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okay I finished the book I was reading and although it was wonderful in some ways, it left me with some questions. I guess I am wondering if the authors protestant bias was coming out, or if some of the things presented are truly what Orthodox Chrisitans believe.

 

The biggie for me has to do with "salvation" and the individuals status before God. I got the impression that the EO does not focus very heavily on the "inital salvation" of a believer, but instead focuses on a growing relationship with God....something the book referred to as deification, but it also went by terms such as purification, godliness, and others.

 

In layman's terms...salvation is a path one works towards God (thru the church.) Christ's victory over death is what makes this path even possible, because before "we were dead in our sin's." The final conclusion being that "salvation" doesn't take place until we are finally united with God.

 

What I am struggling with is this seems to lend towards a "works" mentality of salvation. Not a "saved by grace thru faith."

 

This is something I would really like to come to terms with. Christ's atonement is a big deal to me :D.

 

Other than that it had great explainations on icons and traditions...which were the other areas my Protestant brain was struggling with :D!!!!

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This quote might help explain my struggle...

 

"....if one were to use Protestant terminology, one could generalize that the Orthodox understanding of salvation consists mainly of elements related to what we would call the process of sactification (becoming Christ-like), whereas the Protestant understanding consists largely of elements related justification (understanding the word "justification" in the Protestant sense of God's declaring a person righteous and acceptable before himself, because of the righteousness of Christ)."

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What book did you read? I've been studying up on the EO for the past several months. There are parts of the church I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around.

 

Here's a link to the book. Truthfully, if you like to read about theology and church history (which I do ;)) it's great book. You will have to have a working theological vocabulary. Many times I had to ask dh to translate for me...he speaks theology fluently ;)!

 

It was pretty balanced, especially at the beginning. Towards the end I didn't agree with some of the authors concerns about iconography. Mainly, because he did such a good job of explaining what it wasn't.

http://www.amazon.com/Eastern-Orthodoxy-Through-Western-Eyes/dp/0664224970

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The biggie for me has to do with "salvation" and the individuals status before God. I got the impression that the EO does not focus very heavily on the "inital salvation" of a believer, but instead focuses on a growing relationship with God....something the book referred to as deification, but it also went by terms such as purification, godliness, and others.

 

In layman's terms...salvation is a path one works towards God (thru the church.) Christ's victory over death is what makes this path even possible, because before "we were dead in our sin's." The final conclusion being that "salvation" doesn't take place until we are finally united with God.

 

What I am struggling with is this seems to lend towards a "works" mentality of salvation. Not a "saved by grace thru faith."

 

 

I think something important to remember is that in the EO world view, we don't differentiate between heaven and earth so much (and as a result, we define salvation differently). Our life on earth isn't just something to get through successfully so that we can then be rewarded with heaven when we die. So we're not trying to earn anything here -- but we are wanting to become more Christlike. There's a difference, do you see? So the "works" we do aren't trying to earn us a spot on the Heaven Bus, but they ARE a part of changing us from the inside out so that with God when we die is the natural place to be.

 

At least that's sorta how I see it, I'm open to correction from other Orthodox believers. Fr. Stephen has some good posts about this on his blog Glory To God For All Things (if you search for one storey universe terms on the home page you'll get them). Here's one of the first. Pretty eye opening.

 

ETA - I like this pdf booklet Finishing the Race.

Edited by milovaný
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I think something important to remember is that in the EO world view, we don't differentiate between heaven and earth so much (and as a result, we define salvation differently). Our life on earth isn't just something to get through successfully so that we can then be rewarded with heaven when we die. So we're not trying to earn anything here -- but we are wanting to become more Christlike. There's a difference, do you see? So the "works" we do aren't trying to earn us a spot on the Heaven Bus, but they ARE a part of changing us from the inside out so that with God when we die is the natural place to be.

 

At least that's sorta how I see it, I'm open to correction from other Orthodox believers. Fr. Stephen has some good posts about this on his blog Glory To God For All Things (if you search for one storey universe terms on the home page you'll get them). Here's one of the first. Pretty eye opening.

 

I bolded the above, because that was so refreshing for me to learn!!!

 

Your post does help. Right now, I am at the point where I'm wrestling with a mind set.

 

But I do know that I cannot make myself Holy. I've been on the "works treadmill" and it's exahusting...I don't want to go back to that.

 

Learning to love God and walk with him...is different.

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Last week I listened to this podcast series (work from the top down):

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/series/foundations_of_the_orthodox_faith

 

and this podcast series (work from the bottom up):

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodoxyheterodoxy

 

and I'm currently listening to (bottom up):

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/eastwest

 

From what I understand, the question of salvation starts with creation in the Orthodox Christian faith. God created everything and it was good and Adam was in complete harmony and communion with God in the beginning, before sin. When Adam sinned, this broke communion with God and Adam became mortal. Because of Adam's mortality, and all of creation's mortality, we now function just to survive (stay alive). Because we are only trying to stay alive, and are not in communion with God (the sinful state), then our efforts to stay alive are often sinful (the survival mode = selfishness). This was not God's intention for creation. He intended us to be in complete communion (cooperation) with him. Jesus came to restore that communion and cooperation. So, salvation to the Orthodox is not so much that Jesus came to pay a debt and stamp us with a label, "clean," or "forgiven," or "righteous." But, he came so that we can live a life in cooperation with God and in communion with God. This is accomplished in everyday life, by living for Jesus in cooperation with him, and through the Church, the method of receiving communion through the sacraments.

 

I'm sure I have not totally understood it, but so far, this is what I understand the Orthodox view to be. I think it's beautiful, and I am choosing to pursue this faith in cooperation with God. Please elaborate and/or correct me where I am wrong. I don't want to misunderstand, or spread misunderstandings.

