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Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
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Vladimir Gotti Offline
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Post: #26
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
Again intention is not everything. "Holy Mary Mother of God" is how my Grandmother prays. Mother of God? Mary played a very small part in the Bible and barely said anything in it. [b][b]She is not the mother of God and should not be worshiped or prayed to.[/b][/b]

Mary is the mother of Jesus. Jesus is one with the Father and Holy Spirit. Jesus is God and Mary is his mother. Mary is the Mother of God.

I suggest many of you look into the apparitions and miracles attributed to Mary, especially the miracle at Fatima in Portugal just a century ago. Of course these acts are derived from the power of the Holy Spirit, but it is Mary who appears to us.
06-06-2019 04:16 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-05-2019 07:03 PM)Roosh Wrote:  
Quote:Would God have a corrupt church bear fruit to fool us?

In order to separate the wheat from the chaff and to test for true believers, I don't see why not. But would he corrupt the "true" church, no. The true church (and everyone believes their own church is true) is infallible, though members of that church are not.

Can the true church be spread out among different denominations? That's something I thought about myself. I heard a guy and a woman talking about their faiths one time at a cafe. The guy I'm guessing was Presbyterian since he was talking about how the Westminster Confession spells out his faith for him while the woman was a Catholic. The guy was big into his faith/denomination but even he said he thought there's lots of monks and nuns out that are more holy and in communion with God then he is.

There was a video that was posted in the God Pill thread where the minister talks about how even among 'carnal' churches there's still usually a small group of people who desire Christ and are on the right path. Are all these people across different churches part of the same true church even if they are in different buildings and perhaps even different denominations?



06-06-2019 05:07 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-06-2019 04:16 PM)Vladimir Gotti Wrote:  Again intention is not everything. "Holy Mary Mother of God" is how my Grandmother prays. Mother of God? Mary played a very small part in the Bible and barely said anything in it. [b][b]She is not the mother of God and should not be worshiped or prayed to.[/b][/b]

Mary is the mother of Jesus. Jesus is one with the Father and Holy Spirit. Jesus is God and Mary is his mother. Mary is the Mother of God.

I suggest many of you look into the apparitions and miracles attributed to Mary, especially the miracle at Fatima in Portugal just a century ago. Of course these acts are derived from the power of the Holy Spirit, but it is Mary who appears to us.

Exactly. The concept of Mary as the Mother of God, or Theotokos as we call her (the God-bearer), is more a theological statement about the Godhood of Christ than anything else. If Christ is God, then Mary is the Mother of God. This is what the Nestorian debates were about in the ancient world, and the reason the third Ecumenical Council was called in the first place.

Nestorius argued that Mary "only gave birth to Christ's human flesh, but not His Godhood." The problem with that is it creates a schism, or division, between His two natures. The Church declared that He is fully God and fully man, at the same time, indivisibly - and therefore, since you cannot separate His humanity from His divinity, Mary is the mother of God. This is a dogma of both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches...and ironically, all of the Protestant reformers believed in it as well. It is only the modern low-church evangelicals, who have not studied Christian history or even the doctrines of their own groups' founders, that have reiterated the ancient Nestorian heresy without realizing it's already been dealt with.

Return Of Kings contributor and best-selling author of "On The Mason And Their Lies."
(This post was last modified: 06-06-2019 05:40 PM by MichaelWitcoff.)
06-06-2019 05:38 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
Calling Mary the Mother of God is technically correct in the sense that she gave birth to Jesus Christ, who was both man and God. But it's also important to remember that Christ not only pre-existed Mary, he pre-existed the world itself. He is eternal and divine. In this regard, Mary cannot be the Mother of God, since God (Christ) existed before her.

I don't think most Protestants object to Mary being honored and identified as Christ's mother, but they strongly object to praying to her or venerating her as being anywhere near the level of Christ, the Father or the Holy Spirit. She was a blessed and holy woman chosen for an incredible honor, but she was not divine or sinless. Scripture says very little about her. Paul makes only passing mention of her. Christ himself minimized the importance of his family relations (including with his mother) in contrast to his covenant relationship with his flock (Mark 3:31-35).

In short, there is simply no Biblical basis to venerate Mary above and beyond any other minor New Testament figure, because that's exactly what she was. As Christians, we take our cues from the example of Jesus Christ. And Christ himself made no mention of his mother as being a spiritually important person. If anything, he deliberately minimized her importance, publicly referring to her as "woman" (John 2:1-5).

Christ alone is sufficient. He is the way, the truth and the life. There is no need to pray to Mary any more than there is a need to pray to Paul or Moses or David or any other Biblical figure. The Christian faith is about Jesus Christ and his relationship to mankind. Mary was a supporting figure in His story, the same as many others as recorded in scripture. Her veneration and elevation to quasi-divine status clearly subtracts from the glory of God the Father, The Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ (who we should be praying to always, thus any prayers directed at Mary or other saints are at best wasted and at worst idolatrous). Mary was a human being who lived and died. Christ is eternal. He is our Lord, He is our savior, he is God. Trust in Him alone.

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” - Romans 8:18
06-06-2019 06:53 PM
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Post: #30
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
Quote:How about the emitting of holy smoke in Orthodox churches that yields a fragrant aroma. Is that blasphemous?

I stand corrected. The use of incense is described in the Bible: Exodus 30:7-8, Psalm 141:2, and Revelation 5:8, 8:4.

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06-06-2019 06:56 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-06-2019 03:03 AM)MichaelWitcoff Wrote:  [Snipped for page length]

With all due respect, a lot of what you've written could be flipped back on Orthodoxy. I could write up a lot in response to you, but again I have resources at my hand that do a better job. Let's put Orthodoxy under the same scope:

https://jeffshort.wordpress.com/2012/09/...s-beliefs/

Quote:First, Eastern Orthodoxy teaches salvation by works. Galatians 2:16, “Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”

Again, it’s very clear from the New Testament teachings that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. This is taught very clearly by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Romans and elsewhere, for example, in the Book of Galatians. It’s crystal clear. Anyone with an open mind can simply go to the New Testament and read for him or herself what it teaches about salvation, and find that salvation is by faith alone apart from works.

However, after the early generation of Christians, after the death of the original Apostles, after the 1st Century, the church began to move away from the simple message of salvation by faith alone as taught by the Apostle Paul and others in the New Testament writings, and began to move in the direction of moral living as a means to salvation.

This is not just my opinion, but it’s the conclusion of historians and scholars who are familiar with Christianity after the 1st Century. For example, author Cyril Richardson in his book Early Church Fathers says, “Clement has moved away from the Pauline gospel into an atmosphere more concerned with the moral life. Clement’s Letter reflects the movement away from the Pauline faith to a type of Christianity in which ethical interests and concern for law and order predominate.”

In the East, in addition to an emphasis on works contributing to our salvation, in opposition to the Apostle Paul’s teaching of faith alone, there is the idea of “deification” included in the church’s salvation message. The idea is that we are saved to become “like” God, to become “deified” in the salvation process. So then we never really are “saved” in this life, at a point in time, but rather we enter a life-long process of deification, where our soul is either becoming more like God or less like him.

In Protestant theology, this is more like what we’d call sanctification or holiness – a life long process of discipleship where we learn to yield ourselves to God. But in the East, they make it how we are saved, which is not exactly what the Apostle Paul teaches. The error is a confusion of salvation with Christian maturity. The goal of “deification” is biblical – our goal should be to be like God, but to teach we must strive to be saved is wrong because it contradicts the salvation by grace through faith message Paul and others teach in the New Testament. In this, like Catholicism, Orthodoxy is in error.


Second, Eastern Orthodoxy teaches church infallibility. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Reformers were adamant that God’s Word, the Bible, was above all church leaders, traditions or rituals – in short, the Word of God was above the church.

But for Eastern Orthodox Christians, as well as Roman Catholics, the church is above the Bible in authority, if not in theory, in practice. But if the above passage from the New Testament is true, then the church cannot be above Scripture, but must submit to Scripture. It says that all of God’s Word, the Bible, is given by God for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training. That means that it alone is the chief authority for Christians; it means that it could reform not only church leadership but also the church itself whenever it wanders into error.

But for the Orthodox church it is impossible for the church to lead the faithful into error because it is supposed to carry with it the authority of God for its infallible task. But if this is so, how can there be two infallible churches in Christianity that teach different things? How can there be the Great Schism of A.D. 1054 if both infallible branches of the church are in fact infallible, incapable of leading the faithful into error. Obviously, one of them, either Orthodoxy or Catholicism, is in error, and therefore isn’t infallible.

So one of the so-called infallible churches isn’t infallible, since they both can’t be right. The truth is, from a biblical Protestant perspective, on the issue of the infallible church, they are both wrong. The truth is, there is no infallible church, there never was, and there never will be. Christ never promised an infallible church. He did promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church, according to Matthew 16:18; which means that any error, corruption, heresy or apostasy would not ultimately bring the church down, that it would prevail in the end, that there would always be a true witness on earth of God’s truth, that any sickness in the church wouldn’t kill it, but that it would be renewed, reformed and revived as needed.

