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« on: December 27, 2011, 11:11:11 AM »

Philippians 1:6
"..being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

I don't see this confidence in Orthodoxy. I see guilt, unworthiness and a burden that crushes people not a liberating freedom which causes people to rejoice in the work of the cross.

The cost and total of sin when it is full grown being death itself. Death is the result of sin and Christ dealt with them both. That i should be able to continue in sin knowing i can do so freely? Not at all! There may not be the same consequences but there are still consequences to myself spiritually in that i fail to grow as i should and i fail to mature. I stumble myself and could cause my foolish heart to be darkened.

To someone who is not really regenerated, transformed and enlightened in their heart, yes it would mean they could abuse that idea and continue to sin without much thought. To those who have been, the desire to sin becomes less and less as they make choices from their new nature. 2 Corinthians 5:17 "....a new creation" - Galatians 2:20 "....it is no longer i that live but Christ in me"

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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2011, 11:48:00 AM »

I think Orthodoxy has a healthy respect for Christ's words in Matthew 7.  (nkjv)

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’"

As far as "I don't see this confidence in Orthodoxy.  I see guilt, unworthiness and a burden that crushes people", may I ask what has led you to that conclusion?  Is it from a local parish?  Books you've been reading?  Or from discussions on this board?  I think it would help us (me) to know how you arrived at that conclusion.
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2011, 12:01:51 PM »

"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."; "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."; "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."

Men are sinful, the ability to sin is with us until our very last moment of life. I want to say it was St. Anthony, who when he was dying, had one foot in heaven, and the devil said to him: 'Thou has conquered death, Anthony!' and he replied: 'not yet.'"

Suffering for Christ's sake runs through a lot of Orthodox texts and lives of saints. There is nothing burdening or non-liberating in saying "Thy will be done, Lord". In fact that is quite liberating.
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2011, 12:29:30 PM »

Its not that there is no confidence. I think Orthodoxy teaches to put yourself in the right heart attitude for goodness and service in the Lord. Being confident of what you are doing can often lead to over confidence and a proud look, which is most definitely, not what you want.

Being in a mind of unworthiness, I believe, puts you in the right attitude to do works in the right attitude. That it is not of yourself, but the Lord using you as a tool for his kingdom.

I would much rather feel unworthy as I feed a hungry man, then be confident and and give money, proud of myself and the works I do, or pray vainly in public..........

In short, the Lord cant use a cocky, over-confident man with a haughty look about him. orthodoxy helps push that feeling down, as we are all human and apt to overly proud of what "WE" accomplish.

PP
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2011, 12:38:41 PM »

I think Orthodoxy has a healthy respect for Christ's words in Matthew 7.  (nkjv)

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’"

As far as "I don't see this confidence in Orthodoxy.  I see guilt, unworthiness and a burden that crushes people", may I ask what has led you to that conclusion?  Is it from a local parish?  Books you've been reading?  Or from discussions on this board?  I think it would help us (me) to know how you arrived at that conclusion.

It doesn't matter what's led me to that conclusion, suffice to say that it's what i think.

You might have a healthy respect of that verse, however, there are many people who claim to follow Christ, who don't, as i mentioned in my OP. If someone is not really made new, then they won't be doing the will of the Father in heaven. Their main concern is not going to be the Father's will, it's going to be socialising at church or fitting in with others maybe. For those whose main concern is wanting to follow Christ and to be made more Christ-like, they will take seriously feeding and clothing the needy, giving generously and treating people with love even when it hurts them to do so - prefering others to yourself.

That's where the rubber hits the road, when you have to lay your own goals and desires aside for the sake of another.
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2011, 12:51:34 PM »

I think Orthodoxy has a healthy respect for Christ's words in Matthew 7.  (nkjv)

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’"

As far as "I don't see this confidence in Orthodoxy.  I see guilt, unworthiness and a burden that crushes people", may I ask what has led you to that conclusion?  Is it from a local parish?  Books you've been reading?  Or from discussions on this board?  I think it would help us (me) to know how you arrived at that conclusion.

It doesn't matter what's led me to that conclusion, suffice to say that it's what i think.

You might have a healthy respect of that verse, however, there are many people who claim to follow Christ, who don't, as i mentioned in my OP. If someone is not really made new, then they won't be doing the will of the Father in heaven. Their main concern is not going to be the Father's will, it's going to be socialising at church or fitting in with others maybe. For those whose main concern is wanting to follow Christ and to be made more Christ-like, they will take seriously feeding and clothing the needy, giving generously and treating people with love even when it hurts them to do so - prefering others to yourself.

That's where the rubber hits the road, when you have to lay your own goals and desires aside for the sake of another.

St. Mary of Paris is gladdened by your words I am sure.

I don't see how any can argue with your words.

Merry Christmas! FP.
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2011, 12:57:58 PM »

Its not that there is no confidence. I think Orthodoxy teaches to put yourself in the right heart attitude for goodness and service in the Lord. Being confident of what you are doing can often lead to over confidence and a proud look, which is most definitely, not what you want.

Being in a mind of unworthiness, I believe, puts you in the right attitude to do works in the right attitude. That it is not of yourself, but the Lord using you as a tool for his kingdom.

I would much rather feel unworthy as I feed a hungry man, then be confident and and give money, proud of myself and the works I do, or pray vainly in public..........

In short, the Lord cant use a cocky, over-confident man with a haughty look about him. orthodoxy helps push that feeling down, as we are all human and apt to overly proud of what "WE" accomplish.

PP

It doesn't have to swing to such extremes. Not being one way doesn't automatically mean we become the extreme in the other direction. Ironically Primuspilus, when we are so focused on ourselves and how we're doing, we can easily become self-obsessed. Feeling consdtantly unworthy causes depression and can also be quite debilitating.

