Thursday, November 15, 2007

Original Sin / Baptism / Free Will / Orthodoxy

The earliest, clearest statement (there also some less clear, earlier statements) on Original Sin among the patristics, as I hinted to Gene in the combox of another thread, naturally relates to the symbolism of baptism (addressed in this case, by the corresponding OT symbol circumcision):

Augustine, "City of God," Book XVI, Chapter 26
And thus, because circumcision was the sign of regeneration, and the infant, on account of the original sin by which God’s covenant was first broken, was not undeservedly to lose his generation unless delivered by regeneration, these divine words are to be understood as if it had been said, Whoever is not born again, that soul shall perish from his people, because he hath broken my covenant, since he also has sinned in Adam with all others. For had He said, Because he hath broken this my covenant, He would have compelled us to understand by it only this of circumcision; but since He has not expressly said what covenant the infant has broken, we are free to understand Him as speaking of that covenant of which the breach can be ascribed to an infant. Yet if any one contends that it is said of nothing else than circumcision, that in it the infant has broken the covenant of God because, he is not circumcised, he must seek some method of explanation by which it may be understood without absurdity (such as this) that he has broken the covenant, because it has been broken in him although not by him. Yet in this case also it is to be observed that the soul of the infant, being guilty of no sin of neglect against itself, would perish unjustly, unless original sin rendered it obnoxious to punishment.

While many "Orthodox" folks may deny the doctrine of original sin, most - if not all - baptize their infants, maintaining the doctrine cloaked in liturgy whose meaning they do not completely understand.

Furthermore, not all "Orthodox" folks deny the doctrine of original sin (link - not recommended for its doctrinal content, just provided as an example: especially this particular link confuses guilt ipse with the feeling or awareness of guilt), and the same "Orthodox" folks note that baptism (including infant baptism) is intended to remit sin, including original sin (link - again, not recommended for its doctrinal content, just provided as an example).

Finally, the underlying concept is locked into the traditional liturgical post-baptismal/chrismal prayer:
Blessed are You, O Lord God Almighty, Source of all good things, Sun of Righteousness, who did shed forth upon them that were in darkness the light of salvation, through the revelation of Your Only-begotten Son and our God; and who have given to us, unworthy though we be, blessed purification through hallowed water, and divine sanctification through life-creating Chrismation; who now, also have been graciously pleased to regenerate Your servant that has newly received Illumination, by water and the Spirit, and do grant unto him/her remission of sins, whether voluntary or involuntary. Do You, the same Master, compassionate King of kings, grant also unto him/her the seal of the gift of Your holy, and almighty, and adorable Spirit, and participation in the holy Body and precious Blood of Your Christ.

(source - similar caveats to the forgoing)

But, as I noted to Gene, although many doctrines may have been locked into the liturgy in various ways, some were locked in more openly or more obscurely than others. For example, note that the prayer asks for forgiveness of "involuntary" sins. Yet talking to a typical lay Orthodox person, especially a "convert" from an Arminian (and KoD will probably whack me over the head with a rubber mallet for using this term too broadly, so I add:) or quasi-Arminian background, you will likely hear the typical "free will" rhetoric as it relates to the nature of sin, and so forth. You especially see this in comments that object to inherited guilt of Adam's sin, which cannot possibly be said to be directly voluntary by any of his seed.

This post is not intended to endorse the sect of Orthodoxy, nor its particular Baptismal liturgy, nor to mock Orthodoxy or its liturgy either. The point is simply to note that there is a legitimate argument from tradition that parallels the argument from Scripture on the issue of Original Sin, as well as on the issue of free will. We could even go to the issue of Baptism, but we won't.

-Turretinfan

P.S. Lucian, as a self-professed "Orthodox" I realize you will be tempted to jump in immediately. Resist the urge. Wait 'till the end of the week, and then - if you like - explain the errors you believe my presentation has. If you do so respectfully and cogently, many may learn something!

38 comments:

EgoMakarios said...

The Eastern Orthodox do not as a removal of original sin, but because they see baptism as a covenant sign like circumcision to be given on the 8th day of life or some such.

I would add on my part, that certainly in Colossians 2:11 Paul compares circumcision and baptism with respect to the cutting aspect (in circumcision the foreskin of flesh is cut off, in baptism the Holy Ghost cuts off sins) but in the very next verse, Paul contrasts the recipients by saying that baptism does what it does (or that God does in baptism what God does in baptism) "through faith in the operation of God."

natamllc said...

Seeing I have no such prohibition, I may be foolish yet, I'll jump in immediately!:)

This argument is well placed and places high with others so divisive Unity is waning!

Having said that I would only point to three things.

One, the infant, after death.
Two, the aged, after death, a comment I read herein on one of your threads.
And three, Simeon and his hunger for SALVATION now seeing the Holy Ghost promised SAVIOR!

Infants, hmmmm, after death, do they grow to know and do they learn now that they have passed to Omniscience, One Who Does Not Learn, ah, Our Heavenly Father? I do not know but since I do not know I am off to point two, the aged. I was caught by something I read in one of the threads herein about the old man, does he grow or go on to learn anymore after he passes? Not knowing that answer either, I am less likely to not offer a defense for him than an infant seeing, I and you and no infant born knows the manner of his birth til perhaps he or she, as I had the occasion to witness firsthand the birth of my sons. It is by this massive amazing experience in time and history that captures my understanding most and my certain belief in an Intelligent Awesome Creator, Omniscience, all knowing Who does not learn anything!

