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What We Believe

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by Dorothea, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    I have taken notes on a lecture by Fr. David Anderson on what the Orthodox Church believes. I would like to share all of what I took notes on here so that people who are interested in the EOC, can read this thread to learn where we stand on very important issues. I have two more DVD's to listen to, so I will probably add more notes after watching them. :D I was wondering if the MODS should make this a sticky so people can see it when they come in and go to it.



    ETA: As of this evening, March 5, 2014, I have added a link on the last page that was provided to me by angelsbooklove (christian forum member who has this series on tape as well and uploaded the videos for us). :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  2. musicluvr83

    musicluvr83 Regular Member

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    That sounds pretty cool! :)
     
  3. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    Thanks. I just have to organize my notes and correspond them with notes I've already typed up and saved, and then put them in on here in somewhat order. :D
     
  4. musicluvr83

    musicluvr83 Regular Member

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    Sweet! Looking forward to reading it! :)
     
  5. ProScribe

    ProScribe Well-Known Member

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    I'm particularly interested in what what is taught
    . .
     
  6. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    Ok, So, I'm afraid I didn't take any notes from the first DVD, which seemed to be a basic intro on what he was going to talk about.

    Anyway, I took sporadic notes throughout this lecture, but, I took lots and lots of notes on some things.

    I'll start with the few notes I jotted down from the DVD #2 on God the Father and some basic notes I jotted down from the DVD #1:

    The Church wrote the Bible. The Apostles were the Church's first bishops, so therefore, they were still in the midst of writing their gospels and epistles while they were spreading the Good News and starting Churches and appointing bishops and such to the churches they started.

    God is outside of time and is eternal. He is always in the present. He is eternally in the present because He has no past and no future.

    AGIOS = GEE (G) in AGIOS = Earthly or Geological

    A in AGIOS = Not Earthly - not of this world.

    HOLY = Wholly Other.

    The whole experience of worship in the Church is in reverence and response of faith to the Holy God.

    St. John is closer to God than the other Apostles. His Gospel was even a bit different than the other three. St. John's perception of God was deeper than the others.

    100% of the instances in the NT where an Apostle is quoting from the OT scriptures, it is from the Septuagint. That's what Christ and the Apostles used.

    Fr. David talks about the different levels of faith we go through.

    Infantile (or child faith, not to be confused with coming to God with a childlike belief in Him) is one who has faith in faith and through emotions may manipulate what they do or read in life to what they believe God to be saying, and in essence, making us puppeteers. This is not a relationship with God, Fr. David points out.

    Adolescent faith is about dissecting God....through the mind. This also does not lead to a full relationship with God.

    Faith in God transcends the emotional and the intellectual.

    "Why did God create the universe and people and all that is? God was not lonely. He did not have to create us. The Trinity is the perfect union in Love. Out of God's goodness, He created the universe and all in it. He created it out of nothing. This is the difference between Christianity and most of the other world religions. Other world religions have no beginning and end, but we do. Creation has a beginning and an end. God has no beginning and end. He is always eternally in the present. He is outside of time. Time is in the created world, as I'm sure you all know.

    Man was created in the image of God. Man is two things, explained Fr. David: 1) Microcosm = both spiritual and material existence, and 2) Mediator - Man is the link between the cosmos and God. Man has both worlds in him! He has both the spiritual (of God) and the material (of the creation).

    Man, the priest, king of creation. Man was created to live forever, not die but to share the same life as the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, not to be identified in being with them, mind you, because Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the essence of their being are not creatures. But to the extent of God's grace making it possible, the creature of man was intended by God to be invited into the life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and through sharing the communion in that life, everything that is all creation was to be filled with the glory and beauty of God through the means of the human being. And that act by which man glorified God by offering Him in praise and thanksgiving, the creation was intended by God to be the essential, most basically human act, says Fr. David.

    So, with this, Adam and Eve were created to be in union with the Trinity. God gave them intellect, free will, and life, of course. God takes a risk, if you will, by giving humans free will (and angels...this is how Lucifer and the angels that followed him fell from heaven). God allows the probability of evil in world. But we must say that Satan is not the opposite of God. There is no evil personified. No existence in itself. The devil is not the opposite of God, Fr. David explains, because God and the devil are no equals and are not good vs evil because the devil is a creature and has limitations.

