Today, me and Matt were discussing the differences between Orthodoxy and Reformed. I was saying that the 1689 London Baptist Confession severely limits the effects of the divine energies of grace, as it contains this statement:
"This will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone in the state of glory only."
Interestingly, "the state of glory" is never defined spatio-temporally. So it could mean after we fall asleep, or when we achieve perfect theosis. But everyone who follows the Confession implies the former. So I strongly believe Reformed theology is pseudo-Gnosticism, with its contempt for this life.
It references Eph 4:13, which states:
"...until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ."
Considering St Paul was talking about how the nature of equipping the Body of Christ for good works, how on earth can you exegete "no living person can ever be sinless" from it?
St John wrote in 1 John 1:8, "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us," which to me means he's saying "if we say we're impeccable, we're lying." 1 John was written to quench the Gnostic heresy that was infiltrating the Church.
Sinlessness does not equal impeccability. Christ was sinless, not due to impeccability, but that His divine will completely overrode His human will; He had the ability to sin and was able to be tempted (or else how could He appropriate our humanity?), but He preferred not to.
Apparently St Peter was exhorting us to do the impossible in 1 Peter 1:13-16, which references Ezekiel 36:27, so God was as well.
"Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
I told Matt this: the few that attain complete sanctification/theosis in this life will be intimately aware of their need for His divine energies of mercy and grace, because they never know if they will sin, so they will always be needed from their perspective. They will be the ones who cling to the Cross most tightly of all, even though they need it no longer, as they have allowed God's work to be completed in their lives.
We were also discussing God's sovereignty vs our freedom, and he completely agreed with Bishop Elias (Minatios)'s sermon. http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/predestination.aspx
He literally admitted that the only reason he's not Orthodox is he doesn't like the ceremonialness of it and enjoys more laity participation. He's essentially Orthodox in his theology, Evangelical in his practice. I've never agreed with taking the Eucharist in hand, because it implies we're taking His life, not that He gave it. John 10:18.
Do you have any practical advice for living the Orthodox life? What Psalms should I meditate on? I really like Psalm 28, as my old churches put me in the same situation, so it speaks to me.
I already meditate on the Jesus Prayer during free time. Are you supposed to cry when you do this? I felt my eyes watering after a while the first time.
How does hesychasm differ from Roman Catholic lectio divina? I know the Emergents like Rob Bell have turned it into a direct violation of Matthew 6:7 by corrupting it into centering prayer.
I've already emailed my priest about this, but in the meantime, I'll be happy to hear from you.