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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Talking about the issues

This is from the HCR Theo Forum.
Originally Posted by PoLemiCs View Post
Aight bro...we just going in circles.....I'm actually looking into this more in depths and will just leave it here and will digress and agree to disagree.....
I've been saying what I said for some years now. Just check the archives.

And yes I'm peeping Eastern Orthodox didn't know you guys also believed in Deification through God energies, thats pretty interesting also.
I already explained this on HCR 3 years ago. I'll re-post it again. I updated it a little. I Added more info to it, and refined some of the ruff edges, but it's still mostly the same. (EO teaches what?)


But Ima holla atchu when I'm done, I also found a pretty interesting article by a Calvinist who went to a EO Seminary, St. Vladimir's to be precise...peep it.
Yeah I think I read something else by him....before I became EO.....from what I can remember he was mostly talking about the higher criticism issue of Saint Vlads. Alot of Orthodox don't agree with it and so in recent years under new leadership the seminary has become more moderate and focused on the Patristic interpretation of Scripture.
I personally like St.Tikhon's Seminary. Their ethos is more monastic based.

I peeped the article, it's different from the one I read many years ago. Was there something in the article you wanted to discuss? He is looking at the issue from a Presbyterian perspective. This guy knows that Saint John Chrysostom wasn't a Calvinist, but you seem to be siding with John Gill. So who is right? John Gill or this guy? They both can't be right? Will you now admit that John Gill was wrong?

But anyways, let me go back to the article:
First, in my experience, the Orthodox do not understand justification by faith. Some reject it. Others tolerate it, but no one I met or read seemed to really understand it.
If we don't understand it then how could some tolerate it? Also who's version of Justification is he talking about? There are many people from different Reformed and Calvinistic churches that become Orthodox, and some of them might have a slightly different view than the other. You have the Norman Shepperd camp, you have the New Perspective on Paul camp, and then you have your belief of what you think it is. And so who's version? Also there are alot of different Anglicans and Lutherans that become Orthodox, not to mention Amish, Methodists, Holiness and Pentecostal folk! And so who's version is the official version? There are some versions we tolerate and there are some we don't. If it lines up with the Patristic interpretation of the Scriptures and doesn't overturn it on it's head, then there is a good chance that it will be tolerated. If not then it will be rejected.

Also has Dr. Kinneer ever looked at the history of biblical interpretation when it comes to the issue of Justification? Can his biblical interpretation of the issue be traced for 2,000 years? If not, then can the core essence of his view be traced back for 2,000 years? For this is what it will ultimately come down to.

Just as Protestants can make justification the whole (rather than the beginning) of the gospel, so the Orthodox tend to make sanctification (which they call "theosis" or deification) the whole gospel. In my estimation, this is a serious defect. It weakens the Orthodox understanding of the nature of saving faith.
In order to say this, one must first know what the true nature of saving faith is. One must first know what the original interpretation is. How can a later interpretation supersede a previous one? Especially if the previous one was the one handed from the Apostles? Can he trace his view/interpretation back for 2,000 years? Can he trace the core essence of his view back for 2,000 years? For this is what it will ultimately come down to.

Orthodoxy also has a real problem with nominal members. Many Orthodox Christians have a very inadequate understanding of the gospel as Orthodoxy understands it. Their religion is often so intertwined with their ethnicity that being Russian or Greek becomes almost synonymous with being Orthodox. This is, by the way, a critique I heard from the lips of Orthodox leaders themselves. This is not nearly as serious a problem in Reformed churches because our preaching continually stresses the necessity for a personal, intimate trusting, receiving, and resting upon Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Such an emphasis is blurred among the Orthodox.
I agree that we have an issue with nominals, but name a time or age in where nominalism was never a problem? Also the OPC denomination is small and so their issue with nominals isn't gonna be the same as with a much bigger group. I agree that ethnicity is an issue, most Orthodox are aware of the issue. But to be honest, you are going to have ethnicity issues almost everywhere. I grew up in a mostly all black Baptist church, someone else maybe an all white Baptist church, someone else, maybe an all latino Pentecostal church, or an all Korean Presbyterian church, or an all Philippino Pentecostal church. Or an all Swedish Lutheran Church. Or a mostly Irish Roman Catholic parish vs the mostly hispanic one or mostly Polish one or mostly Austrian German one.

We all have to deal with the ethnic issue.

I disagree with what he said about us having a very inadequate understanding of the gospel. If he believes that the Gospel was visibly present in every age of Church History then he can't really say that without shooting himself in the foot.

