Christian memes

Eusebius Erasmus

Pelican
Orthodox
On a Christian forum.

It will be fun to count all the thumbs down I receive.

Also, what is your point exactly? Blasphemy is fine as long as it's a funny meme?

And if you think it's not blasphemy, look up the occurrences of "predestination" in the Bible and tell me how this meme is not blasphemy. It's a total misrepresentation of one of the most important truths of God. Or don't, since it's "just a meme thread."

There's no way I am the only person on this forum who believes God decided beforehand who would be saved, especially because it's written all over both the Old and New Testaments. I am saved by the grace of God, not my own depraved self-will. That seems like something important that shouldn't be the subject of stupid memes.
This is an Orthodox Christian forum, and it’s a meme thread.

Calvinism is a heresy, as the 1672 Synod of Jerusalem declared.
 
This is an Orthodox Christian forum, and it’s a meme thread.

Calvinism is a heresy, as the 1672 Synod of Jerusalem declared.

I don't care about "Calvinism." I could care less about John Calvin. I was talking about predestination itself, because it's a core Biblical doctrine, which is ignored, because this is an Orthodox Christian forum where every question about the Bible has already been figured out for you, by other people.

I'm not saying I understand predestination and free will. I'm saying you don't. That's why you (or whoever shares 100% of your beliefs and made that meme) should refrain from making stupid jokes about it.

Obviously I am on the losing end when I start arguing against Orthodox doctrine, on an Orthodox forum. But this is the natural course of things, I was created to use my own mind, and since I don't belong here I assume sooner or later I'll make a post that gets me banned. Let's see how it plays out. I certainly don't have anything against you all, I just think you're wrong about a lot of things.
 
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Thomas More

Hummingbird
On a Christian forum.

It will be fun to count all the thumbs down I receive.

Also, what is your point exactly? Blasphemy is fine as long as it's a funny meme?

And if you think it's not blasphemy, look up the occurrences of "predestination" in the Bible and tell me how this meme is not blasphemy. It's a total misrepresentation of one of the most important truths of God. Or don't, since it's "just a meme thread."

There's no way I am the only person on this forum who believes God decided beforehand who would be saved, especially because it's written all over both the Old and New Testaments. I am saved by the grace of God, not my own depraved self-will. That seems like something important that shouldn't be the subject of stupid memes.

The standard reply to this, which is obvious, is that humans have free will to choose God. It may be that God knows ahead of time who will choose him, but they still choose him of their own accord. The passage in Romans 8 says that God foreknew who would love him. Those who love God are doing so by their own will. They love him. They aren't just born saved by some kind of holy lottery.

Destiny is not the same as saying the universe was deterministic from the start. People still have to put in effort to fulfill their destinies. Why bother sending Christ, or telling Christians to spread the Gospel to every nation if the future is already irrevocably fixed, and every saved person was sanctified and redeemed before they even took a breath? Philippians 2:12 says we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. This is not what hardline predestinationists are teaching.

The meme is not blasphemous. It's a fair callout of the extremism of the hard predestinationist doctrine.
 

Sol Invictus

Sparrow
Orthodox Catechumen
I'm not saying I understand predestination and free will. I'm saying you don't. That's why you (or whoever shares 100% of your beliefs and made that meme) should refrain from making stupid jokes about it.
Typical Calvinist response to anyone denying Calvinist doctrines: "But...but...you don't understand it!"

Sorry, but no, there's nothing blasphemous at all with that meme.
 
Thank you for the serious replies. I acted in pride and was wrong in calling out someone else for what I considered blasphemy. I guess I did that because I gave in to emotion, which was wrong and effeminate.

Hopefully I can learn something from the Orthodox view on how predestination and free will go together, because it is a mystery to me. I have faith one day it will be revealed to me. I don't have faith that any particular man currently understands it.

Typical Calvinist response to anyone denying Calvinist doctrines: "But...but...you don't understand it!"

Sorry, but no, there's nothing blasphemous at all with that meme.

