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Author Topic: Protestant Response to "Is Salvation a 'Free' gift?"  (Read 6291 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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Zenith
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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
David Garner
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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:
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“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
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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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« Reply #45 on: January 19, 2011, 10:03:59 PM »

To xariskai, post #31:

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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?

Well, I think it is valid for non-Christians coming to Christ as well, as it's included in repentance: if he repents from his sins (certain sins), he does confess them to God and asks forgiveness, decided that he would do all possible not to do them anymore. And, as read, this verse does not say that He would purify us "from those sins specified", but from all unrighteousness. That should be evident, because it's impossible not to forget and impossible to notice all things you did wrong. I believe we all agree on this, anyway.

And, to answer your questions:
He does purify the man at a time subsequent to his/her initial true faith.

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How could there be any unrighteousness to purify if God was done with us in one Grand Moment of belief?
well, He does purify the man of all he did up to the moment of his true faith. And, moreover, if that man does a wrong thing (after he was adopted by God) but did not notice, for instance, and he dies after a few minutes, that does not mean that he would go to hell because he was not aware or forgot to mention a specific sin! That should be evident, I think.

You are right in your explanation about "Salvation" as something of a continuance, as you have explained in your post (#31), except for "healing" which sounds a bit... not all of what it is. And this "Salvation", doesn't contradict - as far as I see - my view upon "being saved" that happens in a moment, after which you are "in safe".
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 10:04:25 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #46 on: January 19, 2011, 11:52:52 PM »

To Melodist, post #33:

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I'm not trying to "debate", only to explain. You seem to have some misunderstandings.
Well, you're trying to explain and prove your point, I'm trying to explain and prove my point, and I guess that makes it a debate.

You said:
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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.

Then I said:
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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.

Then you said:
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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"?

Actually, they were delivered from physical death - as I understand from the verse, they received a death sentence. And this danger of death caused them to put all their trust in God, who raises the dead.

Read 2 Corinthians 1.8-10:
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8. For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.
9. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,
10. who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,
So it was a permanent danger of death and their escape from it that caused the apostles to trust that God would continue to deliver them from it. Wasn't this a danger of physical death? Or tell me what you understand of these verses.

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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"?
They have already been saved, and this salvation is the "spiritual healing" (all that goes with it) after (read my previous post). I was aware of the issue, but the term escaped me. And, moreover, I had to guess what you understand of "salvation". Though it's all not over, we'll still have to talk about "being saved" issue.

ok, a few thing, just tell me if you agree with me:
Quote from: Ephesians 2
8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.

- first off, it is "are ye saved", rather than "are ye being saved" here, right? Anyone who knows greek might help...
- this salvation (as, that thing that causes a man to become "saved") is received by faith, not by works.
- reliance on faith brings salvation (as the adoption and the grace of God that comes after and the inheritance of heaven), not reliance on deeds.

You said:
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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.

Then I said:
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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.).

Then you said:
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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.

well, too tell the context where you said that:
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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.

well, you say that if you don't pray for a time (e.g. a few days) you need to repent for that? sorry if I misunderstood. Or that you must fast regularly? The same with almsgiving. Because that's what it seemed to me that you said: that you must start doing these, perhaps regularly, in order to be able to inherit heaven, which sounded odd to me. By the way, in Hebrews 10.26-27 where it talks about the willful disobedience, it says that for such a a thing there is no forgiveness of sins.

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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".
That's because the Jews were fasting. It's not a condemnation for somebody if he never fasted.
By the way, just to make sure, there are plenty of people in my country that confound "fasting" with "diet", and so, when they 'fast', they actually eat something called "fasting food". I hope we both agree that "fasting" means not to eat anything (e.g. a day).

I said:
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There is also no commandment in the Bible as how often exactly to pray.

Then you said:
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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.
I said that because, there are people that believe that God commands people to pray regularly, or something like to pray for at least a certain number per day. And if they don't do that, they think they have committed a sin. This is what I was actually trying to see: if you believe the same.

You said:
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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)

Then I said:
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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?

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

First off, I believe it is our desire to change and draw closer to God, not God who brings us that desire. And this way one can be "lazy" and cannot blame "God" for something that was his responsibility. And by the way, this is how Paul was labourer "together with God":

Quote from: 1 Cor 3.6
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

which seems to mean that Paul brought them to Christ, Apollos was taking care of them (teaching, etc.) while God was making them grow spiritually. So I don't know where your fasting and your prayers makes God be a labourer too with you!

I said:
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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?

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

Actually, I meant that if there is a seek of God, there must also be (as it is written in those verses) a finding of God. Something like, 1 John 2.3 - there is a "know God" more than "better know God"! In 1 John 2.3 it's either 'you know God' or 'you don't know God'. So it is with finding God, in Isaiah 55.6 there is either 'found God' or 'not found God'. From hence was the question.

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It doesn't mean that He is without His Body, only that His Body is incorrupt, glorious, and has power.

I didn't imply that He is without a body. Instead, I meant that His body has been transformed (as ours will be).
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 11:54:16 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #47 on: January 19, 2011, 11:59:22 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 don't know what exactly you understood, but I meant that a pause of at least 12 hours were going to follow for me, which inevitably caused you to wait until you received replies to your posts (as they do not write themselves).
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« Reply #48 on: January 20, 2011, 03:43:22 AM »

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.

Who or what gives your personal, individual scripture interpretation authority over the interpretations of the Orthodox Church?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 03:43:46 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
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« Reply #49 on: January 20, 2011, 02:15:15 PM »

To Melodist, post #33:

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I'm not trying to "debate", only to explain. You seem to have some misunderstandings.
Well, you're trying to explain and prove your point, I'm trying to explain and prove my point, and I guess that makes it a debate.

I say explain because there seems to be a handfull of misunderstandings. You can't debate or defend something you don't understand.

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You said:
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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.

Then I said:
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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.

And this is a good example because I gave the deliverance from death as an analogy to the process of salvation. Instead of looking at it as a picture of our salvation (which includes salvation from death which is the last enemy) not being fully accomplished until after the final judgement.

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Then you said:
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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"?

Actually, they were delivered from physical death - as I understand from the verse, they received a death sentence. And this danger of death caused them to put all their trust in God, who raises the dead.

Read 2 Corinthians 1.8-10:
Quote
8. For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.
9. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,
10. who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,
So it was a permanent danger of death and their escape from it that caused the apostles to trust that God would continue to deliver them from it. Wasn't this a danger of physical death? Or tell me what you understand of these verses.

Quote
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"?
They have already been saved, and this salvation is the "spiritual healing" (all that goes with it) after (read my previous post). I was aware of the issue, but the term escaped me. And, moreover, I had to guess what you understand of "salvation". Though it's all not over, we'll still have to talk about "being saved" issue.

Which is why I say explain.

Quote
ok, a few thing, just tell me if you agree with me:
Quote from: Ephesians 2
8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.

- first off, it is "are ye saved", rather than "are ye being saved" here, right? Anyone who knows greek might help...
- this salvation (as, that thing that causes a man to become "saved") is received by faith, not by works.
- reliance on faith brings salvation (as the adoption and the grace of God that comes after and the inheritance of heaven), not reliance on deeds.

This comes down to the whole "faith alone" thing. We are going to disagree on faith being "alone", but I think we will agree that faith is "necessary" and that nothing done without it is pleasing to God or will do anything to bring us closer to Him. Also there are different types of "works" that can be done.

There are the "works of the law" that imply that one can come to God by making checklist of rules to follow and then checking them off according to how well they follow the rules, which distances one from God by promoting pride in one's own accomplishments and that God is "required" to accept anything done by our hands.

There are the "good works" that we are called to do. When done in faith and love, they are pleasing to God and exemplify what we should constantly be striving to do better.

And there are "spiritual labors" that God has given to us as a means to grow in faith and love. Prayer is an example. When we pray (with faith and love), it strengthens our relationship with God.

Quote
You said:
Quote
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.

Then I said:
Quote
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.).

Relationships work better when you actively do things for the purpose of pleasing them and growing closer to them, instead of simply avoiding doing things to upset them and distance yourself from them. It's not good enough to avoid things that you know will distance yourself from God, you also have to actively seek to please and grow closer to Him. There is nothing wrong with doing things for the purpose of pleasing God, just don't think to yourself "God is required to accept this" or "God owes me for this one" or any other nonsense like that.

Quote
Then you said:
Quote
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.

well, too tell the context where you said that:
Quote
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.

Prayer, fasting, almsgiving in general would be examples of the "spiritual labors" I mentioned above, but the statement you quoted was not necessarily made about them. But we are called to do these, and an extreme example of not doing these would be someone saying "I don't need to actively engage with God, deny myself, or love others in order to have a positive relationship with God".

It was more specifically directed towards the "good works" that we are called to do. There will be those on judgement day that will hear the words "I was hungry and you did not feed me", and it will not be good for them.

As far as continual repentance, unless someone is perfect, they need to be constantly evaluating themselves for their shortcomings and failures and seeking to improve themselves.

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well, you say that if you don't pray for a time (e.g. a few days) you need to repent for that? sorry if I misunderstood.

Do you think it's ok God the silent treatment?

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Or that you must fast regularly?

Does living according to the Gospel include denying your personal desires instead of being a slave to them, for the purpose of better serving God and not yourself?

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The same with almsgiving.


"I was hungry and you gave me food." We have to recognize the image of God in our neighbor and love them out of love for God.

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Because that's what it seemed to me that you said: that you must start doing these, perhaps regularly, in order to be able to inherit heaven, which sounded odd to me.

It sounds odd because you're trying to create a "get into heaven" checklist.

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By the way, in Hebrews 10.26-27 where it talks about the willful disobedience, it says that for such a a thing there is no forgiveness of sins.

The willful disobedience here is to something explicitly for the purpose of denying God and the forgiveness of Christ. When I said "willfull disobedience", I didn't mean for the purpose of denying God, only that we choose to not do what we are supposed to. This could be done out of personal reasons and weakness, and not necessarily for the purpose of spiting and rejecting God.

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Quote
By the way, we are not commanded to fast in the Bible.
Christ said "When you fast" (Matt 6:16), not "if".
That's because the Jews were fasting.[/quote]

We are called to deny ourselves. This is a requirement. Fasting is an exercise in self denial.

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It's not a condemnation for somebody if he never fasted.

It is if they have clear understanding that it is God's will and they still outright reject it.

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By the way, just to make sure, there are plenty of people in my country that confound "fasting" with "diet", and so, when they 'fast', they actually eat something called "fasting food". I hope we both agree that "fasting" means not to eat anything (e.g. a day).

You're following the letter and ignoring the spirit. Fasting can be any kind of exercise of self denial.

Quote
I said:
Quote
There is also no commandment in the Bible as how often exactly to pray.

Then you said:
Quote
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.
I said that because, there are people that believe that God commands people to pray regularly, or something like to pray for at least a certain number per day. And if they don't do that, they think they have committed a sin. This is what I was actually trying to see: if you believe the same.

We are supposed to pray regularly, but the specific details related to how and when an individual prays are personal. There is no such thing as a rigid "one size fits all" prayer rule.

Quote
You said:
Quote
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)

Then I said:
Quote
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?

Then you said:
Quote
It is God that brings about the desired change of heart to draw closer to Him.

First off, I believe it is our desire to change and draw closer to God, not God who brings us that desire. And this way one can be "lazy" and cannot blame "God" for something that was his responsibility. And by the way, this is how Paul was labourer "together with God":

Quote from: 1 Cor 3.6
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

which seems to mean that Paul brought them to Christ, Apollos was taking care of them (teaching, etc.) while God was making them grow spiritually. So I don't know where your fasting and your prayers makes God be a labourer too with you!

Because Christ said "Without me, you can do nothing", so any spiritual growth that comes through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, is given by Him.

Quote
I said:
Quote
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?

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

Actually, I meant that if there is a seek of God, there must also be (as it is written in those verses) a finding of God. Something like, 1 John 2.3 - there is a "know God" more than "better know God"! In 1 John 2.3 it's either 'you know God' or 'you don't know God'. So it is with finding God, in Isaiah 55.6 there is either 'found God' or 'not found God'. From hence was the question.

We're not static beings, we move and grow.

Quote
Quote
It doesn't mean that He is without His Body, only that His Body is incorrupt, glorious, and has power.

I didn't imply that He is without a body. Instead, I meant that His body has been transformed (as ours will be).

I hope this is just a misunderstanding, but it seemed from one of your previous posts that you implied that you believed that this transformation happened at the ascension and that Christ did not take His humanity into heaven. The Orthodox belief is that He was transformed at His resurrection and that the divine and human natures are perfectly united in Him. We (Orthodox) believe that He came to heal and restore our nature (image and likeness of God), not destroy it.


It seems that not only are some of our conclusions different, but our approaches are different.

You seem to view salvation as being an event that is completed at your acceptance of it, where my view is that it is found in Christ on the cross, developed in Christ in this life, and ultimately fulfilled in Christ in the age to come (even then we continue to grow because God is infinite and we are limited so there is always room for us to grow).
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #50 on: January 20, 2011, 02:44:32 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
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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:

You are contradicting yourself within your own references, if no one is able to snatch a soul of the hand of Jesus Christ, how is that a person can somehow willfully snatch themselves out of Christ's hadn through their own rejecting of God?  If God is truly holding anyone, their sins are absolved by the very hand of God acting upon them.

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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:
Quote
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?

You are way off base.  Jesus Christ directly asks us to participate in His Flesh and Blood and to receive them often in His Name.  They are not mere symbols, God is not symbolic, He is real and the Eucharist is real.  This is why we chant "Amen I believe and confess that This is truly the Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ, to my last breath I confess and believe"

If you can't understand that, we can't really explain it to you, but we believe fundamentally in the Real Presence.  This is the Divine mechanism and economia by which God cooperates in the World.  This is how we receive and stand before Jesus Christ, not in idea or symbol, but in reality each time we attend Divine Liturgy.  Our Second Coming is each Sunday, as Chris comes to us and heals us our wounds, exorcises our demons, forgives our sins, and blesses us with His Real Presence.  To deny this is deprive yourself of a wonderful Mystery, and I pray earnestly that God unveils Himself to you to bring this understanding to you in His time.

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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.


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.

And what of the Ark of the Covenant, and the Rod of Aaron, and the gilded statues of the Cherubim overshadowing the Ark, or the Curtain, or the Altar, or the Utensils, or the Showbread (literally Bread of Presence, a prefiguring of the Eucharist), the Temple itself, and Priestly garments and the Breast plate, and these other physical objects of veneration and worship, which the people also literally bowed before just as we do the New Ark of Zion and Rod of Aaron in Our Lady Mary, the new Utensils in our iconography, the new Temple in our Churches, the new priestly garments in our Orthodox priestly robes.  
God instituted visual worship even in the commandments, to deny this is merely Calvinist sensationalism to lure over converts to the Protestant persuasion through guilt, brow beating and misinterpreted intimidation.

stay blessed,
habte selassie



Fixed quote tags to make post more readable  -PtA
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 01:14:05 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged

"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
Zenith
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« Reply #51 on: January 23, 2011, 08:56:38 PM »

To bogdan, reply #37

Quote
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.

well, show me a complete Septuagint (an Old Testament in greek, with all its books) of the first century, and I'll believe you. Because, as far as I know, the Septuagint doesn't appear as an entire Old Testament except in Codex Vaticanus (4th century), Codex Sinaiticus (4th century) and Codex Alexandrinus (5th Century):

The oldest manuscripts of the LXX include 2nd century BCE fragments of Leviticus and Deuteronomy (Rahlfs nos. 801, 819, and 957), and 1st century BCE fragments of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and the Minor Prophets (Rahlfs nos. 802, 803, 805, 848, 942, and 943). Relatively complete manuscripts of the LXX postdate the Hexaplar rescension and include the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus of the 4th century and the Codex Alexandrinus of the 5th century. These are indeed the oldest surviving nearly complete manuscripts of the Old Testament in any language;

So I'd really love to see evidence that the Hellenist Jews were indeed using the deuterocanonical books, and that the early christians were using them indeed.

As about "The Jewish canon was not pruned down to the books you listed until after the Christian Era was underway", I understand that you mean:
The Council of Jamnia or Council of Yavne is a hypothetical late 1st-century council at which it is postulated the canon of the Hebrew Bible was defined.
...
Heinrich Graetz introduced the notion in 1871; based on Mishnaic and Talmudic sources, he concluded that there must have been a Council of Jamnia which had decided the Jewish canon sometime in the late 1st century. This became the prevailing scholarly consensus for much of the 20th century. However, from the 1960s onwards, based on the work of Jack P. Lewis, Sidney Z. Leiman, and others, this view came increasingly into question. In particular, later scholars noted that none of the sources actually mentioned books that had been withdrawn from a canon, and questioned the whole premise that the discussions were about canonicity at all, asserting that they were actually dealing with other concerns entirely.

Now that's an evidence!

I've also read:
A popular position is that the Torah was canonized circa 400 BCE, the Prophets circa 200 BCE, and the Writings circa 100 CE,[6] perhaps at a hypothetical Council of Jamnia. This position, however, is increasingly criticised by modern scholars. Some scholars argue that the Jewish canon was fixed by the Hasmonean dynasty (140-37 BCE).[7] Today, there is no scholarly consensus as to when the Jewish canon was set.

As a reminder: Tanakh is the Jewish Old Testament, and it contains the Law (Torah), the Prophets and the Writings (or, Scriptures).

However, my understanding on this subject is the following: Jesus Christ used the terms "the Law", "the Prophets", and "the Scriptures", which means the Jews knew what books He was referring to. There are no questions written in the New Testament like "what Law?", "which Scriptures?", "this book included?", etc. There was no problem of "which are the holy books?" in Jesus' time, because Jesus (for the Israeli Jews) and Paul (for the Hellenist Jews and for Christians) referred to the Holy Scriptures as if everybody knew which those scriptures were. And when they said "the Prophets", for instance, it means that the scriptures that make up "the Prophets" were already known. No one asked Paul or Jesus "which books of the Prophets is holy?" or "which 'holy' scriptures should we regard as holy?".

That makes perfect sense if you think why the deuterocanonical books were not considered holy in the first canon: the early Christians knew which the Holy Scriptures were, and those (that became later, deuterocanonical) were not. They've received the Holy Scriptures from the Jews, and the Jews (even those in Israel) had and remained with those certain Holy Scriptures. So the afterthought of christians could have come only later.

Otherwise, if the deuterocanonical books were regarded holy by the Jews, the christians would have received all the Old Testament at once, and a second canon would have not followed! Besides of the fact that, if the deuterocanonical books were considered holy by the Jews in the 1st century, the Jews would have not thrown away the scriptures which themselves considered holy! (and we don't find them in the Jewish Bibles).

And, by the way, for the NT canon: the fact that the apostles told the Christians to receive teachings only from them and to remain in their (apostles') teachings is a clear evidence that the 1st century real christians did not have to wait until the first canon was set to believe that all these NT scriptures were from God and that the other 1st century scriptures were not.

P.S. Next time when you use an image, please write the link to it.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 09:05:56 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #52 on: January 24, 2011, 03:13:02 AM »

From my lay understanding when it comes to the jews rejecting the "deuterocanonical scriptures" they only did it because there was a lack of Hebrew oriignals though we know now that a portion did have hebrew originals.

Now it is true that we are to stay faithful the apostles teachings which have been recorded in the NT, why is it we are to assume that anything else is not true or of the apostles? Such as the authorship of the gospels themselves? The Apostles did not leave the canon as we know it today, they left books certain christian churches around the world had certain books and others did not certain ones at all.

The books of the bible where highly debated as to what was in the bible, especially when it comes to the book of revelation. Thats my ignorant layman responce.
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« Reply #53 on: January 24, 2011, 04:04:06 AM »

To xariskai and to others who are interested in my view of receiving the Holy Spirit, read the corresponding subsection (as I assume you usually read only the reply I write specifically to you).

To David Garner, post #38:

Quote
Quote from: Zenith
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.

my point with this was something else. But I don't think it's relevant any longer.

Quote
Quote from: Zenith
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.

I'll translate what I said, so you would better understand what I meant: "I have a view, and there are some biblical verses that I believe they support my view. If you have a different view, show me the verses that you claim they support your view. Tell me the verses that you claim they support your view so I would check them and see if you are right or not."

Now, about the verses you gave. Thank you. That's what I meant.

REGARDING UNION WITH CHRIST

Quote
Quote from: Zenith
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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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

I think we disagree on this, so I have to say: God unites a man to Himself only once and for all. There is no union followed by disunion, so that one would unite to Him again (and again, and again, etc.). In other words, you're either a branch grafted in the tree, or not (Romans 11.16-22 talks about being grafted in the tree). So, there's no progressive union, nor a repetitive union, but a single event of being grafted.

And yes, you could have brought a verse like Romans 5.10.
I was speaking about the term described in Romans 5.9 and 1 Thessalonians 1.10, which fits my burning building example. For more about my view concerning salvation, you can read the post #43, the subsection REGARDING SALVATION AND GOING TO HELL. If you have something to say about that.

Quote
Quote from: Zenith
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.

Though I expected something like "Salvation is...", this you wrote is somewhat useful. And, in fact, it does sustain my example with the burning building: there is only once a clothing in Christ, since a single certain moment in union with Christ, after which you are safe (e.g. from hell), because the Holy Spirit dwells in you (2 Romans 8.11, Corinthians 4.14, John 6.40)
However, please try to also give the references in the Bible for the verses you give: that would a bit easier for me, for I would not have to search them.

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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.

Well, in my logic there is only one way a man can get a union with Christ - if Christ dwells in him:
Quote from: Romans 8.9-10
9. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
10. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Also,
Quote from: John 14.20
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

Quote from: John 10.23
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

So, if Christ dwells in a man, doesn't that mean that that man is in union with Christ? If Christ makes His abide with him, doesn't this mean that it is a permanent union with Christ? So it means there cannot be other things to do in order to have 'again' communion with Christ, because if He comes, He abides. Otherwise, He never came.

REGARDING THE RECEIVING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

By the way, about the baptism in Christ: notice it's baptism in Christ, not in water! interesting, right?
That's because there are two kinds of baptism: one with water and other with the Holy Spirit. And a man is baptized with the Holy Spirit when Jesus Christ enters and abides in him.

In case anybody forgot that there is a baptism with the Holy Spirit:
Mark 1.8 "I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”"
Acts 1.5 "for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”". And the apostles were not baptized with the Holy Spirit in the moment they were baptized with water! Perhaps it is not wrong to assume that the apostles were baptized with water before they started baptizing people when Jesus was among them (in John 4.2).

ok, to return to Galatians 3.27: the verse is clearer if you read the verses above:
Quote from: Galatians 3.25-27
25. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
26. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

People do not become children of God by baptism in water, but by faith in Jesus Christ! And only those who have received the Holy Spirit are children of God (have been adopted by God) (Romans 8.9, 14, 16).

Quote
Quote from: Zenith
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 sinsThis 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.

Sorry, but it is not the water baptism that unites men with Christ, but the baptism with the Holy Spirit, which is received only after he believes (with all his heart).

Read also:
Quote from: Acts 19.2
he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?"
When did Paul expect the Holy Spirit to be received? When that person believes! A simple immersing in water does not cause a man to receive the Holy Spirit.

Also John 1.12-13:
Quote
12. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
13. who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Now ask a baby if he believed in Jesus Christ! if he received Him!
And, of course, somebody cannot make another man receive the Holy Spirit, because it is written that those who received Him are born not by the will of man. I guess we all agree that this "born of God" = "born of the Holy Spirit" = "received the Holy Spirit" = became child of God = adopted by God.

Also, Acts 2.38:
Quote
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

A few notes here:
- interestingly, but not of a great importance now, Peter is not written with his 'title' ("St. Peter"), but simply "Peter".
- it is "repent and be baptized": how many times? As the verse suggests, only once! As it is not commanded "start repenting and continue repenting and then or before be baptized!". And it is evident that there must be a one repentance because there is a one baptism. And I'm sure that people do not repent every day and get baptized every day!
- The apostle commanded a one single repentance followed by a baptism (notice the order: "repent and be baptized"). And after they did both, they were supposed to receive the Holy Spirit. So, for instance, a baby cannot receive the Holy Spirit because he cannot repent.

Also,
Quote from: Acts 3.19
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
A repentance that brings conversion is that which cleanses a man from his sins. Consequently, without this repentance, a man remains in his sins, unforgiven.

Acts 26.20:
Quote
But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and [then] to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
This one repentance must be followed by works meet for repentance. This one repentance causes a one conversion, which is in doing the works meet for repentance.

Even John the baptist refused to baptize people before they have shown evidence that they have repented (again, a one repentance):
Quote from: Luke 3.7-8
7. Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.

OTHER TOPICS

Quote
Read John 20 for Absolution -- "whoever's sins you forgive, they are forgiven, whoever's sins you retain they are retained."

When I said that I don't pretty understand your terms, I meant that, although I sought into the dictionary, it is not sufficient:
1. act of absolving; a freeing from blame or guilt; release from consequences, obligations, or penalties.
2. state of being absolved.
3. Roman Catholic Theology .
   a. remission of sin or of the punishment for sin, made by a priest in the sacrament of penance on the ground of authority received from Christ.
   b. the formula declaring such remission.
4. Protestant Theology . a declaration or assurance of divine forgiveness to penitent believers, made after confession of sins.

So that kind of "absolution" definition I expected. So, absolution means to you "the sins are forgiven"? or what exactly?

By the way, as Jesus Christ said this ("whoever's sins you forgive, they are forgiven, whoever's sins you retain they are retained.") to His apostles I wonder how some people believe that themselves can forgive one's sins, in the account of God.

Quote
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

I wonder from where they got the chrism of oil, because it's not in the text.

Quote
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.

