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Author Topic: Protestant Response to "Is Salvation a 'Free' gift?"  (Read 6188 times) Average Rating: 0
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Zenith
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« on: January 14, 2011, 08:59:56 PM »

perhaps I should not write but... I can't refrain... most surely you take only orthodox opinions into consideration and therefore, you don't want to see me replying to this...

Quote from: peterprint
I have been trying to understand the differences and meanings of the Greek words for gift- Dorea, and Charisma, in the context of our salvation being a "free gift".

I understand that we can never earn, or truly deserve salvation, but my understanding of the process, as an Orthodox Christian, is that we do have to work towards our salvation (as co-workers), and that God provides us with His Grace in our efforts.

The idea that salvation is a "free gift" does not make sense to me.  If it were really free, then we would not have to do anything for it, i.e., repent, get baptized, take the sacraments, give alms, participate in the life of the Church, etc.  

Is the idea of a "free gift" a Protestant concept?  How should we, as Orthodox Christians, understand the parts of the Bible where the term gift is used, such as Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God"

(I have read that the Hebrew word for faith is not about a belief, but that it is about taking action based on belief)

I do not believe that salvation can be a free gift; there are conditions attached.  Am I adopting a non-Orthodox position?

Thank you for any insight on this!
by the way, sorry for not reading the other posts...

ok, first off, I don't think there is a need for a Hebrew definition of faith because "faith" is already defined in Hebrews 11:1. One is a belief and other is faith. As we can see in Mat 14.28-31 - Peter should have had faith in Jesus that because He gave him the power to walk on water he would have not fallen into the deep. Or another example: Let's say there would be an invisible bridge, a very long one (kilometers long), over an extremely deep valley (like hundreds of kilometers) and God (the Father) or Jesus commanded you to go on the bridge until you reach the other side. Knowing the fact that if you ever doubt in your heart that this invisible bridge exists and can hold you, you will certainly fall hundreds of kilometers down and certainly die, would you have the faith to cross that bridge that has kilometers in length?

Regarding the free gift... You did not read the whole thing:
Eph 2.8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Despite the fact that you don't like to hear it, I'll say it: saved through faith, not through works. That is, a man must not do any work in order to get saved. Otherwise, if salvation was through works as well, some people might have boasted that they did X and they did Y! that is, they would have had the good/proper reason to boast. So the verse says that no matter how many good deeds a man does, his deeds do not save him. Only faith can save him. this is how it's written.
The same idea is written in Romans 9.30-33
"30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness [that is, works of righteousness], have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31. but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness [that is, doing the works of righteousness], has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33. As it is written:
“ Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”"
And it continues to 10.4 and even below.

So now the answer: salvation is the gift of God because people (people today or the gentiles 2000 years ago to whom Paul preached) did not do any works [or deeds] to receive it: it was pure from God.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 09:03:17 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2011, 10:29:40 PM »

James:

14 What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say to them, Depart in peace, be you warmed and filled; notwithstanding you give them not those things which are needful to the body; what does it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

18 Yes, a man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 See you how faith worked with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which said, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

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peteprint
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2011, 10:54:07 PM »

Exactly.  One without the other is incomplete.  It is an interesting dichotomy.  Christ has a dual-nature (God and man), Faith and works are necessary for salvation, and theosis involves God and man working together.

With the exception of the Calvinists, most Protestants believe that the individual at least has to "accept" Christ, which is an action taken by man.

God throws us the rope, so to speak, an action that is completely unmerited, but man has to take hold of it and hang on to be saved.

We are offered salvation in spite of not deserving it, but we have to take it.  The initial offering of a means to salvation is an unmerited gift, but the Bible is replete with examples of men and women who, through their actions, won favor with God, were justified, and were rewarded for their faith; faith which was manifested by their actions.

We have to run the race (if he had not kept the faith he would be lost), make us of the talent that was entrusted to us (the servant that did not make use of it was cast into outer-darkness), be ready for the arrival of the Bridegroom (the foolish virgins were shut out because the were not prepared).

Our salvation is contingent on our actions after we accept the gift.
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peteprint
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2011, 11:06:31 PM »

I went to church today ( the Feast of the Circumcision), and took Holy Communion.  I love to go to church and to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord.  But I also believe that regular attendance, giving to the poor, praying for my enemies, keeping the fasts, etc. does count towards my salvation.

The opportunity to engage in theosis is a totally unmerited gift from our loving Father in Heaven, but the participation in theosis is something that requires my efforts as well as God's grace.  Faith without works is dead.  We don't earn the opportunity to be redeemed, but we do, by our actions, earn God's forgiveness.
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2011, 02:50:48 AM »

About what Ortho_cat said:
Regarding James 2.14-26.

I sincerely prefer this translation for verse 14:
"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?" as it doesn't sound contradictory to John 3.16. And it sounds right with "if a man claims to have faith".
In other words, James says: many claim to have faith, but who has it?

And it says in v. 17
"In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead"
What kind of faith is that, if it's dead? Isn't the true faith a living faith? (in contradistinction to dead faith). So the dead faith is, what is told in v. 14, a faith that a man claims to have it, but he has it not. That's what "to claim to have faith" means, right? And this why, it perfectly agrees with John 3.16 and other verses. Otherwise it would have been a contradiction - John to say that faith (alone) brings salvation, James to say that faith without deeds do not bring salvation.

ok, so it's not the "works" the problem, but the faith! And that is, a true faith gives itself birth to works of righteousness. If it doesn't - that is, you have to struggle a lot for that to happen, because it is not the faith that produces them - then it means your problem is the faith. Not the deeds, the faith. Because faith should give birth to the deeds.

It's like that: if you're in a burning building, you see fire all around, doesn't your conviction (faith) make you get out of the building, so that you would not burn and die? If you had not the conviction (faith) that the building is on fire you would have remained inside. But the conviction (faith) itself is that which makes you act. It's not the action of getting out(deeds) that brings the conviction (faith) that the building is on fire and that fire is all around you (in other words, it is not works who produces the faith), but instead the conviction is that which makes you get out (in other words, the faith that produces the works).

And also, as I have explained in the previous post, it is not deeds that save, but faith. You don't need to do a number or a quantity of good deeds to be saved, because salvation is by faith, not by deeds, and you must NOT put your trust in deeds to save you, as the verses in the Bible say.

and a question... what is that "the process of salvation" you talk about?? It sounds to me like "the process of entering", when you actually enter a room in an instant, not a long period of time.

or as an example: You are in a building and the building is on fire, and you see fire all around. There comes a fireman, manages to enter the building, he enters the room where you are and gets you out of the building unharmed. When are you saved? Aren't you saved when you are no longer in danger of burning and dying? There can be no process of being saved: you're either saved or not, either outside the burning building or inside the burning building. And if you're not outside the burning building, if you're not in safe from burning and dying, you're not saved.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 02:51:47 AM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2011, 10:35:19 AM »

The New Creation, like the old, is totally gratuitous (free), ex nihilo. What is left to us is for us to be grateful

While I think I agree with what you say here in principle, I do have to respectfully ask, how is the New Creation "ex nihilo?"

The New Creation is in Christ, Who is eternally begotten of the Father.  How can that be said to occur "out of nothing?"
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2011, 10:40:58 AM »

Regarding the free gift... You did not read the whole thing:
Eph 2.8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Despite the fact that you don't like to hear it, I'll say it: saved through faith, not through works. That is, a man must not do any work in order to get saved.

This is interesting language you use -- "get saved."  But let us take something briefly -- it appears it is you apparently who did not "read the whole thing."

The remainder of the passage you cited (with the part you cited included to provide context) goes like this:

Quote
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

You say "a man must not do any work in order to get saved."  I suppose this is true, but what does it mean?  Does it mean works are excluded from salvation?  By no means!  Not as we Orthodox define salvation.

We don't claim our works merit salvation.  Don't hear this wrong.  No one is saying "if you do X number of good works, God will save you, but if you don't, He won't."  Rather, good works ARE salvation -- good works are what we are saved TO DO.    It is a false dichotomy to separate faith from works.  Paul certainly doesn't do this.  And it is an overreaction to the medieval notion that works merit salvation, which is also wrong.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 10:45:27 AM by David Garner » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2011, 12:00:05 PM »

^ Well said!
"Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." (James 2:17-18)
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2011, 01:25:32 PM »

Quote from: David Garner
This is interesting language you use -- "get saved.
well, if I had said "be saved" instead of "get saved", it would have been indeed biblical (as it is written in Acts 16.30 "what must I do to be saved?"). I just thought it's not a big difference between "get saved" and "be saved".

Quote
But let us take something briefly -- it appears it is you apparently who did not "read the whole thing."

The remainder of the passage you cited (with the part you cited included to provide context) goes like this:
and you quoted Eph 2.10.
However, I did not contradict Eph 2.10: God prepared the good works in advance for us to do. But it is NOT them that save. Of course God did not intend that His children to do evil things, but instead to do good things. I never said that God wants people to do the evil things. However, there is a great distinction between Eph 2.10 and the idea that "works save". For instance, if a pagan would come at the end of his life to believe in God, Jesus Christ, etc. and a few days after, die, he would certainly not have the works! especially if he was very ill in his bed since he converted till death. Yet he might be saved! (that is, inherit the kingdom of heaven)

Quote
You say "a man must not do any work in order to get saved."  I suppose this is true, but what does it mean?  Does it mean works are excluded from salvation?  By no means!
I think I have explained it for several times. Still you understand something else than what I say. And I think we have a very different view on salvation.

Acts 16.30 says:
"And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. "
It is no process of salvation. You're either saved or not saved. And if he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, it is said that he would have been saved, not that he would have started the process of his salvation.

The same with Acts 2.37-39: they asked what they must do to be saved, and the answer was given. And if they did that, they were saved. And if they were saved already, then it means that they were no longer in danger of going to hell. Doesn't the word itself "saved" mean that that man is now safe?

So, to get back to my explanation: if a man was saved, then his repentance itself, his decision to serve God which was made before he got saved is that which causes him to serve God after he was saved - and I hope it doesn't sound this odd to you, because "be saved" is written in the bible. If he just claimed to believe in God, but this belief resulted in no change in his life (works of righteousness), then it means that he does not believe in God, because God commands people to live in a certain way! - not to hate people, when one is in need to help him, etc. So it's not works that save, but true faith that saves and causes a different way of living. I hope it's clearer now.

Quote from: peteprint
Christ has a dual-nature (God and man)
I'm curios where you found that in the Bible.
My view: how could Jesus Christ have a dual nature before He came on earth (that is, before he became a man)? And after Jesus Christ went back, doesn't it mean that He became as He was before?
Romans 8.3 says: "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh". So when Jesus came on earth He received a flesh in the likeness of the sinful flesh. 1 Corinthians 15.49-55 says that this flesh cannot inherit the heavens, but those that would be at the end of the world would be transformed. Doesn't this mean that Jesus as well did not enter in heaven in flesh (in His human body), but was transformed, in the way He was before, because flesh cannot inherit heavens? So it's wrong to say that Jesus has a dual nature.

Quote
The initial offering of a means to salvation is an unmerited gift, but the Bible is replete with examples of men and women who, through their actions, won favor with God, were justified, and were rewarded for their faith; faith which was manifested by their actions.
Wrong. Faith was not manifested by their actions, but PROVEN by their actions. That's what James 2.18 also says.
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2011, 01:47:33 PM »

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Well at least you admit to it, that's a good first step  Wink
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2011, 02:03:39 PM »

Romans 8.3 says: "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh". So when Jesus came on earth He received a flesh in the likeness of the sinful flesh. 1 Corinthians 15.49-55 says that this flesh cannot inherit the heavens, but those that would be at the end of the world would be transformed. Doesn't this mean that Jesus as well did not enter in heaven in flesh (in His human body), but was transformed, in the way He was before, because flesh cannot inherit heavens? So it's wrong to say that Jesus has a dual nature.

After Christ's resurrection, He appeared to His disciples and said "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Luke 24:39) Afterward He ate with them (Luke 24:42-43) and then ascended into heaven and the promise was given by the angel that He would return "like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (in His Body). Col 2:9 says "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" implying that He is currently in His Body. So from this we have Christ raised in His Body, ascending into heaven in His Body, reigning in heaven in His Body, and returning in His Body. He didn't condemn human nature, He "condemned sin in the flesh".
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2011, 02:08:14 PM »

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Well at least you admit to it, that's a good first step  Wink
That which I wrote seems somehow amusing to me, but that is how it is. And that means that, even if all the people on this earth believe something, and I am the only one on all this earth to believe otherwise, the simple fact that I'm the only one that believes otherwise does not convince me to change my views. I will take the words of a man as the words of a man.

Anyway, I am also aware that I can be wrong in the views I have, as no man on earth can know everything and be right in everything, so if somebody can prove his view right and mine wrong then I will not ignore what he says.

And this is what "heretic" means to me. And it also sounds a bit funny to me.
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2011, 02:10:43 PM »

Christ's dual nature is Christianity 101.

Zenith asked:

"I'm curios where you found that in the Bible.
My view: how could Jesus Christ have a dual nature before He came on earth (that is, before he became a man)? And after Jesus Christ went back, doesn't it mean that He became as He was before?"  

The Council of Chalcedon stated:

"We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, unconfused, unchangeable, indivisibly, inseparably;the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God, the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us."

Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and the majority of Protestants have always accepted this.  The Church doesn't teach that Christ had his human nature before the incarnation.  When He ascended to Heaven, the Lord still had his human body, but now a glorified, resurrected body.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 02:16:52 PM by peteprint » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2011, 02:26:08 PM »

Romans 8.3 says: "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh". So when Jesus came on earth He received a flesh in the likeness of the sinful flesh. 1 Corinthians 15.49-55 says that this flesh cannot inherit the heavens, but those that would be at the end of the world would be transformed. Doesn't this mean that Jesus as well did not enter in heaven in flesh (in His human body), but was transformed, in the way He was before, because flesh cannot inherit heavens? So it's wrong to say that Jesus has a dual nature.

After Christ's resurrection, He appeared to His disciples and said "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Luke 24:39) Afterward He ate with them (Luke 24:42-43) and then ascended into heaven and the promise was given by the angel that He would return "like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (in His Body). Col 2:9 says "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" implying that He is currently in His Body. So from this we have Christ raised in His Body, ascending into heaven in His Body, reigning in heaven in His Body, and returning in His Body. He didn't condemn human nature, He "condemned sin in the flesh".

if you meant by this "He is currently in His Body. So from this we have Christ raised in His Body, ascending into heaven in His Body, reigning in heaven in His Body, and returning in His Body" that Jesus Christ did not have His body transformed when He entered the Kingdom of Heaven it contradicts 1 Corinthians 15.49-55. Jesus Christ does indeed have a body, but that was transformed into a heavenly body. Or do you imagine that when people would go to heaven they would have heavenly body while Jesus an earthly body?

indeed, He was resurrected in his human body and came to His disciples in His human body (human flesh), but He was transformed when He entered His Kingdom.
We have 1 Corinthians 15.49-55 that says that our body will be transformed into a heavenly body and we have Romans 8.29 and Philippians 3.21 that say that our body will be transformed in the likeness of His body. Doesn't this mean that Jesus Christ is currently having a heavenly body and not a fleshly (earthly) body?
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2011, 02:30:45 PM »

to peteprint
I said "I'm curios where you found that in the Bible". So try proving your view with the Bible.
In the Bible nowhere it is written that Jesus Christ has a dual nature, so you'd better find verses that suggest that or verses that all together prove it.
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2011, 02:31:56 PM »

to peteprint
I said "I'm curios where you found that in the Bible". So try proving your view with the Bible.
In the Bible nowhere it is written that Jesus Christ has a dual nature, so you'd better find verses that suggest that or all together prove it.

