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Author Topic: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom  (Read 6447 times) Average Rating: 0
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truthstalker
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« on: November 23, 2009, 02:03:11 PM »

Promising that he would be ordained with friend Basil, when they came for him, he hid himself and allowed Basil to go forward, Basil thinking he had already acquiesced.  Afterwards John chortled at his trickery, citing Biblical examples as his justification.  Apparently such a dishonorable act was not so viewed then; these days strict honesty and integrity are required.  Or are they?  How can I trust John not to be telling me a pious fraud in his writings, as he who so thoroughly deceived his friend, whom he loved, on such an important matter, would certainly not hesitate to deceive others, including me, on other matters? And for that matter, if he is such an important figure in Orthodoxy, how can anyone ever believe that a pious fraud is not being committed against oneself by the Orthodox, followers of John the proven deceiver? Or was John using this as a literary device in his writings On the Priesthood, and he didn't really betray Basil? If so, how, again, can John be trusted with anything on any occasion?
 
How do the Orthodox view this matter? Do you embrace his deceit, deny it, or excuse it?
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2009, 02:06:45 PM »

Since you neglected to provide any sources for your accusations, how can we be sure you're not being deceitful?  Wink
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2009, 02:07:37 PM »

Promising that he would be ordained with friend Basil, when they came for him, he hid himself and allowed Basil to go forward, Basil thinking he had already acquiesced.  Afterwards John chortled at his trickery, citing Biblical examples as his justification.  Apparently such a dishonorable act was not so viewed then; these days strict honesty and integrity are required.  Or are they?  How can I trust John not to be telling me a pious fraud in his writings, as he who so thoroughly deceived his friend, whom he loved, on such an important matter, would certainly not hesitate to deceive others, including me, on other matters? And for that matter, if he is such an important figure in Orthodoxy, how can anyone ever believe that a pious fraud is not being committed against oneself by the Orthodox, followers of John the proven deceiver? Or was John using this as a literary device in his writings On the Priesthood, and he didn't really betray Basil? If so, how, again, can John be trusted with anything on any occasion?
 
How do the Orthodox view this matter? Do you embrace his deceit, deny it, or excuse it?

I have had the same question about Jesus in the Gospel of John, where he says that he is not going up to Jerusalem on a feast day and then goes in secret.
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2009, 02:25:09 PM »

Since you neglected to provide any sources for your accusations, how can we be sure you're not being deceitful?  Wink

Indeed.  What are your sources for this information?
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2009, 02:29:24 PM »

Since you neglected to provide any sources for your accusations, how can we be sure you're not being deceitful?  Wink

Sorry...I would have thought you would be knowledgeable about this.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf109.iii.iv.html

and
Quote
There may be some doubt if it was occasioned by a real historical fact, viz., that Chrysostom and his friend Basil were requested to accept bishoprics (c. 372). All the earliest Greek biographers seem not to have taken it in that sense.

in http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08452b.htm, which suggests this might have been a literary device.

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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2009, 02:36:14 PM »

Since you neglected to provide any sources for your accusations, how can we be sure you're not being deceitful?  Wink

Sorry...I would have thought you would be knowledgeable about this.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf109.iii.iv.html

and
Quote
There may be some doubt if it was occasioned by a real historical fact, viz., that Chrysostom and his friend Basil were requested to accept bishoprics (c. 372). All the earliest Greek biographers seem not to have taken it in that sense.

in http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08452b.htm, which suggests this might have been a literary device.



It's standard courtesy to provide sources for such assertions, regardless of your audience's familiarity with the material.  Thank you for listing them.
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2009, 02:41:48 PM »

1. St. John Chrysostom, although a Saint, was a human and a sinner.

2. ASSUMING THE FACTSIN THE LINKED SOURCE ARE TRUE (big assumption- that there was an agreement between the 2, that St. John chortled with delight at his trickery, etc.), there is historical/cultural context to consider (it wasn't seen as bad at the time), St. John's objective was holy (the Church needed St. Basil to be installed as Bishop) and this description of St. John's work by the author you linked reveals more about the agenda/pespective of the author than it does about Chrysostom's work "On the Preisthood":
"But it ("On the Priesthood") has serious defects, besides the objectionable justification of pious fraud, and cannot satisfy the demands of an evangelical minister. In all that pertains to the proper care of souls it is inferior to the “Reformed Pastor” of Richard Baxter."
 Roll Eyes

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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2009, 02:59:05 PM »

Chrysostom's "pious fraud": He hid himself as a hermit in a cave to avoid being ordained (and thereby receiving any earthly honors). Lived an austere life of studying the Scriptures and fasting for years. And disclosed Basil's hiding place because he (Chrysostom) believed Basil to be chosen by God and thus eminently qualified for ordination.

Better call the authorities!

