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Author Topic: The Orthodox Doctrine of Salvation  (Read 3997 times) Average Rating: 0
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Linus7
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« on: November 21, 2003, 11:31:26 AM »

Over on the recent Mary thread I posted this:

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From Linus7:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I suspect part of the problem with this thread is that different languages are being spoken.

If one has the idea that salvation is a kind of judicial transaction, in which the sacrifice of Christ is used to satisfy a guilty verdict against each individual human for his or her crimes (sins), then it follows that, in order to be saved, Mary must have some crimes to which Christ's credits can be applied.

In this paradigm, Mary's (or anyone's) sinlessness would obviate her (or his) need for the Savior.

The problem with that paradigm is that it is not Orthodox.

The Orthodox doctrine of salvation is that sin is a problem inside of man that prevents him from loving and knowing God and thus fulfilling his destiny to become like God and to participate in the life of God.

It is not that God's pride, honor, and sense of justice are offended somehow.

After all, He could have just forgiven us all without Christ having to die if that would have worked.

Trouble is, such a thing would not work because it would not be enough somehow. It would leave us unchanged.

That is why simply "crediting" us with the sacrificial death of Christ doesn't work either.

Christ had to come and live as a man and die and rise again - in other words, do all that He did - in order to defeat death,  heal our sick souls, and rescue us from the devil (not from His Father).

Christ had to recapitulate the life Adam should have lived - and more, He had to defeat death - in order to rescue us.

It is a mystery I do not fully understand. No one on this earth really does.

Sin is a not an offense against God's legal code. It is a sickness that destroys man.

Grace through faith in Christ brings healing.

Human works do not detract from what the Savior did, they are made possible by it.

What the Savior did also made possible His Mother's sinless life.

God foresaw Mary's faith and chose her to be the holy vessel that would bear His Son as a Divine Man. He applied His timeless grace to her, looking ahead to what - beyond time in the eternal decrees of the Father - Christ had already accomplished.

God healed her human nature by grace and made it possible for Mary to be the New Eve. By her obedience she accomplished what our first mother failed to do.

But Mary's faith and obedience do NOT detract from what Christ has done; on the contrary, they are part of the great glory of it. Without Christ, Mary could not have done what she did. She would, like the rest us, have died in her sins.

As it is, by the great salvific grace of God applied to her preveniently, she lived a life of obedience, free from sin.

This is to the glory of Jesus Christ, He who alone made the sinless life of His Mother possible.

Unless we in some measure understand these things, we cannot truly understand what it is our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us and how it is that His Mother could have led the sinless, pure, immaculate life that she did.

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Glory forever!

I wanted to start a thread to discuss what I think is the really BIG difference between Orthodox Christians and others: the Orthodox doctrine of salvation.

But I did not want to retype the whole schmear again, so I quoted what I wrote on the other thread.

Anyway, it seems to me that one of our chief difficulties in communicating with Protestants - and perhaps with some, if not most, Roman Catholics - is that we do not see God as having been angry or offended and therfore needing to be placated with human blood.

For Evangelical Protestants especially, the metaphor of a courtroom best describes the concept of salvation. Each of us is guilty. God's justice demands our eternal condemnation. Someone must pay. Jesus' sacrificial death is credited to the individual through faith. At that point the transaction is complete; the debt is paid; the individual sinner is off the hook forever - Once-Saved-Always-Saved. The Judge bangs His gavel on the bench and proclaims, "Not guilty!"

I have more to say but have run out of time for now.

Anyone care to comment?


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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2003, 11:50:47 AM »

Quote
For Evangelical Protestants especially, the metaphor of a courtroom best describes the concept of salvation. Each of us is guilty. God's justice demands our eternal condemnation. Someone must pay. Jesus' sacrificial death is credited to the individual through faith. At that point the transaction is complete; the debt is paid; the individual sinner is off the hook forever - Once-Saved-Always-Saved. The Judge bangs His gavel on the bench and proclaims, "Not guilty!"

I have more to say but have run out of time for now.

Anyone care to comment?

I wouldn't say all evangelical Protestants share the exact same soteriology.  Afterall, Wesylan-Arminians do not subscribe to "OSAS", believing a Christian can fall from grace.

