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Author Topic: The infamous MANUAL TO CONVERT ORTHODOX to Protestantism  (Read 59316 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #495 on: April 05, 2010, 07:30:50 PM »

But even though Holy Communion is infrequent in much of the Old World, wouldn't you agree that the Orthodox tend to have a much higher level of fear and respect for the Eucharist than other Christian sects? Perhaps this reverence is reflected in only approaching the Chalice every so often.
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« Reply #496 on: April 05, 2010, 08:26:02 PM »

But even though Holy Communion is infrequent in much of the Old World, wouldn't you agree that the Orthodox tend to have a much higher level of fear and respect for the Eucharist than other Christian sects? Perhaps this reverence is reflected in only approaching the Chalice every so often.

Um, yes but no?

The medieval western pattern which developed was that people attended regularly partook only twice a year-- and they had to be commanded to do that, against considerable resistance. The reason, essentially, was scrupulosity. Since it was OK not to partake, and since people got hammered into them a deep fear of partaking unworthily, the folk theological solution was to avoid partaking. The piety changed from communion to adoration of the sacrament, and therefore the theological emphasis changed from communion (incorporation) to sacrifice. That's one of the reasons that there was a reformation: anyone reading scripture could see that the warning of Paul had been overamplified to the point of essentially negating the commandment of Jesus to eat and drink-- or rather, clericalizing it.

From what I can see this trend also obtained in the east, but it didn't get as far. If you look at the various Protestants, the reactions to these abuses varied greatly. Anglicans, especially when re-Catholicized in the 1800s, insisted on regular communion but retained a lot of the old reluctance until the last few decades. They've uniformly rejected medieval hypersensitivity about the elements because they find it disproportionate. In other traditions communion was displaced as the basis of Sunday worship, so the tendency was to paradoxically retain the old tradition of infrequent communion while at the same time rejecting the specific scrupulosity adhering to faith in real presence or substantial change.
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« Reply #497 on: April 06, 2010, 11:20:41 AM »

But even though Holy Communion is infrequent in much of the Old World, wouldn't you agree that the Orthodox tend to have a much higher level of fear and respect for the Eucharist than other Christian sects? Perhaps this reverence is reflected in only approaching the Chalice every so often.

Listen to yourself brother! "fear and respect" indeed. But, where is the love?

We just witnessed the voluntary suffering and horrible death of our Lord--for us. We rejoiced at His resurrection--for us. At every liturgy we acknowledge the great truth that "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life"--again for us and because of His love. In return, the Lord wants to follow him because we appreciate what He has done for us and love Him back. Indeed, he made the Eucharist the central feature of our experience as a member of His body. He commanded us to partake of His divine food and to do so so that we may have life. He did not say clergy have to do so every time but the laity must fear and respect it and thus partake infrequently--to the point of at least once a year. The early Church certainly did not understand the Eucharist to have two classes of participants, wherein the spiritual feast is offered to all and yet only the clergy are "worthy" to partake. I mean, it is downright rude to the Lord to refrain from the feast that he is offering to all in the Divine Liturgy.

Indeed, the Divine Liturgy contains the only true Orthodox approach to communion. I will just cite the more obvious elements (I hive bolded the most relevant points):

1. "...offering unto Thee thine own of thine own, on behalf of all, and for all." For all, not just for the priest and the deacon.

2. "To Thee do we entrust all our life and hope, O manbefriending
Master, and we beseech, and we entreat, and
we supplicate: deem us worthy to partake of this sacred
and spiritual table with a pure conscience, unto remission
of sins, unto forgiveness of offenses, unto communion of
the Holy Spirit, unto inheritance of the kingdom of heaven,
unto boldness towards Thee, and not unto judgment or
unto condemnation." Priest's prayer right before the Lord's Prayer. Note that the Priest is praying for the entire congregation and not for himself (he is not using the imperial "we") or for the clergy alone.

