Author Topic: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?  (Read 2795 times)

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Offline Volnutt

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Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« on: October 29, 2011, 12:23:34 PM »
I just want to begin by saying I don't want at this time to hear from people who believe there is no salvation outside the Orthodox Church. This thread is exploring the implications and tenability of the idea that people can somehow be united to the true church without joining the Orthodox Church in this life.


Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct. It seems to me that to admit the possibility of, to use one of Fr. Hopko's examples, someone who was completely soured to Christianity by the bad behavior of us who claim the name of Christ could still be forgiven by God is ipso facto to espouse the existence of some kind of an "invisible church" and a repudiation of the idea the true church must be identified with an earthly group. The hardliners have an appealing logic that is cold and sharp like an icicle. I don't see a way around it within Orthodox theology, honestly.

Offline William

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2011, 12:30:04 PM »
I just want to begin by saying I don't want at this time to hear from people who believe there is no salvation outside the Orthodox Church. This thread is exploring the implications and tenability of the idea that people can somehow be united to the true church without joining the Orthodox Church in this life.


Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct. It seems to me that to admit the possibility of, to use one of Fr. Hopko's examples, someone who was completely soured to Christianity by the bad behavior of us who claim the name of Christ could still be forgiven by God is ipso facto to espouse the existence of some kind of an "invisible church" and a repudiation of the idea the true church must be identified with an earthly group. The hardliners have an appealing logic that is cold and sharp like an icicle. I don't see a way around it within Orthodox theology, honestly.

How is orthodoxinfo full of "nazis"? I first learned about the idea of those outside the Church being saved from that website:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/metphil_heterodox.aspx

This also seems to be the opinion of some uber-traditionalist Old Calendar groups, and is reflected in the Church's tradition through existence of non-Orthodox saints (e.g. Isaac of Syria).

If you want a detailed explanation as to how this makes sense within Orthodox ecclesiology, I'd recommend reading this concise book (it's all online) by the "nazi" founder of orthodoxinfo.com:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/status.aspx
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 12:30:25 PM by William »
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Offline JLatimer

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2011, 12:33:31 PM »
Job 38-42:6
1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

Offline Jetavan

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2011, 12:35:00 PM »
It seems to me that to admit the possibility of, to use one of Fr. Hopko's examples, someone who was completely soured to Christianity by the bad behavior of us who claim the name of Christ could still be forgiven by God is ipso facto to espouse the existence of some kind of an "invisible church" and a repudiation of the idea the true church must be identified with an earthly group.
The person who is "soured" on Christianity, would not be part of the Church in this life, but I don't see how one can say that -- after death -- it would be impossible for them to enter into the Church.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2011, 12:36:02 PM »
I just want to begin by saying I don't want at this time to hear from people who believe there is no salvation outside the Orthodox Church. This thread is exploring the implications and tenability of the idea that people can somehow be united to the true church without joining the Orthodox Church in this life.


Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct. It seems to me that to admit the possibility of, to use one of Fr. Hopko's examples, someone who was completely soured to Christianity by the bad behavior of us who claim the name of Christ could still be forgiven by God is ipso facto to espouse the existence of some kind of an "invisible church" and a repudiation of the idea the true church must be identified with an earthly group. The hardliners have an appealing logic that is cold and sharp like an icicle. I don't see a way around it within Orthodox theology, honestly.

How is orthodoxinfo full of "nazis"? I first learned about the idea of those outside the Church being saved from that website:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/metphil_heterodox.aspx

This also seems to be the opinion of some uber-traditionalist Old Calendar groups, and is reflected in the Church's tradition through existence of non-Orthodox saints (e.g. Isaac of Syria).

If you want a detailed explanation as to how this makes sense within Orthodox ecclesiology, I'd recommend reading this concise book (it's all online) by the "nazi" founder of orthodoxinfo.com:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/status.aspx
Since they're so hyperconservative on everything else I've read from them, I guess I just assumed they would be that way regarding the non-Orthodox as well. Thanks.

And sorry I offended you.

Offline JLatimer

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2011, 12:40:54 PM »
Since they're so hyperconservative on everything else

Add to that their love of nude male statuary, their zeal for the German land and Volk, and their hatred of Jews and Bolsheviks.
1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

Offline William

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2011, 12:49:19 PM »
I just want to begin by saying I don't want at this time to hear from people who believe there is no salvation outside the Orthodox Church. This thread is exploring the implications and tenability of the idea that people can somehow be united to the true church without joining the Orthodox Church in this life.


Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct. It seems to me that to admit the possibility of, to use one of Fr. Hopko's examples, someone who was completely soured to Christianity by the bad behavior of us who claim the name of Christ could still be forgiven by God is ipso facto to espouse the existence of some kind of an "invisible church" and a repudiation of the idea the true church must be identified with an earthly group. The hardliners have an appealing logic that is cold and sharp like an icicle. I don't see a way around it within Orthodox theology, honestly.

How is orthodoxinfo full of "nazis"? I first learned about the idea of those outside the Church being saved from that website:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/metphil_heterodox.aspx

This also seems to be the opinion of some uber-traditionalist Old Calendar groups, and is reflected in the Church's tradition through existence of non-Orthodox saints (e.g. Isaac of Syria).

If you want a detailed explanation as to how this makes sense within Orthodox ecclesiology, I'd recommend reading this concise book (it's all online) by the "nazi" founder of orthodoxinfo.com:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/status.aspx
Since they're so hyperconservative on everything else I've read from them, I guess I just assumed they would be that way regarding the non-Orthodox as well. Thanks.

And sorry I offended you.

It's okay.  :)

Do read that book, though. I had the same question as you once and it really helped me out.
Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly. - Immanuel Kant

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2011, 12:55:21 PM »
Since they're so hyperconservative on everything else

Add to that their love of nude male statuary, their zeal for the German land and Volk, and their hatred of Jews and Bolsheviks.
I was just being rhetorical. Sorry.

And thanks, William.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2011, 12:56:19 PM »
It seems to me that to admit the possibility of, to use one of Fr. Hopko's examples, someone who was completely soured to Christianity by the bad behavior of us who claim the name of Christ could still be forgiven by God is ipso facto to espouse the existence of some kind of an "invisible church" and a repudiation of the idea the true church must be identified with an earthly group.
The person who is "soured" on Christianity, would not be part of the Church in this life, but I don't see how one can say that -- after death -- it would be impossible for them to enter into the Church.
Yeah, I guess this is the answer that makes the most sense to me.

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2011, 02:00:20 PM »
Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct.
I see that others have addressed this already, but I'll go ahead and say it. I think your comment equating Orthodoxinfo with Nazis totally uncharitable and uncalled for. If Patrick Barnes was a member of OC.net--who knows, he may be--I would say you owe him an apology for trashing his Website the way you just did.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2011, 02:08:53 PM »
First of all I've seen their stridently hyperdox and apparently rather uncharitable nature called out even on this very forum many times.

Second, I was not using the word nazi in the literal sense. Ever called someone a grammar nazi? Did you mean to say they want to kill all Jews?

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2011, 02:27:45 PM »
First of all I've seen their stridently hyperdox and apparently rather uncharitable nature called out even on this very forum many times.
Yes, they have, but there's a big difference between calling their conduct uncharitable and calling the persons who run that site or write for that site "nazis". Remember the operative slogan here: Attack arguments and behavior, not persons. Calling someone a nazi is an attack on one's person.

Second, I was not using the word nazi in the literal sense. Ever called someone a grammar nazi? Did you mean to say they want to kill all Jews?
But where would we have gotten the word "nazi" if not from the National Socialist German Workers Party of the Third Reich? I would venture to say that the word wouldn't even be in our vocabulary. Even when used according to the less formal sense you would like to give it, the word "nazi" still conjures up connections to the genocidal militarism of the German Nazi party.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 02:30:55 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2011, 02:41:59 PM »
The uncompromising ecclesiology of the 'hardliners' is the uncompromising ecclesiology of countless Holy Fathers, particularly in the early Church. In the third century, for example, when St. Cyprian (who coined the term 'Outside the Church there is no salvation' that you alluded to) and St. Stephen argued over whether heretical and schismatic baptism should be accepted, or whether converts from such groups should be received as unbaptised, both sides of the divide agreed that the Holy Spirit was absent from such groups. There was no question about whether non-Orthodox were somehow part of the Church.

