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Author Topic: That Cooperation Thing  (Read 9472 times) Average Rating: 0
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truthstalker
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« Reply #45 on: April 11, 2009, 03:37:23 PM »

The danger here for the Orthodox, as I have observed for the Catholics, is that sometimes they attack a Calvinist belief without realizing that it is a fully Orthodox belief, one they should embrace, if they took the trouble to study either what Calvinists believe or what the Orthodox believe.  There is something strange in the spectacle of someone condemning in another what they themselves should be believing.
Whatever it is that makes a Calvinist peculiarly "Calvinist" is what Catholics and Orthodox reject about it. Anything else Calvinists teach that is orthodox we would not call "Calvinist."  Catholics and Orthodox reject double predestination, determinism, and total depravity.

You stated in your first post that we have the grace of salvation because we accept by a grace that moves us to accept.  On the surface, that sounds orthodox.  But what Calvinists really mean is that we are SO TOTALLY DEPRAVED that our movement towards God is COMPLETELY a work of God, and that we are not at all involved in our salvation by the use of our free will and intellect (albeit damaged by the effects of original/ancestral sin).  It is not the same as what Catholics and Orthodox believe.

Blessings

To be fair, the danger here to the Calvinist is to reject something Orthodox or Catholic on the grounds it is "not Calvinistic."

We are dead in our trespasses and sins. Dead people do not choose, do not play cards or fold laundry. They are dead.  Somewhere along the line there is a unilateral act on the part of God.  People didn't take a vote, for example, and ask Jesus to come down and save them from their sins.  He takes and took and will take the initiative in saving us.  If we respond, can we respond correctly without grace? Can we have truly free will apart from the grace of God? Man is a secondary creation, created with free will, but God moves at a level beneath the free will so He is still sovereign.  I think I am paraphrasing Aquinas, who came up with some statement that the number of the elect is fixed and unchangeable.  Most Catholics are astonished, it seems, when I tell them they believe in predestination.  Only vile Calvinists do so. It is their fate, I guess.

When Jesus called the twelve, they came. They were not His second or third draft.  "We did not choose Him, but He chose us."

The definition of total depravity I use may not be Calvinistic, but I've been told it is, and I am wondering if it is in line with Orthodox thought.  It is that everything man does is tainted with sin to some degree or another. None of it, when he works on his own, is good enough for God.
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truthstalker
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« Reply #46 on: April 11, 2009, 05:42:52 PM »

The danger here for the Orthodox, as I have observed for the Catholics, is that sometimes they attack a Calvinist belief without realizing that it is a fully Orthodox belief, one they should embrace, if they took the trouble to study either what Calvinists believe or what the Orthodox believe.  There is something strange in the spectacle of someone condemning in another what they themselves should be believing.
Whatever it is that makes a Calvinist peculiarly "Calvinist" is what Catholics and Orthodox reject about it. Anything else Calvinists teach that is orthodox we would not call "Calvinist."  Catholics and Orthodox reject double predestination, determinism, and total depravity.

You stated in your first post that we have the grace of salvation because we accept by a grace that moves us to accept.  On the surface, that sounds orthodox.  But what Calvinists really mean is that we are SO TOTALLY DEPRAVED that our movement towards God is COMPLETELY a work of God, and that we are not at all involved in our salvation by the use of our free will and intellect (albeit damaged by the effects of original/ancestral sin).  It is not the same as what Catholics and Orthodox believe.

Blessings

I understand to some extent Luther's question: am I the only one who is right on this? To be the only one in a thunderstorm who is sitting away from a tree, while everyone else is huddled underneath it, is a lonely and frightening thing.  Whatever is peculiar in my theology stands an excellent chance of being wrong.  There is the temptation to conform, to join the herd, to groupthink, to betray my own convictions and knowledge of the truth in favor of the lie that I believe just as they do.
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« Reply #47 on: June 08, 2010, 06:48:37 PM »

I was always more of a "works" Christian when i adhered to that religion. I think one of the thiongs that attracted me to Judaism was it's emphasis on "deeds, not creeds".

Hello Tallitot! Is there someplace where you wrote about your conversion from Orthodoxy to Judaism?
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« Reply #48 on: June 08, 2010, 07:26:53 PM »

I've been perplexed by Tallitot's idea that Judaims is "deeds, not creeds."

Every religion in my opinion has emphasis equally, more or less, on both deeds and creeds.  There is a creed in Judaism for instance of Israel and the Temple, and upon reinstating the Temple, reinstating the Temple priesthood.  There is a creed on sacrifices, on the dogma of G-d, on being Kosher.  There is a creed of believing in an upcoming Messiah, in relationship with G-d, in prayer.

There are also deeds.  I don't think these deeds are much different from Christianity's, and if I may add, Christianity seems to in my opinion transcends the Judaic deeds in much more growth to the point that Judaism itself adopted most if not all of those deeds.

And if I'm not mistaken, there is one true God in Judaism, the most important creed of all.  So, if anything, unless I'm proven wrong, it seems a conversion to Judaism based on "deeds instead of creeds" is a bunch of malarkey.

