Author Topic: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?  (Read 952 times)

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Offline maneki_neko

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"Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« on: January 08, 2017, 10:40:00 AM »
My husband and I are heavy Inquirers. Due to no OC in our location, we have continued to attend Sunday morning service at our "home-for-now" church. Typically I take a bunch of notes about what the pastor is teaching and then compare as best I can to what the EO teach.

Today he gave a sermon heavily peppered with the phrase "covenant relationship" (Calvinist?) and went on to explain how it is the basis for how our relationship with God works and it's basically a tit for tat thing; "If you (man) do A, I (God) will do B." The phrase was something I had heard tossed around growing up but never gave two thoughts about before exploring EO. Something about it now seems jarring to me, but I'm not sure if that's because I've misunderstood Orthodox thought regarding the nature of our relationship with Christ or what.

I'd appreciate it if those of you with more education regarding the Protestant definition of this could help me understand A. Is that really what he's saying? and B. Do the Orthodox believe in such a thing as "covenant relationship"? Or rather, is there something called "covenant relationship" with a different definition?

Thanks!
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2017, 04:28:13 AM »
There are covenants, but not the strange equal contracts envisioned by Calvinists. As for relationship, someone once said: Individuals relate, persons commune.

While things may go well for the vassal if it keeps the covenant, and badly if it breaks the covenant, the king remains faithful to the covenant regardless. If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 04:31:03 AM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2017, 07:14:52 AM »
My husband and I are heavy Inquirers. Due to no OC in our location,

Where is your location?
The red and blue dots are Orthodox churches in west Japan:


SEE: http://www.orthodox-jp.com/westjapan/English-index.htm

Here is a full list of Orthodox churches in Japan:
https://orthodoxwiki.org/List_of_parishes_in_Japan

Have you heard of Orthodox Confession of Samurai movie?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHs08x66cHY

ALSO:
http://www.orthodoxjapan.jp/area-higashi.html
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 07:22:46 AM by rakovsky »
The ocean, impassable by men, and the world beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. ~ I Clement 20

Offline maneki_neko

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Re: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2017, 08:09:16 PM »
There are covenants, but not the strange equal contracts envisioned by Calvinists. As for relationship, someone once said: Individuals relate, persons commune.

Thank you for that explanation. I'll be looking for additional Church sources to learn more about the difference.

Where is your location?

Rakovsky, thank you for concern over our spiritual health. As it happens, we live in that western olive green prefecture on the map without a dot. Additionally, the blue dots are mission parishes which operate infrequently (perhaps once every 3 months the priest from Osaka comes down). So ironically we are in the one place in Japan (I can think of) where it takes 4 hours of travel one way in either direction to attend a parish on Sunday morning.

As for the film, we would love to see it but I can't seem to find it on Amazon. Do you know where we could get a copy with English subtitles?
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 08:10:42 PM by maneki_neko »
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2017, 08:31:03 PM »
There are covenants, but not the strange equal contracts envisioned by Calvinists. As for relationship, someone once said: Individuals relate, persons commune.

Thank you for that explanation. I'll be looking for additional Church sources to learn more about the difference.
Also the difference between the legalistic contract and covenant, something Calvin couldn't grasp. It's not a quid pro quo, especially as we have no quo to bring to the table. II Timothy 2:11-13.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline rakovsky

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Re: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2017, 09:04:13 PM »
As for the film, we would love to see it but I can't seem to find it on Amazon. Do you know where we could get a copy with English subtitles?
Do a google video search or click this link below and then look for the 1 hour 40 min. video:
https://www.google.com/search?q=orthodox+confession+samurai&num=100&source=lnms&tbm=vid&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj4x6fAsLbRAhUM5yYKHU-0ATQQ_AUICSgC&biw=1366&bih=635

It's on youtube for free.