3. "Attend, O Lord Jesus Christ, out of the holy habitation
and from the throne of the glory of thy kingdom, and come
to hallow us, Thou Who sittest on high with the Father,
and Who art invisibly present here with. And vouchsafe
by thy mighty hand to impart unto of thine immaculate
Body and Precious Blood, and through us unto all the
people.
" Priest's prayer just before he partakes.

4. "Priest: Holy Things for the holy!
People: One is Holy, One is Lord, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen." Note here that no one is holy (and thus worthy) to approach the chalice on his own merit because only the Lord is holy. So, there is no fundamental difference between any one of us and our clergy whe it comes to Holy Communion.

If y'all want to know Father Alexander's understanding of the Holy Mysteries of Penance/Reconciliation and Communion, there are many sources. Since we just concluded Great Lent, I would recommend Father Alexander's "Great Lent," which has an appendix on this subject. Of course, his "For the Life of the World" is indispensable.
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« Reply #498 on: April 06, 2010, 11:38:59 AM »

But even though Holy Communion is infrequent in much of the Old World, wouldn't you agree that the Orthodox tend to have a much higher level of fear and respect for the Eucharist than other Christian sects? Perhaps this reverence is reflected in only approaching the Chalice every so often.

Listen to yourself brother! "fear and respect" indeed. But, where is the love?

We just witnessed the voluntary suffering and horrible death of our Lord--for us. We rejoiced at His resurrection--for us. At every liturgy we acknowledge the great truth that "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life"--again for us and because of His love. In return, the Lord wants to follow him because we appreciate what He has done for us and love Him back. Indeed, he made the Eucharist the central feature of our experience as a member of His body. He commanded us to partake of His divine food and to do so so that we may have life. He did not say clergy have to do so every time but the laity must fear and respect it and thus partake infrequently--to the point of at least once a year. The early Church certainly did not understand the Eucharist to have two classes of participants, wherein the spiritual feast is offered to all and yet only the clergy are "worthy" to partake. I mean, it is downright rude to the Lord to refrain from the feast that he is offering to all in the Divine Liturgy.

Indeed, the Divine Liturgy contains the only true Orthodox approach to communion. I will just cite the more obvious elements (I hive bolded the most relevant points):

1. "...offering unto Thee thine own of thine own, on behalf of all, and for all." For all, not just for the priest and the deacon.

2. "To Thee do we entrust all our life and hope, O manbefriending
Master, and we beseech, and we entreat, and
we supplicate: deem us worthy to partake of this sacred
and spiritual table with a pure conscience, unto remission
of sins, unto forgiveness of offenses, unto communion of
the Holy Spirit, unto inheritance of the kingdom of heaven,
unto boldness towards Thee, and not unto judgment or
unto condemnation." Priest's prayer right before the Lord's Prayer. Note that the Priest is praying for the entire congregation and not for himself (he is not using the imperial "we") or for the clergy alone.

3. "Attend, O Lord Jesus Christ, out of the holy habitation
and from the throne of the glory of thy kingdom, and come
to hallow us, Thou Who sittest on high with the Father,
and Who art invisibly present here with. And vouchsafe
by thy mighty hand to impart unto of thine immaculate
Body and Precious Blood, and through us unto all the
people.
" Priest's prayer just before he partakes.

4. "Priest: Holy Things for the holy!
People: One is Holy, One is Lord, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen." Note here that no one is holy (and thus worthy) to approach the chalice on his own merit because only the Lord is holy. So, there is no fundamental difference between any one of us and our clergy whe it comes to Holy Communion.

If y'all want to know Father Alexander's understanding of the Holy Mysteries of Penance/Reconciliation and Communion, there are many sources. Since we just concluded Great Lent, I would recommend Father Alexander's "Great Lent," which has an appendix on this subject. Of course, his "For the Life of the World" is indispensable.

Christ is risen!

