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mumin
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« on: July 21, 2006, 06:36:42 PM »

Salaam,

What is fate of man who fear Allah and keep His Law?

Wasalaam
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« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2006, 07:06:54 PM »

He would be a Christian who will be saved, God willing.

Peace
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2006, 10:03:51 PM »

Dear Sir,

I think the question would require to be qualified somewhat in that we would need to understand which Allah or which Law we are speaking about, since in the world of men there are many Allah's and many Laws, even within there own religions people find that the person who stands next to them in their place of worship worships a very different God to there own.

According to the Christian tradition God has a very intimate relationship with His creation and while He may have established certain institutions where they are to act as stewards or ambassadors on behalf of God He is not limited or restricted to such institutions, and for the Christian person God lives in His very heart. Therefore, the apostle says:

"Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts." (Heb 4:7)

Therefore, God seeks a soft and pliable heart that will bend to His will and a good soil in which He can plant His seed. Hence man must ever be attentive to the voice of God, he must be wise and willing to seek out God since God's promise is that those who seek Him will find Him and He must have a soft heart that is able to pour itself before God and respond to His call.

With all of this said the church has never been so presumptuous as to pronounce judgment on the eternal status of any person or group of people but rather as God knows the weak frame of man and has compassion on him so the church also attempts to reflect that same compassion and leaves all such judgment to the mercy of God, seeking His compassion, mercy and forgiveness for herself as well, knowing that in her human dimension she is in no way perfect and remembering also the words of our Lord, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." (Mt 7:1, 2) And so with this alone she tries to gain her salvation.

Love and peace


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mumin
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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2006, 10:48:25 AM »

Dear Sir,

I think the question would require to be qualified somewhat in that we would need to understand which Allah or which Law we are speaking about, since in the world of men there are many Allah's and many Laws, even within there own religions people find that the person who stands next to them in their place of worship worships a very different God to there own.

Salaam,

It is found in Al-Quraan these words:

For those who respond to their Lord, are (all) good things. But those who respond not to Him,- Even if they had all that is in the heavens and on earth, and as much more, (in vain) would they offer it for ransom. For them will the reckoning be terrible: their abode will be Hell,- what a bed of misery! - Al Ra'ad 13:18

They come to me in response to your statements above concerning 'different' Allahs and 'different' Laws. There is but 'one' Allah All-Mighty not two or three or four and He speaks clearly through hearts who listen aright and are guided aright.

Quote
According to the Christian tradition God has a very intimate relationship with His creation and while He may have established certain institutions where they are to act as stewards or ambassadors on behalf of God He is not limited or restricted to such institutions, and for the Christian person God lives in His very heart. Therefore, the apostle says:

"Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts." (Heb 4:7)

Therefore, God seeks a soft and pliable heart that will bend to His will and a good soil in which He can plant His seed. Hence man must ever be attentive to the voice of God, he must be wise and willing to seek out God since God's promise is that those who seek Him will find Him and He must have a soft heart that is able to pour itself before God and respond to His call.

With all of this said the church has never been so presumptuous as to pronounce judgment on the eternal status of any person or group of people but rather as God knows the weak frame of man and has compassion on him so the church also attempts to reflect that same compassion and leaves all such judgment to the mercy of God, seeking His compassion, mercy and forgiveness for herself as well, knowing that in her human dimension she is in no way perfect and remembering also the words of our Lord, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." (Mt 7:1, 2) And so with this alone she tries to gain her salvation.

If the heart is the doorway to God, if it is the soil from hense the Garden blooms what is the need for 'institutions'?

Wa'salaam
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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2006, 11:13:18 AM »

They come to me in response to your statements above concerning 'different' Allahs and 'different' Laws. There is but 'one' Allah All-Mighty not two or three or four and He speaks clearly through hearts who listen aright and are guided aright.

Quote
4:119-120) 
"I will mislead them, and I will create in them false desires....." (says Satan)   
"Satan make them promises and creates in them false hopes...." (vouched by Allah)

Quote
(16:93) 
"If Allah so willed, He could make you all one people. But He leaves straying whom He pleases and He guides whom He pleases ...."

a) Either Allah ad Satan are one
b) The Quran made a mistake, why not make more mistakes if that is the case?

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Христе Боже, Распети и Свети!

"In the history of the human race there have been three principal falls: that of Adam, that of Judas, and that of the pope." Saint Justin Popovic
mumin
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2006, 11:59:32 AM »

a) Either Allah ad Satan are one
b) The Quran made a mistake, why not make more mistakes if that is the case?

Salaam,

There is an old Sufic Saying:

The heart that receives divine guidance in no contradiction will His Message be but in the hands of the ignorant will mischief be done in His Name.

Perhaps it is not in Al-Quraan where is found this mistake but within veiled eyes which cannot see the Truth of its message.

Wa'salaam'alaikum
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2006, 12:06:22 PM »

Wine is not permitted...
Quote
O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper," (5:90).


here pure rivers of wine flow for your benefit...
Quote
(Here is) a Parable of the Garden which the righteous are promised: in it are rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine, a joy to those who drink; and rivers of honey pure and clear. In it there are for them all kinds of fruits; and Grace from their Lord. (Can those in such Bliss) be compared to such as shall dwell for ever in the Fire, and be given, to drink, boiling water, so that it cuts up their bowels (to pieces)?" (47:15).


I am more than willing to accept an explanation for the contradictions...but seeing as how you offer none..I guess I'm done with that Roll Eyes
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Христе Боже, Распети и Свети!

"In the history of the human race there have been three principal falls: that of Adam, that of Judas, and that of the pope." Saint Justin Popovic
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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2006, 12:34:52 PM »

I don't understand what the point of this discussion is, to debate between two faiths or to answer an inquiry about Orthodoxy?

The need for the Church for our salvation has been made clear in the scriptures of the New Testament, and is reinforced by the Apostles (those who want to find the right quotes - go ahead, I'm too lazy right now). There are various thoughts concerning how people outside the church attain salvation, but Orthodoxy never said its impossible for someone who is not visibly Orthodox to be saved. Salvation, after all, is God's domain and decision.

Our business as Orthodox is to be concerned with our own salvation, to take advantage of the fact that we have been given the fullness of truth, and be humble about it. As for others outside the faith, i.e.  Muslims, we welcome them to come and see for themselves. Faith is primarily engendered in the heart, after all.
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mumin
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2006, 12:43:38 PM »

Wine is not permitted...

here pure rivers of wine flow for your benefit...

I am more than willing to accept an explanation for the contradictions...but seeing as how you offer none..I guess I'm done with that Roll Eyes

Salaam,

The growing of understanding cannot be forced by our hand but in patience nurtured to blossom, if it is Allah's Will.

If the veil of ignorance is to be lifted and reveal the meaning of His message, it will be lifted by Allah All-Mighty and not I ('abd Allah). I will wait for the blossoming of the Divine Intellect of the Breath of the Compassionate (nafas al-Rahman) to grow within you, if it is Allah's Will. Then will there be a divine bridge of brotherhood (Al-din) which will allow us to traverse the distances which now separate us.

In this Universal Brotherhood of the Heart (Al-din) will true peace be established within and without, complete and without antagonism.

Wa'salaam,alaikum
« Last Edit: July 22, 2006, 12:46:38 PM by mumin » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2006, 01:23:08 PM »

I don't understand what the point of this discussion is, to debate between two faiths or to answer an inquiry about Orthodoxy?

