since they can't claim total ignorance, or  is  the main concern for bona fide Orthodox people who fall away? 

SHould I not think about these sort of things?

You are not endangering the salvation of your family by giving them information about Orthodoxy.  What you may be doing is planting small seeds which could blossom in years to come.  In 10 years time, your mother, father, or brother could walk into an Orthodox church and suddenly think.  "So *this* is what Bogdan was so enthusiastic about!   I'll have to look into it further."

Keep sowing seeds!

Precisely.
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For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife; and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the believing husband: otherwise your children should be unclean; but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever depart, let him depart. For a brother or sister is not under servitude in such cases. But God hath called us in peace. For how knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? But as the Lord hath distributed to every one, as God hath called every one, so let him walk: and so in all churches I teach. (1 Corinthians 7:14-17)
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« Reply #76 on: September 18, 2009, 07:33:19 AM »

I fully agree with your friend, but that conviction doesn't mean I believe that all non-Orthodox people are destined for hell.  Also, I don't understand how there can be a necessity on the sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church and yet their definition amounts to a more accepting version of salvation than that which is present in Orthodoxy.  By no means do I speak anything official on behalf of the Orthodox - since I'm not one of them yet - but this makes me remember how Jesus requires being born of water and the Spirit, consuming his flesh and blood, being perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect, etc.  Furthermore, the saints enumerate many requirements, usually having to do with sinless perfection, for our salvation.  My viewpoint is that all of these are required for us to be saved, but God is unpredictable.  He is trustworthy enough for us to abide by the commandments he's given, but unpredictable enough for us to say, as some monks have said, "All the world will be saved, and I alone will be condemned." 

Yes this tends to be what I interpret to be understood when Orthodox refrain from condemning all other non-Orthodox to the Fires.

If one goes through the Sacred Texts and finds every 'conditional' and then assumes that each must be met for Salvation I can truly understand this conclusion. I'm not sure I agree with the conclusion but I can understand one reaching such a conclusion. Ultimately I believe we are saved by Faith. I am not sure what is the fate of one who is without Baptism. I know what the early Church taught concerning the necessity of Baptism but I must admit that to think that all humanity whom have not received Baptism are doomed to the Fires is tough for the modern conscience. When one extends this view to all who have not been Baptized by this tradition or that priest I find it again to be tough for the modern conscience to accept. I like the approach of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which seems to recognize Faith in good conscience to be hopeful for the Salvation of all. St. Paul made strong arguments toward the Jews that our father Abraham's Faith was accorded to him as righteousness without the Law which can 400 years later. There was a 'promise'... on which all our spiritual efforts are built. Should we now do as the Jews had done and conflate the Law with Faith? I'm not so sure anymore.

I wouldn't equate the practices of the Church with the OT national law of the Israelites. It would be Judaizing to assume that because of our Orthodox heritage, we are saved. It is not, however, wrong to believe that the Mysteries are normatively necessary for salvation. It is precisely the difference between fleshly circumcision and circumcision of the heart that is addressed by the Orthodox Holy Mysteries. The Mysteries bestow the grace of God which illumines and vivifies the heart. The Orthodox Church is God's act of salvation, not a national chosen people in a dispensation before Christ, whose sacrifices and washings are of no effect for salvation. The bloodless Sacrifice and the Washing of the Holy Spirit, who can contest that they are the medicine of immortality and the waters of regeneration? Contrarily, the essence of the Judaizing, early Christians' exclusion of uncircumcised Gentiles is that they did not believe in God's grace outside racial Israel. The "justification by faith" doctrine refers to the fact that now, since the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles, anyone can approach God by faith and obedience, apart from everything it takes to be a Jew. The true children of the promise are those who have the faith of their father, Abraham. It is the doers of the law who are justified, not the hypocrites, the uncircumcised in heart, who require Gentiles to bear the law but do not fulfill the law in their hearts. Judaizing is contrary to faith, but the Orthodox Church is the flower of faith. There are wrong faiths, and they can and do border on faithlessness. If we want to be ecumenical and to see people have faith, we should share the Gospel instead of theoretically baptizing false beliefs, whether they are slightly or greatly in error.
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« Reply #77 on: September 18, 2009, 07:35:22 AM »

This thread has given me lots to think about (or to stop thinking about) on this topic. One thing that stays with me is this - I've had conversations with friends and family members about the Orthodox chuch. While they were once totally ignorant of it as I once was, now they're aware and have some understanding of what  fullness of faith means.