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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2003, 01:18:48 PM »

Quote
For Evangelical Protestants especially, the metaphor of a courtroom best describes the concept of salvation. Each of us is guilty. God's justice demands our eternal condemnation. Someone must pay. Jesus' sacrificial death is credited to the individual through faith. At that point the transaction is complete; the debt is paid; the individual sinner is off the hook forever - Once-Saved-Always-Saved. The Judge bangs His gavel on the bench and proclaims, "Not guilty!"

I have more to say but have run out of time for now.

Anyone care to comment?

I wouldn't say all evangelical Protestants share the exact same soteriology.  Afterall, Wesylan-Arminians do not subscribe to "OSAS", believing a Christian can fall from grace.



True, but in that they are simply inconsistent, since they subscribe to the same theory of forensic justification that the OSAS crowd does.

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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2003, 02:39:47 PM »

I wouldn't say all evangelical Protestants share the exact same soteriology.  Afterall, Wesylan-Arminians do not subscribe to "OSAS", believing a Christian can fall from grace.



True, but in that they are simply inconsistent, since they subscribe to the same theory of forensic justification that the OSAS crowd does.



Good point.
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« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2003, 03:25:44 PM »

In my (relatively brief) experience, baptists(Southern Baptists in particular) seem to waver back and forth between Calvinism and Arminianism.  I would say that most often you find them having an Arminian doctrine of conversion ("You must come to know the Lord Jesus in your heart and accept him as Saviour") with a Calvinistic doctrine of perseverance (OSAS).
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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2003, 03:48:58 PM »

In my (relatively brief) experience, baptists(Southern Baptists in particular) seem to waver back and forth between Calvinism and Arminianism.  I would say that most often you find them having an Arminian doctrine of conversion ("You must come to know the Lord Jesus in your heart and accept him as Saviour") with a Calvinistic doctrine of perseverance (OSAS).  

That basically sums it up.  That's the typical view of the average (esp. Southern) Baptist.  However, the Calvinists have made a resurgence in recent years, particularly at the seminary level.  There's a group called the "Founders' group" or the "Founders' organization (or something like that) that wants to get back to the Baptists' Calvinistic "roots".  I've actually heard some guest speakers in my church's pulpit over the past few years proclaim that God does not love everybody and other such deformed...er...Reformed gems.   :-
It's pretty sad.  Sad
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2003, 05:04:44 PM »

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Doubting Thomas: I've actually heard some guest speakers in my church's pulpit over the past few years proclaim that God does not love everybody and other such deformed...er...Reformed gems.  
It's pretty sad.

That is one reason (among many) that Calvinism is a terrible, soul-destroying heresy.

I don't think Calvinists even worship the same God we worship.

If you doubt that, try reading Jonathan Edwards' Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God sometime.

Phew!

Shudder . . . nausea
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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2003, 07:32:20 PM »

That is one reason (among many) that Calvinism is a terrible, soul-destroying heresy.

I don't think Calvinists even worship the same God we worship.

You may be right.  Matthew Gallatin makes that same point in THIRSTING FOR GOD IN A LAND OF SHALLOW WELLS.  He wrote WTTE that Arminian God and the Calvinist God could not logically be the same.  This realization is one of the things that led him to abandon Protestantism.

Quote
If you doubt that, try reading Jonathan Edwards' Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God sometime.

Phew!

Shudder . . . nausea

No thanks!  I know enough about Edward's theology to know I don't want to read his works.  Lips Sealed

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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2003, 09:13:55 PM »

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Doubting Thomas: No thanks!  I know enough about Edward's theology to know I don't want to read his works.

Just the same, here is a little sample:

"The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours" (Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God).

 Shocked

Nice, eh?

Definitely NOT Orthodox!

Praise God!  Grin
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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2003, 09:25:02 AM »

Let us say again: Blessed be God, who alone does wonderful things, who does all things and transforms them. Before yesterday you were captives, but now you are free and citizens of the Church; lately you lived in the shame of your sins, but now you live in freedom and justice. You are not only free, but also holy; not only holy, but also just; not only just, but also sons; not only sons, but also heirs; not only heirs, but also brothers of Christ; not only brothers of Christ, but also joint heirs; not only joint heirs, but also members; not only members, but also the temple; not only the temple, but also instruments of the Spirit.