Edited by JenniferB
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I think something important to remember is that in the EO world view, we don't differentiate between heaven and earth so much (and as a result, we define salvation differently). Our life on earth isn't just something to get through successfully [however each group of Christians wants to define that] so that we can then be rewarded with heaven when we die. We're not trying to earn anything here -- but we are wanting to become more Christlike through our relationship with Christ and His Church. There's a difference, do you see? There's not a sense of "I hope I did the right things so I get to go to heaven when I die." So the "works" we do aren't trying to earn us a spot on the Heaven Bus, but they ARE a part of changing us from the inside out so that with God when we die is the natural place to be.

.

 

 

From what I'm seeing in Emergent groups, this is a trending zeitgeist.

 

The bible says His kingdom is not of this world, but He also says that it is within us (awaiting our assent or cooperation, if you will). So that's why I kind of to agree with it's not something 'out there' that we have to earn.

 

I love homechurch-I see the body the same as you, we are perfecting ourselves by the relationships of the church (ekklesia)-but as much as I love the ease and 'not religious' aspect of the homechurch, I long for kneeling in that space that is drenched with ages of prayer and praise. It seeps out of the walls and ... you know? I love the love and art that goes into painting those icons, the reverence of space within the church. I love the liturgy. Sigh.

Edited by justamouse
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Last week I listened to this podcast series (work from the top down):

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/series/foundations_of_the_orthodox_faith

 

and this podcast series (work from the bottom up):

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodoxyheterodoxy

 

and I'm currently listening to (bottom up):

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/eastwest

 

From what I understand, the question of salvation starts with creation in the Orthodox Christian faith. God created everything and it was good and Adam was in complete harmony and communion with God in the beginning, before sin. When Adam sinned, this broke communion with God and Adam became mortal. Because of Adam's mortality, and all of creation's mortality, we now function just to survive (stay alive.) Because we are only trying to stay alive, and are not in communion with God (the sinful state), then our efforts to stay alive are often sinful (the survival mode = selfishness). This was not God's intention for creation. He intended us to be in complete communion (cooperation) with him. Jesus came to restore that communion and cooperation. So, salvation to the Orthodox is not so much that Jesus came to pay a debt and stamp us with a label, "clean," or "forgiven," or "righteous." But, he came so that we can live a life in cooperation with God and in communion with God. This is accomplished in everyday life, by living for Jesus in cooperation with him, and through the Church, the method of receiving communion through the sacraments.

 

I'm sure I have not totally understood it, but so far, this is what I understand the Orthodox view to be. I think it's beautiful, and I am choosing to pursue this faith in cooperation with God. Please elaborate and/or correct me where I am wrong. I don't want to misunderstand, or spread misunderstandings.

 

Your explanation lines right up with what I have been reading. But it does seem that there is a point of "justification" in the New Testament.

 

I guess I am struggling with this in light of verses like 1 Peter 1:3 and 4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you,

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Your explanation lines right up with what I have been reading. But it does seem that there is a point of "justification" in the New Testament.

 

I guess I am struggling with this in light of verses like 1 Peter 1:3 and 4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you,

 

I don't think there's a dichotomy there at all. If we assent to cooperate, we are given new life because of the paradigm shift. Heaven can be the allowance of the new you that will be perfected in cooperation. What God has for you, the promises in Him that are yea and amen don't perish.

 

I don't know, I lean more toward the mystical expressions where you seem like you are asking for definitions and concrete. :001_smile:

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In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you,

 

It seems consistent with Orthodoxy that the new birth is communion with God. Before Jesus there was no communion (spiritual death), after Jesus and for those who follow him there is communion with God, which is new birth as it was intended to be, in cooperation with God. This relationship will never perish because there is never enough time to "get there," in perfect communion with God.

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It seems consistent with Orthodoxy that the new birth is communion with God. Before Jesus there was no communion (spiritual death), after Jesus and for those who follow him there is communion with God, which is new birth as it was intended to be, in cooperation with God. This relationship will never perish because there is never enough time to "get there," in perfect communion with God.

 

 

True...and the "never getting there" part was mentioned.

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I just have to add(although this has nothing to do with this conversation) how happy it makes me that there has been so much discussion on these boards about EO. I'm a cradle Orthodox who left the denomination as an adult and has recently gone back(well-we split our time between RC and EO-my husband was raised RC and we are trying to find the right fit for everyone)...Anyway, I have LEARNED so much about Orthodoxy that I didn't care to learn as a young adult. I think if I got to have these wonderful discussions and book recommendations, I would never have left the faith...thank you!

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I don't think there's a dichotomy there at all. If we assent to cooperate, we are given new life because of the paradigm shift. Heaven can be the allowance of the new you that will be perfected in cooperation. What God has for you, the promises in Him that are yea and amen don't perish.

 

I don't know, I lean more toward the mystical expressions where you seem like you are asking for definitions and concrete. :001_smile:

 

:lol:This made me laugh!!! Remember...I was raised by a Lawyer and an Artist. Often I have to get thru the legal, to enjoy the mystical. But I do long for the mystical ;)

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I just have to add(although this has nothing to do with this conversation) how happy it makes me that there has been so much discussion on these boards about EO. I'm a cradle Orthodox who left the denomination as an adult and has recently gone back(well-we split our time between RC and EO-my husband was raised RC and we are trying to find the right fit for everyone)...Anyway, I have LEARNED so much about Orthodoxy that I didn't care to learn as a young adult. I think if I got to have these wonderful discussions and book recommendations, I would never have left the faith...thank you!

