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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Incarnation

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  • Christopher Orr
    Even with the caveat that Original Sin, inherited from Adam, is NOT part of mankind s very essence , it is the practical, everyday teaching of the Lutheranism
    Message 1 of 33 , Jun 16, 2010
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      Even with the caveat "that Original Sin, inherited from Adam, is NOT part of
      mankind's very essence", it is the practical, everyday teaching of the
      Lutheranism I grew up with. It is part of the public teaching of the LCMS,
      too, "that we are **by nature** sinful and unclean." (*Lutheran* *Service
      Book*, the new hymnal for The Lutheran** Church - Missouri Synod).

      This supposed mischaracterization of Lutheran theology is not due simply to
      misunderstanding on the part of Orthodox, but at least also to a wrong
      confession of faith in Lutheran worship itself, it seems. I also found this
      very same phrase on the website of an LCMS congregation and remember
      learning it in various WELS congregations and schools.

      It seems as if the distinction is nominal. Original sin so inheres to
      humankind that our nature is to all intents and purposes totally depraved,
      i.e., Calvinism with the Lutheran footnote ignored outside of seminary.

      Christopher


      On Wed, Jun 16, 2010 at 10:42 AM, Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth <
      didache@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      > Randall Hay wrote:
      > <<By the way, in my two years at Lutheran seminary I was also taught total
      > depravity. >>
      >
      > Really? What Lutheran Seminary was that? I'm sure it's not possible that
      > you learned incorrectly?
      >
      > The Lutheran confessions are quite clear that Original Sin, inherited from
      > Adam, is NOT part of mankind's very essence. Rather, sin is a very deep and
      > thorough corruption of our human nature. No one except Christ Jesus, our
      > Lord, can overcome this corruption for us and save us from it. Because of
      > this sin, *spiritually* we are utterly and completely dead. We cannot make
      > any movement towards Christ by reason or strength or believe in Him apart
      > from the faith creating work of the Holy Spirit. We are like Lazarus, unable
      > to change our *dead* condition of our own volition, reason, or strength, but
      > the Gospel Word calls men to faith and life in Jesus Christ.
      >
      > This is NOT total depravity. On the doctrines of Original Sin and
      > Justification by faith in Christ alone the Lutheran Church and Her
      > Confession stand alone. To the left and to the right, in every other
      > Christian denomination, you have synergism and Pelagianism (semi, full, or
      > otherwise).
      >
      > What you *learned* in your two years at some Lutheran seminary is hardly
      > representative of orthodox Lutheran doctrine and confession -- and you know
      > it! Please, attack, critique Lutheran doctrine and Confession all you want,
      > but don't, either intentionally or in ignorance, smear and miscast it as
      > some form of the Calvinism it very clearly is NOT.
      >
      > Jon
      >
      > +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
      >
      > �He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not
      > the Church for his mother.� � St. Cyprian of Carthage
      >
      > �O wondrous mystery! One is the Father of all, one also
      > the Word of all,and the Holy Spirit is one and the same
      > everywhere. And there is only one Virgin Mother;I love to
      > call her the Church.� � St. Clement of Alexandria
      >
      > Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth
      >
      > The Lutheran Church of Christ the King
      > 14 Pine Drive Pawling, NY 12564
      >
      > Office 845.855.3169
      > Home 845.855.2616
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Benjamin Harju
      Regarding the Romans 5:12 comment from the Orthodox Study Bible: How do you think this contradicts your previous post? The commentary from the OSB says that
      Message 33 of 33 , Jun 21, 2010
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        Regarding the Romans 5:12 comment from the Orthodox Study Bible:

        How do you think this contradicts your previous post? The commentary
        from the OSB says that 1) Adam and Eve sinned, 2) this introduced
        death, 3) this death passed to all men [read death as
        mortality/corrupting agent], 4) from this condition of
        death/corruption all men sin. 5) All men bear guilt only for their
        own sins, not Adam's sin.

        Is this not what we've been saying is the Orthodox teaching? Death is
        passed on, not original guilt, but the corruption of mortality which
        finds its origin in Adam's original sin.

        Regarding Fr. Meyendorff's work "Byzantine Theology" I have found an
        online selection of excerpts from this work at

        http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/byzantine_theology_j_meyendorf.htm.

