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Author Topic: Grace Alone/Faith Alone  (Read 7477 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 08, 2012, 08:45:34 PM »

Can someone please explain to me how we are not saved by grace/faith alone?
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2012, 08:54:08 PM »

It is completely through grace, but cooperative acts are part of salvation. So, traditionally, baptism saves, communion saves, etc., not that these things save in themselves or by themselves, but as part of a process, and through grace. It is not enough that you have faith, but the actual working out of that faith contributes. If you think of it in terms of salvation=healing, then they are part of the treatment. If salvation is simply an either/or thing, either you're saved or you're not, then this makes little sense. At most you are simply sanctifying that which is already saved. If, on the other hand, salvation is a life-long process, even an eternal process, then it makes sense that it is not just something going on in your head that salvation is totally about, but (since we are physical beings) it is also what we do.
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2012, 09:27:35 PM »

faith alone?

Scripturally speaking, faith that can move mountains without love is nothing and faith without works is dead. Faith can never be alone if it is going to save us. It also says that it is impossible to please God without faith. It's kind of like air, we need it to live, but it does no good without food or water, and the air we breathe needs to be composed of the right amounts of the right elements, without pollution, and within the proper temperature range.

One thing I find funny about the "sola"s is that if they are all "alone", why is there five of them?
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2012, 10:09:31 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Can someone please explain to me how we are not saved by grace/faith alone?

Since you've been playing "Protestant's Advocate" lately, I will give just the Scriptures.

Quote
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that —and shudder.

20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,
James 2:14-26

or

Quote
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.
Titus 3:4-8

Notice the Apostle Paul clarifies what James was saying, that is that Grace operates through works.  Faith is made real through works.  Faith without having been manifested is simply non-existent.  What are works? Charity, almsgiving, prayer, celebrating the Saints' days or the holidays of Our Lord, going to Church on Sunday, honoring the commandments, loving our neighbors, going the extra mile, basically anything which do in the verb sense out of our relationship with God.

The works do not earn the Grace, rather the works manifest the Grace into reality.

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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2012, 10:28:32 PM »

Our definition of salvation is different from the Protestant view of salvation, therefore, this topic becomes extremely hard to discuss. The Protestant view of salvation--which is also the view that most people have--is that being saved means going to Heaven when you die, so it is a one-shot deal basically. On the other hand, the Orthodox view is that we are being saved; Theosis is our salvation; it means growing closer to God and becoming more like Him in the process. It is not a one-shot thing but a gradual process that lasts unto eternity. Of course, beating death and going to Heaven is definitely a part of salvation, but it is in no way salvation itself. Therefore, according to us, salvation comes about from both faith and works. Faith means nothing if we do not act upon it and likewise, if one truly had faith then wouldn't you think that they would act upon it? And actions/works without faith are pointless because they mean nothing if they are not directed toward Christ or our spiritual welfare. Therefore, keeping them mutually exclusive seems unsound to me, as faith and works generally go hand in hand.
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2012, 11:38:09 AM »

Interesting discussion at Internet Monk by Fr. Ernesto (cf. the comment section also): http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/fr-ernesto-obregon-an-orthodox-view-of-the-issues-in-sola-fide
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2012, 12:35:45 PM »

Quote
One thing I find funny about the "sola"s is that if they are all "alone", why is there five of them?

this.
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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2012, 05:30:42 PM »

The Protestant solas were part of a conversation about justification, sanctification, and predestination in which the Orthodox never participated.  Hence it is difficult for the Orthodox either to understand the conversation or to enter into it at this late date.  Yet they must.

The Protestant solas are all about the unconditionality of God's love and mercy. 

From an Orthodox perspective, the unconditionality of God's love is uncontroversial and beyond debate:  we do not need to earn God's love; we can never merit God's love; there is nothing we can do to persuade God to love us more than he already does. In Christ God desires and wills the salvation of every human being.  So the only thing left is our acceptance and response to the God's unmerited offer of salvation through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Of course works are not insignificant; but Orthodox miss the point if they think they are the point. 

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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2012, 08:50:19 AM »

Grace alone through Faith alone is one of the clearest most consistent themes in the New Testement. James 2 when read in its entirety is discussing the fruit of faith. How anyone who has true faith not to do works is ridiculous. However you can see the theif on the cross and know he didn't have works.

Saying that what are the most important works? "love your Lord God with all your heart" and "believe in Jesus Christ and you will be saved". So the most important works equate to faith.
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2012, 09:01:14 AM »

AFAIK much of the difference between RC/EO/OO/Assyrian vs. Lutheran/Protestant viewpoints of justification is difference of perspective. Protestants are looking things from a perspective of a single moment of justification whereas the traditional Christendom is looking things from a perspective of whole life of Christians.

We all agree in the sense we all are saved through faith alone, say, at baptism and we all agree that after being born-again we all need to repent our sins and do good works in order to be saved. We all agree that we cannot earn our salvation.
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2012, 07:49:17 PM »

faith alone?

Scripturally speaking, faith that can move mountains without love is nothing and faith without works is dead. Faith can never be alone if it is going to save us. It also says that it is impossible to please God without faith. It's kind of like air, we need it to live, but it does no good without food or water, and the air we breathe needs to be composed of the right amounts of the right elements, without pollution, and within the proper temperature range.

One thing I find funny about the "sola"s is that if they are all "alone", why is there five of them?

I asked this of someone the other day and got no response.
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2012, 08:13:21 PM »

If I believed in the five solas (which I don't), I'd say that they are addressing different things, or with regards to faith/grace/christ, I might say that they are simply looking at one thing from different angles. So, if I said that we are saved by faith alone, through grace alone, and by Christ alone, that wouldn't mean I was contradicting myself. I would just mean that, in the category that faith fits into, (faith, experience, reason, works, secret knowledge, etc.), it is faith alone that saves, not those other things; in the category that Christ fits (Christ, Socrates, Moses, etc.) it is only Christ that saves, not those other people; and so forth. Admittedly I think this falls apart upon further examination, but only because I don't think it makes sense (practically or otherwise) to believe in scripture alone or faith alone, and not because five different alones are somehow contradictory.
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« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2012, 09:04:57 AM »

The 5 Solas are really one overall statement of faith.

By Gods GRACE we are saved by our FAITH in JESUS CHRIST. We know this because of SCRIPTURE and we give all the GLORY TO GOD because there isn't any way we can earn it.

Saying that as a Lutheran we believe we need to strengthen and renew that faith daily. I have a great respect for the Orthodox view of Theosis.
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« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2012, 09:39:59 AM »

Can someone please explain to me how we are not saved by grace/faith alone?

On one hand we are. Praise God in all things, as all things are by the Grace of God. To my understanding, from what I have been taught/believe that includes faith itself.

Ironically this came up (it is often repeated) in Church last night. By God's Grace we receive faith. By God's Grace and Faith we, by our own free will, enter the process of repentance. By our 'cooperation' with God's Grace and through Faith in Christ our Lord we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. In that respect it is by 'faith alone' we walk toward salvation.   

However, the key word is Holy. It is the Holy Spirit that resides within us (as a guest in our hearts some might say). We should not expect Holiness to rein in our hearts if we ourselves are not living (attempting at least with all of our mind, body, and spirit) a Holy life. The 'coined phrase' our Pastor likes to use is familiar to most on here I'm sure; Faith without works is dead, faith with works... works! Faith and works it might be said are inseparable. Works does not bring upon salvation it is by the Grace of God, Faith in Jesus Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit that resides within us. Yet, how can something Holy reside in a heart that is willfully and stubbornly corrupt?

There are many that would disagree and claim 'faith alone', as in 'I am saved' is a one time event and once saved always saved regardless. I would caution accepting that view as it conflicts with Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Christian Experience. Faith and Repentance, as it has been revealed to me, is only the beginning of a life long process that is for the purpose of refining us into the Image of God for the Glory of God.

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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2012, 10:42:00 AM »

Can someone please explain to me how we are not saved by grace/faith alone?

Salvation was expressed by my Priest as follows.

God Saves, in the Son, who saves, through the Holy Spirit, who saves, by grace, in the church (Body of Christ), we respond by our life in Christ.

Life in Christ is initiated by Grace which is a gift from god, which is responded to with the gift of Faith, which is also a gift of God, resulting in good works, which is the outcome.  Not one of these alone saves but the journey to God saves.

A AFR podcast that I really liked on Salvation: http://ancientfaith.com/specials/missions_and_evangelism_conference_2008/to_heaven_together_or_to_hell_alone
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« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2012, 02:15:15 PM »


One thing I find funny about the "sola"s is that if they are all "alone", why is there five of them?

Love it!
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« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2012, 02:19:27 PM »

The 5 Solas are really one overall statement of faith.

By Gods GRACE we are saved by our FAITH in JESUS CHRIST. We know this because of SCRIPTURE and we give all the GLORY TO GOD because there isn't any way we can earn it.

Saying that as a Lutheran we believe we need to strengthen and renew that faith daily. I have a great respect for the Orthodox view of Theosis.

We KNOW this because Jesus Christ was INCARNATE, BAPTIZED, TAUGHT, CRUCIFIED, DIED, BURIED, RESURRECTED, ASCENDED, SENT THE COMFORTER, AND WILL COME AGAIN TO JUDGE THE WORLD (see how annoying CAPS are) and Scriptures are a WITNESS to the REVELATION of the MAN-GOD (Θεανθρπος).  Scriptures are part of holy tradition but not the holy tradition itself (one of Lutheranism's big fallacies).
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2012, 02:44:21 PM »

Can someone please explain to me how we are not saved by grace/faith alone?

Can you explain how we are saved by any one thing? What excludes cooperation between man and God?
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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2012, 03:05:28 PM »

Can someone please explain to me how we are not saved by grace/faith alone?

We are saved by Grace alone, we just disagree with the Protestants about how that Grace works and what it is.

We are not saved by Faith alone because in the only place in the bible that says "by faith alone" it comes after the word "not", see James 2:24.

Hear St. Paul, who says:

"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love...

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” -Epistle to the Galatians 5
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« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2012, 03:11:54 PM »

By Gods GRACE we are saved by our FAITH in JESUS CHRIST.
Yes, but faith doesn't mean intellectual and emotional assent to Christ.

The word means faithfulness. Abraham wasn't made righteous because he had intellectual and emotional confidence that God would do the right thing. He was made righteous through his faithfulness to God, carrying out His will.
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« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2012, 03:36:08 PM »

The 5 Solas are really one overall statement of faith.

By Gods GRACE we are saved by our FAITH in JESUS CHRIST. We know this because of SCRIPTURE and we give all the GLORY TO GOD because there isn't any way we can earn it.

Saying that as a Lutheran we believe we need to strengthen and renew that faith daily. I have a great respect for the Orthodox view of Theosis.

 (see how annoying CAPS are)

Relax I only capitalized the 5 Solas for anyone that didn't know what they were rather than saying alone after each one.

Plus I was only explaining to the people who asked why 5 if they are suppose to be alone not diving into some deep theological debate
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« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2012, 06:45:34 PM »

Yeah, the "why five Solas if they're all 'alone'" argument is a clever one-liner, but that's about it. The Protestants say we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, for which all glory goes to God alone. I don't agree with all of that, but it's not inherently contradictory. Note the differing prepositions.  Wink
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« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2012, 07:39:59 PM »

I recently asked a group of varying Protestants to define Sola Scriptura.  None were able, but the few who tried had wavering ideas of what it actually means.  Then, when non-Protestants provided definition, it turned ugly, but they still never provided a clear understanding of what it meant.  I was eventually told it was undefinable, which really surprised me because I was always able to define it as a Baptist.  When I provided my definition, I was told I didn’t understand Sola Scriptura.  Apparently not.

We never did get around to Sola Fide and Sola Gratia.
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« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2012, 07:54:42 PM »

Yeah, the "why five Solas if they're all 'alone'" argument is a clever one-liner, but that's about it. The Protestants say we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, for which all glory goes to God alone. I don't agree with all of that, but it's not inherently contradictory. Note the differing prepositions.  Wink

I never heard it put that way before. Thanks.
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« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2012, 08:23:24 PM »

"And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books."  -Revelation 20:12
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« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2012, 08:25:41 PM »

I could agree with the principle of Sola Scriptura, provided that Scriptura does not just mean Bible.  there was no concept of Bible in the early church.  Every time the word Scripture (γραφαι) are used in the NT, it refers to the OT same with the early fathers of the 1st-3rd centuries.  By the time of the Cappadocians and even St. John Chrysostom, γραφαι referred to the OT as well as some of the NT (usually excepting the Apocalypse of St. John) and even various non-"canonical" (at least by today's standards) writings of other fathers such as the Shepherd of Hermas.  By the late fifth century through the eighth century, Scripture included not only OT and NT, but also writings of the holy fathers and the canons of councils and the prayers and liturgies of the church.  St. Isaac the Syrian uses the term Scripture precisely in that way.  
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« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2012, 08:36:37 PM »

All clever one-liners aside...

Faith alone - As I said (quoting scripture) earlier faith without love is nothing and without works is dead. If our faith is to save us, it must be acted on by us. It can't be alone. We do believe that we are saved by faith, just not alone.

Grace alone - We believe that God's grace is made available to everyone. We must actively receive it and positively respond to it in order for it to save us. We believe we are saved by grace, just not alone.

Christ alone - "We are told to "save" ourselves (1 Timothy 4:16) by following Christ, and that by drawing others closer to Christ, we can "save" them and "hide a multitude of sins" (1 Corinthians 7:16, 9:22, James 5:20, Jude 1:23) by bringing them closer to Christ, Who is the only salvation." (I stole that from my blog) It is also designed to undermine the sacramental authority that Christ gave to His Church to remit sins. "And when we fall to temptation after having been baptized into Christ and His Church, we are to seek his forgiveness from Him in His Church. We are to follow the example of David who while seeking forgiveness from the Lord also confessed his sin to the prophet Nathan. James tells us to confess our faults one to another, and pray one for another, that we may be healed. Christ told His apostles that "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained" which we see exercised by the apostle Paul  when he writes to the Corinthians "To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ"." (The only reason I'm quoting my blog is because I've already written down thoughts that might relate to the subject) We believe we are saved by Christ, but we believe that He is the one mediator because He alone is fully God and Fully man, it is his death alone that "condemns sin in the flesh", and it is His resurrection alone that raises us up to new life. We believe that those who receive love, grace, forgiveness, and life from Christ are to share that with others. We also believe that God hears and answers our prayers for others and that death is not stronger than the unity we share in Christ.

Glory to God alone - This is a denial that God is glorified in His saints because of the work that He has done and continues to do through them. We give glory to God by honoring His saints who are made holy by Him. We also give reverence to those appointed in His Church to preside over and exercise authority within His Church. We glorify God above all things, but we recognize His work that is done in His saints and honor them as being made Holy by Him. We also recognize their dedication to Christ as a model for how we could better serve Him by loving God and neighbor.

Scripture alone - We do not believe that scripture is the only means by which our faith is transmitted or that any one person's personal opinion on how it should be interpreted should be held as true when it becomes mutually exclusive to how that passage has always been continuously and consistently interpreted. We do believe scripture to be divinely inspired, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. We also believe our prayers, hymns, liturgies, icons, writings from our teachers of all ages, and contemporary teaching to be profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. We do believe that our teaching should be in line with scripture, but we also believe that scripture should be interpreted in a manner which is consistent with the other means by which we transmit our faith.
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« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2012, 11:08:57 PM »

All clever one-liners aside...

Faith alone - As I said (quoting scripture) earlier faith without love is nothing and without works is dead. If our faith is to save us, it must be acted on by us. It can't be alone. We do believe that we are saved by faith, just not alone.

Grace alone - We believe that God's grace is made available to everyone. We must actively receive it and positively respond to it in order for it to save us. We believe we are saved by grace, just not alone.

Christ alone - "We are told to "save" ourselves (1 Timothy 4:16) by following Christ, and that by drawing others closer to Christ, we can "save" them and "hide a multitude of sins" (1 Corinthians 7:16, 9:22, James 5:20, Jude 1:23) by bringing them closer to Christ, Who is the only salvation." (I stole that from my blog) It is also designed to undermine the sacramental authority that Christ gave to His Church to remit sins. "And when we fall to temptation after having been baptized into Christ and His Church, we are to seek his forgiveness from Him in His Church. We are to follow the example of David who while seeking forgiveness from the Lord also confessed his sin to the prophet Nathan. James tells us to confess our faults one to another, and pray one for another, that we may be healed. Christ told His apostles that "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained" which we see exercised by the apostle Paul  when he writes to the Corinthians "To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ"." (The only reason I'm quoting my blog is because I've already written down thoughts that might relate to the subject) We believe we are saved by Christ, but we believe that He is the one mediator because He alone is fully God and Fully man, it is his death alone that "condemns sin in the flesh", and it is His resurrection alone that raises us up to new life. We believe that those who receive love, grace, forgiveness, and life from Christ are to share that with others. We also believe that God hears and answers our prayers for others and that death is not stronger than the unity we share in Christ.

Glory to God alone - This is a denial that God is glorified in His saints because of the work that He has done and continues to do through them. We give glory to God by honoring His saints who are made holy by Him. We also give reverence to those appointed in His Church to preside over and exercise authority within His Church. We glorify God above all things, but we recognize His work that is done in His saints and honor them as being made Holy by Him. We also recognize their dedication to Christ as a model for how we could better serve Him by loving God and neighbor.

Scripture alone - We do not believe that scripture is the only means by which our faith is transmitted or that any one person's personal opinion on how it should be interpreted should be held as true when it becomes mutually exclusive to how that passage has always been continuously and consistently interpreted. We do believe scripture to be divinely inspired, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. We also believe our prayers, hymns, liturgies, icons, writings from our teachers of all ages, and contemporary teaching to be profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. We do believe that our teaching should be in line with scripture, but we also believe that scripture should be interpreted in a manner which is consistent with the other means by which we transmit our faith.

+1
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« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2012, 11:43:36 PM »

The Protestants say we are saved by grace alone

Despite our different ideas of salvation--which are very important to take note of--there is actually nothing doctrinally unsound about this provided it is interpreted in an Orthodox sense. After all, Theosis (Our view of salvation) is only made possible to us because God had enough grace to send Jesus Christ down.

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through faith alone

This we cannot agree with, because faith and works go hand in hand. Unless of course the Protestants are willing to change their definition of faith to include love, works and the whole nine yards etc.

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in Christ alone


It is true that Christ alone is the one who saves, but it is also fair to remember that Jesus Christ saves us through the Church; in fact, the Church is the visible body of Christ on Earth. Also, fair to remember that Jesus Christ may also use people to do His work; for example, many people were saved because of Saints who witnessed to them and everything.

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according to Scripture alone

This part we cannot accept because Sola Scriptura is heretical

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for which all glory goes to God alone

This is true, but God--being ever graceful--allows us to participate in His glory through Jesus Christ
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« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2012, 11:13:47 AM »

 Every time the word Scripture (γραφαι) are used in the NT, it refers to the OT

No it doesn't, usually yes, always no. Here are a few examples:

1 Timothy 5:18
'For the Scripture says... “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
Which references Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:7

2 Peter 3:16 - Peter equates Paul's letters to other scripture (IE Paul's letters are Scripture.)
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« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2012, 11:55:27 AM »

One thing to remember about the five solas is that they were formulated as a polemical response to the 16th century Latin Church.  Think of them as battle cries.  They do not represent the kind of nuanced positions that one might find in the best Lutheran and Reformed theologians of the day.  Moreover, the solas have been appropriated differently by different Protestant traditions.  They certainly do not mean the same thing for a confessional Lutheran as they do for a Southern Baptist, for example. 
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« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2012, 12:30:19 PM »

we are saved alone by God's mercy.
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« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2012, 03:53:48 PM »

Such a hard topic, because as JamesR said, our views of salvation are so very different.

Something to keep in mind is that Protestants are guarding against works-righteousness -- the notion that we are saved because of something we do, as if whatever the "thing" we do is the efficient cause of our salvation.  This, in turn, is largely because the same Protestants view salvation as God declaring us righteous -- salvation is unmerited favor which saves us from God's wrath and offended sense of justice.  Thus, to them, if we are saved because of something we do, we are earning our own salvation and salvation ceases to be a gift.

To us, we are saved because of the love of God, His grace.  In this sense, we are very much "grace alone."  But salvation is being united to Christ, having death defeated, restoring the communion that was lost in the fall, and grace is not unmerited favor, but the operation of God, sending His energies to unite to ours in His Son (this is why communion is such an important notion in Orthodoxy).  It is more existential than forensic, and so for us, there is nothing we can do to "earn" salvation, because salvation is a problem we are incapable of solving -- how can my good works restore in humanity the energies of God?  So we are free to talk about our works and our faith and our love and our lives, because we are not viewing these things as earning the favor of a God whose justice is offended, but we see these things as doing the will of the Father who for our sake sent His Son so that we might live the life He has given us to live.

Put simply, in the Orthodox view, we do not do good works because they please God, but because they are good for us.  Good works do not earn our salvation, they are what we were saved to do.  In that sense, good works are salvation being lived out.
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« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2012, 05:00:04 PM »

 Every time the word Scripture (γραφαι) are used in the NT, it refers to the OT

No it doesn't, usually yes, always no. Here are a few examples:

1 Timothy 5:18
'For the Scripture says... “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
Which references Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:7

2 Peter 3:16 - Peter equates Paul's letters to other scripture (IE Paul's letters are Scripture.)
Epistles, not scripture. The apostles did not know that they were writing scripture. If they thought they were, that is the height of hubris.


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« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2012, 05:44:19 PM »

 Every time the word Scripture (γραφαι) are used in the NT, it refers to the OT

No it doesn't, usually yes, always no. Here are a few examples:

1 Timothy 5:18
'For the Scripture says... “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
Which references Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:7

2 Peter 3:16 - Peter equates Paul's letters to other scripture (IE Paul's letters are Scripture.)

You're wrong.  With regards to 1 Timothy, St. Paul uses the term γραφη to refer to the quote from Deuteronomy, but it is not used for the line of the laborer.  What is more is that St. Paul's epistle predates both the Gospels according to St. Luke and St. Matthew.  How can he be equating with Scripture something that does  not exist yet in written form (which is the basis of the whole Lutheran sola scriptura)?  Besides, the phrase is pretty proverbial and Christ's use of it reflects that it was probably well known.  We Orthodox speak much of Scripture in Tradition and that applies right here. 

