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Author Topic: St Mark of Ephesus for or against purgatory?  (Read 7647 times) Average Rating: 0
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lubeltri
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« Reply #45 on: December 08, 2006, 03:10:58 AM »

Whoa, Evangelical discussion on a thread titled "St. Mark of Ephesus for or against purgatory"? Is that a first?
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« Reply #46 on: December 08, 2006, 09:13:18 AM »

You are right that traditional Calvinists believe that someone who does not live a righteous life was not saved to begin with. Unconditional election is necessarily followed by sanctification. The permanence of salvation among traditional Calvinists is usually called "perseverance of the saints."

Well, as someone who grew up as a 'traditional Calvinist' this common misrepresentation of Calvinist soteriology still bothers me. Calvin had many absurd, illogical, and heretical points in his Instituties, but a complete and irrational divorce of the concepts of justification and sanctification was not amongst those errors. Calvin's faults were in his axioms, not his reasoning, the faults of the 'born again Christians' you reference are in their reasoning.
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« Reply #47 on: December 08, 2006, 01:57:24 PM »

Well, as someone who grew up as a 'traditional Calvinist' this common misrepresentation of Calvinist soteriology still bothers me. Calvin had many absurd, illogical, and heretical points in his Instituties, but a complete and irrational divorce of the concepts of justification and sanctification was not amongst those errors. Calvin's faults were in his axioms, not his reasoning, the faults of the 'born again Christians' you reference are in their reasoning.

In nomine Iesu GiC I offer you continued peace,

I would honestly like to hear your views on Calvin's Axioms on another thread. I often enter into to dialogue with Calvinist Baptists and I'd enjoy knowing what your views are concerning their exegesis.

Pax Vobiscum
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« Reply #48 on: December 08, 2006, 05:09:09 PM »

It does not matter what is argued on an internet forum, GisC.  The consensus patrum is clear, and it rejects universalism.  Please don't tell me you're one of those "infallible seminarians" that plague American Orthodoxy.   Wink
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« Reply #49 on: December 08, 2006, 08:14:54 PM »

It does not matter what is argued on an internet forum, GisC.

True, it ultimately does not, but if you're going to try to make a point on an internet forum it would be reasonable to expect a response in the context of an internet forum...just a thought.

Quote
The consensus patrum is clear, and it rejects universalism.

The fact that you believe in a 'consensus patrum' demonstrates that either you have not adequately studied Church history or that you know better and use such arguments to strengthen a weak point. Furthermore, if you are trying to make such a point, the fact that two of the three great Cappadocians, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory the Theologian, as well as the Catechetical School of Alexandria, and in the west no less a significant figure than St. Ambrose of Milan all advocated the theology and that St. Basil tells us that during his time apokatastasis was a theological posistion held by the majority of the Church, pretty much dismisses your argument about there being consensus on the matter. The doctrine of apokatastasis only fell out of favour when it became necessary to use Christianity as a means to control the masses; certainly an understandable development for the time, but now that we no longer have need of the Church for that purpose, the social danger of moving away from fear towards proper Christian Soteriology is minimal.

So, if you wish deny the Victory of Christ over death and the effectiveness of His Crucifixion and Resurrection you're going to have to do better than reference some so-called 'patristic consensus' which is inconsonant with scripture and was rejected by a great multitude of the fathers.

