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Offline wgw

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #135 on: April 30, 2015, 03:06:35 PM »
Although we recognize that Calvinism and Augustinianism is wrong, I have noticed a tendency in Orthodoxy for people to go too far the other way in an effort to refute these two false doctrines. Pelagius was just as heretical as Calvin, and we need to make sure that this is kept in mind for fear of making light of God's sovereignty.

Agreed.  But I think most people do keep this in perspective, and indeed most people recognize St. Augustine as being glorified.  And I hope all clergy understand the Sixth Ecumenical Council anathematized Monergism, of which Calvinism is the supreme expression, in favor of salvation through a divine synergy of God and man, as described by St. John Cassian, a Latin speaking monk whose writings, rather than those of St. Augustine, represent best the Orthodox doctrine on original sin, which we do affirm, just not in the same way as the Roman Catholics.  And St. John Cassian definitively refuted Pelagius according to the principles of Orthodox doctrine.  Which also happily shows that Orthodoxy was alive and well in the Western church in the early 5th century, not that anyone should doubt it, but still, it's good to be able to identify Latin speaking saints like Ss. John Cassian, Ambrose, Vincent of Lerins, Jerome, Benedict, and Gregory Dialogos who made important contributions to Orthodoxy, as this helps us to avoid an excessively Greco-Oriental theological focus which is both historically imbalanced, to the same extent as the Latin focus of the Roman Catholic Church and especially the fixation on St. Auguatine, and also alienating to Western converts.  We need to recognize the unity of the pre-schism Church and the important contributions made by people from right across the slowly collapsing Roman Empire and adjacent lands.
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #136 on: April 30, 2015, 04:44:56 PM »
Mono-energism of the 7th century and Monergism of Calvin is not the same thing, although there could be some connection.
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #137 on: April 30, 2015, 05:08:44 PM »
Although we recognize that Calvinism and Augustinianism is wrong, I have noticed a tendency in Orthodoxy for people to go too far the other way in an effort to refute these two false doctrines. Pelagius was just as heretical as Calvin, and we need to make sure that this is kept in mind for fear of making light of God's sovereignty.

Agreed.  But I think most people do keep this in perspective, and indeed most people recognize St. Augustine as being glorified.  And I hope all clergy understand the Sixth Ecumenical Council anathematized Monergism, of which Calvinism is the supreme expression, in favor of salvation through a divine synergy of God and man, as described by St. John Cassian, a Latin speaking monk whose writings, rather than those of St. Augustine, represent best the Orthodox doctrine on original sin, which we do affirm, just not in the same way as the Roman Catholics.  And St. John Cassian definitively refuted Pelagius according to the principles of Orthodox doctrine.  Which also happily shows that Orthodoxy was alive and well in the Western church in the early 5th century, not that anyone should doubt it, but still, it's good to be able to identify Latin speaking saints like Ss. John Cassian, Ambrose, Vincent of Lerins, Jerome, Benedict, and Gregory Dialogos who made important contributions to Orthodoxy, as this helps us to avoid an excessively Greco-Oriental theological focus which is both historically imbalanced, to the same extent as the Latin focus of the Roman Catholic Church and especially the fixation on St. Auguatine, and also alienating to Western converts.  We need to recognize the unity of the pre-schism Church and the important contributions made by people from right across the slowly collapsing Roman Empire and adjacent lands.

The Dyothelitism endorsed by the 6th Ecumenical Council is already incompatible with Calvinism. The Dyothelite ideas of St Maximus the Confessor dictates that the Dyothelitistic nature of Christ is representative of how the human and divine will operate in Salvation. In a nutshell, this means Synergy, not monergism. So if we follow Calvinism's monergistic approach to Salvation, it would entail that the human will of Christ isn't active. There is no "personal consent" in action and its purely moved by the Divine Will. Of course St Maximus does use this to express how the Divine and Human Wills of Christ interact but it must be remembered that there is some form of personal consent here. The human will willingly follows the Divine Will and thus is moved by it. It is not overridden by the Divine as with Calvinism. Since the interaction between the Divine and Human wills in Christ are representative of the ideal relationship between man and god, does this mean that human beings play an active role in Salvation rather than a passive one? Does this mean that God does not predestine individuals prior to Creation? Or perhaps does the Divine Will of Christ overrides the Human will? These are problems Calvinism would face given that they too on the surface uphold Dyothelitism but when we realize the implications of its theology, we realize how it is by default incompatible with it and thus falls into the monoenergism and monothelite camps since they too can assert that Christ have two wills but their interaction is monergistic in nature.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2015, 05:11:40 PM by sakura95 »
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Offline wgw

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #138 on: April 30, 2015, 05:21:29 PM »
Mono-energism of the 7th century and Monergism of Calvin is not the same thing, although there could be some connection.

