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Author Topic: Agape Love and Non-Orthodox Christians  (Read 12853 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: February 11, 2010, 08:53:50 PM »

Our Heavenly Father Loves all people, without discrimination, and He makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the good and the wicked alike. Be ye perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.
He does make the sun shine on the good and the wicked (gee, that sounds like too different categories) alike, but He does not say that both walk alike in the light.
Yes Isa, that is two different categories, but we cannot decide who fits into which category. That is for Him to judge. Our duty is to Love all without discrimination. That is what He commanded us to do. He did not command us to love some and not others.
Didn't say He did.  But He did command us to believe some, and not believe others.
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« Reply #46 on: February 11, 2010, 08:56:37 PM »

Our Heavenly Father Loves all people, without discrimination, and He makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the good and the wicked alike. Be ye perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.
He does make the sun shine on the good and the wicked (gee, that sounds like too different categories) alike, but He does not say that both walk alike in the light.
Yes Isa, that is two different categories, but we cannot decide who fits into which category. That is for Him to judge. Our duty is to Love all without discrimination. That is what He commanded us to do. He did not command us to love some and not others.
Didn't say He did.  But He did command us to believe some, and not believe others.
Spiffing. So why are you telling me this? Did you think my initial post was directed at you? It wasn't. It was my contribution to the thread. Not everything posted on OCnet is directed at you Isa.
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« Reply #47 on: February 11, 2010, 09:00:36 PM »

Our Heavenly Father Loves all people, without discrimination, and He makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the good and the wicked alike. Be ye perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.
He does make the sun shine on the good and the wicked (gee, that sounds like too different categories) alike, but He does not say that both walk alike in the light.
Yes Isa, that is two different categories, but we cannot decide who fits into which category. That is for Him to judge. Our duty is to Love all without discrimination. That is what He commanded us to do. He did not command us to love some and not others.
Didn't say He did.  But He did command us to believe some, and not believe others.
Spiffing. So why are you telling me this?

Who said I was telling you?  I neither used your name nor the second person.

Quote
Did you think my initial post was directed at you? It wasn't. It was my contribution to the thread. Not everything posted on OCnet is directed at you Isa.
Just my contribution to your post: that's what the quote feature is for.
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« Reply #48 on: February 11, 2010, 09:10:38 PM »

I'm familiar with all of this because it's the same interpretation of Dom Lorenzo Scupoli in Spiritual Combat but these kind of 'spiritual' hatred is largely aimed at our own intemperate attachments to worldly things. I've not seen these passages interpreted to argue that Christians should act out violently or to literally 'hate' others. I know the Church has done so from time to time but I've never understood that to be the proper interpretation of these passages.
I would agree. By the way, Lorenzo Scupoli's "Spiritual Combat" was translated into Greek by St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain and later revised by St. Theophan the Recluse, and we (the Orthodox's) version bears the title "Unseen Warfare"- an excellent text and one of my favourites.
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« Reply #49 on: February 11, 2010, 10:50:16 PM »

All christians are in some sense "saints", since the word implies a setting apart ... The Greek word for saint hagios comes from a root word that means not like anything else, different. Saints are different from the people of the world. They march to the tune of a different drummer. They are conformed to the will of God in Christ. As members of the Body of Christ, the Church, saints are the hands of God by which He accomplishes His work in the world today.

St. Symeon the New Theologian says that the reason vigil lights are placed before the icons of the saints is to show that without the Light, Who is Christ, the Saints are nothing. It is only as the light of Christ shines on them that they become alive and resplendent.

A saint is one who sees himself in the sins of others. A saint is one in whom Christ lives; one who opens his life to Christ and lives as Christ wills him to live. A saint is one who has been made actually what Baptism declares him to be, one set apart for God.

A saint is a mirror who reflects not himself but Christ.

The word "saint" is indeed biblical in its basis, as all members of the Church of Christ were classified as saints (little s). This draws the distinction in the usage of the word, there are two types of saints, capital "S" and little "s".

The difference is important:

"Thus, there are the Saints, with a capital “S,” those officially recognized and canonized by the Church, and there are the saints with a small “s,” who are the whole body of Christians-you and I included. We, too, are called to be men and women in whom others can in some way meet the living Christ. We can appreciate our call to be saints when we realize that saints become saints not so much because of the unusual things they do but rather because of the unusual degree to which they give themselves to Christ. By our daily faithfulness to Christ, each of us is a saint in the making. Made in the image of God and baptized in the Trinity, every Christian has the potential of sainthood."

All who profess Christ, whether they are Orthodox or not, can share of the fruit of the Holy Spirit "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Gal 5:22-23) but not all who profess Christ can be Saints, since to be a "saint" literally means "Holy One" as we have discussed. Something that is "Holy" has literally been converted into the Image and Likeness of God, and has been sanctified by His actual presence. It is not the "Gifts" of the Holy Spirit that sanctify the Saint but the "Holy Trinity living inside the Saint" that transforms them to "Holy".

We recognise the "holiness" of individuals who have struggled with a "holy" life that is above and beyond the average christian ...

In our Holy Liturgy the priest exclaims "Holy things are for the Holy" and then proceeds to break the Lamb.

This phrase includes all true (Orthodox) christians who struggle to be saved and are indwelt with the Holy Spirit.

So, when we refer to the "Saints" we call to mind those who "fought the good fight and finished the course and kept the faith" (cf. i Tim 4:7) and in so doing, have "laboured more abundantly than they all" (1 Cor 15:10).
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« Reply #50 on: February 11, 2010, 11:08:20 PM »

Luke 14:25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them He said: 26“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—He cannot be My disciple."

So you believe these passages validate 'hate' and 'violence' against others? I've heard Muslims use quotes like these 'out of context' to make this pretext but I've never heard a Christian do it. Are you sure this is how the Church interprets these passages?

Is "hate" to be interpreted literally?

If the Kingdom of God is to take precedence over family ties and our own lives, we have to hate the way our relationships with others can hinder our own dedication to the Kingdom of God.

(The above is paraphrasing the comments of Luke 14:26 in the Orthodox Study Bible, page 1396).

If suffering is the cost of discipleship, then Luke 14:33 sums it up:

So, likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

The Martyrs who perished forsook everything to be with Christ.  That is love; That is the cost of discipleship.  Each and every one of us has something which hinders our own dedication to the Kingdom of God whether its sins of flesh, sins of thought, sins of hatred, anger, avarice, etc.