    Lucifer was the perhaps the smartest, most knowledgeable spiritually of the angels. He was an archangel. But his pride got the best of him, so to speak. He wanted to be God. He wanted people to worship him. Pride seems to be the most paramount of sins since both Lucifer in the angelic world and Adam and Eve in the material world both fell because of Pride. We have to be humble and not let our pride have dominion over us. If we do, we would be trying to be our own gods.

    Lucifer was jealous/envious of human beings because they were made in the image of God, and he and the other angels weren't. His hatred was aimed at the human, to bring them down along with him.

    Fr. David said that Adam and Eve were supposed to grow in communion with God. God had Adam name all the creatures. To name something is to give authority over them.

    We will also notice that in the garden with regards to eating from the tree of knowledge, God said to Adam and Eve, 'If you do this, you will die.' Not 'I'm going to get you.,' says Fr. David. No, He didn't say anything along those lines. It's based on a choice."
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  7. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    "Because of this abuse of their free will, they became mortal - subject to death. There was no death for them in the garden/Paradise. We were not created by God to die. It remains a terrible catastrophe."

    So, here's Fr. David's notes on the Fall:

    1) Mortality
    2) Multiplication of evil
    3) Vulnerability - darkening of the mind.
    4) Our knowledge only goes so far because of the Fall. Distortions in the mind came about. Also mental illnesses and such.
    5) Man as priest becomes man as consumer. He devours and consumes for his own self-gratification.

    "The worst result is that man becomes imprisoned in a world of fear - fear of death. Because death was not known to him and in such opposition to his nature, he was in fear of it. Fear of death causes internal agonies, grieves, and sorrow. And since man fights against death from his/her fear of it, because they are imprisoned in it, sin comes about. We sin because we are going to die. And from Adam on, generation after generation, born of fallen nature, the sins kept multiplying and multiplying.

    God sent a flood to try to cleanse man of this, but the flood did not correct the problem. Something radically wrong has happened, in which humans can't fix. Death.

    Instead of turning back to God - who is Life, the sins multiplied.

    Christ came to deal with death. To release man from the prison of death.

    Hebrews 2:14-16 "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham."

    The last enemy to be destroyed by God is death. For there to be salvation, there has to be release from death. Even when we fall away, He doesn't abandon us, says Fr. David.

    Man remains good but not in a complete union with God as we should be.

    First off, redemption and salvation are different things. Incidentally, the event of Christ's dying on the Cross was an actual event in time in our historical life of the world. Other religions do not have a similar event, and are said as myths....once upon time there was ......

    The mob that called out for his crucifixion to Pilate is a kind of second fall, Fr. David said, because they have a rejection in belief in Who He is. He's not a passive victim of the tragedy of rejection of Him. Far beyond that. It transcends tragedy. He voluntarily offers Himself unto death. It is a voluntary sacrifice. No one, including the Father, demanded it of Him. (remember this!)

    "At the Last Supper, Christ said 'This is My Body...' and 'This is My Blood.' You'll notice he spoke this in the present tense. That's the key to understanding these words of institution of the Eucharist. He doesn't say 'This is My Body which will be broken for you,' or 'This is my blood which will be shed for you tomorrow.'"

    "Before the hands of those who were determined to kill him even touched Him, He already voluntarily, by the act of His divine freedom, hands Himself over to death."

    "After giving the Eucharist to His disciples, Jesus goes to His arrest and betrayal in the garden of Gesthemene, but before that betrayal happens, something else happens. He becomes again identified with the sin of the world in the most direct way that has happened in His life. That is His agony there in which He prays, the Gospel tells us that He is overcome with sorrow and troubled from the depths of His being and prays to His Father in the true expression of His human will - 'Let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done. Father, if this cup cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.' And we are told that in His agony, an angel came to strengthen Him, and His sweat became great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Saints in the Church see this as a self-offering of Christ - before the hands of those who will torture and kill Him, the blood begins to drain from His body."
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  8. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    "You see, He already does it Himself. He already, by taking upon Himself the sinfulness and cursiveness of the world, His Body begins to flow by no human hand, but by His own. The sacrifice of Christ being perfect.

