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Author Topic: Why do we sin?  (Read 3394 times) Average Rating: 0
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Matthew777
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« on: February 20, 2006, 02:07:31 AM »

As Christians, we believe that God became flesh to suffer for the sins of the world. Once forgiven, we are expected to live a life of holiness. However, this is not always the case for most Christians, including myself. If we truly believe that an infinite God made the ultimate sacrifice for us finite beings, why do we continue to sin against Him?
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2006, 03:08:07 AM »

And I speak for myself here ... because we're stupid human beings  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2006, 03:32:38 AM »

Why did Peter deny Christ, even after witnessing His miracles? Are we any different?
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2006, 02:50:40 AM »

His death became a part of our partaking of our human life.  He suffered with us, so our suffering, both physical and spiritual, have now become a partaking of a Christly life.

I've read quotes from Fr. Matta el Maskeen's "Communion of Love" what it means to partake of Christ's life.  I didn't read the book, but when reading some of the quotes, it cleared up a lot of confusion for me, in that Christ's death is not supposed to make you stop sinning, but help you on the path to righteousness through suffering in love with God incarnate Himself.

You can get Fr. Matta's book here:

http://www.svspress.com/advanced_search_result.php?search_in_description=1&keywords=matthew+the+poor&osCsid=d7bbcb1e7345bc7c5d28b9a729cce4f0&x=0&y=0

I heard he's an excellent writer, and quite a gem in our very own Coptic Church.

God bless.
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2006, 03:29:46 PM »

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I heard he's an excellent writer

So was Arius, Nestorius and many atheist writers.

Quote
and quite a gem in our very own Coptic Church

Not by many.

Matthew, so-called the Poor, is considered a heretic by H.H. the Pope, by H.E. Anba Bishoy the secretary of the Holy Synod and by most of the Bishops in the Holy Synod of the Coptic Church. His books has been banned from the church bookstores of all dioceses in Egypt by the direction of the bishops. He has been excommunicated before by our very own Coptic Church in the 60's. He has been the proponent of many heresies that H.H. refuted in the official Coptic Orthodox Church magazine "Kerazah" for the past two years. In addition, he has conspired with the late President Saddat against the Pope. One of his books that deals with the church history and services is nothing more than an insult against the Church and excerpts of this book have been used by islamic writers to tarnish the legacy of our Church. ÂÂ
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2006, 03:58:16 PM »

Fr Matta also calls forced sterilization and birth control by the government of Egypt in the 1970's acceptable morally because of "overpopulation."  That is cited in a thesis at SVS I read by Fr John Schroedel, but I don't have access to it now as I am in NC.

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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2006, 05:45:32 PM »

Both of you seem to touch issues that have nothing to do with the original post of the question.  Just because Origen was perhaps heretical in some thoughts, does that mean all his works are to be burned?

I personally never head of the birth control and sterilization issues, but certainly I do not believe him to be a heretic for many of the issues against him, at least when looking at some of what he wrote and comparing it to other Orthodox writers.

Let's not get ourselves easily frustrated.  I have no doubt Fr. Matta will go down in history as an excellent theologian, especially from his books "Orthodox Prayer" and "Communion of Love".

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2006, 10:44:51 PM »

My comments have to do with the turn the topic took since you described Fr. Matthew as a gem in our Church, and you described him again as an excellent theologian. He is neither this or that in our Church, in fact there is no recent coptic writer whose ideas have been judged to be so dangerous that his books had to be withdrawn from church bookstores all over Egypt and required H.H. to refute them in weekly meetings and bi-weekly articles for more than two years. No coptic monk since many centuries ago has attacked his own Church, and his followers all share the same hate to the Pope and bishops.  Wink

Any careful reader will be able to discern the heresy in the writings of Matthew the Poor, and he might wonder what kind of Church helds such  man in high esteem.

Quote
I have no doubt Fr. Matta will go down in history as an excellent theologian,

Does no matter what you or I think, but do your church and yourself a favour and stop proclaiming people who you only heard about them, never actually read what they wrote in the original language -in this case arabic - as the jewels of the Church.
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2006, 11:26:05 PM »

Well, Dear Stavro, I happen to disagree with you.  I've talked with some people on Fr. Matta's issues, and it seems to me that there might be some misunderstanding.

