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Poll
Question: Getting to heaven is ultimately:
An individual journey w/ Christ - 4 (14.8%)
Mostly individual w/ Christ, with some community input - 1 (3.7%)
Equal parts individual and communal journey - 12 (44.4%)
Mostly a communal journey, with only a small individual portion - 1 (3.7%)
A communal journey w/ Christ - 3 (11.1%)
I don't know - 6 (22.2%)
None of the above - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 27

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Author Topic: Salvation: By ourselves, or not?  (Read 3219 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: November 11, 2010, 12:15:12 PM »

I answered "Individual with Christ".  Due to His love for Mankind, I believe that Christ would have come down to save the world even if there was only one person on it to be saved.  Does this mean that the community is unimportant?  No.  But when it comes down to it, we are saved as individuals.  That is why the Creed says "I believe" and not "We believe" as some Protestants have rendered it.  However, since there is a Church and a community of believers, I believe that the individual has the responsibility to make use of every resource possible to work out his Salvation.  Neglecting the community would likely not be helpfull for the Salvation of most people.  There may be some, but I would think they are rare.

"Once upon a time there was a peasant woman and a very wicked woman she was. And she died and did not leave a single good deed behind. The devils caught her and plunged her into the lake of fire. So her guardian angel stood and wondered what good deed of hers he could remember to tell to God; ‘She once pulled up an onion in her garden,’ said he, ‘and gave it to a beggar woman.’ And God answered: ‘You take that onion then, hold it out to her in the lake, and let her take hold and be pulled out. And if you can pull her out of the lake, let her come to Paradise, but if the onion breaks, then the woman must stay where she is.’ The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion to her. ‘Come,’ said he, ‘catch hold and I’ll pull you out.’ he began cautiously pulling her out. He had just pulled her right out, when the other sinners in the lake, seeing how she was being drawn out, began catching hold of her so as to be pulled out with her. But she was a very wicked woman and she began kicking them. ‘I’m to be pulled out, not you. It’s my onion, not yours.’ As soon as she said that, the onion broke. And the woman fell into the lake and she is burning there to this day. So the angel wept and went away." (Grushenka to Aloysha in Chapter 3 of The Brothers Karamazov)

The moral of the story: We are condemned alone but are only saved with others.

Also the Creed originally reads "We" not "I" and it is in this form that every Church but the Latin and Byzantine recite it.
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« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2010, 12:29:49 PM »

I answered "Individual with Christ".  Due to His love for Mankind, I believe that Christ would have come down to save the world even if there was only one person on it to be saved.  Does this mean that the community is unimportant?  No.  But when it comes down to it, we are saved as individuals.  That is why the Creed says "I believe" and not "We believe" as some Protestants have rendered it.  However, since there is a Church and a community of believers, I believe that the individual has the responsibility to make use of every resource possible to work out his Salvation.  Neglecting the community would likely not be helpfull for the Salvation of most people.  There may be some, but I would think they are rare.

I remember reading an old monastic aphorism that ran, "We are saved together but damned individually".

And, as Deacon Lance points out, the Creed says "WE," not "I".
« Last Edit: November 11, 2010, 12:30:27 PM by Schultz » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: November 11, 2010, 12:42:37 PM »

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I am 100% sure. That is my final answer. No doubts on this one.

Hmm interesting. Orthodox soteriology is not built on one verse alone. Not to mention, the word belief has been redefined in the western context to mean something entirely different than it's original meaning.
If you can find one verse in the Bible which contradicts this I will reconsider. Excluding blasphemy of the Holy Spirit which in itself is a denial of God.

"Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'  And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'"  (Matthew 7:21-23)

Thank you for supporting my argument but I already posted this passage yesterday.

" ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’"

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« Reply #48 on: November 11, 2010, 12:52:26 PM »


The moral of the story: We are condemned alone but are only saved with others.

Also the Creed originally reads "We" not "I" and it is in this form that every Church but the Latin and Byzantine recite it.

I believe the Slavonic follows the Greek Liturgical version (Byzantine) which is also “I believe”.  I was taught that this change was made specifically to denote the individuality of the confession, and is the only modification allowed to the original creed.  This teaching is the basis for my original answer.

However, that being said, the condemned alone but saved with others is an interesting statement.  The only question that I have with it is this, does this statement mean that Salvation of an individual not exposed to the Church is impossible?  I know that this is taught by the Lutherans (Salvation is only possible by exposure to the Word), but is it also an Orthodox belief?  I was taught in Catechism (Orthodox, Antiochian) that Salvation, if possible outside the Church, would still be BECAUSE of the Church.  Are you really saying this:

“A person cannot be saved without the action of the Church, but can be condemned due to his individual rejection of Christ and His Church?”  If so, I really don’t have a problem believing this since, in my own mind, I see no difference between Christ as a person and the Church as His Body.

BTW – this is an honest question and not any rhetorical device.
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« Reply #49 on: November 11, 2010, 12:56:47 PM »

I answered "Individual with Christ".  Due to His love for Mankind, I believe that Christ would have come down to save the world even if there was only one person on it to be saved.  Does this mean that the community is unimportant?  No.  But when it comes down to it, we are saved as individuals.  That is why the Creed says "I believe" and not "We believe" as some Protestants have rendered it.  However, since there is a Church and a community of believers, I believe that the individual has the responsibility to make use of every resource possible to work out his Salvation.  Neglecting the community would likely not be helpfull for the Salvation of most people.  There may be some, but I would think they are rare.

"Once upon a time there was a peasant woman and a very wicked woman she was. And she died and did not leave a single good deed behind. The devils caught her and plunged her into the lake of fire. So her guardian angel stood and wondered what good deed of hers he could remember to tell to God; ‘She once pulled up an onion in her garden,’ said he, ‘and gave it to a beggar woman.’ And God answered: ‘You take that onion then, hold it out to her in the lake, and let her take hold and be pulled out. And if you can pull her out of the lake, let her come to Paradise, but if the onion breaks, then the woman must stay where she is.’ The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion to her. ‘Come,’ said he, ‘catch hold and I’ll pull you out.’ he began cautiously pulling her out. He had just pulled her right out, when the other sinners in the lake, seeing how she was being drawn out, began catching hold of her so as to be pulled out with her. But she was a very wicked woman and she began kicking them. ‘I’m to be pulled out, not you. It’s my onion, not yours.’ As soon as she said that, the onion broke. And the woman fell into the lake and she is burning there to this day. So the angel wept and went away." (Grushenka to Aloysha in Chapter 3 of The Brothers Karamazov)

The moral of the story: We are condemned alone but are only saved with others.

Also the Creed originally reads "We" not "I" and it is in this form that every Church but the Latin and Byzantine recite it.

