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Friday, July 30, 2010

An Introduction to the Orthodox Christian Understanding of Free Will

By Father Michael Azkou


The link:
Orthodoxyinfo.org/AzkoulFreeWill.htm













ICXC NIKA
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Heresies – a modern look

As seen from St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church

Session I – Introduction, The Early Church
download

Session II - Gnosticism
download

Session III - Gnosticism Part II
download

Session IV - Marcionites, Montanists, Manichaeism
download



To see the rest please visit St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church








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Saint Jerome & Free Will

Saint Jerome
To Ctesiphon (In writing against Pelagius)

Quote:
"I am the hapless being against whom you ought to direct your insults, I who am for ever reading the words: “by grace ye are saved,” 5. and “blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” 1. Yet, to lay bare my own weakness, I know that I wish to do many things which I ought to do and yet cannot. For while my spirit is strong and leads me to life my flesh is weak and draws me to death. And I have the warning of the Lord in my ears: “watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

10. It is in vain that you misrepresent me and try to convince the ignorant that I condemn free will. Let him who condemns it be himself condemned. We have been created endowed with free will; still it is not this which distinguishes us from the brutes. For human free will, as I have said before, depends upon the help of God and needs His aid moment by moment, a thing which you and yours do not choose to admit. Your position is that, if a man once has free will, he no longer needs the help of God. It is true that freedom of the will brings with it freedom of decision. Still man does not act immediately on his free will, but requires God’s aid who Himself needs no aid."










ICXC NIKA
Monday, July 26, 2010

BEYOND TORTURE -The gulag of Pitesti ROMANIA




Part 2:



Part 3:



Part 4:









ICXC NIKA
Friday, July 23, 2010

Lose Christianity or face expulsion

As seen from Worldnetdaily:

Quote:
"A lawsuit against Augusta State University in Georgia alleges school officials essentially gave a graduate student in counseling the choice of giving up her Christian beliefs or being expelled from the graduate program.

School officials Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley, Paulette Schenck and Richard Deaner demanded student Jen Keeton, 24, go through a "remediation" program after she asserted homosexuality is a behavioral choice, not a "state of being" as a professor said, according to the complaint.

Also named as defendants in the case that developed in May and June are other administrators and the university system's board of regents.

The remediation program was to include "sensitivity training" on homosexual issues, additional outside study on literature promoting homosexuality and the plan that she attend a "gay pride parade" and report on it."



and


Quote:
"In the still-pending case involving Eastern Michigan, lawmakers there considered calling top school officials on the carpet after they expelled from a counseling program a Christian student who refused to argue in support of the homosexual lifestyle.

As WND reported, trouble began for master's program student Julea Ward when she refused to accept a client whose issue concerned a homosexual relationship.

The school expelled her from the counseling program March 12, 2009, for refusing to abrogate her own personal religious beliefs and support the homosexual lifestyle.

Since then, Ward has brought a lawsuit through the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom.

Members of the Michigan Senate shortly later approved legislation that includes a provision calling on university counseling programs to evaluate and affirm how they can accommodate the religious beliefs of students.

State Rep. Tom McMillin told WND at the time the case was "extremely alarming," and there was growing support for an effort to penalize universities that don't accommodate religious beliefs.

"This is a state-taxpayer-supported university," he said. "She's got a court case. Hopefully that will be resolved.""




To read the rest please visit this website.











ICXC NIKA
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Weary" by NewWorldSon

Monday, July 19, 2010

Eastern Orthodoxy Class at Toccoa Falls College













ICXC NIKA
Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sacred Mount Athos


Friday, July 16, 2010

Bootleggers and Baptists

Church of England bishops will be allowed to become nuns

As seenn from Telegraph.co.UK:

Male bishops could become Anglican nuns, under Synod proposals






"As usual, the Synod’s topsy-turvy ecclesiology is a mystery to me, but I gather that the idea is that bishops would be entitled to take vows in orders of nuns so that they can provide special episcopal oversight to the sisters. It’s a typically ingenious Anglican response to the forthcoming ordination of women bishops. “There will be jokes about bishops in wimples, but having bishop-nuns would introduce a degree of mutual cooperation that could make the introduction of women bishops much smoother,” says my Synod source.