Finally, Simeon. One day it caught me by surprise these words of Luke's Gospel:

Luk 2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
Luk 2:26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
Luk 2:27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law,
Luk 2:28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
Luk 2:29 "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;
Luk 2:30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
Luk 2:31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
Luk 2:32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel."

How is it that the Holy Ghost records the depth of character and nature on this one and clearly this one hungers to see SALVATION, let alone describe all that that prophecy does?

As I say, when the time comes, I too will know even as I am known. Until then, I too, like you, live by the Faith once delivered to the Saints.

GeneMBridges said...

Oh, I'll just go ahead and say it:

1. "You don't understand Orthodoxy!"

2. "This is just a sect; it does not represent the true doctrine of the church."

3. Etc. Etc. Equivocate, equivocate.

:D

Turretinfan said...

Thanks for your thoughts, EM.

I may have mixed up one or more things in my representation of Eastern Orthodoxy, but I am quite sure that they do not view baptism as merely a sign of the new covenant.

How is "through faith" God doing something, in your opinion? God is not believing, you are, yes?

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

Natamllc,

Consider this, compared with God's wisdom and knowledge, do you suppose that even King Solomon (the wisest man) is anything significantly more knowledgeable than an infant?

Surely not, the wiser one gets the more one realizes how much wiser God is.

Don't you agree?

-Turretinfan

EgoMakarios said...

How is "through faith" God doing something, in your opinion? God is not believing, you are, yes?

I understand "in [baptism] you were raised with him through faith in the operation of God" to mean "in baptism the Holy Spirit raised you spiritually with Christ if you had faith in the operation of God, i.e. if you beleive that he would."

Turretinfan said...

EM:

Please let me know whether I am understanding you correctly.

A) Are you saying that the Holy Spirit performs the baptism that we are talking about? Or are you referring to a conventional water Baptism, and saying that - at the same time - the Spirit is doing something?

B) If the latter, isn't really the case that the parallel is between the cutting of flesh to purify versus the washing of flesh to purify. In either case, only the Holy Spirit can actually purify the heart of sin. Wouldn't you basically agree with that?

C) And, of course, faith is part of the salvation process (leaving aside our differences over its role, for the time being). Still agree?

D) If you do agree, and I don't see why you wouldn't, then is it corect that when you say "through faith" you mean that the Holy Spirit acts IF we have faith, and that the Holy Spirit does not act IF we don't have faith? In other words aren't you interpreting "through faith" to mean "depending on whether you have faith"?

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

TF,

yes, I do agree!

As for Ego, hmmmmm, well put, unless I misunderstood you! Albeit, as in birth, so it is the "same" in rebirth.

The problem as I see it is both paedo and crado are valid. It's just that the working of the Holy Ghost upon the infant is equally as life changing as an adult who has received the Faith by the Gift of Grace to know that the life is in the Word alone by Christ alone for the Glory of God alone for which He seeks us out, albeit because of election.

He does seek and save the lost and seeks true worshippers who will in infancy and maturity worship Him alone in Spirit and Truth, these two vessels of Glory for us to enjoy the Glory not claim it as our meritoriousness.

God is the Creator of both, seeing He does not need to do either to be God!

Me, on the other hand, as they now say in my parts to make the point about the abortionists, AREN'T YOU GLAD YOU MADE IT OUT ALIVE so you too can worship Our Creator? :)

Turretinfan said...

Good reminder, Natamllc,

It is by grace that we were spared from death as infants; it is by grace that we are spared from hell as grownups.

To suppose that those infants who die in infancy must have been more worthy of an untimely death than we, is the same arrogance that can lead to supposing that we who are saved by grace through faith are somehow more worthy than those who will not be with us in heaven.

We were born (physically) by the will of man, but we are born (spiritually) by the will of God.

We love Him because he loved us first, just as we love our mothers who brought us from the darkness of the womb to the light of the world safely, because they loved us when we were still grateless (ungratefull would seem to harsh) infants.

-Turretinfan

EgoMakarios said...

I do beleive you understand me correctly: That the Holy Spirit performs an inward circumcision on the person while they are being baptized in water, if the person being baptized has faith.

GeneMBridges said...

We call this baptismal regeneration.

You have not denied being a Campbellite in times past. Please define saving faith. Campbellite's often define it in Sandemanian terms.

Turretinfan said...

It's sort of a "conditional" baptismal regeneration.

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

Am I going around in circles here?

Someone help me!

EGO: if the person being baptized has faith.

N: huh?

EgoMakarios said...

"We call this baptismal regeneration."

If that's what you want to call it, I don't have a problem with that provided you don't try and say that it is equivalent to "believing that water saves" or any of that common line of argumentation. The Catholic position may qualify as that, basically being that as long as you apply some water to a person they will be regenerated with or without faith. But my position, as TF rightly notes is a conditional baptismal regeneration, conditional upon faith. And I believe the Scriptures teach this, in Acts 2:38-39, Romans 6, 1 Peter 3:21 and other places (and of course Col 2:11-12 already mentioned).

"You have not denied being a Campbellite in times past."

You'd make a bigger deal out of my denial than my non-denial, and would be more persuaded that I was a Campbellite if I denied it than if I didn't.

"Please define saving faith. Campbellite's often define it in Sandemanian terms."

