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Friday, February 29, 2008

Recovering the Scandel of the Cross

Recovering the Scandel of the Cross is a book I just ordered from It is by Joel B. Green & Mark D. Baker. I may be wrong but I think Joel teaches at "Asbury Theological Seminary".

But anyway, I'm gonna give it a read. From the reviews on Amazon as well as the interview from Ancientfaith radio, this isn't a book for those that see the "penal satisfaction" view of the Atonement as the Gospel. If you see that view as the Gospel and any other view as wrong then this book isn't for you.

But from what I can see they talk about different Atonement modals throughout scripture as well as throughout Church History.

and the interview

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A responce to a new christian in regards to the Trinity

"This is a responce to a new christian who bought a book about the Trinity. He didn't know that the author was Reformed. So he asked what was Reformed Theology and if it was ok to read books about the Trinity from Reformed Protestants. He also wanted to know if the Reformed view was opposed to the Orthodox view"

Some segments of Reformed theology oppose the Eastern Orthodox understanding of the Trinity.

There is an argument right now in the Reformed World about "Aseity". One side believes that each person of the Trinity has "Aseity".

This is real close to Tri-Theism or Three gods instead of One God.

I may be wrong but I think the ORthodox view is that the Father Alone has Aseity because the Son is eternaly begotten from the Father and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father.

Those in the Reformed camp that advocate this view reject the Nicene Creed in favor of the Athanisian Creed. They don't like the idea of the Son being derived from the Father.

The Reformed View in all it's forms is anti-subordinationist.

The formers of the Nicene Council were closer to what I would call "Subordinate Triniterians". The Reformed camp rejects that idea. And this is why in general they tend to be modalistic.....except for that one group.

There are other differences as well. Like the Filique clause and the modalistic tendencies of the West. I know this sounds wierd since I just mentioned a segment of the Reformed that believe that each Person of the Trinity has "Aseity". But in General the west is bent in the direction of modalism.

But to give a brief discription of Reformed theology I would say:

Reformed Theology starts with Zwingly and culminates with John Calvin. It is the second wave of the Protestant Reformation that is mostly based on Calvins institutes of the Christian religion, his commentaries, the "three forms of unity" of the Dutch Reformed Church and the Westminister Confession of Faith of Prespyterian Churches. I may be wrong but I think John Calvin rewrote or edited the Anglican 39 articles of Faith.

The essentual core of Reformed Theology are

Total inability

Unconditional election

Limited Atonement

Irresistible Grace

Perseverence of the Saints

Infant Baptism

The 5 Solas (Grace alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Christ ALone, to God the Glory Alone)

Communion as symbolic (Zwingly camp)

Communion as spiritual (John Calvin's compromise to the Zwinglians....This is what alot of the Reformed believe)

Most of the Reformed reject Baptismal regeneration. There is a reformed group called "federal vision" and another one called "new perspective on Paul" that may lean toward Baptismal regeneration but in general they are against it.

They believe in two sacraments........and even in that they understand grace in regards to these sacraments are different than how we understand it.


Church ruled by elders (priests and deacons only)

The Reformed Faith has been influenced by the hard deterministic teachings of Augustine(in his later years)

The Renaissance, and the Enlightenment................ not to mention other movements since then.

Over all it would be best to read Orthodox sources about the Trinity first, so that you will be well grounded in the original understanding of the Doctrine. After that it would be easier to discern the differences and similarities in the later western mutations.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More about me(the early years)