Orthodoxy prides itself on being true to the original and early traditions of Christianity – and that is true if we consider up to the time of the first seven ecumenical councils as the cut-off point. But why not go further back, even earlier, and make the early church and the New Testament the cut-off point? Why not consider this true orthodoxy? Why not see the Bible as the only infallible test and not try to make the church organization infallible? The infallible church was an erroneous teaching in Catholicism, and it’s an erroneous teaching in Orthodoxy as well. It makes no sense in either case.


Third, Eastern Orthodoxy teaches the adoration of the saints. Exodus 20:4-5, “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God, am a jealous God.”

If one enters any Eastern Orthodox church building one immediately notices very visible icons present in the front of the sanctuary. What do all these visual images represent? They are depicting various important saints and angels that worshipers are to adore at different times during the worship service. These icons are an important part of Orthodox worship, because at certain times in the service the faithful are called upon to view, reflect on, touch and even kiss certain important icons in veneration.

Now what strikes a Protestant as unusual and suspicious is that nothing of this sort of activity is taught in the New Testament anywhere. The logic behind the Orthodox worship service is easy enough to understand – they take as their model the heavenly worship described, for example, in Revelations 4, where the angels and saints are surrounding the throne of God in all its glory.

Orthodox emphasize the idea of a “communion of saints” – that is, worship where not only the present living believers on earth worship, but also the departed saints, angels and souls of others in heaven join in to form a corporate unity. While not strictly a form of worship found in the early New Testament church, there is biblical precedent for it, so we really can’t find fault with this style of church.

But what is forbidden in Scripture is the use of graven images in worship, because they can so easily function as idols, turned into idolatry. Now in the long history of the Christian church there has been a long debate going over the use of visual images in the church, over statues and icons, and other artistic renderings. For Orthodox Christians this debate was settled in the early ecumenical councils in favor of the use of icons; but for other Christians the issue is not over by any means. Most Protestants see the use of icons as a distraction from the pure and simple worship of God. They find the theological hair-splitting by Catholic and Orthodox theologians between “worship” – reserved for God alone, and “adoration” – permitted of saints and angels, unconvincing. Statues and icons per se are not wrong, it’s just their wrongful use in Christian worship that is troubling. To witness someone bowing down to, kissing or kneeling in front of an icon, it sure looks like worship. To see someone praying in front of an alter of icons or statues, it looks as if prayers are being made to these objects. Theological distinctions don’t take away from a practical reality. This is either idolatry or very close to it.


I want to make myself very clear. I’m not against icons or statues or paintings or any visual art in the church; I’m against these objects being used in improper ways in Christian worship. I’m against the glory of God being robbed by anything, including sacred art objects. But the biggest reason I suspect that Eastern Orthodox use of icons is wrong is that there is no biblical precedent for it. As a Bible-believing Protestant I take as my authoritative standard the Bible alone. It alone is the one true test for what is proper and what isn’t proper in the church. Orthodoxy takes as its standards the historic creeds, the first seven ecumenical councils, the teachings of the early church fathers, and of course, Scripture. But by including other things in addition to Scripture itself, the church opens the door for error and corruption. We’ve covered just three erroneous teachings of Eastern Orthodoxy – salvation by works, infallible church, and adoration of saints using icons. All of these errors have come into Orthodoxy from sources outside the Bible. They either came through the influence of outside cultural factors, such as in the case of Greek philosophy in respect to the deification doctrine of salvation; or gradual internal church development, as in the case of church infallibility and adoration of the saints. But in either case these errors where not tested by the plain teachings of Scripture; they were not lined up and measured by the only infallible standard, God’s Word. As 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” Unfortunately, this was not done, or it was not done thoroughly enough, in the church following the 1st Century. All the New Testament writings were completed before the end of the 1st Century; the Word of God in the New Testament was complete. No, the writings were not bound together in one volume called “The New Testament,” but they were known, read and followed by churches.

What happened, evidently, is that the church began to see itself as the authority instead of seeing itself as under the authority of the Word of God. Some beliefs and practices came into the church gradually, and then justification for their existence was made from Scripture rather than testing them by Scripture. Eventually some of these beliefs and practices became established to the point nobody would or could challenge them, since they carried the weight of precedent and acceptance. It took the Reformation, many years later, to go back and test doctrines and practices that should have been tested by Scripture earlier. Orthodoxy prides itself on preserving the traditions of the church; unfortunately, it’s still preserving some things that never should have been allowed or permitted in the church to begin with. These can only be categorized as errors.

The goal of Protestantism was to move redemption out of homes built on sand.
Which all churches (Lutheranism, Catholicism, Anglicanism, Orthodoxy, etc), being creations of fallen creatures including early church leaders, are.

I look forward to your reply.

Shalom Alechem!
(This post was last modified: 06-06-2019 08:37 PM by The Beast1.)
06-06-2019 07:56 PM
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Post: #32
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-06-2019 05:48 AM)Josue Wrote:  You let me intrigued with "female preachers", do they truly exist?, coming from a person that has been in churches all his life (my father is a deacon, I was an altar boy), I have never seen a single one, or perhaps you are talking about nuns?.

They exist. In North America I have seen them as United and Presbyterian Ministers.

Here is Canada's most famous one,

[Image: torontocanada-cheri-dinovo-during-church...GB2C09.jpg]

She was the leader of the Battle of Canada to ban Roosh during the Ontario Campaign.

Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? Psalm 2:1 KJV
06-06-2019 08:53 PM
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Post: #33
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
In III Kings 18:25-29, when Elijah and the pagan priests are competing to see whose god can set fire to a pillar of stones, Elijah tells them “Call louder, maybe he’s asleep” and the pagans keep calling for hours. That’s vain repetition.

On the flip side, there’s the story in Luke 18:35-42. This is the story where the Jesus prayer comes from. A blind man knows Jesus is passing by, so he calls “Jesus Christ, son of David, have mercy on me!” and everyone around him tells him to shut up. But he keeps calling “Jesus Christ, son of David, have mercy on me!” and Jesus comes and heals him. The blind man wasn’t babbling on with many words; he went straight to the point and repeated it until his prayer was answered.

Another commonly repeated prayer is the thrice-holy prayer, which comes from the Apocalypse of John. In chapter 4, verse 8, John explains that the angels surrounding God’s throne repeat unceasingly “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”

Jesus taught us the Lord’s prayer; and the Didache, written in the first century, mentions that it was common practice for Christians to recite it three times each day. Not to mention the first Christians, like the Jews, based their common worship around the singing of psalms.

Repetition abounds in Christian prayer, and always has. We have no reason to avoid it unless it’s vain or insincere.
06-06-2019 09:02 PM
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Post: #34
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
Regarding confession, James 5:16 tells us to confess our sins to one another.

The current Orthodox practice of confessing our sins only to God and the Priest is a relatively later development; previously it was done publicly in front of the whole congregation. The merits of either setup can be debated, but the necessity of confessing our sins is very much established.

I should add that the Orthodox way of doing confession has some advantages over the Roman Catholic closed confessional: your pastor knows who you are and as you build a relationship he is able to tailor his advice to you. It's like having your baseball coach help you improve your swing over the course of the season rather than anonymously telling him you're having trouble swinging.
06-06-2019 09:20 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-06-2019 07:56 PM)The Beast1 Wrote:  
(06-06-2019 03:03 AM)MichaelWitcoff Wrote:  [Snipped for page length]

With all due respect, a lot of what you've written could be flipped back on Orthodoxy. I could write up a lot in response to you, but again I have resources at my hand that do a better job. Let's put Orthodoxy under the same scope:

https://jeffshort.wordpress.com/2012/09/...s-beliefs/

Quote:First, Eastern Orthodoxy teaches salvation by works. Galatians 2:16, “Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”

Again, it’s very clear from the New Testament teachings that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. This is taught very clearly by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Romans and elsewhere, for example, in the Book of Galatians. It’s crystal clear. Anyone with an open mind can simply go to the New Testament and read for him or herself what it teaches about salvation, and find that salvation is by faith alone apart from works.

However, after the early generation of Christians, after the death of the original Apostles, after the 1st Century, the church began to move away from the simple message of salvation by faith alone as taught by the Apostle Paul and others in the New Testament writings, and began to move in the direction of moral living as a means to salvation.

This is not just my opinion, but it’s the conclusion of historians and scholars who are familiar with Christianity after the 1st Century. For example, author Cyril Richardson in his book Early Church Fathers says, “Clement has moved away from the Pauline gospel into an atmosphere more concerned with the moral life. Clement’s Letter reflects the movement away from the Pauline faith to a type of Christianity in which ethical interests and concern for law and order predominate.”

