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Offline winsome

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Sin and Forgiveness
« on: Tue Jul 13, 2010 - 15:53:34 »
Hi, My Orthodox brothers and sisters,

My apologies in advance if this is a bit ramble, and I’m going to be generalising wildly!

My impression is that on the subject of sin and forgiveness, Western Christianity (both Catholics and Protestants) have over-focussed God as Judge, using judicial terminology such as guilt, punishment, expiation, reparation. On the other hand Eastern Christianity (both Catholic and Orthodox) has focussed more on God as Father, regarding “punishment

Offline Macrina

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #1 on: Wed Jul 14, 2010 - 15:20:34 »
Well Winsome, I have been blogging about some things that came to mind. And a blog shouldn't be to overwhelming as a multitude of books.

Here is the sum of my blog so far. You may find some interesting things you had not thought about.

Here is one that addresses some information on the eastern view of sin.
This one is pretty popular too, on why Christ had to die.

The RC forum gave me an idea for this one and another one on the calendar.

And I have one coming up tomorrow on "uncreated grace" that you may find particularly interesting. Just check the blog tomorrow after noon sometime when I should have it up. I am still in the process of getting some conceptual art work done for it.

As always, any suggestions are always welcome. I'm always looking for new ideas to blog about.
Feel free to comment here or there on the blog. Iron sharpens iron.  ::smile::

Offline stevehut

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #2 on: Wed Jul 14, 2010 - 15:30:01 »
Winsome, here's how I see it:

The Reformation wasn't really the upheaval that many people assume it to be.  Luther, Calvin, etc. each began from the assumption that Catholic doctrine was essentially sound, but each tweaked it in their own way.

Hence, there's valid truths in Catholicism.  There's valid truths in Orthodoxy.  And each Protestant variant has its own good and valid truths.  But you'll rarely find THE truth by going from one extreme to another.

The problem with the Ref was that it didn't really go back to the Bible.  They began with a flawed system and altered it in many ways.

Want to find the truth?  Forget the old traditions and start with the Bible, without the baggage of the old ways.  You might be surprised at what you find.

Offline winsome

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #3 on: Wed Jul 14, 2010 - 15:34:53 »
Well Winsome, I have been blogging about some things that came to mind. And a blog shouldn't be to overwhelming as a multitude of books.

Here is the sum of my blog so far. You may find some interesting things you had not thought about.

Here is one that addresses some information on the eastern view of sin.
This one is pretty popular too, on why Christ had to die.

The RC forum gave me an idea for this one and another one on the calendar.

And I have one coming up tomorrow on "uncreated grace" that you may find particularly interesting. Just check the blog tomorrow after noon sometime when I should have it up. I am still in the process of getting some conceptual art work done for it.

As always, any suggestions are always welcome. I'm always looking for new ideas to blog about.
Feel free to comment here or there on the blog. Iron sharpens iron.  ::smile::



It says blog entries (0) under your name.

Where are the blogs?

Added
OK found it. ::tippinghat::

Offline Josiah

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #4 on: Wed Jul 14, 2010 - 16:32:42 »
Winsome, here's how I see it:

The Reformation wasn't really the upheaval that many people assume it to be.  Luther, Calvin, etc. each began from the assumption that Catholic doctrine was essentially sound, but each tweaked it in their own way.

Hence, there's valid truths in Catholicism.  There's valid truths in Orthodoxy.  And each Protestant variant has its own good and valid truths.  But you'll rarely find THE truth by going from one extreme to another.

The problem with the Ref was that it didn't really go back to the Bible.  They began with a flawed system and altered it in many ways.

Want to find the truth?  Forget the old traditions and start with the Bible, without the baggage of the old ways.  You might be surprised at what you find.

Of course (LOL), as a Lutheran now, I disagree...

While you are spot on that Luther (and Reformed and Anglican theologians) did not go to ground zero and re-invent everything, nor do we think they should have (That would include deciding - from scratch - what is and is not Scripture, the Trinity, the Two Natures, etc.).  

IMHO, Luther DOES "buy" into a lot of the western, Catholic "mind set" - including original sin, a rather judicial soteriology (both a result, in part, of his fasination with St. Augustine and the Book of Romans), and a strongly cognative/theological emphasis.   As a former Catholic myself, this - in many ways - made Lutheranism perhaps easier to "get" than Orthodoxy would be.  But, I gladly admit, my many conservations with Orthodox friends (rarely online, my Orthodox conservations of merit have all been personal) have impressed me greatly.  And moved me with a profound sense of mystery, an emphasis on worship and spirituality rather than dogma, an emphasis on US rather than denominational institutions.  In all these things, I feel passionately that Lutherans and Orthodox share some stuff and are closer, but we are children of Catholism - and it shows.  