However, we should never detatch such ideas from the Christian conviction that God is both merciful and loving, and desires the salvation of all mankind. We have been given the Church to be the context and means for our encounter with the living Christ, who is our salvation. Without Christ, no one can be saved. This is what is meant by "no salvation outside the Church', for the Church is the Body of Christ. But what God in His mercy does with those who were separated from His Church in this life is known only to Him, and  it is a great sin to speak presumptiously about the salvation of others.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2011, 02:59:10 PM »
First of all I've seen their stridently hyperdox and apparently rather uncharitable nature called out even on this very forum many times.
Yes, they have, but there's a big difference between calling their conduct uncharitable and calling the persons who run that site or write for that site "nazis". Remember the operative slogan here: Attack arguments and behavior, not persons. Calling someone a nazi is an attack on one's person

Calling someone a nazi is not necessarily an attack on someone's person (whatever that is).

Hitler was a Nazi.
Soup Nazi!
Grammar Nazi!
Nazi Nazi!
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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2011, 03:07:36 PM »
First of all I've seen their stridently hyperdox and apparently rather uncharitable nature called out even on this very forum many times.
Yes, they have, but there's a big difference between calling their conduct uncharitable and calling the persons who run that site or write for that site "nazis". Remember the operative slogan here: Attack arguments and behavior, not persons. Calling someone a nazi is an attack on one's person

Calling someone a nazi is not necessarily an attack on someone's person (whatever that is).
The way Volnutt used the label, it very clearly is.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 03:07:50 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2011, 03:08:51 PM »
First of all I've seen their stridently hyperdox and apparently rather uncharitable nature called out even on this very forum many times.
Yes, they have, but there's a big difference between calling their conduct uncharitable and calling the persons who run that site or write for that site "nazis". Remember the operative slogan here: Attack arguments and behavior, not persons. Calling someone a nazi is an attack on one's person

Calling someone a nazi is not necessarily an attack on someone's person (whatever that is).
The way Volnutt used the label, it very clearly is.

I just wanted to say:

Nazi Nazi!
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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2011, 03:10:00 PM »
First of all I've seen their stridently hyperdox and apparently rather uncharitable nature called out even on this very forum many times.
Yes, they have, but there's a big difference between calling their conduct uncharitable and calling the persons who run that site or write for that site "nazis". Remember the operative slogan here: Attack arguments and behavior, not persons. Calling someone a nazi is an attack on one's person

Calling someone a nazi is not necessarily an attack on someone's person (whatever that is).
The way Volnutt used the label, it very clearly is.

I just wanted to say:

Nazi Nazi!
Yeah, I know you did. ;)
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Offline Gorazd

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2011, 03:13:27 PM »
The hardliners have an appealing logic that is cold and sharp like an icicle.
Exactly that is the issue. In Orthodox Christianity, we believe in a loving and merciful God.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2011, 07:14:05 PM »
First of all I've seen their stridently hyperdox and apparently rather uncharitable nature called out even on this very forum many times.
Yes, they have, but there's a big difference between calling their conduct uncharitable and calling the persons who run that site or write for that site "nazis". Remember the operative slogan here: Attack arguments and behavior, not persons. Calling someone a nazi is an attack on one's person.

Second, I was not using the word nazi in the literal sense. Ever called someone a grammar nazi? Did you mean to say they want to kill all Jews?
But where would we have gotten the word "nazi" if not from the National Socialist German Workers Party of the Third Reich? I would venture to say that the word wouldn't even be in our vocabulary. Even when used according to the less formal sense you would like to give it, the word "nazi" still conjures up connections to the genocidal militarism of the German Nazi party.
If you say so... I withdraw my Nazi comment.

Offline Sleeper

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2011, 09:43:33 PM »
The Church of Christ is first and foremost an eternal, divine and human organism - the Body of Christ, a unity of many that transcends space and time. The Church of Christ, like the Eucharist (which is also the Body of Christ), is manifested by the Holy Spirit in space and time. It intersects with our reality and is revealed in the catholic Church. The catholic Church, the “whole Church,” is the local Eucharistic assembly, presided over by its bishop who is the icon of the Father, steward of Christ, and as St. Peter, primate of the assembly and symbol of unity. This simultaneous manifestation of the catholic Church in many places at the same time calls for a manifestation of identity and communion between all the catholic Churches. This so-called “universal Church” (or “Catholic Church” or “common union”), inasmuch as the political realities of our world permit its manifestation, should express the unity of the common union of Churches. This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity, not unlike to bishop of the (local) catholic Church, but functionally, not ontologically.

