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Author Topic: Confused and somewhat afraid  (Read 4591 times) Average Rating: 0
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lellimore
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« on: March 02, 2004, 04:50:57 AM »

Perhaps a little bit of biography is appropriate, just to give context to what I'm saying.  I was born into a conservative Baptist family, and generally went with that for the first part of my life.  When still quite young (13ish) I experienced a general and rather childish rebellion against Christianity, which I later abandoned to return to my Baptist background.  With the passing of another few years, I decided (almost completely without cause, I can't even remember what gave me the idea) to look into Orthodoxy and Lutheranism.  My experience with the Orthodox parish was very good, and I began to go from time to time.  I was, and am, impressed by the liturgy.  At the same time, I began to investigate some of the issues dividing various types of Christians.  I began to gravitate toward Orthodoxy, but was, and am, suspicious of myself, thinking that perhaps I was being unfair to Baptist and other Protestant beliefs. (at the beginning of my investigation, I was dissatisfied, and continue to be dissatisfied, with many aspects of the Baptist church).  
This led to an uneasy indecision, which was later greatly intensified when I began to have doubts, from which I have yet to emerge, about Christianity in general.  Furthermore, I have begun to have doubts about the nature of belief itself.  It seems to me at times that there is little difference between strong predestinarian views of salvation and others, because if salvation is tied to proper belief, and proper belief is so difficult to establish, it seems almost to amount to a sort of "predestination of the intelligent", who sort through these questions and by fantastic fortune arrive at the right answer.  I consider many people I know, and it's obvious that they could never sort through any of the many historical and theological issues that divide religions and sects.  This makes me think, even if I do sort through these things eventually, what of them?
A second doubt I am having relates to the world's origins.  Of course there is much evidence of the truth of evolution, and most people think that this is compatible with the Bible, because the creation stories are not literal or reflect different amounts of time than they seem to and so on.  But the difficulty I have is that I wonder whether these interpretations are not just ad hoc adjustments to save faith.  After all, pretty much everyone took creation literally before Darwin came up with his theory.
These are not the only doubts, but some that have pressed on me particularly in the last few days.  I ask your forgiveness if the tone sounds aggressive; that was not my intent; the questions are honest ones.  I look forward to hearing some of your viewpoints.
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2004, 08:44:21 AM »

"Pretty much everyone took creation literally before Darwin."

I would suggest you read St Basil's Hexameron in which he uses the science of his day to support his ideas when it helps, and leaves things that seem to conflict up to God's providence as science doesn't "trump" religion. The debate on creation/evolution is not new; Augustine seemed to discuss the issue, too. I think Christian arguments can be made for creation and evolution, so I am not really concerned which one is "right" and even think they might both be right ("theistic evolution").

As for doubt in faith, let me bring in some philosophy.  Every belief has a "first principle"; for science, the first principle is that the scientific method works.  If you don't accept that--on faith--the whole system falls.  Our Christian first principle is Christ crucified reveals God.  That is the basis of our Christian faith.  It has to be accepted on faith because ultimately no one can prove it.  The proof is seeing Christ alive in believers today (cf. Athanasius's On the Incarnation; I'd suggest the SVS translation.), who now rush to martyrdom without fear, work wonders in his name, etc.

It's scary when someone says, "you just have to accept it on faith."  But I think that it's basically true.  We accept the scientific method as our first principle on faith, as well as other things; just think about how in America we accept that the people are sovereign--our whole system rests on that; if you come in and say you believe that the people aren't sovereign, we'd still be subject to Britain I guess.

If you think that I am wrong, and I could be, and you want a resource to try and prove the logicalness of Christianity, I'd suggest the two books by Stoebel I think, The Case for Faith and The Case for Christ, along with McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict.  I'd also suggest you pick up Luke Timothy Johnson's (a Protestant, but whose text we even use at the Orthodox seminary for some of our biblical study) Writings of the New Testament and just study the texts and pray about them more in depth.  One more book of his debunks the "quest for the historical Jesus" but I forget the name: you might want to look on amazon.

