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Author Topic: Orthodoxy and Calvinism  (Read 12767 times) Average Rating: 5
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« on: March 09, 2003, 08:58:10 PM »

Ephesians 2:1-10

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, and in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the sprit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at
one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in
transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For
it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works. For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us.”

  Calvinists used these verses to back up their claims about original sin. They say that being “dead in transgressions and sins” means we couldn’t have any free-will or choose in any way to believe in Christ. Dead men can’t choose or act in any way they say. They say
that to believe that man has free-will to accept God’s grace contradicts these scriptures and if one thinks so then one denies salvation by grace alone and adds works.
In other words, God doesn't do all in salvation (semi-Pelagianism) if man has free-will.
   What is the Orthodox response to this? I have read several things by Orthodox writers about orginal sin, but I haven’t seen anyone deal with these specific verses or Calvinists beliefs on them. Does anyone know what the Orthodox Church teaches and responds to
Calvinism on this regard? Any former Calvinists here have an answer?

P.S.
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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2003, 09:26:30 AM »

Hello Seeker,

You chose the second most hectic week in Orthodoxy to pose your questions!  

I'll try to get back to you in about 50 days with a specific discussion of the phrase "dead in transgressions and sins", as employed by St. Paul in Ephesians Chapter two.  In the meantime, if you have access to a good library, you can check out St. John Chrysostom's homilies on Ephesians.  For right now, it will suffice to say that for Orthodox, the phrase "dead in transgressions and sins" is one of the metaphors used to describe our post-lapsarian state.  Of course, Calvinists interpret this to mean that God specially "resuscitates" only those finite individuals whom He has chosen for salvation, to enable them to be able to respond to the Gospel.  This is the "regeneration" stage in the ordo salutis of classical Reformed theology.  Unlike Calvinists, Orthodox believe that so-called "prevenient grace" is given to all men to respond to God's invitation, and not just to some, because Christ is consubstantial with all men.  In the meantime, I suggest you look at these links:

http://catholicity.elcore.net/ConfessionOfDositheus.html

and the entries for Nov. 8, 19, and 25 on the following blog:  http://pleroma.blogspot.com

If this is your initial exposure to Orthodox theology and you're coming from a Calvinist background, it would be helpful to first understand the categories of nature and person ("ousia" and "hypostasis") in Orthodox trinitarian theology, because these categories are also applied to the Orthodox view of human nature and human personhood, and they dictate how Orthodox do soteriology and how they interpret passages that relate to God's eternal sovereignty, man's condition after the Fall, and Christ's work.

Hope this helps.

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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2003, 11:32:24 AM »

Quote
In the meantime, if you have access to a good library, you can check out St. John Chrysostom's homilies on Ephesians.

I'm not sure if they are all there, but here are some online homilies ...

Homilies on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2003, 09:44:53 PM »

I cannot offer you the official Orthodox response to Calvinism (if one even exists), but I can offer you my response as an Orthodox Christian who at one time was heavily involved in Calvinism.

By the way, Luther also taught that human beings do not have free will. His treatise, On the Bondage of the Will, makes that abundantly clear.

What you referred to you in your original post is part of what Calvinists would call Total Depravity, the doctrine that Original Sin has completely ruined humankind, which is dead in sin and condemned from birth, unable to even choose to believe in Christ and do good.

To me there are good reasons for rejecting this doctrine.

1) It is contrary to ordinary common sense.

Most human beings desire the good and are subject to the law of their consciences. Many who are not Christians are nevertheless very moral and upright people.

That is not to say that their own righteousness can save them; it cannot. All human beings are sinners and separated from fellowship and communion with God. Only the grace of God in Jesus Christ can save them.

Ordinary common sense also tells us that it would be unreasonable and unjust for God to condemn people for something about which they have no choice. If I am a sinner because I am absolutely compelled to be a sinner, how can God justly condemn me?

The idea that human beings are born guilty for the sin of their remote ancestors is also contrary to common sense, the concept of justice, and the Orthodox understanding of Original Sin.

How would you feel if agents of the FBI broke into your home, threw you to the floor, then handcuffed and arrested you for a crime your grandfather committed back in 1930?

Would a reasonable person see any justice in such a thing?

How is it then that so many believe that innocent babies are born absolutely damned because of the disobedience of their extremely remote ancestors?

How is it then that some believe we were all "legally present" in Adam?

Justice is justice. If I can imagine a justice higher than God's, then I've got the wrong God.

That is clearly the case with Calvinism, which makes a kind of implacable Moloch out of the God of love.

2) Calvinism runs contrary to the plain sense of Scripture, which speaks of choices between good and evil, between serving God and serving self, and of the love of God for all mankind and His desire that we all be saved.

Though the Bible speaks of all human beings falling short of the glory of God, of our being sinners, yet it also says that human beings were created in God's image, that the Divine Word enlightens every man, that the human conscience is the lamp of God. Many persons throughout the Bible are called "righteous," and human beings, though stumbling often, are honored and respected by God for their efforts at obedience.

Look at the example of Cornelius the Roman centurion in Acts 10. He was neither a Jew nor yet a Christian, yet his alms and prayers were accepted and respected by God. Cornelius exercised his free will to pursue the kingdom of God. He was rewarded when the Lord sent St. Peter to preach the Gospel to him and he and those with him received the Holy Spirit.

The Lord did not turn His back on Cornelius and disregard His alms and prayers as "filthy rags," the products of a "totally depraved" sinner.

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying Cornelius earned his salvation in some way. No, Cornelius was saved by the grace of God. But it is apparent that he pursued God and did his part to acquire that grace which is freely available to all.