The local Church centered on the bishop is “the catholic Church” and indeed the full manifestation of the Body of Christ.

If the local Church (the “diocese”) is “the Catholic Church”, it contains in itself the fullness of means of grace, sanctification and salvation, whether or not “united” into a particular geopolitical superstructure. In other words, Cyprian of Carthage, Stephen of Rome and Firmilian of Caesarea can still be bishops of the catholic Church and saints in spite of their ruptures of communion. The Churches of St. Thomas in India, or those of Ethiopia were always one, holy, catholic and apostolic even when disconnected from Rome or Constantinople. It also means that the saints (of east and West, for instance St. Francis of Assisi and St. Sergius) do not drop in and out of the catholic Church because their patriarchs are quarreling over who knows what. Likewise, the idea that salvation is tied to a particular worldwide organism becomes obsolete.

Offline William

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2011, 08:48:02 PM »
Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct.

Where did St. Ignatius Branchaninov say that all non-Orthodox are damned?
Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly. - Immanuel Kant

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2011, 08:51:14 PM »
Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct.

Where did St. Ignatius Branchaninov say that all non-Orthodox are damned?
He said the RC sacraments lack grace AFAIK. I know that in Orthodox parlance that doesn't mean they won't eventually end up saved, but to me it's still saying they are no different than atheists in the here and now. That is something I don't know if I can accept.

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2011, 08:54:58 PM »
Question: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?

Answer: Because God hates Masons.   ;D
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2011, 08:55:57 PM »
Question: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?

Answer: Because God hates Masons.   ;D

*rimshot*  :laugh:

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2011, 09:03:16 PM »
But, seriously, I think you are a bit off on this one.  And, here's why:

When can a person not repent and not be received by Christ?

If you follow the teachings of the Church in their fullness, even those who have passed from this life can repent up until the Last Judgment.

Therefore, God offers all mankind the opportunity to acknowledge the Truth of Him and repent, thus they become Orthodox even after bodily death.  Remember, He led all the captives free.

At death, all mankind becomes Orthodox because the truth can no longer be avoided.  They must become Orthodox, because they can no longer speak what is false about God.  The problem is that some will like it and others will not.


I just want to begin by saying I don't want at this time to hear from people who believe there is no salvation outside the Orthodox Church. This thread is exploring the implications and tenability of the idea that people can somehow be united to the true church without joining the Orthodox Church in this life.


Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct. It seems to me that to admit the possibility of, to use one of Fr. Hopko's examples, someone who was completely soured to Christianity by the bad behavior of us who claim the name of Christ could still be forgiven by God is ipso facto to espouse the existence of some kind of an "invisible church" and a repudiation of the idea the true church must be identified with an earthly group. The hardliners have an appealing logic that is cold and sharp like an icicle. I don't see a way around it within Orthodox theology, honestly.
http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
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Offline William

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2011, 09:05:17 PM »
Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct.

Where did St. Ignatius Branchaninov say that all non-Orthodox are damned?
He said the RC sacraments lack grace AFAIK. I know that in Orthodox parlance that doesn't mean they won't eventually end up saved, but to me it's still saying they are no different than atheists in the here and now. That is something I don't know if I can accept.

But that's not what it's saying at all. There's a difference between saying they don't have sacramental grace (which can only exist within the true Church) and saying there's no difference between them and atheists. See the online book I linked awhile ago. You are imputing your own interpretations onto people, once again, and making them mean things that they didn't mean.  :(
Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly. - Immanuel Kant

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2011, 09:15:38 PM »
Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct.

Where did St. Ignatius Branchaninov say that all non-Orthodox are damned?
He said the RC sacraments lack grace AFAIK. I know that in Orthodox parlance that doesn't mean they won't eventually end up saved, but to me it's still saying they are no different than atheists in the here and now. That is something I don't know if I can accept.

But that's not what it's saying at all. There's a difference between saying they don't have sacramental grace (which can only exist within the true Church) and saying there's no difference between them and atheists. See the online book I linked awhile ago. You are imputing your own interpretations onto people, once again, and making them mean things that they didn't mean.  :(
Perhaps I am, sorry. I'm still working my way toward that book, which is why I pretty much abandoned this thread.