Blessed be God, who alone does wonderful things!. You have seen how numerous are the gifts of baptism. Although many men think that the only gift it confers is the remission of sins, we have counted its honors to the number of ten. It is on this account that we baptize even infants, although they are sinless, that they may be given the further gifts of sanctification, justice, filial adoption, and inheritance, that they may be brothers and members of Christ, and become dwelling places for the Spirit." [Ancient Christian Writers, p. 57]
from St. John Chrysostom's "Baptismal Instructions

Orthodox Christians speak of salvation as a three-fold process:

1) We are saved by the power of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection when we received the Christian Mystery (we were “born again”) at Baptism,

2) We are being saved by the working of the Holy Spirit through prayer, the Holy Gifts (the Eucharist) and all the Mysteries of Divine healing, and

3) By the mercy of God we shall be saved for Eternal Life at the Partial Judgment at the moment of our death, being made worthy by the Life-Giving Word and Holy Tradition.

The Holy Spirit, through the Orthodox Church, teaches that attaining everlasting life (being “saved”) is a lifelong process and that during our earthly life there is no guarantee that we are saved.

It is a mystery...best for us to begin doing our salvation and not merely talk about it.
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« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2003, 02:36:50 PM »

Great post, Dismas!

Just a word about this statement, however:

Quote
It is a mystery...best for us to begin doing our salvation and not merely talk about it.

While that is true, we should not merely talk about our salvation, it is also true that if we don't talk about it no one else will and others will continue to be pushed down the wrong roads by every wind of false doctrine.

The Lord gave His Church the Great Commission precisely to go out and talk about salvation (Matthew 28:18-20).

If we remain silent merely to work out our own salvation, how can we in fact be saved?


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« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2003, 04:11:37 PM »

me thinks we have a bigger need in learning how to do salvation...walk the talk...than just talk about it.

St. Seraphim said "save yourself and you will save
1000 around you."

http://orthotracts.org/ProjectGrowth.html

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« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2003, 09:00:50 PM »

me thinks we have a bigger need in learning how to do salvation...walk the talk...than just talk about it.

St. Seraphim said "save yourself and you will save
1000 around you."

http://orthotracts.org/ProjectGrowth.html

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Well I don't think it is an "either/or" proposition.

Christ said the Church is to "talk about it" (Matt. 28:18-20).

I don't think St. Seraphim meant that we are not to tell others about salvation in Christ.

In any event, methinks what Christ had to say is more important than what one might think St. Seraphim or any other saint meant.
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« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2003, 06:09:52 AM »

The problem is that if we don't walk the walk then no one will listen to us talk the talk. Our message will not get across because it will be deeply tainted by our hypocracy. An alcoholic will not believe it when another alcoholic tells him that he can be cured of alcoholism. His words will be empty because there is no evidence of their truth in the life of the one witnessing. The same words spoken by a former alcoholic is another matter entirely

The saints drew people to themselves like bees to a flower. People saw Christ in them and were then able to hear the Gospel.

Who was it that said "Always preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words."

John.
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« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2003, 09:42:20 AM »

There is no argument in talking about salvation...but you must admit that doing salvation must be the point of the conversation.

"These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me"

What is it about salvation that you do not understand in order to do it?

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« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2003, 11:04:48 AM »

Who was it that said "Always preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words."

Francis of Assisi
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« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2003, 01:35:16 PM »

I think we all agree that one must obey Christ.

I believe, however, that we often use "working out our own salvation" as an excuse for not telling others about Christ, for our failure to witness as we should.

I understand what St. Francis was saying. One must live out the Gospel in one's own life and that that is the most powerful witness there is.

No argument.

But however kind and good one is, there comes a point at which people need to be told about the Gospel in order to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins.

St. Peter and the other disciples and Apostles did not just stand around beaming and smiling on the Day of Pentecost.

The went out and spread the Good News.
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« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2003, 11:02:06 AM »

I agree with you Linus.