Now Calvinists would argue that the Holy Spirit chose Cornelius and that everything he did was the product of the prompting of the Spirit.

Well, read the account in Acts 10. There is nothing there about the Holy Spirit compelling Cornelius to act as he did. One must begin with Calvinist presuppositions and read them into the biblical account in order to see them.

Undoubtedly the Holy Spirit was working with Cornelius, just as He works with all those who seek the Lord; but there is nothing in Scripture anywhere to support the notion that God's Spirit forces people into faith and repentance.

It is true that human beings are "dead in trespasses and sins." But does that necessarily mean that we are utterly dead and must become Zombie-like creatures, completely controlled by God like marionettes? Can we not even choose to repent and be baptized?

I see no evidence of that in Scripture or the writings of the Church Fathers.

Human beings are dead in trespasses and sins because we are born into a world in which fellowship with God has been broken. Adam and Eve broke fellowship with God; that is Original Sin, and the primary consequence of it was death.

Human beings are dead to God, but Jesus Christ has trampled down death by death. We are able to exercise our free will to choose to believe, repent, and be baptized. In baptism we are raised from spiritual death and experience the "first resurrection," which is the new birth.

Calvinists would argue that dead people cannot choose anything because they are dead. Here I think they are applying a thoroughly wooden kind of literalism which is contrary to Scripture and reason.

Obviously people make choices between Good and Evil, between God and the devil. If those choices are not free, then human beings are merely pawns, and why worry about it at all? Just wait for God to move you to the proper square at the appropriate time and for the Judgment to find out if you were a white piece or a black.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2003, 09:47:36 PM by Linus7 » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2003, 11:39:50 AM »

Linus7 and others,

  Good answer! Thanks for your response! I think you are absolutely correct that Calvinism runs contrary to common sense and the "plain meaning of Scripture". Ironically it is the Calvinism who say that doctrine should be formulated from "the plain meaning of Scripture."

P.S.
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2008, 05:56:03 PM »

FROM LINUS7:  I cannot offer you the official Orthodox response to Calvinism (if one even exists),

Wouldn't that be the Confession of Dositheus?
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2008, 07:15:25 PM »

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Wouldn't that be the Confession of Dositheus?

I would guess so, though I'm hesistant to call it "official" because of it's Latin character in parts, and IMO unorthodox teachings.
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« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2009, 03:55:11 AM »

The writers of the Bible often used hyperbole. For example, expressions like "dead in our trespasses and sins," "there are none who are righteous," etc. are statements of hyperbole that are used to express the authors' sincere grief over sin and unrighteousness before a holy God. But these are not literal statements, for the Bible also talks often about righteous people such as King Josiah and the long list of righteous saints recorded in Hebrews 11.

Apart from the Cross of Christ there is no hope for redemption from sin. But free will is perhaps the greatest divinely-granted gift with which all humans are innately endowed. None of us can boast of our own salvation. Christ alone saves us, and yet we must "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling."  

One of the things that I love about Orthodoxy is the acceptance of mystery. How these apparent paradoxes are reconciled only God knows. And certainly a crucial aspect of our salvation is the humbling of ourselves before the teachings and truths of God and His Church, however difficult these truths may be for our finite minds.


I used to be a Martin Luther devotee. I was a 4 point Calvinist and a Dispensationalist. I was baptized into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church one year ago. I am so thankful for the Orthodox Faith! I only wish that I had learned about my beautiful Orthodox Church long ago.

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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2010, 08:16:53 PM »

Hard-core Calvinism with Mark Driscoll. Shocked
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2010, 09:14:01 PM »

The Synod of Jerusalem in 1672 was a point-by-point refutation of the Calvnist beliefs of the Ecumenical Patriarch Cyril Lucaris. Many of the decrees of the council were more Roman Catholic than Orthodox (like babies burning in hell), but they made their point.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synod_of_Jerusalem_(1672)
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2010, 04:38:24 PM »

I've briefly looked, quite a while ago, for an exposition on Romans 2:14-15 in Calvin and couldn't find anything.  No wonder, since the Holy Apostle Paul says "For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature the things in the law...show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness..."  This doesn't sound like Calvin's view of Total Depravity to me.
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2010, 04:14:56 PM »

The Synod of Jerusalem in 1672 was a point-by-point refutation of the Calvnist beliefs of the Ecumenical Patriarch Cyril Lucaris. Many of the decrees of the council were more Roman Catholic than Orthodox (like babies burning in hell), but they made their point.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synod_of_Jerusalem_(1672)

The Blessed Patriarch Cyril Lukaris was certainly NOT a Calvinist, not being the author of the spurious confession ascribed to him, having anathematized it and Calvinism (and Roman Catholicism), having been a tireless missionary for Orthodoxy, and having suffered martyrdom at the hands of papal agents.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,17556.msg254954.html#msg254954

For more:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,23839.msg365010.html#msg365010
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2010, 03:10:24 PM »

The Synod of Jerusalem in 1672 was a point-by-point refutation of the Calvnist beliefs of the Ecumenical Patriarch Cyril Lucaris. Many of the decrees of the council were more Roman Catholic than Orthodox (like babies burning in hell), but they made their point.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synod_of_Jerusalem_(1672)

The Blessed Patriarch Cyril Lukaris was certainly NOT a Calvinist, not being the author of the spurious confession ascribed to him, having anathematized it and Calvinism (and Roman Catholicism), having been a tireless missionary for Orthodoxy, and having suffered martyrdom at the hands of papal agents.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,17556.msg254954.html#msg254954

For more:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,23839.msg365010.html#msg365010

Thank you Shanghaiski, I did not know this.
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2010, 06:03:30 PM »

I guess Wikipedia can't be trusted as a source on Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2010, 10:44:47 AM »

I guess Wikipedia can't be trusted as a source on Orthodoxy.

