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« Reply #45 on: October 17, 2006, 01:35:46 AM »

Yes, and forgive me for coming on too strong and not clarifying...we treat the heterodox sacraments as nothing more than that because we can never really know if they are more than that.  We dare not treat them as more than that, yet neither should we dare to decree what God alone can know: that which he's done in the heart of a person.

No problem, DavidBryan.  I really like what you write here. 
You know, it's weird.  From what I've seen, it seems that in the case of those who are wilfully schismatic or heretical, the Church simply says that none of their sacraments are anything at all.  Some Orthodox, however, also come close to the opinion of Georges Florovsky regarding those who are not wilfully separated from the Church.  I believe that Florovsky thought that, although the schism between Orthodoxy and other bodies was real, God in his grace still acts in these schismatic bodies, anticipating a healing in the rupture! 

James Bob


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« Reply #46 on: October 17, 2006, 04:29:57 PM »

Quoted by: Fr. Chris
 

I don't believe this is all that is needed to be save. Just because we go to church and partake of the mystreies doesn't mean we are instintly transformed into a Christ like figure.

Yes, I agree; that's why God gives us our whole lives to work on theosis.

Quote
My understanding is that one must try to conquer sin and lead a life closely resembling our savior Jesus Christ. Are we not in a spiritual struggle to become like Christ? My question was a simple one. At what point does an orthodox christian know if they are saved or not? Or do we ever know?
One example of saints being saved is their vision of uncreated light. Does one have to see this uncreated light to be saved?

We are always in a spiritual struggle, all our lives. No, it is not at all a simple question you asked--how do you 'simply' ask someone to summarize their entire life? We all go through ups and downs, peaks and valleys; God gives us times like those to help us in our journey to know Him.

What assurance do you want of salvation? Christ has given us Baptism and the entire Church. He has promised us He will return. God gives us saints to point us in the correct way. Will we ever know in this lifetime on Earth of our eternal disposition? We have assurances which we can trust upon, and we have the bloom of hope.

Does a person have to see the uncreated light for salvation? Well, we are told that those who see the Uncreated Light in this lifetime are few and far between. We are also told that the numbers of saints are so numerous that we do not know all their names (hence, All Saint's Day). What do you think this means regarding the necessity to see the Uncreated Light?

Quote
I have bin orthodox since the age of one. That was 36 years ago.

My sincere apologies! I remembered you had 'changed' recently, and due to the questions you were asking I thought you had come from Protestantism--as I had. Many of the questions you are asking were those that I wrestled with, and so perhaps I projected some of my identity onto you.

Again, my sincere apologies for making such a grievous error.
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« Reply #47 on: October 17, 2006, 05:21:01 PM »

With all due respect, this is not a doctrine, but an opinion.  As I have already opined myself, Anastasios's categorization might be a useful way to discern different movements of the Spirit, but at this point I am inclined to see it as dangerous, since it seems to be making distinctions between different kinds of grace.  We do not define different kinds of grace.  We know that the grace of God is really God and not created, but beyond this, we do not know much. 

Well, I must disagree with your contention that the usage of 'Sacramental Grace' vs. 'Charismatic Grace' creates two different kinds of grace. As I understood it,  it points out that there are multiple ways of receiving the grace of God, not that there are multiple kinds of grace and/or of Gods.

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I think that we should be very careful when we move to define things not already defined by the Church

While I share your concern regarding using or developing new terms in the Church, I must point out that 'sacramental grace' and 'charismatic grace' and its rough approximations are terms already in wide use and have been used to discuss this very problem, such as in this article:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/baptism.aspx

Quote
...We may note that several of the great Fathers of the Church (including Sts. Basil, Augustine, and Gregory the Theologian) have implied that the "charismatic," as distinct from the "sacramental," boundaries of the Church may not completely coincide with the canonical ones....

But what I find puzzling is that actually I think we are in agreement here: we know the Orthodox Church provides grace through Her Mysteries. We do not know for sure if other churches convey grace, but we can certainly hope so (after all, this would be my entire family). The Spirit can blow wherever He should choose to do so, and perhaps our petition in the Divine Liturgy where we ask for the stability and unity of all churches may be the cause for this effect.

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« Reply #48 on: October 17, 2006, 06:27:01 PM »

Unfortunately, these far-right Orthodox are denying any Roman Catholic or Protestant is really Christian.  They are saying there is no grace in those Churches.  The same basic mentally sadly seen among far-right Roman Catholics and  most fundamentalist Protestants.
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« Reply #49 on: October 17, 2006, 06:30:22 PM »

While I share your concern regarding using or developing new terms in the Church, I must point out that 'sacramental grace' and 'charismatic grace' and its rough approximations are terms already in wide use and have been used to discuss this very problem, such as in this article:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/baptism.aspx


And before someone says, "...blah blah....Hyperdox website...blah blah", attack the information in the article - not the site.
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« Reply #50 on: October 17, 2006, 06:32:38 PM »

Unfortunately, these far-right Orthodox are denying any Roman Catholic or Protestant is really Christian.  They are saying there is no grace in those Churches.  The same basic mentally sadly seen among far-right Roman Catholics and  most fundamentalist Protestants.

yeah but Steve, people far holier than you--like St Nikodemos the Haghiorite--said the same thing, and this is enshrined in our canon law, namely that Roman Catholics do not have grace. Who are you to argue with the Holy Fathers and saints of the Church? That is not the same thing as saying they are not Christians, but they are not in the Church of Christ, and need to convert to it.
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« Reply #51 on: October 17, 2006, 06:37:19 PM »

Steve, any ecclesiology which says that there is more than one Church cannot be Christian, since it contradicts the Christian Creed which states that there is "One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."
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« Reply #52 on: October 17, 2006, 06:51:26 PM »

Steve, any ecclesiology which says that there is more than one Church cannot be Christian, since it contradicts the Christian Creed which states that there is "One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."