Make you a deal. You show me where the Bible says that everything must be proven from the Bible, and I will then prove everything I believe completely from the Bible. How 'bout it?
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2011, 02:53:37 PM »

Quote from: David Garner
This is interesting language you use -- "get saved.
well, if I had said "be saved" instead of "get saved", it would have been indeed biblical (as it is written in Acts 16.30 "what must I do to be saved?"). I just thought it's not a big difference between "get saved" and "be saved".

"Get saved" is active language.  "Getting" is something WE do.

"Being" is passive.  "Being is more something we ARE.

Salvation is not something that is "gotten."  It is something that IS, i.e., we ARE saved, we didn't "get" saved.  See the prior discussion on whether salvation is a "thing."

Quote
and you quoted Eph 2.10.
However, I did not contradict Eph 2.10: God prepared the good works in advance for us to do. But it is NOT them that save.

And yet no one has said that it is.  No one is saying that by doing good works you cause God to save you.  What we are saying is that being saved MEANS doing good works.  That is what God saved you for.

Quote
Of course God did not intend that His children to do evil things, but instead to do good things. I never said that God wants people to do the evil things. However, there is a great distinction between Eph 2.10 and the idea that "works save". For instance, if a pagan would come at the end of his life to believe in God, Jesus Christ, etc. and a few days after, die, he would certainly not have the works! especially if he was very ill in his bed since he converted till death. Yet he might be saved! (that is, inherit the kingdom of heaven)

Who are you to judge his works?  You say "he would certainly not have the works," but in reality, that is not yours to decide, but Christ's.

Quote
I think I have explained it for several times. Still you understand something else than what I say. And I think we have a very different view on salvation.

Acts 16.30 says:
"And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. "
It is no process of salvation. You're either saved or not saved. And if he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, it is said that he would have been saved, not that he would have started the process of his salvation.

The same with Acts 2.37-39: they asked what they must do to be saved, and the answer was given. And if they did that, they were saved. And if they were saved already, then it means that they were no longer in danger of going to hell. Doesn't the word itself "saved" mean that that man is now safe?

This is part of the problem.  You are viewing "saved" or "salvation" as a declaration.  We don't see it that way.  This is not "guilty or not guilty," and it is not "get into heaven or don't get into heaven."  That's PART of it, but it's not ALL of it.  And I'm leaving out some pretty fundamental stuff like "heaven is not the penthouse while hell is the cellar," etc.

Salvation is union with the Holy Trinity.  It is being united to the Godhead by grace through Christ.  You are looking to be "saved" in the sense that God says "here's your ticket into this place called heaven.  We are looking to be "saved" in the sense that we are joined to Christ, made by grace one with the Triune God and becoming by grace what He is by nature.  THAT is salvation, and the culmination of that is heaven.  

Quote
So, to get back to my explanation: if a man was saved, then his repentance itself, his decision to serve God which was made before he got saved is that which causes him to serve God after he was saved - and I hope it doesn't sound this odd to you, because "be saved" is written in the bible. If he just claimed to believe in God, but this belief resulted in no change in his life (works of righteousness), then it means that he does not believe in God, because God commands people to live in a certain way! - not to hate people, when one is in need to help him, etc. So it's not works that save, but true faith that saves and causes a different way of living. I hope it's clearer now.

The only odd part is that you have reverted to "get saved" when you say "his decision to serve God which was made before he got saved is that which causes him to serve God after he was saved."

That sounds a lot like active movement on your part which causes God to save you.  In other words, that sounds a lot like the "salvation by works" you seem to be arguing against.

Otherwise, this is not all that far off.  We are not saying anything radically different.  It is more that we have a different understanding of what salvation is and how it is given.  We are saying that God unites us to Himself in Holy Baptism, gives us His Spirit in Holy Chrismation, strengthens us with His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist, forgives our sins in the Absolution, all so we may go and live the life He has for us to live.  We are not saying that we do good works and then God says "hey, good work Dave!  You're saved now!"  No, God draws us to Himself so that we may live the very life of repentance, good works and faith that He has prepared in advance for us to live.  We receive those gifts -- and return to them, as appropriate -- so that we may be strengthened, remain united to God, and be given the very grace necessary to live that life.  The sacramental life is at the core of Orthodoxy, but not because we are trying to work our way to heaven.  Rather, because we need the grace provided in the sacramental life to live as God wishes us to live.
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« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2011, 02:56:23 PM »

Let me also note that we need to be precise with our language.  Christ does not have "a dual nature."  Christ has two natures.

"A dual nature" sounds too close to Monophysitism to my ears.  Christ has 1 human nature and 1 divine nature.  The divine nature is His from eternity, the human nature He assumed in time.

He is also a divine person, not a human person.

That may sound nit-picky, but where Christological heresies are concerned, it might do us well to pick some nits.
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« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2011, 03:03:07 PM »

Just a few thoughts on how Orthodox generally speak of "salvation" and how it relates to works.

First, salvation is a gift. It is not earned and God is not indebted to anyone for anything. He gives us life out of His love for us and not not because of any necessity that is owed to us.

Now that that is out of the way, one difference is what is meant by "salvation". You seem to generally refer to salvation as the point in time when God accepts us and is an event that happens. The Orthodox generally express salvation in terms of the three fold "Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us" found in 1 Cor 1:10 and is seen as a process where one is accepted into God's life and then continues in that life.

As far as works go there are two points to be made. One is that we are called to do good works. These good works really aren't "good", more like "normal". They are what we are supposed to be doing anyway. So doing good works doesn't "earn" you anything, but refusal to do so is direct willful disobedience to God, which does condemn you (Luke 12:47-48). We fall short of God's perfect standard continually, so are in continual need of repentence toward God and faith in Jesus Christ.

Another point on works is that certain "works" like prayer, fasting, and almsgiving can work to bring us closer to God and neighbor when done in faith and reliance on God to provide the increase. This is why we are called "labourers together with God" (1 Cor 3:9). This is also why it is written that "he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb 11:6).

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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2011, 03:09:51 PM »

Romans 8.3 says: "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh". So when Jesus came on earth He received a flesh in the likeness of the sinful flesh. 1 Corinthians 15.49-55 says that this flesh cannot inherit the heavens, but those that would be at the end of the world would be transformed. Doesn't this mean that Jesus as well did not enter in heaven in flesh (in His human body), but was transformed, in the way He was before, because flesh cannot inherit heavens? So it's wrong to say that Jesus has a dual nature.

After Christ's resurrection, He appeared to His disciples and said "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Luke 24:39) Afterward He ate with them (Luke 24:42-43) and then ascended into heaven and the promise was given by the angel that He would return "like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (in His Body). Col 2:9 says "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" implying that He is currently in His Body. So from this we have Christ raised in His Body, ascending into heaven in His Body, reigning in heaven in His Body, and returning in His Body. He didn't condemn human nature, He "condemned sin in the flesh".

if you meant by this "He is currently in His Body. So from this we have Christ raised in His Body, ascending into heaven in His Body, reigning in heaven in His Body, and returning in His Body" that Jesus Christ did not have His body transformed when He entered the Kingdom of Heaven it contradicts 1 Corinthians 15.49-55. Jesus Christ does indeed have a body, but that was transformed into a heavenly body. Or do you imagine that when people would go to heaven they would have heavenly body while Jesus an earthly body?

indeed, He was resurrected in his human body and came to His disciples in His human body (human flesh), but He was transformed when He entered His Kingdom.
We have 1 Corinthians 15.49-55 that says that our body will be transformed into a heavenly body and we have Romans 8.29 and Philippians 3.21 that say that our body will be transformed in the likeness of His body. Doesn't this mean that Jesus Christ is currently having a heavenly body and not a fleshly (earthly) body?

The same passage also says that not all flesh is the same flesh. While his resurrected body is glorified and heavenly, it is still a physical human body. The Body that was crucified is the Body that was raised and glorified is the Body that ascended into heaven, is there now, and will return. The tomb is empty.
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« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2011, 03:13:53 PM »

Let me also note that we need to be precise with our language.  Christ does not have "a dual nature."  Christ has two natures.

"A dual nature" sounds too close to Monophysitism to my ears.  Christ has 1 human nature and 1 divine nature.  The divine nature is His from eternity, the human nature He assumed in time.

He is also a divine person, not a human person.

That may sound nit-picky, but where Christological heresies are concerned, it might do us well to pick some nits.

He is a person who is both fully divine and fully human.
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« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2011, 04:02:16 PM »

everybody please wait your turn.

To Asteriktos:

Quote from: Asteriktos
Make you a deal. You show me where the Bible says that everything must be proven from the Bible, and I will then prove everything I believe completely from the Bible. How 'bout it?
Besides what was written about the council’s decree:
the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us
I assumed that the prophets from the beginning must be the apostles (from whom we have the New Testament) and the prophets of the Old Testament who wrote about Jesus.

Ok, you said “You show me where the Bible says that everything must be proven from the Bible, and I will then prove everything I believe completely from the Bible.”
Let’s start with 2 Timothy 3.13-17. We know that the author is Paul and in verse 10 we are told that Timothy learnt from the apostle Paul.
Ok, now the verses:
Quote
“13. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
 14. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
 15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
 16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
 17. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

In the verse 13 we see that there are people (and were even from the time of the apostles) that go astray from the teachings of God and give teachings from their minds and imagination, deceiving people and deceiving themselves. In the verse 14 Paul advises Timothy not to take heed to what they say, but to take heed only to the Scriptures - which were the Jewish scripture: the Law, the Prophets and the Writings, not deuterocanonical books – and to the apostles.
 
Timothy has learnt from the apostle Paul and had spent time with him (v.10) and that proved to him that Paul is indeed an apostle of Jesus Christ, and what he speaks is what Jesus Christ told him to say. So the only men whom a Christian should trust are the apostles themselves (because they taught what God commanded them to teach), and the prophets (the authors of the Old Testament, whom also did not write or teach from themselves) but not those that received the teachings from the apostles, and not other people. What the latter ones may teach, even if they have good intention, is the word of man not the word of God. Besides the fact that they might have been victims to things like v. 13 to 15, even if there were only a few things. Timothy had the luck that Paul told him these verses, and perhaps he took heed to what Paul told him.

And the fact that the Bible is sufficient is shown in verses 14 to 17. (New Testament and the Old Testament).

Deuteronomy 5.32-33 and 12.32 also teach that we should remain ONLY to the teachings that God gave. If a man commanded or said something that God did not tell him to (that is, if he wasn’t a prophet or an apostle), it is the word of a man, not the word of God. And we should remain ONLY to the word of God. So, though you do not like to hear it, this is against the ecumenical councils because those people gave additional teachings and commands to the multitudes, telling them what to believe and what to do, without being either prophets or apostles of God.

The thing that people should not add to what God says is also specified in Revelation 22.18-19.
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« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2011, 04:33:05 PM »

Zechariah 4:6: "So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty."
John 15:5: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." The fruit of which Christ speaks is something which is produced by a power which man does not possess. Man cannot make a fruit.

Freedom in scripture is never "freedom-from" but "freedom-to" -freedom to be what God intends for us. Hence Paul frequently describes himself as a "bondslave" (doulos) of Christ. Salvation as **healing** (the Greek word for salvation literally means healing) is restoration to participation in God's purpose for our being which ultimately results in our transformation from glory to glory. Christ laid down His life freely, as the *Servant* of God (the Servant was free!), to set us free, and urged those who would come to Him to count the cost of doing so (Lk 14:27-28ff), and to receive the yoke of Christ, which is obedience to all things Christ taught His earthly disciples ("teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" Mt 28:20). Fruitbearing is God's work in us; without Him we can do nothing. We do not earn or merit anything we become or do in Christ because everything we are and become in Christ, including our fruitbearing, is the work of God in us (cf. Jn 3:19-21).

"Israel's freedom, and that of its individual members, was not considered as a subject separate from the redeeming and saving acts of God. Freedom for Israel meant being set free by Yahweh, as e.g. from bondage in Egypt (Exod 20:2; Deut 7:8). Thus it was identical with redemption. It was not given by nature, but was always experienced as the gracious gift of Yahweh. The gift of freedom remained bound to the giver. Desertion of YHWH had the necessary consequence of loss of freedom. This is shown by the era of the judges which was an age of falling away from Yahweh, slavery, repentance, and liberation (Jdg 2:1ff). The history of the northern and southern kingdoms was similar" (J. Blunck, "Freedom," in Colin Brown, ed., Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 1, 715).

"In the NT "the characteristic of the free man in Christ is not in contrast with the slave, but the fact that, as a free man, he is at the same time the slave of Christ (1 Pet 2:16; 1 Cor 9:19; cf.  Paul's self-designation in Rom 1:1; Phil 1:1). The apeleutheros kyriou (freeman of the Lord) is at the same time the doulos Christou (slave of Christ (1 Cor 7:22)... What is man freed from? Man is bound in that he is subject to the powers of this age (cf. Eph 6:12; Matt 17:18; Lk 13:16; 1 Pet 5:8). The NT idea of freedom goes far beyond that of the OT in that it sees freedom as liberation from the manifold powers which suppress true humanity: sin (Rom 6:18-22; 8:2ff; Jn 8:31-36) Satan (Matt 12:22; Lk 13:16; Eph 6:12); the law of sin and death (Rom 7:3-6; 8:3; Gal 2:4 4:21-31; 5:1-13); and death itself (Rom 6:20-23; 8:21). It is a liberation from the 'old man' (Rom 6:6; Eph 4:22; Col 3:9). ...As liberation from the compulsion to sin, eleutheria (Rom 6:14, 18) opens up the hitherto impossible possibility of serving God (cf. Jas 1:25; 2:12). What previously separated God and man, and thus stood in the wy of true humanity, is removed... The liberation of man does not lie within the real of his own capacities. It does not come about by man's reflection on himself, an act of the will, or by any deed of this sort or that... Only the Son can open up the possibility of existence in eleutheria (Jn 8:36). For man it becomes a present reality, when he opens his life to the call of the gospel (2 Cor 5:20f). This comes about when proclamation leads to faith and to an abiding bond to Christ and his word (Jn 8:31f; Rom 10:14ff). The Christian message of Christ's liberating act on the cross summons man from the only possible way of life open to him kata sarka, after the flesh, i.e. according to  human standards and thinking. It calls him to live now kata pneuma, according to the Spirit (Rom 8:12f; Gal 6:8). True freedom exists only where the Holy Spirit works in a man, becoming the principle of his life, and where a man does not block his working (2 Cor 3:17; Rom 8:1; Gal 5:18). ...This freedom can be used as 'a pretext for evil' (1 Pet 2:16). This occurs where freedom is misunderstood in the Greek sense of man being the master of all his decisions. This leads to libertinism or antinomianism instead of serving one's neighbors (Gal 5:13f). The man who is truly free shows his freedom in being free for the service of God (1 Thess 1:9), righteousness (Rom 6:18ff), and his fellow man (1 Cor 9:19; Jas 1:25). 'For the love of Christ controls us' (1 Cor 5:14). The man who is free is a doulos Christou, a slave of Christ (1 Cor 7:22; Rom 1:1; Phil 1:1). As Luther put it,  'A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all (The Freedom of a Christan, 1520). This service can take many forms (Gal 5:22; 1 Cor 9:19ff). The ultimate decisive factor is that it should be done in love (1 Cor 13). The deeper a man penetrates into the 'law of liberty' the more free he becomes for such actions (Jas 1:25; 2:12)."
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« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2011, 05:06:34 PM »

Well, you can lead a horse to water...