I cannot blindly condemn someone just because the Pope and bishops do.  I wish to investigate the matter myself.  Some of the accusations against him are somewhat bogus, and other accusations have nothing to do with faith, but simply politics, such as the situation with Sadat, which is damaging to Fr. Matta's personality.  But we must learn to differentiate faith from politics so as not to judge someone falsely.

If you like, please start another thread to justify your claims against Fr. Matta, and we can discuss them there.

God bless.

Mina
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Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2006, 02:03:40 AM »

Quote
I cannot blindly condemn someone just because the Pope and bishops do.  I wish to investigate the matter myself.
Nobody asked you to do so. As long as you did not investigate the matter yourself, then you cannot and should not describe him as the Gem of our church. You might praise the name of Matthew the Poor all day and night, but the church position is different.
Quote
But we must learn to differentiate faith from politics so as not to judge someone falsely
That is true, and Matthew, nicknamed the Poor, is guilty in both areas. True theologians show the fruits of their understanding of the divine intentity in their lives. Conspiring against the Church cannot be the fruit of a faithful person.
Quote
If you like, please start another thread to justify your claims against Fr. Matta, and we can discuss them there.

I started one on another forum that you moderate and it got deleted by you. I find it kind of ironic that you ask me to do the same here, specially as his writings are not of interest to the most here and not read much.
In case you read arabic, you can consult the books by H.H. titled:

- The Eucharist sacrament
- Divinization of man (not to be confused with Theosis)
- Justification and righteousness
- Biblical criticism
- The church and the body of Christ
- Incarnation and the equality with Christ and the father

You can also consult the Kerazah issues from September 2003 till March 2005, and the audio lectures of H.H. extending from Sep. 2002 till May 2005.

Quote
I've talked with some people on Fr. Matta's issues, and it seems to me that there might be some misunderstanding.


 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy  .....
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2006, 03:14:02 PM »

No, I never deleted, nor do I ever remember you starting something about Fr. Matta.  Perhaps, you're accusing the wrong person.  So, it's not ironic if I ask you to do the same here.

And it doesn't matter whether no one is interested.  On the OO forum, it applies to OO's, so I'm sure some people are interested in the man's "controversies."  Some of the alleged accusations you write are in fact some of what I asked about beforef, and are mostly considered either as misunderstandings, deification being one of them indeed.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2006, 08:01:03 PM »

Refer to the books I listed. If you cannot read arabic, how can you judge his writings and where did you get the idea that he is the gem of the church. You refuse to "blindly" follow the judgement of the bishops, and you do not take a minute to know the reason for his ban from all access to egyptian churches. That is appropriate for an intelligent person like you, yet you blindly follow other people who "told you so" .....

Now that you asked:

- In his book "The Pentecost", published in 1990, Matthew the Poor says the following about the descension of the Holy Spirit on the apostles:
" We are in front of a burning bush, like the old times, in front of a one nature out of divinity and humanity, exactly like the unity between humanity and divinity in the person of Christ. "

He goes further in saying:
" The incarnation of Christ is completed in the Pentecost".

The same words are repeated in the book " Divine Incarnation" on pages 44 and 45. This book has been published in 1978 and 1988, and he has changed nothing.

- On another absurd issue, he claims that the Church is born with Christ, united in essence with the Divine nature, in his book "the Bridegroom" , page 5. He writes:
" The church  is born on Nativity united in essence with the divine nature, and Betleheem became the center of salvation."

- In his book " Patriological basics", part 2, right on the back of the hardcover, he writes: " the church is the bride of Christ, a one human nature united with a divine nature ".

- In his book " Let Christ descend in faith in your hearts" , in page 5 and 6, he writes:
" It is true that the place of birth of Christ is in a mud menger, yet he can only descend with his full humanity on humans only. "
In page 27, he writes:
" When Christ was resurrected from death, he had risen with a a body temple that was saved so he could live in it, and we too share the same divine nature that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit share."

- In his book " The Pentecost and the birth of the Church", on page 8, he says:
" If we have the fullfillment of divinity that is in Christ, we then have the same divine fullfillment that the Father has. "

He continues on the same page:
" As we have the full knowledge like Christ, we also have the full knowledge like the Father".

- In his book " The birth of Christ and the birth of Man" , on page 7, he writes:
" it (the birth of Christ) is the gift of God to the human race, as God has raised the human race to the same degree of sonship to the Father that  Christ has, and all sons are equal in everything".