 

That's so cool, thank you for posting that. If you're in Washington state, PM me and maybe we can connect sometime! :001_smile:

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That's so cool, thank you for posting that. If you're in Washington state, PM me and maybe we can connect sometime! :001_smile:

 

I kindof wish I was it seems so many of you EO live on the West coast...I live in the East-near Charlotte,NC...if you ever come this way, let me know I'd love to have your family over for dinner!:001_smile:

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:lol:This made me laugh!!! Remember...I was raised by a Lawyer and an Artist. Often I have to get thru the legal, to enjoy the mystical. But I do long for the mystical ;)

 

Lol! I love the legal, too, but there's a point where my brain explodes and I can't parse it anymore. :D

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Your explanation lines right up with what I have been reading. But it does seem that there is a point of "justification" in the New Testament.

 

I guess I am struggling with this in light of verses like 1 Peter 1:3 and 4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you,

Justification happened on the cross ;)

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Your explanation lines right up with what I have been reading. But it does seem that there is a point of "justification" in the New Testament.

 

I guess I am struggling with this in light of verses like 1 Peter 1:3 and 4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you,

 

What an interesting discussion!

 

Just to toss in my 2 cents, I don't think you necessarily have to choose between the two--ONLY a point of justification on the one hand, or ONLY an ongoing journey toward greater communion with God on the other. I think it's both. I think the Bible clearly points to both (just my opinion).

 

One of the things that has always bugged me about churches that place all the focus on a 'moment' in which one becomes 'saved' is the "and then what?" part. It's as if everything before that moment is death, and everything after that moment is just hanging around waiting to die. Doesn't matter if you do good, doesn't matter if you don't, doesn't matter if you help people, doesn't matter if you're a force of destruction in the lives of everyone around you. As long as you're truly "saved", once saved always saved, just do what you want to do to fill time until you die, and then you can go to heaven and be happy. And I don't see that as Jesus's message in the Bible at ALL. (But yes, I know this is a massive oversimplification. It's just what it all seems to boil down to, in the end.)

 

I DO think that the Bible describes a starting point. A new "birth", a new place of beginning, the emergence into a new life; as you say, a point of justification. But I think that the Bible then points to an "and then what" that incorporates this idea of "becoming". A process of sanctification. The "new birth" isn't an END point, it's the beginning point of a whole new, wonderful, challenging, full and fruitful LIFE in which you DO things, and BE with people, and THINK things through, and grow more godly, more like Christlike. You don't "work" to "earn" salvation; rather, Jesus walks with you and helps you understand the things you need to let go of, so that you are open to what He is offering you instead, and how to take that into yourself, and the bits you can do (and he lets you do those bits, because doesn't it feel wonderful when you can accomplish something worthwhile?), and the bits He will do for you (because some things we just CAN NOT DO--and that's ok). He doesn't say He is the "destination", he says He is the "way"--the path--a journey you take with Him in which you "become", under His guidance, and with His help. He is the "gate", but we must step through the gate to what is on the other side--merely arriving at the gate and sitting down there to wait for something to happen is insufficient. He helps us to walk forward beyond that new starting point, to begin to take "heaven" into yourself, here, and walk more completely and consciously in His presence NOW, and ultimately to become more like Him. Belief is not truly faith until it is acted upon. It becomes faith when we confidently step forward, trusting He will meet us. Faith is not a passive thing. A new birth is not truly a new life until it is lived. This is part of our eternity. We can begin to claim some parts of our inheritance even from the beginning of our new life, and as we walk with Him, as we cooperate with what He asks of us, we can see that new life, that inheritance of the incorruptible, beginning to unfold. I don't think He waits until Heaven, and I don't think He wants us to either.

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The biggie for me has to do with "salvation" and the individuals status before God. I got the impression that the EO does not focus very heavily on the "inital salvation" of a believer, but instead focuses on a growing relationship with God....something the book referred to as deification, but it also went by terms such as purification, godliness, and others.

 

This is a big question for me, as well. And is a position not very well thought of among "my people" ;)

 

I don't know, I lean more toward the mystical expressions where you seem like you are asking for definitions and concrete. :001_smile:

 

Yup. That's exactly it for me! At my church, a question of "What is a Christian?" or "How can one be saved?" could be answered with an easy A-B-C-D response. No long explanations. Just believe and receive. So I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that the questions I'm asking seem to require long answers. But I'm still asking:)

 

Good threads lately!

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What an interesting discussion!

 

Just to toss in my 2 cents, I don't think you necessarily have to choose between the two--ONLY a point of justification on the one hand, or ONLY an ongoing journey toward greater communion with God on the other. I think it's both. I think the Bible clearly points to both (just my opinion).

 

One of the things that has always bugged me about churches that place all the focus on a 'moment' in which one becomes 'saved' is the "and then what?" part. It's as if everything before that moment is death, and everything after that moment is just hanging around waiting to die. Doesn't matter if you do good, doesn't matter if you don't, doesn't matter if you help people, doesn't matter if you're a force of destruction in the lives of everyone around you. As long as you're truly "saved", once saved always saved, just do what you want to do to fill time until you die, and then you can go to heaven and be happy. And I don't see that as Jesus's message in the Bible at ALL. (But yes, I know this is a massive oversimplification. It's just what it all seems to boil down to, in the end.)