Quote
Please don't tell me you're one of those "infallible seminarians" that plague American Orthodoxy.   Wink

Not at all, I dont believe in infallibility, not in the councils, in the pope, not in the partiarch, not in the bishops, not in the priests, not in the philosophers, not in the theologians, not in the fathers, not in the scriptures, not in the saints, not in the monastics, and most certainly not in seminarians Wink
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« Reply #50 on: December 08, 2006, 08:24:06 PM »

The fact that you believe in a 'consensus patrum' demonstrates that either you have not adequately studied Church history or that you know better and use such arguments to strengthen a weak point. Furthermore, if you are trying to make such a point, the fact that two of the three great Cappadocians, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory the Theologian, as well as the Catechetical School of Alexandria, and in the west no less a significant figure than St. Ambrose of Milan all advocated the theology and that St. Basil tells us that during his time apokatastasis was a theological posistion held by the majority of the Church, pretty much dismisses your argument about there being consensus on the matter. The doctrine of apokatastasis only fell out of favour when it became necessary to use Christianity as a means to control the masses; certainly an understandable development for the time, but now that we no longer have need of the Church for that purpose, the social danger of moving away from fear towards proper Christian Soteriology is minimal.

So, if you wish deny the Victory of Christ over death and the effectiveness of His Crucifixion and Resurrection you're going to have to do better than reference some so-called 'patristic consensus' which is inconsonant with scripture and was rejected by a great multitude of the fathers.

Though I might not have worded things so strongly, I agree with everything here.  An excellent argument.
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« Reply #51 on: December 08, 2006, 09:39:48 PM »

I wish I had time to really research this and refute it, because I respect you, brothers, but nearly everything I have read in the last three years contradicts your position.  Is it really decent for an Orthodox Christian to ascribe motives to the Church like "controlling the masses"?  That sounds a bit silly to me.  I owe you a much better, more well-reasoned argument but I have to study for my law finals, so please forgive me.  I will simply say that if you really wish to 'win' you will give me specific quotations from Sts. Basil, Ambrose, and the Cappadocians that prove they are Holy Cross School of Theology infallible seminarians.  Then I will believe you.   Wink
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« Reply #52 on: December 08, 2006, 10:46:00 PM »

This unity is encouraging.  The Orthodox diverge from the Latin teaching in their belief that the fire itself or the sufferings beyond life are purgative in their effect.  For the Orthodox (and it would seem to me that this includes a thorough reading of St. Gregory the Dialogist), it is God's grace which acts upon the sinner to purify him and make him worthy of heaven-- not through fire, but through the prayers of the Church.

Reading this made me curious about something.  There is speech online titled "River of Fire" by Alexander Kalomiros which impressed me greatly in its teaching on the meaning of fire and how it relates to the love of God.  I believed it was quite well known and it really rather blew me away in finding an understanding of Hell and punishment and a God who is love.  Wouldn't this view of fire be rather in line with how we Latins see the purgatorial "fire?"

Quote
From a "policy" perspective (not that this is a valid argument) but it seems to me that if a Latin were certain enough that he was headed heavenward, but wished to sin in whatever way, he could more or less say, "Put it on my tab" and just burn it off (so to speak) in the next life.  How else can indulgences be explained?  Or how about going to see the Shroud in Rome and getting 12,000 years off of your sentance in purgatory?  These things are absurd to Orthodoxy... but how do the modern RCs explain them?

I may be wrong, and I am sure there are people here more versed on this, but I believe that the time referenced in indulgences is not the time off of a sentence, but rather the amount of time that would have to be spent in an act of penance to gain the equivalent amount of remission, or such.  So the time would be like saying this indulgence is worth two months in sackcloth and ashes or the like.  It does not relate to the time in purgatory.

As for a better view still of indulgences, which seem rather tricky and lead to a very legalistic concept of the hereafter, some comments made by Pope John Paul II in 1999 might help:

Quote
The Church has a treasury, then, which is "dispensed" as it were through indulgences. This "distribution" should not be understood as a sort of automatic transfer, as if we were speaking of "things". It is instead the expression of the Church's full confidence of being heard by the Father when - in view of Christ's merits and, by his gift, those of Our Lady and the saints - she asks him to mitigate or cancel the painful aspect of punishment by fostering its medicinal aspect through other channels of grace. In the unfathomable mystery of divine wisdom, this gift of intercession can also benefit the faithful departed, who receive its fruits in a way appropriate to their condition.

