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Author Topic: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!  (Read 43979 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #270 on: January 01, 2010, 11:26:13 AM »

From what I understand Methodists and Wesleyans have historically placed stong emphasis on a life-long sanctification; much more than any Evangelicals I have known. But then Evangelical doctrines are vastly varied, I suppose. Anyway, after reading Wesleyan views on deification, the Wesleyan doctrince of sanctification is, IIRC, very similar to and perhaps somewhat equivalent to the Orthodox concept of theosis.

Methodists and Wesleyans can be "evangelical" too. Infact, alot of groups can, but here is a short list of the many different kinds of evangelicals:

Quote
Quote:
"Subculture Evangelical Groups


1.) Fundamentalist evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Personal and ecclesiastical separationism; biblicism

Symbols:
Bob Jones University; American Council of Christian Churches; Sword of the Lord



2.) Dispensational evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Dispensational hermeneutics; pretribulationalism and premillenarianism

Symbols:
Dallas Theological Seminary; Moody Bible Institute; Moody monthly; Moody press



3.) Conservative evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Cooperative evangelism; inclusive of all evangelical groups; broad theological base

Symbols:
Wheaton college; Trinity Seminary; Gordon-Conwell Seminary; Christianity today; Billy Graham; Zondervan Corporation; National Association of Evangelicals



4.) Nondenominational evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Unity of the Church; restoration of New Testament Christianity

Symbols:
Milligan College



5.) Reformed evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Calvinism (with a decidedly Puritan flavor); covenant theology and hermeneutics

Symbols:
Calvin College and Seminary; Westminster Seminary; Covenant Seminary; Reformed Seminary; Francis Schaeffer



6.) Anabaptist evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Discipleship; poverty; the peace movement; pacifism

Symbols:
Goshen College; Reba Place Fellowship; John Howard Yoder



7.) Wesleyan evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Arminianism; sanctification

Symbols:
Asbury College and Seminary; Seattle Pacific College



8.) Holiness evangelicalism
Major Emphasis:
The second work of grace Gift of tongues

Symbols:
Lee College; Nazarene Church



9.) Pentecostal evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Gift of Tongues

Symbols:
Church of God; Assembly of God



10.) Charismatic evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Symbols:
Oral Roberts University; Melodyland School of Theology



11.) Black evangelicalism
Major Emphasis:
Black consciousness

Symbols:
National Association of Black Evangelicals



12.) Progressive evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Openness toward critical scholarship and ecumenical relations

Symbols:
Fuller Seminary



13.) Radical evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Moral, social, and political consciousness

Symbols:
Sojourners; The Other Side; Wittenburg Door



14.) Mainline evangelicalism:

Major Emphasis:
Historic consciousness at least back to the Reformation

Symbols:
Movements in major denominations: Methodist, Lutheran, Prespyterian, Episcopal, Baptist

[1] pages 24-25







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[1] pages 24-25 from the book "A high view of scripture? The Authority of the Bible and the Formation of the New Testament Canon" by Craig D. Allert from the Evangelical Ressourcement Ancient Source for the Church's Future
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« Reply #271 on: January 01, 2010, 02:31:53 PM »

With all due respect Jnorm, that list consists of overlapping groups and emphasis. As such it does not necessarily represent clearly distinct and separate branches of Evangelicalism. But yes, there are various groups and divisions of interest (including lesser doctrinal variance) within the movement. However, I'd like to try and define or describe what an Evangelical is, despite the tribe in which they camp.

Evangelical is a term applied to those who affirm the primary doctrines revealed in the Scriptures and who emphasis the necessity of personal conversion or of being “born again”. Such doctrines include (1) the inspiration and authority of the Word of God; (2) the Trinity; (3) the deity and virgin birth of Jesus Christ; (4) His ministry, teachings, and miracles; (5) His atoning death, burial, bodily resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father; (6) the present ministry of the Holy Spirit; (7) the sinfulness of man, (8 ) Justification by faith, and of personal repentance, (9) the second coming of Christ; and (10) the spiritual unity of all believers in Jesus Christ.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2010, 03:00:29 PM by Cleopas » Logged

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« Reply #272 on: January 01, 2010, 02:36:58 PM »

Oddly, the forum cut me off and would allow me to post no more above. hence my 2nd reply. My apologies for the unwanted division.

At any rate ... as such the basic statement of faith for any evangelical group would look something like this:

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

    We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

    We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

    We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose enabling and indwelling the Christian is empowered to live a godly life, to be an effective witness, and to work the supernatural works of Christ.

    We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of eternal life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation and everlasting punishment.

    We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I'm sure several of you know this already, from first hand experience no doubt. Nevertheless, there seems to be some misunderstanding about what an Evangelical is, so I thought it a good idea to share a self description seeing I am one among their number. ;-)
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« Reply #273 on: January 01, 2010, 02:48:20 PM »

I'd like to express my agreement with Cleopas, and to add emphasis to the matters which we emphasise more than you Orthodox, or in which we differ from you:

Evangelical is a term applied to those who ... emphasise the necessity of personal conversion or of being “born again”. ... (1) the inspiration and authority of the Word of God; (2) the Trinity; (3) the deity and virgin birth of Jesus Christ; (4) His ministry, teachings, and miracles; (5) His atoning death, burial, bodily resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father; (6) the present ministry of the Holy Spirit; (7) the sinfulness of man, (Cool Justification by faith, and of personal repentance, (9) the second coming of Christ; and (10) the spiritual unity of all believers in Jesus Christ.

I would add assurance of present salvation - but I suspect this is included in Cleopas' "the present ministry of the Holy Spirit".
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« Reply #274 on: January 01, 2010, 04:20:05 PM »

Oddly, the forum cut me off and would allow me to post no more above. hence my 2nd reply. My apologies for the unwanted division.

At any rate ... as such the basic statement of faith for any evangelical group would look something like this:

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

    We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

    We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

    We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose enabling and indwelling the Christian is empowered to live a godly life, to be an effective witness, and to work the supernatural works of Christ.

