Friday, December 2, 2011

Christology and the Mysteries(Sacraments)

The Disputation With Pyrrhus of Our Father Among the Saints Maximus the Confessor


As with St. Irenaeus, there is an ecclesiological and sacramental dimension to the doctrine of Recapitulation. Baptism is an essential component of the mystery and for the spiritual life, since the believer must recapitulate that which Christ Himself fulfilled and repeated in His own Recapitulation. As was the case with Sts. Irenaeus and Athanasius, one cannot separate the divine and invisible nature from the works which He does in His human and visible nature, and therefore one cannot separate water and the Spirit into two separate baptisms or events, as this would be a kind of sacramental Nestorianism. [1]




[1] pages xii - xvi from the preface of the book The disputation with Pyrrhus of Our Father Among the Saints Maximus the Confessor

The Wills of Christ

We(EO) don't believe the human energy to be passive. One group of Monothelites of old believed that the Divine energy was active while the human passive. In this they were seen as marionattists(puppets). Our understanding of Free Will, and Predestination in regards to humanity starts with our understanding of Free Will and Predestination in Christology. From pages 166 - 168



Pyrrhus: But we do not say "one energy" in order to deny the human operation. It is said to be passible in contrast to the divine energy.

Maximus: Then by the same principle those who say "one nature" do not say this as a denial of the human nature, but because this [human] nature is distinguished from the divine, for this reason it is also said to be passible.

Pyrrhus: How so? Did not the fathers define human movement as passibility, in contrast to the divine energy?

Maximus: God forbid! For, to speak generally, no existent thing is known or defined through comparison with its opposite. Otherwise, [the two] things will be found to cause each other reciprocally. For if. because divine movement is an energy, human movement is passible then certainly it follows that because divine nature is good, human nature is therefore evil. And the exact opposite may likewise be said: that because human movement is termed passible, for this reason divine movement is termed energy, and that because human nature is evil, the divine nature is for this reason good. But enough of this! For such [thoughts] are altogether perverse.


and

In the words of Pierre Piret, to allow the dialectic of oppositions to define things
"circumscribes beings in a fundamental opposition, between the limits of good and evil; the implied corollary of such a contradiction between the divine ενεργεια and παθος is that the human nature is evil because the divine nature is good. And such opposition can be immediately reversed and counterposed: the divine nature is good because the human nature is evil, and this human nature thus determines, in its wickedness, the goodness of the divine nature. 22

And this is to return to the predicate of Plotinus and the problematic of Origen which we examined chapter two: as God is absolute simplicity, incorporeal, Good, Father and Creator, so there must always be a compposite, material, and evil creation standing over against Him precisely in order that He may be all those things. It is therefore the dialectic of oppositions which, in finding its way into the monothelete controversy, provides the essential link between the three moments of doctrine - Creation, Redemption and Eschatology - and therefore its refutation in the one will require its refutation in the others.

"The basic task remains what it always was: to disentangle the principle of plurality from that of oppositions, but in the case of Monotheletism, it assumes a double aspect. On the one hand, St. Maximus must show that there is no opposition of the two wills in Christ, reinterpreting what took place at Gethsemane. On the other hand, once he has established that there is a genuine human will of Christ which is not in opposition to the divine, he must go on to show how that will is not dialectically conditioned by showing what the "goods" are that it is confronted with at Gethsemane. The way in which the Confessor does this is difficult and complex, and requires us to trace his logic through step by step.

We are led almost immediately back to the fundamental distinction of person and nature. Pyrrhus asks a very illuminating question question of St. Maximus: "was not the flesh moved by the decision of the Word Who is united with it?" This might at first glance be taken as a subtle affirmation of the dyothelete position and therefore as a contradiction within Monotheletism. But upon closer inspection it is not. For Pyrrhus the essential goal was to preserve Christ's voluntary motion; therefore, the will was not natural because because what is natural is compelled. The will is therefore hypostatic and free. In turn, Christ's humanity has no will. But even more intriguing is St. Maximus' response to the question, for he seems to avoid any direct answer entirely. He remains content simply to make allusions to the earlier heresy of Nestorianism and then to launch into an excursus on nature and its natural properties:"

Maximus: You divide Christ by talking like this! For [in that case] Moses and David, and as many as were susceptible to the influence of the divine energies, were moved by His command and laid aside human and fleshy properties. But we say, following all the holy fathers in this as in all things, that, since the God of all Himself became man without [undergoing any] change, then [it follows] that the same Person not only willed in a manner appropriate to His Godhead, but also willed as man in a manner appropriate to His humanity. For the things that exist came to be out of nothing, and not to non-being; and the natural characteristic of this power is an inclination to that which maintains them in being, and a drawing back from things destructive [to them]. Thus the super-essential Word, existing essentially in a human manner, also had in His humanity this self-preserving power that clings to existence. And He [in fact] showed both [aspects of this power], willing the inclination and the drawing back through His human energy. He displayed the inlination to cling to existence in His use of natural and innocent things, to such an extent that unbelievers thought He was not God; and He displayed the drawing back at the time of the passion when He voluntarily balked at death. Wherein, then, has the Church of God done anything absurd if She confesses that along with His human and created nature, there also existed in Him, without diminution, the principles inserted creatively in that nature by Him, without which that nature could not exist?"

But it is in fact the allusion to Nestorianism that provides the key to the decipherment of this passage. If it was true that Pyrrhus' remarks disclosed a "revival of the heresy of Apollinarius" because Christ's manhood appears in them as "organon, an instrument or tool without real power of free choice - a puppet show of passive attributes, worked from outside by the divinity of the Word,"25 then it was equally true that the humanity is somehow detached from the Word precisely since it was worked from outside.26 This Division in Christ was the result of the whole monothelete dilemma.

Christ's prayer in Gethsemane - "If it be possible let this cup pass from me" - was attributed by the Monotheletes to that opposing human will. His subsequent petition - "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt" - was the denial and overriding of the human will by the divine will. Thus the one Person of Christ was willing two entirely contradictory and opposing things at the same time, and this, to Maximus, was to "divide Christ." It would therfore have to be concluded that St. Maximus is not in disagreement with the Monotheletes over the principle of excluding opposition in Christ. He is rather in disagreement over what such exclusion means. It is in his reinterpretation of the prayer at Gethsemane that one discovers how St. Maximus had applied the principles both of the distinction of logos and tropos and that of the plurality of the objects of choice." [1]




[1] pages 166-168 from the book Free Will in St. Maximus the Confessor by Joseph P. Farrell

The Western confusion of the divine energy with the divine essence

From the Introduction:


The fact that God desires the salvation of all does not mean that all are saved. God saves only through love and freedom. This point is exactly what theologians under the influence of Augustine have never comprehended. Thinking that the divine essence, energy, and will are identical, they were not in a position to even suspect that free beings outside of God are capable of acting against the divine will. Therefore, it is not at all strange that Western theologians find a kind of crypto-Pelagianism everywhere in the Greek Fathers and attempt to justify themselves by inquiring if there is some unexplained reason why the Eastern Fathers were not interested in the great problems of original sin and divine grace that preoccupied the West. It is very natural for them to think this way since they have erroneous preconceptions about God's relations with the world. As a result, it is impossible for them to seriously accept that death exists in the world as a kind of parasite apart from the will of God, and that the divine will and the salvific divine energy are not one and the same thing. God does not will death. Nevertheless, He does not act to destroy it until He has prepared men to accept life.