My next post was going to be about asking where the Bible tells us which books are in the Bible, but nah, don't think it'll go anywhere, so...

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« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2011, 05:28:40 PM »

Quote from: Zenith
So the only men whom a Christian should trust are the apostles themselves (because they taught what God commanded them to teach), and the prophets (the authors of the Old Testament, whom also did not write or teach from themselves) but not those that received the teachings from the apostles, and not other people.
Well, NO! The scriptures don't say just trust the prophets and apostles!

"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ..." -Eph 4:11-12

Notice that God appointed PERSONS for the building up of the body of Christ, and not all those persons were apostles.

Quote from: Zenith
What the latter ones may teach, even if they have good intention, is the word of man not the word of God.
You are implicitly restricting "word of God" (i.e. message of God) to things written -the assumption that if something is not written it cannot be the word of God- however scripture uses word of God not only of writings, but of preaching/proclamation (κατηγγέλη) as well.

Quote from: Zenith
And the fact that the Bible is sufficient is shown in verses 14 to 17. (New Testament and the Old Testament).
Well, no. The scripture Timothy's grandmother shared with him as a boy did not include the NT; the NT hadn't even been written when Timothy was a boy! You are taking "sufficient" as implying "we don't need anything else"; but if that were true the NT would never need been written, as the OT "alone" which young Timothy (which is what is referred to in that verse) had actually been exposed to was described as "sufficient." But a further problem is you are reading into the text a concept of "sufficiency"; the Greek word ὠφέλιμος simply means scripture is PROFITABLE or USEFUL.

Quote from: Zenith
Deuteronomy 5.32-33 and 12.32 also teach that we should remain ONLY to the teachings that God gave.
Sure, but it doesn't say the teaching already given was all there was, else we would not have the writings and the prophets and the NT to augment the Pentateuch. Also there were charismatic prophets in the OT which recorded many things which were not written down. The OT does not restrict the word of God to the pages of a book as contemporary evangelicism does. While man should not add to the word of God and call it the word of God, there is nothing to prevent God from doing so through men and women; in fact scripture itself presents that this precisely what *was* done even after the prohibitions of adding or taking away to what was written were presented in Deuteronomy. Why was anything else written after Deuteronomy if such passages were intended to circumscribe the word of God?

Quote from: Zenith
If a man commanded or said something that God did not tell him to (that is, if he wasn’t a prophet or an apostle), it is the word of a man, not the word of God. And we should remain ONLY to the word of God. So, though you do not like to hear it, this is against the ecumenical councils because those people gave additional teachings and commands to the multitudes, telling them what to believe and what to do, without being either prophets or apostles of God.
This is not so if the creeds embody the word of God. As an example, you presuppose your own words in this forum represent or re-present the word of God, but you are using other manners of speaking than the Bible itself. If one cannot listen to anything beyond the words of scripture alone, why are you presenting words which are not the words of scripture alone and expecting them to be listened to? Or if we should listen to your words as a claim to represent the word of God though you are not an apostle, why should we not give the creeds of Christendom the same due consideration?

Here is a critique of the repudiation of the creeds in the name of sola scriptura by a Presbyterian writer who holds to sola scriptura (which I don't, but I offer it as an aid to you where you now are) which might help you to see why most Christians past and present do not feel like the creeds of Christendom are violations of the word of God:

Quote
NO CREED BUT CHRIST?
http://www.biblicalstudiescenter.org/ec ... ocreed.htm
"One Protestant denomination in North America has the actual motto, "no creed but Christ." "No confession but the Bible." In many contemporary church circles, it is an axiom that doctrine divides. Creeds and confessions are foreign to the spirit of the New Testament, we are told.

The most relevant response to the notion of "no creed but Christ" is that this statement itself is a creed! What is a creed? The word creed comes from the Latin credo, which simply means I believe. Those who proclaim "no creed but Christ" presumably believe the slogan, and thus undercut its intended meaning.

What is doctrine? It simply means "teaching." When we speak of "the faith," we are speaking of the body of truth contained in apostolic teaching. The divinity of Christ is doctrine. The Incarnation is doctrine. The atonement is doctrine. The believer's union with Christ is doctrine....

Some would object that the Bible contains all the doctrine necessary for salvation, and thus further confessions are unnecessary. And although we would agree with the first statement, yet the second does not follow from it. It is altogether true that the Bible is self-sufficient. All that is necessary for life and godliness is disclosed within its pages. However, every pseudo-Christian cult and sect claims to be teaching the Bible. We do not accept a teaching simply because the one who holds it claims to speak for Scripture. Whether our confession is written or not, we, of necessity, judge his confession in terms of our own...

Very early in the history of the Christian church, creeds and confessions of various lengths were formed. Some are quoted in Scripture, especially the pastoral epistles (1 Tim. 3:16; perhaps 1 Tim. 1:15; 2 Tim. 2:11-13). Some were formulated soon after; the so-called Apostles' Creed likely dates back (at least substantially) to the second century. In the centuries that followed, more creeds were written to combat heresy that was creeping into the Church. We think especially of the Nicene Creed, and the Symbol of Chalcedon, which were primarily developed by councils representing virtually all of the Christian Church. These creeds' central purpose was to defend the biblical doctrine of Christ's nature, because Arius and others were teaching heresy under the cover of biblical-sounding language. The Church was serious about her calling which is given in Jude 3: "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints."

Confessions, whether written or no, are inescapable. The question is not, will we use a confession? There is no possibility of not using a confession, any more than there is a possibility of having no theology. That choice is simply not before us. The question is, will our confession echo Scripture, or twist and deny it? Will it be a good confession or a bad confession?

God has given to His Church limited, but very real, authority. The Church is the "pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15) - a fact which Paul follows up by citing a contemporary confession of that truth (v. 16). This means that confession is not incidental or optional to the Church. It is the nature of the Church to stand upon a confession of God's Word.

The confessions possess authority precisely because the churches possess authority.

The confessions of the Church stand under the Scripture.
No confession which contradicts scripture can be true.

This means that Scripture has authority to alter the contents of those confessions. However, this should only be done in the context of a sympathetic understanding of the men who wrote these confessions.

We must remember, confessions are: 1) a declaration of God's truth; and 2) a safeguard against error. If we may change them simply upon our own whims, then they provide no safeguard at all. Likewise, we are charging our spiritual fathers with inability to properly defend and declare the Word of God. It seems to me we ought to be extremely careful about such things. No one individual is greater than the Church. It is true, the majority can be wrong, even among those in authority. But the answer is not individualism, which leads to anarchy. Individualism implies that each person is free to formulate and promote his own confession. He may undermine the teaching of the God-ordained authority of the church. This is not the biblical way...

God has not left it in the hands of individual Christians to develop and promote their own formulations of Christianity. Failing to safeguard against this, we invite descent into error and doctrinal apostasy. We are promoting relativism rather than truth. The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth. The Church is charged with defending and proclaiming the one apostolic faith."

I. The Apostles' Creed

This creed is the oldest of the creeds officially subscribed to in the Christian church. To be sure, its name may be misleading; it was not written by the apostles themselves. But it is so named because it is a very brief summary of the apostolic teaching. The substance of this creed was employed in connection with baptism no later than the second century. Explanation of the Apostles' Creed has very often provided the foundation for teaching converts and the children of the Church the essentials of the Christian faith.

I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son, our Lord;
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary;
Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell;
The third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit.
I believe a holy catholic Church, the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting. AMEN.

II. The Nicene Creed

The precise name of this creed is actually the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. It is a refinement of the original Nicene Creed of 325, conducted by the Council of Constantinople in 381, and represents the final credal triumph of the Church in opposition to Arianism. It should be noted that the phrase "and the Son" with reference to the procession of the Holy Spirit which occurs in some versions of the Nicene Creed was added some time later, and has never been accepted in the Eastern (Orthodox) churches.

III. The Symbol of Chalcedon

This creed, drafted in 451 to protect the doctrine of the two natures of Christ, is of monumental significance in the history of the Church. Although it has not generally been employed in the liturgy after the manner of the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds (both of which are still commonly and widely used as confessions for congregational recital during worship), it is nonetheless venerable, commanding universal authority and carrying a majesty of its own, despite the arguable lack of poetic force (reflected by the lack of verses or lines) in comparison to the two aforementioned creeds. The translation provided here is mostly that of Schaff, with the exception of the inclusion of the theologically rich original Greek Theotokos for Schaff's "Mother of God."

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [coessential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, [literally, "God-bearer"] according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

Quote
The thing that people should not add to what God says is also specified in Revelation 22.18-19.
Specifically this charges that one not add to the book of Revelation penned by John.
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« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2011, 05:32:47 PM »

Now I've read the posts of David Garner.

So, to David Garner:

Quote
"Get saved" is active language.  "Getting" is something WE do.
Well, there is something what WE do to become saved: believe. And Jesus blamed people that did not believe (John 5.44), commanded people to believe Mark 1.15. So it is obviously our part to BELIEVE it. Anyway, you say that you have to do “works” to go to heaven, so isn’t this something that WE do?

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"Being" is passive.  "Being is more something we ARE.
However, as in my example with the burning building where you’re inside, to “be saved” is not a period of time. It’s improper to say that you’re BEING saved from the fire, because that would mean that you are still amidst the fire and not saved from it!

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Salvation is not something that is "gotten."  It is something that IS, i.e., we ARE saved, we didn't "get" saved.  See the prior discussion on whether salvation is a "thing."
I’ve read a bit about the “thing” topic, but it’s not quite satisfactory.
In what you say, you seem to mean that you ARE saved (from hell) but still, if you’re not doing well with the works of righteousness, in danger of hell. So I must ask: you’re saved from WHAT? By the way, in John 3 the topic was saved from hell.

About the pagan that converted on the death bed.
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Who are you to judge his works? You say "he would certainly not have the works," but in reality, that is not yours to decide, but Christ's.
Well, if all his life he was worshipping idols, commit adultery, perhaps even killed people, etc. then I don’t know the good works he could have been saved for!

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This is part of the problem.  You are viewing "saved" or "salvation" as a declaration.  We don't see it that way.
I gave references to verses in the Bible to prove my view. If you don’t see things that way, show me the verses in the Bible that prove your view. Besides the fact that it is illogical to say that a man is saved (which means, or also means, from hell) and go to hell.

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You are looking to be "saved" in the sense that God says "here's your ticket into this place called heaven.
I don’t speak about tickets to heaven.

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Salvation is union with the Holy Trinity
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We are looking to be "saved" in the sense that we are joined to Christ, made by grace one with the Triune God and becoming by grace what He is by nature.  THAT is salvation, and the culmination of that is heaven. 
I’ve heard many different definitions of salvation. And because they are different, they cannot all be right, isn’t it? So how do you prove your definition to be correct? Do you have some verses in the Bile that support your view?

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The only odd part is that you have reverted to "get saved" when you say "his decision to serve God which was made before he got saved is that which causes him to serve God after he was saved."
Not quite odd, I said in the same post that I don’t see much difference between the two. And I didn’t blame “get saved” to be wrong, either.

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Quote from: Zenith
So, to get back to my explanation: if a man was saved, then his repentance itself, his decision to serve God which was made before he got saved is that which causes him to serve God after he was saved - and I hope it doesn't sound this odd to you, because "be saved" is written in the bible. If he just claimed to believe in God, but this belief resulted in no change in his life (works of righteousness), then it means that he does not believe in God, because God commands people to live in a certain way! - not to hate people, when one is in need to help him, etc. So it's not works that save, but true faith that saves and causes a different way of living. I hope it's clearer now.
That sounds a lot like active movement on your part which causes God to save you.  In other words, that sounds a lot like the "salvation by works" you seem to be arguing against.

Still not clear enough what I meant? Then let’s get back to James 2, perhaps that helps. Verses 20 to 25: they speak about Abraham and Rahab.
Abraham: he brought his own child to sacrifice him. Was the deed of bringing his child to sacrifice that caused him to have faith (trust God), or the faith in God that caused him to bring his own child to sacrifice? It was the faith, because God told Abraham that the covenant will be with this Isaac, that from him a nation would grow. So there could have been no way for Abraham to go to sacrifice Isaac if he did not trust God that He can and that he would resurrect Isaac. So was it faith that was imputed unto him for righteousness or the deed of going to sacrifice his son that was imputed unto him for righteousness? It was the faith!
Rahab, in Joshua 2.1-13: here as well, the works were not separate from the faith: Rahab believed in the God of Israel and she was certain that God would make Israel conquer that city, no matter what. It was that faith that caused her to protect those 2 men. It was not the deeds of protecting them that caused her to believe in the God of Israel. Also, it is not works on a side and faith on the other side, but faith that gave birth to the deed.

So it is not the deeds that are imputed unto us for righteousness, but the faith.
This is what is in the Bible. I don’t know what else to tell you to prove you that it is so. And I've read somewhere above, don't remember who said or implied, that faith is manifested (that is, performed, or given birth, caused) by works.

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We are saying that God unites us to Himself in Holy Baptism, gives us His Spirit in Holy Chrismation, strengthens us with His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist, forgives our sins in the Absolution, all so we may go and live the life He has for us to live.
I’m sorry, but I do not understand some terms. I don’t see in the Bible that the baptism in water units us with God, that the anointment of chrism causes a man to receive the Holy Spirit, I don’t know what you mean that you are strengthened when you are taking the mass. And I don’t pretty understand what Absolution is. And there are pretty different teachings in the Bible about how things are going.

So I find myself that I must ask: What do you believe that a man must to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven and what causes a man to go to hell?

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Christ has 1 human nature and 1 divine nature.  The divine nature is His from eternity, the human nature He assumed in time.
Do I find this written in the Bible? Because as one might have noticed from my explanations, I see that there is no way Jesus could have assumed another NATURE in time. The fact that he passed through certain experiences during his life as a man in an earthly flesh has nothing to do with His nature.

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« Reply #26 on: January 15, 2011, 05:51:19 PM »

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Christ has 1 human nature and 1 divine nature.  The divine nature is His from eternity, the human nature He assumed in time.
Do I find this written in the Bible?

Ummm, yeah.....Its the whole first Chapter of the Gospel of John.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 05:51:40 PM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: January 15, 2011, 05:58:19 PM »

Quote from: Zenith
...it is illogical to say that a man is saved (which means, or also means, from hell) and go to hell.
Except σωθῆναι literally means healed also. It is not illogical to say a person who is healed, say by heart surgery, might become ill and die, say by eating a vat of lard every day.

Salvation in scripture is presented in three tenses: we are saved (have received present cleansing) we are being saved (e.g. Christ **continues** to intercede for us in Romans and Hebrews), and we will be saved, if we endure in Christ. Salvation is ABIDING IN CHRIST -it is not reducible to something which occurs in one "Grand Moment."

Unless you die
John 12:24-25  24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  25 "He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal."


if you hold fast
1 Corinthians 15:1-2  Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,  2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.


If we hold fast
Hebrews 3:6   6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.


If we endure
2 Timothy 2:12   12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;


If indeed you continue

Colossians 1:22-23  22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach--  23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.


If what you heard abides (remains) in you…
1 John 2:24-25  If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.  25 And this is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.