    We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of eternal life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation and everlasting punishment.

    We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I'm sure several of you know this already, from first hand experience no doubt. Nevertheless, there seems to be some misunderstanding about what an Evangelical is, so I thought it a good idea to share a self description seeing I am one among their number. ;-)
Cleopas I do appreciate that you are trying to clarify the word "Evangelical". You are quite right that it often seems to be misunderstood on this board. And yes, it is something of a catch-all term that covers a larger variety of doctrinal positions that doesn't seem to be grasped by many here. I spent 50+ years as an Evangelical in the Free Methodist denomination. I have the greatest regard for the historical teachings of Wesleyan theology and for the people who loved and cared for me for so many years. It surprises me how much my thinking has changed in the six years of becoming and being an Orthodox Christian.

I think what jars me most about your list is that you put the Bible in #1 position. I don't know if that is deliberate or even conscious on your part, but I have seen that done in doctrinal statements of denominations and parachurch organizations. It comes across to me now that you derive your understanding of God from the Bible and it's getting harder to understand how you see yourselves as different from the Moslems with the Koran that defines God for them, or the Mormons whose golden tablets produced their beliefs. As an Orthodox Christian, I see the Bible as the record of God at work within His people, whether Israel in the Old Testament or the Church in the New Testament. God comes first - our understanding of the Bible comes from Him, not the other way around. While I doubt that either of us will deny what the other is saying, there is a real difference in emphasis.

I know that your list is not a formal statement, and although you emphasize quite correctly the divinity of Christ, you are rather vague on His humanity. It was in Orthodoxy that I came to understand better what the Incarnation IS (not WAS) all about. Unless Jesus is (not was) as human as I am, He cannot save me. Being introduced to Him as a human being has enlivened and enriched my relationship with Him.

So let me paraphrase the title of this thread by saying that I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - I used to, but not anymore.
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« Reply #275 on: January 01, 2010, 04:24:00 PM »



So let me paraphrase the title of this thread by saying that I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - I used to, but not anymore.

After 50 years of experience within evangelicalism, that's saying something!
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« Reply #276 on: January 01, 2010, 04:29:20 PM »



So let me paraphrase the title of this thread by saying that I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - I used to, but not anymore.

After 50 years of experience within evangelicalism, that's saying something!
Thank you. I take that as a compliment. I think it's something like learning another language well enough that the second language becomes the primary one.
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« Reply #277 on: January 01, 2010, 07:44:02 PM »



So let me paraphrase the title of this thread by saying that I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - I used to, but not anymore.

After 50 years of experience within evangelicalism, that's saying something!
Thank you. I take that as a compliment. I think it's something like learning another language well enough that the second language becomes the primary one.

An interesting parallel. Conventional thinking says that, unless one is a child below a certain level of development, the 'new' language can only become 'primary' to a degree. The old language remains, and even if it is not used by the conscious mind, the evidence is that the mental pathways created by the old language remain the brain's natural pathways.

I wonder if the same is so for religion?
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« Reply #278 on: January 01, 2010, 07:55:14 PM »

With all due respect Jnorm, that list consists of overlapping groups and emphasis. As such it does not necessarily represent clearly distinct and separate branches of Evangelicalism. But yes, there are various groups and divisions of interest (including lesser doctrinal variance) within the movement. However, I'd like to try and define or describe what an Evangelical is, despite the tribe in which they camp.

Evangelical is a term applied to those who affirm the primary doctrines revealed in the Scriptures and who emphasis the necessity of personal conversion or of being “born again”. Such doctrines include (1) the inspiration and authority of the Word of God; (2) the Trinity; (3) the deity and virgin birth of Jesus Christ; (4) His ministry, teachings, and miracles; (5) His atoning death, burial, bodily resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father; (6) the present ministry of the Holy Spirit; (7) the sinfulness of man, (8 ) Justification by faith, and of personal repentance, (9) the second coming of Christ; and (10) the spiritual unity of all believers in Jesus Christ.

I thought the short list did a good job.

And in modern protestant history, the term "Evangelical" was just another name for "Lutherian". Eventually it started to be associated or used by other protestant groups.

What you are talking about is protestant fundamentalism, which started a hundred and something years ago. You see, evangelicalism split in two when "higher criticism" took over the seminaries. The liberal evangical wing bought into "modernism" and started to focus more on what is called the social gospel, while the conservative evangelicals focused on 5 fundamentals, and they faded away from both higher learning and society.


The kids of the fundies brought back the name "evangelical", started a bunch of new evangelical schools of higher learning, and this is what most people mean in America when the term is used.








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« Last Edit: January 01, 2010, 07:57:52 PM by jnorm888 » Logged

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« Reply #279 on: January 01, 2010, 08:01:15 PM »

Oddly, the forum cut me off and would allow me to post no more above. hence my 2nd reply. My apologies for the unwanted division.

At any rate ... as such the basic statement of faith for any evangelical group would look something like this:

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

    We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

    We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

    We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose enabling and indwelling the Christian is empowered to live a godly life, to be an effective witness, and to work the supernatural works of Christ.

    We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of eternal life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation and everlasting punishment.

    We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I'm sure several of you know this already, from first hand experience no doubt. Nevertheless, there seems to be some misunderstanding about what an Evangelical is, so I thought it a good idea to share a self description seeing I am one among their number. ;-)
Cleopas I do appreciate that you are trying to clarify the word "Evangelical". You are quite right that it often seems to be misunderstood on this board. And yes, it is something of a catch-all term that covers a larger variety of doctrinal positions that doesn't seem to be grasped by many here. I spent 50+ years as an Evangelical in the Free Methodist denomination. I have the greatest regard for the historical teachings of Wesleyan theology and for the people who loved and cared for me for so many years. It surprises me how much my thinking has changed in the six years of becoming and being an Orthodox Christian.