With regards to the quote from 2 Peter 3:16, I'll have to concede on that γραφη is not that way. But to come away from that passage that St. Peter is equating what St. Paul wrote as being as authoritative as the OT, there's no evidence in the context to support it.
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« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2012, 05:44:55 PM »

Epistles, not scripture. The apostles did not know that they were writing scripture. If they thought they were, that is the height of hubris.


Should have read your reply before I typed mine. +1
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« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2012, 06:20:42 PM »

Every time the word Scripture (γραφαι) are used in the NT, it refers to the OT

No it doesn't, usually yes, always no. Here are a few examples:

1 Timothy 5:18
'For the Scripture says... “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
Which references Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:7

2 Peter 3:16 - Peter equates Paul's letters to other scripture (IE Paul's letters are Scripture.)

You're wrong.  With regards to 1 Timothy, St. Paul uses the term γραφη to refer to the quote from Deuteronomy, but it is not used for the line of the laborer.  What is more is that St. Paul's epistle predates both the Gospels according to St. Luke and St. Matthew.  How can he be equating with Scripture something that does  not exist yet in written form (which is the basis of the whole Lutheran sola scriptura)?  Besides, the phrase is pretty proverbial and Christ's use of it reflects that it was probably well known.  We Orthodox speak much of Scripture in Tradition and that applies right here.  

With regards to the quote from 2 Peter 3:16, I'll have to concede on that γραφη is not that way. But to come away from that passage that St. Peter is equating what St. Paul wrote as being as authoritative as the OT, there's no evidence in the context to support it.

I disagree, the text in 1 Timothy it shows " The laborer is worthy of his wages" in red as Christ speaking which makes it clear, at least in this translations view it's a direct quote from Christ. Also according to the translation Luke and Matthew were written in 50's-early 60's AD and 1 Timothy in 62-64 AD so the Gospels according to this translation were written before.

1 Timothy 5:18
New King James Version (NKJV)
18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

Luke 10:7
New King James Version (NKJV)
7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.

As for Peter I don't have great knowledge of Greek but in this version the words "also" and "rest" would seem to indicate he considered them scripture.

2 Peter 3:14-16
New King James Version (NKJV)
16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
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« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2012, 06:22:07 PM »

My compliments for a fine post.

Such a hard topic, because as JamesR said, our views of salvation are so very different.

Something to keep in mind is that Protestants are guarding against works-righteousness -- the notion that we are saved because of something we do, as if whatever the "thing" we do is the efficient cause of our salvation.  This, in turn, is largely because the same Protestants view salvation as God declaring us righteous -- salvation is unmerited favor which saves us from God's wrath and offended sense of justice.  Thus, to them, if we are saved because of something we do, we are earning our own salvation and salvation ceases to be a gift.

To us, we are saved because of the love of God, His grace.  In this sense, we are very much "grace alone."  But salvation is being united to Christ, having death defeated, restoring the communion that was lost in the fall, and grace is not unmerited favor, but the operation of God, sending His energies to unite to ours in His Son (this is why communion is such an important notion in Orthodoxy).  It is more existential than forensic, and so for us, there is nothing we can do to "earn" salvation, because salvation is a problem we are incapable of solving -- how can my good works restore in humanity the energies of God?  So we are free to talk about our works and our faith and our love and our lives, because we are not viewing these things as earning the favor of a God whose justice is offended, but we see these things as doing the will of the Father who for our sake sent His Son so that we might live the life He has given us to live.

Put simply, in the Orthodox view, we do not do good works because they please God, but because they are good for us.  Good works do not earn our salvation, they are what we were saved to do.  In that sense, good works are salvation being lived out.
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« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2012, 06:38:37 PM »

Also, wouldn't have the Apostles known they were being guided by the Holy Spirit in their writtings which would make it scripture? I guess I don't see if they understood that how it would be hubris.
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« Reply #39 on: June 12, 2012, 10:34:42 PM »

Also, wouldn't have the Apostles known they were being guided by the Holy Spirit in their writtings which would make it scripture? I guess I don't see if they understood that how it would be hubris.
I don't think the Apostles came equipped with Holy Spirit dictation detectors. Nor were they writing a Quran
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« Reply #40 on: June 12, 2012, 10:55:23 PM »

Also, wouldn't have the Apostles known they were being guided by the Holy Spirit in their writtings which would make it scripture? I guess I don't see if they understood that how it would be hubris.
I don't think the Apostles came equipped with Holy Spirit dictation detectors. Nor were they writing a Quran

The Apostles spent 3 years with Jesus Christ, witnessed him after the Resurrection and were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). The Apostle Paul specifically speaks on behalf of the Lord (1 Corinthians 7: 10). Hebrews 10:9 speaks of abolishing old and establishing new covenant. I think it's an odd point of view they didn't feel their writings as scripture and we needed a council 300 years later to say so.
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« Reply #41 on: June 12, 2012, 11:13:21 PM »

Every time the word Scripture (γραφαι) are used in the NT, it refers to the OT

No it doesn't, usually yes, always no. Here are a few examples:

1 Timothy 5:18
'For the Scripture says... “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
Which references Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:7

2 Peter 3:16 - Peter equates Paul's letters to other scripture (IE Paul's letters are Scripture.)

You're wrong.  With regards to 1 Timothy, St. Paul uses the term γραφη to refer to the quote from Deuteronomy, but it is not used for the line of the laborer.  What is more is that St. Paul's epistle predates both the Gospels according to St. Luke and St. Matthew.  How can he be equating with Scripture something that does  not exist yet in written form (which is the basis of the whole Lutheran sola scriptura)?  Besides, the phrase is pretty proverbial and Christ's use of it reflects that it was probably well known.  We Orthodox speak much of Scripture in Tradition and that applies right here.  

With regards to the quote from 2 Peter 3:16, I'll have to concede on that γραφη is not that way. But to come away from that passage that St. Peter is equating what St. Paul wrote as being as authoritative as the OT, there's no evidence in the context to support it.

I disagree, the text in 1 Timothy it shows " The laborer is worthy of his wages" in red as Christ speaking which makes it clear, at least in this translations view it's a direct quote from Christ. Also according to the translation Luke and Matthew were written in 50's-early 60's AD and 1 Timothy in 62-64 AD so the Gospels according to this translation were written before.

1 Timothy 5:18
New King James Version (NKJV)
18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

Luke 10:7
New King James Version (NKJV)
7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.

As for Peter I don't have great knowledge of Greek but in this version the words "also" and "rest" would seem to indicate he considered them scripture.

2 Peter 3:14-16
New King James Version (NKJV)
16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.


Disagree all you want, but until you can argue with me using the original languages instead of quoting interpretative translations, your argument has failed.  Saying that because something is marked in red proves your point is laughable.   You want to say that the quotation is considered Scripture because it's also in Matthew and Luke which were NOT EVEN written yet.  Talk about putting a cart before the horse. 

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« Reply #42 on: June 12, 2012, 11:23:35 PM »

I used the New King James Version which is the version used in the Orthodox Study Bible. Again, it states Luke and Matthew were written before, argue with them, not me.
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« Reply #43 on: June 12, 2012, 11:46:27 PM »

I think it's an odd point of view they didn't feel their writings as scripture
I believe they thought God was working through them in their teaching, preaching, liturgizing, AND letters and writings. I do not believe they knew that after their deaths, the Jews would canonize the Old Testament in a new, absolute way. They also didn't know that after that, their own letters would be bound and copied together in a collection deemed authoritative, as the Jews did.

And, finally, they did not know that eighteen some-odd centuries after they lived, some American protestants would start referring to "scripture" as a category, throwing their letters in there and some of their Old Testament.

For us, there is no "scripture, this is scripture, is this according to scripture, here's a scripture". There are the Scriptures. The plural entity, not an abstract infallible category.
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« Reply #44 on: June 13, 2012, 07:22:11 AM »

I used the New King James Version which is the version used in the Orthodox Study Bible. Again, it states Luke and Matthew were written before, argue with them, not me.
That's strange. My OSB (© 2008) says on page 1632 for the date of the writing of 1 Timothy: "Probably AD 64-65"; p. 1265 for St Matthew's Gospel: "Matthew could have been written as early as AD 50, but is more likely that it was written after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70"; p. 1359 for St Luke's Gospel: "He probably wrote his gospel either from Greece or from Asia Minor in AD 70-80." Please explain why you think AD 70 precedes AD 65.

The logical solution to this is that St Paul and the Evangelists drew from the same oral tradition or unpublished written source. It seems reasonable to believe that not every word written by an Apostle became part of the New Testament.
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« Reply #45 on: June 13, 2012, 07:51:52 AM »

I used the New King James Version which is the version used in the Orthodox Study Bible. Again, it states Luke and Matthew were written before, argue with them, not me.
That's strange. My OSB (© 2008) says on page 1632 for the date of the writing of 1 Timothy: "Probably AD 64-65"; p. 1265 for St Matthew's Gospel: "Matthew could have been written as early as AD 50, but is more likely that it was written after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70"; p. 1359 for St Luke's Gospel: "He probably wrote his gospel either from Greece or from Asia Minor in AD 70-80." Please explain why you think AD 70 precedes AD 65.

The logical solution to this is that St Paul and the Evangelists drew from the same oral tradition or unpublished written source. It seems reasonable to believe that not every word written by an Apostle became part of the New Testament.

My NKJV says the dates I stated. I can only assume the OSB then only uses the translation of the NKJV and has a different commentary. My NIV version states Matthew was around 60-65 AD, Luke in 60 AD and 1 Timothy in 64 AD. All my versions cross reference Mathhew 10:10. If scholars can't agree I doubt us armchair internet theologians can.

I obviously disagree (as I'm sure everyone here also does) but many Biblical scholars believe 1 Timothy was not written by Paul and was probably writtin in the 2nd century because the Greek is very different from the other Pauline writtings. Unfortunately they didn't sign and date them so we can only speculate.
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« Reply #46 on: June 13, 2012, 08:14:14 AM »

I used the New King James Version which is the version used in the Orthodox Study Bible. Again, it states Luke and Matthew were written before, argue with them, not me.
That's strange. My OSB (© 2008) says on page 1632 for the date of the writing of 1 Timothy: "Probably AD 64-65"; p. 1265 for St Matthew's Gospel: "Matthew could have been written as early as AD 50, but is more likely that it was written after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70"; p. 1359 for St Luke's Gospel: "He probably wrote his gospel either from Greece or from Asia Minor in AD 70-80." Please explain why you think AD 70 precedes AD 65.

The logical solution to this is that St Paul and the Evangelists drew from the same oral tradition or unpublished written source. It seems reasonable to believe that not every word written by an Apostle became part of the New Testament.

My NKJV says the dates I stated. I can only assume the OSB then only uses the translation of the NKJV and has a different commentary. My NIV version states Matthew was around 60-65 AD, Luke in 60 AD and 1 Timothy in 64 AD. All my versions cross reference Mathhew 10:10. If scholars can't agree I doubt us armchair internet theologians can.
You are quite right that commentary is not Scripture. I'm glad we've got that settled. I had a pretty good idea from the way you worded your earlier post that you were using non-OSB commentary.

I'm still going to hold to the position that the various writers of the NT had access to a common source of oral tradition and written works that have been lost to us. There is really no reason to insist that St Paul must have quoted St Matthew's Gospel (as we have it today). He may have heard it from St Matthew's lips before the Evangelist wrote it.
Quote

I obviously disagree (as I'm sure everyone here also does) but many Biblical scholars believe 1 Timothy was not written by Paul and was probably writtin in the 2nd century because the Greek is very different from the other Pauline writtings. Unfortunately they didn't sign and date them so we can only speculate.
Dating might be a bit more challenging, but as for signing them you might want to look up 1 Cor 16:21, Gal 6:11, Col 4:18, 2 Thess 3:17, Phil 1:19. The omission of a personal note of this sort by St Paul in other epistles is not particularly significant, IMO.
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« Reply #47 on: June 13, 2012, 08:32:09 AM »

My compliments for a fine post.

Such a hard topic, because as JamesR said, our views of salvation are so very different.

Something to keep in mind is that Protestants are guarding against works-righteousness -- the notion that we are saved because of something we do, as if whatever the "thing" we do is the efficient cause of our salvation.  This, in turn, is largely because the same Protestants view salvation as God declaring us righteous -- salvation is unmerited favor which saves us from God's wrath and offended sense of justice.  Thus, to them, if we are saved because of something we do, we are earning our own salvation and salvation ceases to be a gift.

To us, we are saved because of the love of God, His grace.  In this sense, we are very much "grace alone."  But salvation is being united to Christ, having death defeated, restoring the communion that was lost in the fall, and grace is not unmerited favor, but the operation of God, sending His energies to unite to ours in His Son (this is why communion is such an important notion in Orthodoxy).  It is more existential than forensic, and so for us, there is nothing we can do to "earn" salvation, because salvation is a problem we are incapable of solving -- how can my good works restore in humanity the energies of God?  So we are free to talk about our works and our faith and our love and our lives, because we are not viewing these things as earning the favor of a God whose justice is offended, but we see these things as doing the will of the Father who for our sake sent His Son so that we might live the life He has given us to live.

Put simply, in the Orthodox view, we do not do good works because they please God, but because they are good for us.  Good works do not earn our salvation, they are what we were saved to do.  In that sense, good works are salvation being lived out.
I agree a fine post. The view of salvation offered is very similar to what I hear from the pulpit at the Church I pray. If I may inquire...
Thus, to them, if we are saved because of something we do, we are earning our own salvation and salvation ceases to be a gift.

To us, we are saved because of the love of God, His grace.  In this sense, we are very much "grace alone." 
Do we not agree that His Grace is that 'gift'?
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« Reply #48 on: June 13, 2012, 08:45:49 AM »

My compliments for a fine post.

Such a hard topic, because as JamesR said, our views of salvation are so very different.

Something to keep in mind is that Protestants are guarding against works-righteousness -- the notion that we are saved because of something we do, as if whatever the "thing" we do is the efficient cause of our salvation.  This, in turn, is largely because the same Protestants view salvation as God declaring us righteous -- salvation is unmerited favor which saves us from God's wrath and offended sense of justice.  Thus, to them, if we are saved because of something we do, we are earning our own salvation and salvation ceases to be a gift.

To us, we are saved because of the love of God, His grace.  In this sense, we are very much "grace alone."  But salvation is being united to Christ, having death defeated, restoring the communion that was lost in the fall, and grace is not unmerited favor, but the operation of God, sending His energies to unite to ours in His Son (this is why communion is such an important notion in Orthodoxy).  It is more existential than forensic, and so for us, there is nothing we can do to "earn" salvation, because salvation is a problem we are incapable of solving -- how can my good works restore in humanity the energies of God?  So we are free to talk about our works and our faith and our love and our lives, because we are not viewing these things as earning the favor of a God whose justice is offended, but we see these things as doing the will of the Father who for our sake sent His Son so that we might live the life He has given us to live.

Put simply, in the Orthodox view, we do not do good works because they please God, but because they are good for us.  Good works do not earn our salvation, they are what we were saved to do.  In that sense, good works are salvation being lived out.
I agree a fine post. The view of salvation offered is very similar to what I hear from the pulpit at the Church I pray. If I may inquire...
Thus, to them, if we are saved because of something we do, we are earning our own salvation and salvation ceases to be a gift.

To us, we are saved because of the love of God, His grace.  In this sense, we are very much "grace alone." 
Do we not agree that His Grace is that 'gift'?

We do.  We disagree, I think, on what grace is.  What it means.  But we both agree it is 100% gift, that it is not earned by us.

Thank you, and akimel, for the kind words.
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« Reply #49 on: June 14, 2012, 01:49:02 PM »

My compliments for a fine post.

Such a hard topic, because as JamesR said, our views of salvation are so very different.

Something to keep in mind is that Protestants are guarding against works-righteousness -- the notion that we are saved because of something we do, as if whatever the "thing" we do is the efficient cause of our salvation.  This, in turn, is largely because the same Protestants view salvation as God declaring us righteous -- salvation is unmerited favor which saves us from God's wrath and offended sense of justice.  Thus, to them, if we are saved because of something we do, we are earning our own salvation and salvation ceases to be a gift.

To us, we are saved because of the love of God, His grace.  In this sense, we are very much "grace alone."  But salvation is being united to Christ, having death defeated, restoring the communion that was lost in the fall, and grace is not unmerited favor, but the operation of God, sending His energies to unite to ours in His Son (this is why communion is such an important notion in Orthodoxy).  It is more existential than forensic, and so for us, there is nothing we can do to "earn" salvation, because salvation is a problem we are incapable of solving -- how can my good works restore in humanity the energies of God?  So we are free to talk about our works and our faith and our love and our lives, because we are not viewing these things as earning the favor of a God whose justice is offended, but we see these things as doing the will of the Father who for our sake sent His Son so that we might live the life He has given us to live.

Put simply, in the Orthodox view, we do not do good works because they please God, but because they are good for us.  Good works do not earn our salvation, they are what we were saved to do.  In that sense, good works are salvation being lived out.
I agree a fine post. The view of salvation offered is very similar to what I hear from the pulpit at the Church I pray. If I may inquire...
Thus, to them, if we are saved because of something we do, we are earning our own salvation and salvation ceases to be a gift.

To us, we are saved because of the love of God, His grace.  In this sense, we are very much "grace alone." 
Do we not agree that His Grace is that 'gift'?

We do.  We disagree, I think, on what grace is.  What it means.  But we both agree it is 100% gift, that it is not earned by us.

Thank you, and akimel, for the kind words.

O.K. Thanks! I have much more to learn to truly see and understand the differences outside of semantics.

God Bless
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« Reply #50 on: June 14, 2012, 11:47:49 PM »

I used the New King James Version which is the version used in the Orthodox Study Bible. Again, it states Luke and Matthew were written before, argue with them, not me.

And they weren't. 

As far as translation, I don't care what the ORthodox Study bible uses.I don't own a copy and don't want one because I don't need it. Until you can argue with me with even an iota of knowledge of koine Greek, keep quiet.
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« Reply #51 on: June 15, 2012, 09:59:26 AM »

I used the New King James Version which is the version used in the Orthodox Study Bible. Again, it states Luke and Matthew were written before, argue with them, not me.

And they weren't. 

As far as translation, I don't care what the ORthodox Study bible uses.I don't own a copy and don't want one because I don't need it. Until you can argue with me with even an iota of knowledge of koine Greek, keep quiet.

That's just stupid, clealry the translators of the NKJV have more experiance in Kione Greek than you so trusting their opinions over yours is obviously a safe bet.
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« Reply #52 on: June 15, 2012, 10:03:58 AM »

Since you're back, also another couple passages that clearly would show the Apostles thought their teachings and writtings are worthy of being scripture:

1 Thessalonians 2:13
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

1 Corinthians 14:37
If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.
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« Reply #53 on: June 15, 2012, 10:14:51 AM »

I used the New King James Version which is the version used in the Orthodox Study Bible. Again, it states Luke and Matthew were written before, argue with them, not me.

And they weren't.  

As far as translation, I don't care what the ORthodox Study bible uses.I don't own a copy and don't want one because I don't need it. Until you can argue with me with even an iota of knowledge of koine Greek, keep quiet.

That's just stupid, clealry the translators of the NKJV have more experiance in Kione Greek than you so trusting their opinions over yours is obviously a safe bet.
1. How do you know that?
2. Elsewhere on this thread you argue the professional opinion of your "translators" against the professional opinion of those "translators" who compiled the study notes for the Orthodox Study Bible. So why do you trust your "translators" over ours?
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« Reply #54 on: June 15, 2012, 10:18:53 AM »

Since you're back, also another couple passages that clearly would show the Apostles thought their teachings and writtings are worthy of being scripture:

...
Having the same authority as Scripture? Certainly

Being Scripture? The verses you mention don't say anything about how they should BE Scripture. You're drawing that conclusion yourself.
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« Reply #55 on: June 15, 2012, 10:26:06 AM »

St. Isaac the Syrian uses the term Scripture precisely in that way.  

When?
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« Reply #56 on: June 15, 2012, 10:30:34 AM »

I used the New King James Version which is the version used in the Orthodox Study Bible. Again, it states Luke and Matthew were written before, argue with them, not me.

And they weren't.  

As far as translation, I don't care what the ORthodox Study bible uses.I don't own a copy and don't want one because I don't need it. Until you can argue with me with even an iota of knowledge of koine Greek, keep quiet.

That's just stupid, clealry the translators of the NKJV have more experiance in Kione Greek than you so trusting their opinions over yours is obviously a safe bet.
1. How do you know that?
2. Elsewhere on this thread you argue the professional opinion of your "translators" against the professional opinion of those "translators" who compiled the study notes for the Orthodox Study Bible. So why do you trust your "translators" over ours?


1.) Safe bet, I'd be happy to read Scamadrius bible translation. I'm going to guess it's safe to assume that one the most popular translations in history has better scholars than some guy that has time to argue on the internet.

2.) I already said scholars can't agree so I doubt armchair internet theologians can. I'm open to the possibility of being wrong because I'm open minded but it seems doubtful due to it being a direct quote of Luke 10:7 (and basically Matthew 10:10) and in 1 Timothy it states "scripture says". Also, as far as I understand church fathers have always considered Matthew to be the first Gospel wrote in the 50's. It's more recent scholars that say it was now Mark and Matthew later. 
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« Reply #57 on: June 15, 2012, 10:32:22 AM »

Since you're back, also another couple passages that clearly would show the Apostles thought their teachings and writtings are worthy of being scripture:

...
Having the same authority as Scripture? Certainly

Being Scripture? The verses you mention don't say anything about how they should BE Scripture. You're drawing that conclusion yourself.