Finally, if you are an intellectual type, and can digest really dense stuff easily or you are really into this type of thing, John Behr's Way to Nicaea shows fundamentally how Christian theology came to be and goes into more detail about all this stuff about first principles, etc.

Hope this helps! And welcome to the forum!

anastasios
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2004, 09:12:48 AM »

... (at the beginning of my investigation, I was dissatisfied, and continue to be dissatisfied, with many aspects of the Baptist church).  

And as you delve more into the teachings of the Orthodox Church, you will also feel the same way about some of its teachings. You will not find anything "perfect" on this fallen world. Remember, the "truth", unfortunately, is filtered though corrupted vessels.

...because if salvation is tied to proper belief, and proper belief is so difficult to establish...

Salvation is not tied to a "proper" belief as prescribed by any specific Church or Bishop. Jesus came to RELEASE us from the legalistic rules of the temple.

...it's obvious that they could never sort through any of the many historical and theological issues that divide religions and sects.  This makes me think, even if I do sort through these things eventually, what of them?
 

Exactly. What of them? Focus on yourself, not on the creations of fallen, sinful men.

A second doubt I am having relates to the world's origins....
 

The Orthodox church does not try to explain this. It simply says that we don't know how God went about creating the heavens and the earth and how long that took. And since God is OUTSIDE of time, what appears in the fossil record and such is irrelevant. If you believe that God DID create everything, then that's it.

That being said, there are some more traditional monks and teachers (i.e. Father Seraphim Rose the book - "God, Creation, and Early Man" who DO believe in the literal 6 day creation.

I ask your forgiveness if the tone sounds aggressive; that was not my intent; the questions are honest ones.  I look forward to hearing some of your viewpoints.

Does not sound aggressive to me. Here's my take on the teachings of the Orthodox (and you will get others who say that I am too liberal), we don't try to explain everything in the context of this world. How are we to comprehend God? He is a mystery.

All that being said, I also came from a Baptist background. I think that you are still thinking too much like a Baptist -- We can never understand God. And the message of God brought to us through his Son and the Holy Spirit is Love and Forgiveness. That is what we focus on THROUGH the Church.

For me, the teachings of the Orthodox Church make the most sense to me.

What books have you read concerning Orthodoxy?

Happy to have you around! Keep posting!
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2004, 11:28:01 AM »

 
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lellimore: It seems to me at times that there is little difference between strong predestinarian views of salvation and others, because if salvation is tied to proper belief, and proper belief is so difficult to establish, it seems almost to amount to a sort of "predestination of the intelligent", who sort through these questions and by fantastic fortune arrive at the right answer.  I consider many people I know, and it's obvious that they could never sort through any of the many historical and theological issues that divide religions and sects.  This makes me think, even if I do sort through these things eventually, what of them?

Satisfying an intelligence that craves answers is not everyone's cross to bear.

It is apparently yours, however.

You will have to carry it and come to terms with it while you see others around you for whom faith seems to come as easily as breathing.

Don't despair; they have their crosses, too.

I wish I had some real good answers for you; but I don't.

Being a Christian has never been easy for me either.

I would say learn as much as you can - while realizing that you cannot know it all - and make a choice.

Feel the truth - it has a texture, a taste, a smell, a sound.

Embrace it (Him) and don't let go, though doubts assail you.

Anastasios' advice was excellent.

By the way, your post was one of the best I've ever read.

Shoulder your cross, and come on.
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2004, 03:38:12 PM »

Lellimore,

Your post is very timely, because as a Baptist I'm dealing with a lot (but not all) of the same issues and doubts.  How does one really know?  I think the advice given is excellent--follow CHRIST for He is the Way the Truth and the Life.  (I, too, recommend the two books by Lee Stroebel.  The Journey by Peter Kreeft is also a neat little book dealing with objective truth and the claims of Christ.)
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2004, 03:59:49 PM »

Hello! Smiley

I just want to say that you sound a lot like me.  I have a carbon copy background!  I have also shared all of your concerns and worries.  I have investigated and hashed out just about every doctrine there is Protestantism and I have agonized over "right belief".... I have lost sleep over OSAS/OSNAS.  I have gone without eating over grace through faith vs. integration of faith and works.  I have wrestled doctrines to the ground, and wept over whether or not miracles are "for today".  