I think what jars me most about your list is that you put the Bible in #1 position. I don't know if that is deliberate or even conscious on your part, but I have seen that done in doctrinal statements of denominations and parachurch organizations. It comes across to me now that you derive your understanding of God from the Bible and it's getting harder to understand how you see yourselves as different from the Moslems with the Koran that defines God for them, or the Mormons whose golden tablets produced their beliefs. As an Orthodox Christian, I see the Bible as the record of God at work within His people, whether Israel in the Old Testament or the Church in the New Testament. God comes first - our understanding of the Bible comes from Him, not the other way around. While I doubt that either of us will deny what the other is saying, there is a real difference in emphasis.

I know that your list is not a formal statement, and although you emphasize quite correctly the divinity of Christ, you are rather vague on His humanity. It was in Orthodoxy that I came to understand better what the Incarnation IS (not WAS) all about. Unless Jesus is (not was) as human as I am, He cannot save me. Being introduced to Him as a human being has enlivened and enriched my relationship with Him.

So let me paraphrase the title of this thread by saying that I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - I used to, but not anymore.

He is confusing "evangelicalism with the fundamentalist movement. They started the 5 key doctrinal issues s some 100 and someyears ago.
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« Reply #280 on: January 01, 2010, 09:44:05 PM »

???4.) Nondenominational evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Unity of the Church;" restoration of New Testament Christianity"

Symbols:
Milligan College
Are there all going to become Orthodox?
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« Reply #281 on: January 01, 2010, 11:06:31 PM »



So let me paraphrase the title of this thread by saying that I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - I used to, but not anymore.

After 50 years of experience within evangelicalism, that's saying something!
Thank you. I take that as a compliment. I think it's something like learning another language well enough that the second language becomes the primary one.

An interesting parallel. Conventional thinking says that, unless one is a child below a certain level of development, the 'new' language can only become 'primary' to a degree. The old language remains, and even if it is not used by the conscious mind, the evidence is that the mental pathways created by the old language remain the brain's natural pathways.

I wonder if the same is so for religion?
Liz, I did make the comparison based on my own language experience. I lived for three years in Paraguay during my Protestant days. I became fluent enough in Spanish that I often couldn't remember what language I had some conversations in, especially when those conversations included other bilingual persons. There was even the odd time that I spoke the wrong language without realizing it. That was twenty years ago, and my Spanish has gotten a bit rusty, but can pull it back when I need to. I'm also reasonably fluent in French, though I don't have a similar life experience in that language.

Yes, I suppose I can switch over to thinking like an Evangelical, but it's like speaking one of my other languages - I can do it, but it's a strain and no longer feels natural.
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« Reply #282 on: January 02, 2010, 12:27:11 AM »

Yes, I suppose I can switch over to thinking like an Evangelical, but it's like speaking one of my other languages - I can do it, but it's a strain and no longer feels natural.

Fantastic quote.  Just so you know, I'm going to steal this!
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« Reply #283 on: January 02, 2010, 08:06:53 AM »



So let me paraphrase the title of this thread by saying that I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - I used to, but not anymore.

After 50 years of experience within evangelicalism, that's saying something!
Thank you. I take that as a compliment. I think it's something like learning another language well enough that the second language becomes the primary one.

An interesting parallel. Conventional thinking says that, unless one is a child below a certain level of development, the 'new' language can only become 'primary' to a degree. The old language remains, and even if it is not used by the conscious mind, the evidence is that the mental pathways created by the old language remain the brain's natural pathways.

I wonder if the same is so for religion?
Liz, I did make the comparison based on my own language experience. I lived for three years in Paraguay during my Protestant days. I became fluent enough in Spanish that I often couldn't remember what language I had some conversations in, especially when those conversations included other bilingual persons. There was even the odd time that I spoke the wrong language without realizing it. That was twenty years ago, and my Spanish has gotten a bit rusty, but can pull it back when I need to. I'm also reasonably fluent in French, though I don't have a similar life experience in that language.

Yes, I suppose I can switch over to thinking like an Evangelical, but it's like speaking one of my other languages - I can do it, but it's a strain and no longer feels natural.

That's fascinating! But what you're saying is, the second language (Spanish) comes and goes, but the Orthodoxy completely overtakes Evangelicalism? I wonder how much language does have to do with faith.
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« Reply #284 on: January 02, 2010, 12:24:14 PM »

That's fascinating! But what you're saying is, the second language (Spanish) comes and goes, but the Orthodoxy completely overtakes Evangelicalism? I wonder how much language does have to do with faith.

Based on my own experiences in the Evangelical Church, I would say the reason Orthodoxy "completely overtakes" is that with Orthodoxy there is a "daily rule of life" so to speak. The Church is part of our every day experience; not just a Sunday activity. Whether it be conscientious of the fasting restrictions for the day ("Oh it's Wednesday, so I can't eat meat") or the daily prayer rule, the icons in the home, or the celebration of the feasts, you just don't have those things in the Evangelical Church.

I'm currently reading Anna Karanina by Leo Tolstoy. In the book, Tolstoy writes how a husband and wife would cross each other before going to bed, or how a mother would cross the child while tucking them in, or the first thing an individual would look for when entering a room was an icon. Although a work of fiction, it does give a glimpse as to how the Orthodox faith plays out in daily life.

You just don't have those things in the Evangelical faith.
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« Reply #285 on: January 02, 2010, 12:52:05 PM »

That's fascinating! But what you're saying is, the second language (Spanish) comes and goes, but the Orthodoxy completely overtakes Evangelicalism? I wonder how much language does have to do with faith.
My point is that it would have been quite possible for Spanish to have become my primary language had I continued to reside in a Spanish speaking environment. My return to English speaking Canada prevented that. As I immersed myself into Orthodoxy (just as HandmaidenofGod so eloquently described in her recent post), Evangelicalism has gradually become more distant and foreign. I may still speak Orthodoxy with an accent, but I'm trusting that my fluency will improve  Cheesy.