I have had the same question about Jesus in the Gospel of John, where he says that he is not going up to Jerusalem on a feast day and then goes in secret.

 laugh Yes, and not only that, he told a parable in Lk 16:1-9 that advocates shrewd and deceptive business practices for the sake of the Kingdom.
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« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2009, 03:01:41 PM »

I have had the same question about Jesus in the Gospel of John, where he says that he is not going up to Jerusalem on a feast day and then goes in secret.

He said it was not yet His time, but, that they should go.
He did remain in Galilee for a time after their departure, and then He went.

So, you cannot say He deceived them.  He went later.

The fact that He went in "secret" is neither here nor there. They had asked him to make a "show" of Himself...to prove Himself...

John 7: 
4  For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.
5  For neither did his brethren believe in him.

He didn't have to "prove" anything to anyone.  In fact, He was the example of doing things quietly and being known for your deeds, not for making a big ostentatious show of your knowledge and abilities.

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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2009, 04:00:11 PM »

St. John Chrysostom was no "Presbyterian" with such "high ethics". I couldn't care less...
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2009, 04:21:14 PM »

I've come across many examples of moral deception or pious fraud. Usually the reason was rather insignificant, like a saint not wanting to be bothered by his neighbors, or a saint wanting to be undercover (as with saints who pretended to be a sex other than their own, which is actually not only lying, but is also against the canons, but who's keeping count, eh?).  Some of the examples or moral deception that I've come across are in the Bible... I suppose you might say that "these days strict honesty and integrity are required" as opposed to those Biblical days? Wink There have been a couple threads on this subject before on OC.net, though the focus was not generally on the patristic record and I don't know if I ever mentioned the example from St. John Chrysostom.
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2009, 05:54:14 PM »

He just seems to be following the standard "reluctant prophet" archetype, when people show their humility by refusing a position they don't feel worthy of. 

That's when you know that you have a great leader: When they don't want the job.
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2009, 05:59:34 PM »

How do the Orthodox view this matter? Do you embrace his deceit, deny it, or excuse it?
Do you need a hand? That question looks pretty heavily loaded.

I find your source to be rather biased against our beloved Saint. He seems to be out to prove that the place we ascribe to St. John is unwarranted. I trust you'll forgive us if we don't immediately hand over our pearls.
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2009, 06:11:11 PM »

I find this act of "pious fraud" to be rather minor and insignificant in comparision to some of the allegations against Mr. Calvin that i've come across.
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« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2009, 07:25:19 PM »

I find this act of "pious fraud" to be rather minor and insignificant in comparision to some of the allegations against Mr. Calvin that i've come across.
Very good point.
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« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2009, 07:37:44 PM »

Most of these answers are either evasive or a denial.  Others are personal opinion or speculation. I also seem to have touched a nerve.

I'm reading Chrysostom BECAUSE you people hold him in high regard.  I would appreciate it if you would help me get over this barrier, as in reading "On the Priesthood" I find him trying to justify the indefensible in regards to this. I continue to read him, but it is as it were as holding my nose. Schaff has a bias, no doubt, and possibly he has poisoned a great man of God's reputation for me.  But I would expect the Orthodox to bring a more positive viewpoint to the same material.  New Advent seems to want to deny The Incident occurred. You seem to not want to deal with it.   I think you can do a lot better than what I have seen so far on this thread.

Detoxify him for me. Thanks.
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« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2009, 07:40:18 PM »

Our Salvation was wrought by a deception. Throughout His life Our Lord charged His Disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Son of God.
Christ entered Hades and destroyed death because Satan had no idea that it was God who was being murdered on the Cross. Hence, there is no salvation in Puritanism. Or do you think works will save you truthstalker?
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« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2009, 07:49:53 PM »

I also seem to have touched a nerve.
Ya think?!

Detoxify him for me. Thanks.
You see, it's language like this that is causing you not to get the answers you want. You come here attacking a man we hold in very high regard, and you wonder why we become defensive. Perhaps if you had asked a more neutral question (and the way you asked it could hardly have been less neutral) you would have gotten answers more like what you wanted.
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« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2009, 07:58:59 PM »

I also seem to have touched a nerve.
Ya think?!

Detoxify him for me. Thanks.
You see, it's language like this that is causing you not to get the answers you want. You come here attacking a man we hold in very high regard, and you wonder why we become defensive. Perhaps if you had asked a more neutral question (and the way you asked it could hardly have been less neutral) you would have gotten answers more like what you wanted.

I thought it was neutral.  Apparently if I wish someone to have a nice day it will be taken as a death threat or something.  Maybe I just don't know how to talk to the Orthodox or the "Evangelical Presbyterian" label just rubs you the wrong way, or I stomped real hard on a sensitive part without realizing it.  I really did not mean to offend anyone, but neither do I know how to ask it in a better manner. Perhaps that is solely my fault.   How would you ask the question? How would you phrase it more neutrally?