        I include the following relevant portion here:

        The scriptural text, which played a decisive role in the polemics
        between Augustine and the Pelagians, is found in Romans 5:12 where
        Paul speaking of Adam writes, "As sin came into the world through one
        man and through sin and death, so death spreads to all men because all
        men have sinned [eph ho pantes hemarton]" In this passage there is a
        major issue of translation. The last four Greek words were translated
        in Latin as in quo omnes peccaverunt ("in whom [i.e., in Adam] all men
        have sinned"), and this translation was used in the West to justify
        the doctrine of guilt inherited from Adam and spread to his
        descendants. But such a meaning cannot be drawn from the original
        Greek — the text read, of course, by the Byzantines. The form eph ho —
        a contraction of epi with the relative pronoun ho — can be translated
        as "because," a meaning accepted by most modern scholars of all
        confessional backgrounds.22 Such a translation renders Paul’s thought
        to mean that death, which is "the wages of sin" (Rm 6:23) for Adam, is
        also the punishment applied to those who like him sin. It presupposed
        a cosmic significance of the sin of Adam, but did not say that his
        descendants are "guilty" as he was unless they also sinned as he did.

        A number of Byzantine authors, including Photius, understood the eph
        ho to mean "because" and saw nothing in the Pauline text beyond a
        moral similarity between Adam and other sinners in death being the
        normal retribution for sin. But there is also the consensus of the
        majority of Eastern Fathers, who interpret Romans 5:12 in close
        connection with 1 Corinthians 15:22 — between Adam and his descendants
        there is a solidarity in death just as there is a solidarity in life
        between the risen Lord and the baptized. This interpretation comes
        obviously from the literal, grammatical meaning of Romans 5:12. Eph
        ho, if it means "because," is a neuter pronoun; but it can also be
        masculine referring to the immediately preceding substantive thanatos
        ("death"). The sentence then may have a meaning, which seems
        improbable to a reader trained in Augustine, but which is indeed the
        meaning which most Greek Fathers accepted: "As sin came into the world
        through one man and death through sin, so death spread to all men; and
        because of death, all men have sinned..."

        Mortality, or "corruption," or simply death (understood in a
        personalized sense), has indeed been viewed since Christian antiquity
        as a cosmic disease, which holds humanity under its sway, both
        spiritually and physically, and is controlled by the one who is "the
        murderer from the beginning" (Jn 8:44). It is this death, which makes
        sin inevitable and in this sense "corrupts" nature.

        I hope this helps. Btw, the site linked above is well worth the time
        to read it.

        In Christ,
        Benjamin Harju


        --
        Oruaseht wrote:
        Further, a point in the Orthodox Study Bible says this on 5:12 -

        " For Adam and Eve, sin came first, and this led to death. This death
        then spread to all men. The rest of humanity inherits death, and then
        in our mortal state, we all sin. Thus, all mankind suffers the
        consequences of Adam's "original sin." However, the Orthodox Church
        rejects any teaching that would assign guilt to all mankind for Adam's
        sin. We indeed suffer the consequences of others' sins, but we carry
        guilt only for our own sins. "

        This basically contradicts what I originally posted (and by extension,
        1 Cor 15:56) about how the Orthodox view the progression of sin/death
        (or death/sin) in the Garden. However, maybe there is something I'm
        missing. Perhaps the mind of the Church could further illuminate us on
        this passage.
        --

        On 6/21/10, Oruaseht <oruaseht@...> wrote:
        > I agree that the next step in our discussion is a thorough study of the
        > differences in Lutheran and Orthodox fallen/free will understanding.
        >
        > However, before that jump, I need to clarify some of my Confessional
        > friend's comments here.
        >
        > In the FC, we have it said that God made and still makes people holy, pure,
        > and sinless. Yet, people are so "thoroughly corrupted" by sin that for all
        > intents and purposes, Lutherans believe in *total depravity* (true, a
        > Calvinist distinction, but essentially, Lutherans believe it to be true -
        > explanation of the third article Apostles' Creed in the Small Catechism). Is
        > there then, within the Confessions, a contradiction, theological smudge on
        > this issue? Or is what my friend said correct? Humanity on this side of
        > heaven is a paradox of good and corruption that renders us *totally
        > depraved*?
        >
        > Is this just simply a concern about semantics (Lutherans using Calvinist
        > terms, fogging the issue) or are the Confessions wrong?
        >
        > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, Benjamin Harju
        > <benjamin.harju@...> wrote:
        >>
        >> From what I learned and researched as a Lutheran, that's exactly spot
        >> on. As far as Lutheran theology being fairly represented, that is as
        >> fair as it gets. The issue in the Lutheran Confessions regarding
        >> inherited sin is always corruption of what God made good. In the
        >> context of our conversation here, though, the issue is not about man's
        >> depravity, but his *total* depravity, a term that reflects Calvinistic
        >> teachings. To say that the nature that is entirely corrupted is
        >> actually Totally Depraved is to mix specific terminology from the
        >> Calvinist camp into the Lutheran camp, which may confuse the issue.
        >>
        >> Someone has hinted to me that the issue at hand - is Total Depravity
        >> really a Lutheran doctrine? - lies in the area of the fallen will.
        >>
        >> In Christ,
        >> Benjamin Harju
        >
        >
        >
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