 

I DO think that the Bible describes a starting point. A new "birth", a new place of beginning, the emergence into a new life; as you say, a point of justification. But I think that the Bible then points to an "and then what" that incorporates this idea of "becoming". A process of sanctification. The "new birth" isn't an END point, it's the beginning point of a whole new, wonderful, challenging, full and fruitful LIFE in which you DO things, and BE with people, and THINK things through, and grow more godly, more like Christlike. You don't "work" to "earn" salvation; rather, Jesus walks with you and helps you understand the things you need to let go of, so that you are open to what He is offering you instead, and how to take that into yourself, and the bits you can do (and he lets you do those bits, because doesn't it feel wonderful when you can accomplish something worthwhile?), and the bits He will do for you (because some things we just CAN NOT DO--and that's ok). He doesn't say He is the "destination", he says He is the "way"--the path--a journey you take with Him in which you "become", under His guidance, and with His help. He is the "gate", but we must step through the gate to what is on the other side--merely arriving at the gate and sitting down there to wait for something to happen is insufficient. He helps us to walk forward beyond that new starting point, to begin to take "heaven" into yourself, here, and walk more completely and consciously in His presence NOW, and ultimately to become more like Him. Belief is not truly faith until it is acted upon. It becomes faith when we confidently step forward, trusting He will meet us. Faith is not a passive thing. A new birth is not truly a new life until it is lived. This is part of our eternity. We can begin to claim some parts of our inheritance even from the beginning of our new life, and as we walk with Him, as we cooperate with what He asks of us, we can see that new life, that inheritance of the incorruptible, beginning to unfold. I don't think He waits until Heaven, and I don't think He wants us to either.

 

That's really not what eternal security is about. I know many think that's what it means, and I think there's a huge misunderstanding of the concept. I do believe in eternal security but I also believe in the renewing of the mind that takes place at salvation and that true salvation brings about the desire to live for Christ and to spend the rest of your earthly life becoming more like him. I don't know anyone personally who claims salvation to live as if they aren't saved, as in the bolded section above.

 

My church teaches eternal security (although the "moment" isn't really that important) and also teaches that from the moment of salvation, life is different. Because of the indwelling of the holy spirit, you now desire to live in obedience to God, to do good to others, to give of yourself, to pray, to praise God, to overcome personal sins, etc. If your life (general you, not you specifically) is no different after salvation than before, you probably aren't saved at all. Eternal security has never meant that you can pray some pre-fab prayer and then go skipping off into the sunset, unaffected. Scripture speaks of evidence of salvation, good works, living in peace with others as much as you are able, fruit of the spirit. If none of that is evident in a "saved" person's life, then I think it would be legit to question that person's salvation. Not in a malicious, bang-em-on-the-head-with-a-hard-back-study-bible way, but to come along side them and show them what scripture says about evidence of salvation.

 

Anyway, I'm on a tangent now. LOL I just wanted to address the eternal security thing, and I liked your last paragraph very much. :001_smile:

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I think something important to remember is that in the EO world view, we don't differentiate between heaven and earth so much (and as a result, we define salvation differently). Our life on earth isn't just something to get through successfully so that we can then be rewarded with heaven when we die. So we're not trying to earn anything here -- but we are wanting to become more Christlike. There's a difference, do you see? So the "works" we do aren't trying to earn us a spot on the Heaven Bus, but they ARE a part of changing us from the inside out so that with God when we die is the natural place to be.

 

 

ETA - I like this pdf booklet Finishing the Race.

 

I loved that booklet and I love your explanation. In fact, I just love discussing the EO with you and Patty Joanna. I wish we could hang out at Starbucks and chat. LOL

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Here's a link to the book. Truthfully, if you like to read about theology and church history (which I do ;)) it's great book. You will have to have a working theological vocabulary. Many times I had to ask dh to translate for me...he speaks theology fluently ;)!

 

It was pretty balanced, especially at the beginning. Towards the end I didn't agree with some of the authors concerns about iconography. Mainly, because he did such a good job of explaining what it wasn't.

http://www.amazon.com/Eastern-Orthodoxy-Through-Western-Eyes/dp/0664224970

 

And thus groweth my Amazon wish list...:lol:

 

Thanks.

 

ETA, I just finished a history of theology class at my church (I made a B+!), so I think I'll enjoy this one, too.

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That's really not what eternal security is about. I know many think that's what it means, and I think there's a huge misunderstanding of the concept. I do believe in eternal security but I also believe in the renewing of the mind that takes place at salvation and that true salvation brings about the desire to live for Christ and to spend the rest of your earthly life becoming more like him. I don't know anyone personally who claims salvation to live as if they aren't saved, as in the bolded section above.

 

My church teaches eternal security (although the "moment" isn't really that important) and also teaches that from the moment of salvation, life is different. Because of the indwelling of the holy spirit, you now desire to live in obedience to God, to do good to others, to give of yourself, to pray, to praise God, to overcome personal sins, etc. If your life (general you, not you specifically) is no different after salvation than before, you probably aren't saved at all. Eternal security has never meant that you can pray some pre-fab prayer and then go skipping off into the sunset, unaffected. Scripture speaks of evidence of salvation, good works, living in peace with others as much as you are able, fruit of the spirit. If none of that is evident in a "saved" person's life, then I think it would be legit to question that person's salvation. Not in a malicious, bang-em-on-the-head-with-a-hard-back-study-bible way, but to come along side them and show them what scripture says about evidence of salvation.

