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Author Topic: What is "The Gospel" to Orthodox Christians? *LONG post/story/rant*  (Read 11627 times) Average Rating: 0
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akimori makoto
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« Reply #90 on: October 25, 2011, 11:01:58 PM »

The end of it all is, we cannot trust in our cooperation with God, our good works, or any of that on the day of final judgement. YES we should strive for holiness, YES we should strive for complete communion with God, YES we should strive to partake in the divine nature, but in the end we will always fall short, so we trust in CHRIST's works, CHRIST's righteousness, and CHRIST's blood, which covers up our sins and makes us innocent before God on judgement day. Isnt this what the Bible teaches? This is how I've always understood it. Is this concept problematic within Orthodoxy? If so, why?

How does one trust in Christ?

Please answer. I would like for no one else to jump in. You never answered what faith is. This will keep going around in circles.

How does one trust in Christ?

Also, perhaps as a corollary, you can explain to me how trusting in Christ (if by that you mean a conscious decision or something like that) is not a work? I've never been able to understand this concept. It seems like a false dichotomy.
And why, in the parable of the Last Judgment, is the things that we do for other people the standard by which we will be judged, if works are not important to our salvation?
Perhaps while you're at it, you could explain what you mean by salvation - is it "only" our eventual eternal destination or does it also encompass healing and restoration? I've noticed a tendency on the part of some Protestants to separate salvation into two parts.

Faith is not a work, it is a gift of grace in itself. One cannot come to have faith in Christ unless the Father draws him.

I perceive an inexorable descent into double predestination and other doctrines of Calvinism in your current mode of thought. Would this be an unfair statement?

Thats just what the Lord says [...] [snip]

Everything is by grace -- even works -- for we cannot breathe or lift a single finger but by the grace of God. This seems to me the "clear" teaching of the Holy Scriptures.

I don't think you should be so quick to say what it is "the Lord says". For every "clear" passage of St Paul about faith and works, there are yet clearer words from the mouth of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ insisting upon the importance for salvation of keeping his commandments. Unless you have the wisdom to say what it is St Paul really meant (or, more terribly, what the Lord himself really meant) you shouldn't be so quick to pronounce, declare and define what is or is not the Word of God.
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The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.
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« Reply #91 on: October 25, 2011, 11:17:02 PM »

Im not sure even what I'm saying, the Evangelical argument makes just as much sense if not more sense than the Orthodox argument at times. As soon as I start to understand the Orthodox argument the Evangelical one seems to just shoot it right down. 

This is a statement from an evangelical on another orthodox forum I go to. He was describing a possible discussion between a Protestant and an Orthodox. He was once Orthodox for several years.

P: You are justified by Jesus Christ which you receive by grace through faith alone.
O: So works have nothing to do with salvation?
P: No, works have everything to do with salvation. Everyone will be judged by God's Law and saved and damned based on works.
O: What!? So it's not really by faith alone?
P: We are saved by Christ's works which we receive by grace through faith alone. We will be judged based on our works and inevitably found guilty. But if we have repented and put our trust in Christ, His blood will cover us and His works will count in place of ours. So it is by faith alone that we receive Christ's saving works.
O: Well, what about the command to do good works in this life?
P: We are indeed commanded this and they bear witness to a genuine "saving faith." But they cannot save us on judgement day. Only Christ's righteousness, Christ's works will save us, and any good works we do after our justification are themselves only possible because of the work of the Trinity in our lives. So true believers strive to work because we're saved, not in order to be saved. Make sense?
O: Yes, but you said earlier that you have to repent and trust in Christ. Aren't those works?
P: Yes. But notice that grace proceeds faith. We cannot come to the knowledge of our sins, repent of them, and trust in Christ unless we receive all of these as a gift. Faith itself is a gift of grace. Thus, salvation from beginning to end, truly is "of the Lord" because we are saved by the grace of God.

The Protestant argument just seems to be more "complete" to me. It just seems to make more sense!
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« Reply #92 on: October 25, 2011, 11:18:00 PM »

Yes, faith is a gift, but why can't that gift come with the means to reject it? The definition of a gift does not include the receiver being forced to keep it forever.
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« Reply #93 on: October 25, 2011, 11:19:25 PM »

I dont know, maybe I'm becoming a Calvinist. I probably need to take a break from polemics for now and just visit a church.
The best idea my friend. I actually had to take a break from debating with atheists and go to Church more reguarly which helped me considerably. Alot of these polemics can really wear down on a person.
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« Reply #94 on: October 26, 2011, 12:57:14 AM »

The end of it all is, we cannot trust in our cooperation with God, our good works, or any of that on the day of final judgement. YES we should strive for holiness, YES we should strive for complete communion with God, YES we should strive to partake in the divine nature, but in the end we will always fall short, so we trust in CHRIST's works, CHRIST's righteousness, and CHRIST's blood, which covers up our sins and makes us innocent before God on judgement day. Isnt this what the Bible teaches? This is how I've always understood it. Is this concept problematic within Orthodoxy? If so, why?

It seems apparent that you feel a strong need for certainty, for that “blessed assurance” that Protestants often speak of, and “eternal security”.  However, all of the promises of God in the Scriptures are conditional, including the promise of the kingdom and life eternal.  If you read the lives of the saints of our Church over the past 2,000 years beginning with the Apostles, you will not find any evidence of this idea of “eternal security”, or confidence that the Lord will definitely “cover up our sins” and “make us innocent” at the Judgment if we fail to follow his commands.  Regarding certainty, and confidence, the Scripture say for instance:

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming (1 John 2:28).

Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God (1 John 3:21).


We will have confidence before the judgment, according to these Scriptures, if we abide in Christ and have a pure conscience before Him.  The Lord says in John 14:10, we abide in His love by keeping his commandments.  If we sin and fail to repent, we may hope in His mercy, but we have no guarantee that God will save us.  In one of the audio files from Mr. White he says something to the effect that when we stand before God, if we are “saved” then God will only see Christ and his righteousness when he looks at us.  This is very unscriptural and ignores all references to being judged “according to your works” and removes all personal responsibility.   

I do agree with you that visiting an Orthodox church and speaking with the priest is the best way forward and would certainly encourage you in this direction.  Face to face communication with a real person who is a priest of the Orthodox Church is much more productive than discussing things with an anonymous mob on the Internet.