I could post the Youtube link directly on OC.net, but I don't know if the moderators would like that because of copyright issues.
The ocean, impassable by men, and the world beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. ~ I Clement 20

Offline Hinterlander

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Re: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2017, 09:11:24 PM »
Calvinists believe in a covenant of Grace in that ultimately Christ himself fulfilled the old covenant by dying on the Cross.  Sin cursed humanity was ultimately unable to live up to the demands of the covenants of the OT.  Christ at the Last Supper declares a "new covenant" in His blood which is what Christians live under today. A covenantal understanding lies behind infant baptism practiced by many Calvinists - it is also related to the federal vision which has led some Presbyterians to also begin communing children.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2017, 09:22:45 PM »
Maneki,
1.  You say you are in a green olive space with no dot, but I see four green ones with no dots, so which one do you mean?

2.
the blue dots are mission parishes which operate infrequently (perhaps once every 3 months the priest from Osaka comes down).
I definitely sympathize. Having a service near you once every three months better than nothing, which is what people in some countries of the world get.

3. You say you are four hours away. I am not sure where you are, but on Google Maps it's 3 hours from Ube to Kumamoto and 2 and a half from Ube to Okayama. That's about as far as you can get from one of the weekly performing red dots on the map.
https://www.google.com/search?q=orthodox+confession+samurai&num=100&source=lnms&tbm=vid&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj4x6fAsLbRAhUM5yYKHU-0ATQQ_AUICSgC&biw=1366&bih=635

Transportation instructions made easy:

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Okayama,+Okayama+Prefecture,+Japan/Ube,+Yamaguchi+Prefecture,+Japan/@33.8377239,131.160416,8z/data=!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x355405712ffba04f:0x10c3802660695766!2m2!1d133.9195019!2d34.6551456!1m5!1m1!1s0x3544802abd239d3d:0xa1d6c8490e2ef482!2m2!1d131.2467858!2d33.9515087

You can make a special pilgrimage a few other times a year to the places 2.5 hours away. A decent number of Orthodox make pilgrimages occasionally.  And it's common for people to visit relatives a few times a year. You can combine it with a vacation travel for a weekend so its not inconvenient.

So that comes out to 4 times a year at mission parishes and 4 times a year at weekly ones. That's once every month and a half. That's probably not uncommon attendance for Orthodox worldwide either, but not ideal.

Your decision of course, I am not giving you a hard time, just saying that a real opportunity for almost monthly attendance is there.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 09:25:11 PM by rakovsky »
The ocean, impassable by men, and the world beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. ~ I Clement 20

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2017, 09:36:34 PM »
Her inquiry was about covenant relationships, not about scheduling transportation, rakovsky.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2017, 09:44:13 PM »
Her inquiry was about covenant relationships, not about scheduling transportation, rakovsky.
Not being able to go to church at all seems pretty crucial. Do you think I am being rude by trying to find a parish for an inquirer near her?

AFAIK, the basic concept of covenantalism is one of the theories found in Orthodoxy about our relationship with God.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 09:45:05 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline mcarmichael

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Re: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2017, 09:58:10 PM »

Have you heard of Orthodox Confession of Samurai movie?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHs08x66cHY


It's so modern..
"Now, don't allow yourself to be fatigued beyond your powers; there's a amiable bein'.
Consider what you owe to society, and don't let yourself be injured by too much work.
For the sake o' your feller-creeturs, keep yourself as quiet as you can; only think what a loss you would be!"
- The very memorable words of Samuel Veller

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Offline maneki_neko

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Re: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2017, 06:37:02 AM »
3. You say you are four hours away. I am not sure where you are, but on Google Maps it's 3 hours from Ube to Kumamoto and 2 and a half from Ube to Okayama. That's about as far as you can get from one of the weekly performing red dots on the map.

Hi Rakovsky, the times you're referring to is a local + shinkansen train time. From station to station. Doesn't include travel time to/from stations. The second thing to be aware of it it costs ~$200 USD per adult for a round trip. That means $400 every week to reach an active parish. This is not financially feasible for our family. We have arranged our travel around being able to attend an active parish, and go to the closest mission when a priest is available (which appears to be about twice a year our closest mission is served). We will be returning to the US in a few months, so at that time we will have access to a parish. If it makes you feel better, we have initiated a local Typika group and attend faithfully in addition to the Protestant service.

Thank you for the link to the movie; we're very interested in watching it!