Most of the criticisms on the Ancient Faith Radio blog I've seen, of Calvinism, and Lutheranism for that matter, seem to rest on the Sixth Ecumenical Council to some extent.  But the basic idea is that Pelagianism is one form of Monergism, and Calvinism or Lutheranism predestination theology another, both opposed to each other, and both wrong.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #139 on: March 17, 2016, 06:52:22 AM »
Mono-energism of the 7th century and Monergism of Calvin is not the same thing, although there could be some connection.
If you assert that Christ has both distinct human and divine wills and that both wills are cooperating in the process of bestowing grace on humanity as well as the atonement, then I think it rebuts Calvin's Monergism. In Calvin's scheme there is no cooperation between man and God in the bestowal of grace and salvation, it's a totally one way action from God to man. However, if Christ is man and a full part of humanity, then it means that humanity to some extent does cooperate with God in this process, even if the initiator and ultimate source of this is God the Father.
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #140 on: March 19, 2016, 10:59:00 AM »
Someone I know who is a Calvinist just shared this meme....

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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #141 on: March 19, 2016, 11:39:19 AM »
Someone I know who is a Calvinist just shared this meme....


If the sovereignty is absolute, as in irresistible grace, man lacks free will.

Also, Calvinists persecuted Arminians at Dort. Calvinists aren't Simba. And Synergists aren't the bad lion.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2016, 11:40:32 AM by rakovsky »
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #142 on: March 19, 2016, 06:41:00 PM »

If the sovereignty is absolute, as in irresistible grace, man lacks free will.
[/quote]




^^^^ This^^^^^


Calvinism is such garbage.

God knows the future and choice we will make, but WE don't know the choice we will make and therein lies the Free Will.

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #143 on: March 19, 2016, 07:00:50 PM »

If the sovereignty is absolute, as in irresistible grace, man lacks free will.

No, it means that man lacks libertarian free will. This is why some Calvinists don't like the term irresistible grace, it's too misleading.

Irresistible grace still jibes with a compatiblist account of free will. In compatiblism, you are free to do whatever you desire, but not free to choose your desires (which for a compatiblist would mean a non-sensical act of "self-generation" of one's own soul). So in Calvinism, God gives the elect the desire to seek Him. If they have the desire to seek Him, then of course they won't turn away from that desire.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #144 on: March 19, 2016, 07:11:26 PM »

Irresistible grace still jibes with a compatiblist account of free will. In compatiblism, you are free to do whatever you desire, but not free to choose your desires (which for a compatiblist would mean a non-sensical act of "self-generation" of one's own soul).
Too deep for two sentences.

Quote
So in Calvinism, God gives the elect the desire to seek Him. If they have the desire to seek Him, then of course they won't turn away from that desire.
Can people's desires change? If so, then they could turn away from that desire.
But maybe THIS desire is so good they would never turn away from it.
AND in that case, when the desire's permanent imposition in the person is only a decision by God(monergism and not something by man) in EFFECT they don't have real free will on this question AND people who claim to have had the desire but turned from it are not honest.

In irresistible grace, God gives the desire AND man CANNOT resist the desire when imposed AND its a permanent imposition. Therefore, man lacks free will in refusing the gift, or for that matter whether it gets imposed. It's very materialistic.

Writers have also noted a strong similarity between Calvin's determinism and materialism. Kenneth Keathley, of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, explains that Determinism is essentially materialist in his book Salvation and Sovereignty:

Quote
    In his book, Chosen by God, [Reformed theologian] RC Sproul devotes a chapter to Edwards' compatibilistic understanding of free will, in which he rejects libertarianism in favor of determinism. He affirms that our choices are produced by our desires and that one and only one choice is truly possible. ... Many determinists, following John Calvin and the framers of the Westminster Confession, have tried to absolve God from blame by distinguishing between primary and secondary causes. But Sproul Jr. (RC Sproul's son) does not bother. After all, "we recognize that hiring a hit man does not shift the blame from the hirer to the hiree." ...

    CONCLUSION
    Determinism seems to be open to a number of criticisms. First, determinism is simplistic. ... Second, determinism is mechanistic. ... If everything is "cause and effect", then the causal chain goes back to God. Not only does that make our decisions illusory but, as we have seen, it also makes God the author of sin...   Third, determinism is materialistic. The strongest advocates of determinism are often not Calvinists but atheists. Historically, the most ardent proponents of compatibilism have been skeptics such as Thomas Hobbes, David Hume.... Calvinists need to realize that their historical allies have been Darwinists. One of the most important reasons for affirming the reality of genuine human freedom is that it provides a powerful moral response to materialistic atheism. Almost all non-Christian philosophers are determinists who deny human freedom in a libertarian sense. ...NonChristian philosophers generally accept causal determinism instead of agent causation because determinism can be explained in purely physical terms. Enlightenment philosophers argued for LaPlace's Demon... Early determinists held to mechanical determinism while recent determinists argue for biological determinism.