What I have really come to is:  It's a really good thing that our salvation is not decided by the theologians.  Glory be to God, that God has no equal!  I have finally, and tortuously come to believe that none of us dies with perfect doctrine.  Even the Orthodox theology may be in some ways imperfect.  Yet, I find in it the beauty of the fullness of the Truth insofar as man is able to articulate it and understand it.  Coming from a Baptist background, I have come to admit that if there are things in Orthodoxy that I have difficulty accepting, it is my own problem, and it is not the responsibility of Orthodoxy to solve it for me.  I must overcome my own prejudices and biases if I am to come into the fullness of Christ's Truth.  I must give up "my way" and learn "His Way".  
If we have all the right doctrine, and we don't have Love, I would trade my own salvation to learn that "Love".

My prayers are with you in your journey.

Love to all,
Suzannah

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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2004, 06:20:05 PM »


Quote
I think the advice given is excellent--follow CHRIST for He is the Way the Truth and the Life
I would give the same advise. I have faith that the Lord never turns back the people who truly seek him. I have seen muslims, who went on a journey of faith for many years, being brought to the Lord Jesus Christ by his grace and by their perseverance to know the truth. I am sure that he would lead those who believe in him but are searching for the Apostolic Faith as well.

Quote
I consider many people I know, and it's obvious that they could never sort through any of the many historical and theological issues that divide religions and sects.  This makes me think, even if I do sort through these things eventually, what of them?
It is not very difficult to figure out when each sect began and whether they can trace themselves back to the Apostolic Orthodox Faith or not. I think we have to agree that anything short or new to the Apostolic Faith is rejected, and that will eliminate many groups.

I will pray that God may lead you in his ways.
Peace,
Stavro




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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2004, 07:28:39 PM »

God makes considerations for conscience. I think your question regarding predestination of the intelligent is only workable if it is only the intelligent who are responsible for finding objective Truth. Even then, how can we know for certain? It takes faith. God will not condemn people for not knowing. I think the culpable offense is when people choose not to know.

I have my moments of doubt and faith, but I choose to believe. I give my Church the assent of faith. I have faith like a mustard seed, and God has moved mountains for me. Smiley

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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2004, 10:23:13 PM »

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A second doubt I am having relates to the world's origins.  Of course there is much evidence of the truth of evolution, and most people think that this is compatible with the Bible, because the creation stories are not literal or reflect different amounts of time than they seem to and so on.  But the difficulty I have is that I wonder whether these interpretations are not just ad hoc adjustments to save faith.  After all, pretty much everyone took creation literally before Darwin came up with his theory.

lellimore~

A class I am currently taking (a colloquium on John Milton - the major focus being Paradise Lost) has forced me to think a lot about the nature of time, and the way men function within it and God functions outside of it. It is easy and logical to look at our faith and wonder, are we making it up as we go along? Ever since our first parents ate from the Tree of Knowledge (allegorical as that may have been), we progress in one direction, towards one goal: to know/understand more. It's inevitable. And so the state of our world has changed, as we progress, become "civilized," and find solace in "knowing" things by way of scientific, objective proof that can be seen and understood by our human comprehension. Needless to say, the world continues to change as we know more.

What I came up with, during class one day while working through some of this out loud during discussion, is that God reveals himself to us throughout all of time, but it is due to man's own inability that we do not always see these continual moments of revelation. We have blinded ourselves with all our knowledge. And yet as we gain knowledge, it is necessary for God's Truth to be, for lack of a better word, translated (definitely a poor word choice) so that it can still be perceived by us through all the junk (knowledge  Tongue) we have inevitably filled our collective mind with. Our intrinsic inclination to always learn and understand more became a part of us the moment Adam and Eve ate the apple.