    The suffering He takes Upon Himself.... What does it mean? That Jesus Christ, Son of God, made man, suffers. Sometimes people have this mistaken idea that because Christ is God, His sufferings are somehow lessoned. It's exactly the opposite, because Christ is God, His capacity to suffer is infinite in the flesh." Fr. David then talks about Isaiah Chapter 53, which is quite beautiful and very moving on the suffering of Christ.

    Fr. David then says that if we were to put a picture of Christ on the Cross up and next to it, a picture of starving babies being shoveled into a crematorium by the Nazis, which one would be more agonizing or upsetting to us? "We'd probably think the latter. Jesus Christ suffered infinitely more than any human suffered in the history of the world. Impossible for us to image the agony that caused even His blood vessels to burst and cause the bloody sweat. God who made Him, who knew no sin to be sin for us. That in Him, we might become the righteousness in God.

    When Jesus Christ is hanging on the Cross, he is heard saying, 'My God, My God, why have you forsaken me." He is reciting the psalm of David that prophesized this exact moment - 'why are you so far from helping me from the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer by night, but find no rest, yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel, our Fathers entrusted in you......'

    "Right from the beginning, that expression: 'My God, My God...' is not an expression of despair. That psalm, if you read it all the way through, is continually expressing confidence and trust in God, even in the midst of the agony of forsakenness and death." Fr. David finishes reading the psalm.

    "He is not forsaken. The depth of His suffering - He who is Life is being united with death. That He who is goodness is being identified with sin, that He is the blessing is now the cursed. 'The Law of Moses said cursed is anyone who hangs on the tree.' In fact, that is why the Jewish authorities wanted Him to be handed over to the gentiles to be put to death, so that He would be put to death by hanging on the tree because one who's hung on the tree is cursed by God. (! - my reaction that I had at that!) Christ descended into death to break the power of death."

    "There are four aspects of salvation taught in the Orthodox Church from the beginning. These cannot be reduced to one of the things. All of them have to be considered together.

    1. Christ gives the truth to the human race. All the human race will be taught by God. So that first act of salvation is to see Jesus - the Truth. One who belongs to Christ and who is in Christ knows the truth that Christ makes available.

    2. Redemption - ransom from slavery to sin, death, and the devil. We are reconciled with God. Atonement through God and humanity through Jesus.

    Sacrifice means - a person recognizes his life is not his own but belongs to someone else.

    A crucial point about ransom price...We have to understand how precisely or what precisely is being taught concerning to whom is this sacrificial offering of Jesus Christ being offered because many, if not in most cases, those who come from Western Christian backgrounds, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, have inherited an understanding significantly different from what has been the understanding of the Church from the beginning. We have to answer the question then to whom is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered - by first of all naming the negatives - by saying to whom it is not offered."
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  9. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    "There are some who have said throughout Christian history that the sacrifice of Jesus is offered either to the devil, on the one hand, because the devil has become prince of the world by man cooperating with the devil, man has become the slave of the devil and has certain rights over humanity. He keeps humanity imprisoned in death. So in order to liberate man from the devil, Jesus offers Himself as a sacrifice to the devil.

    There are also those who say, and this is more common, that Jesus offers Himself as a sacrifice in repayment to God the Father who's anger at the human race must be satisifed. It is that I wish to address right now because that understanding and the effects that proceed from it, I believe, are one of the most crucial differences between Orthodox Christianity and non-Orthodox.

    The realization of what that means, the ramifications of it, because we emphatically say that the sacrifice that Christ offers Himself obediently to the Father, yes, of course, but not as any sort of satisfaction payment to the Father who demands satisfaction because of sins of the human race.

    This idea is based on the understanding - comes from various sources but mainly the mideival ages - that its understanding of the relationship of God and human beings is in terms of a legal contract - God is infinite, immeasurable; therefore, when the human being sins against God, God is immeasurably offended. You cannot, in no way measure God in His perfect goodness how much that goodness is offended by sin. God is just and His justice is spoken as something that operates almost independently from His mercy, and God's justice must be satisfied. In other words, somebody must be punished for the sins of the human race.

    Because there is no human being capable of being infinitely punished by God for the sins of the human race because we are limited and God is infinite, God sends His own Son, Who is infinite, punishes Him in our place.