But to the issue:  I think western Christianity (until recent embraces of relativism) was probably guilty of "over-thinking" and of just taking ourselves and our theories too seriously.  The church is US - not me.  The church is about God and our relationshp with him - not factoids.  The "vicarious atonement" concept (largely from St. Augustine) largely embraced by Calvinists (and much of Protestantism, historically anyway) makes a lot of sense to me - but I hesitate to call it dogma.  Luther often spoke in terms that Lutheran Gustaf Aulen and (then Lutheran) Jaroslav Pelikan called the "Christus Victor" atonement view, and others have been suggested in Christianity.  But, from my readings in Lutheran Confessions or my Lutheran Dogmatics books, there is no one theory presented dogmatically.  Rather, the teaching is this:  Justification is by God's grace in Christ embraced by faith in Christ.  Not much more than that is affirmed doctrinally.  So, while CURRENTLY I tend to embrace the Vicarious Atonement/Augustian/judicial view as the one that is most helpful to me, I'm not in nay sense dogmatic about that and I've very open to other views.  And I wonder if ALL these various theories are a bit moot, a bit over thinking, a bit taking away from the glorious and wonderful Gospel:   JESUS is the Savior, salvation is found in the Cross of Christ.  WHY that is true is a nice question, but not one I MUST answer - definitively, dogmatically.  


To the issue of SIN, I tend to embrace this rather as instructed in my Catholic years by Catholic teachers.  That a part of our fallenness is a sin, a brokenness, a twistedness.  It's simply a part of our nature; not by virtue of our DNA but of our relationship to Adam.  This is just a part of who we are.  This is what we mean by "original sin."  Now, it CAN have symptoms, which we all "actual sins."  Just as when I have a cold.  I may have symptoms of such (caughs, sneezes, running nose).  I may not - but I probably (at some point) will.   Perhaps, with good cold meds, I can make those symptoms disappear but I still have the cold (there's a danger in that I may THINK I don't!).  Symptoms may be sins of thought, word or deed.  It may be those things done or not done - things I should have said or done or thought - but did not, things I should NOT have said or thought or done - but did.  Those Lutherans call SINS (or again, actual or actualized sins).  Example:  I shoot my neighbor.  Is my pulling the trigger and aiming the gun at my neighbor, killing him, is that a sin?  I think so.  But the heart of the matter is MUCH deeper than that!  It started with something twisted in me, something that caused hate and disrepect and a lack of love to overtake me, something that lead to me pulling the trigger.  Now, maybe I did NOT shoot my neighbor - but that doesn't mean I'm without sin, it only means that symptom didn't materialize (good thing!).  We are sinners, we don't always necessarily sin.  Sins flow from our heart, from what's inside of us - not the other way around.  That's MY (probably very western) view...



I hope I didn't in any way divert the thread, the opening post is a good one from my perspective, too.


Pax


- Josiah





.
« Last Edit: Wed Jul 14, 2010 - 16:51:27 by Josiah »

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #4 on: Wed Jul 14, 2010 - 16:32:42 »



Offline winsome

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #5 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 05:12:43 »
Winsome, here's how I see it:

The Reformation wasn't really the upheaval that many people assume it to be.  Luther, Calvin, etc. each began from the assumption that Catholic doctrine was essentially sound, but each tweaked it in their own way.

Hence, there's valid truths in Catholicism.  There's valid truths in Orthodoxy.  And each Protestant variant has its own good and valid truths.  But you'll rarely find THE truth by going from one extreme to another.

The problem with the Ref was that it didn't really go back to the Bible.  They began with a flawed system and altered it in many ways.

Want to find the truth?  Forget the old traditions and start with the Bible, without the baggage of the old ways.  You might be surprised at what you find.

Of course (LOL), as a Lutheran now, I disagree...

While you are spot on that Luther (and Reformed and Anglican theologians) did not go to ground zero and re-invent everything, nor do we think they should have (That would include deciding - from scratch - what is and is not Scripture, the Trinity, the Two Natures, etc.).  