If the Apostles didn't consider their own writtings as Scripture why should we just because a council 300 years later decided so?
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« Reply #58 on: June 15, 2012, 10:53:17 AM »

If the Apostles didn't consider their own writtings as Scripture why should we just because a council 300 years later decided so?

Since no such council exists, I don't understand your point  police
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« Reply #59 on: June 15, 2012, 11:01:21 AM »

If the Apostles didn't consider their own writtings as Scripture why should we just because a council 300 years later decided so?

Since no such council exists, I don't understand your point  police
Council of Carthage in 397.

PP
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« Reply #60 on: June 15, 2012, 11:03:25 AM »

If the Apostles didn't consider their own writtings as Scripture why should we just because a council 300 years later decided so?

Since no such council exists, I don't understand your point  police
Council of Carthage in 397.

PP

Councils before that tried to outline the canon, as did councils after that. None of these councils (not even Trullo) have dogmatic weight or final authority in settling the canon.
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« Reply #61 on: June 15, 2012, 11:04:01 AM »

Grace alone through Faith alone is one of the clearest most consistent themes in the New Testement. James 2 when read in its entirety is discussing the fruit of faith. How anyone who has true faith not to do works is ridiculous. However you can see the theif on the cross and know he didn't have works.
Saying that what are the most important works? "love your Lord God with all your heart" and "believe in Jesus Christ and you will be saved". So the most important works equate to faith.

Whatever do you mean the theif on the cross did not have works??

Do you believe speaking the truth in defence of someone a work of faith and justice or not?

Do you believe speaking in defence of someone who is condemned to die and you also being at the mercy of those that are killing you who could inflict more pain to you for your open  defence  of the condemned man and accusation of their injustice an even more act of bravery , love, honor, and faith?



how about comforting someone when someone insults him or mocks him at the time where no one spoke up for him? is it work or not?

How about confessing your sin? didnt he confess his sin? repented and asked for forgiveness? is that not a work of faith?

Luke 23 : 39-41
39And one of the malefactors who were hanged railed at him, saying, If you are Christ, save yourself and us.

40But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Do you not fear God, seeing you are in the same condemnation?
41And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man has done nothing amiss.



do you believe that the act of confession of Christ's kingdom , the proclamation of the Kingdom as work or not? didn't he proclaim that Jesus is Lord and his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom of the Almighty before all those gathered in Calvary? this wittiness , this great man of faith , didn't he act with out most bravery and love and proclaimed the kingdom before all who have gathered to ridicule the one he calls Lord the one he chose to join where most gathered wanted nothing to do with the dying man, when even most of his apostles have hid in fear. didn't this thief act in the only way he can from his cross?


Luke 23:42 42And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.


what did Christ mean when he promised a reward to those who are martyrs / wittinesses and  confessors of his Lordship before men without fear or shame?,

Matthew 10 : 32-33
32Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father who is in heaven.

33But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.



is prayer work / worship that we are told to persevere in or not?

42And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

So what was the reward of such Tremendous , Courageous, Loving Work of Faith?

Luke 23:
43And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you, Today shall you be with me in paradise.


and you say he has no work??!!

Indeed what he did was the most moving courageous act of faith and love unlike any in the Gospel, the superior act of faith that touched the savior not while he was in synagogue or in the market place or in the house of some prominent man, no this awesome work of faith came at a very unlikely time, from a very unlikely person. but come it did, and it allowed this thief to enter the kingdom of Life everlasting.!

Now tell me again how is it that we can have faith and no work and be like the demons with such a dead-faith, and still be saved? what does christ ask when he comes in his Kingdom?
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« Reply #62 on: June 15, 2012, 11:05:20 AM »

If the Apostles didn't consider their own writtings as Scripture why should we just because a council 300 years later decided so?

Since no such council exists, I don't understand your point  police

Exactly.  We're now working with a fundamental misunderstanding of Church history and the development of the Canon.  

One that, IIRC, is more informed by Gnosticism than anything remotely Christian.  The notion that Nicea decided which books would be in the Bible while tossing out others is the same saw atheists, along with various Christian cults, use to "refute" Christianity.  If only it were true, they (and Happy Lutheran) might have a point.
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« Reply #63 on: June 15, 2012, 11:11:12 AM »

Since you're back, also another couple passages that clearly would show the Apostles thought their teachings and writtings are worthy of being scripture:

...
Having the same authority as Scripture? Certainly

Being Scripture? The verses you mention don't say anything about how they should BE Scripture. You're drawing that conclusion yourself.

If the Apostles didn't consider their own writtings as Scripture why should we just because a council 300 years later decided so?
because the fatherscould look at the entire body of work and declare it scripture. When Sts. Peter and Paul were writing their letters, and both said its scripture, what would happen if they were in direct conflict? They both could not be right. I would also say that if the apostles considered their own writings as scripture, why do we not have the letter to the Alexandrians? What about the other letters send around the world at that time, that was not included in the new testament? Is that a conspiracy? or maybe because the apostles looked at the letters as authoratative instruction, but not scripture. it wasnt until later that that folks like St. Athanasius could looks at the writings and see the holy spirit at work and see what could be scripture and what could not.


PP
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« Reply #64 on: June 15, 2012, 11:19:29 AM »

If the Apostles didn't consider their own writtings as Scripture why should we just because a council 300 years later decided so?

Since no such council exists, I don't understand your point  police

So the Canon is still open for debate? Was not the Canon officially accepted and now is closed?
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« Reply #65 on: June 15, 2012, 11:26:31 AM »

Quote
So the Canon is still open for debate? Was not the Canon officially accepted and now is closed?
After St. Athanasius, you have 3 councils that set up scripture. The councils of Hippo, Rome, and Carthage. They basically affirmed the list by Pope Damasus. It was a done deal.

PP
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« Reply #66 on: June 15, 2012, 11:36:18 AM »

Quote
So the Canon is still open for debate? Was not the Canon officially accepted and now is closed?
After St. Athanasius, you have 3 councils that set up scripture. The councils of Hippo, Rome, and Carthage. They basically affirmed the list by Pope Damasus. It was a done deal.

PP

Thank you, like I originally said a Council 300 years after the books were writtin declared them official and closed. Obviously people used them during that 300 years and considered them scripture which is the point I made from the start. They were scripture since they were writtin. I believe the Apostles knew that since they declared that they were giving commandments for God as stated in my verses I gave. They didn't need church fathers to verify them. The fathers declared what was authentic, the authentic scriptures were scriptures they day they were wrote.

P.S. Sorry Big Chris for being a part of derailing your thread. Smiley
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« Reply #67 on: June 15, 2012, 11:48:39 AM »

Quote
Obviously people used them during that 300 years and considered them scripture which is the point I made from the start
Actually, people used alot more than those writings.

I still say that the Apostles did not dogmatize the fact that they were writing scripture for simply logical reasons. You could have 4 apostles, all decreeing scripture and they could all be contradicting each other.

I do believe they thought they were writing authoratatively, but for them to say that they were writing scripture, that would be collected like the old testament and dogmatized is a big stretch.

NOTE: I dont think the OT canon was a done deal either at that time. I remember hearing that somewhere.

PP
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« Reply #68 on: June 15, 2012, 11:59:05 AM »

Quote
Obviously people used them during that 300 years and considered them scripture which is the point I made from the start
Actually, people used alot more than those writings.

I still say that the Apostles did not dogmatize the fact that they were writing scripture for simply logical reasons. You could have 4 apostles, all decreeing scripture and they could all be contradicting each other.

I do believe they thought they were writing authoratatively, but for them to say that they were writing scripture, that would be collected like the old testament and dogmatized is a big stretch.

NOTE: I dont think the OT canon was a done deal either at that time. I remember hearing that somewhere.

PP

Fair enough, I dis-agree. They couldn't contradict each other since it was the Holy Spirit guiding their writtings and I believe they knew that hence giving Commandments for God. I'm also just talking about the New Testement since the debate started if the Apostles thought of their writtings as scripture and I think the verse in 2 Peter talking about Paul's letters shows this also.
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« Reply #69 on: June 15, 2012, 12:18:13 PM »

Quote
They couldn't contradict each other since it was the Holy Spirit guiding their writtings
Obviously the Holy Spirit was guiding them, but I think that if say, St. Paul sat down and said, "I am going to write scripture" the argument I gave is why he would not think that.

PP
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« Reply #70 on: June 15, 2012, 12:50:38 PM »

I used the New King James Version which is the version used in the Orthodox Study Bible. Again, it states Luke and Matthew were written before, argue with them, not me.

And they weren't.  

As far as translation, I don't care what the ORthodox Study bible uses.I don't own a copy and don't want one because I don't need it. Until you can argue with me with even an iota of knowledge of koine Greek, keep quiet.

That's just stupid, clealry the translators of the NKJV have more experiance in Kione Greek than you so trusting their opinions over yours is obviously a safe bet.
1. How do you know that?
2. Elsewhere on this thread you argue the professional opinion of your "translators" against the professional opinion of those "translators" who compiled the study notes for the Orthodox Study Bible. So why do you trust your "translators" over ours?


1.) Safe bet, I'd be happy to read Scamadrius bible translation. I'm going to guess it's safe to assume that one the most popular translations in history has better scholars than some guy that has time to argue on the internet.

2.) I already said scholars can't agree so I doubt armchair internet theologians can. I'm open to the possibility of being wrong because I'm open minded but it seems doubtful due to it being a direct quote of Luke 10:7 (and basically Matthew 10:10) and in 1 Timothy it states "scripture says". Also, as far as I understand church fathers have always considered Matthew to be the first Gospel wrote in the 50's. It's more recent scholars that say it was now Mark and Matthew later. 
And what makes you think you're any different from or superior to all us other armchair Internet theologians?
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« Reply #71 on: June 15, 2012, 12:54:46 PM »

Quote
So the Canon is still open for debate? Was not the Canon officially accepted and now is closed?
After St. Athanasius, you have 3 councils that set up scripture. The councils of Hippo, Rome, and Carthage. They basically affirmed the list by Pope Damasus. It was a done deal.

PP

Thank you, like I originally said a Council 300 years after the books were writtin declared them official and closed. Obviously people used them during that 300 years and considered them scripture which is the point I made from the start. They were scripture since they were writtin. I believe the Apostles knew that since they declared that they were giving commandments for God as stated in my verses I gave. They didn't need church fathers to verify them. The fathers declared what was authentic, the authentic scriptures were scriptures they day they were wrote.

P.S. Sorry Big Chris for being a part of derailing your thread. Smiley
What do you think, though, about the controversies surrounding the Apocalypse of John (a.k.a. Revelation) (in the East) and the Epistle to the Hebrews (in the West)?

Additionally, what do you think about those other works that claimed apostolic authority and therefore an authority equal to the genuine writings of the Apostles? Was not the process of closing the canon also a process of recognizing which of the so-called apostolic writings were NOT worthy of being revered as Scripture?
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« Reply #72 on: June 15, 2012, 01:19:45 PM »

Peter, I don't. If you read the first post on this page I said "us armchair theologians". I include myself. That doesn't mean I don't have opinions and enjoy debating them.

To your 2nd post I give a ton of credit to the church fathers for helping establish what was authoritive. That doesn't mean the legit writtings weren't scripture and considered as such by the Apostles when they were written.
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« Reply #73 on: June 15, 2012, 03:27:20 PM »

However you can see the theif on the cross and know he didn't have works. [/b]

Whatever do you mean the theif on the cross did not have works??

Do you believe speaking the truth in defence of someone a work of faith and justice or not?

Do you believe speaking in defence of someone who is condemned to die and you also being at the mercy of those that are killing you who could inflict more pain to you for your open  defence  of the condemned man and accusation of their injustice an even more act of bravery , love, honor, and faith?

how about comforting someone when someone insults him or mocks him at the time where no one spoke up for him? is it work or not?

How about confessing your sin? didnt he confess his sin? repented and asked for forgiveness? is that not a work of faith?

Now tell me again how is it that we can have faith and no work and be like the demons with such a dead-faith, and still be saved? what does christ ask when he comes in his Kingdom?

Confessing Christ is the son of God and confessing we are sinners is really by definition what faith is. If that's your point we have no disagreement and we're probably disagreeing on semantics. If you want to say the Thief did a few good deeds after he came to Faith I won't disagree and next time I will try to speak clearer on what I meant.  

John 6:28-29
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
The Thief says “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

What is the 1st Commandment?
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
The Thief says "Do you not even fear God"

The thief also states: "for we receive the due reward of our deeds"
The Thief was not saved by any works he did he was saved by his Faith. To me the Thief on the cross is a great example of even if we do not live a holy life with good deeds if we truly repent and believe that Jesus is the Son of God we can be saved.

I think you have a misunderstanding of what Lutherans consider Justification by Faith alone. It's much different than your alter call - charismatic - non-denomination type. The Augsburg Confession could probably explain it better than I. I would agree, if you say you believe and go to church once a week 30 times a year and live a wordly life otherwise that is not true Faith. James 2 says "I will show you my faith by my works" and I would agree. Your works don't save you though they are an example of your faith. I believe the Lutheran position is the Biblical position (Eph 2:8-9) (Titus 3:5) (John 3-16) (Romans 10 9-10) and many more but it was also the position of the early church fathers:

Clement (80-140 A.D.): So all of them received honor and greatness, not through themselves or their own deeds or the right things they did, but through his will. And we, therefore, who by his will have been called in Jesus Christ, are not justified of ourselves or by our wisdom or insight of religious devotion or the holy deeds we have done from the heart, but by that faith by which almighty God has justified all men from the very beginning. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Clement, Clement's First Letter, 32.3-4)

Justin Martyr (100-65 A.D.): No longer by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of a heifer . . . are sins purged, but by faith, through the blood of Christ and his death, who died on this very account.

Polycarp (69-156 AD)  "Many desire to enter into this joy, knowing that 'by grace you are saved, not of works,' but by the will of God through Jesus Christ." (Polycarp Philippians chap. 1)

Saint Chrysostom (349-407): For Scripture says that faith has saved us. Put better: Since God willed it, faith has saved us. Now in what case, tell me, does faith save without itself doing anything at all? Faith’s workings themselves are a gift of God, lest anyone should boast. What then is Paul saying? Not that God has forbidden works but that he has forbidden us to be justified by works. No one, Paul says, is justified by works, precisely in order that the grace and benevolence of God may become apparent
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« Reply #74 on: June 15, 2012, 03:47:55 PM »

I hear many people talking about an Old Testament Canon, but I think that it is fair to mention that to this very days the Jews still have not given an official Canon of the Old Testament and that one did not even exist during the time of the Apostles nor to this very day. In fact, we still have Jews today who are using different Old Testaments and books because they have not all gotten together and produced one authoritive Canon yet.

EDIT: I also have some thoughts about the debate going on right now. Whether or not the Apostles thought that their writings were scripture or not when they wrote them is irrelevent because what we do know is that either way--whatever they thought--they are indeed scriptures and would have been even if we never recognized it. The issue is that Protestants cannot give an account as to why or how they can definitively consider it scripture. They may say 'Because the Apostles wrote it' but so? The Apostles probably wrote a lot of things. Does that mean that bank statements the Apostles signatured are also scripture? No. On the other hand, the Orthodox and maybe even Roman Catholics can use the Ecumenical Council as our authority. We know that it is scripture because a council moved by the Holy Spirit was able to identify it for us once and for all, whereas the Protestants still cannot definitively identify it or explain why it is scripture because most of them reject the Ecumenical Councils.

Do the Apostles writings about scriptures apply to the New Testament since they were mostly referring to things written in the Old Testament? Yes, they do. Scripture is scripture. However, even then, there is absolutely nothing in the scriptures to support Sola Scriptura. Most Protestant arguments for Sola Scriptura are merely scriptures that glorify how great the scriptures are, but say nothing about only scriptures. I fail to understand how 'All scripture is the word of God' really supports Sola Scriptura or how 'The scripture is a two edged sword' really supports it either. Yet, these are still the type of passages that most Protestants quote to support Sola Scriptura. But they all fail. These passages just glorify the scriptures but say nothing about us adhering to only scriptures.
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« Reply #75 on: June 15, 2012, 04:52:49 PM »

The Thief was not saved by any works he did he was saved by his Faith.

Actually he was saved by Grace.  His faith was an instrument, sure, but we have 2 people speaking on the cross that day -- a thief getting exactly what he deserved and the Son of God.  Saying the thief was saved by "his faith" puts the saving on the wrong person.

He was saved because Jesus said "today you will be with me in paradise."  He was saved THROUGH faith -- the thief saying "Lord, remember me in your Kingdom."  And he was saved IN ORDER to do good works, even if those works were not to have a lengthy duration in this life.  Keeping these straight keeps us all out of a litany of error.
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« Reply #76 on: June 15, 2012, 05:11:08 PM »

Clement (80-140 A.D.): So all of them received honor and greatness, not through themselves or their own deeds or the right things they did, but through his will. And we, therefore, who by his will have been called in Jesus Christ, are not justified of ourselves or by our wisdom or insight of religious devotion or the holy deeds we have done from the heart, but by that faith by which almighty God has justified all men from the very beginning. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Clement, Clement's First Letter, 32.3-4)

Justin Martyr (100-65 A.D.): No longer by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of a heifer . . . are sins purged, but by faith, through the blood of Christ and his death, who died on this very account.

Polycarp (69-156 AD)  "Many desire to enter into this joy, knowing that 'by grace you are saved, not of works,' but by the will of God through Jesus Christ." (Polycarp Philippians chap. 1)

Saint Chrysostom (349-407): For Scripture says that faith has saved us. Put better: Since God willed it, faith has saved us. Now in what case, tell me, does faith save without itself doing anything at all? Faith’s workings themselves are a gift of God, lest anyone should boast. What then is Paul saying? Not that God has forbidden works but that he has forbidden us to be justified by works. No one, Paul says, is justified by works, precisely in order that the grace and benevolence of God may become apparent

Lets be careful too, lest we misrepresent the Fathers, for example:

Chrysostom -- "There are three very grievous kinds of war. The one is public, when our soldiers are attacked by foreign armies: The second is, when even in time of peace, we are at war with one another: The third is, when the individual is at war with himself, which is the worst of all. From the third, we cannot escape without danger. For when the body is at variance with the soul, and raises up evil desires, and arms against it sensual pleasures, or the bad passions of anger, and envy; we cannot attain the promised blessings, till this war is brought to an end; whoever does not still this tumult, must fall pierced by wounds that will bring that death that is in hell. We have daily need therefore of care and great anxiety, that this war may not be stirred up within us, or that, if stirred up, it may not last, but be quelled and laid asleep."

No one is saying we are saved "by" our works, but none of these saints taught that acquiring virtues was not a part of our salvation.  More specifically, none of them were teaching that salvation is some once-done forensic declaration that is exclusive of our works, prayer, almsgiving, fasting, etc.  It's the difference between something being an efficient cause of salvation versus something being what salvation is and how it is lived out.
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« Reply #77 on: June 15, 2012, 05:32:03 PM »

The Thief was not saved by any works he did he was saved by his Faith.

Actually he was saved by Grace.

I agree, by Grace through or because of his Faith.
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« Reply #78 on: June 15, 2012, 05:57:56 PM »

The Thief was not saved by any works he did he was saved by his Faith.

Actually he was saved by Grace.

I agree, by Grace through or because of his Faith.

I tend to read "by" as more "because of" than "through," and here's why.

If God saves us "because of" our faith, He is saving us on the basis -- on the merits if you will -- of something we do.  We in the Orthodox Church do not really consider merit in the context of salvation.  You in the Lutheran Church don't either (though you do have a concept of merit that we lack).  Rather, we see salvation as something God does and gives to us to participate in. 

In that sense, I am neither saved "because of" my faith or "because of" my works.  I am saved "because" God wants to save me.  Using your terminology, it sounds like you are letting the notion of merits based works in the back door by making faith the one good work I have to do to be saved.
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« Reply #79 on: June 15, 2012, 06:57:54 PM »

The Thief was not saved by any works he did he was saved by his Faith.

Actually he was saved by Grace.

I agree, by Grace through or because of his Faith.

I tend to read "by" as more "because of" than "through," and here's why.

If God saves us "because of" our faith, He is saving us on the basis -- on the merits if you will -- of something we do.  We in the Orthodox Church do not really consider merit in the context of salvation.  You in the Lutheran Church don't either (though you do have a concept of merit that we lack).  Rather, we see salvation as something God does and gives to us to participate in. 

In that sense, I am neither saved "because of" my faith or "because of" my works.  I am saved "because" God wants to save me.  Using your terminology, it sounds like you are letting the notion of merits based works in the back door by making faith the one good work I have to do to be saved.

I think you are over analyzing. We are clearly saved by Gods grace alone and I don't think any Christian disagrees with that. However we can't be saved without faith whether it's predestined or not.
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« Reply #80 on: June 15, 2012, 07:01:28 PM »

I will repeat something I posted before, which I think is true, and was said by an Orthodox priest in a sermon: we are saved by grace, through faith, for works.  Smiley Seems okay to me.
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« Reply #81 on: June 15, 2012, 07:05:46 PM »

The Thief was not saved by any works he did he was saved by his Faith.

Actually he was saved by Grace.

I agree, by Grace through or because of his Faith.

I tend to read "by" as more "because of" than "through," and here's why.

If God saves us "because of" our faith, He is saving us on the basis -- on the merits if you will -- of something we do.  We in the Orthodox Church do not really consider merit in the context of salvation.  You in the Lutheran Church don't either (though you do have a concept of merit that we lack).  Rather, we see salvation as something God does and gives to us to participate in. 

In that sense, I am neither saved "because of" my faith or "because of" my works.  I am saved "because" God wants to save me.  Using your terminology, it sounds like you are letting the notion of merits based works in the back door by making faith the one good work I have to do to be saved.

I think you are over analyzing. We are clearly saved by Gods grace alone and I don't think any Christian disagrees with that. However we can't be saved without faith whether it's predestined or not.

We won't be saved without works either. That's the distinction I'm trying to maintain between Grace and BOTH faith and works.
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« Reply #82 on: June 15, 2012, 08:40:26 PM »

I think you are over analyzing. We are clearly saved by Gods grace alone and I don't think any Christian disagrees with that.

