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Friday, January 25, 2008

eph 2:8 and "The gift of God"

Calvinists tend to use Eph 2:8 to prove that faith is the gift of God. I believe Faith to be a gift, I just know that one can't use this passage to prove it. I also believe that one has the ability to accept or reject gifts. For some reason some feel as if gifts can't be rejected. But anyway, the error that Eph 2:8 is talking about faith as being the gift of God first came from Augustine when he said:

"And he says that a man is justified by faith and not by works, because
faith itself is first given, from which may be obtained other things which are
specially characterized as works, in which a man may live righteously. For he
himself also says, "By grace you are saved through faith; and this not of
yourselves; but it is the gift of God," Ephesians 2:8 —that is to say, "And in
saying 'through faith,' even faith itself is not of yourselves, but is God's
gift." "Not of works," he says, "lest any man should be lifted up.""

chapter 12 of (Book I) "On the Predestination of the Saints"

I thought it was interesting that John Calvin disagreed with this interpretation when he said:

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

From John Calvin's Commentary on the book of Ephesians.

This is what Norman Geisler had to say about Eph 2:8

"In addition, however plausible this interpretation may seem in English, it is
very clear from the Greek that Ephesians 2:8-9 is not referring to faith as a
gift from God. For the "that" (touto) is neuter in form and cannot refer to
"faith" (pistis), which is feminine. The antecedent of "it is the gift of God"
is the salvation by grace through faith (v.9). Commenting on this passage, the
great New Testament Greek scholar A. T. Robertson noted: "Grace' is God's part,
'faith' ours. And that [it] (kai touto) is neuter, not feminine taute, and so
refers not to pistis [faith] or to charis [grace] (feminine also), but to the
act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part."

some have argued that a pronoun may agree in sense, but not in form, with its
antecedent, this view is refuted by Gregory Sapaugh, who notes that "if Paul
wanted to refer to pistis ('faith'), he could have written the feminine taute,
instead of the neuter, touto, and his meaning would have been clear." But he did
not. Rather, by the "that" (touto) Paul refers to the whole process of
"salvation by grace through faith." Sapaugh notes that "this position is further
supported by the parallelism between ouk hymon ('and this not of yourself') in
2:8 and and ouk ex ergon ('not of works') in 2:9. The latter phrase would not be
meaningful if it referred to pisteos ('faith'). Instead, it clearly means
salvation is 'not of works.'"

From the book "Chosen but free: second
edition" by Norman Geisler pages 189-190

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

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

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

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

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

Adam Clark said:

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

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

Adam Clark's Commentary to
the Ephesians

This is what Saint John Chrysostom had to say about Eph chapter 2

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

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

It should be clear that the gift spoken of in Eph 2:8 is mainly talking about the word "Salvation"


Hincmar, Archbishop of Reims & Predestination

Hincmar, who was the Archbishop of Reims lived in the 9nth century. I wasn't able to find any of his works online, but I was amused at the outcome of two local synods in which his views seemed to have won the day.

The second council of Quierzy(853 A.D.) as well as the council of Toucy(860 A.D.)

"After the great Synod of Savonières near Toul (859), which was also attended by
Hincmar, he wrote his second diffuse and prolix work on predestination. His four
theses, which he also advocated before the Synod of Toucy in 860, are as

(1) God wills the salvation of all men;

(2) The will
remains free after the fall of man, but must be liberated and sanctified by
God's grace;

(3) Divine Predestination foreordains that, out of the massa
perditionis, a few shall be brought to eternal life, out of mercy;

(4) Christ died for us all.

After the Synod of Toucy, the predestination
conflict between Hincmar and the other bishops quieted down."

The one at Quierzy

"At the second synod the famous four decrees or chapters (Capitula) drawn
up by Hincmar on the predestination question were published. They asserted:

(1) the predestination of some to salvation, and, in consequence of
Divine foreknowledge, the doom of others to everlasting punishment;

(2) the remedy for the evil tendencies of free will through grace;

(3) the Divine intention of saving all men;

(4) the fact of universal redemption.

The council held in February, 857, aimed at suppressing the disorders
then so prevalent in the kingdom of Charles the Bald."


A Dictionary of early christian Biography

It just came in today. This is the third time I got the book. I plan on not giving this one away.