Sandemanian? Now there's a term I've never heard. From Wikipedia I find that "Sandeman maintained that justifying faith is a simple assent to the divine testimony concerning Jesus, differing in no way in its character from belief in any ordinary testimony." If Campbellites define saving faith in those terms, then I certainly am not a Campbellite.

Saving faith is not just mental assent or head belief in Jesus, but must be trust in, loyalty to, and faithfulness to, the person of Jesus Christ. This is why I have no problem understanding things like repentance and baptism as being part of faith. If one truly trusts in Jesus, they trust his saying "he that believes and is baptized shall be saved" and they trust his saying to the apostles "whoever hears you hears me." In trusting Jesus, and consequently trusting his apostles, they will trust the teaching of Peter in Acts 2:38 and be baptized. And certainly since Jesus began his ministry preaching "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" those who truly trust in Jesus will repent.

Repentance and baptism are not some sort of works by which a man tries to earn salvation apart from Christ, but are man putting their trust in Christ. Paul talks about being buried with him in baptism so we can be raised to walk a new life, and I doubt that he would say "IF you have been planted with him into the likeness of his death, THEN you will also be in the likeness of his resurrection" if it were a mere sign of faith and not also a condition of faith.

natamllc said...

EGO,

thanks, you have just clarified for me that we are not thinking on the same foundation of FAITH once delivered to the SAINTS.

I would take issue on two points immediately.

I might even find more focus the second go round of reading what I just read you were posted by TF.

I have an entirely different set of values and beliefs about baptism on the infancy point.

And as for the statement:

[[Saving faith is not just mental assent or head belief in Jesus, but must be trust in, loyalty to, and faithfulness to, the person of Jesus Christ.]]

I could not accept that as a basis for the Salvation I am in.

natamllc said...

Oh, by the way, I want to raise into this discussion TF, the Peshitta and the Aramaic "mindset".

I have looked into this writing, not in depth or exhaustively by any stretch, but there are several things I am captured by in it.

Also, I have looked some into a Presbyterian Theologian, Ken Bailey and his writings on the thought processes and cultural ways during the time of Christ.

These influences have altered my readiness in these days to take it in hook, line and sinker as they say.

Ego, TF, Gene, have any of you fostered anything from the Eastern Orthodox mindset? The Gospel did go in a timely manner, north, south, east and west, albeit, it also stayed there in Jerusalem:

Act 8:1 And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

EgoMakarios said...

natamllc,

My first post may have confused you into thinking that I am an Eastern Orthodox, while I was just stating what I understand them to beleive.

I would be interested in what you mean by your disagreement with my statement that "Saving faith is not just mental assent....."

GeneMBridges said...

You'd make a bigger deal out of my denial than my non-denial, and would be more persuaded that I was a Campbellite if I denied it than if I didn't.

Actually, I'm going by your claim that your group RESTORED the church and did not REFORM the church. If you are not a Campbellite, you have had more than enough opportunity to state that to be the case. In fact, when I've brought this up before, it was YOU who launched into a discussion about the RESTORATION of the true church, so if you have problems with this appellation, you have only yourself to blame, since what I have said is framed to what you said. It would greatly help if you would, for example, actually respond to questions that are put to you if these appellations are incorrect.

In fact, we had a discussion about Alexander Campbell's heresy and you simply cruised on by it. I think, as it stands now, you're duplicitous.

But my position, as TF rightly notes is a conditional baptismal regeneration, conditional upon faith

So, you affirm justification by faith plus baptism, regeneration not through faith but baptism. Where is the supporting argument? How exactly does this differ from justification by merit? I have consistently stated that your position is FUNCTIONALLY no different than that of Rome and others, and this just proves I'm right. You cash out at exactly the same place.

Your argument would also be true of some Lutherans, for while baptizing infants, they do not believe tje regeneration offered in baptism has an efficacy apart from faith, so you're in the same boat, yet you would equally deny Lutheranism because of your credobaptism.

If Campbellites define saving faith in those terms, then I certainly am not a Campbellite.

Actually, this could equally mark you out as not understanding Campbellite theology but nevertheless being part of that august heretical number.

In trusting Jesus, and consequently trusting his apostles, they will trust the teaching of Peter in Acts 2:38 and be baptized. And certainly since Jesus began his ministry preaching "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" those who truly trust in Jesus will repent.

You're arguing for justification by merit. We've had this discussion before, and you just cruised right by it.

What you're doing is condemning anybody who does not hold your view about baptism to hell. By the way, you never recanted that condemnation of me to hell, as I recall. I've clearly not forgotten.

1. I'm a Baptist.

2. You're a idol worshiper. Your idol is baptism. You don't really believe faith saves. You believe baptism saves.

Repentance and baptism are not some sort of works by which a man tries to earn salvation apart from Christ, but are man putting their trust in Christ

I agree, but your overemphasis on libertarian freedom turns them into works, as does you emphasis on baptism. So, in making this observation, you are impeaching yourself.

natamllc said...

Ego,

It is with great trepidation I proceed!

I am certain TF has his finger on the reject button at any moment to push as he deems necessary, just ask Lucian when you get a chance.

I do not assign anything to myself, nothing, nadda, not one thing. The Five Solas!

What your word phrase does for me is cause me trepidation.

[[Saving faith is not just mental assent or head belief in Jesus, but must be trust in, loyalty to, and faithfulness to, the person of Jesus Christ.]]


Maybe if I "edit" those words so I have His FAITH working and building me up, that will help you see my fears?