IMHO, Luther DOES "buy" into a lot of the western, Catholic "mind set" - including original sin, a rather judicial soteriology (both a result, in part, of his fasination with St. Augustine and the Book of Romans), and a strongly cognative/theological emphasis.   As a former Catholic myself, this - in many ways - made Lutheranism perhaps easier to "get" than Orthodoxy would be.  But, I gladly admit, my many conservations with Orthodox friends (rarely online, my Orthodox conservations of merit have all been personal) have impressed me greatly.  And moved me with a profound sense of mystery, an emphasis on worship and spirituality rather than dogma, an emphasis on US rather than denominational institutions.  In all these things, I feel passionately that Lutherans and Orthodox share some stuff and are closer, but we are children of Catholism - and it shows.  



But to the issue:  I think western Christianity (until recent embraces of relativism) was probably guilty of "over-thinking" and of just taking ourselves and our theories too seriously.  The church is US - not me.  The church is about God and our relationshp with him - not factoids.  The "vicarious atonement" concept (largely from St. Augustine) largely embraced by Calvinists (and much of Protestantism, historically anyway) makes a lot of sense to me - but I hesitate to call it dogma.  Luther often spoke in terms that Lutheran Gustaf Aulen and (then Lutheran) Jaroslav Pelikan called the "Christus Victor" atonement view, and others have been suggested in Christianity.  But, from my readings in Lutheran Confessions or my Lutheran Dogmatics books, there is no one theory presented dogmatically.  Rather, the teaching is this:  Justification is by God's grace in Christ embraced by faith in Christ.  Not much more than that is affirmed doctrinally.  So, while CURRENTLY I tend to embrace the Vicarious Atonement/Augustian/judicial view as the one that is most helpful to me, I'm not in nay sense dogmatic about that and I've very open to other views.  And I wonder if ALL these various theories are a bit moot, a bit over thinking, a bit taking away from the glorious and wonderful Gospel:   JESUS is the Savior, salvation is found in the Cross of Christ.  WHY that is true is a nice question, but not one I MUST answer - definitively, dogmatically.  


To the issue of SIN, I tend to embrace this rather as instructed in my Catholic years by Catholic teachers.  That a part of our fallenness is a sin, a brokenness, a twistedness.  It's simply a part of our nature; not by virtue of our DNA but of our relationship to Adam.  This is just a part of who we are.  This is what we mean by "original sin."  Now, it CAN have symptoms, which we all "actual sins."  Just as when I have a cold.  I may have symptoms of such (caughs, sneezes, running nose).  I may not - but I probably (at some point) will.   Perhaps, with good cold meds, I can make those symptoms disappear but I still have the cold (there's a danger in that I may THINK I don't!).  Symptoms may be sins of thought, word or deed.  It may be those things done or not done - things I should have said or done or thought - but did not, things I should NOT have said or thought or done - but did.  Those Lutherans call SINS (or again, actual or actualized sins).  Example:  I shoot my neighbor.  Is my pulling the trigger and aiming the gun at my neighbor, killing him, is that a sin?  I think so.  But the heart of the matter is MUCH deeper than that!  It started with something twisted in me, something that caused hate and disrepect and a lack of love to overtake me, something that lead to me pulling the trigger.  Now, maybe I did NOT shoot my neighbor - but that doesn't mean I'm without sin, it only means that symptom didn't materialize (good thing!).  We are sinners, we don't always necessarily sin.  Sins flow from our heart, from what's inside of us - not the other way around.  That's MY (probably very western) view...



I hope I didn't in any way divert the thread, the opening post is a good one from my perspective, too.


Pax


- Josiah


I agree that sin is much more than transgression against a law.

Jesus summarised the commandments as ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Mt  22:37-40). All sin is ultimately a failure of the first of these commandments. Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight (Psalm 51:4)

Sin is a breakdown of that relationship of love with God, and with our neighbour. It does involve keeping God’s laws but this issue is not one of authority as some people think, but of love. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. (Jn 15:9-10)

The Jews knew God as Judge. They had to obey the Law. Punishments were detailed.

Jesus came to give us a new relationship with God, that of Father to son. That should make a whole difference to our understanding of God.

The parable of the prodigal son shows the father waiting and eager to receive his son back and restore him to sonship.

That's my thoughts anyway.

Offline Macrina

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #6 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 09:37:51 »
Mornin Winsome.  ::smile::

I think the main thing that should be stressed about Orthodoxy is that "sin" is not the center of our theology. The Incarnation, the Transfiguration and the Resurrection are. In other words Christ and all that pertains to Him is.

Sin is merely our response to God imposing death on these mortal bodies. According to Paul we are in bondage because of fear of death and sin is our response to that. We love our bodies and all they experience (the passions) more than God.
This is also why the passion of Christ should be of great importance to us. In that He is showing us how to overcome that fear of death. He did it with prayer.