The book was edited by two Anglicans. Henry Wace(1836-1924) and William Piercy, who lived in the early 19 hundreds.

The book features major christian personalities, movements, creeds, documents, and literature of the first six centuries.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The council of Carthage and the doctrine of Original sin

Eventhough the Council of Carthage was a local North African Council it became Universal when the decrees were added to the 6th ecumenical Council. One of the Canons of that council affirmed the Council of Carthage, and the Council of Carthage Affirmed not only the Canon of Scripture but also the Doctrine of Original sin.

It must be made known that Eastern Christianity differs from Western Christianity when it comes to the "Understanding" of what Original sin means. It also must be known that both the Augustinians as well as the Semi-Pelagians were at that council to combat the Pelagians. And as we know, the Augustinians and the Semi-pelagians had a different understanding about the condition of man.

Some Eastern Orthodox scholars have called the eastern christian understanding "ancestral sin". The reason why I mentioned this is because John Cassian came from the East to the West, and he as well as his followers were both at the council. So His understanding about the doctrine of Original sin would have been an Eastern One.

The Basic difference between the two views depends on how one reads Romans chapter 5:12

The Rev. Antony Hughes shows the difference when he said:

"The piety and devotion of Augustine is largely unquestioned by Orthodox
theologians, but his conclusions on the Atonement are (Romanides, 2002).
Augustine, by his own admission, did not properly learn to read Greek and this
was a liability for him. He seems to have relied mostly on Latin translations of
Greek texts (Augustine, 1956a, p. 9). His misinterpretation of a key scriptural
reference, Romans 5:12, is a case in point (Meyendorff, 1979). In Latin the
Greek idiom eph ho which means because of was translated as in whom. Saying that
all have sinned in Adam is quite different than saying that all sinned because
of him. Augustine believed and taught that all humanity has sinned in Adam
(Meyendorff, 1979, p. 144). The result is that guilt replaces death as the
ancestral inheritance (Augustine, 1956b) Therefore the term original sin conveys
the belief that Adam and Eve’s sin is the first and universal transgression in
which all humanity participates"

HE also writes:

"Ancestral sin has a specific meaning. The Greek word for sin in this case,
amartema, refers to an individual act indicating that the Eastern Fathers
assigned full responsibility for the sin in the Garden to Adam and Eve alone.
The word amartia, the more familiar term for sin which literally means “missing
the mark”, is used to refer to the condition common to all humanity (Romanides,
2002). The Eastern Church, unlike its Western counterpart, never speaks of guilt
being passed from Adam and Eve to their progeny, as did Augustine. Instead, it
is posited that each person bears the guilt of his or her own sin. The question
becomes, “What then is the inheritance of humanity from Adam and Eve if it is
not guilt?” The Orthodox Fathers answer as one: death. (I Corinthians 15:21)
“Man is born with the parasitic power of death within him,” writes Fr.
Romanides (2002, p. 161). Our nature, teaches Cyril of Alexandria, became
“diseased…through the sin of one” (Migne, 1857-1866a). It is not guilt that is
passed on, for the Orthodox fathers; it is a condition, a disease."

This is the basic difference between East and west in regards to the doctrine of Original sin.

We believe mankind inherited death, as well as the tendency/propensity to sin from Adam and Eve.

We do not believe we inherited their guilt. And it is because of this that alot of Orthodox don't like to use the term "original sin".

I kind of think we have to because of the Council of Carthage. We are linked to that Council through the decrees of the 6th ecumenical council. So it would be best to just say our interpretation of the term "original sin" is different from the western interpretation.

Our interpreation is one of "Ancestral sin"


Arminianism, Calvinism, Semi-Pelagianism, and my own views

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 latter teachings. His Deterministic views and nothing else.

The real difference between Arminianism and Semi-pelagianism is that Semi-Pelagianism tought 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 both seem 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 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 the Image of God (which man is) would of been destroyed and lost as well. Being an Image of God is not something man has. It is something man is. So fallen man is a "marred" Image of God. If God's Image was eradicated/annihilated in the Fall then man would cease to exist. But if God's Image is eternal then it can't be destroyed.

Thus I believe the will of man to be broken, bent, fallen, wounded, damaged, and weakened. But never destroyed.....nor lost.