 

Anyway, I'm on a tangent now. LOL I just wanted to address the eternal security thing, and I liked your last paragraph very much. :001_smile:

 

Thanks for the further explanation. I guess I see the "evidence of salvation" approach as a form of emphasis on the 'moment'. If the 'moment' happened, there 'should' be 'evidence'. If not, then there was no 'moment'. And I think too often people who hear this message think that after the 'moment', after they are saved, the obedience, and the giving, and the praising, and the overcoming sin, and so forth should all just 'flow' naturally, and there will be no more struggles or heartaches, because the Spirit should indwell them and just sort of 'take over' in their lives and they won't have to work at it. When they struggle it's too easy to draw the conclusion that their 'moment' wasn't real, or wasn't good enough, or that even though they sincerely 'thought' they accepted Christ, they didn't do it "right" or something. Also, I think looking at these things as 'evidence' of a past 'moment', and that's all, misses a big part of the point of things like obeying and giving and praising and overcoming sin--it's a process that's accomplishing something, and it progresses over time, it's not just nice side-effects that prove a point. I dunno...it's not an explanation that sits well with me. I think the idea of an ongoing transformative process in which God asks us to participate comes closer to what the Bible teaches. But y'know, to each his own. :)

 

I once heard a pastor talking enthusiastically about how a tree doesn't have to 'work' to bring forth fruit, it just happens because the tree is a tree and it's in its nature to bring forth fruit. And I thought...well, there's that poor little tree photosynthesizing for all it's worth, and sucking water up through its roots, and arranging its leaves just so to catch all the sunlight it can, and shifting substances around inside its cells so that the proper chemical reactions can occur, and repairing insect damage, and standing strong against the wind, and just because the pastor isn't willing to look closely at all the things the tree is DOING, the pastor thinks the fruit just sort of magically appears on the tree. Yes, it's part of the tree's nature to bring forth fruit, but it doesn't "just happen", it's also part of the tree's nature to do the work to bring forth the fruit. If the tree decided it was tired of sending out rootlets and absorbing water, and would just stop and wait for that magic fruit to show up instead, it would shrivel up and die. Even if it was legitimately a fruit tree. And yes, I was raised by a botanist, so I might be a little biased on the tree's behalf.

 

But really, I don't want to sidetrack this thread completely, I just wanted to point out that having a moment of justification doesn't necessarily rule out a subsequent process of sanctification. Moments and processes are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Sometimes processes are made of many moments. And sometimes moments lead to processes.

Edited by MamaSheep
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Thanks for the further explanation. I guess I see the "evidence of salvation" approach as a form of emphasis on the 'moment'. If the 'moment' happened, there 'should' be 'evidence'. If not, then there was no 'moment'. And I think too often people who hear this message think that after the 'moment', after they are saved, the obedience, and the giving, and the praising, and the overcoming sin, and so forth should all just 'flow' naturally, and there will be no more struggles or heartaches, because the Spirit should indwell them and just sort of 'take over' in their lives and they won't have to work at it. When they struggle it's too easy to draw the conclusion that their 'moment' wasn't real, or wasn't good enough, or that even though they sincerely 'thought' they accepted Christ, they didn't do it "right" or something. I dunno...it's not an explanation that sits well with me. I think the idea of an ongoing transformative process in which God asks us to participate comes closer to what the Bible teaches. I once heard a pastor talking enthusiastically about how a tree doesn't have to 'work' to bring forth fruit, it just happens because the tree is a tree and it's in its nature to bring forth fruit. And I thought...well, there's that poor little tree photosynthesizing for all it's worth, and sucking water up through its roots, and arranging its leaves just so to catch all the sunlight it can, and shifting substances around inside its cells so that the proper chemical reactions can occur, and repairing insect damage, and standing strong against the wind, and just because the pastor isn't willing to look closely at all the things the tree is DOING, the pastor thinks the fruit just sort of magically appears on the tree. Yes, it's part of the tree's nature to bring forth fruit, but it doesn't "just happen", it's also part of the tree's nature to do the work to bring forth the fruit. If the tree decided it was tired of sending out rootlets and absorbing water, it would shrivel up. Even if it was legitimately a fruit tree. And yes, I was raised by a botanist, so I might be a little biased on the tree's behalf.

 

But really, I don't want to sidetrack this thread completely, I just wanted to point out that having a moment of justification doesn't necessarily rule out a subsequent process of sanctification.

 

My pastor has said in the past that sometimes people will walk away from the faith because times get hard and somewhere, they've been sold a bill of goods that if you become a Christian, life is all rainbows and kittens. It's not. It's never been promised to be. There's a reason we're called to fellowship with other believers; life is hard! We need that encouragement, teaching, discipleship and fellowship, as well as exhortation and chastisement when needed. Just as a fruit tree needs sun, water, nutrients and pruning. A sapling doesn't produce prize-winning apples. It takes cultivation to get there. It's still an apple tree, and will always be an apple tree, but it needs more than just to be stuck into the ground; there's a process to reaching the maturity. Same with people and salvation.

 

And, to bring this back to the EO discussion, the more I learn of the EO, the more I think my church's teachings are very similar in some ways (and vastly different in others!). I love all the discussions about the EO here; I've a new appreciation for the church than I've had before.

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That's really not what eternal security is about [....] I don't know anyone personally who claims salvation to live as if they aren't saved, as in the bolded section above.

 

I think you're right. I don't think people who "get saved" in a genuine way (according to the common evangelical definition of "getting saved") will then go off and do whatever they want due to the doctrine of eternal security. I think what one sees happen more -- and I know because this was my reality -- was that people would take care of the big, visible sin in their life for sure, but the smaller niggling sins (the more internal ones; the ones that are really harder to deal with) would get either pushed aside OR excused OR dealt with over and over (with small victories here and there, but then falling into it again). All in the name of "God is gracious."

 

Now, God IS gracious -- but I think we need to define "gracious" and "grace", you know? Would it surprise you if I told you that the EO define grace a bit differently than the general Christian public. It wouldn't surprise you? :lol: We don't need to go into that, but suffice it to say that my previous understanding of grace allowed me to not really change that much deep inside -- where it really needs to happen *more" (truth be told).

 

I loved that booklet and I love your explanation. In fact, I just love discussing the EO with you and Patty Joanna. I wish we could hang out at Starbucks and chat. LOL

 

Ohhhh, that would be fun. Patty Joanna is only two hours from here -- so the only one missing is YOU. When can you come to Seattle? Speaking of which, Patty was supposed to call me tonight ...... hmmmm .... I better go check my messages.

