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Author Topic: I believe in Universal Reconciliation  (Read 21716 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 03, 2005, 03:25:01 AM »

It is rather strange to believe that Gandhi is damned to hell for eternity for simply being a Hindu.

Universal Reconciliation Understood by Early Christians

The truth that a salvation in Christ awaits all was the prime message of Christianity as revealed in the New Testament. But what about the people who followed on after the deaths of the apostles? Did they maintain this fundamental doctrinal belief? The answer is a decided YES. Among several important Christian scholars and theologians over the following four hundred years, universal salvation was publicly advocated and taught. First note the remarks of Iranaeus, the Bishop of Lyons (c.130 to 200 C.E.)

“Wherefore also He drove him out of Paradise, and removed him far from the tree of life, not because He envied him the tree of life, ... but because He pitied him [and did not desire], that he should continue a sinner for ever, nor that the sin which surrounded him should be immortal, and evil interminable and irremediable. But He set a bound to his [state of] sin, by interposing death, and thus causing sin to cease, putting an end to it by the dissolution of the flesh, which should take place in the earth, so that man, ceasing at length to live to sin, and dying to it, might begin to live to God.”

• Against Heretics, Book III, Chapter. 23.6
Note also the remarks of Clement of Alexandria (c.190 C.E.). There can be no doubt of his understanding that all in the universe will one day obtain their salvation in Christ which was given before the world’s foundation.
“How is He Savior and Lord, if not the Savior and Lord of all? But He is the Savior of those who have believed, because of their wishing to know, and the Lord of those who have not believed, till being enabled to confess Him, they obtain the peculiar ... boon which comes by Him ... For all things are arranged with a view to the salvation of the universe by the Lord of the universe, both generally and particularly.”

• The Stromata, or Miscellanies, Book vii, chapter 2
[Quoting 1 Timothy 4:10] “To speak comprehensively, all benefit appertaining to life, in its highest reason, proceeding from the Sovereign God, the Father who is over all, consummated by the Son, who also on this account ‘is Savior of all men,’ says the apostle, ‘but especially of those who believe.’”

• The Stromata, or Miscellanies, Book vi, chapter 17
“Christ’s only work is the salvation of mankind.”

• The Stromata, or Miscellanies, Book ix
Let us now look at the linguist and scholar Origen (c.210 C.E.). All historians know he was an avowed believer in universal salvation for the human race and all intelligent beings in the universe.
“When the Son is said to be subject to the Father, the perfect restoration of the whole creation is signified, so also, when the enemies are said to be subjected to the Son of God, the salvation of the conquered and the restoration of the lost is in that understood to consist.”

• De prin. iii.5
“But those who have been removed from their primal state of blessedness [innocence] have not been removed irrecoverably, but ... being remolded by salutary discipline and principles, they may recover themselves, and be restored to their condition of happiness.”

• De prin. i.vi
We also have the witness of Victorinus (360 C.E.),
“Christ will regenerate all things, as he created all things. By the life that is in Him, all things will be cleansed and return into age-lasting life. Christ is to subject all things to Himself. When this shall have been accomplished, God will be all things, because all things will be full of God.”

• Adv.Arium Lib. i & iii
There was also Hilary, known as “the leading theologian of his day” (X.LeBachelet, St. Hilarie DTC. 6.2413—60).
“This seemed good to God to manifest in Christ the mystery of His will, namely, that He should be merciful to all who had strayed, whether in heaven or in earth (fallen angels and mankind). Every being, then, is being restored to the place in which he was created, by learning the knowledge of Christ.”

• In Eph. iii.9—10
Even Titus, the Bishop of Bostra in 364 C.E. professed an explicit universalism in salvation. He showed that the fire of hell is really remedial.
 
[ Because some came to believe the erroneous doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul—which the Bible does not support— some invented what is called “Purgatory.” There is, however, not a word in the Bible about such a transient place after death for the cleansing of errors. Yet the punishment of the wicked is intended to be corrective. The word for “punishment” in Matthew 25:46 is kolasis which in Greek literature means correction. ]
 
This was understood by early Christians. Titus, Bishop of Bostra, knew that the biblical teaching of “hell” signified a place of correction and discipline, which did not last for eternity!

“The very pit itself is a place of torments and of torments and of punishments, but is not eternal. It was made that it might be a medicine and yield help to those who sin. Sacred are the stripes which are remedies and helps to those who have strayed.”

• Lib. i, ch.xxxii
Gregory of Nyssa (380 C.E.) was one who proclaimed a universal redemption in Christ for all creatures within the entirety of the universe. Quoting Philippians 2:10 where Paul said every knee would one day bow and every tongue confess the Lordship of Christ to the glory of God, Gregory comments,

“In this passage is signified, that when evil has been obliterated in the long circuits of the ages, nothing shall be left outside the limits of good; but even from them [all creatures made by God] shall be unanimously uttered the confession of the Lordship of Christ.”

• De an.et.resurrect.
“For it is evident that God will, in truth, be ‘in all’ then when there shall be no evil seen in anything. ... When every created being is at harmony with itself and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; when every creature shall have been made one body, then shall the body of Christ be subject to the Father. ... Now the body of Christ, as I have said often before, is the whole of humanity. ... When it says that God’s enemies shall be subjected to God, this is meant that the power of evil shall be taken away, and they who, on account of their disobedience were called God’s enemies, shall by subjection be made God’s friends. When, then, all who were once God’s enemies, shall have been made His footstool (because they will then receive in themselves the divine imprint), when death shall have been destroyed; in the subjection of all, which is not servile humility, but immortality and Christ is said by the apostle Paul to be made subject to God.”

• Orat. in I Cor. xv.28
Read carefully this extended but beautiful passage by Gregory,
“Hence, another meaning of subjection is understood by Paul as opposite to the common one. The exposition of the term 'subjection' as used here does not mean the forceful, necessary subjection of enemies as is commonly meant; while on the other hand, salvation is clearly interpreted by subjection. ... Paul mentions this in his Epistle to the Romans: ‘For if we have been enemies, we have been reconciled to God’ [Rom 5.10]. Here Paul calls subjection reconciliation, one term indicating salvation by another word. For as salvation is brought near to us by subjection, Paul says in another place, ‘Being reconciled, we shall be saved in this life’ [Rom 5.10]. Therefore, Paul says that such enemies are to be subjected to God and the Father; death no longer is to have authority. This is shown by Paul saying, ‘Death will be destroyed,’ a clear statement that the power of evil will be utterly removed: persons are called enemies of God by disobedience, while those who have become the Lord's friends are persuaded by Paul saying, ‘We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: Be reconciled to God’ [2Cor 6.20]. ...
 
When all enemies have become God's footstool, they [the enemies] will receive a trace of divinity in themselves. Once death has been destroyed — for if there are no persons who will die, not even death would exist — then we will be subjected to him; but this is not understood by some sort of servile humility. Our subjection, however, consists of a kingdom, incorruptibility and blessedness living in us; this is Paul's meaning of being subjected to God. Christ perfects his good in us by himself, and effects in us what is pleasing to him. According to our limited understanding of Paul's great wisdom which we received, we have only understood part of it.

• Orat. in I Cor. xv.28
About the same time lived Diodorus of Tarsus. He was equally assured the Scripture taught the universal reconciliation of all to Christ—and that it would be accomplished through the power of Jesus Christ.
“For the wicked there are punishments, not perpetual, but they are to be tormented for a certain brief period according to the amount of malice in their works. They shall therefore suffer punishment for a short space, but immortal blessedness without end awaits them. The resurrection, therefore, is to be regarded as a blessing not only to the good but also to the evil.”

• De aecon.
Then there was Theodore of Mopsuestia (a contemporary of Diodorus), who was the leader of the Christian university of Antioch. He was called by those who knew him as “the Master of the East because of his theological eminence.” His remarks are very pertinent.
“That in the world to come, those who have done evil all their life long, will be made worthy of the sweetness of the Divine bounty. For never would Christ have said ‘Until thou hast paid the uttermost farthing,’ unless it were possible for us to be cleansed when we have paid our debts. ... Who is so great a fool as to think that so great a blessing [eternal life in Christ] can be to those who let arise [in their hearts] the occasion of endless torment.”

• Frag. iv
In other words, endless torment was to Theodore incompatible with the Gospel. 
 
And most important to the issue is Jerome (c.400 C.E.). The reason for this is because he was a translator of the Hebrew and Greek testaments into the common Latin of the time. He was fully aware of all the original words involving a so-called “eternal” damnation that some translators today render as endless and unrelenting torments, but Jerome taught the redemption of all! 

“Christ will, in the ages to come, show not to one, but to the whole number of rational creatures His glory, and the riches of His grace, by means of us [Christians]. The saints are to reign over the fallen angels, and the prince of this world, even to them will be brought blessing.”

• In Eph. ii.7
“In the restitution of all things, when the true physician, Jesus Christ, shall have come to heal the body of the Church, every one shall receive his proper place. What I mean is, the fallen angel will begin to be that [of his original state] which he was created, and man (who was expelled from Paradise) will be once more restored to the tilling of Paradise. These things then will take place universally.”

• In Eph. iv. 16
And importantly, look at Jerome’s comment on Galatians 5:20,

“With God no rational creature perishes eternally. ... For God pities His creatures, and will not suffer those whom He himself has formed to perish eternally, who are sustained by His breath and spirit.”

• In Isa. lvii.6
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2005, 05:38:53 PM »

So what if some of the Fathers believed in this or that? Doctrine is settled by the consensus patrorum, not individual citations, and the Orthodox Church has made it clear for centuries now that universalism is not an authentic part of Holy Tradition.
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2005, 05:48:41 PM »

Wasn't Origen's universalism condemned as heresy?
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2005, 09:26:21 PM »

If God is going to restore all things and all will be made good under Him, how could there be souls in eternal torment?
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2005, 10:05:29 PM »

If God is going to restore all things and all will be made good under Him, how could there be souls in eternal torment?

By rejecting God.
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2005, 12:13:12 AM »

Did Gandhi 'reject God'?
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2005, 12:18:04 AM »

How do you know Gandhi is in hell?  We have no way of knowing such judgements....

You are believing in a condemned heresy based on an assumption you have no way of knowing. 
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2005, 12:29:35 AM »

I just believe that the concept of Gandhi burning for eternity in hell is absurd.

"There is no "place" of torment, or even a "place" apart from God, because there is no "place" at all; you are outside of time and space. The "place" is actually a condition of either punishment ("hell") or paradise ("heaven") depending on how you experience the presence of God and His Uncreated Engergies.

Consider a person who hates God, and anything to do with religion, and has done nothing but pursued his own self-centered desires all his life. It would be far more terrifying, and painful, to spend eternity in the fiery embrace of God's almighty and divine love with no escape, than to be far from Him.

Experiencing God's presence and His in-filling transforming Energies in glory or in torment, as Paradise or as Punishment, is the heaven and hell of the Bible. Not something God did to us, but rather something we did to ourselves. God unconditionally pours out His love on all, WHETHER WE WANT IT OR NOT, whether we are ready for it or not, when we enter the afterlife. This is why the Gospel or "good news" of Jesus Christ should be shared with all people, of all nations, in all tongues. For there is nothing to fear from God's perfect love, since love casts out all fear.

However, it is not totally wrong to understand the after life as "type" of Heaven and Hell. Because from each individual's perspective, it will not be perceived as the same "place", but rather as either torment and darkness you can not escape, or as the paradise you have always longed for. For those judged, they will experience God's presence as eternal darkness and torment. Though it is very important to keep in mind what is the cause of either of these conditions, or one could reach very wrong conclusions about the nature of God, as they have in western theologies. To misrepresent the nature of a loving God would cause one to conclude that it was God's intention to punish his creation. Indeed, one blasphemes the reputation of the God of the Bible when you make him into an angry vengeful god that punishes His creation. The cause of the torment is the poor choices that we make, not God. If one thinks of these two different "places" as conditions that we choose to be in, rather than "compartments" God puts us in, it would be more accurate.

And it will certainly be "paradise" to finally experience His Divine Love up close and in person for those who seek it. It is all in the perception.

Such is the nature of a loving God. For God is God."
http://aggreen.net/beliefs/heaven_hell.html
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2005, 12:42:55 AM »

Matthew777, please stop. The Church has already decided this is heresy. Continuing to argue against it means you've either fallen to Protestant notions of private interpretation of Scripture and Tradition, or are just trying to denigrate the Faith.
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2005, 12:47:31 AM »

Matthew777, please stop. The Church has already decided this is heresy.

No, the Eastern Orthodox Church has condemned it as heresy. Matthew is not in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2005, 12:56:55 AM »

No, the Eastern Orthodox Church has condemned it as heresy. Matthew is not in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is the Church--except when the Oriental Orthodox Church is the Church, but I'm sure they have the same doctrine since the condemnation of Origen came before the split--that's one of the basic assumptions of this forum. I don't think people should just come on here and try to tear down the Church's teachings. Honest debate and inquiry is one thing, but Matthew is trying to suggest that universalism should be taught, and seems oblivious to people telling him the Church has already dealt with the issue and made a decision.
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2005, 01:02:00 AM »

Matthew777, please stop. The Church has already decided this is heresy. Continuing to argue against it means you've either fallen to Protestant notions of private interpretation of Scripture and Tradition, or are just trying to denigrate the Faith.

I quoted an Orthodox source for you:


"There is no "place" of torment, or even a "place" apart from God, because there is no "place" at all; you are outside of time and space. The "place" is actually a condition of either punishment ("hell") or paradise ("heaven") depending on how you experience the presence of God and His Uncreated Engergies.

Consider a person who hates God, and anything to do with religion, and has done nothing but pursued his own self-centered desires all his life. It would be far more terrifying, and painful, to spend eternity in the fiery embrace of God's almighty and divine love with no escape, than to be far from Him.

Experiencing God's presence and His in-filling transforming Energies in glory or in torment, as Paradise or as Punishment, is the heaven and hell of the Bible. Not something God did to us, but rather something we did to ourselves. God unconditionally pours out His love on all, WHETHER WE WANT IT OR NOT, whether we are ready for it or not, when we enter the afterlife. This is why the Gospel or "good news" of Jesus Christ should be shared with all people, of all nations, in all tongues. For there is nothing to fear from God's perfect love, since love casts out all fear.

However, it is not totally wrong to understand the after life as "type" of Heaven and Hell. Because from each individual's perspective, it will not be perceived as the same "place", but rather as either torment and darkness you can not escape, or as the paradise you have always longed for. For those judged, they will experience God's presence as eternal darkness and torment. Though it is very important to keep in mind what is the cause of either of these conditions, or one could reach very wrong conclusions about the nature of God, as they have in western theologies. To misrepresent the nature of a loving God would cause one to conclude that it was God's intention to punish his creation. Indeed, one blasphemes the reputation of the God of the Bible when you make him into an angry vengeful god that punishes His creation. The cause of the torment is the poor choices that we make, not God. If one thinks of these two different "places" as conditions that we choose to be in, rather than "compartments" God puts us in, it would be more accurate.

And it will certainly be "paradise" to finally experience His Divine Love up close and in person for those who seek it. It is all in the perception.

Such is the nature of a loving God. For God is God."
http://aggreen.net/beliefs/heaven_hell.html
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« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2005, 01:04:04 AM »

The Eastern Orthodox Church is the Church--except when the Oriental Orthodox Church is the Church, but I'm sure they have the same doctrine since the condemnation of Origen came before the split--that's one of the basic assumptions of this forum. I don't think people should just come on here and try to tear down the Church's teachings. Honest debate and inquiry is one thing, but Matthew is trying to suggest that universalism should be taught, and seems oblivious to people telling him the Church has already dealt with the issue and made a decision.

I believe that people do go to hell but not necessary for all eternity. That would seem to contradict what Irenaeus taught on spiritual development. Nonetheless, Origen was not the only church father who believed in universal reconcilation. What about the others I've quoted?
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« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2005, 01:09:34 AM »

I'm sure they have the same doctrine since the condemnation of Origen came before the split--that's one of the basic assumptions of this forum. I don't think people should just come on here and try to tear down the Church's teachings.
Nope. Origenism was condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Synod. It was only condemned by local Synods before that. Matthew is free to believe whatever he wants.
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« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2005, 01:12:20 AM »

Nope. Origenism was condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Synod. It was only condemned by local Synods before that. Matthew is free to believe whatever he wants.

The Oriental Orthodox Church does not teach universal reconcilation either. But could you please at least respond to this Orthodox source:


"There is no "place" of torment, or even a "place" apart from God, because there is no "place" at all; you are outside of time and space. The "place" is actually a condition of either punishment ("hell") or paradise ("heaven") depending on how you experience the presence of God and His Uncreated Engergies.