He proves this better in the next paragraphs:
Quote
At this point theological determinists often protest that this criticism amounts to guilt by association... Yet the logic of causal determinism is a stubborn thing. If God causes all things, then he does so either directly or by secondary causation. If he does so directly, then God is the sole cause of all events and secondary causation is an illusion This position, called occasionalism, was embraced by [Reformed leader] Edwards... [In occasionalism] it appears that the characters are causing the actions, but this is an illusion occurring only in the observer's mind... but few Calvinists followed [Edwards on this].

So if God is not the primary cause then He must use secondary means. But what secondary means are available? The only candidate left is a metaphysical determinism that operates through physical events. And this option puts the theological determinist in the same boat with the materialists. It is not really surprising when materialists advoate determinism. ... Many materialists consider the notion of free will to be a 'useful fiction'.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2016, 07:18:29 PM by rakovsky »
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #145 on: March 20, 2016, 06:22:58 PM »
You and Keathley are likely correct. I was just making sure you weren't attacking a strawman version of Irresistible Grace.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #146 on: March 20, 2016, 06:25:37 PM »
You and Keathley are likely correct. I was just making sure you weren't attacking a strawman version of Irresistible Grace.
It's OK.
Not sure how one can make Irresistible grace into a strawman though, considering what it is and its implications.
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #147 on: March 20, 2016, 06:45:49 PM »
The strawmen I've send tend to be along the lines of God forcing people who don't want to believe into believing or denying salvation to those who somehow want to believe. As well as people claiming that it makes God out to be a rapist.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #148 on: March 20, 2016, 06:52:39 PM »
As well as people claiming that it makes God out to be a rapist.
In Edwards' version as Keathley describes, God causes all things directly. Not sure whether that can count as rape, if God knowingly and directly causes rape.
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #149 on: March 20, 2016, 07:00:27 PM »
I'm sure that any form of Christianity can really escape such a conclusion, though. God kept the molecules of the rapist coherent, God kept him breathing while he raped, etc. I'm not sure whether the difference between this and "direct causation" is all that real or significant.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #150 on: March 20, 2016, 07:01:56 PM »
The strawmen I've send tend to be along the lines of God forcing people who don't want to believe into believing or denying salvation to those who somehow want to believe.

What about Evanescence of Grace, the 6th point of Calvinism?

Calvin writes in the Institutes:
[qutote]Still it is correctly said, that the reprobate believe God to be propitious to them, inasmuch as they accept the gift of reconciliation, though confusedly and without due discernment; not that they are partakers of the same faith or regeneration with the children of God; but because, under a covering of hypocrisy they seem to have a principle of faith in common with them. Nor do I even deny that God illumines their mind to this extent .... there is nothing inconsistent in this with the fact of his enlightening some with a present sense of grace, which afterwards proves evanescent.” (3.2.11)[/quote]

Calvinist, Mark Talbot, explains:
Quote
“Now of course, nothing, that I, nor anyone else, can say can guarantee that anyone will continue to believe. Faith is a gift of God that we cannot produce.”  (Sin and Suffering in Calvin’s World,

Calvinist, Erwin Lutzer, writes: “Historic Calvinism stresses the ‘perseverance of the saints,’ namely that true believers never fall away, and if they do, it is not for long. If a person fails to continue in the faith, he is giving proof that he was never saved.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.231)

In other words, there are people whose minds are illumined with faith, but they don't "continue" to believe, and it shows that they were "never saved", ie. even when they believed.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #151 on: March 20, 2016, 07:04:33 PM »
I'm sure that any form of Christianity can really escape such a conclusion, though. God kept the molecules of the rapist coherent, God kept him breathing while he raped, etc. I'm not sure whether the difference between this and "direct causation" is all that real or significant.
Yes, it's different from simply keeping someone alive.
A nursing home might keep a person on a respirator, but the decision to keep coming in and maintaining the respirator while he commits crime doesn't make them responsible in the same way that "direct causation" does.
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #152 on: April 07, 2016, 06:36:10 AM »
Quote
Dan 12:
1"Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
2"Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.…

Quote
"Michael may mean an angel; but I embrace the opinion of those who refer this to the person of Christ because it suits the subject best to represent him as standing forward for the defense of his elect people....The angel...calls Michael the mighty prince. As if he had said, Michael should be the guardian and protector of the elect people"

(Calvin, Commentary on Daniel 12:1, Lecture 65).

