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Author Topic: Protestant Response to "Is Salvation a 'Free' gift?"  (Read 6324 times) Average Rating: 0
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Zenith
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« Reply #45 on: January 19, 2011, 10:03:59 PM »

To xariskai, post #31:

Quote
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.

Quote
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
Zenith
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« Reply #46 on: January 19, 2011, 11:52:52 PM »

To Melodist, post #33:

Quote
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:
Quote
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:
Quote
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:
Quote
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.

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:
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.).

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.

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.

Quote
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. 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:
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.

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!

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.

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).
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 11:54:16 PM by Zenith » Logged
Zenith
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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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NicholasMyra
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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

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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.
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« Reply #49 on: January 20, 2011, 02:15:15 PM »

To Melodist, post #33:

Quote
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.

Quote
You said:
Quote
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:
Quote
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.

Quote
Then you said:
Quote
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.

Quote
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?

Quote
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?

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Made Perfect in Weakness - Latest Post: The Son of God
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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!
Quote
Quote
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.

Quote
REGARDING THE EATING THE FLESH AND DRINKING THE BLOOD OF THE SON OF MAN
Quote
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.

Quote
Quote
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:
Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

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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!

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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
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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.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 04:08:45 AM by Zenith » Logged
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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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No confession which contradicts scripture can be true.
No Orthodox confession contradicts scripture.
Are you so certain?

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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.

"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.

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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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David Garner
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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:
Quote
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:
Quote
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)

Quote
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:
Quote
"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:
Quote
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?

Quote
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

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.
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:
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.
and
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.
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).

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.
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« Reply #69 on: April 16, 2011, 08:29:03 PM »

TOPIC: CHRIST'S NATURE
Quote
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?

Quote
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.

Quote
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.



Post modified to remove use of forbidden "M" label  -PtA
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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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Quote
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.

Quote
Quote
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.

Quote
Quote
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 »

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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).

Quote
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.

Quote
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".

Quote
 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.

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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
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

Quote
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.


@Doubting Thomas
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. 

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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.

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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.

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.

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

Quote
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.

Made Perfect in Weakness - Latest Post: The Son of God
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"Behold I stand at the Door and Knock" Rev. 3:20


« 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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"Into thy hands I commend my spirit"- Luke 23:46
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” - Mark 9:24
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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,
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
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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
Zenith
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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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