This is starting to get off topic, but there is a connection between language and faith: I did notice that as my Spanish improved, I became able to pray in that language as easily as in English. However, as I said before that I have no life experience in a French language environment, I simply can't even get started praying in French, although I can fairly easily get into conversation, watch TV, etc. So, it is my contention that both language and religion are integral parts of who we are. And yes, both can be learned and developed.
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« Reply #286 on: January 02, 2010, 01:09:51 PM »

That's fascinating! But what you're saying is, the second language (Spanish) comes and goes, but the Orthodoxy completely overtakes Evangelicalism? I wonder how much language does have to do with faith.
My point is that it would have been quite possible for Spanish to have become my primary language had I continued to reside in a Spanish speaking environment. My return to English speaking Canada prevented that. As I immersed myself into Orthodoxy (just as HandmaidenofGod so eloquently described in her recent post), Evangelicalism has gradually become more distant and foreign. I may still speak Orthodoxy with an accent, but I'm trusting that my fluency will improve  Cheesy.

This is starting to get off topic, but there is a connection between language and faith: I did notice that as my Spanish improved, I became able to pray in that language as easily as in English. However, as I said before that I have no life experience in a French language environment, I simply can't even get started praying in French, although I can fairly easily get into conversation, watch TV, etc. So, it is my contention that both language and religion are integral parts of who we are. And yes, both can be learned and developed.

Nicely put, thanks. Sorry if it was off-topic, it just seemed that in a discussion of understanding someone's mindset, language is pretty central! Unfortunately I don't have any fluent second languages Sad , so I'm always interested in what it's like for those who do. (Though I can happily do the Pater Noster and the shortened Miserere in Latin, but that's another story)

I agree with Handmaiden - one of the things I find hardest to understand about Evangelical Christianity is the apparent lack of ritualized devotion.
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« Reply #287 on: January 02, 2010, 01:13:40 PM »



This is starting to get off topic, but there is a connection between language and faith: I did notice that as my Spanish improved, I became able to pray in that language as easily as in English.

This post has strayed off topic many a time before, no worries.  Wink
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« Reply #288 on: January 02, 2010, 06:37:06 PM »

one of the things I find hardest to understand about Evangelical Christianity is the apparent lack of ritualized devotion.

I have commented before that the Orthodox in Albania see us Evangelicals as irreligious, and we see them as enmeshed in rituals. Whatever may be true of Albanians, many posts here have persuaded me that this perception of you is false: I suspect likewise that your perception of us is also wide of the mark. That is, I suspect our piety is more ritualised than appears to the Orthodox eye. Much of our spirituality is performed in private, so few people know what others really do, but the norm is that we start each day by rising early enough for a period of Bible reading and prayer. We probably attend church twice on a Sunday (for public worship), and at least once in the week (for Bible study and prayer). Then there are the big conferences, at which thousands gather and sing, attend seminars, and listen to the best preachers (often from America or Australia). We take an interest in foreign or home missions, usually evangelistic but often humanitarian, and give systematically to their support, privately and/or via church giving. Such is traditional Evangelical piety, and I have probably omitted some things, and in its way it is as structured as Orthodox. In addition, there used to be (and in some quarters still is, more so (I believe) in the USA than in Britain, though Cleopas would know better than I on this) a system of taboos which mark out people's lives and determine their religious practice and identity: no alcohol; no dancing; no cinema; certain Sunday observances. Put all this together and you don't get what the quotation above means by "ritualized devotion", but you do get something fairly closely equivalent to it in the way it functions.
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« Reply #289 on: January 02, 2010, 10:45:54 PM »

one of the things I find hardest to understand about Evangelical Christianity is the apparent lack of ritualized devotion.

I have commented before that the Orthodox in Albania see us Evangelicals as irreligious, and we see them as enmeshed in rituals. Whatever may be true of Albanians, many posts here have persuaded me that this perception of you is false: I suspect likewise that your perception of us is also wide of the mark. That is, I suspect our piety is more ritualised than appears to the Orthodox eye. Much of our spirituality is performed in private, so few people know what others really do, but the norm is that we start each day by rising early enough for a period of Bible reading and prayer. We probably attend church twice on a Sunday (for public worship), and at least once in the week (for Bible study and prayer). Then there are the big conferences, at which thousands gather and sing, attend seminars, and listen to the best preachers (often from America or Australia). We take an interest in foreign or home missions, usually evangelistic but often humanitarian, and give systematically to their support, privately and/or via church giving. Such is traditional Evangelical piety, and I have probably omitted some things, and in its way it is as structured as Orthodox. In addition, there used to be (and in some quarters still is, more so (I believe) in the USA than in Britain, though Cleopas would know better than I on this) a system of taboos which mark out people's lives and determine their religious practice and identity: no alcohol; no dancing; no cinema; certain Sunday observances. Put all this together and you don't get what the quotation above means by "ritualized devotion", but you do get something fairly closely equivalent to it in the way it functions.


This doesn't really sound like any sort of ritualism. It sounds like your Church's Tradition.... If you had one Smiley

 
 
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« Reply #290 on: January 03, 2010, 02:02:09 PM »

This doesn't really sound like any sort of ritualism.

Yes - that's sort-of what I meant. It isn't  formalised ritualism, but I think we were discussing the Orthodox believer's personal round of weekly ritual, day by day, rather than the public services when the church gathers as a body. Maybe I misunderstood the burthen of the post I was replying to. What I meant - and what you have expressed in a different way - is that these Evangelical traditions of daily and weekly living function in a similar way in people's personal lives.
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« Reply #291 on: January 04, 2010, 11:50:00 AM »

we have been welcomed into His House for all eternity... ... God has saved us from our sinful desires and granted us the blessing to become partakers of His divine nature. And that….is a reason to celebrate!

OK, let me try again to explain what it is I fail to understand about the Orthodox mindset - though do not despair! Your posts are gradually moving me forward in understanding, I think. It's this matter of what we call "assurance of salvation", and what I called on a recent post "assurance of a present salvation", so as to detach the discussion from any confusion with OSAS (eternal security). Not only the post I have just quoted, but others too, strongly suggest to me what you too are experiencing what we call "assurance" - you know the Saviour, you feel his life in your soul. I find it hard to read many of your posts and not think that this is true. Am I mistaken? Or do you perhaps experience what we call "assurance", but you call it something else - or simply don't talk about it? As genesisone writes:

Quote
I recognize my immaturity but know that I must not fall into despair because of what Jesus Christ is doing for and in me.

