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Author Topic: Surprised by Damnation?  (Read 3203 times) Average Rating: 0
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Volnutt
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« on: June 07, 2011, 05:47:27 PM »

As Methodist Ben Witherington III puts it,

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The New Testament suggests that one is not eternally secure until one is securely in eternity. Short of that, there is the possibility of apostasy or rebellion against God by one who has believed in Christ. Apostasy, however, is not to be confused with the notion of accidentally or unconsciously "falling away." Apostasy is a conscious, wilful rebellion against God ... Unless one commits such an act of apostasy or rebellion, one need not worry about one's salvation, for God has a firm grip on the believer.

I can deal with this kind of lack of security and it seems like some Orthodox, at least, do acknowledge a form of "assurance that I am being saved." But it seems like the Orthodox interpretation of Matthew 7 indicates that one can go their whole life thinking they are in the Grace of God, but finally arriving at the Judgment and being shocked at being turned away. That no matter how much one desires God and repents in this life, one can still be "not quite cooperating enough" and still be ultimately damned? Is this correct?
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2011, 07:03:04 PM »

I would say that OF COURSE someone can think throughout their whole life they will see heaven when they die, only to see hell.  Haven't you ever seen some of the people who go around screaming about how sinful everyone else is and how they are going to hell?  Or people who, like the Pastor of Westboro Baptist Church, are full of hate while at the same time being absolutely certain beyond all shadow of a doubt that they are saved?  Just being certain of salvation in no way means you are going to be saved, just as being certain of being hired by that company you just had an interview with in no way means you are getting hired.  Some people will have done everything perfectly in the interview and on the application and might meet all the requirements, yet be uncertain that they are getting the job, because they are humble.  One the other hand, someone might not even have filled out the entire application, might have written in the one color they expressly said not to write in, and might have dropped out of school in the sixth grade but still decided to apply for Chief of Police of Los Angeles, and have thrown up on the interviewer, spilled his coffee on the ivory rug, and knoced his fancy Apple laptop over the desk and broken it - yet have thought he was a lock for the job.  Just because we are certain we've done good, doesn't mean we have.

Note: I am not declaing the WBC Pastor to be damned, I am merely suggesting that he is not living exactly what might be called a saintly life.
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2011, 07:51:48 PM »

I think this is particularly troublesome for Protestants, who generally seem to relegate salvation to a status, or declaration of "not guilty" before the courts of Heaven, the main proof of which is "correct belief," as opposed to something that genuinely involves the whole person, and is an actual ontological reality.

The former takes a line of reasoning like this: "Boy, I sure hope when death comes knocking that I'm stilling mentally agreeing with the factual truths of the Christian faith, namely that as long as I believe in Jesus (whatever that happens to mean) that I have been declared not guilty and thus have no reason to fear the penalty of a guilty status." It's almost as if it's a race against time, where the goal is to "believe" until you die, before the buzzer goes off on your life, and God unscrews your head and looks deep into your brain to make sure you really believed Jesus to be the Way, Truth and Life.

The latter, however, (what one might call the Orthodox understanding, or the truly Apostolic understanding) is a synergistic relationship between the human creature and God, wherein we physically and spiritually participate in God's energies (grace), through the Sacraments (primarily the Eucharist), actually reaping the tangible results of that saving experience. And in this inter-relationship, we are both physically and spiritually redeemed from death, to the point where our Saint's actual bodies often times do not experience corruption, and smell of myrrh. Something is genuinely happening, but it cannot happen unless we enter into that participatory reality.

So, though we can never really be "certain" or "sure" of where we'll end up (because there's always the chance that we'll turn away from God, in the end), those who "partake of the divine nature," which produces tangible results in that we are freed from "the passions" and take on the character and likeness of Christ Himself, in our entirety, body, soul and spirit, are the ones who have the promise of eternal life.

I typed this out really fast, as I'm short on time, and I may have mis-worded some things, so let me know if this doesn't make sense, or sounds incorrect, etc. etc. Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2011, 08:15:42 PM »

I'm with James on this.

One can desire an idol and call it "God", crying tears of repentance before it for all the wrong sins.

Many will say unto him "Lord, Lord" and be turned away.
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2011, 08:17:04 PM »

I just laughed out loud because right when I was about to post saying that Sleeper's post was better than mine, someone came along and agreed with me.

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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2011, 08:20:14 PM »

I just laughed out loud because right when I was about to post saying that Sleeper's post was better than mine, someone came along and agreed with me.

I must've had the thread open while Sleeper was posting, because I would otherwise have also commented on how insightful his post is.
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2011, 08:51:58 PM »

I laughed because I thought this might be a follow-up to Fr. James Bernstein's Surprised by Christ.