Could we examine what is meant by the Good News...the evangelion...
and what we are going to save people from?

It may be obvious or maybe not...

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« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2003, 12:20:56 PM »

Please take a look this tract that I have been working on to explain this....

http://www.orthotracts.org/evangelion.doc

Your input are important to me...

Thanks,
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« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2003, 04:46:29 AM »

Linus, I think we might be talking at cross purposes here however there is an important distinction that I think you are missing. Though all must be prepared to give an account, not all are called to be Apostles. It takes a person who is mature in his faith and understanding of the Gospel to faithfully convey that message to others.

I think we can all speak from experience that there are many times we wish we had simply kept our mouths shut rather than cause the damage we have through our speaking out of pride and/or indignation. If we have not yet begun to gain control of our passions, it would be foolish of us, perhaps even spiritually dangerous, to try and fill the sandals of the Apostles.

This isn't a cop out. I simply dread the thought of being responsible for someone being turned away from Christ because my pride was speaking in place of the Holy Spirit. Young children are not given the responsibility of teaching their peers and neither should immature christians presume to teach others.

Of course, all that goes out the window when you post on a christian forum Roll Eyes Shocked Grin Tongue
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« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2003, 12:37:35 PM »

John -

I see your point, which was well made.

As long as our silence comes from true humility and the realization that we may do more harm than good, then we are acting as we should.

If, on the other hand, we fail to tell someone about Christ because we are afraid - or perhaps even ashamed - then we are wrong.
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« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2003, 02:32:04 PM »

Anyone checked out my tract on the subject?

http://www.orthotracts.org/evangelion.doc

Dismas
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« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2003, 02:49:34 PM »

Dismas -

I checked it out. I liked the Nicene Creed right up front and the religious questionnaire.

I do have one complaint: most of the text is way too small for an old fart like me. I just ordered my new glasses (multifocals), but they have not come in yet. I am still using the old ones, which were good for distance, but not for close-up stuff or small print. I could barely read the small print on your site. I stopped trying when I realized it would result in a headache.

I am not trying to be critical. Your site looks really great. I just need larger print, and I'm sure there are many others like me.

Perhaps there is a way to enlarge it that I am missing because of my relative lack of computer acumen?
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« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2003, 09:24:28 AM »

Glad you liked it.
Sorry about the size of the type.

I'm a near-sited grey beard.

Dismas Grin
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« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2003, 09:43:15 AM »

Perhaps there is a way to enlarge it that I am missing because of my relative lack of computer acumen?

If you are using Microshaftsoft Word then there should be a tool on the standard toolbar (just below the menu bar) with "100%" displayed. It may have a value other than 100% but you should find it easily enough.

If you "left mouse click" on that tool button, a menu will appear with other percentage values to choose from (eg. 150%, 200%). Alternatively, you can simply type a value in the button's field.

John.

P.S. if you're not using MS Word, ask Bobby Wink
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« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2003, 09:54:35 AM »

Anyone checked out my tract on the subject?

http://www.orthotracts.org/evangelion.doc

I just noticed in the questionaire at the end, one of the options is "Yes, my email is below". Unfortunately, you haven't provided a place for them to write their email address, unless that is what you mean by "address".

John.
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« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2003, 10:40:02 AM »

Perhaps there is a way to enlarge it that I am missing because of my relative lack of computer acumen?

If you are using Microshaftsoft Word then there should be a tool on the standard toolbar (just below the menu bar) with "100%" displayed. It may have a value other than 100% but you should find it easily enough.

If you "left mouse click" on that tool button, a menu will appear with other percentage values to choose from (eg. 150%, 200%). Alternatively, you can simply type a value in the button's field.

John.

P.S. if you're not using MS Word, ask Bobby Wink

Thanks. I'll try that.  Grin
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« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2003, 10:58:20 AM »

I had in mind that the tract would be printed out and available for visitors...writing their address on the questionaire.
Actually, I think this has proven to be a waste of space and have deleted it in later tracts. I have never gotten any back.

Other tracts may be found at http://www.orthotracts.org/Orthotractsfiles.htm

Also created a movie recently on Morning Prayers...

http://orthotracts.org/prayers_0008.wmv

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Dismas
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