I'm familiar with all of this because it's the same interpretation of Dom Lorenzo Scupoli in Spiritual Combat but these kind of 'spiritual' hatred is largely aimed at our own intemperate attachments to worldly things. I've not seen these passages interpreted to argue that Christians should act out violently or to literally 'hate' others. I know the Church has done so from time to time but I've never understood that to be the proper interpretation of these passages.

Someone else cited the historical killing of Anabaptists unless they pleaded for mercy.  Doesn't sound like love to me.
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« Reply #51 on: February 11, 2010, 11:09:46 PM »

I'm familiar with all of this because it's the same interpretation of Dom Lorenzo Scupoli in Spiritual Combat but these kind of 'spiritual' hatred is largely aimed at our own intemperate attachments to worldly things. I've not seen these passages interpreted to argue that Christians should act out violently or to literally 'hate' others. I know the Church has done so from time to time but I've never understood that to be the proper interpretation of these passages.
I would agree. By the way, Lorenzo Scupoli's "Spiritual Combat" was translated into Greek by St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain and later revised by St. Theophan the Recluse, and we (the Orthodox's) version bears the title "Unseen Warfare"- an excellent text and one of my favourites.

Has Unseen Warfare been translated into English, to your knowledge?   Huh
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« Reply #52 on: February 11, 2010, 11:12:14 PM »

Has Unseen Warfare been translated into English, to your knowledge?   Huh

Yes, at least 20 years ago, if not earlier. There is an old copy in one of our bookshelves at home.
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« Reply #53 on: February 11, 2010, 11:13:08 PM »

I'm familiar with all of this because it's the same interpretation of Dom Lorenzo Scupoli in Spiritual Combat but these kind of 'spiritual' hatred is largely aimed at our own intemperate attachments to worldly things. I've not seen these passages interpreted to argue that Christians should act out violently or to literally 'hate' others. I know the Church has done so from time to time but I've never understood that to be the proper interpretation of these passages.
I would agree. By the way, Lorenzo Scupoli's "Spiritual Combat" was translated into Greek by St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain and later revised by St. Theophan the Recluse, and we (the Orthodox's) version bears the title "Unseen Warfare"- an excellent text and one of my favourites.

Has Unseen Warfare been translated into English, to your knowledge?   Huh
Yes it has. http://www.amazon.com/Unseen-Warfare-Spiritual-Paradise-Lorenzo/dp/0913836524
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« Reply #54 on: February 12, 2010, 02:24:14 AM »

Thank you ozgeorge & LBK.   Smiley
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« Reply #55 on: February 12, 2010, 06:21:47 AM »

I'm familiar with all of this because it's the same interpretation of Dom Lorenzo Scupoli in Spiritual Combat but these kind of 'spiritual' hatred is largely aimed at our own intemperate attachments to worldly things. I've not seen these passages interpreted to argue that Christians should act out violently or to literally 'hate' others. I know the Church has done so from time to time but I've never understood that to be the proper interpretation of these passages.
I would agree. By the way, Lorenzo Scupoli's "Spiritual Combat" was translated into Greek by St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain and later revised by St. Theophan the Recluse, and we (the Orthodox's) version bears the title "Unseen Warfare"- an excellent text and one of my favourites.

Has Unseen Warfare been translated into English, to your knowledge?   Huh
Yes it has. http://www.amazon.com/Unseen-Warfare-Spiritual-Paradise-Lorenzo/dp/0913836524

That does look like a worthwhile read.
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« Reply #56 on: February 12, 2010, 09:54:32 AM »

I'm familiar with all of this because it's the same interpretation of Dom Lorenzo Scupoli in Spiritual Combat but these kind of 'spiritual' hatred is largely aimed at our own intemperate attachments to worldly things. I've not seen these passages interpreted to argue that Christians should act out violently or to literally 'hate' others. I know the Church has done so from time to time but I've never understood that to be the proper interpretation of these passages.

Someone else cited the historical killing of Anabaptists unless they pleaded for mercy.  Doesn't sound like love to me.


So, because we have a historical precedent that makes it okay? Because 'men' of whatever religious stripe killed I'm to now embrace this as Christ-like? I'm sorry but I don't, and neither does the Late Pope John Paul II who recognizing it as un-Christ-like offered an apology to the World for these acts that those representing the Roman Catholic Church has been involved in from time to time throughout history. Is this supposed to be an example for us to follow? I think so. I think in times passed there was a precedent established within the unified Imperial Church that said it was okay to use worldly power to remove those who don't profess the 'orthodox' Faith... I think that is flat out 'un-Christ-like', period. Verbal, Physical, or whatever kind of oppression is not the 'interior' trans-formative path of the 'real' Christian Way.

There 'is' a more excellent way, Agape (Love) as St. Paul taught... "Owe no man anything but to love him for that is the fulfillment of the Law".
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« Reply #57 on: February 12, 2010, 10:33:01 AM »

So, because we have a historical precedent that makes it okay? Because 'men' of whatever religious stripe killed I'm to now embrace this as Christ-like? I'm sorry but I don't, and neither does the Late Pope John Paul II who recognizing it as un-Christ-like offered an apology to the World for these acts that those representing the Roman Catholic Church has been involved in from time to time throughout history. Is this supposed to be an example for us to follow? I think so. I think in times passed there was a precedent established within the unified Imperial Church that said it was okay to use worldly power to remove those who don't profess the 'orthodox' Faith... I think that is flat out 'un-Christ-like', period. Verbal, Physical, or whatever kind of oppression is not the 'interior' trans-formative path of the 'real' Christian Way.

There 'is' a more excellent way, Agape (Love) as St. Paul taught... "Owe no man anything but to love him for that is the fulfillment of the Law".

You have a way of twisting every word that is given your way and then pushing your own interpretation of Scripture ... no one on this thread has spoken to you in the manner that you have spoken to them ... this is an Eastern Orthodox forum and not Roman Catholic (firstly, so respect that) and secondly no one condemned your father, you have taken that initiative on your own and have worked through the entire thread in a defensive mode.

Chill out ... if you understood theology and the Scriptures you would not have to spend so much time from a defensive position but there is a nother method to your writing that makes you look like a victim ...