There is One Church--Lord Jesus' Church, comprised of all who recieve Him as God, Lord and Saviour.  No branch has the whole picture.  Some branches  have more than others.  All branches have apostates and unbelievers,even among clergy, including bishops, patriarchs and popes.  Being a nominal member of any Church doesn't mean you are a member of His Church.  Being a participating member of any Church doesn't mean you are a member of His Church.  Being a cleric of any Church doesn't mean you are a member of His Church.
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« Reply #53 on: October 17, 2006, 07:07:24 PM »

There is One Church--Lord Jesus' Church, comprised of all who recieve Him as God, Lord and Saviour.  No branch has the whole picture.  Some branches  have more than others.  All branches have apostates and unbelievers,even among clergy, including bishops, patriarchs and popes.  Being a nominal member of any Church doesn't mean you are a member of His Church.  Being a participating member of any Church doesn't mean you are a member of His Church.  Being a cleric of any Church doesn't mean you are a member of His Church.
So, you seem to hold that:
1) The Church has no visible boundaries, therefore, no one can ever know where the Church is.
2) Sacraments like baptism are not required, all that is required is to "recieve Him as God, Lord and Saviour".
3) The Church is divided into "branches".
4) Being in "a Church" doesn't mean you are in "the Church".
5) The Church does not act as a body and has has no authority to cast anyone out of the Church.
6) Schism from the Church does not constitute falling away from the Body of Christ, it merely sets up a new "branch".

In all of these beliefs, you are contradicting the New Testament and the teachings of the Orthodox Church. The Body of Christ cannot be "cloned". There is One Lord Jesus Christ, and He has only One Body of which He is the One Head. There is only "One Lord, One Faith, One baptism".
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« Reply #54 on: October 17, 2006, 07:34:37 PM »

So, you seem to hold that:
1) The Church has no visible boundaries, therefore, no one can ever know where the Church is.
2) Sacraments like baptism are not required, all that is required is to "recieve Him as God, Lord and Saviour".
3) The Church is divided into "branches".
4) Being in "a Church" doesn't mean you are in "the Church".
5) The Church does not act as a body and has has no authority to cast anyone out of the Church.
6) Schism from the Church does not constitute falling away from the Body of Christ, it merely sets up a new "branch".

So, basically, I can believe whatever I feel like, set up my own "branch church," and make vodka drinking and bar-hopping my new sacraments, and I've still got a shot at being in "the Church?"  We'd better keep a lid on this one, folks... Wink

(Just taking Steve's reasoning to its ultimate conclusion...liberal Protestantism)
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« Reply #55 on: October 17, 2006, 08:12:07 PM »

"From the time of the apostles and thereafter, many and sundry heresies have crashed against the church, but she has remained undivided and unblemished, and will abide so unto the ages, those aberrant in mind and deed being cut off and separated from her."
--St Thedore the Studite, Epistle I.28

"We know that this salvation belongs to one Church, and that no one outside the Catholic Church and Faith can be saved or participate in Christ."
--St John Chrysostom

"All of the Teachers of the Church, all of the Synods, and all of the Divine Scriptures teach us to flee from heretics and to separate ourselves from communion with them."
--St Mark of Ephesus
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« Reply #56 on: October 17, 2006, 08:34:49 PM »

"We know that this salvation belongs to one Church, and that no one outside the Catholic Church and Faith can be saved or participate in Christ."
--St John Chrysostom
I know what your reply to this is but I just felt like being cheeky. LOL Smiley
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« Reply #57 on: October 17, 2006, 09:33:08 PM »


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Again, my sincere apologies for making such a grievous error.

There is no need for an apology. I thank you very much for your  time and effort in responding. Yes. We definately have the saints that god has given us along with clergy like yourself to lead the way. Forgive me if my questions sounded child like.
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« Reply #58 on: October 18, 2006, 08:48:19 PM »

So, you seem to hold that:
1) The Church has no visible boundaries, therefore, no one can ever know where the Church is.
2) Sacraments like baptism are not required, all that is required is to "recieve Him as God, Lord and Saviour".
3) The Church is divided into "branches".
4) Being in "a Church" doesn't mean you are in "the Church".
5) The Church does not act as a body and has has no authority to cast anyone out of the Church.
6) Schism from the Church does not constitute falling away from the Body of Christ, it merely sets up a new "branch".

In all of these beliefs, you are contradicting the New Testament and the teachings of the Orthodox Church. The Body of Christ cannot be "cloned". There is One Lord Jesus Christ, and He has only One Body of which He is the One Head. There is only "One Lord, One Faith, One baptism".

Actually I never said any of the above.

The boundary: Those who recieve Lord Jesus Christ as God, Lord and Saviour.
Not those who claim to, but those who do.  (By the way Liberal Protestants, Revisionist Roman catholics and Revisionist Orthodox don't recieve Him as God, Lord or Saviour.  They very openly deny  Him to be God, Lord and Saviour.).

Baptism  is required for those who come to know Him.  Not required of young children (they are sinless, having the state of original sin but not the guilt; all young children value love and go to Love Himself at death).  There is also the Baptism of desire which any sincere seeker of truth has.  Billions of people have lived on this planet in the past 2000 years who never heard of Lord Jesus or never had the real Jesus presented to them.  God does not hold anyone responsible for situations they have no control over.  We are only repsponsible for what we freely choose to do.

Yes the Church has always been divided into branches.  In 400 you had the  West Syrian, Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Armenian, Ethiopian, Georgian, Assyrian (East Syrian), Spanish, Gaulish, Celtic, Indian , etc. branches.


No, being a nominal member, or an apostate member  or an unbelieving member of any Church does not make you a member of the Church.  Let's remember something --there have been Judas  Iscariots since the first one;  95% of heresies were started by bishops and priests.