In closing, for your interest, I wanted to pass on a link to the text from St. Mark the Ascetic (5th-6th century) entitled On Those who Think They Are Made Righteous by Works.  Below is the link, followed by a few quotes:

http://jbburnett.com/resources/mark_ascetic-righteousness.pdf

St. Mark the Ascetic
On Those who Think They Are Made Righteous by Works


1. In the texts which follow, the beliefs of those in error will be refuted by those whose
faith is well founded and who know the truth.

2. Wishing to show that to fulfil every commandment is a duty, whereas sonship is a
gift given to men through His own Blood, the Lord said: ‘When you have done all
that is commanded you, say: ‘We are useless servants: we have only done what
was our duty’ (Lk 17.10). Thus the kingdom of heaven is not a reward for works,
but a gift of grace prepared by the Master for his faithful servants.

3. A slave does not demand his freedom as a reward; but he gives satisfaction as one
who is in debt, and he receives freedom as a gift.

4. ‘Christ died on account of our sins in accordance with the Scriptures’ (1Co 15:3);
and to those who serve Him well He gives freedom. ‘Well done, good and faithful
servant,’ He says, ‘you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler
over many things: enter into the joy of your Lord’ (Mt 25:21).

5. He who relies on theoretical knowledge alone is not yet a faithful servant: a faithful
servant is one who expresses his faith in Christ through obedience to His
commandments.

15. When we fulfil the commandments in our outward actions, we receive from the
Lord what is appropriate; but any real benefit we gain depends on our inward
intention.

18. Some without fulfilling the commandments think that they possess true faith.
Others fulfil the commandments and then expect the kingdom as a reward due to
them. Both are mistaken.

19. A master is under no obligation to reward his slaves; on the other hand, those who
do not serve him well are not given their freedom.

20. If ‘Christ died on our account in accordance with the Scriptures’ (Rm 5:8; 1Co
15:3), and we do not ‘live for ourselves’, but ‘for Him who died and rose’ on our
account (2Co 5:15), it is clear that we are debtors to Christ to serve Him till our
death. How then can we regard sonship as something which is our due?

21. Christ is Master by virtue of His own essence and Master by virtue of His incarnate
life. For He creates man from nothing, and through His own Blood redeems him
when dead in sin; and to those who believe in Him He has given His grace.

22. When Scripture says ‘He will reward every man according to his works’ (Mt 16:27),
do not imagine that works in themselves merit either hell or the kingdom. On the
contrary, Christ rewards each man according to whether his works are done with
faith or without faith in Himself; and He is not a dealer bound by contract, but God
our Creator and Redeemer.

23. We who have received baptism offer good works, not by way of repayment, but to
preserve the purity given to us.

24. Every good work which we perform through our own natural powers causes us to
refrain from the corresponding sin; but without grace it cannot contribute to our
sanctification.

25. The self-controlled refrain from gluttony; those who have renounced possessions,
from greed; the tranquil, from loquacity; the pure, from self-indulgence; the modest,
from unchastity; the self-dependent, from avarice; the gentle, from agitation; the
humble, from self-esteem; the obedient, from quarrelling; the self-critical, from
hypocrisy. Similarly, those who pray are protected from despair; the poor, from
having many possessions; confessors of the faith, from its denial; martyrs, from
idolatry. Do you see how every virtue that is performed even to the point of death is
nothing other than refraining from sin? Now to refrain from sin is a work within our
own natural powers, but not something that buys us the kingdom.

26. While man can scarcely keep what belongs to him by nature, Christ gives the
grace of sonship through the Cross.

51. When the intellect forgets the purpose of true devotion, then external works of
virtue bring no profit.

57. He who does something good and expects a reward is serving not God but his own
will.

58. A sinner cannot escape retribution except through repentance appropriate to his
offence.

61. Grace has been given mystically to those who have been baptized into Christ; and
it becomes active within them to the extent that they actively observe the
commandments. Grace never ceases to help us secretly; but to do good– as far as
lies in our power– depends on us.

78. No one is as good and merciful as the Lord. But even He does not forgive the
unrepentant.

79. Many of us feel remorse for our sins, yet we gladly accept their causes.

109. One alone is righteous in works, words and thoughts. But many are made
righteous in faith, grace and repentance.

140. Some, when they actively observe the commandments, expect this to outweigh
their sins; others, who observe the commandments without this presumption, gain
the grace of Him who died on account of our sins. We should consider which of
these is right.


These are just a few quotes, but the entire work is worth reading from the link above.

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« Reply #95 on: October 26, 2011, 01:22:17 AM »

Thanks for these wonderful posts jah, I enjoy reading them and expanding my knowledge.
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« Reply #96 on: October 26, 2011, 02:10:47 AM »

Im not sure even what I'm saying, the Evangelical argument makes just as much sense if not more sense than the Orthodox argument at times. As soon as I start to understand the Orthodox argument the Evangelical one seems to just shoot it right down. 

This is a statement from an evangelical on another orthodox forum I go to. He was describing a possible discussion between a Protestant and an Orthodox. He was once Orthodox for several years.

P: You are justified by Jesus Christ which you receive by grace through faith alone.
O: So works have nothing to do with salvation?
P: No, works have everything to do with salvation. Everyone will be judged by God's Law and saved and damned based on works.
O: What!? So it's not really by faith alone?
P: We are saved by Christ's works which we receive by grace through faith alone. We will be judged based on our works and inevitably found guilty. But if we have repented and put our trust in Christ, His blood will cover us and His works will count in place of ours. So it is by faith alone that we receive Christ's saving works.
O: Well, what about the command to do good works in this life?
P: We are indeed commanded this and they bear witness to a genuine "saving faith." But they cannot save us on judgement day. Only Christ's righteousness, Christ's works will save us, and any good works we do after our justification are themselves only possible because of the work of the Trinity in our lives. So true believers strive to work because we're saved, not in order to be saved. Make sense?
O: Yes, but you said earlier that you have to repent and trust in Christ. Aren't those works?
P: Yes. But notice that grace proceeds faith. We cannot come to the knowledge of our sins, repent of them, and trust in Christ unless we receive all of these as a gift. Faith itself is a gift of grace. Thus, salvation from beginning to end, truly is "of the Lord" because we are saved by the grace of God.

