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Author Topic: What is it really that seperates us all?  (Read 3172 times) Average Rating: 0
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Lavis Knight
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« on: March 30, 2003, 04:32:41 PM »

I hope i posted this in the right place, i have been thinking lately and looking at various threads. I see the product of what has resulted of the "Schism" and that of the "Reformation",

I wonder what really seperates us? First however i would like to ask the Orthodox Christians what seperates Christians from the world.

What is it that seperates Christians from the world?
« Last Edit: March 30, 2003, 04:38:55 PM by Lavis Knight » Logged

If the best thing one can do is point out what they believe darkness be... then how will anyone find light?

The strongest and purest statement of faith i have ever heard was simply: "I love you God"
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2003, 07:17:11 PM »

I want to think about this a bit.  I'll be back with a response later tonight.
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Lavis Knight
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2003, 11:54:03 AM »

I want to think about this a bit.  I'll be back with a response later tonight.  

Thank you ^_^
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If the best thing one can do is point out what they believe darkness be... then how will anyone find light?

The strongest and purest statement of faith i have ever heard was simply: "I love you God"
Justin Kissel
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that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2003, 02:17:39 PM »

That which seperates the Orthodox from non-Christians is also what seperates the Orthodox from other Christians: being in literal, real (not just some abstract invisible) communion with God; being a partaker of the divine nature through God's uncreated grace as experienced in His divine energies; being in the theanthropic body of Christ, which is the Church of Christ, being mysteriously, ontologically, awesomely, Christ our God himself. What divides us, in the end, is not a "theological belief" or "doctrine" as commonly perceived, but a God-revealed truth. Some have accepted the truths, some have not (yet).
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Lavis Knight
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2003, 03:42:02 PM »

If i understand you correctly you are equating other Christians with those who are unsaved...

I am afraid whatever the division is it would have to be Theology, even correct belief in every way about God would still be Theology, there is no way to escape the definition of the word.

However i cannot seem to understand, could you define exactly what you mean? You claim that your in a real relationship with God, yet without evidence deny such a level of relationship with all others who profess Christ. Are you saying that ones relationship with Christ is directly relational to being the most knowledgeable about the truth?

That is what i am understanding.. this surely cannot be true as there are many Religious studies teachers who are not Christian yet know a great deal many truths about Orthodox teachings.. what of those who are unable to study these kinds of truths? Would God deny them such a relationship due to a handycap in the capacity to learn?

If you mean by God revealed truth in accepting an Orthodox position- and by this stating it is the only way to have a close relationship with God?

Surely King David was not Orthodox(As we know it today).. yet he had a close relationship with God.. are we about to say he had exactly the same teachings as the Orthodox Church has today? I think it would be easy to draw a distinction here.. however he did have a close relationship with God none-the-less..

How can this be? Is it Knowledge which seperates Christians from the world?
« Last Edit: March 31, 2003, 03:47:48 PM by Lavis Knight » Logged

If the best thing one can do is point out what they believe darkness be... then how will anyone find light?

The strongest and purest statement of faith i have ever heard was simply: "I love you God"
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2003, 05:24:27 PM »

Lavis Knight

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If i understand you correctly you are equating other Christians with those who are unsaved...

Yes and no. Certainly non-Orthodox Christians (Baptists, Catholics, Anglicans, etc.) have more knowledge, and also (a seperate quality) have a surer relationship with God than, let's say, Mormons or Muslims. In that way, "other Christians" should definately not be lumped in with "the unsaved" (which is suppose to be non-Christians, I'm guessing). However, the human aspect of Orthodoxy (ie. humans) cannot say what will happen regarding salvation to those outside of her theanthropic body. In this way, whether we talk about the possible salvation of Joe Baptist or Abdur Muslim, our position is one of agnosticism. In that way, the Orthodox see things as "in the body of Christ [ie. Orthodoxy]" or out of it, the body of Christ being the "ark of salvation". Whether someone outside what is (paradoxically) the only ark of salvation can be saved is up to God.

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I am afraid whatever the division is it would have to be Theology, even correct belief in every way about God would still be Theology, there is no way to escape the definition of the word.

No, most "theology" amounts to human understanding. Even Dogmas or certainties of theology (ie. "God is love") are only dogmatic or certain in a relative sense. God is so wholly incomprehensible that no statement can be thought of as being literally true, as it might be literally true for us. We say "God is love," but we have no idea what that means as we cannot ever imagein what the content of that love is like when experienced.