Conversion is not a one time event. Conversion is a life long journy.
A post I posted on an Orthodox board.
Conversion is dynamic from faith to faith. And the Church is one whith two dimensions(Heaven and Earth). I was raised Baptist. I fought in Sunday school a couple times. I fought once at Bible summer camp. And I really didn't understand much about the Faith. I remember my mother forcing me to be Baptized around the age of 5 or 6 and I was told to tell the deacons that I believed in the Trinity and that God is Spirit.Well when I went to see the deacons I told them God was a Pirate.
......lets just say they refused to Baptize me. I felt bad about it. I said "oh no. I meant to say Spirit",but it was too late. I recall the Bible story lessons but they weren't deep. they really didn't teach us heavy doctrine about Jesus being God and the Trinity. Maybe they thought we were too young to learn, but they did teach us Baptist distinctives like Baptism being symbolic.
I recall us(kids) playing around in Sunday school.
When the teacher would leave we would give eachother the middle finger. To be honest, we had it pointed down because we thought it meant it was pointed at the Devil. In 1987 or 88 I was Baptized. I didn't understand alot of things. But I knew Jesus was Lord and I believed in the doctrine of the Trinity....although I didn't have a firm grasp of the doctrine. I mostly got Baptized out of pressure from my moms.
After I was Baptized I felt different. At that time I thought something bad happened because I use to use people for what they had(NINTENDO and SEGA master systems) and now I no longer had the desire to use people. ...I thought I wasn't nice anymore. I would beat up the people I use to use. I thought something was wrong with me. Before I would overlook a person's selfishness if I wanted something from them. But now I didn't care what they had. I would just beat them up for getting on my nerves or when I thought they were unjust.
In 1990 or 1989 I heard a voice that told me to read some Bible bed time story books on my shelf. I was 12 or 13 at the time.It was 2 or 3 days before the first day of school and it was nice outside. But I was in my room reading these books. I believed what I read and at the end of the story book there was a prayer and I heard the voice again. It told me to pray. So I did. I told God that I needed a friend. Someone to help me walk the walk. It was very emotional. I felt a burden lifted off my shoulders. And when school started there was this new kid on the bus. A white guy. And he was a pentecostal christian and alot of people on the bus were making fun of him. And yet he turned the other cheek so I felt moved to help him. I became his friend and I stopped my friends from picking on him. However, he moved a year later and I eventually back slid for two years. It wasn't until I moved to a new Highschool that I started to find other christians who were really fun and active. Both Protestant and Roman Catholic. In my junior year of highschool I was introduced to christian rap by a girl in my art class. Before that time I thought all christian rap was corny. I tried to do one when I was in middle school but I thought it was corny so I stopped. Well I was hooked on christian rap from that day onward and the same girl that gave me the tape introduced me to a christian club that we had in our highschool. It was called B.O.L.D.
Believers of our Lords disciples. And I had a ball. I eventually left the rap group I was in from my former highschool and started raping at christian rock events near Pittsburgh.
My former friends didn't like it. They thought I left them hanging, but I couldn't rap about the things they wanted me to flow about so I had to leave....and I wanted to leave. In College I met more people that were christian. After my first two years I no longer was doing christian rap, but I was still involved in production and making beats. But it was around this time that I was introduced to Eastern Orthodoxy.It's a long story so I'll give you the blog
Sunday, February 17, 2008

My post about Augustine will be put on hold for a month or two.

I'm putting my post about Augustine on hold. I'm currently working on a rejoinder against a reformed Baptist fellow who made alot of mischaracterizations about Eastern Orthodoxy in his new book. So most of my time for the next month or so is gonna be dealing with that. I might post some of the rebuttals on this blog. But I am on a team with four other people so I can't make any promises.
But the gist of the future post(regarding Augustine) was going to be about how Saint Augustine slowly changed his mind about the issue of grace and free will.