Or anything, really.
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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2010, 01:15:57 PM »


and the entries for Nov. 8, 19, and 25 on the following blog:  http://pleroma.blogspot.com

It appears that all the articles for this blog have been deleted.

Edit:  I just noticed that this thread is several years old.  Oops. 
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« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2010, 07:46:57 AM »

Hard-core Calvinism with Mark Driscoll. Shocked

Just curious Jetavan. What is your opinion with this?
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« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2010, 11:45:11 AM »

Do EOs believe in any form of predestination?
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« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2010, 04:36:14 PM »

Do EOs believe in any form of predestination?

Only that God has foreknowledge of our decisions. But we believe in free will, of course. Why?
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« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2010, 05:20:16 PM »

Do EOs believe in any form of predestination?

Only that God has foreknowledge of our decisions. But we believe in free will, of course. Why?
I just wanted to know. I wasn't sure.
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« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2010, 02:30:07 AM »

I was Presbyterian before I became Orthodox. One thing that influenced my decision was a Presbyterian minister informing me that John Calvin oversaw the execution of Michael Servetus.

Servetus committed heresy by denying the Trinity. He was in Geneva where the Calvinists controlled the city. Calvin said Servetus would not leave Geneva alive. Servetus was burned on top of his books, his last words basically being the Jesus Prayer.

Calvin wrote:
Quote
"Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are... we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity when the matter is to combat for His glory."
In other words, when a Calvinist theocracy battles over theology, it must forget compassion.

The executioner image of the founder of Calvinism clashed sharply with my image of the compassionate, forgiving image of Jesus and the founders of the Christian Church. I read a case where an early saint disagreed with a heretic, but strongly protested when the emperor killed him.


This ruthlessness continued in the Puritan colonies of New England and perhaps is reflected in hostile attitudes of modern Calvinists (baptists, Evangelicals etc) towards Catholics.
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« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2010, 02:47:07 AM »

I was Presbyterian before I became Orthodox. One thing that influenced my decision was a Presbyterian minister informing me that John Calvin oversaw the execution of Michael Servetus.

Servetus committed heresy by denying the Trinity. He was in Geneva where the Calvinists controlled the city. Calvin said Servetus would not leave Geneva alive. Servetus was burned on top of his books, his last words basically being the Jesus Prayer.

Calvin wrote:
Quote
"Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are... we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity when the matter is to combat for His glory."
In other words, when a Calvinist theocracy battles over theology, it must forget compassion.

The executioner image of the founder of Calvinism clashed sharply with my image of the compassionate, forgiving image of Jesus and the founders of the Christian Church. I read a case where an early saint disagreed with a heretic, but strongly protested when the emperor killed him.


This ruthlessness continued in the Puritan colonies of New England and perhaps is reflected in hostile attitudes of modern Calvinists (baptists, Evangelicals etc) towards Catholics.

Yep. I too used to be a PCA Presbyterian. My experience was that they loved to preach grace but treated me with anything but. They say you are "saved by grace," but then after you are "saved" you'd better d*mn well toe the line!


Selam
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« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2010, 03:07:35 AM »

Quote
They say you are "saved by grace," but then after you are "saved" you'd better d*mn well toe the line!
Yes, because if you don't, that means you were not really saved in the first place.

And if you told us you knew you believed and were saved, and you weren't, then what were you? A liar. And chronic liars cannot be trusted.

Now we will decide how you will be dealt with! police


Calvinism is an evil system.
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« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2010, 06:28:18 AM »

I am an Orthodox Christian. However if not for a Presbyterian minister and family I would not be Christian. These were some of the most gentle, forgiving, compassionate people you would ever meet. Calvinists sometimes get a bum rap. Please don't assume they are all like you see on Youtube.
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« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2010, 04:59:20 PM »

Many Presbyterians are unaware of Calvin (I even forgot we learned about him at Confirmation) or "Predestination" despite learning it in sermons etc. Calvinism is such a huge movement in democratic America that it includes very compassionate people and congregations. I like the "Presbyterian Church USA," which I perceive as the most liberal.

I was baptized Lutheran and my parents were married Lutheran. Luther started the Reformation, not Calvin. Why should I accept Presbyterian Calvinism?

An objective look at the founder, system, and broad experience of Calvinism, as distinguished from Lutheranism, Anglicanism, Quakerism, and Orthodoxy, shows it to be the most harshly puritannical, where the person is either fully saved 100%, or not saved and going to hell. Calvinism teaches that God chooses some people to be real Christians and they cannot resist God's choice of them, and he has not chosen to reveal himself to the rest, who will therefore suffer eternal hellfire.

Calvinism has frightening consequences. Those who know they are saved know they cannot do any serious wrong, since they cannot become unsaved. This kind of logic would lead such a self-assured person to forget the normal checks we might have.

My brother and I were confirmed Presbyterian Church USA and my brother remembers the confirmation telling him Calvin was good. And I read in a church book about Presbyterianism's history that they trace their roots from the Puritans, who they admire as very good. I see the puritans as a harsh puritannical society that violated God's laws by harshly punishing and humiliating the sinners. Perhaps Puritans abused the Christian sinners, thinking IF THEY SIN THEY MUST NOT BE SAVED, AND ARE FAKE CHRISTIANS?