Offline William

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2011, 09:19:51 PM »
Deusveritasest (he doesn't post here anymore) once made an interesting point.

The Old Testament Fathers lacked sacramental grace, too. We do not consider them to be no different than atheists.
Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly. - Immanuel Kant

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2011, 09:27:27 PM »
Deusveritasest (he doesn't post here anymore) once made an interesting point.

The Old Testament Fathers lacked sacramental grace, too. We do not consider them to be no different than atheists.
That's a good point :)!

Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #29 on: November 16, 2011, 09:46:13 PM »
Deusveritasest (he doesn't post here anymore) once made an interesting point.

The Old Testament Fathers lacked sacramental grace, too. We do not consider them to be no different than atheists.
That's a good point :)!

I like that, too.
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2011, 10:06:38 PM »
Deusveritasest (he doesn't post here anymore) once made an interesting point.

The Old Testament Fathers lacked sacramental grace, too. We do not consider them to be no different than atheists.
Weren't they exposed to Shekhinah?
If you will, you can become all flame.
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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #31 on: November 16, 2011, 10:17:51 PM »
Deusveritasest (he doesn't post here anymore) once made an interesting point.

The Old Testament Fathers lacked sacramental grace, too. We do not consider them to be no different than atheists.
Weren't they exposed to Shekhinah?
Sure, but not in the same way nor as regularly as having the Incarnate Christ literally in their midst every Liturgy.

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2011, 02:42:41 AM »
But, seriously, I think you are a bit off on this one.  And, here's why:

When can a person not repent and not be received by Christ?

If you follow the teachings of the Church in their fullness, even those who have passed from this life can repent up until the Last Judgment.

Therefore, God offers all mankind the opportunity to acknowledge the Truth of Him and repent, thus they become Orthodox even after bodily death.  Remember, He led all the captives free.

At death, all mankind becomes Orthodox because the truth can no longer be avoided.  They must become Orthodox, because they can no longer speak what is false about God.  The problem is that some will like it and others will not.


I just want to begin by saying I don't want at this time to hear from people who believe there is no salvation outside the Orthodox Church. This thread is exploring the implications and tenability of the idea that people can somehow be united to the true church without joining the Orthodox Church in this life.


Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct. It seems to me that to admit the possibility of, to use one of Fr. Hopko's examples, someone who was completely soured to Christianity by the bad behavior of us who claim the name of Christ could still be forgiven by God is ipso facto to espouse the existence of some kind of an "invisible church" and a repudiation of the idea the true church must be identified with an earthly group. The hardliners have an appealing logic that is cold and sharp like an icicle. I don't see a way around it within Orthodox theology, honestly.

Whoa, Father. I'm pretty sure there is no repentance after death, but if you have some evidence to the contrary please let us know!

Note, I'm not saying that death is THE END. We have the prayers of the living interceding for the dead. But that is not the same as saying the dead themselves are capable of repentance.

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #33 on: November 17, 2011, 02:50:49 AM »
But, seriously, I think you are a bit off on this one.  And, here's why:

When can a person not repent and not be received by Christ?

If you follow the teachings of the Church in their fullness, even those who have passed from this life can repent up until the Last Judgment.

Therefore, God offers all mankind the opportunity to acknowledge the Truth of Him and repent, thus they become Orthodox even after bodily death.  Remember, He led all the captives free.

At death, all mankind becomes Orthodox because the truth can no longer be avoided.  They must become Orthodox, because they can no longer speak what is false about God.  The problem is that some will like it and others will not.


I just want to begin by saying I don't want at this time to hear from people who believe there is no salvation outside the Orthodox Church. This thread is exploring the implications and tenability of the idea that people can somehow be united to the true church without joining the Orthodox Church in this life.


Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct. It seems to me that to admit the possibility of, to use one of Fr. Hopko's examples, someone who was completely soured to Christianity by the bad behavior of us who claim the name of Christ could still be forgiven by God is ipso facto to espouse the existence of some kind of an "invisible church" and a repudiation of the idea the true church must be identified with an earthly group. The hardliners have an appealing logic that is cold and sharp like an icicle. I don't see a way around it within Orthodox theology, honestly.
How did I miss this post?

Anyway, I guess my post to William above illustrates my misgivings about your statement, Father.