I know we're not supposed to look at God in such a juridical way as this, but has the "bar" now been raised on what's "expected" of these people, since they can't claim total ignorance, or  is  the main concern for bona fide Orthodox people who fall away? 

SHould I not think about these sort of things?

You are not endangering the salvation of your family by giving them information about Orthodoxy.  What you may be doing is planting small seeds which could blossom in years to come.  In 10 years time, your mother, father, or brother could walk into an Orthodox church and suddenly think.  "So *this* is what Bogdan was so enthusiastic about!   I'll have to look into it further."

Keep sowing seeds!

I can attest that I've never seen anyone convert to Orthodox by flat-out discussion, although I'm sure that's a possibility. It has always been a gradual illumination of the heart, through planted seeds and circumstantial discovery.
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« Reply #78 on: September 18, 2009, 08:05:56 PM »

I fully agree with your friend, but that conviction doesn't mean I believe that all non-Orthodox people are destined for hell.  Also, I don't understand how there can be a necessity on the sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church and yet their definition amounts to a more accepting version of salvation than that which is present in Orthodoxy.  By no means do I speak anything official on behalf of the Orthodox - since I'm not one of them yet - but this makes me remember how Jesus requires being born of water and the Spirit, consuming his flesh and blood, being perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect, etc.  Furthermore, the saints enumerate many requirements, usually having to do with sinless perfection, for our salvation.  My viewpoint is that all of these are required for us to be saved, but God is unpredictable.  He is trustworthy enough for us to abide by the commandments he's given, but unpredictable enough for us to say, as some monks have said, "All the world will be saved, and I alone will be condemned." 

Yes this tends to be what I interpret to be understood when Orthodox refrain from condemning all other non-Orthodox to the Fires.

If one goes through the Sacred Texts and finds every 'conditional' and then assumes that each must be met for Salvation I can truly understand this conclusion. I'm not sure I agree with the conclusion but I can understand one reaching such a conclusion. Ultimately I believe we are saved by Faith. I am not sure what is the fate of one who is without Baptism. I know what the early Church taught concerning the necessity of Baptism but I must admit that to think that all humanity whom have not received Baptism are doomed to the Fires is tough for the modern conscience. When one extends this view to all who have not been Baptized by this tradition or that priest I find it again to be tough for the modern conscience to accept. I like the approach of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which seems to recognize Faith in good conscience to be hopeful for the Salvation of all. St. Paul made strong arguments toward the Jews that our father Abraham's Faith was accorded to him as righteousness without the Law which can 400 years later. There was a 'promise'... on which all our spiritual efforts are built. Should we now do as the Jews had done and conflate the Law with Faith? I'm not so sure anymore.

I wouldn't equate the practices of the Church with the OT national law of the Israelites. It would be Judaizing to assume that because of our Orthodox heritage, we are saved. It is not, however, wrong to believe that the Mysteries are normatively necessary for salvation. It is precisely the difference between fleshly circumcision and circumcision of the heart that is addressed by the Orthodox Holy Mysteries. The Mysteries bestow the grace of God which illumines and vivifies the heart. The Orthodox Church is God's act of salvation, not a national chosen people in a dispensation before Christ, whose sacrifices and washings are of no effect for salvation. The bloodless Sacrifice and the Washing of the Holy Spirit, who can contest that they are the medicine of immortality and the waters of regeneration? Contrarily, the essence of the Judaizing, early Christians' exclusion of uncircumcised Gentiles is that they did not believe in God's grace outside racial Israel. The "justification by faith" doctrine refers to the fact that now, since the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles, anyone can approach God by faith and obedience, apart from everything it takes to be a Jew. The true children of the promise are those who have the faith of their father, Abraham. It is the doers of the law who are justified, not the hypocrites, the uncircumcised in heart, who require Gentiles to bear the law but do not fulfill the law in their hearts. Judaizing is contrary to faith, but the Orthodox Church is the flower of faith. There are wrong faiths, and they can and do border on faithlessness. If we want to be ecumenical and to see people have faith, we should share the Gospel instead of theoretically baptizing false beliefs, whether they are slightly or greatly in error.