We are not saved without our cooperation with grace.

Quote
However we can't be saved without faith

I can agree with this.
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« Reply #83 on: June 16, 2012, 12:12:28 PM »

I have long loved this description by T. F. Torrance of how our act of faith participates in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ:

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Many years ago I recall thinking of the marvelous way in which our human faith is implicated in the faith of Jesus Christ and grasped by his faithfulness, when I was teaching my little daughter to walk. I can still feel her tiny fingers gripping my hand as tightly as she could. She did not rely upon her feeble grasp of my hand but upon my strong grasp of her hand which enfolded her grasp of mine within it. That is surely how God's faithfulness actualized in Jesus Christ has hold of our weak and faltering faith and holds it securely in his hand (The Mediation of Christ, p. 93)

I do not know why an Eastern theologian or preacher could not invoke the same image to speak of faith.  We speak of synergism, but this does not mean that our act of faith is an autonomous, independent act.  It is bound up with the mysterious reciprocity between the transcendent Creator and and the creature called man.  As the Apostle declared, "No one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 12:3).  Or as St Gregory the Theologian wrote, "We receive the Son's light from the Father's light in the light of the Spirit" (Or 31.3). Faith happens within the Trinitarian life of God.   
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« Reply #84 on: June 16, 2012, 01:03:24 PM »

However you can see the theif on the cross and know he didn't have works. [/b]

Whatever do you mean the theif on the cross did not have works??

Do you believe speaking the truth in defence of someone a work of faith and justice or not?

Do you believe speaking in defence of someone who is condemned to die and you also being at the mercy of those that are killing you who could inflict more pain to you for your open  defence  of the condemned man and accusation of their injustice an even more act of bravery , love, honor, and faith?

how about comforting someone when someone insults him or mocks him at the time where no one spoke up for him? is it work or not?

How about confessing your sin? didnt he confess his sin? repented and asked for forgiveness? is that not a work of faith?

Now tell me again how is it that we can have faith and no work and be like the demons with such a dead-faith, and still be saved? what does Christ ask when he comes in his Kingdom?

Confessing Christ is the son of God and confessing we are sinners is really by definition what faith is. If that's your point we have no disagreement and we're probably disagreeing on semantics. If you want to say the Thief did a few good deeds after he came to Faith I won't disagree and next time I will try to speak clearer on what I meant.  

John 6:28-29
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
The Thief says “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

What is the 1st Commandment?
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
The Thief says "Do you not even fear God"

The thief also states: "for we receive the due reward of our deeds"
The Thief was not saved by any works he did he was saved by his Faith. To me the Thief on the cross is a great example of even if we do not live a holy life with good deeds if we truly repent and believe that Jesus is the Son of God we can be saved.

I think you have a misunderstanding of what Lutherans consider Justification by Faith alone. It's much different than your alter call - charismatic - non-denomination type. The Augsburg Confession could probably explain it better than I. I would agree, if you say you believe and go to church once a week 30 times a year and live a wordly life otherwise that is not true Faith. James 2 says "I will show you my faith by my works" and I would agree. Your works don't save you though they are an example of your faith. I believe the Lutheran position is the Biblical position (Eph 2:8-9) (Titus 3:5) (John 3-16) (Romans 10 9-10) and many more but it was also the position of the early church fathers:

Clement (80-140 A.D.): So all of them received honor and greatness, not through themselves or their own deeds or the right things they did, but through his will. And we, therefore, who by his will have been called in Jesus Christ, are not justified of ourselves or by our wisdom or insight of religious devotion or the holy deeds we have done from the heart, but by that faith by which almighty God has justified all men from the very beginning. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Clement, Clement's First Letter, 32.3-4)

Justin Martyr (100-65 A.D.): No longer by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of a heifer . . . are sins purged, but by faith, through the blood of Christ and his death, who died on this very account.

Polycarp (69-156 AD)  "Many desire to enter into this joy, knowing that 'by grace you are saved, not of works,' but by the will of God through Jesus Christ." (Polycarp Philippians chap. 1)

Saint Chrysostom (349-407): For Scripture says that faith has saved us. Put better: Since God willed it, faith has saved us. Now in what case, tell me, does faith save without itself doing anything at all? Faith’s workings themselves are a gift of God, lest anyone should boast. What then is Paul saying? Not that God has forbidden works but that he has forbidden us to be justified by works. No one, Paul says, is justified by works, precisely in order that the grace and benevolence of God may become apparent


what I understand is that you seem to not see the balance that all the scriptures and the fathers speak of, we are all saved by Grace, but we must absolutely cooperate with Grace. He will not force his life upon us, he wants us to chose him freely, the movement is from both sides towards  this union.

our 'yes' to Grace manifests itself in Faith and the works of Faith. that is our movement towards him, because he first approached us and we can see him as our destination, so we move towards him with our faith and the works of our faith.

the thief saying he is a sinner, is one thing, then him asking for forgiveness , by saying remember me, is another. he did not simply believe that God can open doors, he knocked.

you say , you can agree that the thief has done few good things after he believed, that is what I am talking about too, those few yet awesome works of Faith he did after he believed, demonstrated his Faith.

this is not to say that he was justified by works alone, not at all, nor was he justified by faith alone, no  as he needed both to help him  say an authentic ' yes' to Grace that saved him. both his faith and his faith manifested in works were his cooperation with God's Saving Grace.

That is why the apostle says Faith without work is dead, they must be combined to be authentic, for Christ to say Well done you good and obedient servant, or Come to me you Beloved of My Father... he requires our faith to be one that is completely different than that of the Demons, so we must cooperate with the Grace that saves us, and that cooperation is by the combination of Faith and Works.

Of course we ourselves are the works of His Hands, in that sense our very being is the result of grace also, however he gave us a free will, that must cooperate fully in a faith unlike the demons. it is absulute import to keep in mind what makes our faith different than the faith of the demons then we will see what an authentic ' yes ' to him looks like.


 
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« Reply #85 on: June 16, 2012, 06:28:45 PM »

Hello Hiwot:

On one hand we are reaching the same destination with differing routes. The Lutheran says By Gods Grace through Faith we are Saved. The result is good works. Orthodox say By Gods Grace we are saved through Faith and Works.

I think the main difference may be in the view of Free Will. Lutherans believe that there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn Gods Grace. By saying we have to cooperate with Gods Grace or accept it is to take away Gods Glory and to place some of it, even if the smallest amount on our own shoulders. It takes away the absolute sovereignty of God. We are saved because God alone has willed it. We are predestined to be saved by Christ on the Cross. If we have even the smallest amount of influence we will fail everytime because of our nature of sin.

We can't accept what we already have. I can't accept my arm because it's something God has already giving me. What I can do is reject my arm. I can cut it off the same way I can cut off Gods Grace through a denial of Faith.



"I frankly confess that, for myself, even if it could be, I should not want "free-will" to be given to me, nor anything to be justify in my own hands to enable me to endeavor after salvation; not merely because in face of so many dangers, and adversities, and assaults of devils, I could not stand my ground and hold fast my "free-will" (for one devil is stronger than all men, and on these terms no man could be saved); but because, even were there no dangers, adversities, or devils, I should still be forced to labor with no guarantee of success, and to beat my fists at the air. If I lived and worked to all eternity, my conscience would never reach comfortable certainty as to how much it must do to satisfy God. Whatever work I had done, there would still be a nagging doubt as to whether it pleases God, or whether He required something more. The experience of all who seek righteousness by works proves that; and I learned it well enough myself over a period of many years, to my own great hurt. But now that God has taken my salvation out the control of my own will , and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working or running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and that He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him. "No one," He says, "shall pluck them out of my hand, because my father which gave them me is greater than all" [John 10:28-29]. Thus it is that, if not all, yet some, indeed many, are saved; whereas, by the power of "free-will" none at all could be saved, but every one of us would perish."

Martin Luther
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1 Corinthians 1:27 - But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong
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« Reply #86 on: June 16, 2012, 07:22:15 PM »

Hello Hiwot:

On one hand we are reaching the same destination with differing routes.

This is most certainly true   Wink

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The Lutheran says By Gods Grace through Faith we are Saved. The result is good works. Orthodox say By Gods Grace we are saved through Faith and Works.

Not exactly.  We say by grace we are saved, through faith, FOR good works.  Such that is is God's grace that saves us, faith that receives this grace, and good works that are salvation's goal or purpose.  We don't consider faith and works on the same plane per se.  The distinction I made above is we are saved by grace, not by faith or by works.  Faith and works are necessary conditions of salvation -- we won't be saved without either, but neither is the cause of salvation.

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I think the main difference may be in the view of Free Will. Lutherans believe that there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn Gods Grace. By saying we have to cooperate with Gods Grace or accept it is to take away Gods Glory and to place some of it, even if the smallest amount on our own shoulders. It takes away the absolute sovereignty of God. We are saved because God alone has willed it. We are predestined to be saved by Christ on the Cross. If we have even the smallest amount of influence we will fail everytime because of our nature of sin.

We can't accept what we already have. I can't accept my arm because it's something God has already giving me. What I can do is reject my arm. I can cut it off the same way I can cut off Gods Grace through a denial of Faith.

We're not as far apart on free will as you think.  For example, you aren't saying that "after conversion" the will is completely bound to sin (or, at least, your Confessions don't say that), and we aren't saying that apart from God's grace our will can do anything to approach God.  I think the real difference is in the term "cooperate."  You seem to be hearing "helping out."  That's not what we are saying.  Separate the words with a hyphen -- "co-operate."  Now think about what that means.  You say "there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn God's Grace."  We agree.  100%.  This isn't even the slightest point of disagreement.  But then you say "if we can have even the smallest amount of influence we will fail everytime because of our nature of sin."  I could unpack that quite a bit -- there is a lot there that you may not realize is there that we have to sort out between what Lutherans believe and what we believe.  But I want to concentrate on one term -- "influence."  To us, "co-operate" is not the same as "influence."  Again, this seems to be more "helping out" or "moving" God.  Considering works to be "influential" seems to imply that somehow they are a cause of salvation.  But again, to us neither faith NOR works are causative.  They are conditions in the sense that faith is the instrument through which we are saved, and works are the life we are saved to live, but we do not consider either one to be the thing that causes God to save us.  That "thing" is His love and mercy.  

To us, "co-operate" means that our energies are involved in salvation, and they combine with God's energies.  Looking at it from the Orthodox side, I now have trouble seeing how anyone could deny this -- what is faith but an operation or energy?  But when I was Lutheran, I looked at it exactly as you do, because I accepted this theological framework wherein God's wrath must be appeased and Christ took on the penalty for our sins, and in that light, everything (even faith) can become a work we do to "earn" salvation.  But that isn't how we Orthodox view things, as I note above.  Further, there are Christological implications to denying human energies in salvation -- if to be saved is to become by grace what Christ is by nature, and if we deny that human energies are involved in salvation, then we can only conclude that Christ does not have human energies.  Or at the very least, that His human energies are somehow accidental such that they are in Him, but not involved in our salvation (which really doesn't make sense in light of the Incarnation - why take on our humanity if it is not pertinent to salvation?).  So I think it's less "free will" that is at issue and more that you are approaching this from a distinctly Lutheran theological framework and you are further assuming that we are doing the same.  In order to have a real discussion, we would have to sort out what terms like Grace, free will, cooperation, salvation, justification and sanctification mean, and we would further have to sort out concepts such as original guilt, person and nature, essence and energies, etc.  Right now, you don't realize it, but you are begging a lot of these questions.  You are assuming these terms mean what your theological framework and the Confessions of your church say they mean.  But we see them quite differently, so we are in reality speaking entirely different languages.

It's a bit long, but I wrote this blog post a while back on this very issue (freedom of the will).  If you have time, give it a read.  It may help out some of the terminological differences.

http://forheisgoodandlovesmankind.blogspot.com/2012/01/person-and-nature-and-freedom-of-human.html
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« Reply #87 on: June 16, 2012, 08:00:07 PM »

Thanks David, I will check out you blog when I have enough time. Smiley
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« Reply #88 on: June 16, 2012, 08:52:44 PM »

Only in the West was these ripped asunder... as splinter groups sought to grasp salvation outside of a coherent 'one' Ecclesia.

In effect, we are see is a 'reformed' Christianity with little in common with the Orthodox Faith. When I look at the traditions of the West, I see nothing that is of value to Orthodoxy. I don't mean that in as harsh a tone as it might appear... I only point out how sickly and weak Western Christianity is and the effect that is appears to have on the actions of it's participates.

I recall St. Maximus the Confessor's statement about salvation... "God moves the heart that is willing". I find that simple and yet as vast a statement on the matter as we should tread.

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« Reply #89 on: June 16, 2012, 09:30:38 PM »

Only in the West was these ripped asunder... as splinter groups sought to grasp salvation outside of a coherent 'one' Ecclesia.

In effect, we are see is a 'reformed' Christianity with little in common with the Orthodox Faith. When I look at the traditions of the West, I see nothing that is of value to Orthodoxy. I don't mean that in as harsh a tone as it might appear... I only point out how sickly and weak Western Christianity is and the effect that is appears to have on the actions of it's participates.

I recall St. Maximus the Confessor's statement about salvation... "God moves the heart that is willing". I find that simple and yet as vast a statement on the matter as we should tread.

I don't know, I was immeasurably enriched in my time as a Lutheran.  When you say "I see nothing that is of value to Orthodoxy," I think you miss that there is much there in common with Orthodoxy.

I agree the theological underpinnings of salvation were ripped asunder in the West.  I agree with the notion that the Western notions of salvation have become too forensic, too reliant on false models of God's justice, etc.  But I don't think it's so sickly and weak as you imagine.  There is much to cherish from our brethren in Western Christendom.  There is much to disagree with, certainly, but I don't think it wise to just write them off either. 

Forgive me if I'm misreading you -- this came across as a blanket condemnation of all of Western Christianity.  I don't mean to put words in your mouth.  I'm just reacting to my own inferences from your post.
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« Reply #90 on: June 17, 2012, 05:50:14 AM »

Hello Hiwot:

On one hand we are reaching the same destination with differing routes. The Lutheran says By Gods Grace through Faith we are Saved. The result is good works. Orthodox say By Gods Grace we are saved through Faith and Works.

I think the main difference may be in the view of Free Will. Lutherans believe that there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn Gods Grace. By saying we have to cooperate with Gods Grace or accept it is to take away Gods Glory and to place some of it, even if the smallest amount on our own shoulders. It takes away the absolute sovereignty of God. We are saved because God alone has willed it. We are predestined to be saved by Christ on the Cross. If we have even the smallest amount of influence we will fail everytime because of our nature of sin.

We can't accept what we already have. I can't accept my arm because it's something God has already giving me. What I can do is reject my arm. I can cut it off the same way I can cut off Gods Grace through a denial of Faith.



"I frankly confess that, for myself, even if it could be, I should not want "free-will" to be given to me, nor anything to be justify in my own hands to enable me to endeavor after salvation; not merely because in face of so many dangers, and adversities, and assaults of devils, I could not stand my ground and hold fast my "free-will" (for one devil is stronger than all men, and on these terms no man could be saved); but because, even were there no dangers, adversities, or devils, I should still be forced to labor with no guarantee of success, and to beat my fists at the air. If I lived and worked to all eternity, my conscience would never reach comfortable certainty as to how much it must do to satisfy God. Whatever work I had done, there would still be a nagging doubt as to whether it pleases God, or whether He required something more. The experience of all who seek righteousness by works proves that; and I learned it well enough myself over a period of many years, to my own great hurt. But now that God has taken my salvation out the control of my own will , and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working or running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and that He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him. "No one," He says, "shall pluck them out of my hand, because my father which gave them me is greater than all" [John 10:28-29]. Thus it is that, if not all, yet some, indeed many, are saved; whereas, by the power of "free-will" none at all could be saved, but every one of us would perish."

Martin Luther




Hi happy Lutheran, thank you for your thoughtful reply dear. I am learning alot from you my brother.

Inaddition to what David has already answered , let me say a fewthings from what Martin Luther have said about God's control over his will, as I understand it. as key word to understanding what I have to say know I am talking about Synergy, that is possible because of Grace and in which grace requires to work in and through. Not control but willful participation and union. he speaks of control, i will speak of union of love that will lead to being fruitful in love and through love.

Honestly speaking what martin Luther says makes me sad. The reason being 1 he for all practical purposes equate the having of free will as being a rebellion against God’s will, thus something that has to be shunned 2, If we are all saved without the participation of our will, what is being saved is not human but a drone that God certainly have not made in his Image and Likeness, and God would not be Love (in this term are held all other virtues). 3. It is not simply having a free will that saves me or condemns me as martin seems to think, if the entire point of saving mankind was to impose upon him God’s unchanging Love then we have to change our understanding of God not as loving but a tyrant, who punishes some because he wills it and worse because he does so for something that is not their fault because it was after all his will that they in particular should not be saved, and others he forcefully annexes to this lifestyle.4, if my free will can only function in  rejection of God, but ceases to function when I am in union with God, is it really me that is in Union or what happens to my free will then did I even ever had it in the first place? Also   what happens when I want to return back to God, who is the one that returns? A drone without freewill; which as soon as he is plugged to the source, becomes the toy of the source? What is the good in taking a sentient being and stripping him of that which makes him what he is then saying he IS Living? If we have no participation with our salvation then it must follow that we have no participation in our damnation, it must have been God who made us sin then, God forbid we would say such a thing! but according to Luther’s logic such is the God he portrays albeit unintentionally in an attempt at portraying God as all powerful and that we are not the cause of our salvation, which are both true, yet he falls short of the fullness of truth when he tosses out the role of the human free will, with which that the mercy of God seeks cooperation not domination with. What is the point of Christ’s Incarnation, the reason that the Eternal Logos became like us in all things except sin? what is the purpose of uniting our will to his if not to heal it, like the rest of what makes us human, it needed healing and saving so he healed it by making it his own in his Incarnation our will united to the will of God without any confusion or mixing, or alteration, heals the broken, the weakened , and  makes us whole , gives us what we are created to be, makes us truly human ( in the sense that the human is created to have communion with God through God’s Grace that was perfected in Christ when God became Man, in Christ God’s Will is fully united with Man’s Will without one altering the other , without one dominating the other, without one mixing with the other, without one separating from the other without one eliminating the other.). So are we saying our will be done? not at all, we are saying may  thy will be united with our will  and our will with thy will and in the harmony of that union we will BE Truly ourselves in that we become truly Children of God.


In the Orthodox Liturgy we say, Our God is a Consuming fire, a Fire of Healing, for the righteous of heart who do His will, a Fire that destroys for the rebellious who deny His Name. What is meant by this is that God is God at all times, he remains what and who He is i.e. Love. This love can be different things for different hearts, for those who are willing to receive it, it is the most natural thing to them, and it heals and strengthens them. To those that reject it, it becomes  the source of unbearable pain not by changing what it is, but rather by remaining the same, for the heart that wants to exist delighting  in such a state subjects itself to the pain of the  presence of ultimate Love( again let us keep in mind all the virtues held in there). We see then that he is not the one who is rejecting those who are damned, but it they who are rejecting him, he remains who he is at all times, he cannot deny himself thereby altering himself, those that reject him do so because He is  Love that can only be freely given and freely received.


If like Luther said God wills some to be saved and others to be damned since free will has nothing to do with salvation, then He and I are not speaking about the Same God. The Supreme Love, (holding in it Mercy, Truth, Justice, etc...)  Becomes a falsity, a sham a major orchestration of Divine Joke on Humanity yeah even the entire Created Universe. If that was true I too would have cried with Luther, and perhaps resigned myself to the whim of this God whether or not I am among those whom he wills to save and for that matter what am I being saved from, do I even want to be?  But it will also mean if I am among the chosen I cannot reject God in this life, because now I am like a drone he dictates. So even though I am told I can reject God, in truth I cannot reject him since I have no say in the matter of living united to him.



Still I do understand what Luther was trying to portray, yet he lost the balance the Fathers have maintained and in Orthodoxy such balance or synergy is always what it is about in regards to our relationship with God because it is indeed a relationship of Love. When you go to one extreme at the expense of all others there is always the danger of sacrificing truth to your will. I understand and my heart is moved in compassion to what Luther was struggling with and to what a kind and Loving God he must have thought that he is portraying, when he shunned free will and its participation with Gods will, and making God’s will (separate from men) alone and our faith in this predestined and forcefully infused and sustained salvation of God with no need for our participation, except perhaps to say or hold the opinion that it is so, to be the reason we are saved. Yet by this very logic he ended up creating a tyrant of ‘good will and cheer’ who gives no choice to those he loves, whose love is an oppression, whose justice is selective and biased, whose deceit lets others think they are free yet they are not, they think they can chose him but they can’t as he has already chosen those he wills to save, the others he discards once he gets done with them playing a role he has written for them. I am sure the God Loving and good man Luther would be horrified if he realized this is the image of God he actually portrays when he says that the Free will of man is not important, yet he is correct in that having free will alone will not save anyone, nor does ones struggle alone to achieve righteousness with his works do him any good. Yet when God deals interacts with Humans he deals with Free beings He created in His Image and Likeness, because our God is that Good, that Loving, that he would chose to create such free beings capable of choosing Him or rejecting Him, but the underlying factor which is also the unifying one is that God remains Who He IS, the I AM that is always IS, regardless of what state man is in.  Ever Loving God, Whose Grace is ever Present to us if we are willing to accept it.