Jonathan, I know of no teaching that the dead cannot repent, only that they cannot pray. But if they cannot repudiate their own sins and begin to love God, then what good are the prayers of the living for them?
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 02:53:09 AM by Volnutt »

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #34 on: November 17, 2011, 03:17:09 AM »
The Church of Christ is first and foremost an eternal, divine and human organism - the Body of Christ, a unity of many that transcends space and time. The Church of Christ, like the Eucharist (which is also the Body of Christ), is manifested by the Holy Spirit in space and time. It intersects with our reality and is revealed in the catholic Church. The catholic Church, the “whole Church,” is the local Eucharistic assembly, presided over by its bishop who is the icon of the Father, steward of Christ, and as St. Peter, primate of the assembly and symbol of unity. This simultaneous manifestation of the catholic Church in many places at the same time calls for a manifestation of identity and communion between all the catholic Churches. This so-called “universal Church” (or “Catholic Church” or “common union”), inasmuch as the political realities of our world permit its manifestation, should express the unity of the common union of Churches. This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity, not unlike to bishop of the (local) catholic Church, but functionally, not ontologically.

The local Church centered on the bishop is “the catholic Church” and indeed the full manifestation of the Body of Christ.

If the local Church (the “diocese”) is “the Catholic Church”, it contains in itself the fullness of means of grace, sanctification and salvation, whether or not “united” into a particular geopolitical superstructure. In other words, Cyprian of Carthage, Stephen of Rome and Firmilian of Caesarea can still be bishops of the catholic Church and saints in spite of their ruptures of communion. The Churches of St. Thomas in India, or those of Ethiopia were always one, holy, catholic and apostolic even when disconnected from Rome or Constantinople. It also means that the saints (of east and West, for instance St. Francis of Assisi and St. Sergius) do not drop in and out of the catholic Church because their patriarchs are quarreling over who knows what. Likewise, the idea that salvation is tied to a particular worldwide organism becomes obsolete.
Dude this is some beautiful stuff.
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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #35 on: November 17, 2011, 03:21:23 AM »
It's a good thing God's grace isn't dependant on logic.

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #36 on: November 17, 2011, 03:25:46 AM »
The Church of Christ is first and foremost an eternal, divine and human organism - the Body of Christ, a unity of many that transcends space and time. The Church of Christ, like the Eucharist (which is also the Body of Christ), is manifested by the Holy Spirit in space and time. It intersects with our reality and is revealed in the catholic Church. The catholic Church, the “whole Church,” is the local Eucharistic assembly, presided over by its bishop who is the icon of the Father, steward of Christ, and as St. Peter, primate of the assembly and symbol of unity. This simultaneous manifestation of the catholic Church in many places at the same time calls for a manifestation of identity and communion between all the catholic Churches. This so-called “universal Church” (or “Catholic Church” or “common union”), inasmuch as the political realities of our world permit its manifestation, should express the unity of the common union of Churches. This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity, not unlike to bishop of the (local) catholic Church, but functionally, not ontologically.

The local Church centered on the bishop is “the catholic Church” and indeed the full manifestation of the Body of Christ.

If the local Church (the “diocese”) is “the Catholic Church”, it contains in itself the fullness of means of grace, sanctification and salvation, whether or not “united” into a particular geopolitical superstructure. In other words, Cyprian of Carthage, Stephen of Rome and Firmilian of Caesarea can still be bishops of the catholic Church and saints in spite of their ruptures of communion. The Churches of St. Thomas in India, or those of Ethiopia were always one, holy, catholic and apostolic even when disconnected from Rome or Constantinople. It also means that the saints (of east and West, for instance St. Francis of Assisi and St. Sergius) do not drop in and out of the catholic Church because their patriarchs are quarreling over who knows what. Likewise, the idea that salvation is tied to a particular worldwide organism becomes obsolete.
Dude this is some beautiful stuff.
That is nice, I forgot about it.

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #37 on: November 17, 2011, 09:09:52 AM »
But, seriously, I think you are a bit off on this one.  And, here's why:

When can a person not repent and not be received by Christ?

If you follow the teachings of the Church in their fullness, even those who have passed from this life can repent up until the Last Judgment.

Therefore, God offers all mankind the opportunity to acknowledge the Truth of Him and repent, thus they become Orthodox even after bodily death.  Remember, He led all the captives free.

