Author Topic: Narrow gate  (Read 2240 times)

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causalset

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Narrow gate
« on: Wed Jun 06, 2012 - 18:07:47 »
I am a protestant, but I am troubled by various troublesome intepretations of the bible. So sometimes I wish I was either orthodox or catholic, that way I could listen to church fathers that say things a lot more plainly. Anyway one of the passages that troubles me is the one that speaks of narrow gate that leads to life. When I was asking protestants to interpret it, none of the answers really satisfied me. So I was wondering perhaps Orthodox can answer it in a more satisfactory way. After all, according to Orthodox doctrine, most ppl who belong to orthodox church are saved, so this means that the gate is far from narrow. So I guess if you can answer how can most orthodox be saved despite that verse i can attempt to ''use'' your answer for my own framework of beliefs.

Anyway, here is the question I would like you guys to answer: how can most orthodox be saved despite th fact that there are ''a lot'' of orthodox while the gate that leads to life is narrow and FEW find it?

Online Jaime

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Re: Narrow gate
« Reply #1 on: Wed Jun 06, 2012 - 18:57:49 »
They believe THEY are the few.

causalset

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Re: Narrow gate
« Reply #2 on: Thu Jun 07, 2012 - 00:47:29 »
They believe THEY are the few.

I mean even if ONLY orthodox are saved, there are still A LOT  of orthodox, since orthodoxy is a large denomination.

Now if I were to ask a protestant about there being ''a lot'' of protestants, the answer would be is that most nominal christians are not true christians (which raises the question how can I ever know I am true christian). But Orthodox can't possibly answer that, because in Orthodoxy as long as you get baptized, go to confessions, do the 7 rites, accept the interpretation to the bible offered by church fathers, etc. you ARE a true orthodox. So in case of orthodoxy they have to say all this large number of orthodox ARE indeed saved; thus, they would be forced to come up with some other answer about the word ''few'' in that verse.

Offline LightHammer

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Re: Narrow gate
« Reply #3 on: Thu Jun 07, 2012 - 07:53:29 »
They believe THEY are the few.

I mean even if ONLY orthodox are saved, there are still A LOT  of orthodox, since orthodoxy is a large denomination.

Now if I were to ask a protestant about there being ''a lot'' of protestants, the answer would be is that most nominal christians are not true christians (which raises the question how can I ever know I am true christian). But Orthodox can't possibly answer that, because in Orthodoxy as long as you get baptized, go to confessions, do the 7 rites, accept the interpretation to the bible offered by church fathers, etc. you ARE a true orthodox. So in case of orthodoxy they have to say all this large number of orthodox ARE indeed saved; thus, they would be forced to come up with some other answer about the word ''few'' in that verse.

I was going to wait for an Orthodox to show up but I have to ask you this.

What exactly do you think "few" amounts to?

causalset

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Re: Narrow gate
« Reply #4 on: Thu Jun 07, 2012 - 10:36:35 »
They believe THEY are the few.

I mean even if ONLY orthodox are saved, there are still A LOT  of orthodox, since orthodoxy is a large denomination.

Now if I were to ask a protestant about there being ''a lot'' of protestants, the answer would be is that most nominal christians are not true christians (which raises the question how can I ever know I am true christian). But Orthodox can't possibly answer that, because in Orthodoxy as long as you get baptized, go to confessions, do the 7 rites, accept the interpretation to the bible offered by church fathers, etc. you ARE a true orthodox. So in case of orthodoxy they have to say all this large number of orthodox ARE indeed saved; thus, they would be forced to come up with some other answer about the word ''few'' in that verse.

I was going to wait for an Orthodox to show up but I have to ask you this.

What exactly do you think "few" amounts to?

That is exactly the question I am not sure of the answer and that is exactly what I am trying to ask. I mean, it seems clear that ''few'' would imply that the number of saved is less than the number of unsaved. But how much less? If for example 10% of people are saved (that would be the percentage of Orthodox christians) would that be few? I mean that would still be a HUGE population. To me it is very difficult to say that 10% are few. I would tend to think that few would be something along the lines of 0.001%. And if such is the case then I am naturally worried of not making into "few".

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Re: Narrow gate
« Reply #4 on: Thu Jun 07, 2012 - 10:36:35 »



Offline CDHealy

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Re: Narrow gate
« Reply #5 on: Thu Jun 07, 2012 - 21:51:38 »
I am a protestant, but I am troubled by various troublesome intepretations of the bible. So sometimes I wish I was either orthodox or catholic, that way I could listen to church fathers that say things a lot more plainly. Anyway one of the passages that troubles me is the one that speaks of narrow gate that leads to life. When I was asking protestants to interpret it, none of the answers really satisfied me. So I was wondering perhaps Orthodox can answer it in a more satisfactory way.