On "eating the flesh of the Son of Man and drinking of blood" you may read the post #43, the section "REGARDING THE EATING THE FLESH AND DRINKING THE BLOOD OF THE SON OF MAN", because I don't want to fill the post with copy-pastes.

Besides of the fact that, from what I understand, you believe there are a lot of things you've got to do to receive the remission of the sins (believe, which causes it, ask forgiveness to God, which causes it, ask forgiveness to man, which causes it, eat the flesh and drink the blood, which causes it, etc.) that one may wonder what exactly he has to do to be indeed forgiven, and once and for all.

Quote
Quote from: Zenith
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.

Quote
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.
so I must ask, to whom "us"?

Quote
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.

first off, which gifts of God you say a man must receive?

second off, it sounds a bit like you're contradicting yourself here.

I'll give an example, so you would better understand my point: It's like a man (employer) who possesses a shop, and has an employee, and that employee is asking the employer: what must I do to receive my salary? And the employer says: well, in a sense, you don't have to do anything. But on the other sense, you've got to sell the products! So the obvious question would be: which of them is it? because it is impossible to be both.

So it is with your answer to "what a man must/mustn't do to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven": you either have to do something, or you don't have to do anything.

just to clarify a bit what I meant:
you said "So in the first sense, if you are asking what we must do to satisfy God's judgment, my answer is "nothing.""
I don't understand what you mean of "to satisfy God's judgment" - a man cannot be sinless so that he would inherit the Kingdom of Heaven by himself. So in order to satisfy God's judgment, Jesus Christ died for our sins, so that our sins may be forgiven and God's judgment be satisfied. So it sounds improper to say that a man must do something "to satisfy God's judgment". Instead, a man has to do his part so that he would also be part of the Kingdom of Heaven.

I simply asked you, what do you believe is your part you have to do so that God would accept you in His Kingdom?

So my question would be: do you have to do nothing to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven or you have to "certainly remain in the faith, live the sacramental life, repent of his sins, do good works, receive the gifts of God."? Yet I suppose that you do mean the latter.

Quote
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.

About God waiting to receive His due while a man owes God something, you remind me of Matthew 18.23-34. Here, this exact situation is exposed. Anyway, "in another sense", you don't owe God anything: all you do is for yourself, so in the worst case, you go to hell.

As about "merits", we do find in the Bible that there are people not worthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Just a few verses: Matthew 5.20, Matthew 10.37.

So perhaps you can prove me that my view regarding this issue is wrong.

Quote
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. 

Perhaps you can speak more with references from the Bible. I don't pretty get where or how the "legal" falls away. I do have a bit of hard time to understand your view, so some biblical references would be helpful.

Quote
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.

Well, a common question of people it seems to have been "what ought to be": Acts 2.37, Acts 16.30. And it seems that the apostles did not answer to them like this: "We are primarily concerned with the existential -- what is.  You appear to be concerned with the judicial -- what ought to be", but instead, they have seen the question as a proper one, and have given a clear answer to it, what ought to be done!

Quote
Quote from: Zenith
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?

Well, the discussion has turned from nature to flesh and from flesh to body. I guess it would do well if you tell me what you understand from "nature" and "Jesus is fully human and fully divine" before I give that answer.

And, I am aware of the 'heresy' of men who turn God into man. I've heard the saying "God is bleeding love", which turns God in some kind of super-emotional Person that falls to His feelings - I don't believe Jesus Christ to be so, if you ask me. And it is not seldom that people lower God (even Jesus Christ) from "God" to "man", so it would really be a good idea if you tell me what you understand of that. And then I'll tell you if I agree or not.
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« Reply #54 on: January 24, 2011, 04:08:28 AM »

1 Tim 2:5
Quote
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.


read the last lines from the previous post, answer that and then I'll answer the "fully human" question. I think it's better if you tell me what you understand of it, before I answer.
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« Reply #55 on: February 06, 2011, 02:26:43 PM »

to xariskai, post #42.

sorry for missing that much, and sorry for the post being too long. And, I don't know how much time and possibility I will have for future discussions, sorry.

Quote
Quote
Quote
The thing that people should not add to what God says is also specified in Revelation 22.18-19.
Quote from: 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.

My extension in logic should have not been made. It was how I understood those verses. Thanks for pointing that out.

The other verses should have been enough.

Quote
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.

I'm afraid you do not understand properly some issues.
1. The fact that the high priest prophecied because of his office does not mean that everything that the high priest said or done was from God. Instead, it is shown that God said a prophecy through him. If you are convinced that all that a man in God-appointed office does or says is correct, you should read Matt. 26.3-5, Matt. 26.59-68, Acts 4.5-21, Acts 5.17-18.
2. I was not talking about written/spoken. If a man comes and he says that God told him to say X or Y and indeed he is a prophet (not a false prophet, who speaks from himself, perhaps believing that what he says must be from God) then the word of God should be taken as the word of God.

about "On your own principle, you must prove prophetic cessationism (no word of God after the close of the canon)." - I do believe that God has once finished giving all we needed to know (commandments, teachings) to be able to worship Him. Otherwise it doesn't sound logic - as if He wouldn't want us to be able to, or that the knowledge to be given is infinite.

The Bible also says:
Quote from: Hebrews 1.1-2
1. God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
2. has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
So "these" days belong to which days? As I see from verses 1 and 2, the days God has spoken to us. And so, I do not expect God to bring new knowledge to people by prophets (e.g. if one comes now, 2 millenia later and brings a completion to the gospels, claiming that God told him, I cannot believe him).

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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.

I might not understand pretty well what you need and what you believe. What people decide to do in time and what are their decisions do not concern me. We are warned in 2 Timothy 4.3-4 that:
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3. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

And that was said 2 millenia ago! So if now everyone would make another canon, it is not my concern.
I do not believe the books of the Bible just because people have decided to make a decision which of them to consider the word of God and which not.

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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.

It's not me who is wrong here, but you. And that's because you do not see the woman and the man as you should: Biblically, they are not two, but one body. Read Matthew 19.6.

Also
Quote from: 1 Corinthians 11.11-12
11. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

So, because the woman and the man are one, she is not a two-headed beast. So it is wrong to say that the woman is two-headed - besides of the fact that this two-headed you claim would put the man on the same pedestal as Christ, for the woman, so she might understand that sinning because her husband asked it is ok, because it's the other head that asked her to.

So no, for the Christian (man + woman) there is only one head, which is Christ.

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As far as your repudiation of the idea God wants anyone "ruling" over us, scripture trumps you once again: "The elders ... who rule ... 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.

I think I have given explanation on this already (about elders):
Quote from: 1Peter 5.3
Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.

Also in 1 Timothy 5.17:
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Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.

It's not imposing doctrine (e.g. a council forcing everybody to obey). So this "rule" is not "forcing people" as a king does with his subjects, not commanding them because he is the chief!

I shall 'listen' to what you say about "not autocratic":

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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).

Well, my topic was not the Catholic Pope, or a one 'leader' of the church.
And a few points where your ecumenical council fail are:
- the body of christians of 1600 years ago, whom perhaps agreed with the leaders' decisions are not the same with the christians today that already believe the decisions of the councils as true, before checking them.
- as you cannot know which of them are real christians and which of them are gone astray, you can get to have a 'church' (as the catholic church) who has gone astray with most of its members (while those in catholic countries that did not accept the new theory were persecuted, despised, etc.). So if something like that happened before 1054 AD, you can get an 'ecumenical council' of leaders that are going astray and leading astray a very large flock. (read Matt. 15.14, Matt. 7.13-14.
- Actually, the laymen are very susceptible to the decisions of their religious leaders. Most people don't like to think, but want others to think for them, and be told what to believe and what to do - it's a kind of laziness, I suppose. If it wasn't so, then there would have been no "Orthodox Church", no "Catholic Church", no "Pentecostal Church", etc. because too few would have agreed totally with either of them. Also, written creeds that must be believed in order for one to be an Orthodox would have not existed either.

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Quote from: Zenith
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: ...  You are presuming the "test" must be done by individuals separate from the community; Orthodox "test ... 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

1. Don't worry, it's not the "Orthodox" test that is plural. It's just a matter of languages. In my language, the verbs (including "test") have a different form for 2nd plural than 2nd singular.
2. The verse does not teach collectivity. If it did, it would have been written "test all things together" or "test all things collectively" instead. The plural is used by the author because the letter is addressed to many people, instead of a particular person. But I think that's already obvious.
3. I'm curios if this is the way you also 'defend' Catholicism.

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"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.

You're wrong here as well.

I'll write the verses first:
Quote from: Ephesians 4.13-14
11. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12. for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13. till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14. that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ

1. there is no religion or denomination called "Protestantism". If you take "Pentecostalism", for instance, or a denomination of it, you get to have something just like Orthodoxy.
2. the verses refer to individuals, not do denominations or religions or political parties, etc. So what was given was given for individuals, not for religions & denominations. So it's wrong to place "Protestantism" or "Orthodoxy" or "Catholicism" here. It talks about particular persons. And as it talks about individuals, there is no 'finished unity' - as an established creed, but instead something that every individual should earn with the others (building up one another, helping one another with his view, etc. actively participating so all would grow).
3. I hope these are not the verses by which you 'defend' Catholicism, because they also have a unity of faith, which, from what I know, orthodox people do not agree with.
4. I hope you notice that Christians are called "saints" in these verses.
5. Unlike what you suggested - you seemed to have suggested that the belief system or the structure of Orthodoxy brings to unity of faith - in the Bible it is said that the unity of faith is obtainable through the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers - the workers of the church/congregation (which implies a group where all are together, not a global term like "Orthodox Church" - an belief system, a religion).
6. Orthodoxy is different from country to country. And that starts with the deuterocanonical books (Coptic Orthodoxy, Greek Orthodoxy, etc.)

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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.

You are wrong. Frequent a protestant church (whichever denomination you wish. by the way, remember that protestantism is not a denomination/religion) and you will see that in that church there is the unity you expect. If you expected unity with the Orthodox church, you're expectation is wrong - I could have also expected unity between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, but that broke 1000 years ago.

And there are differences in Orthodoxy as well, as I have stated. And more than that, if you ask two different orthodox priests about the same subject, you may receive two different answers. Which shows things are not working as 1 Cor 1.10 said.

Also, you should have read the following verses as well (11-16). There you would have seen the disunity Paul was talking about.

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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!

Here we go again to 1 Thessalonians 5.21 - because Ephesians 4.13-14 and 1 Cor 1:10 are not talking about testing. 1 Thessalonians 5.21 does not condemn individual testing, nor team work. However, it does not command team/collective testing. By the way, collective testing means that everyone participates, not that the leaders decide and the laymen accept. So, if you want to collectively test something, you should do your work with them.

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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.

So it seems my explanations were not sufficient. I am not against a 'teacher' who shares his knowledge and understanding and wisdom to others, but people (like teachers) who impose their doctrine on others. Like an ecumenical council where people decide what God actually said (interpretations, etc.) and God's will, the layman who believe them just because "they are those who know" (which is blindly trusting the leaders), instead of judging himself how things are, and the 'official' decision of God's will and God's teachings dictated by the leaders, which too often gives birth to hatred and despise in people's minds towards the minority that rejects it.

About blindly trusting which you said you reject it. From what I've read from posts of this forum - only the posts I've replied to, I found people are more concerned about "the Orthodox view" (asking if X is the Orthodox view or not) instead of what the Bible says. The former is blindly trusting Orthodox leaders, their teachings and beliefs, while the latter is caring about God's words.

So a question I can ask you, though I'm not sure these discussions will go further, which is your allegiance? What do you care to know: if what you believe is what the Orthodox Church teaches or if what you believe is what the Bible teaches? Whom do you put on the first place? Or you cannot see what the Bible teaches, except through the eyes of the religious leaders (which is yet blindly believing them)?

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"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.

Well, Deuteronomy 4.2, 5.32-33, 12.32 and Proverbs 30.6 sound pretty clear. There should be no orders of service, no use of incense, the psalms were sang in the OT times with musical instruments so that's ok, hymns are in Eph. 5.19, there should be no rule/tradition about the pews & sitting down, the counts of breaths per second, etc.

A few things:
1. one is allowing chairs and other is making a rule/tradition of using chairs - and this is a great difference!
2. I'm sure the use of incense for orthodox is not a mere making something smell like incense, but some beliefs/teachings regarding it. And those matter most.
3. There are great problems with "traditions" and other rules established, added to those that are in the Bible:
a. people tend to love them more than the Bible, and thus, they give more attention to the rules of the tradition than to the Bible. So people feel more 'pious' if they pray in the 'right' direction or performing a ritual (like using incense) than reading the Bible and trying to understand it and trying to do as it commands.
b. too many times the traditions slip wrong teachings or understandings hardly ever noticed by people that they contradict the Bible. An instance of this is exposed in Matthew 15.1-6.
c. the 'church' (like the building called church) creates a bondage between man and culture (like music, paintings, unnecessary practices, etc.) instead of bondage between people (which is unity) and between man and the word of God. I've even heard somebody saying that she went to the church to watch the icons of the saints! Which is a kind of "what?? and no yearn for understanding more from the Bible or something?" to me. Others go to protestant churches (whichever denomination and building) for entertainment! (that is music, perhaps even dancing, singing, etc.)

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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.

1. are you that certain that it doesn't contradict the scripture?
2. the Holy Spirit guides the individuals, not the masses. Do not confuse the Holy Spirit with the spirit of the crowd (i.e. the 'force' that influences people to follow the crowd/the majority).

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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?

you said "you wish to say no person who truly followed God ever did anything that is not proven by the OT or NT scriptures alone".
No, I didn't mean that. Unfortunately, people that truly follow God and really want to obey Him are able to be indoctrinated, to believe misinterpretations, to believe and do things they are not aware that the Bible teaches otherwise, etc. That's why we are called to judge things with our own heads, even individually, and discuss one with another so we could understand more, to find out if what we believe is correct or wrong (by discussions on the subject), etc.

I find your question misplaced. The verses in the Bible clearly show that John the Baptist baptized with authority from heaven (Matthew 21.25-26).

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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.

I guess there is a little problem of understanding each other's view.

I'll try to explain myself. There are people, like protestant preachers, that claim that what they say must be/should be/is the word of God and must be obeyed. There are people whom are certain that God speaks through them. Read Jeremiah 23.16-32 about false prophets - what a man says is the word of God only if God personally told that person to say those words. Otherwise, you cannot trust a man that what he says is the word of God - he might understand the verses of the bible correctly (might or might not), but it was not God who told him to say those words. If a man claims that his words are the words of God because of his official position (like a Jewish high priest), he is a false prophet. God may say something through him (e.g. one in his entire life), even if that high priest does not seek to follow God's commandments and teachings, to attain His own objectives. But that doesn't make in any instance the high priests' all other words be the words of God!

That's why I asked you this question "You mean that if I preach these teachings of mine on the streets, it is the word of God?" of which I was actually certain you say "no", but the reasons were those that interested me.

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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 ... 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?

well, let's see 2 Timothy 3.15-16:
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15. and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for 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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

1. Most surely there was no compiled "Old Testament" by that time either, but each book (like Genesis) was kept on a scroll or something. Codex-es (book-like scriptures) became popular only later, as I remember.
2. Reading verses 16 and 17, you can notice that this is valid for the man of God. And a man of God is a man who has received the Holy Spirit (Romans 8.9 "Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His."). And the Holy Spirit is received:
a. after believing the gospel, which includes belief with all heart in Jesus Christ (Acts 8.37):
Quote from: Ephesians 1.13
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
b. after true belief in Jesus Christ:
Quote from: John 7.39
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.
c. after repentance, not only baptism:
Quote from: Acts 2.38
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
d. to those that are decided to obey God:
Quote from: Acts 5.32
And we are his witnesses of these things; and [so is] also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
e. if a man is baptized, it doesn't necessarily mean he received the Holy Spirit:
Quote from: Acts 5.15-17
15. Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16. For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
17. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
f. A man can receive the Holy Spirit even before being baptized with water:
Quote from: Acts 10.44-48
44. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47. Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48. And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

ok, so a man of God is a man that already believed in Jesus Christ, that He is the son of God, repented (that one repentance), etc., which means he was adopted by God (became a son of God). Now, for such a man, the Old Testament "is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.". Unless you have noticed, the authors of the new testament quote extensively from the Old Testament, prove things using verses in it, and moreover, most, if not all teachings of correction, righteousness, all about morality is already found in the Old Testament.

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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.

I just thought that when I said:
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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)!
it was enough...

Can't you see how clearly that verse contradicts you? you din't hear from the mouth of any apostle anything! Instead, you have the letters of the apostles! So how can you hear from the mouth of the apostles???
Quote from: 2 Thessalonians 2.15
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

the "oral traditions" your receive are not "words of mouth" of the apostles, but written words of others. If I believed in 'oral traditions' that people claim that comes from the apostles, then all Christianity is wrong: the Jews do the same, and have a lot of "oral traditions" from Moses and the old prophets that contradict Christianity! And they believe in the "words of mouth" that were transmitted orally, until were finally compiled! So perhaps you have an explanation why you don't convert to Judaism!

Now, the same with the "oral tradition" of the Jews and with the "oral traditions" of Orthodoxy: if fables appeared in Judaism regarding what Old Testament prophets did or said and other things that happened in their times, then it is surely possible that similar things have happened about the apostles in the first centuries AD!

It's plain clear that you contradict what the Bible says: you did not hear anything from the mouth of the apostles! And because you did not hear anything from the mouth of the apostles you should remain only to what the apostles left written. And most surely the apostles wrote everything people needed to know, in all their writings, because they couldn't have been in 20 places in the same time, while the letters were copied and given from one to other.

On the other side, if something very important was to be transmitted only orally, only a few people could have known it (the apostles could have not been in 20 places at the same time), while the same teachings needed to be transmitted in Italy, Greece and Balkans, modern Turkey, Syria-Palestine, etc. Not to take into consideration that parts of what was said would have been forgotten, especially in time, and, because not written, orally transmission would have been 'completed' with people's interpretations and later perhaps even their practices and their imagination. Orally transmission is far less reliable than the translation of a text (where too often the author's interpretation is also involved).

If the apostles agreed with "oral transmission" of their sayings, perhaps they would have not even written any epistle! There would have been no need, at least. Moreover, they would have asked people to make religious leaders whom to "blindly believe", because they 'have' the words of God with them and will always keep them as they are, against what is written here:
Quote from: 2 Timothy 4.3-4
3. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

oops! how much can you blindly trust your Church Fathers now?

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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.

Well, it is quite possible that even Luke was an apostle. We know that Paul was an apostle, though he was not one of the twelve. We also know that Barnabas became an apostle (Acts 14.14, we know info about Barnabas from Acts 4.36). The expectance that others could have been apostles of Christ is shown in Rev 2.1, 2 Cor. 11.13 (otherwise it would have been simple: you're not of the twelve, you'r not an apostle). And proofs of apostleship we find in Acts 2.43, Acts 5.12, 2 Corinthians 12.12.

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Quote from: Zenith
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!

1. I supposed the Book of Revelation is in your Bible and that you considered the apostle John to have written it.
2. Perhaps the date of the Book of Revelation of John was 90-95 AD. (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com). Though perhaps the date cannot be established exactly.
3. "Why would the beliefs and practices... be of no importance to the Church?" - I hope you mean "to the Christians (individuals)" - I don't know exactly what you mean of "Church". I didn't claim those writings as of Ignatius of Rome to be of no importance. Instead, that they should not be considered holy/divinely inspired scriptures (as the Bible, whose words we are supposed to believe as the Word of God). If you do not agree with this, perhaps you can tell me why their scriptures were not introduced in the New Testament in a canon.
4. "Perhaps God in His sovereignty allowed their works to be preserved for a reason!" - good you say, perhaps! So with the Koran!

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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;

Consider the fact that these early christians that have been discipled by a disciple of an apostle were already having access to the Old Testament scriptures and letters of apostles. Consider the fact that most teachings of apostles (if not all) are about the history of Jesus Christ in Israel and requirements for salvation, as repentance and baptism (the gospel), organization in the church, rebukes for things that started to go wrong and teachings of morality and righteousness - all if not all of these already found in the Old Testament. So what could have missed? It seems that the subject of organization in the church was already written in epistles, talks about the Holy Communion (or how it is properly called), eating the bread and drinking from the cup are already found in epistles (and it's written "bread", not "flesh", for instance), so perhaps you can tell me what misses.

I don't understand too well what you want to prove with the thing you said, which I quoted from you. if you mean that the early christians had to rely on the disciples of the apostles, well, no: it was already a community that did that and heard with their own ears the words of the apostles, so it was the decision of trusting them or not to say the truth or being liars, and in some cases they were visited again by the apostles, and they were certainly receiving letters from them (or letters that were addressed to other churches but have been given to other churches/men of God of other cities as well). The situation was also somewhat problematic then because of Acts 20.29-30. Anyway, I believe that these 'teachers' should be regarded as 'teachers' only, not as apostles, which means that they might be wrong in things they believed and written.

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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

It seems to me or you deny what the Bible says in favor of what contemporary scholars say? If the Bible is sufficient - well, it claims to be, so it must be. If it is useful to know historical information, etc. - yes, I do believe, but is not a must. The "linguistic" feature falls from theory because nowhere it is written that "the English Bible KJV" or "the French version X" or other is the word of God - they are translations of it.

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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;

about the bold-ed text: You mean the New Testament is written in greek, you're a greek, and you don't understand what the (greek) New Testament says?

I'll show you an example where the 'scholars' (namely, the non-christians, or liberal christians - which don't believe the Bible as authoritative, etc.) fail: I've read about the dead sea scrolls found at Qum'ran (I hope I write it well). This was a sect (heretics) that developed separately from the straight jews, and were deliberately changing the Holy Scriptures and were praised by the author of the text I read for being tolerant to many variants! And their thoughts and interpretations are used to understand Christianity and Judaism in that period! (a sect/heresy). Well, If they would ever find scriptures used by pharisees then I'll believe them more because Jesus Christ was taking their scriptures as good (not accusing them of changing them or something). And their commentaries (of the pharisees) in that time, if they would ever be found good to understand the jewish thought in that time than that of those sect at Qum'ran.

And, you must take into consideration that they (the scriptures you refer to) tell you the thoughts of those people, just as a teacher of Christianity exposes his understanding and beliefs and can mistake. You can't take that as the word of God!

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Quote from: Zenith
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.

....
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.

about what I have emphasized in what you said: see, that's the problem!

I'll explain now: if a man regards a Guru's words as the words of God, isn't that a problem? or if a man regards words of a protestant pastor as the words of God, isn't that wrong?? If a man regards the words of any Christian teacher as the words of God - when that is only a teacher, not an apostle and not a prophet, isn't that wrong?? Regarding that a man's words are actually the words of God - when that man didn't claim to be an apostle or a prophet, and nor contemporary people that knew them confessed about them to be so) it is a great problem that people take his words as the words of God! As I have explained a lot in post #39.

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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.

I have tried to prove you some verses of the Bible, and you are saying things as if all my arguments were against what I actually said! I said that one must not blindly trust a man, one must not let other think for him (but think for himself), and you tell me "That the creeds are biblical creeds is widely affirmed throughout Protestantism" - as if I would have to agree just because THEY said so! I try to prove something and you try to take people that you suppose I believe, so that, not by reasoning, but by blindly trusting them, to believe you!

You said "That the creeds are biblical creeds" and that makes me asks: which creeds, namely? if I take Jehovah's Witnesses' creeds I'm sure we all disagree! I said that creeds must be checked to see if it is indeed what the Bible says, and you tell me "no, just believe, none must check!"?? It's the subject I've explained extensively: it's blindly trusting man, putting all trust in man/man's judgement, not to leave other think for you! Read again post#39, if you are still unclear of what I said.

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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.

My point was not to attack Orthodox people for what other orthodox people did and believed. The problem was the "blindly trusting" their religious teachers. Though the Orthodoxy did not have inquisitions, as far as I know they did burn heretics on the stake. But it's meaningless what they did. On a side I agree with the Crusades (except the 4th, with the target Constantinople), because it stopped the advancements of the muslims in europe: if it wasn't for them, the Byzantine Empire would have died much more quickly and the muslims would have invaded europe faster, and perhaps remained much longer and we would have had many muslims countries in East Europe. The fact that they were cruel and killed orthodox people and jews and muslims I consider evil.

The problem is not if you or others in this forum are in favor of religious freedom or not, but what the religious leaders are for.
There is an article on an orthodox forum in my language, for instance, that says (I'll translate):

"Father Ilie Cleopa: "I am a friend only with human beings, you sectarians are not human beings!"

ATTENTION:
I have posted this article more as an explanation for setarians, why they are not welcomed at box/topic: "Ask the priest".

The sin of conversion of people to sectarian is very great, it is a sin against the Holy Spirit, there is no forgiveness in this century, nor in the one that will follow. If the sectarians will not return to the Orthodox Church they are lost! The Church is our mother, she gave birth to us through water and Spirit, because Jesus told Nicodimus: "Jesus answered, I tell you the truth, no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit." (John 3.5).

There is an eres (I don't know what it had to mean), a sect called "pentecostals", ...

...

How to behave with the sectarians?
"A man that is an heretic (sectarian) after the first and second admonition reject". You should reject the sectarian man after rebuking and he is to you as a pagan.

When it is to help your brother, you should help any man of the world, if he is sick, he gets drown give him a hand, if he is in danger, help him, but when it's about faith you hate him, because the sectarians hate the truth. Christ said "I am the way, the truth and the life". And in Psalm 138 [I think he meant 139] it is said "I hate them with perfect hatred, because they became non-friends to me [perhaps he meant "I count them mine enemies."]". Because they hate the truth we need not love them. About faith we do not talk, you tell them so "Hey, I will talk to you at most once, twice, after which you are a pagan and a publican to me!"