I read Nathianel Hawthorne's "THE SCARLET LETTER" in highschool and the "Witch of Blackbird Pond." I know what the Puritans were like. Did they also ban alcohol and dancing?

The book that most changed my understanding of Calvinism as a teenager was:

Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse by Philip J. Greven , Vintage Books, 1992

The title refers to the Puritan saying "Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child". The book discusses how central abusing sinning children ("beating the devil out of" the unsaved) is to Calvinist family-rearing.

After that I absolutely rejected Calvinism. The book gave me a completely different way to looking at it, and really opened my eyes. After that it was time to become either a traditional Christian or a peacenik. It was not long after that I became Orthodox! The book has been a spiritual blessing! Thank you God. The phenomenon was not something I wanted to be real, but it is better that I understand it.


I very strongly recommend this book to everyone touched by the Calvinist movement.

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« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2010, 05:00:01 PM »

I am an Orthodox Christian. However if not for a Presbyterian minister and family I would not be Christian. These were some of the most gentle, forgiving, compassionate people you would ever meet. Calvinists sometimes get a bum rap. Please don't assume they are all like you see on Youtube.


True. There are some very compassionate Calvinists out there. I became a Christian through a Presbyterian college outreach ministry. So, like you, I am here today because of Presbyterian efforts. But I think the heterodox teachings of Protestantism lead people astray in so many ways. I became so confused, guilt-ridden, and frustrated by many of these well-intentioned people who claimed to speak for Christ. So, now I tend to be very critical of heresies like Calvinism, Dispensationalism, etc. I don't want others to suffer like I did.


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« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2010, 05:07:24 PM »

Selam!
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« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2010, 06:21:45 PM »


(Source: http://www.calvin.edu)


1552 School Seal


Caption: A 1552 school seal from Louth Grammar School in England bears the motto “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

The schools' seal suggests whipping children is the most important part of teaching at this Calvin-era school!

This seal is taken from the UNC"s School of Education website. (http://www.learnnc.org )

North Carolina has many Calvinist "Bible-Believing" (meaning they believe the Bible, NOT church tradition) fundamentalists.
Many North Carolina schools continue to use Corporal Punishment today, and beat children, including 18 year olf highschool students with thick boards that often leave thick bruises for puritan-defined sins like "lateness" or "whispering in class."

Calvinism is an evil system of thought where its "teachers" and earthly authorities brutalize sinners in God's name.

In executing Servantus, Calvin "taught": "Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are. There is no question here of man's authority; it is God who speaks, and clear it is what law he will have kept in the church, even to the end of the world. Wherefore does he demand of us a so extreme severity so that we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity."

This puritan system says that since the teachers are saved, they cannot isolate themselves from God, even if they whip and execute human beings. When children sin they show themselves unsaved and going to hell. They believe God tells them to beat or execute unsaved sinning humans and that in hell the demons would punish them.

THE PURITAN "TEACHERS" ACT LIKE THE DEMONS WHO THEY BELIEVE GOD USES TO PUNISH SINNERS IN HELL.

CALVINISM IS DEMONIC, not because it rejects Luther, rejects the Orthodox church or has heresies because it teaches the forever-saved to play the same role as demons, "forgetting all humanity."
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« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2010, 07:22:23 PM »

Eh, I don't have a problem with corporal punishment. Beating kids unto bruises is extreme, but "Spare the rod, spoil the child" is something I personally agree with and anecdotally I find quite effective. Maybe it's my own Calvinist upbringing, but in my case and in the case of most of the people I grew up with, it worked quite well.

(And, I don't recall anyone ever being told they were going to hell because they acted badly. It's all predestined anyway, so why worry about such things? Cheesy  But seriously, while the religion is indeed called "Calvinism", he does not have such an absolute strangehold that he is above question. If he indeed taught that, I never saw it implemented, and we were pretty diehard Calvinists.)

While I now agree with you that Calvinism is demonic for his theology, I think it's a bit of a stretch to say corporal punishment and other social institutions you don't agree with are a result of Calvinism, or are inherently wrong by their own right because they happen to come from Calvinist cultures anecdotally.

As an aside, thanks for posting that image of The Banner. My, my...the memories come flooding back. Not all bad ones. Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2010, 07:27:09 PM »


(Source: http://www.calvin.edu)


1552 School Seal


Caption: A 1552 school seal from Louth Grammar School in England bears the motto “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

The schools' seal suggests whipping children is the most important part of teaching at this Calvin-era school!

This seal is taken from the UNC"s School of Education website. (http://www.learnnc.org )

North Carolina has many Calvinist "Bible-Believing" (meaning they believe the Bible, NOT church tradition) fundamentalists.
Many North Carolina schools continue to use Corporal Punishment today, and beat children, including 18 year olf highschool students with thick boards that often leave thick bruises for puritan-defined sins like "lateness" or "whispering in class."

Calvinism is an evil system of thought where its "teachers" and earthly authorities brutalize sinners in God's name.

In executing Servantus, Calvin "taught": "Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are. There is no question here of man's authority; it is God who speaks, and clear it is what law he will have kept in the church, even to the end of the world. Wherefore does he demand of us a so extreme severity so that we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity."

This puritan system says that since the teachers are saved, they cannot isolate themselves from God, even if they whip and execute human beings. When children sin they show themselves unsaved and going to hell. They believe God tells them to beat or execute unsaved sinning humans and that in hell the demons would punish them.

THE PURITAN "TEACHERS" ACT LIKE THE DEMONS WHO THEY BELIEVE GOD USES TO PUNISH SINNERS IN HELL.

