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81Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Just Joined

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  • Christopher Orr
    Apr 23, 2007
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      All the parables of the Lord relating to the Kingdom, the Church, refer to
      both wheat and tares, good and bad fishes, etc. In the Church there are
      both. The Church is not just the saved, just the rightly believing, etc.
      Thank God, because I am the chief of sinners, as St. Paul says of himself
      and which we say of ourselves. So, one remains connected to the Church in
      some way once you are Baptized, even if you apostatize you are received back
      into the Church not by Baptism but by Repentance and/or Chrismation.

      In English we have a harder time with prayer to the Virgin because we don't
      have the differences in words that the Greek has. There is latria (worship
      due only to God), then there is doulia (veneration to the saints). However,
      the word used only for the veneration due to the Theotokos is hyperdoulia
      because as the Mother of God, she has a unique relationship with God. If
      Christ is without sin, then he MUST honor His Mother, otherwise he breaks
      one of the Ten Commandments. She is unlike the rest of humanity in this

      Also, we need to remind ourselves that the word 'pray' is simply a fervent
      synonym for the word 'ask'. In Shakespeare we will often hear someone say,
      "I pray thee, sir...". Hamlet is not therefore worshiping Polonius or
      testifying to his divinity.

      A lot of the language issues also come down to context. For instance, in a
      religious conversation one could say that "God is writing this email"
      because nothing could be done without his will or allowance. But, I,
      Christopher Orr, am writing this email in a very real way, too - God is not
      writing it apart from me, and he is not using me as a robot or as an
      amanuensis with no will, freedom or personality of my own to write for him.
      Same with language relative to the Theotokos, if Christ has to listen to his
      mother in a special way, then when she prays she can 'save' us in a very
      real way. Just as we wouldn't constantly say that God is the one 'doing'
      every action you take in your life, or causing every event in the world, so
      too do we refer to the activity of the Virgin as being her own - though it
      is the power of God that actually effects the blessing.

      I have often thought that if we don't believe the saints can have an effect
      through their prayers, then perhaps we don't truly believe pray can do
      anything at all.

      The last objection to the invocation of the saints is whether they are able
      to hear us when we pray to them. They have not gained power on their own,
      they have gained this power and blessing through their union with God. This
      is similar to the way in which the Apostles could heal and raise the dead -
      they didn't do this of their own power and ability, they did it through the
      power of God. If that is true, how much more true of those saints that have
      sloughed off this mortal coil and behold God 'face to face' in heaven? In
      this context, asking the saints for their sinless prayers to God is no
      different than asking anyone to intercede for us (pray for us) and expecting
      a result. Are your living mother's prayers obscuring the divinity and
      authority of God? No. Neither does asking the living saints in heaven for
      their prayers obscure the divinity and authority of God as if they were
      demigods somehow able to grant our prays of their own accord apart from
      their union with God in heaven.


      On 4/23/07, Salvatore Sberna <salsberna@...> wrote:
      > I guess I always believed that one could never depart from the grace
      > received at Baptism, regardless of how one lived. While that view doesn't
      > seem very scriptural, I know alot of good people who lead Christian lives
      > and they believe in the "once saved always saved and now I'm being
      > sanctified" doctrine. It's a comfort to them.
      > I have another question. I agree with the practice of praying to the
      > Saints and the Blessed Virgin and I know there is a
      > difference between veneration and worship. However, I was listening to the
      > Small Paraklesis to the Theotokos and I can't see how that isn't
      > worshipping
      > her. I mean, some of the words are taken from a psalm to God and applied
      > to
      > Mary. Is that worshiping the Virgin or have we just been venerating God?
      > Thanks ya'll. Be patient with me.
      > Sal
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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