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Author Topic: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!  (Read 42547 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #315 on: January 09, 2010, 05:12:34 PM »

^^I don't know what happened above, but I lost everything that I typed.  Angry I don't have the time nor energy to rehash the post at the moment, but David, while you are looking into the Orthodox view of salvation the following article might be of some use.

Most of us have, at one time or another, been asked by a zealous Protestant the question, "Are you saved?" or in another form, "Do you know for certain that if you died right now, you would go to heaven?" What answer do you give? Protestants have an expected response, without which there will be a concerted attempt to get you to say or pray the appropriate words. One of the issues that comes up when we, as Orthodox Christians, attempt to answer the question honestly and fully is that of the relation of Faith and Works to our salvation. Any reference to the grace given in the sacraments, particularly baptism, or any hint that one's salvation is yet in doubt because one may yet be unfaithful to Christ is pounced upon as an indication of "works righteousness." Also, any reference to the essentiality of prayer, fasting, loving actions, or good works of any type to salvation is met with attempts to show that salvation is by faith in Christ's atoning work alone.
What have we to say to this? In this article, I hope to help clarify what salvation is, look at how we are being saved, and to show what the proper view of the relationship between faith and works is in Orthodox theology. More than that, I hope to challenge you to open yourself up to the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit and to make progress on the path to Glory.
Salvation in Protestant thought essentially is being made acceptable to God through receiving the forgiveness of sins. We are all sinners, falling short of the glory of God. The sacrifices of bulls and goats were not able to save us, so Christ entered the world and died on the cross to atone for our sins. Because of His action, we are transferred from the state of condemnation and death to the state of forgiveness, of salvation. We are saved from hell and are able to "go to heaven."
How is this salvation brought to us? We can do nothing to earn our salvation. As St. Paul teaches, we are "justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Romans 3:28). In all our noblest striving, we are still unable to merit the reward of heaven ("All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23). All we can "do" is have faith (believe) in the saving work of Christ ("If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved," Romans 10:9). So we are justified by faith.
But what is faith? Essentially it is seen as cognitive belief (e.g., belief in a set of ideas about what constitutes the state of humanity, what God did about it in Christ , and a belief that the atonement has been effective for one's own salvation). In my background, I was taught that faith was the "belief of testimony," because "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). Any emphasis on works as being of merit for our salvation is seen as a Judaizing return to the Law, which was unable to bring salvation. Thus, the Reformers rejected any Catholic idea of human action that implied that we merit salvation.
Do you get a sense of the legal emphasis? Salvation is being brought before the tribunal of God and receiving a favorable judgment. We are guilty of sin. Jesus, the perfect Man, offers Himself as a sacrifice to assuage the wrath of God. God accepts the sacrifice on our behalf and declares us to be "guilty, but acquitted." When God looks at us, He sees Jesus Christ and His righteous merit. Thus, instead of the sentence of eternal death which we deserve (hell), we receive the reward of Christ, eternal life in heaven.
There are several problems with the Protestant view of salvation, including an overemphasis upon the legal aspect of our relationship with God, an inadequate definition of faith, and, most importantly, a failure to see the true content of salvation.

The Orthodox Conception of Salvation

What is salvation? For the Orthodox Christian, salvation is more than a legal state, more than forgiveness of sins. It is union with God. The goal of life is not simply to dwell in a place where there is no sin, sickness, or suffering, but to come into a personal communion with the Holy Trinity. In Orthodox theology there is no concept of merit at all, either in terms of our works meriting the salvation of God, or even of salvation being given to us because of the merit of Christ's works. It is rather a question of relationship, of communion with God...


Continued at http://www.tcgalaska.com/htgoc/images/pics/vol3issue4.htm
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« Reply #316 on: January 10, 2010, 11:46:18 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!



Ok, see you then!







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« Reply #317 on: January 11, 2010, 09:50:24 AM »

Salvation in Protestant thought essentially is being made acceptable to God through receiving the forgiveness of sins. We are all sinners, falling short of the glory of God. The sacrifices of bulls and goats were not able to save us, so Christ entered the world and died on the cross to atone for our sins. Because of His action, we are transferred from the state of condemnation and death to the state of forgiveness, of salvation. We are saved from hell and are able to "go to heaven."
How is this salvation brought to us? We can do nothing to earn our salvation. As St. Paul teaches, we are "justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Romans 3:28). In all our noblest striving, we are still unable to merit the reward of heaven ("All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23). All we can "do" is have faith (believe) in the saving work of Christ ("If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved," Romans 10:9). So we are justified by faith... Salvation is being brought before the tribunal of God and receiving a favorable judgment. We are guilty of sin. Jesus, the perfect Man, offers Himself as a sacrifice to assuage the wrath of God. God accepts the sacrifice on our behalf and declares us to be "guilty, but acquitted." When God looks at us, He sees Jesus Christ and His righteous merit. Thus, instead of the sentence of eternal death which we deserve (hell), we receive the reward of Christ, eternal life in heaven.
 

This is very good - except that he is writing about justification, not salvation. Justification is only the beginning, the first (yes, instantaneous) event, in salvation.i
Quote
But what is faith? Essentially it is seen as cognitive belief (e.g., belief in a set of ideas about what constitutes the state of humanity, what God did about it in Christ , and a belief that the atonement has been effective for one's own salvation)

This is not so good. This is known as Sandemanianism, which brought the cold hand of death into many Baptist churches in the early 19th century - the idea that cognitive assent = faith. Faith is far far more than that; faith is the conscious, spiritual leaning of all one's hope and trust only upon God and his mercy in Christ. The mind, soul, heart and will are all called for in the true exercise of faith.