The "difference" between the Orthodox and non-Orthodox is not one that can be defined, since it is directly related to God Himself. It can be described, manifestations arising from the difference(s) can be pointed out, but a formal theological definition can never, ever be had. Saint Paul said that the mystery of the Church was "a great mystery," and it is indeed a mystery into which we can only penetrate so far. Theology (in this case ecclesiology) can tell us much--indeed, all that is needed for salvation. The difference(s) can never, however, be reduced merely to "theological" differences upon which one could dialogue and come to a compromise concerning.

"Theology" as an intellectual discipline can never be considered the pinnacle or infallible vehicle for God's revelation. This is because theology can only be fully understood and have meaning when understood and experienced within the actual literal body of Christ. It is only in a mystery that truth becomes visible, and it is outside the mystery--in what so many think are clear and logical hermenutics, theological constructs, etc.--that the truth becomes blurred and sometimes even invisible.

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However i cannot seem to understand, could you define exactly what you mean?

I would differentiate between "define" and "describe". Following along Florovsky, Lossky, et al., I would say that I cannot define what the Church is, but only describe it. I think this is faithful to the faith as handed down from Christ through the Apostles. Now, as to a description of the Church... well I'm working on that Smiley (though it will take much time, I think)

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You claim that your in a real relationship with God, yet without evidence deny such a level of relationship with all others who profess Christ. Are you saying that ones relationship with Christ is directly relational to being the most knowledgeable about the truth?

I hope not, I'm ignorant of most things! Smiley My evidence for my position is the the law and the prophets, the Gospels, the epistles, the Apostolic writings, the Church Fathers, the lives of the saints, and so forth. All these spring from the same well of revelation, and all these manifest the truth that is Orthodoxy.

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That is what i am understanding.. this surely cannot be true as there are many Religious studies teachers who are not Christian yet know a great deal many truths about Orthodox teachings..

I've met very few. Some seem to somewhat "get it," such as Lewis and Chesterton. For the most part, though most Orthodox (Orthodox in name) don't get it, let alone those outside of Orthodoxy. Those outside the Church can understand what God sees fit to reveal to them. Hence, there was quite a bit of pre-Christian revelation to the pagan Greeks to prepare them for the coming of Christ. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, etc. were not totally and wholly ignorant, and neither was Plotinus for that matter. Having said that, regardless of how well they seemed to understand and "handle" the knowledge, they still did not understand it properly or in a wholly correct way. It is only in a christocentric light--living a life in Christ in Christ's body--that one can understand the truth wholly and correctly. Outside of this situation, truth can be stated, and even understood, but not in the same way.

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hat of those who are unable to study these kinds of truths? Would God deny them such a relationship due to a handycap in the capacity to learn?

God will judge them fairly. I'm sure many such people, in their childlike simplistic ignorance (not from negligence), will have a much easier time at the dread judgment seat than I will, for all my "knowledge" and "learning" (though in knowledge I admit that I am very inadequate as well). But again, the Orthodox position is one of agnosticism. You may find Orthodox theologians discussing theories such as "anonymous Christians" (though I hope you don't), but you won't find any authoritative pronouncement on the subject.

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Surely King David was not Orthodox(As we know it today).. yet he had a close relationship with God..

Actually I would say that Kind David did in fact have an understanding of God and "theology" exactly as the Orthodox today do. Obviously he wouldn't have used the same terms, but all the truths of Orthodoxy were known by David, Moses, et al. The reason that they didn't openly reveal the truth to the Jews (and we can certainly see hints at truths such as the Trinity in the OT, no Christian denies this, do they?) was because the Jews simply weren't ready for it. After the initial fall, God spent thousands of years preparing humanity for His coming. It took a long preperatory stay in the spiritual hospital before the Doctor was actually ready to come and heal the patient. Some of the patients, however, became aware of what the doctor would do, and what the doctor "was about," before the doctor actually came.

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are we about to say he had exactly the same teachings as the Orthodox Church has today?

I'd say that he had essentially the same, yes Smiley He certainly understood things in a more Orthodox way than I! For your example, I think a better person for discussion would be Gamaliel (though I probably won't be able to post again on this forum for quite a while after today, I just got lucky and had a whole day on the computer to use). In Orthodox Tradition, Gamaliel secrently became Orthodox later in his life. So the question for an Orthodox would be, did he understand Orthodoxy before he converted, and convert because Orthodoxy said what he knew to be true? or did he convert because he became convinced that he had been wrong, and that Orthodoxy was right? It's an interesting question.

Justin
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2003, 05:46:25 PM »

It is my understanding that the Orthodox Church believes itself to be THE one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, and that it is the Body of Christ.  As far as where else God's grace resides, the answer is "everywhere" in the widest sense as God is actively moving for the conversion of all; yet it is also a big question mark in the "specifics" category because outside of the Orthodox Church, the location of grace is unknown. For instance, St. John Maximovitch would cross himself before a Roman Catholic Church, I have read.