I remember a priest who, once he came out and said "With the fear of God, and in Faith and in love draw near," and no one did, proceeded to chew the whole congregation out, stating that he just spent two hours on a Feast no one was going to partake of.  "What if you invited me to your house for dinner, and I refused to eat?  What makes you think the Lord feels different?"
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« Reply #499 on: April 07, 2010, 09:26:29 PM »

I am curious: what are the actual practices regarding preparation (including penance/confession/reconciliation) and communion. I will start with my limited experience:

Orthodox Church in America
Communion: Every time it is offered, unless one is not prepared.
Preparation: Reconciliation/Penance for grave sins. Otherwise, unless the Priest has directed otherwise, Confession/Penance every 6 to 8 weeks. The Divine Liturgy itself is sufficient to prepare one to take communion if otherwise prepared. Strict liturgical fasting.
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« Reply #500 on: April 07, 2010, 09:42:06 PM »

I remember a priest who, once he came out and said "With the fear of God, and in Faith and in love draw near," and no one did, proceeded to chew the whole congregation out, stating that he just spent two hours on a Feast no one was going to partake of.  "What if you invited me to your house for dinner, and I refused to eat?  What makes you think the Lord feels different?"

I once heard a priest refer it as saying "no thanks" to the "thanksgiving".
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« Reply #501 on: April 07, 2010, 09:48:45 PM »

I am curious: what are the actual practices regarding preparation (including penance/confession/reconciliation) and communion. I will start with my limited experience:

Orthodox Church in America
Communion: Every time it is offered, unless one is not prepared.
Preparation: Reconciliation/Penance for grave sins. Otherwise, unless the Priest has directed otherwise, Confession/Penance every 6 to 8 weeks. The Divine Liturgy itself is sufficient to prepare one to take communion if otherwise prepared. Strict liturgical fasting.

We have an OCA priest helping to serve at our parish, and he was shocked that everyone is expecting to read all of the preparation prayers for Holy Communion, and that the parishioners confess every time the receive. I knew that in other jurisdictions people often do not confess before each reception, however I was surprised about the lack of preparation prayers.

To those in the OCA, are you expected to read all of the prayers of preparation for Holy Communion?
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« Reply #502 on: April 07, 2010, 11:27:43 PM »

I am curious: what are the actual practices regarding preparation (including penance/confession/reconciliation) and communion. I will start with my limited experience:

Orthodox Church in America
Communion: Every time it is offered, unless one is not prepared.
Preparation: Reconciliation/Penance for grave sins. Otherwise, unless the Priest has directed otherwise, Confession/Penance every 6 to 8 weeks. The Divine Liturgy itself is sufficient to prepare one to take communion if otherwise prepared. Strict liturgical fasting.

We have an OCA priest helping to serve at our parish, and he was shocked that everyone is expecting to read all of the preparation prayers for Holy Communion, and that the parishioners confess every time the receive. I knew that in other jurisdictions people often do not confess before each reception, however I was surprised about the lack of preparation prayers.

To those in the OCA, are you expected to read all of the prayers of preparation for Holy Communion?

That was what I was told when I went to confession in the OCA.
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« Reply #503 on: April 07, 2010, 11:31:37 PM »

I just wasn't sure, because this priest I am referring to seems to think it is unreasonable to expect people to read through all of those prayers on a weekly basis. All I was wondering is if we are called to salvation through ascetic struggle, then how is thirty minutes worth of prayers really asking that much when we are receiving the Sustainer of the Cosmos into our very bodies?
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« Reply #504 on: April 08, 2010, 01:42:52 PM »

I just wasn't sure, because this priest I am referring to seems to think it is unreasonable to expect people to read through all of those prayers on a weekly basis. All I was wondering is if we are called to salvation through ascetic struggle, then how is thirty minutes worth of prayers really asking that much when we are receiving the Sustainer of the Cosmos into our very bodies?

Exactly.. Buddhists chant or sit a couple of hours every day. Thirty minutes of prayer before communion is not all that much to ask IMHO.

 
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« Reply #505 on: April 08, 2010, 03:36:48 PM »

I just wasn't sure, because this priest I am referring to seems to think it is unreasonable to expect people to read through all of those prayers on a weekly basis. All I was wondering is if we are called to salvation through ascetic struggle, then how is thirty minutes worth of prayers really asking that much when we are receiving the Sustainer of the Cosmos into our very bodies?