Being focused on God however, and doing his will means we let go of that self-consciousness that can, in some people, cause them to feel like they will never be able to overcome their sin. The strength of sin is the law, the bible tells us and whenever we apply rules or "law" to a situation, we are bound (in more ways than one) to repeat the action - hence, strengthening sin.

God's way (as illustrated in the prodigal son account), is to allow a person to sin, to let them go and do what their desire is to do. After all, if you're acting against what your hearts desire is, it's not faith anyway, it becomes sin to you.

God let's us go and do... those who choose not to, even though sin has been dealt with, do so out of love for God. if our trust is completely in all that Christ has done in defeating death and sin for us, and nothing whatsoever that we have accomplished within ourself through striving to be worthy, then all of our "pride" will be in Christ and His work. We will simply be the grateful, receiving partywho has a response to make to such love.
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2011, 01:04:34 PM »

I think Orthodoxy has a healthy respect for Christ's words in Matthew 7.  (nkjv)

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’"

As far as "I don't see this confidence in Orthodoxy.  I see guilt, unworthiness and a burden that crushes people", may I ask what has led you to that conclusion?  Is it from a local parish?  Books you've been reading?  Or from discussions on this board?  I think it would help us (me) to know how you arrived at that conclusion.

It doesn't matter what's led me to that conclusion, suffice to say that it's what i think.

You might have a healthy respect of that verse, however, there are many people who claim to follow Christ, who don't, as i mentioned in my OP. If someone is not really made new, then they won't be doing the will of the Father in heaven. Their main concern is not going to be the Father's will, it's going to be socialising at church or fitting in with others maybe. For those whose main concern is wanting to follow Christ and to be made more Christ-like, they will take seriously feeding and clothing the needy, giving generously and treating people with love even when it hurts them to do so - prefering others to yourself.

That's where the rubber hits the road, when you have to lay your own goals and desires aside for the sake of another.

St. Mary of Paris is gladdened by your words I am sure.

I don't see how any can argue with your words.

Merry Christmas! FP.

There is an amazing woman!

I don't have any problem with people being honoured for their selfless works of charity or bravery (i was going to add "for the sake of the gospel" but decided against it as even non-Christians can do amazing things for one another, for the sake of love). I think they're inspiring and i can totally understand why such people are (and should) be held in high esteem and publically remembered.

Merry Christmas to you too!
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2011, 02:02:31 PM »

If someone is not really made new, then they won't be doing the will of the Father in heaven. Their main concern is not going to be the Father's will, it's going to be socialising at church or fitting in with others maybe. For those whose main concern is wanting to follow Christ and to be made more Christ-like, they will take seriously feeding and clothing the needy, giving generously and treating people with love even when it hurts them to do so - prefering others to yourself.

That's where the rubber hits the road, when you have to lay your own goals and desires aside for the sake of another.

And that's a pretty good working definition of the goal of the Orthodox faith - to become Christ-like.

FP, I see a lot of criticism of Orthodoxy from you, but most of it seems to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the Orthodoxy faith.
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2011, 02:45:48 PM »

FountainPen -

I'm not going to quote any of your posts, but really like that you brought up some of the verses that you did.  In my reading many of the threads about here and also sections here and there of the Philokalia (4th Volume, anyway) I often have some of these verses come to mind as a question-mark over the non- (or, from monastic quarters, anti-)confidence in being saved - more correctly for the Orthodox I think, Christ saving us who repent, believe, and strive to follow Him.  The streams of Reformed Protestantism don't like the word "strive", but it's acceptable to me because St. Paul used synonyms of it enough, and certainly Sts. Peter and James with their writing of works and exhorting one another to them.  What is dismaying about Orthodoxy (and Catholicism, although this isn't the Catholic section I'm just saying...) is that it often the leaves the impression we are to have ZERO, *zilch* confidence in Christ saving us - and if we are holier than "average" laypersons (say a monastic, as most canonized saints in Orthodoxy were monastics it seems to me) - then not only can we have zero confidence, but we are to believe contra the impression of Paul's epistles, that we are damned, bound for Hell and eternal damnation.  (Conversely to that, then, we are to believe that the apparent most wicked of sinners - say, Adolf Hitler - are more worthy than us and will get into Heaven.)

Before we (I) can get carried away here, I actually think that this 'extreme' self-condemnation is more of a device to make oneself humble (or welcoming Christ/the Holy Spirit to make us humble, although the words used in the texts suggest that it is "we" who do this) - than it is a literal, conclusive view of oneself as "known" to be condemned to Hell.  It's very paradoxical, like everything in Orthodoxy it again seems.  If this self-deprecation is more concrete than a mental device, than it does give me a lot of pause, because even the more works-oriented writers in Scripture (Peter and James, what my running loose memory of them is) seemed to imply a 'loose' confidence in salvation for those who strive in good works, and maintain humility.

Hmm... it is quite maddening to think about sometimes, is it not?
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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2011, 03:46:22 PM »

As far as "I don't see this confidence in Orthodoxy.  I see guilt, unworthiness and a burden that crushes people", may I ask what has led you to that conclusion?  Is it from a local parish?  Books you've been reading?  Or from discussions on this board?  I think it would help us (me) to know how you arrived at that conclusion.
It doesn't matter what's led me to that conclusion, suffice to say that it's what i think.
I think you are inventing rather than discovering this problem. It doesn't matter whether your impression is based on something?

Philippians 1:6
"..being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

I don't see this confidence in Orthodoxy. I see guilt, unworthiness and a burden that crushes people not a liberating freedom which causes people to rejoice in the work of the cross.
Perhaps that is because you are looking at Orthodox Christianity from the outside rather than from the inside.