The Protestant argument just seems to be more "complete" to me. It just seems to make more sense!




I understand. But remember that truth is not always defined by reason. We accept divine paradoxes, and we prostrate our intellect before Holy Mystery. Our Faith is not irrational, but it transcends logical syllogisms and systematic theological reductions. The dialectic materialism of Karl Marx is also very logical, but it is godless nevertheless.


Selam
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« Reply #97 on: October 26, 2011, 02:28:04 AM »

Yes, faith is a gift, but why can't that gift come with the means to reject it? The definition of a gift does not include the receiver being forced to keep it forever.

Romans 11:29 tells us that the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.
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« Reply #98 on: October 26, 2011, 02:53:38 AM »

I dont know, maybe I'm becoming a Calvinist. I probably need to take a break from polemics for now and just visit a church.
The best idea my friend. I actually had to take a break from debating with atheists and go to Church more reguarly which helped me considerably. Alot of these polemics can really wear down on a person.

QFT.
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« Reply #99 on: October 26, 2011, 03:07:47 AM »

If God's grace is behind our every effort, then what exactly are the filthy rags (our works)?
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« Reply #100 on: October 26, 2011, 03:11:25 AM »

If God's grace is behind our every effort, then what exactly are the filthy rags (our works)?

FP,

You have the finest marriage of avatar, username, and .sig ever.

That metaphor breaks down except within certain places in Utah, I guess.
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« Reply #101 on: October 26, 2011, 03:26:04 AM »

Polygamy humour with my coffee and eggs, just what i need to start my day with a smile.

Do they have a special dispensation on religious grounds or is it illegal in the salty lakes?
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« Reply #102 on: October 26, 2011, 05:53:05 AM »

It's been illegal since 1890, I believe. However, in some places, a few people still practice it. They can be prosecuted under state law.
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« Reply #103 on: October 26, 2011, 09:08:19 AM »

Faith is not a work, it is a gift of grace in itself. One cannot come to have faith in Christ unless the Father draws him.
I perceive an inexorable descent into double predestination and other doctrines of Calvinism in your current mode of thought. Would this be an unfair statement?
Thats just what the Lord says.

I dont know, maybe I'm becoming a Calvinist. I probably need to take a break from polemics for now and just visit a church.

Do you believe that there is anyone who God either does not draw to Himself, purposely draws away from Himself, or somehow refuses to offer salvation to?
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« Reply #104 on: October 26, 2011, 09:41:20 AM »

Im not sure even what I'm saying, the Evangelical argument makes just as much sense if not more sense than the Orthodox argument at times. As soon as I start to understand the Orthodox argument the Evangelical one seems to just shoot it right down. 

This is a statement from an evangelical on another orthodox forum I go to. He was describing a possible discussion between a Protestant and an Orthodox. He was once Orthodox for several years.

P: You are justified by Jesus Christ which you receive by grace through faith alone.
O: So works have nothing to do with salvation?
P: No, works have everything to do with salvation. Everyone will be judged by God's Law and saved and damned based on works.
O: What!? So it's not really by faith alone?
P: We are saved by Christ's works which we receive by grace through faith alone. We will be judged based on our works and inevitably found guilty. But if we have repented and put our trust in Christ, His blood will cover us and His works will count in place of ours. So it is by faith alone that we receive Christ's saving works.
O: Well, what about the command to do good works in this life?
P: We are indeed commanded this and they bear witness to a genuine "saving faith." But they cannot save us on judgement day. Only Christ's righteousness, Christ's works will save us, and any good works we do after our justification are themselves only possible because of the work of the Trinity in our lives. So true believers strive to work because we're saved, not in order to be saved. Make sense?
O: Yes, but you said earlier that you have to repent and trust in Christ. Aren't those works?
P: Yes. But notice that grace proceeds faith. We cannot come to the knowledge of our sins, repent of them, and trust in Christ unless we receive all of these as a gift. Faith itself is a gift of grace. Thus, salvation from beginning to end, truly is "of the Lord" because we are saved by the grace of God.

The Protestant argument just seems to be more "complete" to me. It just seems to make more sense!

Yes, this is a nice and neat presentation, but it cannot be accepted without rejecting much of the Scriptures.  In past posts I have presented many of the verses from the Scriptures which contradict the above presentation, and you would have to ignore these Scriptures altogether to adopt the nicely packaged presentation above.  Of course, the presentation above is not entirely wrong on every point, but “faith alone” is not Scriptural, nor can one claim to already “be saved” in the sense of having “eternal security”.       

So far, you have mostly presented Protestant ideas and have not provided much in the way of a reply to the Orthodox responses and critiques offered to you in return, nor to the Scriptures presented to you which contradict the belief in “faith alone,” “grace alone,” etc.  For a more productive exchange, perhaps you can explain how you think the above presentation from the Protestant fits in with the instruction to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” or that the Lord will judge each “according to their works (Rev 20:12)” and not according to the works of Christ, that faith is always tied to action (Acts 2:38 says we do not receive remission of sins without repentance and baptism, and the Lord says in John 3:5 that we will not enter the kingdom of heaven without baptism), and that “he who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22).”  The Lord says many things that we must do to be saved, all of which we cannot do without faith, but nevertheless there is no “faith alone” but always “faith working together with works”.  Faith is a cooperation with the grace of God and not a “mere” gift.  God does not overwhelm our will, or replace our will with His, and force us by His grace to believe and obey his commandments.  While we cannot be saved without faith, God cannot save us against our will  if we exercise our free will in rejecting his commandments and refusing to repent.  The fact that God will not save us against our will does not mean, however, that we are “saved by our own will alone”.  So, with faith and grace there still needs to be the full and intentional exercise of man’s free will to accept God’s grace, to be baptized, to fulfill the commandments, to turn from evil, and to repent.

Again, in the Orthodox Church we know that our works cannot save us and that salvation only comes by the mercy of God on account of what Christ has done for our salvation and our response to Christ.  However, we do know that our deeds will be examined to see if we truly repented in this life and served Christ rather than our own passions.  Will we fall short when we are examined?  Will we come up lacking?  We leave this judgment to God, realizing our sinfulness and hoping in His mercy.  We do not have the right to claim that we know how God will judge, that He will consider our sins washed away by the blood of Christ, or any such thing.  Such assertions give us false hope, they cause us to grow slack in the following of Christ’s commandments and negligent in repentance, and lead to the rejection of the words of the Scriptures themselves.   