I don't know about this particular priest, but in my OCA parish, we are expected to say our daily prayers (to include a prayer of repentence, as needed), attend Wednesday and Saturday Vespers, get to Church by the beginning of hours, go to confession before the Liturgy (again in accordance with the regimen decided by the our priest) and participate in the Divine Liturgy, which has plenty of prayers that prepare us for the Eucharist. The prayers for preparation are particularly germane for a situation where one's sin(s) are grave. In my calculations, I count at least 2.5 hours in daily prayers, another 2 hours in Vespers, and the Liturgy itself (another couple of hours, if one includes prayers after communion, which we do), equaling about 6.5 hours for frequent partakers. This would increase to 7 hours for infrequent partakers.

And, the issue was 30 minutes' worth of praying?
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« Reply #506 on: June 11, 2010, 07:11:14 AM »

Quote
"Demonstrate conviction that Bible is authoritative You will accomplish little by criticizing the Orthodox adherence to Tradition, but you can demonstrate your own conviction that the Bible is authoritative in itself. During conversations with Orthodox people, turn repeatedly to the Bible in discussing spiritual matters (Acts 17:11)."
When I was little and heard Calvinist adult Protestants loudly quoting "book and verse" i thought it was because they knew the Bible so well they had it memorized like the back of their hand.

Now that I am older I suspect they memorize the verse and the citation to make their viewpoint convincing when they make a point about something.

It's like a mind game where I try to reason something out and they come back with a verse and sentence, and then I have to come back with something else like James' words about how "works are necessary."

Quote
You will accomplish little by criticizing the Orthodox adherence to Tradition
Yeah whenever we talk about stuff like how the Bible's authors understood it they are just supposed to announce back verses to me in an authoritative manner.


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Unfortunately, this is serious.
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« Reply #507 on: August 08, 2010, 11:21:09 PM »

I don't know about this particular priest, but in my OCA parish, we are expected to say our daily prayers (to include a prayer of repentence, as needed), attend Wednesday and Saturday Vespers, get to Church by the beginning of hours, go to confession before the Liturgy (again in accordance with the regimen decided by the our priest) and participate in the Divine Liturgy, which has plenty of prayers that prepare us for the Eucharist. The prayers for preparation are particularly germane for a situation where one's sin(s) are grave. In my calculations, I count at least 2.5 hours in daily prayers, another 2 hours in Vespers, and the Liturgy itself (another couple of hours, if one includes prayers after communion, which we do), equaling about 6.5 hours for frequent partakers. This would increase to 7 hours for infrequent partakers.

And, the issue was 30 minutes' worth of praying?

This is essentially the same done at my OCA parish.

Quote
"Demonstrate conviction that Bible is authoritative You will accomplish little by criticizing the Orthodox adherence to Tradition, but you can demonstrate your own conviction that the Bible is authoritative in itself. During conversations with Orthodox people, turn repeatedly to the Bible in discussing spiritual matters (Acts 17:11)."
When I was little and heard Calvinist adult Protestants loudly quoting "book and verse" i thought it was because they knew the Bible so well they had it memorized like the back of their hand.

Now that I am older I suspect they memorize the verse and the citation to make their viewpoint convincing when they make a point about something.

It's like a mind game where I try to reason something out and they come back with a verse and sentence, and then I have to come back with something else like James' words about how "works are necessary."

Quote
You will accomplish little by criticizing the Orthodox adherence to Tradition
Yeah whenever we talk about stuff like how the Bible's authors understood it they are just supposed to announce back verses to me in an authoritative manner.


MIND GAMES



Unfortunately, this is serious.

I used to be one of those Calvinists. :-(

It is horribly unfortunate that this is actually a serious document, written to evangelize Orthodox Christians. I think it said everything except calling us outright heathens! This is a LONG thread, and so it will take some time for me to get through all of it, but I hope I'll find a lot of tearing apart of the manual. I would love to see an Orthodox response written and published (at least online) to this work.