Of course Christianity emphasizes works.  A Christian who is very faithful to Orthodoxy with every iota of creed there is, but does no deed is comparable to the demons themselves (James 2:19).

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« Reply #49 on: June 08, 2010, 07:35:08 PM »

Your right, Mina, Judaism is also about Creeds. Their Rabbi, Mamonaides said if a Jew rejects the future resurrection, then he is lost.

Judaism requires beliefs, just not that the Holy Spirit is a separate person of God, or that Jesus in particular was a divine Messiah. Otherwise, many of Judaism's beliefs are the same as Orthodox Christianity.

(Kabballah is not a central belief of official Judaism. I think that Jews in Spain reject it, where it was written in the late middle ages.)

Still want to hear about Tallitot's experience though.
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« Reply #50 on: June 08, 2010, 08:27:15 PM »

Sola fide!  But faith without works is dead.  Works are a consequence, not a forerunner of faith. If there is faith, there is then previously the gift of faith, as faith is the gift of God. If we respond to God with grace, it is because He has already given us grace.  Our salvation is not in ourselves but in God. If we cooperate with Him, it is because He has granted us the grace to cooperate - not because our flesh decides to go along for the ride.

Where are the Orthodox at on this? Are these Orthodox statements?

Justification is by the grace of God conforming us to His justice and us co-operating with this grace.

Which sounds rather different from what you're saying.

If we respond to God with grace, it is because He has already given us grace.  Our salvation is not in ourselves but in God. If we cooperate with Him, it is because He has granted us the grace to cooperate - not because our flesh decides to go along for the ride.

Also, while it would be accurate to say that we could not co-operate with grace without grace, I think it would also be inaccurate to say that we co-operate only because of grace, but rather we would say that it is also because we freely choose to do so.
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« Reply #51 on: June 08, 2010, 08:28:00 PM »

The Orthodox position is that justification is by faith alone and faith is put in your heart by God.

Ummm....

Where do you get that idea?
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« Reply #52 on: June 08, 2010, 08:30:56 PM »

I disagree. We will be judged on what we do, not what beliefs we held.

Yes. However, in the context of the Christian understanding of the fallen nature, our being pure in deeds can only be made entirely possible by the sanctifying grace of God, which is only accessible through the orthodox Christian faith.
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« Reply #53 on: June 08, 2010, 08:31:49 PM »

Sola fide!  But faith without works is dead.  Works are a consequence, not a forerunner of faith. If there is faith, there is then previously the gift of faith, as faith is the gift of God. If we respond to God with grace, it is because He has already given us grace.  Our salvation is not in ourselves but in God. If we cooperate with Him, it is because He has granted us the grace to cooperate - not because our flesh decides to go along for the ride.

Where are the Orthodox at on this? Are these Orthodox statements?

Let's see if I have this right. "If we cooperate with Him, it is because He has granted us the grace to cooperate - not because our flesh decides to go along for the ride." Therefore, if we do NOT cooperate with Him, it is because He has NOT granted us the grace to cooperate. Hmmmm.... that's about as Calivinist as it gets. In short, He predetermines to whom He will grant grace... and those to whom He extends His grace will respond by cooperating with Him (and ultimately be "saved" as it were) and those to whom He does NOT extend His grace will NOT cooperate with Him (and ultimately will be "lost and damned" as it were).

I have to tell you. This is NOT the God I worship nor is this the God of the scriptures or of the Church. It's the made-up God of John Calvin.

Yep.
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« Reply #54 on: June 08, 2010, 08:32:46 PM »

Sola fide!  But faith without works is dead.  Works are a consequence, not a forerunner of faith. If there is faith, there is then previously the gift of faith, as faith is the gift of God. If we respond to God with grace, it is because He has already given us grace.  Our salvation is not in ourselves but in God. If we cooperate with Him, it is because He has granted us the grace to cooperate - not because our flesh decides to go along for the ride.

Where are the Orthodox at on this? Are these Orthodox statements?

Let's see if I have this right. "If we cooperate with Him, it is because He has granted us the grace to cooperate - not because our flesh decides to go along for the ride." Therefore, if we do NOT cooperate with Him, it is because He has NOT granted us the grace to cooperate. Hmmmm.... that's about as Calivinist as it gets. In short, He predetermines to whom He will grant grace... and those to whom He extends His grace will respond by cooperating with Him (and ultimately be "saved" as it were) and those to whom He does NOT extend His grace will NOT cooperate with Him (and ultimately will be "lost and damned" as it were).

I have to tell you. This is NOT the God I worship nor is this the God of the scriptures or of the Church. It's the made-up God of John Calvin.

Do you reject predestination??