Every year in the liturgical calendar, on the third Sunday of Great Lent, all Orthodox Christians  throughout the whole world participate in a service dedicated to the Last Judgment which expresses the Orthodox and ancient Christian attitude towards this future event.  Below is a small excerpt from the Vespers service.  Note the attitude and disposition expressed in these words, the realization of our sinfulness, the sincere contrition, the sorrow over our sins, and the hope that God will save us even though we are unworthy.  One will not find any attitude of boasting, of asserting that “we are saved already”, of rejoicing at the Judgment, nor any great confidence that God will definitely save us despite our sins because of the work that Christ did on our behalf.  We know that God is God, and we can only offer him our repentance and hope that He accepts this:   

from Vespers for the Sunday of the Last Judgment

When Thou shalt come, O righteous Judge, /
to execute just judgment, /
seated on Thy throne of glory, /
a river of fire will draw all men amazed before Thy judgment-seat; /
the powers of heaven will stand beside Thee, /
and in fear mankind will be judged according to the deeds that each has done. /
Then spare us, Christ, in Thy compassion, /
with faith we entreat Thee, //
and count us worthy of Thy blessings with those that are saved.

The books will be opened and the acts of men will be revealed /
before the unbearable judgment-seat; /
and the whole vale of sorrow shall echo /
with the fearful sound of lamentation, /
as all the sinners, weeping in vain, /
are sent by Thy just judgment to everlasting torment. /
Therefore we beseech Thee, O compassionate and loving Lord: /
spare us who sing Thy praise, //
for Thou alone art rich in mercy.

The trumpets shall sound and the tombs shall be emptied, /
and all mankind in trembling shall be raised. /
Those that have done good shall rejoice in gladness, /
awaiting their reward; /
those that have sinned shall tremble and bitterly lament, /
as they are sent to punishment /
and parted from the chosen. /
O Lord of glory, take pity on us in Thy goodness, //
and count us worthy of a place with them that have loved Thee.

I lament and weep when I think of the eternal fire, /
the outer darkness and the nether world, /
the dread worm and the gnashing of teeth /
and the unceasing anguish /
that shall befall those who have sinned without measure, /
by their wickedness arousing Thee to anger, O Supreme in love. /
Among them in my misery I am first: /
but, O Judge compassionate, //
in Thy mercy save me.

When the thrones are set up and the books are opened, /
and God sits in judgment, /
O what fear there will be then! /
When the angels stand trembling in Thy presence /
and the river of fire flows before Thee, /
what shall we do then, guilty of many sins? /
When we hear Him call the blessed of His Father into the Kingdom, /
but send the sinners to their punishment, /
who shall endure His fearful condemnation? /
But, O Savior Who alone lovest mankind, King of the ages, /
before the end comes turn me back through repentance //
and have mercy on me.

Alas, black soul! /
How long wilt thou continue in evil? /
How long wilt thou lie in idleness? /
Why dost thou not think of the fearful hour of death? /
Why dost thou not tremble at the dread judgment seat of the Savior? /
What defense then wilt thou make, or what wilt thou answer? /
Thy works will be there to accuse thee; /
thine actions will reproach thee and condemn thee. /
O my soul, the time is near at hand; /
make haste before it is too late, and cry aloud in faith: /
I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned against Thee; /
but I know Thy love for man and Thy compassion. /
O good Shepherd, deprive me not of a place at Thy right hand //
in Thy great mercy.
 

I’m sure you see how the above texts impress upon a person a “Godly sorrow” which “produces repentance leading to salvation (2 Cor. 7:10).”  A man becomes immune to such Godly sorrow when he convinces himself that Christ will save him despite his sins, that he is saved already for all eternity, that he has been given a free gift of salvation which he can never lose, etc.  In twisting the Scriptures to provide such a “positive” message, a man becomes incapable of the true and authentic repentance needed for salvation.  He also becomes incapable of hearing the real gospel of the true Church which is not nearly as appealing to the flesh, but which has within it all of the grace and tools given by God for the salvation of man.  The one Church of Christ is the Ark of Salvation built by God to bring man into His eternal kingdom.  Protestants have build many small yachts and motor boats, many of which have very attractive designs and appear to be both fast and efficient.  However, in the end, one has to make a choice between what God has built for our salvation and carefully and consistently guided for 2,000 years, and the multitude of small crafts, recently created by men, that travel in various directions and all claim to be the true Ark of living God.  The Ark is old and rather austere, with few bodily comforts, but we know Who built it, where it is going, and how it is going to get there.  It has been on a single trajectory for 2,000 years, has never veered off course, and has shone no signs of deterioration during this time.  With the various newly built crafts of uncertain origin that are constantly falling apart, being rebuilt, and changing course, we do not know where they are going but we know for sure that they do not have the same builder or the same captain, and they are clearly not travelling in the same direction.
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« Reply #105 on: October 26, 2011, 09:49:09 AM »

Faith is not a work, it is a gift of grace in itself. One cannot come to have faith in Christ unless the Father draws him.

But does this mean that the Father gives faith to some and not to others? (That's why Calvinism has always seemed like such a dead end to me. It makes no sense.)
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« Reply #106 on: October 26, 2011, 09:52:07 AM »

Faith is not a work, it is a gift of grace in itself. One cannot come to have faith in Christ unless the Father draws him.
I perceive an inexorable descent into double predestination and other doctrines of Calvinism in your current mode of thought. Would this be an unfair statement?
Thats just what the Lord says.

I dont know, maybe I'm becoming a Calvinist. I probably need to take a break from polemics for now and just visit a church.

Do you believe that there is anyone who God either does not draw to Himself, purposely draws away from Himself, or somehow refuses to offer salvation to?

That would be those given over to their sin? Psalm 81:12 - 2 Thess 2:11
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« Reply #107 on: October 26, 2011, 09:53:36 AM »

Faith is not a work, it is a gift of grace in itself. One cannot come to have faith in Christ unless the Father draws him.