Many are probably "surprised by damnation."
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2011, 09:18:56 PM »

I wrote a couple of emails to Patrick Madrid the Roman Catholic Apologist who runs the site "Surprised by the Truth"

I thought I'd be snarky and titled my emails to him "Surprised by the "Orthodox"
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2011, 01:53:57 AM »

I think this is particularly troublesome for Protestants, who generally seem to relegate salvation to a status, or declaration of "not guilty" before the courts of Heaven, the main proof of which is "correct belief," as opposed to something that genuinely involves the whole person, and is an actual ontological reality.

The former takes a line of reasoning like this: "Boy, I sure hope when death comes knocking that I'm stilling mentally agreeing with the factual truths of the Christian faith, namely that as long as I believe in Jesus (whatever that happens to mean) that I have been declared not guilty and thus have no reason to fear the penalty of a guilty status." It's almost as if it's a race against time, where the goal is to "believe" until you die, before the buzzer goes off on your life, and God unscrews your head and looks deep into your brain to make sure you really believed Jesus to be the Way, Truth and Life.

The latter, however, (what one might call the Orthodox understanding, or the truly Apostolic understanding) is a synergistic relationship between the human creature and God, wherein we physically and spiritually participate in God's energies (grace), through the Sacraments (primarily the Eucharist), actually reaping the tangible results of that saving experience. And in this inter-relationship, we are both physically and spiritually redeemed from death, to the point where our Saint's actual bodies often times do not experience corruption, and smell of myrrh. Something is genuinely happening, but it cannot happen unless we enter into that participatory reality.

So, though we can never really be "certain" or "sure" of where we'll end up (because there's always the chance that we'll turn away from God, in the end), those who "partake of the divine nature," which produces tangible results in that we are freed from "the passions" and take on the character and likeness of Christ Himself, in our entirety, body, soul and spirit, are the ones who have the promise of eternal life.

I typed this out really fast, as I'm short on time, and I may have mis-worded some things, so let me know if this doesn't make sense, or sounds incorrect, etc. etc. Smiley
Sorry, I should have been more specific in my OP as I didn't necessarily mean the Non-Orthodox. When I said "That no matter how much one desires God and repents in this life, one can still be "not quite cooperating enough" and still be ultimately damned?" I was talking specifically about what you describe as the Orthodox way.

As an Arminian, I have an inkling that we believe essentially the same things about salvation just with different emphases ("am saved, am being saved, will be saved"). I believe though that in the long run the only real way to truly "lose one's salvation" (imperfect term that that is for both of us) is to totally and utterly "spit" on the Cross, just completely give up and not even seek repentance anymore.

Otherwise it seems like Conditional Security theologies really do succumb to the Calvinist charge of being salvation by works since all God needs to on the last day is check his ledger and say, "Let's see... you repented of this, this, this,... oops! looks like you cursed  a couple of minutes before death and forgot to repent of that one. Too bad, my child! You were thiiiis close! Pull the "Hell" lever, Michael. Next!"
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2011, 02:41:34 AM »

I don't know that I would say one would have to intentionally turn your back on the cross to stop being considered an Orthodox Christian, and in that sense "lose" a certain level of assurance one has as a member of the Body.  It wasn't hate against Christ that was warned about in Revelations, it was lukewarmness.  It was not caring about the Cross.  That to me is much more sinister a trick of the Devil than turning someone into a rabid atheist.  When you cease to come to Church regularly (without just cause), when you cease confession of your sins, when you cease communion, when you stop partaking of the Mysteries of the Church, I think you have ceased to be a member of the Body.  You have become like a limb paralyzed by a stroke, one no longer functional.  But the real sinister aspect of this trickery of the Devil, is that one frequently thinks you are doing alright because you aren't the guy who spits on the Cross, you're just not the guy who bears it. 

If anyone wants to correct me, please do so, I am in no way trying to teach Church doctrine here, I have no idea if I am on the mark or way off.
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2011, 09:35:07 AM »

I've been wondering about this too. There's alot of communication going back and forth on the forum concerning salvation. As I am really delving deep into learning more, that is the question that burns most to me. I realize that the "idea" of salvation from a Baptist standpoint to an Orthodox one is wildly different.
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2011, 02:08:58 PM »

I don't know that I would say one would have to intentionally turn your back on the cross to stop being considered an Orthodox Christian, and in that sense "lose" a certain level of assurance one has as a member of the Body.  It wasn't hate against Christ that was warned about in Revelations, it was lukewarmness.  It was not caring about the Cross.  That to me is much more sinister a trick of the Devil than turning someone into a rabid atheist.  When you cease to come to Church regularly (without just cause), when you cease confession of your sins, when you cease communion, when you stop partaking of the Mysteries of the Church, I think you have ceased to be a member of the Body.  You have become like a limb paralyzed by a stroke, one no longer functional.  But the real sinister aspect of this trickery of the Devil, is that one frequently thinks you are doing alright because you aren't the guy who spits on the Cross, you're just not the guy who bears it. 