The Brothers K is one of my favorite books. Unfortunately you are quoting the scandalous Grushenka who does not represent the Church. Better to follow Zosima the Spritual Father at the monastery where in the same chapter we find: A haggard women tells Zosima she murdered her husband. Zosima tells her that God forgives all sins, and as long as she lives in perpetual repentance and loves God, her sin will be forgiven too.

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« Reply #50 on: November 11, 2010, 01:04:27 PM »

I answered "Individual with Christ".  Due to His love for Mankind, I believe that Christ would have come down to save the world even if there was only one person on it to be saved.  Does this mean that the community is unimportant?  No.  But when it comes down to it, we are saved as individuals.  That is why the Creed says "I believe" and not "We believe" as some Protestants have rendered it.  However, since there is a Church and a community of believers, I believe that the individual has the responsibility to make use of every resource possible to work out his Salvation.  Neglecting the community would likely not be helpfull for the Salvation of most people.  There may be some, but I would think they are rare.

"Once upon a time there was a peasant woman and a very wicked woman she was. And she died and did not leave a single good deed behind. The devils caught her and plunged her into the lake of fire. So her guardian angel stood and wondered what good deed of hers he could remember to tell to God; ‘She once pulled up an onion in her garden,’ said he, ‘and gave it to a beggar woman.’ And God answered: ‘You take that onion then, hold it out to her in the lake, and let her take hold and be pulled out. And if you can pull her out of the lake, let her come to Paradise, but if the onion breaks, then the woman must stay where she is.’ The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion to her. ‘Come,’ said he, ‘catch hold and I’ll pull you out.’ he began cautiously pulling her out. He had just pulled her right out, when the other sinners in the lake, seeing how she was being drawn out, began catching hold of her so as to be pulled out with her. But she was a very wicked woman and she began kicking them. ‘I’m to be pulled out, not you. It’s my onion, not yours.’ As soon as she said that, the onion broke. And the woman fell into the lake and she is burning there to this day. So the angel wept and went away." (Grushenka to Aloysha in Chapter 3 of The Brothers Karamazov)

The moral of the story: We are condemned alone but are only saved with others.

Also the Creed originally reads "We" not "I" and it is in this form that every Church but the Latin and Byzantine recite it.

The Brothers K is one of my favorite books. Unfortunately you are quoting the scandalous Grushenka who does not represent the Church. Better to follow Zosima the Spritual Father at the monastery where in the same chapter we find: A haggard women tells Zosima she murdered her husband. Zosima tells her that God forgives all sins, and as long as she lives in perpetual repentance and loves God, her sin will be forgiven too.


And yet does not Grushenka eventually accept her role in the murder of Fyodor and share in the guilt, which is the first step to repentance and redemption?

And, if I recall, the tale Grushenka weaves is actually an old Russian story not of Dostoevsky's making.
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« Reply #51 on: November 11, 2010, 01:52:54 PM »

I was taught in Catechism (Orthodox, Antiochian) that Salvation, if possible outside the Church, would still be BECAUSE of the Church.  Are you really saying this:

“A person cannot be saved without the action of the Church, but can be condemned due to his individual rejection of Christ and His Church?”  If so, I really don’t have a problem believing this since, in my own mind, I see no difference between Christ as a person and the Church as His Body.

BTW – this is an honest question and not any rhetorical device.


Yes.
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« Reply #52 on: November 11, 2010, 01:56:09 PM »

We can do NOTHING to earn the Salvation of God.  Not being Baptized nor Confirmed, nor Communicated, nor Repentant, nor Anointed, nor Married and not even Ordained. The Sacraments and our voluntary participation in them is not the means to salvation in a legalistic sense, it is not a tit for tat, quid pro quo, for if that were the case we ALL, regardless of the scales of righteous deeds over evil, would perish at the occurrence of even a single sin, which we commit daily (Lord have His Mercy!)

Grace is a gift, it is not deserved, it is not a wage or a reward for spiritual labor, it is a free gift of God.  The spiritual and ascetic labor we return to God in our participation with the Divine Mysteries, through prayer, through Fasting, these are our gifts to God, but they are not the means to an end.  Salvation is not a goal, for in the heart of all these, we must continually pray, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me, the Chief of Sinners."

I simultaneously agree somewhat and disagree greatly. Maybe I'm just reacting against my Calvinist past, but I'm not comfortable with the phraseology of this.

The Sacraments are indeed the means to the end, so said the priest who catechized me. That does not mean we earn our salvation in a transactional sense, and that does not mean non-Orthodox cannot be saved by other means. But the sacraments themselves do effect actual change in us.

To say otherwise seems far too close to the Protestant meme, "An outward sign of an inward change." No, the sacrament itself effects the change. The sacraments are bridges that we walk across to stand in Grace. The sacraments are "dances" we do with God, and by them we hopefully are transformed a little more into His Image.
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« Reply #53 on: November 11, 2010, 01:59:20 PM »

The Brothers K is one of my favorite books. Unfortunately you are quoting the scandalous Grushenka who does not represent the Church. Better to follow Zosima the Spritual Father at the monastery where in the same chapter we find: A haggard women tells Zosima she murdered her husband. Zosima tells her that God forgives all sins, and as long as she lives in perpetual repentance and loves God, her sin will be forgiven too.

The tale is not of Grushenka's making but one told her by her servant.  In any case as Schultz relates the parable predates The Brothers Karamazov.
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« Reply #54 on: November 11, 2010, 03:27:32 PM »

An interesting wrinkle to the conversation, IMO: What about forgiveness?  Yes, it is our individual choice whether or not to forgive others.  But receiving forgiveness is another matter.  If one operates under the assumption that we're almost bound to sin against others (thus, taking out the, "well, you could choose to not sin against them," nearly-impossible problem), then the issue of receiving forgiveness is a tricky and non-personal issue; and, interestingly, one that may effect our salvation, no?

Is this a trick question or something? Christ died and was resurrected on the third day. Our baptism washes away our sins. Are you suggesting that some people who accept Christ do not receive His Grace through a denial of forgiveness by Christ Himself?

I would dismiss the question as absurd but am left scratching my head in search of some deeper meaning out of respect for the author of the post.

Our baptism does indeed wash away sins, but then we sin again.  The difference is that, through baptism, they don't through ultimate power hold us captive.

What do you do with the Lord's prayer, specifically: "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."  Each time we say it we bind our salvation to our own forgiveness of others; so does this change any idea of salvation being solely an individual journey?

We are also exhorted to seek forgiveness from those we have sinned against before receiving communion.  Does this impact the discussion also?
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« Reply #55 on: November 11, 2010, 03:43:28 PM »

An interesting wrinkle to the conversation, IMO: What about forgiveness?  Yes, it is our individual choice whether or not to forgive others.  But receiving forgiveness is another matter.  If one operates under the assumption that we're almost bound to sin against others (thus, taking out the, "well, you could choose to not sin against them," nearly-impossible problem), then the issue of receiving forgiveness is a tricky and non-personal issue; and, interestingly, one that may effect our salvation, no?