Hbr 2:15     And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The Incarnation was God's plan from the very beginning of creating mankind. There is no sin that can stop God's plan.

Our participation with God is through grace, an energy that IS God.
In eastern Christian thought there is the recognition of such components as essence, energy, and nature. These are the same things which compile our Trinitarian theology.

We must co-operate with God to accomplish our salvation. He is always waiting for us just as the parable you mentioned.
The story of our Lord is replete with examples of bonds of love. God humbles Himself in the Incarnation, Mary humbles herself to Him, and a bond of love is created through this. Such as a mother has with her child. An unbreakable bond of love.
This is why Orthodox view our church as our mother. Because the holy Theotokos (Greek for "God bearer" to the world) is our example. And so we as the church become the God bearer's to the world in humbleness to Him.

Jhn 15:13     Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

The Transfiguration, as St Gregory of Palamas maintained was for the disciples to perceive the uncreated light of God. This supported Gregory's larger argument that although we cannot know God in His essence, we can know Him in his energies, as He reveals Himself.

He showed the disciples that He is the radiant splendor of the Father. And that His passion was voluntary.

BTW, these are all feasts in the Orthodox church.

And so sin merely comes down to a spot in our feast with God, when we want to give what we can that is most precious and perfect. That being our adoration in worship.

Offline stevehut

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #7 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 10:39:39 »
1- IMHO, Luther DOES "buy" into a lot of the western, Catholic "mind set"

2- we are children of Catholism - and it shows. 

3- I think western Christianity (until recent embraces of relativism) was probably guilty of "over-thinking" and of just taking ourselves and our theories too seriously. 

4- The "vicarious atonement" concept (largely from St. Augustine)


1- No "opinions" necessary here.  It's historically true.

2- Yup.   ::nodding::

3- Oh, I've seen a few huge 'Dox books as well.  Yes, they take a simple Bible and analyze it to death.

4- Sorry, I'm not current on my church lingo.  This means that Christ died for the sins of another? Is this really a sectarian view? 

Offline winsome

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #8 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 11:09:43 »
Our participation with God is through grace, an energy that IS God.
In eastern Christian thought there is the recognition of such components as essence, energy, and nature. These are the same things which compile our Trinitarian theology.

This is a side issue, but I came across essence when discussing filioque with CD Healey.

Is essence your (Orthodox) translation of homoousios. We tend to use substance or nature. When you refer to nature is that the same as essence?

I don't want to digress to far but I would be interested in your comments.

Thanks.


Offline Macrina

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #9 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 11:10:53 »
Quote
This means that Christ died for the sins of another? Is this really a sectarian view?  

Yes it is sectarian. Scripture makes such plain. You are personally accountable for your sins.

Jer 31:30           But every one shall die for his own iniquity:

_______________________
 
Eze 18:3           [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have [occasion] any more to use this proverb in Israel.

Eze 18:4         Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

_________________________

Eze 18:20     The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Offline stevehut

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #10 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 11:19:41 »
Macrina, you don't believe that Jesus died for your sins? 

Offline winsome

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #11 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 11:23:39 »
Mornin Winsome.  ::smile::

I think the main thing that should be stressed about Orthodoxy is that "sin" is not the center of our theology. The Incarnation, the Transfiguration and the Resurrection are. In other words Christ and all that pertains to Him is.

Sin is merely our response to God imposing death on these mortal bodies. According to Paul we are in bondage because of fear of death and sin is our response to that. We love our bodies and all they experience (the passions) more than God.
This is also why the passion of Christ should be of great importance to us. In that He is showing us how to overcome that fear of death. He did it with prayer.

Hbr 2:15     And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The Incarnation was God's plan from the very beginning of creating mankind. There is no sin that can stop God's plan.

Our participation with God is through grace, an energy that IS God.
In eastern Christian thought there is the recognition of such components as essence, energy, and nature. These are the same things which compile our Trinitarian theology.

We must co-operate with God to accomplish our salvation. He is always waiting for us just as the parable you mentioned.

If sin is merely our response to God imposing death on these mortal bodies, where does forgiveness fit into this?

Offline Macrina

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #12 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 11:35:10 »
Quote from: winsome
When you refer to nature is that the same as essence?

Nope it isn't. God's essence is unknowable to us. Only the Son shares in the essence.
We can share His energies and nature through Christ's divine nature in humanity, but we cannot share God's essence or we would then be God.

Or in other words, we do not possess two natures as did Christ. Essence being part of the nature of a thing.