And just when I thought things couldn’t get any weirder, I learn the identity of the bishop who is rumoured to have volunteered to take nun’s vows: the Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Croydon, often spoken of as a successor to Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury. Says my informant: “Nick is a big fan of Sister Act, and we knew he was keen to ‘get ahead,’ as it were, so he was the obvious person to ask. And apparently he was delighted, because he’s all about challenging gender stereotypes.”


To read the rest please visit Telegraph.co.UK
Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wisdom 1:13-15 & 2:23-24

"13 because God did not make death,
and he does not delight in the death of the living.
14 For he created all things so that they might exist;
the generative forces* of the world are wholesome,
and there is no destructive poison in them,
and the dominion* of Hades is not on earth.
15 For righteousness is immortal.


23 for God created us for incorruption,
and made us in the image of his own eternity,*
24 but through the devil’s envy death entered the world,
and those who belong to his company experience it."









ICXC NIKA
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The violence of Christian history

David Bentley Hart is being interviewed.

The violence of Christian history from CPX on Vimeo.















ICXC NIKA

"Far Away" by Lecrae




Orthodox Haiti.org

Also check out David's blog:
Little more good news from Haiti

and

Orthodox Priests in Haiti

Also check out Haiti Earthquake Relief












ICXC NIKA
Sunday, July 11, 2010

Suffering and the problem of evil

Suffering and the problem of evil from CPX on Vimeo.













ICXC NIKA

Ecumenical greetings

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Seven Ecumenical Councils

This video was made by David W

Orthodox Gnosiology- How We Know and What We are Called to Know

As seen from Carving Ben's Blog.

Quote:
"Orthodox Gnosiology is not merely an intellectual question, but is also a phenomenological, existential, ontological, personal and mystical one. How can Orthodox theology develop its methodology without reducing itself to a simple philosophical system?




In the beginning was the Word.
And the Word was with God
and the Word was God. John 1:1




The Incarnation was an empirically verifiable presentation of the Uncreated united to the Creature. The Scriptures state that through the Incarnation the Apostles received full assurance (πλεροφορια) of the empirical and historical sort. But the Incarnation led to the confession of Peter that Jesus Christ was the son of the living God- a revelation that was not made by flesh and blood- a revelation that is of the essence of Orthodox gnosiology. It is the Incarnation that gives the beginning point for a complete Orthodox gnosiology. Orthodox gnosiology has as its goal the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of God that we seek is the experiential kind, and of the kind that brings certitude to the whole of our being. Christ stated the goal of our knowledge when he said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by me.” . Christ is for us the Truth that we seek to know. Christ is the way by which we can know the Truth and the end of Truth is that we ‘come’ to the Father. Orthodox gnosiology began in the historical and empirical, visible, revelation of Jesus Christ to the Apostles. It is the Apostolic kerygma, delivered to the ends of the earth, the foolishness of preaching, that brings to the rest of us the possibility of experiential knowledge of the unknowable God, the Father. Orthodox gnosiology is rooted in revelation; it is also subset of Christology for it by the Son that we ‘come’ to the Father.

Incarnation as Interpretive Key for Gnosiology-
Some say that it is the Incarnation that makes theology possible. However, it must be remembered that Scripture itself is theology in that it is the record of men’s experiences with God. It is according to Christ that we interpret the Old Testament. It is according to Christ that we interpret our lives lived in Him today. Thus, the Incarnation is also the interpretive key for a sound gnosiology. 1 John 4:2 “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God”. Therefore, while the Incarnation was the supreme manifestation of God, it is also the interpretative key, and touchstone of validity for all past and future interior experiences ,and exterior expressions, of God. Experience of communion with God begins within and leads to the confession of the Incarnation. Experience of communion with God comes through the agency of the Holy Spirit. The inner experience of God is the fullness of assurance that Scripture states that we are called to receive. Both the inner and outer assurance of Truth co-inhere in Orthodox gnosiology. The fact of the Holy Spirit as the mediator of immediate perception roots Christian gnosiology also within the domain of Pneumatology."