CALVINISM IS DEMONIC, not because it rejects Luther, rejects the Orthodox church or has heresies because it teaches the forever-saved to play the same role as demons, "forgetting all humanity."
Come on, I went to school where virtually everyone was Orthodox, teachers and students, yet we were beaten for an even greater variety of reasons than the two you mentioned.
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« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2010, 08:25:10 PM »

I was baptized Presbyterian ag age 15; the parish was mainline Protestant, and the stricter version of five-point Calvinism (TULIP) was not taught.  The church was, however, liturgical sterile; I wandered into Lutheranism, sojourned a bit with liberal Baptist, and latterly spent 20 years as an Episcopalian before becoming Orthodox; by that time, I had rejected anything that smacked of theological determinism.
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« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2010, 08:28:53 PM »

I agree with Bogdan and Augustin717. Violence and abuse is hardly 'Calvinist' by design or in nature. At the Orthodox church I usually go to there is a Russian style icon of two lives, one with and one without God. Among other things the sinner beats his wife and kids. It is interesting to note that this icon showed this guy being given Orthodox Christian instruction. So as has been said, abuse is not perfectly synonymous with Calvin or any other individual.
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« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2010, 09:04:56 PM »

Thank you for your interest. I believe you seek the truth in rejecting Calvinisting ways for Orthodox ones.

Look at the practices of Calvinist communities- the Puritans and the South today, with its frequent executions and vicious school beatings.

Now compare it to the practices of traditional Christian countries today and the spiritual Orthodox communities. Experience and a sense of compassion brought me from Calvinist Churches to Orthodoxy.


Beating kids unto bruises is extreme, but "Spare the rod, spoil the child" is something I personally agree. Maybe it's my own Calvinist upbringing.

You are right that beating children to bruises is extreme. But if you agree with fiercely beating children and teenagers with rods then you are right it is from your Calvinist upbringing. And I say this not looking down on you. It is clear how to accept the main Orthodox doctrines and become part of the church, but not having grown up in an Orthodox region it is hard to take on the customs that we would have in an Orthodox community.

(And, I don't recall anyone ever being told they were going to hell because they acted badly. It's all predestined anyway, so why worry about such things?

Why indeed. This was a central concern of the Puritan communities in meeting out their hell-style "justice." At the Evangelical school I went to we were taught that the Holy Spirit would prevent us from committing serious sins, it acted like a huge pressure against it. For the Puritan theocracy, the person's sins showed that they were unsaved. Flogging and overnight pillory swiftly followed. This is the legacy of Puritanism.


While I now agree with you that Calvinism is demonic for his theology,

Please tell me what you have discovered is demonic in Calvinist theology, Bogdan.


I think it's a bit of a stretch to say corporal punishment and other social institutions are inherently wrong by their own right because they happen to come from Calvinist cultures anecdotally.
"Theoretically" I agree. But now that I think of it, please tell me a wonderful social institution whose main source is Calvinism? Board-whipping of adult criminals, teenagers, and toddlers is a horrible practice.

Greven's book Spare the Child is very deep with many anecdotes about Calvinism, and a deep anecdotal insight into its theology. My life experience with Calvinism is an anecdote. I urge you to read it. Bogdan, how can I tell you what a difference it me in bringing me to the Orthodox faith?

Quote
As an aside, thanks for posting that image of The Banner. My, my...the memories come flooding back. Not all bad ones.
They are never all bad.
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« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2010, 09:07:52 PM »

I was baptized Presbyterian ag age 15; the parish was mainline Protestant, and the stricter version of five-point Calvinism (TULIP) was not taught.  The church was, however, liturgical sterile; I wandered into Lutheranism, sojourned a bit with liberal Baptist, and latterly spent 20 years as an Episcopalian before becoming Orthodox; by that time, I had rejected anything that smacked of theological determinism.

Yes Cymbyz, this is my experience. I do not even remember learning Calvin's TULIP in Confirmation. What shall my faith be? The propositions of an executioner of heretics, himself a heretic from the supposed Catholic faith? Or shall my faith be that of the early church?
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« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2010, 09:23:36 PM »

Come on, I went to school where virtually everyone was Orthodox, teachers and students, yet we were beaten for an even greater variety of reasons than the two you mentioned.

This is awful. Where was this? If in America, it is the proof that Orthodox have assimilated and accepted the Calvinist ways pervasive in America. This is the danger for American Orthodox- the common idea that "it is all the same." The association that what the Calvinists AKA Baptists say is right because that is what everyone accepts. The Old Testament says to kill heretics like Calvin did and whip poor little kids, so that is Christianity.    Wrong!


Now as for Orthodox whipping children in schools is that what the orthodox Church recommends? No!

Russia abolished Corporal Punishment for citizens in 1860 when it was still officially Orthodox, and I read this applied to schools.

Among many other sources suggesting the ban related to schools is, Boris Mironov's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RUSSIAN HISTORY
http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404100306.html

And Russia definitely did not have school beatings after 1917.
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« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2010, 09:26:26 PM »

I agree with Bogdan and Augustin717. Violence and abuse is hardly 'Calvinist' by design or in nature. At the Orthodox church I usually go to there is a Russian style icon of two lives, one with and one without God. Among other things the sinner beats his wife and kids. It is interesting to note that this icon showed this guy being given Orthodox Christian instruction. So as has been said, abuse is not perfectly synonymous with Calvin or any other individual.