All people around us can display fruit of the Holy Spirit but if they are not "Saints" we need to be careful in putting them in a position of admiration; if God Himself does not reveal them to be "Saints then we, in our own stubborness, become idolaters of our own flesh and blood ... be careful with your theology it is not as correct as you try to push it to be. That is what the people around you are warning you about ... and you can not just grab whatever passage is available in Scripture and make it work to your advantage, you need to pay careful attention to the way that the Church, the Body of Christ, has shown us how to do things over 2000 years .... it has greater and more divine experience than you or I ... let's embrace and show tradition some respect.
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« Reply #58 on: February 12, 2010, 11:54:26 AM »

So, because we have a historical precedent that makes it okay? Because 'men' of whatever religious stripe killed I'm to now embrace this as Christ-like? I'm sorry but I don't, and neither does the Late Pope John Paul II who recognizing it as un-Christ-like offered an apology to the World for these acts that those representing the Roman Catholic Church has been involved in from time to time throughout history. Is this supposed to be an example for us to follow? I think so. I think in times passed there was a precedent established within the unified Imperial Church that said it was okay to use worldly power to remove those who don't profess the 'orthodox' Faith... I think that is flat out 'un-Christ-like', period. Verbal, Physical, or whatever kind of oppression is not the 'interior' trans-formative path of the 'real' Christian Way.

There 'is' a more excellent way, Agape (Love) as St. Paul taught... "Owe no man anything but to love him for that is the fulfillment of the Law".

You have a way of twisting every word that is given your way and then pushing your own interpretation of Scripture ... no one on this thread has spoken to you in the manner that you have spoken to them ... this is an Eastern Orthodox forum and not Roman Catholic (firstly, so respect that) and secondly no one condemned your father, you have taken that initiative on your own and have worked through the entire thread in a defensive mode.

So you are saying that it is just and Christ-like to exercise a bias here?
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« Reply #59 on: February 12, 2010, 12:06:39 PM »

I tossed in that reference to the Anabaptists, because it horrified me when I read about it years ago. The gist of what I read years ago, was that in Germany, Catholics and Protestants came together to support a law that advocated killing those who denied the validity of infant baptistism. The Lutheran support of the very brutal persecutions is what made this unusual, given the Lutheran's own desires for tolerance of their confession. "Freedom for us, but not for them, because they are real heretics..."

This isn't just a Western European thing - Emperor Justin (father of Justinian) advocated a law which killed Christians who reverted back to Paganism. (I scanned that almost by accident yesterday on this page). Of course, there are also stories of heretodox Roman emperors who cut off hands of iconographer monks, so this isn't just a case of orthodox rulers killing heretodox, but also cases of the reverse. "If you advocate or practice religious beliefs contrary to the state religion, you should die." I don't think killing of heretics is Christlike. There are ways to practice "truth in charity", but holding a death sentence over heretodox isn't one of them.
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« Reply #60 on: February 12, 2010, 12:12:32 PM »

I tossed in that reference to the Anabaptists, because it horrified me when I read about it years ago. The gist of what I read years ago, was that in Germany, Catholics and Protestants came together to support a law that advocated killing those who denied the validity of infant baptistism. The Lutheran support of the very brutal persecutions is what made this unusual, given the Lutheran's own desires for tolerance of their confession. "Freedom for us, but not for them, because they are real heretics..."

This isn't just a Western European thing - Emperor Justin (father of Justinian) advocated a law which killed Christians who reverted back to Paganism. (I scanned that almost by accident yesterday on this page). Of course, there are also stories of heretodox Roman emperors who cut off hands of iconographer monks, so this isn't just a case of orthodox rulers killing heretodox, but also cases of the reverse. "If you advocate or practice religious beliefs contrary to the state religion, you should die." I don't think killing of heretics is Christlike. There are ways to practice "truth in charity", but holding a death sentence over heretodox isn't one of them.


I understand. This is my whole problem with all of this bias... it doesn't seem Christian to me. Perhaps I'm devolving or something but I'm really sick and tired of groups claiming to be favored by God only to use that privilege to belittle or show bias to others. I am completely understanding the whole Protestant Movement and why many just don't want to have anything to do with either of us.

If entering Orthodoxy means I have to be like this, then I don't want anything to do with it.
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« Reply #61 on: February 12, 2010, 12:20:13 PM »

A minor correction, it is Emperor (St.) Justinian who authored that law.

http://www.roman-emperors.org/justinia.htm

Quote
Justinian's first years as emperor were full of action. There was a spate of legislation, directed against Manichaeans, pagans and Samaritans. Pagans were barred from the civil service, baptized Christians who lapsed into paganism were to be put to death, as were any persons caught making secret sacrifice to the gods; pagan teachers were denied stipends from the imperial treasury and if they would not accept baptism, they were to lose their property and be banished into exile. It was probably this last law which put an end to the Neoplatonic Academy in Athens, which was still a pagan stronghold.


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« Reply #62 on: February 12, 2010, 12:53:51 PM »

I tossed in that reference to the Anabaptists, because it horrified me when I read about it years ago. The gist of what I read years ago, was that in Germany, Catholics and Protestants came together to support a law that advocated killing those who denied the validity of infant baptistism. The Lutheran support of the very brutal persecutions is what made this unusual, given the Lutheran's own desires for tolerance of their confession. "Freedom for us, but not for them, because they are real heretics..."

This isn't just a Western European thing - Emperor Justin (father of Justinian) advocated a law which killed Christians who reverted back to Paganism. (I scanned that almost by accident yesterday on this page). Of course, there are also stories of heretodox Roman emperors who cut off hands of iconographer monks, so this isn't just a case of orthodox rulers killing heretodox, but also cases of the reverse. "If you advocate or practice religious beliefs contrary to the state religion, you should die." I don't think killing of heretics is Christlike. There are ways to practice "truth in charity", but holding a death sentence over heretodox isn't one of them.


I understand. This is my whole problem with all of this bias... it doesn't seem Christian to me. Perhaps I'm devolving or something but I'm really sick and tired of groups claiming to be favored by God only to use that privilege to belittle or show bias to others. I am completely understanding the whole Protestant Movement and why many just don't want to have anything to do with either of us.

If entering Orthodoxy means I have to be like this, then I don't want anything to do with it.

As long as you are human, you will be of a group of creatures that considers itself favoured by God (if not God, something else) and shows bias to others; bias that has historically been played out in the most hideous of ways. You are never going to be completely free of those who bang on about being *right* and who condemn everyone who disagrees with them. The best you can do, is make a decision of what is right without becoming emotional vested in reproaching the wrongs of the past; or being deterred by triumphalists. The simply truth is that even those who really have knowledge of the truth have uncharitable hotheads in their number who are so wrapped up in the victory celebrations regarding their "rightness" they don't care who they hurt.
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« Reply #63 on: February 12, 2010, 01:07:57 PM »

groups claiming to be favored by God only to use that privilege to belittle or show bias to others.
I haven't met any Orthodox who claim to be favored by God - maybe I'm just lucky. Since we're all sinners, I'm sure that Orthodoxy has its share.