But does this mean that the Father gives faith to some and not to others? (That's why Calvinism has always seemed like such a dead end to me. It makes no sense.)

Romans 12:3, everyone has a measure of faith
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« Reply #108 on: October 26, 2011, 10:05:47 AM »

Do you believe that there is anyone who God either does not draw to Himself, purposely draws away from Himself, or somehow refuses to offer salvation to?
That would be those given over to their sin?

Psalm 81:12

This is made in reference to God's own chosen people.

[/quote]2 Thess 2:11[/quote]

This is in reference to those who "had pleasure" (that word also means "to be willing" according to Mr Strong) in unrighteousness.

God did not "give them up" until after they had willfully rejected Him.
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« Reply #109 on: October 26, 2011, 10:11:04 AM »

Do you believe that there is anyone who God either does not draw to Himself, purposely draws away from Himself, or somehow refuses to offer salvation to?
That would be those given over to their sin?

Psalm 81:12

This is made in reference to God's own chosen people.

2 Thess 2:11[/quote]

This is in reference to those who "had pleasure" (that word also means "to be willing" according to Mr Strong) in unrighteousness.

God did not "give them up" until after they had willfully rejected Him.
[/quote]
I was going to say that about 2 Thess. Interesting verse. It does seem like it is saying, "There will be a delusion for those who already have rejected God and righteousness." It only says that He is providing the delusion itself, that all of us aren't destined to believe in it or not. It will simply exist, and those who have taken pleasure in unrighteousness will simply believe it.
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« Reply #110 on: October 26, 2011, 07:17:26 PM »

Yes, faith is a gift, but why can't that gift come with the means to reject it? The definition of a gift does not include the receiver being forced to keep it forever.

Romans 11:29 tells us that the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.
This is true. Ultimately everyone will be illumined and know who the true God is, "every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess." Some people won't do this gladly and will still hate God. I suppose in a sense they've taken their faith and done evil with it.
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« Reply #111 on: October 26, 2011, 07:20:50 PM »

If God's grace is behind our every effort, then what exactly are the filthy rags (our works)?
God is behind every good thing we do. When we try to strike out on our own and do something we think will obligate Him to save us, that's when we realize we can never stack up. At least this is how I read that passage.
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« Reply #112 on: October 26, 2011, 07:30:32 PM »

Our righteousness is as filthy rags. God's righteousness is not. Therefore, when we live in faith in the ways of the Church Jesus created, we have a chance to experience God's righteousness, not our own.
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« Reply #113 on: October 26, 2011, 07:37:11 PM »

Yes, faith is a gift, but why can't that gift come with the means to reject it? The definition of a gift does not include the receiver being forced to keep it forever.

Romans 11:29 tells us that the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.
This is true. Ultimately everyone will be illumined and know who the true God is, "every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess." Some people won't do this gladly and will still hate God. I suppose in a sense they've taken their faith and done evil with it.

Also, the word "irrevocable" means the gift cannot be revoked by its giver, not that the recipient is not free to refuse or abandon the gift.

I don't have the Greek in front of me as I type ...
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« Reply #114 on: October 27, 2011, 10:45:31 AM »

Do you believe that there is anyone who God either does not draw to Himself, purposely draws away from Himself, or somehow refuses to offer salvation to?
That would be those given over to their sin?

Psalm 81:12

This is made in reference to God's own chosen people.

Quote
2 Thess 2:11

This is in reference to those who "had pleasure" (that word also means "to be willing" according to Mr Strong) in unrighteousness.

God did not "give them up" until after they had willfully rejected Him.
I was going to say that about 2 Thess. Interesting verse. It does seem like it is saying, "There will be a delusion for those who already have rejected God and righteousness." It only says that He is providing the delusion itself, that all of us aren't destined to believe in it or not. It will simply exist, and those who have taken pleasure in unrighteousness will simply believe it.

Greek: "energy of deceit;" a Hebraism, meaning strong deceit, according to one commentary. It is an interesting verse and it's why i asked because once someone has remained in sin over and over with no attempt at repenting then, God gives them over to their sin.

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« Reply #115 on: October 27, 2011, 10:56:00 AM »

Do you believe that there is anyone who God either does not draw to Himself, purposely draws away from Himself, or somehow refuses to offer salvation to?
That would be those given over to their sin?

Psalm 81:12

This is made in reference to God's own chosen people.

Quote
2 Thess 2:11

This is in reference to those who "had pleasure" (that word also means "to be willing" according to Mr Strong) in unrighteousness.

God did not "give them up" until after they had willfully rejected Him.
I was going to say that about 2 Thess. Interesting verse. It does seem like it is saying, "There will be a delusion for those who already have rejected God and righteousness." It only says that He is providing the delusion itself, that all of us aren't destined to believe in it or not. It will simply exist, and those who have taken pleasure in unrighteousness will simply believe it.

Greek: "energy of deceit;" a Hebraism, meaning strong deceit, according to one commentary. It is an interesting verse and it's why i asked because once someone has remained in sin over and over with no attempt at repenting then, God gives them over to their sin.



Good for you. God gives us everything, even our sin. Whether we like it or . . . Actually because we like it.
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« Reply #116 on: October 27, 2011, 11:11:28 AM »

Do you believe that there is anyone who God either does not draw to Himself, purposely draws away from Himself, or somehow refuses to offer salvation to?
That would be those given over to their sin?

Psalm 81:12

This is made in reference to God's own chosen people.

Quote
2 Thess 2:11

This is in reference to those who "had pleasure" (that word also means "to be willing" according to Mr Strong) in unrighteousness.

God did not "give them up" until after they had willfully rejected Him.
I was going to say that about 2 Thess. Interesting verse. It does seem like it is saying, "There will be a delusion for those who already have rejected God and righteousness." It only says that He is providing the delusion itself, that all of us aren't destined to believe in it or not. It will simply exist, and those who have taken pleasure in unrighteousness will simply believe it.

Greek: "energy of deceit;" a Hebraism, meaning strong deceit, according to one commentary. It is an interesting verse and it's why i asked because once someone has remained in sin over and over with no attempt at repenting then, God gives them over to their sin.



Good for you. God gives us everything, even our sin. Whether we like it or . . . Actually because we like it.