    And so, by that punishment inflicted on Christ by His Father, finally the justice of God is satisfied and His anger is turned away."

    Fr. David then reads of Fr. Thomas Hopko's book on doctrine (from one of his set of four books), which is quoting St. Gregory the Theologian "Now we are on this to examine another fact and dogma, which in my judgment, is very necessary to inquire into. to whom ws that blood offered that was shed for us, and why was it shed? I mean the precious and famous blood of our God and High Priest and Sacrifice. We were detained in bondage by the evil one. Sold under sin, and receiving pleasure in exchange for wickedness. Now, since a ransom belongs only to him who holds in bondage, I ask then to whom was this offered and for what cause? If it was offered to the evil one, what an outrage to say such a thing. If the robber receives ransom not only from God, but a ransom which consists of God Himself and has such a lusterous payment for his tyranny, then it would have been right for Him to have left us alone all together."

    Fr. David says on this "that is to say that the devil is a creature. Whatever tyranny he holds over the human race, and death is his greatest tool, is the tyranny of a creature. It would be an outrage for a ransom which consists of God Himself to be given to the devil. It would be treating the devil as if he were greater than a creature."
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  10. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    Back to St. Gregory the Theologian - "But if it was offered to God the Father, I ask first how? For it was not by God the Father that we were being oppressed."

    Fr. David says, "It was not God the Father who was holding us in bondage. God the Father is not a slave master."

    St. Gregory - "And next, on what principle did the blood of His only begotten Son delight the Father who would not even receive Isaac when he was being sacrificed by his father, Abraham, but changed the sacrifice by putting a ram in his place. Is it not evident that the Father accepts Him, but neither asked for, that neither asked for the sacrifice, nor demanded it, but on account of the Incarnation, and because humanity must be sanctified by the humanity of God, voluntarily, that He might deliver Himself and overcome the tyrant and draw us to Himself by the mediation of His Son, who also arranged this to the honor of the Father, whom it is clear, He obeys in all things."

    back to Fr. David. "If the sacrifice to the devil and it is not an offer to God the Father as a satisfaction to turn away His wrath, but rather is a voluntary offering of obedience of the Son, not demanded by the Father. Rather it is spoken of that God the Father is the one Who so loved the world that He gives His only begotten son.

    God the Father participates in the offering of the sacrifice in the story about the Prodigal son in the gospel of St. Luke as the one who kills the fatted calf, you see. That's an image of God the Father freely giving out of love, out of mercy, His son.

    So Fr. David repeats John 3:16 again in reiterating the love and mercy of God the Father.

    "How familiar that verse is, but that is exactly the opposite of saying that God demands for the satisfaction of His justice a perfect being to punish in His wrath. It is not the wrath of God that endures forever. It's the mercy of God that endures forever. It is not the justice of God that operates independently of His mercy. The justice and the wrath of God are manifestations in time of His mercy." <--- Very important point Fr. David makes here! I hope this can be absorbed and realized for all....how wonderful God the Father truly is...for those who thought He was an angry God (my feelings).

    Fr. David goes back to Fr. Tom Hopko's book - "The mercy of God is consistently expressed throughout the entire Old Testament, even in the midst of expressions of God's wrath when His people are unfaithful. We are even told that God is grieved to his heart because of the sinfulness of His creatures. God says 'My people, what have I done to you and how have I wearied you? Answer Me. I have reared and brought up children, but they have rebelled against Me.' But He says, 'How can I give you up? How can I hand you over, O Israel? My heart recoils in Me. My compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my fierce anger."

    Fr. David goes on to point out that all the prophets, at the end of their testaments, end with God's promise of mercy.

    "So, for the Orthodox Christian's experience of God, God is the merciful one who does everything possible, the ultimate sacrifice of sending His only begotten Son, Who freely offers Himself, one of love, as the perfect sacrifice. And so, how are we going to answer that question? To whom or to what is offered?