Quote
What is salvation? For the Orthodox Christian, salvation is more than a legal state, more than forgiveness of sins. It is union with God. The goal of life is not simply to dwell in a place where there is no sin, sickness, or suffering, but to come into a personal communion with the Holy Trinity.

I can't see any difference between that and what we believe! But I shall turn to the remainder of the article on the link you kindly give.
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« Reply #318 on: January 11, 2010, 10:26:06 AM »

This is very good - except that he is writing about justification, not salvation. Justification is only the beginning, the first (yes, instantaneous) event, in salvation.i

Here's another case where your Evangelical mindset differs from the Orthodox. Concepts like justification, salvation, sanctification are not neatly defined and pigeon-holed as they are in Evangelical thought, but rather intertwined. I'd like to say "braided", but that would seem orderly  Smiley, it's more like a knotted ball! Take a look at this article in OrthodoxWiki:
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Justification. OrthodoxWiki itself points out that the article needs some work, but I trust it will be helpful. It does try to explain the difference between Eastern and Western thought.
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« Reply #319 on: January 11, 2010, 10:30:25 AM »

The article concludes with:

Quote
the next time you are asked, " Are you saved?" reply, “By God's grace I have been forgiven and brought into a growing relationship with Him. By that same grace, I hope to one day share His likeness in the heavenly kingdom.  So, because of Christ, I have been saved, I am being saved as I walk in the light by faith, and, by His grace, I will one day share His likeness in the eternal kingdom."  

I think the only word an Evangelical might quibble with in that is the word "hope", for Philippians promises that "I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Even then, the article's last sentence is "I will one day share His likeness in the eternal kingdom."

So what are we disagreeing about? I suspect it has to do with a confusion in your minds, leading you to think we identify justification with the whole of salvation, and a confusion in our minds when we do not take into account your use of salvation as defining or focussing on the end result in glory. We would certainly agree with you that prayer, fasting, baptism, the Lord's Supper, good works all contribute to our growth in grace, in conformity to the divine image, in sanctification. When you say they contribute to your salvation, you mean your spiritual healing until the image is fully restored; when we hear you say that prayer, fasting, baptism, the Lord's Supper, good works all contribute to your salvation, we take you to mean they contribute to acquiring forgiveness of your past sins, in some way earning God's mercy (by merit), and so naturally and immediately we think you are demeaning the value of our Lord's precious blood.

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« Reply #320 on: January 11, 2010, 10:35:36 AM »

Take a look at this article in OrthodoxWiki:
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Justification.

It says:

Paul Negrut defines the tension that exists when trying to understand Western theological concepts in light of early Christian and Eastern theology. He says, “Much of this sounds strange to Western ears, both Protestant and Catholic, because the historical development of Western theology has been quite different. Patience is therefore required to penetrate this strangeness, but that is a necessary prelude to any real understanding, dialogue or critique!”

Very true.
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« Reply #321 on: January 12, 2010, 01:52:30 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.

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.

In my words, I would say that fasting exposes the damage so that it may be more fully and completely healed by Christ through repentance.
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« Reply #322 on: January 12, 2010, 04:05:29 AM »

The article concludes with:

Quote
the next time you are asked, " Are you saved?" reply, “By God's grace I have been forgiven and brought into a growing relationship with Him. By that same grace, I hope to one day share His likeness in the heavenly kingdom.  So, because of Christ, I have been saved, I am being saved as I walk in the light by faith, and, by His grace, I will one day share His likeness in the eternal kingdom."  

I think the only word an Evangelical might quibble with in that is the word "hope", for Philippians promises that "I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Even then, the article's last sentence is "I will one day share His likeness in the eternal kingdom."

So what are we disagreeing about? I suspect it has to do with a confusion in your minds, leading you to think we identify justification with the whole of salvation, and a confusion in our minds when we do not take into account your use of salvation as defining or focussing on the end result in glory. We would certainly agree with you that prayer, fasting, baptism, the Lord's Supper, good works all contribute to our growth in grace, in conformity to the divine image, in sanctification. When you say they contribute to your salvation, you mean your spiritual healing until the image is fully restored; when we hear you say that prayer, fasting, baptism, the Lord's Supper, good works all contribute to your salvation, we take you to mean they contribute to acquiring forgiveness of your past sins, in some way earning God's mercy (by merit), and so naturally and immediately we think you are demeaning the value of our Lord's precious blood.

What's wrong with Baptism and the forgiveness of past sins?

Acts 22:16
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.



You should really watch the video.

Also, what's wrong with "hope"?

Romans 8:23-25
23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
 24For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
 25But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.



Titus 3:7
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.


and

Hebrews 3:6
But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.




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« Reply #323 on: January 14, 2010, 06:56:27 AM »


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. 

But such are not an either/or but rather an both/and proposition. Indeed, "behold the goodness and severity of God"!
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« Reply #324 on: January 14, 2010, 07:38:31 AM »


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. 

But such are not an either/or but rather an both/and proposition.

Exactly.
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« Reply #325 on: January 14, 2010, 10:58:01 AM »

Quote
These are given us not only to understand what is salvation and how Christ chose to accomplish that in Orthodox theology, but also to show the basis for the view that many of us had as converts from Protestantism. We can see not only why Protestants understand things the way they do in relation to salvation, buy why Orthodox understanding is different. It is relational with God, not legal or financial in nature. That changes the whole perspective in how we approach salvation. It is not a one time deal, a declaring “not guilty,” but a continuing relationship with God.
(I added the emphases.)