I might be wrong but as far as Arminianism goes I probably would agree more with Philip Limborch of the Remonstrants in this regard.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Expiation vs Propitiation

What does the word ιλαστηριον(hilasterion) mean in Romans 3:25?

NKJV verses 24-26
"24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in
Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through
faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had
passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the
present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the
one who has faith in Jesus."

In the "Expository Dictionary of Bible words" they translate the word as Propitiation.

They said:


"hilasterion is found only three times in the New Testament.
Each occurrence has a great deal of theological significance and refers to the
"atonement sacrifice" of Jesus Christ. It is this sacrifice that paid the
penalty for the sins of the people of God in their entirety-past, present, and
future. This substitutionary atonement appeased, or "propitiated," the wrath of
God once and for all (cf. Rom 3:25; 1st John 2:2; 4:10)"

page 766 of the expository Dictionary of the Bible. Words edited by Stephen D. Renn and Published by Hendrickson Publishers @ 2005

In dealing with Hilasmos it says:

"The noun hilasmos is found only twice. 1 John 2:2; 4:10
refer to the "propitiation" affected by the sacrificial death of christ on the
cross, whose atoning work eradicated the sin of human beings and appeased the
wrath of God."

page 766 of the Expository Dictionary of Bible
Words edited by Stephen D. Renn and published by Hendrickson Publishers @ 2005

This seems to be the standard Reformed understanding of Hilasmos and Hilasterion. However, many of the church Fathers had a different understanding of Hilasterion. Another difference I noticed about this dictionary is that it didn't have a section for "Justice".
Instead, it refers one to look under the words "judgement" and "righteous". Many Orthodox Jews understand "Justice" with the Hebrew word "zakah". When the Jews were delivered by God from Egyptian bondage they called that "Zakah".

However, in this dictionary the word Zakah is under the catagory of "cleansing". And it says:

"The verb zakah means to "be clean, pure" in a moral sense in most of the eight
occurrences of the term(e.g. job 15:14; 25:4; Ps 51:4)
The meaning "to keep
oneself (morally) pure" is indicated in Pss. 71:13; 119:9; Prov, 20:9. See also
Isa 1:16

page 184 of the expository Dictionary of the Bible Words edited
by Stephen D. Renn and published by Hendrickson Publishers

The reason why I brought this up is because Romans 3:24-26 also deals with the idea of Justice.


"and are justified freely by his grace through the
redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of
atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice,
because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and
the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."

But going back to Expiation vs Propitiation I have noticed that alot of the Fathers and nonfathers understood hilasterion to mean "expiation".

Origen: "Although the holy Apostle teaches many wonderful things about our Lord
Jesus Christ which are said mysteriously about him, in this passage he has given
special prominence to something which, I think, is not readily found in other
parts of scripture. For having just said that Christ gave himself as a
redemption for the entire human race so that he might ransom those who were held
captive by he adds something even more sublime, saying that God put
him forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This means
that by the sacrifice of Christ's body God has made expiation on behalf of men
and by this has shown his righteousness, in that he forgave their previous sins,
which they had committed in the service of the worst possible tyrants. God
endured this and allowed these things to happen.
Commentary on the Epistle to
the Romans."

page 101 of ACCS Romans edited by Gerald Bray & Thomas C. Oden

Ambrosiaster: "Paul says this, because in Christ God put forward, i.e.,
appointed, himself as a future expiation for the human race if they believed.
This expiation was by his blood. We have been set free by his death so that God
might reveal him and condemn death by His passion. This was in order to make his
promise clear, by which he set us free from sin as he had promised before. And
when he fulfilled this promise he showed himself to be righteous."

102 of ACCS Romans edited by Gerald Bray & Thomas C. Oden

Gregory of Nyssa: "Christ, being an expiation by his blood, teaches each one
thinking of this to become himself a propitiation, sanctifying his soul by the
mortification of his members."
On Perfection

page 102 of ACCS Romans edited by
Gerald & Thomas C. Oden

Chrysostom: "Paul calls the redemption an expiation to show that, if the
Old Testament type had such power, much more did its New Testament counterpart
have it.....What does it mean to show God's righteousness? It is like declaring
his riches not only for him to be rich himself but also to make others rich...Do
not doubt, for righteousness is not of works but of faith.
Homilies on Romans 7
page 102 of ACCS Romans edited by Gerald & Thomas C. Oden

