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Author Topic: Being Confident of this...  (Read 3720 times) Average Rating: 0
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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
Quote
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..."

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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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« Reply #45 on: December 27, 2011, 08:35:44 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.

This is where one ought to take a detour and demonstrate the typical understanding of mercy here ain't very accurate.

You might find you both are in more accord than not after that.
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« Reply #46 on: December 27, 2011, 08:36:27 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.
The verse was in the context of justifying to the Hebrews why not all Jews would continue in the faith despite the Old Covenant.

Does God have mercy on those in hell?
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« Reply #47 on: December 27, 2011, 08:39:10 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.
The verse was in the context of justifying to the Hebrews why not all Jews would continue in the faith despite the Old Covenant.

Does God have mercy on those in hell?

Go ask your priest.
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« Reply #48 on: December 27, 2011, 08:39:40 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.
The verse was in the context of justifying to the Hebrews why not all Jews would continue in the faith despite the Old Covenant.

Does God have mercy on those in hell?

Go ask your priest.
I already know what he would probably say. I'm asking you, missy.  Wink
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

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« Reply #49 on: December 27, 2011, 08:46:48 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.
The verse was in the context of justifying to the Hebrews why not all Jews would continue in the faith despite the Old Covenant.

Does God have mercy on those in hell?

Go ask your priest.

lol!

EDIT: And you say you are not Orthodox!
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« Reply #50 on: December 27, 2011, 08:51:00 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.
The verse was in the context of justifying to the Hebrews why not all Jews would continue in the faith despite the Old Covenant.

Does God have mercy on those in hell?

Go ask your priest.
I already know what he would probably say. I'm asking you, missy.  Wink
Why, what's your point? There are many random questions in the world begging to be answered.

Will i ever get to drive a ferrari? How far east can you travel before you're heading west? Did Noah have woodpeckers on the ark?

What makes this one so pressing?
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« Reply #51 on: December 27, 2011, 08:54:05 PM »

What happened to demas? surely it is not God's promise to him that was broken, 2 Timothy 4:10 "for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica."

What does it mean to have confidence then? could it be, that we are to say yes to God constantly, so salvation is not forced upon us but while it is offered freely we still have to say yes and accept it? and that yes is not a one time deal,as we have seen with the case of demas who began but never finished, it is until we finish the race.... that there is a race by itself tells us that we must run and not sit and say someone has our crown waiting for us. we must cross the finish line to accept it, and that is the place of grace, to help us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling.
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« Reply #52 on: December 27, 2011, 09:07:47 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?
Nope. Just trying to clarify what Nicholas was getting at.
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« Reply #53 on: December 27, 2011, 09:08:42 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.
The verse was in the context of justifying to the Hebrews why not all Jews would continue in the faith despite the Old Covenant.

Does God have mercy on those in hell?

Go ask your priest.
I already know what he would probably say. I'm asking you, missy.  Wink
Why, what's your point? There are many random questions in the world begging to be answered.

Will i ever get to drive a ferrari? How far east can you travel before you're heading west? Did Noah have woodpeckers on the ark?

What makes this one so pressing?
Because if you don't have faith in the mercy of God, then there's no point in having faith in your salvation or anyone else's.

Upon it stands and falls everything. And if anything can overcome it, then there is no hope.

"Oti eis ton aiona to eleos aftou"
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 09:11:15 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #54 on: December 27, 2011, 09:11:31 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.
Scripture must be read, understood, and believed. It is in how we do these things that the philosophy comes in to play.

"Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life," that is a statement that applies to a specific group of people, the believers. No belief, no salvation.

So, do you believe?
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« Reply #55 on: December 27, 2011, 09:18:08 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

It's not mine, just a common philosophy phrase, so go ahead Smiley
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« Reply #56 on: December 27, 2011, 09:26:08 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

how are you sure its a greek onlyist church if you've never been?
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« Reply #57 on: December 27, 2011, 09:28:21 PM »

This ain't working out.
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« Reply #58 on: December 27, 2011, 09:32:00 PM »

This ain't working out.

Did you expect it to?  Wink
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« Reply #59 on: December 27, 2011, 09:33:12 PM »

This ain't working out.

Did you expect it to?  Wink

no expectations...that's how i roll.
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« Reply #60 on: December 27, 2011, 09:34:09 PM »

This ain't working out.

Did you expect it to?  Wink
I guess not.  Tongue Fountainpen is like Alfred with some sense.
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« Reply #61 on: December 28, 2011, 07:41:13 AM »

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?
Do you dispute that people feel that they are not worthy enough to participate in the Eucharist on many occasions and that feeling this way actually prevents them from receiving so much so that they only end up taking it as little as once a year?

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.
That exactly what a woman at work told me concerning Scientology, i wasn't about to open myself up to that without checking it out first either. Good job i didn't listen to her i'd say.

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.
Therein lies the reason for our confidence.

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.
Neither do i.

Primuspilus, when we are so focused on ourselves and how we're doing, we can easily become self-obsessed. Feeling constantly 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 unorthodox. 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).
It's not uncommon to find that the official line is very different from the experience of the average person living it.

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).
There is a great difference between being overly conscious of ourselves, our sin and subsequent worth in relation to others and a healthy examination and private petition to God in full repentance.

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.
Yes, you said as much earlier on.

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]
It's interesting that you should respond with John 8:11 and set up the very issue that Orthodoxy has apparently "moved beyond".

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."
Yes absolutely. We should be confident in what He has done, is doing and promises to do -- you're quite right.

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).
It doesn't negate our involvement, no.