....
[at the end it is written:]
Look so, a material of Father Cleopa, which I hope to fry these sectarian jerks.

with zeal for the Lord,
Vitalii Mereutanu - Magister/Teacher in Theology"

The article is pretty large, it is found here:
http://www.ortodoxia.md/articole-preluate/2333-eu-sunt-prieten-numai-cu-oamenii-voi-sectarii-nu-suntei-oameni
if there is any Romanian here. Otherwise, you can only look at the pictures.

Needless to say, the orthodox people in this country (at least the religious ones) hate/despise protestants. At least that's my experience and what I've heard from others (e.g. the mother of a friend (girl) of mine despised her daughter's boyfriend and did not want her daughter to marry him because he has been a "sectarian" (perhaps pentecostal) before).

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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.

well, the "Welch's Grape Juice" (I don't know what is with "Welch") is biblical, as the wine is: it is written in the bible "fruit of the vine".
puppet shows are wrong in the church because of Matthew 21.12-13: the building "Church" must be a prayer house, not an entertainment house or a sport house or a trading house! They must not be combined!

Building buildings on your own properties is ok (well, it's your property, your money), but building a Church Complex with sport terrain, etc. are also turning the building "Church" in something else than a pure religious place of worship. All there's left is changing money there and selling products, and perhaps even come with animals there to make it exactly a scene described in Matthew 21.12-13 (while Jesus' topic was not the kinds of animals that were there, or the coins used, but the multi-purpose House of the Lord (i.e. combined with worldly things.). So, see how easy it is, when you add something new, from yourself, to actually do a bad thing? besides of the fact that many protestants go to churches for entertainment! (if entertainment elements exist in that "church" building).

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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?

Sorry, I meant "religious scripture", to be more precise. I hope you won't try to find little 'faults' in this.

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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!

I refered to something else: if Orthodoxy in a country decides to add some new practice, tradition, or to interpret things in a certain way, it's followers are forced to believe it as "must be done", or otherwise they are kicked out of the Orthodox church for not respecting the holy ordinances of the 'holy' leaders, regarded as some sectarians/heretics and are regarded as 'people deserving hell' for being cast out, and don't have access to the Holy Communion in the Orthodox church anymore, no more priests' blessings, going to them when you marry, children baptism, etc. - which you believe as being a strict requirement for heaven, so people are forced to obey to anything that is decided by their religious leaders, so they would not go to hell! that's what I meant.

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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.

Well, we exclude from this topic the Holy Spirit, because He is not scripture (written words) and not spoken words. The Holy Spirit is a person, I hope we all agree on this. And I hope you will mention further "additional grounds as well which I haven't mentioned yet".

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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.

Don't worry, there are. And if 80% of the world population would have been Orthodox, perhaps at least 80% of them would have become. This is how it always happens with the majority - even if 80% of the world population would be pentecostals, pentecostals would do the same.

And I have explained above how the Orthodox Church actually imposes creeds and beliefs and practices.

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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.
So, what do you understand of the verse?

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Quote from: Zenith
No confession which contradicts scripture can be true.
No Orthodox confession contradicts scripture.
Are you so certain?

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Quote from: Zenith
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.

"First, prove me what “Church” is and then the “authority of the church” you claim." - this is what I said. Do you ask me this question, or you forgot to put it under quote?

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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.

Sorry, but this is what the denial of thinking individually implies: "Individualism implies that each person is free to formulate and promote his own confession", which he said is bad.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2011, 02:57:43 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #56 on: February 06, 2011, 03:39:01 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.

Who or what gives your personal, individual scripture interpretation authority over the interpretations of the Orthodox Church?

Now that's a strange question!

I'll give you some verses to show you how your view is wrong:
Quote from: John 7
45. Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?”
46. The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!”
47. Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived?
48. Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?
49. But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”

People rejected even Jesus Christ because He was not regarded as correct or "fit to speak" by their religious leaders! They needed their religious leaders' accord and they to appreciate Him in order to believe Him (even Him)!

Also:
Quote from: Matthew 13
55. Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses,Simon, and Judas?
56. And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?”
57. So they were offended at Him.

Even Jesus Christ was rejected by people because he was a simple "carpenter's son", with a simple family, not an important individual from high-classes, high education from scribes and pharisees, not regarded high by the scribes and elders and pharisees, not what PEOPLE ask from a man in order to care and think what he says!

It must not matter who says (social class, appreciated by religious leaders, etc.) but what he says!

Though I'm pretty certain the verses above don't mean too much to you: I'm a "simple" man, "no jurisdiction".

About "interpretation authority" - this is what I've been saying all along when I talked about "blindly believing people", "putting your trust in man": people (like you) do indeed blindly believe their religious leaders and take their sayings as "divine authority", "the words of God", when they are actually the words of man.

if you want "individual scripture interpretation authority", read post #39, and see that the commandments to think with your own head, not to put your trust in man, etc. are given to everybody.

I'll use a few verses to know what i mean:

Quote from: Luke 12.57
Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?

Quote from: 1 Corinthians 10.15
I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2011, 03:42:38 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #57 on: February 06, 2011, 04:10:15 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.


read the last lines from the previous post, answer that and then I'll answer the "fully human" question. I think it's better if you tell me what you understand of it, before I answer.

Sorry for not catching this earlier.

Human nature is to possess a physical human body and a human spirit, and human nature is to be made in the image and likeness of God. (Gen 1 and 2)This is how God created us in the beginning. We were created for worship, thanksgiving, and union with God, and we were created to be a reflection of God and God's love. This is why love of God and neighbor are the two great commandments upon which all the others hinge.

Human nature does not mean sin. Sin seperates from God and prevents us from giving Him the worship and thanksgiving that we were created to give Him. It prevents us from reflecting God's likeness and seperates our spirits from our bodies. It is in this sense that sin is a departure away from what it means to be human and does not properly belong to our nature. Unfortunately our first parents corrupted our nature, and we in turn inherit that corrupted nature.

It is written "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." (Heb 2:17) and "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15).
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #58 on: February 06, 2011, 05:35:11 PM »

to Melodist, post #49:

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Quote from: Zenith
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.
And this is a good example because I gave the deliverance from death as an analogy to the process of salvation. Instead of looking at it as a picture of our salvation (which includes salvation from death which is the last enemy) not being fully accomplished until after the final judgement.

I didn't pretty noticed what is similar between the two. "deliverance from death" was a moment: when they were released or when they managed to flee. They were not "delivered from death", but until they were "safe" (or when God decided "no one will kill them"). Even the saying: "I am being delivered from death" sounds very weird! One would ask "would this actually attempt of delivering succeed or fail?". How is that a deliverance from death that results in death?? So with you, how can you say you are being saved from hell all your life, and when you die to actually go to hell?? Doesn't this mean that you are not being saved from hell?

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There are the "works of the law" that imply that one can come to God by making checklist of rules to follow and then checking them off according to how well they follow the rules, which distances one from God by promoting pride in one's own accomplishments and that God is "required" to accept anything done by our hands.

You should better read the Law (Torah - which is translated into english as "Law", from Genesis to Deuteronomy), rather than making speculations. Then you will know what are the "works of the Law". Then, one would say that even "good works" and "spiritual labors" are promoting pride in one's own accomplishments.

I think I'll have to understand works that "God is "required" to accept" = to make a man feel that "God owes me for this one" - actually, in the Bible "salvation by works" means "trusting that your works lead to God/salvation/justification" (Romans 3.20, Galatians 2.16)

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There are the "good works" that we are called to do. When done in faith and love, they are pleasing to God and exemplify what we should constantly be striving to do better.

Read the Law and you will see there a lot of "good works". Now to do good works in love sounds odd to me, and I don't know what to understand of it.

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And there are "spiritual labors" that God has given to us as a means to grow in faith and love. Prayer is an example. When we pray (with faith and love), it strengthens our relationship with God.

Show me a verse in the entire Bible where praying is called a "spiritual labor"! If even saying something to God is "labour"/"work" to you, then it means you do indeed have reasons to be proud of doing labour for God!

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There is nothing wrong with doing things for the purpose of pleasing God, just don't think to yourself "God is required to accept this" or "God owes me for this one" or any other nonsense like that.

But is wrong to believe that doing this works causes you to be justified (be "ok" to God).

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We are called to deny ourselves. This is a requirement. Fasting is an exercise in self denial.

Show me where in the Bible God asks us to deny ourselves and where He asks us to do exercises in self-denial! "abstinence from evil" I understand, but where is self-denial in the Bible? And I don't find anywhere in the Bible God to ask us to make exercises, in any matter.

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Quote from: Zenith
It's not a condemnation for somebody if he never fasted.
It is if they have clear understanding that it is God's will and they still outright reject it.

1. Find me a commandment to fast.
2. you seem to contradict yourself when you said:

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The willful disobedience here is to something explicitly for the purpose of denying God and the forgiveness of Christ. When I said "willfull disobedience", I didn't mean for the purpose of denying God, only that we choose to not do what we are supposed to.

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Quote from: Zenith
By the way, just to make sure, there are plenty of people in my country that confound "fasting" with "diet", and so, when they 'fast', they actually eat something called "fasting food". I hope we both agree that "fasting" means not to eat anything (e.g. a day).
You're following the letter and ignoring the spirit. Fasting can be any kind of exercise of self denial.

I think you're making extensions to the meaning of the verb "to fast". Show me that kind of fasting (to be "diet") in the Bible. You can begin with the Old Testament - Jewish life.

And I think you are ignoring the spirit: you don't know the difference between how if feels if you eat a diet and how it feels not to eat anything all day, right?

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Because Christ said "Without me, you can do nothing", so any spiritual growth that comes through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, is given by Him.

It's hard to me to imagine, so I have to ask: what is that you call "spiritual growth" that comes through prayer? I don't think you are growing spiritually at all by doing "works" like praying, fasting and almsgiving, so perhaps you can tell me what exact progresses (growth) you have made so far.

By your interpretation of "Without me, you can do nothing" in prayer, fasting and almsgiving, perhaps I should presume that muslims also grow spiritually by praying, fasting and almsgiving, because "Without me, you can do nothing".

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Quote from: Zenith
Actually, I meant that if there is a seek of God, there must also be (as it is written in those verses) a finding of God. Something like, 1 John 2.3 - there is a "know God" more than "better know God"! In 1 John 2.3 it's either 'you know God' or 'you don't know God'. So it is with finding God, in Isaiah 55.6 there is either 'found God' or 'not found God'. From hence was the question.
We're not static beings, we move and grow.

what question, what answer...

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The Orthodox belief is that He was transformed at His resurrection and that the divine and human natures are perfectly united in Him.

However, this seems to contradict John 20.25-28: all this checking on Jesus' body was to see if it is indeed the human that was on the cross. If it was instead a transformed body they would have instead believed He is actually a kind of spirit or an angel, and He would have not had his marks in His body of crucifixion. Also I supposed that the body of the Glorified Christ would have looked differently than the earthly body (Philippians 3.21), contrary to what we understand of Luke 24.13-33 and John 20.11-17.

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He came to heal and restore our nature (image and likeness of God), not destroy it.

Though the term "self-denial" doesn't sound to restore our nature... what do you understand of destroying it?

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You seem to view salvation as being an event that is completed at your acceptance of it, where my view is that it is found in Christ on the cross, developed in Christ in this life, and ultimately fulfilled in Christ in the age to come (even then we continue to grow because God is infinite and we are limited so there is always room for us to grow).

Actually you view the salvation as a global thing issue that is "already there for everybody", while I view (and I have used many verses to show this, you can read the posts I wrote to xariskai about it), while I view the salvation as a personal thing that a man must "lay hold on it" because it is not already theirs (Matthew 11.12)

Also:
Quote from:  Mark 10.15
I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.

1. The kingdom of God must be received, it's not already yours.
2. You have to receive it (a wilful decision) like a little child, in order to enter it.

You can also read the posts I wrote to xariskai, there are also salvation subjects spread out through them.
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« Reply #59 on: February 06, 2011, 06:40:53 PM »

to HabteSelassie, post #50:

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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:
You are contradicting yourself within your own references, if no one is able to snatch a soul of the hand of Jesus Christ, how is that a person can somehow willfully snatch themselves out of Christ's hadn through their own rejecting of God?  If God is truly holding anyone, their sins are absolved by the very hand of God acting upon them.

I am not contradicting myself at all. "to snatch yourself from Christ's hand" is as logical as "to steal yourself", or "to steal your own objects".
Answer: Christ doesn't force a man to remain with Him, He will let the man go, so he does not "snatch himself" - no snatching exists.

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This is how we receive and stand before Jesus Christ, not in idea or symbol, but in reality each time we attend Divine Liturgy.

I thought you believe to stand before Jesus Christ when you pray to Him.

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Our Second Coming is each Sunday

Sorry for disappointing you, but :
1. "Second Coming" implies one coming.
2. The Second coming of Christ will be:

Quote from: Acts 1.11
This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.
- the Second coming is when He will come from Heaven and every eye shall see Him (Revelation 1.7)

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I pray earnestly that God unveils Himself to you to bring this understanding to you in His time.
You should better pray to understand the Bible and then be able to prove from it, rather than telling me "I believe, so it is so! believe because I believe!"

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And what of the Ark of the Covenant, and the Rod of Aaron, and the gilded statues of the Cherubim overshadowing the Ark, or the Curtain, or the Altar, or the Utensils, or the Showbread (literally Bread of Presence, a prefiguring of the Eucharist), the Temple itself, and Priestly garments and the Breast plate, and these other physical objects of veneration and worship, which the people also literally bowed before just as we do the New Ark of Zion and Rod of Aaron in Our Lady Mary, the new Utensils in our iconography, the new Temple in our Churches, the new priestly garments in our Orthodox priestly robes.  

1. All described in Deuteronomy 4.16-18 are images to beings, so the Ark and other objects fall away.

2. It seems that "graven image" refers to "image of an idol":
http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6459&t=KJV
which sounds better, as the commandment does not prohibit simply drawing a friend's portrait.

3. An idol, or image of an idol can be only the image of a specific person, as one can't make a sculpture of "a god" (none specific), but only of a specific god. And Jews did not bow down and pray to the golden cherubims, because they represented no person.

4. The Jews did not pray to the Rod of Aaron, as if the Rod could have done something to them, or as if the Rod represented a person, and so the rod to be used as giving a 'clearer' view when praying. Most surely they were not bowing down towards it at all!

5. the icon of the saint X and the saint Y are idols. The images of Jesus Christ and of God the Father are idols, and that's exactly what is prohibited. If making images of God wouldn't have been prohibited, God would have appeared on the mounted in a human form, but that's exactly the reason He said He did not appear so: so that people would not make images of Him (Deuteronomy 4.15-16) - that's the most clear of all. If you are willfully rejecting what is written it's not my problem, and in that case we don't need to discuss further on the subject.

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God instituted visual worship even in the commandments

On the contrary, He has forbidden it: otherwise, the Jews would have had sculptures of God and pictures of God and the Temple of God would have been filled with paintings of God and sculptures of God, and would have even survived so far, but these did not happen. And they didn't have either sculptures or icons of Abraham or of Moses (their preferred "saint"), and that's because they understood these commandments well.

The icon worship appeared only in Christianity and faced even critics, since early times, while there were also two iconoclastic epochs in the Byzantine Empire, if I remember well.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2011, 06:41:32 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #60 on: February 06, 2011, 06:50:22 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.


read the last lines from the previous post, answer that and then I'll answer the "fully human" question. I think it's better if you tell me what you understand of it, before I answer.

Sorry for not catching this earlier.

Human nature is to possess a physical human body and a human spirit, and human nature is to be made in the image and likeness of God. (Gen 1 and 2)This is how God created us in the beginning. We were created for worship, thanksgiving, and union with God, and we were created to be a reflection of God and God's love. This is why love of God and neighbor are the two great commandments upon which all the others hinge.

Human nature does not mean sin. Sin seperates from God and prevents us from giving Him the worship and thanksgiving that we were created to give Him. It prevents us from reflecting God's likeness and seperates our spirits from our bodies. It is in this sense that sin is a departure away from what it means to be human and does not properly belong to our nature. Unfortunately our first parents corrupted our nature, and we in turn inherit that corrupted nature.

It is written "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." (Heb 2:17) and "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15).

well, Hebrew 2.17 and 4.15 are rather what I've said: Jesus Christ went through experiences as a man on earth, and so He can understand us. But He did not go in a human (i.e. weak) flesh in Heaven, to remain there even now in a weak nature. Explain better what you understand of "fully human and fully divine" please, if there is something more you can say.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2011, 06:50:52 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #61 on: February 06, 2011, 09:02:23 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.


read the last lines from the previous post, answer that and then I'll answer the "fully human" question. I think it's better if you tell me what you understand of it, before I answer.

Sorry for not catching this earlier.

Human nature is to possess a physical human body and a human spirit, and human nature is to be made in the image and likeness of God. (Gen 1 and 2)This is how God created us in the beginning. We were created for worship, thanksgiving, and union with God, and we were created to be a reflection of God and God's love. This is why love of God and neighbor are the two great commandments upon which all the others hinge.

Human nature does not mean sin. Sin seperates from God and prevents us from giving Him the worship and thanksgiving that we were created to give Him. It prevents us from reflecting God's likeness and seperates our spirits from our bodies. It is in this sense that sin is a departure away from what it means to be human and does not properly belong to our nature. Unfortunately our first parents corrupted our nature, and we in turn inherit that corrupted nature.

It is written "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." (Heb 2:17) and "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15).

well, Hebrew 2.17 and 4.15 are rather what I've said: Jesus Christ went through experiences as a man on earth, and so He can understand us.

While He did gain experiential understanding of what it means to be like us, he did more than just that. Through His death and resurrection, He took onto Himself everything that was wrong with us so that He could heal it. It is because of this aspect of Him taking on our nature that we can be raised in the likeness of His resurrection.

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But He did not go in a human (i.e. weak) flesh in Heaven, to remain there even now in a weak nature.

The "weakness" that you're thinking of is a result of the fall. Adam was human before the fall and still possessed a physical body formed from the earth. Adam did not have that "weakness" until afterward. Also, after the resurrection, those who are raised to eternal life will still be human, while not possessing weakness, still possessing a body like the one that Christ invited His disciples to touch and handle after His resurrection.

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Explain better what you understand of "fully human and fully divine" please, if there is something more you can say.

Fully human means that He possesses everything that rightfully belongs to what it means to be human. Being fully divine means taht He possesses everything that rightfully belongs to the divine nature, being Himself the Word that was in the beginning with God and was God and became flesh and dwelt among us. Being both, he can heal our infirmities that we are unable to heal ourselves, and being the express image of the invisible God fulfills the image and likeness in which we were made.

If he was not truly God, he would not have the power to heal us, and if he was not truly human like us, then we could not partake in what He offers us.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2011, 09:03:32 PM by Melodist » Logged

And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

Made Perfect in Weakness - Latest Post: The Son of God
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« Reply #62 on: February 21, 2011, 12:41:40 AM »

Sorry for not replying earlier -- not sure how I missed this.

I think we disagree on this, so I have to say: God unites a man to Himself only once and for all. There is no union followed by disunion, so that one would unite to Him again (and again, and again, etc.). In other words, you're either a branch grafted in the tree, or not (Romans 11.16-22 talks about being grafted in the tree). So, there's no progressive union, nor a repetitive union, but a single event of being grafted.

So you believe once saved, always saved?  Or, as Christ referenced in a parable, may the branches that are not producing fruit be cut off?

Maybe I'm missing your point, or maybe you're missing mine.  No one is talking about disuinion from Christ once united (at least, that's not what we mean when we speak of constantly being united to Him -- it's not a series of unions and broken unions and reunions, etc.).  Rather, we are talking about a continuous, ongoing relationship with Him -- NOT in the "Jesus is my boyfriend and I love Him SOOOO much" sense, but in the sense that we are truly, really, and actually being joined to Him.  This IS an ongoing thing.  So to borrow and abuse the boyfriend analogy I just rejected, one cannot be "united to Jesus" "only once and for all" anymore than I can tell my wife "hey, honey -- I know you want me to have dinner with you tonight and then snuggle on the couch, but I can't.  See, I was married to you once for all, so that should be good enough."

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So, if Christ dwells in a man, doesn't that mean that that man is in union with Christ? If Christ makes His abide with him, doesn't this mean that it is a permanent union with Christ? So it means there cannot be other things to do in order to have 'again' communion with Christ, because if He comes, He abides. Otherwise, He never came.

Right, but HOW does Christ dwell in us?  We say through Baptism, through the Eucharist, through absolution, through Chrismation.  That is, Christ has located Himself for us.  He has promised to dwell in us exactly as He has prescribed.

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By the way, about the baptism in Christ: notice it's baptism in Christ, not in water! interesting, right?
That's because there are two kinds of baptism: one with water and other with the Holy Spirit. And a man is baptized with the Holy Spirit when Jesus Christ enters and abides in him.

Oh, dear.  Have you not read the numerous passages in Scripture that detail the fact that the Holy Spirit is received in water baptism?  "Washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit?"  There is no separate baptism referenced here.  There is, as the Church confesses, "one baptism for the remission of sins."

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In case anybody forgot that there is a baptism with the Holy Spirit:
Mark 1.8 "I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”"
Acts 1.5 "for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”". And the apostles were not baptized with the Holy Spirit in the moment they were baptized with water! Perhaps it is not wrong to assume that the apostles were baptized with water before they started baptizing people when Jesus was among them (in John 4.2).

You are comparing John's baptism to Christ's baptism.  The latter is still water baptism.  But the latter gives the Holy Spirit, where the former did not.

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ok, to return to Galatians 3.27: the verse is clearer if you read the verses above:
Quote from: Galatians 3.25-27
25. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
26. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

People do not become children of God by baptism in water, but by faith in Jesus Christ! And only those who have received the Holy Spirit are children of God (have been adopted by God) (Romans 8.9, 14, 16).

But you again conflate the terms, assuming being baptism in water does not give the gift of the Holy Spirit Scripture promises it does.  You are creating a false dichotomy.  And then to make it worse......

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Sorry, but it is not the water baptism that unites men with Christ, but the baptism with the Holy Spirit, which is received only after he believes (with all his heart).

.....you repeat the error when it is shown to you from Scripture you are wrong.  For this reason, I will not address the rest of your discussion on this point.

I do wish to address the following, however.

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so I must ask, to whom "us"?

Of course, to everyone.  It is received by faith, so not everyone avails of the gift, much as if I send you $1 million dollars in an unmarked envelope and you throw it in the trash, I have given you a gift and it has availed you nothing.

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first off, which gifts of God you say a man must receive?

second off, it sounds a bit like you're contradicting yourself here.

I'll give an example, so you would better understand my point: It's like a man (employer) who possesses a shop, and has an employee, and that employee is asking the employer: what must I do to receive my salary? And the employer says: well, in a sense, you don't have to do anything. But on the other sense, you've got to sell the products! So the obvious question would be: which of them is it? because it is impossible to be both.

Which gifts?  Those God has given His Church -- Baptism, Eucharist, Chrismation, Penance, Unction, etc.  The preaching of God's Word.  And to preempt a question I anticipate, no, one need not necessarily receive each and every one of these to be saved, but each and every one are prescribed for us by our Heavenly Physician for the healing of soul and body.  While one might do without 1, 2, 3 or more and still be saved, one is probably well advised to take advantage of as many as one is capable of receiving.

Your employee example is a bit off.  Employees earn.  Gifts are given without regard to earning.  Salary is paid as owed.  Gifts are given without any debt owed.  So I reject the analogy out of hand. 

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So it is with your answer to "what a man must/mustn't do to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven": you either have to do something, or you don't have to do anything.

You are viewing the "inheritance" as some sort of legal right or transactional thing, where God basically owes me a free pass into Heaven because He promised.  That's not how the gift of salvation works.  Salvation is unity with Christ, and we get into Heaven by being united to Him.  That is a free gift -- we did nothing to earn it, and we need do nothing to make ourselves worthy of receiving it.  But that unity -- that relationship -- requires our participation.  Not out of duty or debt or to merit or earn anything, but because that's just how the relationship works.  He gives, we receive.  And receiving is something "we do," but it is not something we earn or merit.  God doesn't look to us and say "oh, look -- this one wants my Gifts, let him in."  Rather, God offers His gifts to all.  We, in our sin, may reject those gifts and live of the flesh instead.  Or we can receive the gifts gladly.

As I said before, the Orthodox approach this relationship as ontological or existential -- it is a state of existence.  Either I am being united to Christ or I am separating myself from Him.  If I am being united to Him, I can take no credit for that, but I must participate in the life He calls me to.  That's not saying we earn salvation or "do something" in order to be saved, it's saying we're saved precisely to "do something," that is, live in Christ.  If I am separating myself from Him, that's all my fault.  But there, too, "merit" isn't the issue.  It's not that I'm not good enough to be saved, or I haven't done enough.  It's that Christ has provided the means for my salvation but I will not have it.

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just to clarify a bit what I meant:
you said "So in the first sense, if you are asking what we must do to satisfy God's judgment, my answer is "nothing.""
I don't understand what you mean of "to satisfy God's judgment" - a man cannot be sinless so that he would inherit the Kingdom of Heaven by himself. So in order to satisfy God's judgment, Jesus Christ died for our sins, so that our sins may be forgiven and God's judgment be satisfied. So it sounds improper to say that a man must do something "to satisfy God's judgment". Instead, a man has to do his part so that he would also be part of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Christ did not die to satisfy God's judgment.  Christ died to restore communion between humanity and God. 

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So my question would be: do you have to do nothing to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven or you have to "certainly remain in the faith, live the sacramental life, repent of his sins, do good works, receive the gifts of God."? Yet I suppose that you do mean the latter.

