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Saturday, September 29, 2007

A little about me

I was raised Baptist but became heavily influenced by Pentecostalism in my highschool and early college years.
Around my sophmore year in college was when I started getting into alot of arguments/discussions with my friends on such issues like the sabbath, the Trinity, Baptism, once saved always saved....ect.

These talks eventually led me to the Early Church Fathers for some of my friends who were Seventhday Adventists and Oneness Pentecostals would bring up church history when our talks over scripture didn't go anywhere.

So instead of taking there word for it I decided to find out for myself what christians believed during the period of Constantine as well as what they believed centuries before he was born.
I don't know why but I knew then that I had to become Orthodox. When I came home from one of the breaks I called an Orthodox church in the Pittsburgh area.
I left a message on the answering machine but I never got a call back.

So after the break I found a continual Anglican ministry on the internet and they influenced me to try the Church of England. Around my last year of school I met an Orthodox person through my girlfriend at the time. He was her grammer professor and she wanted me to meet him. His name was Dr. Bart and we got along pretty well and he invited me to his Parish in montgomery Alabama. Before this time I only read an article from a Baptist who had a bad experience in Russia in regards to icons and the orthodox he met.

But when I went for the first time I didn't have a bad experience. It was wonderfull!
I didn't see anything wrong with it. The service was done half in greek and half in english, and I loved it. He gave me alot of books to read about Orthodoxy.

At the day of graduation my Orthodox friend and mentor asked when was I gonna become Orthodox. I told him that I was going to try the Church of England first...since he was raised Baptist and became Episcopal...only to become Orthodox later on in life.

I too wanted to see Anglo-catholicism and what it was all about. Plus I was still heavily influenced by the continual Anglican ministry I found on the web. There arguments were still in my head, and as I was walking away Dr. Bart told me that it was only a matter of time before I convert to Orthodoxy. Those words of his never left me.

After I graduated I went back up north for my mother was leaving my step father and she needed help. I had plans on living in Arizona and going to seminary there, but the Lord had other plans for mylife.

In Pittsburgh I eventually joined the ECUSA. I did that because there wasn't a convergence Anglican movement in my city. The people were nice but for the most part it was too moderate for my taste. I saw alot of things by the charismatic episcopal wing in the ECUSA that I didn't like.

I couldn't stand their theology, but I loved their heart for ministry. The anglo-catholics in the ECUSA had good theology but they didn't have the street ministry I so loved from the charismatics. I joined the Anglo-Catholic Parish, but I wasn't at peace there. I have read too much about Orthodoxy to really fit in. I was also a bit too conservative as well.
I was also upset at the slow pace the conservatives and moderates were taking in seperating themselves from the liberals who wanted to ordain more gay and women bishops.

It was a bit too much for me to handle so I stopped going to Church....well I went maybe like 5 or 6 times out of the year.
I saw myself dying spiritually, but i didn' know what to do about it.
Then it all happened. The Continual Anglican ministry I was following fell apart. And the Charismatic Episcopal Church had a major rift in September of 2006.
That's when I knew that I had to become Orthodox.

Everything that was keeping me away fell apart and the arguments that kept me away no longer made any sense. For i saw what the orther groups were doing and the errors they were believing in, so I knew that I would be better off in Orthodoxy. So December of 2006 was when I started looking back East. I ran into a Father Gregary online at a Charismatic Catholic website where alot of Charismatic Episcopals hang out at. I got in touch with him and he gave me a lead in Pittsburgh. I followed up on his lead and met a wonderfull Orthodox Priest at Saint George Cathedral.
I started visiting in late December and around the first week of Lent I told him I would like to become Orthodox. So we talked and in April of 2007 I was chrismated.

It's been a real blessing! I finaly have a place to rest my head. A place where I belong.


R.I.P. Dr. Bart, who died in semptember of 2003
Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Brother Nathanael

This is a google vid from

It is about Brother Nathanael. It is called Brother Nathanael Fights back! I thought it was cool!

Rule of Saint Vincent

I'm posting the Rule of Saint Vincent.

"From the Commonitory of St Vincent of Lerins (4th Century)

1. I have continually given the greatest pains and diligence to inquiring, from the greatest possible number of men outstanding in holiness and in doctrine, how I can secure a kind of fixed and, as it were, general and guiding principle for distinguishing the true Catholic Faith from the degraded falsehoods of heresy.
And the answer that I receive is always to this effect; that if I wish, or indeed if anyone wishes, to detect the deceits of heretics that arise and to avoid their snares and to keep healthy and sound in a healthy faith, we ought, with the Lord's help, to fortify our faith in a twofold manner, firstly, that is, by the authority of God's Law, then by the tradition of the Catholic Church.

2. Here, it may be, someone will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and is in itself abundantly sufficient, what need is there to join to it the interpretation of the Church? The answer is that because of the very depth of Scripture all men do not place one identical interpretation upon it.

The statements of the same writer are explained by different men in different ways, so much so that it seems almost possible to extract from it as many opinions as there are men.
Novatian expounds in one way, Sabellius in another, Donatus in another, Arius, Eunomius and Macedonius in another, Photinus, Apollinaris and Priscillian in another, Jovinian, Pelagius and Caelestius in another, and latterly Nestorius in another.

Therefore, because of the intricacies of error, which is so multiform, there is great need for the laying down of a rule for the exposition of Prophets and Apostles in accordance with the standard of the interpretation of the Church Catholic.

3. Now in the Catholic Church itself we take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all. That is truly and properly 'Catholic,' as is shown by the very force and meaning of the word, which comprehends everything almost universally.
We shall hold to this rule if we follow universality [i.e. oecumenicity], antiquity, and consent. We shall follow universality if we acknowledge that one Faith to be true which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is clear that our ancestors and fathers proclaimed; consent, if in antiquity itself we keep following the definitions and opinions of all, or certainly nearly all, bishops and doctors alike.