Emphasis was added by me.

I would think that this speaks to the idea of the treasury and how it is commonly understood.  Rather than a treasury as we normally think it is rather just a way of understanding how we trust in God to hear us, his Church, due to the many merits of the saints and Christ.  Additionally, rather than relieving a punishment in the more legalistic sense, we shuld view the effect as a help by God to alleviate the natural suffering which accompanies repentance and growth in the faith.  I have always liked this take on it myself.

Patrick
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pensateomnia
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« Reply #53 on: December 08, 2006, 11:00:52 PM »

I wish I had time to really research this and refute it, because I respect you, brothers, but nearly everything I have read in the last three years contradicts your position.

Don't worry about it, Isaac. In case you haven't realized this yet, this is one of GiC's pet issues. I have observed that he chooses pet issues for a few reasons, most of which have to do with the degree to which they will afford him an opportunity to engage in long and divisive argument with well-intentioned people such as yourself.

Don't feed the fire.
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« Reply #54 on: December 09, 2006, 12:20:37 AM »

Pensate,

Thank you for your advice.  Arguments like this "feed the fire" in more than one way.
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« Reply #55 on: December 09, 2006, 12:29:19 AM »

I wish I had time to really research this and refute it, because I respect you, brothers, but nearly everything I have read in the last three years contradicts your position.

Perhaps you need to need to read different things...I would recommend our Father amongst the Saints Clement of Alexandria...I agree with him on many, though not all, things, but he will really get you thinking and questioning. Though it's too bad you dont have time to attempt to refute my posistion because I think I've actually come up with a few arguments that might best those presented by the fathers who supported apokatastasis...or, at they very least, they are much better refined.

Quote
Is it really decent for an Orthodox Christian to ascribe motives to the Church like "controlling the masses"?  That sounds a bit silly to me.

Few years ago, I would have probably agreed with you...but after spending enough time studying Church history I can honestly say that it would be disingenuous to claim this did not often occur.

Quote
I owe you a much better, more well-reasoned argument but I have to study for my law finals, so please forgive me.

Fair enough, perhaps we can engage in this debate at a later date. Good luck on your finals.

Quote
I will simply say that if you really wish to 'win' you will give me specific quotations from Sts. Basil, Ambrose, and the Cappadocians that prove they are Holy Cross School of Theology infallible seminarians.  Then I will believe you.   Wink

Victory without Battle??? What fun is that? To quote the movie Patton, 'There's only one proper way for a professional soldier to die: the last bullet of the last battle of the last war.' Grin

Though if you do want a few quotes, this website offers an ok starting point:
http://www.tentmaker.org/Quotes/churchfathersquotes.htm
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« Reply #56 on: December 09, 2006, 12:34:17 AM »

Don't worry about it, Isaac. In case you haven't realized this yet, this is one of GiC's pet issues. I have observed that he chooses pet issues for a few reasons, most of which have to do with the degree to which they will afford him an opportunity to engage in long and divisive argument with well-intentioned people such as yourself.

Don't feed the fire.

Oh, that's just part of it, there's also that whole underdog thing, which you've noted previously. Then there's the viability of the position, I avoid the impossible as much as possible. I also like catch phrases, you have to be able to advance a position not only through reason, but also through propaganda. Furthermore, it needs to be interesting, and preferably profound, the issue must be one of substantial impact. And, finally, I have to actually strongly believe in the issue, it's very difficult to devote the time and effort to fervently arguing an issue in depth which you dont care about.

All my pet issues (not that I have too many, only 3 or 4) will have all these elements to one degree or another Wink
« Last Edit: December 09, 2006, 12:38:14 AM by greekischristian » Logged

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« Reply #57 on: December 09, 2006, 03:11:43 AM »

The consensus patrum is clear, and it rejects universalism. 

