Author Topic: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?  (Read 541 times)

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Offline TaiKamiya720

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Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« on: September 21, 2017, 03:03:17 PM »
A lot of Protestants attack Orthodoxy on the basis that they think the Orthodox Church believes that salvation is done by faith AND works. Yet many of those same Protestants believe that a real faith in Jesus Christ will cause Him to transform the believer into a God-like person. I know that Orthodoxy believes in "theosis", a process in which a person who puts his faith on Jesus will grow more Christ-like. Also many parts of Scripture, like Romans 12:1-2, speaks about regeneration.
Is it really true that Eastern Orthodox Christianity believes that if somebody really puts his faith on Jesus, that He would transform the guy who put his faith on Jesus into a more holy and God loving creature?
Is there anything from Orthodox canons or Holy Tradition that supports this?
« Last Edit: September 21, 2017, 03:03:41 PM by TaiKamiya720 »

Offline LivenotoneviL

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2017, 08:21:46 PM »
A lot of Protestants attack Orthodoxy on the basis that they think the Orthodox Church believes that salvation is done by faith AND works. Yet many of those same Protestants believe that a real faith in Jesus Christ will cause Him to transform the believer into a God-like person. I know that Orthodoxy believes in "theosis", a process in which a person who puts his faith on Jesus will grow more Christ-like. Also many parts of Scripture, like Romans 12:1-2, speaks about regeneration.
Is it really true that Eastern Orthodox Christianity believes that if somebody really puts his faith on Jesus, that He would transform the guy who put his faith on Jesus into a more holy and God loving creature?
Is there anything from Orthodox canons or Holy Tradition that supports this?

This is a question I would like answered as well.

Offline Indocern

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2017, 08:27:02 PM »
When Holy Spirit possess somebody he is completely new person.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2017, 08:27:19 PM by Indocern »

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2017, 11:28:24 PM »
Theosis is, I think, more properly understood as "oneness with God," which is the goal of faith.  At any rate, the Protestant and Orthodox mindsets define and view "faith" very differently.  We end up not really talking about the same thing, even though we use the same word.  In Protestantism, "faith" often refers to something intellectual or emotional.  In Orthodoxy, faith is life.  But in Orthodoxy, the best way I've found to phrase it is that the "works"--the Sacraments, icons, prayers, crossing, bows, and prostrations--are what faith looks like.

Hopefully that makes sense, though I'm sure there's a better way to flesh those thoughts out.  :)
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Offline TaiKamiya720

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2017, 04:07:09 PM »
Theosis is, I think, more properly understood as "oneness with God," which is the goal of faith.  At any rate, the Protestant and Orthodox mindsets define and view "faith" very differently.  We end up not really talking about the same thing, even though we use the same word.  In Protestantism, "faith" often refers to something intellectual or emotional.  In Orthodoxy, faith is life.  But in Orthodoxy, the best way I've found to phrase it is that the "works"--the Sacraments, icons, prayers, crossing, bows, and prostrations--are what faith looks like.

Hopefully that makes sense, though I'm sure there's a better way to flesh those thoughts out.  :)
Many Protestants actually believe that faith is more than intellectual. However, how its viewed varies between many Protestant traditions. For example, Reformed Christians believe that God changes the hearts of somebody who truly has faith in him. The Arminian and Holiness movement's view faith as being sanctified, meaning that God changes someone who chooses to have faith in Christ. God them makes the believer just like God, separate from the world. So the Holiness movement's view of faith and sanctification is similar to the "theosis" of Orthodox Christianity.
So in the end, what Orthodox and many Protestants believe about faith and regeneration is pretty much the same: If somebody truly has faith in Christ, God will regenerate that person, so that he/she would be more like God.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 04:11:09 PM by TaiKamiya720 »

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2017, 04:10:27 PM »
A lot of Protestants attack Orthodoxy on the basis that they think the Orthodox Church believes that salvation is done by faith AND works. Yet many of those same Protestants believe that a real faith in Jesus Christ will cause Him to transform the believer into a God-like person. I know that Orthodoxy believes in "theosis", a process in which a person who puts his faith on Jesus will grow more Christ-like. Also many parts of Scripture, like Romans 12:1-2, speaks about regeneration.
Is it really true that Eastern Orthodox Christianity believes that if somebody really puts his faith on Jesus, that He would transform the guy who put his faith on Jesus into a more holy and God loving creature?
Is there anything from Orthodox canons or Holy Tradition that supports this?

Yeah. Pretty much everything written about baptism and the eucharist talk about this.
Quote
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- from The King of Ireland's Son, by Padraic Colum

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2017, 12:25:05 AM »
Ahhhhh, faith vs. works topic. We meet again, old frienemy...