To read the rest please visit Hesychastic Layman







ICXC NIKA

Hesychasm

As seen from Ben's Blog








Monasticism

kyrie Eleison!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What are you wearing? by David W

KabaneTheChristian: Experience with Jehovah's Witness Missionaries

He likes to use the Western tradition when talking about the Trinity. For those that don't know what the western tradition is, it is to start with the Essence first and Persons second. The Eastern tradition is to start with the Persons first and Essence second.

He did a pretty good job in talking with the JW's.

KabaneTheChristian: On the Historicity of Jesus

He's responding to someone else on Youtube:

The Ancient Church

This is only part one: I think I have this video already but in a different format.










ICXC NIKA

Darwin and Christianity: God and Creation

This is from the podcast Speaking the Truth in Love by Fr. Thomas Hopko

Play Audio












ICXC NIKA
Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bill Gates Confronted On Eugenics


Disclose.tv - Bill Gates Confronted on Eugenics by We Are Change Video



Carbon Eugenics

The local western Synod of Elvira: Did it really condemn Icons?

Thanks to Perry I now know the true answer to this question. Thanks for the correction!

Energetic Procession

Quote:
"Apologetics can be cheesy too or perhaps better said, cheesy apologists. Such are the types who toss out references to little known events as evidence for their views without any substantial investigation or argument and without showing any proficiency in the sources that they cite. Unfortunately the Internet is replete with such persons who simply recycle oft repeated claims.

One of these is in reference to the council of Elvira in the late third century/early fourth century. (Its exact date can’t be fixed.) Elvira was a local synod in Spain which put forward 81 canons. Canon 36 is usually trotted out in reference to icons. Rarely is the text of the canon given and almost never analyzed. Sometimes the claim is that Elvira forbade all images. Sometimes the claim is that there was no uninamity regarding the legitimacy images in the early church or similar claims. I don’t think the canon supports either claim.

The canon states,

“It has seemed good that images should not be in churches so that what is venerated and worshipped not be painted on the walls.”

The canon does not prohibit the use of images per se. It does prohibit them on the walls of the church without mentioning other locations either in the church or outside it, say in private homes. The canon also implicitly recognizes that this was practised in the prior period. Probably, there would be no need to pass a canon for a practice that was non-existent. The canon also shows that Christians could distinguish between various forms of representations since it refers to images of figures in Christian theology. The canon does not equate images in the church on walls with images of pagan deities (idols). And the canon has the framework of a minor disciplinary procedure since it carries with it no sanctions or anathama. The language of “it seemed good to us” is prudential. Better safe than sorry. Consequently, the canon is not the carte blanch condemnation of images that many Protestant cheesy apologists like to spin it."



To read the rest please visit Energetic Procession



I knew about this synod back in my protestant years, back when I was still a protestant Iconoclast. But I never knew the full context of it.











ICXC NIKA

I found another one

Some days ago I was seeing what Athanasiosj( was up to and I saw that he found another Orthodox Christian convert that use to follow Bercot back in the day. This is his blog:

Early Church Remnant

As seen from one of his posts:
Quote:
"David Bercot is a prolific writer on the subject of the early church. He was driven to the writings of the early church in his early days when he converted from the Watchtower Society to evangelicalism. The doctrinal arguments in the evangelical wing of Christianity led him to look to the earliest documents of the Christian movement, to find out what the early Church believed.
His early works led him to conclude that the early Church was strictly pacifist, non-resistant, with respect to fighting in war, and was strictly opposed to the games and to the theater, embracing strict conventions with respect to modesty in attire, and lifestyle, including the wearing of the prayer veil for women in worship, thus having a style of life somewhat akin, in his thinking,to the contemporary conservative Mennonites. The Anabaptist vision was the vision his first edition of Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up, called folks to. On the other hand he found unmistakable evidence of the centrality of Communion in worship, an Episcopal form of government, and a commitment to Apostolic Succession, along with a belief in baptismal regeneration, and adherance to the early Creeds of the Church. His second edition of Heretics called all to follow him into Anglicanism of a classical variety, Jeremy Taylor, Hooker, Cranmer, and so forth.
As a result he and others who were under his influence, of which I was one, decided to practice our distinctive pacifistic and non-conformist Christian lives as a Society within the confines of some of the various 1928 Book of Common Prayer Continuing Anglican Communions, thereby attaining apostolic succession of a sort, episcopal government, and liturgical worship.
This was an unstable combination, and many of the people attuned thereby to various Catholic issues that were mentioned, began to look at the claims of Roman Catholicism and of Eastern Orthodoxy, precisely because the early Church rested its understanding on a belief in the Church as a visible Institution that would preserve the Faith. The Branch Theory of Anglicanism was not early Church teaching. Many went on to become Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox- my family did the latter.
David had earlier attempted to morph himself and his early associates into an ancient Church, but was shipwrecked at the prayers that were offered by Eastern Orthodox to the Virgin Mary. It was too much for him; he expostulated on a tape, 'why didn't they pray to the Holy Spirit or to Jesus?'
With many going in directions that David found untenable, he re-visited his viewpionts and edited his books anew, and came out with the book that now defines his position The Kingdom that Turned the World Upside Down. David's thinking had turned away from the Church. He said the Apostles didn't envision that the Church would fall away from the truth and did not make provision for it. Since in David's view all the historic Churches had erred in doctrine, he opted for Orthopraxy as the touchstone for choosing a Christian Assembly, as long as it somewhat loosely could be said to embrace the Apostles' Creed and the non- supplemented version of the 325 Creed of Nicaea. And in his writing he began to side in many ways with groups that had been identified as schismatic or heretical down through the ages. He opted for what he calls a commitment to the Kingdom in favor of a commitment to Church or a Church, a historical and visible Church. He has embraced then an invisible Church doctrine with various groups appearing and disappearing expressing the spirit of the kingdom though varying quite wildly in doctrine and practice. He for example includes Quakers, who neither baptize nor take communion. He includes Waldensians who practice infant baptism. He embraces Donatists and Novationists who believed that one could only sin once after baptism. He mentions the Lollards who believed in women preachers and denied the Real Presence in the Eucharist.
Constant in David's thinking has been his commitment to total pacifism and to modesty and simplicity in style of life. He likes the word 'radical' to describe the sort of Christianity that he believes to be normative. On the web page he has devoted to his viewpoints, www.earlychurch.com. He states his chief aim is to promote a personal, obedient love relationship with Jesus Christ. That is good. We ought to love Jesus, relate to Him personally and obey Him
So, David puts forth an Ecclesiology that is distinctively protestant, an invisible Church ecclesiology, a soteriology that aligns with historical pietism of a personal love relationship to Jesus, and an ethic that is pacifistic and so has an inherent antipathy to any possibility of a Christian bearing the sword or being the one who commnds others to bear the sword, that is to say, to be a politician.

In the Apostles' Creed, there is the statement that "I believe... in the holy catholic church".
That is a heavy thing to confess, and to do so with integrity. In the early centuries when this Creed appears, as a local or regional baptismal statement of belief, the ideas of catholic and church were full of content, and that content did not include the idea of an invisible Church. The catholic Church of that Creed, had apostolic succession by the laying on of hands; it had a hierarchical rulership and three-fold offices of Bishop, Pastor and Deacon. It had a robust Tradition of Prayer facing the East in Assemblies, of the usage of an altar in worship, of the sign of the cross in one's prayers. It had liturgical baptismal formulae and prayer formulae, as is evidenced in the works of Hippolytus towards the end of the Second Century, and liturgies for ordinations and for all the various aspects of worship. The Church was viewed to be Mystically and Adminstratively One, and had a doctrinal consensus that united the entire Church as well. The early Church had a visible Church doctrine. So that when David says that he embraces the idea of a catholic Church, he must break ranks with what the early Church believed about Itself.
The Early Church believed that the Visible Church would persist throughout all of history and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Christ, in His teachings, said as much. Thus, when one begins to state as David has that original faith had been lost and is not fully adhered to by any group, He comes very close to undercutting the veracity of the Lord who built the Church. If the Visible Church did not persist in the fullness of doctrine, then Christ's word ceases to become reliable. David says he believes in the catholic Church but he empties it of Apostolic Content and reconfigures it into an unrecognizable neologism.
This is serious for another reason. Ecclesiology is a subset of Christology because the Church is now the Body of Christ, and in It is continued the ministry of Jesus Christ on the earth. Therefore deviations in Ecclesiology become and lead to and are expressive of a heretical Christiology.