SPRTSLVR,

Where have you seen this icon? Note that you said you saw the beating portrayed AFTER he received instruction, not during the instruction. It sounds like the Orthodox Church is portraying him as disobeying the instruction! Hypocrisy! Yet this is what calvinism teaches- to ignore the teachings of the Orthodox Church and to harm the sinners like the demons do, "forgetting all humanity!"

Spare not the child? "Spare not the heretics' blood" and "forget all humanity?" Calvinism is demonic!
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« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2010, 10:30:28 PM »

Come on, I went to school where virtually everyone was Orthodox, teachers and students, yet we were beaten for an even greater variety of reasons than the two you mentioned.

This is awful. Where was this? If in America, it is the proof that Orthodox have assimilated and accepted the Calvinist ways pervasive in America. This is the danger for American Orthodox- the common idea that "it is all the same." The association that what the Calvinists AKA Baptists say is right because that is what everyone accepts. The Old Testament says to kill heretics like Calvin did and whip poor little kids, so that is Christianity.    Wrong!


Now as for Orthodox whipping children in schools is that what the orthodox Church recommends? No!

Russia abolished Corporal Punishment for citizens in 1860 when it was still officially Orthodox, and I read this applied to schools.

Among many other sources suggesting the ban related to schools is, Boris Mironov's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RUSSIAN HISTORY
http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404100306.html

And Russia definitely did not have school beatings after 1917.
It was in Romania, although the school wasn't church sponsored (only seminaries are), most of us were,of course, of the dominant religion of the country.
Corporal punishment (being hit with a long stick, being slapped on the face etc) was common place. I has only recently been outlawed , to bring the system in line with the European standards.
Violence is as common in Orthodox societies, as it is in any other societies.
Grandfather would tell us how, before Communism, they used to have religion classes taught by the priest; he would beat himself the kids that didn't know the creed etc. He also used to beat a kid whose parents were not Orthodox, I think, and wouldn't make the sign of the Cross.
I have many more anecdotes like these.
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« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2010, 10:31:42 PM »

Having given you my belief that Calvinism teaches vicious punishments for the unsaved, I should show you why the Orthodox Church teaches Otherwise!

Quote
Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. (Proverbs 23)

Can you not see that this is a prefigurement of Christ? Whose words of knowledge save us? Whose son was beaten with the rod based on Old Testament instructions about blasphemers? Whose son did not die but was delivered from hell? Who fulfilled this scripture?Huh

Quote
he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53)

Who must I follow? Must I follow the executioner John Calvin or must I follow the forgiving Messiah who has borne our chastisement for us?

What is Jesus' good news? What is the instruction that gives me joy?

Quote
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Colossians 3:21

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Luke 17:2

What does it mean to offend or anger a child?
Quote
The babe that weeps the rod beneath.
Writes Revenge! in realms of death.
--Auguries of Innocence by William Blake
(Have you noticed that Protestants often quote eachother's interpretations as authority, they just don't call it that?)

The practice in Calvinist-dominated Southern communities is to beat children and teenagers with thick wooden boards. Bruises like those on this child protection site that opposes school beatings are common, and the Calvinist states pass "techer protection laws" so parents can never sue for any bruising beatings, even if the parents told the school they do not want their own children beaten!
http://www.nospank.net/whacked3.htm

Now the burden is on loyal, compassionate Calvinists to explain why the large communities dedicated to Calvinism legally abuse children on a large scale today.
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« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2010, 10:57:41 PM »

Augustin,

I am very sorry to hear about the abuse in Stalin-style Romania.

At least the "Communist Party" of Romania recognized that school beatings were wrong and outlawed them in principle, so the beatings must have been a holdover from the pre-Communist monarchist/Nazi-allied "education" ingrained in them.

Quote
Corporal punishment in schools has been prohibited since 1948. This is confirmed in the Education Law (article 157) and the Internal Regulations governing schools and care institutions (articles 5 and 9). The Law on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of the Child also applies (http://www.endcorporalpunishment.org/pages/progress/reports/romania.html).

On the opposite end, Calvinism actually encourages "beaitng the devil out of them" and using the rod (caning) frequently so as not to "spare it" and all the other anger-filled demon-style attitudes that accompany it. The church teaches that anger is one of the deadly sins. Vicious beatings are often given in anger. But Calvinism doesn't care about that. What is important is "forgetting humanity" when you enforce God's Old Testament laws against heretics.


heading: "In total it has been claimed that 60 people were burnt alive at the stake, in Calvin's theocratic city of God"
Quote
"I shall never permit him to depart alive, provided my authority be of any avail" (Letters of John Calvin, pg. 82; 4, pg. 174.)

 On 27 October 1903, some European and American Calvinists came together to erect a monument, in remembrance of Michael Servetus:
"Reverent and grateful sons of Calvin, our great Reformer, but condemning an error which was of his age"

Whose son are you? The son of Calvin following the Old Testament "instructions" to beat children and execute heretics?

Or are you God's child? Jesus, our "big brother" has taken the chastisements and stripes of the law upon himself. He has given us knowledge and instructions not to offend or anger children and the church teaches us to avoid anger ourselves. Please follow the New Testament instructions of love and forgiveness.
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« Reply #39 on: June 12, 2010, 11:05:54 PM »

Quote
"O my God! What miseries and mockeries did I then experience when it was impressed on me that obedience to my teachers was proper to my boyhood estate if I was to flourish in this world and distinguish myself in those tricks of speech which would gain honor for me among men, and deceitful riches! To this end I was sent to school to get learning, the value of which I knew not--wretch that I was. Yet if I was slow to learn, I was flogged. For this was deemed praiseworthy by our forefathers and many had passed before us in the same course, and thus had built up the precedent for the sorrowful road on which we too were compelled to travel, multiplying labor and sorrow upon the sons of Adam. About this time, O Lord, I observed men praying to thee, and I learned from them to conceive thee--after my capacity for understanding as it was then--to be some great Being, who, though not visible to our senses, was able to hear and help us. Thus as a boy I began to pray to thee, my Help and my Refuge, and, in calling on thee, broke the bands of my tongue. Small as I was, I prayed with no slight earnestness that I might not be beaten at school. And when thou didst not heed me--for that would have been giving me over to my folly--my elders and even my parents too, who wished me no ill, treated my stripes as a joke, though they were then a great and grievous ill to me."

