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  • TER's Avatar
    12-01-2016, 11:26 PM
    Same thing with regards to St. Augustine. He is a Saint of the Church, but he taught things which contradicted the earlier fathers of the Church. Because of time and space and distance and language and cultural barriers, his new teachings were isolated from the greater witness of the catholic Church and not corrected (which, I believe, he would have submitted to happily in obedience, having understood the importance in holding on to the traditions and teachings of the fathers), but rather, his opinions found ground in the western Church and proliferated and became the main theological framework with regards to soteriology and pneumatology. This led, ultimately, into a divergence in understanding which we find starkly between the traditions and teachings of the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. It begins with St. Augustine's teachings and blossomed with St. Ambrose and Thomas Aquinas, wherein a juridical emphasis was placed in the forefront and mixed with human rationalism, leading to human logic and reason circumscribing God's will and economia in the world. This has led to vastly different understandings of the the energy-essence distinction between these two great traditions. Also, it led to differences with regards to changes in doctrines and additions to the creed and the authority of the Pope. This led ultimately to the Great Schism, where we have on the one side, the 4 Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, comprising the majority of the Christian world and the ancient of Christian cities, and on the other hand, the Patriarchate of Rome, insular and overreaching. The first ones holding on to the original Creed, sticking religiously to the canons and delivered faith, and holding onto the early witness and patristic consensus. And Rome, alone, adopting uncanonical additions to the Creed, inventing new doctrines and dogmas apart from the catholic Church, and infusing the Church and the State into one whereby the Bishop becomes the King, and considers himself infallible and the Vicar of Christ on earth. St. Augustine is a great Saint, but some of his teachings on original sin and certain teachings on predestination and the nature of God are theological opinions which he developed which have never been considered authoritative within the eastern Church (and what is now called the Orthodox Church), for it lacked consensus and apostolic witness. Instead, it became the foundation for much of the theology of the western Church where it was expounded and developed. This has led to certain irreconcilable differences in theology and faith between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church (and the Protestant Churches which were born from it).
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  • TER's Avatar
    12-01-2016, 11:07 PM
    Btw, some of what I wrote are not 'official teachings' of the Orthodox Church. Again, there are things which are dogmatic and not debatable, while others, especially when it comes to the eschaton, which allow for personal opinion. In this topic, there can be respected different viewpoints. A heretic is someone who persists on teaching something after being corrected by the Church, not someone who holds onto an opinion with regards to certain mysteries to come. Thus, the teaching of universal salvation (or apokatastasis) has been condemned and those who teach it within the Church are considered heretics since the Church in Council under the guidance of the Holy Spirit has spoken. But that being said, St. Gregory of Nyssa (one of the greatest saints, from the 4th century) who came before that decision and espoused this belief, is not condemned or considered a heretic. For saints can err, and it is forgivable, for they too are human. And it is expected that had the Church spoken in his days or before, the Saint would have submitted to the voice and the mind of the universal Church and corrected himself (as it is believed the Saint does today, awaiting the Judgment). It is when a person persists in their condemned teaching and do not repent, whereby they are caste up to God (lifted to God, what the word 'anathema' means in the original Greek) for Him to judge according to His Wisdom and Just Judgements.
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  • TER's Avatar
    12-01-2016, 10:40 PM
    It indeed can be deduced by the teachings in the Bible. I listed some of the proofs in my post, referencing verses and teachings from the NT. Some of the greatest saints of the Orthodox Church express this understanding, most notably St. Isaac the Syrian, but it comes earlier than him. As there has been no particular proclaimation in a Ecumencial Council, there can coexist varying opinions on the eschaton and the Judgment and recreation within the Church, within the boundaries of the Scriptures and the theology and Christology of the faith. What will come is still a great mystery, and the Church bows before the Almighty acknowledging the limits of man before God and His Wisdom. Nevertheless, what I wrote above is an ancient understanding of Heaven and Hell, biblically based, where Heaven and Hell are not so much mere different places, but also, different conditions before the the presence of God. Many wise and holy men, spanning many centuries, have handed down this teaching, and while it remains 'officially' in the Church as theological opinion worthy of consideration, it's biblical interpretation is well grounded and it's tradition is ancient. It is the teaching of monasteries and Bishops and held to be patristic and apostolic.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-29-2016, 10:24 PM
    HU, I am going to address this hopefully tomorrow when I have more time. Good night!
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-29-2016, 10:23 PM
    Thanks! I edited it again because I realized I had repeated statements. Anyways, I am going to bed. Good night!
    241 replies | 2936 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    11-29-2016, 10:13 PM
    God is love. There is no malice in love. God is light. There is no darkness in light. God is good. There is no evil in good. When Christ returns in glory, God will fill the entire creation, and "be all in all" as St. Paul says. God's love will be pervasive and ubiquitous, and nothing will hide from His presence and light.