To read the rest please visit his blog


Hmm, I wonder if we could get him to re-post some of his stuff on the Orthodox Apologetics blog? I need to ask the others first to see what they think.










ICXC NIKA

Pics from the Conference

Fr. Basil Henry of Saint Luke Orthodox Mission (The place where the conference was held this year)

















The actual Pictures! (you can also click on the pic below)















ICXC NIKA
Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Soviet Story

More Americans need to know about the evils of Marxism. For what happened over there can easily happen over here!





A lady asked Benjamin Franklin:

Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?

Benjamin Franklin Responded:
A Republic, if you can keep it



Have a Happy 4th of July!








ICXC NIKA
Saturday, July 3, 2010

Answering a question about faith, and a few other things

As seen from the Theologica forums.

Brian Leffert said:
"Hello Inorm 888,

1) Paul is making a case that something is "not of ourselves" in Eph 2, what would you understand that to be?"


Hello Brian,

You can see the full thing here:
eph 2:8 and "The gift of God"

But I will repost the necessary info here along with a new commentary:

This is what Saint Augustine said about the issue:
newadvent.org/fathers/1512.htm
chapter 12 of (Book I) "On the Predestination of the Saints"
Quote:
""And he says that a man is justified by faith and not by works, because
faith itself is first given, from which may be obtained other things which are
specially characterized as works, in which a man may live righteously. For he
himself also says, "By grace you are saved through faith; and this not of
yourselves; but it is the gift of God," Ephesians 2:8 —that is to say, "And in
saying 'through faith,' even faith itself is not of yourselves, but is God's
gift." "Not of works," he says, "lest any man should be lifted up.""


Saint Augustine was wrong. He made a mistake that caused the west to error even to this day.


John Calvin tried to correct this common western error:
biblestudyguide.org/comment/calvin
From John Calvin's Commentary on the book of Ephesians.
Quote:
""But it is still more absurd to overlook the apostle's inference, lest any
man should boast. Some room must always remain for man's boasting, so long as,
independently of grace, merits are of any avail. Paul's doctrine is overthrown,
unless the whole praise is rendered to God alone and to his mercy. And here we
must advert to a very common error in the interpretation of this passage. Many
persons restrict the word gift to faith alone. But Paul is only repeating in
other words the former sentiment. His meaning is, not that faith is the gift of
God, but that salvation is given to us by God, or, that we obtain it by the gift
of God."


The scholarly view now in some circles that are still trying to hold on to the Augustinian tradition is that the text/passage is talking about everything in the preceding clause.

But literally the passage is talking about the word "saved/salvation".

This is what Joseph Dongell had to say about Eph 2:8

"If faith is not our doing but God's gift, then the well-known features of
calvinism fall into place. Those who "have faith" have been given faith by God,
and those who don't have not given faith by God. By this view, faith becomes a
function of divine causation operating according to the individual electing will
of God.