Offline Macrina

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #13 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 11:44:32 »
Macrina, you don't believe that Jesus died for your sins? 


Why would God have to die for my sins when He can just forgive them or punish me.

Remember He created us for Him, not the other way around.

Offline Macrina

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #14 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 11:54:27 »
Quote from: winsome
If sin is merely our response to God imposing death on these mortal bodies, where does forgiveness fit into this?

The response is sinful, and is in need of forgiveness. Like if you went all crazy with someone and then realized you shouldn't have acted that way, you ask for forgiveness.

I'm not downplaying sin as if we should disregard it, but if we do sin then we have an Advocate with the Father in Christ.

There is no "limited" grace or mercy with God. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Offline stevehut

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #15 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 11:55:35 »
Why would God have to die for my sins when He can just forgive them or punish me.

It's not supposed to be logical.  It's just the way that God chose.

Offline winsome

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #16 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 12:23:36 »
Quote from: winsome
If sin is merely our response to God imposing death on these mortal bodies, where does forgiveness fit into this?

The response is sinful, and is in need of forgiveness. Like if you went all crazy with someone and then realized you shouldn't have acted that way, you ask for forgiveness.

I'm not downplaying sin as if we should disregard it, but if we do sin then we have an Advocate with the Father in Christ.

There is no "limited" grace or mercy with God. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

OK, that last sentence is a good point.

Going back to my earlier comment that we now have a relationship to God of son to Father, would you agree then then that the priority is to restore that relationship which is ruptured by sin - in other words reconciliation. For this we need repentance and admission of our sinful responses?


Added
Re-reading that it might read a bit as though I'm trying to lead you into some admission. If it reads like that it's just poor phrasing.  ::smile::

Offline Macrina

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #17 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 13:09:47 »
Quote from: winsom
Going back to my earlier comment that we now have a relationship to God of son to Father, would you agree then then that the priority is to restore that relationship which is ruptured by sin - in other words reconciliation. For this we need repentance and admission of our sinful responses?

Hmmm, in Orthodoxy we do not believe that the image and likeness which man was created by God in has been degraded in any manner. So I wouldn't say there was a "rupture" since that sounds as though what God created could be dismantled by mankind.

It is as St Gregory says, “What is not assumed is not healed

Offline winsome

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #18 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 13:15:05 »
Quote from: winsom
Going back to my earlier comment that we now have a relationship to God of son to Father, would you agree then then that the priority is to restore that relationship which is ruptured by sin - in other words reconciliation. For this we need repentance and admission of our sinful responses?

Hmmm, in Orthodoxy we do not believe that the image and likeness which man was created by God in has been degraded in any manner. So I wouldn't say there was a "rupture" since that sounds as though what God created could be dismantled by mankind.

It is as St Gregory says, “What is not assumed is not healed

Offline Josiah

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #19 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 14:10:17 »
Winsome, here's how I see it:

The Reformation wasn't really the upheaval that many people assume it to be.  Luther, Calvin, etc. each began from the assumption that Catholic doctrine was essentially sound, but each tweaked it in their own way.

Hence, there's valid truths in Catholicism.  There's valid truths in Orthodoxy.  And each Protestant variant has its own good and valid truths.  But you'll rarely find THE truth by going from one extreme to another.

The problem with the Ref was that it didn't really go back to the Bible.  They began with a flawed system and altered it in many ways.

Want to find the truth?  Forget the old traditions and start with the Bible, without the baggage of the old ways.  You might be surprised at what you find.

Of course (LOL), as a Lutheran now, I disagree...

While you are spot on that Luther (and Reformed and Anglican theologians) did not go to ground zero and re-invent everything, nor do we think they should have (That would include deciding - from scratch - what is and is not Scripture, the Trinity, the Two Natures, etc.).  

IMHO, Luther DOES "buy" into a lot of the western, Catholic "mind set" - including original sin, a rather judicial soteriology (both a result, in part, of his fasination with St. Augustine and the Book of Romans), and a strongly cognative/theological emphasis.   As a former Catholic myself, this - in many ways - made Lutheranism perhaps easier to "get" than Orthodoxy would be.  But, I gladly admit, my many conservations with Orthodox friends (rarely online, my Orthodox conservations of merit have all been personal) have impressed me greatly.  And moved me with a profound sense of mystery, an emphasis on worship and spirituality rather than dogma, an emphasis on US rather than denominational institutions.  In all these things, I feel passionately that Lutherans and Orthodox share some stuff and are closer, but we are children of Catholism - and it shows.  