______________________
[1]
Quote from: xariskai
Quote
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.
I'm not entirely sure i understand you here. Repentance isn't about specific sins per se, i would say it's more about a general heart attitude of repentance that continually desires to follow Christ and demonstrates this desire through obedience and humility.

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).
Hmm...flesh and blood....absolution.... i think i'll leave that for another thread.

Now you might say, how can we admit we sin every day of our lives and resolve to sin no more?
No, not really.

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.
I think we might part company on the 'imputed righteousness' issue.

"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.).
____________________
[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

Thanks for the patristic quotes. I've made note of them so i can look them up and read them in the context they were written  Wink
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« Reply #62 on: December 28, 2011, 07:54:32 AM »

This ain't working out.

Did you expect it to?  Wink
I guess not.  Tongue Fountainpen is like Alfred with some sense.

That's what we call a backhanded compliment #jaw drop
Pearson? I've read some of the long-winded threads, i don't think so.

Quote
Because if you don't have faith in the mercy of God, then there's no point in having faith in your salvation or anyone else's.

Upon it stands and falls everything. And if anything can overcome it, then there is no hope.

"Oti eis ton aiona to eleos aftou"
I don't necessarily disagree with what you've said here.

Forever in His mercy -- amen!
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« Reply #63 on: December 28, 2011, 07:57:10 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.

Do you see a Reformed understanding of this verse in the Early Church? You seem to be interpreting the Scriptures through the prism of Calvin, whereas Orthodox christianity interprets through the prism of the Fathers and Councils. Do you believe in OSAS?

Please direct me to the extra-Biblical sources (e.g. Fathers, Councils, historians) that shows that the Early Church understood this verse in a "Reformed" or Calvinistic way. Thanks.

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« Reply #64 on: December 28, 2011, 08:02:41 AM »

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

how are you sure its a greek onlyist church if you've never been?

Because it's not in English when it could easily be so. I'm pretty sure that the Greeks who live and work in Britain can and do speak English very well. There's no earthly reason why the service couldn't be in English and therefore be more inclusive to the natives who are providing the hospitality.

I don't know, you come over here, use our churches... #laughs
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« Reply #65 on: December 28, 2011, 08:09:48 AM »

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?
Do you dispute that people feel that they are not worthy enough to participate in the Eucharist on many occasions and that feeling this way actually prevents them from receiving so much so that they only end up taking it as little as once a year?

If you're basing this on our conversation, you seem to have misunderstood me. Only the Serbians seem to have much of a "theology" of infrequent communion as you're alluding to. The Romanians who don't do it are superstitious hicks who don't know theology worth beans (or lukewarm Greeks) who never give Church a second thought and just do it that way because they only go to Church on major feast days anyhow.* The Russians and Arabs have always been big on frequent communion AFAICT.

*And no, before someone gets angry, I don't think all Romanians and Greeks are lukewarm.
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« Reply #66 on: December 28, 2011, 08:10:30 AM »

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.
Scripture must be read, understood, and believed. It is in how we do these things that the philosophy comes in to play.

"Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life," that is a statement that applies to a specific group of people, the believers. No belief, no salvation.

So, do you believe?
Yes
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« Reply #67 on: December 28, 2011, 08:16:05 AM »

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?
Do you dispute that people feel that they are not worthy enough to participate in the Eucharist on many occasions and that feeling this way actually prevents them from receiving so much so that they only end up taking it as little as once a year?

If you're basing this on our conversation,

No not entirely, i've read it on here from various posters and also in a podcast which briefly touched on the Eucharist.
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« Reply #68 on: December 28, 2011, 08:19:39 AM »

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.
Scripture must be read, understood, and believed. It is in how we do these things that the philosophy comes in to play.

"Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life," that is a statement that applies to a specific group of people, the believers. No belief, no salvation.

So, do you believe?
Yes
You sure? How do you know you aren't just saying that for some unconscious reason like fear of death? You'll never be able to plumb the depths of your mind to a degree that you can say with one hundred percent certainty that you believe something. We're really good at fooling ourselves, all of us.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with relative certainty. For all everyday intents and purposes, we can say we really believe and that consequently God will keep us in His grace so we don't fall away. Orthodox believe this, Protestants believe this as well at their best. But the absolute, mathematical style certainly you're trying to beat up Orthodoxy for not having is an impossibility.
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« Reply #69 on: December 28, 2011, 08:24:55 AM »

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?
Do you dispute that people feel that they are not worthy enough to participate in the Eucharist on many occasions and that feeling this way actually prevents them from receiving so much so that they only end up taking it as little as once a year?

If you're basing this on our conversation,

No not entirely, i've read it on here from various posters and also in a podcast which briefly touched on the Eucharist.
Ok.

Even if it is more widespread than that, so what if a lot of Orthodox have a terrible view of the Eucharist? A lot of Protestants are Easter-Christmas-if-that cultural Christians anyway and many of the ones who aren't get swept up into nutcase faith-healing movements. Does this mean Protestant theology itself encourages a merely nominal or ridiculous faith?
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« Reply #70 on: December 28, 2011, 08:41:09 AM »

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?
Do you dispute that people feel that they are not worthy enough to participate in the Eucharist on many occasions and that feeling this way actually prevents them from receiving so much so that they only end up taking it as little as once a year?

If you're basing this on our conversation,

No not entirely, i've read it on here from various posters and also in a podcast which briefly touched on the Eucharist.
Ok.