Is this a trick question or something? Christ died and was resurrected on the third day. Our baptism washes away our sins. Are you suggesting that some people who accept Christ do not receive His Grace through a denial of forgiveness by Christ Himself?

I would dismiss the question as absurd but am left scratching my head in search of some deeper meaning out of respect for the author of the post.

Our baptism does indeed wash away sins, but then we sin again.  The difference is that, through baptism, they don't through ultimate power hold us captive.

What do you do with the Lord's prayer, specifically: "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."  Each time we say it we bind our salvation to our own forgiveness of others; so does this change any idea of salvation being solely an individual journey?

We are also exhorted to seek forgiveness from those we have sinned against before receiving communion.  Does this impact the discussion also?

And what are we to make of these verses?

"For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions."

Mt. 6:14-15



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« Reply #56 on: November 11, 2010, 03:54:43 PM »


I understand that to mean that through our own sins and our sins of omission (such as not forgiving others, not doing good to others, etc.)....we stand a chance of losing our salvation!

Great example comes from last week's Gospel concerning the rich man and the poor man Lazarus.  While Lazarus died and went to Heaven, the rich man was condemned to suffer for eternity.  While the rich man did not physically do harm to Lazarus, he none the less didn't do him any good, either. Therefore, by his actions, or lack thereof, he condemned himself to eternal misery.

I believe that Christ's ultimate sacrifice on the Cross and resurrection did not automatically open the doors of Paradise for everyone.  I believe it made it "possible" for us to attain salvation, but, it was not guaranteed. 

What of the seeds that fell on the rocky soil, or amongst the weeds....they did not flourish, but, died.  Only those that fell on fertile soil (those who heard the Word of God and acted upon it) were saved and grew.  There is a stipulation.  Not every individual is saved....although every individual has the possibility of being saved.
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« Reply #57 on: November 11, 2010, 04:00:03 PM »


I understand that to mean that through our own sins and our sins of omission (such as not forgiving others, not doing good to others, etc.)....we stand a chance of losing our salvation!

Great example comes from last week's Gospel concerning the rich man and the poor man Lazarus.  While Lazarus died and went to Heaven, the rich man was condemned to suffer for eternity.  While the rich man did not physically do harm to Lazarus, he none the less didn't do him any good, either. Therefore, by his actions, or lack thereof, he condemned himself to eternal misery.

I believe that Christ's ultimate sacrifice on the Cross and resurrection did not automatically open the doors of Paradise for everyone.  I believe it made it "possible" for us to attain salvation, but, it was not guaranteed. 

What of the seeds that fell on the rocky soil, or amongst the weeds....they did not flourish, but, died.  Only those that fell on fertile soil (those who heard the Word of God and acted upon it) were saved and grew.  There is a stipulation. Not every individual is saved....although every individual has the possibility of being saved.


Does anyone have any patristic commentary offhand regarding the story of lazarus and the rich man?
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« Reply #58 on: November 11, 2010, 04:07:19 PM »

An interesting wrinkle to the conversation, IMO: What about forgiveness?  Yes, it is our individual choice whether or not to forgive others.  But receiving forgiveness is another matter.  If one operates under the assumption that we're almost bound to sin against others (thus, taking out the, "well, you could choose to not sin against them," nearly-impossible problem), then the issue of receiving forgiveness is a tricky and non-personal issue; and, interestingly, one that may effect our salvation, no?

Is this a trick question or something? Christ died and was resurrected on the third day. Our baptism washes away our sins. Are you suggesting that some people who accept Christ do not receive His Grace through a denial of forgiveness by Christ Himself?

I would dismiss the question as absurd but am left scratching my head in search of some deeper meaning out of respect for the author of the post.

Our baptism does indeed wash away sins, but then we sin again.  The difference is that, through baptism, they don't through ultimate power hold us captive.

What do you do with the Lord's prayer, specifically: "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."  Each time we say it we bind our salvation to our own forgiveness of others; so does this change any idea of salvation being solely an individual journey?

We are also exhorted to seek forgiveness from those we have sinned against before receiving communion.  Does this impact the discussion also?
This wording is much more agreeable to me and is inline with my understanding of the Church's Tradition.  And yes it is within our own will to have a repentant heart and seek forgiveness.
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« Reply #59 on: November 11, 2010, 04:10:29 PM »


Ok...you folks have me a bit confused.

Are you saying that absolutely everyone is already "saved"...no matter how they live their lives?



Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

That is not our decision to make nor interpret.  The most wonderful aspect of Orthodox is that it is entirely self-directed, there are less opportunities for condemning others because the central beliefs and hope of the Orthodox is to examine one's self, and to pray for Mercy and Grace and Forgiveness of sin.  We are all guilty, and Orthodox focuses much more on the inward sins rather than on a finger pointing around the pews.  Most priests, books, sermons, Traditions, focus each Orthodox believer to look inwardly whenever contemplating the sins of others, and worry about your own sins, and not to concentrate on others.  This keeps us in the true spirit of humility, to acknowledge constantly in our lives that Salvation is a gift from God.
We are  not allowed to  make the decision, even when the Church anathematizes or excommunicates a member, It essentially is leaving the condemned person at the Mercy of God alone, without the aid of the Church.  It is always up entirely to the Will of God to determine the outcome of Eternity. All we can do is pray, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me the Sinner.

I simultaneously agree somewhat and disagree greatly. Maybe I'm just reacting against my Calvinist past, but I'm not comfortable with the phraseology of this.

The Sacraments are indeed the means to the end, so said the priest who catechized me. That does not mean we earn our salvation in a transactional sense, and that does not mean non-Orthodox cannot be saved by other means. But the sacraments themselves do effect actual change in us.

To say otherwise seems far too close to the Protestant meme, "An outward sign of an inward change." No, the sacrament itself effects the change. The sacraments are bridges that we walk across to stand in Grace. The sacraments are "dances" we do with God, and by them we hopefully are transformed a little more into His Image.

I agree, the Sacraments are a means to an end, but this end is healing and forgiveness of sins, not necessarily Eternal Life.  The Divine Mysteries of course change us in miraculous ways, and are the only True Food, which heals the wounds of our souls and the pain of our lives.  It is God our midst, and it takes away our fears and apprehensions and judgments and hostilities, which previously had condemned us to sin.  BUT, again, I must confess that it seems to me from the Tradition and from the Scriptures, the Salvation is not necessarily or legalistically granted in reward of reception of the Mysteries, rather Salvation remains a gift of God.  The Mission of the Church on Earth, in its Militant stage, is to offering the healing of the Gospel and the Divine Mysteries to a world of fear and pain.  Only Christ and the Sacraments can save us from ourselves and our pain, not pharmacies or Freudian therapists, only the healing Grace of God. But for Salvation, can we honestly suggest in good Faith that anything, even the Mysteries earn such a thing?  