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« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2009, 08:04:34 PM »

How would you phrase it more neutrally?
Well, one way might be to phrase it like this:
"St. John Chrysotom deceived his friend Basil into thinking he was being ordained in order to get his friend ordained. Was St. John Chrysotom's act dishonourable? And does this mean that we cannot trust anything he says? And does that mean that Christ's deception of Satan was dishonourable and that we cannot trust Him either?"
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« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2009, 08:06:33 PM »

I also seem to have touched a nerve.
Ya think?!

Detoxify him for me. Thanks.
You see, it's language like this that is causing you not to get the answers you want. You come here attacking a man we hold in very high regard, and you wonder why we become defensive. Perhaps if you had asked a more neutral question (and the way you asked it could hardly have been less neutral) you would have gotten answers more like what you wanted.

I thought it was neutral.  Apparently if I wish someone to have a nice day it will be taken as a death threat or something.  Maybe I just don't know how to talk to the Orthodox or the "Evangelical Presbyterian" label just rubs you the wrong way, or I stomped real hard on a sensitive part without realizing it.  I really did not mean to offend anyone, but neither do I know how to ask it in a better manner. Perhaps that is solely my fault.   How would you ask the question? How would you phrase it more neutrally?
I don't presume to speak for everyone, but for me, it was the way that you seemed to buy wholesale Schaff's argument as though it were irrefutable fact, and then asked us to refute it, and didn't even give us a link to the original article so that we could refute it. Perhaps it would have been better to say something like, "I've just read this work by Philip Schaff, in which he seems to be saying that St. John Chrystostom deceived his friend St. Basil. What do you think of this claim?" You probably would have gotten much better responses with a question like this one.
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« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2009, 08:18:45 PM »

I'm not sure I heard of Chrsystom particularly before I encountered this forum - he was just "one of those Fathers" found in footnotes.  For me, Schaff is well known and respected.  That I am coming to you and questioning whether his perspective is correct is a stretch.  So, ok, what do you think of what Schaff said?

Ozgeorge raised some issues, some of which would go beyond the scope of this thread to pursue, although they are logically consequent to the current inquiry. I didn't go into the "Is God trustworthy" probably because my regard for Chrysostom is lower than yours - quite possibly because of my utter ignorance of him, apart from Schaff, the New Advent article and scattered allusions.

I would like to improve my view of SJC by reading him, but this has made it difficult.

Please forgive me for any offense and all offenses.
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« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2009, 08:46:44 PM »

I'm not sure I heard of Chrsystom particularly before I encountered this forum - he was just "one of those Fathers" found in footnotes.  For me, Schaff is well known and respected.  That I am coming to you and questioning whether his perspective is correct is a stretch.  So, ok, what do you think of what Schaff said?

Ozgeorge raised some issues, some of which would go beyond the scope of this thread to pursue, although they are logically consequent to the current inquiry. I didn't go into the "Is God trustworthy" probably because my regard for Chrysostom is lower than yours - quite possibly because of my utter ignorance of him, apart from Schaff, the New Advent article and scattered allusions.

I would like to improve my view of SJC by reading him, but this has made it difficult.

Please forgive me for any offense and all offenses.

No harm done. Just try and speak more respectably about the beloved saint.
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« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2009, 08:48:41 PM »

I'm not sure I heard of Chrsystom particularly before I encountered this forum - he was just "one of those Fathers" found in footnotes.  For me, Schaff is well known and respected.  That I am coming to you and questioning whether his perspective is correct is a stretch.  So, ok, what do you think of what Schaff said?
For one, I don't know Philip Schaff at all. He has no reputation with me, and therefore no credibility. So I may be reading him differently from you. Like I said before, he seems to be to be very biased against St. John, and seems to be trying to prove St. John's untrustworthiness. Unfortunately, I am going to side with St. John; he did, after all, write the Liturgy I pray weekly. I can't think of any greater trust than that.

Ozgeorge raised some issues, some of which would go beyond the scope of this thread to pursue, although they are logically consequent to the current inquiry. I didn't go into the "Is God trustworthy" probably because my regard for Chrysostom is lower than yours - quite possibly because of my utter ignorance of him, apart from Schaff, the New Advent article and scattered allusions.

I would like to improve my view of SJC by reading him, but this has made it difficult.

Please forgive me for any offense and all offenses.
May God forgive us all. I do encourage you to read St. John; he was a prolific writer, and though his actions were always bold and often offensive, he had good reason for what he did.
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« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2009, 09:44:15 PM »

I'm not sure I heard of Chrsystom particularly before I encountered this forum - he was just "one of those Fathers" found in footnotes.  For me, Schaff is well known and respected.  That I am coming to you and questioning whether his perspective is correct is a stretch.  So, ok, what do you think of what Schaff said?

Ozgeorge raised some issues, some of which would go beyond the scope of this thread to pursue, although they are logically consequent to the current inquiry. I didn't go into the "Is God trustworthy" probably because my regard for Chrysostom is lower than yours - quite possibly because of my utter ignorance of him, apart from Schaff, the New Advent article and scattered allusions.