But to the issue:  I think western Christianity (until recent embraces of relativism) was probably guilty of "over-thinking" and of just taking ourselves and our theories too seriously.  The church is US - not me.  The church is about God and our relationshp with him - not factoids.  The "vicarious atonement" concept (largely from St. Augustine) largely embraced by Calvinists (and much of Protestantism, historically anyway) makes a lot of sense to me - but I hesitate to call it dogma.  Luther often spoke in terms that Lutheran Gustaf Aulen and (then Lutheran) Jaroslav Pelikan called the "Christus Victor" atonement view, and others have been suggested in Christianity.  But, from my readings in Lutheran Confessions or my Lutheran Dogmatics books, there is no one theory presented dogmatically.  Rather, the teaching is this:  Justification is by God's grace in Christ embraced by faith in Christ.  Not much more than that is affirmed doctrinally.  So, while CURRENTLY I tend to embrace the Vicarious Atonement/Augustian/judicial view as the one that is most helpful to me, I'm not in nay sense dogmatic about that and I've very open to other views.  And I wonder if ALL these various theories are a bit moot, a bit over thinking, a bit taking away from the glorious and wonderful Gospel:   JESUS is the Savior, salvation is found in the Cross of Christ.  WHY that is true is a nice question, but not one I MUST answer - definitively, dogmatically.  


To the issue of SIN, I tend to embrace this rather as instructed in my Catholic years by Catholic teachers.  That a part of our fallenness is a sin, a brokenness, a twistedness.  It's simply a part of our nature; not by virtue of our DNA but of our relationship to Adam.  This is just a part of who we are.  This is what we mean by "original sin."  Now, it CAN have symptoms, which we all "actual sins."  Just as when I have a cold.  I may have symptoms of such (caughs, sneezes, running nose).  I may not - but I probably (at some point) will.   Perhaps, with good cold meds, I can make those symptoms disappear but I still have the cold (there's a danger in that I may THINK I don't!).  Symptoms may be sins of thought, word or deed.  It may be those things done or not done - things I should have said or done or thought - but did not, things I should NOT have said or thought or done - but did.  Those Lutherans call SINS (or again, actual or actualized sins).  Example:  I shoot my neighbor.  Is my pulling the trigger and aiming the gun at my neighbor, killing him, is that a sin?  I think so.  But the heart of the matter is MUCH deeper than that!  It started with something twisted in me, something that caused hate and disrepect and a lack of love to overtake me, something that lead to me pulling the trigger.  Now, maybe I did NOT shoot my neighbor - but that doesn't mean I'm without sin, it only means that symptom didn't materialize (good thing!).  We are sinners, we don't always necessarily sin.  Sins flow from our heart, from what's inside of us - not the other way around.  That's MY (probably very western) view...



I hope I didn't in any way divert the thread, the opening post is a good one from my perspective, too.


Pax


- Josiah

.


I agree ...


.


I just want to note that we agree on something....   ::lookaround::  ::tippinghat:: 




.

Offline Macrina

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #20 on: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 18:58:22 »
Quote from: winsome
Perhaps it depends on our definition of reconciliation:

From the Oxford English Dictionary
reconcile
   verb
1   restore friendly relations between. Øsettle (a quarrel).

What do you mean by recapitulation?


I'm not opposed to the term "reconciliation". However it is a bit one sided in that God has never had unfriendly relations with mankind. He says as much in scripture with the words, "what more could I have done".

God did not create evil. Mankind takes what is good and corrupts it to evil.

One of the earliest church fathers, and a favorite of mine, St Iranaeus is who first wrote of "recapitulation" in his work "Against the Heresies", in which he wrote against the Gnosticism of his time (you should read it sometime, you'd be surprised how the heresies of that time are no different than in our era).  He was a friend of St Polycarp who was a student of St John. According to oral tradition passed down, Iranaeus was the child who sat on Jesus' lap.

Irenaeus’ understanding of salvation is revealed in light of his biblical theology (following Pauline theology in utilizing the first and second Adam theme) , especially within his doctrine of recapitulation. He believed that as the culmination of redemptive history, the incarnate Son of God recovered what was lost in the first Adam.
He believed that humanity was represented federally and covenantally in Adam, and that the Garden of Eden was eschatologically alluding to the reality of the second Adam.

Orthodox are not dogmatic about this subject. Our dogma consists in the Nicaea creed.
However, I agree with Irenaeus' view. Though we be many yet are we as one mankind from Adam. And I don't know any who would disagree with such eschatology as the Garden of Eden (with the Tree of Life) alluding to the reality of Christ the second Adam.

