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#28950 Tue Nov 08, 2005 1:53 PM
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Let me preface this post by saying that I am not delving into Eastern mysticism and I am not being "led astray" by the sudden surge of the acceptance of Hindu, Buddhist, and the like, practices in the Christian community. I think that it is silly to try and incorporate elements from other religions into Christianity. As for denominations, that is another story. Now to my questions.

First, is the Eastern Christian tradition (Eastern Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, etc.) valid or is Western Christianity the valid version of Christianity? Please support your answer.

My other question is this: does anyone know where I can find some good articles that deal with this? I've seen plenty of articles that deal with Catholicism, but rarely have I seen something that deals with the Eastern Christian groups.

#28951 Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:54 PM
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First, is the Eastern Christian tradition (Eastern Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, etc.) valid or is Western Christianity the valid version of Christianity? Please support your answer.

The valid version is Biblical Christianity <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/evilgrin.gif" alt="" />

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does anyone know where I can find some good articles that deal with this?

You can find many good articles here


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
#28952 Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:20 PM
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From WELS.net (Wisconsin Lutherans)

QUESTION: Can the Eastern Orthodox position on Theosis be confused with the Lutheran terms for sanctification? From what I understand about Theosis is that man should not count the race won (I guess this is a position of humility) and strives for perfection. I also understand that the Orthodox view St. Ambrose as legit, that is, faith without the works saves. Could terms be misused for actual lines of agreement?

ANSWER: In Eastern Orthodox teaching theosis or divinization is a process by which human beings achieve the union with God that was lost in the fall into sin, a process whereby human beings become participants in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). The Orthodox do not think of theosis in terms of pantheism, however. Rather it is the process by which human beings are restored to the likeness of God. “As we cooperate with God's grace, he renews the distorted image in us so that we attain the likeness and consequently become godlike.” (Daniel B. Clendenin, Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective. p.134, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994)

The Eastern Orthodox reject the Lutheran teaching of justification by faith alone and in reality confuse the scriptural doctrines of justification and sanctification. The disagreement between Easter Orthodoxy and Lutheranism is more than an argument about terms. The Eastern Orthodox have no understanding of total depravity, that human beings are born dead in trespasses and sins, unable to cooperate with God in conversion. In fact the Eastern Orthodox are strong proponents of synergism. They believe that a sinful human being can and must cooperate with God in every stage of the "process" of salvation.

Lutherans teach that human beings cannot cooperate in conversion or justification. Our salvation is attributable only to what God has done for us. Justification is always full and complete. Our salvation is sure and certain through faith in Jesus. Sanctification is a process in which the Holy Spirit makes us more God-like and leads us to produce good works in our lives. Good works have nothing to do with saving us (Ephesians 2:8-9). They show that we have been saved by God's grace alone. They show that we are new creatures of God created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). Good works are our response of thanks to the God that has done everything for us. Sanctification in this life will always be incomplete because we will retain a sinful nature until the day we die. In sanctification our new man (the faith or new life which the Holy Spirit has created in us) does cooperate with the Holy Spirit. Yet even in sanctification we recognize that "it is God who works in you both to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Philippians 2:13).

FURTHERMORE: .... The Eastern Orthodox writer states, "Yet faith is not imposed: to those who desire it, God grants it, not because of a fatalistic predestination, but because of His Divine foreknowledge and His disposition to co-operate with man's free will."
We (Lutherans) believe that we come to faith because God predestined us to salvation.

We reject the idea that God chose us because he foresaw that "we would cooperate by free will." We reject that sinful human beings by nature have a free will in spiritual matters. By nature human beings are born slaves to sin and Satan. They are dead in trespasses and sins and consequently cannot decide for Christ or cooperate with the Holy Spirit in conversion.


Grace is not common.
#28953 Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:30 PM
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One of the reasons for the resurgence in both Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy has been the "discovery" by many Protestants that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is "fundamentally wrong." This departure from the true faith is the result of a wrongful understanding of what Sola Scriptura actually means. The problem is dealt with thoroughly and brilliantly in Keith Mathison's book, The Shape of Sola Scriptura.

-Robin

Robin #28954 Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:42 PM
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I think some of it has to do with the mega church phenomenon. Many people are craving tradition, a tradition they cannot get in the mega church. So instead of ending up in a traditional Lutheran, Anglican, or even Reformed church, they go to the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox.


Grace is not common.

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