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Author Topic: Grace Alone/Faith Alone  (Read 7439 times) Average Rating: 0
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Happy Lutheran
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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The logical solution to this is that St Paul and the Evangelists drew from the same oral tradition or unpublished written source.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:

Quote
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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« 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

Quote
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.

Quote
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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