Consider a person who hates God, and anything to do with religion, and has done nothing but pursued his own self-centered desires all his life. It would be far more terrifying, and painful, to spend eternity in the fiery embrace of God's almighty and divine love with no escape, than to be far from Him.

Experiencing God's presence and His in-filling transforming Energies in glory or in torment, as Paradise or as Punishment, is the heaven and hell of the Bible. Not something God did to us, but rather something we did to ourselves. God unconditionally pours out His love on all, WHETHER WE WANT IT OR NOT, whether we are ready for it or not, when we enter the afterlife. This is why the Gospel or "good news" of Jesus Christ should be shared with all people, of all nations, in all tongues. For there is nothing to fear from God's perfect love, since love casts out all fear.

However, it is not totally wrong to understand the after life as "type" of Heaven and Hell. Because from each individual's perspective, it will not be perceived as the same "place", but rather as either torment and darkness you can not escape, or as the paradise you have always longed for. For those judged, they will experience God's presence as eternal darkness and torment. Though it is very important to keep in mind what is the cause of either of these conditions, or one could reach very wrong conclusions about the nature of God, as they have in western theologies. To misrepresent the nature of a loving God would cause one to conclude that it was God's intention to punish his creation. Indeed, one blasphemes the reputation of the God of the Bible when you make him into an angry vengeful god that punishes His creation. The cause of the torment is the poor choices that we make, not God. If one thinks of these two different "places" as conditions that we choose to be in, rather than "compartments" God puts us in, it would be more accurate.

And it will certainly be "paradise" to finally experience His Divine Love up close and in person for those who seek it. It is all in the perception.

Such is the nature of a loving God. For God is God."
http://aggreen.net/beliefs/heaven_hell.html


Why are you ignoring it?
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« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2005, 01:16:39 AM »

The Oriental Orthodox Church does not teach universal reconcilation either.
So you disagree with Oriental Orthodoxy now.....so what's left? Wink

But could you please at least respond to this Orthodox source: ......Why are you ignoring it?
Because there is nothing about univeral salvation in it. Read it again and see for yourself. Unrepentant sinners will experience God's Love as eternal torment....where is the salvation in that?
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« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2005, 01:17:55 AM »

Origenistic universalism was never condemned at an Oriental Orthodox Ecumenical Council, since the issue was never considered ecumenically relevant, as is the case with a range of post-Ephesus-431 heresies such as the iconoclast heresy. It is however as good as condemned for it stands in opposition to the established Tradition and Mind of the Church as expressed in other forms — local synods, the writings of ancient and contemporary fathers etc.

Matthew is certainly not free to believe “whatever he wants."

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« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2005, 01:26:49 AM »

Unrepentant sinners will experience God's Love as eternal torment....where is the salvation in that?

It says that due to rejecting God in this life, His love will torment them in the next. But at some point, won't they get used to and enjoy God's love?
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« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2005, 01:28:11 AM »

Origenistic universalism...

As has been shown, Origen wasn't the only church father. Perhaps he was just used as a scapegoat.  Huh
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« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2005, 01:35:10 AM »

Matthew, I already told you that Church doctrine is not decided by citations from individual Fathers, but from the consensus that the Church finds within the entire body of the Fathers' writings. So, stop quoting from this or that writer. The general Tradition is that universalism is a heresy.
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« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2005, 01:37:48 AM »

Please, perhaps you could answer my questions. Why wouldn't those in the light of God get used to and enjoy it after a while? Why would they 'hate God' in the afterlife for all time?
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« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2005, 01:54:19 AM »

Please, perhaps you could answer my questions.
To what end? Clearly you have made your mind up by the title you chose for this thread as the public confession of your belief and new Symbol of Faith for yourself.....
So you now believe in universal salvation....bully for you....what's to discuss?
Change the title of the thread to: "Why is Universal Salvation Incompatable with Orthodoxy?" and maybe people will be interested in discussing it with you....
As it stands, this thread simply presents your manifesto...OK, you've told us...let's move on.
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« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2005, 02:00:06 AM »

I don't think that you and I are thinking of the same concept. What I am saying is that if non-believers will be enveloped in God's love in the afterlife, it makes sense that after a while, even after a zillion years, they'd get used to it and enjoy God's love. Why not?
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« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2005, 02:06:46 AM »

What I am saying is that if non-believers will be enveloped in God's love in the afterlife, it makes sense that after a while, even after a zillion years, they'd get used to it and enjoy God's love.
I heard you the first time (and the second time, and the third time...) Thank you, I now know what you believe, and I repeat:
Clearly you have made your mind up by the title you chose for this thread as the public confession of your belief and new Symbol of Faith for yourself.....
So you now believe in universal salvation....bully for you....what's to discuss?
Change the title of the thread to: "Why is Universal Salvation Incompatable with Orthodoxy?" and maybe people will be interested in discussing it with you....
As it stands, this thread simply presents your manifesto...OK, you've told us...let's move on.
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« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2005, 02:08:45 AM »

Well, it would help if you could actually answer the question. Why wouldn't they get used to God's love? God's love is good, is it not?
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« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2005, 02:10:54 AM »

Well, it would help if you could actually answer the question.
It would help what, Matthew?
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2005, 02:12:38 AM »

Look, I've never believed that Gandhi will spend eternity in Hell. That just doesn't make any sense. My mind is not made up, considering that I've been hoping that you could explain why non-believers would not get used to God's love.
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« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2005, 02:22:19 AM »

Look, I've never believed that Gandhi will spend eternity in Hell. That just doesn't make any sense.
And like Silouan asked, what makes you think anyone else here knows Gandhi's lot in Eternity? Or even has an opinion about it?

My mind is not made up.
In that case, why does the title of this thread say that your mind is made up? Why would you lie about the dogmas you believe?
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« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2005, 02:28:21 AM »

Do you know what intellectual fluidity is? It basically means having an opinion but without claiming certainty and being open to the opinions of others.

Again, why wouldn't non-believers get used to and enjoy God's love? That's a simple question.
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« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2005, 02:48:25 AM »

Do you know what intellectual fluidity is? It basically means having an opinion but without claiming certainty and being open to the opinions of others.
Oh, I see. So when you say "I believe in universal salvation", it's an opinion like "I believe in One God, the Father, the Almighty....."
And are all the dogmas of the Oriental Orthodox open to such individual, personal opining, or just this one?
Or aren't you Oriental Orthodox this week?
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« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2005, 03:17:33 AM »

Again, why wouldn't non-believers get used to and enjoy God's love? That's a simple question.   

Who knows?  There is the notion that those non-believers who live lives befitting of a good Christian may feel the Love of God right away after death and be in bliss... but the key here is might...

What is a better, more important question is can those who outright reject God's love on this earth - believers and non- - get "used to" God's love; in many Orthodox theologians' opinions the afterlife for those who reject God's Love on earth will be filled with the burning reality of being enveloped in it -> and since we will enter the realm of the eternal (i.e. outside of time), then the ability to change states will be gone (a similar condition to what the angels have had from the beginning).
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« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2005, 11:54:54 AM »

I am confused on what it is exactly that you guys are saying is heresy. Read http://www.philthompson.net/pages/library/riveroffire.html and clarify if that is the heresy of which you are speaking, and if so, what is the correct position?
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« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2005, 02:52:53 PM »

I myself hope for an universal salvation.  Why?  I don't believe, that one can refuse to repent, when he sees real God.  I also think, that those, who reject the Gospel had to be misinformed about it.
On the other hand, I don't know all the mankind, and maybe there are people who would choose hell (if - I think it would be out of pride).

I don't know, why Matthew777 assumes, that not believing in universal salvation means condemning all that aren't Orthodox Christians.
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« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2005, 04:51:10 PM »

Well, it would help if you could actually answer the question. Why wouldn't they get used to God's love? God's love is good, is it not?

Taking the assumption that some type of change is in fact possible changes nothing. If a person hates God, will they not hate Him more after being "burned" by His love? Again, every moment they exist, they will Hate more and more and more. God is infinite, so how could they ever reach "rock bottom"? They have an infinite list of things to hate and be angry over, and an eternity in which to sink deeper. There is no point at which they would magically stop hating God, for again, there is no botom, but a continual spiral downwards, which leaves no possibility to "get used to it."
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« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2005, 06:28:14 PM »

Oh, I see. So when you say "I believe in universal salvation", it's an opinion like "I believe in One God, the Father, the Almighty....."
And are all the dogmas of the Oriental Orthodox open to such individual, personal opining, or just this one?
Or aren't you Oriental Orthodox this week?

Accepting the Nicine Creed is an essential for salvation. Insisting that all non-believers will spend an eternity burning in hell, however, is not. 
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« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2005, 06:30:22 PM »

If a person hates God, will they not hate Him more after being "burned" by His love?

This assumes that all non-Christians somehow 'hate God'.

Peace.
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« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2005, 06:36:10 PM »

The concept of universal reconciliation is inferred directly from Scipture:

Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.
John 12:31-32

For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.
1Cor. 15:21-22

Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the Sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme.
Mark 3:28

Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. Rom. 5:18

For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.
Rom 11:32

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2
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« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2005, 06:42:53 PM »

(a similar condition to what the angels have had from the beginning).

If angels cannot change, how did Lucifer fall?
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« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2005, 07:07:01 PM »

The concept of universal reconciliation is inferred directly from Scipture:

This is Protestantism. You cannot simply interpret Scripture on your own, you need to listen the Church's judgement. And the Church has said that universalism is a heresy.
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« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2005, 07:47:13 PM »

If angels cannot change, how did Lucifer fall?

Lucifer couldn't change direction after he was given the opportunity to stay or go... he chose which direction he wanted to go in, with full knowledge of the ramifications.

So we too are given a choice: embrace God's Love, or reject it.  We are told of the ramifications.  We have a lifetime to chose, turn around, repent, or reject.  But once life is over, we will have conditioned ourselves into a state: accepting God's love or rejecting it.  And whatever state that is, we'll likely stay in it for all eternity (like the angels do).
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« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2005, 08:15:14 PM »

You cannot simply interpret Scripture on your own

I agree, which is why I would not even consider the possibility unless certain fathers of the church, including St. Gregory of Nyssa, considered it also.
If you look at these verses themselves, it would appear that "all" means "all".

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« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2005, 08:17:50 PM »

Lucifer couldn't change direction after he was given the opportunity to stay or go... he chose which direction he wanted to go in, with full knowledge of the ramifications.

If Lucifer was given the opportunity to stay or go and was even able to rebell against God in the first place then that entails that angels can change.

Consider Iraneaus' theodicy. If suffering entails spiritual development, and this is the ultimate purpose of human suffering, then it wouldn't make much sense for souls to suffer in the afterlife without some sort of development.

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« Reply #42 on: December 04, 2005, 08:22:25 PM »

If Lucifer was given the opportunity to stay or go and was even able to rebell against God in the first place then that entails that angels can change.

God gave the angels one opportunity - one choice... not multiple; they are locked into their state right now.  When they made that choice, they had full knowledge of the consequences.  They were only able to make a choice because God allowed them to - otherwise, existing in a realm outside of space and time with God puts one in a position where change might not be possible.  Of course, since I haven't been to the Kingdom (except the taste that we receive at the sacraments) I couldn't tell you if change would be possible, but you could make a fine argument that it isn't.
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« Reply #43 on: December 04, 2005, 08:26:55 PM »

God gave the angels one opportunity - one choice... not multiple; they are locked into their state right now.ÂÂ  When they made that choice, they had full knowledge of the consequences.ÂÂ  They were only able to make a choice because God allowed them to - otherwise, existing in a realm outside of space and time with God puts one in a position where change might not be possible.ÂÂ  Of course, since I haven't been to the Kingdom (except the taste that we receive at the sacraments) I couldn't tell you if change would be possible, but you could make a fine argument that it isn't.

Are you implying that there are no choices in eternity? One would assume that if the afterlife is infinite, there would be infinite possibilities. Not between good or evil but between one good thing or another.
Do we not pray to the saints because they have the free choice to pray for us? If the saints weep for our suffering, doesn't this emotion entail change of some sort?

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« Reply #44 on: December 04, 2005, 08:38:44 PM »

Perhaps it would be more clear to say that I hope for universal reconciliation just as we know from the Scriptures that God desires all men to be saved.
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« Reply #45 on: December 04, 2005, 08:51:36 PM »

  ÃƒÆ’‚  "The Lord is a propitiation not for our sins only but also for the whole world! Therefore He indeed saves all universally but some are converted by punishments, others by voluntary submission, thus obtaining the honor and dignity, that to Him 'every knee shall how of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.'
  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ "He punishes for their good those who are punished, whether collectively or individually."
Clement of Alexandria

 "For it is needful that evil should someday wholly and absolutely removed out of the circle of being. . . . or inasmuch as it is not in the nature of evil to exist without the will, when every will comes to be in God, will not evil go to absolute extinction, by reason of there being no receptacle it left?" ("Dialogue of the Soul and Resurrection," Book 3).
     "Therefore the Divine judgment does not as its chief object to cause pain to those who have sinned, but works good alone by separating from evil, and drawing to a share in blessedness. But this severance of good from evil causes the pain (of the judgment). In other words, the penalty is the cure; it is merely the unavoidable pain attending the removal of the intruding element of sin." ("Dialogue of the Soul and Resurrection").
     "If this (sin) be not cured here, its cure is postponed to a future life. As sure remedies for obstinate cases, so God announces His future judgment for the cure of the diseases of the soul, and that judgment uses threats to the lazy and vain . . . in order that, through fear, we may be trained to avoiding evil; but by those who are more intelligent, it (the judgment) is believed to be a medicine, a cure from God, who is bringing the creature, which he has formed, back to that state of grace which first existed." (Cat. Orat. VIII).
Gregory of Nyssa

    "Wherefore at the same time liberty of free-will should be left to nature and yet the evil be purged away, the wisdom of God discovered, this plan to suffer man to do what he would, that having tasted the evil which he desired and learning by experience for what wretchedness he had bartered away the blessings he had, he might of his own will hasten back with desire to the first blessedness, either being purged in this life through prayer and discipline, or after his departure hence through the cleansing fire."
Gregory of Nyssa
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« Reply #46 on: December 04, 2005, 09:08:20 PM »

Christ is Among Us!
    What an attractive doctrine universal salvation is! And yet, for the EO it is settled as a condemned doctrine. If any EO Fathers held it before its condemnation then their fault was one of "loving too much" before the Church had spoken. There is no need for us to dispute or defend it. Since Matthew is an OO member, the burden of proof falls to members of his own church. However, and this is merely as an outsider to the OO Podvig, it seems that one who identifies himself as OO and yet defends this doctrine has somewhat "Protestantized" his ancient Christian Faith- or do I misunderstand the OO stance vis-a-vis the doctrine of Universal Salvation?
   On an EO note: I hope and pray that Gandhi is not suffering eternal torment. He in his ignorance is undoubtedly more worthy to experience God's blessings than I am in my knowledge. But I trust that even if he does suffer God's judgement for his non-acceptance of Christ then (beyond my understanding) it is in a way that compromises neither God's loving mercy NOR His justice. I do not need to know more.
In Christ,
Rd. David
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« Reply #47 on: December 04, 2005, 09:15:16 PM »

Are you implying that there are no choices in eternity? One would assume that if the afterlife is infinite, there would be infinite possibilities. Not between good or evil but between one good thing or another.
Do we not pray to the saints because they have the free choice to pray for us? If the saints weep for our suffering, doesn't this emotion entail change of some sort?   

I'm not sure; the rub is that in the afterlife there is no time.  If change (for one other than God) requires time - change implies entering a different state of some sort from one in which one was previously in - then it is impossible, since there is no progression of time.  I'm just putting possibilities out there.
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« Reply #48 on: December 04, 2005, 09:17:45 PM »

Perhaps it would be more clear to say that I hope for universal reconciliation just as we know from the Scriptures that God desires all men to be saved.

I like this better.
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« Reply #49 on: December 04, 2005, 09:19:39 PM »

Christ is Among Us! 

He Is and always shall Be!

   On an EO note: I hope and pray that Gandhi is not suffering eternal torment. He in his ignorance is undoubtedly more worthy to experience God's blessings than I am in my knowledge. But I trust that even if he does suffer God's judgement for his non-acceptance of Christ then (beyond my understanding) it is in a way that compromises neither God's loving mercy NOR His justice. I do not need to know more.
In Christ,
Rd. David 

Whether he is, or isn't - it has no bearing on our salvation or on how we need to approach our relationship with the world.  And I will not presume to pass judgement on Mr. Ghandi on behalf of the LORD.
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« Reply #50 on: December 04, 2005, 09:36:54 PM »

I agree, which is why I would not even consider the possibility unless certain fathers of the church, including St. Gregory of Nyssa, considered it also.