The Church did act as a body at one time (pre-431) and of course could throw
apostates (those who deny Lord Jesus is God, Lord and Saviour) or heretics (those who  deliberately denied a doctrine of the faith) ,or those who embraced evil and refused to repent (as in promoting abortion or hatred of some group , or persecution or injustice) out of the Church

Schism is difficult.  Sometimes there is an honest disagreement( as in the Old Believers in Russia--a body I recognize as legitimately Orthodox).  If it's a case of some egomaniac deciding to go his own way, that's different.  Schisms have to behandled on a case by base basis.

Yes there is One Lord Jesus Christ; there is One faith (the Nicene Creed--with or without the filioque) and one baptism (by water "In the Name of the Father and  of the Son and  of the Holy Spirit").

Steve
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« Reply #59 on: October 18, 2006, 08:56:01 PM »

"From the time of the apostles and thereafter, many and sundry heresies have crashed against the church, but she has remained undivided and unblemished, and will abide so unto the ages, those aberrant in mind and deed being cut off and separated from her."
--St Thedore the Studite, Epistle I.28

"We know that this salvation belongs to one Church, and that no one outside the Catholic Church and Faith can be saved or participate in Christ."
--St John Chrysostom

"All of the Teachers of the Church, all of the Synods, and all of the Divine Scriptures teach us to flee from heretics and to separate ourselves from communion with them."
--St Mark of Ephesus

A heretic is someone who has known and held a doctrine, then denied it.  Someone who has never known or held a doctrine and denies it , is not a heretic; he or she may be ignorant but that's not heresy.  Many of you are way too enamoured of  indiscriminantly throwing that term around.
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« Reply #60 on: October 18, 2006, 09:05:25 PM »

A heretic is someone who has known and held a doctrine, then denied it.  Someone who has never known or held a doctrine and denies it , is not a heretic; he or she may be ignorant but that's not heresy.  Many of you are way too enamoured of  indiscriminantly throwing that term around.

Sorry Steve, that's not the commonly held definition of the word. In fact, to prove my assertion, look at the canons of the Orthodox Church on the reception of heretics--it's talking about people who were not Orthodox but were baptized in other heretical sects (by your definition, not "born heretics.") They are still called heretics by the Fathers of the Church. I agree that there are degrees of heresy (holding a wrong opinion ignorantly, holding a wrong opionion as a result of being born in a false Church, or holding a wrong opinion as a result of leaving the True Church) and that God can deal accordingly, but no Steve, people who hold the wrong ideas about God and the faith are heretics. We're not enamored with throwing the term around; we just follow our teachers in the faith, such as St Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain and many other Fathers. Are you holier than these God-bearing Fathers Steve? Do you have a more direct contact with the Lord, a more discerning mind that these Fathers? For every time you speak, you offer your opinion, even when confronted with the patristic evidence.

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« Reply #61 on: October 19, 2006, 07:10:03 AM »

Steve, the Church is the Icon of the Holy Trinity. This is the meaning of Christ's prayer for the Church in John 17:20-21: "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. " The Oneness of the Church, therefore, bears witness to the Oneness of the Holy Trinity. This is the meaning of the Church being "the Icon of the Holy Trinity". If we say that the Church is "divided into branches" along the schisms which do not Commune with one another, then the Church has ceased to be the Icon of the Holy Trinity, and is therefore no longer the Church. In other words, according to the "Branch Theory", the Church once existed, but currently does not exist until some future date when we will be One and the Church will exist again.

The boundary: Those who recieve Lord Jesus Christ as God, Lord and Saviour.
This can still include the unbaptised then?

Baptism  is required for those who come to know Him.
So infant Baptism is meaningless since infants have not "come to know Him"? Sounds a bit Anabaptist to me.

Yes the Church has always been divided into branches.  In 400 you had the  West Syrian, Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Armenian, Ethiopian, Georgian, Assyrian (East Syrian), Spanish, Gaulish, Celtic, Indian , etc. branches.
How were they "divided into branches"? Are you saying that a different language or people or different geographical position makes a local Church a "branch" of the Church? Kind of like different suburban branches of KMart? If that is how you define the "Branches of the Church", how can you still say that Churches which have schismed are still "branches" of the same Church? The why do they refuse Communion to one another? If you can't use your KMart Card at a particular branch of KMart, how can it be a true branch of KMart?

No, being a nominal member, or an apostate member  or an unbelieving member of any Church does not make you a member of the Church.  Let's remember something --there have been Judas  Iscariots since the first one;  95% of heresies were started by bishops and priests.
You've misunderstood what I said. What I am saying is that according to yourself, no one can ever know who is or isn't a member of the Church.

The Church did act as a body at one time (pre-431)
So, the Oecumenical Councils after 431 were in fact not Oecumnenical Councils?

Yes there is One Lord Jesus Christ; there is One faith (the Nicene Creed--with or without the filioque) and one baptism (by water "In the Name of the Father and  of the Son and  of the Holy Spirit").
Well, we are in a pickle then, are we not? because so many of the "branches" of the Church are currently in schism and are not in Communion with one another. The "Branch Theory" unavoidably leads to the conclusion that there is not One Church, but many, and that Christ, therefore, has more than one Body. And what's more, no Church can possibly be "katholikos" (catholic) since no Church contains the fullness of Truth and the fullness of Grace in itself, but only the "branches" together do so.