When I used divinization of men in my previous post, omitting the use of deification, I had a reason to do so. I did not mention all of his quotes on this issue, and will just select some.

Now, I will continue posting some other errors of Matthew the Poor on other topics whenever I have the time. They are numerous. For example, he maintains that we eat the divine nature during the Eucharist. You can research the matter during lent as much as you want.

God bless.



 
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2006, 10:15:51 PM »

Quote
- In his book "The Pentecost", published in 1990, Matthew the Poor says the following about the descension of the Holy Spirit on the apostles:
" We are in front of a burning bush, like the old times, in front of a one nature out of divinity and humanity, exactly like the unity between humanity and divinity in the person of Christ. "

He goes further in saying:
" The incarnation of Christ is completed in the Pentecost".

The same words are repeated in the book " Divine Incarnation" on pages 44 and 45. This book has been published in 1978 and 1988, and he has changed nothing.

I'm quite confused on the essence of what is taught here.

Quote
- On another absurd issue, he claims that the Church is born with Christ, united in essence with the Divine nature, in his book "the Bridegroom" , page 5. He writes:
" The church  is born on Nativity united in essence with the divine nature, and Betleheem became the center of salvation."

Perhaps the word "essence" is confused with the word "nature."

Quote
- In his book " Patriological basics", part 2, right on the back of the hardcover, he writes: " the church is the bride of Christ, a one human nature united with a divine nature ".

What's wrong with that?

Quote
- In his book " Let Christ descend in faith in your hearts" , in page 5 and 6, he writes:
" It is true that the place of birth of Christ is in a mud menger, yet he can only descend with his full humanity on humans only. "

Confused again.

Quote
In page 27, he writes:
" When Christ was resurrected from death, he had risen with a a body temple that was saved so he could live in it, and we too share the same divine nature that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit share."

The Divine Nature has both ousia and energia.  We can partake of the energia.  So this quote alone is not heretical and can be interpeted in an Orthodox manner.

Quote
- In his book " The Pentecost and the birth of the Church", on page 8, he says:
" If we have the fullfillment of divinity that is in Christ, we then have the same divine fullfillment that the Father has. "

Again, I see nothing wrong with this in correct interpretation.  Have you read St. Gregory Palamas?

Quote
- In his book " The birth of Christ and the birth of Man" , on page 7, he writes:
" it (the birth of Christ) is the gift of God to the human race, as God has raised the human race to the same degree of sonship to the Father that  Christ has, and all sons are equal in everything".

We are God by grace, and thus there is no degree a created being can have higher than grace.  We do not replace the prosopon of the Logos, as if we partake of ousia, but only by energia, the Divine grace.  It is by this where we are worthy of calling Him Abba Father.

Quote
For example, he maintains that we eat the divine nature during the Eucharist.

Listen to this by HG Bishop Moussa:

http://tasbeha.org/media/index.php?s=Sermons%2FBishops%2FH.G._Bishop_Moussa%2FEnglish%2Fs042.mp3

According to His Grace, we do not partake of the body and blood alone, but also of the divinity, for the divinity parted not from His humanity for a single moment nor a twinkling of an eye.  It is the peak of Divine energia; it is by this where we actually "partake of the Divine Nature."

When I say that some people "told me so," people have sent me quotes like yours, and I've asked many questions.  No one satisfactorally could make their case when I continued to ask questions.

God bless you.

Mina
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2006, 11:13:44 PM »

Quote
According to His Grace, we do not partake of the body and blood alone, but also of the divinity, for the divinity parted not from His humanity for a single moment nor a twinkling of an eye.
No. You misunderstood the whole issue. While the divinity and the humanity of the Lord never seperated, you cannot ascribe to one nature what is appropriate to the other nature. I thought this is elementary. For example, it is heretical to say the divinity suffered on the cross. As such, you cannot eat the divinity of Christ and partake in the divine nature in Eucharist. This is only appropriate to the body of Christ, the humanity.

Quote
I'm quite confused on the essence of what is taught here.
.....that the Pentecost, in which the third person of the Trinity, namely the Holy Spirit, descended on the Apsotles, is similar to the incarnation, in which the Logos took a human body and made it one with His Divinity. Likewise, the Holy Spirit united with the Apostles, and all church members afterwards, in a similar manner, like the burning bush in that Moses witnessed (according to Matthew the Poor).