Theodoret of Cyr: "The mercy seat was gold-plated and placed on top of the ark.
On each side was the figure of a cherub. When the high priest approached it, the
holy kindness of God was revealed. The apostle teaches us that Christ is the
true mercy seat, of which the one in the Old Testament was but a type. The name
applies to christ in his humanity, not in his divinity. For as God Christ
responded to the expiation made at the mercy seat. It is as man that he receives
this label, just as elsewhere he is called a sheep, a lamb, sin and curse.
Furthermore, the ancient mercy seat was bloodless because it was inanimate.
It could only receive the drops of blood pouring from the sacrificial victims.
But the Lord Christ is both God and the mercy seat, both the priest and the
lamb, and he performed the work of our salvation by his blood, demanding only
faith from us.
Interpretation of the Letter to the Romans"

page 102 of
ACCS Romans edited by Gerald Bray & Thomas C. Oden

"The Cross is made necessary by human nature, not by the Divinity...."we are
purified by the eternal Spirit who purges the earlier damage in us which we
received from the flesh, and we are also purified by our blood (for I call the
blood which Christ my God has shed our own), which expiates our original
weaknesses and redeems the world." We needed God to become flesh and die in
order to give us life....A few drops of blood renewed the whole World and did
for all men what rennet does for milk by drawing us together and binding us into
a unity"....Christ accepted everything proper to man, "everything which is
filled with death," and by dying He destroyed death. Death is Resurrection, and
this is the mystery of the Cross."

Archpriest Georges Florovsky(quoting
Gregory the Theologian), The Eastern Fathers of the fourth century B#47, volume
VII, pp 143,144
page 172 from the Orthodox Lexicon called "The Bible and the
Holy Fathers: For Orthodox"

It seems from many of the Fathers "hilasterion" was understood as a type of purging, cleansing, eradicating.....ect.

I think Tertullian sums it up when he says:

"Every Soul, then, by reason of its birth, has its nature in Adam until it
is born again in Christ. Moreover, it is unclean all the time that it remains
without this regeneration. And because it is unclean, it is actively

page 273 of A dictionary of early christian beliefs modified
and edited by Bercot.

Paul tells Titus that "regeneration" washes.

Titus 3:5
"not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His
mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy

Jesus Christ as our Expiation fits the Old Testament modal of animal sacrifices. Hebrews chapter 9 shows the relationship.

NKJV Hebrews chapter 9:11-15
"But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the
greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this
creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He
entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the
unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the
blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to
God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for
this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the
redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are
called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.""

The blood of Christ cleanses

1 John 1:7But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have
fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us
from all sin.

The blood of Christ washes

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead,
and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us
from our sins in His own

So with this said I will say that it seems as if hilasterion means something more than what the Expository Dictionary of the Bible depicted.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The word "Justification" in Romans 5:18

What does the word "Justification" mean in Romans 5:18?

"18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men,
resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift
came to all men, resulting in "justification" of life."

It could mean what Paul said in Romans 5:9

"9 Much more then, having now been "justified" by His blood, we shall be saved
from wrath through Him."

This passage seems to use the word "Jusitified" in the sense of Christ's death on the Cross. It also seems to use the word in the sense of being protected against God's wrath.

Or the word could mean what Paul said in Romans 4:25

"25He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for
our justification."

"25who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our

This verse seems to use the word "Justification" in the sense of Christ's Resurrection. So what did Paul mean in Romans 5:18?

Was he using the word in the sense of Romans 5:9 or 4:25?

I tend to lean toward the Ressurection view. Everybody will not be made righteous by Christ's blood, but everybody will be raised from the dead because of Christ's Resurrection.