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I think you're right. I don't think people who "get saved" in a genuine way (according to the common evangelical definition of "getting saved") will then go off and do whatever they want due to the doctrine of eternal security. I think what one sees happen more -- and I know because this was my reality -- was that people would take care of the big, visible sin in their life for sure, but the smaller niggling sins (the more internal ones; the ones that are really harder to deal with) would get either pushed aside OR excused OR dealt with over and over (with small victories here and there, but then falling into it again). All in the name of "God is gracious."

 

There is an excellent book by Jerry Bridges called "Respectable Sins" that hits the nail on the head about those little niggling sins that we ignore. He's not EO, but you might enjoy the book. Our Titus 2 Women's ministry studied the book, then one of our elders had a Sunday School class on it (I took both classes; I am that hard-headed. LOL)

 

Now, God IS gracious -- but I think we need to define "gracious" and "grace", you know? Would it surprise you if I told you that the EO define grace a bit differently than the general Christian public. It wouldn't surprise you? :lol: We don't need to go into that, but suffice it to say that my previous understanding of grace allowed me to not really change that much deep inside -- where it really needs to happen *more" (truth be told).

 

Wouldn't shock me a bit. Not a bit. LOL On another teeny tangent--I found an EO message board and read and read and read and what shocked me was to read the EO perspective on the American Protestant church. I couldn't identify with 90% of what they were talking about. Which was good and bad. Good in the sense that my church isn't like what they were discussing and bad in that I've always (until recently) considered myself to be Protestant but really think I am so much. Maybe we're the black sheep of the Protestant family. LOL

 

 

 

Ohhhh, that would be fun. Patty Joanna is only two hours from here -- so the only one missing is YOU. When can you come to Seattle? Speaking of which, Patty was supposed to call me tonight ...... hmmmm .... I better go check my messages.

 

I'd love to come to Seattle, alas I don't think it can happen any time soon. :glare:

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I once heard a pastor talking enthusiastically about how a tree doesn't have to 'work' to bring forth fruit, it just happens because the tree is a tree and it's in its nature to bring forth fruit. And I thought...well, there's that poor little tree photosynthesizing for all it's worth, and sucking water up through its roots, and arranging its leaves just so to catch all the sunlight it can, and shifting substances around inside its cells so that the proper chemical reactions can occur, and repairing insect damage, and standing strong against the wind, and just because the pastor isn't willing to look closely at all the things the tree is DOING, the pastor thinks the fruit just sort of magically appears on the tree. Yes, it's part of the tree's nature to bring forth fruit, but it doesn't "just happen", it's also part of the tree's nature to do the work to bring forth the fruit. If the tree decided it was tired of sending out rootlets and absorbing water, and would just stop and wait for that magic fruit to show up instead, it would shrivel up and die. Even if it was legitimately a fruit tree. And yes, I was raised by a botanist, so I might be a little biased on the tree's behalf.

 

 

LOVE this analogy.

Although at the same time, the tree is not able to make a decision on its own to keep producing fruit; without the hand of God it would shrivel up and die. Ultimately it's God who will decide if the tree produces fruit or not. I'm okay with Calvinism for trees. :D

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I'd love to come to Seattle, alas I don't think it can happen any time soon. :glare:

 

Oh, alriiiiiggggghhhtttt. We'll come to you. I just saw your location: central Illinois, huh? Our family would really like to take the train to Chicago sometime this year to see a girlfriend of mine. Is that close enough? I'll smuggle Patty into my suitcase. Or, what's half way, Minot, ND? There's an exciting place to meet .......

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Oh, alriiiiiggggghhhtttt. We'll come to you. I just saw your location: central Illinois, huh? Our family would really like to take the train to Chicago sometime this year to see a girlfriend of mine. Is that close enough? I'll smuggle Patty into my suitcase. Or, what's half way, Minot, ND? There's an exciting place to meet .......

 

Chicago is close enough! Give me enough advanced notice and I can be almost anywhere!

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We run into an awful lot of problems using the same words but meaning different things.

"Conversion" is a verb, not a noun, to the Orthodox.

 

I have just a few minutes here, but let me draw a little picture for you. You are in relationship with your husband. Every morning, whether you feel like it or not, you bring him a cup of coffee in the morning as an act of love. This increases the strength of your relationship, doesn't it? But you would not say that your marriage is saved by "works," would you?

 

You made a decision to walk a life path together, and you do this in large part by repetitive acts of love and relationship. If you didn't do these "works," of what worth are the initial promises/vows?

 

This is because your marriage is a relationship, not an idea. If it were an idea, you could made the vows and go your merry (but not married) way. In a relationship, you...relate, experientially.

 

You can take it from here. I am sure that the analogy will break down very quickly. They always do, because there is no way to adequately reproduce the infinity that is God... But a mini-picture can sometimes help explain some small part that is confusing.

 

By the way, the Orthodox marriage ceremony has no "vows"--it is a "crowning" of the king and queen of a new kingdom, and the blessing of a love that exists, so that the couple can start to be married...yes, they are married (in that moment) but they are also thenceforward to continue "being married" in every interaction between them.

 

So, I have "been married" for 29 years, and am being married today. :0)

 

Marriage: a verb, not a noun.

 

Beautiful picture. Thank you!

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Can I just say that I am really enjoying these threads about EO. I am learning so much!

 

Confession: when I was a child, we drove past the most beautiful building I had ever seen. When I read the sign, "Orthodox Church", I asked my parents if we could go visit that beautiful church. My parents told me that that church was only for people who had immigrated to the US from Russia and that we weren't welcome there. :001_huh: So.......that is all I ever knew about the Orthodox church until these threads.