If you are in the faith… unless indeed you fail the test[/u]
2 Corinthians 13:5  5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test?



Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood

John 6:53-58  3 Jesus therefore said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.  54 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  55 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.  56 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.  57 "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.  58 "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate, and died, he who eats this bread shall live forever."


Unless you repent and bear fruit
Luke 13:5-9   5 "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish... And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?'  8 "And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer;  9 and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'"

Luke 13:3  unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.


Unless you abide and bear fruit
John 15:3-6  3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.  6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.


If we walk in the darkness; if we walk in the light
1 John 1:6-7  6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;  7 but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.


If we keep his commandments
1 John 2:3-6  3 And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.  4 The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;  5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:  6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.



If faith has no works

James 2:14   14 What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
James 2:17   17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.



If any strays and one turns him back

James 5:19-20  19 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back,  20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.

(note: selected examples only).

Quote from: Monarchos.net
Orthodoxy sees both the concepts of salvation and covenant as something like marriage, not a legal contract. Marriage, of course, is about growth. Certainly at the beginning there is something profound that happens, yet the marriage is a marriage throughout the years, and the marriage is by no means invincible to the corruption of this world. In Orthodoxy, then, we look towards judgment day and pray for a good defense before the great judgment seat of Christ just like we might say that we hope for a good and long-lasting marriage. Someone might say, well yeah, but didn't you already get married? what is the point of getting married if you have no assurance that you will be married in the future? Didn't the marriage take care of this? The answer to this, especially the last question, of course, is "not necessarily". Divorce happens. So does falling away from God. The NT, including Paul, says that we are judged according to what we did here while on earth in faith. If, then, we must use the language of contract as misleading as it is we would have to say that after signing the contract we have to not break the contract afterwards.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 06:16:33 PM by xariskai » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2011, 07:01:24 PM »

I think this debate will last an eternity...

To Melodist – the others, wait, I did not read your replies yet:
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First, salvation is a gift. It is not earned and God is not indebted to anyone for anything. He gives us life out of His love for us and not not because of any necessity that is owed to us.
I didn’t imply any necessity of God. God doesn’t NEED anything. It is written that God wants everyone to have eternal life (John 3.16) Also in Ezekiel 33.11 it is written that God does not want the death of the sinner, but that the sinner would change his ways.
However, God DOES require us something, which is our part. And if we do not do what He asks us, then we go to hell.

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The Orthodox generally express salvation in terms of the three fold "Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us" found in 1 Cor 1:10 and is seen as a process where one is accepted into God's life and then continues in that life.
Unfortunately, this 2 Corinthians 1:10 speaks about something else! And that something else is seen in the context (1.8-10): it is physical death! The apostles were persecuted, imprisoned, in danger of death. They did not worry that they would have gone to hell, but instead they thought they would have been murdered. So try a verse that is not speaking about physical death.

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So doing good works doesn't "earn" you anything, but refusal to do so is direct willful disobedience to God, which does condemn you (Luke 12:47-48)
In other words, what you say is that your good works earn you heaven, while refusal to do a good thing earn you hell.
And now that I have read the verses you said, what do you say that are these “good works” that earn you heaven? What does a man must do?

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Another point on works is that certain "works" like prayer, fasting, and almsgiving can work to bring us closer to God and neighbor when done in faith and reliance on God to provide the increase.
So you have some works here. I thought you were referring to something like living in righteousness (not worshipping anybody but God, not getting drunk, not hating people, reading the Bible to see what God commands people to do and not to do, so you would do what God asks, not watching porn, not committing adultery, fornication, etc.).

By the way, we are not commanded to fast in the Bible. The reason of fasting is expressed in Isaiah 58.4: “to make your voice to be heard on high”. There is also no commandment in the Bible as how often exactly to pray. And by the way, about these works you wrote: you said before that they do not earn you anything! Now you say that they do?

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Another point on works is that certain "works" like prayer, fasting, and almsgiving can work to bring us closer to God and neighbor when done in faith and reliance on God to provide the increase. This is why we are called "labourers together with God" (1 Cor 3:9)
You give again verses that speak about something else: Paul said that they (the apostles) are workers together with Christ, while the Christians whom they were teaching were the husbandry, the building the apostles were building. Anyway, it also sounds odd what you say: if you are labourers together with God when you pray to Him or fast, what is God working, so that you would be labourers together with God?

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This is also why it is written that "he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb 11:6).
If you say that you are still seeking God, then it means that you didn’t find Him yet! (Isaiah 55.6; Matthew 7.7). So, what are you actually doing to find Him?

About 1 Corinthians 15:
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The same passage also says that not all flesh is the same flesh. While his resurrected body is glorified and heavenly, it is still a physical human body. The Body that was crucified is the Body that was raised and glorified is the Body that ascended into heaven, is there now, and will return. The tomb is empty.

Verse 50 speaks about the “flesh” while verse 40 speaks about body! It doesn’t say that there are two kinds of flesh: one earthly and other heavenly, but that there are two kinds of bodies, one that is earthly, and other that is heavenly. And it is obvious that a person cannot have two bodies at the same time (i.e. one earthly and one celestial/heavenly). Also, in verse 50, the “flesh” refers to earthly bodies. If Jesus has an earthly body, He cannot be in heaven because corruption does not inherit incorruption. (it refers to the body, it’s verse 50). Also, His body would have been turned to dust by now. Anyway, it’s plain clear from the Bible, from the verses that I brought that Jesus has a celestial/heavenly body, and cannot have an earthly body. So His body has been transformed from an earthly body (flesh) to a heavenly body.
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« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2011, 07:10:48 PM »

Zechariah 4:6: "So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty."
John 15:5: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." The fruit of which Christ speaks is something which is produced by a power which man does not possess. Man cannot make a fruit.

Freedom in scripture is never "freedom-from" but "freedom-to" -freedom to be what God intends for us. Hence Paul frequently describes himself as a "bondslave" (doulos) of Christ. Salvation as **healing** (the Greek word for salvation literally means healing) is restoration to participation in God's purpose for our being which ultimately results in our transformation from glory to glory. Christ laid down His life freely, as the *Servant* of God (the Servant was free!), to set us free, and urged those who would come to Him to count the cost of doing so (Lk 14:27-28ff), and to receive the yoke of Christ, which is obedience to all things Christ taught His earthly disciples ("teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" Mt 28:20). Fruitbearing is God's work in us; without Him we can do nothing. We do not earn or merit anything we become or do in Christ because everything we are and become in Christ, including our fruitbearing, is the work of God in us (cf. Jn 3:19-21).

"Israel's freedom, and that of its individual members, was not considered as a subject separate from the redeeming and saving acts of God. Freedom for Israel meant being set free by Yahweh, as e.g. from bondage in Egypt (Exod 20:2; Deut 7:Cool. Thus it was identical with redemption. It was not given by nature, but was always experienced as the gracious gift of Yahweh. The gift of freedom remained bound to the giver. Desertion of YHWH had the necessary consequence of loss of freedom. This is shown by the era of the judges which was an age of falling away from Yahweh, slavery, repentance, and liberation (Jdg 2:1ff). The history of the northern and southern kingdoms was similar" (J. Blunck, "Freedom," in Colin Brown, ed., Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 1, 715).

"In the NT "the characteristic of the free man in Christ is not in contrast with the slave, but the fact that, as a free man, he is at the same time the slave of Christ (1 Pet 2:16; 1 Cor 9:19; cf.  Paul's self-designation in Rom 1:1; Phil 1:1). The apeleutheros kyriou (freeman of the Lord) is at the same time the doulos Christou (slave of Christ (1 Cor 7:22)... What is man freed from? Man is bound in that he is subject to the powers of this age (cf. Eph 6:12; Matt 17:18; Lk 13:16; 1 Pet 5:Cool. The NT idea of freedom goes far beyond that of the OT in that it sees freedom as liberation from the manifold powers which suppress true humanity: sin (Rom 6:18-22; 8:2ff; Jn 8:31-36) Satan (Matt 12:22; Lk 13:16; Eph 6:12); the law of sin and death (Rom 7:3-6; 8:3; Gal 2:4 4:21-31; 5:1-13); and death itself (Rom 6:20-23; 8:21). It is a liberation from the 'old man' (Rom 6:6; Eph 4:22; Col 3:9). ...As liberation from the compulsion to sin, eleutheria (Rom 6:14, 18) opens up the hitherto impossible possibility of serving God (cf. Jas 1:25; 2:12). What previously separated God and man, and thus stood in the wy of true humanity, is removed... The liberation of man does not lie within the real of his own capacities. It does not come about by man's reflection on himself, an act of the will, or by any deed of this sort or that... Only the Son can open up the possibility of existence in eleutheria (Jn 8:36). For man it becomes a present reality, when he opens his life to the call of the gospel (2 Cor 5:20f). This comes about when proclamation leads to faith and to an abiding bond to Christ and his word (Jn 8:31f; Rom 10:14ff). The Christian message of Christ's liberating act on the cross summons man from the only possible way of life open to him kata sarka, after the flesh, i.e. according to  human standards and thinking. It calls him to live now kata pneuma, according to the Spirit (Rom 8:12f; Gal 6:Cool. True freedom exists only where the Holy Spirit works in a man, becoming the principle of his life, and where a man does not block his working (2 Cor 3:17; Rom 8:1; Gal 5:18). ...This freedom can be used as 'a pretext for evil' (1 Pet 2:16). This occurs where freedom is misunderstood in the Greek sense of man being the master of all his decisions. This leads to libertinism or antinomianism instead of serving one's neighbors (Gal 5:13f). The man who is truly free shows his freedom in being free for the service of God (1 Thess 1:9), righteousness (Rom 6:18ff), and his fellow man (1 Cor 9:19; Jas 1:25). 'For the love of Christ controls us' (1 Cor 5:14). The man who is free is a doulos Christou, a slave of Christ (1 Cor 7:22; Rom 1:1; Phil 1:1). As Luther put it,  'A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all (The Freedom of a Christan, 1520). This service can take many forms (Gal 5:22; 1 Cor 9:19ff). The ultimate decisive factor is that it should be done in love (1 Cor 13). The deeper a man penetrates into the 'law of liberty' the more free he becomes for such actions (Jas 1:25; 2:12)."

Was this for me? If yes, what did you want to say with this? As far as I know, you didn't talk about the subjects I was talking.
Now, after you'll reply, you'll have to wait until I finish with the posts that are above this one.
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« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2011, 07:25:42 PM »

Zenith, what is the basis for your interpretation of scripture?
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« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2011, 07:53:35 PM »

Quote from: Zenith
what is that "the process of salvation" you talk about?? It sounds to me like "the process of entering", when you actually enter a room in an instant, not a long period of time.
If one is trying to be faithful to what scripture says about salvation, to say that salvation (healing) can occur in an instant is not so much wrong as it is incomplete. It seems you are ruling out the "process" aspect of salvation by the "moment" aspect, but scripture presents both. That we are healed by God in a moment of repentance does not preclude our lifetime healing involving a continuation of God's healing (and glorifying) work in us. God is not "done with us" in the single moment we first come to Him.

Salvation begins as a moment in time:
God “saved us (ἔσωσεν -aorist active indicative), through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-5). This salvation is indeed "not by righteous works that we had done" (οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ ἃ ἐποιήσαμεν ἡμεῖς -verse 5) but by the mercy of God.

Salvation as process:
1 Cor 1:18 (NIV):  "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those of us who are being saved (σῳζομένοις -Gk. continual present passive participle) it is the power of God."

1 Cor 15:2: "...and by which you are being saved (σῴζεσθε -Gk continual present passive indicative), if you hold fast (εἰ κατέχετεto -Gk. continual present active indicative the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain." The passive indicates the salvation comes to us from beyond ourselves; the conditional clause "if you hold fast" is in the active -subject action. This in turn is only by the power of God, but not to the exclusion of our holding fast! The passive (being saved -action done to a subject from beyond) and the active (if you hold fast -action by a subject) are very clear in the Greek text although the tense distinctions are not obvious in English.

1 Pet 1;9 "...for you are receiving [κομιζόμενοι -present middle participle] the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." Commenting on 1 Pet 1:9 Protestant scholar Peter H. Davids observes (Davids, Peter H., The First Epistle of Peter: New International Commentary) "Salvation, then, is a goal. It is what Christians are moving toward. According to 1 Peter it begins with baptism (1 Pet. 3:21), but it is finally revealed only in 'the last time' (1 Pet. 1:5). The mark of those who are 'being saved' is their remaining firm in the faith under persecution (Hard Sayings of the Bible, W. Kaiser, et al., Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996, p. 710)"

Continual Intercession
Rom 8:26: "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes  for us with groanings too deep for words" Intercedes/ὑπερεντυγχάνει is Gk. continual present active indicative.
Rom 8:34: "Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding (ἐντυγχάνει -Gk. continual present active indicative) for us."

Christ and the Holy Spirit are not done interceding for us after the moment we believe.

1 Jn 1:9: "If we [Christians] confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." The passage does not refer to non-Christians coming to Christ, but Christians who have sinned. Does Christ purify the Christian "from all unrighteousness" at a time subsequent to his or her initial "Grand Moment of belief"? How could there be any unrighteousness to purify if God was done with us in one Grand Moment of belief?

"And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

The saving roles of Christ and the Spirit are OBVIOUSLY not *strictly* "punctiliar" (in a point of time) but continuous/continuing. That doesn't mean that Christ does not "save"/heal in a punctilliar manner, but the punctilliar action does not tell the whole story; to take the part for the whole is to distort the Gospel of salvation IN CHRIST.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 08:17:05 PM by xariskai » Logged

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« Reply #32 on: January 15, 2011, 08:52:27 PM »

This reply is for Asteriktos...
the rest of you wait at least 12 hours.

Quote from: Asteriktos
Well, you can lead a horse to water...

My next post was going to be about asking where the Bible tells us which books are in the Bible, but nah, don't think it'll go anywhere, so...

I don't know what you meant with the horse... anyway...

In Matthew 5.17, 7.12 Jesus mentions the Law and the Prophets, that is, the Book of The Law (Torah), which contains the books from Genesis to Deuteronomy, the Book of the Prophets (Nevi’im), which contains the following books – Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.

In  Matthew 21.42 Jesus mentions the Scriptures, and the verse he quotes is found in the Book of Scriptures.
These are the books of the Scriptures (K’tuvim): Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles.

It was settled for the Jews then which the holy books are, and it is a settled thing now as well. The Jewish Bible (Tanakh) does contain all these and only these books. The Talmud for them is like the writings of the Church Fathers, for orthodox people: writings of their religious leaders and traditions kept by them, commentaries that say how to understand things, which they do not confound with the Bible (the Written Law) though they seem to care more about what their religious leaders said and believed rather than what the Bible says. Very similar to the orthodox people, right? They also have ‘ecumenical councils’, though I don’t remember if they call them “ecumenical councils” or otherwise.

Now, for the New Testament: here are mentioned the authors of the New Testament rather than the books (not that the books would have had a special name – e.g. according to Matthew). In 2 Peter 3.15-16 Peter mentions the epistles of Paul.

In rest, it is known that the authors of the New Testament are the apostles, while Luke and Mark were companions of the apostles. Additionally, neither Mark nor Luke gives any teaching or commandment from themselves, but only relate what Jesus did and said.

The books which should belong (and, they do belong) in the New Testament are easy to ‘find’. They have many manuscripts, that were found in many different places, unlike a writing like the Gospel of Thomas who has only one broken manuscript, from where words and phrases miss, because the manuscript is broken. There are also things like, when the writing is assumed to have been written (e.g. you can’t pretty believe a gospel if it was written in the 4th century, because, in that case, the authors could have not been eye-witnesses in any case).