Her inquiry was about covenant relationships, not about scheduling transportation, rakovsky.

Don't come to my rescue; I'm already a lurking fan of your forum contributions and this will just exacerbate the problem.  ;D
[/quote]

Thank you for that explanation. I'll be looking for additional Church sources to learn more about the difference.
[/quote]
Also the difference between the legalistic contract and covenant, something Calvin couldn't grasp. It's not a quid pro quo, especially as we have no quo to bring to the table. II Timothy 2:11-13.
[/quote]

A covenantal understanding lies behind infant baptism practiced by many Calvinists - it is also related to the federal vision which has led some Presbyterians to also begin communing children.

Yes, I am familiar with this understanding of it and it makes sense to me. I heard Catholics explain infant baptism in the same way. Is it accurate to say that Orthodox are in agreement with this kind of covenant?

Also the difference between the legalistic contract and covenant, something Calvin couldn't grasp. It's not a quid pro quo, especially as we have no quo to bring to the table. II Timothy 2:11-13.

Okay yes, this is kind of thing I'm looking for. How can we discern the difference? Do you have any kind of reading on the subject to recommend? Thank you ialmisry.

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Offline maneki_neko

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Re: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2017, 06:37:56 AM »
3. You say you are four hours away. I am not sure where you are, but on Google Maps it's 3 hours from Ube to Kumamoto and 2 and a half from Ube to Okayama. That's about as far as you can get from one of the weekly performing red dots on the map.

Hi Rakovsky, the times you're referring to is a local + shinkansen train time. From station to station. Doesn't include travel time to/from stations. The second thing to be aware of it it costs ~$200 USD per adult for a round trip. That means $400 every week to reach an active parish. This is not financially feasible for our family. We have arranged our travel around being able to attend an active parish, and go to the closest mission when a priest is available (which appears to be about twice a year our closest mission is served). We will be returning to the US in a few months, so at that time we will have access to a parish. If it makes you feel better, we have initiated a local Typika group and attend faithfully in addition to the Protestant service.

Thank you for the link to the movie; we're very interested in watching it!

Her inquiry was about covenant relationships, not about scheduling transportation, rakovsky.

Don't come to my rescue; I'm already a lurking fan of your forum contributions and this will just exacerbate the problem.  ;D


A covenantal understanding lies behind infant baptism practiced by many Calvinists - it is also related to the federal vision which has led some Presbyterians to also begin communing children.

Yes, I am familiar with this understanding of it and it makes sense to me. I heard Catholics explain infant baptism in the same way. Is it accurate to say that Orthodox are in agreement with this kind of covenant?

Also the difference between the legalistic contract and covenant, something Calvin couldn't grasp. It's not a quid pro quo, especially as we have no quo to bring to the table. II Timothy 2:11-13.

Okay yes, this is kind of thing I'm looking for. How can we discern the difference? Do you have any kind of reading on the subject to recommend? Thank you ialmisry.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2017, 06:38:27 AM by maneki_neko »
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2017, 02:44:14 PM »
Her inquiry was about covenant relationships, not about scheduling transportation, rakovsky.

Don't come to my rescue; I'm already a lurking fan of your forum contributions and this will just exacerbate the problem.  ;D

I'm a cat riding a flaming unicorn. It's what I do.  :P
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Offline Hinterlander

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Re: "Covenant Relationship" and Orthodox Theology?
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2017, 06:59:53 PM »
A covenantal understanding lies behind infant baptism practiced by many Calvinists - it is also related to the federal vision which has led some Presbyterians to also begin communing children.

Yes, I am familiar with this understanding of it and it makes sense to me. I heard Catholics explain infant baptism in the same way. Is it accurate to say that Orthodox are in agreement with this kind of covenant?

I probably wouldn't phrase it that way. There may be some aspects of a Reformed understanding of covenant that can be seen as reminiscent of the Orthodox Church but are ultimately compromised by heterodoxy. For example, Reformed folks embrace the idea of an "invisible church" and reject the idea that there could be a visible Church in continuity with the apostles. In my mind, God's promises are fulfilled in the life of the Orthodox Church and cannot be abstracted into the idea of the invisible church.