Then you're interpreting the thought of the Fathers on your own instead of accepting the Church's judgment. That's still Protestantism.
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« Reply #51 on: December 04, 2005, 09:45:24 PM »

Universalism was never condemned by any Ecumenical Council.  Period.  It was condemned by Emperor Justinian (even granting that these anathemas were even part of Constantinople 553, and not part of a previous local synod as some scholars therorize), who was not a bishop, and as such lacks the power to bind or loose. 

...sorry, didn't have time to read everyone's replies. But as you can see, I am typing this from an Internet Cafe on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.  Perhaps I might mull over everyone's replies over my next gin-and-tonic at the pool.....
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« Reply #52 on: December 04, 2005, 10:17:09 PM »

Universalism was never condemned by any Ecumenical Council.  Period.  It was condemned by Emperor Justinian (even granting that these anathemas were even part of Constantinople 553, and not part of a previous local synod as some scholars therorize), who was not a bishop, and as such lacks the power to bind or loose. 

If they were included in the minutes of 553, whether or not they were actually approved at that synod, they were obviously agreed to by the synod at some point...

The problem with trying to sort the whole thing out is that the Church's canons were part of the civil law code of the empire, and the Emperor was considered as a member of the clergy.  So the things that he decreed were binding over the church - unless overruled by an Ecumenical Council.  Of course, we have no empire now (as many are quick to point out on this site).

...sorry, didn't have time to read everyone's replies. But as you can see, I am typing this from an Internet Cafe on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.  Perhaps I might mull over everyone's replies over my next gin-and-tonic at the pool.....   

hope you have a good voyage and a safe return home.
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« Reply #53 on: December 04, 2005, 10:19:18 PM »

Then you're interpreting the thought of the Fathers on your own instead of accepting the Church's judgment.

Is truth determined by a democratic vote? If not, is it possible that the majority could be wrong? Appeal to the majority, even the majority of an Ecumenical Council, is a logical fallacy. One must give good reason why the majority is correct.
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« Reply #54 on: December 04, 2005, 10:26:58 PM »

Is truth determined by a democratic vote? If not, is it possible that the majority could be wrong? Appeal to the majority, even the majority of an Ecumenical Council, is a logical fallacy. One must give good reason why the majority is correct.

Oh boy, let's not leave it up to democracy - then the Church might've become Arian!
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« Reply #55 on: December 04, 2005, 10:29:28 PM »

Oh boy, let's not leave it up to democracy - then the Church might've become Arian!

Didn't Ecumenical Councils make decisions by the majority of those present?
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« Reply #56 on: December 04, 2005, 10:39:55 PM »

Quote
Matthew777: As has been shown, Origen wasn't the only church father

You haven’t shown anything. You pasted an article quoting some fathers (and even condemned heretics like Theodore of Mopsuestia) generally alluding to some form of universal restoration. Universal restoration is not heretical per se. Origenistic universalism is a heresy because it is based upon faulty premises (e.g. that the restoration of one’s nature necessitates the restoration of one’s person), that lead to absurd conclusions (e.g. the pre-existence and cyclic re-incarnation of the soul) which ultimately deprive man of true free will.

Quote
DavidH: it seems that one who identifies himself as OO and yet defends this doctrine has somewhat "Protestantized" his ancient Christian Faith

Matthew777 is not a spokesperson or authority for OO doctrine (any more or less than TomS is a spokesperson or authority for EO doctrine — no offence for this analogy TomS; I for one at least find you interesting), and he explicitly (and thankfully) admit that he is advocating his own personal views contrary to the teaching of The Church earlier in this thread.

Quote
Since Matthew is an OO member, the burden of proof falls to members of his own church.

As I stated earlier, Origensitic universalism was never an ecumenically relevant or significant issue within the OO Church, so there is simply not a whole lot that has been said on it. In such circumstances, the onus lies on Matthew who is making the claim, to prove a valid basis for his viewpoints. As you can clearly see from his initial post, his attempted appeal to authority is not in any way exclusively OO.

With respect to what the OO Church has positively affirmed or denied in relation to the matter, I will make the following points:ÂÂ  a) The OO Church’s stress on the Eternal Judgement and Righteousness of the Lord alone suffice in negating the Origenistic concept of universalism, b) Origens concept of universalism was explicitly labeled heresy by Coptic scholar Fr. Tadros Malaty, in his very exclusive book on the person of Origen and his teachings, b) The Holy Coptic Synod have recently made negative decisions with respect to the departed sinners’ ability to repent, and the capability of that repentance to be effective for His salvation, which would contradict the Origenistic conception of universalism, c) His Eminence Metrapolitan Bishoy has recently written an article titled “The Salvation of Non-Believers” where he essentially advocated the “no salvation outside the Church” notion, which undoubtedly contradicts the Origenistic concept of universalism.

Quote
And yet, for the EO it is settled as a condemned doctrine.

This is to be equivocative. Even granting that your fifth council condemned origenistic universalism, there still exists other forms of universalism advocated by key fathers of your church. Maximus the Confessor for instance, says the following in his disputations with Pyrrhus:

The Church knows three apokatastases. One is the apokatastasis of everything according to the logos of virtue; According to this apokatastasis one is restored who manages to fulfill this principle of virtue within himself. The second apokatastasis is that of the human nature in the Resurrection, to incorruption and immortality. The third, in the words of Gregory of Nyssa, is that of the powers of the soul that, having had lapsed into sin, are once again restored to the condition in which they had been created. For it’s necessary that just as the whole nature of the flesh hopes in time to be taken up once again into incorruption in apokatastasis, thus also the powers of the soul, having become distorted in the course of the times had instilled in it the memory of evil, such that at the end of ages, not being able to find any rest, shall come unto God Who has no limit. And therefore the distorted power of the soul shall be taken up into the primeval apokastastasis, merely into a discursive knowledge of, however not a participation in, the good things of The Lord, where the Creator is known yet without being the cause of their sins.

+Irini nem ehmot
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« Reply #57 on: December 04, 2005, 10:41:00 PM »

Didn't Ecumenical Councils make decisions by the majority of those present?   

Within the Synods, yes... but I don't know how much the proceedings would fit into the modern (or even ancient) construct for a strict democracy.. I mean, membership and voting rights were limited, for one (not that most democratic societies don't have limits).
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« Reply #58 on: December 04, 2005, 10:42:41 PM »

Universal restoration is not heretical per se.

So were St. Gregoria of Nyssa and Clement of Alexandria not heretical in holding to it?
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« Reply #59 on: December 04, 2005, 10:44:11 PM »

Within the Synods, yes... but I don't know how much the proceedings would fit into the modern (or even ancient) construct for a strict democracy.. I mean, membership and voting rights were limited, for one (not that most democratic societies don't have limits).

So, does the fact that a majority within a council held to a particular view automatically make it right?
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« Reply #60 on: December 04, 2005, 10:47:50 PM »

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So were St. Gregoria of Nyssa and Clement of Alexandria not heretical in holding to it?


What is "it"? Like I said, there are varying forms of universal restoration. The form advocated by St Gregory of Nyssa, is not heretical Your inability to be specific or to make any such distinction inhibits the possibility of us having a reasonable discussion together on the matter.

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« Reply #61 on: December 04, 2005, 10:48:53 PM »

If they were included in the minutes of 553, whether or not they were actually approved at that synod, they were obviously agreed to by the synod at some point...


This is merely an argument from silence.  I need substantial empirical evidence to determine whether or not the synod or the church did indeed endorse these anathemas......like a time-machine, par example.
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« Reply #62 on: December 04, 2005, 10:50:47 PM »

The form advocated by St Gregory of Nyssa, is not heretical

What specifically is this form?
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« Reply #63 on: December 04, 2005, 10:52:16 PM »

So, does the fact that a majority within a council held to a particular view automatically make it right?

Absolutely, positively NOT. ÂÂ Even if it were UNANIMOUS, it doesn't make it right. ÂÂ  A synod's job is to confirm what is contained in Apostolic Tradition, or the conclusions which are logically derivable therefrom....nothing more.
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« Reply #64 on: December 04, 2005, 10:53:51 PM »

Absolutely, positively NOT. ÂÂ Even if it were UNANIMOUS, it doesn't make it right. ÂÂ  A synod's job is to confirm what is contained in Apostolic Tradition, or the conclusions which are logically derivable therefrom....nothing more.

If the church fathers in the years before a council held to universal reconciliation, wouldn't that make it the Apostolic Tradition?
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« Reply #65 on: December 04, 2005, 10:55:00 PM »

Quote
What specifically is this form?


I quoted Maximus the Confessor on the previous page who, though not being an authority of our church, I believe correctly interprets or represents the universalism of St Gregory of Nyssa. Allow me to quote that specific part again, and I shall highlight the most significant point asserted:

The third, in the words of Gregory of Nyssa, is that of the powers of the soul that, having had lapsed into sin, are once again restored to the condition in which they had been created. For it’s necessary that just as the whole nature of the flesh hopes in time to be taken up once again into incorruption in apokatastasis, thus also the powers of the soul, having become distorted in the course of the times had instilled in it the memory of evil, such that at the end of ages, not being able to find any rest, shall come unto God Who has no limit. And therefore the distorted power of the soul shall be taken up into the primeval apokastastasis, merely into a discursive knowledge of, however not a participation in, the good things of The Lord, where the Creator is known yet without being the cause of their sins.

+Irini nem ehmot
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« Reply #66 on: December 04, 2005, 10:59:10 PM »

When a church father interprets another church father, what standards does he use?
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« Reply #67 on: December 04, 2005, 11:26:38 PM »

Matthew,

Your stupid questions are starting to irritate me.

First of all, I made it explicitly clear that Maximus the Confessor is not a church father of our Church, so I wasn’t appealing to him as such (had this discussion been exclusively OO, i probably would not have appealed to him at all, but I did so for the sake of our EO brothers). I appealed to him as an accurate interpreter of what St Gregory actually taught. What are the standards of such interpretation? Well, umm, how about the writings of St Gregory of Nyssa (particularly On the Soul and the Resurrection and Catechetical Oration)  in context, and not severed out of context by a Protestant heretic who also appeals to condemned Nestorians to validate his point of view (i.e. the initial article you pasted for us)?

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« Reply #68 on: December 04, 2005, 11:54:37 PM »

Your stupid questions are starting to irritate me.

Perhaps, perhaps.  Grin
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« Reply #69 on: December 05, 2005, 01:32:43 AM »

Now, I would please like a response to these verses that uses independent thought rather than an appeal to the Church:


Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.
John 12:31-32

For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.
1Cor. 15:21-22

Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the Sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme.
Mark 3:28

Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. Rom. 5:18

For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.
Rom 11:32

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2


It is good to believe what the Church teaches on a certain doctrine if and only if there is reason for such teaching.

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« Reply #70 on: December 05, 2005, 01:38:17 AM »

This is merely an argument from silence. Â I need substantial empirical evidence to determine whether or not the synod or the church did indeed endorse these anathemas......like a time-machine, par example. 

My statement was with regards to the implication that the anathemas are actually found in the minutes of the Synod.  Of course, this has the presupposition that the minutes only include what was actually discussed and decided at the Synod.  So either I am misunderstanding in a) maybe you didn't say that they were found in the minutes of the Synod, in which case my statement has no bearing to the question, or b) you are actually asserting that maybe things in the minutes were not actually agreed to by the synod.
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« Reply #71 on: December 05, 2005, 01:41:47 AM »

Now, I would please like a response to these verses that uses independent thought rather than an appeal to the Church:

It is good to believe what the Church teaches on a certain doctrine if and only if there is reason for such teaching.

I'm a big fan of critical thinking (and I don't come across it enough in my daily life) - but if this is an appeal to specifically forsake the Fathers and the Consciousness of the Church (which is the defender of the Truth, guardian of the Faith, co-keeper of Apostolic Succession, etc.) because they're not agreeing with you, then we should probably break off from the discussion.  I hope I am misinterpreting (something I frequently do).
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« Reply #72 on: December 05, 2005, 11:10:16 AM »

While I've been too busy to get involved in this discussion yet, I think I will try to clarify a few things.

First, The Anathemas of Justinian against Origen are no in the Minutes of the Fifth Oecumenical Synod, they are found in other Sources, In fact, the Synodal Anathemas against Origen are not even in many of the Minutes of the Synod, they were first discovered in a copy of the Minutes in the 17th Century in Vienna. But it is generally agreed that they were either promulgated at the Fifth Oecumenical Synod or at the Synod of Constantinople in 543. However the fact that Origen was anathematized by name in the 11th Capitula of the Synod is not in doubt, so such an anathema would have been a ratification of Constantinople 543 in any case. But the Anathemas of Justinian were not Ratified by any Synodal Body, they served as the Basis for the Synodal Anathemas, but perhaps the fact that the synod left any mention of apokatastasis out is telling.

The consensus of the Church on this matter is far from Clear, for ultimately the ancient debate between Antioch and Alexandria, between the the Judaic and Hellenistic elements of Christianity, has never been resolved. And since the time of St. Maximos the Confessor we really haven't even had a theologian who was learned in and addressed these issues so they have effectively been put on the back burner, battles yet to be fought by some future generation.

Furthermore, I would like to make a correction to how St. Clement of Alexandria is being portrayed. He did not actually advocate universal salvation. He did teach that the Saving Process of Mankind would continue for All of Eternity, for to say otherwise would be to deny the immutability of God; He also taught that the Law of the Jews and Philosophy of the Greeks were both ways by which men would come to Christ, declaring them equal in truth and virtue. So while he saw that man would have all of eternity to come to Christ, and Christ would readily accept them when they did, and that there were many ways through which men may come to God, he still entertained the possibility that there could be some so prideful that they would rather endure eternal torment than come before Christ in Humility and Submission. Thus, while he advocated the possible, and even probable, salvation of all of Creation at some point in eternity, he also allowed for the possiblity that some might not be saved.
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« Reply #73 on: December 05, 2005, 11:59:32 AM »

I am confused on what it is exactly that you guys are saying is heresy. Read http://www.philthompson.net/pages/library/riveroffire.html and clarify if that is the heresy of which you are speaking, and if so, what is the correct position?

If someone could please answer, that would be really helpful. Pm me I guess...
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« Reply #74 on: December 05, 2005, 03:25:23 PM »

"but if this is an appeal to specifically forsake the Fathers and the Consciousness of the Church"

This is an appeal to provide solid reasoning in favor of one church father over another and the counsciousness of the Church as a whole.

Peace.
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« Reply #75 on: December 05, 2005, 03:29:56 PM »

This is an appeal to provide solid reasoning in favor of one church father over another and the counsciousness of the Church as a whole.

The bishops decide the consciousness of the Church as a whole, not a freethinking layman. Seriously, this is getting pretty offensive.
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« Reply #76 on: December 05, 2005, 03:36:42 PM »

The bishops decide the consciousness of the Church as a whole, not a freethinking layman. Seriously, this is getting pretty offensive.

It is offensive to think that we should accept the desision of bishops without requesting the reasons for these decisions. We aren't slaves who blindly accept anything we are told.
I am not saying that there aren't good reasons. I am only saying that if they exist, we should  know them.
Without the blind acceptance of authority, the Holocaust would have never happened.
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« Reply #77 on: December 05, 2005, 04:46:34 PM »

It is offensive to think that we should accept the desision of bishops without requesting the reasons for these decisions. We aren't slaves who blindly accept anything we are told.
I am not saying that there aren't good reasons. I am only saying that if they exist, we shouldÂÂ  know them.
Without the blind acceptance of authority, the Holocaust would have never happened.
Hey there Matthew, I read most of this thread (but not all of it) and I noticed how zealous you are about knowing the truth. Believe me i've been where you're at concerning UR.
I read a lot of posts here about Christianity that are off, like the one i read on this thread a few pages back about only a bishop having the authority to bind and loose...That's a big fat deception. We are all His children, and the Lord loves us all equally, we are ALL called to be in his likeness and He is the one who gives and takes not "the Church".
About UR: There are too many passages in the gospel that contradict it. Like when Jesus warned the desciples to stay awake, the parable of the ten virgins, and how He stayed quiet on the cross when one thief made fun. He said He didnt come to condemn but to save...
It is my desire that all enter Heaven because it is His desire as well. But His relationship with us is such that he doesnt impose and has given us free will. That's what makes us human beings. And what makes our relationship with Him so precious.
You have the complete right to doubt humans wether they be bishops, popes, presidents, parents or whatever... but KNOW that our Lord is faithful and keeps His promise and He has promised us that He will answer when we ask (Matthew 7:7). so just ask Him and keep seeking i'm sure He will answer you.
God bless
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« Reply #78 on: December 05, 2005, 04:56:07 PM »

The bishops decide the consciousness of the Church as a whole, not a freethinking layman. Seriously, this is getting pretty offensive.

