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- An Outline of Orthodox Patristic Dogmatics
- An excellent read
- Holy Friday Hymn (English)
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- Deleted a Link
- Have you looked at Blogger lately?
- Irresistible Grace and Synergy
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- An Excellent Article!
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- Toward a New Muslim-Christian Agreement
- Atheism & Morality Debate and Other Announcements
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- Pray for the people of Japan!
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This is from my homey Athanasios Jayne, as seen from the Early Christians Today group. (the place where both some followers and former foll...
I don't think he knows that classical Nestorians as well as modern Calvinists also embrace the heresy. He thinks it was only the Monophy...
There is a link between Calvinism and our modern use of Usury. We now live in an age where High Usury against is commonplace, yet the Bible ...
As seen from the Theologica Forums. Thanks, I hope he doesn't mind if I interact with it. I agree with what...
The actual text: http://septuagint-interlinear-greek-bible.com/OldTestament.pdf This is from the website " The Apostolic Bible p...
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Lecture 8 Q&A
He talks about it in passing towards the later half of this lecture for a few minutes, but he spends more time on it in the Q&A session.
JERUSALEM (AP) — A tiny, exquisitely made box found on an excavated street in Jerusalem is a token of Christian faith from 1,400 years ago, Israeli archaeologists said Sunday.
The box, carved from the bone of a cow, horse or camel, decorated with a cross on the lid and measuring only 0.8 inches by 0.6 inches (2 centimeter by 1.5 centimeter), was likely carried by a Christian believer around the end of the 6th century A.D, according to Yana Tchekhanovets of the Israel Antiquities Authority, one of the directors of the dig where the box was found.
When the lid is removed, the remains of two portraits are still visible in paint and gold leaf. The figures, a man and a woman, are probably Christian saints and possibly Jesus and the Virgin Mary.
The box was found in an excavation outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City in the remains of a Byzantine-era thoroughfare, she said. Uncovered two years ago, it was treated by preservation experts and extensively researched before it was unveiled at an archaeological conference last week.
The box is important in part because it offers the first archaeological evidence that the use of icons in the Byzantine period was not limited to church ceremonies, she said.
Part of a similar box was found three decades ago in Jordan, but this is the only well-preserved example to be found so far, she said. Similar icons are still carried today by some Christian believers, especially from the eastern Orthodox churches.
To read the reast please visit The link.
Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification
18th Annual Ancient Christianity and African-American Conference
The Ancient Faith for Modern Problems, Part One
As seen from the website:
"His Grace Bishop Matthias, the new Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest of the Orthodox Church in America."
Bringing the Ancient Faith to Modern People
As seen from the website:
"Fr. John Finely, mission priest with the Department of Missions and Evangelism of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America."
To listen to the other audios please visit Ancient Faith Radio
The Ancient Faith for Modern Problems
The 18th ANNUAL ANCIENT CHRISTIANITY AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN CONFERENCE
Will be held in the city of Detroit
From August 26th to August 28th
Cost: Registration & all meals — $100 ($50 for 1 day)
High School & College Students: FREE,
but you must make advance reservations for meals
If you want to come & can’t afford it, do contact us —
Limited SCHOLARSHIPS for registration, meals & lodging
Register by August 19th to reserve your catered meals.
Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church (OCA)
36075 West Seven Mile Road, Livonia, MI
(between Farmington & Newburgh, a little east of I-275)
HYATT PLACE Detroit/Livonia
19300 Haggerty Road, Livonia
(on West Seven Mile Road, a little west of I-275)
Book your room before 8/12 for special rate of $87.00 (+ tax) per night, per room. (accommodates 3+ people in 3 queen beds) ( Group code: G-BROT.)
To learn more please visit The Brotherhood of Saint Moses the Black.
The PDF files for:
Conference Registration Form
Please visit the website.
"The treatment of communicatio idiomatum is nowhere more overt in St. Cyril’s writing than when he speaks about the Eucharist, for he makes clear that an exchange of properties takes place between natures based on their common point of union, namely, that they are both proper to the one, divine Son and Word of God. Thus we can see that statements like “the radiance of the divine and ineffable glory of God the Father shines “in the face of Jesus Christ” can be made without fear, for ““the Word who is God can introduce the life-giving power and energy of his own self into his very own flesh,” though without thinking “that the divine nature of the Word had changed into something which formerly it was not…or that the flesh was changed by some kind of transformation into the nature of the Word himself.” The bread which is his flesh, then, is “living bread,” the flesh of life broken on the cross, and no mere man’s flesh, unable to communicate life as can the “holy and life-giving” flesh of the Word, “full of divine energy.” Thus, as Keating concludes, “Cyril’s theology of the Eucharist appears to be quite straightforward: by eating of the consecrated bread, we in fact partake of the flesh of Christ, and so receive into ourselves the life that is in Christ through the medium of his very flesh, flesh which has become life-giving by virtue of the ineffable union of the Word to this flesh.” It is evident, then, that the One who offers this flesh on the cross must be the divine Son and Word of God Himself; a mere taking of a man alongside the Word would not allow for a communication of the life of God through the sacrificed, vivified, and energized flesh given to us in the Eucharist."
To read the rest please visit Oh Taste and See
Celebrating the Feast of the Transfiguration
August 5, 2011 through August 7, 2011
This is an excellent opportunity for men to lay aside their earthly cares and
concerns in order to:
1. Have fellowship with God and like minded men;
2. Make time for peaceful reflection and connection with God;
3. Develop a new capacity to better know and love God.
The retreat will begin with check in at the
Antiochian Village Conference Center
between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM on Friday,
August 5 and will conclude after Divine
Liturgy and brunch on Sunday August 7.