    In the Liturgy of St. Basil that we say at certain times in our Church special services - He gave Himself up as a ransom to death in which we were held captive, sold under sin - The sacrifice of Christ is not made to a Who. It's made to a What. Christ offers Himself up in sacrifice to the condition that fallen man has become imprisoned in. That man has become cursed and sinful and dead. So Christ who is the blessing and sinless and life offers Himself up freely so that what is His can become available to the human race, whom He loves. And in that, the price is paid, the reconciliation and the atonement are made possible. So this whole thing of the satisfaction of an angry Father which so influences so many people's understanding of who God is, it's something that anyone who grows in the life of the Orthodox Church eventually transcends. It's necessary to transcend it because otherwise one remains forever imprisioned in the legal battle between God and the human race.
     
  11. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    And people ask "Well, if Jesus paid the debt that I could not pay and paid the price for my sins, and made it possible for me to be forgiven, why do I have to then engage in the life of ascetic struggle that the Church gives me?" Because it's far more than a legal exchange. Jesus makes it possible for the the redemption for the communion of God with man to be restored. This is what redemption is. Salvation in its entirety is the actual restoring of that communion in the life of each person who is a member of His Body in His Church. So what Jesus makes possible in His redemptive sacrifice, when it is actually realized in the life of each person in the Church, that is salvation, and it requires cooperation and the desire until the end of life to model oneself after the image of Christ Who offers Himself as the perfect sacrifice of love in sacrificial love. It is not just having some sort of anger turned away, having some sort of debt paid and then I don't have to do anything.

    When we talk about how are we justified. How is the righteousness of God imputed to us. The epistle to the Romans talks so much about that. Is it by faith? Is it by works? Strictly speaking, it is by neither. (!) It's by Christ. We are not justified by an act of faith. An act of faith, after all, is just another good work, is it not? We are justified by Christ Himself Who dies for us, Who rises for us, in Who's death and resurrection, communion with the Father has been restored, and as our faith becomes His Faith, as our life becomes His life, as we the Christian - each Christian is a miniature Christ - grows in the image of the one Lord, and salvation is realized and justification bears its fruits.


    So it's not ever a question of reducing redemption to a profession of faith, reducing salvation to doing this or doing that. Salvation and justification are made possible by receiving from Christ Who makes it possible, communion with God the Father through His death and resurrection, and then the attaining - the actual attaining of that communion following the commandments of the Gospel that we must be perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect."



    Fr. David then mentions and writes down the 3rd aspect of salvation.

    "3. Christ destroys death by or through His death.

    As we said last week on speaking of the incarnation, it would not be possible for communion between the Holy Trinity and the human race to be restored as long as death had power over the human race. That where death is God is not. So therefore Jesus destroys the power of death over human beings, not from outside, but by getting inside it, by dying Himself. And by dying Himself, death is emptied out.

    We sing on Good Friday night when we have the service that makes us partake of this passing of Christ into death. Such hymns as "O Life, how can you die? How can you dwell in the tomb? By your death, You have destroyed the power of death and raised all the dead from their tombs.' And then this verse that I always mention when we speak of this destruction of death, talks about how death has really swallowed up every member of the human race from the first parents on. And every time another human being enters death, the devil and death itself which often spoken of as a personified force symbolically, its appetite is being more and more satisfied."
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  12. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    "When Christ whom the devil can never quite figure out completely, you know...he wonders about Him...just as he wondered about Him in the temptation - 'If you are the Son of God...' When Christ Who has done so many great things, such great miracles, teaching what He teaches...When He dies, death really thinks that he's gotten the greatest prize so far, but instead what happens in the hymns of the Church is death finally takes within itself something that is bigger than itself. Someone that is more powerful than itself, and the image that's used is a very physical one that he gets a great stomachache and vomits out everything. Everybody that he's held captive. 'when devouring hades engulfed the Rock of Life, in great pain, he burst asunder, and the dead hold captive from all ages were released.' Jesus transforms death from being the state of alienation between God and man to the means by which through His own death, we are united to God. So death that is the curse over the human race that keeps man from communion with God, because God Himself goes into it from the inside, trampling down death by death, we say, death becomes the means of life through Jesus.