In 431, the Holy Fathers of the Third Ecumenical Synod at Ephesus condemned Pelagianism and emphasized that death is unnatural and grace is of absolute necessity for salvation. The president of the Synod and chief polemicist against the heresies was St. Cyril of Alexandria, who wrote the following about the transmittal of the ancestral sin to the descendants of Adam: "But what can one say? Yes, Adam indeed fell and, having ignored the divine commandment, was condemned to corruptibility and death. But how did many become sinners because of him? What are his missteps to us? How could all of us who were not yet born be condemned together with him, even though God said, 'Neither the fathers shall be put to death because of their children nor the children because of their fathers, but the soul which sinneth shall be put to death? Surely, the soul that sins shall die. For we became sinners through Adam's disobedience in such a manner as this. He was created for incorruption and life, and the manner of existence he had in the garden of delight was proper to holiness. His whole mind was continuously seeing God while his body was tranquil and calm, and all base pleasures were still. For there was no tumult of alien disturbances in it. But since he fell under sin and slipped into corruptibility, pleasures and filthiness assaulted the nature of the flesh, and in our members was unveiled a savage law. Our nature thus became diseased by sin through the disobedience of one, that is, of Adam. Thus, all were made sinners, not as co-transgressors with Adam. which they never were, but being of his nature, they fell under the law of sin...In Adam, human nature fell ill and became subject to corruptibility through disobedience, and, therefore, the passions entered in."

The strong juridical character of Latin theology which led the West to the satisfaction theory of Anselm is absent from the Greek patristic tradition. In the East, the fall is understood to be a consequence of man's own withdrawal from divine life and the resulting weakness and disease of human nature. Thus, man himself is seen as the cause through his cooperation with the devil. In the West, all the evils in the world originate in the punitive divine will, and the devil himself is seen simply as God's instrument of punishment. The Greek Fathers look upon salvation from a biblical perspective and see it as redemption from death and corruptibility and as the healing of human nature which was assaulted by Satan. Therefore, they established the following principle as the touchstone of their christological teaching: "That which is not assumed is not healed, but that which is united to God is also saved." It is quite opposite in the West where salvation does not mean, first and foremost, salvation from death and corruptibility but from divine wrath. And the termination of the penalty of death and illnesses simply follows as a result of the satisfaction of divine justice. For the West, this is quite natural since, on the one hand, God is believed to punish all men with death while, on the other hand, it is man who provokes the punishment because he bears inherited guilt. Thus, according to the Western viewpoint, God did not become man in order "to abolish him who has the power of death," since it is God who is death's causative power, but to satisfy Himself to such a degree that He could look upon men with a somewhat more benevolent attitude and, at the Second Coming, lift the old death sentence from them.

The method of dealing with theological problems and their presuppositions is altogether different between the East and the West. The West's deluded cosmological conceptions permit the study of the divine essence by identifying it with the divine energy. Both analogia entis and analogia fidei are methods and presuppositions of the West's theology. All things in the world are simply the images in time of archetypes that exist eternally in the essence of the One. Therefore, in the Western view, the works of Satan that are found in the Holy Scriptures, in a certain sense, belong to God Who punishes man with death, corruptibility, and all of man's sufferings. Nevertheless, it is apparent that, in this manner, divine and satanic energies become dangerously confused. Precisely because the West perceives the world as an image of the divine essence, it is capable not only of distorting the biblical teaching about death and Satan but even of applying the analogia entis and the analogia fidei to the dogma of the Holy Trinity, thus introducing the teaching of the Filioque.

In determining the dogma of the fall, however, it is not simply a matter of searching in the Holy Scripture and in the Fathers for the appropriate passages that prove a preferred theory of the ancestral sin. First, the relations between God and creation must be determined according to the scriptural and patristic testimony. Is the world really an analogous copy of the ideas that exist eternally in the divine essence, as the Neo-platonists believed? In other words, can we accept the theory of Augustine and the Scholastics which says that God is creative, just, and prescient in His essence because He comprises the alleged archetypes of creation and the order among them, which constitute ingenerate, eternal, divine law? Can we accept that the creation ex nihilo, the creation from nothing preexistent, is simply a copy in time of the ingenerate archetype in the divine essence? And that sin and the fall are a temporal violation of the order in the archetypal ideas in the divine essence? Can we accept the acholastic identification of the divine essence with the uncreated divine energy yet reject the apparent pantheism, as the West does? Can we accept the West's sophism that God does not have direct and real relations with the world because this would mean that the divine essence has an essential dependence in relation to the world? And that God, therefore, has only indirect relations with the world because because He loves and knows the in its archetypes? Can we accept the idea that love of God for this world descends as a created thing, in other words, in the form of created grace, because a true divine love for the world would mean that God is dependent upon the world?

If, however, it is both by essence and energy, since these are said to be identical, that God knows the archetypes and truly loves only these directly, how does He have knowledge of evil or, at least, of the need to send His Son into the world for the salvation of fallen mankind? If God's essence, energy, being, will, knowledge, and omnipotence are all identical, what place does the creation ex nihilo have in this scheme? What place has the Holy Trinity? Was it the divine essence that received flesh from the Virgin? If God is truly actus purus yet He is also able to have knowledge of evil or of mankind's need of salvation, then the ideas of evil, need, the fall, and nonbeing must also be among the archetypes in the divine essence. It follows that the idea of evil must be of the same essence as the idea of goodness because, if it is separate or independent of it, the scholastic theory of divine omniscience falls apart--unless we accept that that evil does not exist and that the need for true salvation from evil is nothing more than an empty myth.

The confusing of the divine energy with the divine essence only leads to the introduction of some of predestination into Christian theology. This in fact happened with Augustine with the Anselmian redemptive theory, with Calvinism, and finally with liberal Protestant which generally inclines toward the acceptance of the nonexistence of evil and the final restoration or salvation of all.