4. What then will the Catholic Christian do, if a small part of the Church has cut itself off from the communion of the universal Faith? The answer is sure. He will prefer the healthiness of the whole body to the morbid and corrupt limb. But what if some novel contagion try to infect the whole Church, and not merely a tiny part of it?
Then he will take care to cleave to antiquity, which cannot now be led astray by any deceit of novelty. What if in antiquity itself two or three men, or it may be a city, or even a whole province be detected in error?

Then he will take the greatest care to prefer the decrees of the ancient General Councils, if there are such, to the irresponsible ignorance of a few men. But what if some error arises regarding which nothing of this sort is to be found?
Then he must do his best to compare the opinions of the Fathers and inquire their meaning, provided always that, though they belonged to diverse times and places, they yet continued in the faith and communion of the one Catholic Church; and let them be teachers approved and outstanding. And whatever he shall find to have been held, approved and taught, not by one or two only but by all equally and with one consent, openly, frequently, and persistently, let him take this as to be held by him without the slightest hesitation."

The rule of Saint Vincent is about interpreting the text correctly. It is most likely that those tought by the Apostles would have the correct understanding of what the Apostles were saying.

This is not a matter of who has the holy Spirit vs who doesn't have the holy Spirit. For if two people who have the holy Spirit disagree on a text then what? To assume those who sat at the Apostles feet didn't have the Holy Spirit is hard to believe. Besides the Church is suppose to settle disputes among believers. And just like in the council of Acts both the elders of the Church as well as the Holy Spirit agreed on the outcome.

This did not cease when the Apostles died. The Church continued to practice this method after the Apostles just as it is suppose to til the second coming of Christ.

So with all this said the Rule of Saint Vincent is bascially "scripture interpreted correctly as passed on through the churches"

As also stated by Bishop Kallistos Ware (Timothy Ware)

"As the life of the Holy Spirit within the Church, so I discovered, Tradition is all-embracing. In particular it includes the written word of the Bible, for there is no dichotomy between Scripture and Tradition. Scripture exists within Tradition, and by the same token Tradition is nothing else than the way in which Scripture has been understood and lived by the Church in every generation."


Friday, September 21, 2007

The "Limited Freedom" of the will

What alot of free willers believe about free will is different from what you hear from Calvinists attacking it. To get it wrong is to set up a straw man argument.

These are a bunch of quotes from Protestant Arminians. I'm sure Molinists, and many Orthodox would believe something similar.

"In classical Christian thought, God's sovereignty is expressed
most generally in the doctrine of providence; predestination is also an
expression of sovereignty, but follows the more general idea of
God's providence is usually considered both general and special
(particular) and divided into three categories: preserving or sustaining,
concurring, and governing. God's sustaining sovereignty is his providential
upholding of the created order; even natural laws such as gravity are regarded
by Christians as expressions of general divine providence.
If God should withdraw his sustaining power, nature itself would run
down and stop; chaos would replace order in creation. Deists may say that this
exhausts God's providence, but classical Christian orthodoxy, whether Eastern,
Roman Catholic, or Protestant, confesses further senses of God's providential
sovereignty in relation to the world.

Arminians, together with Calvinists and other Christians, affirm and
embrace God's special providence, in which he not only sustains the natural
order but also acts in special ways in relation to history, including salvation
history. God's concurrence is his consent to and cooperation with creaturely
decisions and actions. No creature could decide or act without God's concurring
power. For someone to lift his or her hand requires God's concurrence; God
loans, as it were, the power sufficient to lift a hand, and without God's
cooperation even such a trivial act would be impossible.Most attention and
controversy in the doctrine of God's providence surrounds the third aspect:
governance. How does God govern the World?

Roger E. Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities page 116-117

""Arminius's account of God's providence could hardly be higher
or stronger without being identical with Calvinism's divine determinism. For
him, God is intimately involved in everything that happens without being the
author of sin and evil, or without infringing on the moral liberty of human
To diplomat Hippolytus A Collibus, Arminius wrote:"I most
solicitously avoid two causes of offense,-that God be not proposed as the author
of sin,-and that its liberty be not taken away from the human will: Those are
two points if anyone knows how to avoid, he will think upon no act which I will
not in that case most gladlyallow to be ascribed to the Providence of God,
provided a just regard be had to the Divine pre-eminence.
"Arminius was puzzled about the accusation that he held corrupt opinions
respecting the Providence of God, because he went out of his way to affirm it.
He even went so far as to say that every human act, including sin, is impossible
without God's cooperation!""

Roger E. Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities page 121

"Much to the suprise of many Arminians, to say nothing of Calvinists,
Arminius affirmed a very strong doctrine of God's providential sovereignty.

him, God is the cause of everything but evil, which he only permits. And
anything that happens, including evil must be permitted by god; it cannot happen
if God does not allow it. God has the ability to stop anything from happening,
but to preserve human liberty he permits sin and evil without approving them.
Arminius said of God's providence: "It preserves, regulates, governsand directs
all things, and that nothing in the world happens fortuitously or by chance." He
elucidated this to mark his own view off from Calvinism's"Nothing is done
without God's ordination" [pr appointment]:

If by the word "ordination" is
signified "that God appoints things of any kind to be done," this mode of
enunciation is erroneous, and it follows as a consequence from it, that God is
the author of sin. But if it signify, that "whatever it be that is done, God
ordains it to a good end," the term in which it is conceived are in that case
correct."In other words, whatever happens, including, (e.g., the fall of Adam)
is at least allowed by God.....""