Salaam,

I am here seeking the wisdom of Al-din within your community.

Quote
The need for the Church for our salvation has been made clear in the scriptures of the New Testament, and is reinforced by the Apostles (those who want to find the right quotes - go ahead, I'm too lazy right now). There are various thoughts concerning how people outside the church attain salvation, but Orthodoxy never said its impossible for someone who is not visibly Orthodox to be saved. Salvation, after all, is God's domain and decision.

I have heard that "outside the Church, there is no salvation". What does this mean in Orthodoxy? What has it meant historically?

Quote
Our business as Orthodox is to be concerned with our own salvation, to take advantage of the fact that we have been given the fullness of truth, and be humble about it. As for others outside the faith, i.e.ÂÂ  Muslims, we welcome them to come and see for themselves. Faith is primarily engendered in the heart, after all.

It appears you are speaking about iman (faith) as the spark of the divine journey within the heart of the mu'min (devout) of Allah All-Mighty. What do you know of the Way of the Heart?

Wa'salaam'alaikum

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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2006, 01:37:58 PM »

forgive for making posts which seemed to be "offensive" or "aggressive". Whatever my views are on other faiths, it is irrelevent because it is His choice, it is for Him to judge and not me. I was merely attempting to show you that Islam is not as a perfectly understandable as you may believe. It is no more clearer to a regular non-believer than christianity or judaism.

Quote
I have heard that "outside the Church, there is no salvation". What does this mean in Orthodoxy? What has it meant historically?

No need to pretend like you dont know. It's a pretty obvious statement, however it has always been and still is (to a certain degree) debatable. It is and always will be God's choice, but it is up to us to live the life we are supposed to live.

God be with us all.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2006, 01:38:15 PM by Sloga » Logged

Христе Боже, Распети и Свети!

"In the history of the human race there have been three principal falls: that of Adam, that of Judas, and that of the pope." Saint Justin Popovic
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2006, 02:16:22 PM »

I have heard that "outside the Church, there is no salvation". What does this mean in Orthodoxy? What has it meant historically?

Well, it means that only in union with the Church, at the head of which is Christ, can we be saved. As Christ says in the Gospel of John, "No one comes to the Father except through their faith in me" (John 14:6).

This means that those who reject Christ cannot come to the Father, and those who are rejecting the Church are rejecting its head, Christ. The Church is not an organization or institution of men, it is a unified organism at the head of which is Christ Himself.

From Matthew we read in Ch 16: "And I say to thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give thee the keys to the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven'

This is something many people overlook, including modern liberal protestant oriented Christians and the 'low church' movement. The Church extends into the noetic realm. Not only does it include its visible members on earth but also those who have left the earth, including the entire canon of saints and the Theotokos, who are capable of interceding on our behalf.

What concerns people who are not baptised, who do not have the "gift of the spirit", and who do not have a life in the grace filled sacraments of Orthodoxy, these people face a more difficult challenge in coming to God. Their lives face a tougher struggle, it is as if they are scaling the walls on the outside trying to find God's kingdom. Those inside the Church have an easier time attaining it than those outside.

It doesn't mean, however, that those who are on the inside of the Church are going to be a part of the kingdom either. We are not protestants who believe that anyone who believes in Jesus is automatically saved. We have to constantly exert our free will. Prayer and sacraments reinforce us, but they won't force us, like some magic pill, to become good Christians. Salvation is work.

The historical implications of our belief is that we do not feel that other religions hold in them the entirety of God's truth, or are united to God as the Church is. We understand that people of other faiths are trying to reach out to God, trying to understand and comprehend Him, trying in many instances to find peace with God, but their beliefs and dogmas miss the mark since they misinterpret or entirely ignore the revelation of Christ in the New Testament. At the same time we believe strongly in free will, so we do not feel it right to interfere with people who are of a different confession nor do we believe it is possible to use force to make someone join the Church.

Quote
It appears you are speaking about iman (faith) as the spark of the divine journey within the heart of the mu'min (devout) of Allah All-Mighty. What do you know of the Way of the Heart?

Well, my personal experience is what it is, I cannot really speak of it in words. To me my faith gives meaning and understanding of the world the way it is (which is not, by far, what I'd always like for it to be!), it gives me the right understanding and worship of the triune God (the term for Orthodoxy in Slavonic is "pravoslavniy" which comes from "pravo" = "correct", and "slavit' = "worship"), gives me respect for the great mystery of the unfathomable, and most importantly, gives me the best means by which to orient my life and abilities, including my relationship with other people.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2006, 02:25:00 PM by Kaminetz » Logged
mumin
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2006, 03:38:35 PM »

forgive for making posts which seemed to be "offensive" or "aggressive". Whatever my views are on other faiths, it is irrelevent because it is His choice, it is for Him to judge and not me. I was merely attempting to show you that Islam is not as a perfectly understandable as you may believe. It is no more clearer to a regular non-believer than christianity or judaism.

Salaam,

Ah the divine bridge of sympathy extends across the turbulent waters. This is a good sign, this is a healthy sign for iman (faith). Divine compassion is the salve for all the wounds of the world. Amin.

Quote
No need to pretend like you dont know. It's a pretty obvious statement, however it has always been and still is (to a certain degree) debatable. It is and always will be God's choice, but it is up to us to live the life we are supposed to live.

Yes it bears a simplicity which only veils it's complexity. No?

In Islam, there is no emphasis placed on an institution but on iman (faith) and the depth that faith has on the Mu'min (devout).

Iman is the spiritual well from which the divine virtues spring. Iman is like the wind moving too and frow unseen. It is the Will of Allah and not the possession on one man to be willed to another but Allah's alone. This is a very strict teaching in Islam and it is difficult to accept the Orthodoxy teaching of the Church but perhaps our trust one between another is not fully grown to the point that it might bear such a heavy burden as this topic. I will be patience.

Wa'salaam'alaikum
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« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2006, 04:16:53 PM »

Salaam Kaminetz,

You have presented a very complex post full of teachings which directly contrast my own (Traditional Islam). It will be difficult for us to navigate our way through this maze of unique cultural and religious doctrines to reach the simplicity inherent in the Universal Message spoken through the Prophets of Allah down through the centuries.

Paradoxically, the insistence of Islam upon Allah as the One and the Absolute has had as its concomitant the acceptance of multiplicity of prophets and revelations, and no sacred scripture is more universalist in its understanding of religion than al-Quraan, whose perspective concerning the universality of revelation may be called "vertical triumphalism."  Grin

In contrast, in Christianity, because of the emphasis on the Triune Godhead, God the One is seen more in terms of the relationality of the three Hypostases, what one might call "Divine Relativity'; the vision of the manifestation of the Divine then became confined to the unique Son and Incarnation, in whom the light of all previous prophets was absorbed. In Christianity the vision is that the Triune Godhead and a unique message of salvation ans savior, hence (no salvation outside the church), whereas in Islam there is the One God (Allah) and many prophets. Here is to be found the major difference between how Muslims have viewed Jews and Christians over the centuries and how Christians have regarded Jews and Muslims as well as followers of other religions.

I will be patient with this topic so as not to antagonize your community but I am here to discuss the contradictions between Christianity, as it is understood, and the wisdom of Allah to send His message to all nations through many Prophets of 'equal' value down through the ages.

Again let us exercise patience.