    Just as suffering - the question of Job in the OT - why is there suffering? It's the question human beings ask the most. Why do the innocent suffer? It's bad enough when the guilty do, but why do the innocent suffer? The only answer to it is found in the suffering of Him Who is truly and perfectly innocent. That God's answer to the suffering of the world is to come to Himself and so take upon Himself the suffering and death of humanity. And He who is more innocent than the one-day-old child, suffers and dies, and in that suffering and death, He consecrates suffering and death. He makes it into a holy thing. That is the uniqueness in Christianity, my friends. It is not found anywhere else in any other human system of philosophy or religion. That suffering is holy. That death is blessed by God. That in Christ, if you suffer and die, you are brought to His Life, because that is the way that He is brought to life. That's how He destroys the power of suffering and death over mankind.

    We have a God not like the gods of the oriental systems of religion or the remote God of Islam, or the imaginary gods of the pagans. We have a God who gets Himself very, very dirty, voluntarily, Who partakes of every consequence of the fallen human existence without personal guilt for sin, but Who identifies Himself with not simply sin but with the last enemy to be destroyed, which is death. And He makes suffering and death into the path to Him. The path to holiness. That is why the center of the Christian faith remains the Cross.

    That Pascha Sunday does not cancel out Good Friday, that the resurrection does not make the crucifixion disappear, but the two of them remain together. The risen Lord remains the crucified Lord from all eternity. The crucifixion is not just some sort of unfortunate tragedy that happened to Jesus because of wicked and evil people, but like a bad dream goes away in three days, on the third day. That the crucified One remains--and we are going to speak of how this is so another time--remains in a mystical sense crucified and resurrected simultaneously until the end of the world. St. Paul said that he desired to preach no one but Jesus Christ and Him crucified."
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  13. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    "4. Deification of Man.

    And finally salvation that has been made possible through Christ's voluntary sacrifice makes possible the deification of man. The words of St. Athanasius that God became man so man might become God are fulfilled in what Christ makes possible. That the destiny of the human being is to share the life of God Himself. To be by grace what God is by nature, not to be an independent god, not to be someone who kind of dissolves into the divine life like Buddhism or new age cults imagine, but that the creature always remains the creature, the Creator always remains the Creator. They are always distinct. But the life of the Creator...it is the will of the Creator that the human creature share His same life, that Image and likeness that He breathed into us in the beginning that were to lead us into eternal communication with Him. It's made possible by the sacrifice of Christ for us that in Him the wall that divides God and man is broken down and man is married once again to God in Christ and has possible, available in this saving in which everything is forgiven. It is the doctrine of the EOC that by this perfect offering of Christ, everything is forgiven. All that remains for each person for whom this forgiveness is offered to accept it and to realize it.

    This acceptance is not simply an isolated act but is an ongoing process of acceptance. But it is available to everyone. so in it, Truth is made available, redemption from sin and death is made available, suffering and death are transformed into the means to life, and what life? The life of Christ."


    So that was DVD # 2 or 3 (can't remember) on Redemption and Salvation


    I wanted to add a few notes that were written down that probably were before all of that. Sorry for the mess.

    Holy Tradition is All of these together. We don't just pick one out and use it. For example, one can't know the whole of what is believed by just reading the Creed, or by just reading the Bible. Taking any one of these and trying to make it your belief system and preaching it as such is a heresy, according to Fr. David.

    Here's the list for Holy Tradition (going by memory)

    1. The Holy Scriptures
    2. The Creed
    3. The Church Fathers and lives of the Saints
    4. The Councils
    5. Church Architecture - Icons
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  14. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    I took a few notes last week when watching DVD #6 on Christ.

    "Jesus = Yeshua in Hebrew = The Lord is Salvation. Jesus is the one Who saves, redeems.

    His name - Jesus - is even higher, and deserving of more reverence than the Lord in the OT who's name was not pronounced. The same One who revealed Himself as the "I am" and who's name was not pronounced out of reverence and adoration in the OT covenant makes Himself accessible to us and gives us this name that the Scripture says is the name above all names.

    The name of Jesus is a path or channel to God the Father.

    Christ = Messiah = Anointed One

    In the OT, certain people set aside - anointed with oil. Oil poured upon their heads represent God has poured Himself upon their heads.

    In the OT, there are three groups of people who are anointed:

    1. Kings - Ruled over God's people. The OT Kings foreshadowed the coming of Christ.

    2. Priests - Mediator between the people and God. They offered sacrifices for sins.

    3. Prophets - Prophets are not visibly anointed with oil. They're received the anointing of the Holy Spirit and are the mouthpieces of God.