Lopukhin's Orthodox commentary doesnt suggest Michael is Jesus.
http://azbyka.ru/otechnik/Lopuhin/tolkovaja_biblija_34/12
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #153 on: April 07, 2016, 08:59:42 AM »
Quote
Dan 12:
1"Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
2"Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.…

Quote
"Michael may mean an angel; but I embrace the opinion of those who refer this to the person of Christ because it suits the subject best to represent him as standing forward for the defense of his elect people....The angel...calls Michael the mighty prince. As if he had said, Michael should be the guardian and protector of the elect people"

(Calvin, Commentary on Daniel 12:1, Lecture 65).

Lopukhin's Orthodox commentary doesnt suggest Michael is Jesus.
http://azbyka.ru/otechnik/Lopuhin/tolkovaja_biblija_34/12
This is the perfect example of Calvin pigeonholing Scripture to fit his ideas, instead of the other way around.

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #154 on: April 08, 2016, 02:41:51 AM »
Lately my Calvinist friends assert that "total depravity" doesn't mean that all unregenerate human beings are as bad as they can be, but rather that every aspect of human nature is affected by sin. The "totality" refers therefore not the degree of depravity but rather to the scope of depravity. Of course, much of Luther's and Calvin's writings seem to indicate that "total" does indeed refer to degree. Luther wrote an entire book on it: "Bondage of the Will." He asserts that man is completely incapable of any truly good works apart from regenerative grace. A dead man can do nothing until he is made alive. Luther uses very explicit language and harsh analogies to drive the point home.

It seems that even hardcore Calvinists are doing a lot of backpedaling these days. 

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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #155 on: April 08, 2016, 03:31:39 AM »
Lately my Calvinist friends assert that "total depravity" doesn't mean that all unregenerate human beings are as bad as they can be, but rather that every aspect of human nature is affected by sin. ...

It seems that even hardcore Calvinists are doing a lot of backpedaling these days. 
It must depend on the Calvinist. Reformed make up the biggest group of Protestants in the US. PCUSA does backpedaling, I think. The Westminster Confession propounds a six day creation, but I think that the mainstream PCUSA doesn't follow this.

On the other hand, here is something I got just today as a message elsewhere on the web from a Calvinist:
Quote
The Bible goes against free will. In fact, you can't find free will in relation to redemption anywhere in the Bible.... Predestination is very clearly presented by God in the Bible. It's not some argument made by men (like free will).
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Offline Eruvande

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #156 on: April 08, 2016, 03:58:21 AM »
Lately my Calvinist friends assert that "total depravity" doesn't mean that all unregenerate human beings are as bad as they can be, but rather that every aspect of human nature is affected by sin. ...

It seems that even hardcore Calvinists are doing a lot of backpedaling these days. 
It must depend on the Calvinist. Reformed make up the biggest group of Protestants in the US. PCUSA does backpedaling, I think. The Westminster Confession propounds a six day creation, but I think that the mainstream PCUSA doesn't follow this.

On the other hand, here is something I got just today as a message elsewhere on the web from a Calvinist:
Quote
The Bible goes against free will. In fact, you can't find free will in relation to redemption anywhere in the Bible.... Predestination is very clearly presented by God in the Bible. It's not some argument made by men (like free will).

The 'total depravity affects everything, just not as badly as it could possibly be' is how I was taught. And I was pretty reluctantly hard-core.
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #157 on: April 09, 2016, 12:36:28 PM »
On the other hand, here is something I got just today as a message elsewhere on the web from a Calvinist:
Quote
The Bible goes against free will. In fact, you can't find free will in relation to redemption anywhere in the Bible.... Predestination is very clearly presented by God in the Bible. It's not some argument made by men (like free will).
Confirmation bias?
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #158 on: April 09, 2016, 12:51:30 PM »
nvm
« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 12:54:50 PM by Volnutt »
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #159 on: April 11, 2016, 09:29:50 AM »
*sigh* nm.

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Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #160 on: May 09, 2016, 01:03:42 PM »
Lately my Calvinist friends assert that "total depravity" doesn't mean that all unregenerate human beings are as bad as they can be, but rather that every aspect of human nature is affected by sin. The "totality" refers therefore not the degree of depravity but rather to the scope of depravity. Of course, much of Luther's and Calvin's writings seem to indicate that "total" does indeed refer to degree. Luther wrote an entire book on it: "Bondage of the Will." He asserts that man is completely incapable of any truly good works apart from regenerative grace. A dead man can do nothing until he is made alive. Luther uses very explicit language and harsh analogies to drive the point home.