I would like to improve my view of SJC by reading him, but this has made it difficult.

Please forgive me for any offense and all offenses.

It is most unfortunate if you take this one aspect of St. John's "mind" as the open and end case of who he is and what he writes.  He has written so prolifically and so beatifully, in such deep and wonderful theology that you really are missing out by taking this "deception" into unnecessary areas. 

In the end, St. John DID become a deacon, priest and bishop (including patriarch of Constantinople).  He fought the arians and preached some of the greatest homilies the world has ever seen.  Did he decieve Basil?  It seems to be the case.  Was it a "holy deception" well...that's what the argument is all about I suppose.  One person who I know very well said it in an interesting way:  as priests, or even as friends, don't we change the truth, or even outrightly lie, so that people will make the right decision, based on our discernment? 

I would say discernment is the key here.  St. John had the discernment, and the holiness, to diceive his friend so that he would do the right thing, according to John.  Who are we to question that judgment?  Were we there, do we know all the details, do we know the two involved intimately? The answer to those questions is no, so our presumptions to cast OUR judgment on him, and not know HIS judgment at all, seems to me to be very presumptuous. 
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« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2009, 10:17:01 PM »

Another point well worth making is that we are all sinners and oftentimes falter in our lives; I know I fall short of the mark on a daily basis.  Are you saying that you or Mr. Schaff have never sinned?  Or if you have, are your words no longer credible?  St. Paul mentions more than once in his epistles how he is a sinner and how he still sins; are we to discount his words? 
 
Perhaps you are missing the forest for the trees.
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« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2009, 11:54:49 PM »

It's been months since I last heard it, but it gotta be on one of these:

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/searchthescriptures/introduction_to_the_bible_lesson_20_basil_and_gregory (Introduction to the Bible - Lesson 20: Basil and Gregory)

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/searchthescriptures/the_school_of_antioch (The School of Antioch)

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/searchthescriptures/the_school_of_antioch_cont (The School of Antioch - Cont.)










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« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2009, 01:08:08 AM »

If sin is "missing the mark", the question then is, "what is the 'mark'?" The answer is, of course, Christ. It follows then that nothing that is authentically conducive to the honour and will of Christ can be called 'sin' even if it be something which prima facie falls under a general category (e.g. 'deception') that would seem by default to refer to those types of acts/words that detract from the honour and will of God.

Such is the case not only for deception. Other such 'general categories' I can think of are: adultery, anger, and violence. All these have in times past been committed in a manner authentically conducive to the honour and will of Christ.

St Ephrem the Syrian spoke of the adultery of Tamar as being an "holy adultery" on account of the fact that, Tamar, in so committing the relevant act, did so for the sake of securing the very offspring integral to Christ's genealogical heritage. What is generally by default a selfish act, was, in this instance, committed selflessly (and St Ephrem highlights the selfless aspect of her act in suggesting that she would have committed the act shamefully) in promotion of the providential will of God, and so it was not counted as sin.

Another interesting example from history concerns Apa St Shenoute, a fifth century Coptic Saint who launched a vigorous and often violent campaign against paganism. After physically tearing down a pagan idol before its worshipper, St Apa Shenoute was charged by the worshipper of having committed criminal behaviour, and he was threatened with legal action. St Apa Shenoute's response was, "there is no crime for those who have Christ."

With the above said, I don't think it fit that *anyone* should think themselves able to justify acts of anger, violence, deception, adultery, or any other such category that ordinarily refers to "sinful acts", by an appeal to such acts being ostensibly committed in promotion of the honour and will of Christ. The common element to the above listed incidents, and those similar to them, is that all the persons involved were persons of such a high spiritual calibre such that there can be no doubt that their otherwise questional activities were authentically conducive to the honour and will of Christ on account of their being authentically receptive to specific divine inspiration giving them the 'okay'. I think this is the effect of St Apa Shenoute's words in particular when he refers to those who *have* Christ.
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« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2009, 01:20:13 AM »


Please forgive me for any offense and all offenses.

 I don't think you're one bit sincere.  In fact, I don't think you care one bit about Saint John and aren't the least bit interested in the topic.  From most of your posts, it seems that you wanted to throw some rocks at the hornets nest and now that your butt's on fire, you're changing tactics.  "Detoxify him for me"... 
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« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2009, 01:47:46 AM »


Please forgive me for any offense and all offenses.

 I don't think you're one bit sincere.  In fact, I don't think you care one bit about Saint John and aren't the least bit interested in the topic.  From most of your posts, it seems that you wanted to throw some rocks at the hornets nest and now that your butt's on fire, you're changing tactics.  "Detoxify him for me"... 
But can we grant him the benefit of the doubt? Undecided
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« Reply #30 on: November 24, 2009, 04:36:07 AM »

Firstly, I just want to say that I'm not qualified to debate on this subject, considering my newness to Orthodoxy, however I'd like to offer my thoughts if I may.

