The Desert Fathers

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
Originally posted on RooshV.com

saint-anthony-1024x585.jpg



The Desert Fathers is a collection of ancient Christian wisdom compiled by monks. It’s primarily used to help other monastics but it can aid the lay Christian as well. Below is a selection of my favorite passages. If your faith doesn’t allow it, you may perceive the miraculous stories allegorically instead of literally.

How should we live?​

As far as I can tell, abba, I think anyone who controls himself and makes himself content with just what he needs and no more, is indeed a monk.

[…]

Poemen said, ‘Suppose there are three men living together. One lives a good life in stillness, the second is ill but gives thanks to God, the third serves the needs of others with sincerity. These three men are alike, it is as if they were all doing the same work.’

The Golden Rule​

Some of the hermits used to say, ‘Whatever you hate for yourself, do not do it to someone else. If you hate being spoken evil of, do not speak evil of another. If you hate being slandered, do not slander another. If you hate him who tries to make you despised, or wrongs you, or takes away what is yours, or anything like that, do not do such things to others. To keep this is enough for salvation.’

Arguing with others​

If anyone speaks to you on a controversial matter, do not argue with him. If he speaks well, say, “Yes.” If he speaks ill, say, “I don’t know anything about that.” Don’t argue with what he has said, and then your mind will be at peace.’

[…]

Macarius said also, ‘If you are stirred to anger when you want to reprove someone, you are gratifying your own passions. Do not lose yourself in order to save another.’

[…]

A brother who was hurt by another brother went to the Theban Sisois and said, ‘I want to get back at a brother who has hurt me.’ The hermit begged him, ‘Don’t do that, my son, leave vengeance in the hands of God.’ But he said, ‘I can’t rest till I get my own back.’ The hermit said, ‘My brother, let us pray.’ He stood and said, ‘O God, we have no further need of you, for we can take vengeance by ourselves.’ The brother heard it and fell at the hermit’s feet, saying, ‘I won’t quarrel with my brother any longer; I beg you to forgive me.’

Temptation​

Abraham [said to Sisois], ‘If in the meeting after church on Saturday and Sunday, a brother drinks three cups of wine, is it a lot?’ The hermit said, ‘If there were no Satan, it would not be much.’

Fasting​

Hyperichius said, ‘Fasting is the monk’s control over sin. The man who stops fasting is like a stallion who lusts the moment he sees a mare.’

Speech that creates immediate pleasure​

Once when I was talking to some brothers for the good of their souls they became so drowsy that they could not even keep their eyelids open. I wanted to show them that this was the devil’s work, so I started gossiping: and at once they sat up and began to enjoy what I was saying. But I said sadly, ‘We were talking of heaven just now, and your eyes were closing in slumber: but the moment the talk became frivolous, you all began to listen eagerly. I beg you then, dear brothers, since you know that this is the work of the devil, be watchful and beware of falling asleep when you are hearing about spiritual things.’

Faith in money​

A brother was leaving the world, and though he gave his goods to the poor he kept some for his own use. He went to Antony, and when Antony knew what he had done, he said, ‘If you want to be a monk, go to the village over there, buy some meat, hang it on your naked body and come back here.’ The brother went, and dogs and birds tore at his body. He came back to Antony, who asked him if he had done what he was told. He showed him his torn body. Then Antony said, ‘Those who renounce the world but want to keep their money are attacked in that way by the demons and torn in pieces.’

[…]

They said there was a working gardener who gave away all his profit in alms, and kept for himself only enough to live on. Later on Satan tempted him and said, ‘Store up a little money, as a provision to spend when you are old and infirm.’ So he made a store of coins in a big pot. It happened that he fell ill, and his foot became gangrenous, and he spent all his coins on doctors, but grew no better. An experienced doctor told him, ‘Unless we amputate your foot, the gangrene will spread through your whole body.’ So they decided to amputate it. But the night before the operation, the gardener came to his senses and was sorry for what he had done, and groaned and wept saying, ‘Lord, remember my earlier good works when I worked in the garden and served the poor.’ Then an angel of the Lord stood before him and said, ‘Where is your store of coins? Where has your trust in them gone to?’ Then he understood, and said, ‘I have sinned, Lord, forgive me, I will not do it again.’ Then the angel touched his food, and it was healed at once. He got up at dawn, and went out to the fields to work. At the appointed time the surgeon came with his instruments to amputate the foot. The people told him, ‘He went out at dawn to work in the fields. The doctor was astonished and went out to the field where he was working, and he saw him digging, and glorified God who had restored his health.