Confidence is indeed appropriate insofar as we are partakers of grace, as Paul says in rest of his sentence:  "...even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart inasmuch as both in my bonds and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel ye are partakers of my grace" (Phil. 1: 7). Paul's confidence was not confidence in a vacuum; it is confidence "because..." and "inasmuch as..." There is no doubt that God will finish His work in those who continue to partake of His grace.

If someone is not really made new, then they won't be doing the will of the Father in heaven. Their main concern is not going to be the Father's will, it's going to be socialising at church or fitting in with others maybe. For those whose main concern is wanting to follow Christ and to be made more Christ-like, they will take seriously feeding and clothing the needy, giving generously and treating people with love even when it hurts them to do so - prefering others to yourself.

That's where the rubber hits the road, when you have to lay your own goals and desires aside for the sake of another.
+1  -though I don't see this as something Orthodox don't practice.

Primuspilus, when we are so focused on ourselves and how we're doing, we can easily become self-obsessed. Feeling consdtantly unworthy causes depression and can also be quite debilitating.
Despair, fear, lack of confidence in Christ's ability to complete His work etc. which you describe is unorrthodox. This was certainly Luther's experience as a Roman Catholic monk, however Luther was reacting emotionally to the demands of a paradigm of merit which had developed in the medieval period which was not a part of the faith of the first Christian millennium (nor is it a part of Orthodoxy) or even the NT Judaizers who Paul opposed.http://katachriston.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/did-luther-get-it-wrong-most-major-contemporary-pauline-scholars-say-yes/  Luther's solution to his psychological distress of ever-failing to meet the demands of the medieval paradigm of attaining sufficient merit, rather than returning to the therapeutic model which was never fixated on merit, was to transfer it from the merit of works, storehouses of superabundant merit of the saints (these also being medieval developments) to Christ. This was the historical germ of a controversy which would develop within trajectories of Protestantism wrestling with the issue of "legalism vs. license," which is a never ending debate e.g. between Calvinists, Arminians, Lutherans, Dispensationalists etc. (and also re. the medieval Roman Catholic model) with the same characteristic twists; from an Orthodox perspective the whole manner in which the debate is framed in the West has the wrong focus, in part because it is focused on the question of what one can or cannot merit (guilt/merit), whereas the Orthodox therapeutic tradition places focus on our sins in order to heal them rather than to condemn (sickness/healing/transfiguration/theosis; Christ came to heal and transfigure us rather than to condemn).


Being focused on God however, and doing his will means we let go of that self-consciousness that can, in some people, cause them to feel like they will never be able to overcome their sin. The strength of sin is the law, the bible tells us and whenever we apply rules or "law" to a situation, we are bound (in more ways than one) to repeat the action - hence, strengthening sin.
This again is the medieval paradigm of what the problem of the law was/is which was assumed in the argument between the Reformation and the Latin Catholic West, which model has been massively critiqued and abandoned among major contemporary scholars.

Part of our healing involves introspection/self-examination; to simply dispense with self-examination in your sense of "we let go of that self-consciousness" is unbiblical: "Examine yourselves... test yourselves" (2 Cor 13:5). It is not one's confession which is examined, but one's self. We also are conscious of ourselves when we confess our sins to be cleansed of all unrighteousness (1 Jn 1:9) which cleansing in many Protestant trajectories is viewed as transpiring at one Grand Moment in the past (not to deny that it begins, and has a past dimension, but cleansing of unrighteousness also has a continual dimension in scripture, as does Christ's ministry of intersession continue in the present -because it is something still needful for us).

Self examination has a *therapeutic* purpose in Orthodoxy rather than having a legal function. Orthodox soteriology and praxis is often described, in fact, as the classical/patristic "Therapeutic Model." The purpose of the Orthodox Church and her practices is *not* to condemn us, but to heal us. A praxis of penance under the guidance of one's spiritual father, for example, not to merit anything to balance out one's sin (as if God has some sort of celestial cash register he is checking for the proper balance), but -if/when it is deemed prudent- to suggest a manner of behavior which specifically is the opposite of the sin one may have a serious problem with (else penance might not be prescribed) -as an aid to developing better habits. We will not be as likely to genuinely grow and become transfigured if we refuse to examine ourselves honestly. But the purpose of such a process rightly understood should lead to healing, not despair. A spirit of fear is not from Christ.

God's way (as illustrated in the prodigal son account), is to allow a person to sin, to let them go and do what their desire is to do.
Sometimes God's way is to say directly "...go, and sin no more" -John 8:11. But you may be tempted to react to such a passage as a counter-prooftext through the lens of Calvinist/Arminian/Dispensationalist style debates about perfectionism and the fear that not stressing the demands of holiness will open the door to license. Patristic theology moved beyond this issue as a problem in the third century when the perfectionism of the Novationists was deemed heretical while at the same time Christ's demands to pursue holiness without which no one will see the Lord were also equally stressed. Not either/or, but both/and.[1]

if our trust is completely in all that Christ has done..."
Yes, but we also trust in what Christ is doing now; he is still interceding for us; he is still cleansing us from unrighteousness in the present tense (1 Jn 1:9). In Orthodoxy it is not just Christ's work in the past that is emphasized. That is why we continue to come before Christ in confession and are introspective about our sin. Not because we despair -to the contrary!- but because we live in the grace of Christ's present and continual work of intercession. Heb 7:25: "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come (προσερχομένους: Gk present/continual action participle) to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them."