I do, but not in the sense you are framing the question.  I've explained it adequately enough above that I feel pretty comfortable just stating here "yes, you "have to do" all of those things, but "no, none of those things earn salvation for you."

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About God waiting to receive His due while a man owes God something, you remind me of Matthew 18.23-34. Here, this exact situation is exposed.

Actually, that is a passage about forgiving others as you have been forgiven.  You using this as an example of a transactional view of salvation is exactly what I meant when I said there is a sense of this in Orthodoxy, but it isn't the preeminent model.  The reason it isn't is passages like this are illustrations, and you are extrapolating them to debt owed to God as a model for salvation.

If you're right, I have to ask, to whom did Christ pay this debt?

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As about "merits", we do find in the Bible that there are people not worthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Just a few verses: Matthew 5.20, Matthew 10.37.

So perhaps you can prove me that my view regarding this issue is wrong.

It is wrong because neither of those passages teach that salvation is primarily a legal transaction (see below).

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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. 

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Perhaps you can speak more with references from the Bible. I don't pretty get where or how the "legal" falls away. I do have a bit of hard time to understand your view, so some biblical references would be helpful.

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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.

Well, a common question of people it seems to have been "what ought to be": Acts 2.37, Acts 16.30. And it seems that the apostles did not answer to them like this: "We are primarily concerned with the existential -- what is.  You appear to be concerned with the judicial -- what ought to be", but instead, they have seen the question as a proper one, and have given a clear answer to it, what ought to be done!

I didn't say people don't want to know "what must I do to be saved."  I am saying God's answer to those questions is always in the form of things that unite us to Him (what is, existentially) rather than in the form of things that declare us forgiven, saved, whatever (what ought to be).  St. Peter said in Acts 2 "repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (again, we understand this as a direct reference to the Sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation).  In Acts 16, Paul and Silas said "believe on the Lord Jesus," but then what happened?  "Immediately he and all his household were baptized."  For other references, St. Paul says in Galatians 2 "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life that I now live I live by the faith of the son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me."  In Romans 6:6, he says similarly "our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin."  So we see that we are not talking about a mere legal transaction, but rather an existential problem -- death -- that is done away with by being "crucified with Christ."  And how are we "crucified with Christ?"  By being baptized into His death -- Romans 6:3.  We are likewise raised with Him in baptism -- Romans 6:4.  Romans 6:1-14 is a primer on this view.

The other Sacraments work this way as well.

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Well, the discussion has turned from nature to flesh and from flesh to body. I guess it would do well if you tell me what you understand from "nature" and "Jesus is fully human and fully divine" before I give that answer.

And, I am aware of the 'heresy' of men who turn God into man. I've heard the saying "God is bleeding love", which turns God in some kind of super-emotional Person that falls to His feelings - I don't believe Jesus Christ to be so, if you ask me. And it is not seldom that people lower God (even Jesus Christ) from "God" to "man", so it would really be a good idea if you tell me what you understand of that. And then I'll tell you if I agree or not.

I mean do you believe Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, took on human flesh, and is therefore truly man?  And I suspect this may be the actual root of our problems here.  You appear to have a fundamental misunderstanding of who Christ is.  I'm also seriously surprised His humanity is the part you seem to have a problem with.  Most folks who have an issue with the two natures of Christ have a problem with Him being true God. 

A "nature" is simply that which forms the being of a person or thing.  A rock will never have a human nature, and a human will never have the nature of a dog.  If any human had the nature of a dog, he would cease to be human and begin to be a dog.

Jesus Christ is truly God -- He is eternally begotten of the Father.  He has an eternally Divine nature.  But He is also true man, born of the Virgin Mary.  He therefore has a fully human nature as well.  And these natures are separate, but Christ as a person is undivided.  One person, two natures.  And He is the only person ever to have two different natures.  There are so many Scripture passages proving this I honestly don't know where to start, but I'm going to suggest you give John chapter 1 a good read, and also Hebrews chapter 2, specifically this passage:

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Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

Hebrews 2:14-18.
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« Reply #63 on: March 28, 2011, 11:15:46 AM »

something is really odd: I didn't get any notification when you've posted. A simple curiosity if anything changed around here made me see right now that you've posted. It is also odd that this is not the only forum that did not send notifications on time.

I'll read your posts when I will have time.
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« Reply #64 on: March 28, 2011, 11:18:25 AM »

something is really odd: I didn't get any notification when you've posted. A simple curiosity if anything changed around here made me see right now that you've posted. It is also odd that this is not the only forum that did not send notifications on time.

I'll read your posts when I will have time.

If it makes you feel better, I had the same problem, which is why it took me so long to respond.
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« Reply #65 on: April 16, 2011, 04:38:19 PM »

Sorry for the long delay. I've been busy and this discussion has come to bore me (a reason may be that I've lost my apetite for debating/explaining/proving/whatever).

Anyway, in these posts I will reply to David Garner and to Melodist.
I am more interested in the replies of "David Garner", so Melodist, please reply to what I say only if you really want to.

TOPIC: UNION WITH CHRIST
Quote from: David Garner
Quote from: Zenith
I think we disagree on this, so I have to say: God unites a man to Himself only once and for all. There is no union followed by disunion, so that one would unite to Him again (and again, and again, etc.). In other words, you're either a branch grafted in the tree, or not (Romans 11.16-22 talks about being grafted in the tree). So, there's no progressive union, nor a repetitive union, but a single event of being grafted.
So you believe once saved, always saved?  Or, as Christ referenced in a parable, may the branches that are not producing fruit be cut off?

Maybe I'm missing your point, or maybe you're missing mine.  No one is talking about disuinion from Christ once united (at least, that's not what we mean when we speak of constantly being united to Him -- it's not a series of unions and broken unions and reunions, etc.).  Rather, we are talking about a continuous, ongoing relationship with Him -- NOT in the "Jesus is my boyfriend and I love Him SOOOO much" sense, but in the sense that we are truly, really, and actually being joined to Him.  This IS an ongoing thing.  So to borrow and abuse the boyfriend analogy I just rejected, one cannot be "united to Jesus" "only once and for all" anymore than I can tell my wife "hey, honey -- I know you want me to have dinner with you tonight and then snuggle on the couch, but I can't.  See, I was married to you once for all, so that should be good enough."

I guess you did not understand my point.

To answer your question:
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So you believe once saved, always saved?  Or, as Christ referenced in a parable, may the branches that are not producing fruit be cut off?
There's no contradiction between "be once saved" and the parable with the branches that are cut off. I guess the example with the branches would have been better to prove my point.

Let's see the parable:
Quote from: John 15.1-6
1. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
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, 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, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
6. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

First things first: how is that we are branches of the vine?
We get the answer here:
Quote from: Romans 11.24
For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

In other words, we are being grafted to the vine, we are not born united in the vine (i.e. to Christ). If a man is united to Christ, then it means Christ is in him (that's the union, see John 17.23). Now, there is a single union with Christ, which is the grafting (and grafting a branch to a vine is a moment, not a lifetime period - one can say "today it happened"), and a single possible disunion with Christ (being cut off from Him, which means that the end will be hell).

So, to "be saved" means to be grafted into the vine (to be united to Christ). It is not a process of being saved (in this context) that lasts a lifetime as there is no process of being grafted to last a lifetime!

The "continuous, ongoing relationship with Him" means to abide in Christ.

You said "This IS an ongoing thing.  So to borrow and abuse the boyfriend analogy I just rejected, one cannot be "united to Jesus" "only once and for all" anymore than I can tell my wife". The act of being united is not an ongoing thing, but only the state of abiding is (I'm not sure what you intended to say with that above). In your example, you have married (united with) your wife only once, but since then you live a marriage (you abide with her). So the unification is a single moment, while the abiding is the ongoing relationship.

And this unification with Christ (as I've found in the Bible and explained) is contrary to what you said:
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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
If that unites you to Christ, you've got hundreds or thousands of supposed unifications with Christ. And the only way this can happen is if Christ does not abide in you. If Christ abides in you, there can be no more unifications with Christ, because you're already united to Christ (in the words used in parable: you can only once be grafted in the vine, you're not grafted for hundreds or thousands of times).

This act of being grafted is also explained, in more precise terms, in:
Quote from: Ephessians 1.13
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise
You know what it means to be sealed, right? It's done done only once and it's meant for lifetime (unless you decide not to serve God anymore). The sealing with the Holy Spirit means to be grafted into the vine (in Christ) - it's the same "seal" (to be sealed with the Holy Spirit means to receive the Holy Spirit, which means that the Holy Spirit is/dwells in you, which means means that Jesus Christ is/dwells in you, which means that you have been united with Jesus Christ).

Now, the period of time the man abides in Christ is a state of "salvation" (I guess you call it "a continual being saved", but if I guess right, it's a wrong term, because this term literally means that the act of unification with Christ is a lifetime process, or it happens repeatedly, which is wrong)

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Quote from: Zenith
So, if Christ dwells in a man, doesn't that mean that that man is in union with Christ? If Christ makes His abide with him, doesn't this mean that it is a permanent union with Christ? So it means there cannot be other things to do in order to have 'again' communion with Christ, because if He comes, He abides. Otherwise, He never came.
Right, but HOW does Christ dwell in us?  We say through Baptism, through the Eucharist, through absolution, through Chrismation.  That is, Christ has located Himself for us.  He has promised to dwell in us exactly as He has prescribed.

You're very statements contradict the unification with Christ I've talked about: If the union is done only once, then many rituals done regularly CANNOT unite the man with Christ again, and again, and again, etc. Because that would mean that Jesus leaves from us, in order to come back later, and when He comes, He soon leaves un, and again, and again, and again. That's against the teaching of union with Christ described in the parable with the branches and the vine!

OK, to answer your question, namely "HOW does Christ dwell in us?".
The answer is simple: by the Holy Spirit. When a man is sealed with the Holy Spirit (i.e. has received the God's Spirit from God) then he has been united to God.
This is also explained in
Quote from: 1 John 3.24
Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him (i.e. in Christ), and He (i.e. Christ) in him. And by this we know that He (i.e. Christ) abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

Now, one would ask, "how can we recognize the Holy Spirit in us?".
You know, in various verses in the New Testament (1 John 3.24, 2 Corinthians 13.5, Romans 8.16, perhaps there are others as well), we are told that by recognizing the Holy Spirit in us, we know that we abide in Christ. It never explains "how to recognize" the Holy Spirit in us, but instead, it uses this "recognition" as the method to recognize that you abide in Christ (if Christ indeed dwells in you). And that's the point: the Holy Spirit is recognizable if Christ indeed dwells in you. Why that? It's because the Holy Spirit is a spirit (namely, God's Spirit). And as a man that has a spirit of fear dwelling in him (that is, he is feeling fear) recognizes the fear inside him, the man that has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him recognizes it (see Romans 8.15, 2 Timothy 1.7). The fact that the Holy Spirit is a spirit (which is obvious from the very term "Holy Spirit") is visible in many verses, among which, Isaiah 11.2 and 2 Timothy 1.7.

And this union with Christ may be called "state of salvation", a period of time in which man abides in Christ (is part of the vine). The only result of this can be: a) the union lasts the entire lifetime (the man abides in Christ), and after the judgement he will go to heaven. b) the man finally ceases to abide in Christ, which results in him being cut off from Christ (the Holy Spirit ceases to dwell in him) and eternal punishment in hell awaits him. This way, there is only one unification with Christ, and only one possible separation from Christ, after which he can no longer be united to Christ.

I hope I've cleared the fog a bit.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2011, 04:38:50 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #66 on: April 16, 2011, 05:07:35 PM »

TOPIC: BAPTISM AND THE RECEIVING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

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Oh, dear.  Have you not read the numerous passages in Scripture that detail the fact that the Holy Spirit is received in water baptism?  "Washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit?"  There is no separate baptism referenced here.  There is, as the Church confesses, "one baptism for the remission of sins."

A passage like this one:
Quote from: Ephessians 1.13
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise
?
Here it is clearly stated that the Holy Spirit is received after believing.
I'll make you a deal: find me a single place in the whole New Testament (except the gospels, because it needs to be after Christ died) in which:
a) An apostle has baptized with water a baby;
or
b) An apostle has baptized a man which he knew that he (that man) did not believe in Christ.
If you'll find ANY place in the whole NT except the gospels, where it's said such a thing, then I will believe you, with no further debating about it.

The point is: every time you ever encounter in the New Testament, after the gospels, the man/people is/are baptized AFTER believing. I challenge you to show me that it's otherwise.

Now, to answer your quotations - I would REALLY appreciate next time if you wouldn't make me search the bible for the place where it's written, but to give me the reference too:
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"Washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit?"  There is no separate baptism referenced here.
and I've found the verse in...
Quote from: Titus 3.5
not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit

That's cleary as you say, but not as you meant: there's no separate baptism here, it's only the baptism with the Holy Spirit, in both cases (separated by that "and").
First off, the word that was translated as "regeneration" can be translated as "new birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation, regeneration"(http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3824&t=KJV)
And I guess it fits better to be translated as "the washing of new birth", and it means the washing of sins that happened when the man has been renewed (born again/converted).
Read Acts 3.19-20:
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19. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out (washed), so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
20. and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before

Now you tell me: Why Peter asked the people to repent in order to have their sins washed, and not to be baptized in order to have their sins washed?? Wouldn't the baptism with water have been easier first and then to explain the people what it was for? The answer is that it would have been easier, but that would have not washed the sins.
So, your religion confesses that, in order for a man to receive the forgiveness of sins, he must immerge in water (which is not a washing in water: the priest or who he is does not wash the child/man to be a "washing of regeneration/renewal/new birth"), while the Bible states that, in order to receive the forgiveness of sins, one must repent. That's a big difference, don't you think?

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Quote from: Zenith
In case anybody forgot that there is a baptism with the Holy Spirit:
Mark 1.8 "I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”"
Acts 1.5 "for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”". And the apostles were not baptized with the Holy Spirit in the moment they were baptized with water! Perhaps it is not wrong to assume that the apostles were baptized with water before they started baptizing people when Jesus was among them (in John 4.2).
You are comparing John's baptism to Christ's baptism.  The latter is still water baptism.  But the latter gives the Holy Spirit, where the former did not.

Here we go again.
A few very important things:
1. It is written "He (i.e. God) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit". Not a priest, but God. So you can't say that God immerges you in water!
2. If you follow the book of Acts, you will notice that the apostles were not baptized again in water, so that this immersion in water to have caused the receiving of the Holy Spirit! They received the Holy Spirit much later than their received their baptism.
The point is: you did not prove your point, as you couldn't, and what you're saying is also a contradiction because a immersion in water by a man cannot force God's hand to put the Holy Spirit in that man (it contradicts John 1.13).

Quote
Quote from: Zenith
ok, to return to Galatians 3.27: the verse is clearer if you read the verses above:
Quote from: Galatians 3.25-27
25. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
26. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
People do not become children of God by baptism in water, but by faith in Jesus Christ! And only those who have received the Holy Spirit are children of God (have been adopted by God) (Romans 8.9, 14, 16).
But you again conflate the terms, assuming being baptism in water does not give the gift of the Holy Spirit Scripture promises it does.  You are creating a false dichotomy.
Really?

What part of "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" do you not understand? Doesn't it clearly say to you that a man becomes a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ? Then how can you claim that not by faith one becomes a child of God, but by immersion in water??

It's you who are forcing the interpretation of verses, because you claim that baptism = baptism in water (translated, immersion = immersion in water).
(http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G907&t=KJV)
That's why in Matthew 3.11 it is written "I indeed baptize you with water" because it means "I indeed immerge you in water". He shows a BIG difference between immersion/baptism in water and immersion/baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Let me ask you a question:
Quote from: Mark 10.38
Are you able to ... be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?
Was Jesus Christ talking about a baptism in water? Was He claiming that they cannot be baptized in water?

The greek word for baptism does not mean the modern english "baptism" (in water). Among the meanings of "baptism" are: to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk), to overwhelm.

Now let's see Galatians 3.27, this way:
"For as many of you as have been immerged into Christ have put on Christ"
"For as many of you as have been submerged into Christ have put on Christ"
"For as many of you as have been overwhelmed into Christ have put on Christ"
The question is: where do you see water? How can you say that "immerged into Christ" means "immerged into water"? Is Christ water??
« Last Edit: April 16, 2011, 05:08:58 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #67 on: April 16, 2011, 05:54:33 PM »

VARIOUS ISSUES

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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.
Quote
Quote from: Zenith
so I must ask, to whom "us"?
Of course, to everyone.  It is received by faith, so not everyone avails of the gift, much as if I send you $1 million dollars in an unmarked envelope and you throw it in the trash, I have given you a gift and it has availed you nothing.
That was not what I refered to. Your answer is wrong: by your answer you claim that a Hindu must not do anything to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, that it's already his. So perhaps you can tell me all a man must do to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.

Quote
Quote from: Zenith
I'll give an example, so you would better understand my point: It's like a man (employer) who possesses a shop, and has an employee, and that employee is asking the employer: what must I do to receive my salary? And the employer says: well, in a sense, you don't have to do anything. But on the other sense, you've got to sell the products! So the obvious question would be: which of them is it? because it is impossible to be both.
Your employee example is a bit off.  Employees earn.  Gifts are given without regard to earning.  Salary is paid as owed.  Gifts are given without any debt owed.  So I reject the analogy out of hand.

You didn't get the point. The point was not about free gift or worked money. It was the contradiction. The same contradiction that you used when you said:
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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.
and
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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.
That's the contradiction I tried to represent in my example. And it is a contradiction.

Regarding "which gifts of God you say a man must receive?", it's interesting how you say about it: God commands us (forces us) to receive His gifts. A gift's objective is that the receiver would enjoy it, and would certainly receive it for the sole reason that he desires it, while what you say are not gifts, but obligations (i.e. commandments to do something).

Quote
Quote from: Zenith
So it is with your answer to "what a man must/mustn't do to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven": you either have to do something, or you don't have to do anything.
You are viewing the "inheritance" as some sort of legal right or transactional thing
Perhaps it's hard for me to understand because you tell me two things that contradict each another, and I cannot understand clearly an idea that contradicts itself. As about your explanations that deny "merit", that's in contradiction with "a man must certainly remain in the faith, live the sacramental life, repent of his sins, do good works, receive the gifts of God" which you said, because it means that these acts (repent of sins, do good works, etc.) earn you salvation.

Both these situations are the same (nothing official, let's say 2500 years ago, where there's no smuggling, etc.):
1) A man X says to a man Y: if you work today at this building, you will earn from me $100.
2) A man X says to a man Y: I will give you $100 as a gift! But, if you won't work at this building today, you will not receive this gift anymore.

So you're using different terms, but the idea is the same: you believe that "remaining in the faith, live the sacramental life, repent of your sins, do good works, receive the gifts of God" (or at least, doing your best on them) earn you the 'gift' of salvation (or, the Kingdom of Heaven).

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Christ did not die to satisfy God's judgment.  Christ died to restore communion between humanity and God.
That's an interesting thing to say: if Christ didn't die to justify God's judgment, then why would He not forgive people without any sacrifice? Jesus Christ brought Himself as a sacrifice so that it would be just for God to forgive us (1 John 1.7 - the "blood" refers to the sacrifice; Ephesians 1.7; 1 John 2.2 says "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins" - and the sacrifice was required by law in order for the sin to be forgiven). You rather seem to claim that Christ's sacrifice was futile: that He needn't do that, because God would have simply forgiven people's sins, just so.

Quote
Quote from: Zenith
About God waiting to receive His due while a man owes God something, you remind me of Matthew 18.23-34. Here, this exact situation is exposed.
Actually, that is a passage about forgiving others as you have been forgiven.  You using this as an example of a transactional view of salvation is exactly what I meant when I said there is a sense of this in Orthodoxy, but it isn't the preeminent model.  The reason it isn't is passages like this are illustrations, and you are extrapolating them to debt owed to God as a model for salvation.

If you're right, I have to ask, to whom did Christ pay this debt?
In this parable of Jesus, the king didn't owe his people anything, and as such, he couldn't have any debt to pay to anyone. I don't see how you've got to that question. So, because it seems to have nothing to do with our topic, I'll ignore it.

Quote
Quote from: Zenith
Well, a common question of people it seems to have been "what ought to be": Acts 2.37, Acts 16.30. And it seems that the apostles did not answer to them like this: "We are primarily concerned with the existential -- what is.  You appear to be concerned with the judicial -- what ought to be", but instead, they have seen the question as a proper one, and have given a clear answer to it, what ought to be done!
I didn't say people don't want to know "what must I do to be saved."  I am saying God's answer to those questions is always in the form of things that unite us to Him (what is, existentially) rather than in the form of things that declare us forgiven, saved, whatever (what ought to be)
OK, prove me that God's answer to "what ought to be done" is always in the form of things that unite us to Him, and never in the form of things that declare us forgiven.

Yourself brought this verse:
Quote from: Acts 3.19
Repent therefore and be converted, [so] that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord
Which contradicts "rather than in the form of things that declare us forgiven" which you said. The verse says that people needed to repent and be converted so that their sins would have been forgiven, while you say that there is nothing that "ought to be done" which declares us forgiven!

By the way, it is strange of you that you try to avoid a question like "what ought to be done?" and an answer to it, and to try instead to find other ways of addressing the situation, when both this question and the answer for it are found in the Bible.

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St. Peter said in Acts 2 "repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (again, we understand this as a direct reference to the Sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation)
I don't see where you've got that the apostles made references to something else than they were saying and doing. You speak as if there is a complex ritual that must be performed, that is of utmost importance, but in the whole New Testament no apostle cared to write about. Except that, I don't see what your point was with that verse.

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In Acts 16, Paul and Silas said "believe on the Lord Jesus," but then what happened?  "Immediately he and all his household were baptized."
Well, I know. And this is the great point: baptism is commanded for the people that believe and only for them. I see you're trying to ignore this fact.

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For other references, St. Paul says in Galatians 2 "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life that I now live I live by the faith of the son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me."  In Romans 6:6, he says similarly "our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin."  So we see that we are not talking about a mere legal transaction, but rather an existential problem -- death -- that is done away with by being "crucified with Christ."  And how are we "crucified with Christ?"  By being baptized into His death -- Romans 6:3.  We are likewise raised with Him in baptism -- Romans 6:4.  Romans 6:1-14 is a primer on this view

I guess I understand what you mean. But, before that: Do you understand "being baptized/immerged into His death"? or it is to you a confusing symbollical statement that you translate as "being baptizes/immerged into water" (as if Jesus' death = water). Then a question: how was Jesus' death by crucifixion? Was it a lifetime period? Wasn't it an instant? If not, then how can our death by crucifiction with Christ be? Moreover, we are not "raised with Him in baptism". You don't have this saying in Romans 6.4, so don't put from your words there: the verse doesn't claim a "raise with Him in baptism" nor an "immersion in water". It talks about a different thing.

Now, to answer your issue: you seem to ignore the legal and the momentary things and focus only on the ongoing things. About the thing you call "existential" you may mean "the union with Christ" - this is indeed an ongoing thing. But the "unification" is a momentary thing. In this particular subject (that which you wrote in the quote) I don't see where you imagine a "legal transaction".

Oh, these terms... why do you have to use complex terms like "existentialism", "legal transaction", etc. to explain simple things?
« Last Edit: April 16, 2011, 05:57:19 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #68 on: April 16, 2011, 06:08:58 PM »

TOPIC: CHRIST'S NATURE
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Jesus Christ is truly God -- He is eternally begotten of the Father.  He has an eternally Divine nature.

That's the origin of much confusion: why do you call it a "divine" nature and not a "Godly/Godlike" nature? I mean, angles could be said that have a "divine" nature, in contradistinction with "human (earthly)" nature. So, one could say "is there a human nature and an angelic nature"? The fact is that men will become like angels (i.e. angellike, the same as they are) when they would go to heaven. So except the difference of what the body is of (flesh/celestial), there is quite no difference between human and divine nature. What you mean about Jesus Christ is that He has a Godly nature, not an angelic (which is, heavenly, divine) nature.

I guess the main problem of this missunderstanding is what you understand of a "human" nature. You see, God said that He made man in His image and after His likeness (i.e. man was made like God, that is was "after His likeness" is) (Gen 1.25). And afterwards (Gen 3.22) we read that man became as God, knowing good and evil. So how or what is the "human" nature to you? Read also Genesis 18: verse 2 says that there were three men. Further (e.g. v. 13) we find out that one of these men was the Lord (which I guess we all agree that He is Jesus Christ). We read futher (18.22, 19.1) and we see that the other two men were angels. How do you explain that? Do you claim that the Lord Jesus Christ had two natures back then? (because it is written "men") Taking into consideration these verses, what do you understand to be a "human" nature? And how do you understand Christ to have now a human nature? If our nature will be heavenly (divine) when we go to heaven, now, that Christ is in heaven, do you claim that He has an earthly (human) nature?

I'm curios how you understand "eternally begotten of the Father". For instance, muslims seem to understand this as if God bore a child as a man makes a woman to bear a child, that while God created us, He gave birth to Jesus (as in the Qur'an it is written "How can He have a son when He hath no consort?"). So I think it would be nice if you told me how you understand this "eternally begotten of the Father".

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If any human had the nature of a dog, he would cease to be human and begin to be a dog.
What a difficult explanation!! How do you imagine a human to have the nature of a dog, and how do you imagine a human with the nature of a dog to cease being human (when he's actually more "dog" than "human")? and how do you imagine a human to start being a dog?? Needless to say, you didn't explain the "human" nature properly.

Quote from: Melodist
Fully human means that He possesses everything that rightfully belongs to what it means to be human. Being fully divine means taht He possesses everything that rightfully belongs to the divine nature
That's the same as saying "fully human means fully human and fully divine means fully divine". In other words, you have explained nothing by what you've said there.

