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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: St. John Chrysostom on Salvation by Faith Alone?

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  • randall hay
    You do have a good point that sometimes ORthodox can be too condemning of non-Orthodox. I ll have to differ with you in part, however, having spent two years
    Message 1 of 68 , Nov 22, 2008
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      You do have a good point that sometimes ORthodox can be too condemning of non-Orthodox.

      I'll have to differ with you in part, however, having spent two years at Concordia Lutheran Seminary. I left seminary because the Lutheran Confessions require assent that the pope is the Antichrist. Further, the confessions are rife with condemnations of Roman Catholicism...in fact, in great part they are written against the RC (which, granted, badly needed reforming at the time). RC was frequently alluded to in negative terms in campus classes and sermons.

      Not all Lutheran believe that, of course, or even all at the seminary....in fact, I think most don't.

      Yes, we Orthodox rejoice over the defeat of the heretics (especially the Arians)....many, many faithful were martyred by each of the heretical groups. But we don't define ourselves that way. In discussions with non-Orthodox these contrasts are frequently drawn because our beliefs are so unknown. But you do have a point that sometimes we make straw men.

      In Christ,

      Subdeacon Randy


      From: Mike Bennett <jhs1962@...>
      To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2008 7:43:47 PM
      Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: St. John Chrysostom on Salvation by Faith Alone?

      I am repeatedly perplexed by how frequently Orthodoxy, which is said to represent the authentic, unpolluted faith, is explained in terms that contrasts itself with others (the usual whipping boys being Lutheran or protestant). The writeup in the site at the first link below is an example. And even the Sunday of Orthodoxy celebrates victory over others, who of course were mistaken.

      I don't remember a single sermon in our Lutheran church that's made reference to the errors of others, nor is it ever necessary to refer to such errors when teaching our youth. God's Law and Gospel and what He has done are quite sufficient to proclaim and teach our faith.

      Mike Bennett

      --- On Sat, 11/22/08, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@gmail. com> wrote:

      From: Christopher Orr <xcjorr@gmail. com>
      Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEa st] Re: St. John Chrysostom on Salvation by Faith Alone?
      To: LutheransLookingEas t@yahoogroups. com
      Date: Saturday, November 22, 2008, 6:14 PM

      A dogmatics book in Orthodoxy is not the same as a dogmatics book in
      Lutheranism. The 'real' answers aren't in books, they are the Person of
      Jesus Christ Himself.; Truth is a Person.

      Understanding the Orthodox and patristic teaching on any subject is more
      like those 'magic eye' 3D pictures from the 90s or the old lady/young lady
      pictures from psychology class. It takes awhile to 'see differently' what
      you never saw before, but which was always there.

      I wrote a little thing that touched on the purpose of Jesus death on the
      cross here:

      http://orrologion. blogspot. com/2008/ 11/gospel- orthodox- definition. html
      http://orrologion. blogspot. com/2008/ 11/contra- psychological- poses-of- total.html

      Anastasia also has a 17-part series on "Why Did Jesus Die?". I have
      collected links to all 17 posts here:

      http://orrologion. blogspot. com/2008/ 07/links- to-why-did- jesus-die- series-by. html


      On Sat, Nov 22, 2008 at 5:30 PM, solascriptura1971 <no_reply@yahoogrou p s.com
      > wrote:

      > Yeah, I suppose the differences will come up as I dig deeper into
      > this. One that comes to mind concerning justification/ salvation is
      > free will. I'm pretty sure the Orthodox believe in free will whereas
      > the Lutherans don't.
      > When you say Jesus didn't "earn" salvation for us, what exactly do
      > you mean by that? If salvation doesn't have to be earned (I would
      > think "earning" would refer to Jesus paying the debt of man's sin on
      > the cross.) then what was the purpose of Jesus's death on the cross?
      > I just received the book "Orthodox Dogmatic Theology" by Fr. Michael
      > Pomazansky from Amazon today, so hopefully it will answer a lot of
      > my questions and I can give the board a rest!
      > Thanks for your help Anastasia (et al).
      > In Christ
      > Bobby
      > --- In LutheransLookingEas t@yahoogroups. com<LutheransLookin gEa st%40yahoogroups .com>,
      > "Anastasia Theodoridis"
      > <anastasiatheo01@ ...> wrote:
      > >
      > > > Now both of these paragraphs looks
      > > > "Lutheran" to me. Maybe I'm
      > > > sleepy!
      > >
      > > The differences probably don't show up until we get into that
      > thorny old issue of "Why some and not others?" Lutherans want to
      > locate that difference within the inscrutable will of God, whereas
      > the Orthodox locate it within the also-deep mystery of Man.
      > >
      > > A difference also comes up in that, when the Orthodox say
      > salvation cannot be earned, they mean *period*, as in, even Jesus
      > Christ doesn't *earn* it for us. That's not what He was doing.
      > Salvation doesn't have to be earned. It really, truly, is pure gift.
      > >
      > > Anastasia
      > > e-mail: anastasiatheo01@ ...
      > > blog: http://anastasias- corner.blogspot. com
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >

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    • randall hay
      Bobby, I recalled a couple of questions you d had, then looked back and found them in this e-mail. Orthodox believe that the sacraments and the gospel are
      Message 68 of 68 , Nov 29, 2008
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        Bobby, I recalled a couple of questions you'd had, then looked back and found them in this e-mail.

        Orthodox believe that the sacraments and the gospel are generally necessary for salvation.