Quote from: FountainPen
nothing whatsoever that we have accomplished within ourself through striving to be worthy
This much is absolutely correct insofar as we are saved by God alone. When the Spirit of God accomplishes something this however does not negate the involvement of the self (not as a Savior!), for example the fruit of the Spirit is self-control (Gal 5); our worthiness is wrought in God (Jn 3:19-21).
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Quote from: xariskai
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This returns to my former question, how many of us will repent at all times? "Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect." Isn't that what it takes to be saved? How do you repent and obey 51% (or even 99%) of the time?
God saves repentant sinners. He does not parse us mathematically, to ask "how much is repentant and how much is sinner?" It is not the one who fails a mathematical equation that will be lost, but the soul who refuses to repent is in danger of being lost. Not "fails to repent X amount of the time," but refuses to repent.

Heb 12:25:  "See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?"

We are made perfect on a relational basis as we abide in the mercy of the Perfector, partake of His flesh and blood, find mercy through the prayers of intercession which are offered continually, and the intercessions offered by the Holy Spirit when we do not know how to pray which are beyond expression in human words:

Rom 8:26: "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."

Christ Himself continues to intercede for us also, as we are told in Hebrews. This should make it plain that our forgiveness is not a "done deal" finished in a single Grand Moment of uttering the Sinners Prayer; if all the future sins were expiated a single instant in the past, what on earth would there be left to intercede for?

ORTHODOX PRAYER OF REPENTANCE
"O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended thee, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray the O Lord; of thy mercy forgive me of all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen."

We need absolution "for all things wherein in word, or deed, or thought, and with all... senses, whether voluntary or involuntary; whether through knowledge or ignorance... may all those things which have proceeded from the weakness of mortal nature be consigned to oblivion, and be remitted..." (The Prayer of Absolution).

Now you might say, how can we admit we sin every day of our lives and resolve to sin no more? Jaroslav Pelikan has remarked that most major heresies in Christian history emphasize one pole of a dialectical dogma. We are not big enough to look at the call to repent and "pursue ...holiness without which no man will see the Lord" (Heb 12:14) and the reality that there is no man who lives continually and never sins, and conclude we must only preach one side and pitch the other: EITHER human moral perfection as St. Cyril rebuked the heretic Novatus for doing,[1] OR scrap the notion that we should take seriously the call to pursue holiness, or repent continually (repent in the NT is frequently in the Gk. continual present -not a Grand Moment, but a lifestyle of repentance is in view there), die to the self, etc. Like the mystery of the incarnation we Orthodox say yes to all of it -no half Gospel or truncated Gospel for us!- and we pray to live it until our last breath.

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

God saves repentant sinners "in Him" who abide in the Vine. That relational basis is dialectical: we come to Christ praying "Lord have mercy!" and "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!" We are not lost because we cannot repent enough seconds of the day, but if we refuse to repent, and thus unto the ages of ages (cf. Heb 10:26ff.).
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[1]"What answer then will those make to this, who embrace the new tenets of Novatus, and say of themselves that they are pure? Whose prayer do they praise? That of the Pharisee, who acquitted himself, or that of the Publican, who accused himself? If they say that of the Pharisee, they resist the divine sentence; for he was condemned as being boastful: but if that of the Publican, why do they refuse to acknowledge their own impurity? Certainly God justifies those who know well their transgressions, and are willing to confess them: but these men will have the portion of the Pharisee. We then say, that in many things we "all of us offend," and that no man is pure from uncleanness, even though his life upon earth be but one day. Let us ask then of God mercy; which if we do, Christ will justify us: by Whom and with Whom, to God the Father, be praise and dominion, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen." -Cyril of Alexandria, Homilies on the Gospel of Luke, Sermon 120

"If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us." -1 John 1:8

“Imitate the Publican and you will not be condemned with the Pharisee. Choose the meekness of Moses and you will find your heart which is a rock changed into a spring of water." -Sayings of the Desert Fathers

"...anybody who thinks he is something great, even before God, is rightly abandoned by God, as one who thinks that he does not need His help." -St. Gregory Palamas, Discourse on the Publican and the Pharisee

"When the foolish thought of counting up any of your good works enters into your head, immediately correct your fault and rather count up your sins, your continual and innumerable offenses against the All-Merciful and Righteous Master, and you will find that their number is as the sand of the sea, whilst your virtues in comparison with them are as nothing." - St. John of Kronstadt

"The Pharisee went up to the temple with a proud and empty heart; the Publican bowed himself in repentance. They both stood before you, O Master: the one, through boasting, lost his reward, But the other, with tears and sighs, won your blessing: Strengthen me, O Christ our God, as I weep in Your presence, since You are the lover of mankind!" -Lenten Triodion

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« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2011, 03:53:13 PM »

Philippians 1:6
"..being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

I don't see this confidence in Orthodoxy. I see guilt, unworthiness and a burden that crushes people not a liberating freedom which causes people to rejoice in the work of the cross.

-snip-


Have you ever attended a Pascha service? Or a Sunday Divine Liturgy?

"We have seen the true Light, we have received the heavenly Spirit, we have found the true faith, worshipping the undivided Trinity, who has saved us"
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« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2011, 06:28:06 PM »

If someone is not really made new, then they won't be doing the will of the Father in heaven. Their main concern is not going to be the Father's will, it's going to be socialising at church or fitting in with others maybe. For those whose main concern is wanting to follow Christ and to be made more Christ-like, they will take seriously feeding and clothing the needy, giving generously and treating people with love even when it hurts them to do so - prefering others to yourself.

That's where the rubber hits the road, when you have to lay your own goals and desires aside for the sake of another.

And that's a pretty good working definition of the goal of the Orthodox faith - to become Christ-like.

FP, I see a lot of criticism of Orthodoxy from you, but most of it seems to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the Orthodoxy faith.

Likewise.

"I see a lot of criticism of..." Protestantism, "...but most of it seems to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the..." Protestant faith.
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« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2011, 06:47:47 PM »

Many of us have a fairly good "working knowledge" of protestantism, as many of us have been raised in it for a good part of our lives.
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« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2011, 06:49:20 PM »

Philippians 1:6
"..being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

I don't see this confidence in Orthodoxy. I see guilt, unworthiness and a burden that crushes people not a liberating freedom which causes people to rejoice in the work of the cross.