Dear Mods. I think this thread now needs to be split since we are way off the topic of Theosis.
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« Reply #62 on: October 19, 2006, 07:09:56 PM »

Sorry Steve, that's not the commonly held definition of the word. In fact, to prove my assertion, look at the canons of the Orthodox Church on the reception of heretics--it's talking about people who were not Orthodox but were baptized in other heretical sects (by your definition, not "born heretics.") They are still called heretics by the Fathers of the Church. I agree that there are degrees of heresy (holding a wrong opinion ignorantly, holding a wrong opionion as a result of being born in a false Church, or holding a wrong opinion as a result of leaving the True Church) and that God can deal accordingly, but no Steve, people who hold the wrong ideas about God and the faith are heretics. We're not enamored with throwing the term around; we just follow our teachers in the faith, such as St Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain and many other Fathers. Are you holier than these God-bearing Fathers Steve? Do you have a more direct contact with the Lord, a more discerning mind that these Fathers? For every time you speak, you offer your opinion, even when confronted with the patristic evidence.

Anastasios

Anastasios,

Lord Jesus Christ is the Only authority.  You never quote Him; that frankly bothers me a lot.  Don't focus on anyone more than Him or you will go off.  You emphasize the Fathers more than Lord Jesus or the Apostolic Writers .You also keep referring to obscure people I've never heard of.
No Father is infallible; no one, no matter how saintly they may have been in life, is infallible.  It takes a broad reading of the Fathers--and I mean all the major ones, not just the Greek but also Syrian, Epyptian, Roman, Armenian, Ethiopian, etc.  Don't  limit yourself to the perpsective of one branch; that will distort your understanding.
You start with Lord Jesus, get to know Him; then and only then will the rest fall into place.
Steve
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« Reply #63 on: October 19, 2006, 07:30:47 PM »

Steve,

I am at peace buddy. My relationship with the Lord is going well--I'm surprised you think you can ascertain what it is based on internet postings. How can you be Orthodox and not know who these holy God bearing Fathers are that I mentioned? (And the Apostolic Writers are Fathers too!).  Steve, you place yourself higher than the Fathers by judging that you know the mind of Christ better than they. They proved their position. You haven't proven yours. The Lord Jesus is not the only authority--he is the source of authority but he gave authority to the Church, which is the body of Christ. Do you know what the Church is? I suggest you read the book "The Mind of the Orthodox Church" by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos:
http://www.pelagia.org/htm/b12.en.the_mind_of_the_orthodox_church.00.htm

I went to an Orthodox seminary and I have read a broad spectrum of writers.  All of the Orthodox writers agree that the Church is the Body of Christ, Christ can't be divided, and so heretics don't have grace--whether they be Latin (like St Cyprian) or Greek or whatever.  If you want me to quote the Lord, then let us quote where he says that not everyone who calls Lord, Lord will be saved, or in Revelation where he says that the lukewarm will be spit out? Or where St Paul says that in the end times many false teachers will arise?

Steve, the Church is a living organism passed down through the generations.  That you think you can decide what is Truth and what is not against the Fathers of the Church you claim to be a member of indicates you think you can skip a step in the chain of faith that brought this faith to you. This is Protestantism.

I can't believe you have never heard of the FAMOUS and VERY INFLUENTIAL Fathers I have mentioned, such as St Nikodemos and St Theodore the Studite.  Even St John Chrystostom whom I am sure you recognize had a quote above that I mentioned.  At any rate Steve, you don't use Orthodox sources or Orthodox arguments to back up your claims; instead you appeal to your own judgment, and you have frankly not given me any reason to trust it. I'll trust the holy monks, bishops, priests, and laymen that I know in this life now who teach the Orthodox faith fully without reservation.

Nothing needs to fall in place, Steve--you really should not make assumptions about others' spiritual lives.

Anastasios
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« Reply #64 on: October 21, 2006, 01:44:01 AM »

Father Chris,

We recognize a distinction between sacramental grace and charismatic grace. We believe that God bestows his grace in a different (less full) way on non Orthodox in a charismatic way and gently tries to lead him where he wills (which is ultimately Orthodoxy).  Life is a journey and God knows that people are in different stations of life--follow the interior voice and call out to him for his guidance and if you do this with a true heart that will be taken into consideration.  But sacramentally we cannot state there is grace where it has not been revealed to us.

I reproduce Anastasio's assertions here for the sake of convenience when referring to them.

I read the article you suggested.  It proposes some interesting ideas.   

The article refers to charismatic grace and sacramental grace by placing them in quotation marks.  You have  done the same thing yourself when you refer to these concepts in previous posts.  Putting them in quotations lets the reader know that the author is fully aware that these are ideas or concepts and that they have only a relative value as an idea put forward, and acknowledges that they are but a proposed understanding of what might be happening with regard to how grace enters the lives of people.  It is quite another matter to emphatically state, as Anastasios does here, that "we recognize a distinction between sacramental grace and charismatic grace."    First of all, the concepts are not presented within quotations to show their relative value.  Secondly, they are presented by Anastasios as being doctrinal fact for the Orthodox: "we recognize a distinction", he says.  My point it that not all Orthodox subscribe to this distinction.   Apparently, even those who do subscribe to this idea recognize the dangers in labelling different types of grace and how they function, and they show their reluctance to do this by placing the words "charismatic" and "sacramental" into quotations. 

James
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« Reply #65 on: October 21, 2006, 06:43:03 AM »

Father Chris,

I reproduce Anastasio's assertions here for the sake of convenience when referring to them.

I read the article you suggested.  It proposes some interesting ideas.   

The article refers to charismatic grace and sacramental grace by placing them in quotation marks.  You have  done the same thing yourself when you refer to these concepts in previous posts.  Putting them in quotations lets the reader know that the author is fully aware that these are ideas or concepts and that they have only a relative value as an idea put forward, and acknowledges that they are but a proposed understanding of what might be happening with regard to how grace enters the lives of people.  It is quite another matter to emphatically state, as Anastasios does here, that "we recognize a distinction between sacramental grace and charismatic grace."    First of all, the concepts are not presented within quotations to show their relative value.  Secondly, they are presented by Anastasios as being doctrinal fact for the Orthodox: "we recognize a distinction", he says.  My point it that not all Orthodox subscribe to this distinction.   Apparently, even those who do subscribe to this idea recognize the dangers in labelling different types of grace and how they function, and they show their reluctance to do this by placing the words "charismatic" and "sacramental" into quotations. 