Even if it is more widespread than that, so what if a lot of Orthodox have a terrible view of the Eucharist? A lot of Protestants are Easter-Christmas-if-that cultural Christians anyway and many of the ones who aren't get swept up into nutcase faith-healing movements. Does this mean Protestant theology itself encourages a merely nominal or ridiculous faith?

I'm sure Orthodoxy can stand on its own merit without having to direct the focus to Protestantism for ridicule just to even the score #rolls eyes
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« Reply #71 on: December 28, 2011, 09:12:41 AM »

This isn't about ridicule, this is about what's sauce for the goose being sauce for the gander. You want to throw some rocks at Orthodoxy, you best pick ones that don't put you in a glass house.

And that's my cliche quota for the rest of the year, I reckon.
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« Reply #72 on: December 28, 2011, 09:18:31 AM »

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?
Do you dispute that people feel that they are not worthy enough to participate in the Eucharist on many occasions and that feeling this way actually prevents them from receiving so much so that they only end up taking it as little as once a year?

If you're basing this on our conversation,

No not entirely, i've read it on here from various posters and also in a podcast which briefly touched on the Eucharist.
Ok.

Even if it is more widespread than that, so what if a lot of Orthodox have a terrible view of the Eucharist? A lot of Protestants are Easter-Christmas-if-that cultural Christians anyway and many of the ones who aren't get swept up into nutcase faith-healing movements. Does this mean Protestant theology itself encourages a merely nominal or ridiculous faith?


I see it more of a way of expressing a belief that God is so awesome and wonderful that we can never, on our own, come close.   That God will have us enter into communion with Him is a very great gift, indeed.   We do all need to reflect and atone, and not just give lip service to God's incredible power and truth and beauty and love.  We all know we sin, we fall short, we have moments where we do not turn the other cheek, or offer a coat or food to people in need, where we at times might want to draw admiration from others instead of practicing humility.  Even if people say they feel unworthy, they still go up to receive the precious gifts.  If they really did feel unworthy in the sense being portrayed here in this strawman debate, I doubt they would go up.   St. Paul admonishes to not receive the Eucharist unworthily or risk damnation.

I Cor. 11, 29. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.





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« Reply #73 on: December 28, 2011, 09:40:03 AM »

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?
Do you dispute that people feel that they are not worthy enough to participate in the Eucharist on many occasions and that feeling this way actually prevents them from receiving so much so that they only end up taking it as little as once a year?

If you're basing this on our conversation,

No not entirely, i've read it on here from various posters and also in a podcast which briefly touched on the Eucharist.
Ok.

Even if it is more widespread than that, so what if a lot of Orthodox have a terrible view of the Eucharist? A lot of Protestants are Easter-Christmas-if-that cultural Christians anyway and many of the ones who aren't get swept up into nutcase faith-healing movements. Does this mean Protestant theology itself encourages a merely nominal or ridiculous faith?


I see it more of a way of expressing a belief that God is so awesome and wonderful that we can never, on our own, come close.   That God will have us enter into communion with Him is a very great gift, indeed.   We do all need to reflect and atone, and not just give lip service to God's incredible power and truth and beauty and love.  We all know we sin, we fall short, we have moments where we do not turn the other cheek, or offer a coat or food to people in need, where we at times might want to draw admiration from others instead of practicing humility.  Even if people say they feel unworthy, they still go up to receive the precious gifts.  If they really did feel unworthy in the sense being portrayed here in this strawman debate, I doubt they would go up.   St. Paul admonishes to not receive the Eucharist unworthily or risk damnation.

I Cor. 11, 29. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.






We are all unworthy. I can understand abstaining if you haven't been to confession in a while or if you didn't say the prayers before communion, but abstaining just to abstain as though you're a more vile sinner than others is a slap to God's face and indicative of some spiritual problem.

The context of 1 Cor. 11:29 is primarily people who don't give a care about the Eucharist, it's important to keep that in mind.
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« Reply #74 on: December 28, 2011, 09:45:58 AM »

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?
Do you dispute that people feel that they are not worthy enough to participate in the Eucharist on many occasions and that feeling this way actually prevents them from receiving so much so that they only end up taking it as little as once a year?

If you're basing this on our conversation,

No not entirely, i've read it on here from various posters and also in a podcast which briefly touched on the Eucharist.
Ok.

Even if it is more widespread than that, so what if a lot of Orthodox have a terrible view of the Eucharist? A lot of Protestants are Easter-Christmas-if-that cultural Christians anyway and many of the ones who aren't get swept up into nutcase faith-healing movements. Does this mean Protestant theology itself encourages a merely nominal or ridiculous faith?


I see it more of a way of expressing a belief that God is so awesome and wonderful that we can never, on our own, come close.   That God will have us enter into communion with Him is a very great gift, indeed.   We do all need to reflect and atone, and not just give lip service to God's incredible power and truth and beauty and love.  We all know we sin, we fall short, we have moments where we do not turn the other cheek, or offer a coat or food to people in need, where we at times might want to draw admiration from others instead of practicing humility.  Even if people say they feel unworthy, they still go up to receive the precious gifts.  If they really did feel unworthy in the sense being portrayed here in this strawman debate, I doubt they would go up.   St. Paul admonishes to not receive the Eucharist unworthily or risk damnation.

I Cor. 11, 29. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.






We are all unworthy. I can understand abstaining if you haven't been to confession in a while or if you didn't say the prayers before communion, but abstaining just to abstain as though you're a more vile sinner than others is a slap to God's face and indicative of some spiritual problem.

The context of 1 Cor. 11:29 is primarily people who don't give a care about the Eucharist, it's important to keep that in mind.