In the East, in addition to an emphasis on works contributing to our salvation, in opposition to the Apostle Paul’s teaching of faith alone, there is the idea of “deification” included in the church’s salvation message. The idea is that we are saved to become “like” God, to become “deified” in the salvation process. So then we never really are “saved” in this life, at a point in time, but rather we enter a life-long process of deification, where our soul is either becoming more like God or less like him.

In Protestant theology, this is more like what we’d call sanctification or holiness – a life long process of discipleship where we learn to yield ourselves to God. But in the East, they make it how we are saved, which is not exactly what the Apostle Paul teaches. The error is a confusion of salvation with Christian maturity. The goal of “deification” is biblical – our goal should be to be like God, but to teach we must strive to be saved is wrong because it contradicts the salvation by grace through faith message Paul and others teach in the New Testament. In this, like Catholicism, Orthodoxy is in error.


Second, Eastern Orthodoxy teaches church infallibility. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Reformers were adamant that God’s Word, the Bible, was above all church leaders, traditions or rituals – in short, the Word of God was above the church.

But for Eastern Orthodox Christians, as well as Roman Catholics, the church is above the Bible in authority, if not in theory, in practice. But if the above passage from the New Testament is true, then the church cannot be above Scripture, but must submit to Scripture. It says that all of God’s Word, the Bible, is given by God for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training. That means that it alone is the chief authority for Christians; it means that it could reform not only church leadership but also the church itself whenever it wanders into error.

But for the Orthodox church it is impossible for the church to lead the faithful into error because it is supposed to carry with it the authority of God for its infallible task. But if this is so, how can there be two infallible churches in Christianity that teach different things? How can there be the Great Schism of A.D. 1054 if both infallible branches of the church are in fact infallible, incapable of leading the faithful into error. Obviously, one of them, either Orthodoxy or Catholicism, is in error, and therefore isn’t infallible.

So one of the so-called infallible churches isn’t infallible, since they both can’t be right. The truth is, from a biblical Protestant perspective, on the issue of the infallible church, they are both wrong. The truth is, there is no infallible church, there never was, and there never will be. Christ never promised an infallible church. He did promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church, according to Matthew 16:18; which means that any error, corruption, heresy or apostasy would not ultimately bring the church down, that it would prevail in the end, that there would always be a true witness on earth of God’s truth, that any sickness in the church wouldn’t kill it, but that it would be renewed, reformed and revived as needed.

Orthodoxy prides itself on being true to the original and early traditions of Christianity – and that is true if we consider up to the time of the first seven ecumenical councils as the cut-off point. But why not go further back, even earlier, and make the early church and the New Testament the cut-off point? Why not consider this true orthodoxy? Why not see the Bible as the only infallible test and not try to make the church organization infallible? The infallible church was an erroneous teaching in Catholicism, and it’s an erroneous teaching in Orthodoxy as well. It makes no sense in either case.


Third, Eastern Orthodoxy teaches the adoration of the saints. Exodus 20:4-5, “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God, am a jealous God.”

If one enters any Eastern Orthodox church building one immediately notices very visible icons present in the front of the sanctuary. What do all these visual images represent? They are depicting various important saints and angels that worshipers are to adore at different times during the worship service. These icons are an important part of Orthodox worship, because at certain times in the service the faithful are called upon to view, reflect on, touch and even kiss certain important icons in veneration.

Now what strikes a Protestant as unusual and suspicious is that nothing of this sort of activity is taught in the New Testament anywhere. The logic behind the Orthodox worship service is easy enough to understand – they take as their model the heavenly worship described, for example, in Revelations 4, where the angels and saints are surrounding the throne of God in all its glory.

Orthodox emphasize the idea of a “communion of saints” – that is, worship where not only the present living believers on earth worship, but also the departed saints, angels and souls of others in heaven join in to form a corporate unity. While not strictly a form of worship found in the early New Testament church, there is biblical precedent for it, so we really can’t find fault with this style of church.

But what is forbidden in Scripture is the use of graven images in worship, because they can so easily function as idols, turned into idolatry. Now in the long history of the Christian church there has been a long debate going over the use of visual images in the church, over statues and icons, and other artistic renderings. For Orthodox Christians this debate was settled in the early ecumenical councils in favor of the use of icons; but for other Christians the issue is not over by any means. Most Protestants see the use of icons as a distraction from the pure and simple worship of God. They find the theological hair-splitting by Catholic and Orthodox theologians between “worship” – reserved for God alone, and “adoration” – permitted of saints and angels, unconvincing. Statues and icons per se are not wrong, it’s just their wrongful use in Christian worship that is troubling. To witness someone bowing down to, kissing or kneeling in front of an icon, it sure looks like worship. To see someone praying in front of an alter of icons or statues, it looks as if prayers are being made to these objects. Theological distinctions don’t take away from a practical reality. This is either idolatry or very close to it.


I want to make myself very clear. I’m not against icons or statues or paintings or any visual art in the church; I’m against these objects being used in improper ways in Christian worship. I’m against the glory of God being robbed by anything, including sacred art objects. But the biggest reason I suspect that Eastern Orthodox use of icons is wrong is that there is no biblical precedent for it. As a Bible-believing Protestant I take as my authoritative standard the Bible alone. It alone is the one true test for what is proper and what isn’t proper in the church. Orthodoxy takes as its standards the historic creeds, the first seven ecumenical councils, the teachings of the early church fathers, and of course, Scripture. But by including other things in addition to Scripture itself, the church opens the door for error and corruption. We’ve covered just three erroneous teachings of Eastern Orthodoxy – salvation by works, infallible church, and adoration of saints using icons. All of these errors have come into Orthodoxy from sources outside the Bible. They either came through the influence of outside cultural factors, such as in the case of Greek philosophy in respect to the deification doctrine of salvation; or gradual internal church development, as in the case of church infallibility and adoration of the saints. But in either case these errors where not tested by the plain teachings of Scripture; they were not lined up and measured by the only infallible standard, God’s Word. As 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” Unfortunately, this was not done, or it was not done thoroughly enough, in the church following the 1st Century. All the New Testament writings were completed before the end of the 1st Century; the Word of God in the New Testament was complete. No, the writings were not bound together in one volume called “The New Testament,” but they were known, read and followed by churches.

What happened, evidently, is that the church began to see itself as the authority instead of seeing itself as under the authority of the Word of God. Some beliefs and practices came into the church gradually, and then justification for their existence was made from Scripture rather than testing them by Scripture. Eventually some of these beliefs and practices became established to the point nobody would or could challenge them, since they carried the weight of precedent and acceptance. It took the Reformation, many years later, to go back and test doctrines and practices that should have been tested by Scripture earlier. Orthodoxy prides itself on preserving the traditions of the church; unfortunately, it’s still preserving some things that never should have been allowed or permitted in the church to begin with. These can only be categorized as errors.

The goal of Protestantism was to move redemption out of homes built on sand.
Which all churches (Lutheranism, Catholicism, Anglicanism, Orthodoxy, etc), being creations of fallen creatures including early church leaders, are.

I look forward to your reply.

I'm not a theologian but I think that one thing that the Orthodox Faiths (Catholicism and Eastern) suffer from is that full catechesis is nearly impossible due to the vast Tradition and theological body of thought, and so most members of both branches have the same low-level, pop-culture understanding of faith that Protestants do.

The official dogma of the Catholic Church is not "salvation through works" although so many Catholics use this phrase that perhaps it is moot on the individual level.

This webpage has a pretty exhaustive coverage of the Protestant-Catholic controversy over "salvation through works" and the Letters of James - which you seem to have omitted in your analysis - although James is not to be taken as a justification of the "salvation through works" misconception.

https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-...nd-works-0
06-06-2019 09:27 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-06-2019 07:56 PM)The Beast1 Wrote:  With all due respect, a lot of what you've written could be flipped back on Orthodoxy. I could write up a lot in response to you, but again I have resources at my hand that do a better job. Let's put Orthodoxy under the same scope:

Okay, the article was much too long to respond to every bit on an internet forum, but I tried to boil it down to the key points. The author is mistaken about a lot of things regarding Orthodoxy.

Quote:First, Eastern Orthodoxy teaches salvation by works.
No

Quote:Again, it’s very clear from the New Testament teachings that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone.

Also no. That’s far from clear, given the enormous number of times Jesus mentions what people do affecting their eternity. Our when Paul mentions it. Or when Paul waxes poetic about love being more important than faith. Not to mention the only place in the Bible that mentions faith alone: James chapter 2.

Quote:However, after the early generation of Christians, after the death of the original Apostles, after the 1st Century, the church began to move away from the simple message of salvation by faith alone as taught by the Apostle Paul and others in the New Testament writings, and began to move in the direction of moral living as a means to salvation.

Find someone who noticed this happening while it was happening, and it can be entertained as a possibility. Until then it’s just the opinion of the guy writing the article. I don’t want to come across as rude when I say this, because I know the author is sincere; but the idea that there were massive doctrinal changes after the death of the last apostle is totally unsupportable. No one at the time noticed it happening, Christian or nonchristian.