Before you start going off on the 'consciousness of the Church,' please present some Synods and universal decrees of the Entire Christian Church to support your posistion. Personally, I dont see a 'consciousness of the Church' one way or the Other, I see two strong, yet contradicting, posistions that were never fully addressed, both co-existing throughout nearly the Entire History of the Church. The fact of the matter is that we have not agreed upon, or even addressed, all Theological, Soteriological, Eschatological, etc. issues, and we never will be able to, for to do so would be to know completely the Divine Nature. This particular question is amongst the ones that was never fully addressed, and is not likely to be addressed at least within our life times.

Thus, if you want to argue the issue, argue the actual Theology, instead of appealing to some non-existant 'patristic consensus.' What we can argue from tradition and previous synods is that God will not usurp the free will of His Creation, but it is still theoretically possibility that the ontological being (which is necessarily eternally sustained by God) will in time cause the natural being, and hence will, of all Creatures to return to their Original and Natural State, alligned with God their creator. Of course if we allow this possibilty me must be certain we dont cause the Hypostases to be destroyed in the process, for that would be Anathema.
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« Reply #79 on: December 05, 2005, 05:16:35 PM »

Thank you for the response.

Like when Jesus warned the desciples to stay awake, the parable of the ten virgins, and how He stayed quiet on the cross when one thief made fun.

Does this imply that the punishment of hell is everlasting punishment? I've heard that the Greek word which translates as "eternal" does not necessarily mean "for all time".
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« Reply #80 on: December 05, 2005, 05:18:20 PM »

If there is no change in the afterlife, why do we pray for the dead?
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« Reply #81 on: December 05, 2005, 05:33:32 PM »

I carry a torch in one hand
And a bucket of water with the other
With these things, I will set fire to Heaven
And put out the flames of Hell
So that no one worship God
Out of fear of Hell
Or greed of Heaven.

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But if I worship You for Your Own sake,
grudge me not Your everlasting Beauty

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« Reply #82 on: December 05, 2005, 05:52:29 PM »

If I worship You for fear of Hell, burn me in Hell,
and if I worship You in hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise.
But if I worship You for Your Own sake,
grudge me not Your everlasting Beauty

This is exactly how I feel.

It seems that many people insist that non-believers will spend an eternity in hell simply to brush them off as fellow human beings. It's like they are thinking, "I don't have to listen to you, you're just a hell-bound sinner."
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« Reply #83 on: December 05, 2005, 05:54:47 PM »

How does Gandhi, or another non-Christian who remains devoted to God, somehow 'hate God'?
If they don't hate Him, will they not enjoy His love in the afterlife?

Didn't Jesus teach that whoever isn't against us is with us?
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« Reply #84 on: December 05, 2005, 06:05:59 PM »

It seems that many people insist that non-believers will spend an eternity in hell simply to brush them off as fellow human beings. It's like they are thinking, "I don't have to listen to you, you're just a hell-bound sinner."
I gathered that this was what it was really about, but you can't base the idea that Hell will cease to exist simply because of the weakness (and stupidity) of some people who claim to know who is or isn't in Hell.

If they don't hate Him, will they not enjoy His love in the afterlife?
We can't say, one way or the other, since it hasn't been revealed to us. And to speculate and come up with our own concepts means that the accusation against us of Ludwig Feuerbach is true: “It is not as in the Bible, that God created man in his own image. But, on the contrary, man created God in his own image.”
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« Reply #85 on: December 05, 2005, 06:25:29 PM »

And Matthew, if anyone tells you that they know that a particular person is in Hell, and that only "believers" go to Heaven, ask them to define "a believer" simply refer them to these words of Christ:
[bible]Matthew 21:28-32[/bible]
Note that Our Lord says, it was St. John the Baptist, not Christ himself, who the publicans and harlots believed had come in the way of righteousness and were thereby saved. And Christ even spells this out for us:
[bible]Matthew 10:40-42[/bible]
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« Reply #86 on: December 05, 2005, 07:42:08 PM »

It is not as in the Bible, that God created man in his own image. But, on the contrary, man created God in his own image.”

"The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath" - Mark 2:27
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« Reply #87 on: December 05, 2005, 07:45:29 PM »

Note that Our Lord says, it was St. John the Baptist, not Christ himself, who the publicans and harlots believed had come in the way of righteousness and were thereby saved. And Christ even spells this out for us:
[bible]Matthew 10:40-42[/bible]

If by John the Baptist, why not by Muhammad, Krishna or Moses? I know that we are unable to form definitive conclusions. However, I still do not doubt the sincere Muslim or Jew's relationship with God.
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« Reply #88 on: December 05, 2005, 08:01:33 PM »

"The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath" - Mark 2:27
This is simply about the order of creation, not that man creates God. Christ means that "The Sabbath was created by God for the sake of Man, God did not create Man for the sake of theSabbath"
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« Reply #89 on: December 05, 2005, 08:05:08 PM »

If by John the Baptist, why not by Muhammad, Krishna or Moses?
Well, if any of them is a true prophet of God (and as far as we can be certain, only St. John the Baptist and Moses were), and if they are truly received as prophets, then yes.
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« Reply #90 on: December 05, 2005, 08:22:00 PM »

This is simply about the order of creation, not that man creates God.

I did not intend to imply that man created God but that God created man with the ability and right to think.
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« Reply #91 on: December 05, 2005, 08:29:59 PM »

I did not intend to imply that man created God but that God created man with the ability and right to think.
Yes, but the fact that we were not created for the Sabbath is still not the result of our God-given ability and right to think, our Lord was simply stating a revealed Truth, not a logical conclusion we should be able to come to without Revelation.
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« Reply #92 on: December 05, 2005, 08:33:47 PM »

I don't believe the assumption that 'all paths lead to God' or that all humans in this life are 'saved'.
Salvation, as I see it, is being saved from ourselves. Christ's atonement cleanses us from our sinfulness and self-destructiveness as human beings. I don't believe that non-Christians have the atonement of Christ.
However, as Clement of Alexandria wrote, perhaps those who are burned in the light of God are burned for their own sake, to cleanse themselves of their sins.
There must always be a purpose for suffering. I don't understand why people would suffer in the afterlife without some ultimate goal like reunion with God.
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« Reply #93 on: December 05, 2005, 08:35:17 PM »

Yes, but the fact that we were not created for the Sabbath is still not the result of our God-given ability and right to think, our Lord was simply stating a revealed Truth, not a logical conclusion we should be able to come to without Revelation.

Wasn't He implying that we are not slaves to the Sabbath given that it was created for man?
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« Reply #94 on: December 05, 2005, 08:50:07 PM »

There must always be a purpose for suffering. I don't understand why people would suffer in the afterlife without some ultimate goal like reunion with God.

It is not "punishment" in the same sense as a prison term is a punishment.
The flames of hell are the same Divine Energy which the Saints experience in Paradise. Those in the flames of hell have chosen to experience the Divine Energy as flames. Did you know that in Greek, the word for "brimestone" (ie, sulfur) is the same word as "divine"?

Wasn't He implying that we are not slaves to the Sabbath given that it was created for man?
Yes, but still, what has that to do with our ability and right to think?
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« Reply #95 on: December 05, 2005, 11:30:22 PM »

Yes, but still, what has that to do with our ability and right to think?

We aren't slaves to the Church given that we are the Church.

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« Reply #96 on: December 06, 2005, 03:01:09 AM »

Thank you for the response.

Does this imply that the punishment of hell is everlasting punishment? I've heard that the Greek word which translates as "eternal" does not necessarily mean "for all time".

aons right?  Roll Eyes
Jesus said about Judas that it would have been better if he wasnt even born. Would He say that if punishment is not eternal, and if he'll eventually end up in heaven?
We pray for the dead because we believe that God is mercyful. We are not the Judge, eevn if everyone's gonna be saved, how does that help you in coming closer to Christ NOW?
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« Reply #97 on: December 06, 2005, 02:19:19 PM »

how does that help you in coming closer to Christ NOW?

That's ultimately the point - We should be Christians, not out of fear of hell-fire, but love of Christ and humanity.
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« Reply #98 on: December 06, 2005, 04:39:54 PM »

aons right?  Roll Eyes
Jesus said about Judas that it would have been better if he wasnt even born. Would He say that if punishment is not eternal, and if he'll eventually end up in heaven?

Perhaps even a temporary punishment is worse than non-existance, perhaps the Hardening of his heart was worse than Non-Existance, perhaps he would be unable to forgive himself and hence unable to personally return to God even given all of eternity (a more moderate possibility). It's not as cut and dry as you suggest...what does it really mean to be in a worse state than non-existance? As I have no experience with non-existance I can't really say (well, there was a time when I in person and soul did not exist, I'm not teaching the pre-existance of souls, but this is not part of my memory or experience).

Quote
We pray for the dead because we believe that God is mercyful.

The question was why to we pray to the dead if there is no change even of men in Heaven. It goes along with the question of how Satan could have at one time been loyal to God and then changed to become disobedient towards him.

We are not the Judge, eevn if everyone's gonna be saved, how does that help you in coming closer to Christ NOW?

Ah yes, the pragmatic approach to theology...how does theology x make us more moralistic? Please, there are better arguments than that.
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« Reply #99 on: December 07, 2005, 02:58:36 AM »

This assumes that all non-Christians somehow 'hate God'.

Not at all, that is an assumption you add. Nonetheless, what is hate but the opposite of love? If one doesn't love God, and remember there is no "middle ground," what is left but hate?
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« Reply #100 on: December 07, 2005, 06:24:51 AM »

Not at all, that is an assumption you add. Nonetheless, what is hate but the opposite of love? If one doesn't love God, and remember there is no "middle ground," what is left but hate?     

Is hate really the opposite of Love?  I always personally characterized hate as misplaced or misdirected Love - Love directed at evil, in the opposite direction of God.  My opinion is that apathy - non-feeling or non-passion - is the opposite of Love (not the divine dispassion that we speak of with the Saints, who are Loving without being passionate).  In this state, instead of loving one's brother, they have no care for their brother - I think a worse condition; for we are able to turn hate into something good through the witness of the Christian life to those who hate us - and we are able to turn their hate either into Love or into martyrdom.  But non-feeling is more difficult...

I don't know - It's a ramble at 5:30am.
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« Reply #101 on: December 07, 2005, 04:35:06 PM »

Not at all, that is an assumption you add. Nonetheless, what is hate but the opposite of love? If one doesn't love God, and remember there is no "middle ground," what is left but hate?

Do Muslims and Jews 'hate God'?
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« Reply #102 on: December 07, 2005, 05:44:05 PM »

Do Muslims and Jews 'hate God'?   

Let me ask this instead: whether or not they say they hate God, whether or not their faiths say they hate God, if we provide the God that we know to be the One God - the Triune God, the God of our Fathers, the God that became Man in the 2nd person, etc. - would they hate Him?  We say we believe in One God - there are no gods other than He.  So do they hate the "real" God, even if they say they love God (in whatever form they think of Him)?

I say this with no malice - just a point for discussion.
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« Reply #103 on: December 08, 2005, 08:54:41 PM »

So do they hate the "real" God, even if they say they love God (in whatever form they think of Him)?

Exactly what I was trying to point out. They certainly love the "god" they worship, but do the really love the real God?

And to respond to the statement about love and hate not being opposites, I still think they are. Apathy is simpy a form of hate, a more inactive and "lazy" version, so to speak. Let's look at the definiton of love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails"

So, to find the opposite, let's just reverse every statement. See how well this describes not apathy, but actual hate:

"Hate is short-tempered, hate is rude. It envies, boasts, and is full of pride. It is disprespectful, fully self-seeking, and easily angered, keeping a full list of all wrongs done against it. Hate rejoices at evil and cowers from the truth. Hate always destroys, always suspects, always despairs, and always quits. Hate always fails."
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« Reply #104 on: December 10, 2005, 07:55:58 PM »

So do they hate the "real" God, even if they say they love God (in whatever form they think of Him)?

"If one who lives in the midst of Christianity goes up to the house of God, the house of the true God, with the true conception of God in his knowledge, and prays, but prays in a false spirit; and one who lives in an idolatrous community prays with the entire passion of the infinite, although his eyes rest upon the image of an idol: where is there most truth? The one prays in truth to God though he worships an idol; the other prays falsely to the true God, and hence worships in fact an idol."
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« Reply #105 on: December 10, 2005, 07:59:31 PM »

"If one who lives in the midst of Christianity goes up to the house of God, the house of the true God, with the true conception of God in his knowledge, and prays, but prays in a false spirit; and one who lives in an idolatrous community prays with the entire passion of the infinite, although his eyes rest upon the image of an idol: where is there most truth? The one prays in truth to God though he worships an idol; the other prays falsely to the true God, and hence worships in fact an idol."
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If you consider idolatry to be not idolatry at all, but simply another "path" to God, then sure that makes sense.......
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« Reply #106 on: December 10, 2005, 08:56:17 PM »

"If one who lives in the midst of Christianity goes up to the house of God, the house of the true God, with the true conception of God in his knowledge, and prays, but prays in a false spirit; and one who lives in an idolatrous community prays with the entire passion of the infinite, although his eyes rest upon the image of an idol: where is there most truth? The one prays in truth to God though he worships an idol; the other prays falsely to the true God, and hence worships in fact an idol."
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I don't think it does any good to quote a non-Orthodox philosopher (many of whose writings are problematic for Orthodox) in an Orthodox forum.
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« Reply #107 on: December 10, 2005, 09:02:37 PM »

If you consider idolatry to be not idolatry at all, but simply another "path" to God, then sure that makes sense.......

You've missed the point. Being a false Christian is worse than idolatry because at least we are in the position to know whether our beliefs and conduct are in error.
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« Reply #108 on: December 10, 2005, 09:04:38 PM »

I don't think it does any good to quote a non-Orthodox philosopher (many of whose writings are problematic for Orthodox) in an Orthodox forum.

I don't think it does any good, for either oneself or the Church, to close one's mind in the name of 'Orthodoxy'. What matters is whether the words are truth or untruth.
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« Reply #109 on: December 10, 2005, 10:04:08 PM »

I don't think it does any good, for either oneself or the Church, to close one's mind in the name of 'Orthodoxy'. What matters is whether the words are truth or untruth.

The Church either has all answers within it or it isn't the Church. Is that what you would insinuate here?
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« Reply #110 on: December 11, 2005, 12:04:30 AM »

The Church either has all answers within it or it isn't the Church. Is that what you would insinuate here?

Is anyone saying this?

I think (I don't want to put words in Matthew's mouth) he's trying to get across the whole "we know where the Spirit is, but not where it isn't."
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« Reply #111 on: December 11, 2005, 12:06:16 AM »

A Christian who has hate in his heart worships an idol while a non-Christian who sincerely seeks God will find Him.
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« Reply #112 on: December 11, 2005, 05:35:36 PM »

You've missed the point. Being a false Christian is worse than idolatry because at least we are in the position to know whether our beliefs and conduct are in error.

Being a false Christian IS idolatry. You are needlessly seperating the two.
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« Reply #113 on: December 11, 2005, 05:41:45 PM »

A Christian who has hate in his heart worships an idol while a non-Christian who sincerely seeks God will find Him.

Of course anyone who seeks God will find Him, but I cannot see worshipping an idol as "seeking God."
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« Reply #114 on: December 11, 2005, 06:20:07 PM »

Christ is in Our Midst!

   Of course, God meets each individual where they are at and only He knows the sincerity of the seeker. Theoretically, yes, it is possible for a devout Hindu- even having known Christians and the message of the Gospel all his life- to one day stand with the sheep on God's right hand in the Judgement. The holy Fathers even called certain good  pagans such as Socrates "Christians before Christ." And the Church has never taught that a bare confession alone- even a sincere believing confession apart from repentance (such as the demons have)- can save a man.
   What God does in each individual instance is not our business, it is God's.
   We know that salvation, according to Scripture and Tradition, is only through Christ and in the Church and so we call all to repentance and joining themselves to both Christ and the Church.
   We also know that many who say, "Lord, Lord" but do not do works of repentance will not be saved.
   We know that some who never had a chance to believe will be saved as God through St. Peter,  praised Cornelius before his conversion.
   We know that individual Fathers and early Christians believed in some form of universal reconciliation and that the vast majority of the Church throughout history has decisively rejected this doctrine. What was once a valid theological opinion is not anymore since the Church has spoken.
   Even if we "feel" that the Church's position is somehow unfair we know that God is both pure justice and pure love so, even if we in our finite minds can't see how it will all work out we can trust that God will do what is right and trust that the Spirit has led the Church in all Truth.
   Seeking to know ever more of God's revelation is a virtue, questioning Tradition is not. Whenever we are faced with a dogma or teaching we are uncomfortable with let's not imitate the Tempter of Christ in the Wilderness:"Did God really say...." but follow St. John Chrysostom's advice when one has a doubt: "It is Tradition- seek no further."
   It is a good thing to be closed-minded towards error and a good thing to be open-minded to the teaching of the Church. In this we imitate the Theotokos at the Annunciation who said, "Let it be unto me according to your word."