I forget which thread pointed me to this helpful article, but I suspect it was this one. What disappoints me about it is the either/or approach. I suspect that all the theories or explanations of the Atonement are in the end just that - theories; or that they are analogies which the Holy Spirit used in inspiring the scriptures and the Apostles to help people believe not how but that Christ redeemed them by his death and resurrection. All the analogies point to one aspect or another as aids to faith, but in reality (as I have quoted before from C S Lewis) it is a matter of "deeper magic from before the beginning of time". I don't really know how He saved me - but I know He did. If any of the biblical pictures (ransom, debt, healing, victory over Satan and death) help some, including me, to trust Christ as Saviour, then I am content to leave the matter there and not to worry about the fact that my mind has not penetrated - yea, cannot penetrate - the full and deepest mystery of our redemption.

I shall continue to preach to my congregations all these ways of looking at it, including the Orthodox one (Christus Victor, healing of our relationship with God), for they are all biblical.
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« Reply #326 on: January 14, 2010, 11:38:22 AM »



I shall continue to preach to my congregations all these ways of looking at it, including the Orthodox one (Christus Victor, healing of our relationship with God), for they are all biblical.


Well stated.
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« Reply #327 on: January 14, 2010, 03:09:02 PM »


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. 

But such are not an either/or but rather an both/and proposition. Indeed, "behold the goodness and severity of God"!

You don't understand our concept of the Lake of Fire (Hell), if you did, then you would understand how we interpret "behold the goodness and severity of God".

If God is Omni-omnibenevolent, then "severity and the like" must be understood in light of His LOVE......just like the idea of "cold" must be understood in light of HEAT, for coldness is nothing more than a certain degree of heat. And so, "severity" is nothing more than a certain degree of love.

God isn't the one who is changinh from Love today, and hate tomorrow. We are the ones who keep changing, and so we "interprete" His Love as either "goodness" or "severity".....depending on our state at the time.


And so the problem is us, not God....for He is Omni-Benevolent.








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« Reply #328 on: January 14, 2010, 03:42:22 PM »


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. 

But such are not an either/or but rather an both/and proposition. Indeed, "behold the goodness and severity of God"!

You don't understand our concept of the Lake of Fire (Hell), if you did, then you would understand how we interpret "behold the goodness and severity of God".

If God is Omni-omnibenevolent, then "severity and the like" must be understood in light of His LOVE......just like the idea of "cold" must be understood in light of HEAT, for coldness is nothing more than a certain degree of heat. And so, "severity" is nothing more than a certain degree of love.

God isn't the one who is changinh from Love today, and hate tomorrow. We are the ones who keep changing, and so we "interprete" His Love as either "goodness" or "severity".....depending on our state at the time.


And so the problem is us, not God....for He is Omni-Benevolent.








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Is he also all just?
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« Reply #329 on: January 14, 2010, 03:53:57 PM »

In what sense?

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« Reply #330 on: January 14, 2010, 03:56:34 PM »

In what sense?


Well is God just?
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« Reply #331 on: January 14, 2010, 04:22:32 PM »

I hate to be a nag and a picker of nits, but if we are defining "just" in the human sense of "fair," then no, I'd have to say, God is not just, bearing in mind the workers in the vineyard, for example.
How are you defining it?
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« Reply #332 on: January 14, 2010, 04:24:40 PM »

I hate to be a nag and a picker of nits, but if we are defining "just" in the human sense of "fair," then no, I'd have to say, God is not just, bearing in mind the workers in the vineyard, for example.
How are you defining it?

But according to his own standard, the true standard, isn't God infinitely just?
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« Reply #333 on: January 14, 2010, 04:30:28 PM »

I hate to be a nag and a picker of nits, but if we are defining "just" in the human sense of "fair," then no, I'd have to say, God is not just, bearing in mind the workers in the vineyard, for example.
How are you defining it?

But according to his own standard, the true standard, isn't God infinitely just?

The God that Jesus Christ revealed is not just, as the concept of God’s justice is understood in the West. [Perhaps the evil one began propagating the error regarding God’s justice using both the understanding of pagan justice and a misunderstanding and mistranslation of the Hebrew words tsedaka and hesed in holy Scripture, which mean, respectively, “the divine energy which accomplishes man’s salvation” and “mercy, compassion, love.” The Church Fathers understood God’s justice in this way.] “Do not ever say that God is just. Because if He were just, you would be in hell. Only reckon on His…injustice, which is mercy, love, and forgiveness,” says St. Isaac the Syrian. He continues: “How can you call God just when you read the passage on the wage given to the workers… How can man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal Son, who wasted his wealth in riotous living, and yet only for the contrition he showed, his father ran and fell upon his neck, and gave him authority over all his wealth?  Where, then, is God’s justice, for whilst we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!”
    In the parable of the vineyard, Christ states emphatically that God is not the pawn of His justice. “I choose to pay the last man the same as you,” He says to him who worked from the beginning, and He adds, “Am I not free to do what I want with my own possessions? Or are you responding to the fact that I am good by being wicked?” (Mt. 20:14-15). St. John Chrysostom responds to this with the memorable expression, “The master being generous receives the last like the first. He gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has worked from the first hour. And he shows mercy upon the last and cares for the first, and to the one he gives and upon the other he bestows gifts.” (Catechetical homily of St. John Chrysostom)
 It is not possible for God to be just and even to be vindictive because:
    Compassionate and merciful is the Lord, long-suffering and plenteous in mercy; not unto the end will He be angered, neither unto eternity will he be wroth.
    Not according to our iniquities hath He dealt with us, neither according to our sins hath He rewarded us.
   For according to the height of heaven from the earth, the Lord hath made His mercy to prevail over them that fear Him.
   As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our iniquities from us.
   Like as a father hath compassion upon his sons, so hath the Lord had compassion upon them that fear Him; for He knoweth whereof we are made, He hath remembered that we are dust.  (Ps. 102:8-12)
    St. Isaac the Syrian, developing the view that mercy triumphs over judgment, says: Mercy and justice in the same soul is like the man who worships God and idols in the same temple. Mercy is opposed to justice. Justice is the return of the equal, because it returns to man that which he deserves, and it does not bend to one side or show respect of persons.  But mercy is sorrow that is moved by grace and bends to all with sympathy, and it does not return harm to him who deserves it, although to him who deserves good it gives a double portion. And if mercy is on the side of virtue, justice is on the side of wickedness; and as it is impossible for hay and fire to exist in the same house, so it is impossible for justice and mercy to be in the same soul. As the grain of sand cannot be compared with a great amount of gold, so God’s use of justice cannot be compared with His mercy. Because man’s sin, in comparison to the providence and mercy of God, is like a handful of sand thrown into the sea, so the Creator’s mercy cannot be defeated by the wickedness of His creatures.