Room and board will be provided as follows:
$231.00 - for single occupancy
$165.00 - for double occupancy
$143.00 - for triple occupancy
Deification in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition: A Biblical Perspective
A review of the book:
This leads on to the final chapter of the book where Thomas engages with the event in the Gospels which scripturally reveals the hope of our deification in the story of Christ's transfiguration on Mount Tabor in which the three Apostles see what true restored humanity looks like in the vision of Christ's human body radiating with divine light. Thomas' exegesis of this passage is made even more interesting through the way in which he constructs a multi-faceted perspective on the Transfiguration through narrating the viewpoints of the three Apostles and eye-witnesses that Christ took with him up the Mountain, St. Peter, St. James and St. John. Thomas then goes on to show how their witness of this extraordinary vision, together with Paul's vision of the Risen Christ on the road to Damascus, transformed their theology and their lives through analysing the epistles that the apostles wrote after Christ's Resurrection. Thus, to take just a few examples that Thomas explores in greater depth, in his second Epistle St. Peter writes that through Christ we might 'escape from the corruption … and become partakers of the divine nature' (2 Pet. 1:4) and John the theologian's speaks more poetically of our 'abiding in the light' of Christ to become children of light bearing the same light that Christ showed on Mount Tabor and finally St. Paul, after his Damascan vision of Christ's light, speaks of our being 'changed into his likeness from one degree of glory into another' (2 Cor 3:18). As these few examples indicate, through his full analysis of the writings of the New Testament Thomas demonstrates, against certain Protestant concerns, that the Orthodox belief in deification is clearly biblically grounded.
Thus although from the dust jacket, scholarly ring of the title and formal presentation of the text it might be easy to overlook Thomas' study as another arcane academic tome, I found Thomas' study to be an ideal introductory book to the faith for interested Orthodox lay people, catechumens and non-Orthodox enquirers. For in the course of exploring the Biblical grounds of the Orthodox understanding of deification, Thomas' provides an accessible and luminously clear account of many basic theological and practical issues of Orthodox belief and practice. Moreover, at the end of the book he has also usefully provided a lengthy appendix with helpful bibliographical suggestions of where the interested enquirer can look next.
To read the rest please visit St. GEORGE ORTHODOX INFORMATION SERVICE
Albert's Contra Zeitgeist series:
As seen by the dailymail.co.uk:
"The Church of England could be virtually extinct in 20 years as elderly members die, an Anglican leader has warned.
The average age of worshippers has risen to 61 as the Church has failed to attract younger followers, its National Assembly was told.
Church leaders now face a 'time bomb' as numbers 'fall through the floor' over the next decade.
Bleak projections for the future came during exchanges at the General Synod in York yesterday.
The Rev Dr Patrick Richmond, from Norwich, told members of the Church’s national assembly that they were facing a 'perfect storm' of ageing congregations and falling clergy numbers.
He said: 'The perfect storm we can see forming on the far horizon is the ageing congregations we have heard about - average age is 61 now, with many congregations above that.'
The Church was accused of 'impeccably' managing itself into failure."
Visit the site to read the rest.
The sad thing is there are some Orthodox in America who want to be just like them:
The facebook group that oppose them:
Also more info about the topic:
Guest Essay: “Same-Sex Marriage and the Revolt Against Metropolitan Jonah”
Someone needs to get this news out to Russia for Metropolitan Jonah is going to need some serious help here in the States!
Gratia et Certamen: The Relationship Between Grace and Free Will in the Discussion of Augustine with the So-Called Semipelagians
As seen from Amazon.com
The issues involved in the discussion between the monks of Hadrumetum/Marseille and Augustine range from questions of initium fidei and naturae bonum, to the understanding of predestination. The monks' reaction to Augustine's doctrine of absolute sovereign grace must be seen as a plea in favour of a harmonizing approach, where human commitment is also envisaged as playing, at times, a primary role. In the light of a dialogical synergism, of a unitarian and cosmic view of God's oeconomia salutis, and relying on a strong ascetic framework, the monks biggest fear was that the implications of Augustine's predestinarian view would jeopardise the importance of the struggle for perfection, the meaning of God's universal salvific will, of Christ's redeeming action, and finally of the Church. The different theological traditions to which Augustine and the monks appealed play also a significant role, as do the specific social and religious context in which they respectively moved."
"Back in January, I was baptized and chrismated into membership of the Orthodox Church in Kenya. Much of my life seems like a blur ever since. Prior to that, I tried to make sense of what was happening to me and why I was moving in that direction by writing out a narrative of that process. But since then, I've not had the chance to be very reflective. It's been enough just to live, and try and hang on.
A Presbyterian Church in Yorktown, VA, one of our supporting congregations, asked me to speak yesterday on 'My Journey to Orthodoxy' Many people there receive our prayer letters and were genuinely interested in what the Orthodox Church is all about and why I, as a Presbyterian minister, would be willing to lay all that down to become an Orthodox Christian. This forced me to slow down and think again about some of the reasons why I've taken these steps.
I am very much in process. There will be some on the Protestant Evangelical/Presbyterian side who may take offense at some things I say, just as there will undoubtedly be some who are further down the Orthodox path who will see shortcomings in my understanding and practice. Guilty as charged, I am sure. So I start by asking your forgiveness for my shortcomings, and for a willingness to help when I have obviously fallen short.
In the meantime, what follows is the talk I gave last night to about 100 very interested and attentive Presbyterians. Their feedback afterwards was very encouraging. I'm grateful they gave me this opportunity.
To read the rest please visit Onesimus Online
From the book.
Once upon a time I was a Calvinist. It was a happy time. It was a
time of enormous growth and learning. And having come from an
evangelical tradition that emphasized individualism and emotion, I
found that Calvinism now presented me with a veritable feast for the
intellect. I met many other Calvinists who loved the Lord their God
with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind—Christians whose faith
and piety continue to inspire me to this day.
I felt like the Bible was making more and more sense every day.
I saw things I never saw before. I learned that Christianity was far
bigger than I had originally suspected, having grown up in an isolated
evangelical bubble. The Reformed doctrines of predestination, which
before seemed abhorrent and strange to me, now became crystal clear.