Luther was arguing against the possibility of losing salvation, it seems motivated by fear but fear that was based on the wrong reasons. He should indeed be afraid of losing salvation because it is possible to lose salvation not because Grace is denied to some, it is not! Or that God wills some to be condemned, He does not! Or that salvation is something we earn by our works, we cannot! Or something we earn by our faith alone, we do not! But because the Human is capable of rejecting what is freely given, the human can stop saying fully yes to God’s Will, who Wills ALL to Come to Salvation. Do you see the union here? As rejection is the cessation of saying yes to God and saying yes to God is possible to us through God’s Grace itself working in unison with our will. The fear of Luther would have been like the one the apostle commands ‘work out your own salvation in fear and trembling’ had Luther not equated it with losing confidence in God, as relying only in One’s work to earn what is un-meritable for none can merit such Life, because the Life we receive is God Himself, and who among us can earn God with what he has, even if he or she was to give their very lives as even that is not theirs and it belongs to him. Philippians 2:12-13 work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

 So what does it mean to Work out ones salvation in fear and trembling, surely we are not the ones who are earning our God as reward for whatever we have done, if that was the case we should all despair, for none of us can do that, so what is the apostle saying? If we read on we will know that such despair is unwarranted and in fact we have much reason to be confident about and that is the Grace of Our Merciful Loving God, who will strengthen our Faith and Sanctify our Works for without him we can do nothing but with him we bear much fruit so when he comes he may find us fruitful in Him and through Him! As the apostle continues to say “ for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure’ do you see the unity of God’s will with our Will, here without any confusion or mixing or alteration between them? Do you see the balance? In Such a union we can boldly say it is not I that lives but Christ in Me. Does this mean I cease to be Me? Not at all it only means I am more Me or Truly Me in Christ who is the Perfect Man than I am alone and I am Truly Christ in so far as it is possible by Christ who Transfigures me through this union to look and become like Him who is the Only Begotten Son of the Father thus bearing the image of the Son and as the Living Temple of the Spirit I too will be called daughter and Son of the Father through Grace. For this communion of Love, what is freely given must freely be received and that freedom itself we received from God.


The Apostle states clearly how this participation with Grace works and how one must bear the fruit of such participation by the death of the old man and the life of the new man in Christ, if while saying we are justified in our faith in Christ we are found acting in sinful manner then we have no real union with Christ because he is not a minster of sin. thus our faith in him must also be manifest in our fruit of life in him and through him. We need Him to give us life and we need not frustrate the grace of God or we must participate with the grace of God, otherwise if we can achieve life by our works alone then he died in vain.
Galatians 2: 16- 21 16Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 17But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. 18For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live to God. 20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.



Luther seems to say that once a believer has found his or her faith they cannot possibly fall or lose their salvation, because no one can take us away from God. Yet this is simply not true like we said, the Love that is God is unchanging but it is quite possible for us to change while we are in this battle field, in this tabernacle, it is quite possible to fall as it is quite possible to rise up again. Luther’s God is a terrifying tyrant, who wants to be told that one believes in his goodness and is easily appeased by that and punishes those that have a differing opinion because it’s all about ones held opinion about him that brings in his benevolence to select group of people who he has already programed to have such opinion about him. Such God incites rebellion and defiance, not Love. And that is not the Christian God, him you will find get this, Born in an animal manger, Dead on the Cross and Risen in Incorruption all for the Love of Adam and his Children even as he dies by our hands, he did not force his will upon us yet he loved us all the same, even while we were vile sinners. Because he has become one of us and done this much for us he will be just in all his judgments towards us who have tasted the good wine and rejoiced not in it.


However Luther chose to reject the part that Free will plays in the drama of Salvation out of fear that his misconceptions lead him to believe of what is meant by participation or cooperation of the human with God incited in him. He looked at it as if the Human is earning salvation (or in other words that the human is striving in an ever futile effort for something that is impossible i.e. to earn salvation), by freely accepting God’s Grace that is offered freely to him, this misconception ignores that even Faith is an act of Grace acting in cooperation with the Free will of Man. like we have seen earlier, who can earn our life which is God. Yet we all can see God is not imposed upon us even if our very nature requires that we unite with him in order to be what we truly are, Children of Light, Truth and Love. However Love although free, calls all to choose her continually even as she calls, motivates, strengthens, and acts to help and sustain those who respond with all their being. Wisdom does not go charging about and enslaving people against their will, even though she longs for them to come to her, even though she has stretched her arms stood at the highest place and called with everything she has in her that they may come to her and share her life as they were meant to be. For she is the soul of their soul, life of their life, strength of their strength, the light of their intellect, the beauty of their countenance, if only they were willing to come , she is ever waiting and willing to aide those who chose her, to go out in battle with them and so long as the will is willing she will squash their enemy, heal their wounds, raise them up if they fall and lead them to the place of safety and Eternal Rest, Eternal Joy, where they in Union with Her may ascend from Glory to Glory for all eternity.


Time has run out , and I must get ready to go to the Divine Liturgy now, I have not got enough time to organize my thoughts better so my apologies, I am no theologian or scholar, so keep in mind that all the wrong words and ideas are mine.

To be continued….  I'm kidding lol  Tongue laugh
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Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
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« Reply #91 on: June 17, 2012, 07:58:53 AM »

Hello Hiwot

Thanks for your kind words and detailed reply. I also am getting ready for services and then my wife and kids are taking me to a Minnesota Twins game for fathers day. I will have to dig deeper into your reply later as it's a lot to take in but at a quick glance I think you may be getting some of Calvin's view of Predestination confussed with Luther's. We can not in our view earn Grace, we can however reject it which leads to our damnation. We don't believe in the Calvin view of limited atonement where God somehow chooses us all to be saved or damned before we are born. We are only Predestined to be saved by the gift of the Holy Spirit and his Grace.

I am also not a theologian or scholar and all my wrong ideas are also mine. That is a great quote and it should maybe be in all our signatures. Smiley

To everyone who has participated in this thread, thank you for the enjoyable, interesting and respectful debate.
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« Reply #92 on: June 17, 2012, 08:08:32 AM »

Hiwot, in Lutheran soteriology, God does all the saving, if we are damned it is our fault, not His, and when asked "why are some saved and not others," Lutherans essentially take the view that we have not been given the answer to that question so we dare not attempt an answer. 

It's called the crux of theology -- that God does all the saving, and wants all men to be saved, but then some are not saved.  Lutherans maintain this tension or paradox.  I believe the Orthodox have an answer for it, but our answer doesn't fit in the Lutheran soteriological framework, so it's easy for a Lutheran to hear it as Arminianism, just as you heard Happy Lutheran's words as Calvinist.
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« Reply #93 on: June 17, 2012, 12:55:51 PM »

Hello Hiwot

Thanks for your kind words and detailed reply. I also am getting ready for services and then my wife and kids are taking me to a Minnesota Twins game for fathers day. I will have to dig deeper into your reply later as it's a lot to take in but at a quick glance I think you may be getting some of Calvin's view of Predestination confussed with Luther's. We can not in our view earn Grace, we can however reject it which leads to our damnation. We don't believe in the Calvin view of limited atonement where God somehow chooses us all to be saved or damned before we are born. We are only Predestined to be saved by the gift of the Holy Spirit and his Grace.

I am also not a theologian or scholar and all my wrong ideas are also mine. That is a great quote and it should maybe be in all our signatures. Smiley

To everyone who has participated in this thread, thank you for the enjoyable, interesting and respectful debate.

Hi dear
Enjoy your time and happy father's day to you Grin 

we will indeed discuss further, but I am aware of what Calvin taught however, if you look into the theology of Luther himself falls into that restriction placed upon man's free will which can only chose evil and not good. it distortes what man is, or the nature of man, even after the fall man can still differentiate between good and evil and can chose either. the limitation set upon by Luther on man's will renders the free will of man obsolete in that it can only chose evil.

it goes on to say that nothing happens without the will of God and God wills all men to be saved, yet not all will be saved and those that are saved have no say in their salvation. how is that not saying, those that are not saved are not because he wills it so. it naturally leads to the Calvin's theology albeit via a different route.

peace to you Smiley
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Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
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« Reply #94 on: June 17, 2012, 12:56:10 PM »

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Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
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« Reply #95 on: June 17, 2012, 01:09:16 PM »

Hiwot, in Lutheran soteriology, God does all the saving, if we are damned it is our fault, not His, and when asked "why are some saved and not others," Lutherans essentially take the view that we have not been given the answer to that question so we dare not attempt an answer. 

It's called the crux of theology -- that God does all the saving, and wants all men to be saved, but then some are not saved.  Lutherans maintain this tension or paradox.  I believe the Orthodox have an answer for it, but our answer doesn't fit in the Lutheran soteriological framework, so it's easy for a Lutheran to hear it as Arminianism, just as you heard Happy Lutheran's words as Calvinist.


Ah! you got it David! that is the dilemma! and you presented what is profound in quite a simple and easy to understand manner so someone like me can understand it, thank you. it certainly brought the gist of the matter to light. I have to say I am learning a lot with this discussion especialy from brothers such as you thank you.

as to Arminianism it quite naturally leads to Which came first the chicken or the egg, kind of question. Is It grace that moves man to God or the human will that moves towards God? And as far as I know Orthodoxy answers it's both of course! 1 Corinthians 15:10 10But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not found vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.  

With this the apostle shows his free will in cooperation with Grace, saying that God's grace bestowed upon him was not found in vain, as he labors, and the place of the grace of God as he says not I but the grace of God, and the cooperation of both, when he says ‘with me’ showing an active participation not a passive domination or subordination.

We also see in the case of the thief on the cross, how man who is created good has an affinity towards goodness as the apostle says there is a natural law in the heart of all men that govern their conscience. Because man is created in the image and likeness of God is quite naturally capable of making that initial journey towards God by himself because of his free will. as well as a journey towards evil. Yet it is the grace of God that helps this initial journey towards good find completion and fruitfulness.

The same in what the apostle says in Philippians 2: 12-13   12Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Because Man is created with a free will, he can initiate movement towards God, and will find completion in and through the aid of Grace. As well as Grace can transform evil men and creates a change of heart in men to move towards what is good.

So both grace and free will are not in opposition to one another in the salvation of man, rather they work together in whatever form is proper to each individual. Some who start to walk towards good by themselves grace will come and aid them, some whose heart have turned dry grace can intervene and turn it into wax that is conducive to unite with divine Love for Life Everlasting.

There in is the balance and harmony we have been speaking of.And you are quite right it is easy to go to one extreme or another in these issues, and Orthodoxy provides the balanced harmonious way which is the Right Worship.  Wink Grin

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« Reply #96 on: June 17, 2012, 02:41:51 PM »

I've always thought that the typical Orthodox understanding of synergism approximated pretty closely to what classical Arminians have taught.  If this is not the case, I'd like to see the argument presented, with authorities provided please. 
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« Reply #97 on: June 17, 2012, 03:51:26 PM »

I've always thought that the typical Orthodox understanding of synergism approximated pretty closely to what classical Arminians have taught.  If this is not the case, I'd like to see the argument presented, with authorities provided please. 

Father I can not claim authority, and I don't know what you will think of wikiedia as far as these things go but here is a wiki article on Classical Arminanisim and the others. It is as you say very close to orthodox understanding of synergism however there are also differences in there I could see. it starts with total depravity and goes from there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arminianism
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« Reply #98 on: June 17, 2012, 04:28:59 PM »

Only in the West was these ripped asunder... as splinter groups sought to grasp salvation outside of a coherent 'one' Ecclesia.

In effect, we are see is a 'reformed' Christianity with little in common with the Orthodox Faith. When I look at the traditions of the West, I see nothing that is of value to Orthodoxy. I don't mean that in as harsh a tone as it might appear... I only point out how sickly and weak Western Christianity is and the effect that is appears to have on the actions of it's participates.

I recall St. Maximus the Confessor's statement about salvation... "God moves the heart that is willing". I find that simple and yet as vast a statement on the matter as we should tread.

I don't know, I was immeasurably enriched in my time as a Lutheran.  When you say "I see nothing that is of value to Orthodoxy," I think you miss that there is much there in common with Orthodoxy.

I agree the theological underpinnings of salvation were ripped asunder in the West.  I agree with the notion that the Western notions of salvation have become too forensic, too reliant on false models of God's justice, etc.  But I don't think it's so sickly and weak as you imagine.  There is much to cherish from our brethren in Western Christendom.  There is much to disagree with, certainly, but I don't think it wise to just write them off either. 

Forgive me if I'm misreading you -- this came across as a blanket condemnation of all of Western Christianity.  I don't mean to put words in your mouth.  I'm just reacting to my own inferences from your post.

Grace and peace David,

No worries. I think you offer a fine caution to my statement. I see a Christianity in the West that is very jumbled with secular humanism and the issues with 'works and grace' being at odds is something I have only seen in the West. It seems to me to be at the heart of the theological breakdown of everything. They have no sense of synergia within their salvation model. Martin Luther at one time thought to remove the Letter of St. James from the Sacred Text. I don't trust his theology nor his odd interpretations of St. Paul's Letter to the Romans.

Only within the Orthodox Faith have I come to encounter the fullness of the Christian Faith. Everything else is like looking through a broken lens or a warped lens. They speak of the same things but only in a warped and twisted way.

Sorry if I come across overly critical. I find refuge in Orthodoxy from all this twisting... and I worry that they will come and peddle their twisted views on the Orthodox. I just fine it uncomfortable.
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« Reply #99 on: June 17, 2012, 04:51:13 PM »

I've always thought that the typical Orthodox understanding of synergism approximated pretty closely to what classical Arminians have taught.  If this is not the case, I'd like to see the argument presented, with authorities provided please. 

Father I can not claim authority, and I don't know what you will think of wikiedia as far as these things go but here is a wiki article on Classical Arminanisim and the others. It is as you say very close to orthodox understanding of synergism however there are also differences in there I could see. it starts with total depravity and goes from there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arminianism

Yes. The Calvinist's idea of Total Depravity is simply not Orthodox. It stems from a literal and limited interpretation of St. Paul's Quote of Psalm 14:1-3 in his Letter to the Romans. What they fail to do is actual go and read the whole of Psalm 14... and realize that it doesn't support a theological principle of Total Depravity... just read chapter 2 of this Psalm to see... the Psalmist is not condemning 'all mankind' but a foolish generation. St. Paul is attributing this 'foolish generation' to the Jews of his day.

We are not simply given a 'magic ticket' to heaven as many Western Christians seem to think. We are given the energia to prefect ourselves and to not only enter into a relationship with the Divine Nature but to participate... to enter into... that Divine Nature. All are given access to this grace/energia but not all take up the call. The Western Christian looks that this Divine Energia and see it like the servant with one talent in the Lord's Parable of the Talents and did nothing with it out of some warped sense of trusting in God and not his own works... foolishness. This is why Western Christianity splintered and died.
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« Reply #100 on: June 17, 2012, 08:03:24 PM »

Happy Lutheran is not happy at the straw man set up to discredit Lutheranism. It's either extreme arrogance and boasting or a fundamental misunderstanding of the faith. Lutheranism is not the theology of Martin Luther, our confessions were put together and signed of by the entirety of the Lutheran theologians. The early Lutherans didn't think they were making up new doctrine, they were saving the true Catholic faith and they used scripture and the early church fathers writting always to make their points. They did not give themselves the term Lutheran they prefered Evangelical Catholic however the Roman Catholics labeled them Lutherans and it stuck over time. Martin Luther along with Phillip Melanchthon were the heads of the movement. Luther was seen as their front man because of his witty writting style and for his gall to stand up against the pope in a day that meant death and use such terms as "tyrannical" "godless" and "Antichrist" to describe him. The reason James was always in the Bible was because the other Lutherans fully rejected him on that issue, he was not our Pope. It's so annoying when we're having an enjoyable discussion about Faith, Free Will et all and these unrelated arguments come in.

That being said the Augsburg Confession probably states the point of Free Will better than I so here is that article along with the article on original sin because in some way they tie in:


1] Of Free Will they teach that man's will has some liberty to choose civil righteousness, and to work 2] things subject to reason. But it has no power, without the Holy Ghost, to work the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness; since the natural man 3] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. 2:14; but this righteousness is wrought in the heart when the Holy Ghost is received 4] through the Word. These things are said in as many words by Augustine in his Hypognosticon, Book III: We grant that all men have a free will, free, inasmuch as it has the judgment of reason; not that it is thereby capable, without God, either to begin, or, at least, to complete aught in things pertaining to God, but only in works of this life, whether good 5] or evil. "Good" I call those works which spring from the good in nature, such as, willing to labor in the field, to eat and drink, to have a friend, to clothe oneself, to build a house, to marry a wife, to raise cattle, to learn diverse useful arts, or whatsoever good 6]pertains to this life. For all of these things are not without dependence on the providence of God; yea, of Him and through Him they are and have their being. "Evil" 7] I call such works as willing to worship an idol, to commit murder, etc. 8] They condemn the Pelagians and others, who teach that without the Holy Ghost, by the power of nature alone, we are able to love God above all things; also to do the commandments of God as touching "the substance of the act." For, although nature is able in a manner to do the outward work, 9] (for it is able to keep the hands from theft and murder,) yet it cannot produce the inward motions, such as the fear of God, trust in God, chastity, patience, etc.

1] Also they teach that since the fall of Adam all men begotten in the natural way are born with sin, that is, without the fear of God, without trust in God, and with 2] concupiscence; and that this disease, or vice of origin, is truly sin, even now condemning and bringing eternal death upon those not born again through Baptism and the Holy Ghost.

3] They condemn the Pelagians and others who deny that original depravity is sin, and who, to obscure the glory of Christ's merit and benefits, argue that man can be justified before God by his own strength and reason.
 
For an entertaining read and a much more in depth study read Luther "Bondage of the Will". Late in Luther's life he said all of his writtings could be discarded so we could focus on the Gospel except "Bondage of the Will" as he believed it was that important.

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« Reply #101 on: June 17, 2012, 08:46:12 PM »

Happy Lutheran is not happy at the straw man set up to discredit Lutheranism. It's either extreme arrogance and boasting or a fundamental misunderstanding of the faith. Lutheranism is not the theology of Martin Luther, our confessions were put together and signed of by the entirety of the Lutheran theologians. The early Lutherans didn't think they were making up new doctrine, they were saving the true Catholic faith and they used scripture and the early church fathers writting always to make their points. They did not give themselves the term Lutheran they prefered Evangelical Catholic however the Roman Catholics labeled them Lutherans and it stuck over time. Martin Luther along with Phillip Melanchthon were the heads of the movement. Luther was seen as their front man because of his witty writting style and for his gall to stand up against the pope in a day that meant death and use such terms as "tyrannical" "godless" and "Antichrist" to describe him. The reason James was always in the Bible was because the other Lutherans fully rejected him on that issue, he was not our Pope. It's so annoying when we're having an enjoyable discussion about Faith, Free Will et all and these unrelated arguments come in.

That being said the Augsburg Confession probably states the point of Free Will better than I so here is that article along with the article on original sin because in some way they tie in:


1] Of Free Will they teach that man's will has some liberty to choose civil righteousness, and to work 2] things subject to reason. But it has no power, without the Holy Ghost, to work the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness; since the natural man 3] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. 2:14; but this righteousness is wrought in the heart when the Holy Ghost is received 4] through the Word. These things are said in as many words by Augustine in his Hypognosticon, Book III: We grant that all men have a free will, free, inasmuch as it has the judgment of reason; not that it is thereby capable, without God, either to begin, or, at least, to complete aught in things pertaining to God, but only in works of this life, whether good 5] or evil. "Good" I call those works which spring from the good in nature, such as, willing to labor in the field, to eat and drink, to have a friend, to clothe oneself, to build a house, to marry a wife, to raise cattle, to learn diverse useful arts, or whatsoever good 6]pertains to this life. For all of these things are not without dependence on the providence of God; yea, of Him and through Him they are and have their being. "Evil" 7] I call such works as willing to worship an idol, to commit murder, etc. 8] They condemn the Pelagians and others, who teach that without the Holy Ghost, by the power of nature alone, we are able to love God above all things; also to do the commandments of God as touching "the substance of the act." For, although nature is able in a manner to do the outward work, 9] (for it is able to keep the hands from theft and murder,) yet it cannot produce the inward motions, such as the fear of God, trust in God, chastity, patience, etc.

1] Also they teach that since the fall of Adam all men begotten in the natural way are born with sin, that is, without the fear of God, without trust in God, and with 2] concupiscence; and that this disease, or vice of origin, is truly sin, even now condemning and bringing eternal death upon those not born again through Baptism and the Holy Ghost.

3] They condemn the Pelagians and others who deny that original depravity is sin, and who, to obscure the glory of Christ's merit and benefits, argue that man can be justified before God by his own strength and reason.
 
For an entertaining read and a much more in depth study read Luther "Bondage of the Will". Late in Luther's life he said all of his writtings could be discarded so we could focus on the Gospel except "Bondage of the Will" as he believed it was that important.



To presume that any motive of mine or any other Orthodox is out of arrogance... is telling of the arrogance of the Modern Mindset that limits all knowledge to that of either dialectic or discursive ideas and that of reasoning. In Orthodoxy... there are 'real' experiences of the noetic realities of the Divine.

This is simply something that is not present in Lutheran Theology... It is simply the reasoning of men and in such is lost in the numerous gleamings of personal categories. It is why the West is dead. It's faiths are dead because they have ceased to reflect a clear reality of the Divine.

Reasoning is not the 'key' to the Sacred Texts as the Western Christian Traditions have seemed to think. Such was a trap that Western man has found himself caught.

The real Faith is a holistic participation in the Divine Nature brought present with and in the Orthodox Church.

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« Reply #102 on: June 17, 2012, 09:12:44 PM »

Happy Lutheran is not happy at the straw man set up to discredit Lutheranism. It's either extreme arrogance and boasting or a fundamental misunderstanding of the faith. Lutheranism is not the theology of Martin Luther, our confessions were put together and signed of by the entirety of the Lutheran theologians. The early Lutherans didn't think they were making up new doctrine, they were saving the true Catholic faith and they used scripture and the early church fathers writting always to make their points. They did not give themselves the term Lutheran they prefered Evangelical Catholic however the Roman Catholics labeled them Lutherans and it stuck over time. Martin Luther along with Phillip Melanchthon were the heads of the movement. Luther was seen as their front man because of his witty writting style and for his gall to stand up against the pope in a day that meant death and use such terms as "tyrannical" "godless" and "Antichrist" to describe him. The reason James was always in the Bible was because the other Lutherans fully rejected him on that issue, he was not our Pope. It's so annoying when we're having an enjoyable discussion about Faith, Free Will et all and these unrelated arguments come in.