Yes, this is very true.... I was more reacting to the premise that Orthodox feel more unworthy than their Protestant brethren.  I have never seen any evidence of the sort. 
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« Reply #75 on: December 28, 2011, 11:04:32 AM »

In Orthodox church we are supremely confident of our Lord's saving act for us.  On an individual level however, it is better for us to not be overly confident of our ability to enter into that salvation (let not your right hand know what your left does), but rather to strive towards Christ through acts of love and mercy (imitation).  One thought that comes to mind is that orthodoxy stresses cooperation between the human and the divine that we witness in the person of our Lord.  At no time does God "save" us against our will.  This being the case we must strive to draw near to Him.  In general I think protestants ask the question "how is one saved"? whereas Orthodox say "how can I draw closer to Christ?  The first is formulaic and often reduced to one act.  The second is fluid, alive, like a relationship, and involves a continual renewal (repentance) and drawing closer, like in a marriage.  As I like to remind myself and occasionally others, there are no rules in the church, only expressions of fidelity.  This relationship can grow cold, like what happens in some marriages, but this has no bearing on  the profound realities available to us in the church and expressed in Her dogma, but rather is the outcome of some type of ontological denial or rejection in an individual person.  We see this drama played out in the Garden and throughout history; the coming of Christ does not abolish this profound mystery of human freedom, but rather fulfills prophecy and makes it a binding reality for us by virtue of what has been revealed to us.
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« Reply #76 on: December 28, 2011, 11:44:34 AM »

Quote
I believe... that God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy.
That line will get you into trouble with other Protestants, especially the evangelicals....however, I believe you're absolutely right on this point.

PP
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« Reply #77 on: December 28, 2011, 03:23:17 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?
Do you dispute that people feel that they are not worthy enough to participate in the Eucharist on many occasions and that feeling this way actually prevents them from receiving so much so that they only end up taking it as little as once a year?

If you're basing this on our conversation,

No not entirely, i've read it on here from various posters and also in a podcast which briefly touched on the Eucharist.
Ok.

Even if it is more widespread than that, so what if a lot of Orthodox have a terrible view of the Eucharist? A lot of Protestants are Easter-Christmas-if-that cultural Christians anyway and many of the ones who aren't get swept up into nutcase faith-healing movements. Does this mean Protestant theology itself encourages a merely nominal or ridiculous faith?


I see it more of a way of expressing a belief that God is so awesome and wonderful that we can never, on our own, come close.   That God will have us enter into communion with Him is a very great gift, indeed.   We do all need to reflect and atone, and not just give lip service to God's incredible power and truth and beauty and love.  We all know we sin, we fall short, we have moments where we do not turn the other cheek, or offer a coat or food to people in need, where we at times might want to draw admiration from others instead of practicing humility.  Even if people say they feel unworthy, they still go up to receive the precious gifts.  If they really did feel unworthy in the sense being portrayed here in this strawman debate, I doubt they would go up.   St. Paul admonishes to not receive the Eucharist unworthily or risk damnation.

I Cor. 11, 29. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.






We are all unworthy. I can understand abstaining if you haven't been to confession in a while or if you didn't say the prayers before communion, but abstaining just to abstain as though you're a more vile sinner than others is a slap to God's face and indicative of some spiritual problem.

The context of 1 Cor. 11:29 is primarily people who don't give a care about the Eucharist, it's important to keep that in mind.


Yes, this is very true.... I was more reacting to the premise that Orthodox feel more unworthy than their Protestant brethren.  I have never seen any evidence of the sort. 
Ok. Understood.
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« Reply #78 on: December 28, 2011, 03:37:35 PM »

We are all unworthy. I can understand abstaining if you haven't been to confession in a while or if you didn't say the prayers before communion
The ones who abstain most of the time typically do not go to confession or say the prayers of communion, which is a widespread practice thanks to the Turkokratia, Communism, weird old-world babushka piety, inexcusable chillin' and probably werewolves and vampires.

Ask Augustin how many of these "serial abstainers" are saying all the prayers before communion and going to confession but still won't receive because of "unworthiness".
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« Reply #79 on: December 28, 2011, 03:39:43 PM »

Well put in a less bitter and sleep deprived manner than I  laugh
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« Reply #80 on: December 28, 2011, 08:22:44 PM »

We are all unworthy. I can understand abstaining if you haven't been to confession in a while or if you didn't say the prayers before communion
The ones who abstain most of the time typically do not go to confession or say the prayers of communion, which is a widespread practice thanks to the Turkokratia, Communism, weird old-world babushka piety, inexcusable chillin' and probably werewolves and vampires.

Ask Augustin how many of these "serial abstainers" are saying all the prayers before communion and going to confession but still won't receive because of "unworthiness".

Nicholas, i didn't say that, Vol did  Grin
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« Reply #81 on: December 28, 2011, 11:46:19 PM »

The tangential discussion of Immanual Kant and the Categorical Imperative has been split off and moved to Religious Topics.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=41966.0
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« Reply #82 on: December 29, 2011, 03:02:32 AM »

We are all unworthy. I can understand abstaining if you haven't been to confession in a while or if you didn't say the prayers before communion
The ones who abstain most of the time typically do not go to confession or say the prayers of communion, which is a widespread practice thanks to the Turkokratia, Communism, weird old-world babushka piety, inexcusable chillin' and probably werewolves and vampires.

Ask Augustin how many of these "serial abstainers" are saying all the prayers before communion and going to confession but still won't receive because of "unworthiness".