Quote
I am completely understanding the whole Protestant Movement and why many just don't want to have anything to do with either of us.

If entering Orthodoxy means I have to be like this, then I don't want anything to do with it.
If you don't want anything to do with people who think they're better than others because of their beliefs (or any other reason), then you may have to start a church of your own with just one member. You.

But then, won't that be a church based on the idea that certain beliefs are better than anyone else's?

Don't kid yourself. No one group has a corner on this kind of attitude. I've been on the receiving end of this kind of treatment from Protestants also. Most self-identified evangelicals I've met don't even consider Roman Catholics and Orthodox to be Real Christians(tm).
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« Reply #64 on: February 12, 2010, 01:34:12 PM »

If entering Orthodoxy means I have to be like this, then I don't want anything to do with it.

You determine who you are going to be, just like the rest of us.

Until you stop pointing fingers outward and start turning them on yourself, you're never going to have peace.  The problem isn't the Roman Catholic Church's impiety in North America, it's not the Orthodox Church's snobbery, and it's not the rampant egotism in Protestantism.  The problem is the sin in the world and the corrupted human heart.  If you don't have peace, everyone else isn't the problem.  You are the problem.  Grow a pair and own up to it.

There's a time for introspection, and then there's a threshold when it crosses over into whining.
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« Reply #65 on: February 12, 2010, 03:39:21 PM »

I'm familiar with all of this because it's the same interpretation of Dom Lorenzo Scupoli in Spiritual Combat but these kind of 'spiritual' hatred is largely aimed at our own intemperate attachments to worldly things. I've not seen these passages interpreted to argue that Christians should act out violently or to literally 'hate' others. I know the Church has done so from time to time but I've never understood that to be the proper interpretation of these passages.

Someone else cited the historical killing of Anabaptists unless they pleaded for mercy.  Doesn't sound like love to me.


So, because we have a historical precedent that makes it okay?

We are speaking above each other's heads here.

Because 'men' of whatever religious stripe killed I'm to now embrace this as Christ-like?

Palestianian Christians are leaving the Holy Land because they are being killed and oppressed.  Christians have been oppressed from St. Stephen to the present.  Just because one group of Christians didn't agree with another group of Christians, who were in political power, didn't justify their deaths.

I'm sorry but I don't, and neither does the Late Pope John Paul II who recognizing it as un-Christ-like offered an apology to the World for these acts that those representing the Roman Catholic Church has been involved in from time to time throughout history.

If you are referring to the sack of Constantinople in 1204, the apology might have been long belated and taken at face value; however, it was better than no apology at all.

Is this supposed to be an example for us to follow? I think so. I think in times passed there was a precedent established within the unified Imperial Church that said it was okay to use worldly power to remove those who don't profess the 'orthodox' Faith... I think that is flat out 'un-Christ-like', period. Verbal, Physical, or whatever kind of oppression is not the 'interior' trans-formative path of the 'real' Christian Way.

There 'is' a more excellent way, Agape (Love) as St. Paul taught... "Owe no man anything but to love him for that is the fulfillment of the Law".

I haven't heard a RC Pope apologize and ask for forgiveness for simony and indulgences resulting in Luther's 95 Theses....  Should one be expected?  That may have been discussed on another thread?   Huh
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« Reply #66 on: February 12, 2010, 07:15:30 PM »

So you are saying that it is just and Christ-like to exercise a bias here?

No, my dear I never said that in what I wrote nor in my previous posts and you only prove to me that you continue to push your own bias point regardless of what the other person writes you.

Have you read my post on "Saints" and "fruit"? God gives fruit of the Holy Spirit to everyone but not everyone can become a Saint ... and that is all that the other members were trying to tell you earlier on about your father ... your father may be a wonderful man (display fruits) but he may not be a saint ... at the point that he is not a Saint then he is a "saint" (small s) ... the true Christian PREFERS to follow the examples of Saints (with a capital S) because they have MORE than JUST FRUIT of the Holy Spirit ... God LIVES IN THEM so they are reflections of the True Undivided God ... having worked in their life to be IN the Image and the Likeness of God by housing God in their hearts ...


That is what people were trying to tell you ... however, you allowed yourself to become SO defensive from the start you have not allowed yourself the opportunity to clearly understand why the Capital S versus Little s christian is different ...
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« Reply #67 on: February 12, 2010, 07:33:04 PM »

If entering Orthodoxy means I have to be like this, then I don't want anything to do with it.

You determine who you are going to be, just like the rest of us.

Until you stop pointing fingers outward and start turning them on yourself, you're never going to have peace.  The problem isn't the Roman Catholic Church's impiety in North America, it's not the Orthodox Church's snobbery, and it's not the rampant egotism in Protestantism.  The problem is the sin in the world and the corrupted human heart.  If you don't have peace, everyone else isn't the problem.  You are the problem.  Grow a pair and own up to it.

There's a time for introspection, and then there's a threshold when it crosses over into whining.

Actually, I wanted to add something like this to my own earlier post, but it was around 3am when I was posting - not a good time for me. Anyway, I do think that Alveus had valid points. It is time to stop doing this to yourself. Time to stop looking at others and look to yourself. We are all sinners, all part of the problems of this world; none of us can place our hands on our hearts and say that we don't sin, sometimes in ways that look so minor, but add up to having tremendous impact on those around us. Each of us is burdened enough with putting our own lives in order without adding the extra burden of succumbing to despair because others are annoying - or worse. That's a useless path to take. We're all annoying, all flawed. Accept that and move on; working out your own salvation in fear and trembling. We can't keep dwelling on the past, taking sides in issues that are long done and dusted. I remember learning of a horrible incident in the early imperial years of the Church and it so affected me that I wondered why on earth I was a Christian and had been all my life. If Christians did things like that, I thought, did I really want to be counted in their number? But I was quick to realise that my salvation doesn't lie in what my fellow man does; it lies in Christ and what He has done and is doing; who He is and what He has commanded His followers to do. And yes, it is horrible to realise that so many, instead of following the God of Love they profess to follow, followed their own dark instincts and harmed others in their misplaced zeal. But it's nothing new and it will continue long after you and I have shuffled off our mortal coils. While we must regret it, we mustn't let it destroy our faith.

Decide where your path of Salvation lies and find peace in that, because becomming emotionally involved in the failings of others will lead you to doubt and despair. Once you have made your decision, get on with dealing with you and praying for the salvation of those around you; including us here at OC.net, flawed and annoying human beings who need your prayer and love whatever path you take.

Please forgive me if I have caused you offence.