And so it might come down to what he means by "the Gospel"? Does he mean the five points of Calvinism? If so, then yes! We have a very inadequate understanding of what some Calvinists may think the gospel to be. But in saying that, he will have to say that about most people in Church History and the Christians who lived before Saint Augustine in general. Shoot! Even Saint Augustine would have to be seen by (Dr. Kinneer) as someone who had a very inadequate understanding of the gospel.

Second, the Orthodox have a very inadequate understanding of sovereign grace.
He means Calvinism. Our understanding isn't Calvinistic and so to him we have an inadequate understanding. Once again, we will have to go back to the issue of can he trace his understanding back for 2,000 years? Can he trace the core essence of his view back for 2,000 years? For this is what it will ultimately come down to.

It is not fair to say that they are Pelagians. (Pelagius was a Western Christian who denied original sin and taught that man's will is free to choose good.) But they are definitely not Augustinians (Calvinists) on sin and grace.
John Gill seems to think otherwise! He quotes our people as if they were Calvinists before Augustine! Dr. Kinneer is somewhat right. We are not Augustinians in the strict sense of the word.

In a conversation with professors and doctoral students about the nature of salvation, I quoted Ezekiel 36:26-27 as showing that there is a grace of God that precedes faith and enables that human response. One professor said in response, "I never thought of that verse in that way before."
Before the time of Augustine that passage was seen as talking about Water Baptism and Chrismation/Confirmation. Even during his time as well as well after his time people still preserved the original Christian understanding of that verse to refer to water Baptism and Chrismation/Confirmation. And so once again the issue will come down to tracing ones Biblical interpretation back 2,000 years.

The Orthodox have not thought a lot about sin, regeneration, election, and so forth.
Yes we have! Why do we keep asking God for Mercy? Why do we keep saying the Jesus Prayer? Why would we say all this if we didn't have alot to say about sin?

To be honest, we would have more in common with Arminians and Molinists when it comes to such issues. Why don't we argue with protestant Arminians? Why don't we argue with the Roman Catholic Molinists(Jesuits)? Why don't we argue with them when it comes to these issues? Why do we argue with other Roman Catholics and other Protestants when it comes to these issues?

Their view of original sin (a term which they avoid) falls far short of the teaching of Paul.
He means his understanding of Paul. Our view is very similar to the Jewish one. And so we would say that he is the one who goes far beyond the scope of the teaching of Paul. Once again this will come down to tracing ones Biblical interpretation back for 2,000 years.

Correspondingly, their understanding of Christ's atonement and God's calling is weak as well.
What he means is according to his perspective it is weak because we are not Calvinists. Nor do we follow a later atonement interpretation disconnected from the original Ransom and Christus Victor atonement views.

He feels that because we don't make a distinction of an inner vs an outer calling in where the outer call is always resistible and the inner call is always irresistible, well, he feels that our view is weak because of it. What he doesn't understand is that free will was the original teaching that was passed on from the Apostles to the Church after them, and that we can freely accept or reject God's calling. The Bible doesn't make a distinction between an inner vs an outer call. That is a philosophical spin of how to reconcile a foreign view with the Scriptures. Now there is nothing wrong with philosophy. We all have it to a certain degree.

Their views could best be described as undeveloped. If you want to see this for yourself, read Chrysostom on John 6:44-45, and then read Calvin on the same passage.
What he means by undeveloped is that we don't contradict the Apostolic Faith. If the Apostles handed down the doctrine of the Real Presence, then we will still teach the real Presence. Yes, it will have more detail, but the essence will still be the same idea. If the Apostles handed down the teaching of free will, then we will still teach free will. Yes, it might be a little more detailed, but the core essence will still be the same.
To Dr. Kinneer, development means that we have to teach the opposite. If the Apostles handed us the teaching of the Real Presence, then we gotta change it to symbolism only or a soft spiritual presence only. If the Apostles handed us free will, then we gotta change that to either hard or soft determinism.

so we have not thought a lot about what have been their consuming passions: the Incarnation, the meaning of worship, the soul's perfection in the communicable attributes of God (which they call the energies of God), and the disciplines by which we grow in grace.

I thought this was interesting. You seem to have a problem with our Essence vs Energies distinction, but Dr. Kinneer doesn't have a problem with it. He sees it as similar to the Reformed distinction of Communicable vs Incommunicable Attributes.

So why do you still have a problem with it?
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