In Christ,
Rd. David
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« Reply #115 on: December 12, 2005, 11:15:06 AM »

Rd. David H. has written wise words here!  It seems to me that Matthew wants to be loving, open-minded and non-judgemental which is wonderful.  However it is important to not take things too far in speculating what God's intentions are on the matter of non-Christians who are GOOD people.  Trust in Him and know that he loves us ALL and is fair, just and compassionate.  Life here on earth is too short for us to waste time on trying to "figure things out".  God will take care of it all.  What is important is to follow Him as you know best, which is through His holy Orthodox Church.   Be thankful for all the blessings you receive and strive to love all others as best as you can.  I know that it is tempting to wonder and be curious about such questions as other people's salvation, but ultimately it is fruitless and pointless.  I am saying this while I myself am the worst of sinners and struggling along with most of my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Please forgive me if I have offended anyone.  I am constantly trying to remind myself of not procrastinating when it comes to serving  my Lord and not myself first.
God bless you all,   Juliana
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« Reply #116 on: December 12, 2005, 10:45:56 PM »

Of course anyone who seeks God will find Him, but I cannot see worshipping an idol as "seeking God."

If the attributes of God are clearly seen in the Creation then not only Christians will know Him.

Peace.
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« Reply #117 on: December 12, 2005, 10:50:03 PM »

"It is Tradition- seek no further."

Tradition for tradition's sake is meaningless. There must always be good reasons in favor of a particular tradition. Otherwise, how do we know that ours is the tradition of God rather than of men?
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« Reply #118 on: December 12, 2005, 10:51:35 PM »

Please forgive me if I have offended anyone.ÂÂ  

You have not offended me. Thank you for the insights.

Peace.
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« Reply #119 on: December 13, 2005, 01:55:20 AM »

If the attributes of God are clearly seen in the Creation then not only Christians will know Him.

If they truly know Him, how can they not be Christians?
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« Reply #120 on: December 13, 2005, 02:03:13 AM »

Tradition for tradition's sake is meaningless. There must always be good reasons in favor of a particular tradition. Otherwise, how do we know that ours is the tradition of God rather than of men?

If it occurred through an ecumenical council, then it is the tradition of God by definition. No explanation need be given (many divine things cannot be explained), and questioning them threatens the Church.
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« Reply #121 on: December 13, 2005, 02:30:59 AM »

If it occurred through an ecumenical council, then it is the tradition of God by definition. No explanation need be given (many divine things cannot be explained), and questioning them threatens the Church.

As has been requested by myself and others on this thread, could one cite a specific decision of an Ecumenical Council which denounced universal reconciliation?

Furthermore, is it the 'tradition of God' that I am a monophysite heretic too?ÂÂ  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #122 on: December 13, 2005, 10:45:12 AM »

Tradition for tradition's sake is meaningless. There must always be good reasons in favor of a particular tradition. Otherwise, how do we know that ours is the tradition of God rather than of men?

   Undoubtedly there are good reasons in favor of our traditions. This doesn't necessarily mean we will know or undestand or even like them all. We know that our Tradition is God's Tradition because it is the Tradition of the Church and not our own personal opinion. But you seem to be well-read enough to know this was a very basic foundational view of the Holy Fathers. Do you bring up the threads that you do simply because you like to be a provocateur and inspire debate as the underdog of questionable positions? I don't mean that as a dig but I was wondering about it- forgive if I offended you.
   As for conciliar condemnation, for us EO it is settled by the general Tradition of the Church; specifically the only text I know of offhand is Emperor St. Justinian's Ninth Anathema against Origen which was adopted by the Holy Fathers at the Fifth Ecumenical Council. While that is decisive for us, an OO would have to give you specific texts from your own communion (although I think EA did an excellent post not too long ago showing the general consensus in that regard).
   Your criticism of St. John's exhortation for us to accept Holy Tradition as we have recieved it without disputing it seems over bold- perhaps the OO do not venerate St. John Chrysostom? But even if this is so, I think that both our communions would agree that Tradition for tradition's sake is FIDELITY; it is wrangling about words and questioning the teaching of the Church that is meaningless. Consider the example of Hymenaeus and Philetus in 2 Timothy 2:14 "Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16  But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17  And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
18  Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some."

In Christ,
Rd. David
 
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« Reply #123 on: December 13, 2005, 11:30:17 AM »

Quote
Your criticism of St. John's exhortation for us to accept Holy Tradition as we have recieved it without disputing it seems over bold- perhaps the OO do not venerate St. John Chrysostom?

The OO most certainly venerate St. John Chrysostom.

Please do not attempt to infer any teachings or views of the OOC from anything that Matthew has to say on any topic at any time.

+Irini nem ehmot
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« Reply #124 on: December 13, 2005, 05:00:32 PM »

  ÃƒÆ’‚ Your criticism of St. John's exhortation for us to accept Holy Tradition as we have recieved it without disputing it seems over bold- perhaps the OO do not venerate St. John Chrysostom?

I have not criticized St. John Chrysostom but have merely pointed out the absurdity of blindly following tradition without knowing the reasons behind a particular tradition. How can a tradition have meaning if its adherants have no idea why they hold to it?
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« Reply #125 on: December 13, 2005, 06:54:06 PM »

I have not criticized St. John Chrysostom but have merely pointed out the absurdity of blindly following tradition without knowing the reasons behind a particular tradition. How can a tradition have meaning if its adherants have no idea why they hold to it?

   The point of St. John Chrysostom's quotation is that we do not need to know the reasons behind our traditions in order to follow it. There is nothing wrong with seeking to know the reasons, but our obedience to Church Tradition follows from our trust in Christ and His promises regarding the Her- not on the Church passing a "reasonability test" we compose ourselves.
   Knowing Christ's promises in regard to the Church, following Her teachings and practices without understanding them all is hardly "blindly following tradition"- it is following Tradition with faith (we walk by faith, not by sight). That being the case, following St. John's dictum, "It is Tradition- seek no further." is not absurd but our reasonable worship (Ro. 12)
   By all means, look for the meaning of any given Tradition/tradition and be edified by what you find. This is part of growing in Christ as an Orthodox Christian. But to question the Tradition/traditions themselves simply because they are not proven to your personal satisfaction is a dangerous road to walk.........

In Christ,
Rd. David
   
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« Reply #126 on: December 13, 2005, 06:54:52 PM »

I have not criticized St. John Chrysostom but have merely pointed out the absurdity of blindly following tradition without knowing the reasons behind a particular tradition. How can a tradition have meaning if its adherants have no idea why they hold to it?

Why should we worship God Almighty if he transcends human understanding? Blind faith is something we have to ultimately accept.
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« Reply #127 on: December 14, 2005, 01:32:56 AM »

Why should we worship God Almighty if he transcends human understanding? Blind faith is something we have to ultimately accept.

This is not a matter of whether or not we believe in God but the mistake of blindly following a particular theological tradition without first inquiring as to why we should follow it. According to your tradition, I am a monophysite heretic even though nothing could be further from the truth.
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« Reply #128 on: December 14, 2005, 10:09:32 AM »

Matthew,  I wasn't sure what the term monophysite meant so I looked it up on dictionary.com and here is the entry they gave for it.
Mo·noph·y·site ÂÂ ÂÂ  (ÂÂ PÂÂ )ÂÂ ÂÂ Pronunciation KeyÂÂ ÂÂ (m-nf-st)
n. Christianity

An adherent of the doctrine that in the person of Jesus there was but a single, divine nature. Coptic and Syrian Christians profess this doctrine.

Someone should correct this if they are wrong because a lot of people use this as an information source.

Juliana
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« Reply #129 on: December 14, 2005, 10:41:07 AM »

According to your tradition, I am a monophysite heretic even though nothing could be further from the truth.

This thread, along with some others you have initiated, is not representative of monophysite (or, miaphysite if you prefer) Tradition. It is closer to Protestant Tradition, and not even mainstream at that- it is closer to the Unitarian Universalist Tradition in many ways. So it seems a little disingenuous to defend your critique of Orthodox Tradition by saying you are a "monophysite heretic" to EO Tradition when the positions you defending are in no way OO Tradition is it not?
Just a thought.........

In Christ,
Rd. David
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« Reply #130 on: December 14, 2005, 05:45:54 PM »

Matthew,ÂÂ  I wasn't sure what the term monophysite meant so I looked it up on dictionary.com and here is the entry they gave for it.
Mo·noph·y·site ÂÂ ÂÂ  (ÂÂ PÂÂ )ÂÂ ÂÂ Pronunciation KeyÂÂ ÂÂ (m-nf-st)
n. Christianity

An adherent of the doctrine that in the person of Jesus there was but a single, divine nature. Coptic and Syrian Christians profess this doctrine.
Juliana

You see, that is not what we actually believe but a common misconception. What the Oriental Orthodox Churches have always believed is that Jesus Christ is fully divine and fully human in one incarnate nature, just as St. Cyril of Alexandria taught.
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« Reply #131 on: December 14, 2005, 05:49:32 PM »

This thread, along with some others you have initiated, is not representative of monophysite (or, miaphysite if you prefer) Tradition. It is closer to Protestant Tradition, and not even mainstream at that- it is closer to the Unitarian Universalist Tradition in many ways. So it seems a little disingenuous to defend your critique of Orthodox Tradition by saying you are a "monophysite heretic" to EO Tradition when the positions you defending are in no way OO Tradition is it not?
Just a thought.........

In Christ,
Rd. David

You've missed the point. The fact that the Oriental Orthodox Church has never been monophysite proves that the Council of Chalcedon was dead wrong and therefore, Ecumenical Councils can most definitely be in error.
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« Reply #132 on: December 14, 2005, 05:52:14 PM »

You've missed the point. The fact that the Oriental Orthodox Church has never been monophysite proves that the Council of Chalcedon was dead wrong and therefore, Ecumenical Councils can most definitely be in error.

I thought the problem with the Oriental Orthodox was that they never formally subscribed to the council, and therefore not the council, but they themselves were wrong. But I admit, I don't know much about these things. Is there a thread here about OO/EO differences?
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« Reply #133 on: December 14, 2005, 06:01:08 PM »

Quote
You've missed the point. The fact that the Oriental Orthodox Church has never been monophysite proves that the Council of Chalcedon was dead wrong and therefore, Ecumenical Councils can most definitely be in error.

Not so fast.  So the issue isn't whether councils err, it it which councils are ecumenical. 
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« Reply #134 on: December 14, 2005, 07:37:06 PM »

I thought the problem with the Oriental Orthodox was that they never formally subscribed to the council, and therefore not the council, but they themselves were wrong. But I admit, I don't know much about these things. Is there a thread here about OO/EO differences?

Chalcedon excommunicated the Oriental Orthodox Christians for holding to St. Cyril's christology, wrongfully accusing them of monophysitism.
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« Reply #135 on: December 14, 2005, 08:35:47 PM »

Chalcedon excommunicated the Oriental Orthodox Christians for holding to St. Cyril's christology, wrongfully accusing them of monophysitism.

Nope. The Egyptian bishops actually participated in the council, and were not condemned for holding Cyril's Christology. Only Dioscorus was excommunicated, for events surrounding "Latrocinium." Only later, much later, was the term monophysite used.
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« Reply #136 on: December 14, 2005, 08:40:22 PM »

You've missed the point. The fact that the Oriental Orthodox Church has never been monophysite proves that the Council of Chalcedon was dead wrong and therefore, Ecumenical Councils can most definitely be in error.

When did Chalcedon:

a) Condemn Cyrillian Christology?

or

b) Call the Coptics monophysites?
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« Reply #137 on: December 14, 2005, 10:41:44 PM »

When did Chalcedon:

a) Condemn Cyrillian Christology?

or

b) Call the Coptics monophysites?

If these are not the events which transpired, why were Oriental Orthodox Christian excommunicated?
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« Reply #138 on: December 15, 2005, 12:27:59 AM »

Chalcedon excommunicated the Oriental Orthodox Christians for holding to St. Cyril's christology, wrongfully accusing them of monophysitism.   

Actually, that is how you interpret what Chalcedon did; they never said that you're out for subscribing to Cyril's Christology, considering they believed (and still believe) that they are following Cyril's Christology.
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« Reply #139 on: December 15, 2005, 01:43:01 AM »

Matthew,

That we believe Chalcedon erred to whatever extent it did, on whatever issue it erred with respect to, is not proof that an Ecumenical Council can err. Let me let you in on a little secret: we (OO) do not accept Chalcedon as an Ecumenical Council. Surprise!ÂÂ  Roll Eyes Explain to me therefore, how referring us to a non-Ecumenical council validates your (OO) view that we are not to blindly follow divinely revealed and inspired Tradition?

If you’re trying to make a point to the EO’s, then you fail as well, for according to their perspective, Chalcedon is an infallible Ecumenical Council that did not err with respect to its treatment of us; they therefore do not, from their subjective perspective, follow erroneous Tradition blindly.

The question therefore comes down to: did Chalcedon in fact err or not? i.e. whose understanding with respect to what constitutes The Tradition (OO or EO) is more valid? — a question absolutely irrelevant to the subject of this thread. You’re sidetracking as usual. This question has already been thoroughly dealt with at the following link: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=7555.msg98515#msg98515

Leave it out of this thread.

CRCulver,

Above is a link to the starting point ofÂÂ  a recent and reasonably thorough debate on the issue of Chalcedon, between Bizzlebin (EO), Cyprian (EO), Salpy (OO) and myself (OO).
Bizzlebin,

Let us not beat a dead horse. I already dealt with all your issues at the afore-linked thread. Out of the 15 or so Coptic Bishops that attended, only 3 sold out and formally ascribed to Chalcedon. These three Bishops and their subsequent actions were ignored by the overwhelming majority of the Coptic Church, who undoubtedly remained faithful to St Dioscorus - hence, why the Coptic Church today is OO and not EO.

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« Reply #140 on: December 15, 2005, 04:02:39 AM »

Bizzlebin,

Let us not beat a dead horse. I already dealt with all your issues at the afore-linked thread. Out of the 15 or so Coptic Bishops that attended, only 3 sold out and formally ascribed to Chalcedon. These three Bishops and their subsequent actions were ignored by the overwhelming majority of the Coptic Church, who undoubtedly remained faithful to St Dioscorus - hence, why the Coptic Church today is OO and not EO.

Again, the point of my post is not who remained loyal to whom, but that the bishops that did continue at Chalcedon were NOT condemned for Cyrillian Christology.
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« Reply #141 on: December 15, 2005, 04:28:18 AM »

If these are not the events which transpired, why were Oriental Orthodox Christian excommunicated?

Dioscorus was excommunicated, and many simply chose to follow him.
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« Reply #142 on: December 15, 2005, 10:43:50 AM »

Well, said, EA-

   The point I wanted to make in my previous post to Matthew was that Universal Reconciliation seems to be no more a part of OO Tradition than it is of EO Tradition. So bringing up the fact that we disagree on whether Chalcedon was an ecumenical council or not doesn't really pertain to this thread. On the points that our Tradition differs we need to work for understanding at least and reconciliation at best. More likely than than not this will entail one side admitting to be the offending party (unless we both say our respective Fathers were equally wrong and declare ourselves equally right- which sort of formula would probably not be acceptable to many at all)
   But on issues where our Traditions agree, why would any member of our communions need to raise doubts  for himself? It is Tradition- seek no further. Certain Fathers and early Christian writers might be said to hold to Universal Reconciliation but this was before the Church, led by the Spirit, emerged from the scattered catacombs and united with one voice to proclaim the fullness of our Faith more clearly. The new situation of being free to communicate with Christians throughout the empire allowed the Church to deal with the very few and scattered instances where great minds such as Origen and Tertullian innocently went astray. We can apply St. Vincent of Lerins' canon to Universal Reconciliation: it fails the test of authentic Tradition in that it was never recieved "everywhere, always, and by all." There is no need now to rehash a settled issue by borrowing what is now almost exclusively a Unitarian
(quasi-) Protestant doctrine simply because we would prefer that to be the truth.
   Love for the lost is a virtue. Offering them the false hope of eventual reconciliation regardless of decisions they make in this life is not. Let us strive to win them to the undiluted fullness of the Faith and leave those who reject the message to the mercy and judgement of God Who will "render to each according to his works" in a manner beyond our comprehension.