    180 replies | 2052 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    11-29-2016, 09:47 PM
    Yes, the written law in their hearts, what you call "natural revelation". Their aligning with good and right makes them righteous even though they had no idea about Jewish dictates and traditions (that is, the Torah). They fulfilled parts of the law not under the specific dictates and traditions of the Torah, but a new law, ("a law unto themselves"). They showed the work of the law written in their hearts by the good deeds they did, "who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality". Let's look at the chapter more in context to get a better understanding... Romans 2 1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-29-2016, 09:01 PM
    A good soul retrieved my earlier edit and sent it to me, and I post it below. Thank you! ------------------------------ I would disagree. Christ tells them to "practice the latter", referring to "justice, mercy, and faithfulness", WITHOUT neglecting the former, referring to the tradition of giving "a tenth of spices of mint, dill, and cumin". These are traditions based on the law. Christ was reprimanding the Pharisees for not practicing mercy and justice. For being hypocrites. That is exactly what He was reprimanding them. It's not the tradition they proclaimed and personally did, but that they thought that by following these traditions that they could then ignore the greater parts of the law, which you nicely called it. The traditions given by the Holy Spirit to the Prophets and holy men and women of the Old Covenant were never questioned. Indeed, in the Gospel we read:
    241 replies | 2936 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 09:48 PM
    /// end thread Well, for me at least (tonight)! My wife is yelling that I am spending too much time on the forum!! Time for me to say Good night!
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 09:44 PM
    It is both, Sola. You are ignoring the first part I mentioned (which is a habit of yours, to ignore scripture verses). All men are born in sin, because they are under the power of death, which is the fruit of sin. But God will judge mercifully the sinner and man born in a condemned condition, according to the love they have, which is God Himself abiding in them.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 09:38 PM
    As for your question, man alone cannot reach God or reach perfection apart from Christ. But when we follow Christ's commandments and the Holy Spirit descends upon us, then we can do all things, through Christ who strengthen us. Christ is Who perfects us by the Holy Spirit, so that what is impossible for man is possible for God.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 09:36 PM
    "for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel."(Romans 2) What kind of loving God would destroy and judge to hell those who did the good things which Christ commanded (the beatitudes) if they never heard or knew of Jesus Christ? Is God not just? Is He not merciful?
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 09:31 PM
    I know. I was agreeing with it!
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 09:26 PM
    Christ, again, was not accusing their observance of the Sabbath, but their unmercifulness and hypocrisy which they added onto it. Would not aiding a man who falls into a pit on the Sabbath fall under the two great commandments? Likewise, there must be mercy, which is why the Church prescribes the medicine needed according to the state of the sick sinner which comes to her. There is mercy and clemency. Thus, fasting rules are not inviolate, and great sins can be forgiven. There is dispensation and pastoral economia. The doctrines of the Church are from God Himself. Many of the traditions, what we call 'Holy Traditions', are too from God, though they can be amended, according to the needs of the faithful and the challenges which face the Church. Even the canons are 'guides' and can be bent for the salvation of souls. Because, before everything, the Church is a spiritual hospital with age-old wisdom and time-tested remedies for the spiritual sick and dead which come to her and seek healing and renewal. But you are correct, that if something causes the love of an individual's heart to be overcome, it must be cast away, for then, it is not from God.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 09:14 PM
    Love is our salvation! And going back to your earlier post regarding the two great commandments of God, we find that love and our salvation in not a mere personal movement and accomplishment, but a communal one, between us, God, and our neighbor.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 09:07 PM
    I wouldn't say noise, but rather, everything else stems and finds its fullness and salvation in those two commandments. If we can live those commandments fully (that is love God with all our heart and all our strength and all our minds, and our neighbors as ourselves), then we have already lived the divine life of self-giving love. Even if we never knew Christ (on account of the historical time, place, and circumstances we lived through, we had the law of love in our hearts, and God will judge us with mercy. But those who have heard the good news and ignored it, or distorted it, or used it to make others stumble and fall and create malice, they will find chastisement and less mercy. For how we treat others is how we will be treated, and by how we will judge, we will be judged. And by the same measure.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 09:01 PM
    Because they are Holy Saints, and you are not? No offense, but they raised the dead with their prayers. What authority or proofs of the Holy Spirit do you have which allow you to put yourself against others, accusing and demeaning your neighbor, even against the Saints of the Church of Christ? Oh, you know verses of the Scriptures? Well so did all the heretics, such as the Gnostics you mentioned, point to verses of Scripture in order to justify their beliefs. The same with the Arians, and the Nestorians, etc etc. In a crowd of a million people, there can be a million different theologies and doctrines all pointing to the same writings as the authority and source. The surest way to learn the truths is to gleam through the lens of the Church, to find the common belief and unity of faith, through the Church, which St. Paul (whom you often quote) said is the pillar and foundation of the truth.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 08:30 PM
    A blessed Nativity season for all!