Besides that, there is a great difference between a person who states that what he says is from God and one that shows (tells, implies, etc.) that what he says is from his mind (he or they concluded that, etc.). And that difference is that you don’t even have to bother with one that says that his words are from himself, because that is clearly not a holy scripture - if he said that is from himself. Interestingly, very many people blindly trust such people, for reasons like “he’s too smart to be wrong”, “it is far too important his social position (or title) and the decision he makes for God not to speak through him”, etc.

By the way, about the deuterocanonical books (old testament): besides the fact that they do not belong and never belonged in the Jewish Bibles, they were not accepted as holy scriptures by the early christians either, but were declared canonical a second time (that's why they are called to be of "the second cannon").

So I don't think it's very hard to see which should belong in the bible and which should not.
Anyway, if it is still unclear and confusing to a man, I think he should seriously read to understand (study) the Bible, then all the other scriptures (like other ancient gospels, epistles, etc.) to see the difference between them. Because... you can't find the answers if you don't seek them, you can't know how things really are if you don't study them.
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« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2011, 10:08:44 PM »

I think this debate will last an eternity...

I'm not trying to "debate", only to explain. You seem to have some misunderstandings.

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To Melodist – the others, wait, I did not read your replies yet:
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First, salvation is a gift. It is not earned and God is not indebted to anyone for anything. He gives us life out of His love for us and not not because of any necessity that is owed to us.
I didn’t imply any necessity of God. God doesn’t NEED anything. It is written that God wants everyone to have eternal life (John 3.16) Also in Ezekiel 33.11 it is written that God does not want the death of the sinner, but that the sinner would change his ways.
However, God DOES require us something, which is our part. And if we do not do what He asks us, then we go to hell.

I was trying to identify one thing that most people misinterpret about the concept of synergism. I was hoping to clear this up with a point of agreement.

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The Orthodox generally express salvation in terms of the three fold "Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us" found in 1 Cor 1:10 and is seen as a process where one is accepted into God's life and then continues in that life.
Unfortunately, this 2 Corinthians 1:10 speaks about something else! And that something else is seen in the context (1.8-10): it is physical death! The apostles were persecuted, imprisoned, in danger of death. They did not worry that they would have gone to hell, but instead they thought they would have been murdered. So try a verse that is not speaking about physical death.

Thanks for correcting the typo. As far as what they are being delivered from, it's not murder, it's "the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead" (verse 9). The life in the age to come includes the resurrection from the dead. We usually refer to "salvation" as being inclusive of the whole process between now and then. Also the letter was written to "the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in Achaia" and says in that same passage that he and Timothy were suffering "for your consolation and salvation". How can they be suffering for the salvation of people who were already "saved"?

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So doing good works doesn't "earn" you anything, but refusal to do so is direct willful disobedience to God, which does condemn you (Luke 12:47-48)
In other words, what you say is that your good works earn you heaven, while refusal to do a good thing earn you hell.
And now that I have read the verses you said, what do you say that are these “good works” that earn you heaven? What does a man must do?

You either completely missed the point of that, or you're trying to twist my words into meaning something I did not say. It's not about doing "good", but about conforming yourself to the will of God out of love for God. Christ said "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." (John 15:1-2), implying that one can be united to Christ and then be cut off.

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Another point on works is that certain "works" like prayer, fasting, and almsgiving can work to bring us closer to God and neighbor when done in faith and reliance on God to provide the increase.
So you have some works here. I thought you were referring to something like living in righteousness (not worshipping anybody but God, not getting drunk, not hating people, reading the Bible to see what God commands people to do and not to do, so you would do what God asks, not watching porn, not committing adultery, fornication, etc.).

Prayer keeps your focus on God, strengthens your relationship with him, and gives you reliance on Him for everything. Fasting takes your focus off of yourself and frees you to better serve God and neighbor. Almsgiving helps you to focus on others and show forth the love that you have received from God.

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By the way, we are not commanded to fast in the Bible.

Christ said "When you fast" (Matt 6:16), not "if".

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There is also no commandment in the Bible as how often exactly to pray.
Not everything is expressly spelled out to the smallest detail in the Bible. I'm just glad you didn't say "we are not commanded to" on this one.

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And by the way, about these works you wrote: you said before that they do not earn you anything! Now you say that they do?

I didn't say these "earned" you anything, not any more than Noah building the ark "earned" him salvation from the flood.

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Another point on works is that certain "works" like prayer, fasting, and almsgiving can work to bring us closer to God and neighbor when done in faith and reliance on God to provide the increase. This is why we are called "labourers together with God" (1 Cor 3:9)
You give again verses that speak about something else: Paul said that they (the apostles) are workers together with Christ, while the Christians whom they were teaching were the husbandry, the building the apostles were building. Anyway, it also sounds odd what you say: if you are labourers together with God when you pray to Him or fast, what is God working, so that you would be labourers together with God?

It is God that brings about the desired change of heart to draw closer to Him.

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This is also why it is written that "he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb 11:6).
If you say that you are still seeking God, then it means that you didn’t find Him yet! (Isaiah 55.6; Matthew 7.7). So, what are you actually doing to find Him?

Do you deny your need to continually seek God, to better know Him, and to better serve Him?

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About 1 Corinthians 15:
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The same passage also says that not all flesh is the same flesh. While his resurrected body is glorified and heavenly, it is still a physical human body. The Body that was crucified is the Body that was raised and glorified is the Body that ascended into heaven, is there now, and will return. The tomb is empty.

Verse 50 speaks about the “flesh” while verse 40 speaks about body! It doesn’t say that there are two kinds of flesh: one earthly and other heavenly, but that there are two kinds of bodies, one that is earthly, and other that is heavenly. And it is obvious that a person cannot have two bodies at the same time (i.e. one earthly and one celestial/heavenly). Also, in verse 50, the “flesh” refers to earthly bodies. If Jesus has an earthly body, He cannot be in heaven because corruption does not inherit incorruption. (it refers to the body, it’s verse 50). Also, His body would have been turned to dust by now. Anyway, it’s plain clear from the Bible, from the verses that I brought that Jesus has a celestial/heavenly body, and cannot have an earthly body. So His body has been transformed from an earthly body (flesh) to a heavenly body.

His Body was raised in incorruption, as ours will be. "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." (1Cor 15 42-44). It doesn't mean that He is without His Body, only that His Body is incorrupt, glorious, and has power.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #34 on: January 16, 2011, 12:16:00 PM »

Let me also note that we need to be precise with our language.  Christ does not have "a dual nature."  Christ has two natures.

"A dual nature" sounds too close to Monophysitism to my ears.  Christ has 1 human nature and 1 divine nature.  The divine nature is His from eternity, the human nature He assumed in time.

He is also a divine person, not a human person.

That may sound nit-picky, but where Christological heresies are concerned, it might do us well to pick some nits.

He is a person who is both fully divine and fully human.

I don't dispute that.  But his personhood is eternal.  He assumed a human nature.  Fully.  He is fully human.  That is not in dispute.

But He is a divine person Who assumed human nature.  And that distinction, while again perhaps a fine one, is an important one.
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« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2011, 03:15:05 PM »

This reply is for Asteriktos...
the rest of you wait at least 12 hours.
I really hope you're joking. Otherwise, you're trying to assert over this thread a control that no one will ever give you.
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« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2011, 03:21:59 PM »

This reply is for Asteriktos...
the rest of you wait at least 12 hours.
I really hope you're joking. Otherwise, you're trying to assert over this thread a control that no one will ever give you.

I think he was implying that he won't be able to respond to the other comments until 12 hours later...
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« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2011, 03:23:04 PM »

It was settled for the Jews then which the holy books are, and it is a settled thing now as well. The Jewish Bible (Tanakh) does contain all these and only these books.

You might want to let the first-century Jews know, because they had more books in their Old Testament (the Septuagint) than the ones you listed—certainly Hellenic Jews (the majority), if not Palestinian Jews as well. The Jewish canon was not pruned down to the books you listed until after the Christian Era was underway.

If we're serious about going "to the source", then let's go there. The Masoretic Text of Jews and Protestants is rather removed from the source.

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« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2011, 03:41:37 PM »

Now I've read the posts of David Garner.

So, to David Garner:

However, as in my example with the burning building where you’re inside, to “be saved” is not a period of time. It’s improper to say that you’re BEING saved from the fire, because that would mean that you are still amidst the fire and not saved from it!

And in your example, you would be correct.  Except that's not an accurate picture of what happens in salvation.

It is probably a more accurate picture of being stuck in heresy, honestly.  In salvation, God unites you to Himself.  There is a sense of "having been saved."  There is also a sense of "being saved" and even "will be saved."  We can talk about the first of these, but we will quickly run into disagreement because you want to end the discussion there.

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I’ve read a bit about the “thing” topic, but it’s not quite satisfactory.
In what you say, you seem to mean that you ARE saved (from hell) but still, if you’re not doing well with the works of righteousness, in danger of hell. So I must ask: you’re saved from WHAT? By the way, in John 3 the topic was saved from hell.

Saved from death, hell, the devil, this world, the sinful flesh.  That's not a singular answer.  You again put "from hell" parenthetically, but you are viewing heaven and hell as the issue, when in fact, heaven and hell are existential issues that pertain to whether one is united to God or not.  You are looking at them as reward and punishment.  That is at best a flawed picture of what Christian salvation is.

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Well, if all his life he was worshipping idols, commit adultery, perhaps even killed people, etc. then I don’t know the good works he could have been saved for!

Which is quite the point -- you don't know, because it is not yours to judge.  I am certainly not saying people are saved apart from Christ -- don't hear that the wrong way.  But when they are in Christ, He judges their works, not you.  The parable of the workers in the vineyard is applicable here.

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I gave references to verses in the Bible to prove my view. If you don’t see things that way, show me the verses in the Bible that prove your view. Besides the fact that it is illogical to say that a man is saved (which means, or also means, from hell) and go to hell.

No sir.  You quoted Bible verses and you INTERPRETED them such that they supported your view.  Any number of Bible verses refute it.  Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.  Run the race set before you.  Etc.  Et al.  Ad nauseum.

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I’ve heard many different definitions of salvation. And because they are different, they cannot all be right, isn’t it? So how do you prove your definition to be correct? Do you have some verses in the Bile that support your view?

There is plenty of support in the Bible for this view -- I quoted a few above.  For union with Christ, try those who are baptized into Christ have been clothed in Christ, or for if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.

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I’m sorry, but I do not understand some terms. I don’t see in the Bible that the baptism in water units us with God, that the anointment of chrism causes a man to receive the Holy Spirit, I don’t know what you mean that you are strengthened when you are taking the mass. And I don’t pretty understand what Absolution is. And there are pretty different teachings in the Bible about how things are going.

I quoted for you above where baptism unites us to Christ, clothes us in Him.  Read John 20 for Absolution -- "whoever's sins you forgive, they are forgiven, whoever's sins you retain they are retained."  The chrism is touched on in Acts when St. Peter says "repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."  The Church has historically understood this to be a reference to the chrism of oil.  We don't refer to the Eucharist as "the mass" in the Eastern rite, but in any event, we receive the true body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the remission of our sins.  This unites us to Christ and gives us the life giving energies of God, which strengthen us in the faith and enable us to live the life Christ has for us to live.

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So I find myself that I must ask: What do you believe that a man must to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven and what causes a man to go to hell?

Well, in one sense, a man mustn't "do" anything to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.  It's ours.  It's been given to us freely.  But in quite another sense, a man must certainly remain in the faith, live the sacramental life, repent of his sins, do good works, receive the gifts of God.  You ask a question that implies there is an either/or response, but the real issue is that your question is bound up in terms of merits and judgment.  You are asking what "a man must do" as if man owes God something and God is waiting to receive His due.  There is a sense in the Church that allows such a view, but it is not the predominate view.  Similarly, terms of "condition" are predominately legal terms.  And yet salvation is not MERELY legal.  It is also existential.  

So in the first sense, if you are asking what we must do to satisfy God's judgment, my answer is "nothing."  Christ has restored the communion.  But if you are asking in what we consider the proper sense "how is it that I am united to Christ," well, in that instance there are all sorts of things that I involve myself in that are part of what God has called me "to do" as part of my salvation.  The former is a meritorious view, whereas the latter is existential.  The Orthodox are primarily concerned with the existential -- what is.  You appear to be concerned with the judicial -- what ought to be.

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Do I find this written in the Bible? Because as one might have noticed from my explanations, I see that there is no way Jesus could have assumed another NATURE in time. The fact that he passed through certain experiences during his life as a man in an earthly flesh has nothing to do with His nature.

This is heresy, so your description of your faith is apt.  

Do you believe Jesus was not human?  Or less than fully human?  

Do you know what it means to have a "nature?"  What a "nature" is?
« Last Edit: January 16, 2011, 03:42:00 PM by David Garner » Logged

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« Reply #39 on: January 17, 2011, 06:06:35 PM »

To xariskai, to the reply #24. The other posts will have to wait.

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Quote from: Zenith
So the only men whom a Christian should trust are the apostles themselves (because they taught what God commanded them to teach), and the prophets (the authors of the Old Testament, whom also did not write or teach from themselves) but not those that received the teachings from the apostles, and not other people.
Well, NO! The scriptures don't say just trust the prophets and apostles!

"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ..." -Eph 4:11-12

Notice that God appointed PERSONS for the building up of the body of Christ, and not all those persons were apostles.
However, there are great differences between the prophets & apostles and the other ones:
-   The prophets and the apostles (I mean, not the false ones) speak what God told them, not something else, while people like teachers speak from what they learnt and understood, which is a man’s reasoning – and two teachers can say different things about a subject (and it happens), because it’s their human understanding, while the prophets and apostles (the true ones) say what God told them.
-   The word of God should be taken as the word of God while the word of man must be taken as the word of man.

Verses in the Bible that show that we should not put our trust in (blindly trust) people like teachers, though teachers should belong among us:
James 3.1-2:
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1. My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
2. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble [i.e. mistake, fault] in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
Why do the teachers receive a stricter judgement? Because they DO make mistakes in what they say!

We also have
Matthew 23.8-11
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8. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

Of course, Jesus Christ was not dissatisfied of how “Rabbi” or “Master” sounds, but what it means, the attitude people have towards such people.
Rabbi means teacher, I think we all agree with this.
While “Master” also means “a teacher” and “a guide”.

By this, Jesus Christ commands people not to regard other people as their masters, as their teachers (i.e. “Those who know! Unlike us whom don’t know so should just obey blindly”) but to regard them as people LIKE them (as brothers are one to another).

And we are told in the next verses the horrible things that happen when people DO take such people as Masters, Fathers, Teachers, etc.:

v. 13 “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees [the religious teachers of that time], hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” – taking such people as “those who know”, “those who should just be obeyed”, “those whom one should put his trust in” can lead to this (and many times does).

And in the following verses (v.13 – 34) we see how the religious teachers of that time were, while people were regarding them as “the ones who know”, “those whom should be trusted” and that all their teachings as correct!

And yes, similar to v. 34 has happened with Christians:
"Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues [for Christians, Churches], and persecute them from city to city" – The history of Christianity is known to have burnt at the stake people, killed and torture people whom did not agree with the religious leaders and did not submit to what they commanded and believed. And, not only Catholics did that…

Also read Matthew 5.19 talks about teachers and says:
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Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Religious teachers CAN break commandments from the Bible and CAN teach people wrong.