The benefit of illness​

A great deal is gained spiritually by bearing illness quietly and giving thanks to God. If we go blind, let us not be upset. We have lost one means to excellence, yet we can contemplate the glory of God with the inward eyes of the soul. If we go deaf let us remember that we shall no longer hear a lot of silly talk. If suffering has weakened the strength of your hands, you still have inner strength against the enemy’s attacks. If the whole body is afflicted by disease, your spiritual health is still increasing.’

Don’t show off your faith​

A hermit was fasting and not eating bread, and he went to visit another hermit. By chance some other pilgrims came there and the hermit made them a little vegetable soup. When they sat down to eat, the fasting hermit took a single pea which he dipped in the soup and chewed it. When they got up from the table, the hermit took him to one side and said, ‘Brother, if you visit someone, don’t make a display there of your way of life. If you want to keep your own rules, stay in your cell and never go out.’ The brother accepted the advice, and thenceforth behaved like other people and ate what was put before him.

Judging others​

In Scetis a brother was once found guilty. They assembled the brothers, and sent a message to Moses telling him to come. But he would not come. Then the presbyter sent again saying, ‘Come, for the gathering of monks is waiting for you.’ Moses got up and went. He took with him an old basket, which he filled with sand and carried on his back. They went to meet him and said, ‘What does this mean, abba?’ He said, ‘My sins run out behind me and I do not see them and I have come here today to judge another.’ They listened to him and said no more to the brother who had sinned but forgave him.

[…]

A brother said to Poemen, ‘If I see my brother sin is it really right not to tell anyone about it?’ He said, ‘When we cover our brother’s sin, God covers our sin. When we tell people about our brother’s guilt, God does the same with ours.’

[…]

A monk of the Thebaid received from God the grace of ministry, to serve the poor as they had need. In a village once he happened to be holding a love-feast. A woman dressed in rags came up to him to receive her share. When he saw the rags, he meant to take a great handful, so as to give her a big helping: but his hand was kept nearly shut, and he took only a little. Another, well-dressed, woman came up and, seeing her clothes, he meant to take a little handful for her but his hand was opened, and he took a big helping. So he asked about the women, and found that the well-dressed woman had been a lady who had sunk to poverty and still dressed well because she felt that she had a standard to maintain for her family. But the other had put on rags so that she would receive more.

Body vs soul​

Daniel said, ‘if the body is strong, the soul weakens. If the body weakens, the soul is strong.’ He also said, ‘If the body is prosperous, the soul grows lean; if the body is lean, the soul grows prosperous.’

Love your enemies​

Poemen said, ‘Evil cannot drive out evil. If anyone hurts you, do good to him and your good will destroy his evil.’

Demonic thoughts​

A brother came to Poemen and said to him, ‘Many thoughts come into my mind and put me in danger.’ He sent him out into the open air, and said, ‘Open your lungs and do not breathe.’ He replied, ‘I can’t do that.” Then he said to him: ‘Just as you can’t stop air coming into your lungs, so you can’t stop thoughts coming into your mind. Your part is to resist them.’

[…]

A hermit said to a brother, ‘When a proud or vain thought enters your mind, examine your conscience to see if you are keeping God’s commandments; ask yourself if you love your enemies; if you rejoice in your enemy’s triumph, and if you are sad at his downfall; do you know yourself to be an unprofitable servant and a sinner beyond all others? But not even then must you think that you have corrected all your faults; to entertain such a thought as that would undo all the other good you have done.’

Teaching others​

Hyperichius said, ‘He who teaches others by his life and not his speech is truly wise.’

[…]

Once Theophilus of holy memory, the archbishop of Alexandria, came to Scetis. The brothers gathered together and said to Pambo, ‘Speak to the bishop, that he may be edified.’ Pambo replied, ‘If he is not edified by my silence, my speech certainly will not edify him.’