Hopefully I'm not sputtering about how other people "just don't understand"... I hoped I was over that after my teenage years. I honestly don't understand. Maybe blasphemy was the wrong word, I just thought the meme was low-class and in my mind vulgar in comparison to reverent and good things I've seen on the subject, for example sermons I've heard from Charles Spurgeon when he preaches about God's hand in salvation, as well as the sinner's free choice in going to hell.


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What I read above from Thomas More made a lot of sense and answers this.

Also there needs to be a judgment because men are free to make choices that deserve hell, and God is a perfect judge who must punish evil.

The standard reply to this, which is obvious, is that humans have free will to choose God. It may be that God knows ahead of time who will choose him, but they still choose him of their own accord. The passage in Romans 8 says that God foreknew who would love him. Those who love God are doing so by their own will. They love him. They aren't just born saved by some kind of holy lottery.

Destiny is not the same as saying the universe was deterministic from the start. People still have to put in effort to fulfill their destinies. Why bother sending Christ, or telling Christians to spread the Gospel to every nation if the future is already irrevocably fixed, and every saved person was sanctified and redeemed before they even took a breath? Philippians 2:12 says we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. This is not what hardline predestinationists are teaching.

The meme is not blasphemous. It's a fair callout of the extremism of the hard predestinationist doctrine.

I can see I was wrong to call the meme blasphemy. The way you explain, the meme makes more sense. I am not what you are calling a "hardline predestinationist." I can see that predestination and free will are both true, and I want to understand better how that works. I completely agree I need to "work out my own salvation with fear and trembling." If you have time, I would be interested to hear your take on the specific Bible passages I quoted below, from Romans 8 and 9 especially given what you said.

Personally I think you're putting the cart before the horse in saying "people have to put in effort." I think we are given grace first, and then we put in serious effort, because we are inspired to do so. The reward is given first and the works follow. Doing good is not something I would take credit for myself. I definitely believe we are free to not choose God. But I give God credit for drawing me to choose Him (John 15:16, 1 John 4:19).

I realize my thinking could be wrong. It's happened many times. If so I would love to find out now rather than when it's too late, so I am very thankful for everyone's time in replying to my rather immature post yesterday.

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Maybe one day I'll be satisfied with this as well. I don't want to call all of you wrong, because I don't know better than you. Perfect conformity to other men's ideas is just not in my nature. Maybe it should be.

The verses below are why I said predestination is a key Biblical doctrine. The mystery (to me) is how this coincides with free will, the most obvious example being Adam's sin, which passes to all of us. Even though the Bible explicitly says (Proverbs 16:4, Romans 9:22) that God created certain beings specifically to receive His wrath, I know it is also true that God is not to blame for Adam's sin. We have a free choice that coexists with God knowing and determining our fate beforehand. I know this is true, but I do not understand it, and I would like to understand better.

John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

1 John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.

John 17:1-2 Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.

Psalm 65:4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts.

Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Ephesians 1:4-5 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

Romans 8:29-30 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Romans 9:11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls

Romans 9:14-24
Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
 

Elipe

Pelican
Hopefully I can learn something from the Orthodox view on how predestination and free will go together, because it is a mystery to me. I have faith one day it will be revealed to me. I don't have faith that any particular man currently understands it.
Not Orthodox here, but my interpretation of how predestination and free will work together is to understand that God created time, and is therefore unbounded by time. And to understand that our understanding of time is most likely incorrect. Most people perceive and understand time as something where yesterday no longer exists, where the future does not exist, and where only the present exists at any given time, with the future coming into existence only when the present time reaches the time of that future. And indeed, from a subjective perspective, this is how we experience time. But it does not necessarily have to be like this for God: time may spread out before His sight like a tapestry, where each of us have woven our own piece of the tapestry through our own free will, and God simply sees it all from a different point of reference. God is as much "here" in the present as God was "here" in the past, and God is as much "here" in the present as God will be "here" in the future. That is what it means to be an eternal being.