A detailed examination of the scholastic and Protestant confusion of essence and energy of God is beyond the bounds of our subject. Nevertheless, we are required to examine certain aspects of it that relate to the problem of the ancestral sin. This will be done in connection with the necessary examination of some of the general characteristics of Greek philosophy that have a direct bearing on our subject and on the period in question. In this way, the overall similarity between the Western view of God's relation with the world and the view of Greek philosophy will become apparent. Likewise, the magnificence of the Greek Fathers will come to light all the more, especially their ability to transfer their forefathers' subtle and analytical thought from paganism to Chhristianity in order to fortify the evangelical faith instead of overtuning it as the West did.
Once we have determined what the relation is between God and the world according to the theologians of the period underexamination and have taken into account certain understandings of the Fathers about God, then we will be in a position to examine objectively the biblical patristic teaching regarding Satan, the destiny of man, justice, and the fall." [1]













[1] pages 33-38 from the book The Ancestral Sin by Fr. John Romanides, translation by George S. Gabriel

More about the Western confusion




From pages 207-211

"The opposition of Christ's human will to the divine will was seen to occur for two reasons: one, because of the confusion of person and nature implied in the Augustinian understanding of original guilt; and two, because fallen humanity is the same humanity to be found in Christ, inclusive of its opposing will. Christ's predestination is therefore the same as ours because it is by grace: the divine will overcomes Christ's human will in an irresistible manner, much as the divine will overcomes the human will in the case of those predestined to salvation. But this led the Spanish Adoptionists to assume two sons, one of nature, the other of grace. And this in turn implied that they confused a personal characteristic, that of sonship, with that of nature and have thus come full circle back to the confusion which began the process. It is this whole vast and intricate matrix which related Spanish Adoptionism and its underlying predestinational Christology to the filioquist controversies of the ninth century. This would suggest that the Spanish Adoptionist predestinational Christology and the filioque share a common ancestry. That ancestry is Neoplatonism, and it is this consideration which incites, indeed, compels, comparison between St. Maximus and St. Augustine. The filioque is ultimately derived from the philosophical and neoplatonic definition of simplicity and its accompanying dialectic of oppositions. Each of the problems that attended Neoplatonism - the identity of being and will and its consequences of an eternal generation of the Son indistinguishable and indivisible from an eternal creation, the dialectical opposition of the simplicity and the dialectic in collapsing into an infinite series of beings as in the neoplatonic system of Iamblichus, or in erasing all distinctions between beings as in the Neoplatonic Pantheists, the structural subordination of all pluralities to the One-all these implications are to some extent present in the trinitarian theology of St. Augustine.

St. Augustine assumed that if there could be common ground between theology and philosophy there could be common definitions as well. He found this common definition in the neoplatonic definition of the simplicity of the One. Appropriating this definition as an understanding of the divine essence of the Christian Trinity, as a definition of the unity of the Christian God, he made of it the ultimate basis of his attempted synthesis. Consequently it is at the Augustinian doctrine of God that the point of contact between theology and philosophy occurs, and it is through this doctrine of God that the Augustinian conception of predestination must be approached. A proper understanding of Augustine Triadology will yield a proper understanding of the logic and structure behind its predestinational doctrine.

When he appropriated the definition of simplicity as a definition of the divine essence of the Trinity, he accepted it uncritically, and thus made his "philosophical first principle one with his religious first principle" to such an extent that as the French Roman Catholic Etienne Gilson observed, even his notion of divine being "remained greek," that is, ultimately pagan. Therefore, insofar as his doctrine of predestination is derived from this pagan definition of the divine essence, it is to that extent that it is pagan in its roots. It is at the point of this definition that the divine essence begins to be abstracted from the plurality of attributes and persons as a prolegomenon to theology. In other words, once he had assumed the simplicity as a definition of the divine essence in its full Neoplatonic sense, the essence becomes increasingly singled out ans strictly distinguished from all the divine "pluralities," the attributes and the persons. The dialectic of opposition between the One and the many is already in evidence in this step, and two things occur because of it. First, the unity of God is seen in impersonal and abstract terms. St. Augustine states it this way: "The divinity is the unity of the Trinity." But more important is the fact that, at this stage at least, the persons and the attributes are accorded the same logical status. And thus St. Augustine can say that

He is called in respect to Himself both God, and great, and good, and just, and anything else of the kind; and just as to Him to be is the same as to be God, or as to be great, or as to be good, so it is the same thing to Him to be as to be person.

Underlying these mutual identities is the simplicity, once again functioning as a great metaphysical "equals" (=) sign, and consequently the conclusion that the person are attributes or that the attributes are persons is inescapable.

But when he turns to consider the attributes themselves, they become identical with the divine essence and alternative names for it: "The Godhead," he writes, "is absolutely simple essence, and therefore to be is there the same as to be wise. And this leads to the further implication that since the attributes are identical to the essence, they are identical to each other: "In regards to the essence of truth, to be true is the same as to be and to be is the same as to be great....therefore to be great is the same as to be true." A=B and B=C, ergo A=C. Reason, logic, and simplicity are the very essence of the divine essence. It is this identity of attributes amongst themselves which led to three very different conclusions, conclusions which are nevertheless related, for they depend upon this identification of the attributes amongst themselves.

First, it is this identity of the attributes with themselves and with the divine essence that allowed Thomas Aquinas, who inherited this definitional understanding of the divine simplicity from St. Augustine, to assert the identity of the divine essence with the divine will. The simplicity is absolute; therefore God's will is not other than His essence," a proposition common with Plotinus, and a proposition at the root of the Origenist problematic. Unlike the Athanasian response to this problematic, which depended upon the distinction between essence and attributes being a formal one, this understanding of the simplicity is a definitional one, and it is this which is the ultimate root of the Western difficulties with Palamism: there cannot be ultimate and equal goods which are really distinct from the divine essence as well as being really distinct from each other.

Second, the Augustine doctrine of predestination must, to a great degree, be referred to this identity of attributes amongst themselves, in other words, to this identity of attributes amongst themselves, in other words, to predestinate is the same as to foreknow. If God foreknows the damned and the elect, He also predestines them. The evaluation of Jaroslav Pelikan is therefore not entirely correct. It is in regard to this identification of the attributes of predestination and foreknowledge that he wrote "what was needed to correct and clarify the Augustinian doctrine was a more precise definition of predestination that would distinquish it from grace." But since the deterministic aspects of Augustinism appear to be not so much biblical as neoplatonic and logical, as they are rooted in a particular dialectically-derived definition of the divine essence, it would appear that what is needed is precisely not another definition, but a non-definitional understanding of the divine simplicity, one which would not permit the term to function as an "equals" (=) sign which identifies the pluralities of attributes.

Finally, this identification of the attributes amongst themselves plays an important role in the derivation of the filioque. Because the categories of the persons and attributes, as multiplicites contrasted to the simple essence, all serve as logically interchangeable definitions of the simple divine "something", the question for St. Augustine then became one of securely maintaining the real distinction of persons in the face of a simplicity which had already nullified the real quality and distinctions of the attributes amongst themselves. Here the subordination of the persons and attributes to the essence in the ordo theologiae also provides St. Augustine with the means to attempt to distinction the persons from each other. Having assumed an absolute, definitional simplicity, the person can no longer be absolute hypostases, but are merely relations, since the names Father, Son, and Spirit are terms relative to each other. Here again there is a subtle but nevertheless real play of the dialectic of oppositions. One no longer begins with the three persons (since one has already began theology at the divine essence) and then moves to consider their relations, but begins more with their relative quality, with the relation between the persons, itself. In other words, there is an artificial opposition of any given person to the other two. It is at this point that the flexibility of St. Augustine's neoplatonic basis begins to surface in a more acute form." [1]




[1] pages 207-211 from the book Free Will in St. Maximus the Confessor by Joseph P. Farrell
Saturday, November 5, 2011