Humility​

The brother went into his cell, and for three days and nights he lay prone upon the ground, in penitence before God. Then the thought came into his mind, ‘You are very good, you are a great man,’ but he took control of his thoughts, and in humility called his sins to mind, saying, ‘What about all the sins I have committed?’

[…]

Antony also said, ‘I saw the devil’s snares set all over the earth, and I groaned and said, “What can pass through them?” I heard a voice saying, “Humility”.’

[…]

A hermit was asked, ‘What is humility?’ He said, ‘It is if you forgive a brother who has wronged you before he is sorry.’

[…]

A hermit said, ‘In every trial do not blame other people but blame yourself, saying, “this has happened to me because of my sins.”‘

[…]

A brother asked a hermit, ‘What is humility?’ he answered, ‘To do good to them that do evil to you.’ The brother said, ‘Suppose a man cannot obtain that standard, what is he to do?’ The hermit answered, ‘he should run away, and choose silence.’

[…]

The devil appeared to a monk disguised as an angle of light, and said to him, ‘I am the angel Gabriel, and I have been sent to you.’ But the monk said, ‘Are you sure you weren’t sent to someone else? I am not worthy to have an angel sent to me.’ At that the devil vanished.

What is God’s plan?​

Antony was confused as he mediated upon the depths of God’s judgements, and he asked God, ‘Lord, how is it that some die young and others grow old and sick? Why are there some poor and some rich? Why are there those who are bad and rich and oppress the good poor?’ He heard a voice saying to him, ‘Antony, worry about yourself; these other matters are up to God, and it will not do you any good to know them.’

The format of The Desert Fathers remind me somewhat of Zen koans, short sayings from the East that are supposed to enlighten the seeker but which make no sense. The Desert Fathers not only makes sense, since it’s rooted with the Church, but it provides a wake-up call to deep-seated sins you may be tightly holding onto. For those who want to deepen their faith beyond the parish level, The Desert Fathers is a great place to start, as long as you understand that you are not a monk who needs to duplicate the ascetic feats found in the text.

Learn More: The Desert Fathers on Amazon
Permalink
 
Originally posted on RooshV.com

saint-anthony-1024x585.jpg



The Desert Fathers is a collection of ancient Christian wisdom compiled by monks. It’s primarily used to help other monastics but it can aid the lay Christian as well. Below is a selection of my favorite passages. If your faith doesn’t allow it, you may perceive the miraculous stories allegorically instead of literally.

How should we live?​


The Golden Rule​


Arguing with others​


Temptation​


Fasting​


Speech that creates immediate pleasure​


Faith in money​


The benefit of illness​


Don’t show off your faith​


Judging others​


Body vs soul​


Love your enemies​


Demonic thoughts​


Teaching others​


Humility​


What is God’s plan?​



The format of The Desert Fathers remind me somewhat of Zen koans, short sayings from the East that are supposed to enlighten the seeker but which make no sense. The Desert Fathers not only makes sense, since it’s rooted with the Church, but it provides a wake-up call to deep-seated sins you may be tightly holding onto. For those who want to deepen their faith beyond the parish level, The Desert Fathers is a great place to start, as long as you understand that you are not a monk who needs to duplicate the ascetic feats found in the text.

Learn More: The Desert Fathers on Amazon
Permalink

Zen koans are not supposed to make sense.

A koan is designed to be deeply contemplated, to frustrate the mind and thus, in rare instances, allows the meditator to transcend the mind.

When the mind is transcended, God is revealed.

The sayings of the Desert Fathers has a different purpose - reduction of sin, deepening of faith.

Two very different paths that can lead to the same revelation.
 
A hermit was fasting and not eating bread, and he went to visit another hermit. By chance some other pilgrims came there and the hermit made them a little vegetable soup. When they sat down to eat, the fasting hermit took a single pea which he dipped in the soup and chewed it. When they got up from the table, the hermit took him to one side and said, ‘Brother, if you visit someone, don’t make a display there of your way of life. If you want to keep your own rules, stay in your cell and never go out.’ The brother accepted the advice, and thenceforth behaved like other people and ate what was put before him.