Wa'salaam'alaikum
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« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2006, 09:26:26 PM »

Hello Mumin,

I can see that you're analyzing Christianity from the perspective of Islam. I am not an expert on Islam, I have read (from Islamic sources) basic 101 introductory concepts to the faith. I have not read the Koran, however. I do intend to educate myself on the religion, as any educated individual should understand the major faiths of the world.

Before going any further I would like to emphasise in any discussion with an Orthodox Christian the importance of viewing Orthodox Christianity for what it is, being sure not to lump it into the general "Christianity" category which is an artificial label. The Orthodox are not, for the most part, Christian relativists in the Protestant sense (those Orthodox who believe in such relativism are heretically doing so). There are significant differences in theology, attitude, and praxis between us and the protestants, and even the Catholics to a respectable degree. If we're talking historical context, our history absolutely must be analyzed separately from that of western Christendom.

As far as the belief in the Trinity, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we Orthodox have many pointers to this truth. Christ's revelation we take very seriously. Christ makes clear what His nature is in the Gospels, especially if you are to give the Gospel of John a thoughtful reading. Jesus clearly says that he is the Son of God the Father, this is often repeated. He also mentions the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, in several instances. As a Church we have the experience of the Holy Spirit.

We also have plenty of examples of Jesus's miracles. No prophet has ever been able to heal, cure, expel demons, and raise the dead the way Jesus has - and in who's name miracles continue to occur every living day. During the liturgy's Eucharist, a miracle which occurs daily throughout the world (especially on Sunday and feast days), bread and wine are converted by the Holy Spirit to the blood and flesh of Jesus Christ. Through this communion we have examples of the healing of soul and body.

The special nature of the Eucharist is clear, not only through people's spiritual and physical healings. We have signs such as the fact that there has never been a case of disease transmission through the Holy Chalice (just as one of many examples, St. John Maximovich once injested communion spat out by a female patient infected with the highly contageous disease of rabies). We have other signs in the form of miracles, such as Holy Water which doesn't spoil. We have, by God's mercy, the Holy Fire in Jerusalem which descends during Orthodox Easter every year.

All of these things are done in the name of Jesus Christ, by action of the Holy Spirit. That is what the priest invokes during the eucharistic prayer, during the blessing of the water, what the patriarch reads in his prayers in the tomb of the Holy Sepulchre. This is what men of great holiness have uttered when they have healed the sick and infirm. It is only when these words are uttered, none other, that these miracles take place.

It is certainly possible to debate these miracles, claiming that they are the result of the paranormal, the result of auto-suggestion, a demonic conspiracy, or Allah's way of being nice to us knowing we will never accept Mohammed as one of his prophets - even though for one who has experienced these miracles, as have I in my life, such thoughts will not hold any water.

But our faith is not founded purely on such visible displays of God's grace. It is founded by the way our heart responds to the words of Christ, and on the example of the saints who have lived with the firm belief in the triune God and in accord to Christ's revelations. Saints to us are the ultimate "proof", what happens when a human being reaches the height of creation's purpose by living in harmony with the Holy Trinity. Many saints have been granted visions of the Holy Trinity (in as much as they could see God, which none of us truly can), and they have been bestowed with gifts from the Holy Spirit (i.e. healing, prophecy, clarivoiance, etc). Most importantly, these saints bought out the highest spirituality amidst many of the people they have touched. All of this was done with the firmest belief in the Holy Trinity, and ONLY in the name of the Trinity - God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.

I hope you understand now why we understand God as triune, and Jesus as not simply a prophet or philosopher, but one of the Trinity. We do not see God the way we want, we do not create His image. He reveals Himself and His nature to us, and He does this so we may come closer to Him. As for those who do not understand this revelation for whatever reasons, He is active in their lives too, as He sustains the entire universe.

What concerns talking "outside of religion", I don't believe that is possible. You gave me an Islamic conception, you are speaking from an Islamic POV essentially. I am speaking to you from an Orthodox point of view because I am Orthodox. This has nothing to do with culture either, there are Orthodox of all cultures just as Arabs aren't the only Muslims on earth. If I grew up in a Bosnian Muslim family I'd be speaking to you right now from your POV, lol.

Everyone comes from a certain point of view. If you were to scrap the Orthodox and Islamic point of view entirely, or mix elements of both together to create a hybrid, that would still be a point of view of its own, a 'religion' if you will - even if it only has one or two followers!
« Last Edit: July 22, 2006, 09:44:00 PM by Kaminetz » Logged
mumin
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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2006, 02:28:24 AM »

Hello Mumin,

I can see that you're analyzing Christianity from the perspective of Islam. I am not an expert on Islam, I have read (from Islamic sources) basic 101 introductory concepts to the faith. I have not read the Koran, however. I do intend to educate myself on the religion, as any educated individual should understand the major faiths of the world.

Salaam Kaminetz,

Islam is simple… all that you need to know is already known. Adam, Noah and Abraham; these were all ‘abd Allah (Servants of God All-Mighty) who through grace sought to please Allah through reverence. In their graced state Allah revealed to them wisdom to know Allah and the World around them. There is no favoritism among men with Allah for He guides whom He wills. It is an act of hubris to presume that Allah only guided arightly one people, one’s own, of all the Children of Adam. Such is not in keeping with a Lord who is All-Just and All-Merciful for Allah is not neglectful of His Creation. Every cultural has, at one time or another, been given guidance aright by Prophets of Allah.

Quote
Before going any further I would like to emphasize in any discussion with an Orthodox Christian the importance of viewing Orthodox Christianity for what it is, being sure not to lump it into the general "Christianity" category which is an artificial label. The Orthodox are not, for the most part, Christian relativists in the Protestant sense (those Orthodox who believe in such relativism are heretically doing so). There are significant differences in theology, attitude, and praxis between us and the protestants, and even the Catholics to a respectable degree. If we're talking historical context, our history absolutely must be analyzed separately from that of western Christendom.

I am appreciative that you desire to make distinctions between yourself and those who also call themselves Christians. It is not my duty to determine who among you are ‘more’ Christian than the other but merely to seek evidence of iman in your community.

Iman is not ‘conviction’, it is not ‘knowledge’, it is a presence of divine guidance… the spark of divine favor manifested in the lives of the devout of Allah.

Quote
As far as the belief in the Trinity, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we Orthodox have many pointers to this truth. Christ's revelation we take very seriously. Christ makes clear what His nature is in the Gospels, especially if you are to give the Gospel of John a thoughtful reading. Jesus clearly says that he is the Son of God the Father, this is often repeated. He also mentions the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, in several instances. As a Church we have the experience of the Holy Spirit.

“Clear” appears to be a relative term here might you say? If it was truly so “clear” it wouldn’t have taken several hundred years to articulate the doctrine nor would it have taken multiple councils and schisms. No, my friend “clear” is not a word that I would use to describe bid’ah (innovation) of the Trinity. I am truly sorry but I can’t accept this term.

Al-Quraan is very clear on this matter.

They do blaspheme who say: "(Allah) is Christ the son of Mary." But said Christ: "O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord." Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.
 
They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them.

Why turn they not to Allah, and seek His forgiveness? For Allah is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful.

Christ the son of Mary was no more than an apostle; many were the apostles that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!