On the Person of Christ: The Christology of Emperor Justinian

Translated by Kenneth P. Wesche

On the Person of Christ: The Christology of Emperor Justinian
From the preface:
"The documents of Justinian included in this volume represents a Cyrillian interpretation of the Christology of the Council of Chalcedon upheld by Orthodox theologians even today. For that reason these documents are important as a source for understanding the philosophical principles of Orthodox theology, particularly as Orthodox and other christian theologians come together in ecumenical dialogue. The principles of Orthodox philosophy find their starting point in the confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, the Divine Logos himself. The consequences of this confession of faith as a philosophical starting point are presented in brief both in the General Introduction and in the notes scattered throughout the text. Sixth century thought presents the student of christian doctrine with a dogmatic philosophy still in the process of attaining full clarification. The principal contribution made by sixth century thought towards a fully articulated "Christological philosophy" is the clear, unambiguous affirmation that the hypostasis or prosopon used in Chalcedon's definition of faith is not the product, but the foundation of the union between God and man in Jesus Christ: this is because the hypostasis of Jesus Christ is none other than the eternally existing Divine Logos, the Second Hypostasis of the Holy Trinity. These documents, therefore, are also of historical interest for they provide us with a glimps of christian philosophical thought moving closer to a full articulation of its belief in Jesus Christ." [1]


From the General Intoduction
Quote: “Nestorius was vigorously opposed by Cyril of Alexandria who insisted that the one who was born of Mary, Jesus of Nazareth, was none other than the Divine Logos himself. For that reason, Mary must be called “Theotokos” for Jesus whom she bore is himself God by nature and by hypostasis. This is the same as Justinian’s view and provides the background for understanding his freguent charges that the Nestorians call Christ a mere man. In fact, Nestorian Christology can indeed call Christ Christ God and man, but this is because “Christ” is the meeting point of the human and divine natures, and if we look at Christ in one direction we see the Divine Logos, or the divine nature, and if we look in another direction we see Jesus, or the human nature. The crucial point, however, is that in the Nestorian way of thinking, Jesus is the human nature in Christ and is therefore not himself identical to the Divine Logos. This latter point is what Justinian has in mind when he makes his charge, for with St. Cyril he wishes to emphasize that Jesus is not someone else than the Divine Logos but that he is one and the same Divine Logos; “Christ,” in other words, is the Divine Logos only who as the incarnate Divine Logos is both human and divine in nature, but divine only in identity or person.” [2]


quote: “It is most important to note how this view of Christ’s particularity distinquishes Justinian’s “Cyrillian Chalcedonianism from Nestorianism and from many Christologies one encounters in Western Christian thought. At issue is “who” lies inside the particular prosopon of Christ, and what is the starting point for determining that. Both Nestorianism and Cyrillian Chalcedonianism acknowledge that there is one Christ who is one particular or hypostasis or prosopon, and that furthermore this one Christ is divine and human in his natures. Many contemporary theologians who have sought to vindicate Nestorius from his condemnation at the Council of Ephesus in 431 base their defense of Nestorius precisely on this point: Nestorius, as also the Council of Chalcedon in 451, taught that Christ is one particular who is both God and man. But many of these scholars fail to grasp the significance of the fundamentally different starting points characterizing these two Christologies which lead to radically different notions of hypostasis and the content and identity of Christ.” [3]


Quote: “These different starting points yield radically different confessions concerning the philosophical content of the particular or hypostasis of Christ: the former understands hypostasis in terms of identity, i.e the subjective core, the “self” (autos in Greek) or “who” of Christ, which is one, and is seen to be the Divine Logos himself so that the terms “Jesus,” “Christ,” and “Divine Logos” are identical, referring to one and the same subject. The hypostasis, then, is the foundation, not the product, of the union, for it is the eternally existing Divine Logos, the one through whom all things came into being in the first place. The latter, on the other hand, starting from the “undivided appearence” of the historical Jesus, understands hypostasis as the product rather than the foundation of the coming together of the two natures. These two natures, moreover, are each seen as two fully intact subjects: Jesus is the human nature and so is a “someone other” than the Divine Logos, for the Divine Logos is the divine nature. On the basis of this Cyrillian Christology Justinian published the condemnation of the Three Chapters in 543, which was confirmed by the Fifth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople in 553. The Three chapters were “Nestorian” documents from the late fourth and fifth centuries. They included the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia (and Theodore himself was included in the condemnation, which proved to be so controversial that Justinian was compelled to justify posthumous condemnations, which he does in the second and third documents presented here):” [4]




> [1] page 9,[2] pages 16-17,[3] page 17,[4] pages 18-19 from the book "On the Person of Christ: The Christology of Emperor Justinian" as translated by Kenneth P. Wesche
Sunday, October 30, 2011

Finding The New Testament Church : Fr Peter Gillquist

Sunday, September 18, 2011

GRATIA ET CERTAMEN - by D. OGLIARI

I am really enjoying this book. It's going to be an awesome resource!

Gratia et Certamen: The Relationship Between Grace and Free Will in the Discussion of Augustine with the So-Called Semipelagians

As seen from Amazon.com
"Product Description
The issues involved in the discussion between the monks of Hadrumetum/Marseille and Augustine range from questions of initium fidei and naturae bonum, to the understanding of predestination. The monks' reaction to Augustine's doctrine of absolute sovereign grace must be seen as a plea in favour of a harmonizing approach, where human commitment is also envisaged as playing, at times, a primary role. In the light of a dialogical synergism, of a unitarian and cosmic view of God's oeconomia salutis, and relying on a strong ascetic framework, the monks biggest fear was that the implications of Augustine's predestinarian view would jeopardise the importance of the struggle for perfection, the meaning of God's universal salvific will, of Christ's redeeming action, and finally of the Church. The different theological traditions to which Augustine and the monks appealed play also a significant role, as do the specific social and religious context in which they respectively moved."


.

Answer to Doug Wilson

The link:
Answer to Doug Wilson 13 June 2011 YouTube Video


  This is from the Orthodox Bridge blog.

Yes, the Orthodox Church is the true Church

In response to Doug Wilson:


Orthodoxy IS Biblically Orthodox: A Response to BereanBeacon Part One

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification

By the Anglican Alister Mcgrath Is now on Kindle and at a more affordable price Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification
Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Deification in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition: A Biblical Perspective

I just got it yesterday


Deification in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition: A Biblical Perspective




A review of the book:

This leads on to the final chapter of the book where Thomas engages with the event in the Gospels which scripturally reveals the hope of our deification in the story of Christ's transfiguration on Mount Tabor in which the three Apostles see what true restored humanity looks like in the vision of Christ's human body radiating with divine light. Thomas' exegesis of this passage is made even more interesting through the way in which he constructs a multi-faceted perspective on the Transfiguration through narrating the viewpoints of the three Apostles and eye-witnesses that Christ took with him up the Mountain, St. Peter, St. James and St. John. Thomas then goes on to show how their witness of this extraordinary vision, together with Paul's vision of the Risen Christ on the road to Damascus, transformed their theology and their lives through analysing the epistles that the apostles wrote after Christ's Resurrection. Thus, to take just a few examples that Thomas explores in greater depth, in his second Epistle St. Peter writes that through Christ we might 'escape from the corruption … and become partakers of the divine nature' (2 Pet. 1:4) and John the theologian's speaks more poetically of our 'abiding in the light' of Christ to become children of light bearing the same light that Christ showed on Mount Tabor and finally St. Paul, after his Damascan vision of Christ's light, speaks of our being 'changed into his likeness from one degree of glory into another' (2 Cor 3:18). As these few examples indicate, through his full analysis of the writings of the New Testament Thomas demonstrates, against certain Protestant concerns, that the Orthodox belief in deification is clearly biblically grounded.