First though let me quote some of Paul's wisdom to lay a firm foundation for my edition, ok?

Paul, at Acts 20:

Act 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
Act 20:29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
Act 20:30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
Act 20:31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.
Act 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.


My edition:

[[Saving faith is not my faith, but Christ's ACTIVE POWERFUL SPIRIT working through me, this FAITH, it is in Jesus, through Jesus and by Jesus alone, not mine. It must not be my trust in, loyalty to, and faithfulness to, the person of Jesus Christ that saves me but as Jeremiah says:

Jer 17:5 Thus says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.
Jer 17:6 He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.
Jer 17:7 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.
Jer 17:8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."


but as Paul says:

Gal 2:19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.
Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Gal 2:21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. .]]

Ego, did that help?

EgoMakarios said...

Gene,

Let me analyse things as I see them.

1. You want to accuse Campbell of being a Sandemanian, Which means that he believed that saving faith is simply assent to facts. OK, I did some checking and found that Campbell admits to agreeing with Sandeman on this point.

2. You want to term me a Campbellite, and claim that I said Campbell restored the church. I never said that Campbell restored the church. When you were saying that Campbell was just like Joseph Smith, etc. I said something about how you ought to see a difference between the idea of restoring the church by a return to Scripture versus restoring the churh via supposed-modern day prophets and a new "revelation."

3. Campbell's agreement with Sandeman is just another confirmation of the fact that Campbell did not restore the church, but that the church was "restored" in spite of him. Campbell himself, after all, althoguh finally coming to the realization that baptism is for the remission of sins was never baptized for the remission of sins himself, and never would bring himself to admit the truth that he was not a Christian and that those who weren't baptized for the remission of sins weren't Christian.

4. This idea that placing any emphasis on repentance or baptism turns them into works is ridiculous. There is certainly a great emphasis places on them in Romans 6 when Paul says "IF you have been planted into the likeness of his death (i.e. baptism), THEN you shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection (i.e. have newness of life, remission of sins)." Paul clearly shows that receiving remission of sins is conditional on baptism, as also Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21, and even Col 2:12 show. This Biblical emphasis does not turn baptism into a work, but a necessary means of grace that is part of faith.

5. Free will is irrelevant to the point of baptism. Whether we come to faith ourselves and then are baptized as a result, or whether God gives us faith and we are baptized as a result--who cares. The issue of free will comes into play at another place, namely in guarding God's holiness and truthfulness, for he says "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." The concept of free will comes in there, as a soldier fighting off the blasphemous theories that would turn John 3:16 into a lie.

EgoMakarios said...

natamllc,

When I say that saving faith includes trust in Christ's person, does that have anything to do with the works of the Law? You yourself quote Jeremiah 17:7 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD." Yet, when I said that faith in Christ goes beyond mental assent to facts about Christ and includes trust in his person, you disagreed.

Again, When I say that saving faith includes loyalty to Christ, does this have anything to do with the works of Law? Loyalty is essentially an extended version of trust, it is the quality of keeping that trust alive for a prolonged time, and not leaving the person the trust is placed in. Thus along these lines, with his trust in God in view, David says in Psalm 18:21 "I have not wickedly departed from my God," or in other words, even though I fall to sin here and there because I am weak, yet I maintain my loyalty to God.

Even when I say that saving faith includes faithfulness to Christ, that has no reference to any keeping of the works of the Law. For faithfulness is basically, a synonym of loyalty, although with a different emphasis. Right after the statement I quoted above, David rephrases it in the next verse "For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me." This doesn't mean that he sinlessly kept all of God's statutes, but that out of loyalty, he tried to, and even though he many times failed, yet he remained faithful to his pledge to do so. That is, he did not give up and wickedly depart from his God out of a sense of failure, but rather renewed his strength in his reliance upon God, not to earn salvation by works, but to keep God's commandments the best he could out of trust and loyalty, which then resulted in faithfulness. He goes on in verse 23, "I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity." Not that he was sinless, but that he was considered upright (imputed to be righteous) on the basis of faith, which faith includes trust, loyalty, and faithfulness.

(Trust, loyalty, faithfulness--These three also, are meanings of the word pistis which is translated faith. I didn't just pull them out of thing air.)

Besides this, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did not send out the apostles saying "Go teach all nations, circumcising them and teaching them to keep the Sabbath and the food laws." He did, however, send them out saying "Go teach all nations, baptizing them..., and teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded." This is generally lost sight of in all this polemic about "the works OF THE LAW"--I emphasize "of the Law" because when Paul says that the works of the Law are essentially worthless, he is not saying "let's stop having people repent and be baptized" but rather is saying essentially what I just said: Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did not send out the apostles saying "Go teach all nations, circumcising them and teaching them to keep the Sabbath and the food laws" but rather sent them out saying "Go teach all nations, baptizing them..., and teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded."

I hope that helps.

Turretinfan said...

I don't pretend to speak for Natamllc.

Perhaps it was the use of the term "faithfulness" that was most objectionable of the lot. After all, "faithfulness" is obedience, which is works.

No?

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

tf, BY ALL MEANS, DO NOT PRETEND, YOU ARE DOING QUITE WELL WITHOUT THE PRETENSE! :)

Ego,

hmmmmmm,

Might I observe the w/hole you are digging is going to need a lot of fresh dirt to fill!

I might ensenuate myself over to Gene's scolding by you and address a couple of those first before I get to my hot pants?

