Author Topic: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom  (Read 7068 times)

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Offline Schultz

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #45 on: November 24, 2009, 01:45:03 PM »
Actually, I believe many of us have answered your question.  We pointed out that St. John is a fallible human being who sinned.  We who have bothered to respond have admitted it in black and white numerous times on this thread.  I cannot and will not speak for any one else, be it the Orthodox Church or New Advent.

I believe the point in bringing up Calvin (or Schaff, for that matter, whose writings you're ready to ) is to ask why you hold St. John to such a high standard of ethical behavior in such a manner that his personal shortcomings (which he often and openly admits, I might add) would invalidate his entire corpus?  By all means, point out the speck in his eye if you feel the need to.  But to say that everything that follows this event (that happened early in his life) is now uncredible is ridiculous.

You've come here looking for a fight and you found one.  Your question was posited in a manner that implied you have already made up your mind on this matter.  Again, numerous examples in this thread were made to show how you could have asked the question on a more civil, academic and, even Christian manner.  Alas, you did not and will not accept any answer from us other than, "YES!  YOU ARE RIGHT!  ST. JOHN WAS A BAD MAN AND THEREFORE MY ENTIRE CONFIDENCE IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IS RUINED!  THANK YOU TRUTHSTALKER FOR HELPING ME SEE THE LIGHT!"

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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #46 on: November 24, 2009, 03:34:13 PM »
I agree that Truthstalker has been acting aggressively. I hope that may be he is bothered by the fact that saintly and sinful behavior sometimes coexist in the same body. Philip Schaff was a great Church historian and translator, albeit of a Protestant kind. He was also completely in accord with puritanical, "black or white" type Christianity that was in vogue amongst Protestants in his age. In fact, Truthstalker may also be suffering under a similar handicap. I do not mean to say that it is wrong to be idealistic; I am merely pointing out the Biblical truth that no one is sinless save God. To expect the disciples/saints of the Lord to be sinless is no more than an idealistic goal. Some disciples are more sinful than others and, in the Orthodox Church, some of these marginally more Godly sinners are formally venerated as saints. I hope this will help Truthstalker to graduate from stalking the truth to actually grasping and internalizing it.

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #47 on: November 24, 2009, 03:52:45 PM »
Actually, I believe many of us have answered your question.  We pointed out that St. John is a fallible human being who sinned.

And some of us gave him the correct answer to his question, by pointing out that St John was a holy Saint whose actions should not automatically be regarded in the manner they ordinarily would in the case of anyone else ;) I think "Christ-like human", rather than "fallible human", should be the default setting of the lenses through which we view the lives of the Saints.

^I'm not trying to be a smart-alec here; I actually don't think your answer to be an appropriate resolution to the matter, despite its clearly being a well-intentioned resolution to the matter (and one that is easier to digest, perhaps--particularly by one who is prima facie skeptical). We shouldn't be so quick to judge the Saints.
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Offline Byzantine2008

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #48 on: November 24, 2009, 05:23:02 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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Offline LBK

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #49 on: November 24, 2009, 06:49:52 PM »
There are any number of saints of the Orthodox Church whose sanctity is beyond question, yet whose lives have well-known quirks which, for some, may seem incompatible with sainthood. Perhaps the best-known example is that of St Nicholas of Myra, who, in a fit of righteous indignation, took a swing at Arius of Alexandria at the Council of Nicea. St Nicholas could not contain himself at Arius's expounding of heresy on the nature of Christ, so he physically lashed out, which resulted in his being stripped of his episcopal rank, and ejected from the Council.

Yet, divine intervention of a quite dramatic kind ensured that Nicholas was vindicated, and Arius was condemned. To this day, St Nicholas is honored in two distinctive ways: in his iconography (by the presence of two small medallion motifs on either side of him, one of Christ blessing him, the other of the Mother of God presenting him with his omophorion - the vestment of episcopal authority - referring to the visions seen by the Fathers of the Council which led to Nicholas being reinstated as bishop and as delegate to the Council), and in the weekly liturgical cycle of the Orthodox Church: Thursday is the day of commemoration of the Apostles, and of St Nicholas, in tribute to his steadfast and crucial defence of the Orthodox faith.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #50 on: November 24, 2009, 10:11:33 PM »
PtA said "but we can grant him the benefit of the doubt?"  
Lest I be misunderstood, truthstalker, I posed this question to one of our EO posters in response to his charge that you were not being sincere, so the question should be understood as asking that we grant you the benefit of the doubt and not accuse you of being insincere and deceptive. ;)

But if you want to go ahead and apply this to St. John Chrysostom, I guess that's acceptable. 8)
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Offline Paisius

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #51 on: November 24, 2009, 10:46:08 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. :)

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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Offline Marc1152

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #52 on: November 24, 2009, 11:11:27 PM »
There are any number of saints of the Orthodox Church whose sanctity is beyond question, yet whose lives have well-known quirks which, for some, may seem incompatible with sainthood. Perhaps the best-known example is that of St Nicholas of Myra, who, in a fit of righteous indignation, took a swing at Arius of Alexandria at the Council of Nicea. St Nicholas could not contain himself at Arius's expounding of heresy on the nature of Christ, so he physically lashed out, which resulted in his being stripped of his episcopal rank, and ejected from the Council.