But during the course of my journey towards it, one of the first people I read about (and have hence come to admire) -is- St. John Chrysostom: I absolutely -love- him!  If he indeed do what he did, then while it maybe up for debate, truly the heart of the matter is that isn't between us, but St. John himself and our beloved Lord.

I admit it did hit a nerve for me in reading the original post, mostly because he is someone I consider one of my personal saints and love reading his work, as it provides me comfort and advice. 

Think of it this way:  how many leaders or important men(women) have perhaps been deceptive themselves but are considered wonderful, good, and a great credit (benefit) to a good deal many people because of their overall intentions and actions and their results?  For example, look at (St.) Constantine the Great:  here was a man who was quite ruthless among other things, BUT he -was- the one responsible (along with his mother St. Helena I understand) for legalizing Christianity in the first place--I mean, if you really think about it, it makes me wonder where would Christianity be today if he hadn't done it, and hadn't had that sign in which he would conquer?  Did that excuse his actions from the past and such and his behavior afterwards?  Of course not, but the fact of the matter remains that if it wasn't for him and his mother, who know where we'd be today.  Methinks if Christianity wasn't legalized, then it would have remained a persecuted faith and perhaps nothing that had happened would have happened afterwards.

I do not know (or think) but it seems logical to me given this that if it wasn't legalized, then the RC (and hence Protestant faiths of all stripes) would not have existed (well maybe not to the extent it does today).  Please understand (and I want this to be absolutely clear), that I am in no way shape or form trying to offend anyone, just speak my thoughts, so if I inadvertantly do, I apologize.

So, based on this example, was Constantine a terrible man?  Maybe and probably but what is loved and venerated about him is the fact that because of his legalizing Christianity, it gave it a chance to grow and spread without condemnation.  In other words, his good outweighed his bad.

I think that is the same with St.John.  -If- he did indeed deceive, then I'd think what he did do (or tried to, as it has been said already that we are all sinners no matter who we are) for our faith would far outweigh it:  I mean, any man who can be instantly recalled by an Empire out of fear of the people and peasantry rioting because he was so beloved by them for standing up against politics and extravangence and the like is definately someone to be admired for having such a powerful effect onto those he ministered to. I'd also venture to say that would speak powerful volumes of his overall character and intentions.

I love him dearly and admire his writings--it is one of those thing that have guided me along my own journey and that I hope will continue to (by the grace of God).

----

One book I think you might enjoy if you want to learn a little more about him and where he stood on certain things is called:

"Daily Readings From the writings of St. John Chrysostom" by Anthony M. Coniaris. 

It has a lot of wonderful little snippets of his sermons on a wide variety of subjects, including his Easter homily.  VERY good book and reading and I highly recommend it.

Hope what I've said made sense--oftentimes what I am thinking and wish to express never comes out right when I speak (write) it so *laughing* I hope it did.  Just my thoughts and opinions only on someone I consider a great man!  Thank you for reading and listening Smiley.
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« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2009, 10:52:27 AM »

truthstalker,

I answered you above, as have others.

By the way, I'm formerly Presbyterian (PCA) and haven't heard of this Shaff you have quoted.

The only person who can "detoxify" St. John is Christ.  As far as your finding his reputation, works, and life adequate for emulation or study, I don't see any reason why this little vignette should cause any heartburn.

ASSUMING all of the facts as relayed are true (big assumption, since commenting on St. John's glee at his deception, etc. seem to be a bit of editorializing), there is plenty of precedent for "tricking" someone into doing the right thing.

St. John thought St. Basil should be ordained and would serve the Church well. St. Basil, attempting to piously decline, was "tricked" into agreeing to be ordained.  It seems clear that St. John believed very strongly that St. Basil's ordination would advance Christ's ministry and bear significant fruit.

But, the only thing standing between Basil and ordination was Basil's belief that John too had agreed to be ordained. That was it. So, John satisfied that condition by giving Basil that impression (a good thing) while maintaining his own calling at the time (a good thing).

I've had mentors "trick" me into doing the right thing.

I guess God tricked humanity by promising a Jewish Messiah-Ruler but instead gave them Christ.

My parents used all sorts of tricks to get me to eat my vegetables when I was a child.

My wife "tricked" me into painting the laundry room last night.

I think using words like "tricked", "fraud" and so forth are loaded- did St. John fail to live up to a commandment, or fail to love St. Basil in some fashion? Clearly not, as St. Basil was an outstanding bishop and reached many people in that role.

I'm not an "end justifies the means" kind of person (although there is some merit to that point of view at times), but it seems clear that these 2 men were kindred spirits, and Basil was unwilling to step out and embrace his calling w/o feeling like his friend was going to do the same.  I suspect Basil wanted to be ordained, but needed to feel that it was "okay" to make the jump- hence, making a deal with John. He needed a push and got it. That isn't a sin at all.
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« Reply #32 on: November 24, 2009, 11:03:11 AM »

Thank you.