No, it's not.  I have had a couple of priests tell me the same thing as you, and they are wrong too.  It's definitely a minority position nowadays, you won't get me arguing that.  There are other knowledgeable people who post here who will also acknowledge, though they don't like the idea of it, that hope for universal redemption is a perfectly legitimate position to hold.  In the end, we all have to "work out our salvation in fear and trembling" for ourselves, anyway.  So it doesn't really concern us, in one sense.  One thing that we can all agree on is that it won't be pleasant for us in the hereafter if we haven't worked at our salvation on this side of the grave!
Anyway, why don't you delve into the question deeper, when you have time, and see what you find?  Forgive me, I know that I make mistakes about doctrine etc. all the time, but about this question, I am certain.  But so what if I am?  It doesn't make me a better Christian, that's for sure!  Smiley

All the best on your finals!
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« Reply #58 on: February 18, 2007, 12:02:11 AM »

Not at all, I dont believe in infallibility, not in the councils, in the pope, not in the partiarch, not in the bishops, not in the priests, not in the philosophers, not in the theologians, not in the fathers, not in the scriptures, not in the saints, not in the monastics, and most certainly not in seminarians Wink

Ha Ha  Undecided...you're joking right?

I like this discussion...

Prayers and petitions,
Alexius Cool
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« Reply #59 on: February 18, 2007, 12:19:25 AM »

No, it's not.  I have had a couple of priests tell me the same thing as you, and they are wrong too.  It's definitely a minority position nowadays, you won't get me arguing that.  There are other knowledgeable people who post here who will also acknowledge, though they don't like the idea of it, that hope for universal redemption is a perfectly legitimate position to hold.  All the best on your finals!

I don't think it's a proposterous thought. That is why I pray for people like Saddam Hussein (now in court - God's court) and Osama bin Laden. I ask God to have mercy on all of His creation - good and evil, dead and alive. I hope that God forgives all, but do I think He will? No, but judgment is His. Am I a Universalist? No. I can have hope, though. Either way, it is imperitive to obey the commands of Christ given to us men. That is what we must do. I will not; however, teach that God will frgive all, as I cannot know. Scripture teaches that Satan and his minions will be sent to Hell, but who knows the mind of God between His infinite mercy and infinite justice? Let he who knows God's mind cast the first stone! I'll hold your garments and watch Wink...

Prayers and petitions,
Alexius Cool
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« Reply #60 on: May 06, 2007, 04:52:00 PM »

Why dont you actually address the arguments of St. Gregory of Nyssa. You see, unlike many lesser men in the history of the Church who chose to dogmatize and pontificate rather than theologize and teach, St. Gregory of Nyssa actually presented well argued and well supported posistions.

St. Gregory of Nyssa did not actually hold this view, as Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos shows in his book, Life After Death. The relevant segment can be read here.

The fact that you believe in a 'consensus patrum' demonstrates that either you have not adequately studied Church history or that you know better and use such arguments to strengthen a weak point. Furthermore, if you are trying to make such a point, the fact that two of the three great Cappadocians, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory the Theologian, as well as the Catechetical School of Alexandria, and in the west no less a significant figure than St. Ambrose of Milan all advocated the theology and that St. Basil tells us that during his time apokatastasis was a theological posistion held by the majority of the Church, pretty much dismisses your argument about there being consensus on the matter. The doctrine of apokatastasis only fell out of favour when it became necessary to use Christianity as a means to control the masses; certainly an understandable development for the time, but now that we no longer have need of the Church for that purpose, the social danger of moving away from fear towards proper Christian Soteriology is minimal.