Say: "Will ye worship, besides Allah, something which hath no power either to harm or benefit you? But Allah,- He it is that heareth and knoweth all things."
Al Ma'idah 5:72-76

Truly this is most grievous to do in Islam. It is Shirk. That which cannot be forgiven.

Quote
We also have plenty of examples of Jesus's miracles. No prophet has ever been able to heal, cure, expel demons, and raise the dead the way Jesus has - and in who's name miracles continue to occur every living day. During the liturgy's Eucharist, a miracle which occurs daily throughout the world (especially on Sunday and feast days), bread and wine are converted by the Holy Spirit to the blood and flesh of Jesus Christ. Through this communion we have examples of the healing of soul and body.

The special nature of the Eucharist is clear, not only through people's spiritual and physical healings. We have signs such as the fact that there has never been a case of disease transmission through the Holy Chalice (just as one of many examples, St. John Maximovich once injested communion spat out by a female patient infected with the highly contageous disease of rabies). We have other signs in the form of miracles, such as Holy Water which doesn't spoil. We have, by God's mercy, the Holy Fire in Jerusalem which descends during Orthodox Easter every year.

All of these things are done in the name of Jesus Christ, by action of the Holy Spirit. That is what the priest invokes during the eucharistic prayer, during the blessing of the water, what the patriarch reads in his prayers in the tomb of the Holy Sepulchre. This is what men of great holiness have uttered when they have healed the sick and infirm. It is only when these words are uttered, none other, that these miracles take place.

It is certainly possible to debate these miracles, claiming that they are the result of the paranormal, the result of auto-suggestion, a demonic conspiracy, or Allah's way of being nice to us knowing we will never accept Mohammed as one of his prophets - even though for one who has experienced these miracles, as have I in my life, such thoughts will not hold any water.

But our faith is not founded purely on such visible displays of God's grace. It is founded by the way our heart responds to the words of Christ, and on the example of the saints who have lived with the firm belief in the triune God and in accord to Christ's revelations. Saints to us are the ultimate "proof", what happens when a human being reaches the height of creation's purpose by living in harmony with the Holy Trinity. Many saints have been granted visions of the Holy Trinity (in as much as they could see God, which none of us truly can), and they have been bestowed with gifts from the Holy Spirit (i.e. healing, prophecy, clarivoiance, etc). Most importantly, these saints bought out the highest spirituality amidst many of the people they have touched. All of this was done with the firmest belief in the Holy Trinity, and ONLY in the name of the Trinity - God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.

I hope you understand now why we understand God as triune, and Jesus as not simply a prophet or philosopher, but one of the Trinity. We do not see God the way we want, we do not create His image. He reveals Himself and His nature to us, and He does this so we may come closer to Him. As for those who do not understand this revelation for whatever reasons, He is active in their lives too, as He sustains the entire universe.

Isa (Jesus) is a mighty Prophet of Allah but we see nothing that should elevate a creation of Allah to the status of Allah. Begotten-ness is not a characteristic of the eternal and thus it cannot be a characteristic of Allah.

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What concerns talking "outside of religion", I don't believe that is possible. You gave me an Islamic conception, you are speaking from an Islamic POV essentially. I am speaking to you from an Orthodox point of view because I am Orthodox. This has nothing to do with culture either, there are Orthodox of all cultures just as Arabs aren't the only Muslims on earth. If I grew up in a Bosnian Muslim family I'd be speaking to you right now from your POV, lol.

Everyone comes from a certain point of view. If you were to scrap the Orthodox and Islamic point of view entirely, or mix elements of both together to create a hybrid, that would still be a point of view of its own, a 'religion' if you will - even if it only has one or two followers!

I am not able to follow you?

I hope that the burden of this topic does not weigh heavily upon you and that we might continue to discuss this.

Wa’salaam’alaikum
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« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2006, 11:51:52 AM »

Every cultural has, at one time or another, been given guidance aright by Prophets of Allah.

And all of mankind has gotten some form of revelation from God, but not all cultures have accepted the full revelation - although individuals from those cultures have.

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I am appreciative that you desire to make distinctions between yourself and those who also call themselves Christians. It is not my duty to determine who among you are ‘more’ Christian than the other but merely to seek evidence of iman in your community.

I never asked you to say who is more or less Christian. Only that we not be viewed in the context of the general "Christian" label, theologically and historically.

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Iman is not ‘conviction’, it is not ‘knowledge’, it is a presence of divine guidance… the spark of divine favor manifested in the lives of the devout of Allah.

We also believe in divine guidance from the Holy Spirit, we are not gnostics in that regard that believe in a 'special secret knowledge'. But just as you believe Mohammed received revelations from Archangel Gabriel, we believe we also have had revelations, both under the old convenant (old testament) by the Holy Spirit, and the new through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the latter of which is ever present in our Church.

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“Clear” appears to be a relative term here might you say? If it was truly so “clear” it wouldn’t have taken several hundred years to articulate the doctrine nor would it have taken multiple councils and schisms. No, my friend “clear” is not a word that I would use to describe bid’ah (innovation) of the Trinity. I am truly sorry but I can’t accept this term.

We Orthodox do not believe that a bunch of men with beards sat together at a table and decided to invent the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The idea of the triune God was already known to the apostles when Jesus was still on the earth, the nature of the Trinity took time for the human mind to grasp. Just as humanity could not immediately accept the New Covenant, the Church needed time to grow before it could understand entirely the nature of the Holy Trinity.

We humans are made in the image and likeness of God, but we are not as great as the Lord. Even many lifetimes put together end to end can never lead to a full understanding of the Lord's greatness and power. To understand God with the human mind is like trying to measure the sea with a single cup. We build upon the revelations we have had progressively, and this knowledge is tested through prayer. Theology isn't just theory, it is practice. If the Trinity's doctrine was a distorted version of God's nature, God would not bestow the grace He does on our Church.

You, by contrast, believe that the Archangel Gabriel has bestowed revelations upon Mohammed. We would argue, with all due respect to the Islamic world, that this is not so, that the visions Mohammed reports did not come from the archangel Gabriel. Part of this is because Mohammed's teachings go against the revelations we've had. There are also historiographical reasons to explain, as we believe, why Mohammed became recognized in his area, but let's leave the conversation grounded in theology if we can.

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Al-Quraan is very clear on this matter.

They do blaspheme who say: "(Allah) is Christ the son of Mary." But said Christ: "O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord." Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.

So I guess according to the Quraan which you take as an authority, we are condemned? That contrasts with your earlier statements, does it not?

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Christ the son of Mary was no more than an apostle; many were the apostles that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!

Then how come an apostle says "I am the Way, the Truth"? "No one come to the father except through me"? Any prophet or apostle who would say such things in the Orthodox mindset would be committing great blasphemy, assuming the role of a divine God.

It's obvious, you or I are incorrect in how we interpret what Christ said. There is no middle ground here. Your claim is likely to be that the Gospels we hold (particularly the Gospel of John where the Trinity is described in the clearest) are in some way 'doctored', they do not reflect the sayings and teachings of Jesus.

In essence, the Jesus you know - through Islamic teaching as Isa - and the Jesus I know - from Orthodoxy as Jesus the Christ - are two different entities. One is a prophet of a God named Allah, the other is one of the persons of the Trinity who has become man. If we ask other religions we'll get different replies, one will say he is simply a philosopher, others that he never existed, etc, etc, etc.