The cost and total of sin when it is full grown being death itself. Death is the result of sin and Christ dealt with them both. That i should be able to continue in sin knowing i can do so freely? Not at all! There may not be the same consequences but there are still consequences to myself spiritually in that i fail to grow as i should and i fail to mature. I stumble myself and could cause my foolish heart to be darkened.

To someone who is not really regenerated, transformed and enlightened in their heart, yes it would mean they could abuse that idea and continue to sin without much thought. To those who have been, the desire to sin becomes less and less as they make choices from their new nature. 2 Corinthians 5:17 "....a new creation" - Galatians 2:20 "....it is no longer i that live but Christ in me"


The problem is, you don't know you're really regenerated. You can say, "I probably am," but at the end of the day no one can say with absolute, 100% certainty that in their heart of hearts they really believe and they really bare the fruits of salvation.

Any hope for "assurance" of the kind preached by the Reformers was killed off by Herr Immanuel Kant.

And that's no reason to despair, trust me.
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« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2011, 06:51:46 PM »

I think the Orthodox do have confidence and trust in God. However, one shouldn't let it turn into pride, because it is possible that one can backslide or have problems even after baptism; this is why we have Confession, which is not at all a punishment, but to facilitate healing and get us back on track.
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« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2011, 07:05:29 PM »

I'm spotty on his epistemology, but it seems to me that the point about mediated sensory knowledge with the analogy of the ideological spectacles functions as a neat refutation of the Puritan reflex action whether one conceives of it in terms of fruits of obedience or in some sort of "inner witness."
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« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2011, 07:13:20 PM »

Many of us have a fairly good "working knowledge" of protestantism, as many of us have been raised in it for a good part of our lives.
And to those who do i capitulate.

I haven't been to a service, no. I have no desire to and if i did, the one near me isn't in English it's a Greek onlyist church not a native seeker-friendly one "...and for that reason, i'm out." #laughs
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« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2011, 07:18:06 PM »

If you'd rather not go to a parish, there are some Orthodox churches which put clips or even full services online. You can search for them on You Tube or Google. Very nice singing, for one...  Wink angel I can't push you to go if you don't want to, but the experience really is beautiful.
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« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2011, 07:21:56 PM »

I'm spotty on his epistemology, but it seems to me that the point about mediated sensory knowledge with the analogy of the ideological spectacles functions as a neat refutation of the Puritan reflex action whether one conceives of it in terms of fruits of obedience or in some sort of "inner witness."

No "inner witness" necessary.

You commented that no one can be sure they "believe" enough or fully, to be able to be saved.

That's precisely why i began with Philippians 1:6 because it's on that basis that we believe. He who began the work....it's He who draws us to Himself and He WILL complete the work. You see how it's not based on our own merits? That's where the confidence should be and can be without any need for arrogance or pride as has been suggested.
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« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2011, 07:25:12 PM »

If you'd rather not go to a parish, there are some Orthodox churches which put clips or even full services online. You can search for them on You Tube or Google. Very nice singing, for one...  Wink angel I can't push you to go if you don't want to, but the experience really is beautiful.

Biro thanks, i really appreciate you but no, i'm not really interested in beauty at this point.
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« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2011, 07:25:52 PM »

Okay. Thanks.  Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2011, 07:29:55 PM »

I'm spotty on his epistemology, but it seems to me that the point about mediated sensory knowledge with the analogy of the ideological spectacles functions as a neat refutation of the Puritan reflex action whether one conceives of it in terms of fruits of obedience or in some sort of "inner witness."

No "inner witness" necessary.

You commented that no one can be sure they "believe" enough or fully, to be able to be saved.

That's precisely why i began with Philippians 1:6 because it's on that basis that we believe. He who began the work....it's He who draws us to Himself and He WILL complete the work. You see how it's not based on our own merits? That's where the confidence should be and can be without any need for arrogance or pride as has been suggested.
And how do you know He really drew you? How do you know He even began the work in the first place? What is the basis, what is the evidence, for thinking you're a child of God?

The Puritans would say you look within yourself and ask yourself if you possess the fruit of the Spirit. But how many times have we seen someone who seems to be, or insists when questioned, that they are loving, humble, etc. only to turn out to be fraudulent? How do you know you aren't merely lying to yourself?
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« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2011, 07:30:41 PM »

if i did, the one near me isn't in English it's a Greek onlyist church not a native seeker-friendly one "...and for that reason, i'm out." #laughs

I don't blame you.
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« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2011, 07:42:05 PM »

Philippians 1:6
"..being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

I don't see this confidence in Orthodoxy.

"The Prophet (pbuh) said: Three things are the roots of faith: To refrain from [killing] a person who utters, 'There is no god but Allah' and not to declare him unbeliever whatever sin he commits, and not to excommunicate him from Islam for his any action..."

-Abu Dawud 14:2526 Hadith
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« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2011, 07:44:03 PM »

I'm spotty on his epistemology, but it seems to me that the point about mediated sensory knowledge with the analogy of the ideological spectacles functions as a neat refutation of the Puritan reflex action whether one conceives of it in terms of fruits of obedience or in some sort of "inner witness."

No "inner witness" necessary.

You commented that no one can be sure they "believe" enough or fully, to be able to be saved.

That's precisely why i began with Philippians 1:6 because it's on that basis that we believe. He who began the work....it's He who draws us to Himself and He WILL complete the work. You see how it's not based on our own merits? That's where the confidence should be and can be without any need for arrogance or pride as has been suggested.
And how do you know He really drew you?