I might compare God's perception of time to how we perceive time in a video player on the internet. At any one single point in time, the video is showing a certain instant, but we can move the slider left and right to skip back and forward in the video. Who is to say that God does not have a similar capability? And yet, because the video has been made ahead of time, that does not mean that the video overall was not a product of free will. It is a finished product of free will that is viewed deterministically.

But perhaps He does not have that capability, and instead, has the capability to perceive all possible futures and to omnisciently - or nearly omnisciently - grok all the probabilities involved. He is God. His mind is not limited in what it can process. He can think in infinitely large terms. Take the biggest, baddest supercomputer you can imagine, and multiply it by infinity.

Remember, He counts the stars by name. Perhaps He also counts the subatomic particles by name as well, and if you are able to command or simulate reality down to the subatomic level, that gives you an amazing degree of predictive power.

Perhaps there are probabilities that God accounted for in which you do not exist, but another person in your stead existed. God would love that person too, even before that person came into existence.

But personally, I tend to favor the concept of God as simply being outside time and perceiving it all at once. The God we know today is the exact same God that we will know tomorrow. The very exact same eternal God, and not just a "tomorrow" slice of that God.
 

Sol Invictus

Sparrow
Orthodox Catechumen
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Jesus is specifically addressing the apostles here, so this verse has nothing to do with predestination.

1 John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.
Of course He first loved us, we are His creation, after all. Again, nothing to do with predestination.

John 17:1-2 Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
God gives us eternal life, which isn't in dispute here. Yet again, nothing to do with predestination.

Psalm 65:4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts.
I think this verse has more to do with who God chooses for specific purposes, not for salvation. More on that in a moment.

Ephesians 1:4-5 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

Romans 8:29-30 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
These two verses are among those that the whole concept of predestination is based on. But, there are different understandings of what exactly predestination means. I'm still just a catechumen, so someone else please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding here is that "single predestination" refers to the fact that God has a plan, or opens a path for us, to choose Him. "Double Predestination" refers to the Calvinist understanding of it, that God already preordained the elect prior to Creation. I believe these verses are referring to single destination, in that God's plan for us is known to Him before our existence. The key phrase in the passage from Ephesians is "according to the purpose of his will". God has his will, but our free will means that we can choose not to accept it.

Romans 9:11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls
Salvation is not accomplished solely through the works of man. It comes to us through grace. However, accepting it requires more than a one-time event of believing it. It requires a lasting change in us to where we strive to be like Him.

Romans 9:14-24
Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
Again, same as above. Salvation comes through God's grace, not solely through the works of man.

Hope that helps clear up a few things for you.
 

newcomer

Sparrow
Orthodox Inquirer
I didnt expect this kind of interaction, its nice to see ppl being humble enough to admit they might be wrong after a huge overreaction over a (funny) meme. This forum is full of lovely ppl and im glad I can be part of it :)

Now lets get back to memes pls

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Thomas More

Hummingbird
I didnt expect this kind of interaction, its nice to see ppl being humble enough to admit they might be wrong after a huge overreaction over a (funny) meme. This forum is full of lovely ppl and im glad I can be part of it :)

Now lets get back to memes pls

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I thought the little guy won the situation in this picture? He's pretty famous, and Christ was descended from him!
 
So would you be able to put a "Jesus Loves" bumper sticker on your car or is that a blasphemy in your Church?

I don't go to church right now, Roosh, due to my stubborn nature. I don't think it's right to worship somewhere when I don't agree with what the church believes. In the Psalms David promises "I will not lift up my soul to anything false." So if I'm fully convinced church X Y or Z has even some false doctrines, I don't feel like I should go there. This leaves me with nowhere to go. It's hard on my wife too because she wants to go to church with me but I'm not willing, because as I said I don't want to do something wrong in God's eyes by worshipping falsely. So I take my prayer rule very seriously and try to make my home like a church as much as possible. I'm not sure what else to do for now.

To your question I would say yes, Jesus loves everyone. There's a lot written in Psalms about how David passionately hates evildoers and praises God highly for their destruction, but I know God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked but rather wants them to repent and be saved. At the same time the Bible states God somehow decided beforehand who would be saved. I didn't just make it up myself, it's written. I included the verses.