I may also introduce it to the fellows over at Monachos.net.
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« Reply #508 on: August 08, 2010, 11:30:05 PM »

Welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #509 on: August 09, 2010, 12:17:27 AM »

I call Calvinists heathens or worse than heathens because of their belief in the so called "decretus horribilis".
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« Reply #510 on: August 09, 2010, 12:39:03 AM »

I call Calvinists heathens or worse than heathens because of their belief in the so called "decretus horribilis".

In that case you will love Hilaire Belloc's assessment of Calvinism

See message 45 at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,787.msg445038.html#msg445038
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« Reply #511 on: August 09, 2010, 03:03:51 AM »

I must say that, even though I am not a Calvinist anymore, I don't think them "evil." I still admire it as a systematic theology. The logic and reason set forth, to me, is very good.

Fortunately, our God is not limited to logic, reason and systems. This is the trap of Western Christianity. Whether is it the Calvinists and their unconditional election or the Catholics and their transubstantiation, The West is so hell-bent to make God fit into our little reasonable box as to understand Him. They have accomplished only in fashioning a system which they label "God" and consider the matter closed. We cannot fashion a system in which to perfectly understand the thoughts, emotions and will of a single human being...and yet they think they have found a system which explains God.

No matter how great a feat of human intellect and reason this may be, it is still an effort of limited beings to contemplate the fullness of an infinite God. Perhaps, that is the most illogical and unreasonable goal of all.
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« Reply #512 on: August 09, 2010, 03:37:45 AM »

I must say that, even though I am not a Calvinist anymore, I don't think them "evil." I still admire it as a systematic theology. The logic and reason set forth, to me, is very good.

Fortunately, our God is not limited to logic, reason and systems. This is the trap of Western Christianity. Whether is it the Calvinists and their unconditional election or the Catholics and their transubstantiation, The West is so hell-bent to make God fit into our little reasonable box as to understand Him. They have accomplished only in fashioning a system which they label "God" and consider the matter closed. We cannot fashion a system in which to perfectly understand the thoughts, emotions and will of a single human being...and yet they think they have found a system which explains God.

No matter how great a feat of human intellect and reason this may be, it is still an effort of limited beings to contemplate the fullness of an infinite God. Perhaps, that is the most illogical and unreasonable goal of all.

Well said.

(And welcome to the forum! Smiley)


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« Reply #513 on: August 09, 2010, 06:49:09 AM »

I must say that, even though I am not a Calvinist anymore, I don't think them "evil." I still admire it as a systematic theology. The logic and reason set forth, to me, is very good.


One of the fundamental problems for the Orthodox in speaking with Western Christians is that they expect us to expound Christianity using the same methodology and terminology of Catholicism and Protestantism. However, it must be understood that unlike the Western confessions - whether Roman Catholic or Protestant - we will not discover the essence of Orthodoxy in dogmatic works or systematic treatises.

Apart from the important work "Exposition of the Orthodox Faith" by Saint John of Damascus in the mid-8th.century, no Eastern theologians have written what we in the West have come to know as systematic theology. In our theology we find nothing at all that would compare with Aquinas' "Summa theologica," or Calvin's "Institutes."

We invoke the Holy Spirit to come upon us and upon our gifts of bread and wine, and we know that this becomes Christ's body broken for us, and Christ's blood shed.

Let the mystery remain a mystery, and we embrace Our Saviour in it, and by eating His flesh and drinking His blood worthily we enter into His eternal life and live forever.