Orthodox Study Bible

The New Full Orthodox Study Bible is out. I just got my hardback copy today. The quality of the paper isn't as good as the New Testament version that came out 15 years ago, but it's decent enough. I'm just happy that it finally came out.
This version of the OSB has a fresh English translation of the Septuaginet text. They used the Alfred Rahlfs edition of the greek text as the basis for the english translation. They also used Brentons british translation of the greek text as a reference. The Old Testament Masoretic text of the NKJV was used as a template. Meaning Thomas Nelson publishers allowed them to use their english wording of the Old Testament whereever the LXX and Masoretic text were in agreement. It has 49 books in the Old Testament(about 3 more than Rome's) and 27 books in the New Testament. Because the Old Testament is the LXX the placing of the books are gonna be where they were in the greek LXX. Psalms has an extra chapter in the LXX and the book of Daniel is slightly longer as well. 2nd Chronicles(2nd Paraleipomenon) is longer due to the prayer of Manasseh. The New Testament is the NKJV and is mostly the same as the previous study Bible except for the addition of more patristic quotes and liturgical reference marks.
The notes and commentary of the OSB emphasizes the major themes of the Christian Faith.
Primary attention was given to:
2.) The Incarnation
3.) The Centrality of the Church
4.) And the call to live a virtuous life
The Biblical interpretations of the Church Fathers of the first 1,000 years of the church was used as well as the 7 Ecumenical Councils. Also added was the liturgical and prayer cycle of the Church Calender. Certain scriptures are read during certain times of the Church year, and these are marked in the notes.
The preface shows a chart of the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant old Testaments and it shows where they differ on certain points. The preface also shows the Patristic Fathers(They used about 49 different church fathers) and councils they quoted, as well as their abbreviations. They also give a brief run down of the Old Testament of the Early Church and of each book in the Bible(Both old and new) after that it ends with a short description of Church History. Starting with the New Testament era and ending with modern times and the Orthodox Church today.
Over all I'm just happy that it finally came out. Hopefully the leather back edition will have better quality paper.
For more information about the Full Orthodox Study Bible one can go to the Orthodox study website at:
Also hear Father Gillquist talk about the full version of the OSB at this poodcast:
The combination of the LXX and textus receptus makes it easier to trace some of the New Testament quotes. I know in my study of Romans chapter 9 I noticed Paul quoting the lxx alot. Now I have a fresh english tranlation of the lxx to go to when trying to trace Old Testament quotes found in the New Testament.
Saturday, February 9, 2008

my list of quotes for a future blog post I'm going to do on Augustine

Augustine lived from the years 354 A.D. to about the year 430 A.D. These quotes are going to be a mixture from different periods of his life.

Augustine admits having a change of mind after receiving a revelation from reading a quote of 1st Corinthians 4:7 in one of the works of Cyprian.

"It was not thus that that pious and humble teacher thought—I speak of the most blessed Cyprian—when he said "-->that we must boast in nothing, since nothing is our own."-->15-3432--> And in order to show this, he appealed to the apostle as a witness, where he said, "-->For what have you that you have not received? And if you have received it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?"--> 1 Corinthians 4:7 And it was chiefly by this testimony that I myself also was convinced when I was in a similar error, thinking that faith whereby we believe in God is not God's gift, but that it is in us from ourselves, and that by it we obtain the gifts of God, whereby we may live temperately and righteously and piously in this world. For I did not think that faith was preceded by God's grace, so that by its means would be given to us what we might profitably ask, except that we could not believe if the proclamation of the truth did not precede; but that we should consent when the gospel was preached to us I thought was our own doing, and came to us from ourselves. And this my error is sufficiently indicated in some small works of mine written before my episcopate. Among these is that which you have mentioned in your letters15-3434--> wherein is an exposition of certain propositions from the Epistle to the Romans."

On the Predestination of the Saints (Book I) chapter 7 (around the year 428 A.D.)

Augustine seemed to have had a change of mind over the years in regards to the condemnation of infants.

"Therefore it is in vain that it is prescribed to me from that old book of mine, that I may not argue the case as I ought to argue it in respect of infants; and that thence I may not persuade my opponents by the light of a manifest truth, that God's grace is not given according to men's merits. For if, when I began my books con537 -->cerning Free Will as a layman, and finished them as a presbyter, I still doubted of the condemnation of infants not born again, and of the deliverance of infants that were born again, no one, as I think, would be so unfair and envious as to hinder my progress, and judge that I must continue in that uncertainty. But it can more correctly be understood that it ought to be believed that I did not doubt in that matter, for the reason that they against whom my purpose was directed seemed to me in such wise to be rebutted, as that whether there was a punishment of original sin in infants, according to the truth, or whether there was not, as some mistaken people think, yet in no degree should such a confusion of the two natures be believed in, to wit, of good and evil, as the error of the Manicheans introduces. Be it therefore far from us so to forsake the case of infants as to say to ourselves that it is uncertain whether, being regenerated in Christ, if they die in infancy they pass into eternal salvation; but that, not being regenerated, they pass into the second death. Because that which is written, "-->By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men,"--> Romans 5:12 cannot be rightly understood in any other manner; nor from that eternal death which is most righteously repaid to sin does any deliver any one, small or great, save He who, for the sake of remitting our sins, both original and personal, died without any sin of His own, either original or personal. But why some rather than others? Again and again we say, and do not shrink from it, "-->O man, who are you that repliest against God?"--> Romans 9:20 "-->His judgments are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out."--> Romans 11:33 And let us add this, "-->Seek not out the things that are too high for you, and search not the things that are above your strength."--> Sirach 3:21"