"Theodoret of Cyr: Paul calls Jesus a man in this passage in order to
underline the Parallel with Adam, for Just as death came through one man, so the
cure for death came through one man as well.
Interpretation of the Letter to the

page 145 ACCS edited by Geald Bray & Thomas C. Oden


"Oecumenius: Christ's obedience was greater than Adam's disobedience in the
following sense. Death, which originated with the sin of Adam, had our
cooperation in the sins which we all committed, and so it was able to gain
control over us. For if men had re-mained free of all wrongdoing, death would
not have been in control. But the grace of Christ has come to us all without our
cooperation and shows that the grace of the resurrection is such that not only
believers, who glory in their faith, will be resurrected, but also unbelievers,
both Jews and Greeks. Something which works in us against our will is therefore
obviously greater than something which works in us with our cooperation.
Commentary From the Greek Church."
page 145 ACCS edited by Gerald Bray & Thomas C. Oden

Ok so at this point in time I believe that only those who believe and are united with Christ's death are Justified by the blood of Christ and will not receive God's wrath. While everyone who physically dies will be justified through Christ's Resurrection by being raised from the dead. Those who are united to Christ will be raised in glory. Those who are separated from Christ will be raised to condemnation(the second death).

I don't know if this makes sense, but this is what I'm gonna role with for now.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

ALL shall rise from the dead

I'm wondering if the ""all"" in Romans chapter 5 is talking about the same ""all"" in 1st Corinthians chapter 15?

1 Corinthians 15
20But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

compared with

Romans 5:18
18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.

So I'm thinking that Christ's resurrection made the resurrection of mankind possible. But there is a curve ball in all this. Only those who are united with Christ will be raised in glory. Whereas the others will be raised to condemnation.

We see that both the just and unjust will be raised from the dead.

Acts 24:15
I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A little more about me(a responce to angie from an "earlychurch" e-mail group

I was raised Baptist, but from 1998 to about 2004/2005 I would say that I churched hopped. From Baptist, Pentecostal, Church of Christ, Prespyterian, Methodist, Charismatic, Episcopal, and something else....I can't recall at this time. I did visit a Greek Orthodox Church around that time as well.

But I started reading the works of the Early Church Fathers back in 1998 and I thought about being Eastern Orthodox back then. But I ran into Bercot's website "scroll Publishing" and got sidetracked. His tapes on "don't stop short of the Apostolic Faith" as well as his tapes on "Icons", and "Mary", and "Hades" made me change my mind.

However, I had nowhere to really fellowship. It was like I was cought in some type of limbo. I really couldn't partake of communion anywhere because of my convictions about the issue. It seemed as if anywhere I went I had to compromize somewhere. So I became Episcopal in 2003. I only became Episcopal because Pittsburgh didn't have a "convergence" movement Church in the area. Like the C.E.E.C. or the I.C.E.C.

There were times that I wanted to move to Tyler Texas to be with Bercot's group, but his group broke up and he moved to Pennsylvania. About 3 hours away from where I live now.
His views changed somewhat.... to a more Mennonite perspective on things, and that's when I started to shy away from Bercot.

And in September of 2006 the I.C.E.C. hade a scandel and the fellowship splintered into pieces. Some went to Rome, others went to Orthodoxy, some went with the Old Catholics, while others still just stayed as they were.

So that's when I started to think about Orthodoxy again. The Episcopal Church was too Liberal ( I joined the mainstream one in 2003 the ECUSA although the Pittsburgh Diocese is mostly moderate to conservative)
But I never wanted to plant roots there in the first place. The people were nice but I knew that what I was looking for was Orthodoxy so I started looking at Eastern Orthodoxy in December of 2006 and became Orthodox the day before Pascha. Just like what I read about in the Church Fathers.

The icons issue did keep me away at first.....all thanks to David Bercot.....who seems to have an unhealthy fear of them and Mary. But I came to grips with it when I saw Icons all around me. I saw myself as being a hippocrite for having Icons of myself, on my cell phone, Camera, computer. In my room.

I came to the truth that when I watch T.V. I watch about 30 Icons per second. When I watch a movie I look at about 100 to 300 Icons per second.

When I look at books I see icons on them. When I look at tapes and C.D.'s I see icons on them.

I see Icons right now on Yahoo. com!!! So I came to grips with myself that I was being a hippo.

And the Icon issue went away.

Monday, January 7, 2008

the "all men" in Romans 5:18

I am starting to believe that the word "life" in Romans 5:18 might be refering to the resurrection of the dead.

Romans 5:18

"18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men."

If the condemnation for all men was "death" and if we look at the word Justification as meaning something different than what it normally means then the universal nature of this verse shouldn't be a problem.


More definitions

A few months ago I dealt with the term "Catholic" and what it meant in the Orthodox Church compared to how the western churches understand that word.