James
James,
Whatever you choose to call it, I would have to say that it is a matter of Orthodox doctrine that Grace is given by God outside of the Sacraments of the Church. And while the Sacraments (Mysteries) of the Church assure us that God's Grace has been given, we cannot (for the most part) be sure of where and whether God has given His Uncreated Energies outside of the Sacraments of the Church. Therefore, there is a difference between Grace administered through the Sacraments, and Grace given by God outside of the Sacraments- one has a visible sign, and the other has not (in most cases). There are, of course, cases where the Grace given outside of the Sacraments do, in fact, have visible signs, like the great noise, toungues of fire and glossolalia which accompanied the Pentecost event and the Uncreated Light eminating from holy people. But for the most part, Grace outside the Sacraments does not have accompanying, visible signs that it has been conveyed.

George
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« Reply #66 on: October 21, 2006, 09:31:10 PM »

Steve,

I am at peace buddy. My relationship with the Lord is going well--I'm surprised you think you can ascertain what it is based on internet postings. How can you be Orthodox and not know who these holy God bearing Fathers are that I mentioned? (And the Apostolic Writers are Fathers too!).  Steve, you place yourself higher than the Fathers by judging that you know the mind of Christ better than they. They proved their position. You haven't proven yours. The Lord Jesus is not the only authority--he is the source of authority but he gave authority to the Church, which is the body of Christ. Do you know what the Church is? I suggest you read the book "The Mind of the Orthodox Church" by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos:
http://www.pelagia.org/htm/b12.en.the_mind_of_the_orthodox_church.00.htm

I went to an Orthodox seminary and I have read a broad spectrum of writers.  All of the Orthodox writers agree that the Church is the Body of Christ, Christ can't be divided, and so heretics don't have grace--whether they be Latin (like St Cyprian) or Greek or whatever.  If you want me to quote the Lord, then let us quote where he says that not everyone who calls Lord, Lord will be saved, or in Revelation where he says that the lukewarm will be spit out? Or where St Paul says that in the end times many false teachers will arise?

Steve, the Church is a living organism passed down through the generations.  That you think you can decide what is Truth and what is not against the Fathers of the Church you claim to be a member of indicates you think you can skip a step in the chain of faith that brought this faith to you. This is Protestantism.

I can't believe you have never heard of the FAMOUS and VERY INFLUENTIAL Fathers I have mentioned, such as St Nikodemos and St Theodore the Studite.  Even St John Chrystostom whom I am sure you recognize had a quote above that I mentioned.  At any rate Steve, you don't use Orthodox sources or Orthodox arguments to back up your claims; instead you appeal to your own judgment, and you have frankly not given me any reason to trust it. I'll trust the holy monks, bishops, priests, and laymen that I know in this life now who teach the Orthodox faith fully without reservation.

Nothing needs to fall in place, Steve--you really should not make assumptions about others' spiritual lives.

Anastasios

Anastasios,

To come to know Lord Jesus is to understand that God's love is beyond anything we can understand.  He loves us enough to become one of us and let us reject, condemn, torture and murder Him to save us from our evil -- our hatred of Love Himself and of each other, to share His Divine Life, Love and Joy with us forever, if we choose.    He wants to save us.  It isn't faith that saves; it isn't any Church that saves us. It is Lord Jesus Who saves us. Since the Church we belong is usually an accident of ethnicity and birth, our Church is less important than our relationship with Him. 

I'm only going by what you are showing me.

 I've heard of St. Theodore the Studite butI'ver never heard of Nikodemas of the Holy Mountain.  Was he a monk on Mount Athos ?   Anyone who teaches that believing Christians in other Churches don't have Lord Jesus is teaching you a demonic teaching right out of the mouth of hell.  He is teaching you to worship your Church rather than Lord Jesus.  He is teaching you spiritual pride.

I didn't say the Body of believers has no authority but that authority is dependent on recieving Lord Jesus in heart as God, Lord and Saviour.  Being a bishop, priest , monk doesn't necessarily mean you are  a member of His Church.   Christ is not divided; anyone who recieves Him is a member of His Church.  They may be in ignorance or error (who isn't ?) because of what they were taught but it  is love, not knowledge that is the point.

You want to believe the Greek Church is Christ's Church which it is but it's not all of His Church.  That would lead to the bizarre conclusion that Lord Jesus prefers Eastern Europeans (90 % + of the Greek Church). That makes no sense.  This mentality feeds the nationalism that is the main and most destructive heresy among Greek Rite Orthodox.

You focus way too much on the Church rather than on Lord Jesus.  This is confusing the means witht the end.  The Church exists to bring us to Lord Jesus and to aid our growth in Him, "being conformed to His image by the Holy Spirit" as St. Paul said.

The Church isn't just about Lord Jesus , it's to Lord Jesus.  Anyone who is not focused on Lord Jesus Christ is not yet a Christian, though they may be seeking Him.

By being an Old Calendarist, does that mean that you don't regard Orthodox who follow the necessary Gregorian correction of the Julian Calendar as Orthodox ?  Am I right in assuming you first tried the main body of the Greek Orthodox, found it somewhat secularized and decided the Old Calendarists were purer ?  Which is fine if that's bringing you closer to Lord Jesus; not fine if it's turning you into a loveless Churcholater.

In all Churches the same phenomenon is happening: they are all splitting along 3 lines:
1) to the world (the left)
2) to Lord Jesus (the center)
3) to some aspect of the Church (the right)

I and 3 are apostacy; only 2 is acceptable.