In Romans 1 Paul condemns deceivers: I do not think that God would condemn something and then turn around and do what he condemns. To say that He would is to accuse Him of hypocrisy, which is a blasphemous act.  Satan is the prime liar and the father of liars, and God is holy.  It is blasphemous to state that God is somehow the prime liar and the father of liars. Jesus came into the world and declared Himself to be the Truth.  For Him to say that and then engage in deception is again to accuse Him of hypocrisy, duplicity and sin. So I reject the idea that God deceives anyone, or that He is a trickster, or that He endorses lying under any circumstance, for any reason.  God is holy.

If you maintain that there is a separate moral system for the sanctified, that somehow a saint can be so holy that he no longer is under ethical restraint or a requirement for godly behavior, you are opening yourself up to all kinds of moral problems. Somehow the saint is no longer holy? God is no respecter of persons.  There is no separate moral or ethical system for the saint, who is supposedly so much closer to God than we are.  

Where you have been helpful has been in another way.  PtA said "but we can grant him the benefit of the doubt?"  I see now that the Orthodox view deception differently than I do, and that the relevant issues are much more complex than I had assumed, and so in reading John Chrsostom, I can give him the benefit of the doubt.  The first chapter of his "On the Priesthood" is a defense of his deceit of Basil.  Perhaps, as New Advent intimates, the deceit was only a literary device.  Perhaps it was justified.  But I think it is something that may simply be beyond me to really figure out.

I am, after all, in no position to judge anyone. A good point.  
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« Reply #33 on: November 24, 2009, 11:30:17 AM »

Thank you.

In Romans 1 Paul condemns deceivers: I do not think that God would condemn something and then turn around and do what he condemns. To say that He would is to accuse Him of hypocrisy, which is a blasphemous act.  Satan is the prime liar and the father of liars, and God is holy.  It is blasphemous to state that God is somehow the prime liar and the father of liars. Jesus came into the world and declared Himself to be the Truth.  For Him to say that and then engage in deception is again to accuse Him of hypocrisy, duplicity and sin. So I reject the idea that God deceives anyone, or that He is a trickster, or that He endorses lying under any circumstance, for any reason.  God is holy.

If you maintain that there is a separate moral system for the sanctified, that somehow a saint can be so holy that he no longer is under ethical restraint or a requirement for godly behavior, you are opening yourself up to all kinds of moral problems. Somehow the saint is no longer holy? God is no respecter of persons.  There is no separate moral or ethical system for the saint, who is supposedly so much closer to God than we are.  

Where you have been helpful has been in another way.  PtA said "but we can grant him the benefit of the doubt?"  I see now that the Orthodox view deception differently than I do, and that the relevant issues are much more complex than I had assumed, and so in reading John Chrsostom, I can give him the benefit of the doubt.  The first chapter of his "On the Priesthood" is a defense of his deceit of Basil.  Perhaps, as New Advent intimates, the deceit was only a literary device.  Perhaps it was justified.  But I think it is something that may simply be beyond me to really figure out.

I am, after all, in no position to judge anyone. A good point.  

I can't tell if you were answering my post above (doesn't seem like it- as I added additional reasons why what St. John did was not sinful, and not all tricks are sinful), but I will add this.

Please define "fraud".

I'm am a lawyer by trade, and one of the elements of fraud is deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.

On a purely semantic level, St. John obtained no profit, gain or unfair advantage as a result of his "trick". So, no fraud.  All fraud requires a trick, but not all tricks are tantamount to fraud.

I provided other examples of this above.

Also, the reference to St. Paul's words in Romans is completely without merit- totally different context, and hardly applicable to what St. John did.  The "cherrypicking" of scripture to construct a point was one of the reasons I started looking outside the PCA to begin with. "Every preacher a pope..."
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« Reply #34 on: November 24, 2009, 11:46:54 AM »

St. John Chrysostom was no "Presbyterian" with such "high ethics". I couldn't care less...

Post of the month nomination!!! (from someone who was baptised Presbyterian  Wink )
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« Reply #35 on: November 24, 2009, 11:47:12 AM »

Satan had no idea that it was God who was being murdered on the Cross.

Really? TThe Gospels are pretty clear than Satan (as well as the demons) knew EXACTLY who Jesus was. ("I know who you are Jesus of nazareth") At least that's what I've always been taught. What Satan didn't "get" was the fact that killing Jesus would be the means of his (satan's) defeat. But that Satan didn't know Jesus was God Incarnate? I'm not sure about that.

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« Reply #36 on: November 24, 2009, 11:48:21 AM »

I prefer to read the editions by Rev. Alexander Roberts, Sir James Donaldson & Arthur Cleveland Coxe before reading anything by Schaff. I also like to read NewAdvent as well.

But that's my own personal bias.









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« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2009, 11:59:07 AM »

Satan had no idea that it was God who was being murdered on the Cross.