Perhaps you should clarify a) what are the deficiencies of the Protestant interpretations you've been given and b) why you think (other than an assumed appeal to the Church Fathers) Orthodox would give you a more satisfactory answer.

Do you have an understanding of the passage based on that of the Church Fathers that differs from Protestant renderings?

After all, according to Orthodox doctrine, most ppl who belong to orthodox church are saved, so this means that the gate is far from narrow. So I guess if you can answer how can most orthodox be saved despite that verse i can attempt to ''use'' your answer for my own framework of beliefs.

I am an Orthodox Christian (formerly a Protestant/Restoration Movement/Stone-Campbell Movement Christian).  No Orthodox priest or bishop teaches that "most people who belong to the Orthodox Church are saved."  An Orthodox priest or bishop will teach that many Orthodox Christians are being saved and will one day, in God's mercy, be finally saved.  An Orthodox priest or bishop would also say that being Orthodox doesn't guarantee your heaven.  There are Orthodox who will go to hell.

Anyway, here is the question I would like you guys to answer: how can most orthodox be saved despite th fact that there are ''a lot'' of orthodox while the gate that leads to life is narrow and FEW find it?

Because Jesus wasn't teaching about numbers.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Narrow gate
« Reply #6 on: Thu Jun 07, 2012 - 21:57:21 »
I mean even if ONLY orthodox are saved, there are still A LOT  of orthodox, since orthodoxy is a large denomination.

Orthodox would deny that they are a denomination.  But I don't want go get this thread off the OP.

Now if I were to ask a protestant about there being ''a lot'' of protestants, the answer would be is that most nominal christians are not true christians (which raises the question how can I ever know I am true christian). But Orthodox can't possibly answer that, because in Orthodoxy as long as you get baptized, go to confessions, do the 7 rites, accept the interpretation to the bible offered by church fathers, etc. you ARE a true orthodox.

I call shenanigans.  Orthodox doctrine does NOT teach that if you do all these things you are a true Orthodox.  Orthodox doctrine teaches that if you truly repent in your heart, and continually live in repentance, you are a true Orthodox.  Certain Orthodox saints purposefully violated the Church's fasting practices to make just that point.

And let's clarify:
Baptism: yes, you must be immersed
Confession:  post-baptism, yes, you will go to confession, how and and when however will differ with each person depending upon the guidance of their priest/pastor
7 rites: I have no clue what you're talking about here (seven Mysteries or sacraments? if so, no Orthodox can do all of them because they don't all apply to everyone)
Bible interpretation of the Church Fathers: actually, it's the interpretation of the Church that must be accepted, not the Fathers per se

So in case of orthodoxy they have to say all this large number of orthodox ARE indeed saved; thus, they would be forced to come up with some other answer about the word ''few'' in that verse.

No, we don't.  Because Jesus isn't talking about mathematical percentages.  You're making a category mistake.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Narrow gate
« Reply #7 on: Thu Jun 07, 2012 - 21:58:26 »
They believe THEY are the few.

I mean even if ONLY orthodox are saved, there are still A LOT  of orthodox, since orthodoxy is a large denomination.

Now if I were to ask a protestant about there being ''a lot'' of protestants, the answer would be is that most nominal christians are not true christians (which raises the question how can I ever know I am true christian). But Orthodox can't possibly answer that, because in Orthodoxy as long as you get baptized, go to confessions, do the 7 rites, accept the interpretation to the bible offered by church fathers, etc. you ARE a true orthodox. So in case of orthodoxy they have to say all this large number of orthodox ARE indeed saved; thus, they would be forced to come up with some other answer about the word ''few'' in that verse.

I was going to wait for an Orthodox to show up but I have to ask you this.

What exactly do you think "few" amounts to?

That is exactly the question I am not sure of the answer and that is exactly what I am trying to ask. I mean, it seems clear that ''few'' would imply that the number of saved is less than the number of unsaved. But how much less? If for example 10% of people are saved (that would be the percentage of Orthodox christians) would that be few? I mean that would still be a HUGE population. To me it is very difficult to say that 10% are few. I would tend to think that few would be something along the lines of 0.001%. And if such is the case then I am naturally worried of not making into "few".

You are making a category error.  Jesus is not talking about mathematical ratios, he is talking about different groups of people.

Offline Joel, the Son of Pethuel

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Re: Narrow gate
« Reply #8 on: Sun Jun 10, 2012 - 10:47:25 »
The icon of The Ladder of Divine Ascent might give you a good idea of how we view ourselves in terms of the Orthodox being the ones who will be saved. In a nutshell, that icon doesn't paint a picture of the Orthodox all in heaven having a good time.

larry2

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Re: Narrow gate
« Reply #9 on: Sun Jun 10, 2012 - 15:55:17 »
A narrow gate indeed, but all sufficient to whosoever will, and as Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us:  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.
 