The Jews (particularly the Pharisees) thought that without dutiful observance of ritual cleaniness one was defacto 'unclean' and 'unacceptable' to God. Our Lord went to great strides to point out how hypocritical this was and how burdensome Pharistic teaching was on the average Jew and how such practices could and did inflate the egos of those practicing them as was the case with many of the Pharicees he chastized within the Sacred Text. Remember, St. Stephen, said that "the Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands" (Acts 7:48). We know that God is Spirit, so must His House be Spirit. Once we go down these road of 'claiming' to 'be' that 'Spiritual House' through 'ortho-pracsis' we risk deluding outselves that we are that Spiritual House.

"many of those who on earth considered themselves to be alien to the Church will find that on the day of Judgment that they are her citizen; and many of those who thought themselves to be members of the Church will, alas, be found to be alien to her." ~ St. Augustine
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« Reply #79 on: September 18, 2009, 09:04:46 PM »


What does the Orthodox Church teach is the fate of heretics?

Heretics may or may not be mystically united to the Church. "We know where the Church is, but we do not know where it is not". As to their fate, we cannot speculate whether a person will be eternally blessed or eternally cursed, that is up to God to judge.


What about their sacraments?

Heretics lose the assurance of salvation in the Sacraments. The Orthodox Mysteries may absolutely be relied upon as conveying salvation according to the disposition of the recipient. Heretical rituals, however, cannot be relied upon in the same way, because the assurance is lost. They may or may not be efficacious, but the fact that we don't know whether they are or not makes them unreliable.
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« Reply #80 on: September 18, 2009, 09:06:00 PM »


The sacraments are without effect.

Where do you get the idea that we are assured that heretical "Sacraments" are of no redeeming effect?
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« Reply #81 on: September 18, 2009, 09:06:46 PM »

The sacraments are without effect.

So they are not 'born of water and the spirit'... no?

Heretics may very well have not received the indwelling of the Spirit at Baptism.
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« Reply #82 on: September 18, 2009, 09:10:39 PM »

The sacraments are without effect.

Father, but my baptism in the Presbyterian Church was considered valid; I was received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation only, without re-baptism. Calvinism is certainly a heresy, and all Protestant groups are by definition gatherings of ecclesiastical heretics, because they call themselves Church while they aren't the Church. Nonetheless, their Baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity is not quite "without effect," right?

It's neither here nor there. Your Presbyterian Baptism was regarded as having legitimate form, and your Chrismation was viewed as having filled in whatever would have been infirm in grace. So the recognition of the Presbyterian Baptism doesn't indicate that the Church recognizes that it was with grace.
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« Reply #83 on: September 18, 2009, 09:14:41 PM »

The sacraments are without effect.

So they are not 'born of water and the spirit'... no?

Correct.

So what 'hope' is there for heretics, apokatastasis?

I know that Jesus Christ said to Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God". If we interpret this as Baptism as St. Cyprian and others have we would have to say that individuals not born of water and of the Spirit cannot enter into the kingdom of God unless Jesus was in error.

All would suggest that the fate of all heretics, like myself, wife and daughter, would be the Darkness? What 'hope' is there with Orthodoxy that would cause one to say 'We don't know'? If I had to guess, it would be "apokatastasis". Is this correct?

1. Universal salvation of man does not necessitate apocatastasis.

2. The theories of baptism by desire and baptism by blood.

3. Sometimes we simply "rely on God's mercy".
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« Reply #84 on: September 18, 2009, 09:21:31 PM »


God can save anyone he wants, and it would not be a question of apokatastasis -- someone being damned and then restored -- that is a heresy.