This is because we are in the Great Apostacy; we've been in  it for some time.

No one is going to tell me Mother Theresa of Calcutta was not full of the grace of Lord Jesus.  No one on the world stage in recent history has so beautifluly conveyed the love and reality of Lord Jesus; she imaged Him to us to a greater degree than anyone else. If you can't see Lord Jesus in her, then you don't know Him and have missed the point.  That is a great tragedy.
Steve
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« Reply #67 on: October 22, 2006, 01:18:06 AM »

To come to know Lord Jesus is to understand that God's love is beyond anything we can understand.  He loves us enough to become one of us and let us reject, condemn, torture and murder Him to save us from our evil -- our hatred of Love Himself and of each other, to share His Divine Life, Love and Joy with us forever, if we choose.    He wants to save us.  It isn't faith that saves; it isn't any Church that saves us. It is Lord Jesus Who saves us. Since the Church we belong is usually an accident of ethnicity and birth, our Church is less important than our relationship with Him. 

I'm only going by what you are showing me.

 I've heard of St. Theodore the Studite butI'ver never heard of Nikodemas of the Holy Mountain.  Was he a monk on Mount Athos ?   Anyone who teaches that believing Christians in other Churches don't have Lord Jesus is teaching you a demonic teaching right out of the mouth of hell.  He is teaching you to worship your Church rather than Lord Jesus.  He is teaching you spiritual pride.

I didn't say the Body of believers has no authority but that authority is dependent on recieving Lord Jesus in heart as God, Lord and Saviour.  Being a bishop, priest , monk doesn't necessarily mean you are  a member of His Church.   Christ is not divided; anyone who recieves Him is a member of His Church.  They may be in ignorance or error (who isn't ?) because of what they were taught but it  is love, not knowledge that is the point.

You want to believe the Greek Church is Christ's Church which it is but it's not all of His Church.  That would lead to the bizarre conclusion that Lord Jesus prefers Eastern Europeans (90 % + of the Greek Church). That makes no sense.  This mentality feeds the nationalism that is the main and most destructive heresy among Greek Rite Orthodox.

You focus way too much on the Church rather than on Lord Jesus.  This is confusing the means witht the end.  The Church exists to bring us to Lord Jesus and to aid our growth in Him, "being conformed to His image by the Holy Spirit" as St. Paul said.

The Church isn't just about Lord Jesus , it's to Lord Jesus.  Anyone who is not focused on Lord Jesus Christ is not yet a Christian, though they may be seeking Him.

By being an Old Calendarist, does that mean that you don't regard Orthodox who follow the necessary Gregorian correction of the Julian Calendar as Orthodox ?  Am I right in assuming you first tried the main body of the Greek Orthodox, found it somewhat secularized and decided the Old Calendarists were purer ?  Which is fine if that's bringing you closer to Lord Jesus; not fine if it's turning you into a loveless Churcholater.

In all Churches the same phenomenon is happening: they are all splitting along 3 lines:
1) to the world (the left)
2) to Lord Jesus (the center)
3) to some aspect of the Church (the right)

I and 3 are apostacy; only 2 is acceptable.

This is because we are in the Great Apostacy; we've been in  it for some time.

No one is going to tell me Mother Theresa of Calcutta was not full of the grace of Lord Jesus.  No one on the world stage in recent history has so beautifluly conveyed the love and reality of Lord Jesus; she imaged Him to us to a greater degree than anyone else. If you can't see Lord Jesus in her, then you don't know Him and have missed the point.  That is a great tragedy.
Steve

You're definitely either an evangelical troll or someone who was not catechized responsibly.   Did you even consider one smidgen of what Anastasios wrote in his post before coming out with this ill-conceived reply? Since you have absolutely no knowledge or apprectiation of Orthodox ecclesiology, please be good enough to leave Holy Mother Church alone, and don't write about Her anymore.   I can't speak for everyone, but I for one don't appreciate you dragging Her through the mud. 
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« Reply #68 on: October 22, 2006, 01:32:15 AM »

James,
Whatever you choose to call it, I would have to say that it is a matter of Orthodox doctrine that Grace is given by God outside of the Sacraments of the Church. And while the Sacraments (Mysteries) of the Church assure us that God's Grace has been given, we cannot (for the most part) be sure of where and whether God has given His Uncreated Energies outside of the Sacraments of the Church. Therefore, there is a difference between Grace administered through the Sacraments, and Grace given by God outside of the Sacraments- one has a visible sign, and the other has not (in most cases). There are, of course, cases where the Grace given outside of the Sacraments do, in fact, have visible signs, like the great noise, toungues of fire and glossolalia which accompanied the Pentecost event and the Uncreated Light eminating from holy people. But for the most part, Grace outside the Sacraments does not have accompanying, visible signs that it has been conveyed.

George

George,

  It's Orthodox doctrine that God asts outside the sacraments?  Really?  I guess that depends on what you mean by sacraments.  Personally, I don't subscribe to the rather Latin "seven sacraments" thing, and I see lots of ways that God acts in little sacramental ways, ie through what some call "sacramentals"....indeed, the whole way in which God interacts with us might be termed "sacramental".....and I'd rather not get into the whole "visible signs" business.....But I guess your argument does have merit, and it adds another way of thinking about this issue.  On the other hand, I don't think it's right of you to dismiss what I say out of hand.  I think clarity when discussing these issues is important.       
  By my way of thinking, It's not alright to just say "whatever, you know what he means" when things like this come up.    Slight differences in how things are worded can lead to vastly different perceptions. 

JB
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« Reply #69 on: October 23, 2006, 04:11:07 AM »

THEOSIS* - DEIFICATION AS THE PURPOSE OF MAN'S LIFE
By Archimandrite George
Abbott of the Holy Monastery of St. Gregorios on Mount Athos

http://www.greekorthodoxchurch.org/theosis_purpose.html

Inside the Church in which we unite with God, we live this new reality which Christ brought to the world: the new creation. This is the life of the Church, of Christ, which becomes ours as a gift from the Holy Spirit.