Really? TThe Gospels are pretty clear than Satan (as well as the demons) knew EXACTLY who Jesus was. ("I know who you are Jesus of nazareth") At least that's what I've always been taught. What Satan didn't "get" was the fact that killing Jesus would be the means of his (satan's) defeat. But that Satan didn't know Jesus was God Incarnate? I'm not sure about that.



I would agree.  Why do you think that Satan had no idea it was God Incarnate on the Cross, ozgeorge?
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« Reply #38 on: November 24, 2009, 12:11:24 PM »

I find this act of "pious fraud" to be rather minor and insignificant in comparision to some of the allegations against Mr. Calvin that i've come across.
Very good point.

Actually I don't think it is. It's more of a "our saints aren't better than your saints" kind of point. Smiley

IMO it's not a sound defense just to say, "well yeah so and so in my group did some bad things, but look how many bad things people in YOUR group have done." Cheesy

As a Catholic I'm sure you've experienced the same thing when Orthodox talk about Catholic saints, and as an Orthodox I've had Catholics say the same thing about Orthodox saints. (Gregory Palamas being one example) Attacking John Calvin, when the subject is not even John Calvin just doesn't seem to be a good way of discussing the issue. Now granted, the original post did seem to be worded in such a way as to be . . . inflammatory, but OTH, some of the "sins" of St. John Chrysostom are hardly historical secrets. I admire and respect him too, but he doesn't have the most "friendly" reputation outside the Orthodox world. So it's easy to see how many of his writings and decisions can be viewed with disdain or confusion.  I'm sure you feel the same way when Orthodox say things like "St Francis had a demon".....which is more absurd than this is against St. John Chrysostom, at least to me anyway.

I do believe St. John is a saint, but he certainly wore his faults on his sleeve. (which in many ways is good for us all, as long as we're willing to admit our sleeves are actually covered in faults)

As for this ocassion, I don't have much knowledge of the details, only passing familiarity, but though I love St. John I find some of his writings pretty hard to defend. But again, that's my personal opinion, and it makes it easy for me to see how he can be easily misunderstood.



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« Reply #39 on: November 24, 2009, 12:26:31 PM »

I find this act of "pious fraud" to be rather minor and insignificant in comparision to some of the allegations against Mr. Calvin that i've come across.
Very good point.

Actually I don't think it is. It's more of a "our saints aren't better than your saints" kind of point. Smiley

IMO it's not a sound defense just to say, "well yeah so and so in my group did some bad things, but look how many bad things people in YOUR group have done." Cheesy

As a Catholic I'm sure you've experienced the same thing when Orthodox talk about Catholic saints, and as an Orthodox I've had Catholics say the same thing about Orthodox saints. (Gregory Palamas being one example) Attacking John Calvin, when the subject is not even John Calvin just doesn't seem to be a good way of discussing the issue. Now granted, the original post did seem to be worded in such a way as to be . . . inflammatory, but OTH, some of the "sins" of St. John Chrysostom are hardly historical secrets. I admire and respect him too, but he doesn't have the most "friendly" reputation outside the Orthodox world. So it's easy to see how many of his writings and decisions can be viewed with disdain or confusion.  I'm sure you feel the same way when Orthodox say things like "St Francis had a demon".....which is more absurd than this is against St. John Chrysostom, at least to me anyway.

I do believe St. John is a saint, but he certainly wore his faults on his sleeve. (which in many ways is good for us all, as long as we're willing to admit our sleeves are actually covered in faults)

As for this ocassion, I don't have much knowledge of the details, only passing familiarity, but though I love St. John I find some of his writings pretty hard to defend. But again, that's my personal opinion, and it makes it easy for me to see how he can be easily misunderstood.


I'm not sure that it's a case of "our saints are better than yours" because, if the OP holds the writings and conclusions of John Calvin in high esteem and disregards the unsavory aspects of his life, he is exercising a double standard.  It's only fair that his prejudice is called out.
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« Reply #40 on: November 24, 2009, 12:49:55 PM »

As others have said, even if St. John Chrysostom did deceive Basil, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. We also don't know what went on between St. John and his father confessor. He may have rejoiced over this "deception" at first, then confessed and repented later.

St. John, like all of us, was prone to temptation and sin. Does this make him any less of a saint? A quick reading of his works would provide a prompt and resounding "No!"

The Orthodox Church has never said St. John was perfect; we have just recognized that he was a man who led a holy life.
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« Reply #41 on: November 24, 2009, 12:59:03 PM »


I'm not sure that it's a case of "our saints are better than yours" because, if the OP holds the writings and conclusions of John Calvin in high esteem and disregards the unsavory aspects of his life, he is exercising a double standard.  It's only fair that his prejudice is called out.

I see your point, however the OP never mentioned John Calvin, rather an Orthodox Christian brought him up first. I would agree with you if he had come here touting John Calvin as being better than St. John, but he didn't really do that.  He never mentioned John Calvin. I just don't see any reason to bring him up at all, except to deflect a perceived attack on St. John and to say, "well if you're going to attack our saints, we're going to attack yours".