What happens is that modern theologians reinterpret what the New Testament meant, notice they don’t agree with the people who were taught in-person by the apostles, then decide there must have been a secret apostasy.

Quote:Second, Eastern Orthodoxy teaches church infallibility.

Definitely not. For the first ten centuries of Christianity heresy was everywhere in the Church, and it still happens today although things have calmed down somewhat. At one point most bishops were Arian. Maintaining doctrinal fidelity has been a constant struggle for our whole history.

Just like Protestants, we believe all our beliefs are correct. But that doesn’t extend to thinking we’re infallibile. That’s an exclusively Roman Catholic teaching.

Quote:But for Eastern Orthodox Christians, as well as Roman Catholics, the church is above the Bible in authority, if not in theory, in practice.

The Church decided which books would be included in the New Testament, and the canon wasn’t settled until the later half of the first millennia AD. That’s why the Oriental Churches, which split from the Byzantine Church around the fifth century still don’t have a unified New Testament canon.

They all have the same beliefs, but which books they have in their Bible varies from place to place.

As Roosh pointed out, the authority is God, and His word and His church are both part of how He reveals himself to us.

Quote:Orthodoxy prides itself on being true to the original and early traditions of Christianity – and that is true if we consider up to the time of the first seven ecumenical councils as the cut-off point. But why not go further back, even earlier, and make the early church and the New Testament the cut-off point? Why not consider this true orthodoxy? Why not see the Bible as the only infallible test and not try to make the church organization infallible? The infallible church was an erroneous teaching in Catholicism, and it’s an erroneous teaching in Orthodoxy as well. It makes no sense in either case.

There would be no Bible if not for the Church, so making it the sole authority wouldn’t work so well. Especially if you lived before it was put together.

The seven Ecumenical Councils didn’t add new teachings – they defended the teachings of Christ and the apostles against heretics.

Quote:Third, Eastern Orthodoxy teaches the adoration of the saints.

Absolutely not. We venerate (respect) saints. We do not adore (worship) them.

Before everyone agreed on what books belonged in the Bible, and especially before the printing press made Bibles something readily available that everyone could own, the faith was often taught orally and pictorially. Icons in the church are a way to preserve the stories where all can see.

Quote:To see someone praying in front of an alter of icons or statues, it looks as if prayers are being made to these objects. Theological distinctions don’t take away from a practical reality. [b]This is either idolatry or very close to it.

Confusing an icon of Christ with Christ himself is like confusing a picture of your wife with your actual wife. You might look at the picture, you might kiss it if the two of you are far apart, but you’d never mistake the picture for the real woman.

Statues are much more of a Roman Catholic thing than an Orthodox thing, but they’re not necessarily wrong either. After all, God had the Israelites carve angels on the side of the Ark of the Covenant. I think it’s a safe assumption the Israelites – for all the reverence they treated the ark with – knew that were worshipping God and not the carvings of the angels. Same goes for the bronze serpent in the desert.


What happened, evidently, is that the church began to see itself as the authority instead of seeing itself as under the authority of the Word of God.[/quote]

The word of God refers to the Church as “the pillar and foundation of the truth.” Christ’s church and His word aren’t locked into some sort of battle where we have to pick one: they’re both part of the Holy Tradition passed down from the Apostles.

And... I just realized you were looking for Michael to respond, not me. Hopefully I have been helpful. If not, I'll go ahead and preemptively pass the talking stick forward.
06-06-2019 10:04 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
Orthodox teaches salvation by theosis, which is the process of becoming like Christ, in word, deed, and thought. It's a gradual cleansing of the human soul in preparation for judgement. You want to become as "pure" as possible before you die.

From this concept, you are expected to love your neighbor as you love yourself and perform charity on the less fortunate, but those acts alone will not lead to salvation, so to say that "Orthodox believe in salvation by works" is not true, but from right faith, right actions and behaviors logically follow (otherwise, what speak of your faith?).

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06-06-2019 10:21 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
Confession of sins and receiving communion are part of the process of theosis.
06-06-2019 10:31 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-06-2019 10:04 PM)Emperor Constantine Wrote:  
Quote:First, Eastern Orthodoxy teaches salvation by works.
No

Ah but you're wrong.
https://oca.org/questions/teaching/faith-and-works

Quote:Orthodox Christianity teaches that belief in Jesus must be combined with putting that belief into action—feeding the hungry, ministering to others, etc. Both essential.

We read in the epistles: “Faith without works is dead.”
One can indeed “believe” in Christ and yet lead a life that betrays that belief. Hence belief alone is not sufficient. “Not all who say ‘Lord, Lord’ will have a place in my Kingdom.”

Now frankly this isn't the truest answer of what theosis is. I don't like this because it's lazy and makes me question the American Orthodox Church's authenticity. The true answer is far far more complicated.


(06-06-2019 10:04 PM)Emperor Constantine Wrote:  
Quote:Again, it’s very clear from the New Testament teachings that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone.

Also no. That’s far from clear, given the enormous number of times Jesus mentions what people do affecting their eternity. Our when Paul mentions it. Or when Paul waxes poetic about love being more important than faith. Not to mention the only place in the Bible that mentions faith alone: James chapter 2.
[/quote]

The fact that it is mentioned once in James is inconsequential. It's mentioned once and it makes it the true inherent word of God.

It's the intention of the good works that is what Paul and Jesus are referring to. Are you doing good works to cover your ass to get into the good place or are you doing it because you are so moved by Jesus' message, ministry, and selfless gift to mankind to perform those good acts?

It's what theosis is (and thanks Roosh for mentioning it because I am familiar with it). Another Orthodox adherent correctly differentiated the truth here:

Quote:We are first "justified by faith" and then "empowered by God for good works and deeds of righteousness." Orthodoxy believes one has to acquire faith then become righteous so that he can do good works. In essence, one follows the other. However, we do not discuss the one versus the other, as we look at them as a total unit. We believe that they are in union with one another; one cannot exist without the other in order to achieve salvation. It is up to us to commit to and acquire faith through God's mercy, so that we will see the need and have the will to do good works and deeds of righteousness, in the hope we will obtain God's final grace as the last Judment. Good works is "a necessary consequence of a faith-filled heart," but it is only part of the requirement of salvation. One cannot skip from justification of a faith-filled heart directly to the final step of being saved without performing good works and deeds of righteousness. The two are intimately linked, which allows believers to be assured of salvation through a changed heart and changed actions. —A.S. Bogeatzes

Which ironically isn't that far off from the Lutheran explanation of it.

Quote:Before God only those works are good which are done for the glory of God and the good of man, according to the rule of divine Law. Such works, however, no man performs unless he first believes that God has forgiven him his sins and has given him eternal life by grace, for Christ's sake, without any works of his own, John 15:4, 5. We reject as a great folly the assertion, frequently made in our day, that works must be placed in the fore, and "faith in dogmas" — meaning the Gospel of Christ crucified for the sins of the world — must be relegated to the rear. Since good works never precede faith, but are always and in every instance the result of faith in the Gospel, it is evident that the only means by which we Christians can become rich in good works (and God would have us to be rich in good works, Titus 2:14) is unceasingly to remember the grace of God which we have received in Christ, Rom. 12:1; 2 Cor. 8:9. Hence we reject as unchristian and foolish any attempt to produce good works by the compulsion of the Law or through carnal motives.

https://www.lcms.org/about/beliefs/doctr...l-position

(06-06-2019 10:04 PM)Emperor Constantine Wrote:  
Quote:However, after the early generation of Christians, after the death of the original Apostles, after the 1st Century, the church began to move away from the simple message of salvation by faith alone as taught by the Apostle Paul and others in the New Testament writings, and began to move in the direction of moral living as a means to salvation.

Find someone who noticed this happening while it was happening, and it can be entertained as a possibility. Until then it’s just the opinion of the guy writing the article. I don’t want to come across as rude when I say this, because I know the author is sincere; but the idea that there were massive doctrinal changes after the death of the last apostle is totally unsupportable. No one at the time noticed it happening, Christian or nonchristian.

What happens is that modern theologians reinterpret what the New Testament meant, notice they don’t agree with the people who were taught in-person by the apostles, then decide there must have been a secret apostasy.

Oh i know mate, and this is what we're all arguing over.

There needs to be a simpler metric for identifying true heretics because you'll get church leaders calling out stuff like that and it divides more than it needs to in a day where traditionalism is under attack. The whole purpose of "unity" is to find common ground in doctrine in the fight against the onslaught of atheism, islam, and other modern deleterious elements as the saved of Jesus Christ.

What also is missed in all of this is that the schism of 1054 and also the Reformation had immense political (ie non religious and doctrinal) machiniations at play that nowadays are ignored when they played a massive part in these fractures occurred.

The fact that Constantinople by 1054 was a major City and the seat of an empire and Rome was nothing more than a shell of its former shell played as much of a role in fracturing the two churches as much as doctrine itself.

So the next time someone whips out that blasphemy line, don't forget what else occurred at that time to drive the wedge in firmly.