I have seen a handful of Orthodox sources suggest that those judged for damnation at the particular judgment may be ultimately saved by the time of the Last Judgment. Do you contest this, or by the "damned" were you referring only to the eternally damned?
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« Reply #85 on: September 18, 2009, 09:24:29 PM »


There are additional canons that allow for those coming from schismatic (i.e. not heretical) groups to be received by confession of faith, so someone chrismated in a breakaway group could then be received by confession of faith.

Isn't that an implicit recognition of the Sacraments in orthodox schismatic groups?
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« Reply #86 on: September 18, 2009, 09:33:58 PM »


What does the Orthodox Church teach is the fate of heretics?

Heretics may or may not be mystically united to the Church. "We know where the Church is, but we do not know where it is not". As to their fate, we cannot speculate whether a person will be eternally blessed or eternally cursed, that is up to God to judge.


What about their sacraments?

Heretics lose the assurance of salvation in the Sacraments. The Orthodox Mysteries may absolutely be relied upon as conveying salvation according to the disposition of the recipient. Heretical rituals, however, cannot be relied upon in the same way, because the assurance is lost. They may or may not be efficacious, but the fact that we don't know whether they are or not makes them unreliable.

This is what I find most amusing... you catagorize individuals as 'heretics' and yet in the same breath say you don't 'judge'... don't you find that ironic?  Grin

As my study of 'all things Early Christian' I am simply not moved by such 'institutional presumption'. I don't believe God judges mankind by what 'team-shirts' are worn but by their hearts. Mincing over this doctrine or that dogma as 'measure' of one's heart isn't convincing to me as see such 'measures' to be weak in determining the quality of one's character and virtue. We will know them by their works as Our Lord spoke. Some where along the way we devolved into catagorical debate and ceased the pursuit of what is truly holy.
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« Reply #87 on: September 18, 2009, 09:35:11 PM »


So what I am reading in this is that we are not saved by faith but actually by efficacious sacraments

It's actually both. The Church is where we believe the Sacraments are certainly found to be containing the fullness of the Spirit, but that doesn't mean that they are necessarily efficacious for the recipient. The EO & OO do not recognize "ex opere operato" to the same extent as much as the Latin tradition, and thus we strongly stress that disposition is necessary to the proper reception of the Sacred Mysteries. So faith is necessary to effectually receive.


which are the sole property of an institutional Church?

The institutional Church is the only place where we know that the Sacred Mysteries certainly are. That doesn't mean that they necessarily aren't anywhere else.


That God does not call individual hearts to a relationship with the Godhead

Sure He does. But that doesn't mean that they will be able to receive the fullness of salvation before being united to the Church.


but the Church which isn't the People of God

No, the Church is God's New Israel.


Grace isn't Free... it comes at the price of submission to this institutional body.

Grace isn't really restricted to the Church. It's just that the Church is the only place we can be certain that the fullness of grace is.
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« Reply #88 on: September 18, 2009, 09:36:15 PM »


The Church is not an "institutional body," it is "the new life with Christ and in Christ, moved by the Holy Spirit... She is Christ in His humanity, the accomplishment, the fulfillment of His humanity" (Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, http://www.wco.ru/biblio/books/bulgak1e/Main.htm). She is not merely the gathering of all those who think that they are "people of God." Smiley

The Church is both.
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« Reply #89 on: September 18, 2009, 09:37:04 PM »

So what I am reading in this is that we are not saved by faith but actually by efficacious sacraments which are the sole property of an institutional Church? That God does not call individual hearts to a relationship with the Godhead but the Church which isn't the People of God but more of the Body of Christ acting through an institutional... Grace isn't Free... it comes at the price of submission to this institutional body.

The Baptist in me finds this appalling...   laugh

The Church is not an "institutional body," it is "the new life with Christ and in Christ, moved by the Holy Spirit... She is Christ in His humanity, the accomplishment, the fulfillment of His humanity" (Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, http://www.wco.ru/biblio/books/bulgak1e/Main.htm). She is not merely the gathering of all those who think that they are "people of God." Smiley

That sounds like a physical institution or body whom has efficacious sacraments and thus the means of creating the "People of God".  Undecided

Without the People of God the Sacraments couldn't even exist in the first place.
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