If anyone wants to correct me, please do so, I am in no way trying to teach Church doctrine here, I have no idea if I am on the mark or way off.
Yes, that's true. Lukewarmness is also a killer.
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2011, 07:11:02 PM »

I think part of the reason this is such a big deal to is concerning the (majority?) Orthodox teaching that Hell is just the Presence of God as experienced by those who hate Him. If this is the case, how can someone who really desires God (not the lukewarm) enter punishment even if they have a few outstanding black marks?
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2011, 09:31:29 PM »

I think part of the reason this is such a big deal to is concerning the (majority?) Orthodox teaching that Hell is just the Presence of God as experienced by those who hate Him. If this is the case, how can someone who really desires God (not the lukewarm) enter punishment even if they have a few outstanding black marks?

Do you know what our view of repentance is? Especially confession of ones sins post water Baptism? Confessing your sins in front of another person and in view of others can be embarrassing and humiliating at first, I know it was for me. But we believe something about repentance that covers this issue.

One doesn't have any black marks at water Baptism. Nor does one have black marks in repentance post water Baptism.

Salvation to us is union with Christ. I know in the protestant world Salvation tends to be more psychological in nature. Yes, we have a psychological aspect as well, but that has more to do with our asceticism........ The original view of salvation had everything to do with the destruction of sin, death and defeat of the devil. It also had everything to do with restored fellowship/communion with God and the raising of our mortal nature to one of immortality and that by the Grace of God. There is more that I'm leaving out. It really has something to do with the whole entire universe, us just being the first fruits of it all.

I know that some tend to speculate if there is organic life on other planets, and if so how can Salvation happen there? To me it doesn't really matter, for with the Incarnation, Jesus partook of us and we are made up of everything in the Universe, therefore God being Incarnate on Planet Earth can renew the whole entire universe. And so it really doesn't matter what's on other planets.
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2011, 10:22:12 PM »

I think part of the reason this is such a big deal to is concerning the (majority?) Orthodox teaching that Hell is just the Presence of God as experienced by those who hate Him. If this is the case, how can someone who really desires God (not the lukewarm) enter punishment even if they have a few outstanding black marks?

I think you misunderstand "hate."  Hate means loving yourself a little more than someone else.  What do you mean by "desires God"?  Synergeia must be there.   Metanoia, a turning of the nous towards and over to God and giving Him the reins must be there. 
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2011, 10:29:41 PM »

Quote
I think you misunderstand "hate."  Hate means loving yourself a little more than someone else.  What do you mean by "desires God"?  Synergeia must be there.   Metanoia, a turning of the nous towards and over to God and giving Him the reins must be there. 
Amen!
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2011, 10:45:56 PM »

I think part of the reason this is such a big deal to is concerning the (majority?) Orthodox teaching that Hell is just the Presence of God as experienced by those who hate Him. If this is the case, how can someone who really desires God (not the lukewarm) enter punishment even if they have a few outstanding black marks?

I think you misunderstand "hate."  Hate means loving yourself a little more than someone else.  What do you mean by "desires God"?  Synergeia must be there.   Metanoia, a turning of the nous towards and over to God and giving Him the reins must be there.  
By desiring God, I mean actually wanting to please Him, trying to repent of your sins and live the Orthodox life.

So if it's a just "a little more," than who can be saved? Even the greatest Christian could always do a "little more" to crucify the passions, unless you're suggesting only those who are perfect at the moment of death will be saved.
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« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2011, 10:52:58 PM »

I think part of the reason this is such a big deal to is concerning the (majority?) Orthodox teaching that Hell is just the Presence of God as experienced by those who hate Him. If this is the case, how can someone who really desires God (not the lukewarm) enter punishment even if they have a few outstanding black marks?

Do you know what our view of repentance is? Especially confession of ones sins post water Baptism? Confessing your sins in front of another person and in view of others can be embarrassing and humiliating at first, I know it was for me. But we believe something about repentance that covers this issue.

One doesn't have any black marks at water Baptism. Nor does one have black marks in repentance post water Baptism.

Salvation to us is union with Christ. I know in the protestant world Salvation tends to be more psychological in nature. Yes, we have a psychological aspect as well, but that has more to do with our asceticism........ The original view of salvation had everything to do with the destruction of sin, death and defeat of the devil. It also had everything to do with restored fellowship/communion with God and the raising of our mortal nature to one of immortality and that by the Grace of God. There is more that I'm leaving out. It really has something to do with the whole entire universe, us just being the first fruits of it all.

I know that some tend to speculate if there is organic life on other planets, and if so how can Salvation happen there? To me it doesn't really matter, for with the Incarnation, Jesus partook of us and we are made up of everything in the Universe, therefore God being Incarnate on Planet Earth can renew the whole entire universe. And so it really doesn't matter what's on other planets.
You're right, I suppose "black marks" was a bad term, maybe "areas in which one has not quite grown fast enough." I know that Confession covers sins we did not know we committed and the Eucharist covers them yet again, but what over someone who doesn't have access to these things, especially if there no priest to give Extreme Unction?