(06-06-2019 10:04 PM)Emperor Constantine Wrote:  
Quote:Second, Eastern Orthodoxy teaches church infallibility.

Definitely not. For the first ten centuries of Christianity heresy was everywhere in the Church, and it still happens today although things have calmed down somewhat. At one point most bishops were Arian. Maintaining doctrinal fidelity has been a constant struggle for our whole history.

Just like Protestants, we believe all our beliefs are correct. But that doesn’t extend to thinking we’re infallibile. That’s an exclusively Roman Catholic teaching.

The Orthodox Church believes in the infallibility of the ecumenical councils. Tomatow tomatoe, but it's still infallibility. Though i'm no better because Lutherans feel similarly on certain early church councils.

(06-06-2019 10:04 PM)Emperor Constantine Wrote:  
Quote:But for Eastern Orthodox Christians, as well as Roman Catholics, the church is above the Bible in authority, if not in theory, in practice.

The Church decided which books would be included in the New Testament, and the canon wasn’t settled until the later half of the first millennia AD. That’s why the Oriental Churches, which split from the Byzantine Church around the fifth century still don’t have a unified New Testament canon.

They all have the same beliefs, but which books they have in their Bible varies from place to place.

As Roosh pointed out, the authority is God, and His word and His church are both part of how He reveals himself to us.

This is all good, but you don't really address the original point of the argument. That's fine because I'm damn exhausted here.

(06-06-2019 10:04 PM)Emperor Constantine Wrote:  
Quote:Orthodoxy prides itself on being true to the original and early traditions of Christianity – and that is true if we consider up to the time of the first seven ecumenical councils as the cut-off point. But why not go further back, even earlier, and make the early church and the New Testament the cut-off point? Why not consider this true orthodoxy? Why not see the Bible as the only infallible test and not try to make the church organization infallible? The infallible church was an erroneous teaching in Catholicism, and it’s an erroneous teaching in Orthodoxy as well. It makes no sense in either case.

There would be no Bible if not for the Church, so making it the sole authority wouldn’t work so well. Especially if you lived before it was put together.

The seven Ecumenical Councils didn’t add new teachings – they defended the teachings of Christ and the apostles against heretics.

I task you to review again and look at what the councils were affirming. The early church had competing ideas on several things.

The Arians weren't technically heretics. They were talking what the bible was teaching literally. The trinity isn't mentioned anywhere in the new testament.

However the trinity can be inferred by what is written and Jesus tasks us with looking beyond empty ritual for more spirituality.

The councils were settling competing theological arguments.

(06-06-2019 10:04 PM)Emperor Constantine Wrote:  
Quote:Third, Eastern Orthodoxy teaches the adoration of the saints.

Absolutely not. We venerate (respect) saints. We do not adore (worship) them.

Before everyone agreed on what books belonged in the Bible, and especially before the printing press made Bibles something readily available that everyone could own, the faith was often taught orally and pictorially. Icons in the church are a way to preserve the stories where all can see.

Quote:To see someone praying in front of an alter of icons or statues, it looks as if prayers are being made to these objects. Theological distinctions don’t take away from a practical reality. [b]This is either idolatry or very close to it.

Confusing an icon of Christ with Christ himself is like confusing a picture of your wife with your actual wife. You might look at the picture, you might kiss it if the two of you are far apart, but you’d never mistake the picture for the real woman.

Statues are much more of a Roman Catholic thing than an Orthodox thing, but they’re not necessarily wrong either. After all, God had the Israelites carve angels on the side of the Ark of the Covenant. I think it’s a safe assumption the Israelites – for all the reverence they treated the ark with – knew that were worshipping God and not the carvings of the angels. Same goes for the bronze serpent in the desert.


What happened, evidently, is that the church began to see itself as the authority instead of seeing itself as under the authority of the Word of God.

The word of God refers to the Church as “the pillar and foundation of the truth.” Christ’s church and His word aren’t locked into some sort of battle where we have to pick one: they’re both part of the Holy Tradition passed down from the Apostles.

And... I just realized you were looking for Michael to respond, not me. Hopefully I have been helpful. If not, I'll go ahead and preemptively pass the talking stick forward.
[/quote]

I don't really have a bone to pick with this one, because I do enjoy the murals, paintings, and other art that you find in Catholic and Orthodox churches. It adds something to the experience.

However, one mans veneration is another mans' worship. I find a lot of people who claim to be venerating are clearly worshipping. It's a little odd and I don't think either churches do a good enough job of discouraging the practice.

Good talk! I enjoyed this.

Shalom Alechem!
(This post was last modified: 06-07-2019 12:40 AM by The Beast1.)
06-06-2019 11:53 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-06-2019 08:53 PM)Dr. Howard Wrote:  
(06-06-2019 05:48 AM)Josue Wrote:  You let me intrigued with "female preachers", do they truly exist?, coming from a person that has been in churches all his life (my father is a deacon, I was an altar boy), I have never seen a single one, or perhaps you are talking about nuns?.

They exist. In North America I have seen them as United and Presbyterian Ministers.

Here is Canada's most famous one,

[Image: torontocanada-cheri-dinovo-during-church...GB2C09.jpg]

She was the leader of the Battle of Canada to ban Roosh during the Ontario Campaign.

The Episcopal Church in the USA actually has female priests. They've had a female archbishop as well.
06-07-2019 01:09 AM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-06-2019 10:04 PM)Emperor Constantine Wrote:  Snip

Quote:Absolutely not. We venerate (respect) saints. We do not adore (worship) them.

What's the difference in practice therefore? One can make the semantic distinction. But what about the actions that distinguish?


I think it’s a safe assumption the Israelites – for all the reverence they treated the ark with – knew that were worshipping God and not the carvings of the angels. Same goes for the bronze serpent in the desert.


Indeed I agree that the ark is treated with reverence especially because the glory of God was present upon the mercy seat. So I think they venerated the glory who is manifest presence of the angel of God who likewise is God.

The Ark ceased to be significant later on. Once the Glory departed for good from the Ark. Making it only a beautiful work of art once that happened.

As for the bronze serpent. They looked in that direction because God directed them to do so. But I don't see them doing more than that to save their lives in obedience to God. Like venerating it.

Quote:Confusing an icon of Christ with Christ himself is like confusing a picture of your wife with your actual wife. You might look at the picture, you might kiss it if the two of you are far apart, but you’d never mistake the picture for the real woman.

Indeed. Although it definitely involves more than that which would cross the line in the eyes of many.

I think whilst God through Isaiah was right in the Pagans(Isaiah 44:6-23). In regards to the truth about idolatry. Pagans actually don't mistake the idol for their actual God either. But as a representation/symbol of their God or as a conduit for their God.

Hence they are venerating their God through their idols or images.
06-07-2019 08:01 AM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
I had a realization this morning after thinking on this discussion and praying on it.

I was going to try and discuss other things that the churches do like baptizing babies (and that you can't go to heaven if you're not baptized), the Pope's infallibility when speaking from the throne, confession (which does not appear in the Bible.) the kissing of the feet of statues, and other idolatry and worship of graven images that appear in the Church.

Now I feel like Bible says you should be doing the work of the Gospel which is leading people to Christ.

A better thread would have been "common questions and answers for ministering to non-believers." You guys always seem to find truth one way or another so I’m sure you’ll sort out whatever you’re doing with your faith and practices. I hope you hold the Word’s teachings over the church's and use it to test practices in the church and not vice-versa.

There's some other stuff I’ve read in the Bible about the Ascension of Christ and when the apostles heard God's words come from the sky. God said that he was pleased with Jesus. One of the apostles said they have it *even more sure* word than that voice they heard during The Ascension of Christ into heaven which is written scripture.

Quote:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy;
whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
2 Peter


Having said that, It's probably better for me to concentrate on other things. (Like how I'm going to minister to people and how I'm going to resist daily temptations.) I could go my whole life pleasing God without the church but I couldn't do that without the Bible. I can minister without the church but not without the Bible.

When I go back to Serbia I'm going to attend Orthodox church. Hopefully again with my girlfriend and her family. (After we're married.) After I go to the service a few times I'll make a judgment if Orthodox religion is for me or not. If there's too much contraction of the Bible in the service, (and since there's no way to tell which of those traditions God is happy with if they're not mentioned in the Bible) I’ll just stick with the Word.

I know anything that’s in the Bible is good and pleases God but I can’t say the same for any church with certainty. Like anything else I’ll use what I can to help me serve Him and ignore the rest. The Bible has never let me down.

Right now I need to get my own house in order with my personal sanctification and deciding how I’m going to minister to people instead of arguing the validity of practices in churches and exactly what to pray. I already have some experience with ministry and know how to lead people to Christ.

I want to be with others who working for the Lord and leading many people to Him and ultimately salvation through Christ.

Please pray for me.

The tone and civility of these discussions is the best on the internet and is a testament to how great this forum is. (I guess in a way this forum is or will become Roosh's ministry. I'll be a regular attendant for as long as it's around.) I I encourage you guys to keep discussing and I'll pop in to learn something and comment as often as I can.