It seems we must define a difference in concept between eternal Salvation and the Forgiveness of Sins, which while interconnected, are not interchangeable.



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« Reply #60 on: November 11, 2010, 04:21:28 PM »

I answered "Individual with Christ".  Due to His love for Mankind, I believe that Christ would have come down to save the world even if there was only one person on it to be saved.  Does this mean that the community is unimportant?  No.  But when it comes down to it, we are saved as individuals.  That is why the Creed says "I believe" and not "We believe" as some Protestants have rendered it.  However, since there is a Church and a community of believers, I believe that the individual has the responsibility to make use of every resource possible to work out his Salvation.  Neglecting the community would likely not be helpfull for the Salvation of most people.  There may be some, but I would think they are rare.

"Once upon a time there was a peasant woman and a very wicked woman she was. And she died and did not leave a single good deed behind. The devils caught her and plunged her into the lake of fire. So her guardian angel stood and wondered what good deed of hers he could remember to tell to God; ‘She once pulled up an onion in her garden,’ said he, ‘and gave it to a beggar woman.’ And God answered: ‘You take that onion then, hold it out to her in the lake, and let her take hold and be pulled out. And if you can pull her out of the lake, let her come to Paradise, but if the onion breaks, then the woman must stay where she is.’ The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion to her. ‘Come,’ said he, ‘catch hold and I’ll pull you out.’ he began cautiously pulling her out. He had just pulled her right out, when the other sinners in the lake, seeing how she was being drawn out, began catching hold of her so as to be pulled out with her. But she was a very wicked woman and she began kicking them. ‘I’m to be pulled out, not you. It’s my onion, not yours.’ As soon as she said that, the onion broke. And the woman fell into the lake and she is burning there to this day. So the angel wept and went away." (Grushenka to Aloysha in Chapter 3 of The Brothers Karamazov)

The moral of the story: We are condemned alone but are only saved with others.

Also the Creed originally reads "We" not "I" and it is in this form that every Church but the Latin and Byzantine recite it.

The Brothers K is one of my favorite books. Unfortunately you are quoting the scandalous Grushenka who does not represent the Church. Better to follow Zosima the Spritual Father at the monastery where in the same chapter we find: A haggard women tells Zosima she murdered her husband. Zosima tells her that God forgives all sins, and as long as she lives in perpetual repentance and loves God, her sin will be forgiven too.


And yet does not Grushenka eventually accept her role in the murder of Fyodor and share in the guilt, which is the first step to repentance and redemption?

And, if I recall, the tale Grushenka weaves is actually an old Russian story not of Dostoevsky's making.
I think others have already responded to this better than I.

By Michael on http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2010/10/pulling-onions.html
I think the parable wasn't trying to show that "onion giving" automatically leads to justification, but that selfishness – which includes trying to exclude other people from the grace of God – is antagonous to God. Or, to reverse the argument: love – which encompasses giving, sharing, mercy, self-sacrificing, grace, etc. – draws a man closer to God.

"God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (1.John 4:16)

Believing in Jesus entails something far deeper than the agreement with a certain creed or doctrine:

"If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John 14:23

Keeping Jesus' words is not about just following a set of rules, but loving one another, as Jesus loves us. (John 15:12)

The woman in the parable was not yet ready to love – she had too much fear: it was the fear that, if she shared God's forgiveness with too many others, there wouldn't be enough left for herself.

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." 1.John 4:18

Note that the greek word "teleia", which is translated here as "perfect", can also mean "whole". So you see, it is not about giving onions, whether it be one or ten billion, it is about giving our whole heart, and wholeheartedely loving. The woman in the parable was unable to give her whole heart – she insisted on clutching to it, keeping it for herself.

Let us hope that the torment in hell will teach her to let go and become more and more compassionate. As soon as she does, the hell-fire will stop for her, because whosoever has become whole and complete in love will cease to experience the torment that is caused by the hell of our own making: the hell of our fear, the fear that causes all selfishness (including all the extremely selfish theological ideas that attempt to exclude many of our siblings from the grace of God and banish them to an eternal hell) .
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« Reply #61 on: November 11, 2010, 04:23:20 PM »



Does anyone have any patristic commentary offhand regarding the story of lazarus and the rich man?

Quote
THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS

OUR God and Saviour does not lead men to hate wickedness and love virtue by negative precepts alone, but also by examples he makes clear the lessons of good conduct, bringing us both by deeds and words to the apprehension of a good and godly life. As he has often told us by the mouths of both prophets and evangelists, nay, even by his own voice also, that he turns away from the overbearing and haughty man of wealth, and loves a kindly disposition, and poverty when united to righteousness; so also in this parable, in order to confirm his teaching, he brings effective examples to attest the word, and in the narrative of the rich man and the |20 beggar points out the lavish enjoyment of the one, the straitened life of the other, and the end to which each finally came, in order that we, having discerned the truth from the practices of others, may justly judge our own lives.

There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen.1 By two brief words the Scripture ridicules and satirizes the prodigal and unmeasured wastefulness of those who are wickedly rich. For purple is an expensive and superfluous color, and fine linen is not necessary. It is the nature and delight of those that choose a well-ordered and frugal life to measure the use of necessary things by the need of them; and to avoid the rubbish of empty vainglory and deceptive amusement as the mother of wickedness. And that we may see more clearly the meaning and force of |21 this teaching, let us note the original use of clothing; to what extent it is to be employed when kept within rational limits.

What, then, says the law of the Just One? Sheep God created with well-fleeced skins, abounding in wool. Take them, shear it off, and give it to a skilful weaver, and fashion for yourself tunic and mantle, that you may escape both the distress of winter, and the harm of the sun's burning rays. But if you need for greater comfort lighter clothing in the time of summer, God has given the use of flax, and it is very easy for you to get from it a becoming covering, that at once clothes and refreshes you by its lightness. And while enjoying these garments, give thanks to the Creator that he has not only made us, but has also provided for us comfort and security in living; but if, rejecting the sheep and the wool, the needful provision |22 of the Creator of all things, and departing from rational custom through vain devices and capricious desires, you seek out fine linen, and gather the threads of the Persian worms and weave the spider's airy web; and going to the dyer, pay large prices in order that he may fish the shell-fish out of the sea and stain the garment with the blood of the creature,----this is the act of a man surfeited, who misuses his substance, having no place to pour out the superfluity of his wealth. For this in the Gospel such a man is scourged, being portrayed as stupid and womanish, adorning himself with the embellishments of wretched girls.