First off, Luther was not a systematic theologian.  He was primarily a pastor, and prone to using stark contrasts to drive a point home.  Furthermore, he was arguing with Erasmus, who basically was arguing that human beings just need to try harder and emulate Jesus to find salvation.  The logical consequence of such a soteriological belief would be a religion more like Unitarianism than Christianity.

There are two dimensions in Lutheran thought, the vertical and horizontal.  Before other men (horizontally), people can do good works without regeneration, and this is a result of God's reign working through common grace to all people.  But in the vertical dimension, unregenerate man cannot do good works, his nature is poisoned by the ancestral sin of Adam.   I don't see how this is so much at odds with Eastern Orthodox theology on the matter.  Orthodox believe baptism is necessary and effectual for salvation, correct?  So do Lutherans.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 01:07:43 PM by Daedelus1138 »
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Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #161 on: May 09, 2016, 02:11:23 PM »

First off, Luther was not a systematic theologian.  He was primarily a pastor, and prone to using stark contrasts to drive a point home.

I've never heard that before.

I went and checked out his article on Wikipedia.  You may want to correct their page on Luther, because it does not mention his pastorate, but rather all of his theological work.

Perhaps you mean 'systematic theologian' to mean something very different from the standard meaning, since I don't think anyone would much care to read a Catechism (let alone two) by a 'non-systematic theologian.'
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #162 on: May 09, 2016, 05:39:28 PM »
Lately my Calvinist friends assert that "total depravity" doesn't mean that all unregenerate human beings are as bad as they can be, but rather that every aspect of human nature is affected by sin. The "totality" refers therefore not the degree of depravity but rather to the scope of depravity. Of course, much of Luther's and Calvin's writings seem to indicate that "total" does indeed refer to degree. Luther wrote an entire book on it: "Bondage of the Will." He asserts that man is completely incapable of any truly good works apart from regenerative grace. A dead man can do nothing until he is made alive. Luther uses very explicit language and harsh analogies to drive the point home.

First off, Luther was not a systematic theologian.  He was primarily a pastor, and prone to using stark contrasts to drive a point home.  Furthermore, he was arguing with Erasmus, who basically was arguing that human beings just need to try harder and emulate Jesus to find salvation.  The logical consequence of such a soteriological belief would be a religion more like Unitarianism than Christianity.

There are two dimensions in Lutheran thought, the vertical and horizontal.  Before other men (horizontally), people can do good works without regeneration, and this is a result of God's reign working through common grace to all people.  But in the vertical dimension, unregenerate man cannot do good works, his nature is poisoned by the ancestral sin of Adam.   I don't see how this is so much at odds with Eastern Orthodox theology on the matter.  Orthodox believe baptism is necessary and effectual for salvation, correct?  So do Lutherans.

Things become a lot murkier, though, once you add sanctification/theosis into the mix. How does one preach the necessity of, for want of a better term, "discipleship" without collapsing into salvation by works?
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Offline Hinterlander

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #163 on: May 09, 2016, 06:09:46 PM »
Lately my Calvinist friends assert that "total depravity" doesn't mean that all unregenerate human beings are as bad as they can be, but rather that every aspect of human nature is affected by sin. The "totality" refers therefore not the degree of depravity but rather to the scope of depravity. Of course, much of Luther's and Calvin's writings seem to indicate that "total" does indeed refer to degree. Luther wrote an entire book on it: "Bondage of the Will." He asserts that man is completely incapable of any truly good works apart from regenerative grace. A dead man can do nothing until he is made alive. Luther uses very explicit language and harsh analogies to drive the point home.

First off, Luther was not a systematic theologian.  He was primarily a pastor, and prone to using stark contrasts to drive a point home.  Furthermore, he was arguing with Erasmus, who basically was arguing that human beings just need to try harder and emulate Jesus to find salvation.  The logical consequence of such a soteriological belief would be a religion more like Unitarianism than Christianity.

There are two dimensions in Lutheran thought, the vertical and horizontal.  Before other men (horizontally), people can do good works without regeneration, and this is a result of God's reign working through common grace to all people.  But in the vertical dimension, unregenerate man cannot do good works, his nature is poisoned by the ancestral sin of Adam.   I don't see how this is so much at odds with Eastern Orthodox theology on the matter.  Orthodox believe baptism is necessary and effectual for salvation, correct?  So do Lutherans.

I appreciate these comments.  Orthodox take into account these same considerations when approaching different works by the Church fathers and should take the time to do the same with the Protestant Reformers.

Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #164 on: May 09, 2016, 10:07:15 PM »
Perhaps you mean 'systematic theologian' to mean something very different from the standard meaning, since I don't think anyone would much care to read a Catechism (let alone two) by a 'non-systematic theologian.'[/size][/font]

Not every theologian is a systematic theologian.   Merely writing a catechism is not a sign that one is a systematic theologian, either.  Luther's catechism is towards a specific goal, to share his insights about the Gospel and to bring peace to troubled souls, which he was afraid was obscured or lost through negligent teaching.  It was not the same as Calvin, who spent decades of his life attempting to exhaustively describe God using human reason.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 10:10:59 PM by Daedelus1138 »
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Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #165 on: May 09, 2016, 10:45:42 PM »
Perhaps you mean 'systematic theologian' to mean something very different from the standard meaning, since I don't think anyone would much care to read a Catechism (let alone two) by a 'non-systematic theologian.'[/size][/font]

Not every theologian is a systematic theologian.   Merely writing a catechism is not a sign that one is a systematic theologian, either.  Luther's catechism is towards a specific goal, to share his insights about the Gospel and to bring peace to troubled souls, which he was afraid was obscured or lost through negligent teaching.  It was not the same as Calvin, who spent decades of his life attempting to exhaustively describe God using human reason.

Well, this appears to be an innovative interpretation of Luther.  The general consensus is that he was a systematic theologian.  I think you are really off the mark here in your understanding of Luther.

I suppose you could say that Luther may not have seen himself as a 'systematic theologian,' but I would add that Calvin didn't either.  Yet, both produced what Wikipedia (rather eloquently) describes as:

... a discipline of Christian theology that formulates an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the Christian faith and beliefs. Subdisciplines are dogmatics, ethics and philosophy of religion.

To say that Luther wasn't trying to formulate 'orderly, rational, and coherent account of the Christian faith and beliefs' is a bit of a put-down if you ask me.  Kind of like putting him on the same shelf as Max Lucado or Joel Osteen.  Just because I don't agree with Luther does not mean that I would be OK with mis-characterizing his work.

He was definitely a systematic theologian.

I think you owe him an apology.

 
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Offline Hinterlander

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #166 on: May 09, 2016, 11:13:17 PM »
Was "On the Bondage of the Will" a work of systematic theology?

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #167 on: May 10, 2016, 12:07:07 AM »
Was "On the Bondage of the Will" a work of systematic theology?

Well, nearly every Reformed-based Systematic Theology class syllabus I've read makes it required reading, and often lists it as a systematic theology text.

I ran across this quote:

"Gerhard Forde makes a dashingly bold move to construct a whole systematic theology on the model of Martin Luther's Bondage of the Will. Forde continues Luther's polemic against every theology that fools with God apart from the Word. . . Forde writes a theology that is good for nothing but proclaiming the living Word of God."
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Professor of Systematic Theology
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago


But, of course, that would assume that Professor Braaten doesn't know that Martin Luther didn't write systematic theology to begin with because he wasn't a systematic theologian.
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Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #168 on: May 10, 2016, 12:51:18 AM »
You make it sound like not being a systematic theologian is some kind of put-down, it isn't.  A great deal of Orthodox theology is not systematic theology, either.

Gerhard Forde is indeed a systematic theologian.  His conclusions are controversial, even within the ELCA.

At any rate... Lutherans are not Calvinists and do not share Calvin's doctrines regarding predestination.  Especially mainline Lutherans.  Calvinists often want to make Luther one of their own, of course (and that leads to another myth, that Lutheran theology and practice is merely Luther's writings expounded, but that could fill another topic altogether).

I've read books by European Lutheran theologians that argue that Luther is far more of a mystical theologian than someone like Calvin or later German scholastics.  In fact that seems to be the trend in Scandinavia, to interpret Luther as a mystical theologian.
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #169 on: May 10, 2016, 01:35:21 AM »
You make it sound like not being a systematic theologian is some kind of put-down, it isn't.  A great deal of Orthodox theology is not systematic theology, either.
Indeed; the first systematic theologian, namely Origen, was often systematically wrong, and was eventually condemned as a heretic by the EO church in the 6th century (the Copts had already done so on a local level during or shortly after his lifetime, if I remember correctly).

Quote
Gerhard Forde is indeed a systematic theologian.  His conclusions are controversial, even within the ELCA.

At any rate... Lutherans are not Calvinists and do not share Calvin's doctrines regarding predestination.  Especially mainline Lutherans.  Calvinists often want to make Luther one of their own, of course (and that leads to another myth, that Lutheran theology and practice is merely Luther's writings expounded, but that could fill another topic altogether).