But the terms (faith, this, it) that seem so clearly linked in
English are not so neatly connected in Greek. The English ear depends largely on
word order for making sense of language, and so automatically presumes that this
(which "is not from yourselves") must obviously refer back to faith, since faith
immediately precedes this in the word order of the text. But Greek, being an
inflected language, actually depends on "tags" that are attached to words for
guiding the reader. If our writer had desired readers to connect faith directly
to this, these two words should have matched each other as grammatically
feminine. We find, however, that this, being neuter in gender, likely points us
back several words earlier- to the idea of salvation expressed by the verb.
Accordingly, we should read the text with a different line of connections as
follows: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this
[salvation is] not from yourself, [this salvation] is the gift of God."

Many Calvinists fear that any retreat from the conviction that God
causes faith will make salvation a human accomplishment. If faith is something
we do, then salvation rests on our deeds and no longer on God's grace. If faith
is viewed as our part in the process of salvation, then salvation must be viewed
as a cooperative affair, and we should then describe ourselves as self-saviors
in part.
But the flaw in this Calvinist fear lies in its improper
understanding of the nature of faith itself. The Bible itself does not describe
faith as a work that accomplishes a taske, or as a deed that establishes merit,
or as a lever that forces God to act. Instead, we find that genuine faith is
something quite different. As Paul's treatment of Abraham shows, the patriarch's
faith had no power over God, earned no merit before God and stood as the polar
opposite to honorific deeds. Abraham believed God, and righteousness was
"credited" to him, not paid to him. God alone justified Abraham freely on the
basis of Abraham's faith (Rom 4:1-6). Since by its very nature faith confesses
the complete lack of human merit and human power, it subtracts nothing from the
Savior's grace or glory. By its very nature, faith points away from all human
status and looks to God alone for rescue and restoration."

From the
book "Why I am not a Calvinist" by Jerry L. Walls & Joseph R. Dongell pages
77 & 78



You can see the same view with Adam Clark in his commentary.
godrules.net/library/clark
Adam Clark's Commentary to
the Ephesians
Quote:

"Verse 8. For by grace are ye saved, through faith] As ye are now brought into a
state of salvation, your sins being all blotted out, and you made partakers of
the Holy Spirit; and, having a hope full of immortality, you must not attribute
this to any works or merit of yours; for when this Gospel reached you, you were
all found dead in trespasses and dead in sins; therefore it was God's free mercy
to you, manifested through Christ, in whom ye were commanded to believe; and,
having believed by the power of the Holy Spirit, ye received, and were sealed
by, the Holy Spirit of promise; so that this salvation is in no sense of
yourselves, but is the free gift of God; and not of any kind of works; so that
no man can boast as having wrought out his own salvation, or even contributed
any thing towards it. By grace arc ye saved, through faith in Christ. This is a
true doctrine, and continues to be essential to the salvation of man to the end
of the world.

But whether are we to understand, faith or salvation as
being the gift of God? This question is answered by the Greek text: th gar
cariti este seswsmenoi dia thv pistewv? kai touto ouk ex umwn? qeou to dwron,
ouk ex ergwn? ina mh tiv kauchshtai? "By this grace ye are saved through faith;
and THIS (touto, this salvation) not of you; it is the gift of God, not of
works: so that no one can boast."The relative touto, this, which is in the
neuter gender, cannot stand for pistiv, faith, which is the feminine; but it has
the whole sentence that goes before for its antecedent." But it may be asked: Is
not faith the gift of God? Yes, as to the grace by which it is produced; but the
grace or power to believe, and the act of believing, are two different things.
Without the grace or power to believe no man ever did or can believe; but with
that power the act of faith is a man's own. God never believes for any man, no
more than he repents for him: the penitent, through this grace enabling him,
believes for himself: nor does he believe necessarily, or impulsively when he
has that power; the power to believe may be present long before it is exercised,
else, why the solemn warnings with which we meet every where in the word of God,
and threatenings against those who do not believe? Is not this a proof that such
persons have the power but do not use it? They believe not, and therefore are
not established. This, therefore, is the true state of the case: God gives the
power, man uses the power thus given, and brings glory to God: without the power
no man can believe; with it, any man may."




