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Eastern Orthodoxy gospel?

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by JordoTyler1991, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. JordoTyler1991

    JordoTyler1991 New Member

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    I am a protestant who has just begun to learn about eastern orthodoxy and eastern thought overall. For some reason, compared to other religions, it is hard to locate information that is helpful in anyway online. I have resorted to calling and speaking with leaders of these churches directly to gain a basic understanding. After talking to them, this is what I have concluded the gospel message to be according to eastern orthodoxy. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Eastern orthodoxy see original sin as a development of the west and not actually something we inherit. The fall of man did not bring about original sin; however, it did separate us from our communion with God and brought death into the world. To reconcile this, God became man, which is Jesus Christ through Incarnation. Now there is more emphasis put on the Incarnation in the east then the west from what I gathered because the Incarnation brought union back to the spiritual and physical world. (I don't recall the exact word for this, but that is the concept behind it.) Jesus became the second adam to restore creation back to communion with God. Now, eastern orthodox also differ from western thought in that they don't believe Jesus died as an atonement for sin (they claim this is also a western development). Instead, Jesus died showing that the only way we can be done completely with sin is for this flesh to die. It was His Resurrection that showed us all will be ressurrected and according to eastern orthodoxy, that is the good news of the gospel. We now spend this life working to obtain theosis, which essentially says, "God became man, so man can become like God." We do this through faith and partaking in the 7 sacraments (or mysteries) of the church. Finally, they also believe that when we die, we will all be raised and stand eternally in the presence of God. Those who grew in their love and fellowship with Him on this earth, will experience eternal joy and peace (Heaven), while those who die in a state of hardened heart will stand in His presence for eternity bitter and angry. They say that standing in the Glory of God will be a burning sensation to them (Hell). So, they don't actually believe in Heaven and Hell being separate places, rather they believe it is the state we die in and how we will react to standing in the presence of God for all eternity.
     
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  2. Hermit76

    Hermit76 You can call me Paisios Supporter

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    I'll let some others chime in but you're going to find that some points you touch on are not absolutes in Orthodoxy. We don't try to define every point as succinctly as Protestants. That doesn't mean we, as individuals, don't have strong beliefs about points. It just means that we don't freak out over differences. Basically the overarching consistency of The Fathers is what matters. That doesn't mean real heresy is tolerated. I just wanted to prepare you if you hear disagreements.
     
  3. SalemsConcordance

    SalemsConcordance Member

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    I had the same struggle in my early interest of "wait, its all like separate churches online and I can't seem to find definitive statements, and all these jurisdictions? What is the faith?"

    The OCA "Orthodox Church of America" has a 4 volume set of theology books which are free online.
    The Orthodox Faith

    Additionally, the Orthodox Study Bible is $3 on Amazon Kindle, the Footnote references are great[1], and have been a great help to me a Catechumen. They have inserts / summaries which follow the Orthodox faith and Church Fathers theology as well.

    Here is an example to help with Ancestral Sin, and where it differs from other Christology.
    Romans 6 and Will
    This was on my mind from reading Romans 6 this evening.

    Here is commentary from Romans 6:12
    6:12 The command to not let sin reign proves that sin’s power over man is not absolute. Rather, it is something we allow by our free will. Man’s will was the first aspect of human nature damaged through sin, and therefore it is the first thing Christ heals. His healing allows us to make true choices against sin. While sin continues to plague humanity, those who are baptized into Christ have the power to overcome sin through their union with Him. Lusts refers to all the passions of the flesh and spirit that make demands on the will. In Christ, a person can resist and defeat these lusts through righteous exercise of the will.

    Nelson, Thomas. The Orthodox Study Bible, eBook (p. 1549). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
     
  4. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    the only thing that I will add is that Heaven and hell are distinct places, but what makes them distinct is the condition of the souls in them.
     
  5. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Handmaid of God † CF Senior Ambassador Supporter

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    Welcome to CF, and to TAW!


    I’m not sure (please correct me anyone if I’m wrong) that it’s right to say that Orthodoxy doesn’t believe in the Atonement of Christ for sins.

    But it is very true at least that what we mean by atonement is very different from what many others mean by it.

    Just to be very basic - we do not believe that God was angry and made unable to forgive persons of their sin until He took out His anger on “someone” (Jesus) - especially as if some kind of cosmic law of justice tied His hands otherwise.

    And going directly to the Church to find out what Orthodoxy teaches instead of finding out online is probably much safer and wiser. (Though I did a lot of my initial research online and never would have found the Orthodox Church without this forum.)
     
  6. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Handmaid of God † CF Senior Ambassador Supporter

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    Oh and theosis involves more than just faith (if by that you mean belief and trust in God) and receiving the sacraments.

    Theosis involves the whole person and how you live your life in cooperation with God, thoughts, deeds, and more. Orthodoxy is not a passive, do-nothing faith. By grace we are changed into Christ-like-ness.

    But with that said, it’s important to say that without the grace of God, nothing is possible. And that we do nothing to “earn” our salvation.

    But this is a lifelong topic, and not something even to be lightly discussed. I’m not claiming to be giving any instruction, nor am I qualified. I’m only giving an answer because I was trying to figure out what the Church taught too, at one point, and I found it helpful to have some basic information just for thought.

    God be with you!
     
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  7. E.C.