This is the same problem that as a Protestant drives me toward antinomianism. How much sanctification is "enough?" It's maddening.
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« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2011, 01:20:57 AM »

I think part of the reason this is such a big deal to is concerning the (majority?) Orthodox teaching that Hell is just the Presence of God as experienced by those who hate Him. If this is the case, how can someone who really desires God (not the lukewarm) enter punishment even if they have a few outstanding black marks?

Do you know what our view of repentance is? Especially confession of ones sins post water Baptism? Confessing your sins in front of another person and in view of others can be embarrassing and humiliating at first, I know it was for me. But we believe something about repentance that covers this issue.

One doesn't have any black marks at water Baptism. Nor does one have black marks in repentance post water Baptism.

Salvation to us is union with Christ. I know in the protestant world Salvation tends to be more psychological in nature. Yes, we have a psychological aspect as well, but that has more to do with our asceticism........ The original view of salvation had everything to do with the destruction of sin, death and defeat of the devil. It also had everything to do with restored fellowship/communion with God and the raising of our mortal nature to one of immortality and that by the Grace of God. There is more that I'm leaving out. It really has something to do with the whole entire universe, us just being the first fruits of it all.

I know that some tend to speculate if there is organic life on other planets, and if so how can Salvation happen there? To me it doesn't really matter, for with the Incarnation, Jesus partook of us and we are made up of everything in the Universe, therefore God being Incarnate on Planet Earth can renew the whole entire universe. And so it really doesn't matter what's on other planets.
You're right, I suppose "black marks" was a bad term, maybe "areas in which one has not quite grown fast enough." I know that Confession covers sins we did not know we committed and the Eucharist covers them yet again, but what over someone who doesn't have access to these things, especially if there no priest to give Extreme Unction?

This is the same problem that as a Protestant drives me toward antinomianism. How much sanctification is "enough?" It's maddening.

At the end of the day Salvation = union with Christ....regardless of the depth of ones walk is with Him. We all have free will and so the deepness of each individual in Christ will vary.

We are Synergists and so the rate of growth will vary for each person.


Another way of saying this is:

Salvation = Being in Christ regardless of ones rate of growth

No Salvation = Being outside Christ (hmm, I might have to rethink this one over for I'm leaving something out. Everything is in Christ on the lower level of nature in regards to the Incarnation, but not necessarily so on the higher level of faith, repentance, being sealed with the Holy Spirit, water Baptism and the other Mysteries. Hmm, I'm going to have to rethink this over. Maybe next year I will be able to put it into words)


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« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2011, 02:17:58 AM »

But how does one "fall out of Christ?" Based on what I'm reading here and elsewhere it seems pathetically easy. I might even be tempted to call it "saved one day, damned the next."

Aside from anything else, it seems like this makes the initial Grace of baptism non-existent in any practical sense.
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« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2011, 03:31:58 AM »

But how does one "fall out of Christ?" Based on what I'm reading here and elsewhere it seems pathetically easy. I might even be tempted to call it "saved one day, damned the next."

Aside from anything else, it seems like this makes the initial Grace of baptism non-existent in any practical sense.
 

You are looking at Salvation as if it's elusive and too abstract. You are ignoring the material/physical/visible aspect in all of this. I know this is true for the Zwinglian protestant tradition.

But once you include the visible aspect in all this then you will see that it's not so bad.

I would like to ask you a question. What does salvation mean to you? Is it a saving of your soul alone or the saving of the whole man? Both body and soul?

If it's the saving of the whole man then shouldn't there also be visible markers? Everything isn't abstract.



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« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2011, 03:40:54 AM »

I believe it is about both, but the salvation of the body is for the final resurrection. If the body were being saved now, I don't see why God would ever not heal someone who asked in faith.
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« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2011, 01:11:39 PM »

How do you square that view with incorruptible relics and 4 Kingdoms 13:21  (I believe 4 Kingdoms is known as 2 Kings in Protestant Bibles)?
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« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2011, 06:26:02 PM »

Faith and smug self assurance are two different things entirely
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« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2011, 10:43:31 PM »

I think part of the reason this is such a big deal to is concerning the (majority?) Orthodox teaching that Hell is just the Presence of God as experienced by those who hate Him. If this is the case, how can someone who really desires God (not the lukewarm) enter punishment even if they have a few outstanding black marks?

I think you misunderstand "hate."  Hate means loving yourself a little more than someone else.  What do you mean by "desires God"?  Synergeia must be there.   Metanoia, a turning of the nous towards and over to God and giving Him the reins must be there.  
By desiring God, I mean actually wanting to please Him, trying to repent of your sins and live the Orthodox life.

So if it's a just "a little more," than who can be saved? Even the greatest Christian could always do a "little more" to crucify the passions, unless you're suggesting only those who are perfect at the moment of death will be saved.