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Isa (Jesus) is a mighty Prophet of Allah but we see nothing that should elevate a creation of Allah to the status of Allah. Begotten-ness is not a characteristic of the eternal and thus it cannot be a characteristic of Allah.

I understand this is the Islamic teaching. That is not what we hold, and your attempt to convince me and others that this is not true via Islamic doctrine is simply a waste of your time, in as much as it is a waste of time for me to explain why I cannot accept the Islamic point of view.

I have given you examples of why I am Orthodox. I have given you a brief rundown of why we believe what we do. I understand you are a dedicated follower of Islam and wish to seek where Allah has planted his grace outside of the Islamic world. But these are questions that only an Islamic person can answer, not I nor anyone else on the forum here who is Orthodox. We're happy to share our faith with you of course, but if your mission is to dissuade us from our beliefs, you've come to the wrong place to do so.

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I hope that the burden of this topic does not weigh heavily upon you and that we might continue to discuss this.

As I said, happy to have a discussion and interested in Islam's point of view. But it is pretty obvious that we come from two different understandings of the divine, and there is no "third point of view" unless we are to be moral relativists, which we Orthodox are not.

Greetings to you too, my friend.
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« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2006, 03:44:26 PM »

And all of mankind has gotten some form of revelation from God, but not all cultures have accepted the full revelation - although individuals from those cultures have.

I never asked you to say who is more or less Christian. Only that we not be viewed in the context of the general "Christian" label, theologically and historically.

We also believe in divine guidance from the Holy Spirit, we are not gnostics in that regard that believe in a 'special secret knowledge'. But just as you believe Mohammed received revelations from Archangel Gabriel, we believe we also have had revelations, both under the old convenant (old testament) by the Holy Spirit, and the new through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the latter of which is ever present in our Church.

We Orthodox do not believe that a bunch of men with beards sat together at a table and decided to invent the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The idea of the triune God was already known to the apostles when Jesus was still on the earth, the nature of the Trinity took time for the human mind to grasp. Just as humanity could not immediately accept the New Covenant, the Church needed time to grow before it could understand entirely the nature of the Holy Trinity.

We humans are made in the image and likeness of God, but we are not as great as the Lord. Even many lifetimes put together end to end can never lead to a full understanding of the Lord's greatness and power. To understand God with the human mind is like trying to measure the sea with a single cup. We build upon the revelations we have had progressively, and this knowledge is tested through prayer. Theology isn't just theory, it is practice. If the Trinity's doctrine was a distorted version of God's nature, God would not bestow the grace He does on our Church.

You, by contrast, believe that the Archangel Gabriel has bestowed revelations upon Mohammed. We would argue, with all due respect to the Islamic world, that this is not so, that the visions Mohammed reports did not come from the archangel Gabriel. Part of this is because Mohammed's teachings go against the revelations we've had. There are also historiographical reasons to explain, as we believe, why Mohammed became recognized in his area, but let's leave the conversation grounded in theology if we can.


Well said. Here are my two cents.

A lot of people, who disagree with the Holy Trinity, treat the doctrine as some kind of syncretistic development - or worse, merely some thing invented at an obscure church council. This betrays historical fact in numerous ways. If we take a look at the ante-Nicene fathers, we will note that even then, with early second century apostolic fathers such as Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, we find these Trinitarian formulas. Kaminetz puts it well, that it did indeed take time to understand and comprehend the mystery and revelation of the Holy Trinity. But does this nullify what we can see from the onset of the Church, with the apostles? That they deemed Christ as a worthy recipient and partaker of divine nature and the divine name YHWH? That they worshipped the Father, through Christ, in the communion of the Holy Spirit? Of course it doesnt.

Yes, terminology did change over the centuries to articulate the Trinity - but those who pioneered these new terms hardly decided to veer off and change the complete meaning. We find even in the bare scripture that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. They are all seperate of one another maintaining each a hypostasis or personified attribute. And as we all know, Christianity emerged from a strict Jewish monotheism and since the apostles were Jewish, surely they would not worship three gods but One God.

I would ask you to provide specific examples of a dynamic doctrine of Trinity in the early church (second century up to Nicea), but I wouldn't want to go onto a whole different tangent about Trinitarianism in this thread.  Tongue

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« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2006, 06:07:10 PM »

Islam is simple…

It has to be. It is the religion of simpletons.
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« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2006, 06:49:20 PM »

It has to be. It is the religion of simpletons.



ooooo, not nice!  There have been some very complex and intelligent Muslims in history!

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« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2006, 07:11:01 PM »

ooooo, not nice!  There have been some very complex and intelligent Muslims in history!
There are still very "complex" muslims. It takes a very convoluted train of thought to equate murder-suicide with martyrdom. As for "intelligent", historically I absolutely agree- Salladin and the like, but I cannot find a contemporary muslim intellectual giant...can you?
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« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2006, 08:34:48 PM »

There are still very "complex" muslims. It takes a very convoluted train of thought to equate murder-suicide with martyrdom. As for "intelligent", historically I absolutely agree- Salladin and the like, but I cannot find a contemporary muslim intellectual giant...can you?

Actually I was not referring to warriors but people like Rumi, the Arabic philosophers of the various schools in the middle ages, etc.  As for taking my word complex and applying it to the exact opposite of what I intended it to relate to, fine, you can do that but it wasn't what I was getting at.  I think their religion as a whole has not modernized like Christianity and Judaism have, by spiritualizing references to holy wars and the like, but it may happen yet and that would be good for mankind.

Of course, those Muslims who do support the things you mention should be stopped by force if necessary.

As for modern giants? Who knows, I don't study such things for lack of time.  Maybe someone who does Arab studies can talk about what is going on in the Modern Islamic world as far as philosophy, theology, poetry, and art.

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« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2006, 12:15:52 PM »

And all of mankind has gotten some form of revelation from God, but not all cultures have accepted the full revelation - although individuals from those cultures have.

Salaam Kaminetz,

This belief is shared between us.

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I never asked you to say who is more or less Christian. Only that we not be viewed in the context of the general "Christian" label, theologically and historically.

I understand your point.ÂÂ  

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We also believe in divine guidance from the Holy Spirit, we are not gnostics in that regard that believe in a 'special secret knowledge'. But just as you believe Mohammed received revelations from Archangel Gabriel, we believe we also have had revelations, both under the old convenant (old testament) by the Holy Spirit, and the new through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the latter of which is ever present in our Church.

What is the necessity to distinguish Divine Guidance as a separate personhood from Allah Himself? This appears to be an interpretation of Jewish personifications which even Jews don't suggest where intended to be taken as literal.

This is where Islamic and Jewish criticism of Christian interpretation agrees.

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We Orthodox do not believe that a bunch of men with beards sat together at a table and decided to invent the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The idea of the triune God was already known to the apostles when Jesus was still on the earth, the nature of the Trinity took time for the human mind to grasp. Just as humanity could not immediately accept the New Covenant, the Church needed time to grow before it could understand entirely the nature of the Holy Trinity.

It is not my intent to visit your community and dwell on our differences. I am not an Islamic apologist nor do I find such endeavors edifying for either group. I can see my comments have roused defensiveness in your tone and such was not my intent. My intent was to share why "I" hold concern with your doctrines which you offered to me as rationale for your belief. You do not need to show me evidence as to why you are Christian. I am sure there is a reasonable explanation.