In some ways it is  a double standard, but Presbyterians in general don't really think of Calvin in the same way we think of St. John. I mean, we do celebrate his Liturgy, and hold him up as uniquely Orthodox in some ways. Do Presbyterians do the same with Calvin? well, they do hold to his theological conclusions but they certainly don't "venerate" him as a saint, or think he was any more holy than anyone else. They just think he explained biblical doctrine correctly, not that he was a "saint", in the same sense we believe St. John was a  saint.

It's just hard sometimes for people on the outside to hear that someone is a saint, (with all the meaning and context that word has taken on in the western world) and at the same time did or wrote many not so saintly things. Presbyterians don't have that issue obviously because Calvin is no more important than anyone else. I could be wrong though, as I'm far more familiar with Lutheranism than I am with Calvinism, so maybe I'm just flat wrong here.


Anyway, my point was just that the thread was about St. John and his unsavory acts, (whether perceived or real) not Calvin's. And it seemed to me, to be a deflection of the question because it can be a sore spot for many, particularly with St. John Chrysostom. I love him, love his Liturgy, and think he was a great man and did much good for the Church, but frankly I have a hard time with some of his writings, and find Orthodox/Catholic explanations of some of those writings lacking in credibility to say the least. Even in "historical context" some of his stuff takes a leap of faith to defend as being Christian, so perhaps I'm a bit more sympathetic to the OPs question than I first thought.

With that said though, your point about the double standard is legit to a degree, but I still say since the OP probably doesn't hold Calvin up as a saint, it's not a 1 to 1 comparision...maybe 1 to .9 or something! Smiley

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« Reply #42 on: November 24, 2009, 01:09:05 PM »

NorthernPines,

You are most certainly correct that the OP did not mention Calvin, but, by definition, Presbyterianism is Calvinist.  While many Presbyterian churches do not stress that link, it most certainly has its roots in Calvin's theology.

And I do admit that it's not a 1 to 1 comparison, as you pointed out.  It's close enough, though, for me and, I hope, for the OP to respond to. Smiley
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« Reply #43 on: November 24, 2009, 01:33:54 PM »

NorthernPines,

You are most certainly correct that the OP did not mention Calvin, but, by definition, Presbyterianism is Calvinist.  While many Presbyterian churches do not stress that link, it most certainly has its roots in Calvin's theology.

And I do admit that it's not a 1 to 1 comparison, as you pointed out.  It's close enough, though, for me and, I hope, for the OP to respond to. Smiley

I said nothing of how I approach either Calvins' theology or his life.  To leap from my silence to an accusation of prejudice is an indication that the source may be more guilty of it than I am.

The promulgation of unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations against Calvin, unwarranted by anything I have written, constitutes slander.  I had hoped to ignore its stain on this thread, but you (plural) continue to wallow in the gutter as opposed to responding to what Chrysostom admitted to doing in his own writings, and attempted to justify, which seemingly you and others refuse to discuss.  Calvin and Chrysostom are not comparable in this situation.  I think it was brought up out of ignorant malice and lack of any kind of a sensible response. Shame on those who have picked up on it. Calvin's relation to Presbyterianism in no way mirrors Chrysostom's relation to Orthodoxy.  Calvin is irrelevant to the present discussion, having lived over a thousand years after Chrysostom.  Please stay on topic.  Thank you.

I appreciate those who have risen above the scum sucking behavior so typical of apologetic forums. I wish I could just ignore this trash, but you asked for a response to it.
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« Reply #44 on: November 24, 2009, 01:40:15 PM »

NorthernPines,

You are most certainly correct that the OP did not mention Calvin, but, by definition, Presbyterianism is Calvinist.  While many Presbyterian churches do not stress that link, it most certainly has its roots in Calvin's theology.

And I do admit that it's not a 1 to 1 comparison, as you pointed out.  It's close enough, though, for me and, I hope, for the OP to respond to. Smiley

I said nothing of how I approach either Calvins' theology or his life.  To leap from my silence to an accusation of prejudice is an indication that the source may be more guilty of it than I am.

The promulgation of unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations against Calvin, unwarranted by anything I have written, constitutes slander.  I had hoped to ignore its stain on this thread, but you (plural) continue to wallow in the gutter as opposed to responding to what Chrysostom admitted to doing in his own writings, and attempted to justify, which seemingly you and others refuse to discuss.  Calvin and Chrysostom are not comparable in this situation.  I think it was brought up out of ignorant malice and lack of any kind of a sensible response. Shame on those who have picked up on it. Calvin's relation to Presbyterianism in no way mirrors Chrysostom's relation to Orthodoxy.  Calvin is irrelevant to the present discussion, having lived over a thousand years after Chrysostom.  Please stay on topic.  Thank you.

I appreciate those who have risen above the scum sucking behavior so typical of apologetic forums. I wish I could just ignore this trash, but you asked for a response to it.


Are you always this hostile?







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