I read Reformed materials voraciously—everything from Calvin
and Luther to Berkhof and Warfield; from John Owen and Jonathan
Edwards to N.T. Wright and John Piper; from Boettner, Van Til, and
Spurgeon to Sproul, Wilson, and Leithart, not to mention the countless
articles, debates, and podcasts I found online. I studied the works of
dispensationalists, premillennialists, amillennialists, postmillennialists,
preterists, futurists, theonomists, reconstructionists, presuppositionalists,
Federal Visionists, and any other “ists” that had a voice in
the world of Reformed Christianity. And in addition to memorizing
many of the Bible verses that supported Calvinism, I even spent a year
memorizing the entire Westminster Shorter Catechism while in training
to be an elder at my local Presbyterian church.
Something else that I found to be new and exciting in my Reformed
journey was the respect that they seemed to have for the early Church
Fathers. I would occasionally hear preachers quote from some ancient
saint who actually lived before the Reformation. I had always just
assumed that once the ink dried on the book of Revelation, the Church
fell apart and went completely apostate until Martin Luther recovered
the truth in the 16th century. I would hear Reformed teachers say that
there was a “thread of consistency” that reached from the Reformation
all the way back to the earliest Christians. This gave me a degree of
comfort I never had before as a modern evangelical, when I suspected
that my faith looked absolutely nothing like the faith of those “early
Church Fathers,” whoever those guys were anyway.
It was around this time that Dan Brown wrote his infamous book,
The Da Vinci Code. The premise of Brown’s book was that the early
Christians essentially invented their faith—that the divinity of Christ
wasn’t even developed until the council of Nicea in 325 AD. No sooner
did Brown’s book make the best-seller lists than a slew of apologetic
articles appeared on the Internet. And of course, wanting to defend
my faith and encourage those who were being negatively influenced
by The Da Vinci Code, I read several of these articles. I found out
that there were a bunch of people called the “early Church Fathers”—
genuine Christians who lived during the first few centuries of the
I heard names like Ignatius, Polycarp, Clement, Irenaeus, and
countless others that were new to me. I read what they had to say
about the divinity of Christ. I read about how they were influential in
the early Church, and how so many of them were martyred for their
beliefs. Slowly but surely, I started to like these guys.
And that’s where all my trouble began. I had absolute respect
for the Reformers and for the confessions they created, especially
the Westminster Standards, which were particularly important to
my Presbyterian denomination. I also had absolute and unshakeable
respect for the Holy Scriptures. And now I was beginning to have a
growing respect for the early Church Fathers. These were the three
different spheres of influence in my Christian life: the Westminster
Divines, the Bible, and the early Fathers.
The problem, however, was that I couldn’t get all three spheres
to line up! I was beginning to realize that the early Church Fathers
taught things that were vastly different than what my Reformed faith
was teaching me. Yes, there were certainly disagreements among
them on minor doctrinal issues, but by and large, the early Fathers
were all in agreement on things that I had just assumed were Roman
Catholic inventions: things like the salvific efficacy of the sacraments,
the necessity of works for salvation, the ever-virginity of Mary, the
importance of tradition and apostolic succession, the rejection of
sola scriptura, etc. But the big kicker was that virtually every early
Church Father taught against all five points of Calvinism (summed up today by the acronym TUL IP: Total Depravity, Unconditional
Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of
the Saints). So, of these spheres that I so desperately wanted to hold
onto, I realized I could only pick two out of the three. It was either the
Divines’ interpretation of Scripture or it was the Fathers’ interpretation
of Scripture. I simply couldn’t have it both ways.
I suppose many Calvinists would say at this point, “What’s the
problem? Simply accept the Divines’ interpretation of Scripture and
throw out the Fathers. What did they know anyway?” And that was
exactly the question that began to haunt me: What did they know
anyway? When I read little bits and snippets from the Fathers during
my time as a Calvinist, I sensed deep down that they had a fervor
and a zeal that the Reformers seemed to be lacking. They spoke
with authority, like people who had genuinely experienced a direct
encounter with Almighty God."
To read the rest please buy the book.
I'm halfway through the book and most of what I read so far is really good. I've noticed a few areas where I would differ or disagree, but over all I think this is a great effort by Alexander Renault. It's the first book of it's kind that I am aware of. And this is something we need. And so I would like to thank Alexander Renault for taking the time to write something like this.
"It is accordingly the greatest achievement of divine Providence, not to allow the evil, which has sprung from voluntary apostasy, to remain useless, and for no good, and not to become in all respects injurious. For it is the work of the divine wisdom, and excellence, and power, not alone to do good (for this is, so to speak, the nature of God, as it is of fire to warm and of light to illumine), but especially to ensure that what happens through the evils hatched by any, may come to a good and useful issue, and to use to advantage those things which appear to be evils, as also the testimony which accrues from temptation." Clement of Alexander late 3rd century
"Now, since all good things are with God, they who by their own determination fly from God, do defraud themselves of all good things; and having been [thus] defrauded of all good things with respect to God, they shall consequently fall under the just judgment of God. For those persons who shun rest shall justly incur punishment, and those who avoid the light shall justly dwell in darkness. For as in the case of this temporal light, those who shun it do deliver themselves over to darkness, so that they do themselves become the cause to themselves that they are destitute of light, and do inhabit darkness; and, as I have already observed, the light is not the cause of such an [unhappy] condition of existence to them; so those who fly from the eternal light of God, which contains in itself all good things, are themselves the cause to themselves of their inhabiting eternal darkness, destitute of all good things, having become to themselves the cause of [their consignment to] an abode of that nature." Saint Irenaeus late 2nd century
"Consequently, therefore, though disease, and accident, and what is most terrible of all, death, come upon the Gnostic, he remains inflexible in soul,—knowing that all such things are a necessity of creation, and that, also by the power of God, they become the medicine of salvation, benefiting by discipline those who are difficult to reform; allotted according to desert, by Providence, which is truly good.