By the way, someone wrote that I said I do not subscribe to OSAS. This is true, but it must not be taken as an assertion of its opposite, i.e. the belief that one can indeed lose one's present salvation. What I said was that I am apophatic on this matter: I can see scriptures which seem to point different ways, and I do not have a firm unalterable conviction on this question.
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« Reply #292 on: January 04, 2010, 01:51:10 PM »

we have been welcomed into His House for all eternity... ... God has saved us from our sinful desires and granted us the blessing to become partakers of His divine nature. And that….is a reason to celebrate!

OK, let me try again to explain what it is I fail to understand about the Orthodox mindset - though do not despair! Your posts are gradually moving me forward in understanding, I think. It's this matter of what we call "assurance of salvation", and what I called on a recent post "assurance of a present salvation", so as to detach the discussion from any confusion with OSAS (eternal security). Not only the post I have just quoted, but others too, strongly suggest to me what you too are experiencing what we call "assurance" - you know the Saviour, you feel his life in your soul. I find it hard to read many of your posts and not think that this is true. Am I mistaken? Or do you perhaps experience what we call "assurance", but you call it something else - or simply don't talk about it? As genesisone writes:

Quote
I recognize my immaturity but know that I must not fall into despair because of what Jesus Christ is doing for and in me.
David, I think I see part of the problem now. It's your use of the term "assurance of (a present) salvation". You have certainly seen by now that the Orthodox use the word "salvation" very differently from Evangelicals - it includes everything Evangelicals mean, but goes far beyond that. In the fifty years of my Evangelical experience "assurance of salvation" means "If I die right now, I know I will go to heaven". If that's your position, then we do have a difference. There is absolutely nothing I can say, do, or believe that requires God to receive me into His heavenly kingdom. I must depend entirely on His mercy. However, I do have the hope that He will do exactly that. I noticed just yesterday as I prayed the pre-communion prayers how often this phrase or a variation of it is voiced:  "a preparation for eternal Life and for a good defence at thy dread Judgement Seat".

The following phrase, and others like it, declare my confidence in Christ as I experience Him in an ongoing relationship: "I, although unworthy both of heaven and of earth and of this temporary life, even I, a wretched sinner who had given myself over to every evil desire, despair not of salvation..."

Have you spent time reading those prayers? They are easily located online; try the search term "orthodox prayers before communion". You'll find a wealth of insight in those prayers that reflects an Orthodox understanding of both salvation and assurance.
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« Reply #293 on: January 04, 2010, 02:13:03 PM »

isn't persevering in the faith considered a "work" ...?

Calvinists say that Armininians treat faith (or belief) as a 'work', because Arminians see salvation as depending on faith. But surely the word 'work' (in religious jargon) usually includes the concept of merit? If my wife tells me she has done something, or been somewhere, and I believe her, my belief depends on my estimate of her truthful character, not on my meritorious character. I cannot see that it flows from, or contributes to, any merit of mine if I believe what God says. So I cannot see that faith is a work, in the religious sense in which the word work is usually employed, at least by Protestants, i.e. including the idea of merit. Yet I am aware that our Lord said, somewhere in John's Gospel, "This is the work of God, that you believe..," so I think that maintaining our faith is certainly something we should work at - simply, I don't see it as a meritorious work: but it can be quite hard mental work. Certainly when my faith is challenged by atheists, agnostics, apostates, or anyone else, if theirs is a serious challenge then it behoves me to work at finding an answer, and truly holding to the Faith with genuine inward personal conviction. Are we moving nearer to understanding each other's use of words? - "assurance", "work", may have different meanings for us.
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« Reply #294 on: January 04, 2010, 02:26:16 PM »

I see part of the problem now. It's your use of the term "assurance of (a present) salvation". ... "assurance of salvation" means "If I die right now, I know I will go to heaven". If that's your position, then we do have a difference.

Yes, that is our position, but it only expresses part of it. Assurance does not consist only in an assurance of being received into glory when we die, that is, in what happens at life's end (whether that be today or in fifty years' time [not in my case, who am already old!]), but in present union with Christ, fellowship with him:

I feel the life his wounds impart:
I feel my Saviour in my heart


says the hymn. So assurance is not only, and (I would say) not mainly, about what will happen when I eventually die, but about my present condition, or state, or life.

Quote
Have you spent time reading those prayers? They are easily located online; try the search term "orthodox prayers before communion".

I shall: but I may 'borrow' them and use them at the Lord's Table myself before the bread and the fruit of the vine are distributed. I hope you would not object to that.
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« Reply #295 on: January 04, 2010, 02:29:29 PM »

receive me into His heavenly kingdom... I do have the hope that He will do exactly that.

What I haven't yet grasped is this: on what does your hope rely? If on God's mercy, why are you not confident that his mercy is great enough to receive you? But if on your own merit, must you not despair?

The question is asked sincerely, not rhetorically.
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« Reply #296 on: January 04, 2010, 04:01:35 PM »

receive me into His heavenly kingdom... I do have the hope that He will do exactly that.

What I haven't yet grasped is this: on what does your hope rely? If on God's mercy, why are you not confident that his mercy is great enough to receive you? But if on your own merit, must you not despair?

The question is asked sincerely, not rhetorically.

We rely on God's Grace. We just don't think God's grace is like throwing a light  switch.
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« Reply #297 on: January 04, 2010, 04:06:36 PM »

Our hope is that our Lord will greet us like the master greeted his faithful servant:

His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
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« Reply #298 on: January 04, 2010, 04:22:45 PM »

receive me into His heavenly kingdom... I do have the hope that He will do exactly that.

What I haven't yet grasped is this: on what does your hope rely? If on God's mercy, why are you not confident that his mercy is great enough to receive you? But if on your own merit, must you not despair?

"own merit" doesn't come into it, though "own choice" may depending on the context (one of the problems with this type of discussion is that there are several different Protestant paradigms of salvation meaning that the context shifts--not saying you've been inconsistent at all, but some people are addressing you while others are addressing more generic or alternate Protestantisms based on their own history).