Revelation 22:17 says: And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

causalset

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Re: Narrow gate
« Reply #10 on: Thu Jun 14, 2012 - 17:15:04 »
Perhaps you should clarify a) what are the deficiencies of the Protestant interpretations you've been given and b) why you think (other than an assumed appeal to the Church Fathers) Orthodox would give you a more satisfactory answer.

a) What are the deficiencies of the Protestant interpretations you've been given

(i) Most protestants I was talking to were telling me its not about numbers. But I still can't accept it. I mean even if its not exact numbers it is fairly obvious that the number of mainstream christians is not few. The only kinds of Christians that are few are ppl like Jehovah Wittnesses. I don't have to be focused on numbers to see it.

(ii) Me myself being a protestant I answered my own question by saying that bible has many different interpretations and that perhaps "most" christians would not follow the true jesus (the bible warns about "different jesus) and/or they would misinterpret the bible. And this lead me to never ending questioning how do I know I interpret bible correctly and/or follow the true Jesus. Now this is where Orthodoxy comes to help: Orthodox have church fathers at their disposal so they can follow interpretation of the fathers. But then the question remains that they still have to worry about the fact that they are not "few". I guess part of me was hoping that perhaps there are church fathers that would spell out this passage and what it means.

b) why you think (other than an assumed appeal to the Church Fathers) Orthodox would give you a more satisfactory answer.

Well protestants tend to be very one sided. I noticed they have a pattern of having only few famous verses (such as John 3:16, John 14:6 and few more) while ignoring most of the other verses. On the other hand Orthodox don't sound as cut and dry (for one thing they don't believe in sola scriptura) so this means that perhaps they would be able to see "dimensions" that protestants simply don't see due to the dichotomies that protestant's mind is bounded by.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Narrow gate
« Reply #11 on: Thu Jun 14, 2012 - 20:27:17 »
Thank you.

As I've stated above, I think this focus on "few" and "many" is mistaken.  First of all, the Scripture does not define it.  Is the "few" 49%?  The many 51%?  What are the ratios?  How do we know?  And percentages of what?  "few" or "many" compared to what?  World population?  Other Christians?

This is why I think you are mistaken.  You assume the Orthodox are part of the "many"?  Compared to what?  Teeny tiny small fundamentalist Christian denominations?  The Roman Catholics have more members than the Orthodox.  There are more Muslims than Christians in the world.

The Scripture sheds absolutely no light on these questions.

This is why I claim you've made a category mistake.  You're using numbers when Jesus was giving simple non-technical descriptions of groups.

The other problem with this few is that it tends toward schismatic views of the Church: since it is the "few" and since our view must be right since we are so "few" then QED...

No, in reading the passage, Jesus was simply affirming some basic truths: most people don't like difficulties, therefore, if following Jesus is difficult, most people won't do it.  Further, following Jesus entails more than just saying "Lord, Lord" or even doing miracles in his name.  No, the hard part about following Jesus is putting God's will above our will.

It is really that simple.

No magical minority, no secret inner circle.  Just the truth that we're all pretty selfish people, and doing God's will is tough.  Few people will want to do that.

How many is that "few"?  God knows.  And that's all we need to know.

Offline trifecta

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Re: Narrow gate
« Reply #12 on: Fri Jun 15, 2012 - 21:18:48 »


Well protestants tend to be very one sided. I noticed they have a pattern of having only few famous verses (such as John 3:16, John 14:6 and few more) while ignoring most of the other verses. On the other hand Orthodox don't sound as cut and dry (for one thing they don't believe in sola scriptura) so this means that perhaps they would be able to see "dimensions" that protestants simply don't see due to the dichotomies that protestant's mind is bounded by.

I like your observation causalset--and welcome by the way. ::tippinghat:: CD is correct as usual about this narrow gate issue.  I think a number of us (including me) who have left Protestantism would agree with your statement above. I would say these 'dictotomies' of which you speak might be characterized as theology.   

Modern Protestantism tends to simplify things, and views of issues of complexity that go beyond these confines are usually rejected. ( I have to say this does not apply to all Protestants.  Some who post here do think about these things.) As for the Church Fathers, we do read them (monks do especially) as modern Protestant readers may read RC Sproul or TD Jakes.  We listen to them but need not accept everything they say.  The Orthdox Church believes in a consensus of the Church Fathers, not the views of anyone in particular.  Our theology IMHO is far more correct as it is based on views of lots of holy men.  Nevertheless. theology does not explain God.  He is way beyond the confines of theology.  It's just a kind of food for our feeble minds.

Anyway, I hope you will explore the richness of Orthodoxy.  Thank you for posting.

 

     
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