Using the creatures, then, when the Word prescribes, and to the extent it prescribes, in the exercise of thankfulness to the Creator, he becomes master of the enjoyment of them.
He never cherishes resentment or harbours a grudge against any one, though deserving of hatred for his conduct. For he worships the Maker, and loves him, who shares life, pitying and praying for him on account of his ignorance. He indeed partakes of the affections of the body, to which, susceptible as it is of suffering by nature, he is bound. But in sensation he is not the primary subject of it." Clement of Alexandria late 2nd century
"This, therefore, was the [object of the] long-suffering of God, that man, passing through all things, and acquiring the knowledge of moral discipline, then attaining to the resurrection from the dead, and learning by experience what is the source of his deliverance, may always live in a state of gratitude to the Lord, having obtained from Him the gift of incorruptibility, that he might love Him the more; for “he to whom more is forgiven, loveth more:” and that he may know himself, how mortal and weak he is; while he also understands respecting God, that He is immortal and powerful to such a degree as to confer immortality upon what is mortal, and eternity upon what is temporal; and may understand also the other attributes of God displayed towards himself, by means of which being instructed he may think of God in accordance with the divine greatness. For the glory of man [is] God, but [His] works [are the glory] of God; and the receptacle of all His wisdom and power [is] man. Just as the physician is proved by his patients, so is God also revealed through men. And therefore Paul declares, “For God hath concluded all in unbelief, that He may have mercy upon all;” not saying this in reference to spiritual Æons, but to man, who had been disobedient to God, and being cast off from immortality, then obtained mercy, receiving through the Son of God that adoption which is [accomplished] by Himself. For he who holds, without pride and boasting, the true glory (opinion) regarding created things and the Creator, who is the Almighty God of all, and who has granted existence to all; [such an one,] continuing in His love and subjection, and giving of thanks, shall also receive from Him the greater glory of promotion, looking forward to the time when he shall become like Him who died for him, for He, too, “was made in the likeness of sinful flesh,” to condemn sin, and to cast it, as now a condemned thing, away beyond the flesh, but that He might call man forth into His own likeness, assigning him as [His own] imitator to God, and imposing on him His Father’s law, in order that he may see God, and granting him power to receive the Father; [being] the Word of God who dwelt in man, and became the Son of man, that He might accustom man to receive God, and God to dwell in man, according to the good pleasure of the Father." Saint Irenaeus late 2nd century
You are not the first to go through such false predictions. The Jehovah Witnesses made a number of false predictions that devastated their followers, the same with the Seventh Day Adventists, Dispensationalists and other groups. You don't have to suffer through this alone. I am here to help.
The 3rd and 5th councils accepts Saint Cyril's ussage of the term, but I'm not gonna get into that right now. I enjoyed the lecture. It was very informative, especially when one looks at the fact that he only has 30 minutes to talk about the issue.
About the author and book: (As seen from St. Johns book store)
Author: John S. Romanides
The late Professor John Romanides, a graduate and, subsequently, a Professor of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts (1958-1965), and a Professor of the Aristotle University of Thessalonica, Greece (1968-1984) was one of the most original theologians of Eastern Orthodox Christianity worldwide in the second half of the 20th century. Raised in America and having become familiar with Western Christians, Roman Catholics and Protestants, as well as Western theological scholarship, both through his upbringing and his involvement in the modern Ecumenical Dialogues, he developed a critical and highly original Eastern Orthodox approach to Christian theology. He identified his approach with the Christian Roman ecumene that was centered in Constantinople, New Rome. His views on Christian "Romanity" and "Roman Orthodoxy" have earned him the title of "Prophet of Roman Orthodoxy" and have given rise to a school of committed followers and to much discussion. This book is Romanides' first Outline of Orthodox Patristic Dogmatics, which is published for the first time in the original Greek and in English translation. It represents a concise introduction into his understanding of the basic tenets of the Eastern Orthodox Faith and its fundamental differences from those of Western (Augustinian or Franco-Latin) Christian theology. It covers such doctrines as God's relation to the world, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of the Church, the Church's Holy Tradition and the restoration and perfection of humanity in and through this Tradition. It will serve as an introduction into this theologian's original vision of Patristic Orthodoxy, which is the basis of his reappraisal of Christian theology and history. Its value lies in its concise, coherent and comprehensive character.
Looking Toward Rome
"Regarding my personal views on the relationship between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, I think Orthodoxy (in America at least) has understandably (though unwisely) oriented itself relative to American Protestantism. For example, the National Council of Churches has historically been dialog partner with the Church as we have tried to pursue our shared vocation as Orthodox Christians here in America. The practical result is that–despite our dogmatic conservativism–we have as a group adopted a relatively liberal attitude and have done so to our harm. (And to be clear, I mean “liberal” in the contemporary not classical sense of the term.)
Thanks to the recent influx of new Orthodox Christians over the last 20 or so years, there has been a move away from liberal Protestantism as a partner and toward Evangelical Christianity. While I welcome the move away from mainline Protestantism, I’m not convinced that the move toward Evangelical Christianity is necessarily any better for the Church. In both cases, albeit first from the left and now the right, we have adopted a largely Protestant model of in all areas of Church life. Outreach and evangelism, parish and diocesan governance and seminary education are all markedly Protestant.
While I don’t want to say our conversation with the Protestant world was all bad–it certainly isn’t–it has caused Orthodoxy parish life in America to take on a markedly congregational tone. This is more than just a matter of who chairs parish council meeting."
To read the rest please visit the link.
Looking Toward Rome, Part 2
"As for catechesis, I taught theology at a Catholic university for 2 years. While I liked the students, I really disliked teaching there. First the students as group had almost no grasp of the catechism. It was so bad that together with a Protestant minister who also taught there, I asked if the department would consider at least offering a class based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. No such course was offered.