In Christ,
Rd. David
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« Reply #143 on: December 16, 2005, 01:04:44 AM »

Actually, that is how you interpret what Chalcedon did; they never said that you're out for subscribing to Cyril's Christology, considering they believed (and still believe) that they are following Cyril's Christology.

Then what did Chalcedon do in order to excommunicate the Oriental Orthodox?
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« Reply #144 on: December 16, 2005, 03:29:35 AM »

Then what did Chalcedon do in order to excommunicate the Oriental Orthodox?

See my above post. Dioscorus was excmmunicated during Chalcedon, and others simply chose to follow him (more as time went on). OO as a whole was not excomminicated (unless I am mistaken), only Diocorus.
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« Reply #145 on: December 16, 2005, 03:14:12 PM »

dear all brethren and sisters:
I am coptoc-- oriental orthodox,
we not belive with the universal salvation and we anathemized origin
we not belive with the repentance after death as this thought lead to spritual coolness
thanks, IN ONE CHRIST [bible][/bible]
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« Reply #146 on: December 17, 2005, 02:31:34 AM »

See my above post. Dioscorus was excmmunicated during Chalcedon, and others simply chose to follow him (more as time went on). OO as a whole was not excomminicated (unless I am mistaken), only Diocorus.

Hmmm. I'll be starting a new thread on this.
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« Reply #147 on: December 18, 2005, 03:27:11 AM »

"Hell is not so much a place where God imprisons humans, as a place where humans, by misusing their free will, choose to imprison themselves. And even in hell the wicked are not deprived of the love of God, but by their own choice they experience as suffering what the saints experience as joy. 'The love of God will be an intolerable torment for those who have no acquired it within themselves.'
Hell exists as a final possibility, but several of the Fathers have none the less believed that in the end all will be reconciled to God. It is heretical to say that all must be saved, for this is to deny free will; but it is legitimate to hope that all may be saved. Until the Last Day comes, we must not despair of anyone's salvation, but must long and pray for the reconcilation of all without exception. 'What is a merciful heart?' asked Isaac the Syrian. 'It is a heart that burns with love for the whole of Creation, for humans, for the birds, for the beasts, for the demons, for all creatures.'
Gregory of Nyssa said that Christians may legitimately hope even for the redemption of the devil."
Bishop Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church
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« Reply #148 on: December 19, 2005, 11:22:03 PM »

Matthew-
  Where in Bishop Kallistos' book is that passage, I would like to look it up........

In Christ,
Rd. David
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« Reply #149 on: December 20, 2005, 03:20:48 AM »

Where in Bishop Kallistos' book is that passage, I would like to look it up........

The entire book can be found online, and this is the specific section it is in (Part II: Faith and Worship, The Church of God): http://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG0804/_P1C.HTM
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« Reply #150 on: December 20, 2005, 05:10:39 AM »

I like this book, it's simple enough for the new-comer but informative enough for the member.
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« Reply #151 on: December 20, 2005, 10:11:33 AM »

Thank you for the link, Matthew- I'll be ruminating on that passage for a while I'm sure.

In Christ,
Rd. David
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« Reply #152 on: December 20, 2005, 06:47:10 PM »

It's definitely interesting.
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« Reply #153 on: December 25, 2005, 07:19:06 AM »

Eschatology and final restoration (apokatastasis) in Origen, Gregory of Nyssa and Maximos the Confessor

Andreas Andreopoulos

Penn Humanities Forum
School of Arts and Sciences
University of Pennsylvania
http://www.theandros.com/restoration.html
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« Reply #154 on: December 29, 2005, 02:21:15 AM »

There is a difference between saying, in a prayerful and hopeful way, that a scumbag (e.g., me) might be saved; and saying that there might be a universal reconciliation. To hold out hope that all may be saved is quite a different thing than explicitly stating that all will be saved. One is intentionally vague, the other is intentionally precise. The very thing that allows His Grace to say things such as he did was the vagueness; had he said "I believe in universal reconciliation" he would have been made to renounce the belief or be brought before an ecclesiastical trial. Put vulgarly, flirting with heresy is different than putting your seal of approval on it and then publishing it around the world. The exact reasons that Saints like Gregory weren't condemned is exactly because all they did was flirt with the idea, and not go to the same extent that others (who ended up condemned) did.

That said (and perhaps appearing to contradict everything I just said), I have found myself leaning towards such a "hope" recently. I guess that makes me a heretical flirt.

Justin
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« Reply #155 on: December 29, 2005, 02:25:02 AM »

As has been shown in this thread, the doctrine of univsersal reconciliation has never been clearly and irrevocably defined as a heresy. Furthermore, the concept which I have in mind is probably much different from whatever was rejected in the past.
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« Reply #156 on: December 29, 2005, 11:08:06 AM »

If you want to get technical: the version of apocatastasis which was condemned was the Origenistic model which included the pre-existence and fall of our souls before birth as well as an ultimate reconciliation of all which wasn't stable- in Origen's system there could be an endless cycle of falls and reconciliations. This seems clear from reading the Second Council of Constantinople's condemnations of Origenism. The type of apocatastasis held by some of the other Fathers was a hope that all would be saved based on the belief that one day evil really would be obliterated through a co-operation of free-will and the healing punishments of an All-Knowing and All-Merciful Savior who had eternity to work with in bringing about His will that all be saved.
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« Reply #157 on: December 30, 2005, 12:07:56 AM »

1 Corinthians 15
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, All things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

Peace.
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« Reply #158 on: August 12, 2006, 01:45:23 AM »

Sergius Bulgakov was a Russian Orthodox priest who believed in Universal Reconciliation:

"Bulgakov's deeply original and controversial eschatology remains largely unexplored in modern scholarship. Following the universalist insights of Origen and Gregory of Nyssa, Bulgakov construed hell as a state of self-inflicted torment necessary to purify the resurrected individual from evil. His arguments against the eternity of hell are as follows: the permanence of hell entails the eternal dualism of good and evil; the grace and mercy of God cannot be permanently resisted by free creatures; perpetual punishment is not commensurable with the finite crimes committed in time; the idea of perpetual retributive punishment leads to an anthropomorphic and unworthy image of a vengeful God; the ontological and moral unity of humanity does not allow for the eternal separation of humankind into the two separate groups of the saved and of the permanently damned. This article lays out Bulgakov's vision of the universal salvation; investigates the roots of this vision in patristic thought; places Bulgakov's proposal in the context of the nineteenth—twentieth-century Russian eschatology; and offers a critical evaluation of Bulgakov's arguments against the eternity of hell."
http://jts.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/57/1/110

Peace.
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« Reply #159 on: August 12, 2006, 08:18:02 AM »

No doubt one reason that ROCOR condemned him.
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« Reply #160 on: August 12, 2006, 01:04:00 PM »

ROCOR, though they have my respect, isn't always right.
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« Reply #161 on: August 12, 2006, 01:23:06 PM »

There is a difference between saying, in a prayerful and hopeful way, that a scumbag (e.g., me) might be saved; and saying that there might be a universal reconciliation. To hold out hope that all may be saved is quite a different thing than explicitly stating that all will be saved. One is intentionally vague, the other is intentionally precise. The very thing that allows His Grace to say things such as he did was the vagueness; had he said "I believe in universal reconciliation" he would have been made to renounce the belief or be brought before an ecclesiastical trial. Put vulgarly, flirting with heresy is different than putting your seal of approval on it and then publishing it around the world. The exact reasons that Saints like Gregory weren't condemned is exactly because all they did was flirt with the idea, and not go to the same extent that others (who ended up condemned) did.

That said (and perhaps appearing to contradict everything I just said), I have found myself leaning towards such a "hope" recently. I guess that makes me a heretical flirt.

Justin

But a very polite one at that.

This thread is too hard to follow and a bit all over the place.

This is the wierdest one I have ever seen.
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« Reply #162 on: August 12, 2006, 10:38:26 PM »

Mat: why the hell are you resurrecting this thread?  And can you please answer the question directly and to the point.
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« Reply #163 on: August 12, 2006, 11:35:25 PM »

I found it interesting that a modern Orthodox theologian supported universal reconcilation.
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« Reply #164 on: August 13, 2006, 03:47:35 AM »

The Oriental Orthodox Church does not teach universal reconcilation either. But could you please at least respond to this Orthodox source:


"There is no "place" of torment, or even a "place" apart from God, because there is no "place" at all; you are outside of time and space. The "place" is actually a condition of either punishment ("hell") or paradise ("heaven") depending on how you experience the presence of God and His Uncreated Engergies.

Consider a person who hates God, and anything to do with religion, and has done nothing but pursued his own self-centered desires all his life. It would be far more terrifying, and painful, to spend eternity in the fiery embrace of God's almighty and divine love with no escape, than to be far from Him.

Experiencing God's presence and His in-filling transforming Energies in glory or in torment, as Paradise or as Punishment, is the heaven and hell of the Bible. Not something God did to us, but rather something we did to ourselves. God unconditionally pours out His love on all, WHETHER WE WANT IT OR NOT, whether we are ready for it or not, when we enter the afterlife. This is why the Gospel or "good news" of Jesus Christ should be shared with all people, of all nations, in all tongues. For there is nothing to fear from God's perfect love, since love casts out all fear.

However, it is not totally wrong to understand the after life as "type" of Heaven and Hell. Because from each individual's perspective, it will not be perceived as the same "place", but rather as either torment and darkness you can not escape, or as the paradise you have always longed for. For those judged, they will experience God's presence as eternal darkness and torment. Though it is very important to keep in mind what is the cause of either of these conditions, or one could reach very wrong conclusions about the nature of God, as they have in western theologies. To misrepresent the nature of a loving God would cause one to conclude that it was God's intention to punish his creation. Indeed, one blasphemes the reputation of the God of the Bible when you make him into an angry vengeful god that punishes His creation. The cause of the torment is the poor choices that we make, not God. If one thinks of these two different "places" as conditions that we choose to be in, rather than "compartments" God puts us in, it would be more accurate.

And it will certainly be "paradise" to finally experience His Divine Love up close and in person for those who seek it. It is all in the perception.

Such is the nature of a loving God. For God is God."
http://aggreen.net/beliefs/heaven_hell.html


Why are you ignoring it?

A lot of this makes sense to me.

What doesn't make sense to me is how Ghandi could have really been seeking Truth and could have really known what love is ... and yet denied that Jesus Christ was the only Son of the only Living God, and was indeed, as He said He is, the only means to our salvation from spiritual darkness.


Arythmael.
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« Reply #165 on: August 13, 2006, 04:43:09 AM »

There is a difference between saying, in a prayerful and hopeful way, that a scumbag (e.g., me) might be saved; and saying that there might be a universal reconciliation. To hold out hope that all may be saved is quite a different thing than explicitly stating that all will be saved. One is intentionally vague, the other is intentionally precise. The very thing that allows His Grace to say things such as he did was the vagueness; had he said "I believe in universal reconciliation" he would have been made to renounce the belief or be brought before an ecclesiastical trial. Put vulgarly, flirting with heresy is different than putting your seal of approval on it and then publishing it around the world. The exact reasons that Saints like Gregory weren't condemned is exactly because all they did was flirt with the idea, and not go to the same extent that others (who ended up condemned) did.

That said (and perhaps appearing to contradict everything I just said), I have found myself leaning towards such a "hope" recently. I guess that makes me a heretical flirt.

Justin

That's right.  It is not heresy to believe in the POTENTIALITY (as opposed to the CERTAINTY that opposes free will) of Universal Reconciliation. 

I for one consider myself a Potential Universalist.

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« Reply #166 on: August 13, 2006, 08:49:50 AM »

Letter XCVIII. ---- OF MAR SAINT SEVEROS FROM THE 5th LETTER OF THE 4th BOOK OF THOSE AFTER EXILE, ADDRESSED TO CAESARIA THE HYPATISSA.

But to the question which your excellency's magnificence has asked me by letter I return an easy answer, that for my part I have never accepted or expressed agreement with those who speak of an apokatastasis, and an end to the judgment involved in the torments that are threatened us in the future world, and the man who says that he has a letter of mine which proclaims this opinion manifestly lies. Therefore I praised your God-loving magnificence for asking for such a letter to be shown to you; a letter which the man who concocted it necessarily set himself falsely to show to be my composition. Those who hold such an opinion, wishing to accomplish their desires, as if forsooth on the basis of plausible suppositions, make use of arguments that are gratifying to the hearers, saying that it is unbecomingto or unworthy |371 of God, and far removed from his mercifulness, that the man who has sinned for 50 or 100 years in this world should endure torments for unending ages, forgetting this, that God's laws and those which, prevail among men think fit to requite sins according to the intention of the sinner, and one may hear even wise men outside saying of certain persons who have done foul deeds and acts that are not permitted, «This man deserves to die not once but many times»975. But, when a man hears as we do that God who became incarnate and was humanized without variation for our salvation, and who for this reason came down from heaven and conversed with us plainly threatens 976 fire that is not quenched and an undying worm 977, and 978 makes light of it, how does he not deserve, if it is possible to say so, to be condemned |372 twice over to 979 endless torment? If a man live 100 years or more in this present world and spend such a period in vanity, it is certain that this man, if he were allowed to live this same temporal life 980 without end 981, would not cease from his eternal 980 greed and wantonness 982. How therefore will this man in accordance with his disposition not justly 980 be tormented without end? Even the very men who introduce an apokatastasis 983 say of sinners that they will be tormented for many 984 and long periods so to speak 985, and then afterwards will be purified and admitted to clemency and attain to the promised blessedness. But they 986 forget that their human reasonings |373 themselves show God to be unrighteous in his judgments 987. If a man lives 988 in sin 50 or 80 years, but 989 endures torments many long generations, it is again apparent on their principle that this is not worthy of God's mercifulness 990, to extend the period of torment beyond the time of the life in sins, If God agreed with the reasonings of those who think thus 991, the man who sins for 50 years should endure torment for 50 years, and it 992 should not be thus long extended over many generations, as they say 993. For our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ also, in the holy words of his preaching, when |374 separating the righteous from the sinners, said, «These shall go to eternal torment, and the righteous to eternal life» 994, and with regard to both the classes 995, that of the former and that of the latter, he spoke in exactly the same fashion of an equality without distinction, applying the word ' eternal' to both without distinction. Basil the great among teachers of the truth shows this clearly in the teaching composed by him in the form of question and answer addressed to the brethren of the convents; and it is the 219th question, which is expressed as follows:

«The brethren say 996. 

'If 997 one shall be beaten with many stripes and another with few, how |375 say some that there is no end to the sentence of those who are tormented?'

Basil 998 says.