Thus although from the dust jacket, scholarly ring of the title and formal presentation of the text it might be easy to overlook Thomas' study as another arcane academic tome, I found Thomas' study to be an ideal introductory book to the faith for interested Orthodox lay people, catechumens and non-Orthodox enquirers. For in the course of exploring the Biblical grounds of the Orthodox understanding of deification, Thomas' provides an accessible and luminously clear account of many basic theological and practical issues of Orthodox belief and practice. Moreover, at the end of the book he has also usefully provided a lengthy appendix with helpful bibliographical suggestions of where the interested enquirer can look next.

To read the rest please visit St. GEORGE ORTHODOX INFORMATION SERVICE
Monday, July 11, 2011

Orthodox For Scripture and Holy Tradition

The link:
http://www.orthodoxforscriptureandholytradition.com/








.
Sunday, July 10, 2011

Free Orthodox Material in both Greek and English

The link:
Pantocrator: Destributing Christian Orthodox Spiritual Material for free.







.
Thursday, June 30, 2011

Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy - by Fr. Andrew Damick

I just ordered mine today




You can also get it at Conciliar Press.

As seen from the website:

"Quick Overview

Are you an Orthodox Christian who wonders how to explain to your Baptist grandmother, your Buddhist neighbor, or the Jehovah’s Witness at your door how your faith differs from theirs? Or are you a member of another faith who is curious what Orthodoxy is all about? Look no further. In Orthodoxy & Heterodoxy, Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick covers the gamut of ancient heresies, modern Christian denominations, fringe groups, and major world religions, highlighting the main points of each faith. This book is an invaluable reference for anyone who wants to understand the faiths of those they come in contact with—as well as their own."


For more information and opinions about the book go to Amazon.com

.

My secondary sources for the book I'm working on

The secondary sources:

1.) Gratia et Certamen: The Relationship Between Grace and Free Will in the Discussion of Augustine with the So-Called Semipelagians (Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium) (an academic and lead authority about the subject, and so it was only right that I use him as a resource)

2.) Grace and Christology in the Early Church (Oxford Early Christian Studies) (another academic resource about the subject that will be used as a reference, I could be wrong but I think the author is a Reformed protestant)

3.) The Ancestral sin (an academic source about the early fathers on the issue of original sin)

4.) Free Choice in Saint Maximus the Confessor (an academic source about the Post Augustine 7th century Christian East view about free will and the theology behind the 6th ecumenical council)

5.) The Doctrine of Grace in the Apostolic Fathers (a pro-reformed and calvinistic bias by one of their well known scholars that I will be fighting against in the book)

6.) Putting Amazing Back into Grace: Embracing the Heart of the Gospel (another pro-reformed and calvinistic bias by one of their well known scholars that I will be fighting against in the book)

7.) What's So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? (a pro-Calvinistic and Reformed resource in regards to what TULIP is. I will use this as a resource in my book)

8.) Why I Am Not an Arminian (a pro-Calvinistic and Reformed resource in regards to Calvinism that I will use as a resource for the book)

9.) Reconsidering Tulip (an anti-Calvinistic and Reformed bias that I will use as a resource for my book)

10.) Why I Am Not a Calvinist (an anti-Calvinistic bias by Arminian scholars that I will use as a resource)

11.) Against Calvinism (an anti-Calvinistic bias by a well known Arminian scholar that I will use as a resource once this book comes out in October)

12.) Grace, Faith, Free Will (an anti-Calvinistic bias by an Arminian scholar that I will use as a resource in the book)

13.) Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities (an Arminian source that I will use as a resource)

14.) Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue (a resource about the history of Calvinism and non-Calvinism in the SBC. I have the book and I found somethings in it that will be useful to what I'm writing)

15.) A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (A resource with an Anglican and Anabaptist bias)

16.) A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography (a scholarly resource with an Anglican and Augustinian bias)

17.) Early Christian Doctrines: Revised Edition (a scholarly resource with an Anglican and Augustinian bias)

18.) The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600) (a scholarly resource with a Lutheran and Augustinian bias)

19.) The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 2: The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700) (a scholarly resource with a Lutheran and Augustinian bias)

20.) The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 3: The Growth of Medieval Theology (600-1300) (a scholarly resource with a Lutheran and Augustinian bias)

21.) The Orthodox Way (a scholarly resource with an Orthodox bias)

22.) Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective (a scholarly resource with a Charismatic evangelical protestant bias: the protestant author taught at Moscow university for 5 years)

23.) Eastern Orthodox Theology: A Contemporary Reader (a scholarly resource with a Charismatic evangelical protestant bias: the protestant author taught at Moscow university for 5 years)

24.) Recovering the Scandal of the Cross: Atonement in New Testament & Contemporary Contexts (an anti-Reformed and Calvinistic bias)


Books I still need to get:


25.) Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution (a pro Calvinistic and Reformed view)

26.) Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement (a pro Lutheran[one Lutheran school of thought] and Eastern Christian view, as well as the historic Christian view in general)




There are a number of other books, articles, and online material that will be used as well. If there are more books you think I might need just let me know. If I have the time and money then I might buy them. It all depends on the content of the books and if they are saying something not already said in the books I listed above.
Saturday, June 4, 2011

Reconsidering Tulip - by Alexander Renault

Lulu.com


From the book.

Preface
Once upon a time I was a Calvinist. It was a happy time. It was a
time of enormous growth and learning. And having come from an
evangelical tradition that emphasized individualism and emotion, I
found that Calvinism now presented me with a veritable feast for the
intellect. I met many other Calvinists who loved the Lord their God
with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind—Christians whose faith
and piety continue to inspire me to this day.
I felt like the Bible was making more and more sense every day.
I saw things I never saw before. I learned that Christianity was far
bigger than I had originally suspected, having grown up in an isolated
evangelical bubble. The Reformed doctrines of predestination, which
before seemed abhorrent and strange to me, now became crystal clear.
I read Reformed materials voraciously—everything from Calvin
and Luther to Berkhof and Warfield; from John Owen and Jonathan
Edwards to N.T. Wright and John Piper; from Boettner, Van Til, and
Spurgeon to Sproul, Wilson, and Leithart, not to mention the countless
articles, debates, and podcasts I found online. I studied the works of
dispensationalists, premillennialists, amillennialists, postmillennialists,
preterists, futurists, theonomists, reconstructionists, presuppositionalists,
Federal Visionists, and any other “ists” that had a voice in
the world of Reformed Christianity. And in addition to memorizing
many of the Bible verses that supported Calvinism, I even spent a year
memorizing the entire Westminster Shorter Catechism while in training
to be an elder at my local Presbyterian church.