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Through His death and resurrection, He took onto Himself everything that was wrong with us so that He could heal it.
That statement is nowhere found in the Bible.

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Through His death and resurrection, He took onto Himself everything that was wrong with us so that He could heal it.It is because of this aspect of Him taking on our nature that we can be raised in the likeness of His resurrection.
Nor is this written in the bible. This what you say seems to be a combination of your own theoy with Romans 6.

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The "weakness" that you're thinking of is a result of the fall. Adam was human before the fall and still possessed a physical body formed from the earth. Adam did not have that "weakness" until afterward. Also, after the resurrection, those who are raised to eternal life will still be human, while not possessing weakness, still possessing a body like the one that Christ invited His disciples to touch and handle after His resurrection.

Actually, there is nowhere in the Bible said that men got his "weakness" as a result of the sin. Man got only corrupted (in biblical terms, he had come to have the sin dwelling in him). Nothing specified about weakness. What you say about weakness is from yourself.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2011, 06:12:45 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #69 on: April 16, 2011, 08:29:03 PM »

TOPIC: CHRIST'S NATURE
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Jesus Christ is truly God -- He is eternally begotten of the Father.  He has an eternally Divine nature.

That's the origin of much confusion: why do you call it a "divine" nature and not a "Godly/Godlike" nature? I mean, angles could be said that have a "divine" nature, in contradistinction with "human (earthly)" nature. So, one could say "is there a human nature and an angelic nature"? The fact is that men will become like angels (i.e. angellike, the same as they are) when they would go to heaven. So except the difference of what the body is of (flesh/celestial), there is quite no difference between human and divine nature. What you mean about Jesus Christ is that He has a Godly nature, not an angelic (which is, heavenly, divine) nature.

Unfortunately, it is now Holy Week, and I not only don't really have the time to go through everything you have written, and I also am not sure it would be a good time to do so.  I am not really inclined to go through each and every response of yours where you claim that something is not taught in the Bible so I can prooftext it to demonstrate it is taught there -- honestly, at this point, I'm unconvinced you will accept any prooftexts anyway given your somewhat blithe dismissal of others I have given above.  I do want to respond to the above, because frankly I think it is the vast majority of the problem.

I call Christ's nature a divine nature because that's the only kind of nature a divine person can have.  Angels, contrary to your claim, are not divine.  Not in the least.  God is Creator.  Angels are created.  Calling Christ's divine nature "Godly" or "Godlike" could be properly understood I suppose, but it seems to be a way of making it akin to a divine nature, but not actually a divine nature.  Taken the wrong way, one could assume you are saying Christ is like God, but Christ is not REALLY God.  Put another way, you seem to be saying Christ has a nature sort of like the Father's nature, but not exactly like it.  This is inaccurate.  What you write above seems to betray a failure to understand what a "nature" is.  A "nature" is the essence of something -- what it means to be that thing (whatever "it" is).  I will never have the nature of a rock, or a horse, or a dog, or God.  I am human, and only human.  I have a human nature.  But Christ does have the nature of God.  Christ has a divine nature because He is eternally divine (John 1 is applicable here, "in the beginning was God, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.").  You say "except the difference of what the body is of (flesh/celestial), there is no difference between human and divine nature," which is utterly false (humanity is not divine nor is divinity human by nature).  And then you presume to go on to tell me what I meant, which is also false.  Rather, I meant what I said.  Christ has an eternally divine nature.  He is divine.  There is no other way. If He lacks a divine nature, He is not true God.

Do you believe Christ is true God?

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I guess the main problem of this missunderstanding is what you understand of a "human" nature. You see, God said that He made man in His image and after His likeness (i.e. man was made like God, that is was "after His likeness" is) (Gen 1.25). And afterwards (Gen 3.22) we read that man became as God, knowing good and evil. So how or what is the "human" nature to you? Read also Genesis 18: verse 2 says that there were three men. Further (e.g. v. 13) we find out that one of these men was the Lord (which I guess we all agree that He is Jesus Christ). We read futher (18.22, 19.1) and we see that the other two men were angels. How do you explain that? Do you claim that the Lord Jesus Christ had two natures back then? (because it is written "men") Taking into consideration these verses, what do you understand to be a "human" nature? And how do you understand Christ to have now a human nature? If our nature will be heavenly (divine) when we go to heaven, now, that Christ is in heaven, do you claim that He has an earthly (human) nature?

Our nature will not be "divine," nor is "divine" equivalent to "heavenly."  Rather, we will eternally have a human nature that will be glorified by communion with the divine energies.  The Orthodox express this as "we become by grace what He is by nature."  But we NEVER attain God's nature.  Ever.  This is a fundamental misunderstanding not only of Scripture, but of basic anthropology, Christology and theology.  Being made in God's image and likeness does not make our nature divine.  our nature is human, for God created us human.  Human nature has the image of God intrinsic to it, yes.  The likeness was damaged in the Fall.  Neither the image or the likeness, though, makes our nature divine.

Genesis 18 is actually pretty simple.  This was prior to the incarnation.  Christ had not taken on a human nature at this point.  The Church has historically read the three angels (literally "messengers") as either a prophetic prefiguration of or the actual appearance of the three Persons of the Trinity.  In either event, it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the incarnation, anthropology or Christology.  It is theological in that it demonstrates the unity of the Trinity, but not in the sense you read it.  The Orthodox Study Bible notes:

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The Holy Spirit says through the prophet Moses that God appeared to Abraham.  This is another personal appearance of the Son of God to him.  He saw three men standing before him, but he worshiped only one of them as Lord, for He is Lord and God.  The other two are called "angels" (19:1).  The Son of God is the Lord of all the angels.


(emphasis in original).  Nowhere in the text or the Fathers is there any suggestion that the Lord had become incarnate in the Genesis 18 account.  Genesis 18 is irrelevant to the discussion.

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I'm curios how you understand "eternally begotten of the Father". For instance, muslims seem to understand this as if God bore a child as a man makes a woman to bear a child, that while God created us, He gave birth to Jesus (as in the Qur'an it is written "How can He have a son when He hath no consort?"). So I think it would be nice if you told me how you understand this "eternally begotten of the Father".

Muslims don't believe Jesus was God, so I'm not sure how what Muslims believe has any relevance to a discussion of Christian understanding of the Incarnation.  

I understand "eternally begotten of the Father" in the sense the Church understands it.  I believe "in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten, begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father; by Whom all things were made.  Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man."  This encapsulates the incarnation -- Christ, true God (i.e., divine, of one essence -- which is to say of one nature with the Father) and also true man (i.e., human, "was made man" -- which is to say, assuming human nature), is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

But this relies on properly defining and understanding what a "nature" is and also what a "person" is.

My guess is if we can sort through the anthropology, we will get somewhere.  If not, the discussion really is going nowhere.  We seem to be speaking different languages -- using terms in different ways.  The above encapsulates what I mean when I say "nature."  So I will repeat -- Christ has a divine nature, and both His divine nature and His person are eternally divine.  Christ also has an assumed human nature.  His human nature was assumed in time, but He now has it eternally from henceforth.  Christ is both divine and human, neither confusing the substances nor dividing His person.  And if you want to quibble with those understandings, the Church sorted all of this out with the Arians, the Nestorians, the Monothelites and others quite a long time ago.  This has been Orthodox (and, if you want to use such a term, small "o" orthodox) Christian teaching for well over 1600 years now.  The matter has been settled for quite a while now.



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« Reply #70 on: April 18, 2011, 09:40:20 AM »

TOPIC: CHRIST'S NATURE
Quote from: Melodist
Fully human means that He possesses everything that rightfully belongs to what it means to be human. Being fully divine means taht He possesses everything that rightfully belongs to the divine nature
That's the same as saying "fully human means fully human and fully divine means fully divine". In other words, you have explained nothing by what you've said there.

I apologize if a have failed to clearly articulate what I'm trying to say. I have attached a couple of outlines for a study I did a while back concerning Christ's humanity and divinity. I don't know if it will help but feel free to look at them if you get a chance. I put this together for a Protestant friend of mine, so all the Bible quotes are KJV and a good portion of the commentary I put in it is defining words for clarification using Strong's concordance.

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Through His death and resurrection, He took onto Himself everything that was wrong with us so that He could heal it.
That statement is nowhere found in the Bible.

Heb 2:16-18
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Heb 4:14-16
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Rom 6:4-5
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Phil 3:20-21
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

1Cor 15:52-57
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Through His death and resurrection, He took onto Himself everything that was wrong with us so that He could heal it.It is because of this aspect of Him taking on our nature that we can be raised in the likeness of His resurrection.
Nor is this written in the bible. This what you say seems to be a combination of your own theoy with Romans 6.

Romans 6 along with the 1Cor 15, the entire book of Hebrews, and the rest of the New Testament in fulfillment of the Old Testament.

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The "weakness" that you're thinking of is a result of the fall. Adam was human before the fall and still possessed a physical body formed from the earth. Adam did not have that "weakness" until afterward. Also, after the resurrection, those who are raised to eternal life will still be human, while not possessing weakness, still possessing a body like the one that Christ invited His disciples to touch and handle after His resurrection.

Actually, there is nowhere in the Bible said that men got his "weakness" as a result of the sin. Man got only corrupted (in biblical terms, he had come to have the sin dwelling in him). Nothing specified about weakness. What you say about weakness is from yourself.

Your claim is that "human"="weak". My claim is that one does not have to be "weak" to be "human".

But He did not go in a human (i.e. weak) flesh in Heaven, to remain there even now in a weak nature.

So will we be something other than human when we are raised in the resurrection?

1Cor 15:42-43
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

My claim is that the "weakness" to which I think you are referring to is part of the consequence of the corruption caused by sin.

Gen 3:17-19
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #71 on: April 18, 2011, 09:47:17 AM »

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That statement is nowhere found in the Bible.

Neither is the word trinity.

Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing the words "faith alone" anywhere in the bible, either.
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« Reply #72 on: April 18, 2011, 10:07:49 AM »

Thank you for modifying my post, and my deepest apologies to anyone I offended by using the term.  I will be more careful in the future.
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« Reply #73 on: April 18, 2011, 10:20:37 AM »

Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing the words "faith alone" anywhere in the bible, either.

There is only one verse (James 2:17) where the words "faith" and "alone" are used together.
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« Reply #74 on: April 18, 2011, 11:10:39 AM »

Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing the words "faith alone" anywhere in the bible, either.

There is only one verse (James 2:17) where the words "faith" and "alone" are used together.

According to the English translations, at least, it is in James 2:24 as well.

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You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

--NIV

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You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

--NKJV

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Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

--KJV

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You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

--ESV

....etc.

Of course, neither passage really helps the sola fide claim....
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« Reply #75 on: April 18, 2011, 11:26:36 AM »

I call Christ's nature a divine nature because that's the only kind of nature a divine person can have.

I should clarify this because it is insufficiently precise.  Christ, as a divine person, also has an assumed human nature.  What I should have said is "I call Christ's nature a divine nature because that's the only kind of nature divinity can have."  The point I was trying to make is if Christ is divine, then His nature must be divine.  If He is human, His nature must be human.  Since He is both, He has a divine nature and a human nature, both contained in His undivided divine person.

I hope that makes more sense (and I further hope I didn't introduce any further errors).
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« Reply #76 on: April 18, 2011, 12:49:41 PM »

Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing the words "faith alone" anywhere in the bible, either.

There is only one verse (James 2:17) where the words "faith" and "alone" are used together.

According to the English translations, at least, it is in James 2:24 as well.


Of course, neither passage really helps the sola fide claim....

Ha, Ha--y'all beat me to it.  Smiley

I mentioned in the 'Calvinist' thread that "...'Sola fide' CAN be understood in an orthodox manner...depending on how one defines 'faith' and in what sense 'works' are used.  I could go into more detail, but I have to go in a minute, but simply put, one is not saved by works, but one will not be saved without them either."

To expand on this, it is useful to look at the concerns of Paul's and James's arguments and how each used 'faith' and 'works' in their respective contexts. 

Paul contrasts faith (ie trust) in Christ with the works of the Law, and his whole point is that man can't earn his salvation by strictly keeping the Law--in fact, the Law was to show how helpless fallen man is.  However, Christ DID perfectly fulfill the Law and was then able to die on our behalf, so by that faith we can have access to HIS merits instead of relying on our own (since by doing the latter, no man would be righteous in God's sight).

James seems to use 'faith' in a more limited sense, that of intellectual assent to the truth.  Such is not bad, but is not sufficient in and of itself for salvation/justification, since without works such 'faith' is "dead" (James 2:17, 26) and thus can neither ultimately save or justify.  The 'works' James describe are works that demonstrate our LOVE for God or for our fellow man--works that "make perfect our faith" (James 2:22).

Putting the two together, one can see Paul and James are really complimentary rather than contradictory.  Per Paul, the meritorious ground of our justification is the perfect work of Christ which we apprehend by faith apart from the deeds of the Law (Romans 3:28).  However, even here it is not a naked 'faith' (intellectual assent), but a "faith working through love" which avails anything in Christ Jesus (Galatians 5:6). For James, 'works' of love, which follow and complete our 'faith' (assent) are the criteria God looks for to judge who really are abiding in Christ with a 'lively faith'.  In either case, it is God who justifies.

One can then easily apply this to our Lord's Vine/branch illustration as found in John 15.  For those branches who abide in the Vine, they have access to the meritorious righteousness of the Vine (justification in the Pauline context) and demonstrate they are actually abiding in the Vine by the fruit they bear (justification in James's teaching).

Sorry if this was rambling, but just thought I'd add my 2 cents.
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« Reply #77 on: April 18, 2011, 07:54:31 PM »

Thanks, all!

How I let those verses slip my mind, I have no idea.

While we're on the subject, I also find James 2:19 helpful:

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Thou believest that God is one; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and tremble.
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« Reply #78 on: April 18, 2011, 11:17:36 PM »

simply put, one is not saved by works, but one will not be saved without them either."

I saw this in the Calvinism thread, and it is simply beautiful.

Interestingly, this is something that didn't really change for me as a Lutheran.  I believed then and believe now that good works are necessary.  Back then I would have said "good works are absolutely necessary, but they aren't necessary for salvation."  Now I find that a bit imprecise, and I have taken to explaining it as "good works don't merit us anything, but they are what we are saved to do."

But what you write above is succinct and addresses precisely the Protestant argument against works without wrongly defining either faith or works.  I give you notice that I intend to plunder this phrase and use it frequently.  Thank you for writing this.
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« Reply #79 on: April 19, 2011, 08:58:38 AM »

simply put, one is not saved by works, but one will not be saved without them either."

I saw this in the Calvinism thread, and it is simply beautiful.

Interestingly, this is something that didn't really change for me as a Lutheran.  I believed then and believe now that good works are necessary.  Back then I would have said "good works are absolutely necessary, but they aren't necessary for salvation."  Now I find that a bit imprecise, and I have taken to explaining it as "good works don't merit us anything, but they are what we are saved to do."

But what you write above is succinct and addresses precisely the Protestant argument against works without wrongly defining either faith or works.  I give you notice that I intend to plunder this phrase and use it frequently.  Thank you for writing this.

You're welcome...thanks for the compliment.  I also wanted to mention that I like this statement of yours:

"...and I have taken to explaining it as "good works don't merit us anything, but they are what we are saved to do."
This seems to capture the essence of what the Apostle Paul is saying in Ephesians 2:8-10.

God Bless.
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« Reply #80 on: June 11, 2011, 11:51:46 AM »

Quote from: David Garner
I am not really inclined to go through each and every response of yours where you claim that something is not taught in the Bible so I can prooftext it to demonstrate it is taught there -- honestly, at this point, I'm unconvinced you will accept any prooftexts anyway given your somewhat blithe dismissal of others I have given above.  

Don't worry. I can say the same about you. So we're even.
As about "I am not really inclined to go through each and every response of yours": I'm sorry, but those who talk with me need patience. But, I also am patient. If you don't have patience to talk with me, then it is better not to continue the discussion.

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Calling Christ's divine nature "Godly" or "Godlike" could be properly understood I suppose, but it seems to be a way of making it akin to a divine nature, but not actually a divine nature.
It must have been my wrong understanding of the word "divine". By "Godly nature" I meant something like "the nature of God".

Quote
You say "except the difference of what the body is of (flesh/celestial), there is no difference between human and divine nature," which is utterly false (humanity is not divine nor is divinity human by nature).
I understood "divine" as "celestial" (in contradistinction with "earthly"). Sorry about that.

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Do you believe Christ is true God?
To give a full answer: I believe Jesus' nature to be divine, and I am not unitarian.
But, if we talk about "power"/"authority", it seems that Christ has received the power/authority from God (Matthew 28.18, among other verses).

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Our nature will not be "divine," nor is "divine" equivalent to "heavenly."  Rather, we will eternally have a human nature that will be glorified by communion with the divine energies.  The Orthodox express this as "we become by grace what He is by nature."  But we NEVER attain God's nature.  Ever.  This is a fundamental misunderstanding not only of Scripture, but of basic anthropology, Christology and theology.  Being made in God's image and likeness does not make our nature divine.  our nature is human, for God created us human.  Human nature has the image of God intrinsic to it, yes.  The likeness was damaged in the Fall.  Neither the image or the likeness, though, makes our nature divine.

About "The Orthodox express this as "we become by grace what He is by nature."":
That sounds the same as saying "our nature will be transformed into His nature". Anyway, I'm not sure how far the Orthodox goes with the interpretation of this. I agree and agreed with the rest (i.e. "our nature" =/= "God's nature"). It is the result of a misunderstanding of the word, as I said above.

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Genesis 18 is actually pretty simple.  This was prior to the incarnation.  Christ had not taken on a human nature at this point.  The Church has historically read the three angels (literally "messengers") as either a prophetic prefiguration of or the actual appearance of the three Persons of the Trinity.  In either event, it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the incarnation, anthropology or Christology.  It is theological in that it demonstrates the unity of the Trinity, but not in the sense you read it.  The Orthodox Study Bible notes:

I agree that Christ did not incarnate then. I was curios how you relate "man" with "angel" and "the Lord".

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 This encapsulates the incarnation -- Christ, true God (i.e., divine, of one essence -- which is to say of one nature with the Father) and also true man (i.e., human, "was made man" -- which is to say, assuming human nature)
ok, given the fact that we have the Lord described as a "man" in Genesis 18, I ask you to give me some verses that specify that Christ's nature has changed/been enhanced. Because, if "man" was described for God in the Old Testament, then it is wrong to transform every "man" in the New Testament as "human nature" - I hope you understand what I mean.

After you do that, I need you to tell me how exactly Christ's "nature" has changed after receiving the "human nature" (i.e. in what matters/how Christ's natures after the incarnation differed to His nature before incarnation).

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What I should have said is "I call Christ's nature a divine nature because that's the only kind of nature divinity can have."  The point I was trying to make is if Christ is divine, then His nature must be divine.  If He is human, His nature must be human.  Since He is both, He has a divine nature and a human nature, both contained in His undivided divine person.
Given the fact that the "human nature" is, in many things, quite contradictory to the "divine nature", the only way it doesn't sound paradoxical/contradictory, is to say that Christ's "divine nature" got merged with His "human nature", so He has come to have only one nature (the result of the merging of the two). But we'll have to clarify first the "human nature" of Christ first.

Quote
Quote from: Zenith
I'm curios how you understand "eternally begotten of the Father". For instance, muslims seem to understand this as if God bore a child as a man makes a woman to bear a child, that while God created us, He gave birth to Jesus (as in the Qur'an it is written "How can He have a son when He hath no consort?"). So I think it would be nice if you told me how you understand this "eternally begotten of the Father".
Muslims don't believe Jesus was God, so I'm not sure how what Muslims believe has any relevance to a discussion of Christian understanding of the Incarnation.  
I expressed there the word "begotten" as understood by the muslims.
Still, you did not answer the question: what does "begotten" mean to you? If you just tell me "begotten" I don't know what to understand of it.

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is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.
Just curios... why there has to be an order in the Trinity?



@Melodist
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Heb 2:16-18
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
I've checked that verse, it seems that "the nature" is implied: "For verily he took not on [him the nature of] angels; but he took on [him] the seed of Abraham."

Perhaps a greek around (if there is) could explain clearly "οὐ γὰρ δήπου ἀγγέλων ἐπιλαμβάνεται ἀλλὰ σπέρματος Ἀβραὰμ ἐπιλαμβάνεται". Unfortunately, I didn't learn the greek language.

Other translations translate the verse as "For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants."(NIV-UK), "For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham." (NKJV), also

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For assuredly He does not (a) give help to angels, but He gives help to the (b)descendant of Abraham.
Footnotes:
a. Hebrews 2:16 Lit take hold of angels, but He takes hold of
b. Hebrews 2:16 Lit seed

So I doubt "nature" belongs there.

Also, Hebrews 4.14-16, Romans 6:4-5, Phil 3:20-21, 1Cor 15:52-57 which you have specified don't sound to talk about two natures of Christ  (one divine, and other human) at all. As about the last three, you appear to say (using these verses) that our nature will be transformed into a "divine" nature (the nature of Christ). In that case I must tell you that I agree with David Garner here: our nature will not be transformed into Christ's nature (i.e. into a divine nature).

P.S. That's quite a lot you wrote there in those documents. I don't think I have the time to read it all, sorry.


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Quote
I mentioned in the 'Calvinist' thread that "...'Sola fide'  CAN be understood in an orthodox manner...depending on how one defines 'faith' and in what sense 'works' are used.  I could go into more detail, but I have to go in a minute, but simply put, one is not  saved by  works, but one will not be saved without them either."

To expand on this, it is useful to look at the concerns of Paul's and James's arguments and how each used 'faith' and 'works' in their respective contexts.  

Paul contrasts faith (ie trust) in Christ with the works of the Law, and his whole point is that man can't earn his salvation by strictly keeping the Law--in fact, the Law was to show how helpless fallen man is.  However, Christ DID perfectly fulfill the Law and was then able to die on our behalf, so by that faith we can have access to HIS merits instead of relying on our own (since by doing the latter, no man would be righteous in God's sight).

James seems to use 'faith' in a more limited sense, that of intellectual assent to the truth.  Such is not bad, but is not sufficient in and of itself for salvation/justification, since without works such 'faith' is "dead" (James 2:17, 26) and thus can neither ultimately save or justify.  The 'works' James describe are works that demonstrate our LOVE for God or for our fellow man--works that "make perfect our faith" (James 2:22).

Putting the two together, one can see Paul and James are really complimentary rather than contradictory.  Per Paul, the meritorious ground  of our justification is the perfect work of Christ which we apprehend by faith apart from the deeds of the Law (Romans 3:28).  However, even here it is not a naked 'faith' (intellectual assent), but a "faith working through love" which avails anything in Christ Jesus (Galatians 5:6). For James, 'works' of love, which follow and complete our 'faith' (assent) are the criteria God looks for to judge who really are abiding in Christ with a 'lively  faith'.  In either case, it is God who justifies.

One can then easily apply this to our Lord's Vine/branch illustration as found in John 15.  For those branches who abide in the Vine, they have access to the meritorious righteousness of the Vine (justification in the Pauline context) and demonstrate they are actually abiding in the Vine by the fruit they bear (justification in James's teaching).

Sorry if this was rambling, but just thought I'd add my 2 cents.

I think I have been misunderstood - a reason might be that you guys haven't read (as I see) too much of what I wrote (i.e. my posts).
Also, since I began writing into this thread I have changed my views a bit, if you have noticed (if you've read all my posts).

I'll say now a brief description of how I understand things with faith & deeds & salvation:
  • Unlike you guys, I don't believe that we are 'born again'/'saved'/or whatever word you like, by a priest when we are babies. The only "salvation" that God offers is to conscious people (among other conditions). So a man (not a baby) can be saved in a period of his life, and not by the will of a man (e.g. a priest) and no man can prevent it.

  • The man "is saved" (i.e. enters the period/process of "salvation") because of faith - Galatians 3.14, John 3.15. He is "born again"/"saved"/"united with Christ" when he receives the Holy Spirit (also said, "baptzied/immersed with/in the Holy Spirit"). He enters the salvation because of "faith" (i.e. trust in God, besides the conviction that God exists (obviously), etc.), not because of deeds: no matter how many deeds you do, that will not make him enter "salvation", it requires faith for that (Romans 9.30-32) (and here babies fail too).

  • Since the moment a man is "saved", he enters into a period of "salvation" that fortunately lasts until he dies (it depends on the man). If it lasts until he dies, he goes to heaven. If it doesn't, he goes to hell. The possibility to lose his "salvation" is if he 'rebels' against God and returns to his life of before. A man does not lose his salvation by a silly mistake or because he did not do enough deeds or because he did not struggle enough to do good deeds.

  • The "faith" (i.e. the true/authentic faith) gives itself birth to deeds. If one's faith does not give birth to deeds, then his faith is a dead faith (not an authentic/true faith). In other words, deeds are an effect of the true/authentic faith (i.e. trust in God). The "deeds" (i.e. the good deeds) are the effect of his faith (Philimon 1.6, as well as the events with Abraham and Rahab) & the Holy Spirit dwelling in him.

  • After a man enters the process/period of salvation, there is no need for him to (perhaps, also cannot) fear that he would afterwards go to hell because "he did not do enough deeds" -as it is not the deeds themselves that save him from hell: it is the abiding in Christ that ensures that he won't go to hell, and the abiding in Christ results in "good deeds" (it's about the vine and the branches).

  • In the period/process of salvation, the man is continually growing/being transformed into the likeness of God, by the Holy Spirit(2 Cor 3.18).