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« Reply #514 on: August 09, 2010, 01:19:38 PM »

A Westerner with a considerable degree of education may profit from reading Vladimir Lossky's Mystagogy of the Eastern Church.  This is not something I recommend lightly, but it's very close to being a holistic view of the basics of Orthodox theology as experience of God in His Energies.
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« Reply #515 on: August 09, 2010, 01:29:02 PM »

I call Calvinists heathens or worse

No no! I spent years among Calvinists, and found some of them saintly, humble Christians motivated by love of God and man and living accordingly. You can't lump them all together. There are among them Pharisees and saints, the whole specturm, and I rather suspect the same is true of Orthodoxy too.
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« Reply #516 on: August 09, 2010, 05:25:52 PM »

I call Calvinists heathens or worse

No no! I spent years among Calvinists, and found some of them saintly, humble Christians motivated by love of God and man and living accordingly. You can't lump them all together. There are among them Pharisees and saints, the whole specturm, and I rather suspect the same is true of Orthodoxy too.

I can agree with that,I was once a Calvinist,but I guess I never really embraced it wholeheartedly as some and maybe that had some effect on my attitude.
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« Reply #517 on: August 09, 2010, 05:35:23 PM »

I should have said "Calvinism is heathenish".
They pray to a god unknown and alien to us.
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« Reply #518 on: August 09, 2010, 05:45:21 PM »

They pray to a god unknown and alien to us.

I still don't think you've hit on the right expression. I am sure their Trinitarian doctrine of God is entirely in accord with the ancient creeds, and that their doctrine of the Person of Christ is also impeccable. (I doubt they give much thought to the filioque, but I may be mistaken.)
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« Reply #519 on: August 09, 2010, 07:18:22 PM »

They pray to a god unknown and alien to us.

I still don't think you've hit on the right expression. I am sure their Trinitarian doctrine of God is entirely in accord with the ancient creeds, and that their doctrine of the Person of Christ is also impeccable. (I doubt they give much thought to the filioque, but I may be mistaken.)
No, the Calvinist god is remarkably unlike the Christian God: The Calvinist god chooses some to be saved and others to be eternally damned, whereas the Christian God desires that everyone be saved through repentance. The Calvinist god may also be a trinity (but I doubt that due to the Calvinists' view on the Holy Spirit; their god seems to me to be binary rather than trinity), but that is really where the similarities end.
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« Reply #520 on: August 09, 2010, 07:26:41 PM »

They pray to a god unknown and alien to us.

I still don't think you've hit on the right expression. I am sure their Trinitarian doctrine of God is entirely in accord with the ancient creeds, and that their doctrine of the Person of Christ is also impeccable. (I doubt they give much thought to the filioque, but I may be mistaken.)

It's not. John Calvin rejected the Eternal Generation of the Son doctrine. As do some of his modern followers.

To be honest there are a variety of Calvinistic Triniterian views out there. They have different competing schools of thought on this issue.

Also there is a variety when it comes to their Christology. Historically they are Nestorian. But in modern times some of their scholars in North America (Westminster Theological Seminary of Philly) want to go in a more Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox direction.

But traditionally the Reformed are Nestorian. Or should I say strong Nestorian tendencies. You can clearly see this with their arguments with the Lutherans.








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« Reply #521 on: August 09, 2010, 07:35:16 PM »

They pray to a god unknown and alien to us.

I still don't think you've hit on the right expression. I am sure their Trinitarian doctrine of God is entirely in accord with the ancient creeds, and that their doctrine of the Person of Christ is also impeccable. (I doubt they give much thought to the filioque, but I may be mistaken.)
No, the Calvinist god is remarkably unlike the Christian God: The Calvinist god chooses some to be saved and others to be eternally damned, whereas the Christian God desires that everyone be saved through repentance. The Calvinist god may also be a trinity (but I doubt that due to the Calvinists' view on the Holy Spirit; their god seems to me to be binary rather than trinity), but that is really where the similarities end.

Also, although Protestants believe in the Holy Trinity and the two natures, these doctrines are reinterpreted in terms of juridical theology to the point where they are beyond recognition.

For example, in Orthodoxy, the full humanity and divinity of Christ is important because He redeemed up by uniting fallen humanity to Divinity, thus elevating the human race. His physical presence continues in the Body of the Church, through which His saving energies continue to operate.