How do you know He even began the work in the first place? What is the basis, what is the evidence, for thinking you're a child of God?

The Puritans would say you look within yourself and ask yourself if you possess the fruit of the Spirit. But how many times have we seen someone who seems to be, or insists when questioned, that they are loving, humble, etc. only to turn out to be fraudulent? How do you know you aren't merely lying to yourself?

I know He really drew me because any move towards God is good and it's a gift of His grace and every good gift comes from God (James 1:17)

I asked Him to take the small faith i had and save me by His grace. The bible says that if i ask sincerely for God, He will be found by me, that He will not give me a snake when i ask for bread and that He will give me what i ask for when i ask according to His will. Salvation is according to His will as He want's all men to be saved.

I know i'm not merely lying to myself because if my focus was on myself and how well i was doing then i'm not surprised that people find it hard to tell who is and who isn't saved by looking at people or indeed if we look at ourselves (and ultimately feel bad about our progress as we all might do). I have to trust what Christ has said in His word for my answer not by looking at myself for the answer to that question. The account of the wheat and the tares reminds us not to try and figure out who is and who isn't because we will invariably get it all wrong.

Christ has said that he will complete the work He has started.

Let me ask you something. If a good trusted friend who came int o some money told you they had put aside a certain amount to pay for your schooling for the next three or four years however long you needed it. Would you be confident that if they said they were going to pay....they would? And yes, before you try and think of loopholes, they have the funds protected. (#laughs) Even if you can say that you would be mostly confident, how much moreso can we be confident in almighty God and our heavenly Father when He says He will complete a work in us?
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« Reply #26 on: December 27, 2011, 07:47:05 PM »

Let me ask you something. If a good trusted friend who came int o some money told you they had put aside a certain amount to pay for your schooling for the next three or four years however long you needed it. Would you be confident that if they said they were going to pay....they would? And yes, before you try and think of loopholes, they have the funds protected. (#laughs) Even if you can say that you would be mostly confident, how much moreso can we be confident in almighty God and our heavenly Father when He says He will complete a work in us?

But it will profit you nothing if you fail every course.

For the Lord said: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more."
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« Reply #27 on: December 27, 2011, 07:50:43 PM »

I see guilt, unworthiness and a burden that crushes people not a liberating freedom which causes people to rejoice in the work of the cross.
When the Chrism was washed off of my body after my baptism and Chrismation, the priest said:

"Thou art justified. Thou art illumined. Thou art sanctified. Thou art washed: in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
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« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2011, 07:54:55 PM »

Let me ask you something. If a good trusted friend who came int o some money told you they had put aside a certain amount to pay for your schooling for the next three or four years however long you needed it. Would you be confident that if they said they were going to pay....they would? And yes, before you try and think of loopholes, they have the funds protected. (#laughs) Even if you can say that you would be mostly confident, how much moreso can we be confident in almighty God and our heavenly Father when He says He will complete a work in us?

But it will profit you nothing if you fail every course.

For the Lord said: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more."

If i good friend tells you they will do something, you can pretty much trust they will do it. That's what the analogy was about.

Of course much will be required. God entrusts all kinds of gifts and callings in varying degrees which is why you have those weak in the faith, those strong, those who are babes and those who are wise and experienced in the faith.
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« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2011, 07:55:11 PM »


I know He really drew me because any move towards God is good and it's a gift of His grace and every good gift comes from God (James 1:17)

I know i'm not merely lying to myself because if my focus was on myself and how well i was doing then i'm not surprised that people find it hard to tell who is and who isn't saved by looking at people or indeed if we look at ourselves (and ultimately feel bad about our progress as we all might do). I have to trust what Christ has said in His word for my answer not by looking at myself for the answer to that question. The account of the wheat and the tares reminds us not to try and figure out who is and who isn't because we will invariably get it all wrong.

Christ has said that he will complete the work He has started.
You didn't answer my question. All you have is the naked assumption that you're already in. You don't know if Jesus even moved you in the first place. If you want to start claiming "if you think you're in, you're in," then let me introduce you to my good buddy, Charles Taze Russell. He thought he was in too.

Let me ask you something. If a good trusted friend who came int o some money told you they had put aside a certain amount to pay for your schooling for the next three or four years however long you needed it. Would you be confident that if they said they were going to pay....they would? And yes, before you try and think of loopholes, they have the funds protected. (#laughs) Even if you can say that you would be mostly confident, how much moreso can we be confident in almighty God and our heavenly Father when He says He will complete a work in us?
That's absolutely right. We can be mostly confident. That "mostly" is important.

Orthodoxy, far from preaching despair, acknowledges that the reality of human knowledge being what it is that mostly really is a mostly and not a "2+2=4" like Luther and Calvin wanted.

If mostly is good enough for you as a Protestant, as it should be for anyone, then you have no case against the Orthodox.
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« Reply #30 on: December 27, 2011, 08:00:00 PM »

Let me ask you something. If a good trusted friend who came int o some money told you they had put aside a certain amount to pay for your schooling for the next three or four years however long you needed it. Would you be confident that if they said they were going to pay....they would? And yes, before you try and think of loopholes, they have the funds protected. (#laughs) Even if you can say that you would be mostly confident, how much moreso can we be confident in almighty God and our heavenly Father when He says He will complete a work in us?

But it will profit you nothing if you fail every course.

For the Lord said: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more."

If i good friend tells you they will do something, you can pretty much trust they will do it. That's what the analogy was about.

Of course much will be required. God entrusts all kinds of gifts and callings in varying degrees which is why you have those weak in the faith, those strong, those who are babes and those who are wise and experienced in the faith.