Something else that I found to be new and exciting in my Reformed
journey was the respect that they seemed to have for the early Church
Fathers. I would occasionally hear preachers quote from some ancient
saint who actually lived before the Reformation. I had always just
assumed that once the ink dried on the book of Revelation, the Church
fell apart and went completely apostate until Martin Luther recovered
the truth in the 16th century. I would hear Reformed teachers say that
there was a “thread of consistency” that reached from the Reformation
all the way back to the earliest Christians. This gave me a degree of
comfort I never had before as a modern evangelical, when I suspected
that my faith looked absolutely nothing like the faith of those “early
Church Fathers,” whoever those guys were anyway.

It was around this time that Dan Brown wrote his infamous book,
The Da Vinci Code. The premise of Brown’s book was that the early
Christians essentially invented their faith—that the divinity of Christ
wasn’t even developed until the council of Nicea in 325 AD. No sooner
did Brown’s book make the best-seller lists than a slew of apologetic
articles appeared on the Internet. And of course, wanting to defend
my faith and encourage those who were being negatively influenced
by The Da Vinci Code, I read several of these articles. I found out
that there were a bunch of people called the “early Church Fathers”—
genuine Christians who lived during the first few centuries of the
Church.
I heard names like Ignatius, Polycarp, Clement, Irenaeus, and
countless others that were new to me. I read what they had to say
about the divinity of Christ. I read about how they were influential in
the early Church, and how so many of them were martyred for their
beliefs. Slowly but surely, I started to like these guys.
And that’s where all my trouble began. I had absolute respect
for the Reformers and for the confessions they created, especially
the Westminster Standards, which were particularly important to
my Presbyterian denomination. I also had absolute and unshakeable
respect for the Holy Scriptures. And now I was beginning to have a
growing respect for the early Church Fathers. These were the three
different spheres of influence in my Christian life: the Westminster
Divines, the Bible, and the early Fathers.

The problem, however, was that I couldn’t get all three spheres
to line up! I was beginning to realize that the early Church Fathers
taught things that were vastly different than what my Reformed faith
was teaching me. Yes, there were certainly disagreements among
them on minor doctrinal issues, but by and large, the early Fathers
were all in agreement on things that I had just assumed were Roman
Catholic inventions: things like the salvific efficacy of the sacraments,
the necessity of works for salvation, the ever-virginity of Mary, the
importance of tradition and apostolic succession, the rejection of
sola scriptura, etc. But the big kicker was that virtually every early
Church Father taught against all five points of Calvinism (summed up today by the acronym TUL IP: Total Depravity, Unconditional
Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of
the Saints). So, of these spheres that I so desperately wanted to hold
onto, I realized I could only pick two out of the three. It was either the
Divines’ interpretation of Scripture or it was the Fathers’ interpretation
of Scripture. I simply couldn’t have it both ways.

I suppose many Calvinists would say at this point, “What’s the
problem? Simply accept the Divines’ interpretation of Scripture and
throw out the Fathers. What did they know anyway?” And that was
exactly the question that began to haunt me: What did they know
anyway? When I read little bits and snippets from the Fathers during
my time as a Calvinist, I sensed deep down that they had a fervor
and a zeal that the Reformers seemed to be lacking. They spoke
with authority, like people who had genuinely experienced a direct
encounter with Almighty God."


To read the rest please buy the book.


I'm halfway through the book and most of what I read so far is really good. I've noticed a few areas where I would differ or disagree, but over all I think this is a great effort by Alexander Renault. It's the first book of it's kind that I am aware of. And this is something we need. And so I would like to thank Alexander Renault for taking the time to write something like this.
Saturday, May 28, 2011

Substitutionary atonement and the Church Fathers



Substitutionary atonement and the
Church Fathers:
A reply to the authors of Pierced for Our
Transgressions
- Derek Flood



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Orthodox-Reformed Bridge

Another interesting apologetic website:

http://orthodoxbridge.com/?page_id=20


quote:
"It was while I attended a Reformed seminary — Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary — that I first became interested in Orthodoxy. I was drawn to the staunch orthodoxy of the early Church Fathers, the deep sense of worship in the Orthodox liturgy, and the strong sense of historical continuity. However, my journey to Orthodoxy was hampered by the fact that the Orthodox Christians I met were not able to address the questions I had as a Calvinist: What about icons? What about sola scriptura (the Bible alone)? What about sola fide (justification by faith alone)? What about Mary? What about TULIP?

I needed good reasons for converting from the Reformed tradition to Orthodoxy. Eventually, I did my own theological and historical research, and bible study, and developed reasons why Eastern Orthodoxy is truly biblical and grounded in the historic Christian faith; much more so than the Reformed tradition.

The major challenge lies in the fact that Calvinism and Orthodoxy operate from two different theological paradigms. There is a need for theological translators who can explain the differences and commonalities between two great Christian theological traditions. It is my hope that I can help Calvinists interested in Orthodoxy come to a better understanding of Orthodoxy and perhaps cross over to the other side."
Monday, May 2, 2011

The Orthodox Revolutionary

I like their style. Check out the webpage:






The Orthodox Revolutionary

quote:
We also intend to foment revolution outside the walls of Eastern Orthodoxy. Multitudes of Catholics recoil from the “guitar Masses” and “liturgical dance” that pass for worship since the Second Vatican Council. But unwilling to leave mainstream Catholicism for Marcel Lefebvre’s Traditionalists or flaky splinter groups like the Old Catholics, today’s Catholics are forced to endure patiently while the mainstream church makes shipwreck of the Mass and Catholic theology. What a revolution we would have if we brought these multitudes of unhappy Catholics into Eastern Orthodoxy!

Likewise, we must foment revolution within Protestantism. Today, increasing numbers of Protestants find themselves alienated from the vacuous mega-churches that bear more resemblance to a rock concert than to a house of prayer. Yearning for a more historical worship service, these disaffected seekers often find themselves gravitating to the stability and historical continuity that traditional “Reformed” denominations offer. Sadly, this means that they now have to swallow the unpalatable dogmas of Calvinism. Were we to show these uprooted Protestants the ancient, unchanged truths of Eastern Orthodoxy, what a torrent of converts would flood into our churches!"


To read the rest please visit The Orthodox Revolutionary

An Outline of Orthodox Patristic Dogmatics

An Outline Of Orthodox Patristic Dogmatics by Fr. John S. Romanides


About the author and book: (As seen from St. Johns book store)

Quote:
Author: John S. Romanides

The late Professor John Romanides, a graduate and, subsequently, a Professor of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts (1958-1965), and a Professor of the Aristotle University of Thessalonica, Greece (1968-1984) was one of the most original theologians of Eastern Orthodox Christianity worldwide in the second half of the 20th century. Raised in America and having become familiar with Western Christians, Roman Catholics and Protestants, as well as Western theological scholarship, both through his upbringing and his involvement in the modern Ecumenical Dialogues, he developed a critical and highly original Eastern Orthodox approach to Christian theology. He identified his approach with the Christian Roman ecumene that was centered in Constantinople, New Rome. His views on Christian "Romanity" and "Roman Orthodoxy" have earned him the title of "Prophet of Roman Orthodoxy" and have given rise to a school of committed followers and to much discussion. This book is Romanides' first Outline of Orthodox Patristic Dogmatics, which is published for the first time in the original Greek and in English translation. It represents a concise introduction into his understanding of the basic tenets of the Eastern Orthodox Faith and its fundamental differences from those of Western (Augustinian or Franco-Latin) Christian theology. It covers such doctrines as God's relation to the world, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of the Church, the Church's Holy Tradition and the restoration and perfection of humanity in and through this Tradition. It will serve as an introduction into this theologian's original vision of Patristic Orthodoxy, which is the basis of his reappraisal of Christian theology and history. Its value lies in its concise, coherent and comprehensive character.