Ok, then replace "a little more" with either:
1.  more
OR
2. even a little more
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« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2011, 05:56:16 AM »

How do you square that view with incorruptible relics and 4 Kingdoms 13:21  (I believe 4 Kingdoms is known as 2 Kings in Protestant Bibles)?
Note that Elisha was still dead and decomposed.

I realize God uses matter to save us but I have time going from that to, "matter is now being saved." Getting cancer might help save one's soul but that doesn't make the cancer itself somehow sanctified.

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« Reply #26 on: June 10, 2011, 06:02:44 AM »

Faith and smug self assurance are two different things entirely
I have no assurance in my own ability to obey, which is why I have a hard time with the idea of my destiny hanging  even partially on my fickle, worthless self.

Quote from: FatherHLL
Ok, then replace "a little more" with either:
1.  more
OR
2. even a little more
Sorry, I don't see your point. That would just seem to confirm the impossibility of cooperating with God.
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« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2011, 04:17:06 PM »

How do you square that view with incorruptible relics and 4 Kingdoms 13:21  (I believe 4 Kingdoms is known as 2 Kings in Protestant Bibles)?
Note that Elisha was still dead and decomposed.

I realize God uses matter to save us but I have time going from that to, "matter is now being saved." Getting cancer might help save one's soul but that doesn't make the cancer itself somehow sanctified.



The fact that Elisha was dead and yet his bones performed a miracle is evidence of the sanctification of the physical.  As well, if your body is really a part of you, if it isn't just possessed by your soul, then in order for you to become holy and be sanctified, your body must be as well.
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« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2011, 04:29:07 PM »

The fact that Elisha was dead and yet his bones performed a miracle is evidence of the sanctification of the physical.  As well, if your body is really a part of you, if it isn't just possessed by your soul, then in order for you to become holy and be sanctified, your body must be as well.
For the sake of the discussion, I'll agree with you. Now, what does it have to do with the topic?
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« Reply #29 on: June 10, 2011, 10:38:41 PM »

I was responding to your statements:

"If the body were being saved now, I don't see why God would ever not heal someone who asked in faith."

and

"I realize God uses matter to save us but I have time going from that to, "matter is now being saved."
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« Reply #30 on: June 10, 2011, 10:45:40 PM »

I was responding to your statements:

"If the body were being saved now, I don't see why God would ever not heal someone who asked in faith."

and

"I realize God uses matter to save us but I have time going from that to, "matter is now being saved."
Oh. Ok.
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« Reply #31 on: June 10, 2011, 10:56:35 PM »

According to the RCC and EOC, your basically supposed to be up in the air in not knowing if your either saved or damned until you die.  It's supposed to something that you can't presume, but at the same time you can't despair over.  I can really understand how, having been in a "once saved" type of religion all your life, it can be extremely difficult to accept such an un assured belief system all at once. If it is any comfort to you, just think that a Billion and a half people share the same "un assured" belief about the afterlife that you now do and most of them don't go crazy worrying about where they'll end up when they die.  God is loving, merciful, and forgiving.  Just try and do the best you can to be a good person and love others and God will surely not abandon you to eternal death.

BTW, Do these evangelical type of Churches really believe in "once saved"?  I've always wondered about that.  You mean that, once your "born again" their is nothing one can do which will cause them to loose their souls?  I just can't fathom anybody really accepting that as a sensible doctrine of belief.  I used to just assume that these protestant types had some type of concept of "sin after salvation", but they just expressed it differently, but I seem to be corrected about this from some who claim to know better (And do).
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« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2011, 11:52:43 PM »

If it is any comfort to you, just think that a Billion and a half people share the same "un assured" belief about the afterlife that you now do and most of them don't go crazy worrying about where they'll end up when they die.
You have a point there.

 God is loving, merciful, and forgiving.  Just try and do the best you can to be a good person and love others and God will surely not abandon you to eternal death.
Unfortunately, this kind of advice only works on paper since no one knows if they are ever doing the best they can.

BTW, Do these evangelical type of Churches really believe in "once saved"?  I've always wondered about that.  You mean that, once your "born again" their is nothing one can do which will cause them to loose their souls?  I just can't fathom anybody really accepting that as a sensible doctrine of belief.  I used to just assume that these protestant types had some type of concept of "sin after salvation", but they just expressed it differently, but I seem to be corrected about this from some who claim to know better (And do).
The mainstream view is that those who are saved will always manifest good works since the Spirit is in them and they will never fall into serious sin such as homosexuality. A "Christian" who apostasies in this way was never saved to begin. Now, this is just in general.

Some theologians (Witherington, for example) try to introduce some uncertainty as to whether someone who committed suicide or died a practicing homosexual could still go to Heaven since Jesus is held to have covered all sins past, present, and future and they would prefer to say the only real way to lose one's salvation is to consciously and pointedly throw it away. But anyway, both these doctrines in general are usually called Lordship Salvation.