        We see grace as God coming to us Himself, not something created He gives us (as Catholics believe; you hear them speak of "getting graces"). We see that outpouring of Himself as union with Him, the greatest goal and joy of His creatures. It is His good pleasure to give us that blessing.

        Of course, if you are not able to receive the sacraments (perhaps you die before you are able), or if you are not able to intellectually receive the gospel (for example, babies, retarded people or demented elderly) that is an exception. God doesn't hold it against you if are unable.

        I might add that the piety associated with the sacraments is quite high. For example, all ORthodox are encouraged to say a set of prayers that takes at least an hour before receiving Communion, and must fast from midnight (except for medical reasons) and have confessed "recently."

        If any of His blood is spilled on the floor during liturgy, it is burned. If it spills on a rug the rug is burned; if it spills on tile, you pour a bit of alcohol on and burn it, saying prayers. (Normally you don't give Communion over a carpet for obvious reasons!) No one but a priest, deacon or bishop may touch the altar at any time. We subdeacons are rarely able to touch an object that is sitting on the altar. If you have any sins against anyone on your conscience, you must apologize to the person before receiving Eucharist.

        In baptism you are exorcised, the water is exorcised, and you literally (not figuratively) spit on the devil. You wear a baptismal garment at services then for 40 days, at least in Slavic tradition.

        There are frequent references in Scripture to the "energies" of God. (The Greek term is "energeia.") Comes up something like 40 times in the New Testament, as I recall. This is GOd present in dealing with His creation. It is not His essence, which is incomprehensible, but His actions toward us; how He reveals Himself to His creatures.

        We humans have energies, too. Our body/soul/spirit is our essence; how we move and think and interact with people and things, what we do, is our "energies."

        Roman Catholics hold that God's energies, like His graces, are created things. We ORthodox believe that He Himself is wholly present in His energies; He deals with His creation very directly and personally.

        "As Thou, Father, art in me," Jesus says, "and I in Thee," He prays "that they also may be in us." John 17:20

        It's a bit difficult for us to grasp....however, the Greek term "energeia" predated the New Testament for centuries, and back then the people understood basically what it signified.

        St Gregory Palamas is the saint most associated with the theology of the energies of God.

        Anyhow, hope this helps a bit---


        From: solascriptura1971 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
        To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Friday, November 28, 2008 2:48:20 AM
        Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Relationship of Free-will, Energies, and the Means of Grace

        Randy et al,

        Thanks, yep, I'm lacking in biblical Greek. That is interesting
        about the word occuring in the New Testament.

        I was just reading an article
        (http://www.orthodox info.com/ inquirers/ non-orthodox_ ch2.pdf) where
        it discusses this in more detail. In it he has a quote from (yes,
        you guessed it) St. John Chrysostom:

        "If He "lighteth every man that cometh into the world," how is it
        that so many continue
        unenlightened? For not all have known the majesty of Christ. How
        then doth He "light
        every man"? He lighteth all as far as in Him lies. But if some,
        willfully closing the eyes
        of their mind, would not receive the rays of that Light, their
        darkness arises not from the
        nature of the Light, but from their own wickedness, who willfully
        deprive themselves of
        the gift. For the grace is shed forth upon all, turning itself back
        neither from Jew, nor Greek,
        nor Barbarian, nor Scythian, nor free, nor bond, nor male, nor
        female, nor old, nor
        young, but admitting all alike, and inviting with an equal regard.
        And those who are
        not willing to enjoy this gift, ought in justice to impute their
        blindness to themselves; for
        if when the gate is opened to all, and there is none to hinder, any
        being willfully evil
        remain without, they perish through none other, but only through
        their own

        Someone mentioned to me earlier on this board that the problem I'm
        having may be that I don't understand the difference between East
        and West with respect to the Uncreated Energy (grace) of God acting
        everywhere. Anyways, this article reminded me of that. I guess I
        need to bear that in mind.

        Also, another side issue popped up reading that quote from St. John
        above. He makes it sound as if the means of grace, the Word and
        Sacraments, are not necessary in order for one to come to salvation.
        Is this true? If so, how does this relate to Romans 10 where St.
        Paul appears to state that it is necessary for one to encounter/hear
        the Gospel message in order to be saved?

        Thanks a lot for your help.

        We had a good Thanksgiving and hope you and your family did as well.

        In Christ,

        --- In LutheransLookingEas t@yahoogroups. com, randall hay
        <stortford@. ..> wrote:
        > Bobby, I feel constrained to point out that "synergy" is commanded
        by the apostles. I don't know what your knowledge is of biblical
        Greek, but "syn" means 'with' and "ergon" means 'work.' I Cor
        3:9: "we are God's synergists." 2 Cor 6:1: "synergizing with Him,
        we beseech you not to accept the grace of God in vain." St Paul
        lauds Timothy, in fact, as "synergist of God" in I Thes 3:2.
        > If we are saved without any movement of the will toward God, it
        means He damns many people by not saving them. This is not the God
        of love!
        > And if our wills are completely helpless, then we're not really at
        fault for sinning because we couldn't help it. This is not the God
        of justice!
        > And if we are helpless in the face of sin, we aren't really in His
        image....everything created by Him is not good (which doesn't jibe
        with I Tim 4:4). This is not the good Creator!
        > In the Parable of the Sower, we see that humans reject the Gospel
        because "seeing they don't see." They are at fault. God gave us
        eyes; the problem is that we don't see with them.
        > At any rate, His blessings upon you, and I hope you have a
        wonderful Thanksgiving- ---
        > In Christ,
        > Randy

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