At death, all mankind becomes Orthodox because the truth can no longer be avoided.  They must become Orthodox, because they can no longer speak what is false about God.  The problem is that some will like it and others will not.


I just want to begin by saying I don't want at this time to hear from people who believe there is no salvation outside the Orthodox Church. This thread is exploring the implications and tenability of the idea that people can somehow be united to the true church without joining the Orthodox Church in this life.


Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct. It seems to me that to admit the possibility of, to use one of Fr. Hopko's examples, someone who was completely soured to Christianity by the bad behavior of us who claim the name of Christ could still be forgiven by God is ipso facto to espouse the existence of some kind of an "invisible church" and a repudiation of the idea the true church must be identified with an earthly group. The hardliners have an appealing logic that is cold and sharp like an icicle. I don't see a way around it within Orthodox theology, honestly.
How did I miss this post?

Anyway, I guess my post to William above illustrates my misgivings about your statement, Father.

Jonathan, I know of no teaching that the dead cannot repent, only that they cannot pray. But if they cannot repudiate their own sins and begin to love God, then what good are the prayers of the living for them?

"For in death there is none that is mindful of Thee, and in Hades who will confess Thee?" (Psalm 6.4)

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #38 on: November 17, 2011, 10:10:36 AM »
But, seriously, I think you are a bit off on this one.  And, here's why:

When can a person not repent and not be received by Christ?

If you follow the teachings of the Church in their fullness, even those who have passed from this life can repent up until the Last Judgment.

Therefore, God offers all mankind the opportunity to acknowledge the Truth of Him and repent, thus they become Orthodox even after bodily death.  Remember, He led all the captives free.

At death, all mankind becomes Orthodox because the truth can no longer be avoided.  They must become Orthodox, because they can no longer speak what is false about God.  The problem is that some will like it and others will not.


I just want to begin by saying I don't want at this time to hear from people who believe there is no salvation outside the Orthodox Church. This thread is exploring the implications and tenability of the idea that people can somehow be united to the true church without joining the Orthodox Church in this life.


Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct. It seems to me that to admit the possibility of, to use one of Fr. Hopko's examples, someone who was completely soured to Christianity by the bad behavior of us who claim the name of Christ could still be forgiven by God is ipso facto to espouse the existence of some kind of an "invisible church" and a repudiation of the idea the true church must be identified with an earthly group. The hardliners have an appealing logic that is cold and sharp like an icicle. I don't see a way around it within Orthodox theology, honestly.
How did I miss this post?

Anyway, I guess my post to William above illustrates my misgivings about your statement, Father.

Jonathan, I know of no teaching that the dead cannot repent, only that they cannot pray. But if they cannot repudiate their own sins and begin to love God, then what good are the prayers of the living for them?

"For in death there is none that is mindful of Thee, and in Hades who will confess Thee?" (Psalm 6.4)
This verse proves your point? ???
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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #39 on: November 17, 2011, 10:18:06 AM »
Well, let's start with this: why do we offer prayers for the departed?

But, seriously, I think you are a bit off on this one.  And, here's why:

When can a person not repent and not be received by Christ?

If you follow the teachings of the Church in their fullness, even those who have passed from this life can repent up until the Last Judgment.

Therefore, God offers all mankind the opportunity to acknowledge the Truth of Him and repent, thus they become Orthodox even after bodily death.  Remember, He led all the captives free.

At death, all mankind becomes Orthodox because the truth can no longer be avoided.  They must become Orthodox, because they can no longer speak what is false about God.  The problem is that some will like it and others will not.


I just want to begin by saying I don't want at this time to hear from people who believe there is no salvation outside the Orthodox Church. This thread is exploring the implications and tenability of the idea that people can somehow be united to the true church without joining the Orthodox Church in this life.


Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct. It seems to me that to admit the possibility of, to use one of Fr. Hopko's examples, someone who was completely soured to Christianity by the bad behavior of us who claim the name of Christ could still be forgiven by God is ipso facto to espouse the existence of some kind of an "invisible church" and a repudiation of the idea the true church must be identified with an earthly group. The hardliners have an appealing logic that is cold and sharp like an icicle. I don't see a way around it within Orthodox theology, honestly.

Whoa, Father. I'm pretty sure there is no repentance after death, but if you have some evidence to the contrary please let us know!