After my initial, humiliating overreaction about the meme, I am trying to get a better understanding of how predestination and free will go together. From my relatively short study of the Bible, I can tell both are important truths.
 
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Jesus is specifically addressing the apostles here, so this verse has nothing to do with predestination.

Of course He first loved us, we are His creation, after all. Again, nothing to do with predestination.

God gives us eternal life, which isn't in dispute here. Yet again, nothing to do with predestination.

I think this verse has more to do with who God chooses for specific purposes, not for salvation.

my understanding here is that "single predestination" refers to the fact that God has a plan, or opens a path for us, to choose Him. "Double Predestination" refers to the Calvinist understanding of it, that God already preordained the elect prior to Creation. I believe these verses are referring to single destination, in that God's plan for us is known to Him before our existence. The key phrase in the passage from Ephesians is "according to the purpose of his will". God has his will, but our free will means that we can choose not to accept it.

Salvation is not accomplished solely through the works of man. It comes to us through grace. However, accepting it requires more than a one-time event of believing it. It requires a lasting change in us to where we strive to be like Him.

Again, same as above. Salvation comes through God's grace, not solely through the works of man.

Hope that helps clear up a few things for you.

Thank you for your detailed reply. This is encouraging to me, because "single predestination" makes a lot of sense.

Also, I fully agree salvation requires more than a one-time event, it's a lasting process and can be lost.

My biggest fear in this, is not giving God enough credit in my salvation, and wrongly taking the credit myself instead. That's why I lean heavily toward "God drew me by His power and saved me, even though I was dead in sin and naturally hated Him," because it humbles me completely, and exalts Him only. Also, that's how it worked in my own case. Maybe for some there's more of a choice involved, while others are more strongly pushed toward or away from salvation. I don't know.

I think this is one of the many subjects the Bible doesn't give us all the details on. I'm probably making the mistake St. John Chrysostom warned about when he wrote "it precarious and full of madness to investigate and be inquisitive about the ineffable wisdom of God," and how "the cause of such a sickness... is wanting to know all the causes of everything that happens... shamelessly investigating and being inquisitive about that which is limitless and unsearchable."

I need to take this advice, and wait for the final outcome when all the details will be made clear. I'm confident God told us all the information needed for our salvation.

One of my favorite Bible passage is from 2 Peter where we are to confirm our election by continuously striving toward self-improvement:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness... for this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love... therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
From 2 Peter 1, ESV

Thanks again for explaining those passages from an Orthodox point of view. The whole concept makes more sense now.
 

Godward

Robin
Although double predestination does not grab the complexity and mystery of Salvation, it is important that we as Christians do not fall for another form of salvational reductionism: Pelagianism. Pelagianism teaches that we can choose freely and willingly between two alternatives (Good and Evil, Heaven and Hell) without divine intervention. This is a heresy rebuked by St. Augustine and St. Jerome, and renounced by the Church at the Council of Carthage (418 AD).

In contrast, single predestination (which is Catholic and Orthodox doctrine) means that God has predestined us for Salvation, but only to the degree that we cooperate with God’s grace that is working through us. In other words: we can refuse to cooperate with God’s grace and reject Him. That is the “free will” aspect of single predestination, because that we choose of our own free will. But the choice for God is always a choice of us cooperating with God choosing us. So this choice is not “free” in the strict sense of the word. And that is because Love itself is not something we can “choose”. God’s Love is overwhelming and irresistible if we truly experience it.

That said, in this life, we will never fully comprehend the complexities of Salvation: the degree to which God foreknew our choice etcetera. It is truly a mystery and rightly so. There is no need for us to know, for the only thing we really need to know is that we have to cooperate with God’s grace.
 
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MichaelWitcoff

Hummingbird
Orthodox
If the Calvinistic understanding of predestination is true then you have no reason to tell us about it or try to convert us to your way of thinking, since we’re either saved or condemned ahead of time and nothing you do or say can change that. Right?
 
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