Yet, divine intervention of a quite dramatic kind ensured that Nicholas was vindicated, and Arius was condemned. To this day, St Nicholas is honored in two distinctive ways: in his iconography (by the presence of two small medallion motifs on either side of him, one of Christ blessing him, the other of the Mother of God presenting him with his omophorion - the vestment of episcopal authority - referring to the visions seen by the Fathers of the Council which led to Nicholas being reinstated as bishop and as delegate to the Council), and in the weekly liturgical cycle of the Orthodox Church: Thursday is the day of commemoration of the Apostles, and of St Nicholas, in tribute to his steadfast and crucial defence of the Orthodox faith.


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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #53 on: November 25, 2009, 12:59:28 AM »
Actually, I believe many of us have answered your question.  We pointed out that St. John is a fallible human being who sinned.

And some of us gave him the correct answer to his question, by pointing out that St John was a holy Saint whose actions should not automatically be regarded in the manner they ordinarily would in the case of anyone else ;) I think "Christ-like human", rather than "fallible human", should be the default setting of the lenses through which we view the lives of the Saints.

^I'm not trying to be a smart-alec here; I actually don't think your answer to be an appropriate resolution to the matter, despite its clearly being a well-intentioned resolution to the matter (and one that is easier to digest, perhaps--particularly by one who is prima facie skeptical). We shouldn't be so quick to judge the Saints.

Correct. There seems to be a somewhat "Puritanical" view of what constitutes holiness among some.
I came accross a Holy Fool in Athens four years ago who, for all appearances, was an insane homeless man, but in reality was a spititually advanced heiromonk. To a Puritan, this would also be "deception".
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #54 on: November 25, 2009, 01:29:08 AM »
Forgive him Lord as he does not know what he does.  :angel:

Better to be skeptical and struggling, than to be in denial about your own religion. But I suppose we must all live our lives as we feel led to.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #55 on: November 25, 2009, 02:05:28 AM »
PtA said "but we can grant him the benefit of the doubt?"  
Lest I be misunderstood, truthstalker, I posed this question to one of our EO posters in response to his charge that you were not being sincere, so the question should be understood as asking that we grant you the benefit of the doubt and not accuse you of being insincere and deceptive. ;)

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. :)

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.

But then, I guess the hostility of this post blows away any possible misconceptions of what you're here to accomplish.
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #56 on: November 25, 2009, 02:25:56 AM »
PtA said "but we can grant him the benefit of the doubt?"  
Lest I be misunderstood, truthstalker, I posed this question to one of our EO posters in response to his charge that you were not being sincere, so the question should be understood as asking that we grant you the benefit of the doubt and not accuse you of being insincere and deceptive. ;)

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. :)

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.

But then, I guess the hostility of this post blows away any possible misconceptions of what you're here to accomplish.

No more benefit of the doubt I assume?  ;)
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #57 on: November 25, 2009, 02:30:39 AM »
PtA said "but we can grant him the benefit of the doubt?"  
Lest I be misunderstood, truthstalker, I posed this question to one of our EO posters in response to his charge that you were not being sincere, so the question should be understood as asking that we grant you the benefit of the doubt and not accuse you of being insincere and deceptive. ;)

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. :)

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.

But then, I guess the hostility of this post blows away any possible misconceptions of what you're here to accomplish.

No more benefit of the doubt I assume?  ;)
Not from me.  I'm not defending him anymore. ;)
« Last Edit: November 25, 2009, 02:32:19 AM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #58 on: November 25, 2009, 03:42:07 AM »
It's the reaction to pointing fingers.  Point one and five get pointed back.

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #59 on: November 25, 2009, 04:16:04 AM »
It's the reaction to pointing fingers.  Point one and five get pointed back.

 ??? The six-fingered man?


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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #60 on: November 25, 2009, 06:19:33 AM »
It's the reaction to pointing fingers.  Point one and five get pointed back.

 ??? The six-fingered man?



lol, I meant from 5 different people. But your suggestion is also entirely plausible... ::)

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #61 on: November 25, 2009, 09:08:43 PM »
Actually, I believe many of us have answered your question.  We pointed out that St. John is a fallible human being who sinned.