He does. I wasn't sure if that's what Melodist was getting at.
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« Reply #117 on: October 27, 2011, 01:48:21 PM »

Do you believe that there is anyone who God either does not draw to Himself, purposely draws away from Himself, or somehow refuses to offer salvation to?
That would be those given over to their sin?

Psalm 81:12

This is made in reference to God's own chosen people.

Quote
2 Thess 2:11

This is in reference to those who "had pleasure" (that word also means "to be willing" according to Mr Strong) in unrighteousness.

God did not "give them up" until after they had willfully rejected Him.
I was going to say that about 2 Thess. Interesting verse. It does seem like it is saying, "There will be a delusion for those who already have rejected God and righteousness." It only says that He is providing the delusion itself, that all of us aren't destined to believe in it or not. It will simply exist, and those who have taken pleasure in unrighteousness will simply believe it.
Greek: "energy of deceit;" a Hebraism, meaning strong deceit, according to one commentary. It is an interesting verse and it's why i asked because once someone has remained in sin over and over with no attempt at repenting then, God gives them over to their sin.
Good for you. God gives us everything, even our sin. Whether we like it or . . . Actually because we like it.
He does. I wasn't sure if that's what Melodist was getting at.

My point was that they are not denied repentence, having been given that opportunity before being "given over" to their sinful desires.

It's also been my experience (I suppose I could be wrong on this, just personal experience) that sometimes God can give someone over to their sin for a period of time to show them the error of their ways and the outcome of what it is they desire so they can seek God to give them repentence from their ways.

It was more of a question concerning double predestination than anything else.
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« Reply #118 on: October 27, 2011, 02:01:29 PM »

I was going to respond a bit similarly, except I knew that this would be heading into the foreknowledge/predestination debate.

I won't pretend to know a lot about the deeper meaning of the Bible, as I can only transliterate Greek, put it into Google, and hope to get an answer that makes sense to me.  Smiley But I do feel like the verse seems to me more like a consequence of man's own choice than God initially pushing those people away or destining them to not be with Him from the beginning.
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« Reply #119 on: October 27, 2011, 07:12:30 PM »

I won't pretend to know a lot about the deeper meaning of the Bible, as I can only transliterate Greek, put it into Google, and hope to get an answer that makes sense to me.  Smiley

I found this post really useful, takes a lot of the hard work out of it
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,39942.msg646512.html#msg646512
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« Reply #120 on: October 27, 2011, 10:20:57 PM »

Thank you, FountainPen! That post is a gold mine. I never found it in my slipshod search of the archives.

I do need to read more commentaries but I am a language freak and like being able to understand the text itself -- knowing the grammar rules and quirks of Greek would help here. But I suppose that being able to do that is many many years away.
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« Reply #121 on: October 27, 2011, 11:40:24 PM »

Do you believe that there is anyone who God either does not draw to Himself, purposely draws away from Himself, or somehow refuses to offer salvation to?
That would be those given over to their sin?

Psalm 81:12

This is made in reference to God's own chosen people.

Quote
2 Thess 2:11

This is in reference to those who "had pleasure" (that word also means "to be willing" according to Mr Strong) in unrighteousness.

God did not "give them up" until after they had willfully rejected Him.
I was going to say that about 2 Thess. Interesting verse. It does seem like it is saying, "There will be a delusion for those who already have rejected God and righteousness." It only says that He is providing the delusion itself, that all of us aren't destined to believe in it or not. It will simply exist, and those who have taken pleasure in unrighteousness will simply believe it.
Greek: "energy of deceit;" a Hebraism, meaning strong deceit, according to one commentary. It is an interesting verse and it's why i asked because once someone has remained in sin over and over with no attempt at repenting then, God gives them over to their sin.
Good for you. God gives us everything, even our sin. Whether we like it or . . . Actually because we like it.
He does. I wasn't sure if that's what Melodist was getting at.

My point was that they are not denied repentence, having been given that opportunity before being "given over" to their sinful desires.

It's also been my experience (I suppose I could be wrong on this, just personal experience) that sometimes God can give someone over to their sin for a period of time to show them the error of their ways and the outcome of what it is they desire so they can seek God to give them repentence from their ways.
I agree.
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« Reply #122 on: November 02, 2011, 12:23:50 PM »

The Orthodox message of salvation, or at least the way I view it, is too complicated for me. The Orthodox seem to preach that yes salvation is by grace, but grace must be worked with and that in order to be fully saved you have to be fully sanctified.

Hebrews 12:14:  "Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord."

If by "fully sanctified" you mean perfectionism, Orthodoxy does not teach that, but a dialectic: we are saved as repentant sinners. Biblically repentance is not "One Grand Moment of Repentance" but a lifestyle/lifetime of repentance (in the Gospels it usually occurs in the Greek present/continual tense; we see the churches in Revelation again and again told to return to repentance), but as ever-repentant people, we continually cry "Lord have mercy on me, a sinner!" until our last breath. Most Protestants -not all- agree that if there is never the pursuit of holiness/sanctification a person is not or never was "saved." Orthodox express this in a more simple rather than more complex manner, we do not create a "giant wall" between salvation and sanctification. There are also biblical reasons for supposing a radical separation of these categories is incorrect:

2 Thess 2:13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

Allow me to turn to the subject of grace, specifically "grace alone."

Titus 2:11-12 tells us grace produces a godly life: "For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say 'no' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly ...lives in this present age" God's grace alone saves, but grace produces effects and is therefore "alone"only in the sense what/Who saves, but not alone in the sense of it having no effect like sanctification (biblically repentance, pursuit of holiness, the fruit of the Spirit, love, etc. are also produced by grace). Therefore 1 Jn 4:8 tells us "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." Just because the grace of God alone produces salvation does not mean that if I am loveless and bear no fruit that I have grace. In fact if I am loveless this proves I do not know God and do not have grace (1 Jn 4:8). So it would be a fallacy to say something like "if love is a part of the equation then it would not be grace alone, because grace produces love (love is the fruit of the Spirit), repentance, the fruit of the Spirit, a godly life, and so on according to scripture. It is grace rather than its (or rather *His*) effects that saves, but grace is certainly not alone in the sense that it produces no effects, and the axe is laid to the root of the tree that produces no fruit of grace, for grace is not really present in such a tree.