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We humans are made in the image and likeness of God, but we are not as great as the Lord. Even many lifetimes put together end to end can never lead to a full understanding of the Lord's greatness and power. To understand God with the human mind is like trying to measure the sea with a single cup. We build upon the revelations we have had progressively, and this knowledge is tested through prayer. Theology isn't just theory, it is practice. If the Trinity's doctrine was a distorted version of God's nature, God would not bestow the grace He does on our Church.

In your tradition, what does this mean? Image and Likeness? What attributes does man hold in common with God and to what degree?

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You, by contrast, believe that the Archangel Gabriel has bestowed revelations upon Mohammed. We would argue, with all due respect to the Islamic world, that this is not so, that the visions Mohammed reports did not come from the archangel Gabriel. Part of this is because Mohammed's teachings go against the revelations we've had. There are also historiographical reasons to explain, as we believe, why Mohammed became recognized in his area, but let's leave the conversation grounded in theology if we can.

Theologically speaking much of what you might find at odds with Islam would be in common at odds with Judaism. Oneness of God, the necessity of obedience to God's Law, etc. In fact, more so for Judaism because of their rejection the Prophethood of Isa (Jesus) and their slander of Mary's Chastity.

Islam is a defender of the Prophethood of Isa and in his recognition as the Messiah.
 
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So I guess according to the Quraan which you take as an authority, we are condemned? That contrasts with your earlier statements, does it not?

Truly Al-Quraan condemns 'some' Christians for this doctrine of Trinity. Equating creatures with the status of Gods beside Allah is Shirk in Islam. As I understand it the distinction between the persons of the Father and the Son is Begetting and Begotten. It would be difficult for me to rationalize the necessity of this doctrine without the need to establish Allah's Prophet as His equal in philosophic prose. In my opinion this would have been the error of over philosophizing the Jewish Scriptures in the Greek translation where it's more detailed concepts could have distorted the meaning found in the original sources in Aramaic and Hebrew, especially when interpreted without knowledge of the cultural texture as would have been the case with the Pagan Greeks and the Romans as well as the Greek-speaking Jews less familiar of their original source languages and Semitic Culture.

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Then how come an apostle says "I am the Way, the Truth"? "No one come to the father except through me"? Any prophet or apostle who would say such things in the Orthodox mindset would be committing great blasphemy, assuming the role of a divine God.

If I were to offer my own interpretation of this quote I would identify "the Way and the Truth" as the vehicle not the destination or source.

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It's obvious, you or I are incorrect in how we interpret what Christ said. There is no middle ground here. Your claim is likely to be that the Gospels we hold (particularly the Gospel of John where the Trinity is described in the clearest) are in some way 'doctored', they do not reflect the sayings and teachings of Jesus.

Without getting into apologetics I would say that there is room for man to know God better, even in our day. If such is true then there is room for re-interpretation of what we 'think' we know and what is truly known.

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In essence, the Jesus you know - through Islamic teaching as Isa - and the Jesus I know - from Orthodoxy as Jesus the Christ - are two different entities. One is a prophet of a God named Allah, the other is one of the persons of the Trinity who has become man. If we ask other religions we'll get different replies, one will say he is simply a philosopher, others that he never existed, etc, etc, etc.

So would you agree that the man co-workers knows at work is a different entity from the man his family knows at home? You appear to confuse context with subject here.

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I understand this is the Islamic teaching. That is not what we hold, and your attempt to convince me and others that this is not true via Islamic doctrine is simply a waste of your time, in as much as it is a waste of time for me to explain why I cannot accept the Islamic point of view.

I have given you examples of why I am Orthodox. I have given you a brief rundown of why we believe what we do. I understand you are a dedicated follower of Islam and wish to seek where Allah has planted his grace outside of the Islamic world. But these are questions that only an Islamic person can answer, not I nor anyone else on the forum here who is Orthodox. We're happy to share our faith with you of course, but if your mission is to dissuade us from our beliefs, you've come to the wrong place to do so.

As I said, happy to have a discussion and interested in Islam's point of view. But it is pretty obvious that we come from two different understandings of the divine, and there is no "third point of view" unless we are to be moral relativists, which we Orthodox are not.

Greetings to you too, my friend.

Please be clear that I have not attempted to convince you of anything only to share with you why "I" am not want to share the doctrines you offered.

Please note I have not offered Islamic teachings unless I was offered something which appears to contradict them.

Wa'salaa'alaikum
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« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2006, 04:27:12 PM »

Peace from God the Lord, our Savior All-Merciful and All-Powerful,

I would like to make an attempt to respond to your original question through this later quote, and I will be a little while until I reach my point:

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I have heard that "outside the Church, there is no salvation". What does this mean in Orthodoxy? What has it meant historically?

In both Orthodoxy and Islam, there is the desire for God.  Because of our sinful nature (the tendency to sin), this desire drives us to pray, to fast, to prostrate, to give alms, to do all good things in the Name of the Lord.

At this point, the Orthodox understanding of the Incarnation comes in, marking the key difference between Orthodoxy and Islam.  The desire for God, and the lack of unity with Him, draws us to unity with God.  Not in the east asian sense, where an individual gets blended in a sort of 'holy broth' that is a god of spirits, but the unity of individuals assembed in relationship [eklesia] eternally experiencing God All-Powerful and All-Merciful in this mystical bond of salvation.  This is why we say that in our Liturgy (work of the people of God), we accomplish the task of recognizing our desire for God, our sinful nature, repent, give Him thanks, and attain the Kingdom of Heaven, Paradise.  All this is through Christ Jesus our Lord, Who came down to show us the ultimate expression of unity with God - through Him.  He revealed that man is not only created in the image of God the Holy Trinity by way of the multitude of inner and outer relationships (the relationship between the mind, the body, and the soul and the relationship between the human person and the rest of creation), but also by way of the flesh, that if we conquer the passions of the flesh, as Jesus did throughout his life (as the Only sinless One).  If we follow him, then we can experience the 'moment' of salvation we experience in our Liturgy the Eucharist, but also throughout our daily experiences by way of being continually in prayer, as the Holy Apostle Paul taught.  By thus being aware of this desire for unity, and through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, we are saved.

As you pointed out, however, there is no salvation outside the Church.  The Church, the mystal body of the people of God (laity), recognizes the need for economy in our common existence.  As some are called to be prophets, others apostles, others evangelists, and others laborers, each individual has his own task to faithfully accomplish here on earth - this is economy.  In the same way, there is economy in salvation.  True salvation being unity with God, each person experiences that unity differently.  Through the testimony of the Righteous and Holy Pious Ones (the Saints), we can see how this unity is expressed and experienced throughout time and circumstance.  The greatest degree of unity possible, however, is through the Person of Jesus Christ.  Each Saint, testifying to the conquering of the passions of the flesh in same way as Jesus did (even though Saints through this process move from sinners to Saints, unlike Jesus Who is without sin), point back to God, that every man must be united to God and end his estrangement.  Thus, the Church is the mystical assembly of those that have the greatest aid to be united with God.  It is in this way that there is no salvation outside the Church - for without these wealth of guides and companions, how much more difficult it will be to cross the chasm between man and God.

It is in this spirit that we often pray, 'Through the prayers of our holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us.  Amen.'  For it is through our common and mutual participation in the life of God our Creator that we can attain Unity.