That being said the Augsburg Confession probably states the point of Free Will better than I so here is that article along with the article on original sin because in some way they tie in:


1] Of Free Will they teach that man's will has some liberty to choose civil righteousness, and to work 2] things subject to reason. But it has no power, without the Holy Ghost, to work the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness; since the natural man 3] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. 2:14; but this righteousness is wrought in the heart when the Holy Ghost is received 4] through the Word. These things are said in as many words by Augustine in his Hypognosticon, Book III: We grant that all men have a free will, free, inasmuch as it has the judgment of reason; not that it is thereby capable, without God, either to begin, or, at least, to complete aught in things pertaining to God, but only in works of this life, whether good 5] or evil. "Good" I call those works which spring from the good in nature, such as, willing to labor in the field, to eat and drink, to have a friend, to clothe oneself, to build a house, to marry a wife, to raise cattle, to learn diverse useful arts, or whatsoever good 6]pertains to this life. For all of these things are not without dependence on the providence of God; yea, of Him and through Him they are and have their being. "Evil" 7] I call such works as willing to worship an idol, to commit murder, etc. 8] They condemn the Pelagians and others, who teach that without the Holy Ghost, by the power of nature alone, we are able to love God above all things; also to do the commandments of God as touching "the substance of the act." For, although nature is able in a manner to do the outward work, 9] (for it is able to keep the hands from theft and murder,) yet it cannot produce the inward motions, such as the fear of God, trust in God, chastity, patience, etc.

1] Also they teach that since the fall of Adam all men begotten in the natural way are born with sin, that is, without the fear of God, without trust in God, and with 2] concupiscence; and that this disease, or vice of origin, is truly sin, even now condemning and bringing eternal death upon those not born again through Baptism and the Holy Ghost.

3] They condemn the Pelagians and others who deny that original depravity is sin, and who, to obscure the glory of Christ's merit and benefits, argue that man can be justified before God by his own strength and reason.
 
For an entertaining read and a much more in depth study read Luther "Bondage of the Will". Late in Luther's life he said all of his writtings could be discarded so we could focus on the Gospel except "Bondage of the Will" as he believed it was that important.



To presume that any motive of mine or any other Orthodox is out of arrogance...



I'm only speaking of you. If Western Christianity is dead why between Catholics and Protestants are ther 1.9 billion of us? Unless you don't believe we are saved we have done a better job Evangelizing and saving souls than the East even IF you have a more fullness of faith. The tone of this thread is becoming too tense so this is my last post on this thread, you're more than welcome to have the final word.
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« Reply #103 on: June 17, 2012, 10:01:54 PM »

Quote from: Happy Lutheran
I'm only speaking of you. If Western Christianity is dead why between Catholics and Protestants are ther 1.9 billion of us? Unless you don't believe we are saved we have done a better job Evangelizing and saving souls than the East even IF you have a more fullness of faith. The tone of this thread is becoming too tense so this is my last post on this thread, you're more than welcome to have the final word.

Yeah, I didn't know I was dead, does that make me a zombie?  Wink Cheesy
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« Reply #104 on: June 17, 2012, 10:12:22 PM »

Happy Lutheran is not happy at the straw man set up to discredit Lutheranism. It's either extreme arrogance and boasting or a fundamental misunderstanding of the faith.

Then leave. If you cannot legitimately argue your points (and you can't) and also not handle being outgunned, then, like the old saying goes, "Can't take the heat? Get out of the kitchen."  BTW, do you have Bob Dole Syndrome? Grin

Lutheranism is not the theology of Martin Luther, our confessions were put together and signed of by the entirety of the Lutheran theologians. The early Lutherans didn't think they were making up new doctrine, they were saving the true Catholic faith and they used scripture and the early church fathers writting always to make their points.

Whether they thought they were making new doctrine or not is irrelevant, because they were making new doctrine. That's why Patriarch JEREMIAS II couldn't take any more whiny and egregiously affront letters from the Lutheran scholars at Tuebingen. (BTW, if you haven't, I strongly suggest you read the correspondence between the two parties; they are compiled in a book called Augsburg and Constantinople and edited by Fr. George Mastronis (sp.)).  To him and the Holy Synod, what they were defending was new doctrine or just mere rehashes of the errors the Orthodox already had with the Latin church.
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« Reply #105 on: June 18, 2012, 02:47:22 AM »

Happy Lutheran is not happy at the straw man set up to discredit Lutheranism. It's either extreme arrogance and boasting or a fundamental misunderstanding of the faith. Lutheranism is not the theology of Martin Luther, our confessions were put together and signed of by the entirety of the Lutheran theologians. The early Lutherans didn't think they were making up new doctrine, they were saving the true Catholic faith and they used scripture and the early church fathers writting always to make their points. They did not give themselves the term Lutheran they prefered Evangelical Catholic however the Roman Catholics labeled them Lutherans and it stuck over time. Martin Luther along with Phillip Melanchthon were the heads of the movement. Luther was seen as their front man because of his witty writting style and for his gall to stand up against the pope in a day that meant death and use such terms as "tyrannical" "godless" and "Antichrist" to describe him. The reason James was always in the Bible was because the other Lutherans fully rejected him on that issue, he was not our Pope. It's so annoying when we're having an enjoyable discussion about Faith, Free Will et all and these unrelated arguments come in.

That being said the Augsburg Confession probably states the point of Free Will better than I so here is that article along with the article on original sin because in some way they tie in:


1] Of Free Will they teach that man's will has some liberty to choose civil righteousness, and to work 2] things subject to reason. But it has no power, without the Holy Ghost, to work the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness; since the natural man 3] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. 2:14; but this righteousness is wrought in the heart when the Holy Ghost is received 4] through the Word. These things are said in as many words by Augustine in his Hypognosticon, Book III: We grant that all men have a free will, free, inasmuch as it has the judgment of reason; not that it is thereby capable, without God, either to begin, or, at least, to complete aught in things pertaining to God, but only in works of this life, whether good 5] or evil. "Good" I call those works which spring from the good in nature, such as, willing to labor in the field, to eat and drink, to have a friend, to clothe oneself, to build a house, to marry a wife, to raise cattle, to learn diverse useful arts, or whatsoever good 6]pertains to this life. For all of these things are not without dependence on the providence of God; yea, of Him and through Him they are and have their being. "Evil" 7] I call such works as willing to worship an idol, to commit murder, etc. 8] They condemn the Pelagians and others, who teach that without the Holy Ghost, by the power of nature alone, we are able to love God above all things; also to do the commandments of God as touching "the substance of the act." For, although nature is able in a manner to do the outward work, 9] (for it is able to keep the hands from theft and murder,) yet it cannot produce the inward motions, such as the fear of God, trust in God, chastity, patience, etc.

1] Also they teach that since the fall of Adam all men begotten in the natural way are born with sin, that is, without the fear of God, without trust in God, and with 2] concupiscence; and that this disease, or vice of origin, is truly sin, even now condemning and bringing eternal death upon those not born again through Baptism and the Holy Ghost.

3] They condemn the Pelagians and others who deny that original depravity is sin, and who, to obscure the glory of Christ's merit and benefits, argue that man can be justified before God by his own strength and reason.
 
For an entertaining read and a much more in depth study read Luther "Bondage of the Will". Late in Luther's life he said all of his writtings could be discarded so we could focus on the Gospel except "Bondage of the Will" as he believed it was that important.



Hi happy lutheran,

Orthodoxy does not believe in total depravity of man, after the fall man’s will although weakened and fragmented, he can still seek God and  God did not totally abandon his creatures after the fall if he had we would all have been annihilated, as we would not exist without God.

The prevenient grace of God is everywhere; even the very existence of man is God’s grace. God directs us to seek him even by looking at the natural order of creation. So we all are called by God’s Grace in this sense, and we would not have been able to seek him if it were not for his prevenient grace available to all men. We can chose however to accept God’s grace in regards to seeking him and even the sanctifying grace , with our free will or reject it, it is not imposed upon us. When we chose to accept God’s grace we are not causing our salvation or initiating it, Grace is the initiator and Cause and the perfector of our Salvation. However it is in cooperation with our will that grace works in us. There is no place that God is not, therefore prevenient grace is everywhere, the human will also is not totally devoid of God’s prevenient grace, therefore the sanctifying grace that we got through Christ can be accepted by man’s will which is permeated with God’s prevenient grace, which helps him make that initial move towards God, as well as Man can reject God’s sanctifying grace even if God’s prevenient grace is available to him and calls him to respond. So our sanctification occurs with our full acceptance and cooperation that responds to God’s Grace freely available to us. So as to what occurs initially in the move towards God, we say both occur at the same time, there is no total separation of man from God, our will was weakened yes but totally depraved? No.

I will let the theologians explain further at this point, so they may correct what I said or they can explain this stuff better than I can possibly do so. Or not make any errors I might make.

 Cool
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« Reply #106 on: June 18, 2012, 10:01:04 AM »

Happy Lutheran is not happy at the straw man set up to discredit Lutheranism. It's either extreme arrogance and boasting or a fundamental misunderstanding of the faith.

Then leave. If you cannot legitimately argue your points (and you can't) and also not handle being outgunned, then, like the old saying goes, "Can't take the heat? Get out of the kitchen."  BTW, do you have Bob Dole Syndrome? Grin
I think you're being unfair to Happy Lutheran. As I see it, he's making a decent argument for his position--as decent, I suppose, as one can make without any formal training. I don't see how anyone of us has outgunned him, particularly you or ignatius, who have posted more emotional and irrational responses to his arguments and inquiries. I would honestly like to see Hiwot and Happy Lutheran continue their discussion, since it seems to have much more potential of bearing fruit, but this can happen only if you and ignatius back away and allow for more rational discourse.

Lutheranism is not the theology of Martin Luther, our confessions were put together and signed of by the entirety of the Lutheran theologians. The early Lutherans didn't think they were making up new doctrine, they were saving the true Catholic faith and they used scripture and the early church fathers writting always to make their points.

Whether they thought they were making new doctrine or not is irrelevant, because they were making new doctrine. That's why Patriarch JEREMIAS II couldn't take any more whiny and egregiously affront letters from the Lutheran scholars at Tuebingen. (BTW, if you haven't, I strongly suggest you read the correspondence between the two parties; they are compiled in a book called Augsburg and Constantinople and edited by Fr. George Mastronis (sp.)).  To him and the Holy Synod, what they were defending was new doctrine or just mere rehashes of the errors the Orthodox already had with the Latin church.
Now if you could post more of this without the "can't take the heat then leave" rhetoric, I think even you could engage Happy Lutheran effectively on this topic.
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« Reply #107 on: June 18, 2012, 04:54:47 PM »


To presume that any motive of mine or any other Orthodox is out of arrogance... is telling of the arrogance of the Modern Mindset that limits all knowledge to that of either dialectic or discursive ideas and that of reasoning. In Orthodoxy... there are 'real' experiences of the noetic realities of the Divine.

This is simply something that is not present in Lutheran Theology... It is simply the reasoning of men and in such is lost in the numerous gleamings of personal categories. It is why the West is dead. It's faiths are dead because they have ceased to reflect a clear reality of the Divine.

Reasoning is not the 'key' to the Sacred Texts as the Western Christian Traditions have seemed to think. Such was a trap that Western man has found himself caught. The real Faith is a holistic participation in the Divine Nature brought present with and in the Orthodox Church.

I for one would like to distance myself completely from these kinds of polemical and ridiculous exaggerations.   There's nobody but us Western men (and women) conversing on this forum.  It's in our DNA.  Just because one can spout out words like "noetic" and "phronema" does not mean that one has magically ceased to be "Western."   More likely, it means that one is trying too hard not to be Western.  Sort of like what happens when one tries too hard to be different from one's parents--you inevitably become worse than your parents.  

There is no pure Orthodoxy.  Orthodoxy always and necessary involves a clash and conversion of culture, with both Church and culture being changed in the process.  Russian Orthodoxy is not quite the same as Greek Orthodoxy, and Greek Orthodoxy is not quite the same as British Orthodoxy.  This is the way it should be.  Otherwise, we would all have to become either 1st century Jews or, perhaps, Athonite monks.  

As far as I can tell, Orthodox Christians (in the West) are no more spiritual, holy and faithful than Western Christians.  To assert that Western Christianity is spiritually and theologically dead is to deny the manifest work of the Holy Spirit in the Churches of the West--I think that is called the one sin that cannot be forgiven.  The Spirit of Jesus Christ is not imprisoned with the canonical boundaries of the Orthodox Church.  It blows where it wills.  

I learned that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior from Western believers.  As the Apostle Paul declares, "No one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 12:3).  

This discussion on justification has been interesting.  I hope it will continue, without all the distractions.  

A question to put us back on track:

What is the difference between confessional Lutheranism and Arminianism?  

Oh, one other thought:  If Lutheranism believes (as I think it might) that sufficient grace is given to all to believe the gospel, then the whole question of "total depravity" is moot and not worth fighting about.

P.S.  Some of you might be wondering why I am posting at a time of unbearable tragedy in my life--because it's the only way to keep myself from succumbing to overwhelming grief and despair.
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« Reply #108 on: June 18, 2012, 07:42:59 PM »

I am not deriding Western Christians per se. I am only pointing out that Western Christianity is a splintered mess with no sense of a coherent Orthodox Tradition. Where individuals have managed to find salvation is in spite of them and not because of them.

Carry on. Sorry for my intemperate zeal.
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« Reply #109 on: June 19, 2012, 07:46:30 AM »

Thanks Peter and Akimel. I would like to answer Hiwot since he's been so generous in the discussion.

I personally have not heard Total Depravity used by Lutheran pastors, I also used the search function on the Book of Concord and there are not any hits on it. As a Lutheran we believe where the Word of God is preached and the Sacraments are administered (Baptism = Receive the Holy Spirit - Lords Supper = for the Remission of Sins) we receive Gods free gift of Grace. We do not earn it we can only reject. Without Gods Word and the Holy Spirit we can only do things that apply to this world, as our confession states (Marry, Plow a Field etc.) You can look at the world today and see Atheist and Agnostics that seem to do just fine in a civil sense but they are still separated from God (sin) therefore can't please him in a Spiritual sense.

I guess one way we look at Scripture is it shows Gods relentless pursuit to get us back. Through Noah, Abraham, Moses (giving us the Law), the rest of the Prophets and finally in sending us his only begotten son to die for our sins and send us the Holy Spirit. It's God that comes to us, not us going to God. It's his great love for us that we don't deserve.

Here is a good verse that I think backs up our view of Free Will:

John 15:16
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
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« Reply #110 on: June 19, 2012, 10:11:07 AM »

Yes, there is pure Orthodoxy. It is what we aspire to, isn't it?
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« Reply #111 on: June 19, 2012, 10:17:45 AM »

Thanks Peter and Akimel. I would like to answer Hiwot since he's been so generous in the discussion.
To my knowledge, "he" is a she. Smiley
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« Reply #112 on: June 19, 2012, 10:48:25 AM »

Thanks Peter and Akimel. I would like to answer Hiwot since he's been so generous in the discussion.
To my knowledge, "he" is a she. Smiley

 Embarrassed My apologies to Hiwot
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« Reply #113 on: June 19, 2012, 11:40:44 PM »

Here is a good verse that I think backs up our view of Free Will:

John 15:16
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

While rejecting Pelagian and semi-Pelagian notions of freedom, I would argue the notion that election and freedom cannot be held together is both false and unbiblical. For that reason I would question whether the above verse has anything to do with issues concerning free will.

For example, the Son is said to have laid down His life freely though He is Elect/Chosen of the Father:

Luke 9:35:  “This is my Son, my Elect/Chosen One.”
Acts 2:23: "This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death."
Jn 10:18: "No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord."

Early Christians of the ante-Nicene period, who spoke Greek as their native language and who were familiar with its cultural and historical usage did not regard free will and election as mutually exclusive. In fact it was the Gnostics who, against the second century apologists, who made the argument that they were during the pre-Augustinian period. Those who hold Reformation paradigms often regard the ante-Nicene fathers as philosophical inconsistent at this point, but that is arguably because of the way the relevant categories came to be viewed from later paradigmatic perspectives.

The early Lutherans didn't think they were making up new doctrine, they were saving the true Catholic faith and they used scripture and the early church fathers writting always to make their points.
The predominant view of major contemporary scholarship, as opposed to classical denominational thinking within classical Lutheran and Reformed trajectories is that Luther essentially gave a different answer than his Roman Catholic predecessors to a question which itself was alien to both the early fathers and the scriptures, that is to say, Luther was reading the Bible and the fathers through the lens of a medieval paradigm that was alien to both the Bible and the early fathers, as explained here:

http://katachriston.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/did-luther-get-it-wrong-most-major-contemporary-pauline-scholars-say-yes/


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« Reply #114 on: June 21, 2012, 04:44:45 AM »

Can someone please explain to me how we are not saved by grace/faith alone?

This would be a good book to buy:
http://www.amazon.com/Common-Ground-Introduction-Christianity-Christian/dp/0937032816 (Common Ground: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity for the American Christian)

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« Reply #115 on: June 21, 2012, 04:48:46 AM »

Thanks Peter and Akimel. I would like to answer Hiwot since he's been so generous in the discussion.
To my knowledge, "he" is a she. Smiley

 Embarrassed My apologies to Hiwot

And a very beautiful she at that!
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« Reply #116 on: June 21, 2012, 08:14:20 AM »

For example, the Son is said to have laid down His life freely though He is Elect/Chosen of the Father:

Luke 9:35: This is my Son, my Elect/Chosen One.”
Acts 2:23: "This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death."
John 10:18: "No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord."


I don't think the verses you provide work. Clearly God and the Son have both Free Will and can Will anything they want. "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30) That is quite different than Jesus telling us "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit"
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« Reply #117 on: June 21, 2012, 12:18:13 PM »

For example, the Son is said to have laid down His life freely though He is Elect/Chosen of the Father:

Luke 9:35: This is my Son, my Elect/Chosen One.”
Acts 2:23: "This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death."
John 10:18: "No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord."


I don't think the verses you provide work. Clearly God and the Son have both Free Will and can Will anything they want. "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30) That is quite different than Jesus telling us "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit"

The Father chose the Son and ordained the crucifixion and yet the Son freely laid his life down.

Election and freedom are not polar opposites here, and there is nothing to prove they are anywhere else except late presuppositions which cannot be found in the early fathers.

Neither do all Roman Catholic and Protestant thinkers believe these categories are polar opposites.

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« Reply #118 on: June 22, 2012, 10:52:37 AM »

Thanks Peter and Akimel. I would like to answer Hiwot since he's been so generous in the discussion.
To my knowledge, "he" is a she. Smiley

 Embarrassed My apologies to Hiwot

And a very beautiful she at that!
LOL  yes Peter 'he' is a she  Grin

No need to apologise happy Lutheran, Its no big deal , but thank you all the same.  Grin I would love to continue this discussion with you as well, currently I am looking forward to a quite busy weekend, and I will be back to this God willing, sometime next week. I look forward to reading the interesting discussion that you got going in here with others as well. God bless you my brother.

Jnorm, you are being quite generous  Wink  but I will take it and thank you my brother. laugh
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« Reply #119 on: June 27, 2012, 06:37:43 PM »

Thanks Peter and Akimel. I would like to answer Hiwot since he's been so generous in the discussion.

I personally have not heard Total Depravity used by Lutheran pastors, I also used the search function on the Book of Concord and there are not any hits on it. As a Lutheran we believe where the Word of God is preached and the Sacraments are administered (Baptism = Receive the Holy Spirit - Lords Supper = for the Remission of Sins) we receive Gods free gift of Grace. We do not earn it we can only reject. Without Gods Word and the Holy Spirit we can only do things that apply to this world, as our confession states (Marry, Plow a Field etc.) You can look at the world today and see Atheist and Agnostics that seem to do just fine in a civil sense but they are still separated from God (sin) therefore can't please him in a Spiritual sense.

I guess one way we look at Scripture is it shows Gods relentless pursuit to get us back. Through Noah, Abraham, Moses (giving us the Law), the rest of the Prophets and finally in sending us his only begotten son to die for our sins and send us the Holy Spirit. It's God that comes to us, not us going to God. It's his great love for us that we don't deserve.

Here is a good verse that I think backs up our view of Free Will:

John 15:16
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.


When I was a Lutheran, I was taught that Lutherans hold to "total corruption," but not "total depravity."  I'm not sure I ever grasped the difference, but that's what I was told.
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« Reply #120 on: June 27, 2012, 06:49:11 PM »

I've always thought that the typical Orthodox understanding of synergism approximated pretty closely to what classical Arminians have taught.  If this is not the case, I'd like to see the argument presented, with authorities provided please. 

Father, pretty closely I'd think in a superficial sense, but classical Arminianism is still set in the more juridical framework of most of Western Protestantism.  In a bullet-point sense, I think we'd disagree with Jesus' death satisfying God's honor and justice and imputation of righteousness, but probably agree with most of the rest, but that's more a guess on my part than any real authority, so please take it in that light.

As I see it, Arminianism is Orthodoxy within a more typically Western/Protestant framework.  In my observation, it doesn't work well in that framework, because you end up essentially earning your own salvation by your good work of believing.  Whereas in Eastern theology (and I will certainly defer to you on this -- I'm merely stating my own observation here), there isn't really any "earning" because there is no "merit" and hence no "justice" being "satisfied."  So for us, it's less a matter of who is meriting what and more a matter of participation in and union with the energies of God. 
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« Reply #121 on: June 28, 2012, 08:54:53 AM »

I personally have not heard Total Depravity used by Lutheran pastors, I also used the search function on the Book of Concord and there are not any hits on it.

When I was a Lutheran, I was taught that Lutherans hold to "total corruption," but not "total depravity."  I'm not sure I ever grasped the difference, but that's what I was told.

I had to dig through some books I had and the only one that said anything about Total Depravity basically said the way many explain it (I assume he's talking about Calvinist types) we would consider a Blasphemy against creation.

Here is a quote from the book:

"We do not, strictly speaking, need Grace because we are "weak". God has given us plenty of strength by virtue of creation. What was lost in the Fall was not strength but Faith. Loss of Faith leads to a misuse and distortion of human powers through pride and spiritual pretension."