Worse though, was the faculty intentionally undermining the Catholic faith in the classroom and out of it. Invited speakers who ridiculed the idea that only men could be priests, faculty members who advocated for the establishment of pro-gay rights group (which they got), and a cheapening of the Eucharist along the lines that Fr Stephen Freeman discussed on his blog a sign of Jesus’ absence.
All that said, and as recent events in the OCA suggests, things are not necessarily all that much better in the Orthodox Church. We may not have gone as far down the road as our Catholic brothers and sisters, but we are at the very least standing at a junction that leads down the road they have wandered these last 40+ years. Whether we will follow them into folly is still–humanly speaking at least–an open question. Yes, I do believe that if we take the same or a similar path God will bring us back to ourselves but the damage of our flirtation with foolishness is already bearing the poisonous fruits of adultery."
To read the rest please visit the link
"FOCUS North America is opening a new center in Pittsburgh, PA and it’s all because of the work of Theodora Polamalu, wife of Pittsburgh Steelers Troy Polamalu. Mrs. Polamalu serves on the advisory board of FOCUS North America and was committed to bringing FOCUS to the Pittsburgh area. FOCUS, North America and FOCUS Pittsburgh, is a national Orthodox Christian social service that works to empower communities with a number of social services and programs.
Recently, UrbanMediaToday’s Allegra Johnson spoke with Paul Abernathy, the director of FOCUS Pittsburgh about what FOCUS will bring to the Pittsburgh area and what services it will bring to the community.
Allegra Johnson: What is FOCUS North America and FOCUS Pittsburgh?
Paul Abernathy: FOCUS North America is a national Orthodox Christian social service agency. It’s directed at developing programs to address the specific needs of a specific community. FOCUS Pittsburgh is an affiliate of FOCUS North America. FOCUS Pittsburgh was developed because of Theodora Polamalu, wife of Steelers, Troy Polamalu. She is on the national board of FOCUS North America. Theodora stressed a real interest in seeing FOCUS come to Pittsburgh."
To read the rest please visit Urban Media Today.
There is news out that it might be a fraud. Only time will tell. To know more, check out this link:
We never got along, and that blog will only have thirty something days of life left anyway, and so I thought why wait till then. Why not sever the link now. I'm not gonna link to his new site either, for my blog is mostly religious in content, and my economic views are anywhere from moderate regulated Capitalism to medieval Distributism. I am not a Marxist and I will not support a Communist blog. Some people hate rich and middle class folk. I don't understand the hatred. I really don't. We can't force people to share their wealth. Nor should we force them to live a certain way. Not only that, but killing 25% of the population is horrifying. I'm not gonna bash him, but I also in good conscience can't support his new direction. And so it's lights out!
(From Richard's site.......our homie Maximus Scott did all the quotes)
"Philip Schaff 1819-1893
The Augustinian system was unknown in the ante-Nicene age, and was never accepted in the Eastern Church. This is a strong historical argument against it. Augustine himself developed it only during the Pelagian controversy; while in his earlier writings he taught the freedom of the human will against the fatalism of the Manichaeans. (History of the Christian Church VIII The Theology of Calvin § 112. The Calvinistic System
The main external threat to the church, particularly during the second century, appears to be pagan or semi-pagan fatalism, such as Gnosticism, which propagated the thesis that humans are responsible neither for their own sins nor for the evils in the world. It is quite possible that what some consider to be the curious and disturbing tendency of some of the early fathers to minimise original sin and emphasise the freedom of fallen humanity is a consequence of their anti-Gnostic polemic. While it is true that the beginnings of a doctrine of grace may be discerned during this early period, its generally optimistic estimation of the capacities fallen humanity has led at least some scholars to question whether it can be regarded as truly Christian in this respect.
The pre-Augustinian theological tradition is practically of one voice in asserting the freedom of the human will.
While there is still uncertainty concerning the precise nature of Gnosticism, it may be noted that a strongly fatalist or necessitarian outlook appears to be characteristic of the chief Gnostic systems. Far from recognizing the limitations of humanity’s free will, many early fathers enthusiastically proclaimed its freedom and self-determination (autoexousia)…God cannot be said to force the free will, but merely influence it. While God does not wish people to do evil, He cannot compel them to do good. (Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, pg. 34-35)
To read the rest please visit http://www.orthodox-christianity.com/2011/03/irresistible-grace-and-synergy/
With this scenario in mind, let's define hard determinism. First, the fundamental assumption of hard determinism is the principle of universal causality: every event has a sufficient cause and is part of an unbreakable causal chain with a very long(perhaps infinite) history. Second, hard determinism has a distinctive understanding of a free act: namely, a free act is one that has no cause and thus no causal history.
It takes very little logical skill to see what follows from these two claims. If every event has a cause and a free act has no cause, then clearly there are no free acts. And this is exactly what hard determinists readily conclude. We are not free, they claim; and moreover, we are not responsible for our actions. Consequently, one deserves neither blame nor praise for one's actions, since all actions are the necessary result of natural law.
We can put the argument connecting freedom and moral responsibility more explicitly:
Premise 1: If we are morally responsible for our actions, then we must be free.
Premise 2: We are not free.
Conclusion A: Therefore, we are not morally responsible for our actions.
This is a valid argument. That is to say, the conclusion follows logically from the premises by way of the valid argument form modus tollens. If the premises by way of the valid argument form modus tollens. If the premise are true, then the conclusion must be true as well. It is important to emphasize that the conclusion is true if the premises are true. If the premises are true and the argument form is a valid one, then the argument is sound. Note that all sound arguments are valid, but not all valid ones are sound. Hard determinists believe both premises to be true, so they take this argument to be both valid and sound. In denying that we are free, the hard determinist does not mean to deny that all of us have a subjective sense of freedom-we feel we are free. So in the scenario described above, Jonny and his friends experience certain psychological states such as thoughts and feelings, including the feeling that they could have chosen not to vandalize the cars. But the sense of freedom and the feeling that the choices they made were up to them are illusory. In reality, all of their feelings and the resulting choices were determined by factors long before Jonny and his friends were born. Their actions are part of a causal chain that stretches back indefinitely into the past and unbreakably forward into the future. They could not have made any other choice than to steal the hood ornaments. In view of this, the hard determinist will insist, the police chief has no rational grounds to blame them morally or to scold or punish them. Of course, the chief is also determined in his thoughts, feelings and actions, and it may be that the causal chain is so constituted that he inevitably will punish them. After all, if no one is free and responsible for his her actions, then the chief is no freer to behave differently than are the young hoodlums he is determined to punish.  pages 102-103
Soft Determinism (Compatibilism)
Now let's turn to soft determinism. The driving motivation behind this view is twofold. First, this view accepts the principle of universal causality and therefore holds that all things are determined. Indeed, the soft determinist is no less committed to determinism than the hard determinist is. It's important to underscore this point because the term "soft determinism" can be misleading to readers unfamiliar with it. The term suggests to them a partial or halfhearted determinism, a sort of quasi-determinism. These impressions need to be put aside so the reader can clearly understand that all things are rigorously determined according to this view.
So what is the difference between soft and hard determinism? The difference is in the second motivation that drives soft determinism. In addition to affirming universal causality, soft determinists also believe that we are responsible for our actions, and they agree that we must be free in some sense if this is the case. In other words, soft determinists want to affirm both complete determinism and freedom. The position is also called compatibilism because it holds that freedom and determinism, contrary to what hard determinists and libertarians claim, can be compatible. It is easy for the reader who has never encountered these concepts to get confused and to be misled. To avoid this confusion, the reader must realize that soft determinists define freedom differently than both libertarians and hard determinists. Clearly, if a free act has no cause, as hard determinists claim, then we cannot coherently affirm both that there are free acts and that everything is causally determined. Just as clearly, if a free act has no sufficient cause prior to its occurrence, as libertarians say, then we cannot coherently hold both that there are such free acts and that all things determined by prior causes and conditions.
Fortunately for soft determinists, they are guilty of no such incoherence. They offer a very different account of freedom, one that is carefully crafted to ensure that it is compatible with determinism. More specifically, they define an act as free if it meets there conditions:
It is not compelled or caused by anything external to the agent who performs it.
However, it is caused by something internal to the agent who performs it, namely, a psychological state such as a belief, a desire or more precesely, a combination of these two.
The agent performing it could have acted differently, if the agent had wanted to do so.
Although this definition seems rather straightforward, we will offer a few more words of explanation. First, to say an act is compelled or caused by something external to the agent is to say that the act was forced against his will. For instance, suppose someone picked you up, carried you into a voting booth and forced your hand to push a button indicating a vote for the notorious politician Mack E. Velley. This would not qualify as a free act because it would violate the first condition.
Second, an act is free if it has the right sort of immediate cause - in particular, a psychological state internal to the agent. Now given the thesis of determinism, these psychological states are themselves caused by prior conditions and states of affairs. Indeed, given those prior conditions and states are even possible. Something external to the agent ultimately caused these internal psychological states, but at the time of the act, these thoughts, desires and so on are owned by the agent in such a way that she willingly acts on them. In other words, the agent is merely acting in character when she chooses as she does. Her character determines her choices, and she could not will or act otherwise, given her character. But it is still the case thast she acts as she wishes, out of the beliefs and desires that she has been caused to have and the character that has accordingly formed.
Finally, we must keep these points in mind to understand the third condition for a free action in the soft determinists definition, or else we may be misled by the condition concerning the agents's ability to have acted differently if she had wanted to do so. The crucial point to keep in mind is that the agent could not want to do otherwise than she in fact does. If the agent had wanted to do differently, she could have done so, but it was impossible for her to want to do differently, she could have done so, but it was impossible for her to want to do differently, given the prior causes and conditions that strictly determined her psychological states and character. Still, soft determinists have formulated a definition of freedom that is compatible with strict determinism. So they can't be fairly faulted on this score. The question is whether their view of freedom is an adequate one. Is it enough if the three conditions spelled out above are met?  107-109
To be continued............
 pages 102-103, pages 107-109 from the book Why I am not a Calvinist by Jerry L. Walls and Joseph R. Dongell
Related to this issue:
God: Essence and Energies
The Concept of Divine Energies by David Bradshaw
The Distinction Between
Essence and Energies
and its Importance for Theology by Christos Yannaras
St. Gregory Palamas, on the divine energies
The Bradshaw Papers
Notes on the Palamite Controversy by John S. Romanides
Thanks, I hope he doesn't mind if I interact with it. I agree with what he said about the first one (Pelagianism). I disagree slightly with the second. And it goes back to what I said previously.
Semi-PelagianismAll people are in the water drowning. They are born drowning. This is the natural habitation of all humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water. Their legs are cramping and they cannot swim to safety on their own. However, they may desire salvation on their own. Though they cannot attain it, they can call, with a wave of their arm, to God who is eagerly waiting on the edge of the boat. At the first sign of their initiative, God will then throw out the life preserver (grace). If they respond, they will be saved (synergism)."
What I underlined is where the common flaw is. If he said "However, some may desire salvation on their own. Though they cannot attain it, they can call, with a wave of their arm, to God who is eagerly waiting on the edge of the boat. At the first sign of their initiative."
If he said it like that then it would of been extremely accurate. If we paint the picture that everyone was able to take the first initiative. Then we distort their view. Saint John Cassian gave the example of the thief on the Cross that was able to take the first initiative, he also said some things about prayer in regards to King David and the first initiative. But he gave other examples of people in Scripture of where that wasn't the case. In his other examples he shows how God took the first initiative. And when we look at what he had to say elsewhere in the infamous 13th constitution/conference we see that he makes use of Augustine's idea of God taking the first initiative. As seen from the Conferences:
"From which we clearly infer that the initiative not only of our actions but also of good thoughts comes from God, who inspires us with a good will to begin with, and supplies us with the opportunity of carrying out what we rightly desire: for "every good gift and every perfect gift cometh down from above, from the Father of lights,"
But he didn't see that as being the case for all people. When we look at Canon 8 of the local western council of 2nd Orange we see this:
Quote:CANON 8. If anyone maintains that some are able to come to the grace of baptism by mercy but others through free will, which has manifestly been corrupted in all those who have been born after the transgression of the first man, it is proof that he has no place in the true faith. For he denies that the free will of all men has been weakened through the sin of the first man, or at least holds that it has been affected in such a way that they have still the ability to seek the mystery of eternal salvation by themselves without the revelation of God. The Lord himself shows how contradictory this is by declaring that no one is able to come to him "unless the Father who sent me draws him" (John 6:44), as he also says to Peter, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 16:17), and as the Apostle says, "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:3)."
The Canons of 2nd Orange often attack Saint John Cassian and what he said in various places in the Constitutions/Conferences. But they also rejected double Predestination and they advocated a doctrine of Synergy after Regeneration. As seen from 2nd Orange:Quote:
"CANON 13. Concerning the restoration of free will. The freedom of will that was destroyed in the first man can be restored only by the grace of baptism, for what is lost can be returned only by the one who was able to give it. Hence the Truth itself declares: "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).
As well as in the conclusion:
"According to the catholic faith we also believe that after grace has been received through baptism, all baptized persons have the ability and responsibility, if they desire to labor faithfully, to perform with the aid and cooperation of Christ what is of essential importance in regard to the salvation of their soul."
And so they brought Free Will back (which is something the Reformed don't do). This is why 2nd Orange is called moderate Augustinianism. Or what I sometimes call Semi-Augustinian.
(going back to read what he said about Rome and EO)
Ok, I slightly disagree with what he said about us.
Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy
All people are in the water drowning. They are born drowning. This is the natural habitation of all humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water. Their legs are cramping and they cannot swim to safety on their own. God, standing on the edge of the boat, makes the first initiative by throwing a life preserver to them (prevenient grace). Upon seeing this act, they make a decision to grab a hold (faith) or to swim away. If they grab a hold, God will slowly pull the rope connected to the life preserver. But they must do their part by swimming along with God’s pull (grace plus works; synergism). If at any time they let go or quit swimming, they will not be saved.
1.) We don't see anything wrong with visible things or the physical world in general being used as a means of grace. And so what maybe seen as works to some Protestants is seen as Grace to us.
2.) Salvation in both Rome and Orthodoxy is dynamic(I was saved, am being saved, and will be saved). It is not a one time event and so when looking at how we see things one must not only look at what happens before Water Baptism(Regeneration), but also after as well, all the way to our very last breath. For that is when the race is over.
3.) From what I know about Rome, they not only believe in the Augustinian doctrine of Total inability, but they also believe Grace(I'm ignoring the issue of created grace vs uncreated grace) to precede every human animation, and so it would be inaccurate to say grace plus works. As seen from 2nd Orange, we know that the Christian West eventually advocated the view that free will was restored and Rome believes in grace infused works or works prompted by grace. It's a very Augustinian idea. Also, when looking at Rome, you have to be careful for She has multiple schools of thought when it comes to the issue of Grace and Free Will. And so you would have to look at the various schools of thought within Rome. That's if one wants to be as accurate as possible.
a.) Augustinian school of thought
b.) Thomistic school of thought
c.) Congruent school of thought
d.) Molinistic school of thought
4.) Orthodox Christianity doesn't like to use the term Prevenient grace, even though we made use of the Latin term in the 17th century. We don't believe in different species of Grace. And so the differences is in regards to each individuals depth in the Grace of God. We believe God's Grace to not only be everywhere, but we also believe it permeates all things. There is no place in where God's Grace is not. And so there is no place our wills can exist in where His Grace is not already present. And so when we make use of the latin term "Prevenient", it has to be looked at within this context. And so our understanding of Synergy is one of simultaneous co-operation.
Acts chapter 17:27-28 "so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring."
However, in every day speech it is difficult to communicate in a way that would express simultaneity.
(Going back to read what he had to say about Arminianism)
All people are floating in the water dead in their natural condition (total depravity). They are born dead because that has been the condition of humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water and died (original sin). Death begets death. There must be intervention if they are to be saved. God uses his power to bring every one of them back to life (prevenient grace), but they are still in the water and in danger of drowning. With the regenerated ability to respond to God, now God throws the life preserver to them and calls on them all to grab hold of it. They then make the free-will decision on their own to grab a hold of the life preserver (faith) or to swim away. If they grab a hold, they must continue to hold as God pulls them in (synergism). They don’t need to do anything but hold on. Any effort to swim and aid God is superfluous (sola fide). They can let go of the preserver at any time and, as a consequence, lose their salvation.
Ok, I slightly disagree in some areas. There are different forms of Arminianism and so I would just say that for most Classical Arminians, especially the modern free will Baptists. One can loose their salvation if they loose faith. Other Classical Arminians believe in a form of Once Saved Always Saved. James Arminius himself was unsure about the issue.
For the Wesleyan and Charles G. Finny Holiness Arminians one can loose their salvation not only by a lose of faith, but also by bad fruit as well. There is a Justification through Sanctification within these schools of Arminian thought. Other than that I'm pretty much in agreement with what he said up above.
(Going back to read what he had to say about Calvinism)
All people are floating in the water dead in their natural condition (total depravity). They are born dead because that has been the condition of humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water and died (original sin). Death begets death. There must be radical intervention if they are to be saved. While God calls out to all of them (general call), due to his mysterious choice, he brings back to life (regeneration) only certain people (election) while passing by the rest (reprobation). He does not use a life preserver, but grabs a hold of the elect individually and immediately pulls them onto the boat (monergism). They naturally grab a hold of God as a consequence of their regeneration (irresistible grace; sola fide). They forever stay on the boat due to their perpetual ability to recognize God’s beauty (perseverance of the saints)."
One Question. I could be wrong, but I thought some Calvinists believe in an active reprobation? Especially the High Calvinists? Other than that I pretty much agree with what he said up above. Well wait, he should of added C.P.R. along with individually pulling a select number of individuals out. That way, after the C.P.R. they would be able to naturally respond back.
Dave Z said:CMP offers definitions and illustrations here.
Edith Humphrey Glimpsing the Glory—Paul's Gospel, Righteousness and the Beautiful Feet of N.T. Wright
watch video | download audio | download video
N.T. Wright Jesus and the People of God: Whence and Whither Historical Jesus Studies and the Life of the Church | 7:00p
watch video | download audio | download video
N.T. Wright Paul and the People of God: Whence and Whither Pauline Studies and the Life of the Church | 7:00p
watch video | download audio | download video
To listen to the other speakers, please visit Wheaton.edu
"Jonah’s insistence that his church address the pressing issues of the day is a gauntlet thrown down before the feet of his fellow Orthodox leaders, and it has not sat well with the OCA’s governing bodies. In the last week of February, Jonah faced a revolt among his own bishops at a conclave in Santa Fe, N.M. According to an OCA news release, Jonah kept his job but was relieved of several duties and sent on a two-month retreat during Lent.
In reporting on the Santa Fe meeting, the news Web site Orthodox Christians for Accountability — an opposition voice against Jonah — assailed Jonah’s “leadership style, decisions, practices or actions.” Although many of the decisions in question had to do with internal church matters, the first one listed was Jonah’s move to Washington.
In an earlier interview, Web site editor Mark Stokoe, who is also a member of the church’s Metropolitan Council, or executive body, spoke out against the move. He called it “a major decision that should be considered carefully in the context of the finances and the strategic plan by the entire church. To play the game in Washington takes a lot of money, and the OCA is not a wealthy church.”
And Jonah says his mind is made up. The church’s drafty Syosset headquarters building, originally a summer cottage, is racking up enormous utility bills. And Washington, he adds, is the perfect home base for “a united Orthodox voice speaking out against iniquity or advocating good things.”
But just as not everyone believes the Orthodox should be speaking out, not everyone believes they need to be united."
"In the United States, the 1 million Orthodox are vastly outnumbered by about 68 million Catholics. The Orthodox took longer to anchor themselves in America than Catholics did, with multiple countries establishing their own national Orthodox churches on American soil, none of them wishing to merge.
In 1970, the Russians made their daughter church independent, naming it the Orthodox Church in America in the hope that other Orthodox bodies would unite under that title. The move infuriated several other Orthodox churches, especially the Greeks, the largest of America’s Orthodox branches at 477,000 members.
Of the top American Orthodox branches, the OCA, with about 85,000 members, has the highest percentage of Sunday service attenders at 40 percent weekly and has grown the most in the past decade, at 21 percent. Much of the growth has come from converts — evangelical Protestant ones at that — whose presence has helped steer the OCA in a more conservative direction."
To read the rest please visit The Washington Post
Bishop Seraphim of Sendai (the Japanese Autonomous Church)
"Moscow, March 15, Interfax – Bishop Seraphim of Sendai (the Japanese Autonomous Church) told about serious consequences of the earthquake in Japan for the country’s Orthodox believers.
“On God’s mercy the church in Sendai was not seriously damaged and life in the city is being restored. However, churches on the Pacific coast are destroyed and we lost communications with them,” the bishop said in his message sent to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on Tuesday.
He thanked the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church for “kind words” addressed to clerics of the Japanese Church, the Moscow Patriarchate reported on its website.
“The earthquake inflicted great, hardly describable damage to the eastern coast of North Japan, including the Sendai Diocese. Help comes to victims from all over the country, but we don’t have the full picture of developments as the roads and communications are destroyed,” Bishop Seraphim said.
According to him, the information from believers is coming and “the number of supposed victims will be significant.”
“We, survived priests and parishioners, will fulfill our duties as far as we can,” the Bishop assured Patriarch Kirill.
Districts on the territory of the Sendai Diocese greatly suffered from the destructive earthquake and tsunami in the north-east Japan on March 11.
The number of the Japanese who identify themselves with Orthodoxy equals to about 30,000 people.
The Japanese Autonomous Church was founded by St. Nikolay (Kasatkin) who came to Japan on 1861 on the decision of the Holy Synod. He founded and headed the Russian Orthodox mission in Japan in 1870. He translated the Holy Scripture and liturgical books into Japanese and built the Resurrection Cathedral in Tokyo."
To read the rest please visit the website.
Also of interest:
Russian Church fundraises for Orthodox believers in Japan
"Are you an Orthodox Christian who wonders how to explain to your Baptist grandmother, your Buddhist neighbor, or the Jehovah’s Witness at your door how your faith differs from theirs? Or are you a member of another faith who is curious what Orthodoxy is all about? Look no further. In Orthodoxy & Heterodoxy, Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick covers the gamut of ancient heresies, modern Christian denominations, fringe groups, and major world religions, highlighting the main points of each faith. This book is an invaluable reference for anyone who wants to understand the faiths of those they come in contact with—as well as their own."
It should be available soon! (Spring 2011)
Also, check out the interview:
"Who do you think the target audience is for this book? Laypeople interested in apologetics? Inquirers from other religious backgrounds?
My primary intended audience is ordinary Orthodox Christians who are interested in the question of how our faith differs from other faiths. That said, I know that there may be some apologists for whom the book could serve as an introduction to the major issues, and I am sure that it is likely that folks who are interested in Orthodox Christianity may read it, as well. I tried to keep all of these people in mind when putting it together."
To read the rest please visit Byzantine Texas.