 
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« Reply #68 on: February 12, 2010, 07:38:14 PM »

Please forgive me if I have caused you offence.

I ask the same forgiveness ... what might appear as scary comments aimed at you, are infact, words of love from all of us ... we have all been where you were, at some point in our life ... and even, at times, we can all return to that same point and have to work ourselves back.

The point is, love is not just a character it is a person and that person is Christ ... so, when you debate that Love is above all else, we do not disagree ... we simply disagree with the angle.

Love is to have Christ IN you, the Holy Trinity ... this is Nyptic theology and very deep and something most of us would likely not have experienced as few are able to reach such heights of Love ... these are the Saints that God has revealed to us, they partook in God's physical presence inside them.
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« Reply #69 on: February 13, 2010, 05:30:15 PM »

I took a day to step away from the forum yesterday and give myself a breather. I was very touched to return this afternoon to see all the kindness displayed on this thread.

I am part of a 'large' very diverse family. We have Roman Catholics, Baptists, and Episcopals... Caucasians, Africans, Haitians and Philippines. We all make it because we love one another for the simple reason that we are 'family'. I think it is a very Christian thing to do.

I understand not everyone is right and not every church is 'orthodox' but where I find 'good' I find God there in their midst. Frequently on the Forum, individuals take great strides to 'categorize' and thus 'dehumanize' members of other Christian groups instead of accepting them as 'individuals' making their way the best way they know how. Not everyone is going to embrace Orthodoxy and you should be careful attributing reasons why because that is for God alone to know and ultimately judge. I understand it's important for your meta-world view to be maintained but I would be careful taking it too far. I would dare say all of us 'here' only know what we know second-hand... 'we see through the mirror darkly'. Someone asked me to 'chill out' but I would ask the something of many of you... when you push your beliefs. I understand you believe them to be 'true' and it's important for you to 'push' them but remember you are taking to 'real' people with 'real' lives here. It's not a game. And there are real people living very Christian lives in just about 'every' denomination. I understand that clashes a bit with your plans for Christian World Domination but it's just the truth. You can deal with that fact however you need to keep your world-view intact.

One attribute that I've seen with very spiritual individuals the world over is 'real' peacefulness, non-judging, and 'real' love for all God's Creation. Yes there is falsehood out there and yes there are individuals promoting pretty harmful practices... but God has written His Law on our hearts and we each can and do respond to that message or call in our own way and in the communities we have around us. I haven't seen more prefect communities among Orthodox Christians... than I have among Roman Catholic and even small Black Baptist communities. They all seek in the manner that they can to be 'worthy' and to be 'pleasing'. If Orthodoxy really 'was' the 'true' Church and all the fullness of God's Graces flowed through her... then Orthodox Christians are doing a rather poor job of making use of that Grace because I don't see anymore 'saintliness' within it's members. I say that with all due respect, honestly.

For some here to smugly discard those of other Christian groups and fail to recognize the 'individuals' within them and the fact that they too 'fall short of the glory of God'... is kind of silly.

If we spent as much time working on our own vices as we do trying to prove that other Christian groups 'lack' this or that fullness I think we would see real distinction on this Forum than any other Forum on the internet.

This was my point about bringing of Agape and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. To me, all of this other stuff, is 'nothing' if it doesn't bring us to a deeper sense of Love and manifesting more clearly the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.

I know tomorrow is Forgiveness Sunday and so I understand that for Orthodox Christians this is a good time to say that they are sorry but 'every day' should be Forgiveness Sunday, 'every day' should be 'The Nativity of Our Lord', 'every day' should be 'Pascha'. We need to live this Holy Days and bring them into our being and allow them to manifest 'every day'.

Ultimately, the Fullness of the Christian Life is to be like God... to love... because God is Love. Agape is the Christian Life. A complete pouring forth of love toward another. Not just toward those whom we agree with or those whom are members of our exclusive club but 'everyone' like the rain.

True Love nourishes the lives of those it touches. If we haven't seen that, we haven't seen True Love.

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« Reply #70 on: February 13, 2010, 05:42:28 PM »

Someone asked me to 'chill out' but I would ask the something of many of you... when you push your beliefs.

I understand you believe them to be 'true' and it's important for you to 'push' them but remember you are taking to 'real' people with 'real' lives here. It's not a game. And there are real people living very Christian lives in just about 'every' denomination. I understand that clashes a bit with your plans for Christian World Domination but it's just the truth. You can deal with that fact however you need to keep your world-view intact.

I was the one who told you to chill out ... I still hold this belief as I feel like you are "evangelising protestantism" in an Orthodox forum - telling Orthodox people to stop pushing their belief but yet you push your own. The problem I am reding is that you are saying the Orthodox teaching should not be pushed because it is less than perfect and that your personal teaching is the truth. The irony is that everything you may know the Church has taught and teaches. So, your messages are outwardly christian but the driver behind them is YOUR OWN Self ... YOU, in essence it is like a wolf disguised in sheeps clothing because what you are teaching is for us to ignore what we are taught and to listen to your teachings, cause you just know better!

No one disgards people of other faiths in this forum ... they disregard teachings that are not Orthodox. However, you can not waltz into an Orthodox forum and expect an Orthodox to denounce the Truth for the sake of political correctness ... in 2,000 years that has not been the example of the Saints of our church. Yes, we love and tolerate but there is a fine line and then we martyr for our faith:

They died for their faith ...

In a world void of examples of righteousness lovers of truth offer a heroic example of suffering for the Truth. But their lives mean nothing unless we embrace them by striving to imitate them. The message of these righteous is one that the world is not the least bit interested in. Those who have felt themselves out of place in society, who have been devoured and spit forth by the uncomprehending world, can understand the radical call of the last true rebellion.

This is the height of the human experience: martyrdom for the Truth.
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« Reply #71 on: February 14, 2010, 04:12:32 AM »

I took a day to step away from the forum yesterday and give myself a breather. I was very touched to return this afternoon to see all the kindness displayed on this thread.

I am part of a 'large' very diverse family. We have Roman Catholics, Baptists, and Episcopals... Caucasians, Africans, Haitians and Philippines. We all make it because we love one another for the simple reason that we are 'family'. I think it is a very Christian thing to do.