Roger E. Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities page 120-121

"Of course, both the government and God put limits on those who abuse
their freedom. Human finitude, Divine judgement, and eventual death place limits
on all free choices."

Norman Geisler, Chosen but Free(second edition) On page 23 at the very bottom of the page asterick # 6

"1. Man is in the image of God, thus having - among other things a
will of his own. There is a will in the universe other than God's: subordinate
to Him, yes, but a true will nevertheless. Were that not True, man would not be
truly personal.

2. Man is free, as possessing a true will, to make real choices
and decisions between two (or more) courses of action (true contingency, again).
A choice that actually can go but one way is not a choice, and without this
"freedom" there is not personality.This is not absolute freedom. It is not
unlimited, unconditioned, or sovereign, like God's freedom. In that sense, God
is the only free being that exists.This freedom is therefore a limited,
conditioned, "governed" freedom."

Robert E. Picirilli from the book Grace Faith Free Will page 41

Alot of free willers believe in a Limited freedom of the will. Calvinists will try to make us believe that we believe in some type of "unlimited" freedom. They will say such things as "if you don't believe in "unlimited freedom" then you can't say you believe in free will."

But the truth alot of us believe in Limited freedom. And if Calvinists can be Hard and soft Determinists when talking about Free will and Sovereignty then why can't free will have more than one kind of thought about free will and Sovereignty?

The truth is......a synergist can't believe in unlimited freedom. Nor can we believe that we are "free from" God. How can our working with God be something that is "FREE FROM" Him?

How can I be in Him and Him in me and be free from Him at the same time? Yet a Calvinist will throw such arguments at me all the time.


Prevenient grace and the ability to resist it

Alot of Hard Augustinians (Hard Determinists, as well as compatabalists) believe everyone who had the eyes of their heart opened by God's saving grace will never resist or fall away.

I will use John chapter 12 as well as other texts to show why they can.;&version=49;

John 12:35

"35So Jesus said to them, "For a little while longer the Light is among you Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes."

This verse is very important for alot of Reasons. It shows that the Light of Christ is able to make the blind see. It is presented in scripture that "Light" can make people see, Because it is the darkness that blinds them.

As seen in 1st John 2:11

"But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes."

So when Light comes, the darkness is taken away.

As seen in John 12:35 as well as Isaiah 9:22

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."

We know from scripture that Jesus is the "True Light" that gives light to every man.

As seen in John 1:9

"That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world."

So the Prevenient grace of God illumines people so that they can make a choice to either believe or not believe. It allows them to be drawn to the Regenerating water of Baptism.

"36"While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light " These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them."

The words "you may be" is "ginomai" and it's mood is "Subjunctive"And according to the blue letter Bible it says:

"The subjunctive mood is the mood of possibility andpotentiality. The action described may or may not occur,depending upon circumstances. Conditional sentences of the third class ("ean" + the subjunctive) are all of this type, aswell as many commands following conditional purpose clauses, such as those beginning with "hina."

This shows the "potential" of being saved. It is a possibility. This also shows that the Light "can" be resisted."

37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them. 41Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.”

When we reject the Light givin to us the Darkness returns thus leaving us blind again. Those who are blind can't believe because they rejected the Light givin to them.

42Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.

Those who rejected as well as those who accepted both had the light. The very same light!!! Scripture doesn't tell us that God has an efficatious call and a sterile call. The same call/Light that some rejected was the very same call/Light that others accepted. So we can't blame God for some not believing. God gave the same grace to both groups of people. The difference is the Choices they made.

Now this is where things get interesting for a Calvinist would assume that the people in verse 42 were Regenerated. They believe the regenerated can't ultimately resist and fall away.

But what does the text say about the people who believed in verse 42?

"42Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved praise from men more than praise from God."

The Bible would seem to lean towards the idea that the people who believed in verse 42 were on rocky ground. Or at least in danger of falling away.

Matthew 10:32-33

32Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Also the passage about the parable of the sower sheds some light to the topic at hand.

Matthew 13:18-23

18"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."

To assume that the Bible doesn't present a resistance from anyone who had the eyes of their heart opened is a claim many Calvinists make but it's not a strong claim at all. Also when one looks at the Parable of the sower they will see the Disciples had their eyes, ears, and hearts openned......yet one of them was a devil.

Last but not least Jesus says

46I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

The believing is a continual belief. Not a one time thing in the past.


John 3:16 and the word "World"

This is from a conversation I had with a Calvinistic Protestant. Some of them try to use this verse to say that God doesn't love everyone or that God only loves the Elect. While others use this verse to show that God loves everyone.

The greek word for "whoever" is "pas" and we all know it can mean "all" so the verse can be translated as :

"16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that "ALL" who believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

So basically "all" in the World that God loved will be saved if they believe in His Son.The reason why we know the word "World" includes more than just christians is because of versus 17 and 18

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

Both the ones who believe as well as the ones who refuse to believe dwell in the same World the Father said He LOVED.

Also elsewhere we know that creation itself will be made new in which we are the first the Father sent His Son into "CREATION" to save creation. We are just the first fruits of that process.

Romans chapter 8

"18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."

The word Kosmos in John 3:16 is talking about creation as found in Romans chapter 8 as well as John chapter 1

John chapter 1

"9There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Thus John 3:16 is not saying "God so loved the elect that he gave His only Begotten Son that whoever believes in him would have ever lasting life."

Not only would that be "tautology" but you would have to somehow figure out how those who dwell in the elect and not believe be condemned?. For the same World that God said he loved in verse 16 shows up again in versus 17 and 19.

Verse 18 tells us that both those who believe as well as those who don't believe dwell in the same Kosmos that the Son "Created"/MADE", "was sent into", and "eventually will save".