I am confident that God's promises are sure, and therefore so long as I follow His teachings, I know that I 'will be' saved.

However (and here is where the 'different contexts' can be relevant), I also don't believe that God will save me against my will. If I reject Him, then He will allow this and by my own choice, I will stop 'being saved', stop being involved in the process.

It is this constant possibility of changing one's orientation which makes Orthdox uncomfortable with the phrase "am saved" because it emphasizes a single point in time at the expense of the ongoing process (at the least) or even (in some cases) completely replaces it. I may, Protestant terms, 'be saved' (in Orthodox terms, be a devout follower of Christ, fulfilling to the best of my ability all the teachings of the Church), but tomorrow a persecution comes and given the choice, "Renounce Christ or we shoot you." Will I make the right choice? I hope so. I trust that if I seek it, God will give me the Grace to do so. But will I? How can I be so arrogant as to say I know for sure that I am as strong in my Faith as the martyrs who have gone before. And if I do renounce Christ, then what does it matter that today, I 'am saved'; having rejected Christ then those same sure promises in which I am confident today mean that I can be confident that I am *not* saved at that point.

Of course, I can repent, and again be in the process of salvation. But that's why Orthodoxy prefers to talk of the process rather than speak of black-and-white 'at this moment' dichotomies.
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« Reply #299 on: January 04, 2010, 04:27:32 PM »

I think it's kind of humorous how this thread has turned into "I don't understand the Orthodox mindset"  Cheesy
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« Reply #300 on: January 04, 2010, 04:31:29 PM »

receive me into His heavenly kingdom... I do have the hope that He will do exactly that.

What I haven't yet grasped is this: on what does your hope rely? If on God's mercy, why are you not confident that his mercy is great enough to receive you? But if on your own merit, must you not despair?

The question is asked sincerely, not rhetorically.

This may be a consequence of one's perspective. If the most important event in our existence is our conversion, it may be important to emphasize whether we are saved or have the assurance of salvation at that point. After all, there is no point to believing, repenting, accepting, being baptized, and communing if we did not believe that in doing so lies salvation.

If the most important event of our existence is the Lord's judgment at His Second Coming, it would be important to emphasize salvation as a process.  It may even be a prudent thing if we act as if we are not 100% sure of our salvation, to live in fear of losing our way and to live in repentance.  

Of course, this could be different from person to person. Some people may need that assurance every day to stay on the narrow path, while others may need to live in repentance. That said, it is clear to me that only a very small fraction of Christians believe in OSAS. The vast majority believe in a process that lasts no shorter than our life on earth.

I can appreciate that Protestants objected to some erroneous Roman Catholic teachings regarding merits, indulgences, and the like. I do not understand why modern day Protestants continue to use Roman terminology and concepts when (a) the Orthodox by and large use different terminology and (b) even the Roman Catholics have amended their views. Should we not all be guided by the Holy Scriptures? I will say this: for all the bad rap that we get amongst Protestants for our adherents to Holy Tradition, it is ironic that we the Orthodox are more respectful of the Scriptures in not emphasizing one part over another and being more accepting of them even when they are not readily explainable in human terms. And, many posters (for example the three that precede my post) have expressed the Biblical and Orthodox position most eloquently. I am submitting this post in the hope that it will be another angle for you to consider. God bless!
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« Reply #301 on: January 04, 2010, 05:17:01 PM »

receive me into His heavenly kingdom... I do have the hope that He will do exactly that.

What I haven't yet grasped is this: on what does your hope rely? If on God's mercy, why are you not confident that his mercy is great enough to receive you? But if on your own merit, must you not despair?

The question is asked sincerely, not rhetorically.
David, our failure to connect makes me feel as though we are passing like ships in the night.

I'm reminded of an old Protestant hymn (old in Protestant-speak, not Orthodox-speak!): "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness...." I know those words are not typical of Orthodox terminology and I'll have to look up all the words to see how much of this hymn is acceptably Orthodox.

Of course God's mercy is great enough to receive me. Why else would I even bother to pray those words? Perhaps what you see as "assurance", I see as "presumption". God will deal with me as He will in life and in death - that is His responsibility. Mine is to love and serve Him in obedience and submission.

In regards to the point in another post about assurance meaning assurance of a present condition, again, you'll find much of the Orthodox understanding of that in the pre-communion prayers. Those prayers are a real gem for focusing on our relationship with Christ - after all, we're preparing to meet Him in both a spiritual and a physical way.
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« Reply #302 on: January 04, 2010, 06:51:36 PM »

Many thanks. I shall read these posts more than once, and dwell on them.

Apart from the brief reference in one post to Holy Tradition, you all sound uncannily like Methodists. Since I was brought up Methodist myself, and imbibed its ethos and teachings till my mid-twenties, and probably still hold it as my first love, still feeding on Methodist writings now forty years later (despite the awkward fact of having become Baptist by gradual persuasion), I feel we are a good deal nearer each other than might sometimes appear.
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« Reply #303 on: January 04, 2010, 06:54:12 PM »

Many thanks. I shall read these posts more than once, and dwell on them.

Apart from the brief reference in one post to Holy Tradition, you all sound uncannily like Methodists. Since I was brought up Methodist myself, and imbibed its ethos and teachings till my mid-twenties, and probably still hold it as my first love, still feeding on Methodist writings now forty years later (despite the awkward fact of having become Baptist by gradual persuasion), I feel we are a good deal nearer each other than might sometimes appear.
David, I spent fifty years as a Free Methodist, including two years at a Bible college, and three years on the mission field. It was great preparation for Orthodoxy!
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« Reply #304 on: January 08, 2010, 03:51:07 AM »

Reading today's comments in my Orthodox Study Bible, I find: "...and with the divine water of fasting let us wash the defilement from our souls" (Matins, Friday before Lent). A day or two ago the comments included: "Let us make haste to wash away through fasting the filth of our transgressions" (Vespers, before Lent). Now as you know, we Protestants are taught (and genuinely believe) that only the blood of Christ can "wash away the filth of our transgressions."