Others again, according to common report are lovers of like vanity; but having cherished wickedness to a greater degree, they have not restricted their foolish invention even to the things already mentioned; |23 but having found some idle and extravagant style of weaving, which by the twining of the warp and the woof, produces the effect of a picture, and imprints upon their robes the forms of all creatures, they artfully produce, both for themselves and for their wives and children, clothing beflowered and wrought with ten thousand objects. Thenceforth they become self-confident. They no longer engage in serious business; from the vastness of their wealth they misuse life, by not using it;2 they act contrary to Paul and contend against the divinely inspired voices,3 not by words, but by deeds. For what he by word forbade, these men by their deeds support and confirm. When, therefore, they dress themselves and appear in public, they look like pictured walls in the eyes of those that meet them. And |24 perhaps even the children surround them, smiling to one another and pointing out with the finger the picture on the garment; and walk along after them, following them for a long time. On these garments are lions and leopards; bears and bulls and dogs; woods and rocks and hunters; and all attempts to imitate nature by painting. For it was necessary, as it seems, to adorn not only their houses, but finally also their tunics and their mantles.

But such rich men and women as are more pious, have gathered up the gospel history and turned it over to the weavers; I mean Christ himself with all the disciples, and each of the miracles, as recorded in the Gospel. You may see the wedding of Galilee, and the water-pots; the paralytic carrying his bed on his shoulders; the blind man being healed with the clay; the woman with the bloody issue, taking hold of the |25 border of the garment; the sinful woman falling at the feet of Jesus; Lazarus returning to life from the grave. In doing this they consider that they are acting piously and are clad in garments pleasing to God. But if they take my advice let them sell those clothes and honor the living image of God. Do not picture Christ on your garments. It is enough that he once suffered the humiliation of dwelling in a human body which of his own accord he assumed for our sakes. So, not upon your robes but upon your soul carry about his image.

Do not portray the paralytic on your garments, but seek out him that lies sick. Do not tell continually the story of the woman with the bloody issue, but have pity on the straitened widow. Do not contemplate the sinful woman kneeling before the Lord, but, with contrition for your |26 own faults, shed copious tears. Do not sketch Lazarus rising from the dead, but see to it that you attain to the resurrection of the just. Do not carry the blind man about on your clothing, but by your good deeds comfort the living, who has been deprived of sight. Do not paint to the life the baskets of fragments that remained, but feed the hungry. Do not carry upon your mantles the water-pots which were filled in Cana of Galilee, but give the thirsty drink. Thus we have profited by the magnificent raiment of the rich man.

What follows must not, however, be overlooked; for there is added to the purple and fine linen, that he fared sumptuously every day. For of course both the adorning of one's self with useless magnificence, and serving the belly and the palate luxuriously, belong to the same disposition. Luxuriousness, then, is a thing hostile to |27 virtuous life, but characteristic of idleness and inconsiderate wastefulness, of unmeasured enjoyment and slavish habit. And though at first blush it may seem a simple matter, it proves upon careful investigation to include manifold, great and many-headed evils. Luxuriousness would be impossible without great wealth; but to heap up riches without sin is also impossible; unless indeed it happens to some one rarely, as to Job, both to be abundantly rich, and at the same time to live in exact accord with justice. The man who will give himself to luxury, then, needs first a costly home, adorned like a bride, with gems and marbles and gold, and well adapted to the changes of the seasons of the year. For a dwelling is required that is warm, comfortable in winter, and turned toward the brightness of the south; but open toward the north in the summer, that |28 it may be fanned by northern breezes, light and cool. Besides this, expensive stuffs are demanded to cover the seats, the couches, the beds, the doors. For the rich carefully adorn all things, even things inanimate, while the poor are pitiably naked. Moreover, enumerate the gold and silver vessels, the costly birds from Phasis, wines from Phoenicia, which the vines of Tyre produce in abundance and at a high price, for the rich; and all the rest of the wasteful equipment which only those who use it can name with particularity.

Now luxury, steadily increasing in elaborateness, even mingles Indian spices with the food; and the apothecaries furnish supplies to the cooks rather than to the physicians. Then consider the multitude that serve the table,----the table-setters, the cupbearers, the stewardesses and the musicians that go before them, women musicians, |29 dancing girls, flute-players, jesters, flatterers, parasites,----the rabble that follows vanity. That these things may be gained, how many poor are robbed! how many orphans maltreated! how many widows weep! how many, dreadfully tortured, are driven to suicide!

Like one who has tasted some Lethean stream, the self-indulgent soul absolutely forgets what it itself is, and the body to which it has been joined, and that some day it shall be released from this union, and again at some future time inhabit the reconstructed body. But when the appointed time shall come, and the inexorable command separates the soul from the body, then also shall come the recollection of things done in the past life, and vain repentance, too late! For repentance helps when the penitent has power of amendment, but the possibility of reform being |30 taken away, grief is useless and repentance vain.

There was a certain beggar named Lazarus. The narrative describes him not simply as poor, destitute of money, and of the necessaries of life, but also as afflicted with a painful disease, emaciated in body, houseless, homeless, incurable, cast down at the rich man's gate. And very carefully the narrative finally works up the circumstances of the beggar to signalize the hard-heartedness of him who had no pity; for the man that has no feeling of pity or sympathy for hunger or disease is an unreasoning wild beast in human form, deliberately and wickedly deceiving men; nay more, he is less sympathetic than the very beasts themselves; since, at least, when a hog is slaughtered, the rest of the drove feel some painful sensation and grunt miserably over the freshly spilled |31 blood; and the cattle that stand about when the bull is killed indicate their distress by passionate lowing. Flocks of cranes also when one of their mates is caught in the nets, flutter about him and fill the air with a sort of grieving clamor, seeking to release their mate and fellow. And how unnatural that man, endowed with reason and blessed with culture, who has also been taught goodness by the example of God, should take so little thought of his kinsman in pain and misfortune!

So the suffering but grateful pauper lay without feet, or else certainly he would have fled from the accursed and haughty man, and sought another place instead of the inhospitable gate, which was closed against the poor; he lay without hands, having not even a palm to stretch forth for alms; his very organs of speech were so impaired that his voice was hoarse and harsh; in fact, |32 he was quite mutilated in all his members, the wreck of a foul disease, a pitiable illustration of human infirmity.4 Yet not even such a list of misfortunes moved the haughty man to attention, but he passed the beggar as if he were a stone, deliberately filling up the measure of his sin; for, if accused, he could not utter this common and specious excuse, "I did not know: I was not aware: I did not notice the beggar howling." For the beggar lay before his gate, a spectacle as he went in and out to make the condemnation of the proud man inevitable. He was even denied the crumbs from the table; and while the rich man was bursting with fulness, he was wasting away with want. Therefore it would have been fair and right to have made the Canaanitish Phoenician woman the teacher of the |33 misanthropic man of wealth, saying those things that are written: "Haughty wretch, even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table,5 and did you not think your brother, one who belongs to the same race, worthy of that bounty?" But the dogs were carefully fed, the watch-dogs by themselves and the hunting-dogs by themselves, and they were deemed worthy of a roof, and beds and attendants were carefully allotted to them; but the image of God was cast on the earth uncared for and trampled on,----that image which the great Builder and Maker of all fashioned with his own hand, if one regards Moses as having given credible testimony to the genesis of man.