INLOVE jnorm
Thursday, September 20, 2007

The differences between Arminianism and Semi-Pelagianism

I will first look at the Works of John Cassian and show what "real" semi-pelagianism was and wasn't. I will also compare his works to the canons of the council of Orange. Then I will look at some of the works of Augustine as well as one from Arminius to show the differences of the two systems. Alot of people in the west like to bash Semi-pelagianism, but what they don't know is Most of what John Cassian had to say about the issue of free will and grace was 100% sound christian teaching. The differences between the two systems isn't major, but their is a difference that does exist.

Taken from his constitutions

CHAPTER XIV.That knowledge of the law is given by the guidance and
illumination of the Lord.THE knowledge also of the law itself they daily
endeavour to gain not by diligence in reading, but by the guidance and
illumination of God as they say to Him: "Show me Thy ways, O Lord, and teach me
Thy paths:" and "open Thou mine eyes: and I shall see the wondrous things of Thy
law:" and "teach me to do Thy will, for Thou art my God;" and again: "Who
teacheth man knowledge."

This quote by him is 100% orthodox

CHAPTER XIII.That the ordering of our way comes from God.AND truly the
saints have never said that it was by their own efforts that they secured the
direction of the way in which they walked in their course towards advance and
perfection of virtue, but rather they prayed for it from the Lord, saying
"Direct me in Thy truth," and "direct my way in thy sight." But someone else
declares that he discovered this very fact not only by faith, but also by
experience, and as it were from the very nature of things: "I know, O Lord, that
the way of man is not his: neither is it in a man to walk and to direct his
steps." And the Lord Himself says to Israel: "I will direct him like a green
fir-tree: from Me is thy fruit found."

This is also 100%ly orthodox

CHAPTER XI.A question on the free will of man and the grace of
God.GERMANUS: Where then is there room for free will, and how is it ascribed to
our efforts that we are worthy of praise, if God both begins and ends everything
in us which concerns our salvation?

This is also 100%ly something the western church embraces.

CHAPTER XV.That the understanding, by means of which we can recognize
God's commands, and the performance of a good will are both gifts from the
Lord.FURTHER the blessed David asks of the Lord that he may gain that very
understanding, by which he can recognize God's commands which, he well knew,
were written in the book of the law, and he says "I am Thy servant: O give me
understanding that I may learn Thy commandments." Certainly he was in possession
of understanding, which had been granted to him by nature, and also had at his
fingers' ends a knowledge of God's commands which were preserved in writing in
the law: and still he prayed the Lord that he might learn this more thoroughly
as he knew that what came to him by nature would never be sufficient for him,
unless his understanding was enlightened by the Lord by a daily illumination
from Him, to understand the law spiritually and to recognize His commands more
clearly, as the "chosen vessel" also declares very plainly this which we are
insisting on. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do
according to good will." What could well be clearer than the assertion that both
our good will and the completion of our work are fully wrought in us by the
Lord? And again "For it is granted to you for Christ's sake, not only to believe
in Him but also to suffer for Him." Here also he declares that the beginning of
our conversion and faith, and the endurance of suffering is a gift to us from
the Lord. And David too, as he knows this, similarly prays that the same thing
may be granted to him by God's mercy. "Strengthen, O God, that which Thou hast
wrought in us:" showing that it is not enough for the beginning of our salvation
to be granted by the gift and grace of God, unless it has been continued and
ended by the same pity and continual help from Him. For not free will but the
Lord "looseth them that are bound." No strength of ours, but the Lord "raiseth
them that are fallen:" no diligence in reading, but "the Lord enlightens the
blind:" where the Greeks have kurioV sofoi tuflouV, i.e., "the Lord maketh wise
the blind:" no care on our part, but "the Lord careth for the stranger:" no
courage of ours, but "the Lord assists (or supports) all those who are down."
But this we say, not to slight our zeal and efforts and diligence, as if they
were applied unnecessarily and foolishly, but that we may know that we cannot
strive without the help of God, nor can our efforts be of any use in securing
the great reward of purity, unless it has been granted to us by the assistance
and mercy of the Lord: for "a horse is prepared for the day of battle: but help
cometh from the Lord," "for no man can prevail by strength." We ought then
always to sing with the blessed David: "My strength and my praise is" not my
free will, but "the Lord, and He is become my salvation." And the teacher of the
Gentiles was not ignorant of this when he declared that he was made capable of
the ministry of the New Testament not by his own merits or efforts but by the
mercy of God. "Not" says he, "that we are capable of thinking anything of
ourselves as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God," which can be put in
less good Latin but more forcibly, "our capability is of God," and then there
follows: "Who also made us capable ministers of the New Testament."

This is pretty sound.

Ok now we are going to look at what got my boy in trouble.

In the book John Cassian: conferences, translated by and prefaced by Colm Luibheid and introduction by Owen Chadwick page 27

Chadwick says

"But -to the soul totally helpless? The prodical son was sick of the husks the
swine ate, and turned homeward. And while he was still a great way off, his
father saw him and ran to meet him. Are there cases - perhaps rare cases- where
the first tiny initiative comes from the soul turning back because sick of
husks, and then God comes with his saving grace to help?To this question Cassian
answered yes, There are cases-they may be very rare cases-where the soul makes
the first little turn. Might the theif on the cross be one such? And because
Cassian answered yes to this question, he almost destroyed his reputation as a
theologian.For if Cassian is right, said the critics, we are not helpless
without God. Cassian may say we are helpless. He cannot mean it. We need not
enter this controversy of the centuries. It will be sufficient to say here: (1)
No one can doubt that Cassian disapproved of the doctrine of Saint Augustine. He
thought it rigid. He thought parts of it untrue. He wrote one conference, the
thirteenth, to confute Saint Augustine. (2) No one can doubt that Cassian was a
deeply Christian moralist and never for an instant supposed that a soul could
ascend any ladder, or fight any fight, without God pouring in His grace."