Hopefully soon I'll be able to make another thread about ministry after I put in some work.
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06-07-2019 02:10 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-07-2019 02:10 PM)PainPositive Wrote:  I had a realization this morning after thinking on this discussion and praying on it.

I was going to try and discuss other things that the churches do like baptizing babies (and that you can't go to heaven if you're not baptized), the Pope's infallibility when speaking from the throne, confession (which does not appear in the Bible.) the kissing of the feet of statues, and other idolatry and worship of graven images that appear in the Church.

Now I feel like Bible says you should be doing the work of the Gospel which is leading people to Christ.

A better thread would have been "common questions and answers for ministering to non-believers." You guys always seem to find truth one way or another so I’m sure you’ll sort out whatever you’re doing with your faith and practices. I hope you hold the Word’s teachings over the church's and use it to test practices in the church and not vice-versa.

There's some other stuff I’ve read in the Bible about the Ascension of Christ and when the apostles heard God's words come from the sky. God said that he was pleased with Jesus. One of the apostles said they have it *even more sure* word than that voice they heard during The Ascension of Christ into heaven which is written scripture.

Quote:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy;
whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
2 Peter


Having said that, It's probably better for me to concentrate on other things. (Like how I'm going to minister to people and how I'm going to resist daily temptations.) I could go my whole life pleasing God without the church but I couldn't do that without the Bible. I can minister without the church but not without the Bible.

When I go back to Serbia I'm going to attend Orthodox church. Hopefully again with my girlfriend and her family. (After we're married.) After I go to the service a few times I'll make a judgment if Orthodox religion is for me or not. If there's too much contraction of the Bible in the service, (and since there's no way to tell which of those traditions God is happy with if they're not mentioned in the Bible) I’ll just stick with the Word.

I know anything that’s in the Bible is good and pleases God but I can’t say the same for any church with certainty. Like anything else I’ll use what I can to help me serve Him and ignore the rest. The Bible has never let me down.

Right now I need to get my own house in order with my personal sanctification and deciding how I’m going to minister to people instead of arguing the validity of practices in churches and exactly what to pray. I already have some experience with ministry and know how to lead people to Christ.

I want to be with others who working for the Lord and leading many people to Him and ultimately salvation through Christ.

Please pray for me.

The tone and civility of these discussions is the best on the internet and is a testament to how great this forum is. (I guess in a way this forum is or will become Roosh's ministry. I'll be a regular attendant for as long as it's around.) I I encourage you guys to keep discussing and I'll pop in to learn something and comment as often as I can.

Hopefully soon I'll be able to make another thread about ministry after I put in some work.
PP

Amazing! I agree that spreading the gospel is what our job is after realizing our own salvation. This is also supported by the parable of the talents/coins and being the light of the world.

I also only have one victory under my belt so far, but it is an incredible feeling of accomplishment when you can witness someone you introduced to the gospel being baptized or otherwise confirming their own salvation.

go ahead and start a Ministry/good news/sharing the gospel thread. I was already thinking of hijacking the "good news only" thread for that purpose.

Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? Psalm 2:1 KJV
06-07-2019 02:59 PM
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Post: #44
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-06-2019 10:21 PM)Roosh Wrote:  Orthodox teaches salvation by theosis, which is the process of becoming like Christ, in word, deed, and thought. It's a gradual cleansing of the human soul in preparation for judgement. You want to become as "pure" as possible before you die.
From this concept, you are expected to love your neighbor as you love yourself and perform charity on the less fortunate, but those acts alone will not lead to salvation, so to say that "Orthodox believe in salvation by works" is not true, but from right faith, right actions and behaviors logically follow (otherwise, what speak of your faith?).

Christians have been debating Faith vs. Works for two millennia.

I have come to believe that Faith is something given by God. No person can choose to have faith... it is a gift of grace. From that faith flows works. If you do not see good works then you can make a reasonable guess that the person has no real faith and is not saved.

Most modern people do not like the idea that God chooses who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. They like the idea that each person chooses for themselves, because then they have control over it. The idea that God is behind all the evils of the world along with the good also bothers them quite a bit... because fundamentally modern people believe they have the right to judge God. We live in a conceited time.
06-07-2019 03:35 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
^Really only 500 years, but you still make valuable points.

The church never had a problem with faith or works quite simply. To oppose them, as was done in the protestant reformation, is a Catholic protestant showdown or issue. "Faith alone" is not even in the Bible, for those who are obsessed with the Bible, but still make this foolish statement, is quite telling.

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06-07-2019 05:44 PM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-07-2019 05:44 PM)Kid Twist Wrote:  ^Really only 500 years, but you still make valuable points.
The church never had a problem with faith or works quite simply. To oppose them, as was done in the protestant reformation, is a Catholic protestant showdown or issue. "Faith alone" is not even in the Bible, for those who are obsessed with the Bible, but still make this foolish statement, is quite telling.

Sorry but I had to respond to this. Please don't call people fools. You should know the Bible well before you make such a statement. Here are some verses that reject your claim.

Quote:8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Ephesians 2:8

Quote:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
-1 John 5:13

Quote:He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
- John 3:36

Quote:25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
- John 10:25-29

Quote:Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
- Romans 3:28

Quote:What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture?
Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his [b]faith is counted for righteousness.[/b]
- Romans 4:1-5

Quote:But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.
- Jonah 2:9

Quote:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
- Eph. 14-10

Quote:21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,
22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
- 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Quote:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.
Colossians 21-22

Quote:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism.
- Ephesians 4-5

Quote:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
- Ephesians 4:30

Quote:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans 38-39

Quote:27 Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.
28 My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.
29 His seed also will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven.
30 If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;
31 If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;
32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.
(Note: This doesn't say hell)
33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.
34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.

36 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.
37 It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.
- PSALMS 89 27-37

Quote:15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
-1 Corinthians 3:15

Quote:Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
- Jude 24

Quote:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
- Romans 20-25

Quote:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
- 1 Corinthians 1:7-9

Quote:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
- Ephesians 4:30


Quote:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
- 2 Timothy 1:12

Quote:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
- Ephesians 2:16

Quote:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
- Psalm 37:23-24

Quote:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
- Ephesians 1:5

Quote:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
- Joel 2:32

Quote:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
- Acts 2:21

Quote:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
-Romans 1:23

Quote:"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
-Titus 3:5

Quote:"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."
-John 10:9

Quote:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
John 5:11-13

Quote:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
John 5:24

I am obviously one of those people who are "obsessed" with the Bible. Heart
06-07-2019 08:29 PM
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Post: #47
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
I liked the way this article tackles the Faith vs. Works discussion from the Orthodox point of view:

Salvation Is Indeed By Grace
Quote:At a recent, post-liturgical coffee hour, a catechumen raised a question that has troubled many people who were brought up in a Protestant environment and at some point found themselves drawn to Orthodoxy. “If we are saved by grace, and not by works,” he asked, “why does the Orthodox Church put so much stress on ascetic practice? Why should it be necessary, or even useful, to fast as we do, to make countless prostrations during Great Lent, to stand for hours through long services, and even to give so much money to the Church?” (He was preparing to enter a parish in the Southern Diocese, where tithing is usually considered an important part of personal spiritual discipline.) Then he added, “Aren’t all these things works? And what happens if I don’t do them? Am I cast out of the Kingdom and basically condemned to hell?”

The discussion went on for some time, until the coffee ran out and most people went home. He stayed, though, and continued his questioning with the priest, who later admitted he had the feeling that on some level this catechumen was getting the better of him.

Finally the man pulled out a pocket Bible and opened to Colossians 3. Selecting a few verses to make his point, he read: “Why do you submit to regulations, ‘Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch’ (referring to things that all perish as they are used), according to human precepts and doctrines? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigor of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgences of the flesh.”

“Why, then,” he asked, “do the Orthodox submit to such regulations: ‘Do not eat (this or that),’ or ‘Do this, that, and the other thing,’ in order to be a ‘good Christian’? Isn’t it enough to ‘love God and my neighbor as myself’?”

It was a good question. While there’s a perfectly reasonable and satisfactory answer to his objection, it seems worthwhile for all of us to think about these things, in an effort to understand just why ascetic practice and spiritual discipline in general are so important in Christian life.

Our rebellion against God and his will touches every aspect of our existence. “Sin” or “sinfulness” is not just an accumulation of specific acts of disobedience or willfulness that in some way violate the commandments. It is more than the sum total of our individual sins. Those sins are symptomatic of something broader and deeper that virtually defines us, that characterizes our every act and attitude. Sin is a state of being that permeates all aspects of our life, conscious and unconscious, physical as well as spiritual. In fact, the distinction we usually make between what is physical and what is spiritual is artificial and misleading. The human person can only be understood holistically. Our bodily gestures affect our psycho-spiritual disposition, just as our spiritual state can affect our body. Nothing attests to this fact more eloquently than the Orthodox service of Holy Unction, with its emphasis on the forgiveness of sins as integral to the quest for healing.