In other words, I don't claim that we are not to do good deeds, or something.
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« Reply #81 on: June 11, 2011, 03:25:46 PM »

"'For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do according to good will.' (Phil. 2:13) What could well be clearer than the assertion that both our good will and the completion of our work are fully wrought in us by the Lord? And again 'For it is granted to you for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for Him.' (Phil. 1:29) Here also he declares that the beginning of our conversion and faith, and the endurance of suffering is a gift to us from the Lord." - St. John Cassian: The Conference of Paphnutius, 15

"Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved" —St. John Chrysostom

"The thief who received the kingdom of heaven, though not as the reward of virtue, is a true witness to the fact that salvation is ours through the grace and mercy of God. All of our holy fathers knew this and all with one accord teach that perfection in holiness can be achieved only through humility." -St. John Cassian, "On the Eight Vices/Pride", in Philokalia Vol 1, p. 83.
 
The only "salvation" that God offers is to conscious people (among other conditions). So a man (not a baby) can be saved in a period of his life...
Even before birth some kind of faith/cognizance would have to be present for the unborn John to have reacted *joyously* to the presence of Mary, then pregnant with the Maker of the starfields. That even a babe in the womb can receive grace is evident from Lk 1:15. Other commonly cited examples are found here.

Luke 1:15b: "He [John the Baptist] will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb..."

Luke 1:41: "...and it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit."

Matt 21:16: "'Do you hear what these children are saying?' they asked Him. 'Yes!" replied Jesus; 'Have you never read, 'From the lips of children and infants you have perfected praise'?''"

Psalm 8:2: "Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants you have perfected praise"
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« Reply #82 on: June 11, 2011, 04:11:35 PM »

Quote from: Zenith
I must tell you that I agree with David Garner here: our nature will not be transformed into Christ's nature (i.e. into a divine nature).
Perhaps this will serve to clarify the Orthodox position for you a little better.
Quote from: Bishop Kallistos Ware
To indicate the two “poles” of God’s relationship to us—unknown yet well known, hidden yet revealed—the Orthodox tradition draws a distinction between the essence, nature or inner being of God, on the one hand, and his energies, operations or acts of power, on the other.

“He is outside all things according to his essence,” writes St Athanasius, “but he is in all things through his acts of power.” “We know the essence through the energy”, St Basil affirms. “No one has ever seen the essence of God, but we believe in the essence because we experience the energy.”13 By the essence of God is meant his otherness, by the energies his nearness. Because God is a mystery beyond our understanding, we shall never know his essence or inner being, either in this life or in the Age to come. If we knew the divine essence, it would follow that we knew God in the same way as he knows himself; and this we cannot ever do, since he is Creator and we are created. But, while God’s inner essence is for ever beyond our comprehension, his energies, grace, life and power fill the whole universe, and are directly accessible to us.

The essence, then, signifies the radical transcendence of God; the energies, his immanence and omnipresence. When Orthodox speak of the divine energies, they do not mean by this an emana­tion from God, an “intermediary” between God and man, or a “thing” or “gift” that God bestows. On the contrary, the energies are God himself in his activity and self-manifestation. When a man knows or participates in the divine energies, he truly knows or participates in God himself, so far as this is possible for a created being. But God is God, and we are human; and so, while he possesses us, we cannot in the same way possess him.

Just as it would be wrong to think of the energies as a “thing” bestowed on us by God, so it would be equally misleading to regard the energies as a “part” of God. The Godhead is simple and indivisible, and has no parts. The essence signifies the whole God as he is in himself; the energies signify the whole God as he is in action. God in his entirety is completely present in each of his divine energies. Thus the essence-energies distinction is a way of stating simultaneously that the whole God is inaccessible, and that the whole God in his outgoing love has rendered himself accessible to man.

By virtue of this distinction between the divine essence and the divine energies, we are able to affirm the possibility of a direct or mystical union between man and God—what the Greek Fathers term the theosis of man, his “deification”—but at the same time we exclude any pantheistic identification between the two: for man participates in the energies of God, not in the essence. There is union, but not fusion or confusion. Although “oned” with the di­vine, man still remains man; he is not swallowed up or annihilated, but between him and God there continues always to exist an “I— Thou” relationship of person to person.

Such, then, is our God: unknowable in his essence, yet known in his energies; beyond and above all that we can think or ex­press, yet closer to us than our own heart. Through the apophatic way we smash in pieces all the idols or mental images that we form of him, for we know that all are unworthy of his surpassing greatness. Yet at the same time, through our prayer and through our active service in the world, we discover at every moment his divine energies, his immediate presence in each person and each thing. Daily, hourly we touch him. We are, as Francis Thompson said, “in no strange land.” All around us is the “many-splen-doured thing”; Jacob’s ladder is “pitched betwixt heaven and Charing Cross”:

O world invisible, we view thee, O world intangible, we touch thee, O world unknowable, we know thee, Inapprehensible, we clutch thee.

In the words of John Scotus Eriugena, “Every visible or invisible creature is a theophany or appearance of God.” The Christian is the one who, wherever he looks, sees God every­where and rejoices in him. Not without reason did the early Christians attribute to Christ this saying: “Lift the stone and you will find me; cut the wood in two and there am I.”

-Bishop Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way, New York 1995, pp. 21-23.





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« Reply #83 on: June 11, 2011, 10:42:50 PM »

To give a full answer: I believe Jesus' nature to be divine, and I am not unitarian.
But, if we talk about "power"/"authority", it seems that Christ has received the power/authority from God (Matthew 28.18, among other verses).

Power and authority are two different things.  We tend to discuss "power" in terms of the divine energies.  So when I hear "power," I hear "divinity."

"Authority" is another matter.  I think it appropriate to say Christ receives His authority from the Father, though in His nature He is coequal with the Father.  But I think it's probably better to understand that authority as a statement of unity rather than subordination.  When Christ says "I do the will of my Father," for example, there is a lot to untangle there to have an accurate understanding of what is being said and what the ramifications are.  Among those, Christ has two wills, a divine will and a human will, so He exercises His human will in perfect accord with His divine will, which is also the will of His Father.  A lot there to unpack.  Better, IMHO, to get the essence and energies and person and nature issues straight first.

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About "The Orthodox express this as "we become by grace what He is by nature."":
That sounds the same as saying "our nature will be transformed into His nature". Anyway, I'm not sure how far the Orthodox goes with the interpretation of this. I agree and agreed with the rest (i.e. "our nature" =/= "God's nature"). It is the result of a misunderstanding of the word, as I said above.

Our human nature will be transformed into His human nature, but that occurs at the level of person.  Our human nature isn't "changed," it is illumined by the divine energies.  In the case of Jesus, that occurred within His person -- He is divine and human, so His divinity interpenetrated His humanity, such that His human nature was illumined by His divine nature.  For us, that is brought about by communion with Christ's illumined human nature -- His flesh and blood -- and therefore with the divine energies that interpenetrate His humanity. 

But our human nature (or His human nature) will never be transformed into the divine nature.  It is illumined by the divine energies, but it does not share the divine nature. 

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I agree that Christ did not incarnate then. I was curios how you relate "man" with "angel" and "the Lord".

"Angel" is a translation.  I don't know enough about the Hebrew to parse it, and I'm hardly a Greek scholar, but I know the Greek for "angel" (in Gen. 19:1, that word is "aggeloi") simply means "messenger."

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ok, given the fact that we have the Lord described as a "man" in Genesis 18, I ask you to give me some verses that specify that Christ's nature has changed/been enhanced. Because, if "man" was described for God in the Old Testament, then it is wrong to transform every "man" in the New Testament as "human nature" - I hope you understand what I mean.

I do. Again, I don't know the Hebrew well enough to comment.  But again, the Greek in both 18:22 and 19:1 is "andres," not "anthropos."  "Andres" comes from "aner" which means "an individual male" or, per Strong's "any male."  It's not a word that denotes a nature so much as the sex of the person being referenced.  In other words, it does not appear Genesis 18:22 is saying "this is a male human," but rather, "this is a male."

As for "Christ's nature" (you keep saying this as if He has only one nature, which is confusing) being "changed" or "enhanced," see below.

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After you do that, I need you to tell me how exactly Christ's "nature" has changed after receiving the "human nature" (i.e. in what matters/how Christ's natures after the incarnation differed to His nature before incarnation).

His divine nature hasn't changed.  At all.  His human nature did not ontologically change (nor will ours), but His human nature has been illumined by the divine energies in His person.

So His divine nature is the same as it always was and His human nature is now illumined.  Neither has "changed" from being divine or human, respectively.

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Given the fact that the "human nature" is, in many things, quite contradictory to the "divine nature", the only way it doesn't sound paradoxical/contradictory, is to say that Christ's "divine nature" got merged with His "human nature", so He has come to have only one nature (the result of the merging of the two). But we'll have to clarify first the "human nature" of Christ first.

That's not correct.  Neither nature is merged.  Neither is confused with the other.  Both remain what they were before. 

And human nature is in the image and likeness of God.  The likeness was lost in the Fall, but the image remains.  So to say they are "contradictory" is to confuse person and nature.  The nature isn't contradictory to the divine nature.  What we as persons do with that nature, on the other hand, often contradicts the divine will.

Keep this in mind if it helps -- natures don't sin, people do.

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I expressed there the word "begotten" as understood by the muslims.
Still, you did not answer the question: what does "begotten" mean to you? If you just tell me "begotten" I don't know what to understand of it.

It means the same as "son," but not in a carnal sense as applied to Christ.  It is probably better to say "the only one of His kind," except there is a distinction made in both Scripture and the Creed between Christ being "begotten of the Father" and the Holy Spirit "proceeding from the Father," so that's not as accurate as it could be. 

The Trinity is a mystery, so we will never answer these questions sufficiently.  Having said that, it helps me to make the distinction along the lines of purpose.  The Son is generated from the Father to become incarnate and unite humanity to the Godhead.  The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father to guide the Church into all truth. 

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Just curios... why there has to be an order in the Trinity?

Well, because there is.  I know that's not a very good answer, but there are three distinct persons sharing one divine essence.

"Second person" does not denote subordination in the Godhead, but rather is used in the sense of the Creed -- the Father is listed first, the Son second, the Holy Spirit third.

I'd like to answer your conclusory paragraph in a separate post, just to keep things neat.
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« Reply #84 on: June 11, 2011, 10:56:01 PM »

I'll say now a brief description of how I understand things with faith & deeds & salvation:
  • Unlike you guys, I don't believe that we are 'born again'/'saved'/or whatever word you like, by a priest when we are babies. The only "salvation" that God offers is to conscious people (among other conditions). So a man (not a baby) can be saved in a period of his life, and not by the will of a man (e.g. a priest) and no man can prevent it.


Awesome!  We don't either!  The priest saves no one.  God saves.  Always.

Now, I'm not quite sure what you mean by "a man (not a baby) can be saved in a period of his life, and not by the will of a man (e.g. a priest) and no man can prevent it."  That doesn't make sense to me.  It sounds like you are denying babies can be saved, but surely you don't mean that.


Quote
  • The man "is saved" (i.e. enters the period/process of "salvation") because of faith - Galatians 3.14, John 3.15. He is "born again"/"saved"/"united with Christ" when he receives the Holy Spirit (also said, "baptzied/immersed with/in the Holy Spirit"). He enters the salvation because of "faith" (i.e. trust in God, besides the conviction that God exists (obviously), etc.), not because of deeds: no matter how many deeds you do, that will not make him enter "salvation", it requires faith for that (Romans 9.30-32) (and here babies fail too).

"Because of faith" and "through faith" are two quite different things.  I'd suggest you re-read not only Romans, but Ephesians.  We are saved "by grace," i.e., "because of grace."  We are saved THROUGH faith -- faith is the means by which we lay hold of the Gifts.  But faith is not the cause of salvation, lest faith become the one good work we have to do to be saved.  You say expressly that we do not have to do "deeds" to be saved, and yet you seem to turn faith into a deed.

We receive the Holy Spirit at our chrismation, whether that occurs as an infant or as an adult. 

Quote
  • Since the moment a man is "saved", he enters into a period of "salvation" that fortunately lasts until he dies (it depends on the man). If it lasts until he dies, he goes to heaven. If it doesn't, he goes to hell. The possibility to lose his "salvation" is if he 'rebels' against God and returns to his life of before. A man does not lose his salvation by a silly mistake or because he did not do enough deeds or because he did not struggle enough to do good deeds.

I'm not sure how to answer this.  Depending on what you mean hear, I might agree or I might disagree. 

I'm quite certain I disagree there is a "moment" a man is saved.  Salvation is a process.  It is not a moment in time.

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  • The "faith" (i.e. the true/authentic faith) gives itself birth to deeds. If one's faith does not give birth to deeds, then his faith is a dead faith (not an authentic/true faith). In other words, deeds are an effect of the true/authentic faith (i.e. trust in God). The "deeds" (i.e. the good deeds) are the effect of his faith (Philimon 1.6, as well as the events with Abraham and Rahab) & the Holy Spirit dwelling in him.

I don't entirely disagree with this, but I think it unnecessarily divides faith and works.  True faith reveals itself in works, and works teach us true faith.  They are not, as you seem to make them, opposing forces, but rather they are dependent on one another.  There isn't a "faith first, then works" aspect to salvation.  We are saved by grace, through faith, and this not of ourselves, but it is the gift of God.  It is not of works, lest any man should boast.  This much is certainly true.  But we are also saved to do the good works God has prepared in advance for us to do.  Read one verse more and you see that salvation is not "faith and not works," or "faith first, and then later works," but rather "faith which clings to the good works God has for us to do, and good works which teach us what true faith looks like."

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  • After a man enters the process/period of salvation, there is no need for him to (perhaps, also cannot) fear that he would afterwards go to hell because "he did not do enough deeds" -as it is not the deeds themselves that save him from hell: it is the abiding in Christ that ensures that he won't go to hell, and the abiding in Christ results in "good deeds" (it's about the vine and the branches).

I don't fear I will go to hell because I have not done enough deeds.  I fear I will go to hell because I haven't even begun to repent.

And the more I try to do good works, fast, pray, give alms, etc., the more I realize I am utterly unworthy of salvation.

I trust God's mercy.  Trusting my pitiful works would be folly.  But the works serve quite a good purpose for my soul.  They teach me what unity with Christ looks like.

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  • In the period/process of salvation, the man is continually growing/being transformed into the likeness of God, by the Holy Spirit(2 Cor 3.18).

This is the sum total of what I have been trying to say -- salvation is not something that is a once-done deal.  It is us being drawn to God, closer and closer and closer.

And the beauty is the process continues forever.  The process of moving apart from God, unfortunately, does as well.

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In other words, I don't claim that we are not to do good deeds, or something.

For my part, I never read you as saying anything like that at all.
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« Reply #85 on: June 11, 2011, 11:35:38 PM »

It is nce to hear from you.

@Melodist
Quote
Heb 2:16-18
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
I've checked that verse, it seems that "the nature" is implied: "For verily he took not on [him the nature of] angels; but he took on [him] the seed of Abraham."

Perhaps a greek around (if there is) could explain clearly "οὐ γὰρ δήπου ἀγγέλων ἐπιλαμβάνεται ἀλλὰ σπέρματος Ἀβραὰμ ἐπιλαμβάνεται". Unfortunately, I didn't learn the greek language.

Other translations translate the verse as "For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants."(NIV-UK), "For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham." (NKJV), also

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For assuredly He does not (a) give help to angels, but He gives help to the (b)descendant of Abraham.
Footnotes:
a. Hebrews 2:16 Lit take hold of angels, but He takes hold of
b. Hebrews 2:16 Lit seed

So I doubt "nature" belongs there.

I checked the greek and you are right, the word "nature" isn't there, but it does say that "in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren" in the next verse.

John 8:28 says that Christ "came forth from the Father, and am come into the world". So how do you explain that Christ both "came forth from the Father" and was in all things made like unto the brethren?

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Also, Hebrews 4.14-16, Romans 6:4-5, Phil 3:20-21, 1Cor 15:52-57 which you have specified don't sound to talk about two natures of Christ  (one divine, and other human) at all. As about the last three, you appear to say (using these verses) that our nature will be transformed into a "divine" nature (the nature of Christ). In that case I must tell you that I agree with David Garner here: our nature will not be transformed into Christ's nature (i.e. into a divine nature).

Christ is both divine and human. Our human nature isn't going to become anything other than human. We will be raised according His human nature as it has been raised up and glorified. Man was made in the image and likeness of God and Christ is the express image of God, so it would be fitting that it is Him that we should be modeled after.

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P.S. That's quite a lot you wrote there in those documents. I don't think I have the time to read it all, sorry.

Sorry about that.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #86 on: June 20, 2011, 01:34:46 PM »

I have said before that some of the people who so stridently accuse Orthodox Christians "trying to earn Salvation by doing good works" are some of the most works-based minds I have come across. I am referring to heavily pietistic groups who insist Christians can never:
-Drink; even in moderation
-wear certain clothes
-adopt certain hair styles
-dance
-listen to certain music
-get a tattoo
-wear jewelry

The list goes on.

Of course the response would be "but we are not trying to earn anything, we are just following Biblical commandments because of our faith." Well, as Orthodox Christians we basically say the same thing. Except we do not draw up some false parameters, as Faith is known not to be some neatly compartmentalized, vapid, pseudo-intellectual, mindset. Rather Faith is a dynamic that moves.
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« Reply #87 on: June 20, 2011, 04:34:44 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I have said before that some of the people who so stridently accuse Orthodox Christians "trying to earn Salvation by doing good works" are some of the most works-based minds I have come across. I am referring to heavily pietistic groups who insist Christians can never:
-Drink; even in moderation
-wear certain clothes
-adopt certain hair styles
-dance
-listen to certain music
-get a tattoo
-wear jewelry

The list goes on.

Of course the response would be "but we are not trying to earn anything, we are just following Biblical commandments because of our faith." Well, as Orthodox Christians we basically say the same thing. Except we do not draw up some false parameters, as Faith is known not to be some neatly compartmentalized, vapid, pseudo-intellectual, mindset. Rather Faith is a dynamic that moves.

Amen Amen.  I really really like this.  Orthodox Faith, like all things of God a sublime contradiction like the pointed arch meant to be experienced from the depths of our Hearts/Souls rather then in the realm of our fractured and fragmented minds.

stay blessed,
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« Reply #88 on: June 21, 2011, 05:25:01 PM »

"'For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do according to good will.' (Phil. 2:13) What could well be clearer than the assertion that both our good will and the completion of our work are fully wrought in us by the Lord? And again 'For it is granted to you for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for Him.' (Phil. 1:29) Here also he declares that the beginning of our conversion and faith, and the endurance of suffering is a gift to us from the Lord." - St. John Cassian: The Conference of Paphnutius, 15
I thought it would have been better if I replied to you by email, but I guess I'm going to continue the discussion on this thread as long as it is needed (e.g. endlessly).

Regarding Phil 2.13: notice that it talks about christians (which meant, people that have been saved already). So it's similar to this what I've said: "In the period/process of salvation, the man is continually growing/being transformed into the likeness of God, by the Holy Spirit"

Regardin Phil 1.29: tell me, does it talk about people as a whole or about individuals? If it is talked about people as a whole (no predestination by God before the foundations of the world for an individual to believe or not to believe) then it says that God 'decided' that the christians should not only believe in Him, but also to suffer.

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"Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved" —St. John Chrysostom
I'm not sure I understand what he meant so I can't say if I agree or not.

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"The thief who received the kingdom of heaven, though not as the reward of virtue, is a true witness to the fact that salvation is ours through the grace and mercy of God. All of our holy fathers knew this and all with one accord teach that perfection in holiness can be achieved only through humility." -St. John Cassian, "On the Eight Vices/Pride", in Philokalia Vol 1, p. 83.
If by thief he means the thief that has been crucified near Christ, then you cannot say that it was no merit of the thief: consider what that thief said from his heart (read Luke 23.39-42). This thief was not the same as the other thief.
 
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The only "salvation" that God offers is to conscious people (among other conditions). So a man (not a baby) can be saved in a period of his life...
Even before birth some kind of faith/cognizance would have to be present for the unborn John to have reacted *joyously* to the presence of Mary, then pregnant with the Maker of the starfields.
If you mean Luke 1.41, it doesn't say that.

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That even a babe in the womb can receive grace is evident from Lk 1:15. Other commonly cited examples are found here.
That was not a common thing. That was an uncommon thing. And anyway, I thought the orthodox people believe that the Holy Spirit is received when he is baptized in water, not before.

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Luke 1:15b: "He [John the Baptist] will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb..."
Besides the fact that John the Baptist seems to have been an exception, there is also the issue that, for instance, in 2 Timothy 3.15 it is said that Timothy knew the scriptures since he was "an unborn child, embryo, a foetus, a new-born child, an infant, a babe" (βρέφος) which should be something like a metaphor or a saying as the saying "3 days and 3 nights" (consider Job 31.18)

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Luke 1:41: "...and it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit."
Elizabeth, not the babe.

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Matt 21:16: "'Do you hear what these children are saying?' they asked Him. 'Yes!" replied Jesus; 'Have you never read, 'From the lips of children and infants you have perfected praise'?''"

Psalm 8:2: "Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants you have perfected praise"
Please relate the verse quoted by Jesus to the context first.
Besides of the fact that it is evident that babes cannot speak (with their mouths). If you insist that they can, perhaps you should ask babies if they believe from their heart that Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 8.37, Romans 10.10) and baptize them only if they say "yes" (as the Ethiopian was baptized only after saying that).
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 05:27:11 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #89 on: June 21, 2011, 05:36:07 PM »

Quote from: Zenith
I must tell you that I agree with David Garner here: our nature will not be transformed into Christ's nature (i.e. into a divine nature).
Perhaps this will serve to clarify the Orthodox position for you a little better.
Quote from: Bishop Kallistos Ware
To indicate the two “poles” of God’s relationship to us—unknown yet well known, hidden yet revealed—the Orthodox tradition draws a distinction between the essence, nature or inner being of God, on the one hand, and his energies, operations or acts of power, on the other.

“He is outside all things according to his essence,” writes St Athanasius, “but he is in all things through his acts of power.” “We know the essence through the energy”, St Basil affirms. “No one has ever seen the essence of God, but we believe in the essence because we experience the energy.”13 By the essence of God is meant his otherness, by the energies his nearness. Because God is a mystery beyond our understanding, we shall never know his essence or inner being, either in this life or in the Age to come. If we knew the divine essence, it would follow that we knew God in the same way as he knows himself; and this we cannot ever do, since he is Creator and we are created. But, while God’s inner essence is for ever beyond our comprehension, his energies, grace, life and power fill the whole universe, and are directly accessible to us.

The essence, then, signifies the radical transcendence of God; the energies, his immanence and omnipresence. When Orthodox speak of the divine energies, they do not mean by this an emana­tion from God, an “intermediary” between God and man, or a “thing” or “gift” that God bestows. On the contrary, the energies are God himself in his activity and self-manifestation. When a man knows or participates in the divine energies, he truly knows or participates in God himself, so far as this is possible for a created being. But God is God, and we are human; and so, while he possesses us, we cannot in the same way possess him.

Just as it would be wrong to think of the energies as a “thing” bestowed on us by God, so it would be equally misleading to regard the energies as a “part” of God. The Godhead is simple and indivisible, and has no parts. The essence signifies the whole God as he is in himself; the energies signify the whole God as he is in action. God in his entirety is completely present in each of his divine energies. Thus the essence-energies distinction is a way of stating simultaneously that the whole God is inaccessible, and that the whole God in his outgoing love has rendered himself accessible to man.

By virtue of this distinction between the divine essence and the divine energies, we are able to affirm the possibility of a direct or mystical union between man and God—what the Greek Fathers term the theosis of man, his “deification”—but at the same time we exclude any pantheistic identification between the two: for man participates in the energies of God, not in the essence. There is union, but not fusion or confusion. Although “oned” with the di­vine, man still remains man; he is not swallowed up or annihilated, but between him and God there continues always to exist an “I— Thou” relationship of person to person.

Such, then, is our God: unknowable in his essence, yet known in his energies; beyond and above all that we can think or ex­press, yet closer to us than our own heart. Through the apophatic way we smash in pieces all the idols or mental images that we form of him, for we know that all are unworthy of his surpassing greatness. Yet at the same time, through our prayer and through our active service in the world, we discover at every moment his divine energies, his immediate presence in each person and each thing. Daily, hourly we touch him. We are, as Francis Thompson said, “in no strange land.” All around us is the “many-splen-doured thing”; Jacob’s ladder is “pitched betwixt heaven and Charing Cross”:

O world invisible, we view thee, O world intangible, we touch thee, O world unknowable, we know thee, Inapprehensible, we clutch thee.

In the words of John Scotus Eriugena, “Every visible or invisible creature is a theophany or appearance of God.” The Christian is the one who, wherever he looks, sees God every­where and rejoices in him. Not without reason did the early Christians attribute to Christ this saying: “Lift the stone and you will find me; cut the wood in two and there am I.”

-Bishop Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way, New York 1995, pp. 21-23.

Oh my, other invented terms and philosophies. I feel as if I'm talking to jews.
It was quite confusing. Anyway, know that I can't relate it to the topic I was talking about.
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« Reply #90 on: June 21, 2011, 06:36:22 PM »

Power and authority are two different things.  We tend to discuss "power" in terms of the divine energies.  So when I hear "power," I hear "divinity."

"Authority" is another matter.  I think it appropriate to say Christ receives His authority from the Father, though in His nature He is coequal with the Father.  But I think it's probably better to understand that authority as a statement of unity rather than subordination.  When Christ says "I do the will of my Father," for example, there is a lot to untangle there to have an accurate understanding of what is being said and what the ramifications are.  Among those, Christ has two wills, a divine will and a human will, so He exercises His human will in perfect accord with His divine will, which is also the will of His Father.  A lot there to unpack.  Better, IMHO, to get the essence and energies and person and nature issues straight first.
Do we find that clear distinction in the New Testament? Namely that Jesus' "power" is actually "authority" and not "supernatural power"?
Also, I know that we contradict each other for a long time but, there is no biblical evidence of Jesus having two wills (besides of the fact that we cannot imagine how that is and that I see it as self-contradictory).