Quote
Perhaps the word "essence" is confused with the word "nature."
No, it is not.
Quote
What's wrong with that?
By church, he means the congregations and individuals. We are not united to divinity. Are you ?

Quote
Confused again.
The arabic text reads: "Mel' El-lahut", which is understood as the hypostatic union of the Logos with the humans. That would make every human an incarnate God, having multiple incarnations for the Logos.

Correction to the quoted paragraph in the previous post: It should read "Full divinity'. Sorry for that.

Quote
The Divine Nature has both ousia and energia.  We can partake of the energia.  So this quote alone is not heretical and can be interpeted in an Orthodox manner.
No, it cannot have any orthodox interpretation, for the energies that we share in are through the Son, never sharing the same divine nature that the three persons of the Divinity share together. Their unity is one of essence. To share in their unity is to share in their essence.

Quote
We do not replace the prosopon of the Logos, as if we partake of ousia, but only by energia, the Divine grace
Exactly. Matthew The Poor does not support your above explanation, for he says that we share in the same sonship of the Logos to the Father, which is eternal before all ages and implies divinity,. The Logos is Son by nature and not by Grace like we are.

Quote
No one satisfactorally could make their case when I continued to ask questions.
Your own assessment.

God bless.

Stavro
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« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2006, 12:46:12 AM »

Thank you Stavros.  Allow me some time to research the matter, and I will reply to you ASAP, perhaps in another thread, since I don't want to keep this thread off topic.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2006, 01:03:07 AM »

We sin because we die. Fear of death causes us to sin; corruption (physical, not the Latin moral corruption concept) of the flesh and mortality are the source of our rebellion against God, following the sin of
Adam.

For a comprehensive treatment of this subject, see
THE ANCESTRAL SIN, by Fr. John Romanides
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« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2006, 04:34:16 AM »

I sin because it's pleasurable, because it fulfills some type of need. Normally it is a psychological pleasure or need, rather than a physical one. True, there may be some physical experience, but many (non-sinful or less sinful) alternatives could be sought out to replace the physical aspect; but it is the psychological aspect that keeps one hooked to particular sins. That, and our fallen human nature, which directs us in such a way that we are comfortable with the status quo. Put simply, we are creatures of habit, and sinful habits are often fulfilling on a psychological level (even if damaging to our soul).
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« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2006, 05:56:19 AM »

I sin because I have no concept of how much better God's love is than the fleeting pleasures of life, and thus when it comes down to the decision, it is hard for me to take the path of life because it seems to be more difficult.

Of course, I'm not taking into account Christ's words: "for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
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« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2006, 09:03:04 AM »

A and C, I agree with you completely; in my post I was trying to relate the first cause of sin in each one of us from the perspective of ancestral sin (rather than the West's original sin).

I think also that it ties in with what each of you posted: if I wasn't afraid of death then I would not habitually choose things that I felt I had to enjoy now (even if they are wrong) because I fear losing the experience of them in this life. Also, like attracts like - because one is mortal and corrupt one attracts and is attracted to things and actions that lead to death (spiritual death surely and in some cases literal, physical death - eg. smoking).

Likewise, if I had absolute assurance of God's love and trust in the far superior joys in his eternal kingdom, setting aside sinful things would be less difficult because one would KNOW that better things awaited (and not even "rewards" per se, but just the bliss of God's presence). Furthemore, not just not sinning , but ascetic practices to hasten/deepen theosis, so as to enjoy more of that life-giving love in the present would be easier because there would be total trust in God, hence no fear of death and hence of somehow missing out on those higher joys (so I might as well get it now, type of philosophy).

So, I agree with both of you; I am trying to grapple with why each of us does sin; we're not born with it and cursed by God in the Augustinian sense of original sin. So just why do all these "innocent' little babies grow up to be sinners in need of God forgiveness and love?

In one sense, original sin is simplistic and easier to see the obvious answer to that question, which probably is why it gained such great traction in the west.

It is much more difficult to explain the inherited aspect (or why each of us does in fact choose sin) from the ancestral sin perspective. However, ancestral sin does provide a far more satisfactory understanding of the love of God and the free will He has given humans. Adam chose sin and mortality and death. God is not the author of death. God mercifully blocked the way to the tree of life so that man would not be eternal in death and sin and corruption, until such time as He provided the antidote to death by Christ trampling down death by death. The cross (another tree) became the tree of life for us through Christ.