“The Distorted God” (condensed and edited from http://nektarios.home.comcast.net/~nektarios/1510.html).
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« Reply #334 on: January 15, 2010, 06:48:59 AM »

I shall continue to preach to my congregations all these ways of looking at it, including the Orthodox one (Christus Victor, healing of our relationship with God), for they are all biblical.

A frequently sung hymn contains this couplet:

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven -
Who like me His praise should sing?


Here we have two Western emphases (ransomed, forgiven) bracketing two Eastern emphases (healed, restored). We are right - and you are right: every one of these is a true aspect of the salvation wrought by Christ. It is not either/or: it is both.
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« Reply #335 on: January 15, 2010, 06:54:14 AM »


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. 

But such are not an either/or but rather an both/and proposition. Indeed, "behold the goodness and severity of God"!

You don't understand our concept of the Lake of Fire (Hell), if you did, then you would understand how we interpret "behold the goodness and severity of God".

If God is Omni-omnibenevolent, then "severity and the like" must be understood in light of His LOVE......just like the idea of "cold" must be understood in light of HEAT, for coldness is nothing more than a certain degree of heat. And so, "severity" is nothing more than a certain degree of love.

God isn't the one who is changinh from Love today, and hate tomorrow. We are the ones who keep changing, and so we "interprete" His Love as either "goodness" or "severity".....depending on our state at the time.


And so the problem is us, not God....for He is Omni-Benevolent.








ICXC NIKA

I had always thought that the level of love would be the same- it's the experience of that love that's the difference. You seem to be saying this as well, but you also seem to be saying something different.  When I read this it also comes across as if you're saying that the righteous and unrighteous will experience different levels of God's love in the afterlife.  I've never heard this before, but granted, I haven't been around that long.  Am I reading you incorrectly? 
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« Reply #336 on: January 15, 2010, 01:39:07 PM »

I shall continue to preach to my congregations all these ways of looking at it, including the Orthodox one (Christus Victor, healing of our relationship with God), for they are all biblical.

A frequently sung hymn contains this couplet:

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven -
Who like me His praise should sing?


Here we have two Western emphases (ransomed, forgiven) bracketing two Eastern emphases (healed, restored). We are right - and you are right: every one of these is a true aspect of the salvation wrought by Christ. It is not either/or: it is both.

I don't think so. If you believe an angry God demanded the Death of his son as a ransom, then we would see a fundemental Theological difference between us, not just a different way of looking at things. 
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« Reply #337 on: January 15, 2010, 02:00:44 PM »

I shall continue to preach to my congregations all these ways of looking at it, including the Orthodox one (Christus Victor, healing of our relationship with God), for they are all biblical.

A frequently sung hymn contains this couplet:

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven -
Who like me His praise should sing?


Here we have two Western emphases (ransomed, forgiven) bracketing two Eastern emphases (healed, restored). We are right - and you are right: every one of these is a true aspect of the salvation wrought by Christ. It is not either/or: it is both.

I don't think so. If you believe an angry God demanded the Death of his son as a ransom, then we would see a fundemental Theological difference between us, not just a different way of looking at things. 
That is not the way that the Atonement need be viewed. I like the way in which C.S. Lewis described it.

"The one most people have heard is the one about our being let off because Christ volunteered to bear a punishment instead of us.  Now on the face of it that is a very silly theory.  If God was prepared to let us off, why on earth did He not do so?  And what possible point could there be in punishing an innocent person instead?  None at all that I can see, if you are thinking of punishment in the police-court sense.  On the other hand, if you think of a debt, there is plenty of point in a person who has some assets paying it on behalf of someone who has not.  Or if you take "paying the penalty," not in the sense of being punished, but in the more general sense of "footing the bill," then, of course, it is a matter of common experience that, when one person has got himself into a hole, the trouble of getting him out usually falls on a kind friend.

Now what was the sort of "hole" man had gotten himself into?  He had tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself.  In other words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.  Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realising that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor - that is the only way out of a "hole."  This process of surrender - this movement full speed astern - is what Christians call repentance.  Now repentance is no fun at all.  It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie.  It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years.  It means undergoing a kind of death.  In fact, it needs a good man to repent.  And here's the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly.  The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it.  The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person - and he would not need it.

Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death, is not something God demands of you before He will take you back and which He could let you off of if He chose: it is simply a description of what going back to Him is like.  If you ask God to take you back without it, you are really asking Him to let you go back without going back.  It cannot happen.  Very well, then, we must go through with it.  But the same badness which makes us need it, makes us unable to do it.  Can we do it if God helps us?  Yes, but what do we mean when we talk of God helping us?  We mean God putting into us a bit of Himself, so to speak.  He lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think: He puts a little of His love into us and that is how we love one another.  When you teach a child writing, you hold its hand while it forms the letters: that is, it forms the letters because you are forming them.  We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hand while we do it.  Now if we had not fallen, that would all be plain sailing.  But unfortunately we now need God's help in order to do something which God, in His own nature, never does at all - to surrender, to suffer, to submit, to die.  Nothing in God's nature corresponds to this process at all.  So that the one road for which we now need God's leadership most of all is a road God, in His own nature, has never walked.  God can share only what He has: this thing, in His own nature, He has not.

But supposing God became a man - suppose our human nature which can suffer and die was amalgamated with God's nature in one person - then that person could help us.  He could surrender His will, and suffer and die, because He was man; and He could do it perfectly because He was God.  You and I can go through this process only if God does it in us; but God can do it only if He becomes man.  Our attempts at this dying will succeed only if we men share in God's dying, just as our thinking can succeed only because it is a drop out of the ocean of His intelligence: but we cannot share God's dying unless God dies; and he cannot die except by being a man.  That is the sense in which He pays our debt, and suffers for us what He Himself need not suffer at all."

-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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« Reply #338 on: January 15, 2010, 02:05:59 PM »

^ I think this explanation makes sense in light of the idea from the Epistle to the Romans that in baptism we die with Christ and in dying with Christ, we rise with him.
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« Reply #339 on: January 15, 2010, 04:35:40 PM »

I shall continue to preach to my congregations all these ways of looking at it, including the Orthodox one (Christus Victor, healing of our relationship with God), for they are all biblical.

A frequently sung hymn contains this couplet:

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven -
Who like me His praise should sing?


Here we have two Western emphases (ransomed, forgiven) bracketing two Eastern emphases (healed, restored). We are right - and you are right: every one of these is a true aspect of the salvation wrought by Christ. It is not either/or: it is both.

I don't think so. If you believe an angry God demanded the Death of his son as a ransom, then we would see a fundemental Theological difference between us, not just a different way of looking at things. 
That is not the way that the Atonement need be viewed. I like the way in which C.S. Lewis described it.

"The one most people have heard is the one about our being let off because Christ volunteered to bear a punishment instead of us.  Now on the face of it that is a very silly theory.  If God was prepared to let us off, why on earth did He not do so?  And what possible point could there be in punishing an innocent person instead?  None at all that I can see, if you are thinking of punishment in the police-court sense.  On the other hand, if you think of a debt, there is plenty of point in a person who has some assets paying it on behalf of someone who has not.  Or if you take "paying the penalty," not in the sense of being punished, but in the more general sense of "footing the bill," then, of course, it is a matter of common experience that, when one person has got himself into a hole, the trouble of getting him out usually falls on a kind friend.

Now what was the sort of "hole" man had gotten himself into?  He had tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself.  In other words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.  Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realising that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor - that is the only way out of a "hole."  This process of surrender - this movement full speed astern - is what Christians call repentance.  Now repentance is no fun at all.  It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie.  It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years.  It means undergoing a kind of death.  In fact, it needs a good man to repent.  And here's the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly.  The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it.  The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person - and he would not need it.

Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death, is not something God demands of you before He will take you back and which He could let you off of if He chose: it is simply a description of what going back to Him is like.  If you ask God to take you back without it, you are really asking Him to let you go back without going back.  It cannot happen.  Very well, then, we must go through with it.  But the same badness which makes us need it, makes us unable to do it.  Can we do it if God helps us?  Yes, but what do we mean when we talk of God helping us?  We mean God putting into us a bit of Himself, so to speak.  He lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think: He puts a little of His love into us and that is how we love one another.  When you teach a child writing, you hold its hand while it forms the letters: that is, it forms the letters because you are forming them.  We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hand while we do it.  Now if we had not fallen, that would all be plain sailing.  But unfortunately we now need God's help in order to do something which God, in His own nature, never does at all - to surrender, to suffer, to submit, to die.  Nothing in God's nature corresponds to this process at all.  So that the one road for which we now need God's leadership most of all is a road God, in His own nature, has never walked.  God can share only what He has: this thing, in His own nature, He has not.

But supposing God became a man - suppose our human nature which can suffer and die was amalgamated with God's nature in one person - then that person could help us.  He could surrender His will, and suffer and die, because He was man; and He could do it perfectly because He was God.  You and I can go through this process only if God does it in us; but God can do it only if He becomes man.  Our attempts at this dying will succeed only if we men share in God's dying, just as our thinking can succeed only because it is a drop out of the ocean of His intelligence: but we cannot share God's dying unless God dies; and he cannot die except by being a man.  That is the sense in which He pays our debt, and suffers for us what He Himself need not suffer at all."

-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity



Yet still...This is a fundamental Theological difference  between the Orthodox and Western Christianity It is not two different ways of explaining something we agree on ( which is my point).
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« Reply #340 on: January 15, 2010, 04:48:57 PM »

Some times I think there certain issues where no problem exists but because some EO's have become progessively anti-western, they create problems. Behaving in such a way is not the tradition of the EO Church but they are making it a new tradition. One more reason I would never become EO.
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« Reply #341 on: January 15, 2010, 05:15:12 PM »

Some times I think there certain issues where no problem exists but because some EO's have become progessively anti-western, they create problems. Behaving in such a way is not the tradition of the EO Church but they are making it a new tradition. One more reason I would never become EO.

Come now Papist that's not fair. We both know of people in our faith traditions with practices that they claim to be of the Church but are not. People ascribe superstitions and beliefs to the Church when they are not truly of the Church.