I do not mean this in any sense to promote universalism. Quite the contrary. But rather because each and everyone of us effects others.
As I wrote on my blog article titled "uncreated grace".
". This is the communal aspect of salvation - we rise together because as God's energies / grace (God) are present in you, so am I better able to see them and (thereby) better able to approach them in my own life. Your repentance keys off my own.

The converse is harrowing. In so much as I sin and cut myself off from this unity with God I literally SEVER God from the world (or rather, He respects our free will enough to allow that) and, as such, on a limited level, I cut you off from God. This is what we mean by the sense of being born into a world of sin (while still denying the strict doctrine of original sin)."

http://aspectofeternity.blogspot.com/
« Last Edit: Thu Jul 15, 2010 - 19:13:02 by Macrina »

Offline winsome

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #21 on: Fri Jul 16, 2010 - 06:17:11 »
Thanks Macrina,

Could you summarise how Orthodox regard sin & forgiveness + the place of repentance and penance in this.

blessings

Offline trifecta

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #22 on: Fri Jul 16, 2010 - 10:39:09 »
I'll let Macrina answer but (hint) we pray to live "lives of peace and repentance" in every liturgy.

I am just interrupting to thank all of you for this discussion.  Stevehut, Josiah, and winsome: I appreciate your inquiries because, as a convert myself, understanding the mindset of Orthodoxy is not easy for the Western mind.  To your credit, you are trying to understand it, even if you disagree.

The reason it is hard for us to understand is the western legalistic mindset.  It has something to do with Tertullian and Roman law. We can see this in both Catholicism and Protestantism.  I picked up a Catholic New Testament from 1956.  In the beginning of it is a statement that reading the Bible for 15 minutes a day earns you an indulgence.  Protestants are concerned with restoring the broken contract between God and man.  Bill Bright's Four Spiritual Laws show that 1) salvation is everything 2) by praying the sinner's prayers we can be restored.  Different than Catholics, but still contract-based.

The eastern mindset is about healing.  Yes, we recognize the problem of sin.  We say the church is the hospital.  Healing is a process.  Salvation is not the goal of Orthodoxy but oneness with God, just like the spirit of the David and Psalmists.   I'm not saying the west isn't concerned with santification, but it is not as stressed IMHO because it is hard to put in legal terms.

 

Offline Macrina

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #23 on: Fri Jul 16, 2010 - 11:49:07 »
Thanks Macrina,

Could you summarise how Orthodox regard sin & forgiveness + the place of repentance and penance in this.

blessings


The word we translate "sin" in English, means in it's original Hebrew context, "to fall short". So to sin, means to violate God's will in this sense, that "God wills all men to be saved."

This does not mean that God wants to punish us, as juridical terms can associate.

There is "guilt" associated with "sin", but it is not a guilt imposed by God, Rather it is the "guilt" of our own conscience. So it is viewed as a symptom of sin. Our human nature is yoked with sin. Or to say it another way, our human nature has a conscience given to us by God.

See this is not a legal "guilt" in that man can make some satisfactory personal expiation such as Roman Catholicism teaches.

If this "falling short" is remitted, it is obvious that "forgiveness" or "remission" means reconciliation with God, or more precisely, reunion with the Church, the Body of Christ.

And so the Church provides confession for the remittance of sins, that is after baptism. Since at baptism all sins are forgiven and you begin with a clean slate so to speak.

______________

In the words of a priest,
"Human nature is yoked by sin, so man can never attain his destiny by himself. For this reason, God became man, truly man, perfect man, and healed human nature, manifesting again the perfect human nature on earth. Thus, the yoke and bondage of sin and death are broken in the One Man. We choose either to unite ourselves with the perfect human nature of Christ (which is united to God) or to remain yoked by the fallen human nature (which is bound to Satan by the power of death - Hb. 2:15).

We accomplish this union with the true human nature through the Holy Church which, in a way, constitutes this true human nature being united with Christ God just as a wife is united with and made one flesh with her husband. Our true union with the Church is our real union with God. This is why when we sin again (once more fall short of the goal), we must be reunited with that goal (union with God). This is the essence of the Mystery of Confession-Repentance."


Does that clarify things a bit more for you?


Offline winsome

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #24 on: Fri Jul 16, 2010 - 13:25:33 »
Thanks Macrina,

Could you summarise how Orthodox regard sin & forgiveness + the place of repentance and penance in this.

blessings


The word we translate "sin" in English, means in it's original Hebrew context, "to fall short". So to sin, means to violate God's will in this sense, that "God wills all men to be saved."

