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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] 5 - correct observations? (Patrick Barne's)

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  • Christopher Orr
    Quite right about Righteous being a title for married saints of the New Testament, as well as for saitns of the Old Testament. Christopher ... [Non-text
    Message 1 of 4 , May 11, 2009
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      Quite right about Righteous being a title for married saints of the New
      Testament, as well as for saitns of the Old Testament.


      On Mon, May 11, 2009 at 9:49 PM, randall hay <stortford@...>wrote:

      > That's a very good point, Christopher, that the "Sheol" of the OT was
      > translated as "Hades" in the NT. I could never understand Sheol till I
      > became Orthodox, since sometimes in the OT it seemed like the place
      > everybody went after death, and sometimes it seemed like a place of
      > punishment.
      > Yes, it was a place of punishment for those who spurned God; but for the
      > faithful it was a time of waiting in Christ till He destroyed death by
      > death. In fact God didn't grant them the promise till they could receive it
      > with the us----Heb 11:40, "God had seen something better for us, that apart
      > from us they should not be made perfect."
      > Truly there is one church; the OT saints are not separated from us n any
      > way, shape or form even if we can't see them. Paul praises the Colossians
      > for "loving all the saints" as well as for their faith in Christ (1:4). "All
      > the saints" obviously doesn't exclude anyone.
      > The idea that "hell" (Greek 'gehenna') and "hades" are the same is a
      > medieval Roman Catholic one, which the Orthodox have always denied.
      > Scripture obviously differentiates them by using the two completely
      > different words. How it made its way in the KJV is a mystery to me, other
      > than that the translators were viewing things through the old RC lense.
      > ---By the way, the term "righteous" in reference to certain saints refers
      > to those who were married...simply a way of distinguishing one of the paths
      > to holiness. Hence Joachim and Anna are known as "righteous." But in the
      > broader usage, as you say, "righteous" does have connotations in Orthodoxy
      > that are not found in the Western theological systems.
      > R.
      > ________________________________
      > From: Christopher Orr <xcjorr@... <xcjorr%40gmail.com>>
      > To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Monday, May 11, 2009 6:25:48 PM
      > Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] 5 - correct observations? (Patrick
      > Barne's)
      > On Thu, May 7, 2009 at 8:47 AM, nrinne <Nrinne@...<Nrinne%40excite.com>>
      > wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > > I would like to look at L1 and EO1 (see "question 2" post) a little bit
      > more
      > > closely, because I find these differences in particular to be quite
      > > interesting and important.
      > >
      > >
      > > I will be following up on the idea of a patristic consensus that the
      > Church
      > > began with Abraham (footnote 72 - will get and read this article). I
      > think
      > > more conservative, informed Lutherans tend to think, with Eusebius, that
      > > "Abraham himself back to the first man, were Christians in fact if not in
      > > name" (p 41), primarily because of "a profession of piety toward the one
      > and
      > > only God over all", through "the knowledge and the teaching of Christ"
      > (p.
      > > 41). In other words, there were "Gentile and pagan Saint" because they
      > knew
      > > God by faith, or trust, just as Hebrews 11 says. As Barnes says,
      > "Eusebius'
      > > use of the term `Christian' for those who were virtuous and professed
      > faith
      > > in God helps to guide our thinking about those believers separated from
      > the
      > > Church". The key, it seems to me, is that the Lutherans want to put the
      > > emphasis on faith, which simultaneously obtains all and yet "naturally"
      > > grows into all (and from which true virtue derives), whereas the EO want
      > to
      > > emphasize virtue (and not necessarily a virtue, or righteousness, which
      > is
      > > an evidence of faith in the true God, but one more generically defined,
      > as
      > > open to all to accomplish or attain).
      > >
      > The rest is a bigger question, but I will take a shot at this part of
      > the question.
      > Lex orandi est lex credendi.
      > Whatever reasons one may come up with, the calendar of the Orthodox
      > Church celebrates all the 'Righteous' of the Old Testament as saints,
      > i.e., on at least the 2 Sundays prior to Christmas, as well as on
      > specific Feast days for certain Old Testament saints.
      > There are terms used in Orthodoxy that seem to have different emphases
      > than how Lutherans use the same terms. For instance, 'righteous' is a
      > term regularly used as a title for Old Testament saints, e.g.,
      > Righteous Abraham. This is similar to the title 'venerable' for
      > monastic saints of the New Testament that are not also ordained, e.g.,
      > Venerable Antony.
      > Righteous itself is also a term that is different than in preferred
      > Lutheran jargon. Justification, for instance, to the Orthodox means
      > 'to make righteous' and not simply 'to be counted as righteous'.
      > There is also a difference in understanding regarding the state of
      > those that died before Pascha. It is the Orthodox understanding that
      > all those that died before Christ's Pascha back to Abel and Adam and
      > Cain all went to the same place: Sheol. The righteous and sinners all
      > went to this place of darkness. Heaven was not yet opened, death had
      > not been overcome. When John the Baptist died he went to Hades, too,
      > as Forerunner to Christ and preached the coming of Messiah. So, the
      > Orthodox paschal icon is quite literal when it shows Christ breaking
      > down the 'gates of Hades' to pull up Adam and Eve (and often other
      > saints of the Old Testament such as David and Solomon and sometimes
      > also the Magi - and all mankind that believed the Forerunner). They
      > were 'made righteous' (justified) and saved by Christ's descent into
      > Hell to carry them up.
      > Any attainment any human makes is due to that gift and ability being
      > placed into us as creations of God and by our being upheld by God.
      > There is no shortage of grace in the world. God showers grace and
      > imbues as all with grace til we're sopping with it - we have merely to
      > act, to will, to wish and intend and struggle and fight and do.
      > Again, as to what the state of those outside of the Church is, we do
      > not know. We know God is good and kind and patient and understanding
      > and longsuffering, etc. so we hope in that. We have no surety. If
      > you are taken up to the third heaven, you can tell us if you see any
      > of them. God knows who are his and will not suffer accidental loss -
      > all will be saved that are to be saved, and he does not wish the
      > damnation of any, but the salvation of all.
      > The early Apologists such as St. Justin Martyr were rather open to the
      > non-Jewish righteous prior to Christ and apart from him. Why? Don't
      > know, they just were. This is something that is continued in
      > Orthodoxy, but which was forgotten in the systems of the West.
      > >
      > >
      > > Here is my real question I guess: How does a person come to know God, and
      > > does this true, personal knowledge of God (John 17: 3) mean that
      > ultimately,
      > > at least, they will be members of the Church triumphant? It seems to me
      > that
      > > the EO would say, according to Barne's book, that persons like Noah,
      > despite
      > > not being a part of the Church (which they suggest started with Abraham)
      > > knew God. I am guessing that he is not seen as being a part of the
      > Church,
      > > or assembly of the saints, during his earthly life, but only afterwards
      > in
      > > heaven. This seems strange to me (Luther, or course, maintained that the
      > > Church - yes visible! - started right away in the beginning of creation,
      > > with Cain and Abel being the archetypes of human life, post-fall: i.e.
      > > Christian assembly [faith] and non-Christian gathering [unbelief]). I
      > think
      > > for Lutherans, persons are "one with us" (the Church) by the
      > "circumcision
      > > of the heart", which is a faith in the Triune God that anticipates an
      > > explicit Christian faith. As Chrysostom says, they that before Christ's
      > > coming pleased God are "one body" because they knew Christ. More: "Now
      > what
      > > is this one body? The faithful throughout the whole world, both which
      > are,
      > > and which have been, and which shall be". (p. 41, footnote 72). It seems
      > a
      > > given that a man like Noah knew God and is a part of the Church
      > triumphant.
      > > On what basis can we assert that He was not, in some sense, also a part
      > of
      > > the church militant, Christ's body, while on earth as well, although he
      > may
      > > not have been, or be, recognized as such by all (the other two of the
      > "Three
      > > Hierarchs"? � for it seems Chrysostom is questionable here, and Eusebius
      > > surely is)? Do we want to say that Noah only became a part of the body at
      > > death? If so, it would seem that something other than "knowing God"
      > (think
      > > of marriage here, the intimacy implied � surely this is not just "falling
      > in
      > > love"!) is that which organically unites us to the Church � namely simply
      > > death itself�
      > The primary difference between those before the incarnation and after
      > the incarnation is the lack of our one, common human nature being
      > united to the one, common divine nature. We are able to be one Body
      > with Christ because He assumed our nature into Himself and His Body.
      > Given time, those before the Annunciation had no such access.
      > It should be remembered that theology in Orthodoxy is not a sort of
      > science of specification and definition in a system. Orthodoxy has
      > used poetry and imagery, philosophy and argumentation, all sort of
      > things in an attempt to get at the indescribable. Orthodoxy is union
      > with God, not a proper definition of Him. We see Him, we know Him, we
      > then try to report back as best we could the experience and the path
      > taken to get there. Just as Christ Himself "grew in stature and
      > wisdom" as a man, so too has the Church grown in stature and wisdom
      > and understanding of that which it was given in the beginning. New
      > heresies have arisen that required the Church to reflect on the import
      > of the depositum fidei in contrast to this new teaching. The prime
      > example is how iconoclasm forced the Church to reflect deeply on
      > triadology and christology and how this affected our understanding of
      > images - this reflection led the Church to realize that iconoclasm
      > actually implied a heretical christology. So, the saints of the
      > Church have not always spoken with the degree of precision that the
      > later Church was forced to. A prime example is St. Peter's phrase
      > regarding us 'becoming partakers of the divine nature' which is
      > heretical if one is applying later, Nicene and post-Nicene triadology,
      > but which is perfectly understandable given the stage of growth in
      > wisdom and stature in the first century. So, saints can speak
      > differently, and can speak indistinctly when compared to the
      > challenges and formulae required following future heresies. Also,
      > sometimes people are just writing casually - for instance, Luther is
      > not as 'exact' in his Table Talk as he is in his 'official' works,
      > same with the saints.
      > >
      > > So, again: "How does a person come to know God, and does this true,
      > personal
      > > knowledge of God (John 17: 3) mean that ultimately, at least, they will
      > be
      > > members of the Church triumphant?"
      > >
      > The Orthodox don't know this of themselves, much less of others long
      > reposed or not of the Church. We know God, we know Him, whatever He
      > does with me, with them, with anyone, I know Him to be good and kind
      > and loving, etc. I am sure of that, and that gives me hope; simple
      > hope goads me to pray for all, myself and all, living and reposed, my
      > enemies and friends, even the demons. St. Silouan the Athonite is a
      > wonderful, 20th century account of a saint of great love for the whole
      > world.
      > Christopher
      > ------------------------------------
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