Also it depends on how far away from Orthodoxy another faith is.  Certainly a Roman Catholic is closer than an Anglican who is closer than a Calvinist who is closer than a Unitarian, etc., but ulimately God judges the non-Orthodox based on what knowledge they had.  The Orthodox, conversely, while knowing God more clearly, are therefore judged much more stictly.

That all still doesn't stop many fine Orthodox Christians from calling Protestant and Catholic Christians "brothers in the Lord."

In Christ,

anastasios
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2003, 11:27:59 PM »

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From Anastasios: That all still doesn't stop many fine Orthodox Christians from calling Protestant and Catholic Christians "brothers in the Lord."

I am not sure I would go quite that far, at least where Protestants are concerned.

How can we call those who denounce the veneration of the Mother of God and the saints as idolatry "brothers in the Lord?" Many of them even deny that she is the Mother of God.

How can we call them brothers who empty the Holy Eucharist of the Presence of Christ, who make of it an empty memorial and slander us as "pagans" because we hold the true doctrine?

How can they be our brothers who deny the Church and make of her an invisible phantom composed of all sorts of heretics and schismatics, regardless of their bewildering array of private beliefs?

How can we call brothers those who have arbitrarily removed sacred books from the Holy Scriptures, those who deny the bulk of the Apostolic Tradition?

How can we call them brothers who divide the kingdom of God in two and call those Jews who deny Christ "the chosen people" and the Church a mere "parenthesis," denying that she is the true Israel of God?

Need I go on?

Do not be fooled.

Not all "nice people" are Christians.

One is "born again" in holy baptism (John 3:5), not merely because one thinks one is.

And he who does not eat the flesh of Jesus Christ and drink His blood has no life in him (John 6:53).

Let us be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.

Make no mistake; Protestantism is heresy.

Protestants should be urged to repent and convert and not lulled into complacency and a false sense of security by our reference to them as "brothers."

Sorry if this offends some. But as a former Protestant I can tell you: Protestantism is a different religion, a different gospel.

« Last Edit: March 31, 2003, 11:30:05 PM by Linus7 » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2003, 11:35:11 PM »

Linus,

I am a former Protestant, too, and your charictatures of Protestantism, while true in some cases, are not universally so.

I did say "some Orthodox", not all.

I base my belief that many Protestants are brothers in the Lord on the experiences that I have had with many of them and on the basis of discussions I have had with Orthodox who participate in the World Council of Churches as representatives, delegates, etc.

I agree with you that Protestants do misunderstand and/or reject very serious Christian teachings but the basic beliefs of classical Protestantism are Christian and salvific.  --That is polemics aside, however--; I am well aware of the many Protestants who hate us and I of course believe that it is God's will that Protestants enter the Orthodox Church.

In Christ,

anastasios
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2003, 12:05:35 AM »

Anastasios -

You are my brother in Christ.

Protestantism, particularly the brand of it that descends from the Radical Reformation, is a destructive heresy.

I will not pass judgment on Protestants; that's God's right and responsibility.

But I cannot in good conscience call them "brothers in the Lord," either.

We differ on this.
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2003, 12:08:48 AM »


Being of the Roman Rite I have no quarrels with my Orthodox brethern,in fact yesterday I was blessed by a Coptic Orthodox brother and I am reading The Divine Liturgy of St. Basil. Seems logical to me.

James
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2003, 12:20:51 AM »

Brother James -

I was speaking of Protestants.

My view of Roman Catholics is a whole other story and a much more pleasant one.  Grin
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2003, 12:40:42 AM »

Linus,

Fair enough, friend!

anastasios
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2003, 11:00:52 PM »

Linus,

Fair enough, friend!

anastasios

Thanks, brother!  Grin

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« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2003, 06:10:40 PM »

The bottom line is that salvation is a mystery. None of us is deserving of it. We are all dependant on God's grace and mercy for our salvation and thus we cannot say who will and who will not be saved.

The unworthy servant of God,
Br. Nicholas
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« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2003, 11:58:55 PM »

The bottom line is that salvation is a mystery. None of us is deserving of it. We are all dependant on God's grace and mercy for our salvation and thus we cannot say who will and who will not be saved.

The unworthy servant of God,
Br. Nicholas

True, Br. Nicholas.  And being Orthodox is no guarantee of salvation either.  We work out our salvation in cooperation with the Grace that God gives us ("synergy")--and for us Orthodox that means that which is given to us as Gifts in the Church, e.g., Divine Services, Mysteries (especially and most importantly, the Holy Communion), Holy Icons, etc., as well-- right to the very end of our lives.

Hypo-Ortho
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