The Outline:

Part One: God and the World
1.) God's Relation to the World
2.) Distinction of "Created" and "Uncreated", How and From Where Do We Know It
3.) The Distinction between Essence (Being) and Energy (Act) in God
4.) A General Account of the Church's Doctrine about the World

Part Two: The Holy Trinity
1.) The Gnostics
2.) Monarchianism
3.) Paul of Samosata and Lucian: Forerunners of Arius
4.) Arianism
5.) Orthodox Anti-Arian Doctrine
6.) The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
7.) The Franco-Latin Doctrine of the Filioque
8.) The Political Reasons for the Impositions of the Filioque

Part Three: Christology
1.) Introduction to Christology
2.) The Early Christological Heresies and the Orthodox Doctrine
3.) Nestorianism and the Third Ecumenical Council (431/3)
4.) The So-called Robber Council of 449
5.) The Fourth Ecumenical Council (451)
6.) The Fifth Ecumenical Council (553)
7.) The Sixth Ecumenical Council (680/1)


Part Four: Ecclesiology

A) The Church in General Perspective

B) The Church's Holy Tradition
1.) The Deposit of the Faith and Holy Tradition
2.) The Recipients, Guardians and Transmitters of the Holy Tradition
3.) The Deposit of the Faith and Holy Scripture
4.) The Deposit of Faith, the Glory of God and the Friends of God
5.) The Glory of God, the Love of God and the Torments of Hell
6.) The Torments of Hell in the Western Augustinian Tradition

C) Christian Perfection
1.) Perfection and the Mystery of the Cross in the Bible and the Fathers
2.) The Mystery of the Cross and the Boldness and Mediation of the Saints
3.) The stages of Perfection and the Mystery of the Cross
4.) The Knowledge of Those Who Have Reached Theosis
5.) The Distiction between Direct and Indirect Knowledge of God
6.) Apostolic Succession and Christ's Presence in the Sacraments

D) The Last Things(Eschatology)
1.) First Resurrection, Second Resurrection and Partial Judgment
2.) The Franco-Latin and Orthodox Patristic Views on the Last Things
Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's the Time to Say Good-Bye!


Elvis... has left the building!



I'll... soon be gone now!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Know You're Glad That Lent Is Over...


...but what you don't quite seem to understand just yet is that the Kingdom of Heaven has NO end...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Eastern Orthodoxy: Taking All the Fun Out of Holidays Since 1,500 BC


Exodus 19:15 And he said unto the people: Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives. 16 ¶And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. 18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. 19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. 20 And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.


1 Samuel 21:4 And the priest answered David, and said: There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread ; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women. 5 And David answered the priest, and said unto him: Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel. 6 So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fasting Is Dead !


Long live abstinence!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Speaking Of Resurrections...




( You may wish to turn up the volume on your computer ).

Saturday, April 23, 2011

See You In Hell !


...to save you from Gehenna!

Friday, April 22, 2011

God Is Dead !



...and we have killed Him...



People like to wash their hands of the violence. But we all wash our hands in blood.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fasting: Bringing Out the Worse in People Since 1,500 BC


In vain were you brought out of Egypt, if Egypt wasn't brought out of you...


Exodus 16:2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: 3 And the children of Israel said unto them: Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

Numbers 11:5  We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: 6  But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.

Psalm 95:8  Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9  When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. 10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said: It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 11  Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

Job 2:9  Then said his wife unto him: Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die!



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Price Is Right !


We interrupt our usual series of boring, ethereal Lenten posts to provide those of you struggling with the current economic recession and financial crisis with a few practical, down-to-earth business tips, which we believe to be right on the money :



Judas sold Christ for thirty silvers.

Adam and Eve traded Paradise for apples.

Esau gave up his birthright for a plate of porridge.

What price tag do you put on your soul?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Waxing and Waning of Ascetic Enthusiasm During Great and Holy Lent


Luke 22:33 And [Simon Peter] said unto [Jesus]: Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And [Christ] said: I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Jesus Christ is NOT the Reason for the Lenten Season !


Whom does the Church mourn during this particularly holy and especially sacred period of the year? For whom has the whole interior of the church-building been dressed in dark funeral gowns? Why do Priests wear such pitch-black clerical vestments this time of the year? Whom are they mourning? Christ, perhaps? God forbid! He's seated in glory, at the right hand of the Father! We're mourning for our own souls and wicked deeds, for we're all dead in our sins!

Luke 23:27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. 28 But Jesus turning unto them said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

On the Forty Days of Great and Holy Lent


In forty days has all sinful flesh been destroyed by the waters of the Great Flood in the days of Noah.

In forty years has the wicked, ungrateful, and rebellious generation of Israelites that came out of Egypt, and gnashed their unthankful teeth against Moses and the Lord, been wiped out in the wilderness, without ever entering into the Promised Land.

For forty days stood Moses with God on top of Mount Sinai, without touching any food or water, to receive the Law of the Old Covenant, being kept alive only by the power of God, and when he came back down the mountain, his face shone brighter than the Sun.

For forty days after His Baptism by John in the Jordan has Christ fasted in the wilderness, to defeat the devil, before beginning His Messianic activity here on earth.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lazarus Saturday




Romans 7:24 Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Friday, April 15, 2011

On the Sixth Week of Fasting, the Savior Said to Me...


Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why Calvinists Should Definitely Fast


To be confirmed and (re)assured of the truthfulness of their teachings,

by letting fasting, abstinence, and ascetic efforts expose and bring out to light the Total Depravity and Inability hiding in their fallen nature... because you'll never know just how estranged you truly are from God, and how far you actually lie from the Kingdom of Heaven, or how much filth there really is in your heart, and how enslaved you are by sin or just how much power passions have over you, until you'll start seriously engaging in this kind of spiritual endeavors.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Just Because There Will Be No Sin, Sex, Meat-Consumption, Tobacco, and Alcohol in the After-Life...


...doesn't mean that the insatiable and asphyxiating craving for such things will be absent
from the souls and bodies of the damned...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Hideous Sins for Which God Wiped Out All Humanity in the Great Flood


Luke 17:27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fasting: It's Heaven on Earth!


There was no intercourse and meat-consumption in Paradise, before the Fall,
nor will there be any in the Kingdom of Heaven:


Genesis 1:29 ¶And God said: Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

Genesis 2:16  ¶And the LORD God commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.

Genesis 3:6  ¶And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7  And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8  And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9  ¶And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him: Where art thou? 10  And he said: I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11  ¶And he said: Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

Matthew 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Mark 12:25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.

Luke 20:34 And Jesus answering said unto them: The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.


That again: Heaven itself may be Hell for some...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mid-Lent Crisis




Empty bellies... what are we living for?