The simple truth is, God is incomprehensible to our human minds. This was so even for Adam and Eve, pre-Fall: the difference is, they didn't care, and loved and worshipped God anyway. We do (care). So in the example you described - before Darwin, the biblical story of creation was believed literally (barring the examples Anastasios mentioned), and after it was not, as a result of Darwin's scientific discoveries - my response to that would be this: Before Darwin, we knew less, and so had the ability to believe in God's Truth in a simpler format, but by knowing more, through Darwin, our conception of God's Truth needed to be reworked in order for it to find its way to our hearts through our now more complex minds. The Truth did not change. Our "distance" from it did...we took a step away from it. So it may seem the Truth became more complex. It did not. We did.

Hmmmm, not sure how well I addressed what I set out to address in your post. I hope I was of some help, but if my poor attempts at philosophical and theological considerations are just a jumbled mess, know this: you are not alone, for I go through the same types of questions that you do...I am plagued with a strong case of that inclination to know and understand more, that Adam and Eve made a part of us all...and it is a plague, in my humble opinion. Wink Hopefully knowing you are not alone will comfort you a bit. Smiley I will pray for you, that God's Truth find its way into your heart, despite all this stinkin knowledge (hehe). And trust me, in your heart is where his Truth wants to be, more than anything, so I have faith it will find its way in there eventually. Wink

~*Donna Rose Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2004, 12:09:20 AM »

Dear Lellimore:

Your story reminds me alot of myself.  Being raised in a Church that was for all intents and purposes Southern Baptist and eventually rebelling (at about the same age) against Christianity.  Eventually I too returned to my Baptist roots (for a short time) before becoming Roman Catholic.  After being roman for several years, with brief periods attending/investigating High Church Anglicans, Lutherans, and several protestant sects, I decided that Orthodoxy was the True Faith and am still in the process of eventually converting to the Holy Church.

May I suggest reading Not of This World which is a Biography of Father Seraphim Rose who experienced a similar journey (at least in its earlier stages)?  I don not remember who the author is, perhaps some other posters may know.

IN Christ,
Joe Zollars
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« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2004, 12:59:15 AM »

Damascene Christensen is the author and I believe a new version has just been published.
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2004, 03:43:13 PM »


Hi lellimore,

I'm not an intellectual so I'll leave that stuff to those more suited. However, the Creation and origin of life problem you're having is not at all a new one. In St. Athanasius' book 'On the Incarnation' he wrote about many different groups who adhered to different views of the origin of life. Darwin was not the first to come up with the theory of Evolution, as 'On the Incarnation' refers to many a group who believed nearly indentical to Darwin.
Other early Christian writers also wrote about ancient theories that were similar to evolution, and certainly took God out of the Creation. So none of these 'modern' theories are actually new. They are simply the same philisophical ideas, a bit revamped for modern times. If I recall St. Athanasius' point wasn't whether Genesis was literal or not, but that God created everything. I also love St. Basil's writings on Creation, as much of what he wrote is very similar to the 'modern' big bang theory.

This is not to underplay the fact that many Church Fathers did take Genesis literally, however at the same time several of the most prominent theologians ever, took the Creation account as symbolical langauge used to get the point across that God created it all, regardless of how long it took. (btw I'm a former 6 day literalist, turned theistic evolutionist)

I just want to make one point on faith, knowledge etc... The original teachings of Christ are NOT about coming to an intellectual understanding of God. They're about following Christ as best we can. As much as we Orthodox tend to talk in advanced theological terms, and use Greek philosophy to discuss doctrine, in the end the Orthodox Way is NOT about those things. It is about following the teachings of Christ. It is about loving God, and our neighbor, and it is about living, truly living in Christ Jesus. So even though we talk in philisophical terms and ideas, just know that Orthodoxy is about LIFE in a practical sense. Not about knowledge. For some of the simplest people have become great saints throughout the centuries.