    E.C. Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to TAW! Other forums have cookies, but we have the far superior dessert known as baklava ;)


    A lot of the atonement theology found in Western theology comes from Anselm of Canterbury; who found its roots in the writings of the heretic Origen. Anselm was a 12th century English bishop (i.e. not an Orthodox saint, thank God), but he basically built on the idea that Christ's crucifixion was a necessary sacrifice to satisfy a ticked-off God the Father which more or less reflects that moment in Genesis when Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac. Oddly enough it morphed into today's Evangelical tracts you'll find about Christ paying a debt towards God for all of us. Thankfully, we in the East like St Gregory the Theologian who vehemently denounced atonement theology.
     
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  8. Light of the East

    Light of the East Orthodox Inquirer Supporter

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    HUH???

    Could you direct me to links or books which discuss Origen's statements in favor of atonement theology?
    Also, as much as you can within your knowledge, did Augustine promote atonement theology?
     
  9. narnia59

    narnia59 Regular Member

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    I know this is TAW and I'm not here to argue, but that is not an accurate representation of St. Anselm. He is quite clear that the Father was not interested in the death of Christ nor punishing him in our place. That is Protestant penal substitution theology, not St. Anselm. Anselm's view was that the Father asked Christ to maintain holiness no matter what the personal cost, and because of his holiness, it cost him his life at the hands of sinful men.
     
  10. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

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    I recommend for anyone who wants to learn the faith, to read Saint Filaret of Moscow's Catechism. It's easy to read, to the point, and extremely Biblical. It was approved by the Russian Synod, which means that it is doctrinally binding in Russian Orthodoxy and we are not Papists, so something written by a saint with conciliar approval is authoritative for us.

    The Longer Catechism of The Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church • Pravoslavieto.com

    If for whatever reason someone wants an even more super-duper official catechism, I'd recommend Saint Peter Mogila's. It is longer, but it was approved by every single Orthodox jurisidiction in its day (Constantinople which included Serbia/Bulgaria/Romania in its day, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Moscow). It's totally free too. So, we do not need to wonder what the faith is. We have a definitive manual on our dogmas, written by a saint, with universal approval. A free copy is here:

    The orthodox confession of the Catholic and Apostolic Eastern Church : Mogila, Peter, Metropolitan of Kiev, 1596-1646 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
     
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  11. E.C.

    E.C. Well-Known Member

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    It's been years since I've looked into the subject and naturally was pulling information from some of those deep dark corners of one's memory that don't get dusted off very often.

    It is TAW, yes, but hey if I'm mistaken than I'm mistaken. No harm no foul. None of us are perfect and I never really studied Western Christian theology in depth as much as others because I didn't have the need nor desire to although I'm sure one day I'll have to. If it is Protestant penal substitution theology, than is it possible that that theology derived from Anselm?
     
  12. narnia59

    narnia59 Regular Member

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    I think Protestant penal substitution atonement theology took the concept of "satisfaction" from Anselm and redefined how they see the sacrifice of Christ reconciling us with God. What Anselm proposed is that the first Adam had failed in obedience. He should have maintained his original holiness, been obedient to God, and been willing to place himself between his bride and Satan no matter the personal cost. Adam failed at that, which placed the world under the bondage of sin. Christ, the new Adam, remains faithful and obedient, and is willing to die for his bride. And because of that, he meets death at the hands of sinful men, not by the desire of the Father. The Father accepts the offering of his life as an act of love and as a representative of humanity which restores the broken relationship between God and man. That is Anselm's concept of "satisfaction." But he is also clear that is not based upon some need that God has but rather to repair the damage sin has caused to us.

    Protestantism redefines the idea of "satisfaction" to be based in a need derived from a perverted sense of God's justice whereby the Father demands the death of Christ as payment for sin, and even goes so far as to believe that the Father abandons Christ on the cross. Aside from a horribly distorted image of the Father, at its core it contradicts the dogma of the Trinity whereby the three persons are inseparable.

    So when Anselm reads passages in Scripture like the wages of sin is death, he would understand that to mean the natural consequence of sin that occurs when man separates himself from God; Protestant theology would see God as actively causing death because of sin. When Anselm reads passages like God did not spare Christ, he would understand that to mean that the Father did not step in to save Christ from sinful men; Protestant theology would see that to mean that the Father required the suffering and death of Christ in order to meet his justice.

    So yes, I think Protestant penal substitution atonement theology takes the concept of satisfaction that Anselm develops but takes it in a very different direction. And unfortunately, people tend to then lay that back on Anselm, but it is not representative at all of what he proposes.

    It's also interesting to note that one of the ideas that Anselm is trying to combat is a view found often in the early Church that the death of Christ was 'ransom' paid to Satan in order to 'buy back' creation. He believed that idea was very contrary to any sense of true justice for Satan was owed nothing in his view. That idea requires a bit of 'trickery' on the part of God as well, and that he did not see as being consistent with the nature of God.

    Thanks for being open to that. I understand there may be things in Anselm's work that would not be compatible with the Orthodox view. But it is always important to try to represent correctly, even when in disagreement.

    I would also add that even though Anselm's work is important in the development of Catholic atonement theology it is not singular, not does everything in it by default accurately represent the Catholic view. It is simply one of the works the Catholic Church draws on.
     
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