This point brings us back to the question of ascetic discipline and the place of “works” in our salvation. First of all, it is important to recognize that the apostle Paul is speaking to the Colossians about performing religious rituals prescribed either by the Torah, Hebrew law, or by pagan forms of worship. The admonition, “Don’t handle, taste or touch,” has to do with various religious practices that were considered by many as necessary to enter into the sacred realm of divinity. Repeatedly (especially in his letters to the Romans and Galatians), Paul insists that our salvation is accomplished wholly and uniquely by Christ: by his voluntary death on the Cross, by which he descended into the realm of death (Sheol), in order to defeat the powers of death and corruption. This is a work of pure grace that only God can accomplish. And this is why it is so essential to recognize and accept the fact that Jesus of Nazareth is truly the incarnate, eternal Son of God. Our salvation is made possible precisely by the “work” of the Holy Trinity, a work no created being can accomplish.

So we, as Orthodox Christians, affirm as clearly and unambiguously as any Lutheran, for example, that “salvation is by grace” and not by our works. Unlike medieval Catholicism, Orthodoxy does not hold that a person can build up a “treasury of merits” that will count in our favor at the Judgment Seat of Christ. What will matter then is our having surrendered our sin to God through confession, and our gestures of love (Mt. 25), together with the unshakable conviction that “Jesus Christ is Lord,” and the unique Way to eternal life.

Orthodoxy does recognize, however, the importance of our “cooperation” with God, what we term “synergy.” “Salvation,” as we usually understand the word, is only the beginning of a pilgrimage that leads us through this life, through our physical death, and into life beyond. Salvation, accomplished by the death and resurrection of Christ, means freedom from the consequences of our sinfulness: separation from the holiness and love of the God who desires only that we be saved and enter into eternal and joyful communion with himself. If we were not continually tempted to fall back into sin, there would be no need for such a “synergy.” Then we could declare, with absolute confidence, “once saved, always saved!” Temptation and spiritual struggle, however, mark every day of our life. And the way we face and, by the grace of God, overcome those forces (demonic powers), is precisely through the “spiritual warfare,” the ascetic struggle that enables us to confront those forces day by day and overcome their destructive influence.

This is why, in the same letter to the Colossians, the apostle can declare: “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, the Church” (1:24). We may not suffer as Paul did, risking our very life for the gospel, enduring torture, hardship, hunger and rejection by one’s own people. Nevertheless, our small efforts, of fasting, prostrations, intense participation in long liturgical services—like almsgiving and other acts of love offered to those in need—enable us also to share in Christ’s own sufferings, which he will endure in us and for us until he comes again in glory. That participation is essential; yet it is not the means by which we are saved.

The final word, as so often, comes from our Lord himself. Condemning the Pharisees for their hypocritical observance of empty ritual, he accuses them of performing small religious acts while “neglecting the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.” And he concludes, “These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others” (Mt 23:23). Those “others” include precisely the sorts of ascetic practices Orthodox tradition calls us and invites us to assume—not to achieve salvation, but to bring heart, soul, mind and body into harmony with the ineffable gift of salvation that Christ has already offered to us.
06-08-2019 02:12 AM
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Post: #48
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
Filip's answer above is more or less what I was going to say, but better-worded. That said, I do want to address what another poster said recently in this conversation, that about how the Orthodox "moved away from Paul's simple Gospel of salvation to being more about morality and righteousness," or something along those lines. This is a fairly common Protestant way of thinking, but it tends to cherry-pick one or two verses while ignoring the overall context of the message - and all the other relevant verses that go along with it.

The idea that what you do with your body doesn't really matter, so long as your soul is "saved," is called "antinomianism." It's closer to gnosticism than Christianity, and one could easily argue that Luther himself was an antinomian (despite his writing against it), as his whole theology was debatably based on his own failure to improve morally and his subsequent psychological "break" from it all. If you read a good biography of Luther, you will see why: he was so obsessed with being righteous, at first, that he would often confess for hours at a time - to the point where his priest was tired of dealing with him. So he went from one extreme to the other, from full-on "works salvation" to full-on "your actions don't really matter that much salvation."

But this is not the Gospel, and the Bible easily disproves it. You could also argue that the culture of casual sex is based on the same gnostic separation of soul and body, since it teaches that what you do with one has no effect on the other (or worse, that bodily sin is actually GOOD for you - another gnostic idea that found its peak in the teachings of Carpocrates).

The Scriptures are full of the concept that our actions matter. For example, St. Paul writes in Romans 8:13, "For if you live after the flesh, you shall die, but if you through the Spirit do put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live." Commenting on this verse, St. Ambrose of Milan writes that "It is not strange that one who puts to death the deeds of the flesh will live, since one who has the Spirit of God becomes a son of God."

A few lines later, in Romans 8:29, St. Paul writes that "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Commenting on this verse, St. John Chrysostom writes "What a superb honor! For what the only begotten Son was by nature, we have become by grace. Christ His human nature has become the first born of many brethren, even though in His divine nature He remains the only begotten."

How can we be "conformed to the image of His Son" if we continue to live in filth and degeneracy? Christ was absolutely sinless in thought, word, and deed. If we are to become like Him - the process of salvation which the Orthodox call "theosis" - then surely, we must renew our mind, heart, and soul to transcend above the carnal pleasures that keep us enslaved to the flesh. The idea that once you're "saved" it's OK to live in sin might make people feel good, but lots of things that feel good are bad for you - and that idea is one of them.

Consider that in the first half of 1 Corinthians 6:9, St. Paul writes that "Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" And just to make sure you know he doesn't mean "you're righteous automatically through faith so do what you want," he finishes the verse with "Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

He never deviates from this message, writing in Galatians 5:19-25 that, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strife, jealousy, wrath, selfishness, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of which I tell you beforehand, as I have also told you in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."

He often comments that many members of the flock USED to be and do those things before they converted and joined the Church. This, clearly, means they are no longer doing them. In fact, it seems like we can extrapolate that the reason he mentions these things several times is that some in the ancient flock may have thought "well I believe in Jesus now, so I can keep living a worldly life and I'll be fine." Just like some do today.

But the answer he gave 2,000 years ago is the same answer the Church gives now: your actions matter, a lot. They matter due to the fact that others will judge the faith by your actions, they matter because your salvation is at stake, and they matter because Christ came to heal our passions and the ancient wound - not just to make us feel better while continuing to suffer from them. Do we believe we can "work our way to Heaven?" No. Do we believe in the divine inspiration of the Scriptures and the need to obey what it commands, to the best of our ability? Yes.

For a straightforward, precise, and easy-to-understand summary of the "inner" Orthodox life and how we are called to live it - as well as some tools which the Church gives to help us do so - here is a great website I recommend, which deserves far more credit and visibility than it gets:

https://www.unseenwarfare.net/intro1

Return Of Kings contributor and best-selling author of "On The Mason And Their Lies."
(This post was last modified: 06-08-2019 02:42 AM by MichaelWitcoff.)
06-08-2019 02:35 AM
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Post: #49
RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-08-2019 02:35 AM)MichaelWitcoff Wrote:  Filip's answer above is more or less what I was going to say, but better-worded. That said, I do want to address what another poster said recently in this conversation, that about how the Orthodox "moved away from Paul's simple Gospel of salvation to being more about morality and righteousness," or something along those lines. This is a fairly common Protestant way of thinking, but it tends to cherry-pick one or two verses while ignoring the overall context of the message - and all the other relevant verses that go along with it.

The idea that what you do with your body doesn't really matter, so long as your soul is "saved," is called "antinomianism." It's closer to gnosticism than Christianity, and one could easily argue that Luther himself was an antinomian (despite his writing against it), as his whole theology was debatably based on his own failure to improve morally and his subsequent psychological "break" from it all. If you read a good biography of Luther, you will see why: he was so obsessed with being righteous, at first, that he would often confess for hours at a time - to the point where his priest was tired of dealing with him. So he went from one extreme to the other, from full-on "works salvation" to full-on "your actions don't really matter that much salvation."

But this is not the Gospel, and the Bible easily disproves it. You could also argue that the culture of casual sex is based on the same gnostic separation of soul and body, since it teaches that what you do with one has no effect on the other (or worse, that bodily sin is actually GOOD for you - another gnostic idea that found its peak in the teachings of Carpocrates).

The Scriptures are full of the concept that our actions matter. For example, St. Paul writes in Romans 8:13, "For if you live after the flesh, you shall die, but if you through the Spirit do put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live." Commenting on this verse, St. Ambrose of Milan writes that "It is not strange that one who puts to death the deeds of the flesh will live, since one who has the Spirit of God becomes a son of God."

A few lines later, in Romans 8:29, St. Paul writes that "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Commenting on this verse, St. John Chrysostom writes "What a superb honor! For what the only begotten Son was by nature, we have become by grace. Christ His human nature has become the first born of many brethren, even though in His divine nature He remains the only begotten."