I understand not everyone is right and not every church is 'orthodox' but where I find 'good' I find God there in their midst. Frequently on the Forum, individuals take great strides to 'categorize' and thus 'dehumanize' members of other Christian groups instead of accepting them as 'individuals' making their way the best way they know how. Not everyone is going to embrace Orthodoxy and you should be careful attributing reasons why because that is for God alone to know and ultimately judge. I understand it's important for your meta-world view to be maintained but I would be careful taking it too far. I would dare say all of us 'here' only know what we know second-hand... 'we see through the mirror darkly'. Someone asked me to 'chill out' but I would ask the something of many of you... when you push your beliefs. I understand you believe them to be 'true' and it's important for you to 'push' them but remember you are taking to 'real' people with 'real' lives here. It's not a game. And there are real people living very Christian lives in just about 'every' denomination. I understand that clashes a bit with your plans for Christian World Domination but it's just the truth. You can deal with that fact however you need to keep your world-view intact.

One attribute that I've seen with very spiritual individuals the world over is 'real' peacefulness, non-judging, and 'real' love for all God's Creation. Yes there is falsehood out there and yes there are individuals promoting pretty harmful practices... but God has written His Law on our hearts and we each can and do respond to that message or call in our own way and in the communities we have around us. I haven't seen more prefect communities among Orthodox Christians... than I have among Roman Catholic and even small Black Baptist communities. They all seek in the manner that they can to be 'worthy' and to be 'pleasing'. If Orthodoxy really 'was' the 'true' Church and all the fullness of God's Graces flowed through her... then Orthodox Christians are doing a rather poor job of making use of that Grace because I don't see anymore 'saintliness' within it's members. I say that with all due respect, honestly.

For some here to smugly discard those of other Christian groups and fail to recognize the 'individuals' within them and the fact that they too 'fall short of the glory of God'... is kind of silly.

If we spent as much time working on our own vices as we do trying to prove that other Christian groups 'lack' this or that fullness I think we would see real distinction on this Forum than any other Forum on the internet.

This was my point about bringing of Agape and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. To me, all of this other stuff, is 'nothing' if it doesn't bring us to a deeper sense of Love and manifesting more clearly the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.

I know tomorrow is Forgiveness Sunday and so I understand that for Orthodox Christians this is a good time to say that they are sorry but 'every day' should be Forgiveness Sunday, 'every day' should be 'The Nativity of Our Lord', 'every day' should be 'Pascha'. We need to live this Holy Days and bring them into our being and allow them to manifest 'every day'.

Ultimately, the Fullness of the Christian Life is to be like God... to love... because God is Love. Agape is the Christian Life. A complete pouring forth of love toward another. Not just toward those whom we agree with or those whom are members of our exclusive club but 'everyone' like the rain.

True Love nourishes the lives of those it touches. If we haven't seen that, we haven't seen True Love.


Thank you for a thoughtful and honest post. All of us on this thread, in fact, all of us on this forum need to take stock of what you say and think before we type. Without love, we are simply a noise. Forgive me any offence I have caused you, my brother. Pray for me as I pray for you.
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« Reply #72 on: February 14, 2010, 09:36:47 AM »

If Orthodoxy really 'was' the 'true' Church and all the fullness of God's Graces flowed through her... then Orthodox Christians are doing a rather poor job of making use of that Grace because I don't see anymore 'saintliness' within it's members. I say that with all due respect, honestly.

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« Reply #73 on: February 14, 2010, 05:32:35 PM »

If Orthodoxy really 'was' the 'true' Church and all the fullness of God's Graces flowed through her... then Orthodox Christians are doing a rather poor job of making use of that Grace because I don't see anymore 'saintliness' within it's members. I say that with all due respect, honestly.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

Riddikulus and ialmisry, it is not a matter of whether ignatius has judged us or whether by our responses we have judged her ... there is only One Truth and those who are baptised are obligated 'out of love' to speak that Truth ... the Truth is that the beacons of Christ's image and likeness are our Saints ... sharing that with ignatius is not judging her and is not being mean or unloving with her/him. On the other hand, her/his statement above shows a lack of understanding of what The Church actually is ... there is a danger of being "over politically correct" for fear that we may appear to be unloving or judgemental when we may not be ... this is an Orthodox forum and Orthodox principles should and must be shared!

Orthodox Christianity is not a church filled with "S"aints ... it is a church filled with "repenting sinners" ... none of us are perfect - all of us are suffering and sick, we are IN the hospital of our Lord for precisely the reason you point out - we are NOT Saints, we are people struggling with our passions and our weaknesses and by participating in the Holy Confession and mostly in the Holy Communion, we struggle and hope that it is God's Mercy that will eventually save us.

We (Orthodox) do not claim to be saints ... we look up to the Saints and we constantly bring them forward as the examples we should follow but you will not hear an Orthodox speak highly of him or herself for precisely the reason I just described.

I am too a sinner, I am weak and have many shortfalls - I ask that you all forgive me as we enter into Great Lent and Ignatius, I particularly ask for your forgiveness ... but please, seek out the Truth in the Orthodox Church and not the truth that our western minds think should be the truth ...

and, also, as I did say in a previous post but perhaps you misunderstood - all christians are little 's' saints ... we CAN look at our family and friends for inspiration on virtues that the Holy Spirit gives each of us, however, a practisiing christian who has some virtues is not necessarily a capital 'S' Saint .. this is the direction most of us were trying to direct you towards (out of love) to direct you to perfect Love; the Saints who are only perfected because the Living Triune God has lived inside them and it is His Perfect Light that shines off them ...

I cant start quoting patristic writing that encourages in this thinking but I am at work ... God Bless you on your journey
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« Reply #74 on: February 14, 2010, 06:53:50 PM »

Quote
I cant start quoting patristic writing that encourages in this thinking but I am at work ... God Bless you on your journey

I believe the COE encourages this thinking too, especially since I remember a friend who is a deacon saying that same "Hospital of Sinners" quote  Grin
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« Reply #75 on: February 17, 2010, 11:12:14 AM »

If Orthodoxy really 'was' the 'true' Church and all the fullness of God's Graces flowed through her... then Orthodox Christians are doing a rather poor job of making use of that Grace because I don't see anymore 'saintliness' within it's members. I say that with all due respect, honestly.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

You seem to take every opportunity to bring up every historical illustration of others failings and you don't seem to conclude that such is 'Judging'... Double Standard?
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« Reply #76 on: February 17, 2010, 11:16:09 AM »

If Orthodoxy really 'was' the 'true' Church and all the fullness of God's Graces flowed through her... then Orthodox Christians are doing a rather poor job of making use of that Grace because I don't see anymore 'saintliness' within it's members. I say that with all due respect, honestly.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

Riddikulus and ialmisry, it is not a matter of whether ignatius has judged us or whether by our responses we have judged her ... there is only One Truth and those who are baptised are obligated 'out of love' to speak that Truth ... the Truth is that the beacons of Christ's image and likeness are our Saints ... sharing that with ignatius is not judging her and is not being mean or unloving with her/him. On the other hand, her/his statement above shows a lack of understanding of what The Church actually is ... there is a danger of being "over politically correct" for fear that we may appear to be unloving or judgemental when we may not be ... this is an Orthodox forum and Orthodox principles should and must be shared!