Points which are matters of dispute and seen to be obscurely expressed m various places of the Holy Scriptures are elucidated by clear statements in other places. Since therefore our Lord says at one time, 'These shall go into eternal torment 999', and at another dismisses some to 'the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels', and at another mentions 'the gehenna of fire', uttering further the words,1000 'Where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched', and again said before through the prophet about certain |376 men, 1001 'Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched'; while these and similar expressions, are often 1002 used in the divine Scriptures, this also was brought about by the machination of the devil, in order that men, forgetting these and similar decrees of our Lord, might presume to sin without restraint, persuading themselves that there is an end to judgment. For, if it is possible for there to be 1003 an end to eternal judgment, there will assuredly also be an end to eternal life. But, if we do not consent to think this with regard to 1004 life, what plausibility is there in our assigning 1005 an end to eternal judgment? For the addition of the word 'eternal' is made equally in both cases. 'These shall go into eternal |377 judgment, and the righteous into eternal life'. These things therefore being thus admitted, we must know that the words 'He shall be beaten with many stripes' and 'shall be beaten with few' are not an end, but signify a difference of torment. For, if God is an upright judge, not only to the good but also to the evil 1006, and requites each according to his deeds, it is possible for one to be in the fire that is not quenched 1007, burning either less or more than the other, and another in the worm that dies not, both one that hurts little and one that hurts much 1008, each as he deserves, and another in gehenna that has a variety of torments, and another in outer darkness, and that there |378 is a place where a man is found amidst weeping only, and there is a place where he is amidst gnashing of teeth also from the severity of the pains 1009. But the outer darkness signifies that there is in truth an inner darkness also.1010 And the words used in the Proverbs 1011 'at the bottom of Sheol 1012' signify that there are persons in Sheol and not at the bottom of it, because their torment is smaller 1013. And this is depicted now also in bodily afflictions. For there is aman who is in a fever together with other pains, and another |379 who is in a fever only, and the latter is not like the former, and another has no fever, but is troubled by pain in some limb 1014, and one again either less or more than another. But this expression 'much' or 'little' is employed by our Lord in accordance with customary usage, as are also many other similar phrases. For we know that this form of speech is frequently adopted even with regard to those who are suffering from one disease 1015. For example, in the case of a man who has a fever only, or has pain in the eye only 1016 we 1017 say in astonishment ' How much he has suffered! ' or ' What anguish he has endured!' Accordingly the expression 'shall be beaten with many' |380 and 'with few', I say again, stands not in the extent of the time and the shortness1018, but in the difference of the torment» 1019. These things this great ruler and shepherd of rational souls Basil taught and stated with great completeness.1020 And Gregory, who became bishop of Nazianzus, himself in the homily of defence thinks that the future torment is endless, teaching thus: «But for us, the salvation of whose blessed and immortal soul is in danger, which will be undyingly tormented or glorified1021 by reason of wickedness or of virtue, how great do you think should the contest be1022?»1023 And John in the 66th homily1024 of the commentary on the Gospel of Matthew |381 states things consonant with these as follows: «For all these reasons accordingly let us first pay the taxes; for it is indeed very easy, and the reward is greater, and there is great abundance of profit, and worse is the torture if we do not understand, and a torture that has no end»4. And the same again in the 79th exposition when speaking of the Passion referred to the kingdom, and to the endless torment. And in the 82nd about the man who approaches the communion of the holy mysteries in a careless mood and without caution he gives teaching in the following words: «He who approaches after he has sinned is worse than a demoniac; for the: latter because they have a demon do not receive punishment, but the |382 former, because they approach unworthily, are delivered to undying torment 1025» 1026. And at the end of the commentary on the epistle to the Ephesians he 1027 expressed himself thus: «For a man to be burnt 1028 and not consumed, and to be perpetually gnawed by a 1029 worm is indestructible 1030 destruction, as happened to the blessed Job, who was in process of destruction and did not perish for a considerable time, but was constantly suffering and wasting away, while he scraped off putrid matter from his body 1031 for a long time. Something similar will happen to the soul at that time, when the 1032 worms surround and gnaw it, not for two years 1033 nor for ten nor for a hundred nor |383 for myriads 1034, but for years without end; for 'their worm', he says, 'shall not die'» 1035. The wise Cyril 1036 also in the 1st book of the commentary on the Gospel of John said: "We ought not to be ungrateful to God but on the contrary 1037 to thank him because by means of the Resurrection from the dead he has appointed for us torment that does not pass away 1038»1039.
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« Reply #167 on: August 13, 2006, 08:28:36 PM »

I stand by my original position. It is hard to imagine that someone could be totally immersed in the light of God and yet curse Him for eternity.
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« Reply #168 on: August 13, 2006, 09:00:19 PM »

Matthew,

I'm not convinced. But it sounds very nice, and you sound sincere.
Thank God you don't have to answer to any of us.

In Christ!
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« Reply #169 on: August 13, 2006, 11:30:29 PM »

The Orthodox doctine is that in the afterlife, there is no time and space, all are completely immersed in the light of God. Those who cursed God in this life, however, will find suffering in the same presence that others find joy. But like a stubborn child, these lost souls hopefully will eventually come around.
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« Reply #170 on: August 14, 2006, 01:20:23 AM »

The Orthodox doctine is that in the afterlife, there is no time and space, all are completely immersed in the light of God. Those who cursed God in this life, however, will find suffering in the same presence that others find joy. But like a stubborn child, these lost souls hopefully will eventually come around.

Just out of curiousity ... how does one "eventually come around" if there is no time and no space?


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« Reply #171 on: August 14, 2006, 02:30:48 AM »

Just out of curiosity ... how does one "eventually come around" if there is no time and no space?

The adorable, irresistible love of God.
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« Reply #172 on: August 14, 2006, 02:38:40 AM »

The adorable, irresistible love of God.

That would explain the luring force, but how does one resolve the contradiction between the requirement of time implied by the word "eventually" and the fact that time does not exist at this point?
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« Reply #173 on: August 14, 2006, 02:43:05 AM »

That would explain the luring force, but how does one resolve the contradiction between the requirement of time implied by the word "eventually" and the fact that time does not exist at this point?

Heaven is beyond time given that there is no beginning and no end. That does not mean, however, that there aren't perceptable moments. Otherwise, would what there be to experience?
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« Reply #174 on: August 14, 2006, 02:44:58 AM »

The Orthodox doctine is that in the afterlife, there is no time and space, all are completely immersed in the light of God. Those who cursed God in this life, however, will find suffering in the same presence that others find joy. But like a stubborn child, these lost souls hopefully will eventually come around.

Then this statement would need to be adjusted.
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« Reply #175 on: August 14, 2006, 02:50:52 AM »

The Orthodox doctine is that in the afterlife, there is no time and space, all are completely immersed in the light of God. Those who cursed God in this life, however, will find suffering in the same presence that others find joy. But like a stubborn child, these lost souls hopefully will eventually come around.

So would these be people whose names were NOT written in the book of life?
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« Reply #176 on: August 14, 2006, 02:52:50 AM »

So would these be people whose names were NOT written in the book of life?

Who am I to know the mind of God? Those not in the book today, may be written tomorrow.
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« Reply #177 on: August 14, 2006, 03:07:23 AM »

Who am I to know the mind of God? Those not in the book today, may be written tomorrow.

If all are written in the Book of Life, then what was the point of John saying in Revelations, "If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Wouldn't that be a moot point? A pointless statement? It could only serve to mislead people into thinking that some would not end up with their names written there. Don't you think?
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« Reply #178 on: August 14, 2006, 03:14:12 AM »

Please read this Orthodox explanation of the afterlife, supported by Scriptural quotations and patristics:
http://www.aggreen.net/beliefs/heaven_hell.html

Though it does not endorse universal reconciliation, it does leave room for such speculation.

God himself is the lake of fire. On the last day, all will be thrown in. The question is, will that fire be for you a blessing or a curse?

Peace.
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« Reply #179 on: August 14, 2006, 03:31:24 AM »

Please read this Orthodox explanation of the afterlife, supported by Scriptural quotations and patristics:
http://www.aggreen.net/beliefs/heaven_hell.html

Though it does not endorse universal reconciliation, it does leave room for such speculation.

God himself is the lake of fire. On the last day, all will be thrown in. The question is, will that fire be for you a blessing or a curse?

Peace.

But, with all due respect, you have evaded the question.

Even if all are thrown into the lake of fire, if you acknowledge that some are thrown in as a result of not having their names written in the Book of Life, then you must deal with another passage in Revelation which, in describing the nature of the "Holy City" that "does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light" (the light into which you say time and space are immersed), goes on to say that "Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life."?
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« Reply #180 on: August 14, 2006, 05:03:19 AM »

If all are written in the Book of Life, then what was the point of John saying in Revelations, "If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Wouldn't that be a moot point? A pointless statement? It could only serve to mislead people into thinking that some would not end up with their names written there. Don't you think?

Your Sola Scriptura approach leads to Predestination.  Saying that some will CERTAINLY go to hell is the same as saying that all will CERTAINLY be saved in the end.

In both cases, CERTAINTY is assumed; they only differ in terms of QUANTITY.  If there is certainty, then there is no free will.

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« Reply #181 on: August 14, 2006, 05:34:07 AM »

Your Sola Scriptura approach leads to Predestination.
I'm not sure whether you have noticed, but Arythmael is a Baptist, so it should come as no surprise that he/she takes a Calvanist approach.
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« Reply #182 on: August 14, 2006, 06:05:43 AM »

But, with all due respect, you have evaded the question.

Even if all are thrown into the lake of fire, if you acknowledge that some are thrown in as a result of not having their names written in the Book of Life, then you must deal with another passage in Revelation which, in describing the nature of the "Holy City" that "does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light" (the light into which you say time and space are immersed), goes on to say that "Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life."?

Without saying that I agree with the notion that all will be saved, I have to say that this Scripture passage actually does not disprove Apocastasis. And Matthew said why earlier when he said: "Who am I to know the mind of God? Those not in the book today, may be written tomorrow."  The Scripture passage you quote leaves open the question of whether those who experience what we Orthodox call the Divine Energies as "the lake of fire and sulphur" may or may not eternally experience Them as such. So, in fact, Matthew hasn't evaded your question.

Personally, I tend to agree with Asterikos (The Legendary) earlier in this thread that we can hope that all will be saved, and indeed, Scripture asserts that this was the Mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ: "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him" (Ephesians 1:9-10). However I disagree with Asterikos (The Legendary) that this is "flirting with heresy" as he puts it.
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« Reply #183 on: August 14, 2006, 06:14:50 AM »

Personally, I tend to agree with Asterikos (The Legendary) earlier in this thread that we can hope that all will be saved, and indeed, Scripture asserts that this was the Mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ: "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him" (Ephesians 1:9-10). However I disagree with Asterikos (The Legendary) that this is "flirting with heresy" as he puts it.

Same here.  The POTENTIAL is worth praying for.

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« Reply #184 on: November 28, 2008, 06:15:45 PM »

Hi brothers and sisters! I read through this topic and I'm going to post my personal opinion. I'm extremely contrary to origenistic universalism on account on this:
1) Ethical relativism. If everyone will be saved by God independently from his faith and works, then we could be all killers, pedophiles, sodomites, prostitutes, drunkards... We're all going to be in the Lord one day, after all! (What a terrible idea...)
2) RC heresy. In fact even the words of institution in the Roman Canon say "This is the cup of my blood which is shed for you and for all"!!! There's a great difference between God's hope for our salvation and His will to offer it to everyone on one side, and the certainty of the salvation of everyone on the other. I can be offered a gift, and still reject it by free will.
3) God's justice isn't incompatible with God's love. God just awards the saints with the bliss of Heaven they longed and battled for during their lives, and at the same time respects the free will of the wicked to reject his love eternally. We were all given an entire lifespan of time to decide... and we can't just say "We didn't know of you, Lord, and of your rules!" because God even lived among us to be sure we could "receive the message". One's destiny is determined in essence only during our terrestrial life by our own meritsand in the intermediate state between death and resurrection by the cooperation of the prayers of the living and the mercy of God with our own will, but no further possibility is given after the resurrection which is a definitive state.
4) About Gandhi, it must be said that in his youth he was considering conversion to Christianism, but as he was vehemently expelled by a South African elder from a church where we was trying to attend a service, he recognized that Christians aren't truly imitators of Christ as he thought. When a missionary (E. Stanley Jones) asked him "Mr. Ghandi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?" he just answered "Oh, I don't reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ." Gandhi was just following Christ's command: "Do what they say but not what they do". I think we could apply "baptism of intention" to this great man, but this is conditioned by his great love for our Lord and his deeds, and not inconditionally by a superabundant grace of God who should save everyone just because of one's ignorance...
5) Everyone will be saved according to one's knowledge of the law. The Hebrews must follow the entire Holiness Code, us Christians must follow the Gospel, and the pagans will be judged according to the natural law which was written at conception in their hearts!

Hope this helps. In Christ,

Alex
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« Reply #185 on: November 28, 2008, 06:17:13 PM »

Anyway... nothing personal, Matthew777... I just hope you'll change your mind on this!
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« Reply #186 on: November 28, 2008, 09:52:46 PM »

Hi brothers and sisters! I read through this topic and I'm going to post my personal opinion. I'm extremely contrary to origenistic universalism on account on this:
1) Ethical relativism. If everyone will be saved by God independently from his faith and works, then we could be all killers, pedophiles, sodomites, prostitutes, drunkards... We're all going to be in the Lord one day, after all! (What a terrible idea...)

Sorry, Alexander, but I don't see this as a terrible idea, at all. What I do see as a terrible idea is that any of the above should be "punished, tortured, tormented, seperated from God's Love, or whatever" for eternity for a finite existense as a flawed human being. None of us are perfect, none of us "deserve" to see the Lord and as I don't know God's judgements, anymore than I know the failings or the goodnesses of each human being, I am loathed to place limits on His Mercy. However, I do hope that all sinners (myself included), no matter what they have done in their weak, human state, are finally reconciled to God. How this might be accheived, I leave to God, trusting in his all loving mercy.
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« Reply #187 on: November 29, 2008, 08:46:46 AM »

The souls of the dead are not tormented by God. They torment themselves through their perseverance in the denial of God's love. I mean: sometimes forgiveness is even a greater torment on the conscience of a sinner. I'm not saying that I don't hope that everybody be saved by God. But stating as a doctrine that CERTAINLY all sinners will be saved even when they persecuted God and his children is dangerous. Whoever sins voluntarily by hatred of God and his people are not saved. Our Lord Jesus Christ clearly indicates who won't never be saved: those who sin against the Holy Spirit: "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come" (Matthew 12:31-32). What's this sin against the Holy Ghost? Some people think it's rejecting Christendom, some others give strange conclusions like "Nobody knows", but Paul clearly says what this sin is:
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Corinthians 6:9-20)
So the Lord himself, and his blessed servant saint Paul testify to this, that there will be some people who prefer damnation to God's love doing such evil things as those listed above. Christ uses no obscure words: no-one of those who blaspheme against the Holy Ghost will ever be saved (not by God's hatred for them, but for their own voluntarily choice)!

When some Church Fathers believed in Universal Reconciliation they were following later human traditions and philosophies, but the Church now clearly confesses in the Holy Ghost what God gave us as a doctrine in the Holy Bible. I repeat that God doesn't torment anybody. Those who will experience the consuming fire of God's presence will suffer even more then being tormented: God's love and forgiveness will be for them even worse then a true punishment as they'll see the Energies of the One they persecuted (personally by religion, and indirectly by evil deeds against God's children).
I hope that one day I'll reach the Lord but I'm not sure of this. Just let's pray the Lord for one another that we may persevere in his paths and merit (by God's grace of course) the immense gift of the bliss of heaven!

In Christ,  Alex

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« Reply #188 on: December 02, 2008, 11:48:42 PM »

I've noticed places like Wikipedia have claimed many early Christian Bishops as Universalists:

Clement of Alexandria

Gregory Nazianzus

Basil the Great

Gregory of Nyssa

John Chrysostom

Ambrose of Milan

(maybe I should add St. in front of all their names)

But couldn't someone today read the "River of Fire" (Dr. Kalimiros) and also claim it as being Universalism? It seems like much of this is exaggerated.
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« Reply #189 on: December 03, 2008, 09:48:17 PM »

Look, I've never believed that Gandhi will spend eternity in Hell. That just doesn't make any sense. My mind is not made up, considering that I've been hoping that you could explain why non-believers would not get used to God's love.

Matthew,

You are making a very academic point, which is not a bad thing.....but it is just academic all the same.  How do you know what was in Gandhi's heart?  Did he reject God?  Was he exposed to the Gospel?  Why Gandhi, how about Hitler?

This is a question of if whether you believe that Jesus Christ is the only path to the Father.

Shalom.....
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« Reply #190 on: December 03, 2008, 11:24:54 PM »

Anyway... nothing personal, Matthew777... I just hope you'll change your mind on this!

Matthew,

You are making a very academic point, which is not a bad thing.....but it is just academic all the same.  How do you know what was in Gandhi's heart?  Did he reject God?  Was he exposed to the Gospel?  Why Gandhi, how about Hitler?

This is a question of if whether you believe that Jesus Christ is the only path to the Father.

Shalom.....

FYI: Matthew777 is currently banned and not able to post on the site.  This isn't necessarily a permanent condition, but I thought I'd let you know, since this means he will not be able to respond.
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« Reply #191 on: March 15, 2009, 08:27:03 AM »


"I believe in Universal Reconciliation"


Well, if you had lived in the first centuries you would have fitted right in.   Saint Augustine tells us that it was a widely held early Christian belief.

"Some, nay, very many" (nonnulli, quam plurimi), pity with human feeling, the everlasting punishment of the damned, and do not believe that it is so."

~St Augustine. Enchiridion, chapter 112.
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« Reply #192 on: March 15, 2009, 08:37:18 AM »

The Oriental Orthodox Church does not teach universal reconcilation either.
So you disagree with Oriental Orthodoxy now.....so what's left? Wink

Three years ago Pope Shenouda came out with the statement that Protestants cannot be saved. He claims it is the teaching of the Gospel.  A small time after that the second-ranking bishop of his Synod preached a very popular sermon that Roman Catholics cannot be saved.  This provoked a huge storm among the Catholics of Egypt and the Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria demanded a retraction and apology.   He never got one and instead the Metropolitan's sermon was mass produced on tape and became a best-selling item around the OO churches of Egypt.