But in Protestantism, the reason the two natures are important is that God the Father had to punish someone who was both a representative of humanity (fully human) and His own equal (fully God) in order to exact sufficient punishment for sin--the infamous Penal Substitution Theory. Notably, the theology of the Body of Christ changes accordingly.

Similarly, the Holy Trinity can have very divergent interpretations in Orthodoxy and in the Protestant tradition. Confessing the same words is not proof of doctinal unity.
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« Reply #522 on: August 09, 2010, 08:01:51 PM »

They pray to a god unknown and alien to us.

I still don't think you've hit on the right expression. I am sure their Trinitarian doctrine of God is entirely in accord with the ancient creeds, and that their doctrine of the Person of Christ is also impeccable. (I doubt they give much thought to the filioque, but I may be mistaken.)
No, the Calvinist god is remarkably unlike the Christian God: The Calvinist god chooses some to be saved and others to be eternally damned, whereas the Christian God desires that everyone be saved through repentance. The Calvinist god may also be a trinity (but I doubt that due to the Calvinists' view on the Holy Spirit; their god seems to me to be binary rather than trinity), but that is really where the similarities end.

Also, although Protestants believe in the Holy Trinity and the two natures, these doctrines are reinterpreted in terms of juridical theology to the point where they are beyond recognition.

For example, in Orthodoxy, the full humanity and divinity of Christ is important because He redeemed up by uniting fallen humanity to Divinity, thus elevating the human race. His physical presence continues in the Body of the Church, through which His saving energies continue to operate.

But in Protestantism, the reason the two natures are important is that God the Father had to punish someone who was both a representative of humanity (fully human) and His own equal (fully God) in order to exact sufficient punishment for sin--the infamous Penal Substitution Theory. Notably, the theology of the Body of Christ changes accordingly.

Similarly, the Holy Trinity can have very divergent interpretations in Orthodoxy and in the Protestant tradition. Confessing the same words is not proof of doctinal unity.
Exactly.
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« Reply #523 on: August 09, 2010, 08:01:58 PM »

David Young,


Read this article:
http://aboulet.com/2008/05/20/reformed-christology-and-the-westminster-htfc-report/ (Reformed Christology and the Westminster HTFC Report: A Critical Comment)

Quote
Quote:
"For Reformed Christians, it is not simply Chalcedon which defines “orthodoxy” within the realm of Christological reflection; it is Chalcedon as interpreted by the Reformed Confessions.  Or, in the case of denominations like the OPC and PCA, it is Chalcedon as interpreted by the Westminster standards.  Westminster’s Christology stands, however, at the end of a long history of confessional reflection on the person of Jesus Christ and cannot be rightly understood without careful attention to that history."



Quote
Quote:
    "The unifying ground of these three concerns – the integrity of the natures, resistance against an instrumentalizing of the human nature and the emphasis on the Spirit’s ministry in the life of Jesus – was found in the Reformed understanding of the person of the union.  There is, you see, an ambiguity at the heart of the Chalcedonian Definition where the “Person” is concerned.  On the one hand, the Definition can say that “the property of both natures is preserved and comes together into a single person and a single subsistent being.”  On the other hand, the Definition can say, “he is not parted or divided into two persons, but is one and the same only-begotten Son, God, Word, Lord Jesus Christ…”  On the basis of the first formulation, it would seem that the person is formed out of the coming together of the natures.  On the basis of the second, it would seem that a straightforward and direct equation is being made of the “person” and the pre-existent Logos as such.  It is because of this ambiguity that patristic scholars are, to this day, divided over the question of which party to the controversy actually attained the upper hand at Chalcedon (which already, by itself, would render untenable any simplistic appeal to “Chalcedonian Christology”).. There are those who, leaning heavily on the first of these formulations, say that the Formula grants a certain victory to Nestorius. But there are also those who say that it is Cyril’s theology which triumphed at Chalcedon. In the first group is to be found Aloys Grillmeier and Brian Daley; in the second, John McGuckin. My own view is that a carefully contextualized reading of the Definition will show that it is the second of these opinions which is correct. But here’s the thing: classical Reformed theology clearly stood on the side of the first of these options – not the second."