On the Predestination of the Saints (Book II) chapter 30 (around the year 428 A.D.)

Taken from one of his later works. I'm gonna eventually compare this to an earlier work of his.

"And, moreover, who will be so foolish and blasphemous as to say that God cannot change the evil wills of men, whichever, whenever, and wheresoever He chooses, and direct them to what is good? But when He does this He does it of mercy; when He does it not, it is of justice that He does it not for "-->He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardens."-->13-1279--> And when the apostle said this, he was illustrating the grace of God,"

Enchiridion(The Handbook on Faith, Hope and Love)chapter 98 (around the year 421 A.D.)

Augustine is trying to argue that God over rules the wills of men if he wants someone to be saved.

"Hence we must inquire in what sense is said of God what the apostle has mostly truly said: "-->Who will have all men to be saved."-->13-1277--> For, as a matter of fact, not all, nor even a majority, are saved: so that it would seem that what God wills is not done, man's will interfering with, and hindering the will of God. When we ask the reason why all men are not saved, the ordinary answer is: "-->Because men 268 -->themselves are not willing."--> This, indeed cannot be said of infants, for it is not in their power either to will or not to will. But if we could attribute to their will the childish movements they make at baptism, when they make all the resistance they can, we should say that even they are not willing to be saved. Our Lord says plainly, however, in the Gospel, when upbraiding the impious city: "-->How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!"-->13-1278--> as if the will of God had been overcome by the will of men, and when the weakest stood in the way with their want of will, the will of the strongest could not be carried out. And where is that omnipotence which has done all that it pleased on earth and in heaven, if God willed to gather together the children of Jerusalem, and did not accomplish it? or rather, Jerusalem was not willing that her children should be gathered together? 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 has done all that He pleased in heaven and in earth."-->"

Enchiridion(The Handbook on Faith, Hope and Love) chapter 97 (around the year 421 A.D.)

In the work called "On the Spirit and the letter" Augustine leaves a little bit of room for free will. Or human consent.

Quote:"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."

On the Spirit and the Letter Chapter 57 (around the year 412 A.D.)

In this early work of Augustine he seems to embrace free will. Or that an unwilling person can't be forced to be willing.

"For every one also who does a thing unwillingly is compelled, and every one who is compelled, if he does a thing, does it only unwillingly. It follows that he that is willing is free from compulsion, even if any one thinks himself compelled. And in this manner every one who willingly does a thing is not compelled, and whoever is not compelled, either does it willingly or not at all. Since nature itself proclaims these things in all men whom we can interrogate without absurdity, from the boy even to the old man, from literary sport even to the throne of the wise, why then should I not have seen that in the definition of will should be put, "no one compelling," which now as if with greater experience most cautiously I have done. But if this is everywhere manifest, and promptly occurs to all not by instruction but by nature, what is there left that seems obscure, unless perchance it be concealed from some one, that when we wish for something, we will, and our mind is moved towards it, and we either have it or do not have it, and if we have it we will to retain it, if we have it not, to acquire it? Wherefore everyone who wills, wills either not to lose something or to obtain it. Hence if all these things are clearer than day, as they are, nor are they given to my conception alone, but by the liberality of truth itself to the whole human race, why could I not have said even at that time: Will is a movement of the mind, no one compelling, either for not losing or for obtaining something?"

Of Two Souls Chapter 10 verse 14 (around the 391 A.D.)



more to be be continued.

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