This does not mean that God wants to punish us, as juridical terms can associate.

There is "guilt" associated with "sin", but it is not a guilt imposed by God, Rather it is the "guilt" of our own conscience. So it is viewed as a symptom of sin. Our human nature is yoked with sin. Or to say it another way, our human nature has a conscience given to us by God.

See this is not a legal "guilt" in that man can make some satisfactory personal expiation such as Roman Catholicism teaches.

If this "falling short" is remitted, it is obvious that "forgiveness" or "remission" means reconciliation with God, or more precisely, reunion with the Church, the Body of Christ.

And so the Church provides confession for the remittance of sins, that is after baptism. Since at baptism all sins are forgiven and you begin with a clean slate so to speak.

______________

In the words of a priest,
"Human nature is yoked by sin, so man can never attain his destiny by himself. For this reason, God became man, truly man, perfect man, and healed human nature, manifesting again the perfect human nature on earth. Thus, the yoke and bondage of sin and death are broken in the One Man. We choose either to unite ourselves with the perfect human nature of Christ (which is united to God) or to remain yoked by the fallen human nature (which is bound to Satan by the power of death - Hb. 2:15).

We accomplish this union with the true human nature through the Holy Church which, in a way, constitutes this true human nature being united with Christ God just as a wife is united with and made one flesh with her husband. Our true union with the Church is our real union with God. This is why when we sin again (once more fall short of the goal), we must be reunited with that goal (union with God). This is the essence of the Mystery of Confession-Repentance."


Does that clarify things a bit more for you?



Yes, thank you (and trifecta)

An essay I have read (on Purgatory) by a Catholic priest echoes some of this and also suggests that during the last 50 years "Catholic theologians have sought to interpret the doctrine in personalist terms that more adequately express the encounter between sinners and the God who is a trinitarian community of love". So perhaps Catholic thinking is moving more in the direction of Eastern theology.

He also expresses the idea that "punishment" due to sin is due to intrinsic consequences rather than extrinsic "punishment".

An analogy (mine not his) might be if we jump a ditch and fall short of the opposite bank we get muddy. But that is not external punishment.

Or to go back to the prodigal son story, what he suffered when starving was a consequence of his sin not a punishment.

Would you agree?

 

Offline Macrina

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #25 on: Fri Jul 16, 2010 - 14:14:44 »
Yes, it is that simple.

However, "purgatory" is a dogma of the Roman church. Orthodox do not see sin in 'degrees' as does the Roman church. This could be from misunderstandings which resulted in translations.

For example, the origin of the Latin idea of "venial sin" lies in Jerome's mistranslation of the scripture of 1 Cor. 7:6, he erroneously translates the Greek "sungnomen" into Latin as "veniam" (guilt necessitating pardon). The word actually signifies "concession," and here means "to allow for individual differences."

And yes, there are many Roman Catholic's who understand this. But they cannot refute the dogma of their church. And they do view the church as their mother, as do Orthodox.
As obedient children we must obey our parents, both Father and mother.

That they are dogmatic about things such as this, leaves Orthodox like me wondering how would it be possible for them to return to their beginning when they were orthodox Christians.

Offline winsome

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Re: Sin and Forgiveness
« Reply #26 on: Fri Jul 16, 2010 - 16:07:09 »
Yes, it is that simple.

However, "purgatory" is a dogma of the Roman church. Orthodox do not see sin in 'degrees' as does the Roman church. This could be from misunderstandings which resulted in translations.

For example, the origin of the Latin idea of "venial sin" lies in Jerome's mistranslation of the scripture of 1 Cor. 7:6, he erroneously translates the Greek "sungnomen" into Latin as "veniam" (guilt necessitating pardon). The word actually signifies "concession," and here means "to allow for individual differences."

And yes, there are many Roman Catholic's who understand this. But they cannot refute the dogma of their church. And they do view the church as their mother, as do Orthodox.
As obedient children we must obey our parents, both Father and mother.

That they are dogmatic about things such as this, leaves Orthodox like me wondering how would it be possible for them to return to their beginning when they were orthodox Christians.

I understand Orthodox do not agree with the Catholic idea of purgatory but I just inserted that to give the context of the source I had been reading from.

Regarding venial sin I understood the scriptural support was 1Jn 5:16-17, but your point was interesting. However that is not the topic.

Thank you your comments. I have much to think about.

God bless

 

     
anything