In the last couple of decades there has been a minority movement represented mainly by Charles Stanley and Zane Hodges which is often called Free Grace that actually does maintain one could sin all they wanted and still be saved (one shouldn't though since it will result in loss of honor before God and Heavenly rewards but is a logical possibility) I must admit this is difficult for me to resist because it seems to be the only logical way in which salvation can really be a free gift. Everything else seems to be some kind of self-salvation, honestly-even Witherington's modified Lordship Salvation which also attracts me.
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« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2011, 12:22:37 AM »

Faith and smug self assurance are two different things entirely
I have no assurance in my own ability to obey, which is why I have a hard time with the idea of my destiny hanging  even partially on my fickle, worthless self.
Quote from: FatherHLL
Ok, then replace "a little more" with either:1.  moreOR2. even a little more
Sorry, I don't see your point. That would just seem to confirm the impossibility of cooperating with God.

Unfortunately you are only seeing what you want to see in what was said.  "Salvation"--what is it?  It is simply theosis--union with God.  There can be no "one-sided" union.  

"I have no assurance in my ability to obey."   That is why you invite Christ to rule your life.  You can use that as an excuse for a number of things:
1. A failed marriage
2. Failed family relations
3. Failed relations with friends
4. Failed relations with your Creator

To sit there and say that to love yourself more than your Creator, spouse, family, friends is ok; that you can't, by inviting Christ to take the controls, overcome selfishness, is damnation.  

Our Lord said clearly and unambiguously in John 3.19:   "And this is condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."   To sit there and say that this confirms the impossibility of cooperating with God is nonsense.   Do not rely on your own understanding and emotions, as they lead you astray.    
 
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« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2011, 05:01:34 AM »

Unfortunately you are only seeing what you want to see in what was said.
Well, there I things about Orthodoxy which strongly attract me and things which I find rather disturbing, so I have desires running both ways to be honest. I pray to God I'm not blind to reason though *sigh*.

"Salvation"--what is it?  It is simply theosis--union with God.  There can be no "one-sided" union.  

"I have no assurance in my ability to obey."   That is why you invite Christ to rule your life.  You can use that as an excuse for a number of things:
1. A failed marriage
2. Failed family relations
3. Failed relations with friends
4. Failed relations with your Creator

To sit there and say that to love yourself more than your Creator, spouse, family, friends is ok; that you can't, by inviting Christ to take the controls, overcome selfishness, is damnation.  

Our Lord said clearly and unambiguously in John 3.19:   "And this is condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."   To sit there and say that this confirms the impossibility of cooperating with God is nonsense.   Do not rely on your own understanding and emotions, as they lead you astray.
How can God "take over the controls" when you're supposed to be working with Him?

The first three items you mention don't require perfection to maintain, buy isn't he who stumbles in one part of the law guilty of it all?
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« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2011, 07:30:38 AM »

According to the RCC and EOC, your basically supposed to be up in the air in not knowing if your either saved or damned until you die.  It's supposed to something that you can't presume, but at the same time you can't despair over.  I can really understand how, having been in a "once saved" type of religion all your life, it can be extremely difficult to accept such an un assured belief system all at once. If it is any comfort to you, just think that a Billion and a half people share the same "un assured" belief about the afterlife that you now do and most of them don't go crazy worrying about where they'll end up when they die.  God is loving, merciful, and forgiving.  Just try and do the best you can to be a good person and love others and God will surely not abandon you to eternal death.

BTW, Do these evangelical type of Churches really believe in "once saved"?  I've always wondered about that.  You mean that, once your "born again" their is nothing one can do which will cause them to loose their souls?  I just can't fathom anybody really accepting that as a sensible doctrine of belief.  I used to just assume that these protestant types had some type of concept of "sin after salvation", but they just expressed it differently, but I seem to be corrected about this from some who claim to know better (And do).

The Augustinian position is different and so you can only really speak for the RCC.
http://youtu.be/dq-fVwWjByw (Lecture 12: The Doctrine of Grace) (mostly after the 5 minute mark)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN6MCOUSaA0&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL (Lecture 19: Luther and Protestant Theology)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNJmDhT_Q6s&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL (Lecture 20: Calvin and Reformed Theology)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgWE9XQS0S0&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL (Lecture 21: Protestants on Predestination)


Eastern Orthodoxy is not as Augustinian as the RCC and Classical Protestantism is and so you can't really speak for us. The reason why the RCC says it's unknowable is because of Saint Augustine's view of Predestination. Saint Augustine believed that God unconditionally gave only some christians the gift of faith to persevere to the end, and since no one knows who God elected to glory no one can know if they are chosen to be saved.

The Protestant Reformation taught that one can know if God elected them or not. It builds from the same Augustinian tradition.