Now if the story of Lazarus had ended at this point, and the nature of things were such that our life was truly represented by |34 the inequality of his career with that of the rich man, I should have cried aloud with indignation,----that we who are created equal, live on such unequal terms with men of the same race. But since that which remains is good to hear, do you, poor man, who groan over the past, take courage from the sequel, when you learn the blessed enjoyment of your fellow in poverty. For you will find that the just Judge renders exact judgment, so that the man who has lived a life of ease groans, and he who has had hardship finds luxury, each receiving his due reward.

And it came to pass that the beggar died and was carried away by the angels into Abraham's bosom. Do you see who they were who ministered to the poor and just man, and who took him to heaven? For angels were his body-guard, looking upon him gently and mildly, and betokening by |35 their manner the attendance and relief that awaited him. And he was taken and placed in the bosom of the patriarch, a statement which affords ground for doubt to those who like to question minutely the deep things of the Scriptures, for if every just man, when he dies, should be taken to the same place, the bosom would be a great one and expanded to an endless extent, if it were intended to accommodate the whole multitude of the saints. But if this is absolutely impossible----for the bosom can scarcely embrace one man and hardly two infants,----the thought presents itself to us that the material bosom is the symbol of a spiritual truth; for what is it that is meant? Abraham, he says, receives those who have lived an upright life. Then tell us, wonderful Luke,----for I will address you as though visibly present,----why, when there were many just men, even older than Abraham, |36 did you withhold this distinction from his predecessors, passing in silence over Enoch, Noah and many others who were like these in their manner of life? But perhaps I understand you, and my judgment does not go wide of the mark. For Abraham was a minister of Christ, and, beyond other men, received the things of the revelation of Christ, and the mystery of the Trinity was adequately bodied forth in the tent of this old man when he entertained the three angels as wayfaring men. In short, after many mystical enigmas, he became the friend of God, who in after time put on flesh and, through the medium of this human veil, openly associated with men. On this account, Christ says that Abraham's bosom is a sort of fair haven, and sheltered resting-place for the just. For we all have our salvation and expectation of the life to come, in Christ, who, in his |37 human descent, sprang from the flesh of Abraham. And I think the honor in the case of this old man has reference to the Saviour, who is the judge and rewarder of virtue, and who calls the just with a gracious voice, saying: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you." 6 And it came to pass that the beggar died. Two sides of the beggar's life are indicated: on the one hand is shown his poverty, and on the other his modesty and the humility of his character. Let not, therefore, the man who is without substance, in want of money, and clothed in pitiable garb appropriate to himself the praise of virtue, nor think that want will secure for him salvation. For not he who is poor from necessity is commended, but he is held up to admiration who of his own accord moderates his desires. For the poverty of |38 those who are in extreme want, and have at the same time an unmanageable or incorrigible disposition, leads to many evil deeds of daring. Whenever I have come near a ruler's judgment-seat, I have seen that all housebreakers and kidnappers, thieves and robbers, and even murderers, were poor men, unknown, houseless and hearthless. So that from this it is clear that the Scripture accounts that poor man happy who bears his hardships with a philosophic mind, and shows himself nobly steadfast in the face of his circumstances in life, and does not wickedly do any evil deed to gain for himself the enjoyment of luxury. Such a man the Lord describes even more clearly in the first of the beatitudes, where he says: "Blessed are the poor in spirit." 7 So, not every poor man is righteous, but only one who is like Lazarus; nor is every |39 rich man to be despaired of, but only one who has the disposition of him that neglected Lazarus; and in real life we easily find witnesses of this truth. For who is richer than was the godly Job? Nevertheless his great prosperity did not divorce him from righteousness nor, to speak briefly, did it estrange him from virtue. Who is poorer than was Iscariot? His poverty did not secure salvation for him; but while associating with the eleven poor men who loved wisdom, and with the Lord himself, who for our sakes voluntarily became poor,8 he was carried away by the wickedness of his covetous disposition and finally was guilty even of the betrayal.

It is also worth while to examine intelligently how each of these men when dead was carried forth. The poor man when he fell asleep had angels as his guards and |40 attendants, who carried him, full of joyful expectation, to the place of rest; and the rich man, Christ says, died and was buried. It is not possible in any respect to improve the declaration of the Scriptures, since a single sentence adequately indicates the unhonored decease of the rich man. For the sinner when he dies is indeed buried, being earthy in body, and worldly in soul. He debases the spiritual within him to the material by yielding to the enticements of the flesh, leaving behind no good memorial of his life, but, dying the death of beasts, is wrapped in unhonored forgetfulness. For the grave holds the body, and Hades the soul,----two gloomy prisons dividing between them the punishment of the wicked. And who would not blame the wretched man for his thoughtlessness?----since when he was on earth he prided himself, held his head high, exulted over all who lived about him and |41 were of the same race, deeming those whom he chanced to meet hardly better than ants and worms, and vainly boasting of his short-lived glory. But when he dies, and like a scourged slave is deprived of those usurped possessions of which in his folly he thought himself master, he is as deeply humiliated as he was previously highly exalted, and, uttering complaints like a lamenting old woman, calls loudly and vainly on the patriarch, saying, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." He seeks mercy, which he had not given when he had the power of benefiting another, and demands that Lazarus shall come down into the fire to him to help him. He prays that he may suck the finger of the leper slightly moistened in water. Such is |42 the thoughtlessness of those who love the body. This is the end of those who love wealth and pleasure. It therefore becomes the wise man who is provident of the future, to consider the parable as a sort of medicine, preventive of sickness; and to flee the experience of like evil, preferring the sympathetic and philanthropic disposition as the condition of the life to come. For the Scripture has presented the admonition to us dramatically in the persons of particular characters in order to impress upon us by a concrete and vivid example the law of good conduct, so that we may never think lightly of the precepts of the Scripture as terrifying in word only, without inflicting the threatened punishment. I know that most men, snared by such fancies, take the liberty of sinning. But the Scripture before us teaches quite the contrary, that neither any confession of |43 the justice of the judgment lightens the punishment, nor does pity for the one in torment lessen the penalty ordained; if indeed it is necessary that the Scripture attest the word of the patriarch. For after the manifold supplications of the rich man, and after hearing countless piteous appeals, Abraham was neither moved by the laments of the suppliant, nor did he remove from his pain the one who was bitterly scourged; but with austere mind he confirmed the final judgment, saying that God had allotted to each according to his desert. And he said to the rich man, Since in life you lived in luxury through the calamities of others, what you are suffering is imposed upon you as the penalty of your sin. But to him who once had hardships, and was trampled on and endured in bitterness life in the flesh, there is allotted here a sweet and joyful existence. |44 And besides, he says, There is also a great gulf which prevents them from intercourse with one another, and separates those who are being punished from those who are being honored, that they may live apart from each other, not mixing the rewards of good and evil deeds. And I suppose the parable to be a material representation of a spiritual truth. For let us not imagine that there is in reality a ditch digged by angels, like the trenches on the outer borders of military camps, but Luke by the similitude of a gulf has represented for us the separation of those who have lived virtuously and those who have lived otherwise. And this thought Isaiah also stamps for us with his approval, speaking somewhat thus: Is the hand of the Lord not strong to save, or is his ear heavy that it cannot hear? But our sins stand between us and God.9
Asterius of Amasea (350-410 AD), Homily on Lazarus and the Rich Man
http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/asterius_01_sermon1.htm
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« Reply #62 on: November 11, 2010, 04:25:11 PM »