1 Peter 5.2-3 also talks about pastors (shepherds, elders, whatever) and says:
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2. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3. Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.
The elders, pastors, teachers, whatever, DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT to impose to people their view! They must only be examples to the people!

Pslam 32.9 commands us and says:
“Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” – In other words, don’t be led by people (in mind concerns)! Don’t let other people think for you! Think with your own brain! Don’t put your trust in man, don’t blindly trust man!

1 Thessalonians 5.21 says:
“Test all things; hold fast what is good.” – That is, don’t blindly trust everything, but see if it is indeed so!

Acts 17.11 tells us about some Jews who have heard what the apostles said:
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
The apostles taught that this Jesus is the messiah of the Scriptures. So what did these Jews did? They checked the scriptures to see if it is so!

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What the latter ones may teach, even if they have good intention, is the word of man not the word of God.
You are implicitly restricting "word of God" (i.e. message of God) to things written -the assumption that if something is not written it cannot be the word of God- however scripture uses word of God not only of writings, but of preaching/proclamation (κατηγγέλη) as well.
Besides the fact that by what you said contradicts 2 Timothy 3.13-17 I was talking about... You mean that if I preach these teachings of mine on the streets, it is the word of God? Because it is a “preaching”! Even Pentecostals, Baptists, and other protestants have preachers who… preach! Does that make their teachings the word of God? If yes, then it means the orthodox people are wrong. However, please re-read the “don’t put your trust in man” explanation of just above.

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And the fact that the Bible is sufficient is shown in verses 14 to 17. (New Testament and the Old Testament).
Well, no. The scripture Timothy's grandmother shared with him as a boy did not include the NT; the NT hadn't even been written when Timothy was a boy! You are taking "sufficient" as implying "we don't need anything else"; but if that were true the NT would never need been written, as the OT "alone" which young Timothy (which is what is referred to in that verse) had actually been exposed to was described as "sufficient." But a further problem is you are reading into the text a concept of "sufficiency"; the Greek word ὠφέλιμος simply means scripture is PROFITABLE or USEFUL.
I know that the Scriptures referred to the Old Testament.

About “But a further problem is you are reading into the text a concept of "sufficiency"; the Greek word ὠφέλιμος simply means scripture is PROFITABLE or USEFUL.” – I did not mistake, I was talking about verse 17. As you have seen from the quote I have given, in verse 16 I have used the word “profitable”!

I wrote “And the fact that the Bible is sufficient is shown in verses 14 to 17. (New Testament and the Old Testament).” Because the Bible consists of the Jewish Holy Scriptures and the teachings of the apostles (New Testament) –from v. 14. And consider the fact that Paul, spending time with Timothy, did not teach to Timothy ONLY what he wrote to him in the epistles to him, but also TALKED to him. And, we do have the writings of the apostles, which is the New Testament. And if somebody else came after and said “the apostles also believed this” or “the apostles also said that”, you cannot trust them, because it was not the apostles themselves who said so.

You must also read 2 Thessalonians 2.15:
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So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
So yes, there should be no “Church Fathers”, no other teachers to add, and we should not trust people that said “the apostles also said” or “the apostles also believed”. Instead, people should hold fast only to what the apostles said (not other people), which was what they said in their epistles and, in that time only, what they have heard with their ears from the apostles themselves (when the apostles were with them)!

And yes, the verses 15 to 17 do say that the Old Testament is enough for a Christian (a man that already became a Christian, which already has true faith in Jesus Christ) to make him wise unto salvation and can make him “perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”.

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Deuteronomy 5.32-33 and 12.32 also teach that we should remain ONLY to the teachings that God gave.
Sure, but it doesn't say the teaching already given was all there was, else we would not have the writings and the prophets and the NT to augment the Pentateuch. Also there were charismatic prophets in the OT which recorded many things which were not written down. The OT does not restrict the word of God to the pages of a book as contemporary evangelicism does. While man should not add to the word of God and call it the word of God, there is nothing to prevent God from doing so through men and women; in fact scripture itself presents that this precisely what *was* done even after the prohibitions of adding or taking away to what was written were presented in Deuteronomy. Why was anything else written after Deuteronomy if such passages were intended to circumscribe the word of God?
You understand the verses of Deuteronomy 5.32-33 and 12.32 wrong. They do not teach that God should not add to them, but that man should not add nor subtract from them.

Moreover, read carefully:
Quote from: Deut 12.32
What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
It does not say only that you should not add to the book! But to the commandments! So, for instance, a teacher of the Bible is forbidden to command to people to do something which is not written. They should not add practices, rituals, teachings, etc. If God adds something, through a prophet, or an apostle, it’s a different thing – God adds, not man.

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Quote from: Zenith
If a man commanded or said something that God did not tell him to (that is, if he wasn’t a prophet or an apostle), it is the word of a man, not the word of God. And we should remain ONLY to the word of God. So, though you do not like to hear it, this is against the ecumenical councils because those people gave additional teachings and commands to the multitudes, telling them what to believe and what to do, without being either prophets or apostles of God.
This is not so if the creeds embody the word of God. As an example, you presuppose your own words in this forum represent or re-present the word of God, but you are using other manners of speaking than the Bible itself. If one cannot listen to anything beyond the words of scripture alone, why are you presenting words which are not the words of scripture alone and expecting them to be listened to? Or if we should listen to your words as a claim to represent the word of God though you are not an apostle, why should we not give the creeds of Christendom the same due consideration?

“This is not so if the creeds embody the word of God” – actually, it is still the view of man. So every man must judge if the teachings that a man gives do indeed say what the Bible says or not. This is what 1 Thessalonians 5.21 says.

Also, 1 Corinthians 11.19:
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For there must be also heresies [that is, differences] among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

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As an example, you presuppose your own words in this forum represent or re-present the word of God, but you are using other manners of speaking than the Bible itself. If one cannot listen to anything beyond the words of scripture alone, why are you presenting words which are not the words of scripture alone and expecting them to be listened to?

You must judge if what I say (my interpretation of the words of the Bible) is indeed what the Bible says. I don’t have any right to impose my view to anybody.

So, if what I say (or parts of what I say) is what the Bible says, then you should be careful not to deny the Bible (my advice). That is, if I say “the Bible says… (and I give the verse of the Bible)” it’s not a good thing for somebody to deny the verse of the Bible (e.g. to say “it is not quite so”) to prove his own point. It’s similar to this:

Quote from:  John 5.45-47
45. Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.
46. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.
47. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

If Jesus did indeed speak according to what Moses said (as we do believe), then it means that those Jews did not believe the Moses’ words. And they would be condemned because of that.

The same with somebody (anybody) who speaks according to what the Bible says: people would have to choose either to believe those verses of the Bible or to deny them. But if he doesn’t speak according to what the Bible says, then I believe one must not take heed to what he says. So it all resolves to the Bible, right?

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Here is a critique of the repudiation of the creeds in the name of sola scriptura by a Presbyterian writer who holds to sola scriptura (which I don't, but I offer it as an aid to you where you now are) which might help you to see why most Christians past and present do not feel like the creeds of Christendom are violations of the word of God:
Ok, I’ll comment about it.

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"One Protestant denomination in North America has the actual motto, "no creed but Christ." "No confession but the Bible." In many contemporary church circles, it is an axiom that doctrine divides. Creeds and confessions are foreign to the spirit of the New Testament, we are told.

The most relevant response to the notion of "no creed but Christ" is that this statement itself is a creed! What is a creed? The word creed comes from the Latin credo, which simply means I believe. Those who proclaim "no creed but Christ" presumably believe the slogan, and thus undercut its intended meaning.
What is doctrine? It simply means "teaching." When we speak of "the faith," we are speaking of the body of truth contained in apostolic teaching. The divinity of Christ is doctrine. The Incarnation is doctrine. The atonement is doctrine. The believer's union with Christ is doctrine....

My view: “Do not put your trust in anything, but the Bible”. So, if anyone’s confession or creed or what you want to call it is different than what the Bible says, then stick to the Bible (and I think that the verses I wrote in the beginning support my point, so it’s not just “MY view” – unless you can prove me wrong). Also, imposing what you believe to somebody else is yet another bad thing (1 Peter 5.3). So anyone’s doctrine (about the believer’s union with Christ, the atonement, the incarnation, etc.) must be judged to see if it is indeed what the Bible says (so one would not get to believe somebody who understands things wrong) and must not be imposed to people.

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It is altogether true that the Bible is self-sufficient
So do you agree with this?

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Very early in the history of the Christian church, creeds and confessions of various lengths were formed. Some are quoted in Scripture, especially the pastoral epistles (1 Tim. 3:16; perhaps 1 Tim. 1:15; 2 Tim. 2:11-13).

One is when the apostles (in the New Testament) and the prophets (in the Old Testament) said something, and other is when a non-apostle and a non-prophet said something.

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the so-called Apostles' Creed likely dates back (at least substantially) to the second century. In the centuries that followed, more creeds were written to combat heresy that was creeping into the Church. We think especially of the Nicene Creed, and the Symbol of Chalcedon, which were primarily developed by councils representing virtually all of the Christian Church. These creeds' central purpose was to defend the biblical doctrine of Christ's nature, because Arius and others were teaching heresy under the cover of biblical-sounding language. The Church was serious about her calling which is given in Jude 3: "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints."

What the people that formed the Nicene Creed, for instance, should have not imposed his view to people (which is against what the Bible says). If some people believed things right, their teaching (that is, explanation) would have been enough: anyway, some seeds fall by the side, others upon stony places, others among thorns and others fall into good ground (Mat 13.4-8), you cannot change that.

By the way, Jude 3 does not say that the church leader (or anybody else) should impose views or commandments or teachings to others.

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God has given to His Church limited, but very real, authority. The Church is the "pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15) - a fact which Paul follows up by citing a contemporary confession of that truth (v. 16). This means that confession is not incidental or optional to the Church. It is the nature of the Church to stand upon a confession of God's Word.

The confessions possess authority precisely because the churches possess authority.

The interpretations are wrong. Firstly, which Church? The Catholic Church? The Orthodox Church? The Pentecostal Church? We should note here that this “Church” (in the previous phrase) actually means “denomination” or “religion” rather than what initially (when it was written) meant. Or I may say, the Church (building) that is closer to my house? The Church that is 200 Km far away? No, it's not talking about a building or about people in a building.

We must see what this “Church” actually means. And it means the whole body of Christians, or it may mean “an assembly”, “a gathering” of people. Note that when Jesus Christ mentioned “Church” in Matthew 18.17, there existed not church yet! Nor building “Church”, no “Christians” (Jesus first had to die and resurrect, the apostles to believe that He has resurrected, etc.), no official religion called “Christianity”, nothing.

Besides that, it is known fact that “the churches possess authority” (in the true meaning of “Church”) is impossible: it is not the whole assembly of Christians that gather and declare, but the religious leaders! And even if the majority of the whole assembly of Christians believed X, if a creed was established by their leaders that declared Y, most of them believed Y just because their leaders declared that! So whatever a council declares, it is not the “Church” that declare, but the religious leaders that declare! The same in politics: if, for instance, the UK parliament made a decision, it doesn’t mean that the millions of UK citizens made that decision, or that they wanted that! So, if you cannot confound the UK leaders with the UK people, you should not confound the “Church Leaders” with the Church people (people of the Church, the laics, whatever).

The interpretation of “The Church is the "pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15)” is also wrong, because, if it was as it you claim (considering what “Church” means), there would have been no heresies, but only truth among Christians! But the fact that there existed and exist heresies among Christians proves this interpretation wrong!

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The confessions of the Church stand under the Scripture.
No confession which contradicts scripture can be true.
This means that Scripture has authority to alter the contents of those confessions. However, this should only be done in the context of a sympathetic understanding of the men who wrote these confessions.
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No one individual is greater than the Church. It is true, the majority can be wrong, even among those in authority.

Then what is that you call “Church”? if it is not the body of Christians and not the body of Christian leaders? Then the next question would be, what should I understand from “No one individual is greater than the Church”?

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But the answer is not individualism, which leads to anarchy. Individualism implies that each person is free to formulate and promote his own confession. He may undermine the teaching of the God-ordained authority of the church. This is not the biblical way...

First, prove me what “Church” is and then the “authority of the church” you claim. Then, with what authority does the Orthodox Church take the freedom of men (e.g. freedom to think)? And how does accord the prohibition of man to think free (which makes him a slave, psychically speaking) with 1 Corinthians 17.23? Besides the fact that Psalm 32.9 commands otherwise...

By the way, individualism does not lead real Christians to anarchy, because:
1 Corinthians 11.3 says that “that the head of every man is Christ”, Ephesians 5.23 “Christ is the head of the church”, so the real Christians don’t need any other head, or heads to rule over them. So, if the body of real Christians had no head, it would have been anarchy. But the body of real Christians have a head, which is Christ only, so there cannot be anarchy among them.

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Failing to safeguard against this, we invite descent into error and doctrinal apostasy. We are promoting relativism rather than truth. The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth. The Church is charged with defending and proclaiming the one apostolic faith.
And the way to do that was to beat, imprison, torture, burn at stakes people whom did not agree with the heads of the “Church”. Nice… but not my way of treating people, anyway. Besides the fact that I should wait to understand what your term of “Church” really means.

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Quote from: Zenith
The thing that people should not add to what God says is also specified in Revelation 22.18-19.
Specifically this charges that one not add to the book of Revelation penned by John.

Yes, but if God foretells an awful future for those who add here or subtract to anything of the Book of Revelation, does it mean that adding to or subtracting from other book of the Bible, God would not take that into consideration (in the bad meaning for us)? At least that was my logic.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2011, 06:20:03 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2011, 06:28:15 PM »

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Christ has 1 human nature and 1 divine nature.  The divine nature is His from eternity, the human nature He assumed in time.
Do I find this written in the Bible?

Ummm, yeah.....Its the whole first Chapter of the Gospel of John.

ok, then show me in John 1 where it is written " the human nature He assumed in time" (as it clearly sounds as a progressive transformation, and as ye people spoke, that lasted even after His ascend in Heaven). This idea is what I was talking about, and perhaps you can find it in John 1.
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« Reply #41 on: January 17, 2011, 07:48:08 PM »

1 Tim 2:5
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For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Notice the present tense in refering to Jesus Christ as "the man". He is fully human.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #42 on: January 18, 2011, 05:29:50 AM »

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Quote from: Zenith
The thing that people should not add to what God says is also specified in Revelation 22.18-19.[/quote="xariskai"] Specifically this charges that one not add to the book of Revelation penned by John.
Yes, but if God foretells an awful future for those who add here or subtract to anything of the Book of Revelation, does it mean that adding to or subtracting from other book of the Bible, God would not take that into consideration (in the bad meaning for us)? At least that was my logic.
I think you are a conjurer, for what is not explicated in that verse, you produce!

Where is your exegesis? You add your own human logic to the book of Revelation now to get a meaning from it which is not explicitly given there? Why is that not a violation of your own principles, and a violation of the warning mentioned in the book of Revelation to boot? Where *exactly* are these "other books of the Bible" you refer to mentioned in this passage you suggest refers to them? The passage warns us from adding to the words of that prophecy, no more no less. End of story! Or if not, *prove* the passage *specifies* anything whatsoever about other books of the Bible.