I know plenty of Catholics and Orthodox that are guilty of this, but I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.
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« Reply #342 on: January 15, 2010, 05:18:48 PM »

I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.

Handmaiden, my dear, that was damning with faint praise!

I have to say, I have often wondered about the way in which Orthodoxy often defines itself negatively. Is this only because the Orthodox Church believes herself to be so long established? Or not?
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« Reply #343 on: January 15, 2010, 05:20:10 PM »

Some times I think there certain issues where no problem exists but because some EO's have become progessively anti-western, they create problems. Behaving in such a way is not the tradition of the EO Church but they are making it a new tradition. One more reason I would never become EO.

Based purely on my own experience, I would have to say, "nonsense!" to this perceived anti-Western bias. I have never heard of it before or heard anyone mention it, except some Roman Catholics.

If we don't believe the same thing, we don't believe the same thing, and no amount of shoehorning or accusations of bias will make it any different.
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« Reply #344 on: January 15, 2010, 05:20:56 PM »

I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.

Handmaiden, my dear, that was damning with faint praise!

I have to say, I have often wondered about the way in which Orthodoxy often defines itself negatively. Is this only because the Orthodox Church believes herself to be so long established? Or not?

I'm not sure I understand you Liz, could you please clarify?
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« Reply #345 on: January 15, 2010, 05:23:11 PM »

Some times I think there certain issues where no problem exists but because some EO's have become progessively anti-western, they create problems. Behaving in such a way is not the tradition of the EO Church but they are making it a new tradition. One more reason I would never become EO.

Come now Papist that's not fair. We both know of people in our faith traditions with practices that they claim to be of the Church but are not. People ascribe superstitions and beliefs to the Church when they are not truly of the Church.

I know plenty of Catholics and Orthodox that are guilty of this, but I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.
This is true and I may have misspoken. However, when the Bishops start to adopt these views, is it the Church or just some of the laity.
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« Reply #346 on: January 15, 2010, 05:23:41 PM »


I have to say, I have often wondered about the way in which Orthodoxy often defines itself negatively. Is this only because the Orthodox Church believes herself to be so long established? Or not?

Perhaps, but I would venture to guess that it is because of the difference of Orthodox and "Western" theology (dadgumit, now I've revealed my awful anti-Western bias again!) - Orthodoxy and Protestantism, for example, use many of the same words, but mean vastly different things - and the fact that Orthodoxy is often barely a blip on the religious radar in the US. So it may be easier, or a kind of theological shorthand, to point out the differences from the prevailing religious culture.
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« Reply #347 on: January 15, 2010, 05:28:49 PM »

Some times I think there certain issues where no problem exists but because some EO's have become progessively anti-western, they create problems. Behaving in such a way is not the tradition of the EO Church but they are making it a new tradition. One more reason I would never become EO.

Based purely on my own experience, I would have to say, "nonsense!" to this perceived anti-Western bias. I have never heard of it before or heard anyone mention it, except some Roman Catholics.

If we don't believe the same thing, we don't believe the same thing, and no amount of shoehorning or accusations of bias will make it any different.
I see it on EO Forums. I see on EO websites. I even see it in quotes from EO theologians. I have seen it in story shared with by my friend who was a Franciscan priest, and recently passed away. He told me of his interactions with EO priests who have basicly told him off about the sack of Constantinople as soon as they found out that he was a Catholic Priest.
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« Reply #348 on: January 15, 2010, 05:29:51 PM »

I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.

Handmaiden, my dear, that was damning with faint praise!

I have to say, I have often wondered about the way in which Orthodoxy often defines itself negatively. Is this only because the Orthodox Church believes herself to be so long established? Or not?

I'm not sure I understand you Liz, could you please clarify?

I'm sorry. I thought that when you said,
Quote
I know plenty of Catholics and Orthodox that are guilty of this, but I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.
, it was a neat turn of phrase. My understanding was that you were saying that members of both churches could get it wrong (hence damning with faint praise).

The second thing I said was just a general question. I often feel that people will define Orthodoxy by what it is not, perhaps because they are talking to me as a Protestant. So, people will say, 'well, we're not interested in sola scriptura!'

These negatives are fine - but at times I lose a sense of what you do stand for. If you are truly the first and only Church, why would you need to define yourselves by differentiation from us?

Not to say that Orthodox members of this forum always define their faith negatively, but I wonder it ever happens.
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« Reply #349 on: January 15, 2010, 06:20:19 PM »

Some times I think there certain issues where no problem exists but because some EO's have become progessively anti-western, they create problems. Behaving in such a way is not the tradition of the EO Church but they are making it a new tradition. One more reason I would never become EO.

Based purely on my own experience, I would have to say, "nonsense!" to this perceived anti-Western bias. I have never heard of it before or heard anyone mention it, except some Roman Catholics.

If we don't believe the same thing, we don't believe the same thing, and no amount of shoehorning or accusations of bias will make it any different.

Yes, we are supposed to role over and pretend there is agreement when there isn't. I don't see how playing games helps anyone. 
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« Reply #350 on: January 15, 2010, 06:24:23 PM »

I'm sorry. I thought that when you said,
Quote
I know plenty of Catholics and Orthodox that are guilty of this, but I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.
, it was a neat turn of phrase. My understanding was that you were saying that members of both churches could get it wrong (hence damning with faint praise).

Ah, thanks for the compliment! Smiley

The second thing I said was just a general question. I often feel that people will define Orthodoxy by what it is not, perhaps because they are talking to me as a Protestant. So, people will say, 'well, we're not interested in sola scriptura!'