Can you explain to me what the words quoted from your Liturgy really mean? I am genuinely at a loss to understand them.
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« Reply #305 on: January 08, 2010, 04:10:12 AM »

Reading today's comments in my Orthodox Study Bible, I find: "...and with the divine water of fasting let us wash the defilement from our souls" (Matins, Friday before Lent). A day or two ago the comments included: "Let us make haste to wash away through fasting the filth of our transgressions" (Vespers, before Lent). Now as you know, we Protestants are taught (and genuinely believe) that only the blood of Christ can "wash away the filth of our transgressions."

In your tradition, by what means does the blood of Christ "wash away the filth of our transgressions"?

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« Reply #306 on: January 08, 2010, 05:35:52 AM »

In your tradition, by what means does the blood of Christ "wash away the filth of our transgressions"?

The scriptures refer to the giving of his life, or the shedding of his blood, as a ransom, as washing or cleansing, as the establishment of the covenant - the full, sufficient, eternal price paid to secure the remission of all our sins. Nothing needs to be added to the value of the price he paid. The forgiveness it purchased is received freely, as a gift, to the repentant but believing sinner.

You see how the wording of your liturgy at least appears to say something different. But does it? This is what I desire to understand.
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« Reply #307 on: January 08, 2010, 06:30:44 PM »

In your tradition, by what means does the blood of Christ "wash away the filth of our transgressions"?

The scriptures refer to the giving of his life, or the shedding of his blood, as a ransom, as washing or cleansing, as the establishment of the covenant - the full, sufficient, eternal price paid to secure the remission of all our sins. Nothing needs to be added to the value of the price he paid. The forgiveness it purchased is received freely, as a gift, to the repentant but believing sinner.

You see how the wording of your liturgy at least appears to say something different. But does it? This is what I desire to understand.

Indeed, we are almost following two different religions.

We don't think God was made angry and holding our salvation out for a ransom to be satisfied by the death of Jesus Christ. We rather believe that God himself incarnated in the person of Christ and defeated sin and death on the cross. This harmonized our fallen world and opened up the true and straight path to eternal life with God. The practice of Christianity offers many salvic methods to prepare us, including prayer and fasting. The term "washing away" will only seem odd if you dovetail it with the novel theory of Satisfaction to explain why Jesus died on the Cross, which you just outlined.

I hope that helps.  
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« Reply #308 on: January 08, 2010, 09:18:37 PM »

Reading today's comments in my Orthodox Study Bible, I find: "...and with the divine water of fasting let us wash the defilement from our souls" (Matins, Friday before Lent). A day or two ago the comments included: "Let us make haste to wash away through fasting the filth of our transgressions" (Vespers, before Lent). Now as you know, we Protestants are taught (and genuinely believe) that only the blood of Christ can "wash away the filth of our transgressions."

Can you explain to me what the words quoted from your Liturgy really mean? I am genuinely at a loss to understand them.

I hope this helps.

According to the creed, "I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins". Acts 2:38 clearly states that baptism is for the remission of sins. According to Romans 6:3-4

Quote
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

We are clearly joined to Christ through His death and resurrection in baptism.

Spiritual labors such as prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are not intended to be a substitute for the work of the cross but a way for us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. When done properly with a sincere heart they produce the fruit of the spirit and help not to obtain forgiveness for our sins, but rather to heal the damage inflicted on us by our sins and to overcome them and to as scripture says "be transformed by the renewing of your mind (greek nous)". It is in this sense that, through spiritual exercises, one can wash away the "defilement from our souls" or "filth of our transgressions". Fasting does not wash away any transgression, but helps heal the damage done by the transgression.

This is how I understand it anyway.
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« Reply #309 on: January 08, 2010, 09:37:53 PM »

Here is a good article at atonement from an Orthodox writer:

 http://www.orthodoxconvert.info/Q-A.php?c=Salvation-The%20Atonement
 
 
 
 
 
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« Reply #310 on: January 08, 2010, 09:58:25 PM »

In your tradition, by what means does the blood of Christ "wash away the filth of our transgressions"?

The scriptures refer to the giving of his life, or the shedding of his blood, as a ransom, as washing or cleansing, as the establishment of the covenant - the full, sufficient, eternal price paid to secure the remission of all our sins. Nothing needs to be added to the value of the price he paid. The forgiveness it purchased is received freely, as a gift, to the repentant but believing sinner.

You see how the wording of your liturgy at least appears to say something different. But does it? This is what I desire to understand.

What you appear to be saying is that the washing away of the filth of one's transgressions is a one-time thing. One day we are sinful transgressors, the next we make a decision to believe in Christ and somehow His blood on the Cross 2000 years ago instantly wipes our slate clean for all time. While we might sin again, it's not going to affect our salvation; so our continued repentance is rather superfluous. Therefore, salvation for the individual in your tradition is accomplished by a one-time intellectual decision and no real effort of continued repentance on their part. This does seem familiar from what I remember of my Evangelical experience; though there are variances. Forgive me if I have this wrong in your case, but this is the kind of thinking I have witnessed amongst Evangelicals. And while the claim is that as long as one continues to "believe in Jesus" one is saved and "made perfect in Christ", in reality the affects are quite at odds with this and I have seen this lack of repentance produce the most horribly moralistic set of rules that one must abide by to be accepted in the group. This develops judgemental attutudes of the "saints" towards "sinners". Because the "sinners" don't quite manage to follow the prescribed rules of conduct of the group they are considered almost unsavable or backsliders. These people are ultimately made to feel acutely ostracised and cast out.

Quoting from a book I'm reading at the moment, the difference with Orthodoxy is this...