Nicholas, i didn't say that, Vol did  Grin
Sorry, t'was a struggle to disentangle that quote mess.
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« Reply #83 on: December 29, 2011, 05:01:51 AM »

We are all unworthy. I can understand abstaining if you haven't been to confession in a while or if you didn't say the prayers before communion
The ones who abstain most of the time typically do not go to confession or say the prayers of communion, which is a widespread practice thanks to the Turkokratia, Communism, weird old-world babushka piety, inexcusable chillin' and probably werewolves and vampires.

Ask Augustin how many of these "serial abstainers" are saying all the prayers before communion and going to confession but still won't receive because of "unworthiness".

Nicholas, i didn't say that, Vol did  Grin
Sorry, t'was a struggle to disentangle that quote mess.

That's okay.
Feel free to do it again but make sure it's one of those times he posts something erudite and profound.
(Oh and that i agree with)
 Wink
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« Reply #84 on: December 29, 2011, 06:27:24 AM »

I'm eruditely erroneous and profoundly pedestrian  laugh
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« Reply #85 on: December 29, 2011, 09:13:09 AM »

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

I would have done the same thing in your postion having never been to a liturgy before.
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« Reply #86 on: December 29, 2011, 10:03:16 AM »

Do you dispute that people feel that they are not worthy enough to participate in the Eucharist on many occasions and that feeling this way actually prevents them from receiving so much so that they only end up taking it as little as once a year?

A few points on this.

I know I recently abstained from Communion until being able to go to confession, I hope my example didn't come across as being over critical of myself or my personal worthiness. I promise you I have a number of personal faults that i fall to on a daily basis that I confess periodocally, constantly struggle against, pray for healing, and seek union with Christ in Communion as a source of strength in fighting them. If you ever get a chance to read the precommunion prayers that are typically found in an Orthodox prayer book, there is great faith and confidence placed in Christ as being our victory over sin, Communion to be necessary in overcoming sin, and Christ's great love for mankind to accept us in our sinful state as long as we are repentent and seeking Him. That and after receiving communion, we sing a hymn of thanksgiving,

Let our mouths be fuilled with Thy praise O Lord, for Thou hast made us worthy to partake of Thy holy, immortal, and life creating Mysteries. Keep us in Thy holiness, that all the day we may meditate upon thy righteousness.

That being said, I can't say I know for sure everyone's reasons for abstaining from the Eucharist. Maybe from feelings of personal unworthiness, maybe it's just what they were taught to do by their parents (I'm not saying this makes it right).

What about those who have so much confidence that they ignore Paul's instructions to examine oneself? Or when the pastor mentions this instruction, but immediately before distributing whatever their particular denomination serves denying those present the time for self examination and preparation? Or the invitation is given in such a manner that if one abstains, it becomes similar to denying the Christian faith altogether, even if one finds themself in a postition where they should abstain? I don't mean to Protestant-bash here, but these situations should be taken into account when comparing different reasons for receiving or abstaining from Communion.

And there's always the possibility that Orthodox Christians can recieve Communion in a casual manner that is irreverent and possibly disrepectful.
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« Reply #87 on: December 29, 2011, 11:48:26 AM »

Do you dispute that people feel that they are not worthy enough to participate in the Eucharist on many occasions and that feeling this way actually prevents them from receiving so much so that they only end up taking it as little as once a year?

A few points on this.

I know I recently abstained from Communion until being able to go to confession, I hope my example didn't come across as being over critical of myself or my personal worthiness. I promise you I have a number of personal faults that i fall to on a daily basis that I confess periodocally, constantly struggle against, pray for healing, and seek union with Christ in Communion as a source of strength in fighting them. If you ever get a chance to read the precommunion prayers that are typically found in an Orthodox prayer book, there is great faith and confidence placed in Christ as being our victory over sin, Communion to be necessary in overcoming sin, and Christ's great love for mankind to accept us in our sinful state as long as we are repentent and seeking Him. That and after receiving communion, we sing a hymn of thanksgiving,

Let our mouths be fuilled with Thy praise O Lord, for Thou hast made us worthy to partake of Thy holy, immortal, and life creating Mysteries. Keep us in Thy holiness, that all the day we may meditate upon thy righteousness.

That being said, I can't say I know for sure everyone's reasons for abstaining from the Eucharist. Maybe from feelings of personal unworthiness, maybe it's just what they were taught to do by their parents (I'm not saying this makes it right).

What about those who have so much confidence that they ignore Paul's instructions to examine oneself? Or when the pastor mentions this instruction, but immediately before distributing whatever their particular denomination serves denying those present the time for self examination and preparation? Or the invitation is given in such a manner that if one abstains, it becomes similar to denying the Christian faith altogether, even if one finds themself in a postition where they should abstain? I don't mean to Protestant-bash here, but these situations should be taken into account when comparing different reasons for receiving or abstaining from Communion.

And there's always the possibility that Orthodox Christians can recieve Communion in a casual manner that is irreverent and possibly disrepectful.

I've noticed several people swinging too far in the opposite direction when trying to explain the reasons and in an effort to avoid overconfidence is not an adequate defense. The confidence we have is in Christ CHRIST, not our own ability to abstain from whatever sin that challenges us, we all have them. Messengers from Satan, thorns in our side, weaknesses, struggles, whatever you want to call them, they are common to man in our human condition and that's why Christ made provision for us on our behalf, because we could not. You can't be overconfident in Christ.
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« Reply #88 on: December 29, 2011, 06:26:55 PM »

Do you dispute that people feel that they are not worthy enough to participate in the Eucharist on many occasions and that feeling this way actually prevents them from receiving so much so that they only end up taking it as little as once a year?

A few points on this.