"'For it is God who works 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

Slogans like XYZ alone can be confusing. if you remember nothing else, try to remember this: grace alone saves, but grace doesn't remain alone because it produces stuff.
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« Reply #123 on: November 17, 2011, 06:15:13 PM »

The whole legalistic view, IMHO, means that God is bound by some law (that even He can't break) that says he HAS to "save us" if all we do is "believe" and nothing else.  It makes me feel as if it takes away from His love for us and actually our showing our love for Him... "Gosh, God, I SAID once I believed, so let me in those pearly gates!"
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« Reply #124 on: November 17, 2011, 07:04:39 PM »

The whole legalistic view, IMHO, means that God is bound by some law (that even He can't break) that says he HAS to "save us" if all we do is "believe" and nothing else.  It makes me feel as if it takes away from His love for us and actually our showing our love for Him... "Gosh, God, I SAID once I believed, so let me in those pearly gates!"

There are so many false dichotomies and linguistic problems in play.

Believe is one of the good Germanic words that if we take it seriously this stuff all falls apart.

Lieben and glauben share a same etymology. The former is to love, the latter to think, to believe. Our believe comes out of that same history, which fundamentally rest on a root that means: to love and to care (for).

Certainly even the non-German speaker can see the shared history:

believe
lieben

And if we take seriously the turn of language, the be- prefix tends to suggest the verb is transitive.

Therefore, if we want to get fancy we can say primordially that believe means to love or to care for someone or something.

And as James Joyce showed us in Molly Bloom's soliloquy, love is always an act that requires a repetitive yes. We cannot love someone for a moment and truly say we loved them. Nor is that yes some mere cognitive act. It is lived out as Joyce so wonderfully reveals in this passage. Not too mention the rarely mentioned that Molly Bloom's erotic revelry is an argument for God.

Quote
…I love flowers I’d love to have the whole place swimming in roses God of heaven there’s nothing like nature the wild mountains then the sea and the waves rushing then the beautiful country with fields of oats and wheat and all kinds of things and all the fine cattle going about that would do your heart good to see rivers and lakes and flowers all sorts of shapes and smells and colours springing up even out of the ditches primroses and violets nature it is as for them saying there’s no God I wouldn’t give a snap of my two fingers for all their learning why don’t they go and create something I often asked him atheists or whatever they call themselves go and wash the cobbles off themselves first then they go howling for the priest and they dying and why why because they’re afraid of hell on account of their bad conscience ah yes I know them well who was the first person in the universe before there was anybody that made it all who ah that they don’t know neither do I so there you are they might as well try to stop the sun from rising tomorrow the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons . . .

. . . as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

You can read the entire the piece here* without my violent editing:

http://poetrydispatch.wordpress.com/2008/06/16/james-joyce-molly-blooms-soliloquy/

To believe in God IS enough. In fact, how many of really do? Can we say to God, as Molly says to Bloom, Yes to Him in love for everything past, present, and coming? Right now? No matter how unfaithful we have been? Can we can say Yes and act toward him and thus the entire world with love?

Schlock enough?


*I cleaned up a typo or two in the part I quoted. Some may remain.
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« Reply #125 on: November 17, 2011, 07:22:56 PM »

^ Post of the month nominee.
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« Reply #126 on: November 17, 2011, 07:55:17 PM »

I dont know, maybe I'm becoming a Calvinist. I probably need to take a break from polemics for now and just visit a church.
The best idea my friend. I actually had to take a break from debating with atheists and go to Church more reguarly which helped me considerably. Alot of these polemics can really wear down on a person.

Agree!!  Run, run far away from this board for a time -- visit a church or visit a monastery.  Jesus said, "Come and see," not "come and discuss," "come and argue," "come and study," or "come and understand."  He said "come and see."  Go to Church. 
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« Reply #127 on: November 17, 2011, 08:04:37 PM »

Reading that Joyce quote induced in me at least three types of headache.
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The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.
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« Reply #128 on: November 17, 2011, 08:20:18 PM »

The whole legalistic view, IMHO, means that God is bound by some law (that even He can't break) that says he HAS to "save us" if all we do is "believe" and nothing else.  It makes me feel as if it takes away from His love for us and actually our showing our love for Him... "Gosh, God, I SAID once I believed, so let me in those pearly gates!"

There are so many false dichotomies and linguistic problems in play.

Believe is one of the good Germanic words that if we take it seriously this stuff all falls apart.

Lieben and glauben share a same etymology. The former is to love, the latter to think, to believe. Our believe comes out of that same history, which fundamentally rest on a root that means: to love and to care (for).

Certainly even the non-German speaker can see the shared history:

believe
lieben

And if we take seriously the turn of language, the be- prefix tends to suggest the verb is transitive.

Therefore, if we want to get fancy we can say primordially that believe means to love or to care for someone or something.

And as James Joyce showed us in Molly Bloom's soliloquy, love is always an act that requires a repetitive yes. We cannot love someone for a moment and truly say we loved them. Nor is that yes some mere cognitive act. It is lived out as Joyce so wonderfully reveals in this passage. Not too mention the rarely mentioned that Molly Bloom's erotic revelry is an argument for God.

Quote
…I love flowers I’d love to have the whole place swimming in roses God of heaven there’s nothing like nature the wild mountains then the sea and the waves rushing then the beautiful country with fields of oats and wheat and all kinds of things and all the fine cattle going about that would do your heart good to see rivers and lakes and flowers all sorts of shapes and smells and colours springing up even out of the ditches primroses and violets nature it is as for them saying there’s no God I wouldn’t give a snap of my two fingers for all their learning why don’t they go and create something I often asked him atheists or whatever they call themselves go and wash the cobbles off themselves first then they go howling for the priest and they dying and why why because they’re afraid of hell on account of their bad conscience ah yes I know them well who was the first person in the universe before there was anybody that made it all who ah that they don’t know neither do I so there you are they might as well try to stop the sun from rising tomorrow the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons . . .

. . . as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

You can read the entire the piece here* without my violent editing:

http://poetrydispatch.wordpress.com/2008/06/16/james-joyce-molly-blooms-soliloquy/

To believe in God IS enough. In fact, how many of really do? Can we say to God, as Molly says to Bloom, Yes to Him in love for everything past, present, and coming? Right now? No matter how unfaithful we have been? Can we can say Yes and act toward him and thus the entire world with love?