Ialmisry will remember this since we were involved in the discussion on CAF.  I'll see what I can salvage from the CAF site but they have obliterated 17,500 of my messages.   Grin

Don't suppose it had a mention here on OC.net?

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« Reply #193 on: March 15, 2009, 08:54:25 AM »

EkhristosAnesti,

I hope you are reading this.

You wrote:

"His Eminence Metrapolitan Bishoy has recently written an article titled “The Salvation of Non-Believers” where he essentially advocated the “no salvation outside the Church” notion...."

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,7675.msg100034.html#msg100034

This is the Metropolitan Bishoy who raised such a storm in Egypt by declaring that Roman Catholics cannot be saved.   Do you have any references to this?  It hit the Egyptian newspapers and was made into a popular tape.

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« Reply #194 on: March 15, 2009, 09:04:07 AM »

Well, I found one reference on CAF but they have nuked the thread referred to.  Pity.
_______________________________

You will probably remember that in February [2004] Pope Shenouda himself proclaimed that non-believers cannot be saved. He claims this is biblical teaching. This was extended to Catholics and Protestants by his second bishop a month later.

"Coptic Bishop: Catholics Will Not Enter Heaven"
http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=142131

Isa, here is the Arabic site
http://www.al3dra.com/vb/showthread.php?t=2801
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« Reply #195 on: March 15, 2009, 09:15:18 AM »

Bishop Bishoy's view of other Christian Denominations
http://xculturefilms.blogspot.com/2006/01/sally-bishais-30-minutes-with-his.html


Bishop Bishoy criticizes different Christian denominations, openly in a conference of thousand attendees. Saying that Evangelicals and Catholics “will not go to Heaven”. And he will stop criticizing them only if their denominations leaders provide him with signed official declaration stating that these denominations are not Christian!

This audio file is posted on the Moslem website “call of Hope” http://www.callofhope.com/

To download the file please click the URL http://www.callofhope.com/CallArabic/audio/various/b_bishoy.mp3

Bishop Bishoy, is bishop of Demiat and Kafr El-Sheik, and the head of Saint Demiana's Monastery, and is the general secretary of the Holy Council of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
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Isa, or somebody speaking Arabic, could you please check that audio link.  It is from 2006.
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« Reply #196 on: March 15, 2009, 12:36:58 PM »

It's not a surprise that the Coptic Church does take a Synodical stand on no salvation outside the Church.

Nevertheless, I don't think (at least I know the Pope wouldn't) they take it this far to call them "not Christians."  Neither do a lot of bishops claim that you can't go to heaven.  Just that they have no say on the matter, but that they know the truth is in Orthodoxy and no where else.

I have heard HG Bishop Moussa (general bishop of the youth) call the Orthodox way a "straight path" while the Catholic and Protestant ways a "zigzag path."

God bless.

PS  Father, the mp3 link doesn't work
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« Reply #197 on: March 16, 2009, 08:17:23 AM »

Christ is Among Us!
    What an attractive doctrine universal salvation is! And yet, for the EO it is settled as a condemned doctrine. If any EO Fathers held it before its condemnation then their fault was one of "loving too much" before the Church had spoken. There is no need for us to dispute or defend it. Since Matthew is an OO member, the burden of proof falls to members of his own church. However, and this is merely as an outsider to the OO Podvig, it seems that one who identifies himself as OO and yet defends this doctrine has somewhat "Protestantized" his ancient Christian Faith- or do I misunderstand the OO stance vis-a-vis the doctrine of Universal Salvation?
   On an EO note: I hope and pray that Gandhi is not suffering eternal torment. He in his ignorance is undoubtedly more worthy to experience God's blessings than I am in my knowledge. But I trust that even if he does suffer God's judgement for his non-acceptance of Christ then (beyond my understanding) it is in a way that compromises neither God's loving mercy NOR His justice. I do not need to know more.
In Christ,
Rd. David


I would like to point out that Ghandi was not ignorant. He was very much aware of Christianity, and Christian Doctrine, and REJECTED it. outright.
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« Reply #198 on: March 16, 2009, 12:22:37 PM »

I would like to point out that Ghandi was not ignorant. He was very much aware of Christianity, and Christian Doctrine, and REJECTED it. outright.

As did many slaves in the antebellum South in the U.S., for obvious reasons.

Now, the question is: how "aware" of Christian doctrine, is someone who sees Christians behaving "un-Christ-like"?  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #199 on: March 16, 2009, 02:27:18 PM »

I would like to point out that Ghandi was not ignorant. He was very much aware of Christianity, and Christian Doctrine, and REJECTED it. outright.

The reason(s) he did reject Christianity are important in understanding the man and his life. 
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« Reply #200 on: March 16, 2009, 09:41:28 PM »

Christ is Among Us!
    What an attractive doctrine universal salvation is! And yet, for the EO it is settled as a condemned doctrine. If any EO Fathers held it before its condemnation then their fault was one of "loving too much" before the Church had spoken. There is no need for us to dispute or defend it. Since Matthew is an OO member, the burden of proof falls to members of his own church. However, and this is merely as an outsider to the OO Podvig, it seems that one who identifies himself as OO and yet defends this doctrine has somewhat "Protestantized" his ancient Christian Faith- or do I misunderstand the OO stance vis-a-vis the doctrine of Universal Salvation?
   On an EO note: I hope and pray that Gandhi is not suffering eternal torment. He in his ignorance is undoubtedly more worthy to experience God's blessings than I am in my knowledge. But I trust that even if he does suffer God's judgement for his non-acceptance of Christ then (beyond my understanding) it is in a way that compromises neither God's loving mercy NOR His justice. I do not need to know more.
In Christ,
Rd. David


I would like to point out that Ghandi was not ignorant. He was very much aware of Christianity, and Christian Doctrine, and REJECTED it. outright.

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
Mohandas Gandhi

I remember one priest I knew saying that he believed that we Christians are too often responsible for outsiders not being enamoured with our Christ; and he wondered if God would blame them or us for their rejection of Him. It's a sobering thought....... to me, at least.
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« Reply #201 on: March 16, 2009, 10:15:42 PM »

I would like to point out that Ghandi was not ignorant. He was very much aware of Christianity, and Christian Doctrine, and REJECTED it. outright.

As did many slaves in the antebellum South in the U.S., for obvious reasons.

Now, the question is: how "aware" of Christian doctrine, is someone who sees Christians behaving "un-Christ-like"?  Roll Eyes


Where did you get your info?  Most slaves were Christians, as are their descendants.
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« Reply #202 on: March 16, 2009, 10:17:06 PM »

I would like to point out that Ghandi was not ignorant. He was very much aware of Christianity, and Christian Doctrine, and REJECTED it. outright.

The reason(s) he did reject Christianity are important in understanding the man and his life. 


I am not sure that God is concerned with the reason.
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« Reply #203 on: March 16, 2009, 10:26:32 PM »

I would like to point out that Ghandi was not ignorant. He was very much aware of Christianity, and Christian Doctrine, and REJECTED it. outright.

The reason(s) he did reject Christianity are important in understanding the man and his life. 


I am not sure that God is concerned with the reason.

I think He is, in fact, He clearly stated that He is concerned with the reason people may lose faith because they are scandalised by Christians:
“And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea."(Mark 9:42)
Now look again at what Gandhi said:
"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
Mohandas Gandhi
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« Reply #204 on: March 17, 2009, 12:22:01 AM »

RE: Whether non-Orthodox believers may properly be termed "Christians."

It would seem that Orthodox ecclesiology does in fact deny the non-Orthodox a rightful claim to being 'Christians' in the fullest, strictest sense of the word. Fr. Florovsky affirmed in his article 'The Worshipping Church' that, "Christian existence is intrinsically corporate. [To] be Christian means to be in the Community in the Church and of the Church."

Needless to say, the strict ecclesiological sense of the term isn't presupposed when it's being employed colloquially. Most people simply take the term to refer to one who affirms the fundamental dogmas of the Christian Faith--the articles of the Nicene Creed being a regular point of reference as to what those dogmas are.

I make no comments as to the propriety or lack thereof of HE Bishoy's comments on this matter, primarily because I don't have access to any reliable sources accounting for the precise nature of his comments or their context.
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« Reply #205 on: March 17, 2009, 07:38:01 AM »

I would like to point out that Ghandi was not ignorant. He was very much aware of Christianity, and Christian Doctrine, and REJECTED it. outright.

The reason(s) he did reject Christianity are important in understanding the man and his life. 


I am not sure that God is concerned with the reason.

I think He is, in fact, He clearly stated that He is concerned with the reason people may lose faith because they are scandalised by Christians:
“And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea."(Mark 9:42)
Now look again at what Gandhi said:
"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
Mohandas Gandhi


That scripture is speaking of children. How is it that you think it is proper to apply it to non-Christians?  Ghandi never lost his faith anyway, he was a devout Hindu all of his life.
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« Reply #206 on: March 17, 2009, 08:12:32 PM »

I would like to point out that Ghandi was not ignorant. He was very much aware of Christianity, and Christian Doctrine, and REJECTED it. outright.

As did many slaves in the antebellum South in the U.S., for obvious reasons.

Now, the question is: how "aware" of Christian doctrine, is someone who sees Christians behaving "un-Christ-like"?  Roll Eyes


Where did you get your info?  Most slaves were Christians, as are their descendants.

I stated that many slaves rejected Christianity, not most.

Quote
Daniel Alexander Payne, A.M.E. bishop, discussed the origins of slave unbelief in a statement written in 1839:

The slaves are sensible of the oppression exercised by their masters; and they see these masters on the Lord's day worshipping in his holy sanctuary. They hear their masters professing Christianity; they see their masters preaching the gospel; they hear these masters praying in their families, and they know that oppression and slavery are inconsistent with the Christian religion; therefore they scoff at religion itself -- mock their masters, and distrust both the goodness and justice of God. Yes, I have known them even to question his existence. I speak not of what others have told me, but of what I have both seen and heard from the slaves themselves.

Raboteau, Slave Religion, 313
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« Reply #207 on: March 17, 2009, 11:40:04 PM »

I would like to point out that Ghandi was not ignorant. He was very much aware of Christianity, and Christian Doctrine, and REJECTED it. outright.

As did many slaves in the antebellum South in the U.S., for obvious reasons.

Now, the question is: how "aware" of Christian doctrine, is someone who sees Christians behaving "un-Christ-like"?  Roll Eyes



Where did you get your info?  Most slaves were Christians, as are their descendants.

I stated that many slaves rejected Christianity, not most.

Quote
Daniel Alexander Payne, A.M.E. bishop, discussed the origins of slave unbelief in a statement written in 1839:

The slaves are sensible of the oppression exercised by their masters; and they see these masters on the Lord's day worshipping in his holy sanctuary. They hear their masters professing Christianity; they see their masters preaching the gospel; they hear these masters praying in their families, and they know that oppression and slavery are inconsistent with the Christian religion; therefore they scoff at religion itself -- mock their masters, and distrust both the goodness and justice of God. Yes, I have known them even to question his existence. I speak not of what others have told me, but of what I have both seen and heard from the slaves themselves.

Raboteau, Slave Religion, 313



I don't believe that your idea of "many" is backed up by your documentation.

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« Reply #208 on: March 18, 2009, 09:53:44 AM »

That scripture is speaking of children. How is it that you think it is proper to apply it to non-Christians? 

Because as children learn from others, so might non-Christians learn from those who call themselves Christian.  If a "teacher" does bad things while claiming some kind of superior position such that there are blatant contradictions between what is supposed to be and what is done in reality, why should the child/learner/non-Christian believe that the teacher/Christian is telling the truth?  "Do as I say, not as I do" doesn't tend to gain faithful adherents, but rather turns people away from hypocrisy. 

Why do you think this passage should only apply to children (what of non-Christian children?) and not to others who are 'children' in the Christian faith?

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« Reply #209 on: March 18, 2009, 02:38:20 PM »

That scripture is speaking of children. How is it that you think it is proper to apply it to non-Christians? 

Because as children learn from others, so might non-Christians learn from those who call themselves Christian.  If a "teacher" does bad things while claiming some kind of superior position such that there are blatant contradictions between what is supposed to be and what is done in reality, why should the child/learner/non-Christian believe that the teacher/Christian is telling the truth?  "Do as I say, not as I do" doesn't tend to gain faithful adherents, but rather turns people away from hypocrisy. 

Why do you think this passage should only apply to children (what of non-Christian children?) and not to others who are 'children' in the Christian faith?



Well, I stand corrected.  According to the OSB, footnote: "Little Ones",include all who have childlike humility and simplicity,all who are poor in spirit" , now with that being said, I am still not convinced that Ghandi qualifies. He was a very intelligent and astute man, who rejected Christ outright.....
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« Reply #210 on: August 22, 2009, 08:52:33 PM »


"I believe in Universal Reconciliation"


Well, if you had lived in the first centuries you would have fitted right in.   Saint Augustine tells us that it was a widely held early Christian belief.

"Some, nay, very many" (nonnulli, quam plurimi), pity with human feeling, the everlasting punishment of the damned, and do not believe that it is so."

~St Augustine. Enchiridion, chapter 112.


And an interesting quote from Saint Martin of Tours which backs up Saint Augustine's statement that many in the early Church believed in universal salvation, even including the devil.

“If thou, thyself, wretched being, wouldst but desist from attacking mankind, and even, at this period, when the day of judgment is at hand, wouldst only repent of your deeds, I, with a true confidence in the Lord, would promise you the mercy of Christ.

Chapter XXII.

Martin preaches Repentance even to the Devil.

Now, the devil, while he tried to impose upon the holy man by a thousand injurious arts, often thrust himself upon him in a visible form, but in very various shapes. For sometimes he presented himself to his view changed into the person of Jupiter, often into that of Mercury and Minerva. Often, too, were heard words of reproach, in which the crowd of demons assailed Martin with scurrilous expressions. But knowing that all were false and groundless, he was not affected by the charges brought against him. Moreover, some of the brethren bore witness that they had heard a demon reproaching Martin in abusive terms, and asking why he had taken back, on their subsequent repentance, certain of the brethren who had, some time previously, lost their baptism by falling into various errors. The demon set forth the crimes of each of them; but they added that Martin, resisting the devil firmly, answered him, that by-past sins are cleansed away by the leading of a better life, and that through the mercy of God, those are to be absolved from their sins who have given up their evil ways. The devil saying in opposition to this that such guilty men as those referred to did not come within the pale of pardon, and that no mercy was extended by the Lord to those who had once fallen away, Martin is said to have cried out in words to the following effect: “If thou, thyself, wretched being, wouldst but desist from attacking mankind, and even, at this period, when the day of judgment is at hand, wouldst only repent of your deeds, I, with a true confidence in the Lord, would promise you the mercy of Christ.” O what a holy boldness with respect to the loving-kindness of the Lord, in which, although he could not assert authority, he nevertheless showed the feelings dwelling within him! And since our discourse has here sprung up concerning the devil and his devices, it does not seem away from the point, although the matter does not bear immediately upon Martin, to relate what took place; both because the virtues of Martin do, to some extent, appear in the transaction, and the incident, which was worthy of a miracle, will properly be put on record, with the view of furnishing a caution, should anything of a similar character subsequently occur.

Source :: Sulpitius Severus "On the Life of St. Martin" Chapter XXII
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« Reply #211 on: September 04, 2009, 08:25:33 AM »

I would say that this doctrine of apokatastasis is nothing but a legitimate hope due to God's loving nature and not a certain confession of faith. The model which affirms that the denial of salvation comes from the resistence of the wicked to welcome God, expresses even better how God so loves men that he even accepts their free will to reject him, but can't anyway stop loving them (and this love is hellfire, as conceived by st. Isaac the Syrian). Afterall, God will be "all in everyone", as the Apostle says: he is present even in hades, and in the depths of Gehenna, so that even the wicked can't hide from God's energetic presence. This also happened to Adam and Eve: they were taken by shame when they heard God walking in Eden, yet they couldn't hide for long from his "unbearable" presence.

In Christ,    Alex
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« Reply #212 on: September 04, 2009, 08:36:25 AM »

I would say that this doctrine of apokatastasis is nothing but a legitimate hope due to God's loving nature and not a certain confession of faith.

Yes, this seems to be what Saint Maximos the Confessor is saying: "One should pray that apokatastasis is true, but one would be foolish to teach it as doctrine.&q