Quote from: zenith
The word of God should be taken as the word of God while the word of man must be taken as the word of man.
Fine and good, but the word presented by a man -before/apart from having being written down- can be the word of God (Jn 11:50-51: "You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish. He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation" etc.). In Jn 11:50-51 the word of God, through a man, apart from scripture, came to the Jewish high priest by virtue of his God-appointed office. Did such a biblically attested process cease to occur at a particular point in time? On your own principle, you must prove prophetic cessationism (no word of God after the close of the canon). While you're at it you can prove from the Bible the canon was even predicted to become closed since you claim to believe nothing not explicitly stated in the Bible. If you cannot do this you are a living paradox.

Quote from: zenith
Religious teachers CAN break commandments from the Bible and CAN teach people wrong...

...we should not put our trust in (blindly trust) people like teachers, though teachers should belong among us... they DO make mistakes in what they say

Yes; all of that is also Orthodox teaching.

Quote from: Zenith
Ephesians 5.23 “Christ is the head of the church”, so the real Christians don’t need any other head, or heads to rule over them.
Your claim that Christians "don't need any other head" but Christ isn't taught in Eph 5:23. The WHOLE verse, in fact (not just the part you chopped in half), teaches precisely the opposite:

Ephesians 5:23 "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church"

The wife in view is a Christian, and has another head other than Christ.

So your claim, “Eph 5:23 'Christ is the head of the church', so the real Christians don’t need any other head, or heads to rule over them" is explicitly contradicted by the very verse you cite to prove that. You are taking away from the words of scripture, and violating your own principle which prohibits that.

As far as your repudiation of the idea God wants anyone "ruling" over us, scripture trumps you once again: "The elders [πρεσβύτεροι]who rule [προεστῶτες] well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching." -1  Tim 5:17  However Orthodoxy is not autocratic at all, nor does it have anything like papal supremacy in Latin Catholicism, as I will explain shortly.

Quote from: Zenith
The elders, pastors, teachers, whatever, DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT to impose to people their view! The elders, pastors, teachers, whatever, DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT to impose to people their view!
Yes, that is also Orthodox teaching. This is one area where Orthodox teaching is in direct opposition to Latin Catholicism. Papal supremacy is held, by most academic historians, to be a medieval innovation. Papal infallibility was not proclaimed until 1870, just a couple of centuries ago. Orthodox are quite different:

"The method was collegial, not authoritarian; disputes were settled in church councils, whose decisions were not valid unless “received” by the whole community. The Faith was indeed common: what was believed by all people, in all times, in all places. The degree of unity won this way was amazing. Though there was some local liturgical variation, the Church was strikingly uniform in faith and practice across vast distances, and at a time when communication was far from easy. This unity was so consistent that I could attribute it to nothing but the Holy Spirit." -F. Matthews-Green, Facing East

From Ernst Benz, The Eastern Orthodox Church: Its Thought and Life:
ORTHODOX AND ROMAN CATHOLIC IDEAS OF DOGMA
"Because dogma has this practical function within the spiritual organism of the Orthodox Church, it has not undergone so much theoretical elaboration as the dogma of Roman Catholicism or Protestantism. The various elements of the Creed have not been defined with precision. Hence there is much greater freedom in the interpretation of the dogma. Even the formulation of a dogma by an ecumenical council is not eo ipso necessarily binding under canon law. To be binding, a dogma must also be accepted by the general consensus of the Church, what the theologians call the "ecumenical conscience..."

SOBERNOST:  DEMOCRATIC EQUALITY OF LAITY, PRIESTS, BISHOPS, AND PATRIARCHS
The Orthodox Church acknowledges the monarchical principle as far as the whole Church is concerned, this concept embracing both the visible Church on earth and the invisible celestial Church. The master, lord and sole head of the Church is Christ. But the monarchical principle does not in practice rule the organization of the visible Church. Here purely democratic principles prevail. No single member of the Church is considered to have a legal position fundamentally superior to that of the other members. Even the clergy, aside from the sacramental powers accorded to them by their consecration, have no special rights that would set them above the laity. The Orthodox Church prizes this "democratic" (sobornost’) principle as one of its oldest traditions. Just as all the apostles were equal in rank and authority, so their successors, the bishops, are all equal.

It is true that the principle of the so-called monarchical episcopate became established quite early in the primitive Church. That is to say, the bishop was recognized as holding the leading position within the Church. But this did not mean that he alone represented the entire spiritual power of the Church. Not even the bishops as a body constituted the highest authority of the Church. This was vested in the ecumenical consensus or conscience of the Church, which meant the general opinion of clergy and laymen taken together. Even the decision of an ecumenical council acquires validity only if it is accepted by this general consensus of the whole Church. Although the bishop represents the unity of the Christian community and exercises full spiritual powers, he is no autocrat; he and all the clergy subordinate to him are regarded as parts of the entire ecclesia, the living organism of which Christ is the head" (Benz, op cit).

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1 Thessalonians 5.21 says: “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” – That is, don’t blindly trust everything, but see if it is indeed so!
That is precisely what the Orthodox faith claims to achieve -collectively. The word "test" in 1 Thess 5:21 is actually second person PLURAL: δοκιμάζετε.  You are presuming the "test" must be done by individuals separate from the community; Orthodox "test [δοκιμάζετε -second person plural] all things" together a community. The result of the former is 30,000 denominations -in just a few centuries time. The result of the latter is 2000 years of constant teaching, wherein we have the unique ability to claim obedience to Ephesians 3:13-14 and:

 "all reach unity [all -as a collective!] in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming." (Eph 3:13-14).

It is Protestantism that is blown here and there by every wind of teaching, not Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy just keeps on keeping on, century after century after century.

1 Cor 1:10:  "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree [collective agreement! not just individual agreement with the scripture] with one another [with one another, not just with the Bible!] so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought." Perfect unity in mind and thought is not characteristic of Protestant communities, who are therefore in disobedience to the command of Paul to be "perfectly united in mind and thought." Orthodox for centuries have remained united in mind and thought.

So which is biblical? To test as individuals exclusively, or is it permissible for Christians to prove all things as a unified group, as the Orthodox always have done? Prove it!

Most Protestants, BTW, affirm in good conscience that at a minimum the first five ecumenical creeds are *biblical* creeds. Norman Geisler, for example, affirms (correctly) that the vast majority of Protestant and Evangelical Christians affirm at a minimum the first five Ecumenical Creeds -from credo- is simply means belief; they are expressions of belief.

Quote from: Zenith
we see how the religious teachers of that time were, while people were regarding them as 'the ones who know', 'those whom should be trusted' and that all their teachings as correct!
Sure, the teachers you cited. But the Christian church had teachers too, as described in the NT. And don't forget the book of Ephesians affirms God appointed teachers in the Church, as cited above, so we can't simply portray teachers as some kind of enemy.

"Luther would allow whatever the Bible did not prohibit, whereas Zwingli would reject whatever the Bible did not allow (Baintan, R. H., Christendom (NY: Harper & Row, 1960), p. 231). To which principle, or what alternative principle, do you adhere, Zenith, and where your principle found in the scriptures? All churches have traditions: orders of service, use or non-use of incense, use of pews or not, musical instrumental music or not, Sunday school, Hymnals, or not, etc. whether they realize this or not. There is never a question of tradition or no tradition, or adding practical considerations not specified by scripture to church practice or not, but which tradition or traditions one adheres to. To argue against other Christians who hold traditions not explicated in the written scripture to be UNBIBLICAL, the Protestant objector should either (A) prove not simply that it isn't IN the Bible, but that the tradition CONTRADICTS the scripture, or (B) prove the Zwinglian view from scripture alone. Orthodoxy practices things which the Bible does not prohibit, but never contradicts the scripture as she in good conscience understands the scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Quote from: Zenith
Acts 17.11 tells us about some Jews who have heard what the apostles said:
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” The apostles taught that this Jesus is the messiah of the Scriptures. So what did these Jews did? They checked the scriptures to see if it is so!
Orthodox have no problem with doing this; most of us do this ourselves, in good conscience, just as you do. Search the scriptures, yes, but you wish to say no person who truly followed God ever did anything that is not proven by the OT or NT scriptures alone -quite different. On your view, may I ask a question? By what authority did John the Baptist baptize in water for repentance? Was this of heaven, or of men?  

Quote from: Zenith
You mean that if I preach these teachings of mine on the streets, it is the word of God?
No. Scripture describes proclaimation, not just the written word as the word of God, but it doesn't say all proclamation is the word of God. But you are circumscribing the word of God to the written page of a closed canon and presuming cessationism, none of which you have effectively demonstrated from the scriptures themselves.

Quote from: Zenith
I know that the Scriptures [in 2 Tim 3:14]referred to the Old Testament... I wrote “And the fact that the Bible is sufficient is shown in verses 14 to 17. (New Testament and the Old Testament).” Because the Bible consists of the Jewish Holy Scriptures and the teachings of the apostles (New Testament) –from v. 14.
Well, which is it then? You can't have it both ways. Either 2 Tim 3:14 refers to just the OT, or it refers to the OT and the NT -despite the fact that the latter wasn't collected into a book at that time and many of the books therein had not even been composed. If all Scripture enables one to be ἐξηρτισμένος/fully equipped for good works, then the Torah, since the Torah is Scripture, certainly enabled a person like Joshua to be fully equipped for good works. So what? This invalidates Orthodoxy? How can 2 Tim 3 say "the Bible" is sufficient since "the Bible" we know hadn't even been composed? If all the Scripture written when Timothy received his second letter from Paul was sufficient, why were other things added for the faith and practice of the Church after that time, like the Holy Gospels, which hadn't yet been composed when Paul wrote to Timothy?

Quote from: Zenith
You must also read 2 Thessalonians 2.15:
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So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
So yes, there should be no “Church Fathers”
What? To the contrary, you are actually proving the Orthodox point, that Christians were to pass along both written traditions and oral traditions: "teachings... whether by word of mouth or by letter." Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis (very near Colossae and Laodicea in the region we now call Turkey) attests the role that tradition disseminated by word of mouth -not just by letter- continued to play in the first half of the second century (early 100s AD), himself still preferring "the living voice" to what could be found in books. That is despite the fact that he knew all four canonical Gospels. You would probably consider Papias's preference wrongheaded, but you haven't proven that it is by scripture alone; in fact the scripture you just cited not only supports but commands the use of and adherence to oral traditions which were valuable. as far as I can tell your view reduces more to cultural bias (your own traditional matrix) than biblical exegesis -because your scriptural *rationalizations* (I do not use the word exegesis for your view) are full of holes.

Quote from: Zenith
we should not trust people that said “the apostles also said” or “the apostles also believed”. Instead, people should hold fast only to what the apostles said (not other people)
The physician Luke told us what the apostles said and believed in the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. Luke was not an apostle. You say we should hold fast only to what the apostles said, and "not trust people that said 'the apostles also said' or 'the apostles also believed.'" But that is exactly what Luke did. Then why should we trust Luke the physician? He did say he looked into things carefully, and I do find him trustworthy enough. But on your criteria we should not trust him. I could go on to demonstrate how your criterion would remove a good portion of the NT. If you are trusting the Gospel of the not-apostle-Luke you are inconsistent with your own principle.

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in that time only, what they have heard with their ears from the apostles themselves (when the apostles were with them)!
When the apostles were with them; then why not consider -not as authoritative per se, but at least as informative- Book of Revelation, 100AD; Ignatius of Antioch, 67 AD; Polycarp of Smyrna, 100 AD; Clement of Rome, 90, or 60AD; the Didache, 60-100AD... Why would the beliefs and practices of those who were personal disciples of an apostle, or in the case of other important early Christians, disciples of a direct disciple of an apostle, be of no importance to the Church? Perhaps God in His sovereignty allowed their works to be preserved for a reason!

During the earliest centuries of Christianity, worship was essentially the same throughout the world. As Protestant scholar F. F. Bruce observed, “There was for example Hegesippus (a name which is evidently a Greek disguise for Joseph), who flourished in the middle of the second century [100s AD]; he was a convert from Palestinian Judaism, and one of the first Christians to conceive the idea that the true faith could be identified by ascertaining the consensus of belief in all the apostolic churches. In pursuit of this quest, he traveled from Palestine to Rome, questioning the churches which he visited on the way about the beliefs that they held, and recorded his findings in five books of Memoirs. His conclusion was that ‘in each [Episcopal] succession and in each city the faith is just as the law and the prophets and the Lord proclaim it’ [Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., IV, 23.2]. His Memoirs, long since, unfortunately, lost, contained many interesting items of ecclesiastical tradition from Jerusalem and the other churches with which he became acquainted; he was, in fact, one of the first Christian writers of the post-apostolic age who tried to support his theological belief on the basis of history” (F. F. Bruce, The Spreading Flame (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), p. 273).

We certainly don't see that kind of unity in Protestantism, though unity of mind and thought itself is a command of scripture which can only be fulfilled communally if at all.

Here's another example, Zenith, insofar as you regard salvation as when one walks through a door into another room, whereupon salvation is complete in one Grand Moment (which I rebutted in previous posts). If there are arguments about doctrines like the possibility of apostasy (the possibility is affirmed by Lutherans, Wesleyan/Methodists, most Charismatics and Pentecostals, Restorationists, Orthodox, and Catholics and many, but denied by Calvinists (on the basis of predestined salvation), Dispenspensationalists, and most Baptists (on the basis of proof texting), it would seem to be of at least somewhat damaging to those who deny the possibility that ALL of the earliest Christians who either were discipled personally by an apostle, or discipled by someone who was personally discipled by an apostle in the first and early second century believed in the possibility of apostasy. There was not one shred of dissent by anyone. One would suppose that if the very opposite viewpoint was taught by the apostles at least SOMEONE in the early church would have objected to the view. But no one did; these Christians spoke Koine Greek as their mother tongue. You might object that what scripture says is pivotal too, which it is, but all contemporary scholars also consider the historical, cultural, linguistic, and archaeological background is crucial to properly understand what scripture meant, i.e. extra-biblical traditions

The fact that the scriptures cannot be adequately understood without considering their social/cultural/historical/linguistic background is affirmed by all contemporary scholarship. Background is often critical to what is taken as authoritative meaning. That is to say, apart from the study of extra-biblical information the scripture is understood, and is never understood in total isolation -a hypothetical and functional myth. There is no scripture forbidding the historical process of investigating the practice of the early church during the lifetime of the apostles and their immediate successors (Apostolic Fathers and their successors) as historically instructive about the meaning of scripture and early Christianity any more than there is scripture forbidding the study of first century Judaism to illumine the meaning of scripture, as all scholars do, or forbidding the study of the philological historiography of the meaning of a word, as all scholars do; and yes, information derived from extra-biblical studies does *authoritatively* illumine the meaning of scripture and early Christianity.

Quote from: Zenith
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Quote from: Zenith
Deuteronomy 5.32-33 and 12.32 also teach that we should remain ONLY to the teachings that God gave.
Sure, but it doesn't say the teaching already given was all there was, else we would not have the writings and the prophets and the NT to augment the Pentateuch. Also there were charismatic prophets in the OT which recorded many things which were not written down. The OT does not restrict the word of God to the pages of a book as contemporary evangelicism does. While man should not add to the word of God and call it the word of God, there is nothing to prevent God from doing so through men and women; in fact scripture itself presents that this precisely what *was* done even after the prohibitions of adding or taking away to what was written were presented in Deuteronomy. Why was anything else written after Deuteronomy if such passages were intended to circumscribe the word of God?
You understand the verses of Deuteronomy 5.32-33 and 12.32 wrong. They do not teach that God should not add to them, but that man should not add nor subtract from them.
I realize that. These passages do not teach sola scriptura. Deut 5:32-33 teaches one should follow the commands of God. Orthodox teaches the same. Deut 5:32-33 says Israel must not add to the commands of God; you add the caveat that God can add to his written commands but that man alone apart from God's direction cannot. Orthodoxy teaches the same. Orthodox do not regard their tradition as man's tradition, but as Holy Tradition. And, frankly, there isn't so much of it that can't be found directly in the Bible, or implied by it, at the end of the day. But the Holy in Holy Tradition means that Orthodox believe all their dogma comes from God rather than from man. You haven't proven otherwise here.