To summarize: In Orthodoxy, no salvation outside the Church means it must be extremely difficult for everyone outside the Chuch, because they don't have the wealth of Wisdom and Guides as we do.  In history, this is proved through our prayers  (both corporate [Liturgy] and individual [Prayer Rules]), the lives of the Saints, and their canonical writings, but Holy Scripture taking first precedence (with the interpretation of the Church, the author of those same Writings).

Peacefully,
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« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2006, 11:44:15 PM »

Salaam,

So in response to my original question I hear that Orthodoxy believes in the Salvation of those outside the Church but it is simply 'more' difficult in your opinion. Is this correct?

Wa'salaam'alaikum
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« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2006, 12:12:05 AM »

My understanding is that salvation is possible outside of the church, not however outside of the faith. The faith in the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and the resurrection of the Son (His redemption of fallen man, reuniting us to Himself) as well as those points further outlined in the Nicene Creed.

To expand, I'm not sure if it is acknowledged simply as more difficult, or that we simply do not know, so we cannot say that those outside of the Orthodox Church cannot achieve salvation.

Please forgive me.ÂÂ  Quite oversimplified.
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« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2006, 08:10:53 AM »

So in response to my original question I hear that Orthodoxy believes in the Salvation of those outside the Church but it is simply 'more' difficult in your opinion. Is this correct?
The response to your original question which was:
"What is fate of man who fear Allah and keep His Law?"
is that they are in the hands of the All-merciful God.
Our Lord Jesus Christ has taught us: "Pass no judgement, that ye may not be judged. For as you judge others, so yourselves shall be judged." So we are forbidden to pass judgement on anyone (whether inside or outside the Church). 
What we know for certain is that all men and women have a Saviour Who is both God and Man and Who loves them all (even you my friend) and wants their salvation. No one comes to the Father except through the Son, but we do not know whether, or how the Son is working the salvation of those outside the Church. What we do know is that the Church is the only clear and sure path which God has revealed to humanity. Since no other path is clear and sure, we cannot determine whether they will lead to salvation or not- God alone can know this.
There are, in our Scriptures, stories of righteous men and women who were outside the Church and whose prayers and righteousness won them salvation in that they were led to Baptism and reception into the Ark of Salvation which is the Church. One example of this is the case of the Ethiopian Eunuch in the eighth chapter of the Book of Acts, and another is that of Cornelius the Centurion in the tenth Chapter of the book of Acts. Even though  in both these cases, these righteous men were led to Baptism and the Church, yet even so, what these examples show (especially the case of Cornelius) is that God hears the prayers and accepts the righteousness even of those outside the Church.
 

« Last Edit: July 26, 2006, 08:14:34 AM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2006, 03:57:11 PM »

Salaam,

So in response to my original question I hear that Orthodoxy believes in the Salvation of those outside the Church but it is simply 'more' difficult in your opinion. Is this correct?

Wa'salaam'alaikum

Hi mumin,

I am not an Orthodox Christian although I believe myself to be an orthodox Evangelical Christian.

As an Evangelical Christian, I believe that there is no Salvation outside the Church but I believe the Church to be the physical members of the Spiritual Body of Christ and not 'any' religious institution, be it Roman Catholic or Orthodox. Thus a truer saying would be 'there is no salvation outside of Christ'.

With that said I am not denying the fact that one's membership to this spiritual Body of Christ is necessarily determinable by man. Who but God Himself know the hearts of man but we can know by their fruits. Perhaps this is what you meant when you asked for 'evidence' of divine wisdom among the community? You tell me...

In my humble opinion, if there is any salvific merit in your or any other faith practice it would be by the grace of Jesus Christ. From a Christian you can expect no other answer.

Take Care and God Bless!
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« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2006, 03:03:42 AM »

I must agree with ozgeorge's last post, and add that 'we know for certain' in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, Giver of Life, Who Is the Paraclete and Spirit of Truth.  And thus we come to experience the fullness of the Faith in the Lord, who is the Father, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirt.

The response to your original question which was:
"What is fate of man who fear Allah and keep His Law?"
is that they are in the hands of the All-merciful God.
Our Lord Jesus Christ has taught us: "Pass no judgement, that ye may not be judged. For as you judge others, so yourselves shall be judged." So we are forbidden to pass judgement on anyone (whether inside or outside the Church). 
What we know for certain is that all men and women have a Saviour Who is both God and Man and Who loves them all (even you my friend) and wants their salvation. No one comes to the Father except through the Son, but we do not know whether, or how the Son is working the salvation of those outside the Church. What we do know is that the Church is the only clear and sure path which God has revealed to humanity. Since no other path is clear and sure, we cannot determine whether they will lead to salvation or not- God alone can know this.
There are, in our Scriptures, stories of righteous men and women who were outside the Church and whose prayers and righteousness won them salvation in that they were led to Baptism and reception into the Ark of Salvation which is the Church. One example of this is the case of the Ethiopian Eunuch in the eighth chapter of the Book of Acts, and another is that of Cornelius the Centurion in the tenth Chapter of the book of Acts. Even though  in both these cases, these righteous men were led to Baptism and the Church, yet even so, what these examples show (especially the case of Cornelius) is that God hears the prayers and accepts the righteousness even of those outside the Church.



...and that is why, during any liturgical prayer or Divine Liturgy, we pray for the salvation of ourselves that we may save the world through the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God the Father, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages.

Amen.
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« Reply #29 on: July 27, 2006, 08:55:16 AM »

I am appreciative that you desire to make distinctions between yourself and those who also call themselves Christians. It is not my duty to determine who among you are ‘more’ Christian than the other but merely to seek evidence of iman in your community.

Iman is not ‘conviction’, it is not ‘knowledge’, it is a presence of divine guidance… the spark of divine favor manifested in the lives of the devout of Allah.

Kalispera mumin, welcome to our forum!

i afraid Kaminetz didnt try to make any distinctions or ask you to determine who is more Christian..Did he ask you if Sunni or Shi'a are more Muslim? You just happen to be in a Orthodoxos Community forum.

“Clear” appears to be a relative term here might you say? If it was truly so “clear” it wouldn’t have taken several hundred years to articulate the doctrine nor would it have taken multiple councils and schisms. No, my friend “clear” is not a word that I would use to describe bid’ah (innovation) of the Trinity. I am truly sorry but I can’t accept this term.

Counils and schism did not occur just for this subject. All Christians believe in God's triadic form

Paul warn the leaders of the church in Ephesus: "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves" (Acts 20:29-30).


And since you mentioned councils and schisms are you teeling me that everything in Islam  is "clear" and in perfect harmony? That there are no Islamic religious denominations, each of which have significant theological and legal differences from each other?


Al-Quraan is very clear on this matter.

They do blaspheme who say: "(Allah) is Christ the son of Mary." But said Christ: "O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord." Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.


They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them.

Why turn they not to Allah, and seek His forgiveness? For Allah is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful.

Christ the son of Mary was no more than an apostle; many were the apostles that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!

Say: "Will ye worship, besides Allah, something which hath no power either to harm or benefit you? But Allah,- He it is that heareth and knoweth all things."
Al Ma'idah 5:72-76

Truly this is most grievous to do in Islam. It is Shirk. That which cannot be forgiven.


Daniel 7:13, 14
I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming, And he came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.
And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.


Micah .5:2
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from ancient times.