Orthodox Christianity is not a church filled with "S"aints ... it is a church filled with "repenting sinners" ... none of us are perfect - all of us are suffering and sick, we are IN the hospital of our Lord for precisely the reason you point out - we are NOT Saints, we are people struggling with our passions and our weaknesses and by participating in the Holy Confession and mostly in the Holy Communion, we struggle and hope that it is God's Mercy that will eventually save us.

We (Orthodox) do not claim to be saints ... we look up to the Saints and we constantly bring them forward as the examples we should follow but you will not hear an Orthodox speak highly of him or herself for precisely the reason I just described.

I am too a sinner, I am weak and have many shortfalls - I ask that you all forgive me as we enter into Great Lent and Ignatius, I particularly ask for your forgiveness ... but please, seek out the Truth in the Orthodox Church and not the truth that our western minds think should be the truth ...

and, also, as I did say in a previous post but perhaps you misunderstood - all christians are little 's' saints ... we CAN look at our family and friends for inspiration on virtues that the Holy Spirit gives each of us, however, a practisiing christian who has some virtues is not necessarily a capital 'S' Saint .. this is the direction most of us were trying to direct you towards (out of love) to direct you to perfect Love; the Saints who are only perfected because the Living Triune God has lived inside them and it is His Perfect Light that shines off them ...

I cant start quoting patristic writing that encourages in this thinking but I am at work ... God Bless you on your journey

Great Post, much to ponder and please know that 'I am' seeking out the 'truth of Orthodoxy'. My Orthodox Parish Priest was the one I call when my baby boy was born to give the Blessings after Birth and he is coming to our home to discuss Orthodoxy with the whole family this weekend.

I just really don't like some of the smugness I encounter on the forum... I really don't see that at my local Orthodox Parish. Far from it. I wish the forum was more reflective of Orthodoxy on the ground.
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« Reply #77 on: February 17, 2010, 11:36:34 AM »

If Orthodoxy really 'was' the 'true' Church and all the fullness of God's Graces flowed through her... then Orthodox Christians are doing a rather poor job of making use of that Grace because I don't see anymore 'saintliness' within it's members. I say that with all due respect, honestly.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

You seem to take every opportunity to bring up every historical illustration of others failings and you don't seem to conclude that such is 'Judging'... Double Standard?
I'm not the one claiming to be non-judgemental.  A difference divides evaluating Truth claims from judging character.
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« Reply #78 on: February 17, 2010, 11:40:16 AM »

If Orthodoxy really 'was' the 'true' Church and all the fullness of God's Graces flowed through her... then Orthodox Christians are doing a rather poor job of making use of that Grace because I don't see anymore 'saintliness' within it's members. I say that with all due respect, honestly.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

You seem to take every opportunity to bring up every historical illustration of others failings and you don't seem to conclude that such is 'Judging'... Double Standard?
I'm not the one claiming to be non-judgemental.  A difference divides evaluating Truth claims from judging character.

So you would attribute my exercise of discernment of your truth claims as 'judging' but your admit to being judgmental? That sounds odd...?
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« Reply #79 on: February 17, 2010, 11:50:21 AM »

If Orthodoxy really 'was' the 'true' Church and all the fullness of God's Graces flowed through her... then Orthodox Christians are doing a rather poor job of making use of that Grace because I don't see anymore 'saintliness' within it's members. I say that with all due respect, honestly.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

You seem to take every opportunity to bring up every historical illustration of others failings and you don't seem to conclude that such is 'Judging'... Double Standard?
I'm not the one claiming to be non-judgemental.  A difference divides evaluating Truth claims from judging character.

So you would attribute my exercise of discernment of your truth claims as 'judging' but your admit to being judgmental? That sounds odd...?
I was just questioning you comparison between the best the Baptists have to offer with the worse that claims to be Orthodox, as to discern Truth.  That's all.
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« Reply #80 on: February 17, 2010, 11:56:03 AM »

If Orthodoxy really 'was' the 'true' Church and all the fullness of God's Graces flowed through her... then Orthodox Christians are doing a rather poor job of making use of that Grace because I don't see anymore 'saintliness' within it's members. I say that with all due respect, honestly.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

You seem to take every opportunity to bring up every historical illustration of others failings and you don't seem to conclude that such is 'Judging'... Double Standard?
I'm not the one claiming to be non-judgemental.  A difference divides evaluating Truth claims from judging character.

So you would attribute my exercise of discernment of your truth claims as 'judging' but your admit to being judgmental? That sounds odd...?
I was just questioning you comparison between the best the Baptists have to offer with the worse that claims to be Orthodox, as to discern Truth.  That's all.

I agree, it would be unfair to compare the 'worst' of one group with the 'best' of another... but we do see that happening on both sides... I would just argue that we should come together as 'individuals'... not simply as 'representatives' of truth or untruth. We are each called by God... His words are written on our hearts. He wills 'all' to be saved... not just the Orthodox Church.

That said, if you claim to have a 'special' 'better' relationship with God over other Christians... it would stand to reason that even your worst would be head and shoulders over those who are without the Sacraments. Don't you agree? Or no?
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« Reply #81 on: February 17, 2010, 12:25:07 PM »

If Orthodoxy really 'was' the 'true' Church and all the fullness of God's Graces flowed through her... then Orthodox Christians are doing a rather poor job of making use of that Grace because I don't see anymore 'saintliness' within it's members. I say that with all due respect, honestly.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

You seem to take every opportunity to bring up every historical illustration of others failings and you don't seem to conclude that such is 'Judging'... Double Standard?
I'm not the one claiming to be non-judgemental.  A difference divides evaluating Truth claims from judging character.

So you would attribute my exercise of discernment of your truth claims as 'judging' but your admit to being judgmental? That sounds odd...?
I was just questioning you comparison between the best the Baptists have to offer with the worse that claims to be Orthodox, as to discern Truth.  That's all.

I agree, it would be unfair to compare the 'worst' of one group with the 'best' of another... but we do see that happening on both sides... I would just argue that we should come together as 'individuals'... not simply as 'representatives' of truth or untruth. We are each called by God... His words are written on our hearts. He wills 'all' to be saved... not just the Orthodox Church.