Heinrich Bullinger offers the most extreme example.  In his Second Helvetic Confession, he writes, “We therefore acknowledge either two natures or two hypostases or substances, the divine and the human, in one and the same Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Two hypostases is extreme; indeed, it is something less than orthodox.  According to Chalcedon, there is but one hypostasis in which the two natures subsist.  What led Bullinger to this conclusion, however, was something that is  to be found in the Definition, viz. the idea that the person of the union is formed out of the “coming together” of the natures.  The same idea can be found in Calvin (who mistakenly believed that this was the view of all the orthodox Fathers).  “Now the old writers defined ‘hypostatic union’ as that which constitutes one person out of two natures.  This expression was devised to refute the delusion of Nestorius, because he imagined that the Son of God so dwelt in the flesh that he was not man also” (Institutes II.xiv.5).  Clearly, Calvin’s grasp of Nestorius’ views was shaky at best.  But he was not wrong to think that the idea that the “person” is formed out of the union had orthodox support – not only in one of the strands of the Chalcedonian Definition but also in later orthodoxy.  John of Damascus, whose great work “On the Orthodox Faith” was newly translated into Latin in the early sixteenth century (and pored over by Zwingli), understood the “person” as a “compound person”2 – an idea that finds resonance in the Westminster Confession.  “So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition or confusion.  Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ.”  The “person”, according to this teaching, is not simply the Logos as such but is very God and very man – the two natures having come together to form a single person.

Quote
We come back then to the HTFC report.  What surprises me in this report is the ease with which the writers ally themselves with the Eastern Orthodox and Lutheran equation of the “person” with the Logos as such, thereby turning their backs on the Reformed tradition.


and

 
Quote
I am confident that the writers do not intend such an outcome; this is just a sloppy formulation.  But sloppy or not, it does tell us something rather significant.  It tells us that the Christology of these writers stands in much closer proximity to the Christology of the Eastern Orthodox and the Lutherans than it does to the Christology of the Reformed tradition.



To read the rest please visit the link:
http://aboulet.com/2008/05/20/reformed-christology-and-the-westminster-htfc-report/ (Reformed Christology and the Westminster HTFC Report: A Critical Comment)











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« Reply #524 on: August 09, 2010, 08:27:37 PM »

A Westerner with a considerable degree of education may profit from reading Vladimir Lossky's Mystagogy of the Eastern Church.  This is not something I recommend lightly, but it's very close to being a holistic view of the basics of Orthodox theology as experience of God in His Energies.

Lossky really is special.

Matter of fact, I've told my brother to put my much loved copy of
"Mystical Theology" in with me in my coffin. At the time I became
Orthodox (the Vietnam war), this book and Fedotov's "Treasury of Russian
Spirituality" were ALL that were available on Orthodoxy in this country!
My father confessor had advised me to read Tanquery's "The Spiritual
Life" when Lossky jumped off the library shelf and into my life and
changed my heart forever.

Fr Ambrose o..o~
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« Reply #525 on: August 09, 2010, 09:20:38 PM »

A Westerner with a considerable degree of education may profit from reading Vladimir Lossky's Mystagogy of the Eastern Church.  This is not something I recommend lightly, but it's very close to being a holistic view of the basics of Orthodox theology as experience of God in His Energies.

Lossky really is special.

Matter of fact, I've told my brother to put my much loved copy of
"Mystical Theology" in with me in my coffin. At the time I became
Orthodox (the Vietnam war), this book and Fedotov's "Treasury of Russian
Spirituality" were ALL that were available on Orthodoxy in this country!
My father confessor had advised me to read Tanquery's "The Spiritual
Life" when Lossky jumped off the library shelf and into my life and
changed my heart forever.

Fr Ambrose o..o~


Father, have you ever posted the story of your conversion on this forum?  Or anywhere on the Internet for that matter?  I'd be very interested in reading it and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
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