I know I recently abstained from Communion until being able to go to confession, I hope my example didn't come across as being over critical of myself or my personal worthiness. I promise you I have a number of personal faults that i fall to on a daily basis that I confess periodocally, constantly struggle against, pray for healing, and seek union with Christ in Communion as a source of strength in fighting them. If you ever get a chance to read the precommunion prayers that are typically found in an Orthodox prayer book, there is great faith and confidence placed in Christ as being our victory over sin, Communion to be necessary in overcoming sin, and Christ's great love for mankind to accept us in our sinful state as long as we are repentent and seeking Him. That and after receiving communion, we sing a hymn of thanksgiving,

Let our mouths be fuilled with Thy praise O Lord, for Thou hast made us worthy to partake of Thy holy, immortal, and life creating Mysteries. Keep us in Thy holiness, that all the day we may meditate upon thy righteousness.

That being said, I can't say I know for sure everyone's reasons for abstaining from the Eucharist. Maybe from feelings of personal unworthiness, maybe it's just what they were taught to do by their parents (I'm not saying this makes it right).

What about those who have so much confidence that they ignore Paul's instructions to examine oneself? Or when the pastor mentions this instruction, but immediately before distributing whatever their particular denomination serves denying those present the time for self examination and preparation? Or the invitation is given in such a manner that if one abstains, it becomes similar to denying the Christian faith altogether, even if one finds themself in a postition where they should abstain? I don't mean to Protestant-bash here, but these situations should be taken into account when comparing different reasons for receiving or abstaining from Communion.

And there's always the possibility that Orthodox Christians can recieve Communion in a casual manner that is irreverent and possibly disrepectful.

I've noticed several people swinging too far in the opposite direction when trying to explain the reasons and in an effort to avoid overconfidence is not an adequate defense. The confidence we have is in Christ CHRIST, not our own ability to abstain from whatever sin that challenges us, we all have them. Messengers from Satan, thorns in our side, weaknesses, struggles, whatever you want to call them, they are common to man in our human condition and that's why Christ made provision for us on our behalf, because we could not. You can't be overconfident in Christ.

You seem very confident, Fountainpen, in your interpretation of Scripture. In fact, you are brimming with confidence.

Can you show that your interpretation of Scripture is consonant with history, that it is grounded in the ancient Church? Because if not, you are just innovating.
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« Reply #89 on: December 29, 2011, 08:22:46 PM »

I've noticed several people swinging too far in the opposite direction when trying to explain the reasons and in an effort to avoid overconfidence is not an adequate defense.

To quote my priest, we nelieve in frequent Communion, not casual Communion.

Quote
The confidence we have is in Christ CHRIST, not our own ability to abstain from whatever sin that challenges us, we all have them. Messengers from Satan, thorns in our side, weaknesses, struggles, whatever you want to call them, they are common to man in our human condition and that's why Christ made provision for us on our behalf, because we could not.

I don't consider these things to be a reason for abstaining from Communion. In fact these things can only be overcome in Christ, Who we partake of in Communion.

Quote
You can't be overconfident in Christ.

Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord...
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« Reply #90 on: December 29, 2011, 08:32:52 PM »

Do you dispute that people feel that they are not worthy enough to participate in the Eucharist on many occasions and that feeling this way actually prevents them from receiving so much so that they only end up taking it as little as once a year?

A few points on this.

I know I recently abstained from Communion until being able to go to confession, I hope my example didn't come across as being over critical of myself or my personal worthiness. I promise you I have a number of personal faults that i fall to on a daily basis that I confess periodocally, constantly struggle against, pray for healing, and seek union with Christ in Communion as a source of strength in fighting them. If you ever get a chance to read the precommunion prayers that are typically found in an Orthodox prayer book, there is great faith and confidence placed in Christ as being our victory over sin, Communion to be necessary in overcoming sin, and Christ's great love for mankind to accept us in our sinful state as long as we are repentent and seeking Him. That and after receiving communion, we sing a hymn of thanksgiving,

Let our mouths be fuilled with Thy praise O Lord, for Thou hast made us worthy to partake of Thy holy, immortal, and life creating Mysteries. Keep us in Thy holiness, that all the day we may meditate upon thy righteousness.

That being said, I can't say I know for sure everyone's reasons for abstaining from the Eucharist. Maybe from feelings of personal unworthiness, maybe it's just what they were taught to do by their parents (I'm not saying this makes it right).

What about those who have so much confidence that they ignore Paul's instructions to examine oneself? Or when the pastor mentions this instruction, but immediately before distributing whatever their particular denomination serves denying those present the time for self examination and preparation? Or the invitation is given in such a manner that if one abstains, it becomes similar to denying the Christian faith altogether, even if one finds themself in a postition where they should abstain? I don't mean to Protestant-bash here, but these situations should be taken into account when comparing different reasons for receiving or abstaining from Communion.

And there's always the possibility that Orthodox Christians can recieve Communion in a casual manner that is irreverent and possibly disrepectful.

I've noticed several people swinging too far in the opposite direction when trying to explain the reasons and in an effort to avoid overconfidence is not an adequate defense. The confidence we have is in Christ CHRIST, not our own ability to abstain from whatever sin that challenges us, we all have them. Messengers from Satan, thorns in our side, weaknesses, struggles, whatever you want to call them, they are common to man in our human condition and that's why Christ made provision for us on our behalf, because we could not. You can't be overconfident in Christ.

You seem very confident, Fountainpen, in your interpretation of Scripture. In fact, you are brimming with confidence.