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Our human nature will be transformed into His human nature, but that occurs at the level of person.
ok, so our human nature will be transformed into His human nature.
But that actually means that "human nature will be transformed into human nature".
In other words, either our nature must not human or His nature must not human, in order for our nature to be transformed into His nature. i.e. They must be two different natures for one to be transformed into other.

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Our human nature isn't "changed," it is illumined by the divine energies.
ok, so... is our nature going to be transformed into His nature after all, or not?

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In the case of Jesus, that occurred within His person -- He is divine and human, so His divinity interpenetrated His humanity, such that His human nature was illumined by His divine nature.
3 points:
1. That sounds as if you reduce Jesus to a human and then bestow him (illuminate him) with a divine nature.
2. If you have a human nature & a divine nature then you get two different persons you're talking about.
3. What does it mean that a human nature is illuminated by a divine nature? Do you have a clear image in mind of it?

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For us, that is brought about by communion with Christ's illumined human nature -- His flesh and blood -- and therefore with the divine energies that interpenetrate His humanity.
Which is the orthodox philosophy only.

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But our human nature (or His human nature) will never be transformed into the divine nature.  It is illumined by the divine energies, but it does not share the divine nature.
 
So Jesus had his human nature illumined by a divine nature and has two natures, while we have our human natures illuminated by divine energies and remain with one nature. ok, what is the difference between being illumined by a divine nature and being illumined by divine energies?

KNOW that these terms, "divine nature" and "divine energy" and "illuminated by the divine nature" and "illuminated by the divine energy" sound to me as if you speak in Chinese. I'm serious. (And Chinese is 100% foreign to me).

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I agree that Christ did not incarnate then. I was curios how you relate "man" with "angel" and "the Lord".
"Angel" is a translation.  I don't know enough about the Hebrew to parse it, and I'm hardly a Greek scholar, but I know the Greek for "angel" (in Gen. 19:1, that word is "aggeloi") simply means "messenger."
So does the hebrew word for "angel" mean. But the fact is that that "messenger" - when translated in our bibles with "angel" - was from God, i.e. a "messenger" coming from heaven (a heavenly/celestial being). he was NOT a "human being".

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ok, given the fact that we have the Lord described as a "man" in Genesis 18, I ask you to give me some verses that specify that Christ's nature has changed/been enhanced. Because, if "man" was described for God in the Old Testament, then it is wrong to transform every "man" in the New Testament as "human nature" - I hope you understand what I mean.

I do. Again, I don't know the Hebrew well enough to comment.  But again, the Greek in both 18:22 and 19:1 is "andres," not "anthropos."  "Andres" comes from "aner" which means "an individual male" or, per Strong's "any male."  It's not a word that denotes a nature so much as the sex of the person being referenced.  In other words, it does not appear Genesis 18:22 is saying "this is a male human," but rather, "this is a male."
In hebrew, Gen 18.2, 18.22, etc. it is three men (male men, hebr. אֲנָשִׁים). It does not mean only "male", it means a "male man". And there is another word, זָכָר which mean "male" and can be used for both humans and animals.

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As for "Christ's nature" (you keep saying this as if He has only one nature, which is confusing) being "changed" or "enhanced," see below.

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After you do that, I need you to tell me how exactly Christ's "nature" has changed after receiving the "human nature" (i.e. in what matters/how Christ's natures after the incarnation differed to His nature before incarnation).

His divine nature hasn't changed.  At all.  His human nature did not ontologically change (nor will ours), but His human nature has been illumined by the divine energies in His person.

So His divine nature is the same as it always was and His human nature is now illumined.  Neither has "changed" from being divine or human, respectively.
And my question was "how exactly?" You tell me that, but I don't understand what "His human nature has been illumined by the divine energies in His person." should mean.

Know that it is hard for me to understand that which you claim that you understand, i.e. I'm not trying to uselessly contradict you.
So please explain how exactly (i.e. in detail, specific, concrete) He changed after receiving the human nature.
And I need you to re-explain to me how Jesus really possessed a human nature (i.e. a human essence) considering Gen 18.22. (i.e. "man").

And also, I hope you'll understand this question, as I've been trying to ask ye this but didn't understand me well:
What exactly is an essence? And where does it reside?
TO UNDERSTAND WHAT I MEAN: We have genes that define our behaviors (our "nature"), we have "souls" that also define ourselves (as "living" beings, which should also carry our personalities).
So, in this context, please explain me what exactly (i.e. genes, something in the, or regarding the soul) essence/nature is, and where exactly our essence resides.

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Given the fact that the "human nature" is, in many things, quite contradictory to the "divine nature", the only way it doesn't sound paradoxical/contradictory, is to say that Christ's "divine nature" got merged with His "human nature", so He has come to have only one nature (the result of the merging of the two). But we'll have to clarify first the "human nature" of Christ first.

That's not correct.  Neither nature is merged.  Neither is confused with the other.  Both remain what they were before.  

And human nature is in the image and likeness of God.  The likeness was lost in the Fall, but the image remains.  So to say they are "contradictory" is to confuse person and nature.  The nature isn't contradictory to the divine nature.  What we as persons do with that nature, on the other hand, often contradicts the divine will.

Keep this in mind if it helps -- natures don't sin, people do.
I guess I'm having a big problem with the concept of "nature" - as you didn't explain to me so far what exactly a nature is and how exactly the human nature differs from the divine nature, for me to have a correct and complete understanding of what "nature" is. Sorry.

Anyway, do you have some biblical base for these statements:
"That's not correct.  Neither nature is merged.  Neither is confused with the other.  Both remain what they were before."
"The likeness was lost in the Fall, but the image remains."
"The nature isn't contradictory to the divine nature."
?

As about "image" and "likeness", I understand them this way:
image = regarding the look.
likeness = regarding attributes (as capability of thinking, emotions, knowledge, freedom to act by your own will, etc.)

And, by this:
"And human nature is in the image and likeness of God.  The likeness was lost in the Fall, but the image remains."
You seem to have said that we have lost our human natures, i.e. that we are not humans anymore.

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I expressed there the word "begotten" as understood by the muslims.
Still, you did not answer the question: what does "begotten" mean to you? If you just tell me "begotten" I don't know what to understand of it.

It means the same as "son," but not in a carnal sense as applied to Christ.  It is probably better to say "the only one of His kind," except there is a distinction made in both Scripture and the Creed between Christ being "begotten of the Father" and the Holy Spirit "proceeding from the Father," so that's not as accurate as it could be.
You understand "begotten of the Father" as "coming from the Father"?

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The Son is generated from the Father to become incarnate and unite humanity to the Godhead.  The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father to guide the Church into all truth.  
So, the question should be: when did Jesus become Father's son? You seem to claim that He became "Son" when He was incarnated, but I am not certain.

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Just curios... why there has to be an order in the Trinity?

Well, because there is.  I know that's not a very good answer, but there are three distinct persons sharing one divine essence.

"Second person" does not denote subordination in the Godhead, but rather is used in the sense of the Creed -- the Father is listed first, the Son second, the Holy Spirit third.
ok, it's only the listing.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 06:42:38 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #91 on: June 21, 2011, 08:48:55 PM »

I'll start this post with a very important thing, that you might have observed already:
We understand each other as a greek man talking to a chinese man.
You know, the words I say and I use have a totally different meaning to you than they have to me.
And perhaps the same happens vice-versa (an exception is when I don't understand terms you use, at all).

I'll say now a brief description of how I understand things with faith & deeds & salvation:
  • Unlike you guys, I don't believe that we are 'born again'/'saved'/or whatever word you like, by a priest when we are babies. The only "salvation" that God offers is to conscious people (among other conditions). So a man (not a baby) can be saved in a period of his life, and not by the will of a man (e.g. a priest) and no man can prevent it.


Awesome!  We don't either!  The priest saves no one.  God saves.  Always.
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Now, I'm not quite sure what you mean by "a man (not a baby) can be saved in a period of his life, and not by the will of a man (e.g. a priest) and no man can prevent it."  That doesn't make sense to me.
Sorry, my mistake. I should have written "a man (not a baby) can be saved in a moment of his life, and not by the will of a man (e.g. a priest) and no man can prevent it"

My point was like this - I'll give now an explanation:
We have a country and a king in history: it is written in the chronicles that the king X built the chuch Y.
What does it mean? Does it mean that the king himself got to work gathering bricks and wood, and started to build himself?
No! It means that HE was the boss, the one in charge: He ORDERED the church to be built - if he didn't do that, that specific church would have not been built then, there. But because He DID ORDER, then the people (not himself) built it.

The same is with the priest and God: you put the priest as the "master" (king) and God as the "servant": if the priest does not baptize the child, then God does not save him = the child does not receive the Holy Spirit. But if the priest does baptize the child, then, AT HIS DOING (in that moment, because he did that) God saves the child (i.e. baptizes him with the Holy Spirit). It's the same as saying that the priest saves, because He is the master that commands God when, where and whom to receive the Holy Spirit, and if the priest does not do that, God can't do it himself, i.e. it all depends on the priest. And this theory of yours with the priest baptizing children to receive the Holy Spirit is also contrary - as I have said a long time ago - with John 1.13 ("by the will of a man").

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It sounds like you are denying babies can be saved, but surely you don't mean that.
I did mean that. But "saved" and "salvation" need to be discussed further, i.e. I don't mean that babies go to hell if they die as babies. They simply don't enter the process of salvation (when the regeneration occurs, etc.).

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  • The man "is saved" (i.e. enters the period/process of "salvation") because of faith - Galatians 3.14, John 3.15. He is "born again"/"saved"/"united with Christ" when he receives the Holy Spirit (also said, "baptzied/immersed with/in the Holy Spirit"). He enters the salvation because of "faith" (i.e. trust in God, besides the conviction that God exists (obviously), etc.), not because of deeds: no matter how many deeds you do, that will not make him enter "salvation", it requires faith for that (Romans 9.30-32) (and here babies fail too).

"Because of faith" and "through faith" are two quite different things.
I'm sorry about that, in my language "by" and "through" are translated with the same word, and it is a bit hard for me not to confuse them and to explain such a thing properly.
Anyway, is there this distinction in greek? I'm not certain about that (if you can, please check that). For instance, in Acts 3.16, "through" can also be translated as "by": http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=G1909&t=KJV&page=16

And I also found in Ephesians 2.8 "through" to be defined as:
http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1223&t=KJV

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I'd suggest you re-read not only Romans, but Ephesians.  We are saved "by grace," i.e., "because of grace."  We are saved THROUGH faith -- faith is the means by which we lay hold of the Gifts.  But faith is not the cause of salvation, lest faith become the one good work we have to do to be saved.  You say expressly that we do not have to do "deeds" to be saved, and yet you seem to turn faith into a deed.
No, actually "saved through faith" does not mean "being (i.e. continually) saved through faith". I'll explain below.

As about "faith being deed" you said. I guess there is an important thing I forgot to say in that summary (and perhaps I also got myself confused while talking about the subject, sorry for that)
Quote from: Eph 2.8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God
ok, which is the gift/grace of God?
From the verse I see that it is the faith.
Consider John 6.44: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him"
What does it mean to come to Christ? Doesn't it mean to come to believe in Him? And what does it mean that the Father draws him? What is this drawing to Christ? If coming to Christ means to come to believe in Him, then drawing him to Christ should mean the "faith" which is the gift of God: God gives faith = God makes a man [truly] believe in Jesus Christ. This is how God draws a man to Christ. And this "faith" is obviously not at all the same as the silly belief some have because their grandma told them that it is so, when they were little.

This is how the faith needed to be saved (i.e. to enter the process of salvation) is not a deed we do. Besides this faith, and after that, there is the trust in God (also a faith) which is on us to do: to continue to trust God, i.e. a man to entrust his life in His hands = to trust that his life is in God's hands and to fully agree with it being so and to trust that all he passes through is something allowed by God to happen or coming from God, to trust that He is active in his life, to trust that God is as He is described in the bible, e.g. that He doesn't lie, that He is good, etc.

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We receive the Holy Spirit at our chrismation, whether that occurs as an infant or as an adult.  
This is a discussion we also had before but didn't get to a resolution.

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  • Since the moment a man is "saved", he enters into a period of "salvation" that fortunately lasts until he dies (it depends on the man). If it lasts until he dies, he goes to heaven. If it doesn't, he goes to hell. The possibility to lose his "salvation" is if he 'rebels' against God and returns to his life of before. A man does not lose his salvation by a silly mistake or because he did not do enough deeds or because he did not struggle enough to do good deeds.

I'm not sure how to answer this.  Depending on what you mean hear, I might agree or I might disagree.  

I'm quite certain I disagree there is a "moment" a man is saved.  Salvation is a process.  It is not a moment in time.
I did mean that there is a moment a man is saved in. And I do believe you agree with me - it might be... terminology.
Explanation: if you have "salvation" as a process, then that process must have a beginning. And that beginning of the process is the "moment" the man is saved. I guess you understand that people are "saved" (i.e. the moment in which they enter the process of salvation) when they are baptized in water.

I hope it sounds more clear now.

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  • The "faith" (i.e. the true/authentic faith) gives itself birth to deeds. If one's faith does not give birth to deeds, then his faith is a dead faith (not an authentic/true faith). In other words, deeds are an effect of the true/authentic faith (i.e. trust in God). The "deeds" (i.e. the good deeds) are the effect of his faith (Philimon 1.6, as well as the events with Abraham and Rahab) & the Holy Spirit dwelling in him.

I don't entirely disagree with this, but I think it unnecessarily divides faith and works.  True faith reveals itself in works, and works teach us true faith.
Nowhere in the bible do you find that DEEDS give birth to FAITH. That is what you said by "works teach us true faith".
Do we both agree that "faith" is "trust" / "conviction"? (consider Hebrews 11.1)
If so, how can you say that by helping a poor you start to trust God? Or how can you say that by helping a poor an atheist starts to be convinced that God exists and that the Bible is true, etc.? Do you not see that works do not lead to faith?

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They are not, as you seem to make them, opposing forces, but rather they are dependent on one another.
I did not depict them as opposing forces. They are quite dependent on one another. Only that, the other way around: the deeds are dependent on faith, i.e. the faith gives birth to deeds, not the faith is dependent on deeds, i.e. not the deeds give birth to faith.

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There isn't a "faith first, then works" aspect to salvation.
I don't speak about different periods of time (in period X you have faith and in period Y deeds). I speak about cause-effect.

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We are saved by grace, through faith, and this not of ourselves, but it is the gift of God.  It is not of works, lest any man should boast.  This much is certainly true.
And this does not contradict what I said.

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But we are also saved to do the good works God has prepared in advance for us to do.
Find me the saying "saved to do works" in the Bible, as I fear you misused the term "saved" here. Notice also that Ephesians 2.10 does not say "saved to do ...".

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Read one verse more and you see that salvation is not "faith and not works," or "faith first, and then later works," but rather "faith which clings to the good works God has for us to do, and good works which teach us what true faith looks like."
As I said, it is the other way around:
not
"faith clings to the good works"
but
"good works cling to faith"

And Ephesians 2.10 does NOT say that works teach us what true faith is. You understand that good works give birth to faith, but it is not so.
And also please consider what "faith" truly means. If you agree that "faith" means trust/conviction then you must agree that no matter how many good works a man does, that would not bring him faith (trust/conviction) in God, etc.

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  • After a man enters the process/period of salvation, there is no need for him to (perhaps, also cannot) fear that he would afterwards go to hell because "he did not do enough deeds" -as it is not the deeds themselves that save him from hell: it is the abiding in Christ that ensures that he won't go to hell, and the abiding in Christ results in "good deeds" (it's about the vine and the branches).

I don't fear I will go to hell because I have not done enough deeds.  I fear I will go to hell because I haven't even begun to repent.
So, why do you not repent? Or what do you understand by repentance?

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And the more I try to do good works, fast, pray, give alms, etc., the more I realize I am utterly unworthy of salvation.
I also met a baptist young lady once. She was about 17 or 18 back then. She was desperately trying to do all kinds of good works so that she would not go to hell and was permanently fearing that she would not go to heaven. She was very depressed and was feeling utterly unworthy, feeling a kind of impediment for her from going heaven. I didn't know why she was depressed from her, her brother told me some long time after... very proud, considering this as a kind of virtue and as a test from God. He was with some friends of him, baptist youth from the same church. I tried to explain them that by/through faith we are saved, not by/through deeds, so that there is no need to panic or get depressed of going to hell because of not doing enough good deeds. They laughed.

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I trust God's mercy.  Trusting my pitiful works would be folly.  But the works serve quite a good purpose for my soul.  They teach me what unity with Christ looks like.
Good works do serve a good purpose, but not that which you say. Good works cannot teach what unity with Christ is. Unity either is - and you know it - or it is not.

I'll try to give an explanation as close as possible, perhaps it would help: you know God speaks about unity between man and woman, that they become one flesh. Imagine how it is when you are married and you love your wife from all your heart and she loves you from all her heart and you feel that you are united. You are a united family, desiring the same things, caring for one another, etc.. And imagine how a disunited family should look like, i.e. when one is cold to the other or both are cold to each other, because either one does not love the other, or neither of them loves the other. This disunity can also be felt, as unity can be felt. And no "work" can teach how unity should be when there isn't. And no work can make there be a unity.

Quote
Quote
  • In the period/process of salvation, the man is continually growing/being transformed into the likeness of God, by the Holy Spirit(2 Cor 3.18).

This is the sum total of what I have been trying to say -- salvation is not something that is a once-done deal.  It is us being drawn to God, closer and closer and closer.

But it DOES have a beginning (which is the moment when a person is "saved"). This is what I've been trying to say.
Orthodox people seem to claim that there is a process of salvation without a beginning ("it just is, don't ask since when or where!") and many or most protestants seem to claim that there is a certain moment and that that is the only thing there is. But there is both a moment (i.e. a beginning) and a process.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 09:03:39 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #92 on: June 21, 2011, 09:26:12 PM »

I checked the greek and you are right, the word "nature" isn't there, but it does say that "in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren" in the next verse.
Well, I tell you a thing he was not made like all his brethren: sinner (all men are sinners). The fact is that no human being is capable of resisting sin (at some points he would inevitably sin). And this weakness to sin was not shared by Jesus. So why should His nature itself be 'changed' (i.e. into two natures)? Now I use the word "nature" while not knowing what exactly to understand of it (nor of "two natures" - I personally cannot truly imagine someone with two natures, I can't have any idea how that should be like)

Quote
John 8:28 says that Christ "came forth from the Father, and am come into the world". So how do you explain that Christ both "came forth from the Father" and was in all things made like unto the brethren?
I understand that Jesus lived in a human body, human flesh, living the same feelings we live and suffering the same temptations (Heb 2.18), and also suffering pain.

I believe the main differences between man and God are that:
a) the man does not have "power" (like, supernatural power, inherent power), so omnipotence is also excluded.
b) the man is not omnipresent
c) the man is very limited in knowledge, reasoning, logic and any other mental capability
d) man is subject to God (which is quite related to point a), because it's based on power).

Consider also that Psalm 82.6 says "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High"
And consider that man was made in God's likeness (i.e. in similarity to God).

Quote
Christ is both divine and human. Our human nature isn't going to become anything other than human.
So, what is a human? How do you define a human? And what are the exact (specific, concrete, etc.) differences between "human nature" and "divine nature"? I have named some differences between man and God (from a) to d) ). Please do something like that yourself, regarding the human nature and the divine nature.
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« Reply #93 on: June 21, 2011, 10:05:21 PM »

I have said before that some of the people who so stridently accuse Orthodox Christians "trying to earn Salvation by doing good works" are some of the most works-based minds I have come across. I am referring to heavily pietistic groups who insist Christians can never:
-Drink; even in moderation
-wear certain clothes
-adopt certain hair styles
-dance
-listen to certain music
-get a tattoo
-wear jewelry

The list goes on.
They would have been quite right... if in the bible it would have been indeed written so.

Only that,
a) The Bible allows people to drink alcohol. It only prohibits them from getting drunk.

b) The Bible allows people to wear fashionable clothes and adopt certain hair styles (well, there is no place in the bible where such a thing is prohibited). However, if you mean indecent clothes (i.e. a woman to be dressed very summary, in transparent clothes), I think that is forbidden.

c) Dance... another stupid prohibition. Some people believe that having fun is sin and that God asks us a permanent sobriety. Again, not forbidden in the Bible.

d) Regarding listening certain music... well, I don't think listening to music that mocks and insults Jesus Christ and God are the music fit for a christian. Regarding other 'worldy' music where the artists swear or sing about having sex or about sadistic scenarios, protestants seem to use Colossians 3.17. But in very many verses it can be noticed that "all" and other words alike are not being used in absolutist meanings (i.e. as in the 10 disasters which God stroke Egypt with, it is said that all grass was destroyed, and further what happened to the grass that remained, because "all" meant there something like "as the whole", and not the absolutist "each and every individual piece of grass"), and by the context we can figure out that feeling depressed and crying or things like that do not fit in Colossians 3.17.

e) The tattoo seems to be forbidden (Leviticus 19.28). However, if you are interested, here is a thing I have just found.

f) Wearing jewelry itself is not a sin. Consider Ezekiel 16.10-14, God says that He did that to Israel, Israel being represented as a woman. Now if that thing had been a sin, why would have God done it? The problem is with things described in Isaiah 3.16 and 1 Peter 3.1-6 - in these verses, the problem is not being dressed good or made to look beautiful, but the attitude and intention beyond it. 1 Peter 3.1-6 says that a woman's focus must be on being a good person, instead of having her focus to looks (i.e. the looks must not be the primary concern of the woman).

Quote
I have said before that some of the people who so stridently accuse Orthodox Christians "trying to earn Salvation by doing good works" are some of the most works-based minds I have come across.
Quote
Of course the response would be "but we are not trying to earn anything, we are just following Biblical commandments because of our faith." Well, as Orthodox Christians we basically say the same thing.
The problem is not having a strong devotion to follow the commandments. The problem is not understanding the Bible properly and following commandments understood wrongly in a fanatical way (which is not following the commandments).

Quote
Except we do not draw up some false parameters, as Faith is known not to be some neatly compartmentalized, vapid, pseudo-intellectual, mindset. Rather Faith is a dynamic that moves.
Now I can't imagine a "trust" or firm "conviction" that moves, sorry. Or perhaps you tell me what you understand of "faith". I understand faith something like what it's said in Hebrews 11.1, namely a conviction [of something that cannot be seen to be so], a trust.
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« Reply #94 on: June 21, 2011, 11:12:24 PM »

P.S. It seems it passed too much time while I was re-editing and couldn't save it. So I had to write a new post to add this.

Quote
I have said before that some of the people who so stridently accuse Orthodox Christians "trying to earn Salvation by doing good works" are some of the most works-based minds I have come across.
Quote
Of course the response would be "but we are not trying to earn anything, we are just following Biblical commandments because of our faith." Well, as Orthodox Christians we basically say the same thing.
The problem is not having a strong devotion to follow the commandments. The problem is not understanding the Bible properly and following commandments understood wrongly in a fanatical way (which is not following the commandments).

Now, many devout protestants do act in the same way, i.e. they are driven by their 'need' to follow the commandments, as strictly as possible (or, doing good deeds, as much as they can) so that they would earn by them God's mercy (and thus, escape the fear of uncertainty where they'd go after they die). But this itself is "salvation through works". And as a defense, they say something like "Ah, but we already have faith! Now works are the focus!", but it's still the same thing: "salvation through works".

I'll try to explain better, hopefully this would make it clearer:
a) The "salvation" God offers includes, forgiveness of sins, and the forgiveness of sins makes a man feel cleansed of his sins, Heb 10.2-4.

b) While living in "salvation", the man is already "at safe", he is not in a danger of going to hell if he doesn't do "enough good deeds" or something. He is simply following God's commandments out of love (not out of fear) John 15.10, because he desires to obey God's commandments (which is different than following them out of fear of hell) and he agrees with them. The man wants to obey God because he simply wants to do so, not due to fear of punishment (consider Romans 8.15 and 2 Tim 1.7 which talk about that fear) - the Holy Spirit causes that fear not to be.

c) Faith should be the one that causes the deeds to happen, not vice-versa. You don't "make" or "strengthen" true faith by deeds. It either is (and produces fruits) or it is not. Our trust in God (seek "trust in God" in the above posts of mine to understand what I mean of it) and conviction of how God is and what He desires of us makes us desire to be the way He wants us to be. You know, if you trust God and desire to please Him, and He teaches you and asks you to care for people, and you see a man in a big troubles whom you can help, you don't do it out of "responsibility" as of something you are "being forced" to do by God, but out of desire to do "good" and to do something that God desires you to do (and you enjoy doing that thing He desires you to do). On the other hand, an atheist, for instance, does not believe/trust in God (obviously) so he is not looking to please Him, so there is no "faith" to cause him to desire to obey God's commandments. The trust in God and conviction of a man regarding how God is and what He desires from him causes him to be in a certain way.

Hopefully that helps. I'm a bit tired right now, so I hope it's clear.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 11:17:19 PM by Zenith » Logged
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« Reply #95 on: June 22, 2011, 05:58:38 AM »

My point, as you seem to realize, was that Obsessive Compulsive following of commandments is works based. Ultimately I was trying to illustrate that many people who flippantly point fingers and say "you 're trying to earn..." need to look at themselves and their own groups' overall mentality.