For the Augustinian tradition it's a 3 tier system:
1.) Those who were never saved to begin with
2.) Those who were saved but didn't persevere to the end because God unconditionally didn't give them the gift of perseverance

3.) Those who were saved and persevered to the end because God unconditionally gave them the gift of final perseverance.

The Calvinistic tradition is a 2 tier system:

1.) Those who were never saved to begin with
2.) Those who were unconditionally saved by God and unconditionally persevered to the end by God.

 And so you really can't speak for us. Our reasons for saying we don't know have nothing to do with unconditional election.

The way we understand Grace is different.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVuI7ka49J0&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL (Lecture 14: Eastern Orthodox Theology)
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« Reply #36 on: June 11, 2011, 08:18:03 AM »

I believe it is about both, but the salvation of the body is for the final resurrection. If the body were being saved now, I don't see why God would ever not heal someone who asked in faith.

It is both and as far as healing goes, well, a huge aspect of how we understand Salvation is in terms of healing. From mortality to immortality, and so salvation is of the whole man. It starts in the here and now for the whole man.

What you are talking about is temporary healing, what we are talking about is immortality.

And so, if you are able to see Salvation as being for the whole man, then you should be able to see the use of the Visible in the face of all this.

1.) The use of the Visible Church
2.) The use of the Divine Liturgy
3.) The use of the Divine Mysteries
4.) The visible aspect of Biblical words like faith(as conviction, faithfulness, loyalty...etc), repent(remorse, sorrow, conviction, a change of mind, a change of behavior...etc), love(mercy, kindness...etc).....etc.

Can God use visible things to help heal mankind? Can God use visible things to help reconcile mankind to Himself? If so, what's the problem? If not, why not?
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« Reply #37 on: June 11, 2011, 08:57:14 AM »

It is both and as far as healing goes, well, a huge aspect of how we understand Salvation is in terms of healing. From mortality to immortality, and so salvation is of the whole man. It starts in the here and now for the whole man.

What you are talking about is temporary healing, what we are talking about is immortality.

And so, if you are able to see Salvation as being for the whole man, then you should be able to see the use of the Visible in the face of all this.

1.) The use of the Visible Church
2.) The use of the Divine Liturgy
3.) The use of the Divine Mysteries
4.) The visible aspect of Biblical words like faith(as conviction, faithfulness, loyalty...etc), repent(remorse, sorrow, conviction, a change of mind, a change of behavior...etc), love(mercy, kindness...etc).....etc.

Can God use visible things to help heal mankind? Can God use visible things to help reconcile mankind to Himself? If so, what's the problem? If not, why not?
I can agree with matter being used in our salvation, after all God uses the written word to save us. My difficulties regarding bodily healing are more doubts about Christianity in general and I shouldn't have brought them up in the first place.

So if salvation involves the physical world and the body, it must also involve all of human behavior, hence the need for repentance and holiness, right?

Hard to argue with that logic. I just can't accept that this required obedience means "perfection or hell" because no one or at least very few would be saved. Maybe it's my own lack of faith at this point, that's always been on my mind, but I really don't think I can budge on this. It goes against everything I am. If that means I can't convert... so be it I guess.  Undecided
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« Reply #38 on: June 11, 2011, 10:13:02 AM »

It is both and as far as healing goes, well, a huge aspect of how we understand Salvation is in terms of healing. From mortality to immortality, and so salvation is of the whole man. It starts in the here and now for the whole man.

What you are talking about is temporary healing, what we are talking about is immortality.

And so, if you are able to see Salvation as being for the whole man, then you should be able to see the use of the Visible in the face of all this.

1.) The use of the Visible Church
2.) The use of the Divine Liturgy
3.) The use of the Divine Mysteries
4.) The visible aspect of Biblical words like faith(as conviction, faithfulness, loyalty...etc), repent(remorse, sorrow, conviction, a change of mind, a change of behavior...etc), love(mercy, kindness...etc).....etc.

Can God use visible things to help heal mankind? Can God use visible things to help reconcile mankind to Himself? If so, what's the problem? If not, why not?
I can agree with matter being used in our salvation, after all God uses the written word to save us. My difficulties regarding bodily healing are more doubts about Christianity in general and I shouldn't have brought them up in the first place.

So if salvation involves the physical world and the body, it must also involve all of human behavior, hence the need for repentance and holiness, right?

Hard to argue with that logic. I just can't accept that this required obedience means "perfection or hell" because no one or at least very few would be saved. Maybe it's my own lack of faith at this point, that's always been on my mind, but I really don't think I can budge on this. It goes against everything I am. If that means I can't convert... so be it I guess.  Undecided


What do you believe our view about perfectionism to be? There is an old thread or two about it. But what do you think our view is?
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« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2011, 10:31:07 AM »

As much as I can surmise, one must by the time of death be at a state in which they do not any longer sin. God will sometimes make exceptions to this, apparently (such as St. Dysmas) but perfection is required for most. I would assume if it's possible for the Theotokos (according to Orthodoxy) then it would be possible for anyone.
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« Reply #40 on: June 11, 2011, 12:46:52 PM »

As much as I can surmise, one must by the time of death be at a state in which they do not any longer sin. God will sometimes make exceptions to this, apparently (such as St. Dysmas) but perfection is required for most. I would assume if it's possible for the Theotokos (according to Orthodoxy) then it would be possible for anyone.