I've read books by European Lutheran theologians that argue that Luther is far more of a mystical theologian than someone like Calvin or later German scholastics.  In fact that seems to be the trend in Scandinavia, to interpret Luther as a mystical theologian.

This is especially the case in Finland, as a result of the dialogue with Orthodoxy that came to the forefront in that country. See Tuomo Mannermaa.
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #170 on: May 10, 2016, 01:40:44 AM »
Lately my Calvinist friends assert that "total depravity" doesn't mean that all unregenerate human beings are as bad as they can be, but rather that every aspect of human nature is affected by sin. The "totality" refers therefore not the degree of depravity but rather to the scope of depravity. Of course, much of Luther's and Calvin's writings seem to indicate that "total" does indeed refer to degree. Luther wrote an entire book on it: "Bondage of the Will." He asserts that man is completely incapable of any truly good works apart from regenerative grace. A dead man can do nothing until he is made alive. Luther uses very explicit language and harsh analogies to drive the point home.

First off, Luther was not a systematic theologian.  He was primarily a pastor, and prone to using stark contrasts to drive a point home.  Furthermore, he was arguing with Erasmus, who basically was arguing that human beings just need to try harder and emulate Jesus to find salvation.  The logical consequence of such a soteriological belief would be a religion more like Unitarianism than Christianity.

Erasmus sounds an awful lot like a certain breed of American (the "personal responsibility / pull yourself up by your bootstraps / you're just not trying hard enough" attitude). I've long wondered whether the USA's real founding religion was Pelagianism (which would have came about as a backlash against the Calvinism of the colonial era). From what has been written about him, Pelagius himself sounds like a proto-revivalist, or a very early Charles Finney.

Certainly, in the US, ideas such as "economic Pelagianism" and "eschatological Pelagianism" have long histories and remain strong to this day.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 01:41:26 AM by Minnesotan »
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #171 on: May 10, 2016, 07:02:47 AM »
Maybe it's petty of me, but I have a really hard time taking seriously a "professional theologian" who can't even spell the word "nuclear" or at least use spellcheck.

Also, I know it's a bit of a modern controversy but I'm pretty sure even the most diehard conservative would think it overly reductive to say that the ancient Pelagians believed one literally earns salvation by putting God into their debt.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 07:04:02 AM by Volnutt »
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #172 on: May 10, 2016, 10:26:32 AM »
You make it sound like not being a systematic theologian is some kind of put-down, it isn't.  A great deal of Orthodox theology is not systematic theology, either.


I'm not putting anyone down.  What makes you think that?

You are mis-characterizing Luther and his accomplishments, which I think is a put-down.  Anytime you categorize someone incorrectly, you are minimizing the importance of their work and their intentions.  Luther did indeed intend for his work to be 'systematic.'  You are insulting him by saying his work is not systematic theology.  I don't know why you would say that about him.

You should apologize to him.
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Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #173 on: May 12, 2016, 12:34:53 PM »
Things become a lot murkier, though, once you add sanctification/theosis into the mix. How does one preach the necessity of, for want of a better term, "discipleship" without collapsing into salvation by works?

It's always possible that Christians have misunderstood Jesus' call to discipleship, isn't it?

I'm sure you are aware, Lutherans do not preach against good works, or even the necessity of good works.  But good works need not be "religious" in nature, and that was Luther's real emphasis.   

The Orthodox tend to have a legalistic understanding of theosis and sanctification (look at how many rules there are just to become an Orthodox Christian), much as many Calvinists do.  But it's really not necessary to see theosis as anything other than living out being justified by grace alone through faith alone.  Life is challenging enough as is, why add a host of religious requirements to the mix... is being a doer of justice and mercy achieved by guilting and shaming people into it?  No, that's a basic confusion of Law and Gospel.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 12:36:17 PM by Daedelus1138 »
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #174 on: May 12, 2016, 12:56:23 PM »
The Orthodox tend to have a legalistic understanding of theosis and sanctification (look at how many rules there are just to become an Orthodox Christian), much as many Calvinists do.

How many rules are there?  What are they?
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #175 on: May 12, 2016, 02:05:27 PM »
Things become a lot murkier, though, once you add sanctification/theosis into the mix. How does one preach the necessity of, for want of a better term, "discipleship" without collapsing into salvation by works?

It's always possible that Christians have misunderstood Jesus' call to discipleship, isn't it?

I'm sure you are aware, Lutherans do not preach against good works, or even the necessity of good works.  But good works need not be "religious" in nature, and that was Luther's real emphasis.   