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 08:08 PM
    By the way lily, I loved the blog post which you linked to! :)
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 08:05 PM
    Well said! We pray for His will to be done every time we say the Lord's Prayer. We should learn to live a life in such prayer, unceasingly, submitting to His holy will. We do our part the best we can in life, carrying our cross and navigating through this journey, knowing that only through Him will we find true rest and fulfillment. We do the best we can with the soil and the seeds we have available, yet it is still God above who is the rain and the sun who will lead to life and good fruit. When we submit to Him and give over ourselves to His holy will, we are strengthened by Christ, and 'can do all things' as St. Paul says. It is through humility whereby we come to the knowledge of God.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 07:41 PM
    If we look for the Reason for existence, we look to Christ, Who is the Reason (Logos) of God, and the Source of existence. If we look for the Life and Light of existence, we come to Christ, Who is the Life and Light of all things. If we look for what our goal is and who we are meant to be, we see Christ, Who is the Firstfruits of the New Man, the eternal Man, raised from the dead and ascended on high. The best way for us to look, come, or see, is to come to ourselves, realize how far we are from such glory and peace, and repent of our sins which we have done against the world and against God, and live a new life, of mercy, love and forgiveness, obeying His commandments which lead to everlasting life. When we align our opinions and our own wills with the will of Christ, and become healed of our passions and spiritual disease, then we become purified and illuminated. For it is the pure in heart who see God, according to our Lord. For it will be God Himself filling the heart as if tabernacled within the body of man, and heavenly and eternal things are revealed, and the fruits of the Spirit are experienced, and the joys and blessing are celebrated and revered.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 07:19 PM
    Thank you for clarifying that Lily! In the context which you describe after watching the video, it seems he is spot on in saying that in the Kingdom of Heaven, His will is supreme. Opinions have value and meaning only when they adhere to the good will of God.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 06:39 PM
    In his short time as a faithful Christian, he seems to have learned much and should be commended.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 06:37 PM
    You are free to believe as you wish. I tried to explain the importance of tradition, both written and oral, and why the Apostles struggled to ensure that their own disciples and the future generation of Christians would hand down the traditions given to them by their fathers in the faith.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 06:32 PM
    The same way it was for 1500 years before the Reformers came and made new dogmas.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 06:04 PM
    Hi HU, excellent questions! I will try to take them one at a time, and answer you with whatever little knowledge I have. Really tough question I wish I didn't have to answer! Definitely above my pay grade! We know that God is Almighty and that nothing happens apart from His will. At the same time, we learn that Adam was made in His image and likeness, with freedom, responsibility and occupation. We know that God allows man to turn their back on Him and at the same time He desires all to come to Him and be saved. We understand that there is a plan of God, a divine blueprint and workshop, and that it will be fulfilled, and at the same time Christ says "How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!" (Luke 13:34) We also believe that God is good and just. Thus we know He would not allow someone to suffer for the sins of another. That is why the son shall not pay for this sins of the father, for this is unfair and unjust and not good. We know we will not be judged for sins we didn't commit or even the nature we were born it (for Christ, having raised from the dead, has destroyed bodily death and made resurrection possible for everyone, Saint and sinner). (BTW, the doctrine of Original Sin by St. Augustine is different from the teachings of the earlier Saints. We do not share in the guilt or responsibility of Adam's sin. That is why we are regenerated in baptism, and the original sin is destroyed. Nevertheless, we share in the sinful condition, because ontologically, we are born as children of Adam, but after baptism, our sins are our own and Adam's sins are his. Each will give an account before the Judgment Seat of Christ, and pointing our fingers at another (such as Adam) is exactly what Adam did which caused him to be fasted out of paradise). So how our collective choices will ultimately conform with God's eternal will is a mystery. Human logic cannot apprehend it or understand it. Human words and terms cannot define it or reveal. It is something which can only be revealed in the heart of a person who has been illuminated by the Holy Spirit. And since I am not such a person, I look towards the teachings of those who are Saints. From how I am reading your question, they proclaim it a mystery. Perhaps in the end it will do something with the multiple universe theories which scientists are hypothesizing these days, I have no idea! The best I can personally do is bow down before the feet of God.
    180 replies | 2052 view(s)
  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 05:34 PM
    I think I accidental deleted the end of my post in an edit! Basically, the point is that there are traditions which are important and have great value in handing down the truths, and these should be observed and handed down. We should not neglect them, for God has had a role in these through his faithful. But, we are not to follow the sinful traditions of men, such as acting unjustly, unmercifully and hypocritically.
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  • TER's Avatar
    11-28-2016, 05:19 PM
    I would disagree. Christ tells them to "practice the latter", referring to "justice, mercy, and faithfulness", WITHOUT neglecting the former, referring to the tradition of giving "a tenth of spices of mint, dill, and cumin". These are traditions based on the law. Christ was reprimanding the Pharisees for not practicing mercy and justice. For being hypocrites. That is exactly what He was reprimanding them. It's not the tradition they proclaimed and personally did, but that they thought that by following these traditions that they could then ignore the greater parts of the law, which you nicely called it. The traditions given by the Holy Spirit to the Prophets and holy men and women of the Old Covenant were never questioned. Indeed, in the Gospel we read: "Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."" (Matthew 23) The Lord told His disciples to obey the observances and traditions, for they "sit in Moses' seat", while avoiding their hypocrisy and evil sins.
    241 replies | 2936 view(s)
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