Did he tell everyone he was a vegan :squintlol:
 

fortyfive

Woodpecker
The benefit of illness. A great deal is gained spiritually by bearing illness quietly and giving thanks to God.

Just my personal experience. (I'm not arguing with anyone or trying to convince anyone about his belief on this subject.)


I was healed by divine intervention a couple of times during my life. Sometimes instantly and sometimes it took days.
Before healing was physically demonstrated there was necessary to undergo some process.

First, I always needed to change my mind about healing. I believe we were promised to have health in Bible, but knowing it as a principle, and believing that it is possible to obtain supernatural healing for me personally are two different things.

At first, I corrected myself not to live in any sin. Then I began to change my mind by reading Bible and by reading teachings about healings from old Christian preachers like F. F. Bosworth (book Christ the Healer).
Reading God's Word caused my mind to switch from unbelief to believing in healing and understand God's will in this subject.
Then I began to believe inside, in the spirit. When I began to have inside faith then I simply knew that I will be healed.

Then, there wasn't inside my mind any doubts anymore.
My mind stopped arguing with me. Thoughts about possible failure sounded strange to me, like a distant dog barking.

Inside I knew.
In this state, I never shared with anyone my newly gained faith in present healing. It would be useless for me and for them.
Faith is a remote alien planet to unbelievers. They never were on this planet.

In the state of Faith, I knew, healing is done. Physical manifestation is only a matter of time.
The proof wasn't actually bodily healing. Healing was only confirmation, yes, God is true.
The proof is God's Word.


"with His stripes we are healed" Isaiah 53.5

That is the reason and evidence.
 
Zen koans are not supposed to make sense.

A koan is designed to be deeply contemplated, to frustrate the mind and thus, in rare instances, allows the meditator to transcend the mind.

When the mind is transcended, God is revealed.

The sayings of the Desert Fathers has a different purpose - reduction of sin, deepening of faith.

Two very different paths that can lead to the same revelation.

Hi, I would be careful with saying it leads to the same revelation.
Zen may be very useful - even though we should not identify the "californian (or how is it called)" buddhism/zen with the rather monastic and very ritualistic practice in Asia and asian monasteries. Worth noting is that many zen monks and ascetics actually expressed their view than zen practice is not sufficient for enlightenment anymore. If I remember correctly, the main point of their criticism was that people and their mind have simply changed. And it is not a modern criticism, it didnt take long after creation of zen for various abbots and to start expressing this.
But, for some reason, Zen is very popular in the West. I dont think it has nothing to offer, but I think it is very easy for a Western man/woman to use it as a source of narcissistic self agrendizing. Every other idiot think of himself as carrying little buddha in his chest - and being very proud of it, of course.
Christianity (at least what I am more familiar with) is more concerned with proper action and proper life - according to the unchanging Way and Truth - rather than mental exercises (which should be done under supervision of master, btw - even in zen).
 

Dimitri

Chicken
Initially when I went through this I thought it was for "simple minded"people. I was wrong. There's definitely a lot of good wisdom and philosophy here. The problem is most modern Western brains may not quite get it initially.
 
I’ve recognized a lot of the articles you’ve listed, and upon my conversion the MOST incredible thing was that God had revealed himself to me, I knew in my heart I did nothing other put down my sword, but even that was reason to boast, no, Christ, predestined me, at that moment for salvation; my life eternity past was leading to that moment where I was “dead,” (and I checked, “dead” in the Greek means ... dead), he breathed life into me and I was born again. God did it all. “Can these dead bones live?” “I will remove their heart of stone and put in them a heart of flesh and my commands will be written on their hearts.”

To suggest reformed theology is anything but orthodox seems odd to me? We learn from the teachings of church fathers but our authority is and MUST be God’s Word.