Hold the line: does anybody want to take it anymore?...


Lent must go on!

I'll top the bill, I'll overkill: I have to find the will to carry on...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

They've Done A Movie About My Life, And Josh Hartnett Is Playing My Role!



Friday, April 8, 2011

The Subtle, Subliminal Message of My Last Five Weeks of Postings


1 Corinthians 15:50 Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Possible Reactions to the Utterly Absurd and Outright Impossible Fasting Demands of the Orthodox God


1.
Job 2:9 Curse God, and die.


2.

Matthew 25:18 But he that had received one talent went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said: Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.


3.

Matthew 19:25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying: Who then can be saved?

Mark 10:26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves: Who then can be saved?

Luke 18:26 And they that heard it said: Who then can be saved?


4.

Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Christology







Christology Workshop by Dr. Jeffrey Macdonald




Part 1:
Play Audio

Part 2:
Play Audio

Part 3:
Play Audio

Power Point presentation:
Show Snapshots



Sylvester Stallone Illustrating the Hardships of Lent


Why does the Orthodox Church impose such heavy, unbearable burdens on the feeble and fragile shoulders of its poor, innocent followers?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

About the Longings of our Hearts, the Passions in our Lives, and the Desires of our Souls


Luke 15:16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

Deep down inside, we're all starved and craving for something...

Contra LDS on Deification




Contra Mundum: Athanasius and the LDS on Deification by Perry Robinson


A Personal Relationship with God

Credit to Mike Spring from Classical Christianity

I know that the Immovable comes down; I know that the Invisible appears to me; I know that He who is outside the whole creation Takes me within Himself and hides me in His arms, and then I find myself outside the whole world.

I, a frail, small mortal in the world, behold the Creator of the world, all of Him, within myself;and I know that I shall not die, for I am within the Life, I have the whole of Life springing up as a fountain within me.

He is in my heart, He is in heaven: both there and here He shows himself to me with equal glory.
- St. Simeon the New Theologian


Monday, April 4, 2011

Hunted Down by Sins and Devoured Alive by Passions




The sad story of my life...

1 Peter 5:8 ¶Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fasting in the Struggle against Fallen Spirits




The Significance of Fasting in the Struggle against Fallen Spirits by St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov)


Hell: It's Nothing, Really...




...just plain emptiness...


What God's Love for Sinners Does Not Mean

It doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to be saved. Yes, He will save every alcoholic in the sense that eventually He will bring each one to a “place” beyond the grave where there is no alcohol, but whether any given alcoholic will be grateful for that or be tortured by it remains to be seen. He will bring you and me to where there is no sin, but whether we feel delivered or deprived, indeed destroyed, depends upon us.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Blessed is the One Who Will Smash Your Babes Against the Rock


Sins and passions must be killed while still in their infancy:

Psalm 137:9 Blessed be he that shall take and dash thy little ones against the Rock.

1 Corinthians 10:4 And that Rock was Christ.

Friday, April 1, 2011

"The Matrix" and the Gospels on the Burden of Lent, Fasting, and Abstinence


The Matrix.

( You may wish to turn up the volume on your computer ).


The Gospel:

Matthew 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said: It is written: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God". 8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him: All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him: Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve".

Luke 4:2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. 3 And the devil said unto him: If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 4 And Jesus answered him, saying: It is written: "That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God". 5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said unto him: All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. 8 And Jesus answered and said unto him: Get thee behind me, Satan, for it is written: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve".

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Hold That Passions Have On A Man


Only because you know just how bad they actually are for you, doesn't mean you can quit.

( You may wish to turn up the volume on your computer ).

Synergy in Christ According to Saint Maximus the Confessor





Synergy in Christ According to Saint Maximus the Confessor, by Daniel Photios Jones





Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Heart of the Matter


One night I had a dream. Outside, the sky was made into a single being. I couldn't look at it because of its brightness. I fell with my face to the ground, because I understood that it was a divine power. I heard a voice telling me: Look at this! Who does not know what this is will never see the Kingdom of Heaven! As I was lying with my face to the ground, I lifted up my head a bit, to look at what it was showing me. About where its face was, I could see only lightnings, and when it spoke, it was as if it thundered. Looking towards the frightfully-large hand, I saw that it held a human heart wherein there was much filth. I heard that thundery voice again: Look and know that whosoever does not know what this is will not see the Kingdom of Heaven! The dream scared me greatly. For three days I was not able to do anything. I shook the whole time, and stood in great fear, although I haven't understood too much of it.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Author of "Basic Instinct" Repents of a Life-Time of Sins, Addictions, and Debauchery


Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


During the summer of 2001, Eszterhas was diagnosed with throat cancer. His doctors worked to remove 80 per cent of his larynx and told him to immediately quit drinking and smoking. Eszterhas was 56. He lived a wild lifestyle and knew that changing his habits would not be easy.


His Conversion

On a day Eszterhas describes as “hellishly hot,” he was walking through a tree-lined neighborhood when he realized he had hit rock-bottom.

Eszterhas described his frame of mind: "I was going crazy. I was jittery. I twitched. I trembled. I had no patience for anything. … Every single nerve ending was demanding a drink and a cigarette.”

He sat on the curb and began to cry. In between fits of crying he began to pray, “Please God, help me.” He hadn’t prayed since he was a child. "I couldn't believe I'd said it. I didn't know why I'd said it. I'd never said it before," he wrote.


God reached out His hand

Eszterhas was immediately overwhelmed with peace. His twitching stopped. He no longer trembled. He saw a "shimmering, dazzling, nearly blinding brightness that made me cover my eyes with my hands." Similar to Saul seeing a blinding light on his way to Damascus, Eszterhas had seen the light of Christ.

Eszterhas described the experience as “absolutely overwhelming."

He went from doubting if he could make it through life without tobacco and alcohol, to knowing that he could "defeat myself and win."



Psalms 34:6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.




Psalms 120:1In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.


After years of smut and violence, Joe Eszterhas says he found God one hot summer day in 2001 as he desperately battled to survive throat cancer and his addictions to alcohol and cigarettes.

“I didn’t even really know how to pray,” Eszterhas writes in his upcoming book Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith. “I didn’t know what to say, so one of the first things I said was ‘I’m sorry. I’ve acted like a colossal A-hole. I’m really, really sorry. I don’t deserve to be forgiven, but please try to forgive me.’”

In their effort to prolong Eszterhas’ life, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic removed 80 percent of his larynx, put a tracheotomy tube in his throat, and told him he must quit drinking and smoking immediately.

While Eszterhas wanted to change his ways, after a lifetime of wild living, the 56-year-old Hungarian native knew it would be a struggle to do so. And it was.

In the summer of 2001, Eszterhas reached a breaking point and for the first time since he was a child, he prayed for God’s help.

"I was going crazy. I was jittery. I twitched. I trembled. I had no patience for anything. … Every single nerve ending was demanding a drink and a cigarette," he writes in Crossbearer.

After his prayer, however, he felt an overwhelming peace.

It was "an absolutely overwhelming experience," he recalled to the Toledo Blade earlier this month.

Eszterhas went from doubting if he could make it through life without tobacco and alcohol to knowing that he could "defeat myself and win."


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