Gerhard O. Forde 'Where God Meets Man'

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« Reply #122 on: June 28, 2012, 10:14:42 AM »

David Garner, I'd like to ask you a favor.  Would you please write at length on why you do not believe that Orthodox synergism is not a form of semi-Pelagianism.  I know you've addressed this before somewhere.  This doesn't really get addressed in most treatments of synergism.  Of course, the Eastern Churches are not necessarily bound to the canons of the Council of Orange; but I for one think that they say something important for the Church.  I would especially welcome your extended thoughts on this question.  And please feel free to point us to specific authorities and theologians that you think would be helpful.  Thanks.
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« Reply #123 on: June 29, 2012, 02:24:23 AM »

N.T. Wright, an eminent Anglican scholar and bishop, has done some significant work in the area of justification. His work on justification has been met with disdain by Protestants - particularly conservatives and fundamentalists of Calvinist persuasion. Conversely, his work has been welcomed by Catholics and Orthodox. I note that he was invited by the Ecumenical Patriarch to give a lecture on St Paul and eschatology in Istanbul in 2008.

His scholarship shows that what St Paul meant by "justification" was very different to what the Protestants - particularly Luther - thought it meant. For Wright "justification" is a term used to mean how one can tell who belonged to the the family of God, rather than a statement about salvation and against "legalism". This is clearest in the Galatian dispute where the Judaizers were attempting to turn Gentile Christians into Jews. St Paul says "No!". The genuine mark of God's people is no longer the law with its circumcision, dietary laws etc. It is faith in the Messiah that now justifies the people of God. It had nothing to do with people trying "to save themselves" by good moral works as Luther and the Reformers thought. Rather, for St Paul, justification was a redefinition of the people of God around his Christ. So now there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female... faith in Christ now sets apart (i.e. justifies) the people of God not works of the Torah like circumcision and the like. Recall in the letter to the Galatians, St Paul scolds St Peter for withdrawing from eating with Gentile believers - a Jewish custom. But the Messiah has now united humanity around himself - there are no longer any ethnic divisions. And so all who have faith in Christ can have table fellowship with one another.

So, for St Paul the doctrine of Justification, is about ecclesiology rather than soteriology as Protestants have thought. Wright shows this rather clearly and forcefully. Note that he is a high church Anglican. Whatever you may think of the spectrum of Anglicans today, there can be no doubting that many high church Anglicans have the highest regard for the Tradition and history of the Church. Certainly this is true of Wright and his scholarship on the Scriptures and the history of the Church honors the faith that has been believed from the beginning. This is why he has struck accord with Catholics and Orthodox on this topic. I would heartily recommend his book "What St Paul Really Said". This is a meticulous take-down of the traditional Protestant position of justification by faith.
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« Reply #124 on: June 29, 2012, 07:35:37 AM »

Oops, the second sentence should read:  "Would you please write at length on why you believe that Orthodox synergism is not a form of semi-Pelagianism."

David Garner, I'd like to ask you a favor.  Would you please write at length on why you do not believe that Orthodox synergism is not a form of semi-Pelagianism.  I know you've addressed this before somewhere.  This doesn't really get addressed in most treatments of synergism.  Of course, the Eastern Churches are not necessarily bound to the canons of the Council of Orange; but I for one think that they say something important for the Church.  I would especially welcome your extended thoughts on this question.  And please feel free to point us to specific authorities and theologians that you think would be helpful.  Thanks.
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« Reply #125 on: June 29, 2012, 07:41:19 AM »

It is faith in the Messiah that now justifies the people of God.

I would heartily recommend his book "What St Paul Really Said". This is a meticulous take-down of the traditional Protestant position of justification by faith.

I'm confussed by your post. Luther taught we were Justified by Faith alone in Christ alone.

I always get a kick out of people when they try to claim what Paul "really meant". Anyone that reads Paul that doesn't have any preconceptions would clearly understand we are Justified by Faith and not works. Only overly scholarly nonsense would make anyone think differently.

http://www.bookofconcord.org/augsburgconfession.php

12] And lest any one should craftily say that a new interpretation of Paul has been devised by us, this entire matter is supported by the testimonies of the Fathers. For 13] Augustine, in many volumes, defends grace and the righteousness of faith, over against the merits of works. 14] And Ambrose, in his De Vocatione Gentium, and elsewhere, teaches to like effect. For in his De Vocatione Gentium he says as follows: Redemption by the blood of Christ would become of little value, neither would the preeminence of man's works be superseded by the mercy of God, if justification, which is wrought through grace, were due to the merits going before, so as to be, not the free gift of a donor, but the reward due to the laborer.

15] But, although this doctrine is despised by the inexperienced, nevertheless God-fearing and anxious consciences find by experience that it brings the greatest consolation, because consciences cannot be set at rest through any works, but only by faith, when they take the sure ground that for Christ's sake they have a reconciled God. As Paul teaches Rom. 5:1: 16]Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.
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« Reply #126 on: June 29, 2012, 08:46:08 AM »

I always get a kick out of people when they try to claim what Paul "really meant". Anyone that reads Paul that doesn't have any preconceptions..

Yet aren't you, in effect, telling everyone what St. Paul really meant - without any preconceptions, of course?

Truly not trying to be mean or snarky and if I sound that way, I apologize, but it is ironic, is it not? Huh
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« Reply #127 on: June 29, 2012, 09:03:11 AM »

I always get a kick out of people when they try to claim what Paul "really meant". Anyone that reads Paul that doesn't have any preconceptions..

Yet aren't you, in effect, telling everyone what St. Paul really meant - without any preconceptions, of course?

Truly not trying to be mean or snarky and if I sound that way, I apologize, but it is ironic, is it not? Huh

Maybe Smiley

What I'm trying to say is that Paul, over and over says not of works but faith so in my opinion you would need someone to tell you otherwise not to think that's what he meant.
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« Reply #128 on: June 29, 2012, 09:08:46 AM »

I always get a kick out of people when they try to claim what Paul "really meant". Anyone that reads Paul that doesn't have any preconceptions..

Yet aren't you, in effect, telling everyone what St. Paul really meant - without any preconceptions, of course?

Truly not trying to be mean or snarky and if I sound that way, I apologize, but it is ironic, is it not? Huh

Maybe Smiley

What I'm trying to say is that Paul, over and over says not of works but faith so in my opinion you would need someone to tell you otherwise not to think that's what he meant.
Well, Im sure that this is faith alone as well then.
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No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize
 
The point I am trying to make is that you can make anyone say anything. For every time someone says "the bible teaches faith alone" there are many more that say "No, it does not". both have creedence in their own rights. However, how did the early believers live? What the those who learned at the feet of the apostles teach?


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« Reply #129 on: June 29, 2012, 10:23:17 AM »

Happy Lutheran, I have to disagree with you that the meaning of justification in the writings of the Apostle Paul is manifest, obvious, and plain.  It may be obvious to confessional Lutherans (or confessional Reformed), but the simple fact is that many, many New Testament scholars are questioning the Reformation reading of Paul.  N. T. Wright has already been mentioned, but he's just the tip of the iceberg.  See, e.g., Douglas Campbell's massive The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul.  Many critical exegetes, of whatever denominational stripe, simply do not find the older Protestant paradigm persuasive.

I do not know many Orthodox (in fact, I don't know any) who have read the more recent scholarship on Paul and justification.  This is unfortunate, I think. 

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« Reply #130 on: June 29, 2012, 10:47:16 AM »

Happy Lutheran, I have to disagree with you that the meaning of justification in the writings of the Apostle Paul is manifest, obvious, and plain.  It may be obvious to confessional Lutherans

Maybe? To me it seems obvious but it's possible since I've been a Lutheran all my life.

It would be interesting to get a group of 100 agnostics with no knowledge of the Bible and have them read Paul and then get their opinions on it.
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« Reply #131 on: June 29, 2012, 11:09:42 AM »

Happy Lutheran, I have to disagree with you that the meaning of justification in the writings of the Apostle Paul is manifest, obvious, and plain.  It may be obvious to confessional Lutherans

Maybe? To me it seems obvious but it's possible since I've been a Lutheran all my life.

It would be interesting to get a group of 100 agnostics with no knowledge of the Bible and have them read Paul and then get their opinions on it.

I'm not sure where you'd get these agnostics from though - they'd have to come from cultures with no exposure to Christianity at all. Otherwise they'd likely be affected by the expectations of their culture, whatever those may be. For what it's worth, I too was raised Lutheran and I don't think it's obvious (of course if I did I'd be where you are now). I am certain that you are (as I did) reading it through the lens of your tradition just as I now read it through the lens of Holy Tradition.

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« Reply #132 on: June 29, 2012, 11:44:49 AM »

Happy Lutheran, I have to disagree with you that the meaning of justification in the writings of the Apostle Paul is manifest, obvious, and plain.  It may be obvious to confessional Lutherans

Maybe? To me it seems obvious but it's possible since I've been a Lutheran all my life.

It would be interesting to get a group of 100 agnostics with no knowledge of the Bible and have them read Paul and then get their opinions on it.

I'm not sure where you'd get these agnostics from though - they'd have to come from cultures with no exposure to Christianity at all. Otherwise they'd likely be affected by the expectations of their culture, whatever those may be. For what it's worth, I too was raised Lutheran and I don't think it's obvious (of course if I did I'd be where you are now). I am certain that you are (as I did) reading it through the lens of your tradition just as I now read it through the lens of Holy Tradition.

James


Agreed. I was Lutheran all my life as well. As a matter of fact, was on my way to seminary to become an ordained minister until I hit a speed bump. That was Orthodoxy, where I discovered what the historic Church has always preached, taught and believed.
Dear Happy, you have one interpretation of how we are saved and of St. Paul's writings. There are many others. And then there is the historic understanding of the Church.
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« Reply #133 on: June 29, 2012, 01:28:55 PM »

"The essential feature of the Reformation doctrine of justification is that a deliberate and systematic distinction is made between justification and regeneration. Although it must be emphasized that the distinction is purely notional, in that it is impossible to separate the two with the context of the ordo salutis, the essential point is that a notional distinction is made where none had been acknowledged before in the history of Christian doctrine. A fundamental discontinuity was introduced into the western theological tradition where none had ever existed, or ever been contemplated, before. The Reformation understanding of the nature of justification ­ as opposed to its mode ­ must therefore be regarded as a genuine theological novum." (Alister McGrath - Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification. Vol. I. .....Pg. 186)

McGrath's Iustitia Dei is necessary reading here.  He is a strong supporter of the Reformation construal of the sola fide, but he also acknowledges that it represents a significant theological development within Western soteriology. 
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« Reply #134 on: June 29, 2012, 03:27:43 PM »


I discovered what the historic Church has always preached, taught and believed.

Problem here is this is an opinion. The Roman Catholics also believe they have the historic church teachings. You both can't be right but you can both be wrong. You can read all the early fathers writings on CCEL.Org. Earlier in this thread I posted a bunch of quotes that would seem to agree with the Lutheran interpretation of Paul and Justification and I could post many more. You could possibly find different quotes that seem to confirm the current Eastern Churches interpretations and I'd be happy to read them, however this would only prove one of two things:

1.) The Church Fathers were inconsistent.
2.) There was freedom in early Christianity involved in interpretation and theology that no longer exists.

I think option 2 is more likely.
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« Reply #135 on: June 29, 2012, 03:34:13 PM »


I discovered what the historic Church has always preached, taught and believed.

Problem here is this is an opinion. The Roman Catholics also believe they have the historic church teachings. You both can't be right but you can both be wrong. You can read all the early fathers writings on CCEL.Org. Earlier in this thread I posted a bunch of quotes that would seem to agree with the Lutheran interpretation of Paul and Justification and I could post many more. You could possibly find different quotes that seem to confirm the current Eastern Churches interpretations and I'd be happy to read them, however this would only prove one of two things:

1.) The Church Fathers were inconsistent.
2.) There was freedom in early Christianity involved in interpretation and theology that no longer exists.

I think option 2 is more likely.

No more than yours regarding what St. Paul "clearly" means. You can prooftext Scripture and the Church Fathers, take things out of context and find "inconsistencies." So what?
Even if you find one who says one thing and one who says another that does not mean that it was the broad consensus of Church teaching.
That is also not the same thing as proving your option 2.
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« Reply #136 on: June 29, 2012, 04:29:45 PM »


I discovered what the historic Church has always preached, taught and believed.

Problem here is this is an opinion. The Roman Catholics also believe they have the historic church teachings. You both can't be right but you can both be wrong. You can read all the early fathers writings on CCEL.Org. Earlier in this thread I posted a bunch of quotes that would seem to agree with the Lutheran interpretation of Paul and Justification and I could post many more. You could possibly find different quotes that seem to confirm the current Eastern Churches interpretations and I'd be happy to read them, however this would only prove one of two things:

1.) The Church Fathers were inconsistent.
2.) There was freedom in early Christianity involved in interpretation and theology that no longer exists.

I think option 2 is more likely.

Not that I think a lot hangs on this, but I do not believe that one really finds the sola fide and forensic righteousness, as these were understood by the Reformers, in the patristic period.  At least I haven't seen clear and unambiguous instances of them.  Both Luther and Calvin struggled with the lack of patristic support for their respective understandings of justification by faith.  One can certainly find verbal similarities, but the similarities vanish upon deeper analysis.  Hence McGrath's contention that the Reformation construal of justification was a theological novum. 

St Augustine is the critical Church Father here.  Though he clearly taught sola gratia, he did not teach the imputation of righteousness.  Let me quote again from McGrath, this time from his book Reformation Theology:

Quote
Whereas Augustine taught that the sinner is made righteous in justification, Melanchthon taught that he is counted as righteous or pronounced to be righteous. For Augustine, 'justifying righteousness' is imparted; for Melanchthon, it is imputed in the sense of being declared or pronounced to be righteous. Melanchthon drew a sharp distinction between the event of being declared righteous and the process of being made righteous, designating the former 'justification' and the latter 'sanctification' or 'regeneration.' For Augustine, these were simply different aspects of the same thing . . .

The importance of this development lies in the fact that it marks a complete break with the teaching of the church up to that point. From the time of Augustine onwards, justification had always been understood to refer to both the event of being declared righteous and the process of being made righteous. Melanchthon's concept of forensic justification diverged radically from this. As it was taken up by virtually all the major reformers subsequently, it came to represent a standard difference between Protestant and Roman Catholic from then on. (p. 127)

So if the Reformers cannot appeal to Augustine for support, to what other Church Father do we turn? 

Let me also add this:  It is not at all clear to me that though Lutherans, Reformed, and Arminians all assert the imputation of justifying righteousness and the sola fide that they actually mean the same thing by these words.   
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« Reply #137 on: June 29, 2012, 06:46:49 PM »

This thread is getting long, you guys need some more Lutherans  Grin

I'd be happy to look at it but I have not seen anyone in the first few Centuries teach "imputed" or "imparted". The point is if we are Justified by Faith or Faith and Works? There is a ton of evidence of faith not works by Scripture and church fathers, not just Augustine as I listed many and could add many more. That being said Paul says:

Romans 4:22-24
New King James Version (NKJV)
22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,
24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,
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« Reply #138 on: June 29, 2012, 06:49:27 PM »

Faith without good works is dead.

Not everyone who calleth unto Me, Lord, Lord, will get in. Who will get in? Those who do the Lord's work.


We are not saved by our own works, but when our faith bears fruit, enabling us to do the Lord's work.
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« Reply #139 on: June 29, 2012, 06:55:43 PM »

Faith without good works is dead.


We already went over this, Lutherans agree:

"We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone."
Martin Luther
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« Reply #140 on: June 29, 2012, 07:01:51 PM »

Interesting. Okay, then.
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« Reply #141 on: June 29, 2012, 07:31:04 PM »


"We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone."
Martin Luther

I've seen this quoted before, but does anyone know the source for the quote?
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« Reply #142 on: June 29, 2012, 07:37:23 PM »

I personally have not heard Total Depravity used by Lutheran pastors, I also used the search function on the Book of Concord and there are not any hits on it.

When I was a Lutheran, I was taught that Lutherans hold to "total corruption," but not "total depravity."  I'm not sure I ever grasped the difference, but that's what I was told.

I had to dig through some books I had and the only one that said anything about Total Depravity basically said the way many explain it (I assume he's talking about Calvinist types) we would consider a Blasphemy against creation.

Here is a quote from the book:

"We do not, strictly speaking, need Grace because we are "weak". God has given us plenty of strength by virtue of creation. What was lost in the Fall was not strength but Faith. Loss of Faith leads to a misuse and distortion of human powers through pride and spiritual pretension."

Gerhard O. Forde 'Where God Meets Man'



Hi Happy Lutheran, I would appreciate it if you could expound on the  quote from that book. I am kind of confused as to  what it meant by the loss of faith ..... is it saying that is the reason of the fall or that is what we lost as a result of the fall or both?

thanks  Smiley
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« Reply #143 on: June 29, 2012, 09:07:45 PM »

There was a time when I was well acquainted with Lutheran understandings of justification by faith, having studied under Robert Jenson for two years at the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg.  But I admit I've been away from the literature for a good while now. 

But I'd like to suggest this:  the posited conflict between faith and works is a dead end.  It only makes sense within the merit-structure of justification that developed in Latin Christianity in the Middle Ages.  Clearly neither Luther nor Calvin wanted to divorce good works from the life of faith nor did they want to intimate that "faith" (defined as trust in God's promises) is the one "work" we must do to be saved.  So what is the point of the sola fide? 

What Jenson, Forde, and Lindbeck taught me is that the sola fide is a slogan whose purpose is to assert the unconditionality of grace:  we are saved by God's Word spoken to us as the good news of Jesus Christ.  It is this gospel that awakens faith, regenerates the soul, and empowers good works.   If one would understand the specific Lutheran understanding of justification, one must understand that it is predicated on an understanding of the gospel as the unconditional declaration of forgiveness.  Faith is believing and trusting the promise.   
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« Reply #144 on: June 30, 2012, 02:00:01 AM »


"We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone."
Martin Luther

I've seen this quoted before, but does anyone know the source for the quote?
This exact quote may not come from Luther though often attributed to him on the internet (I would be interested in seeing it sourced as well), however it does faithfully describe Luther's teaching, as documented below.

MARTIN LUTHER ON FAITH AND WORKS

"We say that justification is effective without works, not that faith is without works. For that faith which lacks fruit is not an efficacious but a feigned faith.. It is one thing that faith justifies without works; it is another thing that faith exists without works." Luther's Works 34: 175-176.

“For it is impossible for him who believes in Christ, as a just Savior, not to love and to do good. If, however, he does not do good nor love, it is sure that faith is not present. Therefore man knows by the fruits what kind of a tree it is, and it is proved by love and deed whether Christ is in him and he believes in Christ. As St. Peter says in 2 Pet. 1, 10: "Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble," that is, if you bravely practice good works you will be sure and cannot doubt that God has called and chosen you.” Sermons of Martin Luther 1:40

“Even those who gladly hear and understand the doctrine of pure faith do not proceed to serve their neighbor, as though they expected to be saved by faith without works: they see not that their faith is not faith, but a shadow of faith…” Sermons of Martin Luther 1:112

“Now let us turn to the second part, the outer man. Here we shall answer all those who, offended by the word “faith” and by all that has been said, now ask, “If faith does all things and is alone sufficient unto righteousness, why then are good works commanded? We will take our ease and do no works and be content with faith.” I answer: not so, you wicked men, not so.” LW 31:357

“…Paul storms against such people as are numbered among but are not Christians in reality. But if you do not have love, he says, your faith is false and empty, even if it is possible for you to move mountains from place to place. Yet, he does not say that men are justified by works or love. For Paul speaks, as it is necessary for us to speak, in human fashion on account of those who boast of faith without works. True faith is not idle. We can, therefore, ascertain and recognize those who have true faith from the effect or from what follows.” Luther, LW 34:183.

“For this reason the Holy Spirit urges works, that they may be witnesses of faith. In those therefore in whom we cannot realize good works, we can immediately say and conclude: they heard of faith, but it did not sink into good soil. For if you continue in pride and lewdness, in greed and anger, and yet talk much of faith, St. Paul will come and say, 1 Cor. 4:20, look here my dear Sir, "the kingdom of God is not in word but in power." It requires life and action, and is not brought about by mere talk.” Sermons of Martin Luther 2.2:341-342

“No, no; faith is a living and an essential thing, which makes a new creature of man, changes his spirit and wholly and completely converts him. It goes to the foundation and there accomplishes a renewal of the entire man; so, if I have previously seen a sinner, I now see in his changed conduct, manner and life, that he believes. So high and great a thing is faith.” Sermons of Martin Luther 2.2:341

“But here we must take to heart the good example of Christ in that he appeals to his works, even as the tree is known by its fruits, thus rebuking all false teachers, the pope, bishops, priests and monks to appear in the future and shield themselves by his name, saying, "We are Christians;" just as the pope is boasting that he is the vicar of Christ. Here we have it stated that where the works are absent, there is also no Christ. Christ is a living, active and fruit-bearing character who does not rest, but works unceasingly wherever he is. Therefore, those bishops and teachers that are not doing the works of Christ, we should avoid and consider as wolves.” Sermons of Martin Luther 1:93

“For thus God has also introduced works, as though he would say: if you believe, then you have the kingdom of heaven; and yet, in order that you may not deceive yourselves, do the works.” Sermons of Martin Luther 2.2:342

“The fruits will not save you nor make you any friends, but they must show and prove that you are saved and are my friends. Therefore mark this well, that faith alone makes us good; but as faith lies concealed within me, and is a great life, a great treasure, therefore the works must come forth and bear witness of the faith, to praise God's grace and condemn the works of men. You must cast your eyes to the earth and humiliate yourself before everyone, that you may also win your neighbor by your services; for this reason God lets you live, otherwise nothing would be better for you than to die and go to heaven.” Sermons of Martin Luther 2.2:342-343

“We must therefore most certainly maintain that where there is no faith there also can be no good works; and conversely, that there is no faith where there are no good works. Therefore faith and good works should be so closely joined together that the essence of the entire Christian life consists in both.” Martin Luther, quoted in Althaus, Paul, The Theology of Martin Luther, p.246, note 99.