Old Testament (Isaiah 40:3) says:
A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God."
New Testament (Matthew 3:1-2) says:
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea, and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

As soon as Jesus was baptised he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven, “This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him”. Matthew 3, 13-17


Hated without reason: Psalms 69:4, 35:19, 109:3-5.... John.15:24-25.
    - Ps 69:4 Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. (Ps.35:19, 109:3-5)
    - Jn.15:23-25 He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: "They hated me without reason."


Isa (Jesus) is a mighty Prophet of Allah but we see nothing that should elevate a creation of Allah to the status of Allah. Begotten-ness is not a characteristic of the eternal and thus it cannot be a characteristic of Allah.

In cristianity John the Baptist was our last prophet

Jesus was not a prophet: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him" John 14:6-7

But long ago before Islam was formed, the apostles wrote what Jesus said about the prophets that will appear in times to come:

Matthew 7:15 - 23 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name and do mighty works in your name? And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you, depart from me you evildoers."

Matthew 24:11 - 13 "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
Matthew 24:24 "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

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« Reply #30 on: July 27, 2006, 09:14:53 AM »

This article was posted a while back here.  I've posted the relevant part of the article.

***********************

Thomas: How do you approach the souls that come to you? If they are Moslem how do you work with them and how do you explain the difference between Christianity and Islam. How do you draw them in?

Fr. Daniel: I think that in any missionary work, you must first of all understand the culture of the people and you have to be able to speak within the bounds of that cultural language, because otherwise your word cannot be heard or understood. So, when you talk with a Moslem, you must understand the Moslem mind. Don’t just try to throw in words and phrases that are familiar to Christians, to Orthodox, because they will not be understood by a Moslem. First of all, when you talk to a Moslem, you have to emphasize that God is One.

Thomas: Because they already believe this?

Fr. Daniel: Not only because they already believe this, but because they accuse us [the Christians] of having three gods. That is the problem. So, you have to clear up the misunderstanding that we worship three gods. Don’t try to use our traditional language, like Father, Son and Holy Spirit — because for them, that is three gods! In their minds, the Father is different, the Son is different, the Holy Spirit is different. For myself, I emphasize that God is One, that this One God is also the Living God, and as the Living God He has Mind. Because if God didn’t have a mind, I’m sorry to say, He would be like an idiot. God has to have a mind. Within the Mind of God there is the Word. Thus, the Word of God is contained within God Himself. So, God in His Word is not two, but one. God is full with His own Word; He is pregnant with Word.

And that Word of God is then revealed to man. The thing that is contained within — like being impregnated within oneself — when it is revealed, it is called being born out of that person. That is why the Word of God is called the Son: He is the Child Who is born from within God, but outside time. So, that is why this One God is called the Father, because He has His own Word Who is born out of Him, and is called the Son. So, Father and Son are not two gods. The Father is One God, the Son is that Word of God. The Moslem believes that God created the world through the Word. So what the Moslem believes in as Word, is what the Christians call the Son! In that way, we can explain to them that God does not have a son separate from Himself.

Thomas: So the Moslems see our idea of the Son of God in terms of physical sonship.

Fr. Daniel: Yes, of course. And God does not have a son in that way, that’s true. He is not begetting in the sense of a human being giving birth. He is called the Father because He produces from Himself, His own Word, and that Word is the Son. So because God is the living God, He must have the principle of life within Himself. In man, this principle of life is man’s spirit. God is the same. The principle of life within God is the Spirit of God. It is called the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is not the name of the Angel Gabriel, as the Moslems understand it. The Holy Spirit is the living principle, the principle of life and power within God Himself. This One God is called the Father because He produced from Himself His own Word, which is called the Son, and the Word of God is called the Son because He is born out of the Father eternally, without beginning, without end. This One Living God also has Spirit within Himself. So, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one God. This is the way we explain to Moslems about the Trinity, and we should not try to use our language of “Father and Son, co-equal, co-...” something like that. Even though it is our Christian terminology, they will not understand this. The purpose is not to theologize to them but to explain the reality of the Gospel in a way that is understandable to them. This is point number one: you have to be clear about the Trinity. The second point is this: the basic difference between Islam and Christianity concerns revelation. In Islam, God does not reveal Himself. God only sends down His word. “Revelation” in Islam means “the sending down of the word of God” through the prophets. And that word is then written down and becomes scripture. So in Islam, revelation means the “inscripturization” of the word of God while in Christianity, it is not the same. The Word was sent down to the womb of the Virgin Mary, took flesh and became man. Namely, Jesus Christ.

So, the two religions believe that God communicated Himself to man by means of the Word, but the difference is how that Word manifested in the world. In Christianity it is manifested in the person of Jesus Christ and in Islam it is manifested in the form of a book, the Koran. So, the place of Mohammed in Islam is parallel to the place of the Virgin Mary in Orthodox Christianity. That is why in Islam the Moslems respect Mohammed, not as a god, but as the bearer of revelations. Just as the Orthodox Church respects the Virgin Mary not as a goddess but as the bearer of the Word of God, who gave birth to the Word of God. Incidentally, the two religions both give salutations, to Mohammed for the Moslems and to the Virgin Mary for Christians. The Moslems also have a kind of akathist, like a paraclesis but to Mohammed! It is called the depa abarjanji — in Orthodox terms it would be a “canon” to Mohammed, because he is the bearer of the revelation.
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« Reply #31 on: July 27, 2006, 10:58:02 AM »

Salaam,

There were others who placed partners with Allah All-Mighty. We called them Polytheists. They taught that the Moon and the Sun met and begot three daughters (Al-lat, Al-uzza and Manat). In the Pagan World the number three arises again and again as the break of dualism and the entry into Polytheistic Philosophy. Such is offensive to all true Monotheist. God is One, Eternal, Unbegotten.

As I have said before begotten-ness is not a characteristic of the eternal. Do anyone recognize the dilemma?

Wa'salaam'alaikum
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« Reply #32 on: July 27, 2006, 06:37:54 PM »

begotten-ness is not a characteristic of the eternal.

Why not?......because you say so? What evidence do you have for your axiom that "begotten-ness is not a characteristic of the eternal"?

If God is not One Essence in three Hypostases, then I have a few questions for you about the pre-Christian Scriptures:
1) Why, in the book of Genesis, does God refer to Himself in the plural when speaking of creating Adam?:
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Genesis 1:26.

2) Who is the "Son of Man" and "Son of God" who keeps appearing in the Old Testament, for example, to the three Holy Youths (Hananiah, Mishael and Azaraiah) in the Firey Furnace Daniel 3:25?

3) In the Holy Prophet Daniel's vision of the Ancient of Days, Who is the "Son of Man" who ascends to Him and is given dominion over all? Daniel 7:13.


We have a saying in Australia: "Don't teach your grandma how to suck eggs". Which means, don't try and teach someone with much more knowledge and experience than you. Orthodox Christians have been at theology and exegesis longer than you guys have, so when you come up with simplistic axioms like "begotten-ness is not a characteristic of the eternal", you are going to have to be prepared to provide evidence to back them up. And note that in replying to you, I did not use purely Christian sources, but all my questions given to you above come from the Old Testament, so you need to use sources other than books exclusively in the Quran.

And now mumin, since this thread has gone off topic, why not accept the invitation others have made to you to discuss the issues you now wish to discuss on the thread entitled "Invitation to Mumin" located at: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=9586.msg129549;topicseen#msg129549
?
« Last Edit: July 27, 2006, 10:34:40 PM by ozgeorge » Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
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