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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2004, 05:20:33 PM »

You may also want to check out Darwin on Trial by Phillip Johson, Darwin's Black Box by Michael Behe, and Icons of Evolution by Jonathan Wells (among others) to see how little of what passes for "evolution" is actually empirical fact.
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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2004, 09:25:06 PM »

lellimore, Hi and welcome!

Your post is very interesting.  living in the western world where we tend to analyze everything to death, we have a nasty tendency to have to be able to "intellectually digest" anything before we believe in it.  Christ is not that way -- i doubt if anyone ever became an Orthodox Christian only having hearing a "convincing argument."  God is love, and when you see love expressed in Christians and the joy that emanates from that love -- this is what draws people to Christ and His Church.  

i have no further recommendations than what is already posted, but just persist, be very persistent, and don't expect to find support for Christian Orthodoxy in the world.  The world has been against Jesus from the beginning of time.  

Fr. Seraphim Rose's biography is excellent, since he became Orthodox as a lapsed-protestant American from San Diego, and Americans can identify with him.  I recommend the 2nd edition of the book published in 2003 -- it's called "Father Seraphim Rose - His Life and Works".  (the 1st edition from 1993 which is called "Not of this World" is polemical.)  You can get it from St Herman's monastery in Platina, California (the monastery that Fr. Seraphim founded, still in existence and thriving!) -- you can find them on the internet.  

Welcome!
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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2004, 02:50:47 AM »

Well put, gregory2. well said! Especially the first paragraph.

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« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2004, 04:26:46 AM »

Apologies for the slowness of response on my part.  I should be able to reply more fully on the weekend.
What books have you read concerning Orthodoxy?
The first book I read was one by William Bush called The Mystery of the Church (at least I think.  I read it a while ago and remember the book better than the title).  I've also read part of Lossky's Mystical Theology and the official report of the Lutheran-Orthodox ecumenical committee.  I've read Carlton's The Way, which of course was very useful for someone of my background.  Then there are of course shorter articles and the like.  As to the book recommendations, I've read The Case for Christ and most of The Case for Faith, as well as Luke Timothy Johnson's The Real Jesus (which I think is the historical Jesus book someone was trying to think of earlier)  The last one had a deep effect on my approach to historical Jesus issues; I would recommend it to everyone.
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« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2004, 11:40:15 AM »

With your background, lellimore, I would definately check out Thirsting for God in a Land of Shallow Wells by Matthew Gallatin.  

Book Description
Beginning in the street ministry days of the Jesus Movement, Matthew Gallatin devoted more than 20 years to evangelical Christian ministry. He was a singer/songwriter, worship leader, youth leader, and Calvary Chapel pastor. Nevertheless, he eventually accepted a painful reality: no matter how hard he tried, he was never able to experience the God whom he longed to know. In encountering Orthodox Christianity, he finally found the fullness of the Faith.

In Thirsting for God, philosophy professor Gallatin expresses many of the struggles that a Protestant will encounter in coming face to face with Orthodoxy: such things as Protestant relativism, rationalism versus the Orthodox sacramental path to God, and the unity of Scripture and Tradition. He also discusses praying with icons, praying formal prayers, and many other Orthodox traditions.

An outstanding book that will help Orthodox readers more deeply appreciate their faith and will give Protestant readers a more thorough understanding of the Church.
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« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2004, 12:36:39 PM »

I heartily "second" David's recommendation of Thirsting for God.  I've read it four times myself.  (Now if only my wife would read it...)
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« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2004, 08:44:22 PM »

Salvation is not tied to a "proper" belief as prescribed by any specific Church or Bishop. Jesus came to RELEASE us from the legalistic rules of the temple.  I don't exactly get this.  Do you mean that salvation is not tied to whether or not one is a Christian, or more precisely an Orthodox Christian?  What about comments like St. Cyprian's "Outside the church there is no salvation" or Jesus' "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."?  Maybe I just misunderstood; I would greatly appreciate if you would expand on that a litte.Exactly. What of them? Focus on yourself, not on the creations of fallen, sinful men.  What are these "creations" you're referring to?  What I meant by this point is that as I'm going through the issues in deciding whether or not to belong to a specific church (or indeed, in my greatly uncertain moments, any church at all), I often wonder about who are irreligious, or belong to some non-Christian religion, or who are Protestants, or whatever, and who also are not gifted with extraordinary intelligence, and I wonder how, if they are currently mistaken, they can come to a knowledge of the truth.  This is where my "predestination of the intelligent" point came in.  It just seems like people look at the cases for various beliefs, and what if their reason fails them and they believe the wrong one? The Orthodox church does not try to explain this. It simply says that we don't know how God went about creating the heavens and the earth and how long that took. And since God is OUTSIDE of time, what appears in the fossil record and such is irrelevant. If you believe that God DID create everything, then that's it.

That being said, there are some more traditional monks and teachers (i.e. Father Seraphim Rose the book - "God, Creation, and Early Man" who DO believe in the literal 6 day creation.  This point definitely takes care of part of the issue here.  It seems to me that there are two related issues in dealing with this.  The first is how it is that the Church interprets the passage.  The second is how believable that interpretation is. eg. what are the chances that it represents the original intent of the authors?  It's this second bit that I'm still having trouble with, especially in relation to Creationists who quote language scholars (eg. http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c011.html ) who find any interpretation other than literal to be in violation of the language used.
All that being said, I also came from a Baptist background. I think that you are still thinking too much like a Baptistwouldn't surprise me in the least if this is true Wink


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« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2004, 08:45:26 PM »

Oops.  Sorry about that.  Tried to quote, dividing up into sections.  As you can see, it didn't go so well....
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« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2004, 12:09:38 AM »

I wrote: Salvation is not tied to a "proper" belief as prescribed by any specific Church or Bishop. Jesus came to RELEASE us from the legalistic rules of the temple.

You responded: I don't exactly get this.  Do you mean that salvation is not tied to whether or not one is a Christian, or more precisely an Orthodox Christian?  What about comments like St. Cyprian's "Outside the church there is no salvation" or Jesus' "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."?  Maybe I just misunderstood; I would greatly appreciate if
you would expand on that a litte.

Be glad to. But first, this disclaimer -- the opinions I express are simply that; my opinions. And they don't count for nothing.

So here we go .... I do not adhere to the idea that one must to be an Orthodox Christian to be saved; for salvation is by the Grace of God. I believe that the Orthodox Church is the Church handed down by Christ - but I absolutely do believe that there IS salvation outside of the Orthodox Church. And most Orthodox Priests that I know personally and have discussed this with, believe that it is even possible that non-Christians may be saved by the Grace of God. We simply do not know. As an example, here is some text from the Ukranian Orthodox Church:

"...we believe Orthodoxy provides us with the clearest path to God's Kingdom, free from the tangents of other faith traditions. In saying this, Orthodoxy does not suggest that there is no salvation outside of Her Faithful, because this judgment belongs to Christ alone. Nevertheless, we assert that within the Orthodox Church, one finds the fullness of God's revelations to humanity."

Concernig St. Cyprian's comments -- they were written in the mid 200's. I believe that there WAS only one true Apostolic Church at that time. You have to be VERY careful when people try to take comments made in a different time and try to apply them to today.


I wrote: Exactly. What of them? Focus on yourself, not on the creations of fallen, sinful men.

You responded: What are these "creations" you're referring to?  What I meant by this point is that as I'm going through the issues in deciding whether or not to belong to a specific church (or indeed, in my greatly uncertain moments, any church at all), I often wonder about who are irreligious, or belong to some non-Christian religion, or who are Protestants, or whatever, and who also are not gifted with extraordinary intelligence, and I wonder how, if they are currently mistaken, they can come to a knowledge of the truth.  This is where my "predestination of the intelligent" point came in.  It just seems like people look at the cases for various beliefs, and what if their reason fails them and they believe the wrong one?