 

I am also bummed to find out that several of you wonderful ladies live in Seattle. I spent a week in Seattle with my dh in Nov. He was working most of that time, and we only had a few hours here and there to sight-see. (which was totally worth the trip, believe me!) But, anyhow, most of the week I spent in the hotel room waiting for him to get off work......if I had known, I would have made appointments to see some of you and get some first hand experience at an EO church!

 

But then, maybe it was for the best that I didn't know. Dh is also a pastor, and he is very defense about me reading about/looking into the EO faith. As far as he is concerned, he has already studied church history (and it's a favorite subject of his so he really has read extensively) and looked at all these other beliefs and he has come to the conclusion that what he believes is right, so.......I should believe it too; because if I don't, then I am questioning his knowledge and integrity. Sigh. Things get murky.

 

But, I'm still enjoying reading and learning. Thanks, girls!

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We run into an awful lot of problems using the same words but meaning different things.

"Conversion" is a verb, not a noun, to the Orthodox.

 

I have just a few minutes here, but let me draw a little picture for you. You are in relationship with your husband. Every morning, whether you feel like it or not, you bring him a cup of coffee in the morning as an act of love. This increases the strength of your relationship, doesn't it? But you would not say that your marriage is saved by "works," would you?

 

You made a decision to walk a life path together, and you do this in large part by repetitive acts of love and relationship. If you didn't do these "works," of what worth are the initial promises/vows?

 

This is because your marriage is a relationship, not an idea. If it were an idea, you could made the vows and go your merry (but not married) way. In a relationship, you...relate, experientially.

 

You can take it from here. I am sure that the analogy will break down very quickly. They always do, because there is no way to adequately reproduce the infinity that is God... But a mini-picture can sometimes help explain some small part that is confusing.

 

By the way, the Orthodox marriage ceremony has no "vows"--it is a "crowning" of the king and queen of a new kingdom, and the blessing of a love that exists, so that the couple can start to be married...yes, they are married (in that moment) but they are also thenceforward to continue "being married" in every interaction between them.

 

So, I have "been married" for 29 years, and am being married today. :0)

 

Marriage: a verb, not a noun.

 

Very interesting analogy. I say these things as one recently divorced. I will admit, I treated marriage as "once married, always married." You get married, you're done, you try to become a better spouse, but it ultimately only matters a little bit because you're gonna stay married. I expected to not have to work to stay married. I expected to work for a good, healthy married, but I did think it was gonna be forever. I'm not interested in turning this into a marriage/divorce issue, or discussing the obvious differences (marriage is two sinful people, salvation is between you and a perfect God) but your example hits home with me:)

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So, I have "been married" for 29 years, and am being married today. :0)

 

Marriage: a verb, not a noun.

 

 

This thing of being a verb and not a noun--it's very Eckhart Tolle, being present in the now, working in the becoming of. The same with salvation, how it's worked out day by day of living and being present in the relationship, every day. I guess I'm just saying that it's funny that so many people think stuff like that is new agey when it's actually very, very old.

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We run into an awful lot of problems using the same words but meaning different things.

"Conversion" is a verb, not a noun, to the Orthodox.

 

I have just a few minutes here, but let me draw a little picture for you. You are in relationship with your husband. Every morning, whether you feel like it or not, you bring him a cup of coffee in the morning as an act of love. This increases the strength of your relationship, doesn't it? But you would not say that your marriage is saved by "works," would you?

 

You made a decision to walk a life path together, and you do this in large part by repetitive acts of love and relationship. If you didn't do these "works," of what worth are the initial promises/vows?

 

This is because your marriage is a relationship, not an idea. If it were an idea, you could made the vows and go your merry (but not married) way. In a relationship, you...relate, experientially.

 

You can take it from here. I am sure that the analogy will break down very quickly. They always do, because there is no way to adequately reproduce the infinity that is God... But a mini-picture can sometimes help explain some small part that is confusing.

 

By the way, the Orthodox marriage ceremony has no "vows"--it is a "crowning" of the king and queen of a new kingdom, and the blessing of a love that exists, so that the couple can start to be married...yes, they are married (in that moment) but they are also thenceforward to continue "being married" in every interaction between them.

 

So, I have "been married" for 29 years, and am being married today. :0)

 

Marriage: a verb, not a noun.

 

I love that. And it sounds very, very familiar, since our church's teachings about marriage are rather similar. A wedding ceremony is a beginning of a process, a journey that is "marriage". And as the years go by I am frequently grateful for all the times my mother told me to focus on looking ahead to the marriage, and not just the wedding.

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I originally posted this in a new thread since I didn't want to hijack this one, but my thread got buried, so I'll post my question here after all. :)

==========================================

 

Has anyone read Through Western Eyes by Robert Letham? The review I read indicated that it was pretty balanced in showing what Orthodoxy could teach those of the Reformed Protestant perspective, what the Reformed could teach the Orthodox, how the 2 are different, and how they are the same, but the review was from a Reformed perspective. I'm wondering what the Orthodox take would be?

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I originally posted this in a new thread since I didn't want to hijack this one, but my thread got buried, so I'll post my question here after all. :)

==========================================

 

Has anyone read Through Western Eyes by Robert Letham? The review I read indicated that it was pretty balanced in showing what Orthodoxy could teach those of the Reformed Protestant perspective, what the Reformed could teach the Orthodox, how the 2 are different, and how they are the same, but the review was from a Reformed perspective. I'm wondering what the Orthodox take would be?

 

I haven't seen or read that book. One that I enjoyed was Common Ground: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity For the American Christian, although it doesn't address Reformed theology specifically. I believe it was written by someone who was Orthodox at one point, but may not be now. Happygrrl read Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective recently and gave a favorable review on the Exploring Orthodox Chrstianity social group. HTH!