Saint John Chrysostom also focuses on Regeneration / the new creation / Salvation in regards to Eph chapter 2

Quote:
""Again Christ is introduced, and it is a matter well worthy of our belief,
because if the firstfruits live, so do we also. He has quickened both Him and
us. Do you see that all this is said of Christ incarnate?......Those who were
dead, those who were children of wrath, those He has quickened. Do you behold
'the hope of his calling? ....Do you behold the glory of his inheritance?.....As
yet not one is actually raised, excepting that inasmuch as the Head has risen,
we also are raised....Truly there is need of the Spirit and of revelation, in
order to understand the depth of these mysteries. And then so you may have no
distrust about the matter, observe what he adds further....was faith then, you
will say, enough to save us? No, but God he says, has required this, lest He
should save us, barren and without work at all. His expression is that faith
saves, but it is because God so wills it that faith saves....'We are His
workmanship.' He here alludes to the regeneration which is in reality a second
creation. We have been brought from non-existence into being. As to what we were
before, that is, the old man, we are dead."


From the Eastern
Orthodox Lectionary & Commentary called "The Bible and the Holy Fathers"
compiled and Edited by Johanna Manley & Foreword by Bishop Kallistos Ware,
pages 489-490



So now you know why I believe the way I do in regards to Eph 2:8




Brian Leffert said:
2) This discussion is about faith being a gift, you said you agree. please share some of the other verses that you believe would better witness to this.

Because of the differences between free will and determinism, you and I will naturally disagree in how we understand these things, but we will also find some common ground somewhere as well.


Philippians 1:29
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,

Romans 12:3
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

and

1 Corinthians 12
Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.......................to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit



Brian Leffert said:
3) We receive many gifts from our creator that are given at His will only. Your natural body and spirit were given without your permission. When the Holy Spirit removes the scales from an unbelievers eyes, and regenerates them they believe what was foolishness to them in there natural (spiritually dead) state. Remember Spiritually dead people cannot make a spiritual decision to rise from the dead any more than physically dead people can of there own will choose to live. Regeneration must precede, and in fact facilitate this decision.


I believe in what is called Baptismal Regeneration, and so I will naturally understand Regeneration differently than you. The Biblical and Christian historic view (both east and west) is one of Baptismal Regeneration. We are literally Born Again / Born anew / Born from above through water Baptism and Chrismation / Confirmation. Yes, there is a grace that precedes Water Baptism, but that grace is the drawing of the Holy Spirit that guides us to the grace of water Baptism. You are confusing "Regeneration" with the drawing of God. Regeneration is properly put in the waters of Baptism for that is when we get a new heart and mind......and become united with Christ!

Ezekiel 36:25-27
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

and

John 3
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You[c] must be born again.' 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

and

Colossians 2:11-13
In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins[c] of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

and

Acts 22:16
And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'



Brian Leffert said:
4) All life is dependent on God, well said. All men are not "in Christ".
My desire is to make clear that the discussion is about two very different understandings of the the ability of an unregenerate (natural) man to will, or desire to believe. Some would say the natural man's will is "free" or my word "autonomous", still having the capability to comprehend and believe the gospel. Others would say the natural man's will is fallen, or desperately wicked, and that the gospel can not be understood by them as anything but foolishness.



If you are a Calvinist then yes, I understand what you were trying to say. I just disagree with it. For if Acts chapter 17 is true, then you are only setting up a straw man by saying all that. Such a view destroys God's Omni-Presence as well as creates a world in where atheists and agnostics can exist......for basically what you are saying is that there are people walking around somewhere where God is not and willing somewhere where God is not. Such a world is an atheists dream! An agnostics dream! A deists dream! A secularists dream! This is there dream world!

But such a world doesn't exist! And so you are only setting up a strawman by saying such things.



Brian Leffert said:
5) Did I quote Calvin somewhere? :)

You didn't have to.






ICXC NIKA
Thursday, July 1, 2010

Population Control & Eugenics

Part 1:





Part 2:




Part 3:

Sean On Phariseeism










ICXC NIKA

Why Sean left the Old Calendarist movement for Canonical Orthodoxy




The Canons serve the Church, not vice-versa.








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