Quote from: Zenith
“This is not so if the creeds embody the word of God” – actually, it is still the view of man. So every man must judge if the teachings that a man gives do indeed say what the Bible says or not...

You must judge if what I say (my interpretation of the words of the Bible) is indeed what the Bible says. I don’t have any right to impose my view to anybody.

So, if what I say (or parts of what I say) is what the Bible says, then you should be careful not to deny the Bible (my advice)
So it is that if what the creeds say is what the Bible says then you should be careful not to deny the Bible. That the creeds are biblical creeds is widely affirmed throughout Protestantism. Protestant Norman Geisler, for example, affirms the vast majority of Protestant and Evangelical scholars affirm the following:

"A historical approach to the topic of the essentials of the faith begins with the earliest creeds embedded in the New Testament and traces creedal development through the early forms of the Apostles Creed to the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. Unity among all major sections of Christendom is found in the statement: One Bible, two testaments, three confessions, four councils, and five centuries." (Geisler, Norman, "The Essential Doctrines of the Christian Faith," in Christian Research Journal, volume 28, number 5 (2005).

You are free to disagree with this, of course, but you are on the fringes of historic Christianity past and present, Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic, in denying the relevance of creeds.

And as far as your statement about "forcing anyone" to believe, we Orthodox do not force you to believe anything; you are free to believe or disbelieve what you will. Our history is perhaps not perfect, as the massive bloodletting by Protestant against Protestant and Catholic is not either in the aftermath of the Reformation. But Orthodoxy had neither Crusades nor Inquisitions as the Latin Catholics did, so to a large extent you are barking up the wrong tree here again. You sound like the angry atheist against Christianity as a whole because of its history of "atrocities." I'm in favor of religious freedom and against the use of force or violence in matters of religion, and so are most people on this forum. It is to them you speak, not the minority of the dead who acted otherwise, of which there are fewer in Orthodoxy than many other traditions despite their having been around two thousand years.

Quote from: Zenith
The same with somebody (anybody) who speaks according to what the Bible says: people would have to choose either to believe those verses of the Bible or to deny them. But if he doesn’t speak according to what the Bible says, then I believe one must not take heed to what he says. So it all resolves to the Bible, right?
Funny, Orthodoxy says the same thing. Everything we do is in accord with the Bible. We do some things that aren't in the Bible, just like Protestants who use Welch's Grape Juice instead of wine, or have puppet shows or build outbuildings on their properties. But nothing we do contradicts scripture, as we in good conscience understand it.

Quote from: Zenith
My view: “Do not put your trust in anything, but the Bible” and I think that the verses I wrote in the beginning support my point, so it’s not just “MY view”
I don't see that you have established this. Do you trust your automobile? How about the law of gravity?

Quote from: Zenith
Also, imposing what you believe to somebody else is yet another bad thing (1 Peter 5.3). So anyone’s doctrine (about the believer’s union with Christ, the atonement, the incarnation, etc.) must be judged to see if it is indeed what the Bible says (so one would not get to believe somebody who understands things wrong) and must not be imposed to people.
What Orthodox Christian has ever threatened to "impose" doctrine upon you personally? Take our doctrine or leave it; you have free will!

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It is altogether true that the Bible is self-sufficient
So do you agree with this?
No. The Spirit of God especially is essential in addition to scripture to understand it, as the scripture itself teaches. But I regard it as categorically false on additional grounds as well which I haven't mentioned yet.



Quote
the so-called Apostles' Creed likely dates back (at least substantially) to the second century. In the centuries that followed, more creeds were written to combat heresy that was creeping into the Church. We think especially of the Nicene Creed, and the Symbol of Chalcedon, which were primarily developed by councils representing virtually all of the Christian Church. These creeds' central purpose was to defend the biblical doctrine of Christ's nature, because Arius and others were teaching heresy under the cover of biblical-sounding language. The Church was serious about her calling which is given in Jude 3: "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints."

Quote from: Zenith
By the way, Jude 3 does not say that the church leader (or anybody else) should impose views or commandments or teachings to others.
The imposed thing again. The Nicene creed was believed by virtually all persons everywhere, except the Arians. I'm not sure if you suppose Jehovah's Witnesses are true Christians, but I don't. You are correct that such should not be a matter of force. No dogma of the Orthodox Church advocates such force, and I doubt there are Orthodox Christians alive anywhere in the world today who advocate imposition of their religion by force.

Quote from: Zenith
The interpretation of “The Church is the "pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15)” is also wrong, because, if it was as it you claim (considering what “Church” means), there would have been no heresies, but only truth among Christians!
Hmm... no. It doesn't say everyone would adhere to the truth, but that the Church is the pillar and ground of truth.

Quote from: Zenith
No confession which contradicts scripture can be true.
No Orthodox confession contradicts scripture.

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But the answer is not individualism, which leads to anarchy. Individualism implies that each person is free to formulate and promote his own confession. He may undermine the teaching of the God-ordained authority of the church. This is not the biblical way...

First, prove me what “Church” is and then the “authority of the church” you claim.

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Then, with what authority does the Orthodox Church take the freedom of men (e.g. freedom to think)?
Orthodoxy doesn't take the freedom of men to think. You and we can think what we will. We are free to say Jesus Christ did not physically resurrect from the dead, and so are you, but no one who thinks this is Orthodox. You are free to believe in the physical resurrection or not.

Perhaps more later; this is already pretty long.




« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 05:58:37 AM by xariskai » Logged

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« Reply #43 on: January 19, 2011, 09:11:43 PM »

To xariskai, post #27. As you might have noticed, I take your (you people) posts in the order they were sent.

REGARDING SALVATION AND GOING TO HELL
I do believe that after a man is saved (meaning of Acts 16.30), he can still go to hell, but: not by mistake, not by weakness, stupidity, or by not struggling enough to do "good works".

As it is written in Romans 14.4
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Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
So, God can (and does) make a man that became His son (Ephesians 1.5) and is still willing to serve Him, not to fall. This "not to fall" obviously means not to become lost and not to go to hell.

John 10.28 also says:
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I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand.
If no one can snatch them from His hand, then it means that neither the devil can. So they are "safe" in God's hands.

So, the only possible way for a man to lose his "eternal life" (in heaven) is to willfully reject God, after he has been adopted by God:
Quote from: Hebrew 10.26-27
26. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Now we understand that a mistake, or a weakness or a stupidity does not turn a son of God into an adversary of God.

As well as Peter 2.20-22:
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20. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
So it's not a simple mistake, weakness, stupidity, improper performance, etc.

And this also agrees with your example with marriage, and my example with the burning building:

Your example (we take into consideration a serious marriage) - you don't get a divorce if you still love the person you married, if you made some mistakes, if you proved to be weak in a thing or another, or if you did something stupid, etc. You can get to a divorce only willfully: by rejecting the person you married, by deciding that you don't need her/him anymore, by not carrying anymore, by not loving her/him anymore.

My example - Though you are not in danger of fire anymore, you can return in the building in fire (e.g. there is something you left there and you decide to return - and you are willfully putting your life in danger for it).

And yet another example, now it came to mind, inspired by Luke 15.11-32: The son of someone is most surely doing mistakes, shows himself as weak in some things, fails to do a thing or another, but all these do not make his father cast him out of his house! The only way he can be cast out (or, he can get himself out) is if he decides to stop listening to (obeying) his father, and instead decides that from now on he would follow his own ways. His father does not expect "perfect obedience" from him, but his struggle to be as his father wants him to be is enough.

How it seems to me that you understand things: that you are permanently in danger of hell, as if you could go there just by mistake, not struggling enough to do good work, by weakness, etc.

And the way I understand you view thing I can put in these examples, such:
For man and woman marriage example (in the view that both are good intended people, trying to do good) -  they are actually not married, but just a woman who loves a man, and doesn't know if he would marry her or not. If he would marry her, she knows she would be forever with him (though divorce can practically happen, she knows it won't, because the decision of both would be, when they would get married, that they would remain together forever). However, she doesn't know if he would marry her or not, so she is permanently in "danger" of being left.

For burning building example - the man in the burning building is actually trying to extinguish the fire himself. He struggles as much as he can to save his own life, to extinguish the fire so it would not touch him and burn him to death. He struggles and can never say "it's ok now", "now I'm safe".

If I am wrong, tell me how you see things.

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If you are in the faith… unless indeed you fail the test
2 Corinthians 13:5  5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test?
Explain yourself. How do you understand this test? And, can you recognize that Jesus Christ is in you? (this implies that this is not a simple "oh, from the theory learnt, He should be!")

REGARDING THE EATING THE FLESH AND DRINKING THE BLOOD OF THE SON OF MAN
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Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood
John 6:53-58  3 Jesus therefore said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.  54 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  55 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.  56 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.  57 "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.  58 "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate, and died, he who eats this bread shall live forever."

Do you realize that, if this verse should not be taken symbolically (or, spiritually), it teaches cannibalism, and to drink blood, which is forbidden in Acts 15.20 and Leviticus 17.14 and Deuteronomy 12.23?
By the way, just a question… I assume that it did happen at least once in your lifetime for your lips to bleed, or a gum of yours to bleed, or just something to make you taste blood. If that happened - and I'm sure it did, so you can distinguish blood from wine, did you ever really drink from the blood of Jesus Christ? If it was not blood you drank, but wine, for instance, even if it soon followed to be miraculously transformed inside your stomach (which no one can prove it happened), you still did not drink the blood of the Son of Man, but wine.

Besides the logical problems with "drinking blood of the Son of Man and eating His flesh", let's see the Biblical explanations that deny it:
Matthew 26.26-29 says it was a single cup with fruit of the vine which he gave to everybody ("Drink ye all of it") and in verse 29 Jesus says that it is fruit of the vine! Not blood! So what did the disciples drink? Fruit of the vine! Not the blood of Jesus Christ! (against the interpretation that whoever does not drink the blood of the Son of Man...)

Also, about John 6: verse 54 says that whoever eats His flesh will have eternal life. However, in verse 63 it explains that:
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The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.
He told them that, because it seems they did not understand what He meant. So if He says that the flesh counts for nothing, how can flesh save us from hell?

Ok, to explain more:

Quote from: John 6.35
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life [that must be eaten]: he that cometh to me [i.e. to the bread of life] shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
Do you notice a connection between "never hunger" - "never thirst" and "come to the bread" - "believe on Him"?

Also, when ate from "Jesus' flesh", did that cause you to never hunger again? If not, how can you take "hunger" symbolically and "Jesus' flesh" literally?

We do have another explanation as well about something that causes a man "to never thirst":
Quote from: John 4.14
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
So what water does Jesus Christ give, from which you never thirst and causes everlasting life? If you take the bread literally and the blood literally, where is the water that Jesus Christ gives that causes your thirst to end and also "the water ... shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life"?

However, this water has a symbolic (or, spiritual) interpretation:
Quote from: John 7.37-39
37. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.

So, if the water that must be drank is the Holy Spirit, which must be received, and this drinking and water should be taken spiritually, how can you say that the drinking of the blood should be taken literally? And if this spiritual water causes the end of the spiritual thirst, how can you say that the physical bread/flesh causes the end of the spiritual hunger? Doesn't it ring a bell that it should be a spiritual bread to cause the end of the spiritual hunger? And doesn't it ring a bell that, if it's a spiritual drinking of a spiritual water, it must also be a spiritual drinking of a spiritual blood?

By the way, as we talk about meat (which must be eaten), how can you prove this literally:
Quote from: John 4.32
32. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
33. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
34. Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
Doesn't it ring a bell that Jesus was not referring to physical eating and physical drinking?

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If we keep his commandments
1 John 2:3-6  3 And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.  4 The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;  5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:  6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

Now let's see some commandments, to see if we can see if you know the Lord.

REGARDING THE FIRST TWO COMMANDMENTS OF THE TEN
Exodus 20:
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"You shall not make for yourself a carved image-any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God...
I wonder how the likeness of the saints and of Jesus Christ and of God does not fit in this commandment (as I know orthodox people claim, that it doesn't). And how bowing down to an image of God or of any god or saint is also not forbidden - against what is written in that verse.

Also, if we take into consideration these verses as well:
Quote from:  Deut 4.11-18
11. And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.
12. And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
13.And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
14. And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
15. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
16. Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female...

God forbids also ANY IMAGE OF HIMSELF! That's why He didn't appear on the mountain with a human figure, to strengthen His commandment NOT TO MAKE AN IMAGE OF GOD! This is the reason why He did not show to people how he looks like! So people would not make images of God and would not bow down to them! And this thing He did, He used to strengthen/clarify the commandment that people must not make likenesses of God and must not bow down (e.g. prostrate) to them!

Now let's see what Matthew 4.10-11:
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9. And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Satan asked Jesus to bow down to him, but it is forbidden to bow down to anybody except God!
 
Now, as far as I know, orthodox people (catholic people as well) do bow down to the likenesses of 'saints' and other things which are signs of reverence to (worship of) the saints. Perhaps you can clarify this to me, how you do not break these commandments.
 
And, one more thing: prove me that your 'saints' are not gods/idols. When I think about 'saints' I always remember of Zeus (who was the God of the gods) and the other gods, which were 'lesser' gods. I believe that, besides the fact that they are called otherwise ("saints", instead of "gods", name that is meaningless here), there is quite no other difference between them.
From what I know, a god is a spiritual (not of this world) being, of whom people ask things, ask for help, they give reverence to (i.e. worship) and believe that he/she can help them, in a way or another.

OTHER THINGS
Quote
If we walk in the darkness; if we walk in the light
1 John 1:6-7  6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;  7 but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
How do you know if you walk in the darkness or you walk in the light?

Now let's see other things that causes a man not to inherit heaven, some that you did not say, and I'm just curios if you have something to say about them (e.g. if you agree with me):

Quote from: Matthew 18.3
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted [i.e. turned from your course of conduct], and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
One must be converted, in the meaning of becoming as a child, in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven.

Also,
Quote from: Luke 18.17
Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."
to "receive" means to do something yourself, I hope we all agree on this. This verse is similar to the verse quoted above.

Quote from: Matthew 5.27-30
27. "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
So, one must not look upon a woman to lust after her if he is to enter the kingdom of heaven. And, if there is something that causes him to sin, he should cast it from himself, so he would not sin anymore.

Quote from: Matthew 10.37
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
So, if a man loves something or someone more than he loves God, then he is not worthy of God. So, if a man, for instance, cares more about what someone or some people say than he cares what God says (e.g. in the Bible), and therefore, he obeys/listens to what he/she or they say, instead of what God says, then he loves that man/woman or those people more than he loves God. And he will go to hell for that.

I'll treat the "receiving of the Holy Spirit" issue in a later post.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 09:13:02 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #44 on: January 19, 2011, 09:21:36 PM »

Zenith, what is the basis for your interpretation of scripture?

I've got a question too... what kind of question is this?? I would answer... but I don't understand what you mean.
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