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serioulsy, these posts are making me what to check out the local EO church.

 

I am SO with you...I might actually do that....both my husband and I are feeling stalemated in our search for a church and perhaps God led me to this thread to try it out...

 

...but, then again, perhaps I had better get the book first, so I can actually understand what we might be getting into!:tongue_smilie:

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I am SO with you...I might actually do that....both my husband and I are feeling stalemated in our search for a church and perhaps God led me to this thread to try it out...

 

...but, then again, perhaps I had better get the book first, so I can actually understand what we might be getting into!

 

Do you want to PM me where in Washington you are? I might be able to point you to a parish -- hopefully ours ;) <crossing fingers>

 

(You obviously don't have to if you want to protect your privacy.)

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Just checking in on my own thread here, because I am still struggling with this issue a bit.

 

The tree analogy was great...especially since my pastor has used that anolgy many times and although I love it, I also appreciate the more detailed view ;).

 

That said I am going to put forth a specific situation I encountered. At one point I was dealing with a "sin" issue in my life. I would pray about it, fast , ask for prayers, read scriptures, quote scriptures.....and so on. I wanted to be free of it. I wanted to lead a more Godly life. Then a dear lady came up to me and said these words, "I sense that you are striving to make this happen. Rest in God. Give yourself some grace and see what happens." Maybe she knew my primary issue was shame, I'm not sure. What I do know is that when I stopped thrashing about and rested, God took over. When I let up on myself...I began to grow. Love and peace were rekindled.

 

So, I guess...I don't want to go back to that type of striveing. Now, I could make the argument that I never stopped working...I just started working on dealing with shame instead. I'm not sure :confused:.

 

What I do know is Jesus came to do what I could not do in my own strength. I think EO has the most balanced mindset on this issue. I just struggle with the way some things are phrased, but I am working on it ;).

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Last night I slapped my husband on the knee, and said in astonishment and with excitement, "Can you believe the Orthodox position on marriage?!!!" I was so happy to hear the talks from this podcast on marriage. I'm falling in love all over again, with God, with my husband, and with life.
Michael Hyatt is EO???? That's so cool. I read his blog and love it...even though it's kind of businessy. It's kind of a neat look into the book industry...and he seems so normal for a CEO, lol. That's so cool. I'm really drawn to the EO church too. I think some of it is just my spirituality style, and really liking the mystical aspects. I really like the Episcopal church too, with all the liturgy.
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I haven't seen or read that book. One that I enjoyed was Common Ground: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity For the American Christian, although it doesn't address Reformed theology specifically. I believe it was written by someone who was Orthodox at one point, but may not be now. Happygrrl read Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective recently and gave a favorable review on the Exploring Orthodox Chrstianity social group. HTH!

 

Thank you! I don't think my library has Common Ground, but I'll check on Eastern Orthodox Christianity. I have Facing East on the way from Amazon & the Timothy Ware book recommended someplace is on hold at the library. :)

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Jennifer, can you tell me what the title of that podcast is?? I clicked on your link but it gave me a list of them. Thanks!

 

It's a series called "At the Intersection of East and West." It's in pieces, like 67 of them, I think. You have to go to the bottom of the list where it says "Display" and choose "All" to see them all at once. If you want to listen to all of them you start from the bottom and work up. If you just want to listen to the marriage pieces, look toward the bottom. One is called "Marriage as a Sacrament" and the other one is "Roles in Marriage."

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Just checking in on my own thread here, because I am still struggling with this issue a bit.

 

The tree analogy was great...especially since my pastor has used that anolgy many times and although I love it, I also appreciate the more detailed view ;).

 

That said I am going to put forth a specific situation I encountered. At one point I was dealing with a "sin" issue in my life. I would pray about it, fast , ask for prayers, read scriptures, quote scriptures.....and so on. I wanted to be free of it. I wanted to lead a more Godly life. Then a dear lady came up to me and said these words, "I sense that you are striving to make this happen. Rest in God. Give yourself some grace and see what happens." Maybe she knew my primary issue was shame, I'm not sure. What I do know is that when I stopped thrashing about and rested, God took over. When I let up on myself...I began to grow. Love and peace were rekindled.

 

So, I guess...I don't want to go back to that type of striveing. Now, I could make the argument that I never stopped working...I just started working on dealing with shame instead. I'm not sure :confused:.

 

What I do know is Jesus came to do what I could not do in my own strength. I think EO has the most balanced mindset on this issue. I just struggle with the way some things are phrased, but I am working on it ;).

 

Patty Joanna shared something with me this morning, in which this short piece really stuck out to me. I'll copy it here, maybe it will be of some comfort to you. It was to me.

 

Fr. Sophrony said he doesn’t advocate too much introspection even for monastic’s or his other spiritual children. “You know, we pick and poke away, hunting for every little mistake or thought, and we make ourselves crazy, all for nothing. It becomes an obsession, and really makes a wall between us and God, leaving no room for grace to act. Yes, we must know in general our sins, and that we are sinful and deluded beings, but we must never lose sight of the fact that we come to God in prayer, not to be obsessed with our sins, but to find His mercy. Otherwise the devil takes everything away from us…joy, hope, peace, love…and leaves us nothing but this obsession with our mistakes. That is not repentance. That is neurosis.â€

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My understanding is that works have nothing to do with getting to heaven (or being saved) because that is up to God. But works have a lot to do with learning to be like Christ.

 

Our culture has a disturbing fixation with salvation but we cannot know the salvation of anyone, even ourselves.

 

IMO the idea that we can know who is saved is one of the most dangerous beliefs. In everyday life and in world history that idea has been destructive. There is only one Judge and it is not us. The only person we are suppose to compare ourselves to is Christ.

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