You answer thus to Gene:

EGO:[[There is certainly a great emphasis places on them in Romans 6 when Paul says "IF you have been planted into the likeness of his death (i.e. baptism), THEN you shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection (i.e. have newness of life, remission of sins)." Paul clearly shows that receiving remission of sins is conditional on baptism, as also Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21, and even Col 2:12 show.]]

I will agree with that statement as long as the CONDITIONS ARE CHRIST'S AND NOT YOURS. In other words, the conditions are God's not man's.

You can be loyal to God till the day you die and end up in HELL.

Is that what you want?

No, I don't pretend to speak for you but, if you were so stupid as to say yes, there would only be one of two reasons, you are stupid and don't know what you said, or you are Satan's wolf and looking for food, hungry among us Saints!

EGO: [[Whether we come to faith ourselves and then are baptized as a result, or whether God gives us faith and we are baptized as a result--who cares.]]

I care and that's why I am rebutting your foolishness!

Again, I might "prophesy" here and say as Jesus did, YOU ARE NOT FAR FROM THE KINGDOM, my emphasis, just keep walking towards us herein and you will "cross" the line!

I will be the first to extend to you the Right hand of fellowship!

Ego, answer me this simple question?

How does anyone come to Christ/Faith themself?

EGO: [[Whether we come to faith ourselves...WHO CARES?]]

Now to my scolding; you raise some interesting thoughts in your rebuttal of my EDITION of your statement of faith that in my opinion, and this may be the strongest assertion against you, are demonic in nature and of the doctrine of demons!

My question then back at you, WHO CARES?

EGO: question: [[When I say that saving faith includes trust in Christ's person, does that have anything to do with the works of the Law?]]

answer: "yes" AND I WILL ADD THAT IF YOU CONTINUE DOWN THIS WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS ROAD, you will not find yourself in God's Graces and Mercy when you pass from this created heavens and earth on the day of your passing! Jesus, which is the FAITH WORTH CONTENDING FOR, is the end of the Law for Righteousness!

EGO: question: [[ Again, When I say that saving faith includes loyalty to Christ, does this have anything to do with the works of Law?]]

answer: refer to my answer to your first question in my rebuttal.

EGO: you write thus:::>[[it is the quality of keeping that trust alive for a prolonged time, and not leaving the person the trust is placed in.]]

This phrase again brings trepidation to my soul seeing God has made Himself quite clear by the Holy Ghost and Paul the Apostle at two places and two places only:

Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--
Eph 2:6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Eph 2:7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.


Col 2:11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
Col 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
Col 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
Col 2:14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.


EGO, let me ask you a question:

WHEN IS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW A DEAD MAN PICK HIMSELF UP AND CARRY HIMSELF OFF TO THE GRAVEYARD AND BURY HIMSELF?

EGO: here you quote Ps 18:21

I will go a bit behind and farther and quote Ps 18:19-23 and interpret it to mean King David understood whose Power Kept him from judgment, not sin! There is no greater fool of the fools of Christ than this foolish king! Are you as guilty of sin as he?

Psa 18:19 He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
Psa 18:20 The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
Psa 18:21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
Psa 18:22 For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me.
Psa 18:23 I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt.

I simply assert King David was speaking of the "Office" he was placed in, not his personal life, which like all of ours produced DEATH. This Kingdom always, always produces LIFE IN CHRIST, the Kingdom being RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE AND JOY IN THE HOLY GHOST.

EGO: [[This doesn't mean that he sinlessly kept all of God's statutes, but that out of loyalty, he tried to, and even though he many times failed, yet he remained faithful to his pledge to do so. That is, he did not give up and wickedly depart from his God out of a sense of failure, but rather renewed his strength in his reliance upon God, not to earn salvation by works, but to keep God's commandments the best he could out of trust and loyalty, which then resulted in faithfulness.]]

Again, Ego, with all due respect, even still I have in the back of mind the admonition that we are to respect what is right in the sight of others, you are twisting the meaning COMPARING APPLES AND ORANGES, his personal life and his Office as King of Israel and making the FAITH OF KING DAVID, DAVID'S FAITH AND NOT AS HE ASCRIBES IT, God's FAITH to make him king of Israel!

What, you might now be saying?

Ok, intrepret this:::>

2Sa 7:18 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, "Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?


FINALLY, EGO: [[He did, however, send them out saying "Go teach all nations, baptizing them..., and teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded." This is generally lost sight of in all this polemic about "the works OF THE LAW"--I emphasize "of the Law" because when Paul says that the works of the Law are essentially worthless, he is not saying "let's stop having people repent and be baptized" but rather is saying essentially what I just said:]]

Again, you are twisting the TRUTH; if that were possible, Satan would have done it already.

Here is what Jesus meant borrowed from a later on Apostle "Paul", please interpret:

Col 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
Col 1:4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,
Col 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,
Col 1:6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing--as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,
Col 1:7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf
Col 1:8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.


Again EGO, I do assert and let them chime who want too, you are not far from the Kingdom!

EgoMakarios said...

natamllc,

Where I say "Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did not send out the apostles saying 'Go teach all nations, circumcising them and teaching them to keep the Sabbath and the food laws' but rather sent them out saying 'Go teach all nations, baptizing them..., and teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded', you respond with "Again, you are twisting the TRUTH;" -- how so, please explain. I read right there in the end of Matthew these very words of Jesus 'Go teach all nations, baptizing them..., and teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded' so how is quoting them twisting the truth? Are you not rather twisting the truth in trying to nullify these words?

natamllc said...