Note, I'm not saying that death is THE END. We have the prayers of the living interceding for the dead. But that is not the same as saying the dead themselves are capable of repentance.
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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #40 on: November 17, 2011, 10:29:58 AM »
Well, let's start with this: why do we offer prayers for the departed?

But, seriously, I think you are a bit off on this one.  And, here's why:

When can a person not repent and not be received by Christ?

If you follow the teachings of the Church in their fullness, even those who have passed from this life can repent up until the Last Judgment.

Therefore, God offers all mankind the opportunity to acknowledge the Truth of Him and repent, thus they become Orthodox even after bodily death.  Remember, He led all the captives free.

At death, all mankind becomes Orthodox because the truth can no longer be avoided.  They must become Orthodox, because they can no longer speak what is false about God.  The problem is that some will like it and others will not.


I just want to begin by saying I don't want at this time to hear from people who believe there is no salvation outside the Orthodox Church. This thread is exploring the implications and tenability of the idea that people can somehow be united to the true church without joining the Orthodox Church in this life.


Now, that being said, I don't see how the hardliners like St. Ignatius Branchaninov and the orthodoxinfo nazis aren't ultimately correct. It seems to me that to admit the possibility of, to use one of Fr. Hopko's examples, someone who was completely soured to Christianity by the bad behavior of us who claim the name of Christ could still be forgiven by God is ipso facto to espouse the existence of some kind of an "invisible church" and a repudiation of the idea the true church must be identified with an earthly group. The hardliners have an appealing logic that is cold and sharp like an icicle. I don't see a way around it within Orthodox theology, honestly.

Whoa, Father. I'm pretty sure there is no repentance after death, but if you have some evidence to the contrary please let us know!

Note, I'm not saying that death is THE END. We have the prayers of the living interceding for the dead. But that is not the same as saying the dead themselves are capable of repentance.

From Met Philaret's Catechism:

Quote
What is to be remarked of such souls as have departed with faith, but without having had time to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance?

This: that they may be aided towards the attainment of a blessed resurrection by prayers offered in their behalf, especially such as are offered in union with the oblation of the bloodless sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ, and by works of mercy done in faith for their memory.

We, the living, can help the dead by our prayers, but they can't help themselves. The time for repentance is now, while we ourselves have life. We can't put it off till after death.

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #41 on: November 17, 2011, 10:43:37 AM »
Yes, this is the time for repentance, but it is very clear from our teachings that those who love God can enter His Kingdom through the prayers and intercessions of the Church and the Saints.

Next question: if a heterodox person dies and, seeing the reality of the world (i.e. the truth of the Orthodox teachings) and accepting it, yet he was not afforded this teaching in life, would God still reject his soul?


We, the living, can help the dead by our prayers, but they can't help themselves. The time for repentance is now, while we ourselves have life. We can't put it off till after death.
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Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Why isn't the Church a walled garden?
« Reply #42 on: November 17, 2011, 11:01:20 AM »
Yes, this is the time for repentance, but it is very clear from our teachings that those who love God can enter His Kingdom through the prayers and intercessions of the Church and the Saints.

Next question: if a heterodox person dies and, seeing the reality of the world (i.e. the truth of the Orthodox teachings) and accepting it, yet he was not afforded this teaching in life, would God still reject his soul?


We, the living, can help the dead by our prayers, but they can't help themselves. The time for repentance is now, while we ourselves have life. We can't put it off till after death.

Regarding the former, I agree with you, but I don't see how you get from there to saying that the dead can repent. Met Philaret's words suggest to me that the prayers for the dead come into play when someone dies with faith, i.e. they are oriented in the right direction, spiritually speaking, but they haven't brought forth fruits worthy of repentance, i.e. they haven't actually reached the destination they were aiming for, namely purification, illumination and deification.

Regarding the latter, I don't think the status of souls outside the Church has been revealed to us, and we shouldn't form too definite opinions on it. You seem to be saying categorically that those who die outside the Church but would have joined the Church if they had encountered it in life must therefore be granted the opportunity to join after death. But in response I would say that, if God had recognized their love for the truth while they were alive, surely He would have been able to bring them to His Church at that point, without waiting until their death? I think we can hope that God will have mercy on those who die outside the Church, but we can't guarantee that they will be saved, since God never gave us such a guarantee. He only instructed us to join the Church in order to be saved.