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Author Topic: "For" and "against" in the Gospels  (Read 1044 times) Average Rating: 0
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blazhenny
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« on: August 19, 2006, 06:37:09 PM »

Can anyone provide any patristic guidance to untangling the Lord's "for us" and "against us" sayings?

Luke 9:50: "... for he who is not against you is for you," which is echoed in Mark 9:40.

Luke 11: 23: "He who is not with Me is against Me ... ," which is repeated in Matthew 12:30.

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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2006, 02:08:02 AM »

I would say that, in today's world, it applies to Protestants and Catholics who consider themselves friends of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2006, 06:15:24 AM »

Not quite "patristic", eh?
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2006, 01:50:46 PM »

Fwiw, here are some quotes as a start...

Quote
Mark proceeds as follows: "In those days again, the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat;" and so on, down to the words, "John answered Him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name, and he followeth not us; and we forbade him. But Jesus said, Forbid him not; for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me; for he that is not against you is on your side." Luke relates this in similar terms, with this exception, that he does not insert the clause, "for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name that can lightly speak evil of me." Consequently, there is nothing here to raise the question of any discrepancy between these two. We must see, however, whether this sentence must be supposed to stand in opposition to another of the Lord's sayings, namely, the one to this effect, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."

For how was this man not against Him, who was not with Him, and of whom John reported that he did not unite with them in following Him, if he is against Him who is not with Him? Or if the man was against Him, how does He say to the disciples, "Forbid him not; for he that is not against you is on yourÂÂ  side"? Will any one aver that it is of consequence to observe thatÂÂ  here He says to the disciples, "He that is not against you is on your side;" whereas, in the other passage, He spoke of Himself in theÂÂ  terms, "He that is not with me is against me"? That would make it appear, indeed, as if it were possible for one not to be with Him, although he was associated with those disciples of His who are, so to speak, His very members.

Besides, how would the truth of such sayings as these stand then: "He that receiveth you receiveth me;" and "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my  ÃƒÆ’‚ brethren, ye have done it unto me"? Or is it possible for one not to be against Him, although he may be against His disciples? Nay; for what shall we make then of words like these: "He that despiseth you, despiseth me;" and, "Inasmuch as ye did it not unto the least of mine, ye did it not unto me;" and, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me,"--although it was His disciples that Saul was persecuting? But, in good truth, the sense intended to be conveyed is just this, that, so far as a man is not with Him, so far is he against Him; and again, that, so far as a man is not against Him, so far is he with Him.

For example, take this very case of the individual who was working miracles in the name of Christ, and yet was not in the company of Christ's disciples: so far as this man was working miracles in His name, so far was he with them, and so far he was not against them. But, inasmuch as they had prohibited the man from doing a thing in which, so far forth, he was really with them, the Lord said to them, "Forbid him not." For what they ought to have forbidden was what was outside their fellowship, so that they might bring him over to the unity of the Church, and not a thing like this, in which he was at one with them, that is to say, so far as he commended the name of their Master and Lord in the casting out of devils. And this is the principle on which the Catholic Church acts, not condemning common sacraments among heretics; for in these they are with us, and they are not against us. But she condemns and forbids division and separation, or any sentiment adverse to peace and truth. For therein they are against us, just because they are not with us in that, and because, not gathering with us, they are consequently scattering. " - Bl. Augustine, The Harmony of the Gospels, 4, 5

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"Or again, some unbelievers, seeing that the name of Jesus was full of virtue, themselves used it, and performed signs, though they were unworthy of Divine grace; for the Lord wished to extend His name even by the unworthy... Not only will I not forbid him who works miracles in My name, but also whosoever shall give you the smallest thing for My name’s sake, and shall receive you, not on account of human and worldly favour, but from love to Me, shall not lose his reward." - Bl. Theophylact

"By which He shews that no one is to be driven away from that partial goodness which he possesses already, but rather to be stirred up to that which he has not as yet obtained." - Venerable Bede

Quoted in: Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea (Mark 9:38-42)

Quote
"Wherein He shews how far He is from having borrowed any power from the Devil; teaching us how great the danger to think amiss of Him, not to be with Whom, is the same as to be against Him." - Hilary (of Poitiers?)

"But let none think that this is said of heretics and schismatics; though we may apply it besides to such; but it is shewn by the context to refer to the Devil; in that the works of the Saviour cannot be compared with the works of Beelzebub. He seeks to hold men’s souls in captivity, the Lord to set them free; he preaches idols, the Lord the knowledge of the true God; he draws men to sin, the Lord calls them back to virtues. How then can these have agreement together, whose works are so opposite?" - Jerome

Quoted in: Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea (Matt. 12:30)

Quote
"He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." (Matt. 12:30)

Behold also a fourth refutation. For what is my desire? saith He. To bring men to God, to teach virtue, to proclaim the kingdom. What, that of the devil, and the evil spirits? The contrary to these. How then should he that gathers not with me, nor is at all with me, be likely to co-operate with me? And why do I say co-operate? Nay, on the contrary, his desire is rather to scatter abroad my goods. He then who is so far from cooperating that he even scatters abroad, how should he have exhited such unanimity with me, as with me to cast out the devils? Now it is a natural surmise that He said this not of the devil only, but Himself also of Himself, as being for His part against the devil, and scattering abroad his goods. And how, one may say, is he that is not with me against me? By this very fact, of his not gathering. But if this be true, much more he that is against him. For if he that doth not co-operate is an enemy, much more he that wages war.

But all these things He saith, to indicate His enmity against the devil, how great and unspeakable it is. For tell me, if thou must go to war with any one, he that is not willing to fight on thy side, by this very fact is he not against thee? And if elsewhere He saith, "He that is not against you is for you," it is not contrary to this. For here He signified one actually against them, but there He points to one who in part is on their side: "For they cast out devils," it is said "in Thy name." But to me He seems here to be hinting also at the Jews, setting them on the devil's side. For they too were against Him, and were scattering what He gathered. - St. John Chrysostom, Homily 41 on Matthew
« Last Edit: August 20, 2006, 01:54:55 PM by Asteriktos » Logged

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blazhenny
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2006, 07:23:06 PM »

Quote
Fwiw, here are some quotes as a start...


Dear Gadfly, Thanks for the response!
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2006, 10:56:47 PM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=9795.msg132386#msg132386 date=1156068924]
Not quite "patristic", eh?
[/quote]

Well, are Protestants and Catholics against us or for us?
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