Everything in the Church leads to deification (gr. theosis). The Holy Liturgy, the Mysteries, divine Worship, the Gospel sermon, the fasting; they all lead to this one thing. The Church is the sole place of deification.

The Church is not a social, cultural, or historical institution, and it does not resemble any other institution in the world. It is not like the different establishments of the world. Perhaps the world has fine establishments, fine organisations, fine institutions and other fine things. But our Orthodox Church is the inimitable, the sole place for the communication of God with man; of man's deification. Only within the Church can man become a god, and nowhere else. Neither in universities, nor in social service foundations, nor in any of the fine and good things that the world has. All these, however good they may be, they are not able to offer what the Church offers.
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« Reply #70 on: October 23, 2006, 01:06:58 PM »

Bless you Theognosis. What a wonderful website.
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« Reply #71 on: October 24, 2006, 07:29:51 PM »

You're definitely either an evangelical troll or someone who was not catechized responsibly.   Did you even consider one smidgen of what Anastasios wrote in his post before coming out with this ill-conceived reply? Since you have absolutely no knowledge or apprectiation of Orthodox ecclesiology, please be good enough to leave Holy Mother Church alone, and don't write about Her anymore.   I can't speak for everyone, but I for one don't appreciate you dragging Her through the mud. 

You are a perfect example of the psuedo-Orthodox  I'm talking about.
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« Reply #72 on: October 24, 2006, 08:00:11 PM »

You cannot achieve Theosis by drinking chemicals that are not manufactured for human consumption. When I was little... I drank poison and had to go to the hospital and have my stomach pumped. Theosis is like a flower... the poison must not be applied too harshly. Amen, Amen.
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« Reply #73 on: October 24, 2006, 08:21:29 PM »

You cannot achieve Theosis by drinking chemicals that are not manufactured for human consumption. When I was little... I drank poison and had to go to the hospital and have my stomach pumped. Theosis is like a flower... the poison must not be applied too harshly. Amen, Amen.

Um, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Huh
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« Reply #74 on: October 24, 2006, 08:53:06 PM »

You cannot achieve Theosis by drinking chemicals that are not manufactured for human consumption. When I was little... I drank poison and had to go to the hospital and have my stomach pumped. Theosis is like a flower... the poison must not be applied too harshly. Amen, Amen.

Um, what in the Sam Hill are you talking about?
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« Reply #75 on: October 24, 2006, 09:08:07 PM »

Just as drinking too much water can kill you; too close and focused contact with God can also be fatal to the human body. That is why we must physically die before true theosis can be achieved. Like too much pesticide on a plant, too close and focused contact with God can kill our human cells.

It is as the saying goes, my friend: sometimes a cat is better boiled than fried.
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« Reply #76 on: October 24, 2006, 09:16:58 PM »

Well . . . .
first of all, I'd stay off the analogies, they're not helping
Second, I would disagree as I'd argue at least the Theotokos if not St. John the Forerunner among other saints had achieved Theosis during this life.
Besides, very disturbing analogies what Crhstian Tradition are you backing your claims with.
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« Reply #77 on: October 25, 2006, 01:42:56 AM »

You are a perfect example of the psuedo-Orthodox  I'm talking about.

I know this is blunt, brother, but we'd say the same of you...
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« Reply #78 on: October 25, 2006, 06:53:13 AM »

Just as drinking too much water can kill you; too close and focused contact with God can also be fatal to the human body. That is why we must physically die before true theosis can be achieved. Like too much pesticide on a plant, too close and focused contact with God can kill our human cells.
You're talking to the wrong folk. We eat God's Flesh and Drink His Blood.
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« Reply #79 on: October 25, 2006, 01:05:44 PM »

Isn't Deification/Theosis an Eternal Process? A Russian Orthodox Priest told me that because God's life and nature are eternal, it takes all eternity to participate in that Divine nature.
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« Reply #80 on: October 28, 2006, 09:07:21 PM »

I know this is blunt, brother, but we'd say the same of you...

I'll let Lord Jesus make that call.
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« Reply #81 on: October 28, 2006, 09:11:24 PM »

I'll let Lord Jesus make that call.
Ummm...not a good answer, because that means that you place yourself on the same level as Lord Jesus, since you "made that call" first.
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« Reply #82 on: October 29, 2006, 08:50:47 PM »

Ummm...not a good answer, because that means that you place yourself on the same level as Lord Jesus, since you "made that call" first.

Kind of easy to do with someone who refers to his neighbors as "Evangelical trolls".  That's not love of neighbor.  Does he regard all Evangelicals as "trolls" ?
That's  my impression.  There wasn't a spark of love in his post.  It's possible to express disagreement withour being insulting.
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« Reply #83 on: October 29, 2006, 09:31:59 PM »

Kind of easy to do with someone who refers to his neighbors as "Evangelical trolls".  That's not love of neighbor.  Does he regard all Evangelicals as "trolls" ?
That's  my impression.  There wasn't a spark of love in his post.  It's possible to express disagreement withour being insulting.

Similarly, there's not a spark of love in yours, or at least, that's my impression.  Post after post from you consist of nothing but you sitting in judgment of everyone else here.  Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, not everyone else's.
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« Reply #84 on: October 30, 2006, 12:07:04 AM »

Isn't Deification/Theosis an Eternal Process? A Russian Orthodox Priest told me that because God's life and nature are eternal, it takes all eternity to participate in that Divine nature.