Schlock enough?


*I cleaned up a typo or two in the part I quoted. Some may remain.



Oh dear Lord that was beautiful  and I second Father's nomination!

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« Reply #129 on: November 17, 2011, 09:24:58 PM »

^Nice!
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« Reply #130 on: November 18, 2011, 01:59:04 PM »

And as James Joyce showed us in Molly Bloom's soliloquy...
Or to sum up "These are the moments, I know heaven must exist"  Wink

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« Reply #131 on: November 18, 2011, 01:59:58 PM »

Reading that Joyce quote induced in me at least three types of headache.
"Read" Finnegan's Wake then LOL
« Last Edit: November 18, 2011, 02:00:35 PM by Achronos » Logged

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« Reply #132 on: November 18, 2011, 03:00:08 PM »

If I may reply to this conversation as it stands. Perhaps I missed it, but one I think it would be helpful to review our terminology. It is easy to talk past one another when we used the same words but mean somewhat different things by them.

Consider "salvation": what do we mean by it? Whether it is by faith or works or any interrelationship thereof, what is this salvation once it is attained?  The traditional western answer is forensic: right legal standing with God; being declared not guilty before Him. The term the west uses for this state is Justification. The traditional eastern answer is therapeutic: right standing before God because one has been healed and united to God. The term Orthodox use for fully realized salvation…is theosis, divinization.

Two terms here are occasions for us talking past one another, the first we've mentioned, "salvation", the other is "justification". It may help to remind ourselves that the NT is written in Koine Greek, and it is the Greek meaning of these words that would have been understood by their first hearers, not Latin, or English.  The Greek for "to save" and the root for the expanded variant which means "salvation" is Sozo. According to the NT Greek lexicon, sozo means: to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction one (from injury or peril), to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health

Notice the foundational idea is rooted in health and wholeness.  We see this in a cognate Latin word "salus", the root of the English word salvation, which means, health.

From this we see why Greeks and other Orthodox understand that the nature of salvation is a return to health to wholeness…but not as man is, rather as he was created and redeemed to be and to become, the image and likeness of God. The fathers teach us the image of God was given to Adam by God, but the likeness to God was for Adam to attain as he grew in God…like moving from the sketch of an icon to it's finished limned state. This understanding appears to be largely therapeutic.

Now lets turn to the term "justification". In English as in Latin from whence our western theological sensibilities arise, the term has a forensic sense. It is a legal term indicating a right standing, a vindication before the law.  But if we look at the Greek term underlying this we discover something a bit different. Dikaiosis is the Greek term which means to be called/declared righteous in the sense of shown to be righteous.  We can see of course a forensic understanding here, but that changes if we ask two questions about this term: 1 In what sense is one "shown" to be righteous so a declaration of righteousness is factual? 2 What is this righteousness which one is declared to have?  Is the declaration then forensic or therapeutic: "a pronouncement of not guilty" or "a pronouncement of you are healed"?  What if we look at how the term "Dikaiosis" is related in Scripture to earlier Hebraic equivalents? Here we discover the related term dikaiosune/justice is used to translate the Hebrew tsedaka, meaning mercy, compassion, love and thus closely allied with the other Hebrew term hesed, meaning tender mercy and compassion. These are are what the Apostle John taught was what God was: God is love. St. Paul taught us love seeketh not its own, that it is self emptying.  So we may reasonably then say that to be declared righteous is not a forensic act negating our guilt, for a not guilty verdict is far removed from being "like God", from being loving and compassionate like God, which is what it is to be actually righteous in the NT sense. If God simply made us righteous by creative pronouncement we would cease to be human and have been reduced to automatons who love God and all the God loves because they must, not because they choose to.  Thus this righteousness, this godliness, is the evidence by which God makes the declaration of righteousness. The person who has that judgement is the person who has been healed, not merely the one who has been acquitted.  

Thus the Orthodox teach Theosis, divinization as the key, central NT paradigm of salvation. It is our return to health as we were meant to be. It is our transforming union with God, and we see that justification and sanctification are actually the same thing…or if one must separate them those "declared" just are those who have been made holy/sanctified by the depth of their healing union with God.  

It is not then that the Orthodox do not see forensic language in the NT teaching on salvation, they do, but they see it in the greater context of the therapeutic language. Moreover, the forensic aspects of salvation while not absent for the Orthodox, are not nearly so heavily pronounced in the Greek as they are in Latin and English translations. If one doubts this, then one must ask why, given that the NT was given by God in Greek, did not the early Greek Christians and Greek speakers/readers of the first and latter generations as a body understand salvation in more rigid forensic terms? If its that clear in the Greek, how did they misunderstand it so badly in their own language? Surely, there must have been a least a few "honest" readers of sufficient stature to emphasize this understanding across the centuries if the forensic understanding in the NT were paramount?" But as we see, this is not the case; how can that be unless the native readers of Greek from NT times have understood the Greek transmission of the salvation message of the Gospels more in therapeutic terms than in forensic ones?

« Last Edit: November 18, 2011, 03:08:52 PM by Seraphim98 » Logged
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« Reply #133 on: November 18, 2011, 08:37:22 PM »

^^ superb! always a joy to read your post Seraphim.
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Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
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« Reply #134 on: November 19, 2011, 12:35:46 AM »

^^ superb! always a joy to read your post Seraphim.

Ditto!

Seraphim, a mere catechumen here...so be gentle with me please... Wink  A question.  I've read a similar explanation, tho' yours is MUCH easier for me to follow.  So, I thank you for sharing your wisdom!  Does this somehow tie in also to Christ's "miracles" while He walked on this earth being not so much miracles (in the sense that a miracle is an act which goes against nature and man was not created to suffer disease, death or demonic possession so to suffer from these things is already going against "nature" as it was created to be) as much as they were acts of restoration?  That these acts were glimpses of the fullness of restoration (salvation) which is available through Him, and Him alone?  As Christ would say, "Your faith has healed you." could be better understood as, "Your faith has restored you." or "Your faith has 'saved' you"?  I obviously don't know if it does, but this kept rolling through my mind as I read you post and I couldn't help but ask.  Please forgive me if I am off-base.  It wouldn't be the first time, nor will it be the last.
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