The Orthodox tend to have a legalistic understanding of theosis and sanctification (look at how many rules there are just to become an Orthodox Christian), much as many Calvinists do.  But it's really not necessary to see theosis as anything other than living out being justified by grace alone through faith alone.  Life is challenging enough as is, why add a host of religious requirements to the mix... is being a doer of justice and mercy achieved by guilting and shaming people into it?  No, that's a basic confusion of Law and Gospel.

Depends on how well the rules can be logically justified as being in service of justice and mercy, I guess. "That's just legalism" is used enough times as the defense of somebody who's just angry about not being able to indulge in their favorite vice (including by me).
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 02:05:48 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #176 on: May 12, 2016, 02:28:06 PM »
Depends on how well the rules can be logically justified as being in service of justice and mercy, I guess. "That's just legalism" is used enough times as the defense of somebody who's just angry about not being able to indulge in their favorite vice.

You need to be careful, that sort of attitude leaves you open to serious spiritual abuse.

Legalism obscures the great truths of the Gospel in the name of making supposedly holy people.  It takes away from the glory of Jesus Christ's self-offering hospitality to sinners.

The rules about who can and cannot join the church due to marriage alone are hideously legalistic..  And that's just one example.  The rules about fasting and esp. sexual abstinence during the fast are likewise legalistic in their application of the monastic ideals onto the laity (no sex on Friday's Saturday's and sundays?  Good luck having a happy marriage with that for the average person... and all it does is reinforce the belief that sex is dirty).

I once had my priest tell me I should abstain from water on Sunday mornings before the Divine Liturgy.  I don't care if that's "traditional", but its very much unhealthy in a place like Florida where in the Summer, staying hydrated is very important.

And then there are Greek folks that worry about menstruating women receiving communion, or getting cuts after receiver the Eucharist.  Etc. etc.  All this takes the focus off God and puts it on what we can do to save ourselves through our own adherence to rules.  It breeds pride, which is the worst sin of all, the mother of all sins.

« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 02:33:56 PM by Daedelus1138 »
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #177 on: May 12, 2016, 08:02:33 PM »
Depends on how well the rules can be logically justified as being in service of justice and mercy, I guess. "That's just legalism" is used enough times as the defense of somebody who's just angry about not being able to indulge in their favorite vice.

You need to be careful, that sort of attitude leaves you open to serious spiritual abuse.

Legalism obscures the great truths of the Gospel in the name of making supposedly holy people.  It takes away from the glory of Jesus Christ's self-offering hospitality to sinners.

The rules about who can and cannot join the church due to marriage alone are hideously legalistic..
How is this a rule of the Church beyond what you experienced personally?

And that's just one example.  The rules about fasting and esp. sexual abstinence during the fast are likewise legalistic in their application of the monastic ideals onto the laity (no sex on Friday's Saturday's and sundays?  Good luck having a happy marriage with that for the average person... and all it does is reinforce the belief that sex is dirty).
What rules governing sexual abstinence during the Fast?

I once had my priest tell me I should abstain from water on Sunday mornings before the Divine Liturgy.  I don't care if that's "traditional", but its very much unhealthy in a place like Florida where in the Summer, staying hydrated is very important.
Then your problem is with that one priest. Stop projecting that onto the entire Church.

And then there are Greek folks that worry about menstruating women receiving communion, or getting cuts after receiver the Eucharist.  Etc. etc.  All this takes the focus off God and puts it on what we can do to save ourselves through our own adherence to rules.  It breeds pride, which is the worst sin of all, the mother of all sins.
Are you aware of how many Orthodox folk think those menstruation rules a silly intrusion of a Judaizing attitude into the Church?

Even knowing that we do have some praxis rules in the Church, why do you so glibly dismiss them as legalistic without taking any time to understand why the rules are in place?
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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #178 on: September 01, 2016, 03:59:31 PM »
I cannot be too critical of Calvinists, because I used to be one, and some of my family still are.
However, I do consider it to be horrendously offensive and very much not Christian in a lot of ways -which I would not say about a lot of other Protestants.

Being sympathetic, I would say Calvinists (and fundamentalist Christians) are searching for a reverent style of Christianity.  They want to be "orthodox," which I find ironic, because they reject the Orthodox Church (Orthodox Christianity).
I'm looking forward to a discussion on this next time I visit my dad.  We haven't had a lot of religious discussion lately, because he knows I despise Calvinist teaching.  I would like to return to this type of discussion, though.  Especially because the alternative topic for him is politics.  And he's very much all around hard core conservative in all areas, which is difficult for me. 
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Offline juliogb

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Re: Orthodoxy and Calvinism
« Reply #179 on: September 02, 2016, 08:36:08 AM »
Here in Brazil calvinism is growing, specially among pentecostals disapointed with their leadership, and they tend to be zealots of calvinism, more than craddle presbyterians.