Anyway some aspects of the we sin because we die viewpoint (vs. the Augustinian view that we die because we sin, inheriting the guilt of the first sin from conception and hence being cursed by God to death and alienation from God) can be seen in popular "philosphies" such as " you only go around once in life, grab all you can get."
"Whoever dies with the most toys wins" etc.
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« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2006, 09:09:12 AM »

I think A's explanation is also an excellent way of seeing how passions take root in us , creating these strongholds of sinful habit in each one of us.
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« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2006, 09:56:27 AM »

We sin because we die. Fear of death causes us to sin; corruption (physical, not the Latin moral corruption concept) of the flesh and mortality are the source of our rebellion against God, following the sin of
Adam.

That makes sense. The reason why I had pre-marital sex was fear that I'd die young before I could get married.

Peace.
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« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2006, 12:53:23 PM »

Anyway some aspects of the we sin because we die viewpoint (vs. the Augustinian view that we die because we sin, inheriting the guilt of the first sin from conception and hence being cursed by God to death and alienation from God) can be seen in popular "philosphies" such as " you only go around once in life, grab all you can get." "Whoever dies with the most toys wins" etc.

The death from sin is not only Augustinian. It is actually also an Orthodox perspective, however, the death comes by us cutting ourselves off from God, not God punishing us. Also, I don't think fear of death is the main motivating factor, as  sin leads to death, both physical and spiritual. So it would seem to me, that fear of life is the problem, not fear of death, but what do I know?
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« Reply #22 on: March 09, 2006, 03:42:15 PM »

The death from sin is not only Augustinian.

Was not Augustine a member of the one holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church? If so, he was Orthodox.

Peace.
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« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2006, 03:47:17 PM »

Was not Augustine a member of the one holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church? If so, he was Orthodox.

Peace.

Yes, but that doesn't make everything he said Orthodox  Wink
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« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2006, 04:56:14 PM »

Yes, but that doesn't make everything he said Orthodox  Wink

Is that the reason why Tertullian isn't considered a saint?
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« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2006, 05:27:11 PM »

As Christians, we believe that God became flesh to suffer for the sins of the world. Once forgiven, we are expected to live a life of holiness. However, this is not always the case for most Christians, including myself. If we truly believe that an infinite God made the ultimate sacrifice for us finite beings, why do we continue to sin against Him?

Because we are finite.  Because we get tired and hungry and frustrated. Living in time it is hard for any human to stick to anything for even a day let alone a lifetime.  C. S. Lewis has some things in this in "The Screwtape Letters".

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« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2006, 06:53:29 PM »

Is that the reason why Tertullian isn't considered a saint?

We've had this discussion (re: Augustine) several times before.

Saints were not "perfect" in everything they did, but the Church recognized they became a whole lot more perfect than most of us so to speak.  For several of them, the Church hasn't accepted everything they wrote as Orthodox either.  This is the case with others such as St. Gregory of Nyssa, one who is regarded as an extroadinary theologian.
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« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2006, 07:03:55 PM »

But why isn't Tertullian considered a saint?
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« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2006, 09:49:24 AM »

Regardless of why we sin, this thread reminds me that I need confession as soon as possible and to overcome the fear and embaressment I have in giving it.
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« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2006, 09:20:05 PM »

Quote
But why isn't Tertullian considered a saint?

Because he saw things in too black-or-white a fashion, sort of like you Wink
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« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2006, 01:58:23 AM »

Saints were not "perfect" in everything they did, but the Church recognized they became a whole lot more perfect than most of us so to speak.  For several of them, the Church hasn't accepted everything they wrote as Orthodox either.  This is the case with others such as St. Gregory of Nyssa, one who is regarded as an extroadinary theologian.

While the saints are not perfect, in regard to St. Gregory of Nyssa, I submit that the only objections to his teachings are the objections of Judaizers; most especially in his eschatology did he express the fullness of the Christian Truth.
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« Reply #31 on: March 11, 2006, 06:09:25 PM »

Because he saw things in too black-or-white a fashion, sort of like you Wink

That still doesn't answer my question. Is it because he became a Montanist?
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« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2006, 01:57:09 AM »

Is that Malcom X?
Anyway, I like the avatar
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« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2006, 03:57:10 PM »

But what about Tertullian? Smiley
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