Roosh, you were born again, “you are a new creation in Christ.” Galatians. Yes, you do not look fondly on your past sin bc your are now Christian. The problems in all churches is wheat in the tears. Jesus had no kind words for the Pharisees just bc they were whitewashed tombs. You were saved. And a born again Christian (as if there were any other kind?) can be sure they are saved bc the sin they once lived they now hate! They struggle with new sins, but we fight like Ephesians tells us with the Armor of God. If your church is biblical it’s a good church. Christ himself PROMISED! “All that the Father has given to me will come and I will LOSE (emphasis mine) no one, but raise them up on the last day.

Roosh! You are SAVED! To suggest you will lose your salvation is blasphemy on two accounts, a.) we make Christ a liar, He will lose no one! b.) we presuppose the Son’s atonement is ineffective, neither of which is Christian. Warning passages are exactly that, “test yourselves to make sure you are in the faith.” Just bc there are apostate churches does NOT negate basic Apostolic Christianity. Sinful man will always corrupt Christ’s Gospel, so to put authority in anything but scripture is error. We don’t reject teaching bc some groups claiming to be Christian are apostate? Christ promised as much. God has not increased the requirements to Salvation after Acts. No way! The Reformation was simply establishing already settled Church doctrine. Are not the indulgences similar to the prosperity gospel of today? Yet the reformers bring us back to our Apostolic roots.

Unless you are born again you can not see the Kingdom of God. If I asked you to test your faith, go sin like you’ve never sinned before you’d have NONE OF IT! Why? You’re saved? (I know this yet I don’t? No one in my church would either, we have no fellowship with the World), but we don’t bc we’ve been given new hearts! Ezekiel. We once hated God but now love Him. Christ says, “if you love you’ll follow my commands. You will never lose your salvation bc you LOVE GOD! Bc He saved you. All of God, lest no man should boast.

You have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. The fear is that ppl don’t understand justification and what that means. The Catholic Church will NOT justify you, nor will any church. God justifies.

These seekers thinking they’ll find Justification by changing churches have missed the Gospel. Has the Orthodox explained the Gospel? The good news? Once saved always saved, if you hey out of line God is NOT an absentee father, He will discipline you, he will break your legs if you are his abd you stray like a stray sheep such that you stray no more, but once He saves you “He who began a good work will finish it until the last day.” God’s name is on it, and God has great great zeal for the name of God.

The advice these men need is not what church, that’ll work itself out, they must get on their faces beg for mercy! Keep doing it, there will be a moment when Christ appears to them and the Cross becomes everything.

I would be terrified to suggest anyone could add to the work of the Cross. If any denomination tells you that run men. God’s Grace will transform your heart. No Christian lives in sin, period. The Pope himself is a sinner, not justified, look at His fruit? Follow this man? No. We follow God. As soon as we add to the Cross we’ve departed the Gospel, Paul would agree. You are saved. Now serve Christ in confidence and loving communion with Him. Tell me Paul Washer is not Christian? Tell me his churches are not holy? Paul Washer will make a monk look like they’re not even Christian. Christ gave us a job, to preach the Gospel, to all nations! I’ve never seen any other denomination on the streets like Peter? Paul? Stephan? Acts is the Church. Have your traditions but they will never justify, they may only lead to a false sense of justification, ask most all Catholics? Are you going to Heaven? They don’t know? But the Apostle’s sure knew? How? Bc they were born of the Spirit abd so were you. Use that to free yourself from bondage and to love God with all your heart mind and soul. No one is more critical of “American Christianity” than Reformed Christians, see “American Gospel.”

Christ will NOT let you go. You have a new heart.
 

Knight.of.Logos

Woodpecker
Orthodox Catechumen
Zen koans are not supposed to make sense.

A koan is designed to be deeply contemplated, to frustrate the mind and thus, in rare instances, allows the meditator to transcend the mind.

When the mind is transcended, God is revealed.

The sayings of the Desert Fathers has a different purpose - reduction of sin, deepening of faith.

Two very different paths that can lead to the same revelation.
I would say the fundamental distinction is that the sayings of the Desert Fathers were inspired by God's grace from living a pious life. Zen Koans were inspired by people who may have had a transcendent insight, but that insight was rooted in their philosophy which is more agnostic and/or worldly compared to those who follow Christ. Of course, some who practiced Zen were more mystical, but that mysticism may have its parallels to gnosticism.