R. Grant Jones' "Dialogues and Articles on the Afterlife" is very relevant here.

St. Ambrose of Milan:
"Now let the Manichaean have his word.  'I hold that the devil is the creator of our flesh.'  The Lord will answer him:  'What, then, doest thou in the heavenly places?  Depart, go thy way to thy creator.  My will is that they be with Me, whom my Father hath given Me.  Thou, Manichaean, holdest thyself for a creature of the devil; hasten, then, to his abode, the place of fire and brimstone, where the fire thereof is not quenched, lest ever the punishment have an end.'" Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 10, On the Christian Faith - Book II, page 239.

http://web.archive.org/web/20010619041327/www.geocities.com/r_grant_jones/Rick/damnation1.htm

St. Gregory the Theologian:
"I know the emptying, the making void, the making waste, the melting of the heart, and knocking of the knees together, such are the punishments of the ungodly.  I do not dwell on the judgments to come, to which indulgence in this world delivers us, as it is better to be punished and cleansed now than to be transmitted to the torment to come, when it is the time of chastisement, not of cleansing.  For as he who remembers God here is conqueror of death (as David has most excellently sung) so the departed have not in the grave confession and restoration; for God has confined life and action to this world, and to the future the scrutiny of what has been done."
Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 16, Section 7, NPNF Series 2, Vol 7

"But then what advocate shall we have?  What pretext?  What false excuse?  What plausible artifice?  What device contrary to the truth will impose upon the court, and rob it of its right judgment, which places in the balance for us all, our entire life, action, word, and thought, and weighs against the evil that which is better, until that which preponderates wins the day, and the decision is given in favour of the main tendency; after which there is no appeal, no higher court, no defence on the ground of subsequent conduct, no oil obtained from the wise virgins, or from them that sell, for the lamps going out, no repentance of the rich man wasting away in the flame, and begging for repentance for his friends, no statute of limitations; but only that final and fearful judgment-seat, more just even than fearful; or rather more fearful because it is also just; when the thrones are set and the Ancient of days takes His seat, and the books are opened, and the fiery stream comes forth, and the light before Him, and the darkness prepared; and they that have done good shall go into the resurrection of life, now hid in Christ and to be manifested hereafter with Him, and they that have done evil, into the resurrection of judgment, to which they who have not believed have been condemned already by the word which judges them. Some will be welcomed by the unspeakable light and the vision of the holy and royal Trinity, Which now shines upon them with greater brilliancy and purity and unites Itself wholly to the whole soul, in which solely and beyond all else I take it that the kingdom of heaven consists. The others among other torments, but above and before them all must endure the being outcast from God, and the shame of conscience which has no limit.  But of these anon."
Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 16, Section 9, NPNF Series 2, Vol 7

"It is a sad thing to let the Manna pass and then to long for food. It is a sad thing to take a counsel too late, and to become sensible of the loss only when it is impossible to repair it; that is, after our departure hence, and the bitter closing of the acts of each man's life, and the punishment of sinners, and the glory of the purified.  Therefore do not delay in coming to grace, but hasten, lest the robber outstrip you, lest the adulterer pass you by, lest the insatiate be satisfied before you, lest the murderer seize the blessing first, or the publican or the fornicator, or any of these violent ones who take the Kingdom of heaven by force."
Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 40, On Holy Baptism, Section 24, NPNF Series 2, Vol 7

"For I know a cleansing fire which Christ came to send upon the earth, and He Himself is anagogically called a Fire.  This Fire takes away whatsoever is material and of evil habit; and this He desires to kindle with all speed, for He longs for speed in doing us good, since He gives us even coals of fire to help us.  I know also a fire which is not cleansing, but avenging; either that fire of Sodom which He pours down on all sinners, mingled with brimstone and storms, or that which is prepared for the Devil and his Angels or that which proceeds from the face of the Lord, and shall burn up his enemies round about; and one even more fearful still than these, the unquenchable fire which is ranged with the worm that dieth not but is eternal for the wicked. For all these belong to the destroying power; though some may prefer even in this place to take a more merciful view of this fire, worthily of Him That chastises."
Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 40, On Holy Baptism, Section 36, NPNF Series 2, Vol 7

http://web.archive.org/web/20010619045823/www.geocities.com/r_grant_jones/Rick/supplement.htm
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