A thought occurred to me the other day: a whole lot of this particular rigamarole seems to only come up in the discussion of edge cases. Ie. what is the status of somebody who claims the name of Christ and yet seems completely uninterested in actually participating in the Christian life? It seems to me that both Protestants and Orthodox can agree that most people who are (assuming they have the right doctrine and the right church, at least) actually trying to some extent- going to services, struggling with their sins, saying their prayers- even if they often backslide are probably fine with God even if they don't meet some nebulous "has works" standard. The effort (and dare I say, the sincerity) is what is important.

The two traditions mostly seem to differ on the fate of the nominals. The Orthodox response seems to be "they're probably dead, sorry" whereas I think Luther and Calvin hold out some hope that their bare intellectual assent to the Gospel can still count as enough faith to save them. Of course, in a society where the nominals seem to dwarf the committed, it's highly understandable that their status would get a lot of focus (if only from people worrying about their nominal Christian relations, like I know I do sometimes).

So, I think in practice, Protestants and Orthodox basically share the same view of salvation of those who are willing to act in good faith (no apology for the pun).

Of course, I could be entirely off base here and/or unhelpful. So, sorry for that if it's the case.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2017, 12:26:29 AM by Volnutt »
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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2017, 12:35:57 AM »
Welcome back Volnutt hope you are doing well.
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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2017, 01:14:41 AM »
Welcome back Volnutt hope you are doing well.

Thanks  :) I'm doing pretty good. I'll make a thread about it soon.
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2017, 09:02:56 AM »
Welcome back Volnutt hope you are doing well.

Indeed!
Quote
“A goose to hatch the Crystal Egg after an Eagle had half-hatched it! Aye, aye, to be sure, that’s right,” said the Old Woman of Beare. “And now you must go find out what happened to it. Go now, and when you come back I will give you your name.”
- from The King of Ireland's Son, by Padraic Colum

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2017, 02:31:19 AM »
Welcome back Volnutt hope you are doing well.

Indeed!

Thanks, man. You've always been one of my favs here.
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Offline Agabus

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2017, 12:03:37 PM »
Ahhhhh, faith vs. works topic. We meet again, old frienemy...
This is where I think folks in the Protestant world get it wrong, pitting the ideas against each other. Even if you want to go strictly Sola Fide, I feel like the discussion should be framed as faith and [how it relates to] works, not faith versus works.

Even though I don't love the Russian piety of must pray for tears, I've always thought the morning prayer to Jesus from the Jordanville (which was lifted from one of the hours) is instructive in the Orthodox view of faith and works:

Quote from: the morning prayers
O my plenteously merciful and all merciful God, Lord Jesus Christ, through Thy great love Thou didst come down and become incarnate so that Thou mightest save all. And again, O Saviour. save me by Thy grace, I pray Thee. For if Thou shouldst save me for my works, this would not be grace or a gift, but rather a duty; yea, Thou Who art great in compassion and ineffable in mercy. For he that believeth in Me, Thou hast said, O my Christ, shall live and never see death. If, then, faith in Thee saveth the desperate, behold, I believe, save me, for Thou art my God and Creator. Let faith instead of works be imputed to me, O my God, for Thou wilt find no works which could justify me. But may my faith suffice instead of all works, may it answer for, may it acquit me, may it make me a partaker of Thine eternal glory. And let Satan not seize me and boast, O Word, that he hath torn me from Thy hand and fold. But whether I desire it or not, save me, O Christ my Saviour,! forestall me quickly, quickly, for I perish. Thou art my God from my mother's womb. Vouchsafe me, O Lord, to love Thee now as fervently as I once loved sin itself, and also to work for Thee without idleness, diligently, as I worked before for deceptive Satan. But supremely shall I work for Thee, my Lord and God, Jesus Christ, all the days of my life, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2017, 12:04:32 PM by Agabus »
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Offline youssef

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2017, 01:17:57 PM »
Protestant see the faith as a gift not as something intelectual. When you go to a Protesant meeting and hear why people become beleiever no one talk about intelectual believe.
Here is also my problem with the idea that salvation is by faith alone, so if really faith is a gift, your live will change according to this faih. Most protestant do charity and preach(more then catholics and orthodox) and when you speak to a protestant he will talk to you about how his life change because of this faith.  So the idea of salvatiation by faith alone can be accepted in that way, alsow how protestant view the sin is different.



Offline Hinterlander

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2017, 02:16:06 PM »
Orthodox venerate Saints who are persons known definitively to have experienced theosis and have a life and works that testify to this transformation.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2017, 02:40:25 PM »
A lot of Protestants attack Orthodoxy on the basis that they think the Orthodox Church believes that salvation is done by faith AND works. Yet many of those same Protestants believe that a real faith in Jesus Christ will cause Him to transform the believer into a God-like person. I know that Orthodoxy believes in "theosis", a process in which a person who puts his faith on Jesus will grow more Christ-like. Also many parts of Scripture, like Romans 12:1-2, speaks about regeneration.
Is it really true that Eastern Orthodox Christianity believes that if somebody really puts his faith on Jesus, that He would transform the guy who put his faith on Jesus into a more holy and God loving creature?
Is there anything from Orthodox canons or Holy Tradition that supports this?