These negatives are fine - but at times I lose a sense of what you do stand for. If you are truly the first and only Church, why would you need to define yourselves by differentiation from us?

Not to say that Orthodox members of this forum always define their faith negatively, but I wonder it ever happens.

Speaking for myself, here in the States most Christians come from some sort of Protestant background. As a result, there seems to be a strong phobia against anything that looks like Roman Catholicism or even hints towards it.

As a result, much of my time defending my faith to my Protestant friends and family is first spent defending Roman Catholicism and then describing how Orthodoxy is different from the Church of Rome.

When you are constantly attacked as a "Mary worshipper" or an "idoloter" you get used to defining yourself by what you are not, verses what you are.

Perhaps this is bad form, and I suppose it requires work on apologetics on my part, but that's the best explanation I can come up with. Smiley
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« Reply #351 on: January 15, 2010, 06:54:43 PM »



I'm sorry. I thought that when you said,
Quote
I know plenty of Catholics and Orthodox that are guilty of this, but I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.
, it was a neat turn of phrase. My understanding was that you were saying that members of both churches could get it wrong (hence damning with faint praise).

The second thing I said was just a general question. I often feel that people will define Orthodoxy by what it is not, perhaps because they are talking to me as a Protestant. So, people will say, 'well, we're not interested in sola scriptura!'

These negatives are fine - but at times I lose a sense of what you do stand for. If you are truly the first and only Church, why would you need to define yourselves by differentiation from us?

Not to say that Orthodox members of this forum always define their faith negatively, but I wonder it ever happens.

Orthodoxy is centered around apophatic (negative) theology, so you will often hear us talk about what our faith isn't rather than what it is. Wink Orthodoxy, more than anything, is experiential.
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« Reply #352 on: January 19, 2010, 10:17:10 AM »

Some times I think there certain issues where no problem exists but because some EO's have become progessively anti-western, they create problems. Behaving in such a way is not the tradition of the EO Church but they are making it a new tradition. One more reason I would never become EO.

Based purely on my own experience, I would have to say, "nonsense!" to this perceived anti-Western bias. I have never heard of it before or heard anyone mention it, except some Roman Catholics.

If we don't believe the same thing, we don't believe the same thing, and no amount of shoehorning or accusations of bias will make it any different.
I see it on EO Forums. I see on EO websites. I even see it in quotes from EO theologians. I have seen it in story shared with by my friend who was a Franciscan priest, and recently passed away. He told me of his interactions with EO priests who have basicly told him off about the sack of Constantinople as soon as they found out that he was a Catholic Priest.

FWIW, my experience is almost totally opposite. I only see accusations of "anti-Western bias" from Roman Catholics on fora or websites, and have never encountered it in "real life." YMMV, of course.

There are real substantive historical and theological differences between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism - they are not at all the same thing. Contending that they are the same, except for trifles or misunderstandings - or pretending that they are the same, is wishful thinking at best. An honest acceptance/discussion/debate of differences has nothing to do with some sort of anti-Western prejudice.
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« Reply #353 on: January 24, 2010, 11:10:16 PM »


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. 

But such are not an either/or but rather an both/and proposition. Indeed, "behold the goodness and severity of God"!

You don't understand our concept of the Lake of Fire (Hell), if you did, then you would understand how we interpret "behold the goodness and severity of God".

If God is Omni-omnibenevolent, then "severity and the like" must be understood in light of His LOVE......just like the idea of "cold" must be understood in light of HEAT, for coldness is nothing more than a certain degree of heat. And so, "severity" is nothing more than a certain degree of love.

God isn't the one who is changinh from Love today, and hate tomorrow. We are the ones who keep changing, and so we "interprete" His Love as either "goodness" or "severity".....depending on our state at the time.


And so the problem is us, not God....for He is Omni-Benevolent.


ICXC NIKA

I had always thought that the level of love would be the same- it's the experience of that love that's the difference. You seem to be saying this as well, but you also seem to be saying something different.  When I read this it also comes across as if you're saying that the righteous and unrighteous will experience different levels of God's love in the afterlife.  I've never heard this before, but granted, I haven't been around that long.  Am I reading you incorrectly? 

I have to read more of Saint Isaac the Syrian to make sure. I may be trying to blend Saint Augustine.....in his early to mid years with Saint Isaac's views....especially when it comes to the concept of evil as being nothing more than a parasite of the good and that coldness is nothing more than a lack of heat......and so everything should be measured as a certain degree of heat.

I have to read more of Saint Isaac the Syrian to make sure ....for to us, evil isn't a force ...instead it is of the will. And so , you could be correct about there not being a different level thing on God's side......the difference in level may be in our own cultivation or lack there of.


ICXC NIKA
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« Reply #354 on: January 25, 2010, 12:04:28 AM »

I don't think so. If you believe an angry God demanded the Death of his son as a ransom, then we would see a fundemental Theological difference between us, not just a different way of looking at things. 

It's not that He demanded the death of His Son, but that He demanded sin be penalized. Yet, graciously, mercifully, He offered His Son in our stead, as the propitiation for our sins, so that He might accomplish both our redemption and the just punishment of sin at the same time. In this way He is both just and justifier of them that believe. As says the writer of the epistle to the Romans (Romans 3:24-26).

Glory to His name!
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« Reply #355 on: January 25, 2010, 12:43:17 AM »

I don't think so. If you believe an angry God demanded the Death of his son as a ransom, then we would see a fundemental Theological difference between us, not just a different way of looking at things.  

It's not that He demanded the death of His Son, but that He demanded sin be penalized. Yet, graciously, mercifully, He offered His Son in our stead, as the propitiation for our sins, so that He might accomplish both our redemption and the just punishment of sin at the same time. In this way He is both just and justifier of them that believe. As says the writer of the epistle to the Romans (Romans 3:24-26).