And some of us gave him the correct answer to his question, by pointing out that St John was a holy Saint whose actions should not automatically be regarded in the manner they ordinarily would in the case of anyone else ;) I think "Christ-like human", rather than "fallible human", should be the default setting of the lenses through which we view the lives of the Saints.

^I'm not trying to be a smart-alec here; I actually don't think your answer to be an appropriate resolution to the matter, despite its clearly being a well-intentioned resolution to the matter (and one that is easier to digest, perhaps--particularly by one who is prima facie skeptical). We shouldn't be so quick to judge the Saints.

Correct. There seems to be a somewhat "Puritanical" view of what constitutes holiness among some.
I came accross a Holy Fool in Athens four years ago who, for all appearances, was an insane homeless man, but in reality was a spititually advanced heiromonk. To a Puritan, this would also be "deception".

The past and current examples are quite endless. The "Holy Fool" phenomenon is not at all an uncommon element of most contemporary Coptic desert saints. Fr. Abdel-Messih el-Menehry (20th century) is known to have made quite some effort to try and convince his contemporaries that, despite his monastic vows, he sought and longed for marriage and that he was just waiting for the right lady to come along—when in fact, such was far from the truth. When a group of nuns conspired to test the Saint by having the prettiest amongst them express interest in fulfilling his apparent marital pre-occupation, he sternly rebuked the nun and gave her a lecture on the sanctity of the monastic path that she had committed herself to. His lecture not only vindicated him in the eyes of the suspicious nuns (who were observing the exchange from a concealed distance) but it also served the pretty young nun's salvation, for until that point she had not completely abandoned the vanity of the world, having kept amongst her possessions of the previous life a mirror by which she would reflect on her outward beauty daily. After this encounter, she crushed the mirror and repented.

Now I deliberately chose to recount the above in some detail because it is truly beyond me how one could possibly read the above account and its implications and have as their first reaction, "what a liar! Oh, what deceit!" as opposed to the reaction I and others first had--"what a saint! Oh, what a marvel!"

I think your comment alluding to your personal meeting of the Athonite monk you refer to says more about why you’re so easily inclined to come to the conclusion we both agree on than what that comment may at face value suggest. Maybe, George, some skeptics just need, as you and I have, to meet and see the contemporary, living continuations of the spirits of Sts John Chrysostom, Nicholas, Shenoute, Marina the so-called “cross-dresser” etc. to experience firsthand the life of Christ in these Saints and to know…to just *know* on account of the privilege of being in their presence, that they are beyond the reproof of worldly standards. I still remember the occasion of my meeting a certain Abuna Elia of Deir El-Baramous in Egypt. Before having met him, I was told of how he greeted my father's friend's wife by slapping her on the face. I was told that he didn't explain his reasons for doing so, but that it was understood clearly by everyone at the time that he was rebuking her for her refusal to permit her husband to accept the priesthood. I recall how on the way to meeting this Saint I had felt rather uncomfortable about his act, thinking it to be quite rude and uncalled for; I had in mind at the time the famous incident of St Nicholas slapping Arius, but did not think the situation analogous in any meaningful sense. When we stepped out of the car upon our arrival at Deir el-Baramous, and before hardly having the chance to stretch our legs, my family and I were confronted by this Abuna Elia who openly convicted each and everyone of us of some of the hidden things of our lives and thoughts, walking away before giving us the chance to even digest what had just happened. So much for my reluctance to meet this Saint, my family and I were begging the monks to track him down and to give us some of his time. Christ had visited me that day through his living Saint, and who am I to question Christ?

In a sense then, I feel sorry for truthstalker…I can understand how, on a worldly level of thinking, he can object to those who carried out a life that is beyond this world. Why should anyone be upset with him for this? He doesn’t know any better! He belongs to a tradition that does not offer his "community" the tools of Grace capable of raising and nurturing other-and-beyond-worldly men and women; he has no communion with such persons. He is missing out! Why are we upset with, rather than for him?
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #62 on: November 26, 2009, 06:46:17 AM »
^I'd forgotten about the many women Saints who dressed as men to enter monasteries- thanks for reminding me!
What I find strange is that Protestants normally emphasise salvation by Faith, not works, yet strangely, truthstalker is placing emphasis on works here and ignoring Faith.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2009, 06:57:05 AM by ozgeorge »
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Offline Liz

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Re: The Pious Fraud of St. John Chrystostom
« Reply #63 on: November 26, 2009, 06:53:31 AM »
What makes us think Basil minded being 'tricked'?

Some of the discussion here seems to come from the 'Jesus never smiled' school of interpretation.