These "creations" I am referring to are the corporate Churches that man has created. Understand that I am NOT referring to the FAITH or the teachings of Christ. I am referring to the day-to-day operations of the corporate and legalistic entities created by MAN in Christs name. A necessary creation, but nonetheless flawed and corrupt.

The only "wrong" Christianity that you can believe in is one that DENIES the FAITH consisting of Christ (his resurrection)  and his teachings of Love and Forgiveness.

Adhering to rules created by MEN (i.e. Fast every Wed and Fri, etc.) will NOT save you. They are simply tools to allow you to achieve  a closer relationship to God by teaching you how to get those passions under control that keep us seperated from God (i.e., reaching Theosis).

Do you REALLY believe that if you love Christ and try to live by his teachings that when you stand before the Judgement seat he is goig to turn you away because you believed something that was wrong. That may be the PROTESTANT concept of GOD, but it is most definitely NOT the Orthdox concept of God. Our God is not vengeful or judgemental. Our God is forgiving and simply wants us to love him and to try to live as he taught us. Remember, he was FULLY Man, he KNOWS what we have to fight against. He will never turn his back on us. Bless him!


I wrote:The Orthodox church does not try to explain this.....

You responded: This point definitely takes care of part of the issue here.  It seems to me that there are two related issues in dealing with this. The first is how it is that the Church interprets the passage.  The second is how believable that interpretation is. eg. what are the chances that it represents the original intent of the authors?  It's this second bit that I'm still having trouble with, especially in relation to Creationists who quote language scholars (eg. www.christiananswers.net/q-aig...g/aig-c011.html ) who find any interpretation other than literal to be in violation of the language used.

I don't recall Jesus mentioning a literal belief in creation was necessary for our salvation. If it was, I would think that The Lord would have mentioned it OR that it would have been handed down in the teachings of the Apostles and therefore the Orthodox Church?

Here is a teaching of The Greek Orthodox Church concerning this subject:

God created all of this world in six days, as it is told to us in Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament. But those were not days under the sun as we know such days today. How could there be days and nights inasmuch as the sun was created on the fourth day of creation? We must therefore regard those days as lengthy periods. After all, to God "a thousand years . . . are but as yesterday" (Psalms, 90:4). Why does God call the periods of creation days? We do not know. Why did He make the Creation in six days? We do not know. God could have created everything in a moment with a single word and a single motion. He preferred this way of creation. It is His privilege. We cannot say anything about this. We must emphasize here, though, something more important. When and at what time did God create the world? We are referring to the days of creation--but when did those days begin? What is time? Did time exist before the creation of the world? We have said in another section, that God is not subject to time. He is eternal; He is beyond time. And so we should understand that time was created together with the creation of the world. The beginning of the world becomes the beginning of time. Time and the world are synchronous.


--

Well...that's it. Hope I cleared up what I was trying to say.

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« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2004, 04:33:21 PM »

Tom,

St Cyprian's arguments were never fully accepted by the Church due to their strictness, although the Orthodox do look at what he wrote and take it very seriously.  At his time there were three bishops claiming the see of Carthage: himself, and a strict bishop, and a loose bishop.  He was the middle-of-the-road guy and wrote that those who were baptised by the strict or loose parties needed to be rebaptised upon becoming Catholic.

But like I said, his views were not completely accepted.

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« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2004, 10:10:51 PM »

Dustin,

I was agreeing that St. Cyprians arguments were not accepted; Lellimore was the one who quoted St.Cyprian in his response.

My response in the above post are in italics.
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« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2004, 11:48:52 PM »

This thread has been dead for a while, but I just wanted to thank everyone who responded.  I had the wrong understanding about a couple points about the Church that you cleared up.  Thanks!
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