"Is there anyone, O Lord, with a spirit so great, who cleaves to thee with such steadfast affection (or is there even a kind of obtuseness that has the same effect)--is there any man who, by cleaving devoutly to thee, is endowed with so great a courage that he can regard indifferently those racks and hooks and other torture weapons from which men throughout the world pray so fervently to be spared; and can they scorn those who so greatly fear these torments, just as my parents were amused at the torments with which our teachers punished us boys? For we were no less afraid of our pains, nor did we beseech thee less to escape them. Yet, even so, we were sinning by writing or reading or studying less than our assigned lessons."

"For I did not, O Lord, lack memory or capacity, for, by thy will, I possessed enough for my age. However, my mind was absorbed only in play, and I was punished for this by those who were doing the same things themselves. But the idling of our elders is called business; the idling of boys, though quite like it, is punished by those same elders, and no one pities either the boys or the men. For will any common sense observer agree that I was rightly punished as a boy for playing ball--just because this hindered me from learning more quickly those lessons by means of which, as a man, I could play at more shameful games? And did he by whom I was beaten do anything different? When he was worsted in some small controversy with a fellow teacher, he was more tormented by anger and envy than I was when beaten by a playmate in the ball game."

St. Augustine reflects on boyhood punishments and the punishers

Excerpt from Confessions, Chapter IX, Book One (A.D. 398)

States with official abolition of corporal punishment in home and schools include:
Republic of Moldova (2008)
Greece (2006)
Ukraine (2004)
Romania (2004)
Bulgaria (2000)
Cyprus (1994)
Finland (1983)

States with official abolition of institutional corporal punishment include:
Russia and Russian Alaska (1860 - applied to schools)


Full list of Western industrial countries with corporal punishment in home AND schools
USA (20 states where Calvinism is predominant)

Full list of Western Industrial countries with frequent capital punishment:
USA (strongest in the most Calvinist states)

Calvinism is the doctrine urging much suffering in America.

Why do you say Calvinism is demonic, Bogdan?
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« Reply #40 on: June 13, 2010, 01:23:15 AM »

Thank you for your interest. I believe you seek the truth in rejecting Calvinisting ways for Orthodox ones.

Look at the practices of Calvinist communities- the Puritans and the South today, with its frequent executions and vicious school beatings.

Now compare it to the practices of traditional Christian countries today and the spiritual Orthodox communities. Experience and a sense of compassion brought me from Calvinist Churches to Orthodoxy.

I cannot argue with your personal experience, but I suppose I have simply never seen as much of a difference. The Calvinist/Christian private school I went to growing up had light corporal punishment, but the teachers would also give the skin off their backs for their students if they could. People were very kind, loving, and generous—but firm. Mouth off to your parents, or your teacher, or your friend's parents, and punishment will come swiftly thereafter. But it all struck me as rather idyllic, and it still does, so I'm afraid I can't relate from that standpoint. Of course, it was the same with the few Catholics I knew, so this parenting style does not strike me as peculiar to Calvinism.

Beating kids unto bruises is extreme, but "Spare the rod, spoil the child" is something I personally agree. Maybe it's my own Calvinist upbringing.

You are right that beating children to bruises is extreme. But if you agree with fiercely beating children and teenagers with rods then you are right it is from your Calvinist upbringing. And I say this not looking down on you. It is clear how to accept the main Orthodox doctrines and become part of the church, but not having grown up in an Orthodox region it is hard to take on the customs that we would have in an Orthodox community.

But I don't understand how this is peculiar to Calvinism. I consider corporal punishment more peculiar to conservative regions, which may be more likely to be Calvinist, but I don't know which factor drives the other. Catholics also have a reputation for corporal punishment, and surely they're not Calvinist. Maybe it has to do with Western Christianity, but then it becomes such a broad factor that I'm not sure how much it counts.

(And, I don't recall anyone ever being told they were going to hell because they acted badly. It's all predestined anyway, so why worry about such things?

Why indeed. This was a central concern of the Puritan communities in meeting out their hell-style "justice." At the Evangelical school I went to we were taught that the Holy Spirit would prevent us from committing serious sins, it acted like a huge pressure against it. For the Puritan theocracy, the person's sins showed that they were unsaved. Flogging and overnight pillory swiftly followed. This is the legacy of Puritanism.

Interesting. I suppose I was taught these kinds of things implicitly, but not explicitly. I mean, good order and hard work I consider Christian values, not just Calvinist ones. Perhaps I'm such a product of my culture I can't see it. It would be interesting to see how cradle Orthodox parent their children. What alternative is there, a hands-off approach with positive reinforcement? That seems so much like a dereliction of parental duty to me. I confess I've never really sought to observe that aspect of Orthodox life. Maybe I should.


While I now agree with you that Calvinism is demonic for his theology,

Please tell me what you have discovered is demonic in Calvinist theology, Bogdan.