EM,

thank you for pointing out the obvious to which I indeed hasten to say, you are missing.

I believe Gene said it best, if it was Gene?, you are making an assertion of the end of a matter you believe "to be" the end of the matter.

I quote you:::>

"EM":....I have commanded' ...

Yes, yes indeed "JESUS" COMMANDED.

You are missing the command as I see it.

Let's try and quack at this tree with a sharp blade?

Interpret this:

Mat 11:25 At that time Jesus declared, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;
Mat 11:26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
Mat 11:27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.


NOW HERE COMES THE BIG QUESTION:

first, verse 28-30

Mat 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Mat 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

In that context, how can anyone come to Christ?

Or how about this one?

Mat 10:17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,
Mat 10:18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.
Mat 10:19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.
Mat 10:20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Mat 10:21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death,
Mat 10:22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.


WHO IS SPEAKING "through" WHO?

You speaking through Jesus, Jesus speaking through God in you? Or rather, The Spirit of God, Our Heavenly Father speaking through Him who came and did what we could not do, Jesus, through us seeing the Three Eternals now dwell inside our human being?

Ok, how about this one, then?

Joh 8:9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.

and

Joh 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

[Who is Jesus following as He refers here in this verse 12?]

Joh 8:13 So the Pharisees said to him, "You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true."
Joh 8:14 Jesus answered, "Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.
Joh 8:15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.
Joh 8:16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.


You cross eyed yet?

Joh 8:17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true.
Joh 8:18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me."

Here Jesus concedes to their charge that He is bearing witness to Himself!!! Boy that must have made them mad?

OK EM?

got it yet?

Here, this one should make you mad I suppose?

Joh 8:19 They said to him therefore, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also."
Joh 8:20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
Joh 8:21 So he said to them again, "I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come."
Joh 8:22 So the Jews said, "Will he kill himself, since he says, 'Where I am going, you cannot come'?"
Joh 8:23 He said to them, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
Joh 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins."
Joh 8:25 So they said to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "Just what I have been telling you from the beginning.
Joh 8:26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him."
Joh 8:27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father.


We speak of Him who we "know".

I don't discern you KNOW HIM YET?

Joh 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

GeneMBridges said...

. OK, I did some checking and found that Campbell admits to agreeing with Sandeman on this point.

You should have checked this long ago, since it came up long ago, when I said this to you, but then you're not exactly known for replying to what people say to you on a consistent basis.

You want to term me a Campbellite, and claim that I said Campbell restored the church. I never said that Campbell restored the church

I never said you said that, rather I deduced that by a string of things you have stated. You have a unique way of redefining what others say to you. Notice here that in 3 above, you still don't deny the moniker "Campbellite." Rather, you say that the church was restored in spite of him. So, can we conclude that what you're saying here is that Campbell's view of saving faith was, by your estimation, defective, but nevertheless God restored the church? For, in saying this, you lay claim to his doctrine of baptism. You win the award for equivocation.

I was right, you are duplicitous. If you are not a member of that august group, then why not deny it outright? I have given you multiple opportunities for weeks and over multiple comments over no less than 3 blogs.

Paul clearly shows that receiving remission of sins is conditional on baptism, as also Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21, and even Col 2:12 show. This Biblical emphasis does not turn baptism into a work, but a necessary means of grace that is part of faith.

For starters you've done nothing but provide Scriptures without exegesis. So, this is just another assertion in lieu of an argument.

No, what he says is that men are justified by faith the same way Abraham was justified. Abraham is the paradigm case, and the point is that he was justified without recourse to circumcision or works of the law (cf. Galatians, where that is the whole point of the letter). A man is no more regenerated by baptism than Abraham was by circumcision.

The point of what Paul has stated is that men have been justified the same way throughout redemptive history. Baptism does not justify anybody. It is the outward sign of regeneration, not the instrument of regeneration. At variance here with TF and Natalmic, I also affirm that the Lord's Supper, NOT baptism is the proper sign of the covenant. That may make for an interesting discussion between TF and me after the holidays.

Free will is irrelevant to the point of baptism. Whether we come to faith ourselves and then are baptized as a result, or whether God gives us faith and we are baptized as a result--who cares.

Apparently you do, or you would not have raised free will to the idol you have.

If you don't really care about the Reformed view on this relationship why have you taken issue with it?

Here is what you have actually said:

Calvinism's God is Satan masquerading as Jehovah.

"God could not offer Christ to one whom Christ did not die for, unless God were a liar.

Note that the scope of his message is God's fairness in bringing the gospel to the gentiles, not in electing and reprobating individuals based on a dice roll.


EM, your idol is baptism. Faith alone does not justify, according to you. Baptism is the sufficient condition. So, you don't believe in justification by faith and faith, in your view, is necessary but insufficient to justify. This is EXACTLY what Rome and Orthodoxy affirm. So, on the one hand you try to deny Rome, yet your theology cashes out at precisely the same place.

The issue of free will comes into play at another place, namely in guarding God's holiness and truthfulness, for he says "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." The concept of free will comes in there, as a soldier fighting off the blasphemous theories that would turn John 3:16 into a lie.

An assertion in lieu of an argument. Where is "free will," by definition, libertarian freedom, ever found in the Bible? Where does the Bible teach this action theory? You have been asked this many times and have yet to answer coherently. When you have tried, you have been shown to be begging the question.