Faith is a dynamic, including belief, but not limited to it.
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« Reply #96 on: June 22, 2011, 09:21:50 AM »

So, what is a human? How do you define a human? And what are the exact (specific, concrete, etc.) differences between "human nature" and "divine nature"? I have named some differences between man and God (from a) to d) ). Please do something like that yourself, regarding the human nature and the divine nature.

To be human is to be what God created us to be when He made us.

To be human is to be made in the image and likeness of God, having a spiritual soul and a physical body, exercising dominion over creation, as the crowning acheivement of God's creation, tieing all of creation together. We are meant to worship and glorify God in fellowship with Him.

He did not make us for the purpose of sin. While all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, this is not what He made us for. Also, there was a point in time before sin was associated with mankind, so to be human does not require a necessity to sin, even though all are held captive by it.

Sin actually stops us from being human. It is in Him we live and move and have our being, and as we seperate ourselves from Him who is the source of any and all life, we stop living, stop moving, and stop being.

God brought all things from non-existence into being, and sin seeks to undo that, that is bring us from being into non-existence. Sin tarnishes and disfigures the image and likeness in which we were created. Sin seperates us from God, taking away the source of our life. This results in both spiritual and physical sickness and death. Sin caused us to go from being caretakers of creation and receiveing our life from God to working the ground in the sweat of our brow for our food and receiving thorns form it in return. As we fell, creation fell through us and still waits to be renewed through our renewal in Christ at the end of time.

God is our creator, The Father who exists co-equally and eternally with His Word and Spirit. God is uncreated, infinite, and as creator, not bound by the limitations of creation. He is the one that made all things that are made and without Him there was nothing made that was made. It is in Him that we live and move and have our being.

Being removed from the source of our life and the One Who we are modeled after, we have no way of fixing what we have broken. You can not get life out of death. The only way you can get life out of death is to insert Life Himself into death, rendering death powerless and broken. God's co-eternal Word, being the express image of hte Father, took everything properly belonging to our nature onto Himself, and while never falling to temptation, took onto His person all of our weaknesses and infirmities up to and including death on the cross, so that He may restore the image in us who are modeled after Him. Being life itself and having never fallen to temptation, death (the final consequence of sin) could not hold Him and has no Power over Him. Having endured all things and been raised up from death in power and glory, He offer us participation in His life through His resurrection.

If Christ did not possess all things pertaining to the divine nature, he would have no power to save us. If Christ was not made like us in all ways except for sin enduring all of our infirmities up to and including death and then healing all things in Himself through His resurrection as a man as one of us, then we would not be able to participate in the life that He offers.
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« Reply #97 on: June 22, 2011, 02:52:10 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

We've discussed it before, but I think its appropriate to refresh, there is simply an ontological difference between the Orthodox and Protestant concepts of Salvation, and in truth, they are quite irreconcilable.

In Protestantism Salvation is a kind of adverb, almost a description of a potential state of being in which God saves us from our Sins.  But this is a rather shallow interpretation of Sin and Salvation, as it failed to explain why Sin continues to sting us after we receive Salvation? Basically, by this ontology, Protestant salvation is merely temporal, vapid, transitive, and subject to the illusory stability of human free-will and the power of intention.  How could God's salvation be so almost trivial?

Orthodox ontology of Salvation is quite difference, it is not a a state of being, it is a process of becoming.  We do not loose the Salvation we have gained when we fall short and Sin again, rather that Salvation continues with us to repair the continual damages on the human mind and heart caused by the wages of Sin.  Sin will continue, but as Apostle Paul explains, "where Sin abounds, Grace super-exceeds."

In Orthodox Sin is the result of our fragmented and fractured condition caused by the almost physical separation from our thinking minds and our soulful hearts.  The heart is the still place where we experience God, indeed where we experience all of reality.  The mind is the place of our imaginations where we store, process, analyze, remember, forget, fantasize, reject, or experience the thoughts to describe the experiences of our hearts.  But since the Fall this is a Gulf between the two, and so our fractured and flawed minds are running the show of our lives.  However the mind does not have enough strength of character to run our lives as complicated as they are, rather we need our hearts to better ourselves.  So how can we overcome this gulf? Through the act of Salvation as we receive it in the Divine Mysteries, starting at Baptism and Chrismation, continuing in our lives through Reconciliation and Holy Communion, perhaps in getting Married, always under the help of our Ordained Clergy, and if we fall into a deep enough illness, through Unction.  

These are Orthodox Salvation and it is radically different from the Protestant both in conception and in action.  Protestants sort of have to "earn" or "work" for Salvation and essentially when they fall into Sin and loose Salvation (from their perspectives that is, in Orthodox we never loose anything eternal) it is because of a lack of effort on their individual part.  Sin is not necessarily the result of a lack of determined effort of our free-will, rather it is almost an instinctive or reflex action of the fractured state of our minds and hearts.  So we obtain Salvation by allowing God, through the Divine Mysteries and prayerful effort, to heal the separation and to reconnect our minds and hearts, that we might find Him where He always was, ever-present in our midst.  

Salvation in Orthodox as has been explained before, is a healing process.  It is continuous as long as we live in these fractured earthly bodies, and as long as we are brought into Sin by our human condition, God will grant us Salvation.  Yes, true, we have to respond, accept, and embrace this gift of Salvation, but it is NEVER a result of our intention, effort, or free-will, rather its always in the operative Grace of God.


In Protestantism, Salvation is a state of being which really can never be obtained in actuality because Sin continues and makes it void, where as in Orthodox Salvation is a becoming, and like climbing up steep steps, you never lose ground covered simply because the strenuousness of the climb.  Sin is the climbing of the steps, more like the feeling of heaviness and weight which slows us down as we climb, but Salvation in God is the Grace to climb each step, step by step, day by day, steadily ascending Jacob's Latter towards Apotheosis.

Stay Blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #98 on: July 17, 2011, 10:08:29 PM »

I'll start this post with a very important thing, that you might have observed already:
We understand each other as a greek man talking to a chinese man.
You know, the words I say and I use have a totally different meaning to you than they have to me.
And perhaps the same happens vice-versa (an exception is when I don't understand terms you use, at all).

Zenith, please forgive me for not getting back sooner.  I've been quite busy lately, and I fear because of that I must bow out of the discussion at this point.

I quoted the above because in large part I believe it to be true.  It is an unfortunate fact with Orthodoxy that we define terms differently from most Western Christians, and specifically most Protestants.  This was a stumbling block for me on my way into the Church -- I was Lutheran, and my biggest concern was I didn't believe the Scriptures teach that you can earn your own salvation.  I was fortunate to have some very good friends explain Orthodox soteriology to me such that I was able to understand we don't teach that at all.  We definitely teach a different "road" if you will, but at the end of that road we are not all that far removed from Lutherans at least.  We don't believe we save ourselves by our good works.  After everything that has been said here, I'm not sure I'm capable of making that point any more clearly than I already have, so I'm going to leave it to the rest.  I enjoyed the discussion.
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« Reply #99 on: July 18, 2011, 06:34:46 AM »

I'll start this post with a very important thing, that you might have observed already:
We understand each other as a greek man talking to a chinese man.
You know, the words I say and I use have a totally different meaning to you than they have to me.
And perhaps the same happens vice-versa (an exception is when I don't understand terms you use, at all).

Zenith, please forgive me for not getting back sooner.  I've been quite busy lately, and I fear because of that I must bow out of the discussion at this point.

I quoted the above because in large part I believe it to be true.  It is an unfortunate fact with Orthodoxy that we define terms differently from most Western Christians, and specifically most Protestants.  This was a stumbling block for me on my way into the Church -- I was Lutheran, and my biggest concern was I didn't believe the Scriptures teach that you can earn your own salvation.  I was fortunate to have some very good friends explain Orthodox soteriology to me such that I was able to understand we don't teach that at all.  We definitely teach a different "road" if you will, but at the end of that road we are not all that far removed from Lutherans at least.  We don't believe we save ourselves by our good works.  After everything that has been said here, I'm not sure I'm capable of making that point any more clearly than I already have, so I'm going to leave it to the rest.  I enjoyed the discussion.

     David,

     I have found that some Protestants (I am not necessarily referring to Zenith, here) don't want to hear it. They are only too happy to believe that Orthodox Christians are guilty of the falsehoods they accuse us of, and have no ears to hear when we explain these points.
     Maybe I am to easy to convince, nut to me one thing that seemed to negate these accusations was the fact that many Protestant converts were were devout Protestants indeed. Therefore they had to be sure that the Church did not teach the truly un-Biblical doctrine of "earning by good works". Had those Protestants initial concerns been justified, we would have run as quickly as we came. Happily I found, like many of my converts be fore me, that this accusation is nothing but error at best and false witness at worst.
     In Christ,
     Ian
   
     P.S. As David said, I am going to be very busy for the next two weeks, and probably will not have time to to engage. However I will try according to the time and ability God gives me.
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« Reply #100 on: July 18, 2011, 08:11:56 AM »

I'll start this post with a very important thing, that you might have observed already:
We understand each other as a greek man talking to a chinese man.
You know, the words I say and I use have a totally different meaning to you than they have to me.
And perhaps the same happens vice-versa (an exception is when I don't understand terms you use, at all).

Zenith, please forgive me for not getting back sooner.  I've been quite busy lately, and I fear because of that I must bow out of the discussion at this point.

I quoted the above because in large part I believe it to be true.  It is an unfortunate fact with Orthodoxy that we define terms differently from most Western Christians, and specifically most Protestants.  This was a stumbling block for me on my way into the Church -- I was Lutheran, and my biggest concern was I didn't believe the Scriptures teach that you can earn your own salvation.  I was fortunate to have some very good friends explain Orthodox soteriology to me such that I was able to understand we don't teach that at all.  We definitely teach a different "road" if you will, but at the end of that road we are not all that far removed from Lutherans at least.  We don't believe we save ourselves by our good works.  After everything that has been said here, I'm not sure I'm capable of making that point any more clearly than I already have, so I'm going to leave it to the rest.  I enjoyed the discussion.

     David,

     I have found that some Protestants (I am not necessarily referring to Zenith, here) don't want to hear it. They are only too happy to believe that Orthodox Christians are guilty of the falsehoods they accuse us of, and have no ears to hear when we explain these points.
     Maybe I am to easy to convince, nut to me one thing that seemed to negate these accusations was the fact that many Protestant converts were were devout Protestants indeed. Therefore they had to be sure that the Church did not teach the truly un-Biblical doctrine of "earning by good works". Had those Protestants initial concerns been justified, we would have run as quickly as we came. Happily I found, like many of my converts be fore me, that this accusation is nothing but error at best and false witness at worst.
     In Christ,
     Ian
   
     P.S. As David said, I am going to be very busy for the next two weeks, and probably will not have time to to engage. However I will try according to the time and ability God gives me.

That was no small comfort to me as well.  In the circles I run in, those who convert to Orthodoxy typically get the "he abandoned the Gospel" spiel.  For us, I knew some of the men who converted, most of them Lutheran Pastors.  In some cases, I could see some romantic tendencies toward the East so that argument was a tad more convincing, but in others, we had solid Lutherans who were just sick and tired of novelty and watered down Protestantism.  And in those latter cases, it was pretty easy for me to look at them and say "I just find it hard to believe that they 'abandoned the Gospel' in order to embrace a life of works-righteousness and self-salvation so they could have a pretty liturgy.'"  I combined that with our own observation, and pretty soon I realized it fell to semantics.  We say things that Lutherans wouldn't say, but we mean by them very different things than Lutherans are afraid of.  "Free will" for example -- in Orthodoxy our "free" will is imprisoned by sin, weakened by our corrupted nature such that we can want to do good but are utterly incapable of actually doing good -- that doesn't sound quite as "free" as one would have thought, and in fact we believe that even with "free will" we require grace in order to choose and do the good.  Or, speaking of which, grace -- in Orthodoxy grace is not the unmerited favor of God, but rather the operation of God.  Grace is not something God gives in His disposition, but a way God interacts with my person.  Or "salvation" -- most Lutherans view "salvation" as equivalent to "justification" (as opposed to "sanctification").  Orthodox view salvation as encompassing justification, sanctification, glorification, etc. without dividing it all up so finely. 

So if an Orthodox were to say to me "we are saved by grace when we use our free will to believe the Gospel and do good works" (we would never say it that way, but go with me here), what I would have heard as a Lutheran would horrify me, but what the Orthodox means is quite different.  The best way to know what we believe is come to our liturgy.  When I was Lutheran, I heard that as bait and switch -- if they can just get me to their beautiful liturgy, I'll fall in love with it and forget all about "the Gospel."  Because that's what I had been told.  But now, having been Orthodox quite a while de facto (and over 6 months officially), I look back and realize we thought the Eastern chant in the liturgy was weird, and we were put off by "Most Holy Theotokos, save us," etc.  There's no bait and switch -- if anything, the Orthodox don't go to any real pains to hide what they believe.  What you see is what you get, like it or not.  But it is true that you cannot know Orthodoxy from reading a book about it.  You have to go observe how the Christian life is lived out in the piety of the parishioners and the liturgy of the Church and the prayers of the Church.  It really is that simple.
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« Reply #101 on: July 18, 2011, 03:43:36 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I'll start this post with a very important thing, that you might have observed already:
We understand each other as a greek man talking to a chinese man.
You know, the words I say and I use have a totally different meaning to you than they have to me.
And perhaps the same happens vice-versa (an exception is when I don't understand terms you use, at all).

Zenith, please forgive me for not getting back sooner.  I've been quite busy lately, and I fear because of that I must bow out of the discussion at this point.

I quoted the above because in large part I believe it to be true.  It is an unfortunate fact with Orthodoxy that we define terms differently from most Western Christians, and specifically most Protestants.  This was a stumbling block for me on my way into the Church -- I was Lutheran, and my biggest concern was I didn't believe the Scriptures teach that you can earn your own salvation.  I was fortunate to have some very good friends explain Orthodox soteriology to me such that I was able to understand we don't teach that at all.  We definitely teach a different "road" if you will, but at the end of that road we are not all that far removed from Lutherans at least.  We don't believe we save ourselves by our good works.  After everything that has been said here, I'm not sure I'm capable of making that point any more clearly than I already have, so I'm going to leave it to the rest.  I enjoyed the discussion.

     David,

     I have found that some Protestants (I am not necessarily referring to Zenith, here) don't want to hear it. They are only too happy to believe that Orthodox Christians are guilty of the falsehoods they accuse us of, and have no ears to hear when we explain these points.
     Maybe I am to easy to convince, nut to me one thing that seemed to negate these accusations was the fact that many Protestant converts were were devout Protestants indeed. Therefore they had to be sure that the Church did not teach the truly un-Biblical doctrine of "earning by good works". Had those Protestants initial concerns been justified, we would have run as quickly as we came. Happily I found, like many of my converts be fore me, that this accusation is nothing but error at best and false witness at worst.
     In Christ,
     Ian
   
     P.S. As David said, I am going to be very busy for the next two weeks, and probably will not have time to to engage. However I will try according to the time and ability God gives me.

That was no small comfort to me as well.  In the circles I run in, those who convert to Orthodoxy typically get the "he abandoned the Gospel" spiel.  For us, I knew some of the men who converted, most of them Lutheran Pastors.  In some cases, I could see some romantic tendencies toward the East so that argument was a tad more convincing, but in others, we had solid Lutherans who were just sick and tired of novelty and watered down Protestantism.  And in those latter cases, it was pretty easy for me to look at them and say "I just find it hard to believe that they 'abandoned the Gospel' in order to embrace a life of works-righteousness and self-salvation so they could have a pretty liturgy.'"  I combined that with our own observation, and pretty soon I realized it fell to semantics.  We say things that Lutherans wouldn't say, but we mean by them very different things than Lutherans are afraid of.  "Free will" for example -- in Orthodoxy our "free" will is imprisoned by sin, weakened by our corrupted nature such that we can want to do good but are utterly incapable of actually doing good -- that doesn't sound quite as "free" as one would have thought, and in fact we believe that even with "free will" we require grace in order to choose and do the good.  Or, speaking of which, grace -- in Orthodoxy grace is not the unmerited favor of God, but rather the operation of God.  Grace is not something God gives in His disposition, but a way God interacts with my person.  Or "salvation" -- most Lutherans view "salvation" as equivalent to "justification" (as opposed to "sanctification").  Orthodox view salvation as encompassing justification, sanctification, glorification, etc. without dividing it all up so finely. 

So if an Orthodox were to say to me "we are saved by grace when we use our free will to believe the Gospel and do good works" (we would never say it that way, but go with me here), what I would have heard as a Lutheran would horrify me, but what the Orthodox means is quite different.  The best way to know what we believe is come to our liturgy.  When I was Lutheran, I heard that as bait and switch -- if they can just get me to their beautiful liturgy, I'll fall in love with it and forget all about "the Gospel."  Because that's what I had been told.  But now, having been Orthodox quite a while de facto (and over 6 months officially), I look back and realize we thought the Eastern chant in the liturgy was weird, and we were put off by "Most Holy Theotokos, save us," etc.  There's no bait and switch -- if anything, the Orthodox don't go to any real pains to hide what they believe.  What you see is what you get, like it or not.  But it is true that you cannot know Orthodoxy from reading a book about it.  You have to go observe how the Christian life is lived out in the piety of the parishioners and the liturgy of the Church and the prayers of the Church.  It really is that simple.



stay blessed,
habte selassie
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"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
Zenith
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« Reply #102 on: July 19, 2011, 12:57:07 AM »

My point, as you seem to realize, was that Obsessive Compulsive following of commandments is works based. Ultimately I was trying to illustrate that many people who flippantly point fingers and say "you 're trying to earn..." need to look at themselves and their own groups' overall mentality.

You're right with this one. The fact is that many (if not most) protestants do believe in a "salvation by works" theory. The mentality is like this:
"salvation by faith" BUT "faith without deeds is dead" AND "we already have faith" => "we have to obsessively focus on deeds". But they still call it "salvation by faith".

The other extreme is "we need only to believe" (a superficial belief) where people don't strive to be good, but any evil thing(sin) they do (intentionally or unintentionally), they say "God forgives. (because He is good and kind)." And emphasize a very kind God, who is not just, nor fair, and so they state that themselves do not deserve anything, trusting that God, in His utmost love, does everything for them (so they afford not to care about anything and be as irresponsible as they can). And I've heard in a church the people singing how saints and special they are, but not because anything that they did or something, but only because God elected them (them specifically) before the foundation of the world, while many of them are arrogant, some even drunkards, adulterers, etc. And they enjoy a lot the idea of a God who has utmost kindness and love and who simply forgives them for everything they do, and who gives them all they wish.



My personal view on this issue is as follows:
God asked of people to be good and do good things and not to do evil all the time - and this you can see from Genesis up to Revelation (God rebukes people because of their evil deeds, asks them to do good deeds, etc.). Even Jesus Christ says that God will judge people according to their own deeds (Paul also says that in Romans, etc.). The truth is that God does ask things of people and rewards them according to how and what they did - and even in the New Testament you can find more demands for deeds (how to behave, what to do, etc.) than demands for faith. And also the Bible talks about a man, that he must be worthy for the kingdom of heaven (e.g. 2 Thessalonians 1.5 - I've also brought other verses in earlier times).

A great problem is the understanding of the word "salvation" around all these things revolve. I understand "salvation", in a few words, as a state that beings with the receiving of the Holy Spirit and which gives an assurance of the eternal life. And this salvation is not received (i.e. you do not enter this state of salvation by) doing specific deeds, but by faith (the conviction of the existence of God and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the trust in Him). And this faith required for entering salvation is not an easy believism (e.g. grandma told me, I trust my grandma=> God exists) or auto-suggestion. Instead, this faith is given by God (the drawing of John 6.44; we also have Acts 13.48, etc.). But God does not give this faith randomly to people (i.e. to elect some to inherit the eternal life and others to suffer in hell, based on no judgment, nothing, just random - this would have been injustice and an utmost lack of love/kindness of God). And this judgment on whom to receive the faith in and salvation of God is based, as I understand, on the 'heart' of man - it's not the deeds themselves that a man did or does (for which many of them might have been due to lack of knowledge or indoctrination, others may be realized and regretted now), but the interest/desire of the man to do good and to keep himself from doing evil.

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Faith is a dynamic, including belief, but not limited to it.
Then I'd enjoy if you give me a definition of "faith" because "faith is a dynamic" sounds to me like "trust is a thing that moves".

Quote from: HabteSelassie
We've discussed it before, but I think its appropriate to refresh, there is simply an ontological difference between the Orthodox and Protestant concepts of Salvation, and in truth, they are quite irreconcilable.

In Protestantism Salvation is a kind of adverb, almost a description of a potential state of being in which God saves us from our Sins.  But this is a rather shallow interpretation of Sin and Salvation, as it failed to explain why Sin continues to sting us after we receive Salvation? Basically, by this ontology, Protestant salvation is merely temporal, vapid, transitive, and subject to the illusory stability of human free-will and the power of intention.  How could God's salvation be so almost trivial?

I didn't study many protestant religions to see how many believe what. Second off, I don't know what protestant religion is more close to my views, including in the salvation issue (and as I am a heretical christian, I do not actually care which, if any). So, here, I will not compare the orthodox view on salvation with the protestant views, but instead I'll compare the orthodox view on salvation with my own view of salvation.

ok, and here is my answers to your statements:
Romans 7.25-8.1 clearly says that people are not saved from their sins (i.e. people to be turned by a hocus-pocus into perfect beings). Instead, in this state of salvation he is progressing, as time passes, into becoming a better person, with more qualities and less flaws and in leaving sins he used to do (e.g. finally ending it with getting drunk, fornicating, and other great sins) though he would never be able to leave all the 'lesser' sins (e.g. not caring when he should have, lying, making somebody feel bad, etc. which inevitably happen no matter how much you strive not to do them, and many of them just slip there and you don't even notice that you did them).

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Orthodox ontology of Salvation is quite difference, it is not a a state of being, it is a process of becoming.  We do not loose the Salvation we have gained when we fall short and Sin again, rather that Salvation continues with us to repair the continual damages on the human mind and heart caused by the wages of Sin.  Sin will continue, but as Apostle Paul explains, "where Sin abounds, Grace super-exceeds."

Nonetheless, sin must be seen as it is: evil. And according to the progression I specified, one who finally 'conquers' the sin of fornication and later gets married and commits adultery (when he did not fall to a too great temptation, but instead could have easily resisted temptation) then that's an intentional sin, an intentional defiance of God (he did not fall to a temptation that was too great for him), a rebellion against God, sin for which there is no forgiveness (Hebr 10.26-29). And I also believe that this "repair" which you said can happen only if the man wants to overcome those evil things because he wants to be as God wants him to be like.

Quote
God will grant us Salvation.  Yes, true, we have to respond, accept, and embrace this gift of Salvation, but it is NEVER a result of our intention, effort, or free-will, rather its always in the operative Grace of God.
This sounds like: "You need to do X, but it is not you who does X, because it is actually God's only decree that makes it happen", in other words, self-contradictory. You can't be asked to do something that God Himself does.

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In Protestantism, Salvation is a state of being which really can never be obtained in actuality because Sin continues and makes it void, where as in Orthodox Salvation is a becoming, and like climbing up steep steps, you never lose ground covered simply because the strenuousness of the climb.  Sin is the climbing of the steps, more like the feeling of heaviness and weight which slows us down as we climb, but Salvation in God is the Grace to climb each step, step by step, day by day, steadily ascending Jacob's Latter towards Apotheosis.

I hope you see this progress in real life (i.e. becoming a better person as time goes on). Because if it is only a theory, then it means nothing.



Quote from: David Garner
Zenith, please forgive me for not getting back sooner.  I've been quite busy lately, and I fear because of that I must bow out of the discussion at this point.
Don't worry, I'm also very busy. I might miss a few months or more from time to time. But I'm not going to delete the account on this forum, so it's ok (if I receive a new message after 12 months I can reply to it, and I myself may have such pauses).

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I quoted the above because in large part I believe it to be true.  It is an unfortunate fact with Orthodoxy that we define terms differently from most Western Christians, and specifically most Protestants.
Unfortunately, this happens mostly, and not only in orthdodox-protestant discussions. I myself have different views from many (or most) protestants. Word X means to a person one thing, to other person something else, etc. so the communication is many times hard. But I do believe that there are some reasons for this (like, misunderstanding or twisting the meanings of the words; or one taking something literal while other metaphorical; or one having an entire philosophy, born 1000+ years ago, in which somebody of the past had put inventions from his own mind, etc.)



Quote from: sprtslvr1973
Therefore they had to be sure that the Church did not teach the truly un-Biblical doctrine of "earning by good works".
Nonetheless, I do believe that the bible teaches man's worthiness for the kingdom of heaven (though, as I said, it's not about specific good deeds that must be done or specific evil deeds that must not be done). And I believe that It is only fair, if the thing that makes one go to heaven and other to go to hell, is man's worthiness, rather than a random baseless choice of God.



Quote from: David Garner
"Free will" for example -- in Orthodoxy our "free" will is imprisoned by sin, weakened by our corrupted nature such that we can want to do good but are utterly incapable of actually doing good -- that doesn't sound quite as "free" as one would have thought
This thing is found in Romans 7.14-24, so I agree with you here.

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and in fact we believe that even with "free will" we require grace in order to choose and do the good.
depends on what exactly you mean here.

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Or, speaking of which, grace -- in Orthodoxy grace is not the unmerited favor of God, but rather the operation of God.  Grace is not something God gives in His disposition, but a way God interacts with my person.
Is there a way we can check which meaning is correct and which is wrong? (like a koine greek lexicon or something). You know, we can't just be happy saying "cow" means to you "horse" while to me it means "airplane". It's only that. But you can interpret things the way you want!
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