The Church embraces all people with all their problems and worries, and strives to transfigure them. The Church, in any case, is a spiritual Hospital which heals people's illness. She does not reject anyone. Only groups of anthropocentric political, social and even religious systems reject peopel who are not able, or who do not want to be fully obedient to their principles. In all these systems there is an intense mysticism; an ideology dominates which demands obedience to abstract commandments. And for this reasons we cannot speak of obedience but discipline. Furthermore, a mania for perfection dominates. They want you to be perfect according to the principles of the system. Alas, if you should sin consciously or unconsciously. They will cast you out and give the stigma of crossing you off to all the friends of the system. they will make the decision public, so that it becomes known and the system is not put to blame. And I believe that this mania for perfection is an indicative sign of an extistent schizophrenia. The person who has the mania to be perfect is in reality a schizophrenic. The Church, without supporting or justifying the sick person, receivwes him as he is, and strives, with the ways she has at her disposal, to cure him. this is why, in the Church there are people of various spiritual ages. [The Illness and Cure of the Soul in the Orthodox Tradition, by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos.]

The Orthodox view of salvation is ontological not intellectual. We are joined sacramentally with Christ at baptism; old man dies, new man is born from above; water and spirit. However, this birth is not completed or finalised; we have merely entered the Hospital of the Soul, which is the Church to affect the healing of our various illnesses. Being flawed human beings we will relapse and continue to sin. Even if the sins are little they separate us from God. We have an expression that the pristine garment of our baptism is made filthy by our sins. Unless we repent of those sins, they will stain our relationship with God and our fellow man. For Lent we fast in repentance of all our sins, those we know of and those we are ignorant of. Our baptism garment is made clean again through the tears of our repentance. This is part of our salvific experience, part of our sanctification.

Just to put your quote from the Matins on Friday of the week before Lent in context;
“God has shown mercy to us. Let us in turn show mercy: let us feed the poor, and with the divine water of fasting, let us wash the defilement from our souls.” Then we say, “O heavenly angels, entreat the Giver of good to accept in His infinite mercy our poor and mean repentance.” Continued repentance might be a strange concept for one who believes that a one-time intellectual decision for Christ makes our salvation a done deal - if indeed that is what you believe. However, as Orthodox Christians we are always aware of the weakness of our hearts.

St James tells us that the faith that saves is the complete faith, not simply the intellect accepting and the tongue confessing, but the whole man or woman trusting in the Living God. Our faith is a life-time and beyond relationship with God. Justification for us is dynamic and alive and continuing. We believe that our faith grows and affects what we do or else it dies. While it might be your opinion that “Faith alone” saves, we don’t agree. A static faith, does not sanctify, it stagnates and dies; the danger being that the one who believes himself to be saved by that one-time declaration ignores the very sins that prevent him from acquiring the Holy Spirit. The living faith is one in which we nurture our faith in God and our love for Him through our responses to the needs of others and our repentance of our own sins.

St James shows us an example of a living and active faith by pointing to the faith of Abraham. When Abraham received the call to forsake all and follow God he did so with all that was to entail. This is all a crucial lesson for us in our understanding of justification by faith. Abraham’s sanctification and justification is not a momentary, intellectual, static, or one-time event. His faith is dynamic, a growth process which finds its realisation in good works and repentance. It is this living and active faith, St James declares, the faith which saves!

So yes, the gift of salvation is freely given by God yet we must do our part by taking take of what he offers to us. We are workers together with Him as St Paul calls it. This is synergy; this is cooperation with a living God in a living relationship.

Please don't think that I'm in any way "bashing" your tradition. I'm merely trying to answer your question to the best of my ability.
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« Reply #311 on: January 09, 2010, 05:37:36 AM »

Once again, much for me to read and mull over, which will probably take a few days. At a brief initial reading, it seems as if some of you are saying almost the same as us but in different words, whilst others of you are saying things that are miles apart from our understanding. It will all make interesting reading.
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« Reply #312 on: January 09, 2010, 09:33:59 AM »

Once again, much for me to read and mull over, which will probably take a few days. At a brief initial reading, it seems as if some of you are saying almost the same as us but in different words, whilst others of you are saying things that are miles apart from our understanding. It will all make interesting reading.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1088949815257678826&ei=c4VIS5vkBtq5lQeYsOyFBw&q=kallistos+ware&hl=en# (Metropolitan KALLISTOS Ware Salvation in Christ - The Orthodox Approach -Lecture)

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« Reply #313 on: January 09, 2010, 01:49:51 PM »

Metropolitan KALLISTOS Ware Salvation in Christ - The Orthodox Approach -Lecture

Thanks. The posts will have to wait till next week - but before I plunge into this one - It is marked something like 1:36:53. Does that mean the lecture is about 1½ hours long? If so, I'd need to plan a time to give it proper attention. I have enjoyed reading Ware.

The thing is, the way you Orthodox tend to speak and write comes over to our ears as if you are reducing the value of the Blood of Christ, which, of course, sounds blasphemous to us; yet I can scarcely believe that this is the true understanding of your doctrines, for you write with such passion about Him and about the Eucharist which speaks of (nay, in your understanding, is) the Blood. So I am both hoping and expecting to learn that here is another case of mutual misunderstanding.

If you really were in any way demeaning the worth of Christ's death, you can see why so many Evangelicals reject Orthodoxy as not a valid form of Christianity. What a tragedy, if it's all about use of words!

"See you" next week!
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« Reply #314 on: January 09, 2010, 03:57:52 PM »

Metropolitan KALLISTOS Ware Salvation in Christ - The Orthodox Approach -Lecture

Thanks. The posts will have to wait till next week - but before I plunge into this one - It is marked something like 1:36:53. Does that mean the lecture is about 1½ hours long? If so, I'd need to plan a time to give it proper attention. I have enjoyed reading Ware.

The thing is, the way you Orthodox tend to speak and write comes over to our ears as if you are reducing the value of the Blood of Christ, which, of course, sounds blasphemous to us; yet I can scarcely believe that this is the true understanding of your doctrines, for you write with such passion about Him and about the Eucharist which speaks of (nay, in your understanding, is) the Blood. So I am both hoping and expecting to learn that here is another case of mutual misunderstanding. [/

If you really were in any way demeaning the worth of Christ's death, you can see why so many Evangelicals reject Orthodoxy as not a valid form of Christianity. What a tragedy, if it's all about use of words!

"See you" next week!
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