Does God ultimately have mercy on absolutely everyone?
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« Reply #31 on: December 27, 2011, 08:01:58 PM »

I'm spotty on his epistemology, but it seems to me that the point about mediated sensory knowledge with the analogy of the ideological spectacles functions as a neat refutation of the Puritan reflex action whether one conceives of it in terms of fruits of obedience or in some sort of "inner witness."

So you haven't read his Critiques per se?
Nope, just gleaning from other sources, my ethics survey course included.  Embarrassed

Here is something that I find interesting.

Everyone, like everyone, knows about Kant's Categorical Imperative.

The thing is, is why does such a great thinker end up with what seems like such a silly and absurd notion of ethical behavior?

And forget the arguments given in the Groundwork.

I often suspect that most students even in analytical programs forgo reading all the Critiques, frankly the "third" being the crown of them all.

People go on about the deontological nature of the Imperative, but I think fail to grasp the powerful and striking context surrounding the reasons for Kant's ethical formulation, yes I mean that emphasis.

And by people, I mean moderately educated folks who probably got rushed through a survey philosophy series.




Well, I've only looked at the Groundwork. laugh From what I picked up, he considers human autonomy and moral equality to be true by definition because if everyone took advantage of everyone else then they would be using their own autonomy to ensure nobody has anymore autonomy (for Kant a logical contradiction, autonomy can't cancel itself out).

Therefore one cannot give himself a privilege (for example, life) which he would deny to anybody else, hence the need to "will it be a universal law." To murder is to say that your victim's life is dependent on your own desires, he has no autonomy. To commit suicide is to use your autonomy to make sure you never make another choice again.

I hope to read the Critiques one of this days.

This is why the Groundwork IMHO should be tossed in the trash, it decontexualizes Kant's radical turn in Western Thought. People miss the tree for the trees.

So, if you had to describe the method at work here, how would you describe it? See above posts for clues.

And does the method have some relationship to the nature of what is being analyzed thought?


I suppose the method is something along the lines of interrogating the logical implications of statements such as "I have free will" and and see under what circumstances these possible implications can possibly be made to contradict themselves. Socratic monologue, if you will.

The nature of morality is the description and prescription of human actions, so having a logically consistent set of prescriptions for behavior is very important.

Is that what you're driving toward?
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« Reply #32 on: December 27, 2011, 08:04:59 PM »

Let me ask you something. If a good trusted friend who came int o some money told you they had put aside a certain amount to pay for your schooling for the next three or four years however long you needed it. Would you be confident that if they said they were going to pay....they would? And yes, before you try and think of loopholes, they have the funds protected. (#laughs) Even if you can say that you would be mostly confident, how much moreso can we be confident in almighty God and our heavenly Father when He says He will complete a work in us?

But it will profit you nothing if you fail every course.

For the Lord said: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more."

If i good friend tells you they will do something, you can pretty much trust they will do it. That's what the analogy was about.

Of course much will be required. God entrusts all kinds of gifts and callings in varying degrees which is why you have those weak in the faith, those strong, those who are babes and those who are wise and experienced in the faith.

Does God ultimately have mercy on absolutely everyone?

Romans 9:15
"For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

I can't believe you had to ask that.
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« Reply #33 on: December 27, 2011, 08:06:53 PM »


I know He really drew me because any move towards God is good and it's a gift of His grace and every good gift comes from God (James 1:17)

I know i'm not merely lying to myself because if my focus was on myself and how well i was doing then i'm not surprised that people find it hard to tell who is and who isn't saved by looking at people or indeed if we look at ourselves (and ultimately feel bad about our progress as we all might do). I have to trust what Christ has said in His word for my answer not by looking at myself for the answer to that question. The account of the wheat and the tares reminds us not to try and figure out who is and who isn't because we will invariably get it all wrong.

Christ has said that he will complete the work He has started.
You didn't answer my question. All you have is the naked assumption that you're already in. You don't know if Jesus even moved you in the first place. If you want to start claiming "if you think you're in, you're in," then let me introduce you to my good buddy, Charles Taze Russell. He thought he was in too.

Let me ask you something. If a good trusted friend who came int o some money told you they had put aside a certain amount to pay for your schooling for the next three or four years however long you needed it. Would you be confident that if they said they were going to pay....they would? And yes, before you try and think of loopholes, they have the funds protected. (#laughs) Even if you can say that you would be mostly confident, how much moreso can we be confident in almighty God and our heavenly Father when He says He will complete a work in us?
That's absolutely right. We can be mostly confident. That "mostly" is important.

Orthodoxy, far from preaching despair, acknowledges that the reality of human knowledge being what it is that mostly really is a mostly and not a "2+2=4" like Luther and Calvin wanted.

If mostly is good enough for you as a Protestant, as it should be for anyone, then you have no case against the Orthodox.
I absolutely did answer your question. I can't help it if you didn't appreciate the answer.
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« Reply #34 on: December 27, 2011, 08:12:52 PM »

Let me ask you something. If a good trusted friend who came int o some money told you they had put aside a certain amount to pay for your schooling for the next three or four years however long you needed it. Would you be confident that if they said they were going to pay....they would? And yes, before you try and think of loopholes, they have the funds protected. (#laughs) Even if you can say that you would be mostly confident, how much moreso can we be confident in almighty God and our heavenly Father when He says He will complete a work in us?

But it will profit you nothing if you fail every course.

For the Lord said: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more."

If i good friend tells you they will do something, you can pretty much trust they will do it. That's what the analogy was about.

Of course much will be required. God entrusts all kinds of gifts and callings in varying degrees which is why you have those weak in the faith, those strong, those who are babes and those who are wise and experienced in the faith.

Does God ultimately have mercy on absolutely everyone?