“Works are a certain sign, like a seal on a letter, which make me certain that my faith is genuine. As a result if I examine my heart and find that my works are done in love, then I am certain that my faith is genuine. If I forgive, then my forgiving makes me certain that my faith is genuine and assures me and demonstrates my faith to me.” Luther, in Althaus, ibid, p. 247, note 106

“Good works do not make a good man, but a good man does good works; evil works do not make a wicked man, but a wicked man does evil works.” Luther, LW 31:360

“But this birth properly shows its power in times of temptation and death. There it becomes evident who is born again, and who is not. Then the old light, reason, struggles and wrestles and is loath to leave its fancies and desires, is unwilling to consider and resort to the Gospel, and let go its own light. But those who are born again, or are then being born again, spend their lives in peace and obedience to the Gospel, confide in and cling to the witness of John, and let go, their light, life, property, honor, and all they have. Therefore they come to the eternal inheritance, as real children.” Sermons of Martin Luther 1:213

“Faith is a living, restless thing. It cannot be inoperative. We are not saved by works; but if there be no works, there must be something amiss with faith.” Luther, quoted in Brinton, Here I Stand: The Life of Martin Luther, p. 259.

“Moreover, if one's life is bad, it would be strange indeed if he should preach right; he would always have to preach against himself, which he will hardly do without additions and foreign doctrines. In short, he who does not preach the Gospel, identifies himself as one who is sitting neither on Moses' nor on Christ's seat. For this reason you should do neither according to his words nor according to his works, but flee from him as Christ's sheep do, John 10, 4-5: "And the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but flee from him." But if you wish to know what their seat is called, then listen to David: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, nor standeth in the way of the sinner, nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers, Ps. 1,1. Again: "Shall the throne of wickedness have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by statute?" Ps. 94, 20.” Sermons of Martin Luther 1:95

“Thus faith casts itself on God, and breaks forth and becomes certain through its works. When this takes place a person becomes known to me and to other people. For when I thus break forth I spare neither man nor devil, I cast myself down, and will have nothing to do with lofty affairs, and will regard myself as the poorest sinner on earth. This assures me of my, faith. For this is what it says: "This man went down to his house justified." Thus we attribute salvation as the principal thing to faith, and works as the witnesses of faith. They make one so certain that he concludes from the outward life that the faith is genuine.” Sermons of Martin Luther 2.2:341

“This is what I have often said, if faith be true, it will break forth and bear fruit. If the tree is green and good, it will not cease to blossom forth in leaves and fruit. It does this by nature. I need not first command it and say: Look here, tree, bear apples. For if the tree is there and is good, the fruit will follow unbidden. If faith is present works must follow.” Sermons of Martin Luther 2.2:340-341

“Thus we err on both sides in saying, a person must only believe, then he will neglect to do good works and bring forth good fruits. Again, if you preach works, the people immediately comfort themselves and trust in works. Therefore we must walk upon the common path. Faith alone must make us good and save us. But to know whether faith is right and true, you must show it by your works. God cannot endure your dissembling, for this reason he has appointed you a sermon which praises works, which are only witnesses that you believe, and must be performed not thereby to merit anything, but they should be done freely and gratuitously toward our neighbor.” Sermons of Martin Luther 2.2:342
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« Reply #145 on: June 30, 2012, 02:21:30 AM »

Happy Lutheran, I have to disagree with you that the meaning of justification in the writings of the Apostle Paul is manifest, obvious, and plain.  It may be obvious to confessional Lutherans (or confessional Reformed), but the simple fact is that many, many New Testament scholars are questioning the Reformation reading of Paul.  N. T. Wright has already been mentioned, but he's just the tip of the iceberg.  See, e.g., Douglas Campbell's massive The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul.  Many critical exegetes, of whatever denominational stripe, simply do not find the older Protestant paradigm persuasive.

I do not know many Orthodox (in fact, I don't know any) who have read the more recent scholarship on Paul and justification.  This is unfortunate, I think.  
Here is a good overview of recent contemporary scholarship on justification:
http://katachriston.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/dikaiosyne-theou-the-righteousness-of-god-in-contemporary-biblical-scholarship/

While many conservative confessional Lutherans will likely continue to stick rather close to Luther the vast majority of major Pauline scholars believe he was incorrect on key issues:
http://katachriston.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/did-luther-get-it-wrong-most-major-contemporary-pauline-scholars-say-yes/

There is an increasing dissonance between major classical conservative Protestant trajectories stemming from the Reformation and mainstream biblical scholarship; what is fascinating to see is how often recent scholarly trends fit quite well with paleo-orthodox/patristic thinking.



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« Reply #146 on: June 30, 2012, 08:31:15 AM »

Did Luther get St Paul wrong?   Recent exegesis suggest that he probably did.  But another way to think about this is understand that Luther (and Calvin and Augustine and Aquinas) were asking and answering different questions than the Apostle did.  Robert Jenson reflects on this in his book Unbaptized God:

Quote
In the historic discourse of the church, the phrase "the doctrine of justification" is severely multivocal. The phrase's formulaic use, however, has regularly led into the unstated supposition that it must be univocal, that justification is the caption for some one problem together with its proposed solutions. This is not the case. At least three different questions with their own sets of proposed answers have, at various times, gone under the one title "justification." Confusion would not have ensued if the three questions had been merely unrelated.

At a first locus of doctrine labeled justification, we have the apostle Paul's question "How does God establish his righteousness among us?" together with his and others' labor to answer it. For a second locus labeled "justification" we have Western Augustinianism's several efforts to describe the process of individual salvation, to lay out the factors and steps of the soul's movement from the state of sin to the state of justice. A third locus under the same label—the specifically reforming doctrine of justification—includes the body of teaching that the American Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue called "hermeneutic" or "metatheological" or "proclamatory." This doctrine describes nothing at all, neither God's justice nor the process of our becoming just. It is instead an instruction to those who would audibly or visibly speak the gospel, a rule for preachers, teachers, liturgists, and confessors. This instruction may be formulated: So speak of Christ and of hearers' actual and promised righteousness, whether in audible or visible words, whether by discourse or practice, that what you say solicits no lesser response than faith—or offence.

This hermeneutical doctrine can—and in the sixteenth century did—become a reforming doctrine because of its critical function. For such instruction to pastors will necessarily become polemic whenever the church solicits responses less obligating and energetic than faith, in other words, works.

When Paul's question and that of the reformers are straightforwardly set beside each other, they are not quite the same; nor then have Catholicism and the Reformation been directly in dispute over Paul's problematic. Certainly, were it not for the Pauline presence in the canon, the Western church would not have been concerned with those matters that occasioned the Reformation. What Luther and his colleagues were about, until the indulgence controversy interrupted, was a Pauline renewal of Wittenberg's theological curriculum. Nevertheless, the question to which the reforming doctrine of justification responds is not identical with that to which Paul devoted himself.

I do not say that the exegesis of Paul's doctrine of justification is not disputed; the dispute, however, is not between the confessions. Long sections in dialogue documents of Pauline exegesis about justification rarely contribute to the consensus achieved in them, and some apparent but illusory remaining dissensus may even result from their presence.

The historical relation between the second and third loci of justification is more complex. If patterns of proclamation or practice judged unacceptable by reforming critique are traceable to specific theological opinions, the critique will also attack those opinions. And in the sixteenth century, the reformers made the standard descriptions of the salvation-process the target of such theological polemic.

Some theologians of the Reformation have directed this sort of polemic only against particular late medieval and Tridentine accounts of the movement from sin to righteousness and have proposed their own replacements. Other theologians of the Reformation do not conceive the work of the gospel in the human soul as a process at all, and have thought that Lutheran and Reformed alternatives to late medieval or Tridentine descriptions of the process were intrinsically no more appropriate than those they replaced. But both sorts of Reformation theology were present from the beginning; and Reformation theologians of the more radical sort have yet to persuade more Augustinian colleagues to abandon their enterprise. Moreover, when Protestants do produce descriptions of the salvation-process, these do not notably differ from those currently approved by Roman Catholic theologians and available, if not dominant, at the time of the Reformation. Therefore, the second doctrine of justification is not itself a doctrine that divides Catholicism and the Reformation.

It remains that of the questions about justification only one has stood between Catholicism and the Reformation: Is the reformers' hermeneutical instruction necessary in the church, and is the critique this instruction will surely generate legitimate and needed? And if this question is kept clearly in view, if its focus is not blurred by subliminal identification with other connected but distinct questions, full consensus is now achieved. For whenever this question has been asked in its own right, Catholic participants in the modern dialogues from first to last have answered yes. (pp. 22-24)

If Jens is right, Luther was not proposing a different order of salvation than previously offered; rather, he was proposing a hermeneutical rule for the proclamation and liturgical enactment of the gospel--namely, so proclaim the gospel of Jesus that it generates faith and trust in God.  If understood in this way, a very creative discussion between Lutheranism and Orthodoxy might be possible.  And we Orthodox might learn a thing or two.

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« Reply #147 on: July 01, 2012, 06:41:34 PM »

It is faith in the Messiah that now justifies the people of God.

I would heartily recommend his book "What St Paul Really Said". This is a meticulous take-down of the traditional Protestant position of justification by faith.

I'm confussed by your post. Luther taught we were Justified by Faith alone in Christ alone.

I always get a kick out of people when they try to claim what Paul "really meant". Anyone that reads Paul that doesn't have any preconceptions would clearly understand we are Justified by Faith and not works. Only overly scholarly nonsense would make anyone think differently.

http://www.bookofconcord.org/augsburgconfession.php

12] And lest any one should craftily say that a new interpretation of Paul has been devised by us, this entire matter is supported by the testimonies of the Fathers. For 13] Augustine, in many volumes, defends grace and the righteousness of faith, over against the merits of works. 14] And Ambrose, in his De Vocatione Gentium, and elsewhere, teaches to like effect. For in his De Vocatione Gentium he says as follows: Redemption by the blood of Christ would become of little value, neither would the preeminence of man's works be superseded by the mercy of God, if justification, which is wrought through grace, were due to the merits going before, so as to be, not the free gift of a donor, but the reward due to the laborer.

15] But, although this doctrine is despised by the inexperienced, nevertheless God-fearing and anxious consciences find by experience that it brings the greatest consolation, because consciences cannot be set at rest through any works, but only by faith, when they take the sure ground that for Christ's sake they have a reconciled God. As Paul teaches Rom. 5:1: 16]Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.


My post was trying to show that the way Luther has framed terms like "righteousness" and "justification" within his own context and battles with the church, was simply not what Paul was trying to say in his letters. I don't think anyone would argue for "earning salvation" through good works. That's just not what St Paul is talking about.

Galatians isn't about the moral works of the law by which people were trying to earn their salvation. This is simply a projection Luther put on the text. It is about whether Gentile Christians should observe those aspects of the Torah that mark out Israel as the people of God - like circumcision, which was explicitly mentioned in the text. There isn't any hint against any moral good works at all. And, as I stated in my original post, the text is not about soteriology. It is about ecclesiology - just like most of St Paul's works. Romans has been eggregiously misread by the Reformation. So much so that when Protestants come to a text like Ephesians, which is explicitly about ecclesiology, they want to dismiss it from the Pauline corpus!

So I'll state it again: St Paul does not teach individual salvation by faith alone. Luther's controversies with Rome and his personal circumstances and spiritual struggles are remote to the text of the New Testament. He tried to frame his reading of St Paul in the context of his own circumstances, as if what St Paul was dealing with 1500 years before, was exactly what Luther was dealing with in his own time. And he has simply wanted to read his own story into the text. This is a highly anachronistic way of reading the text. (And this has been the Protestant trend. How many times have we thought that the text is talking about "me" and "my" circumstances? Of course this isn't to say that Scripture is irrelevant - but if you are prone to only read the text in a way that is centred on yourself and your salvation, then you are bound to distort the meaning. That is why Scripture should be read and understood in the context of the whole church.)

Rather, the church and church unity is a key theme in St Paul. Jew plus Gentile. No divisions in the Body of Christ. He is not concerned about individual salvation that is remote from the church. Further, he is concerned about the salvation and renewal of the whole creation. "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;  because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now." This passage is in Romans - the text that sparked the Reformation. How can St Paul talk about the renewal of creation in a text that is meant to be about individual salvation according to Protestants? You cannot read the text consistently if you approach it from Luther or Calvin. In Romans, as in the Gospels, you have the cosmic aspect to the Gospel. The whole universe awaits transfiguration. The Reformation hardly touches on this because it is preoccupied first and foremost with individual salvation. It's all about how "I" can get right with God. Orthodox statements like "my brother is my salvation" are simply foreign to Protestants. So I think Protestant treatments of Scripture are truncated and are actually very simplistic and devoid of full richness of the text.
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« Reply #148 on: July 01, 2012, 08:22:54 PM »

We're just going to have to agree to disagree. Luther was one of the great intellectuals of his day and just because some modern day "scholar" says he didn't understand Paul doesn't make it so. I can and will list many verses from Paul and I don't need to explain what they mean because they are clear. When God wrote the Epistles through Paul's hand he put forth timeless universal messages about Salvation of our souls that don't need decoding.

Romans 1:16-17
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Romans 3:22-28
22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.


Philippians 3 2-9
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh.
3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but rubbish, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith

2 Timothy 1:9
9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Titus 3:5
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost

Anyway I'm getting ready for a week long 4th of July vacation and this thread has run it's course and I'm just repeating points from earlier in most cases. You or whoever else is welcome to have the final word. Thanks to all who participated in a friendly manner.
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« Reply #149 on: July 01, 2012, 09:25:02 PM »

We're just going to have to agree to disagree. Luther was one of the great intellectuals of his day and just because some modern day "scholar" says he didn't understand Paul doesn't make it so. I can and will list many verses from Paul and I don't need to explain what they mean because they are clear. When God wrote the Epistles through Paul's hand he put forth timeless universal messages about Salvation of our souls that don't need decoding.

Romans 1:16-17
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Romans 3:22-28
22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.


Philippians 3 2-9
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh.
3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but rubbish, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith

2 Timothy 1:9
9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Titus 3:5
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost

Anyway I'm getting ready for a week long 4th of July vacation and this thread has run it's course and I'm just repeating points from earlier in most cases. You or whoever else is welcome to have the final word. Thanks to all who participated in a friendly manner.

It just isn't one scholar. We're talking about the tradition of the church over centuries that did not recognise Luther's position as truth. Further, what Wright has said on "justification" and "righteousness" in St Paul is largely consistent with the RCC and EOC understanding. So it isn't simply the "opinion" of one scholar. There is a place for scholarship. And I think the best scholarship always illumines the tradition of the Church. That's what Wright has done on this issue and on many others - particular his seminal work on the resurrection.

On those Biblical quotes:

The Romans text - you didn't bold the word "unto". For St Paul, the Gospel is literally the life, death and resurrection of Christ. The Gospel is a pronouncement of what Christ has done. It is NOT a statement of individual salvation. The Gospel's power is "unto salvation". I.e. Salvation is result of the Gospel. Individual salvation isn't "the" Gospel. In Paul's own words:

"Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,  and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead."

The Gospel is the royal announcement of Christ's victory and Lordship. It's power is "unto salvation" for all who believe. It isn't a statement about how one gets "saved".

The Ephesians text is taken out of context massively. Simply read a few verses more and you'll see that, for St Paul, works are necessary. This false dichotomy Protestants have created between "works" and "faith" is a simple misreading of the text. For St Paul, the phrase "works of the law" predominantly refers to those requirements of the Mosaic law that seperated Jew from Gentile. It was not a statement against the moral good works Jews were performing in order to "save themselves". The Pharisees were not proto-Pelagians. Second temple Judaism was a religion of grace. First century Jews saw Torah keeping as their proper response to God's grace in electing Israel. The problem was that the Torah not only divided Jew from Gentile, it also condemned the Jew. Under the renewed humanity, through faith in Christ, there is no longer Jew and Gentile. There is no longer condemnation under the Torah. This is the point St Paul is making about "justification". Who are the renewed people of God and therefore "justified"? It is the Church. Those who are "justified" are members of God's renewed people. This justification is on the basis of faith in Christ, not "works of the Torah" that marked out old Israel - i.e. circumcision, the food laws etc (the dichotomy Paul points out is NOT faith vs works but, rather, faith vs "works of the Torah"). St Paul could not be more emphatic about the Christian requirement to lead good, moral lives with good works. He speaks out strongly against those who would try to turn the Gentile Christians into Jews through circumcision and other "works of Torah".

Further, there is no systematic distinction between salvation, sanctification, glorification etc as Protestants have tried to frame Paul and other NT writings. These categories overlap and are much more intertwined than what Protestants have traditionally taught. St Athanasius is emphatic. Salvation is union with Christ. The NT writers talk about being "in Christ", "partaking of the Divine nature", "working out our salvation through fear and trembling", "being saved..", "being conformed to the image of Christ" and so on.

It is for these reasons that the Church did not find truth in Luther and Calvin's formulations.
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« Reply #150 on: July 01, 2012, 10:00:24 PM »

1.) The verses from Timothy, Titus, Ephesians are not talking about Old Testament law but works in general.
2.) Like I said, I will just post the verses they explain themselves, you then tried to clarify what they really mean. You just made my point for me.
3.) You can't compare Luther to Calvin since Luther hated Calvins theology.


http://www.bookofconcord.org/augsburgconfession.php
10] Whoever, therefore, trusts that by works he merits grace, despises the merit and grace of Christ, and seeks a way to God without Christ, by human strength, although Christ has said of Himself: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. John 14:6.....27] Furthermore, it is taught on our part that it is necessary to do good works, not that we should trust to merit grace by them, but because it is the will of God. 28] It is only by faith that forgiveness of sins is apprehended, and that, for nothing. 29] And because through faith the Holy Ghost is received, hearts are renewed and endowed with new affections, so as to be able to bring forth good works.

I think you should actually read the Book of Concord, specifically the Augsburg Confession so you understand what Lutherans actually believe.
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« Reply #151 on: July 01, 2012, 10:10:55 PM »

We're just going to have to agree to disagree. Luther was one of the great intellectuals of his day and just because some modern day "scholar" says he didn't understand Paul doesn't make it so.

And St Augustine was the greatest intellectual of his day and without question one of the greatest in the history of the Western Church.  So why should I choose Luther over Augustine, Luther over Aquinas, Luther over Eastern Orthodoxy, or Luther over the growing number of biblical scholars who increasingly question Luther's interpretation of the Apostle Paul?  

I love reading Luther.  I find him invigorating.  The gospel comes alive in his words.  I personally believe that every Orthodox preacher should read his Commentary on Galatians.  Just because Luther may have gotten St Paul wrong on critical points doesn't mean that he does not have a lot to teach us.
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« Reply #152 on: July 01, 2012, 10:25:33 PM »

We're just going to have to agree to disagree. Luther was one of the great intellectuals of his day and just because some modern day "scholar" says he didn't understand Paul doesn't make it so.

And St Augustine was the greatest intellectual of his day and without question one of the greatest in the history of the Western Church.  So why should I choose Luther over Augustine, Luther over Aquinas, Luther over Eastern Orthodoxy, or Luther over the growing number of biblical scholars who increasingly question Luther's interpretation of the Apostle Paul?  

I love reading Luther.  I find him invigorating.  The gospel comes alive in his words.  I personally believe that every Orthodox preacher should read his Commentary on Galatians.  Just because Luther may have gotten St Paul wrong on critical points doesn't mean that he does not have a lot to teach us.

First off I want to say you've been nothing but gracious and friendly and I appreciate your input in this thread. Smiley

Also, Luther was heavily influenced by Augustine and Ambrose. I don't think you should choose Luther over anyone. Last thing I'm looking to do is convert anyone from Orthodox to Lutheran. However I think Luther was right on many issues and scripture and church fathers seem to bear this out. Also, as I said earlier there seemed to be more freedom in differences in theology in the early church that no longer exists.
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« Reply #153 on: July 01, 2012, 10:35:18 PM »

1.) The verses from Timothy, Titus, Ephesians are not talking about Old Testament law but works in general.
2.) Like I said, I will just post the verses they explain themselves, you then tried to clarify what they really mean. You just made my point for me.
3.) You can't compare Luther to Calvin since Luther hated Calvins theology.


http://www.bookofconcord.org/augsburgconfession.php
10] Whoever, therefore, trusts that by works he merits grace, despises the merit and grace of Christ, and seeks a way to God without Christ, by human strength, although Christ has said of Himself: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. John 14:6.....27] Furthermore, it is taught on our part that it is necessary to do good works, not that we should trust to merit grace by them, but because it is the will of God. 28] It is only by faith that forgiveness of sins is apprehended, and that, for nothing. 29] And because through faith the Holy Ghost is received, hearts are renewed and endowed with new affections, so as to be able to bring forth good works.

I think you should actually read the Book of Concord, specifically the Augsburg Confession so you understand what Lutherans actually believe.

1) Good works are never spoken of as bad things by St Paul or any other NT writer. Further, they are a non-negotiable requirement. In Romans and Galatians (the main texts for Luther), it is clear that "works" refers to the Torah (nomos/law). The fact is that the way Protestants have framed the argument has no bearing on what St Paul was saying as it has been understood for centuries in the Church. No one believes that the good works we do actually earns our salvation. This just wasn't the way people before Luther thought about salvation. If the wayward Church really thought that they were trying to "earn salvation" through good works, why do Orthodox monks and lay people continually ask Jesus for mercy (i.e. the Jesus Prayer)?

2) It seems that explanation is needed for Protestants as they overestimate the "perspicuity" of the text. Of course everyone comes to Scripture with a framework through which they interpret it. Pretending that you don't have an interpretative framework does not get around this problem.

3) Luther and Calvin agreed on sola scriptura, which was the source of the their other disagreements! Both insisted on their own interpretations. Where there is no Tradition, Scripture becomes a free for all, which is precisely the the Protestant problem.
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