Quote
3. Remember that rich and that poor man in the Gospel; "the rich man clothed in purple and fine linen," and crammed with daily feastings; and the poor man "lying before" the rich man's gate, hungry, and looking for "the crumbs from his table, full of sores, licked" by "dogs." Remember, I say; and whence do ye remember, but because Christ is there in your hearts? Tell me, what have ye asked Him within, and what has He answered. For he goes on to say, "It came to pass that that poor man died, and was carried by the Angels into Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried in hell. And being in torments he lifted up his eyes, and saw Lazarus resting in Abraham's bosom. Then he cried, saying, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip his finger in water, and drop it on my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame." Proud in the world, in hell a beggar! For that poor man did attain to his crumbs; but the other attained not to the drop of water. Of these two then, tell me, which died well, and which died ill? Do not ask the eyes, return to the heart. For if you ask the eyes, they will answer you falsely. For vastly splendid, and disguised with much worldly show, are the honours which could be paid to that rich man in his death. What crowds of mourning slaves and handmaids might there be! What pompous train of dependants! What splendid funeral obsequies! What costliness of burial! I suppose he was overwhelmed with spices. What shall we say then, Brethren, that he died well, or died ill? If you ask the eyes, he died very well; if you enquire of your inner Master, he died most ill.

4. If then those haughty men who keep their own goods to themselves, and bestow none of them upon the poor, die in this way; how do they die who plunder the goods of others? Therefore have I said with true reason, "Live well, that you die not ill," that you die not as that rich man died. Nothing proves an evil death, but the time after death. On the other hand, look at that poor man; not with the eyes, for so you will err; let faith look at him, let the heart see him. Set him before your eyes lying on the ground, "full of sores, and the dogs" coming and "licking his sores." Now when you recall him before your eyes in this guise, immediately ye loathe him, you turn your face away, and stop your nostrils: see then with the eyes of the heart. "He died, and was carried by the Angels into Abraham's bosom." The rich man's family was seen bewailing him; the Angels were not seen rejoicing. What then did Abraham answer the rich man? "Son, remember that you in your lifetime received good things." You thought nothing good, but what you had in this life. You have received them; but those days are past; and you have lost the whole; and you have remained behind to be tormented in hell.

5. Opportune then was it, Brethren, that those words should be spoken to you. Have respect unto the poor, whether lying on the ground, or walking; have respect unto the poor, do good works. You who are wont so to do, do it still and you who are not wont to do so, do it now. Let the number of those who do good works increase; since the number of the faithful increases also. You do not yet see how great is the good ye do; for so the husbandman also sees not the crop when he sows, but he trusts the ground. Wherefore do you not trust God? Our harvest will come. Think, that we are busy in travail now, are working in travail now, but sure to receive, as it is written, "They went on and wept as they cast their seed; but they shall surely come with exultation, bringing their sheaves with them."
Saint Augustine, Sermons on the New Testament

 http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/160352.htm

stay blessed,
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« Reply #63 on: November 11, 2010, 04:44:32 PM »

The Brothers K is one of my favorite books. Unfortunately you are quoting the scandalous Grushenka who does not represent the Church. Better to follow Zosima the Spritual Father at the monastery where in the same chapter we find: A haggard women tells Zosima she murdered her husband. Zosima tells her that God forgives all sins, and as long as she lives in perpetual repentance and loves God, her sin will be forgiven too.

The tale is not of Grushenka's making but one told her by her servant.  In any case as Schultz relates the parable predates The Brothers Karamazov.

I cannot find any source for the parable predating Dostoevsky. Could you please site your source?
Correction Dostoevsky claimed to be the first to print the peasant tale but a similar story was printed in 1859 a few years earlier.

I did find yet another beautiful explaination from a Brothers K guide.

"The story of the onion also shows the generosity of grace - God's forgiveness of, and love for, someone who has sinned in spite of their meager deserving ability. The wicked woman in the lake only does one good thing in her life, yet she is offered eternal bliss for that one thing. It is only her own selfishness that prevents her from claiming her heavenly reward. Dostoevsky repeatedly shows that a person who has done wrong only needs to take one small step in the direction of goodness to be rewarded with a cascade of love and forgiveness in their lives. This may come from God or one's fellow human beings: in Dostoevsky's view, human beings who love God express His qualities, including love and forgiveness."
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« Reply #64 on: November 15, 2010, 03:54:11 PM »

Greeting in that Divine and Most Precious Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I was reading the Gospels this morning, the passage in Luke 13, where Jesus cures the woman on the Sabbath.

Quote
On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

 14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

 15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

 17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.
Luke 13 NIV

For those who aspire to a legalistic interpretation of the Scriptures, who believe that humanity is obligated to do something, anything for Salvation, simply read this text, and see the hypocrisy of the Pharisee, who out of the zeal of legality, even in the face of a bold and bright MIRACLE, suggested that God limit His own Power by the Law, and that miracles aside, the Law must be maintained above all else! How literally silly does he look there? With nothing else to say against a divine act, a healing miracle, which is by all its nature good and positive and beneficial, and above all else was a direct work of God right before their eyes, and instead of humbly saying like Peter, "Lord forgive me, the sinner," the Legalists actually find fault in the woman and even Jesus! Its absurd, truly..

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #65 on: November 15, 2010, 05:46:58 PM »

I have not voted yet because I am still mulling over the importance of the word "ultimately" in the first answer. There is also the problem of perspective: are we to consider the question as if we rise above ourselves and look at it as a disinterested observer or are we consider it looking from within?

I think there is danger in using exclusively one or the other perspective. The danger in looking at it as an disinterested observer would be the possibility of not fully embracing our own personal responsibilities/roles while looking at it from a personal perspective could be the exclusion of others in our journey with the Lord. I guess my answer if I were forced to give one would be formulated to exclude either danger: Yes, I must respond as a person to accept Christ's invitation and willfully to follow Him, but I also need and appreciate the support I receive from other members of the Body and the Holy Mysteries. OTH, there really are no tensions between the "I" and the "we" as our relationship with Christ is both individual and corporate. If we accept to be a disciple of His, we must also do those things that he has asked us to do, which includes partaking of the Holy Eucharist, worshiping and serving in a local Church, etc.
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« Reply #66 on: December 10, 2012, 10:23:23 PM »

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I am 100% sure. That is my final answer. No doubts on this one.

it is not even answering the question whether or not salvation is by ourselves or not?
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« Reply #67 on: December 10, 2012, 10:24:20 PM »

sorry it came double. my stupid laptop sometimes.
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« Reply #68 on: December 10, 2012, 10:31:00 PM »

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I am 100% sure. That is my final answer. No doubts on this one.