Can you show that your interpretation of Scripture is consonant with history, that it is grounded in the ancient Church? Because if not, you are just innovating.

I'm confident in Christ and what He has done, yes. That's biblical to "...boast in the Lord" Psalm 34:2, 1 Corinthians 1:31, 2 Corinthians 10:17) giving glory to God alone.
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« Reply #91 on: December 29, 2011, 08:35:28 PM »

I've noticed several people swinging too far in the opposite direction when trying to explain the reasons and in an effort to avoid overconfidence is not an adequate defense.

To quote my priest, we nelieve in frequent Communion, not casual Communion.

Quote
The confidence we have is in Christ CHRIST, not our own ability to abstain from whatever sin that challenges us, we all have them. Messengers from Satan, thorns in our side, weaknesses, struggles, whatever you want to call them, they are common to man in our human condition and that's why Christ made provision for us on our behalf, because we could not.

I don't consider these things to be a reason for abstaining from Communion. In fact these things can only be overcome in Christ, Who we partake of in Communion.

Quote
You can't be overconfident in Christ.

Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord...

Excellent!
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« Reply #92 on: December 29, 2011, 08:39:38 PM »

I've noticed several people swinging too far in the opposite direction when trying to explain the reasons and in an effort to avoid overconfidence is not an adequate defense.

To quote my priest, we nelieve in frequent Communion, not casual Communion.

Quote
The confidence we have is in Christ CHRIST, not our own ability to abstain from whatever sin that challenges us, we all have them. Messengers from Satan, thorns in our side, weaknesses, struggles, whatever you want to call them, they are common to man in our human condition and that's why Christ made provision for us on our behalf, because we could not.

I don't consider these things to be a reason for abstaining from Communion. In fact these things can only be overcome in Christ, Who we partake of in Communion.

Quote
You can't be overconfident in Christ.

Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord...

Excellent!
Not excellent at all, in fact, quite the opposite.

For someone who has been regularly accused of taking scripture out of context, that has to be clanger of the year right there for what we're discussing at the moment!

#laughs
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« Reply #93 on: December 29, 2011, 09:11:21 PM »

Quote
You can't be overconfident in Christ.
Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord...
Excellent!
Not excellent at all, in fact, quite the opposite.

For someone who has been regularly accused of taking scripture out of context, that has to be clanger of the year right there for what we're discussing at the moment!

#laughs

The context of that particular quote should lead one to ask "What is the will of God?", seeing how that is what we are being instructed to do. Faith, hope, love, repentence, mercy, the fruit of the Spirit, avoiding the works of the flesh, resisting the devil, being conformed to the image of His Son, obedience, humility, running our race with patience, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, being united to Christ in Baptism, eating His flesh and drinking His blood, examining ourselves before receiving Commmunion, confessing our faults so that we may be healed, being reconciled to our brother, etc, these are all things that we are to do as Christians and none of them are optional. This doesn't mean that we lose hope because of our weaknessses and limitations, but we are required to struggle.

When Satan told Christ that angles would save Him lest he dash His foot against a stone, He replied with "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God". It's one thing to fall and have confidence in God's promise to catch you when you do, it's another to purposely throw yourself off a cliff and be confident that God is required catch you.
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« Reply #94 on: December 29, 2011, 09:33:12 PM »

*subscribed*   Grin (Probably the longest thread I've read on theology that hasn't bored me to tears. Won't be commenting though as I'll probably be shot out the blue like Bambi's mom. Tongue)

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« Reply #95 on: December 29, 2011, 10:22:31 PM »

 what Melodist quoted was exactly on point, those people whom the Lord denies, were Christians who believed in his name, preached and taught in his name, they have been calling his name, yet all that did not save them... and we should ask WHY NOT? if confidence was only in What God is capable of doing and yet we fail to participate in the grace that he freely gives and do what he wills then even though God is capable of doing all things, he will not take away our choices even when they are bad ones and lead to our ultimate demise, he will warn, entereat, beg even but never takes our free will from us, to chose our path.

so here is the confidence we are talking about..

1, we are confident in who Christ is, and what he is capable of doing!

2, we are Confident that without Christ we can do NOTHING!

3, we are Confident in the Salvation that is in Christ given for us Free!

4, we are confident that we are given FREE WILL to either receive or reject the gift of eternal Life that is being offered for free.

Free will makes it imperative that we cooperate with God in our salvation by saying yes to him. When we are struggling with sin and our attachment to it, we confess and ask for God’s help not because we doubt Christ can save us, but because Christ can save us! Because we are called to be Holy not by our works alone, but in union with God's Grace. The faith without Work is the faith of the demons.

Holy Communion is given for all who confess their sins (sinners who are repentant of their sins and are willing and committed to Live with Christ in Christ through Christ) examine yourself, and know that you need Christ is the Church's message, know you are a sinner, and Christ came for sinners, to heal them for those who want (have faith) to be healed. if they do not want to be healed, if they have no faith in him, if they are not willing to abandon their sinful ways yet come while plotting murder , while still engaged in adultery, still engaged in idolatry etc... Just because they call his name does not make them immune from the judgment that will come upon them.

Repentance is the utmost confidence in God's Mercy!

Knowing that God's Mercy is infinite, and Christ is the Savior of the World! Those who come to God with a repentant heart are never turned away!

1John 1:5-10 " 5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives."



St Paul reminds the Philippians to take care and to work out their salvation in fear and trembling, why the fear, why the trembling when only a chapter before he has told them that God is able to finish what he has started in them. Of course there is no contradiction, God is always able to finish what he has started, however the human can always back out while on this earth by loving the world as Demas did, and abandoning the will of God towards him and all humans : that all to be Saved! Indeed St. Paul says to them that it is God that works in them, to will and to act according to his good purpose.


Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

God is the one working in all of us all the good things we get to do, with this we have confidence that the grace of God will work in us when we cooperate with it.

1 Corinthian 12:6 there are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.


1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

1 Timothy 4:10 for therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.



Now, what of the immorality of a brother? A believer, yet who does and persists in the work of darkness? Should he for having confidence in God be allowed to eat and drink from the Lord's Table while unrepentant of his sin and unwilling to sever his attachment to it? St. Paul says different...

1 Corinthians 5:1-13
1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. 2And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? 3Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. 4When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

6Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. 8Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

9I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”


Do not mistake the humility of Christians for Lack of Confidence in God or, despair! It is the very humility that leads them constantly to have a broken and repentant heart, that loves God and has utterly confidently surrender itself to Him.

Many make the mistake of Judah, in thinking that they are beyond God's mercy that kind of theaching is both forigen and blasphemous for the Orthodox! NO ONE is beyond God's mercy! not even Lucifer if were he to repent, God's Mercy will drown all the sins that the fallen angel the ancient enemy of mankind has committed against God as if it was a speck of sand in the ocean of God's mercy! It is this confidence you constantly hear among the Orthodox, when they say Lord Have mercy! It is the pouring out of God's infinite love we are asking and we know and believe that nothing overpowers His love for us!

The infinite Glory before whom the angels tremble, we eat and drink, in confidence of his mercy, his love, for us, and because we know who he is and because of our love to him, we approach with reverence, with awe and wonder, with repentant heart that laments her sin against her beloved even as she thanks him for the new beginning the new chance he gives her to be One with Him and to remain in his love. We approach with humility as we are awed by his humility; we approach because we have no life by ourselves, as he is our Light and our Life! We approach because he is our only healer who restores our souls.

Those that abstain from communion should do so only if they do not have a repentant heart over whatever sin they have attached themselves to. If a person does not admit that he or she needs the healing of Christ then that person has no business eating and drinking the body and blood of our Lord. It takes an honest examination of oneself to see whether or not one is repentant of the sin one loved to commit. The murderer should stop killing, the adulterer should stop cheating, the thief should stop stealing etc... Then come to Christ with tears of repentance and Christ along with the Father and the Holy Spirit will make their home with him.

Those who abstain, claiming unworthiness just because they are sinners even while they are repentant of it, then in that case they are in error, they have strayed away from the teaching of the Orthodox Church! The Church is there for sinners, we are all sinners, it’s because we are sinners that we need Christ, however we must repent and come to Him who is willing to heal us, to make us New Man in Christ. As often as we sin against him and yet turn back to him once more, he is willing to forgive and embrace us with his love. The greatest sin we can commit is to say God will not forgive me! To despair!
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To God be the Glory in all things! Amen!

Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
Clemente
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« Reply #96 on: December 30, 2011, 08:58:31 AM »

There seems a good deal of sound Orthodox theology here in this thread. I think it is important to consider how the Fathers and the Early Church considered this issue.

There was never a time in the church when there wasn't a tension between our confidence in what Christ accomplished and granted freely to us and our need to work out our salvation in fear and trembling.

We see this tension vividly in I Clement, written in 96 AD.

1Clem 32:4-1Clem 33:1

"And so we, having been called through His will in Christ Jesus, are
not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or
understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of
heart, but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men
that have been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and
ever. Amen.
   What then must we do, brethren? Must we idly abstain from doing
good, and forsake love? May the Master never allow this to befall us
at least; but let us hasten with instancy and zeal to accomplish
every good work."

The Didache, which was written perhaps in 70 AD and therefore before much of the New Testament, was not available to the Reformers, unfortunately since it was rediscovered just in the 19th century. The Didache clearly stresses the importance of working out one's salvation in humility:

"1:1 There are two ways, one of life and one of death, and there is a great difference between the two ways.

5:1 But the way of death is this.
5:2 First of all, it is evil and full of a curse murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, magical arts, witchcrafts, plunderings, false witnessings, hypocrisies, doubleness of heart, treachery, pride, malice, stubbornness, covetousness, foul-speaking, jealousy, boldness, exaltation, boastfulness;
5:3 persecutors of good men, hating truth, loving a lie, not perceiving the reward of righteousness, not cleaving to the good nor to righteous judgment, wakeful not for that which is good but for that which is evil;
5:4 from whom gentleness and forbearance stand aloof;
5:5 loving vain things, pursuing a recompense, not pitying the poor man, not toiling for him that is oppressed with toil, not recognizing Him that made them, murderers of children, corrupters of the creatures of God, turning away from him that is in want, oppressing him that is afflicted, advocates of the wealthy, unjust judges of the poor, altogether sinful.
5:6 May ye be delivered, my children, from all these things.

6:1 See lest any man lead you astray from this way of righteousness, for he teacheth thee apart from God."

There was from the beginning of Christianity very much a fear that if a follower of Christ strayed from the way, he would incur spiritual death.

Witness the same idea in The Epistle of Barnabas, also considered a First century document (or possible second) and rediscovered in the 19th century:

V 21 "All this shows what a good thing it is to have learnt the precepts of the Lord, as they are set forth in Scripture. For the man who does this (ie the Way of Light), there will be glory in the kingdom of God, but the one who prefers the other Way will perish."

The Early Church had a heathy respect for the need to balance confidence in Christ with working out one's salvation and this balance continues today in the Orthodox Church.


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