    All three point to a figure that is going to be fully Priest, Prophet, and King.

    Christ is the Son of God - the only begotten Son of the Father. The Father is never alone. He is always with the Son. They share the same life and love perfectly. The only difference is the Father is the Father and the Son is the Son. the Son has His origin from the Father, but not in time, from the beginning.

    The Son of God is also called the Word of God. Man who communicates by speaking reflects God in His eternal existence. The Father who utters His Word - the Word of God is His Son. It is through the Son, the Father speaks. So the Father speaks through Christ. "

    Then Fr. David talks about the Arian heresy. About how Arius, who was a bishop in the Church in Alexandria (going by memory here...don't have these notes, just scattered ones). Anyhow, Arius used to help men at the docks and sing songs about Christ so that people could remember about Christ through the songs he taught these men. The only problem was he was speaking of Christ as not fully God and fully man.

    At that time, there were more arians in the church than Orthodox. Since the thousands of people joining the Church around that time were mostly pagans, Arius' talk of Christ being a sort of super man, the pagans could relate, as all their gods were half god half man, not fully divine such as Christ was. So, Arius' belief caught on like wildfire. Thank goodness for St. Athanasius, who was the deacon under Arius! He stood fast to the truth. St. Basil carried it on for St. Athanasius, and a handful of other Orthodox, but it wasn't many! But the truth prevailed!

    Fr. David said the Arian heresy (and others) are still around today. He said the JW's are Arians.

    But God cannot begot or give birth to less than divine.

    Fr. David suggests we read "The Incarnation" by St. Athanasius.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  15. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    A bit of notes on DVD #7 - Incarnation

    God taking flesh crossed the threshold of time. Everything that's done by Him is His desire to save us. Fr. David read from St. Athanasius' "The Incarnation." God's will is to share with us in His divinity. The Saints cooperating with the Spirit rose above sin. Immortality depends on maintenance of union with God.

    Why is it essential Christ be born of a virgin? He only has one Father. He takes on human nature of Mary, but is not a creature. Jesus takes upon Himself human nature in Mary's womb.

    Mary is:

    1. The Mother of God - Theotokos - bearer of God.
    2. Ever Virgin.

    Christ is a divine person with a human nature, was how Fr. David described Him.

    Fr. David then speaks about adopting heresies.

    "Many Christians adopted heretical teachings but usually out of ignorance. Involuntary ignorance. We are responsible for what we know, not what we don't know.

    He considered Zwingli an arch heretic, but he believed in the virginity of Mary.

    There is such a thing as invincible ignorance. This is when a person willfully is ignorant - they do not wish to be told or read about the truth. We are accountable to God for this!


    *Redemption was DVD #8. I'm kinda out of order. ugh.

    Anyhow, onto the next post when I figure out where I am.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  16. Joshua G.

    Joshua G. Well-Known Member

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    Which DVD set is this? do you have a link?

    Fr David's series ( I think it's the same one although I had the cassette version I listened to all day while filing papers) was among the small handful of most influential resources that played a part in my conversion. Scholastically speaking, it was probabl the most influential.
     
  17. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    DVD #9 is on the Resurrection.

    Christ brought back or "resuscitated" (was what Fr. David called these cases in the Scriptures) three people to life. (My own thought that came to mind was 'wasn't it interesting it was 3 people, and he rose on the 3rd day lol That special number 3!) But those people all had to die again, of course.

    Are these foreshadows of His resurrection? What was to come?

    "When we read the accounts of the Gospels, we can understand why there is no attempt to make them like the evening news broadcast, you know. No attempt to watch every last detail. I, for one, am very thankful for that. So the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the transformation of His flesh and blood existence in time, in history to a level of life for which there is as great a difference you could say, as if there is an immeasurable difference between the life of the human being as we know it, as we live in this world, and the life of non human creatures...so also there is that great and immeasurable difference between the life of Jesus Christ in the flesh before His crucifixion and the new life to which He is raised in the resurrection.