Glory to His name!

Sooooo, God was p****d off at what Adam did, that He extracted punishment on his progeny by having His own Son tortured to death. And now that the Son has died the most horrible death possible, the Father feels so much better. Odd.

When God told Adam not to eat of the Tree, He did not say "eat it and I will kill you."  He said "eat it and you will die."
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« Reply #356 on: January 25, 2010, 12:49:46 AM »

I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.

Handmaiden, my dear, that was damning with faint praise!

I have to say, I have often wondered about the way in which Orthodoxy often defines itself negatively. Is this only because the Orthodox Church believes herself to be so long established? Or not?

I'm not sure I understand you Liz, could you please clarify?

I'm sorry. I thought that when you said,
Quote
I know plenty of Catholics and Orthodox that are guilty of this, but I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.
, it was a neat turn of phrase. My understanding was that you were saying that members of both churches could get it wrong (hence damning with faint praise).

The second thing I said was just a general question. I often feel that people will define Orthodoxy by what it is not, perhaps because they are talking to me as a Protestant. So, people will say, 'well, we're not interested in sola scriptura!'

These negatives are fine - but at times I lose a sense of what you do stand for. If you are truly the first and only Church, why would you need to define yourselves by differentiation from us?

Not to say that Orthodox members of this forum always define their faith negatively, but I wonder it ever happens.
Because it's in English. where Protestantism and the Vatican are known quantities, at least in stereotype.  Most haven't a clue about Orthodoxy.  A lot of that is our fault, btw.
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« Reply #357 on: January 25, 2010, 08:38:52 AM »

Sooooo, God was p****d off at what Adam did, that He extracted punishment on his progeny by having His own Son tortured to death. And now that the Son has died the most horrible death possible, the Father feels so much better. Odd.

Not quite, but the rudimentary idea is in there somewhere, I think. Though it's hard to see past all the muck you framed it in.

If you mean is God some kind of moody deity, throwing cosmic pity parties and tantrums, bullying creation for selfish means? No.
If you mean is God vindictive and ill-natured, exacting or requiring that which is unjust? No.
If you mean does God get some kind of satisfaction out of the defamation, murder, and humiliation of His Son? No.

If you mean is God angry at sin and with sinners? Yes.
If you mean did/does God see fit to punish man for his sin? Yes.
If you mean is God unwilling to simply overlook sin or be complicit therein? Yes.
If you mean are we worthy of death and separation from God because of sin? Yes.
If you mean did some sort of reckoning between God's justice and mercy have to be made to permit reconciliation? Yes.
If you mean did God, despite His offense at sin, find a way to pardon and reconcile the sinner? Yes.
If you mean did God see fit to send His Son, as a man, to willingly be a propitiation for our sins? Yes.
If you mean did God accomplish that in the redemptive work of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection? Yes.



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« Reply #358 on: January 25, 2010, 07:16:07 PM »

Sooooo, God was p****d off at what Adam did, that He extracted punishment on his progeny by having His own Son tortured to death. And now that the Son has died the most horrible death possible, the Father feels so much better. Odd.

Not quite, but the rudimentary idea is in there somewhere, I think. Though it's hard to see past all the muck you framed it in.

If you mean is God some kind of moody deity, throwing cosmic pity parties and tantrums, bullying creation for selfish means? No.
If you mean is God vindictive and ill-natured, exacting or requiring that which is unjust? No.
If you mean does God get some kind of satisfaction out of the defamation, murder, and humiliation of His Son? No.

If you mean is God angry at sin and with sinners? Yes.
If you mean did/does God see fit to punish man for his sin? Yes.
If you mean is God unwilling to simply overlook sin or be complicit therein? Yes.
If you mean are we worthy of death and separation from God because of sin? Yes.
If you mean did some sort of reckoning between God's justice and mercy have to be made to permit reconciliation? Yes.
If you mean did God, despite His offense at sin, find a way to pardon and reconcile the sinner? Yes.
If you mean did God see fit to send His Son, as a man, to willingly be a propitiation for our sins? Yes.
If you mean did God accomplish that in the redemptive work of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection? Yes.





Yes, we got it.. We have trouble acknowledging your theory as Christianity wether it's framed in muck or cleaned up a bit.
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« Reply #359 on: January 25, 2010, 07:32:45 PM »

I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.

Handmaiden, my dear, that was damning with faint praise!

I have to say, I have often wondered about the way in which Orthodoxy often defines itself negatively. Is this only because the Orthodox Church believes herself to be so long established? Or not?

I'm not sure I understand you Liz, could you please clarify?

I'm sorry. I thought that when you said,
Quote
I know plenty of Catholics and Orthodox that are guilty of this, but I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.
, it was a neat turn of phrase. My understanding was that you were saying that members of both churches could get it wrong (hence damning with faint praise).

The second thing I said was just a general question. I often feel that people will define Orthodoxy by what it is not, perhaps because they are talking to me as a Protestant. So, people will say, 'well, we're not interested in sola scriptura!'

These negatives are fine - but at times I lose a sense of what you do stand for. If you are truly the first and only Church, why would you need to define yourselves by differentiation from us?

Not to say that Orthodox members of this forum always define their faith negatively, but I wonder it ever happens.
Because it's in English. where Protestantism and the Vatican are known quantities, at least in stereotype.  Most haven't a clue about Orthodoxy.  A lot of that is our fault, btw.

I do understand this. It's a problem that needs a lot of work from both sides. But not, I think, an insurmountable one.
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