There is NO indefinite pronoun called "whosoever" in John 3:16. Rather, it is a present participle indicating "all the ones believing." "Free will" is nowhere in this text. I've also exegeted John 3 and your deficient and inept exegesis elsewhere.

I'll also thank you that for your tacit admission that libertarian freedom is being employed by you as an ethical defense of God. Perhaps you should concentrate less on trying to defend God ethically and trying to defend the faith exegetically. God does not appear to consider the free will defense necessary to defend His character,and thus neither should you. You have yet to provide an exegetical defense of your view of "free will." If ability limits responsibility and doing otherwise always obtains in order
for a choice to be truly free, then, contrary to what you state about the relationship between faith and baptism, you must admit to affirming a form of justification by merit, for you have previously admitted that people do not make uncaused choices, eg. choices without reasons. Why does one man believe and not another? Why then does one decide to be baptized and not another?

Turretinfan said...

An anonymous commenter wrote: "The prayer after baptism says, "blessed purification through hallowed water." By this the Orthodox acknowledge the water that passed by Jesus on the day He was baptized in the Jordan is still with us today. The Jordan empties into what is in effect a giant evaporation pond in the middle of a desert. Once in the Dead Sea, it evaporated into the atmosphere, and was spread throughout the world. Enough time has passed that these individual molecules as well as the elements hydrogen and oxygen of which they are composed have been incorporated into everything living thing on earth through the natural processes of life. The world has become in effect a baptismal font. By recognizing this, the Orthodox see the world as it truly is, a gift of God, given for our salvation, and they give thanks for it in the Eucharist, and offer it back to God. This is what separates Orthodox liturgy from reformed payer."

This made me laugh, because it is so plainly an innovation. While the Greeks may have had some form of atomic theory, they certainly did not know that water was composed of hydrogen and oxygen. It's rather obvious that this is a much much later explanation of baptism (and of course, it would have to be, since the claim about enough time passing to force the atoms/molecules into "all living things" would not have been true in the time of the apostles).

Mystical anachronostic nonsense, that's what it is.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

I think, Gene, that you meant to say that in EM's position, baptism is a necessary or perhaps an efficient but not a sufficient condition.

-Turretinfan

EgoMakarios said...

"Faith alone does not justify, according to you." (Gene)

Because faith can never be alone. Faith alone is not faith at all. Abraham didn't sit on his couch saying "I believe you told me to get up and leave my homeland." By faith he went not knowing where he was going. So if Abraham's faith is the prototype, as you say and as I agree, then certainly it is not a worthless beleive God told you to do something and not do it sort of 'faith' which is not faith at all.

"I think, Gene, that you meant to say that in EM's position, baptism is a necessary or perhaps an efficient but not a sufficient condition." (TF)

Replying more to Gene although quoting you, TF. Baptism apart from Christ would be nothing. The only reason baptism has any relation to salvation is because Jesus died on the cross and because he connects baptism to that, and makes it a condition of receiving the benefits of the cross. He said "he that believes and is baptized shall be saved," and he had the apostle Paul teach that "if we are planted in the likeness of his death (baptism) we will also be in the likeness of his resurrection (have newness of life)." I don't see why this is so hard to understand.

Turretinfan said...

EM:

Surely you are aware that the Reformed position is that we are justified by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone, i.e. not by the kind of faith that does not produce works.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

Orthodox,

You submitted a post here complaining about your comments not getting posted.

But consider what kind of comments you provided:

"Arrghh. Bring some facts to the table before accusing us of not understanding."

That might be a reasonable remark if I had not provided facts. In reality, though, I had provided facts; and you clearly knew that I provided facts, because you made various assertions about them later in your comments.

If you understood the rites of your own church, you would understand the relationship between Baptism and original sin.

Now, you may disagree with Lucian, and agree with me that your church does hold to a doctrine of original sin, but frankly you can find "Orthodox" web sites that deny the doctrine of original sin.

For example, at the moment, Orthodox Wiki's entry on Baptism states: "The Orthodox Church does not practice infant baptism in order to cleanse the taint of original sin, because this doctrine is not taught in the Orthodox Church." Of course, that could change overnight.

On the other hand,

"It is even difficult to find much written material on the subject from an Orthodox perspective. The one article I located, however, would justify the above uncertainty and practices. Fr. Alexandre Nelidow writes:

What of unbaptized children? . . . No rite of Christian burial is to be celebrated for these children because they have not been cleansed of original sin. The priest may simply bless the grave and carry out the burial to the accompaniment of the Trisagion.
" (source)

Yet other pages at the same site deny that children are tainted by original sin, asserting that all original sin is, is mere mortality.

Then, of course, there are pages like this (link) from the same site that suggest that both views are held within Orthodoxy, one "Eastern" and one "Western."

The "Othodox" churches claim to have all this unity, but the more you dig in, the more you discover that there is diversity.

Sometimes you even hear lay Orthodox apologists praising this diversity. "We have a both/and mentality, not an either/or mentality," they say, typically adding that our logical rule of mutual exclusivity is a "Western" fabrication.

So, what's the point? "Orthodoxy" doesn't work to provide true doctrines.

You want facts to prove, we've provided facts to prove it. If you post comments like "Arrghh. Bring some facts to the table before accusing us of not understanding," in response to a fact intensive post AND then argue about the facts, come on ... be reasonable.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

Anonymous replied:
"It is obviously an innovation. You are most certainly correct. It is innovation born from a living faith capable of innovation."