Perfection isn't what matters most (though of course it is the ideal we are to strive for).  Rather, repentence is what matters most. 
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« Reply #41 on: June 11, 2011, 04:01:41 PM »

Unfortunately you are only seeing what you want to see in what was said.
Well, there I things about Orthodoxy which strongly attract me and things which I find rather disturbing, so I have desires running both ways to be honest. I pray to God I'm not blind to reason though *sigh*.

"Salvation"--what is it?  It is simply theosis--union with God.  There can be no "one-sided" union.  

"I have no assurance in my ability to obey."   That is why you invite Christ to rule your life.  You can use that as an excuse for a number of things:
1. A failed marriage
2. Failed family relations
3. Failed relations with friends
4. Failed relations with your Creator

To sit there and say that to love yourself more than your Creator, spouse, family, friends is ok; that you can't, by inviting Christ to take the controls, overcome selfishness, is damnation.  

Our Lord said clearly and unambiguously in John 3.19:   "And this is condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."   To sit there and say that this confirms the impossibility of cooperating with God is nonsense.   Do not rely on your own understanding and emotions, as they lead you astray.
How can God "take over the controls" when you're supposed to be working with Him?

The first three items you mention don't require perfection to maintain, buy isn't he who stumbles in one part of the law guilty of it all?

Your question of "How can God 'take over the controls' when you're supposed to be working with Him" makes no sense in any application to which you apply it.   For example, in a factory, a foreman and a worker must work with each other.  That doesn't mean that the foreman is not in charge.  To imply that no longer are they working with each other because one is in charge is absurd. 

All four mentioned above require you to obey, and that was what was being addressed.  That is why the Holy Trinity is so important, as it shows us how relationships work.   There can only be one arche in a relationship.  That is why marriages fail that do not have the primary person in their relationship--the Lord Himself--as the one who gives the instructions, as the one who is in charge.  We don't need to be in charge, we need to let God be in charge, and when we fail to do so to repent.   Every moment of any relationship has its moment of "is it my will that is to be done, or God's?"       
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« Reply #42 on: June 11, 2011, 06:00:41 PM »

Your question of "How can God 'take over the controls' when you're supposed to be working with Him" makes no sense in any application to which you apply it.   For example, in a factory, a foreman and a worker must work with each other.  That doesn't mean that the foreman is not in charge.  To imply that no longer are they working with each other because one is in charge is absurd. 

All four mentioned above require you to obey, and that was what was being addressed.  That is why the Holy Trinity is so important, as it shows us how relationships work.   There can only be one arche in a relationship.  That is why marriages fail that do not have the primary person in their relationship--the Lord Himself--as the one who gives the instructions, as the one who is in charge.  We don't need to be in charge, we need to let God be in charge, and when we fail to do so to repent.
Ok, I misunderstood what you meant by "take control." I thought you were talking about God somehow doing the works for us.

Every moment of any relationship has its moment of "is it my will that is to be done, or God's?"       
This returns to my former question, how many of us will repent at all times? "Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect." Isn't that what it takes to be saved?

As much as I can surmise, one must by the time of death be at a state in which they do not any longer sin. God will sometimes make exceptions to this, apparently (such as St. Dysmas) but perfection is required for most. I would assume if it's possible for the Theotokos (according to Orthodoxy) then it would be possible for anyone.

Perfection isn't what matters most (though of course it is the ideal we are to strive for).  Rather, repentence is what matters most. 
Sounds like a false dichotomy. How do you repent and obey 51% (or even 99%) of the time?
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« Reply #43 on: June 11, 2011, 11:49:37 PM »

As much as I can surmise, one must by the time of death be at a state in which they do not any longer sin. God will sometimes make exceptions to this, apparently (such as St. Dysmas) but perfection is required for most. I would assume if it's possible for the Theotokos (according to Orthodoxy) then it would be possible for anyone.

Compare what you said up above with the Jesus Prayer?

What is our belief about God's Mercy?
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« Reply #44 on: June 12, 2011, 12:07:22 AM »

The former takes a line of reasoning like this: "Boy, I sure hope when death comes knocking that I'm stilling mentally agreeing with the factual truths of the Christian faith, namely that as long as I believe in Jesus (whatever that happens to mean) that I have been declared not guilty and thus have no reason to fear the penalty of a guilty status." It's almost as if it's a race against time, where the goal is to "believe" until you die, before the buzzer goes off on your life, and God unscrews your head and looks deep into your brain to make sure you really believed Jesus to be the Way, Truth and Life.

Awesome.
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