This time I'm going to define:

Orthodoxy = Right belief

Orthopraxy = right practice


Orthopathy = right feeling/emotion/love

In dealing with right belief:

When Rome split with the East in 1054(not the exact date) the East took on the name Orthodox which stands for "right belief". Orthodoxy never embraced some of the speculations made by Augustine. And because of this our Theology is different from the Western churches.

1.) We don't have a just war doctrine.

2.)We don't believe that Adam's and Eve's guilt is passed on to us after the fall.

3.) We don't believe that we will be judged for the sins of Adam and Eve.

4.) We don't believe in the immaculate conception of Mary.

5.) We don't believe Water Baptism wipes away Original guilt.

6.) We don't believe the Pope to be the universal Bishop.

In regards to right practice:

Right practice is partly about the customs that were passed on from the Apostles. And the ammendments made at the ecumenical councils. The Orthodox care alot about right practice because "right belief" is linked to right practice.

But in general right practice is about believing, trusting, repenting, and obeying God.

In regards to right emotion/feeling/intuition:

In worship there is a great stress on being soberly minded. And since the monastic life has a huge influence on Orthodox culture there is a love of creation, solitude, silence, and beauty in the arts.

It also deals with having a passion/desire and determination to know and love God, and nieghbor.

Another side of Orthopathy deals with right suffering. Not only were we granted to believe in Christ but we were also granted to suffer for His name sake as well.

This is what makes the Orthodox path of Theosis therapeutic.

Friday, January 4, 2008

I'm taking a 3 month break from the HCR forums

I told them that I was gonna take a 3 month leave. I need time to regroup and collect my thoughts. I've been into christian rap for about 12 years now, and with my change in theology over the years...... combined with the rise of both Calvinism and word of Faith theology in protestant christian rap I have decided to withdraw for awhile.

Most of the christian rap that is out there is either Roman Catholic or Protestant.

The major Roman Catholic hiphop site is Phatmass

There are alot of major Protestant hiphop sites. The one I went to the most was HCR

The christian hiphop community in Orthodoxy is small. Maybe oneday I will be called to help build a site, but at this time we are still few in number.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

The flow of Election in Romans chapter 9

I once heard a Calvinist say that the context of election found in Romans chapter 9 is found in Romans chapter 8. However, this person believed in unconditional election. I agree that Romans chapter 8 helps with the context of Romans chapter 9 since historically the Bible didn't have chapters and verses. A proper understanding of Romans chapter 8:29 as well as 8:17 would show that election is conditional.

"28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."



"17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if
indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together."

From this we know that God's Predestination preceeds God's calling according to His purpose. We also know that God's foreknowledge preceeds His Predestination. And from verse 17 we know that we are joint heirs with Christ "if" we suffer with Him.

SO why do Unconditional Electionists make it seem as if God's purpose in election is arbitrary and unknown?

Romans 9:11

"10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man,
even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having
done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might
stand, not of works but of Him who calls),
12 it was said to her, “The older
shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I
have hated.”"

Did Paul write Romans 9:10-12 independently of Romans chapter 8? If Romans chapter 8 speaks of conditional election then why would Paul talk of unconditional election in chapter 9?

Also Calvinists like to pull a fast one in regards to Jacob and Esau. They make it seem as if faith is a work when Paul never says such a thing. Paul makes a distinction between Faith and works. In Romans 9:30-33

"30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue
righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;
31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of
righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by
the works of the law.
For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is

“ Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”"

Surely Faith is not a work/merit and we can insert what Paul said in Romans chapters 8:28-29 and 9:30-33 into the Jacob and Esau situation.

The only reason why people of today believe in unconditional election is because Augustine changed his mind about the issue in his later years. If it wasn't for him then the doctrine of "unconditional election" would not exist.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

One of my favorite hiphop videos

Willie Will is a very talented protestant christian rapper. He is very honest, philosophical, and pragmatic.

This video is about the grace of God in the form of Light. I love how he touches on alot of the passages found in the first chapter of John.

I like this version of the song better than the one on his album because this one includes his third verse which is packed with heavy theological content.

Related Link:
"Unborn Child" by Willie Will

Solar Powered video "Brinson ft. D-M.A.U.B."


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