No additional comment needed.

-Turretinfan

Anonymous said...

You unwillingness to post the entire reply is telling.

orthodox said...

T: That might be a reasonable remark if I had not provided facts.

O: Not facts pertinent to the claim that anyone lacks understanding.

T: you clearly knew that I provided facts, because you made various assertions about them later in your comments.

O: Facts which prove what exactly? That's the problem, a bunch of facts that don't support that particular contention.

T: If you understood the rites of your own church, you would understand the relationship between Baptism and original sin.

O: Here we go again: "If I understood". Where's the evidence I don't understand something?

T: Now, you may disagree with Lucian, and agree with me that your church does hold to a doctrine of original sin, but frankly you can find "Orthodox" web sites that deny the doctrine of original sin.

O: Here we go again with the equivocation between "a" doctrine of original sin and "the" doctrine of original sin. Orthodox do not hold to "the" doctrine of original sin as understood in the West, but they do hold to "a" doctrine of original sin. Please don't pretend there is some conflict between Lucian and I when you are engaging in obfuscation.

T: What of unbaptized children? . . . No rite of Christian burial is to be celebrated for these children because they have not been cleansed of original sin. The priest may simply bless the grave and carry out the burial to the accompaniment of the Trisagion."

O: Yes, and did you go to the exact same web site, punch in "original sin" to the search box, and find an explanation of original sin as understood by the Orthodox and differentiated from the West? No, you did not.

T: other pages at the same site deny that children are tainted by original sin, asserting that all original sin is, is mere mortality.

O: Claims not in evidence.

T: Then, of course, there are pages like this (link) from the same site that suggest that both views are held within Orthodoxy, one "Eastern" and one "Western."

O: What it says is that "from time to time" there have been those within Orthodoxy, influenced by Latin infiltration, who have given explanations which are "lacking". aka false.

And this proves what exactly? Find us the official Orthodox web site that teaches these Latinized views unashamedly, THEN we'll have something to talk about. As it is all you have is someone saying that some Orthodox at some times have been misled.

T: Sometimes you even hear lay Orthodox apologists praising this diversity. "We have a both/and mentality, not an either/or mentality," they say, typically adding that our logical rule of mutual exclusivity is a "Western" fabrication.

O: In regards to what topic? Is there no topic on which you would accept an either/or truth?

Turretinfan said...

I may have overstated one comment earlier, when I wrote "mere mortality," whereas I ought to have said "chiefly mortality."

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

"You unwillingness to post the entire reply is telling."

Actually, it wasn't telling. It was masking.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

An anonymous writer asked for prayer, and offered to pray for myself and Turretin. While I always appreciate the prayers of the saints, Turretin is either in a state of glory (as I suppose) or in a state of damnation, having passed on many years ago.

Ah well, thanks for the kind and humble post, Anonymous. May God increase the wisdom of us and all who pass by.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

O: Not facts pertinent to the claim that anyone lacks understanding.
I answer: That's simply untrue. I'm not going to engage in further "nuh-uh/yeah-huh" argumentation here.

O: Facts which prove what exactly? That's the problem, a bunch of facts that don't support that particular contention.
I answer: If that were your contention, you should have said so. The fact of the matter is that you are now changing your story. Besides, anyone can see from your own admissions that there are facts that do establish what needs to be proved.

O: Here we go again: "If I understood". Where's the evidence I don't understand something?
I answer: See above.

O: Here we go again with the equivocation between "a" doctrine of original sin and "the" doctrine of original sin. Orthodox do not hold to "the" doctrine of original sin as understood in the West, but they do hold to "a" doctrine of original sin. Please don't pretend there is some conflict between Lucian and I when you are engaging in obfuscation.
I answer: There simply is no dogmatic definition in the "East" on the subject. There is a variety of views now. Nevertheless, the "Western" view is the historic view, as evidenced by the ancient teachings of Augustine.

O: Yes, and did you go to the exact same web site, punch in "original sin" to the search box, and find an explanation of original sin as understood by the Orthodox and differentiated from the West? No, you did not.
I answer: The point, of course, is that the facts do support what I said. There would be no reason for the practice that you admit exists, but for an underlying "Western" view of original sin, that has been forgotten by many in the East.

O: Claims not in evidence.
I answer: The claims certainly are in evidence, and the claims are true, which you don't deny.

O: What it says is that "from time to time" there have been those within Orthodoxy, influenced by Latin infiltration, who have given explanations which are "lacking". aka false.
I answer: There are a variety of views within modern Orthodoxy. There's no surprise there, unless you are under the delusion that everyone who wears a gilt mitre believes the same thing.

O: And this proves what exactly? Find us the official Orthodox web site that teaches these Latinized views unashamedly, THEN we'll have something to talk about. As it is all you have is someone saying that some Orthodox at some times have been misled.
I answer: That's not actually what it says. It says that the "Eastern" view is better than the "Western" view. It does not say that the "Western" view is "false" or "misleading" or that the bishops who have held such a view were heretics, or heterodox.
And, of course, if bishops were misled, what ensures your (as a non-bishop) orthodoxy? Nothing at all but your own gumption.

O: In regards to what topic? Is there no topic on which you would accept an either/or truth?
I answer: You misread my comment.
Truth is absolute, and the law of the excluded middle is a reflection of the absolute nature of truth, which is based on the nature of God Himself.
-Turretinfan