John Cassian speculated that some people were able to take the first steps to God.

Now lets go to where he said it. conference 13 chapter 12 he says

"For because the faith of the thief on the cross came as the first thing, no one would say that therefore the blessed abode of Paradise was not promised to him as a free gift, nor could we hold that it was the penitence of King David's single word which he uttered: "I have sinned against the Lord," and not rather the mercy of God which removed those two grievous sins of his, so that it was vouchsafed to him to hear from the prophet Nathan: "The Lord also hath put away thine iniquity: thou shalt not die."

The council of Orange was against the idea of the thief taking the first step to God. They also thought that the will of King David had to be prepared by God in order for him to pray to God.

and this quote from chapter 11

CHAPTER XI.Whether the grace of God precedes or follows our good will.AND so these are somehow mixed up and indiscriminately confused, so that among many persons, which depends on the other is involved in great questionings, i.e., does God have compassion upon us because we have shown the beginning of a good will, or does the beginning of a good will follow because God has had compassion upon us? For many believing each of these and asserting them more widely than is right are entangled in all kinds of opposite errors. For if we say that the beginning of free will is in our own power, what about Paul the persecutor, what about Matthew the publican, of whom the one was drawn to salvation while eager for bloodshed and the punishment of the innocent, the other for violence and rapine? But if we say that the beginning of our free will is always due to the inspiration of the grace of God, what about the faith of Zaccheus, or what are we to say of the goodness of the thief on the cross, who by their own desires brought violence to bear on the kingdom of heaven and so prevented the special leadings of their vocation? But if we attribute the performance of virtuous acts, and the execution of God's commands to our own will, how do we pray: "Strengthen, O God, what Thou hast wrought in us;" and "The work of our hands stablish Thou upon us"? We know that Balaam was brought to curse Israel, but we see that when he wished to curse he was not permitted to. Abimelech is preserved from touching Rebecca and so sinning against God. Joseph is sold by the envy of his brethren, in order to bring about the descent of the children of Israel into Egypt, and that while they were contemplating the death of their brother provision might be made for them against the famine to come: as Joseph shows when he makes himself known to his brethren and says: "Fear not, neither let it be grievous unto you that ye sold me into these parts: for for your salvation God sent me before you;" and below: "For God sent me before that ye might be preserved upon the earth and might have food whereby to live. Not by your design was I sent but by the will of God, who has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his house, and chief over all the land of Egypt." And when his brethren were alarmed after the death of his father, he removed their suspicions and terror by saying: "Fear not: Can ye resist the will of God? You imagined evil against me but God turned it into good, that He might exalt me, as ye see at the present time, that He might save much people." And that this was brought about providentially the blessed David likewise declare saying in the hundred and fourth Psalm: "And He called for a dearth upon the land: and brake all the staff of bread. He sent a man before them: Joseph was sold for a slave." These two then; viz., the grace of God and free will seem opposed to each other, but really are in harmony, and we gather from the system of goodness that we ought to have both alike, lest if we withdraw one of them from man, we may seem to have broken the rule of the Church's faith: for when God sees us inclined to will what is good, He meets, guides, and strengthens us: for "At the voice of thy cry, as soon as He shall hear, He will answer thee;" and: "Call upon Me," He says, "in the day of tribulation and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me." And again, if He finds that we are unwilling or have grown cold, He stirs our hearts with salutary exhortations, by which a good will is either renewed or formed in us.

This is why Canon 8 of Orange said

"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)."

Orange also said in regards to Cassian and his followers

"We also believe and confess to our benefit that in every good work it is not we who take the initiative and are then assisted through the mercy of God, but God himself first inspires in us both faith in him and love for him without any previous good works of our own that deserve reward, so that we may both faithfully seek the sacrament of baptism, and after baptism be able by his help to do what is pleasing to him. We must therefore most evidently believe that the praiseworthy faith of the thief whom the Lord called to his home in paradise, and of Cornelius the centurion, to whom the angel of the Lord was sent, and of Zacchaeus, who was worthy to receive the Lord himself, was not a natural endowment but a gift of God's kindness."

As you can see Those over the council of Orange wanted grace to preceed every human action.Orange did not condemn our co-operation after initial grace and it doesn't condemn those portions of co-operation after initial grace found in the works of John Cassian either.Infact this statement from Orange shows that we do co-operate with God after initial grace

"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. We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema."

Everything John Cassian said about synergy wasn't condemned in the canons of the council of Orange. The onlything the council wanted to show was that grace must preceed everything before any co-operation is done. So co-operation in and of itself is not "error"! So I think some people think that everything John Cassian said or that everything his followers said about free will and grace must of been wrong and that's not the case. The canons of the council of Orange didn't condemn everything he had to say about the topic.

Augustine once believed in something "similar" to the semi-pelagians.

"The aged Augustine gathered all his remaining strength to prevent the revival of Pelagianism which had then been hardly overcome. He addressed (428 or 429) to Prosper and Hilarius the two works "De prædestinatione sanctorum" (P. L., XLIV, 959 sqq.) and "De dono perseverantiæ" (P. L., XLIV, 993 sqq.). In refuting their errors, Augustine treats his opponents as erring friends, not as heretics, and humbly adds that, before his episcopal consecration (about 396), he himself had been caught in a "similar error", until a passage in the writings of St. Paul (I Cor., iv, 7) had opened his eyes, "thinking that the faith, by which we believe in God, is not the gift of God, but is in us of ourselves, and that through it we obtain the gifts whereby we may live temperately, justly, and piously in this world" (De prædest. sanct., iii, 7). The Massilians, however, remained unappeased, the last writings of Augustine making no impression upon them. Offended at this obstinacy, Prosper believed the time had arrived for public polemics. He first described the new state of the question in a letter to a certain Rufinus (Prosper Aquit., "Ep. ad Rufinum de gratia et libero arbitrio", in P. L., XLI 77 sqq.), lashed in a poem of some thousand hexameters (Peri achariston, "hoc est de ingratis", in P.L., LI, 91 sqq.) the ingratitude of the "enemies of grace", and directed against an unnamed assailant - perhaps Cassian himself - his "Epigrammata in obtrectatorem Augustini" (P. L., XLI, 149 sqq.), written in clegiacs. At the time of the composition of this poem (429-30), Augustine was still alive."

I don't have all of Augustines early works. I only have some of them so I wasn't able to trace the source of the quote.However, to one of the intro notes of the book I do have says this:

"“It is true, of course, that there was development in St. Augustine's thought, and that his ordination marks an important stage in it................... In the retractions St. Augustine himself marks the division between his early and later writings. That work is in two books, of which the former reviews his writings previous to his elevations to the episcopate in 395/6; and the second begins with a review of his answers to the questions of Simplicianus, written “at the beginning of my episcopate.” To this work he frequently refers later as setting forth his final understanding of the Pauline doctrine of grace. Here if anywhere we may choose to fix the point at which the “earlier” gives place to the “later” Augustine, remembering that any such choice is somewhat arbitrary.”

From the book “Augustine: Earlier Writings” edited by J.H.S. Burleigh page 13 & 14

Also we can see it in his commentary to the book of Romans

"Having given his conclusion [in the last verse] Paul plays devil's advocate by asking arhetorical question........He responds to this question in a sensible way so that we might understand that the basic rewards of faith and of unbelief are made plain only to spiritual people and not to those who live according to the earthly man. Likewise with the way God in his foreknowledge elects those who will believe and condemns unbelievers. He neither elects the ones because of their works nor condemns the other because of theirs, but he grants to the faith of the ones the ability to do good works and hardens the unbelief of the others by deserting them, so that they do evil. This understanding, as I have said, is given only to spiritual people and is very different from the wisdom of the flesh. Thus Paul counters his inquirer so that he may understand that he first must put away the man of clay in order to be worthy to investigate these things by the Spirit."

Augustine on Romans from the book Ancient Christian commentary on scripture: New Testament VI Romans edited by Gerald Bray page 259and

"We read in Exodus[10:1] that Pharaoh's heart was hardened, so that he was not moved even by clear signs. Therefore, because Pharaoh did not obey the commands of God he was punished. No one can say that this hardness of heart came upon Pharaoh undeservedly; it came by the judgment of God who was giving him just punishment for his unbelief. Nor should it be thought that Pharaoh did not obey because he could not, on the ground that his heart had already been hardened. On the contrary, Pharaoh had deserved his hardness of by his earlier unbelief. For in those whom God has chosen it is not works but faith which is the beginning of merit, so that they might do good works by the gift of God. And in those whom he condemns unbelief and unfaithfulness are the beginning of punishment, so that by that very punishment they are permitted to do what is evil."

Augustine on Romans from the book Ancient Christian commentary on scripture: New Testament VI Romans edited by Gerald Bray page 257 I don't see how Faith can be seen as a merit but Augustine and Ambrose thought it was. And

"Paul does not take away the freedom of the will but says that our will is not sufficient unless God helps us, making us compassionate so that we might do good works by the gift of the Holy Spirit.....We cannot will unless we are called, and when we will after our calling neither our will nor our striving is enough unless God gives strength to our striving and leads us where he calls. It is therefore clear that it is not by willing nor by striving but by the mercy of God that we do good works, even though our will (which by itself can do nothing) is also present."

Augustine on Romans from the book Ancient Christian commentary on scripture: New Testament VI Romans edited by Gerald Bray page 256

"Chapter 57 [XXXIII.]—Whence Comes the Will to Believe?But it remains for us briefly to inquire, Whether the will by which we believe be itself the gift of God, or whether it arise from that free will which is naturally implanted in us? If we say that it is not the gift of God, we must then incur the fear of supposing that we have discovered some answer to the apostle's reproachful appeal: "What do you have that you did not receive? Now, if you received it, why do you glory, as if you had not received it?" 1 Corinthians 4:7 —even some such an answer as this: "See, we have the will to believe, which we did not receive. See in what we glory,—even in what we did not receive!" If, however, we were to say that this kind of will is nothing but the gift of God, we should then have to fear lest unbelieving and ungodly men might not unreasonably seem to have some fair excuse for their unbelief, in the fact that God has refused to give them this will. Now this that the apostle says, "It is God that works in you both to will and to do of His own good pleasure," Philippians 2:13 belongs already to that grace which faith secures, in order that good works may be within the reach of man,—even the good works which faith achieves through the love which is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost which is given to us. If we believe that we may attain this grace (and of course believe voluntarily), then the question arises whence we have this will?—if from nature, why it is not at everybody's command, since the same God made all men? if from God's gift, then again, why is not the gift open to all, since "He will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth?" 1 Timothy 2:4 Chapter 58.—The Free Will of Man is an Intermediate PowerLet us then, first of all, lay down this proposition, and see whether it satisfies the question before us: that free will, naturally assigned by the Creator to our rational soul, is such a neutral power, as can either incline towards faith, or turn towards unbelief. Consequently a man cannot be said to have even that will with which he believes in God, without having received it; since this rises at the call of God out of the free will which he received naturally when he was created. God no doubt wishes all men to be saved 1 Timothy 2:4 and to come into the knowledge of the truth; but yet not so as to take away from them free will, for the good or the evil use of which they may be most righteously judged. This being the case, unbelievers indeed do contrary to the will of God when they do not believe His gospel; nevertheless they do not therefore overcome His will, but rob their own selves of the great, nay, the very greatest, good, and implicate themselves in penalties of punishment, destined to experience the power of Him in punishments whose mercy in His gifts they despised. Thus God's will is for ever invincible; but it would be vanquished, unless it devised what to do with such as despised it, or if these despises could in any way escape from the retribution which He has appointed for such as they.………………….Chapter 60 [XXXIV.]—The Will to Believe is from God:Let this discussion suffice, if it satisfactorily meets the question we had to solve. It may be, however, objected in reply, that we must take heed lest some one should suppose that the sin would have to be imputed to God which is committed by free will, if in the passage where it is asked, "What do you have that you did not receive?" 1 Corinthians 4:7 the very will by which we believe is reckoned as a gift of God, because it arises out of the free will which we received at our creation. Let the objector, however, attentively observe that this will is to be ascribed to the divine gift, not merely because it arises from our free will, which was created naturally with us; but also because God acts upon us by the incentives of our perceptions, to will and to believe, either externally by evangelical exhortations, where even the commands of the law also do something, if they so far admonish a man of his infirmity that he betakes himself to the grace that justifies by believing; or internally, where no man has in his own control what shall enter into his thoughts, although it appertains to his own will to consent or to dissent. Since God, therefore, in such ways acts upon the reasonable soul in order that it may believe in Him (and certainly there is no ability whatever in free will to believe, unless there be persuasion or summons towards some one in whom to believe), it surely follows that it is God who both works in man the willing to believe, and in all things prevents us with His mercy. To yield our consent, indeed, to God's summons, or to withhold it, is (as I have said) the function of our own will. And this not only does not invalidate what is said, "For what do you have that you did not receive?" 1 Corinthians 4:7 but it really confirms it. For the soul cannot receive and possess these gifts, which are here referred to, except by yielding its consent. And thus whatever it possesses, and whatever it receives, is from God; and yet the act of receiving and having belongs, of course, to the receiver and possessor. Now, should any man be for constraining us to examine into this profound mystery, why this person is so persuaded as to yield, and that person is not, there are only two things occurring to me, which I should like to advance as my answer: "O the depth of the riches!" Romans 11:33 and "Is there unrighteousness with God?" Romans 9:14 If the man is displeased with such an answer, he must seek more learned disputants; but let him beware lest he find presumptuous ones"

It took Augustine a mighty long time to say this:

"it surely follows that it is God who both works in man the willing to believe, and in all things prevents us with His mercy. To yield our consent, indeed, to God's summons, or to withhold it, is (as I have said) the function of our own will. And this not only does not invalidate what is said, "For what do you have that you did not receive?" 1 Corinthians 4:7 but it really confirms it. For the soul cannot receive and possess these gifts, which are here referred to, except by yielding its consent."

what he said in the work "On the Spirit and the letter" shows that we still have the power to accept or reject the gifts that God gives. So we know that at least in this stage of his life he didn't believe in "irresistible" grace.

However, in the work "grace and free will" He says:

"Of the same Lord again it is said, "It is God who worketh in you, even to will! It is certain that it is we that act when we act; but it is He who makes us act, by applying efficacious powers to our will, who has said, "I will make you to walk in my statutes, and to observe my judgements, and to do them"

(On Grace and free Will) page 32 In quoting Norman Geisler in the book Chosen but free: second edition page 173

I'm tired right now so I'm gonna quote some of what Geisler quoted for now. I'll look at the primary sources later.

"Our Lord says plainly, however, in the Gospel, when upbraiding the impious city: "How often would I have gathered thy children together; even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! as if the will of God had been overcome by the will of men.....but even though she was unwilling, He gathered together as many of her children as He wished: for He does not will some things and do them, and will others and do them not; but "He hath done all that He pleased in heaven and in earth"

(Enchiridion, 97) quoting Norman Geisler's quote of Augustine in the book Chosen but free: second edition page 177

"Where is what the Donatists were wont to cry: Man is at liberty to believe or not believe? towards whom did Christ use violence? Whom did He compel? Here they have the Apostle Paul. Let them recognize in his case Christ first compelling and afterwards teaching; first striking, and afterwards consoling. For it is wonderful how he who entered the service of the gospel in the first instance under the compulsion of bodily punishment, afterwards labored more in the gospel than all they who were called by word only; and he who was compelled by the greater influence of fear to love, displayed that perfect love which casts out fear. Why, therefore, should not the Church use force in compelling her lost sons to return, if the lost sons compelled others to their destruction.

? (correction of Donatists, 6.22-23)quoting Norman Geisler's quote of Augustine in the book Chosen but free: second edition page 174 & 175

It seems in his later works he was working towards an "irresistible grace view"But His early works are not really that different from what John Cassian was saying about the Natural will and how God implants some goodness in it so that man can choose the good.

And how for some men that good was so weakened that God's grace had to preceed the will. Cassian also believed that the will of some men was able to preceed the grace of God. The only difference between the two on this point was that John Cassian stressed man's chooseing as being of the natural will whereas least in the work called "In the Spirit and the Letter" stressed that as being a gift of God. Augustine also believed that God's grace must always preceed the will of man. Augustine only seemed to stress what man could do when it came to the issue of accepting or rejecting the gifts of God. In Augustin's later years even that seemed to give way to some type of coercion of the will.

This is what Arminius had to say about free will.

The will

VII. In this state, the free will of man towards the true good is not only wounded, maimed, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and lost. And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine grace. For Christ has said, "Without me ye can do nothing."

The mind

VIII. The mind of man, in this state, is dark, destitute of the saving knowledge of God, and, according to the Apostle, incapable of those things which belong to the Spirit of God. For "the animal man has no perception of the things of the Spirit of God;" (1 Cor. ii, 14 in which passage man is called "animal," not from the animal body, but from anima, the soul itself, which is the most noble part of man, but which is so encompassed about with the clouds of ignorance, as to be distinguished by the epithets of "vain" and "foolish;" and men themselves, thus darkened in their minds, are denominated "mad" or foolish, "fools," and even "darkness" itself.

The Heart

IX. To the darkness of the mind succeeds the perverseness of the affections and of the heart, according to which it hates and has an aversion to that which is truly good and pleasing to God; but it loves and pursues what is evil. The Apostle was unable to afford a more luminous description of this perverseness, than he has given in the following words: "The carnal mind is enmity against God. For it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God." (Rom. viii, 7.) For this reason, the human heart itself is very often called deceitful and perverse, uncircumcised, hard and stony." (Jer. xiii, 10; xvii, 9; Ezek. xxxvi, 26.) Its imagination is said to be "only evil from his very youth;" (Gen. vi, 5; viii, 21 and "out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries," &c. (Matt. xv, 19.)

X. Exactly correspondent to this darkness of the mind, and perverseness of the heart, is the utter weakness of all the powers to perform that which is truly good, and to omit the perpetration of that which is evil, in a due mode and from a due end and cause. The subjoined sayings of Christ serve to describe this impotence. "A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit." (Matt. vii, 18.) "How can ye, being evil, speak good things?" (xii, 34.) The following relates to the good which is properly prescribed in the gospel: "No man can come to me, except the Father draw him." (John vi, 44.) As do likewise the following words of the Apostle: "The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be;" (Rom. viii, 7

So if anything Arminianism should be called "Semi-Augustinianism" rather than "Semi-Pelagianism". True Arminianism embraces Augustine's Hard Deterministic views about the fall of man in his Older years. But they also embrace the free will views of Augustine's early years. So they properly should be called "Semi-Augustinian" or "Moderate Augustinians" The Calvinists seem to only want to embrace Augustines older teachings. His Deterministic views and nothing else.

The real difference between Arminianism and Semi-pelagianism is that Semi-Pelagianism tought that the grace of God must preceed the will of "some" people. Whereas Arminianism believes that the grace of God must preceed the will of "all men".

This is the fundemental difference. the difference that very few seem to notice. Also classical and weslyian Arminianism seems to teach that the will of man was destroyed and lost by the Fall of man. I don't think Semi-Pelagianism ever went that far. I know the greek Fathers never went that far. Nor did the Latin Fathers before Augustine. Nor did Augustine in his early Christian years.

My view is that the Grace of God must preceed the will of all men but the will of man was never destroyed or lost by the fall for that would mean that the Image of God would of been destroyed and lost.

The will of man is broken, bent, fallen, wounded, damaged, and weakened. But it was never destroyed.....nor was it ever lost.


Prevenient Grace

I will talk about the doctrine of Prevenient grace. It also goes by the names of "Preventing grace, Preceeding, enabling grace, and actual grace". However, I will talk about the Eastern Christian understanding of Prevenient grace which differs from the Augustinian western model.

The Eastern Christian Confession of Dositheus uses the terms Preventing grace as well as particular grace. Prevenient grace is the Divine and illuminating grace which is a light by God imparted to all. This portion is focused only on Prevenient grace at this time.

the Synod of Jerusalem (A.D. 1672)Confession of Dositheus

Prevenient Grace

Opens the Heart

Acts 16:14 "14One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message."

Psalm 10:17
LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:

Opens the eyes

2nd Corinthians 4:6 "For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."

Psalm 13:3
Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

Psalm 19:8
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Opens the mind

Luke 15:17 "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you."

Matt 16 :16-17 "16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven."

Proverbs 2:6
For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Job 32:8 "But it is the spirit in a man,
the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding."

Seen in the forms of Light, calling, Drawing Love, and Conviction


John 1:9 "9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world"

John 12:36 "Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them."

Psalm 18:28
You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

2nd Corinthians 4:3-7 ""And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."


Mark 16:15
"He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."

Romans 10:14-15 "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

Drawing Love

Pslam 18:32-33
"It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights."

John 6:44-47
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life."

John 12:32
"Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." 33He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die."

Titus 2:11
"11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men."

1 Timothy 2:3-6
"This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time."


Proverbs 9:10
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Isaiah 33:6
He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.

Acts 17:30-31 "30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead"

John 16:8-11 "When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned."

Job 32:14-18
"For God does speak—now one way, now another—
though man may not perceive it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on men
as they slumber in their beds,
16 he may speak in their ears
and terrify them with warnings,
17 to turn man from wrongdoing
and keep him from pride,
18 to preserve his soul from the pit,
his life from perishing by the sword."

Job 32:19
"Or a man may be chastened on a bed of pain
with constant distress in his bones,
20 so that his very being finds food repulsive
and his soul loathes the choicest meal.
21 His flesh wastes away to nothing,
and his bones, once hidden, now stick out.
22 His soul draws near to the pit,
and his life to the messengers of death.
23 "Yet if there is an angel on his side
as a mediator, one out of a thousand,
to tell a man what is right for him,
24 to be gracious to him and say,
'Spare him from going down to the pit ;
I have found a ransom for him'-
25 then his flesh is renewed like a child's;
it is restored as in the days of his youth.
26 He prays to God and finds favor with him,
he sees God's face and shouts for joy;
he is restored by God to his righteous state.
27 Then he comes to men and says,
'I sinned, and perverted what was right,
but I did not get what I deserved.
28 He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit,
and I will live to enjoy the light.'
29 "God does all these things to a man—
twice, even three times-
30 to turn back his soul from the pit,
that the light of life may shine on him
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