"Protestant" is an extraordinarily large and diverse category. However, in evangelical Protestantism the tendency is to discuss salvation as God imputing righteousness to the human being, who himself is permanently fallen by nature. Christ compels his Father to this legal expedience by his own overwhelming righteousness, including his willing death. At no point is the worthiness of man -- even that he be made worthy -- a consideration. Salvation of man is a process confined within the godhead, then; except, of course, that its disposal is of acute concern to man, who, however, can do nothing at all but plead defenselessly to be spared. This really is nothing remotely like theosis.
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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2017, 07:20:13 PM »
Ahhhhh, faith vs. works topic. We meet again, old frienemy...
This is where I think folks in the Protestant world get it wrong, pitting the ideas against each other. Even if you want to go strictly Sola Fide, I feel like the discussion should be framed as faith and [how it relates to] works, not faith versus works.

Well, like I said, seems to me it all tends to come down to edge cases. Can the hypothetical person who has faith but no works (or not enough works, as St. Philaret of Moscow seems to say) be saved? The Orthodox response looks like "no," the Protestant response ranges from "yes" (Free Grace) to "no" (Lordship Salvation) to "maybe, why do you care so much?"

Even though I don't love the Russian piety of must pray for tears, I've always thought the morning prayer to Jesus from the Jordanville (which was lifted from one of the hours) is instructive in the Orthodox view of faith and works:

Quote from: the morning prayers
O my plenteously merciful and all merciful God, Lord Jesus Christ, through Thy great love Thou didst come down and become incarnate so that Thou mightest save all. And again, O Saviour. save me by Thy grace, I pray Thee. For if Thou shouldst save me for my works, this would not be grace or a gift, but rather a duty; yea, Thou Who art great in compassion and ineffable in mercy. For he that believeth in Me, Thou hast said, O my Christ, shall live and never see death. If, then, faith in Thee saveth the desperate, behold, I believe, save me, for Thou art my God and Creator. Let faith instead of works be imputed to me, O my God, for Thou wilt find no works which could justify me. But may my faith suffice instead of all works, may it answer for, may it acquit me, may it make me a partaker of Thine eternal glory. And let Satan not seize me and boast, O Word, that he hath torn me from Thy hand and fold. But whether I desire it or not, save me, O Christ my Saviour,! forestall me quickly, quickly, for I perish. Thou art my God from my mother's womb. Vouchsafe me, O Lord, to love Thee now as fervently as I once loved sin itself, and also to work for Thee without idleness, diligently, as I worked before for deceptive Satan. But supremely shall I work for Thee, my Lord and God, Jesus Christ, all the days of my life, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Maybe I'm not looking close enough, but there doesn't seem to be anything there that's really incompatible with sola fide. Even the most crypto-antinomian free gracer would say you should want to do good works.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2017, 07:23:57 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2017, 08:30:54 PM »
The prayer specifically teaches that God is duty-bound to accept the good works of man for salvation. Maybe you skimmed just a little too breezily before replying.
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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2017, 02:11:42 AM »
The prayer specifically teaches that God is duty-bound to accept the good works of man for salvation. Maybe you skimmed just a little too breezily before replying.

Most Protestants believe that, too. But since they also believe that perfect obedience is impossible, it remains only a theoretical possibility. And that's where grace through faith comes in.

The author of the prayer appears to share this conviction or something similar. Hence why the prayer goes on to say (emphasis mine):

Quote
Let faith instead of works be imputed to me, O my God, for Thou wilt find no works which could justify me. But may my faith suffice instead of all works, may it answer for, may it acquit me, may it make me a partaker of Thine eternal glory.
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Offline Indocern

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2017, 02:28:30 AM »
In my opinion you can be transformed into follow immortal groups

1) vampires
2) christians with immortality
3) witches
4) saints
5) angels

For the first 3 it is easy to not have perfect obedience. The last two are equal ot each other and require perfect obedience.
I don't know nothing about monks but I think there is no heaven and hell.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 02:36:31 AM by Indocern »

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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2017, 02:39:44 AM »
Pretty sure the Orthodox position is that 2 and 4 are the same and that Saints are not sinless in this life. I could of course be wrong.
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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2017, 04:39:02 AM »
Yea, if you take the time to explore and consider Orthodoxy.
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Re: Does Orthodox Christianity believe in regenerative transformation?
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2017, 02:46:39 PM »
Pretty sure the Orthodox position is that 2 and 4 are the same and that Saints are not sinless in this life. I could of course be wrong.

Indocern would make anyone right by contrast. Seriously, tho, yes of course you're right.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 02:46:54 PM by Porter ODoran »
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy