Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Blessed Assurance

Expand Messages
  • Edward Wolfe
    ... Once saved, always saved is denied by Lutherans. (I was Lutheran pastor for 33 years before becoming Orthodox). Such a teaching is wonderful in one sense
    Message 1 of 8 , May 7, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      > The idea of "Once saved, Always saved" (or Luther's response to
      > the Devil's condemnation: "I am Baptized!") is kind of a two-edged
      > sword for me. On the one hand, this doctrine has "warmed my
      > heart." It is/was good to know that no matter what I did or didn't
      > do I would be ushered into God's presence when I died. This
      > absolutist approach and the assurance it brought often times
      > engendered good works in me and a sincere desire to live the
      > Christian life.

      "Once saved, always saved" is denied by Lutherans. (I was Lutheran
      pastor for 33 years before becoming Orthodox). Such a teaching is
      wonderful in one sense by sinful human standards: it means you are
      "in" no matter what you do. However, at its root is also a teaching
      that those whom God has chosen are chosen, whatever they might do, and
      those that are not chosen are out, no matter what. It comes very close
      to a fatalism or an absolute predestination idea that pretty much
      means whatever happens, happens. Then, why bother!

      Lutherans teach "By grace are you saved, through faith ..." which is
      directly taken from St. Paul. And they are death on "works" -- to the
      extent, sometimes practically speaking, that you end up almost where
      you were in the previous paragraph. So, preaching often means
      "preaching the Gospel" -- God's love for you, His grace and mercy --
      but not at all dealing with Jesus' word, "deny yourself, take up your
      cross and follow me." Although the theologians would certainly deny
      that this can or does happen, this "single focus" seems often to make
      God's grace in Christ a "get out of hell free" card ... or likens it
      to an insurance policy: doesn't do much now, but in the hour of need ....

      As I think of this past Sunday, the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, I
      see the mercy of God, the Lover of Mankind at work in the flesh. Jesus
      approaches the woman with a request: "Give me a drink of water" in
      order that He might offer her the water of life! She receives that
      water, doesn't she? Her receiving it doesn't mean that she "earned" or
      "merited" it -- but she did receive it and Him! And her lips were
      opened to "show forth His praise" as she went and told her friends and
      family that she had found the Christ! Holy Fathers tell us that she
      was baptized and brought many to see Jesus, and that her name was Photini.

      So, as Christ entered and received her, she did something, didnt' she?

      Throughout the Divine Liturgy, and the prayers of the church, our cry
      is "Lord, have mercy!" We pray constantly, "Lord Jesus Christ, have
      mercy on me, the sinner!" We don't take for granted our salvation, but
      we rely on Jesus grace and mercy that lives in us -- and in response
      to His love and mercy, we serve Him in the Divine Liturgy, in prayers
      and fasting, in works of mercy. We humbly do everything we can by His
      grace and the power of the Holy Spirit to become as He would have us.
      It means saying "No" to sin, to disobedience, to the passions that so
      often would over come us, to the siren song of Satan as he lures us
      into a false security ro even a false holiness.

      But, the bottom line is that we live in Christ, and we rely always and
      only on His grace and mercy -- something lived out in our lives in
      daily repentance.

      I think of St. Paul who said, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ
      who lives in me, and the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of
      God ..." His words are a response to Jesus: "If any man would follow
      me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me."

      Does it take work and struggle? Indeed! But not in the sense that I
      show my "pass" or that I can ever say, "Father, look at me, how
      wonderful I've been at doing ....."

      "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, the sinner."

      Hope this helps

      Ezekiel+
    • Christopher Orr
      Note how St. Anthony the Great talks about the necessity of our prayer and acts of compassion while qualifying that we do not win God over by this - we do
      Message 2 of 8 , May 7, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        Note how St. Anthony the Great talks about the necessity of our prayer and
        acts of compassion while qualifying that we do not 'win God over' by this -
        we do not earn merit whereby we are saved:

        "God is good, dispassionate and immutable. Now someone who thinks it
        reasonable and true to affirm that God does not change, may well ask how in
        that case, it is possible to speak of God as rejoicing over those who are
        good and showing mercy to those who honor Him, while turning away from the
        wicked and being angry with sinners. To this it must be answered that God
        neither rejoices nor grows angry, for to rejoice and to be offended are
        passions; nor is He won over by the gifts of those who honor Him, for that
        would mean He is swayed by pleasure . . . He is good, and He only bestows
        blessings and never does harm, remaining always the same. We men, on the
        other hand, if we remain good through resembling God, are united to Him; but
        if we become evil through not resembling God, we are separated from Him. By
        living in holiness, we cleave to God; but by becoming wicked we make Him our
        enemy. It is not that He grows angry with us in an arbitrary way, but it is
        our own sins that prevent God from shining within us, and expose us to the
        demons who punish us. And if through prayer and acts of compassion we gain
        release from our sins, this does not mean that we have won God over and made
        Him change, but that through our actions and our turning to God we have
        cured our wickedness and so once more have enjoyment of God's goodness. Thus
        to say that God turns away from the wicked is like saying that the sun hides
        itself from the blind." - St Anthony the Great [+356]

        Excerpt from The Philokalia, Vol. 1, Text 150; Engl. tr. by
        Palmer-Sherrard-Ware, p. 352. Quoted in Orthodox Dogmatic
        Theology<http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/dogmatics_pomazansky.htm>by
        Protopresbyter
        Michael Pomazansky [+1988]; tr. and ed. by Hieromonk Seraphim Rose [+1982]
        (Platina, CA: St. Herman Press, 1997), p.350-351.

        http://orrologion.blogspot.com/2007/04/turning-to-god-we-have-cured-our.html


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Salvatore Sberna IV
        Wow!! Thanks you guys!! I admit my own ignorance on Luther and subsequent Lutheran theologians position on once saved, always saved. I did some research on
        Message 3 of 8 , May 8, 2007
        • 0 Attachment
          Wow!! Thanks you guys!! I admit my own ignorance on Luther and
          subsequent Lutheran theologians position on "once saved, always
          saved." I did some research on it while at a Lutheran monastary in
          Michigan, but still found myself wondering. Now that I think back
          on it I do remember an analogy of a man clinging to Christ as a
          sailor sails a ship into harbor. The ship will be faithful to carry
          the sailor into the harbor (death, heaven), but the sailor can jump
          ship. But even if he does, the ship is always there waiting for the
          drowning man. Hmm...I probably just destroyed that metaphor. I
          probably need to talk to my pastor about the Lutheran position.
          Although, he seems to be a fan of some of Paul Tillich's thoughts on
          God's Grace.
          Oddly enough, I believe from personal experience that the notion
          that salvation is a one time contract deal can actually be
          detrimental to the supposed goal of eternal assurance. I know that
          for years I wondered if I was saved. I looked for the fruits of the
          Spirit, but one always can find more evil than good in the human
          soul. And it doesn't really help to talk to an Evangelical pastor
          who tells you either "Of course you are saved, you prayed the
          sinners prayer" or "Of course you're saved, if you sincerely prayed
          to make Jesus the Lord of your life." Even back then I thought "how
          could I know if I was sincere about that prayer when I prayed it at
          10 years old after a particularly powerful sermon about the Wheat
          and the Tears?" And then there are those who tell you that "you
          can't just pray the sinners pray because you want a get out of Hell
          free card." Well, good grief, then regale me with the bliss of
          Heaven and not the torments of Hell.
          Okay, this is turning into more of a rant, but I'm still trying to
          get free from some of the bad doctrine I was taught growing up. The
          idea of never being able to loose your salvation (either by
          something you do or God does) was a hallmark of my parents' faith.
          In fact, when I first started to investigate Orthodoxy I was
          visiting my parents and told my mother, who is a self-described
          Christian mystic, that I was surprised she was not Orthodox given
          some of her informal, theological leanings. She replied that she is
          not Orthodox because "they don't believe in Grace." What she meant,
          I think, is that Orthodox believe that works will get you to
          heaven. I reckon this misconception comes from growing up in an
          anti-Catholic environment, bad teachings on Catholics to begin with,
          and the questionable doctrine of the economy of grace and merit in
          the Catholic Church itself. I informed her that they in no way
          believe that, but since they believe that humans have free-will then
          a man must necessarily actively participate and engage in the
          salvation that is freely offered in Christ. Well, that debate could
          go in circles, so I generally leave it alone anymore. And don't
          even get her started on the Sacraments (she's even a bit
          uncomfortable with the Lutheran teaching on the effective grace of
          Baptism. When I told her that I wanted to become an ordained
          Lutheran pastor she said "okay, but you don't have to believe in the
          whole grace of Baptism thing, right?").
          Sorry for the personal history guys. It's finals week at the
          University of Houston and I've been cooped up far too long in this
          apartment. Guess I just needed someone to talk to and get all of
          this off my chest. Thanks.

          Sal
        • Eric Perich
          Sal, Its interesting that you brought up the Lutheran monastery in Michigan. I have not been there yet, but will be spending three days there at the end of
          Message 4 of 8 , May 8, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            Sal,

            Its interesting that you brought up the Lutheran monastery in Michigan. I
            have not been there yet, but will be spending three days there at the end of
            the month. Do you have any advice for me?

            Also, for anyone in southeast Michigan, do you know of any local stores
            where I can get Orthodox books, icons, etc. without having to turn to the
            internet? It seems that most Christian bookstores are geared primarily
            toward evangelicals, so there's not usually much of interest to an orthodox
            Lutheran.

            Eric

            On 5/8/07, Salvatore Sberna IV <salsberna@...> wrote:
            >
            > Wow!! Thanks you guys!! I admit my own ignorance on Luther and
            > subsequent Lutheran theologians position on "once saved, always
            > saved." I did some research on it while at a Lutheran monastary in
            > Michigan, but still found myself wondering. Now that I think back
            > on it I do remember an analogy of a man clinging to Christ as a
            > sailor sails a ship into harbor. The ship will be faithful to carry
            > the sailor into the harbor (death, heaven), but the sailor can jump
            > ship. But even if he does, the ship is always there waiting for the
            > drowning man. Hmm...I probably just destroyed that metaphor. I
            > probably need to talk to my pastor about the Lutheran position.
            > Although, he seems to be a fan of some of Paul Tillich's thoughts on
            > God's Grace.
            > Oddly enough, I believe from personal experience that the notion
            > that salvation is a one time contract deal can actually be
            > detrimental to the supposed goal of eternal assurance. I know that
            > for years I wondered if I was saved. I looked for the fruits of the
            > Spirit, but one always can find more evil than good in the human
            > soul. And it doesn't really help to talk to an Evangelical pastor
            > who tells you either "Of course you are saved, you prayed the
            > sinners prayer" or "Of course you're saved, if you sincerely prayed
            > to make Jesus the Lord of your life." Even back then I thought "how
            > could I know if I was sincere about that prayer when I prayed it at
            > 10 years old after a particularly powerful sermon about the Wheat
            > and the Tears?" And then there are those who tell you that "you
            > can't just pray the sinners pray because you want a get out of Hell
            > free card." Well, good grief, then regale me with the bliss of
            > Heaven and not the torments of Hell.
            > Okay, this is turning into more of a rant, but I'm still trying to
            > get free from some of the bad doctrine I was taught growing up. The
            > idea of never being able to loose your salvation (either by
            > something you do or God does) was a hallmark of my parents' faith.
            > In fact, when I first started to investigate Orthodoxy I was
            > visiting my parents and told my mother, who is a self-described
            > Christian mystic, that I was surprised she was not Orthodox given
            > some of her informal, theological leanings. She replied that she is
            > not Orthodox because "they don't believe in Grace." What she meant,
            > I think, is that Orthodox believe that works will get you to
            > heaven. I reckon this misconception comes from growing up in an
            > anti-Catholic environment, bad teachings on Catholics to begin with,
            > and the questionable doctrine of the economy of grace and merit in
            > the Catholic Church itself. I informed her that they in no way
            > believe that, but since they believe that humans have free-will then
            > a man must necessarily actively participate and engage in the
            > salvation that is freely offered in Christ. Well, that debate could
            > go in circles, so I generally leave it alone anymore. And don't
            > even get her started on the Sacraments (she's even a bit
            > uncomfortable with the Lutheran teaching on the effective grace of
            > Baptism. When I told her that I wanted to become an ordained
            > Lutheran pastor she said "okay, but you don't have to believe in the
            > whole grace of Baptism thing, right?").
            > Sorry for the personal history guys. It's finals week at the
            > University of Houston and I've been cooped up far too long in this
            > apartment. Guess I just needed someone to talk to and get all of
            > this off my chest. Thanks.
            >
            > Sal
            >
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Jeremy Finck
            You can get all that kind of Orthodox stuff at virtually any Orthodox parish. There s a pretty comprehensive, searchable listing of Churches at
            Message 5 of 8 , May 16, 2007
            • 0 Attachment
              You can get all that kind of Orthodox stuff at virtually any Orthodox
              parish. There's a pretty comprehensive, searchable listing of Churches at
              http://www.orthodoxyinamerica.com/
              I don't live in MI, but I have visited an Orthodox Monastery in Rives
              Junction (http://www.dormitionmonastery.com/), just 15min outside of
              Jackson. They have a great bookstore complete with icons, prayer ropes,
              censers, etc. But it's good to give them plenty of notice that you're
              coming, so someone will be available for the bookstore.
              And I have some friends who go to the Russian Orthodox Church in Albion, MI
              : Holy Ascension (http://www.orthodoxchurchalbion.org/).

              Hope that's helpful.

              Jeremy


              On 5/8/07, Eric Perich <eperich@...> wrote:
              >
              > Sal,
              >
              > Its interesting that you brought up the Lutheran monastery in Michigan. I
              > have not been there yet, but will be spending three days there at the end
              > of
              > the month. Do you have any advice for me?
              >
              > Also, for anyone in southeast Michigan, do you know of any local stores
              > where I can get Orthodox books, icons, etc. without having to turn to the
              > internet? It seems that most Christian bookstores are geared primarily
              > toward evangelicals, so there's not usually much of interest to an
              > orthodox
              > Lutheran.
              >
              > Eric
              >
              >
              > On 5/8/07, Salvatore Sberna IV <salsberna@...<salsberna%40gmail.com>>
              > wrote:
              > >
              > > Wow!! Thanks you guys!! I admit my own ignorance on Luther and
              > > subsequent Lutheran theologians position on "once saved, always
              > > saved." I did some research on it while at a Lutheran monastary in
              > > Michigan, but still found myself wondering. Now that I think back
              > > on it I do remember an analogy of a man clinging to Christ as a
              > > sailor sails a ship into harbor. The ship will be faithful to carry
              > > the sailor into the harbor (death, heaven), but the sailor can jump
              > > ship. But even if he does, the ship is always there waiting for the
              > > drowning man. Hmm...I probably just destroyed that metaphor. I
              > > probably need to talk to my pastor about the Lutheran position.
              > > Although, he seems to be a fan of some of Paul Tillich's thoughts on
              > > God's Grace.
              > > Oddly enough, I believe from personal experience that the notion
              > > that salvation is a one time contract deal can actually be
              > > detrimental to the supposed goal of eternal assurance. I know that
              > > for years I wondered if I was saved. I looked for the fruits of the
              > > Spirit, but one always can find more evil than good in the human
              > > soul. And it doesn't really help to talk to an Evangelical pastor
              > > who tells you either "Of course you are saved, you prayed the
              > > sinners prayer" or "Of course you're saved, if you sincerely prayed
              > > to make Jesus the Lord of your life." Even back then I thought "how
              > > could I know if I was sincere about that prayer when I prayed it at
              > > 10 years old after a particularly powerful sermon about the Wheat
              > > and the Tears?" And then there are those who tell you that "you
              > > can't just pray the sinners pray because you want a get out of Hell
              > > free card." Well, good grief, then regale me with the bliss of
              > > Heaven and not the torments of Hell.
              > > Okay, this is turning into more of a rant, but I'm still trying to
              > > get free from some of the bad doctrine I was taught growing up. The
              > > idea of never being able to loose your salvation (either by
              > > something you do or God does) was a hallmark of my parents' faith.
              > > In fact, when I first started to investigate Orthodoxy I was
              > > visiting my parents and told my mother, who is a self-described
              > > Christian mystic, that I was surprised she was not Orthodox given
              > > some of her informal, theological leanings. She replied that she is
              > > not Orthodox because "they don't believe in Grace." What she meant,
              > > I think, is that Orthodox believe that works will get you to
              > > heaven. I reckon this misconception comes from growing up in an
              > > anti-Catholic environment, bad teachings on Catholics to begin with,
              > > and the questionable doctrine of the economy of grace and merit in
              > > the Catholic Church itself. I informed her that they in no way
              > > believe that, but since they believe that humans have free-will then
              > > a man must necessarily actively participate and engage in the
              > > salvation that is freely offered in Christ. Well, that debate could
              > > go in circles, so I generally leave it alone anymore. And don't
              > > even get her started on the Sacraments (she's even a bit
              > > uncomfortable with the Lutheran teaching on the effective grace of
              > > Baptism. When I told her that I wanted to become an ordained
              > > Lutheran pastor she said "okay, but you don't have to believe in the
              > > whole grace of Baptism thing, right?").
              > > Sorry for the personal history guys. It's finals week at the
              > > University of Houston and I've been cooped up far too long in this
              > > apartment. Guess I just needed someone to talk to and get all of
              > > this off my chest. Thanks.
              > >
              > > Sal
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Rebecca Wilson
              This is my first reply. We lived in Kalamazoo three years ago. There is a Patriarchal parish in Battle Creek. Also, the Greek parish in Kalamazoo has a very
              Message 6 of 8 , May 17, 2007
              • 0 Attachment
                This is my first reply. We lived in Kalamazoo three years ago. There is a Patriarchal parish in Battle Creek. Also, the Greek parish in Kalamazoo has a very evangelical priest and the Divine Liturgy is in English. Fr. Evan is his name. That's about it for Kalamazoo. Dormition Monastery is the best! The nuns are holy, joyful and extremely helpful. The items in their bookstore are very affordable. If you can get to Detroit for a day, MUST go to St. Raphael of Brooklyn parish (Romanian). Fr. Leo is filled with Divine Light. The very best priest or person I have ever encountered (I've been Orthodox since 1980). The Orthodox Christian Education Center which is housed in the men's monastery (Romanian). It is so worth the trip.

                Hope this helps. Christ is in our midst. He is and every shall be!
                Rebecca

                Jeremy Finck <AdonaiUplifts@...> wrote:
                You can get all that kind of Orthodox stuff at virtually any Orthodox
                parish. There's a pretty comprehensive, searchable listing of Churches at
                http://www.orthodoxyinamerica.com/
                I don't live in MI, but I have visited an Orthodox Monastery in Rives
                Junction (http://www.dormitionmonastery.com/), just 15min outside of
                Jackson. They have a great bookstore complete with icons, prayer ropes,
                censers, etc. But it's good to give them plenty of notice that you're
                coming, so someone will be available for the bookstore.
                And I have some friends who go to the Russian Orthodox Church in Albion, MI
                : Holy Ascension (http://www.orthodoxchurchalbion.org/).

                Hope that's helpful.

                Jeremy

                On 5/8/07, Eric Perich <eperich@...> wrote:
                >
                > Sal,
                >
                > Its interesting that you brought up the Lutheran monastery in Michigan. I
                > have not been there yet, but will be spending three days there at the end
                > of
                > the month. Do you have any advice for me?
                >
                > Also, for anyone in southeast Michigan, do you know of any local stores
                > where I can get Orthodox books, icons, etc. without having to turn to the
                > internet? It seems that most Christian bookstores are geared primarily
                > toward evangelicals, so there's not usually much of interest to an
                > orthodox
                > Lutheran.
                >
                > Eric
                >
                >
                > On 5/8/07, Salvatore Sberna IV <salsberna@...<salsberna%40gmail.com>>
                > wrote:
                > >
                > > Wow!! Thanks you guys!! I admit my own ignorance on Luther and
                > > subsequent Lutheran theologians position on "once saved, always
                > > saved." I did some research on it while at a Lutheran monastary in
                > > Michigan, but still found myself wondering. Now that I think back
                > > on it I do remember an analogy of a man clinging to Christ as a
                > > sailor sails a ship into harbor. The ship will be faithful to carry
                > > the sailor into the harbor (death, heaven), but the sailor can jump
                > > ship. But even if he does, the ship is always there waiting for the
                > > drowning man. Hmm...I probably just destroyed that metaphor. I
                > > probably need to talk to my pastor about the Lutheran position.
                > > Although, he seems to be a fan of some of Paul Tillich's thoughts on
                > > God's Grace.
                > > Oddly enough, I believe from personal experience that the notion
                > > that salvation is a one time contract deal can actually be
                > > detrimental to the supposed goal of eternal assurance. I know that
                > > for years I wondered if I was saved. I looked for the fruits of the
                > > Spirit, but one always can find more evil than good in the human
                > > soul. And it doesn't really help to talk to an Evangelical pastor
                > > who tells you either "Of course you are saved, you prayed the
                > > sinners prayer" or "Of course you're saved, if you sincerely prayed
                > > to make Jesus the Lord of your life." Even back then I thought "how
                > > could I know if I was sincere about that prayer when I prayed it at
                > > 10 years old after a particularly powerful sermon about the Wheat
                > > and the Tears?" And then there are those who tell you that "you
                > > can't just pray the sinners pray because you want a get out of Hell
                > > free card." Well, good grief, then regale me with the bliss of
                > > Heaven and not the torments of Hell.
                > > Okay, this is turning into more of a rant, but I'm still trying to
                > > get free from some of the bad doctrine I was taught growing up. The
                > > idea of never being able to loose your salvation (either by
                > > something you do or God does) was a hallmark of my parents' faith.
                > > In fact, when I first started to investigate Orthodoxy I was
                > > visiting my parents and told my mother, who is a self-described
                > > Christian mystic, that I was surprised she was not Orthodox given
                > > some of her informal, theological leanings. She replied that she is
                > > not Orthodox because "they don't believe in Grace." What she meant,
                > > I think, is that Orthodox believe that works will get you to
                > > heaven. I reckon this misconception comes from growing up in an
                > > anti-Catholic environment, bad teachings on Catholics to begin with,
                > > and the questionable doctrine of the economy of grace and merit in
                > > the Catholic Church itself. I informed her that they in no way
                > > believe that, but since they believe that humans have free-will then
                > > a man must necessarily actively participate and engage in the
                > > salvation that is freely offered in Christ. Well, that debate could
                > > go in circles, so I generally leave it alone anymore. And don't
                > > even get her started on the Sacraments (she's even a bit
                > > uncomfortable with the Lutheran teaching on the effective grace of
                > > Baptism. When I told her that I wanted to become an ordained
                > > Lutheran pastor she said "okay, but you don't have to believe in the
                > > whole grace of Baptism thing, right?").
                > > Sorry for the personal history guys. It's finals week at the
                > > University of Houston and I've been cooped up far too long in this
                > > apartment. Guess I just needed someone to talk to and get all of
                > > this off my chest. Thanks.
                > >
                > > Sal
                > >
                > >
                > >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >

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






                ---------------------------------
                Yahoo! oneSearch: Finally, mobile search that gives answers, not web links.

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • tantuslabor
                Hello, Rebecca! Fr. Evangelos is no longer at the parish in Kalamazoo...Here in Grand Rapids we have a number of Orthodox parishes: St. John Chrysostom
                Message 7 of 8 , May 17, 2007
                • 0 Attachment
                  Hello, Rebecca!

                  Fr. Evangelos is no longer at the parish in Kalamazoo...Here in Grand
                  Rapids we have a number of Orthodox parishes: St. John Chrysostom
                  (Patriarchal), Holy Annunciation (Romanian), Holy Trinity (Greek), St.
                  George, St. Nicholas, and Holy Cross (my parish--all Antiochian). I
                  second your words about Dormition monastery.

                  The unworthy priest,

                  Fr. Gregory Hogg

                  --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, Rebecca Wilson
                  <emmy88heaven@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > This is my first reply. We lived in Kalamazoo three years ago.
                  There is a Patriarchal parish in Battle Creek. Also, the Greek parish
                  in Kalamazoo has a very evangelical priest and the Divine Liturgy is
                  in English. Fr. Evan is his name. That's about it for Kalamazoo.
                  Dormition Monastery is the best! The nuns are holy, joyful and
                  extremely helpful. The items in their bookstore are very affordable.
                  If you can get to Detroit for a day, MUST go to St. Raphael of
                  Brooklyn parish (Romanian). Fr. Leo is filled with Divine Light. The
                  very best priest or person I have ever encountered (I've been Orthodox
                  since 1980). The Orthodox Christian Education Center which is housed
                  in the men's monastery (Romanian). It is so worth the trip.
                  >
                  > Hope this helps. Christ is in our midst. He is and every shall be!
                  > Rebecca
                  >
                  > Jeremy Finck <AdonaiUplifts@...> wrote:
                  > You can get all that kind of Orthodox stuff at virtually
                  any Orthodox
                  > parish. There's a pretty comprehensive, searchable listing of
                  Churches at
                  > http://www.orthodoxyinamerica.com/
                  > I don't live in MI, but I have visited an Orthodox Monastery in Rives
                  > Junction (http://www.dormitionmonastery.com/), just 15min outside of
                  > Jackson. They have a great bookstore complete with icons, prayer ropes,
                  > censers, etc. But it's good to give them plenty of notice that you're
                  > coming, so someone will be available for the bookstore.
                  > And I have some friends who go to the Russian Orthodox Church in
                  Albion, MI
                  > : Holy Ascension (http://www.orthodoxchurchalbion.org/).
                  >
                  > Hope that's helpful.
                  >
                  > Jeremy
                  >
                  > On 5/8/07, Eric Perich <eperich@...> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Sal,
                  > >
                  > > Its interesting that you brought up the Lutheran monastery in
                  Michigan. I
                  > > have not been there yet, but will be spending three days there at
                  the end
                  > > of
                  > > the month. Do you have any advice for me?
                  > >
                  > > Also, for anyone in southeast Michigan, do you know of any local
                  stores
                  > > where I can get Orthodox books, icons, etc. without having to turn
                  to the
                  > > internet? It seems that most Christian bookstores are geared primarily
                  > > toward evangelicals, so there's not usually much of interest to an
                  > > orthodox
                  > > Lutheran.
                  > >
                  > > Eric
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > On 5/8/07, Salvatore Sberna IV <salsberna@...<salsberna%40gmail.com>>
                  > > wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > > Wow!! Thanks you guys!! I admit my own ignorance on Luther and
                  > > > subsequent Lutheran theologians position on "once saved, always
                  > > > saved." I did some research on it while at a Lutheran monastary in
                  > > > Michigan, but still found myself wondering. Now that I think back
                  > > > on it I do remember an analogy of a man clinging to Christ as a
                  > > > sailor sails a ship into harbor. The ship will be faithful to carry
                  > > > the sailor into the harbor (death, heaven), but the sailor can jump
                  > > > ship. But even if he does, the ship is always there waiting for the
                  > > > drowning man. Hmm...I probably just destroyed that metaphor. I
                  > > > probably need to talk to my pastor about the Lutheran position.
                  > > > Although, he seems to be a fan of some of Paul Tillich's thoughts on
                  > > > God's Grace.
                  > > > Oddly enough, I believe from personal experience that the notion
                  > > > that salvation is a one time contract deal can actually be
                  > > > detrimental to the supposed goal of eternal assurance. I know that
                  > > > for years I wondered if I was saved. I looked for the fruits of the
                  > > > Spirit, but one always can find more evil than good in the human
                  > > > soul. And it doesn't really help to talk to an Evangelical pastor
                  > > > who tells you either "Of course you are saved, you prayed the
                  > > > sinners prayer" or "Of course you're saved, if you sincerely prayed
                  > > > to make Jesus the Lord of your life." Even back then I thought "how
                  > > > could I know if I was sincere about that prayer when I prayed it at
                  > > > 10 years old after a particularly powerful sermon about the Wheat
                  > > > and the Tears?" And then there are those who tell you that "you
                  > > > can't just pray the sinners pray because you want a get out of Hell
                  > > > free card." Well, good grief, then regale me with the bliss of
                  > > > Heaven and not the torments of Hell.
                  > > > Okay, this is turning into more of a rant, but I'm still trying to
                  > > > get free from some of the bad doctrine I was taught growing up. The
                  > > > idea of never being able to loose your salvation (either by
                  > > > something you do or God does) was a hallmark of my parents' faith.
                  > > > In fact, when I first started to investigate Orthodoxy I was
                  > > > visiting my parents and told my mother, who is a self-described
                  > > > Christian mystic, that I was surprised she was not Orthodox given
                  > > > some of her informal, theological leanings. She replied that she is
                  > > > not Orthodox because "they don't believe in Grace." What she meant,
                  > > > I think, is that Orthodox believe that works will get you to
                  > > > heaven. I reckon this misconception comes from growing up in an
                  > > > anti-Catholic environment, bad teachings on Catholics to begin with,
                  > > > and the questionable doctrine of the economy of grace and merit in
                  > > > the Catholic Church itself. I informed her that they in no way
                  > > > believe that, but since they believe that humans have free-will then
                  > > > a man must necessarily actively participate and engage in the
                  > > > salvation that is freely offered in Christ. Well, that debate could
                  > > > go in circles, so I generally leave it alone anymore. And don't
                  > > > even get her started on the Sacraments (she's even a bit
                  > > > uncomfortable with the Lutheran teaching on the effective grace of
                  > > > Baptism. When I told her that I wanted to become an ordained
                  > > > Lutheran pastor she said "okay, but you don't have to believe in the
                  > > > whole grace of Baptism thing, right?").
                  > > > Sorry for the personal history guys. It's finals week at the
                  > > > University of Houston and I've been cooped up far too long in this
                  > > > apartment. Guess I just needed someone to talk to and get all of
                  > > > this off my chest. Thanks.
                  > > >
                  > > > Sal
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > >
                  > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ---------------------------------
                  > Yahoo! oneSearch: Finally, mobile search that gives answers, not
                  web links.
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.