If by "Divine nature" you are referring to the ESSENCE of God, I don’t think that's correct.  Union with the ESSENCE of God is impossible for any creature; Theosis only relates to the ENERGIES of God.

http://theosis.riewe.com/theosis_what_theosis_is_not.htm

St. Basil has written, "We know our God from His energies, but we do not claim that we can draw near to His essence, for His energies come down to us, but His essence remains unapproachable."

Man's knowledge of God can be only of His energies, not of His essence. All of us participate in God's energies, but each one of us differently. Deified humanity is united to God only in grace and energy. George Mantzaridis writes, "Man's deification is not realized through participation in God's essence, but through communion in His divine energy. Man may share in God's glory and brightness, but the divine essence remains inaccessible and nonparticipable. Thus, the deified man is made god in all things, but he neither is identified with the divine essence nor shares it."


As to whether the process of theosis is eternal or not, I believe that it is not.  There's a certain point or criterion by which one can say that he/she has achieved union with the energies of God.  Vladimir Lossky writes:

http://theosis.riewe.com/index.htm

The deification or theosis of the creation will be realized in its fullness only in the age to come, after the resurrection of the dead. This deifying union has, nevertheless, to be fulfilled ever more and more even in this present life, through the transformation of our corruptible and depraved nature and by its adaptation to eternal life.

Also, Theosis is perfection in certain aspects only, i.e. physical, moral, etc.  It's not absolute and encompassing in the sense that we will have perfect knowledge of everything. Hence, even after one is deified, he/she continues to receive the Grace of God which goes on for all eternity.
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« Reply #85 on: November 05, 2006, 08:00:22 AM »

Ten steps of Theophanis the Monk on "The Ladder of Divine Graces"

The first step is that of purest prayer.
From this there comes a warmth of heart.
And then a strange, holy energy.
Then tears wrung from the heart, God-given.
Then peace from thought of every kind.
From this arises purging of the intellect,
And next the vision of heavenly mysteries.
Unheard-of light is born from this ineffably,
And thence, beyond all telling, the heart's illumination.
Last comes - a step that has no limit though compassed in a single line -
Perfection that is endless.
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« Reply #86 on: November 05, 2006, 08:39:39 AM »

Ten steps of Theophanis the Monk on "The Ladder of Divine Graces"

The first step is that of purest prayer.
From this there comes a warmth of heart.
And then a strange, holy energy.
Then tears wrung from the heart, God-given.
Then peace from thought of every kind.
From this arises purging of the intellect,
And next the vision of heavenly mysteries.
Unheard-of light is born from this ineffably,
And thence, beyond all telling, the heart's illumination.
Last comes - a step that has no limit though compassed in a single line -
Perfection that is endless.


You even read the Philokalia Brian? Shocked
Here's the rest of it:

The ladder's lowest step prescribes pure prayer alone.
But prayer has many forms: My discourse would be long
Were I now to speak of them:
And, friend, know that always
Experience teaches one, not words.
A ladder rising wondrously to heaven's vault:
Ten steps that strangely vivify the soul.
Ten steps that herald the soul's life.
A saint inspired by God has said:
Do not deceive yourself with idle hopes
That in the world to come you will find life
If you have not tried to find it in this present world.
Ten steps: a wisdom born of God.
Ten steps: fruit of all the books.
Ten steps that point towards perfection.
Ten steps that lead one up to heaven.
Ten steps through which a man knows God.
The ladder may seem short indeed,
But if your heart can inwardly experience it
You will find a wealth the world cannot contain,
A god-like fountain flowing with unheard-of life.
This ten-graced ladder is the best of masters,
Clearly teaching each to know its stages.
If when you behold it You think you stand securely on it,
Ask yourself on which step you stand,
So that we, the indolent, may also profit.
My friend, if you want to learn about all this,
Detach yourself from everything,
From what is senseless, from what seems intelligent.
Without detachment nothing can be learnt.
Experience alone can teach these things, not talk.
Even if these words once said By one of God's elect strike harshly,
I repeat them to remind you:
He who has no foothold on this ladder,
Who does not ponder always on these things,
When he comes to die will know
Terrible fear, terrible dread,
Will be full of boundless panic.
My lines end on a note of terror.
Yet it is good that this is so:
Those who are hard of heart – myself the first –
Are led to repentance, led to a holy life,
Less by the lure of blessings promised
Than by fearful warnings that inspire dread.
"He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
You who have written this, hear, then, and take note:
Void of all these graces,
How have you dared to write such things?
How do you not shudder to expound them?
Have you not heard what Uzzah suffered
When he tried to stop God's ark from falling? 
Do not think that I speak as one who teaches:
I speak as one whose words condemn himself,
Knowing the rewards awaiting those who strive,
Knowing my utter fruitlessness.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2006, 09:13:30 AM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #87 on: November 05, 2006, 10:27:16 AM »

You even read the Philokalia Brian? Shocked
Here's the rest of it:

LOL.  Not exactly George, at least not in depth.  Though I have investigated the basics of theosis since it is so central to the whole Orthodox approach.  That includes getting a deeper understanding of the steps and stages of the grace-filled life.
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« Reply #88 on: November 06, 2006, 08:24:11 AM »

the steps and stages of the grace-filled life.
Do you mean like Jim Fowler's "Life Maps"?
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« Reply #89 on: November 06, 2006, 10:31:12 PM »

Do you mean like Jim Fowler's "Life Maps"?

George,

Can't say I'd ever heard of Jim Fowler until you mentioned him - not really sure what he's about.  By "steps and stages" I meant the usual stages of the Orthodox therapeutic method, you know - purification, illumination, divinization - that sort of stuff.  I've read a bit from the monastic world as you noted, but not in significant depth or anything, not enough that you should be surprised I think.  Just enough to understand the basic outline of Orthodox teachings about the human person, the incarnation, and the path of Christ.

SO I guess I should ask, what is Jim Fowler's work about, and is it worth reading?

Sincerely in Christ,
Brian
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