Hmm interesting. Orthodox soteriology is not built on one verse alone. Not to mention, the word belief has been redefined in the western context to mean something entirely different than it's original meaning.
If you can find one verse in the Bible which contradicts this I will reconsider. Excluding blasphemy of the Holy Spirit which in itself is a denial of God.

I thought this sin was referred to the denial of the church. Not God. Am I wrong?
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« Reply #69 on: December 10, 2012, 10:39:59 PM »

If you can find one verse in the Bible which contradicts this I will reconsider. Excluding blasphemy of the Holy Spirit which in itself is a denial of God.
It's not about contradicting it, it's about expanding upon it.

Whatever.... expand I'm listening.

Start with the New Testament, then work your way backwards.

EDIT--Sigh, I do apologize for the snippy response. I guess I just mean, there's so many ways of looking at salvation, where to start? Certainly faith and/or belief are important, but the Bible also says that we will be judged according to works (e.g., Christ says that he will ask us whether we fed the hungry, etc.). There's just so much to salvation. I think belief is the starting point, and the ending point, but there's stuff in the middle that's important as well. Now I'm speaking imprecisely... anyway, again I apologize for being an arse...

If we are joined to Christ, through Him we know God and follow His will. If we are not joined to Christ and do good works then we are condemned.
"According to your Faith let it be to you."
" ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’"

I can give you many verses more. In fact we could start with the New Testament and work backwards. But I am still waiting for 1 verse from anyone which contradicts. No apology necessary. I appreciate the test and challenge. The more I am tested the more firm my Faith becomes.

So does mine. But what if I am wrong? And what if You are wrong too? What if the truth or true interpretation anyway is something that no one has conceived yet.? The reason I am all for faith but against beliefs, is because I wouldn't want to lose my salvation due to technical difficulties.
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« Reply #70 on: December 10, 2012, 10:43:36 PM »

If you can find one verse in the Bible which contradicts this I will reconsider. Excluding blasphemy of the Holy Spirit which in itself is a denial of God.
Why do you limit yourself to the Bible?

There is one thing which has caused confusion among the people and Priests I have spoken to (on this topic). That is the practice of praying for the remission of sins for those you have died. If you can explain to me that a sinful person could be saved by our prays for him without them having any faith on their own behalf, then I would accept this practice during the memorial service as evidence. But I imagine this would be a thread in itself.

How do you know the person that we are praying for during the memorial service had no faith during his/her life? Wouldn't you rather give them the benefit of the doubt that they had some faith, and pray for them anyways?


indeed. It is the least we can do for another human being. Even if they are dead.
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« Reply #71 on: December 10, 2012, 11:02:12 PM »

Is this a trick question or something? Christ died and was resurrected on the third day. Our baptism washes away our sins. Are you suggesting that some people who accept Christ do not receive His Grace through a denial of forgiveness by Christ Himself?

I would dismiss the question as absurd but am left scratching my head in search of some deeper meaning out of respect for the author of the post.

Seriously?  You sound like my Baptist friend who is convinced that he is already "saved" no matter what he does in this life, simply because he has accepted Christ as his savior. 

If sin is of no consequence, than why does forgiveness hold such a prominent position in the Church? 

Did not Christ say "forgive those who trespass against you"?  If forgiveness is important, that means that your deeds and actions and sins are also important.



Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

It seems some things should be made clear here.
Sin is the cause of suffering and grief in the world, which is full of fear, hostility and pain.  We all hurt because we all sin, and it is cyclic.  It continues and continues.  The Legalistic religions developed under Divine Grace, a proprietary (temporary) means of atonement which would temporary heal the wounds, but not the in-lying cause of the wound in the first place (ie, it could heal the pain, but not the sin).  Christ came into the world to truly and eternally save ALL of mankind from Death, and give them Eternal Life.  It is a GIFT.  We can do NOTHING to deserve or acquire it, period.  It comes from God ENTIRELY by HIS OWN WILL, and HE can give it to whom HE pleases for any reason whatsoever. 

In God's economy, Salvation is permanent, regardless of Sin.  God has the prerogative to grant Eternal Life to anyone, be they absolved by a Priest or not.  But in the economy of God on earth, we still live in Sin.  While God can give us Eternal Life freely at the end of our Way, in this transitional period of life in the material world in flesh and blood, we suffer from Sin.  It wounds us, and the Mysteries and our offerings and our ascetic labors help cleanse and heal our lives.  The absolutions and exorcisms of Priests, are also a gift from God to grant healing in this transitional period.  But these gifts alone do not grant Eternal Life or Salvation, that is a decision made entirely in the Will of God, solely by the Will of God, and in reality having absolutely NOTHING to do with our own decisions, good or bad! We can not earn our way into or curse our way out of Heaven.  I know you will start thumping scripture or Tradition or Church Fathers at me, but say "He who is without Sin, cast the the first stone."  Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, Have Mercy on Me the Sinner!

The Forgiveness we get here on Earth from the Church, from Priests, from our good deeds and prayerful effort, from our Faith, these help to heal us of our wounds, of our pain, of our fear, of our anger in the here and now.  Salvation is a concept of the future, healing and Forgiveness is for the period of today, right now, where we are hurting and suffering in inward pain. The Divine Mysteries heal of us our wounds in the temporary, earthly plain, but in the Heavenly, in the Eternal Life, Salvation does not come from them alone, it is the highest Mystery of all, and it is a gratuitous offering of God to man through the shed Blood of our Savior!

Baptists are absolutely correct, that God will save them, but their lifestyle does not necessarily heal their emotional, psychological and spiritual pain from a life in Sin that is common to all of us humans.  We earnestly come to God, not to earn Salvation, but to find consolation, comfort and healing in the here and now, to be able to enter into the patience and endurance of the Saints to wait until that Day and abide in faith until that Day of Salvation comes.

stay blessed,
habte selassie


In a short sentence. We have the power to heal the symptoms. But the Cause is something that only God can deal with And he will when he will. Right?
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« Reply #72 on: December 11, 2012, 03:53:15 AM »

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I am 100% sure. That is my final answer. No doubts on this one.

Hmm interesting. Orthodox soteriology is not built on one verse alone. Not to mention, the word belief has been redefined in the western context to mean something entirely different than it's original meaning.
If you can find one verse in the Bible which contradicts this I will reconsider. Excluding blasphemy of the Holy Spirit which in itself is a denial of God.

I thought this sin was referred to the denial of the church. Not God. Am I wrong?
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