Calvinist predestination, yes. But not predestination according to foreknowledge.
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« Reply #55 on: June 08, 2010, 08:35:30 PM »

Sola fide!  But faith without works is dead.  Works are a consequence, not a forerunner of faith. If there is faith, there is then previously the gift of faith, as faith is the gift of God. If we respond to God with grace, it is because He has already given us grace.  Our salvation is not in ourselves but in God. If we cooperate with Him, it is because He has granted us the grace to cooperate - not because our flesh decides to go along for the ride.

Where are the Orthodox at on this? Are these Orthodox statements?

Let's see if I have this right. "If we cooperate with Him, it is because He has granted us the grace to cooperate - not because our flesh decides to go along for the ride." Therefore, if we do NOT cooperate with Him, it is because He has NOT granted us the grace to cooperate. Hmmmm.... that's about as Calivinist as it gets. In short, He predetermines to whom He will grant grace... and those to whom He extends His grace will respond by cooperating with Him (and ultimately be "saved" as it were) and those to whom He does NOT extend His grace will NOT cooperate with Him (and ultimately will be "lost and damned" as it were).

I have to tell you. This is NOT the God I worship nor is this the God of the scriptures or of the Church. It's the made-up God of John Calvin.

Do you reject predestination??

Of course. It's a heresy... plain and simple. God predestining some folks to damnation and others to salvation? Authentic Christianity does not teach such doctrines.

If there are some who are ultimately saved and some who are ultimately damned and God is omniscient, you must at least recognize that He created the universe knowing and allowing for the damnation of those who would be damned. Predestination by foreknowledge.
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« Reply #56 on: June 08, 2010, 08:39:23 PM »

The Orthodox state that we have free will.  Do the Orthodox believe the will is untouched by the fall, or is it a gift that regenerate man has? The former seems Pelagian and the latter smacks of Calvinism.

Actually, not really either. We usually phrase it in this way: the freedom of our will is damaged and limited by the Fall and is only returned to perfect freedom by grace.
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« Reply #57 on: June 08, 2010, 08:42:49 PM »

How is it touched by the fall but not destroyed?

Images:

If you have a pitcher of lemonade and you thrust a dead rat into it, it is possible that there are some parts of it still drinkable, but the whole thing is undrinkable.....Unless you like it that way.

If you have a fine Greek sculpture and break off the arm, it is still all that it was, except for the arm.

If you have a painting but you paint over it, etc.

Do any of these fit the Orthodox understanding?

Actually, there's a really good image which Kallistos Ware mentions in one of his books, that being viewing glasses.

The Pelagian has perfectly intact glasses that he/she can see through just fine.

The Augustinian has completely broken glasses which he/she can't use at all.

The Orthodox (a la John Cassian) has smeared and smudged glasses which are somewhat helpful, but to a limited degree.
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« Reply #58 on: June 08, 2010, 08:49:14 PM »

But I find it hard to believe that God would start to rescue someone and then drop them.

He wouldn't. If God holds out His hand, some job on and are rescued. However, some jump on and then later jump back down again. God isn't the one who terminates the salvation process. It's the person being saved who does that.

We only pray because God prompts us,

No.

we only ask for grace because God has already moved in us.

No.

It is not our will but His at work.

Again, no. Both the will of God and the free choice of Man are involved in our salvation.

Now you say it is both, but is it not that God moves sovereignly in our free will?

No. It is us who move in our freedom. God is the one who provides the freedom, but the choice after that point is ours.

We respond freely, but that freedom is also subject to God's sovereignty. It is a both-and, or so I have been taught: God is sovereign AND man is free, yet God is sovereign over man's free will, and man is free in His sovereignty.

You are overemphasizing sovereignty.

I gather the Orthodox equate predestination with foresight, which I have been taught are two separate things.  God has determined that certain things will happen and has not just foreseen them.

Yes, but He predestines them according to His foreknowledge.
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« Reply #59 on: June 08, 2010, 08:52:05 PM »

Similarly (it seems to me), because Orthodox define salvation in terms of its end result rather than its present possession,

That's not true. "I have been saved, I am being saved, and I [God willing] will be saved" is very much in line with the Orthodox mentality.
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« Reply #60 on: June 08, 2010, 08:53:10 PM »

I believe it is true.

No, he's right. A Calvinist has no way to know exactly who God has elected and who He has not.
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« Reply #61 on: June 08, 2010, 08:54:21 PM »

The danger here for the Orthodox, as I have observed for the Catholics, is that sometimes they attack a Calvinist belief without realizing that it is a fully Orthodox belief, one they should embrace, if they took the trouble to study either what Calvinists believe or what the Orthodox believe.  There is something strange in the spectacle of someone condemning in another what they themselves should be believing.

That's a slightly arrogant statement.
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« Reply #62 on: June 08, 2010, 10:37:26 PM »

Wow Deus, you went viral on this one!

 Angry Shocked Huh Lips Sealed Kiss police
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« Reply #63 on: June 09, 2010, 12:55:39 AM »

Wow Deus, you went viral on this one!

 Angry Shocked Huh Lips Sealed Kiss police


That is perhaps a bad tendency of mine. I've been trying to remember lately to compact the number of posts I make rather than extend.
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