How can we be "conformed to the image of His Son" if we continue to live in filth and degeneracy? Christ was absolutely sinless in thought, word, and deed. If we are to become like Him - the process of salvation which the Orthodox call "theosis" - then surely, we must renew our mind, heart, and soul to transcend above the carnal pleasures that keep us enslaved to the flesh. The idea that once you're "saved" it's OK to live in sin might make people feel good, but lots of things that feel good are bad for you - and that idea is one of them.

Consider that in the first half of 1 Corinthians 6:9, St. Paul writes that "Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" And just to make sure you know he doesn't mean "you're righteous automatically through faith so do what you want," he finishes the verse with "Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

He never deviates from this message, writing in Galatians 5:19-25 that, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strife, jealousy, wrath, selfishness, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of which I tell you beforehand, as I have also told you in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."

He often comments that many members of the flock USED to be and do those things before they converted and joined the Church. This, clearly, means they are no longer doing them. In fact, it seems like we can extrapolate that the reason he mentions these things several times is that some in the ancient flock may have thought "well I believe in Jesus now, so I can keep living a worldly life and I'll be fine." Just like some do today.

But the answer he gave 2,000 years ago is the same answer the Church gives now: your actions matter, a lot. They matter due to the fact that others will judge the faith by your actions, they matter because your salvation is at stake, and they matter because Christ came to heal our passions and the ancient wound - not just to make us feel better while continuing to suffer from them. Do we believe we can "work our way to Heaven?" No. Do we believe in the divine inspiration of the Scriptures and the need to obey what it commands, to the best of our ability? Yes.

For a straightforward, precise, and easy-to-understand summary of the "inner" Orthodox life and how we are called to live it - as well as some tools which the Church gives to help us do so - here is a great website I recommend, which deserves far more credit and visibility than it gets:

https://www.unseenwarfare.net/intro1

An excellent point, I am a protestant 'faith alone' guy but I believe works are important as they are the fruit of repentance and salvation.

First, internally, works as a result of receiving the gospel, is someone isn't motivated to change their lives, prune out the bad habits and improve themselves as the brother of Christ...do they really believe and have they actually taken to heart the words that Jesus said?

Second, outwardly, acts of ministry and charity. If you truly believe that you have received the greatest gift to mankind, for free, and that others can have it also, why aren't you sharing it? If you believe that we all suffer in a broken world and are prisoners of our own vices and sin, don't you have empathy towards other and a motivation to be charitable?

Third, Paul said that our own actions can be stumbling blocks to others new to the faith. The reverse is also true, our actions can show other people what it is like to follow Jesus.

Pastor Charles Lawson has some good sermon points related to this, and we should be careful as Protestants to get drawn into a 'Works don't matter all' mindset. Works don't matter for your own salvation, but they are a fruit of it as your own faith matures.

Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? Psalm 2:1 KJV
06-08-2019 06:38 AM
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RE: Religious Practices: Are they Biblical?
(06-08-2019 06:38 AM)Dr. Howard Wrote:  
(06-08-2019 02:35 AM)MichaelWitcoff Wrote:  Filip's answer above is more or less what I was going to say, but better-worded. That said, I do want to address what another poster said recently in this conversation, that about how the Orthodox "moved away from Paul's simple Gospel of salvation to being more about morality and righteousness," or something along those lines. This is a fairly common Protestant way of thinking, but it tends to cherry-pick one or two verses while ignoring the overall context of the message - and all the other relevant verses that go along with it.

The idea that what you do with your body doesn't really matter, so long as your soul is "saved," is called "antinomianism." It's closer to gnosticism than Christianity, and one could easily argue that Luther himself was an antinomian (despite his writing against it), as his whole theology was debatably based on his own failure to improve morally and his subsequent psychological "break" from it all. If you read a good biography of Luther, you will see why: he was so obsessed with being righteous, at first, that he would often confess for hours at a time - to the point where his priest was tired of dealing with him. So he went from one extreme to the other, from full-on "works salvation" to full-on "your actions don't really matter that much salvation."

But this is not the Gospel, and the Bible easily disproves it. You could also argue that the culture of casual sex is based on the same gnostic separation of soul and body, since it teaches that what you do with one has no effect on the other (or worse, that bodily sin is actually GOOD for you - another gnostic idea that found its peak in the teachings of Carpocrates).

The Scriptures are full of the concept that our actions matter. For example, St. Paul writes in Romans 8:13, "For if you live after the flesh, you shall die, but if you through the Spirit do put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live." Commenting on this verse, St. Ambrose of Milan writes that "It is not strange that one who puts to death the deeds of the flesh will live, since one who has the Spirit of God becomes a son of God."

A few lines later, in Romans 8:29, St. Paul writes that "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Commenting on this verse, St. John Chrysostom writes "What a superb honor! For what the only begotten Son was by nature, we have become by grace. Christ His human nature has become the first born of many brethren, even though in His divine nature He remains the only begotten."

How can we be "conformed to the image of His Son" if we continue to live in filth and degeneracy? Christ was absolutely sinless in thought, word, and deed. If we are to become like Him - the process of salvation which the Orthodox call "theosis" - then surely, we must renew our mind, heart, and soul to transcend above the carnal pleasures that keep us enslaved to the flesh. The idea that once you're "saved" it's OK to live in sin might make people feel good, but lots of things that feel good are bad for you - and that idea is one of them.

Consider that in the first half of 1 Corinthians 6:9, St. Paul writes that "Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" And just to make sure you know he doesn't mean "you're righteous automatically through faith so do what you want," he finishes the verse with "Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

He never deviates from this message, writing in Galatians 5:19-25 that, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strife, jealousy, wrath, selfishness, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of which I tell you beforehand, as I have also told you in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."

He often comments that many members of the flock USED to be and do those things before they converted and joined the Church. This, clearly, means they are no longer doing them. In fact, it seems like we can extrapolate that the reason he mentions these things several times is that some in the ancient flock may have thought "well I believe in Jesus now, so I can keep living a worldly life and I'll be fine." Just like some do today.

But the answer he gave 2,000 years ago is the same answer the Church gives now: your actions matter, a lot. They matter due to the fact that others will judge the faith by your actions, they matter because your salvation is at stake, and they matter because Christ came to heal our passions and the ancient wound - not just to make us feel better while continuing to suffer from them. Do we believe we can "work our way to Heaven?" No. Do we believe in the divine inspiration of the Scriptures and the need to obey what it commands, to the best of our ability? Yes.

For a straightforward, precise, and easy-to-understand summary of the "inner" Orthodox life and how we are called to live it - as well as some tools which the Church gives to help us do so - here is a great website I recommend, which deserves far more credit and visibility than it gets:

https://www.unseenwarfare.net/intro1

An excellent point, I am a protestant 'faith alone' guy but I believe works are important as they are the fruit of repentance and salvation.

First, internally, works as a result of receiving the gospel, is someone isn't motivated to change their lives, prune out the bad habits and improve themselves as the brother of Christ...do they really believe and have they actually taken to heart the words that Jesus said?

Second, outwardly, acts of ministry and charity. If you truly believe that you have received the greatest gift to mankind, for free, and that others can have it also, why aren't you sharing it? If you believe that we all suffer in a broken world and are prisoners of our own vices and sin, don't you have empathy towards other and a motivation to be charitable?

Third, Paul said that our own actions can be stumbling blocks to others new to the faith. The reverse is also true, our actions can show other people what it is like to follow Jesus.

Pastor Charles Lawson has some good sermon points related to this, and we should be careful as Protestants to get drawn into a 'Works don't matter all' mindset. Works don't matter for your own salvation, but they are a fruit of it as your own faith matures.

Agreed. Plus if one is saved. I think Jesus have given parables where his followers are given Authority(Luke 19:12-19) and given other rewards that is similar to monetary rewards on this earth like as in the parable of the talents(Matthew 25:14-30) which also indicates the created inequality that all men are.

There are those who are saved shamefully and without much reward(1 Corinthians 3:14-15).

So our deeds will matter and will determine our authority and our other rewards.

For this reason I believe in the millennial reign of Christ(Revelation 3:21) where we will be rewarded with Authority as God's Viceroys. Alongside the promise of ultra long lives for the survivors of the judgments of God prior to the 2nd coming as in the lives of a tree measured in centuries at a time(Isaiah 65:20-22).

That God will settle disputes between nations and cause worldwide peace as well as future prosperity(Isaiah 2:1-4)(Psalm 72:1–19). The millennial reign has no military expenditure. All proceeds and all efforts will be economic.

That people will be required to send representatives to worship God where he in the person of Jesus will dwell(Zecharian 14:16-21) otherwise they get no rain and other means by which they will suffer famine.This Jerusalem after the 2nd coming of Christ will be so holy that all cooking vessels in the city will be holy to God.
(This post was last modified: 06-08-2019 08:21 AM by infowarrior1.)
06-08-2019 08:18 AM
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