Romans 9:15
"For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

I can't believe you had to ask that.
I am aware of the verse. I am asking you, do you believe that God has mercy on absolutely everyone?
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can’t be my disciple."
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« Reply #35 on: December 27, 2011, 08:16:02 PM »

Let me ask you something. If a good trusted friend who came int o some money told you they had put aside a certain amount to pay for your schooling for the next three or four years however long you needed it. Would you be confident that if they said they were going to pay....they would? And yes, before you try and think of loopholes, they have the funds protected. (#laughs) Even if you can say that you would be mostly confident, how much moreso can we be confident in almighty God and our heavenly Father when He says He will complete a work in us?

But it will profit you nothing if you fail every course.

For the Lord said: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more."

If i good friend tells you they will do something, you can pretty much trust they will do it. That's what the analogy was about.

Of course much will be required. God entrusts all kinds of gifts and callings in varying degrees which is why you have those weak in the faith, those strong, those who are babes and those who are wise and experienced in the faith.

Does God ultimately have mercy on absolutely everyone?

Romans 9:15
"For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

I can't believe you had to ask that.
I am aware of the verse. I am asking you, do you believe that God has mercy on absolutely everyone?
I believe... that God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy.
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« Reply #36 on: December 27, 2011, 08:16:47 PM »

I absolutely did answer your question.
I beg to differ. You're like a Christian quoting Bible verses at an atheist. You can't even say for certain you believe in God and you want to jump right to, "I am saved."

We don't have infallible access to our own minds.
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« Reply #37 on: December 27, 2011, 08:17:42 PM »

Let me ask you something. If a good trusted friend who came int o some money told you they had put aside a certain amount to pay for your schooling for the next three or four years however long you needed it. Would you be confident that if they said they were going to pay....they would? And yes, before you try and think of loopholes, they have the funds protected. (#laughs) Even if you can say that you would be mostly confident, how much moreso can we be confident in almighty God and our heavenly Father when He says He will complete a work in us?

But it will profit you nothing if you fail every course.

For the Lord said: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more."

If i good friend tells you they will do something, you can pretty much trust they will do it. That's what the analogy was about.

Of course much will be required. God entrusts all kinds of gifts and callings in varying degrees which is why you have those weak in the faith, those strong, those who are babes and those who are wise and experienced in the faith.

Does God ultimately have mercy on absolutely everyone?

Romans 9:15
"For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

I can't believe you had to ask that.
I am aware of the verse. I am asking you, do you believe that God has mercy on absolutely everyone?
I believe... that God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy.
What if, "on whom He will have mercy"= everyone?
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« Reply #38 on: December 27, 2011, 08:19:18 PM »

I absolutely did answer your question.
I beg to differ. You're like a Christian quoting Bible verses at an atheist. You can't even say for certain you believe in God and you want to jump right to, "I am saved."

We don't have infallible access to our own minds.

If you see this as a strength rather than a weakness, then you are not far from the Kingdom of Wisdom.
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« Reply #39 on: December 27, 2011, 08:26:23 PM »

I absolutely did answer your question.
I beg to differ. You're like a Christian quoting Bible verses at an atheist. You can't even say for certain you believe in God and you want to jump right to, "I am saved."

We don't have infallible access to our own minds.

If you see this as a strength rather than a weakness, then you are not far from the Kingdom of Wisdom.
Tis a bitter realization though.
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« Reply #40 on: December 27, 2011, 08:28:46 PM »

I absolutely did answer your question.
I beg to differ. You're like a Christian quoting Bible verses at an atheist. You can't even say for certain you believe in God and you want to jump right to, "I am saved."

We don't have infallible access to our own minds.

Of course my belief is going to be based on Holy Scripture -- why would it not be? Why would i have to start right from the existence of a God and the origins of the universe?

You and i are one Christian discussing with another about belief. Let's not turn this into a game of philosophical ping pong because i've neither the desire nor the inclination to flex my intellectual muscles, especially at this time of night.
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« Reply #41 on: December 27, 2011, 08:31:07 PM »

I believe... that God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy.
So you think he won't have mercy on some, or might not?
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Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can’t be my disciple."
FountainPen
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« Reply #42 on: December 27, 2011, 08:31:51 PM »

Let me ask you something. If a good trusted friend who came int o some money told you they had put aside a certain amount to pay for your schooling for the next three or four years however long you needed it. Would you be confident that if they said they were going to pay....they would? And yes, before you try and think of loopholes, they have the funds protected. (#laughs) Even if you can say that you would be mostly confident, how much moreso can we be confident in almighty God and our heavenly Father when He says He will complete a work in us?

But it will profit you nothing if you fail every course.

For the Lord said: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more."

If i good friend tells you they will do something, you can pretty much trust they will do it. That's what the analogy was about.

Of course much will be required. God entrusts all kinds of gifts and callings in varying degrees which is why you have those weak in the faith, those strong, those who are babes and those who are wise and experienced in the faith.

Does God ultimately have mercy on absolutely everyone?

Romans 9:15
"For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

I can't believe you had to ask that.
I am aware of the verse. I am asking you, do you believe that God has mercy on absolutely everyone?
I believe... that God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy.
What if, "on whom He will have mercy"= everyone?

What if it does?

Is the sky going to fall in?
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None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try. Mark Twain
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« Reply #43 on: December 27, 2011, 08:32:16 PM »

I absolutely did answer your question.
I beg to differ. You're like a Christian quoting Bible verses at an atheist. You can't even say for certain you believe in God and you want to jump right to, "I am saved."

We don't have infallible access to our own minds.

May I use this?  Grin
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I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, Russian Orthodox Christian (1900-1975)
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« Reply #44 on: December 27, 2011, 08:33:58 PM »

I believe... that God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy.
So you think he won't have mercy on some, or might not?

You have the same words in front of you as i do.

I don't presuppose to know the mind of God.
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None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try. Mark Twain
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