That said, if you claim to have a 'special' 'better' relationship with God over other Christians... it would stand to reason that even your worst would be head and shoulders over those who are without the Sacraments. Don't you agree? Or no?
The worst Orthodox has assurance, the best Baptist does not.  Assurance in the sense that the Orthodox and Baptist respectively define that term.
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #82 on: February 17, 2010, 12:33:16 PM »


The worst Orthodox has assurance, the best Baptist does not.  Assurance in the sense that the Orthodox and Baptist respectively define that term.

Assurance? I hear Baptists speak of the very same thing... Once Saved, Always Saved. Are you claiming some kind of assurance?
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« Reply #83 on: February 17, 2010, 01:12:54 PM »

...if you claim to have a 'special' 'better' relationship with God over other Christians... it would stand to reason that even your worst would be head and shoulders over those who are without the Sacraments. Don't you agree? Or no?

Since I haven't encountered this claim in Orthodoxy, I would have to say "no." I don't think anyone is saying that the Orthodox per se have a special or better relationship with God, simply because they happen to be Orthodox - unless I missed that post. (experience has taught me that anything is possible!)
That said, many may indeed think or feel that their relationship with God is deeper or "better", if you will, since coming to Orthodoxy - since that was the impetus or inspiration for their journey. That of course would be a personal feeling, not dogma or doctrine.
What Orthodoxy does say, (and please, anyone correct me if I blithely wander off the straight and narrow here,) is that here is the Church founded by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. The old saying about we know where the Church is, and has been for a couple of millenia, give or take, what we don't know, and it's really not particularly relevant or important, is where the Church is not.
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« Reply #84 on: February 17, 2010, 01:24:38 PM »

...if you claim to have a 'special' 'better' relationship with God over other Christians... it would stand to reason that even your worst would be head and shoulders over those who are without the Sacraments. Don't you agree? Or no?

Since I haven't encountered this claim in Orthodoxy, I would have to say "no." I don't think anyone is saying that the Orthodox per se have a special or better relationship with God, simply because they happen to be Orthodox - unless I missed that post. (experience has taught me that anything is possible!)
That said, many may indeed think or feel that their relationship with God is deeper or "better", if you will, since coming to Orthodoxy - since that was the impetus or inspiration for their journey. That of course would be a personal feeling, not dogma or doctrine.
What Orthodoxy does say, (and please, anyone correct me if I blithely wander off the straight and narrow here,) is that here is the Church founded by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. The old saying about we know where the Church is, and has been for a couple of millenia, give or take, what we don't know, and it's really not particularly relevant or important, is where the Church is not.

Is this Church the Ark of Salvation as Noah's Ark was for those of his day? I've never heard Orthodox speak that their might be 'invisible members' in the Orthodox Church, although I have heard such in Catholicism. I have heard that "we know where grace is, but we don't know where grace isn't"...

If 'grace saves' then I guess in a fashion we can say that the 'Church' can have 'invisible members'... but I think you are stretching quite a bit to make that claim. I ultimately think that both Orthodox and Catholics 'must' loosen their own recognition of a 'spiritual body' of Christ that is simply 'not known'... as Our Lord spoke:

Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (Joh 3:5-8)

'The wind' to me is the spirit... we don't control where it comes nor goes yet we seem to claim that we control it. I'm uncomfortable with that claim personally.
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« Reply #85 on: February 17, 2010, 01:26:24 PM »


The worst Orthodox has assurance, the best Baptist does not.  Assurance in the sense that the Orthodox and Baptist respectively define that term.

Assurance? I hear Baptists speak of the very same thing... Once Saved, Always Saved. Are you claiming some kind of assurance?

As I said, as they define it: the Orthodox define it that the Orthodox Church has not, nor shall ever, fall into heresy.
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                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #86 on: February 17, 2010, 01:57:30 PM »


The worst Orthodox has assurance, the best Baptist does not.  Assurance in the sense that the Orthodox and Baptist respectively define that term.

Assurance? I hear Baptists speak of the very same thing... Once Saved, Always Saved. Are you claiming some kind of assurance?

As I said, as they define it: the Orthodox define it that the Orthodox Church has not, nor shall ever, fall into heresy.

When you claim the Church as your institution you are claiming a spiritual body to be 'your' institutional entity and tradition. How are you sure that such 'is' the case? What 'is' the Church? How do we interpret the Scriptural text that state "the Church will never fall..."? You seem to equate 'Church' with an institution, your institution but I know Protestants who equate 'Church' with the Faithful... not simply those faithful to an institution/tradition but those who are truly 'spiritual' and thus bear the Fruits of the Spirit. I'm not saying that there aren't spiritual people within the Orthodox Church... but I'm saying that I have encountered 'spiritual people' outside of that institution. How do I square this... am I to understand that the 'Church' is the Orthodox Church or the Catholic Church or am I to understand that where I find Spiritual People, Saintly People, Children of God... I find the Church, the mystical body of Christ?

I'm getting the impression that all this grasping for authority, 'real' sacraments, etc have been attempts to simply claim this spiritual body for a particular group. I don't know anymore. I just know that I really don't like these exclusive camps bickering back and forth. Call me whatever you want but I don't like it at all.
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« Reply #87 on: February 17, 2010, 02:05:18 PM »

Spiritual people are simply undisciplined religious people.
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« Reply #88 on: February 17, 2010, 02:13:23 PM »

Spiritual people are simply undisciplined religious people.

Perhaps I should 'define' what I mean by Spiritual People... individuals who bear the Fruit of the Spirit in Love. I don't see anything 'undisciplined' in that.
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« Reply #89 on: February 17, 2010, 04:12:01 PM »

Is this Church the Ark of Salvation as Noah's Ark was for those of his day? I've never heard Orthodox speak that their might be 'invisible members' in the Orthodox Church, although I have heard such in Catholicism. I have heard that "we know where grace is, but we don't know where grace isn't"...

If 'grace saves' then I guess in a fashion we can say that the 'Church' can have 'invisible members'... but I think you are stretching quite a bit to make that claim. I ultimately think that both Orthodox and Catholics 'must' loosen their own recognition of a 'spiritual body' of Christ that is simply 'not known'... as Our Lord spoke:

Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (Joh 3:5-8)

'The wind' to me is the spirit... we don't control where it comes nor goes yet we seem to claim that we control it. I'm uncomfortable with that claim personally.

I'm sorry, but I'm having difficulty understanding your point here. Would you mind clarifying?

Does this help?
Blessed Theophan the Recluse: "You ask, will the heterodox be saved... Why do you worry about them? They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such a concern. Study yourself and your own sins... "
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/metphil_heterodox.aspx
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