    It is a life over which death, corruption, time, space have no more power that a whole new way of life has been revealed. It has been revealed in Him and in Him for everyone else. So the central profession of faith in the resurrection of Christ, when we read in the Acts of the Apostles of the sermon of St. Peter on Pentacost, 'men of Israel, hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man attended to you by God with mighty works and signs and wonders which God did to Him in your midst you yourself know, this Jesus delivered up according to a definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. But God raised Him up having loosed the pains of death because it was not possible for Him to be held by it.'

    It is not custom for icons to show Him coming forth from the grave because it doesn't show or record how He did so in the Gospels.

    "Christ eating with His Apostles at the Last Supper was not, as some people imagine it to be, was not a passover meal. There was no lamb in there. It was a whole day before the lambs were sacrificed in the temple. It was eaten a day early with Jesus by His Apostles on purpose because He knew that on the next day on Friday, while the passover lambs were being sacrificed and, you see, that's all very significant because they began the sacrifice of the lambs in the temple on the 9th hour - at 3:00 in the afternoon - and that is precisely the time when all 4 Gospels tell us that the Lord died on the Cross. So that is to reveal this as the true passover sacrifice, not the sacrifice that reactualized the deliverance of Israel, but the sacrifice that released not just Israel, but the whole human race, from death and sin and brought them not into the promised land of this world, but unto the heavenly Kingdom of God. So that's why the early Church (the EOC) followed/continued to do what it's always done. That's why the Holy Eucharist in the Orthodox Church uses leaven bread, not unleaven bread, because the Last supper that Jesus had with His disciples was a whole day before passover when the unleavened bread would not have been used a day early, so we keep the tradition of the early Church by using the leaven bread.

    Anyhow, Jesus is crucified and died on Friday. He is in the state of death in the tomb with the body and in hades with the soul as we say in the hymns of the Church on Saturday on the feast of the passover. And then on the first day of the week, on Sunday, He is risen and sometimes that's a confusion to people because when they hear the expression "on the third day," they don't understand how if Jesus was crucified on Friday and rises on Sunday - how three days are involved there, but the way of accounting time in the biblical counting and among the middle eastern people, and even still today, goes like this: If I were to say on the third day from now I'm going on a trip, you count in the three days both today and the day I'm going on the trip, you see, so the third day from today in that way of counting--today is Tuesday--would be Thursday--count Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. So, when we say the Lord is risen on the third day, it's counting the day that He dies on Friday, and Saturday, and Sunday being the third day. Also, sometimes people ask questions like "Well, the Gospels record the words of Jesus saying just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, and yet we know the same Gospels make it very clear to us that the Lord is not three days and three nights in the state of death in the heart of the earth. That the Lord is in the state of death Friday afternoon until whenever it was between Saturday and Sunday, that He rose. So again, that's never been a problem trying to make some sort of claim that the Lord was really crucified on Wednesday or something. There are these fringe groups and cult groups like the the World Wide Church of God who make claims like that, but there is simply no verification to be found for such an idea in 2000 years of Christian history. It is clear that the Lord is crucified on the preparation day of the passover, which is before the Sabbath because the Gospel tells us they rested according to the Commandments, so it is Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

    The Lord rises on the first day of the week, which the Christians from then describe as the Lord's day, and they also like to describe it--it's one of the favorite Christian vocabulary words--as the 8th day--the great love of the Church to speak of Sunday as the 8th day--why the 8th day? Well, because in the week that you measure according to this world's time, there are only 7 days, but in the resurrection is given the beginning of the age to come, that is completely beyond the time of this world.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  18. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    It's a DVD made by a parishioner from a church is CA. He was speaking to a class of inquirers, which is why his details are so good and clear and easy to understand (esp. for my brain lol). We plan to make copies for our church. This set, along with the set on marriage by Fr. John Mack in my church school room. Just appeared one day a few weeks ago. lol So, I've been taking advantage of that. I was told I can keep them, but then another guy said to make copies in case we get inquirers. So we're going to try to make copies.

    I'll have to get on with the next part tomorrow or something. Some I already had typed, others I haven't, and I'm still working on DVD #11 notes.
     
  19. Joshua G.

    Joshua G. Well-Known Member

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    If this is where he takes the Creed line by line, it is the same one I listened to. Either way, I'm sure it's great. My friend just bought a set he produced in the past couple years. A lot of the same stuff with a lot of new stuff.
     
  20. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    :thumbsup: Cool! That's good to know!
     
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