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Author Topic: I believe in Universal Reconciliation  (Read 21521 times) Average Rating: 0
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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).

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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."

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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 »

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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.

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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 »

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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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