It's more about the way he views God. The implication that God is the creator of evil, because he is SO sovereign that absolutely everything is under his control. The implication that God creates some people for damnation. That kind of thing. I never thought to apply these concepts to family life. Maybe we're not as purist as I thought.

I think it's a bit of a stretch to say corporal punishment and other social institutions are inherently wrong by their own right because they happen to come from Calvinist cultures anecdotally.
"Theoretically" I agree. But now that I think of it, please tell me a wonderful social institution whose main source is Calvinism? Board-whipping of adult criminals, teenagers, and toddlers is a horrible practice.

Greven's book Spare the Child is very deep with many anecdotes about Calvinism, and a deep anecdotal insight into its theology. My life experience with Calvinism is an anecdote. I urge you to read it. Bogdan, how can I tell you what a difference it me in bringing me to the Orthodox faith?

Most Calvinists who I have cornered on these subjects are quick to condemn that kind of treatment—board-whipping and such. I don't know anyone who is so purist that they gloss over gross abuse.

I think there has to be a happy medium. No, kids should not live in abject fear of their parents (and if that's what some Calvinists suggest, I condemn that wholeheartedly), but neither should parents act like many do today: following their kids around begging them to do the right thing but doing nothing to compel them when necessary (that is my image of non-corporal-punishment child-rearing, and maybe that's wrong too). Children should have a healthy respect for authority, and that requires the authority to wisely assert itself at times if kids don't give them respect by virtue of their inherent authority. I admit I don't know where the precise boundary is.

I hope that helps clarify a bit. Bottom line: parents and teachers should not be cruel, but they should not be doormats either.
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« Reply #41 on: June 13, 2010, 02:05:06 AM »

Hard-core Calvinism with Mark Driscoll. Shocked

That is the church our family attended for a decade before we converted. Driscoll didn't used to be that hardcore, he used to be more like a 4.5 point Calvinist. We left at a very good time. Cheesy
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« Reply #42 on: June 13, 2010, 05:28:00 AM »

Regarding Catholic schools: Before Vatican II they were more abusive than public schools, which also used corporal punishment. There is much ancedotal evidence showing this. Today ALL Catholic Diocese schools in America have abolished corporal punishment.

Calvinist communities in the South have school beatings on a large scale. about 7% of Mississippi students are beaten every year, not counting re-beatings.

Quote
The implication that God is the creator of evil, because he is SO sovereign that absolutely everything is under his control.

Wow.


Quote
Most Calvinists who I have cornered on these subjects are quick to condemn that kind of treatment—board-whipping and such.

You cornered them about this? Awesome.

Quote
I don't know anyone who is so purist that they gloss over gross abuse.
We in the North are not familiar with life in the strict Calvinist communities in the South or what goes on in the teenage "boot-camp" desert compounds where they send their kids who act up. About 200,000 students of all ages (though a high percent are black) are beaten with thick boards every year in schools, regularly leaving bruises. In Texas, a prisoner is executed each week.

Quote
Children should have a healthy respect for authority, and that requires the authority to wisely assert itself at times if kids don't give them respect by virtue of their inherent authority. I admit I don't know where the precise boundary is.

Sure. You have to be firm. You have to be firm when training your dog, but you aren't supposed to hit them. I want to treat my child with more respect than a dog or a prisoner, or an orphan. Russian orphanages are not supposed to hit children. The US uses a foster care system instead of orphanages and the foster parents in the South are allowed to whip children.

I know tough parents and respectful kids who do not have corporal punishment in their relationship, at least this is what they say. I would say about half of Orthodox use corporal punishment, guessing from the polls on this site and my conversations. That doesn't make it right or wrong. But it contradicts the Calvinist doctrine on family rearing where "spare the the rod and spoil the child" is so ingrained they think it is a Bible verse.

A tough army sergeant has a site parenting Without Punishing www.nopunish.net , uses no punishment, and some good anecdotes. His students did not believe that kids would be respectful if they were never punished. He brought his young kids to class and the students were very impressed. Anecdotes.

I believe that hitting children is wrong, since we extend the courtesy of nonviolence to prisoners, orphans and dogs. But one doesn't have to share my extreme compassionate view to see the problem with Calvinism's emphasis on punishment, "forgetting all humanity," from school beatings to executing heretics.




« Last Edit: June 13, 2010, 06:01:38 AM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #43 on: June 13, 2010, 06:20:32 AM »

Sprtslvr1973,

I have also seen this icon at ROCOR's Cathedral in Jordanville, criticizing the angry person who is hitting his crying child and a jar is broken. Also in Russia I saw an icon-style painting of the life of Alexander II, showing a man breaking sicks, captioned "abolition of corporal punishment."

At a winter youth retreat at an OCA monastery, a friend told me that a saint once slapped a heretic. I heard that some desert fathers did this. I believe that slapping heretics is wrong. But this is a far cry from holding little kids down on a desk and beating them repeatedly, which happens every day in southern schools.

Also at the retreat a Matushka told me strongly that she hit her kids. One of the other youngsters told me not to worry about her- her daughter had rebelled and was now a dancer. I am not talking about square dancing.

Sure, some kids can have a well-whipped upbringing and turn out well because their parents love them. But whippings harden others and they don't realize what it did because it is ingrained in them.

More anecdotes. But this is my experience about Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #44 on: June 13, 2010, 09:55:23 AM »

To Calvin's credit he did intend to correct a corrupt religious organisation but in the process he created some of the most unusual doctrines humanity has ever encountered.

Also to Calvin's credit - he openly admits in his Institutes that he was himself at first quite repelled by the God which he discerned in the Scriptures and that he cannot blame other men for being repelled also.
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