The thing with Buddhism is that all the willing to dissolve the ego often leads to an inflated ego filled with a subtle sort of pride. Of course there are some in Buddhism who are genuinely good people who are selfless, and there are people in Christianity who are prideful and worldly. The difference, however, is that the ORIGIN of insight for the Christian should be from the Father in Heaven, whereas the origin of insight in Buddhism is the phenomenological experience of the individual as demonstrated by the Buddha's four noble truths and the emphasis on meditation over prayer.
 

BlueMark

Woodpecker
Gold Member
I found this blog post about the Desert Fathers: https://imonk.blog/2012/08/28/34978/
The Desert Fathers (a protest movement in the early church) spoke of busyness as “moral laziness.” Busyness can also be an addictive drug, which is why its victims are increasingly referred to as “workaholics.” Busyness acts to repress our inner fears and perpetual anxieties, as we scramble to achieve an enviable image to display to others. We become “outward” people, obsessed with how we appear, rather than “inward” people, reflecting on the meaning of our lives.
That sounds like 2021 alright.

Another quote from the author in the comments:
RE: DF as a protest movement: “All Christian monasticism is an implied criticism of the Church’s decision to become a large-scale and inclusive organization.” (Diarmaid MacCulloch, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years).
Where have we heard that before?
 

8th day

Chicken
I understand the view point, but isn't this just a semantics game on the word "saved"? The saying that goes around in Orthodox circles is: "I was saved, I am being saved, and I will be saved." As for the 'once saved, always saved' idea, well...what about the person who was atheist, was "saved" and had years of good works and faith, only to once again turn to evils ways and denounced God? Has this person been "saved"? I dont know your answer of course, but I've talked with others in Reformed churches who would argue, "well, that man actually wasnt born again, so no, he wasnt saved". But, they only know this in hindsight, because he lost his way. Lord have mercy on Roosh, and I mean to imply nothing, but Roosh's life isnt over. You or I dont know what's in his heart. That's between Roosh and God. Roosh's life is not over, and his judgement day has not arrived. So Roosh has been saved, he's being saved, and he one day hopes to be saved.
 

Seeker79

Kingfisher
I find great wisdom and calming context from the Desert Fathers sayings. It helps you strip down your modern day woes and see the core struggles of our being. I think the Fathers were ahead of their time in seeking absolution of the human soul through their work with God.
 
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Jawapote

Chicken
I started reading this book and felt a deep connection with the teachings. I started to delete many apps on my phone and attempt to stop many bad habits that I have. During this process, I was overcome with a strong desire to look at porn which I have not had in months. The only explanation I can think of is that this desire was brought on by a demonic attack which was trying to stop me from growing closer to God. Through prayer to God to give le the strength to fight, I have not fallen far and I am fighting this demon to stay the course God has for me. Has anyone else had a similar experience?
 

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
I started reading this book and felt a deep connection with the teachings. I started to delete many apps on my phone and attempt to stop many bad habits that I have. During this process, I was overcome with a strong desire to look at porn which I have not had in months. The only explanation I can think of is that this desire was brought on by a demonic attack which was trying to stop me from growing closer to God. Through prayer to God to give le the strength to fight, I have not fallen far and I am fighting this demon to stay the course God has for me. Has anyone else had a similar experience?
Demons will come at you from multiple angles. Sometimes they make you think you conquered a sin and then slam you hard. They are persistent and don't give up. Neither must you.
 
I’ve recognized a lot of the articles you’ve listed, and upon my conversion the MOST incredible thing was that God had revealed himself to me, I knew in my heart I did nothing other put down my sword, but even that was reason to boast, no, Christ, predestined me, at that moment for salvation; my life eternity past was leading to that moment where I was “dead,” (and I checked, “dead” in the Greek means ... dead), he breathed life into me and I was born again. God did it all. “Can these dead bones live?” “I will remove their heart of stone and put in them a heart of flesh and my commands will be written on their hearts.”

To suggest reformed theology is anything but orthodox seems odd to me? We learn from the teachings of church fathers but our authority is and MUST be God’s Word.

Roosh, you were born again, “you are a new creation in Christ.” Galatians. Yes, you do not look fondly on your past sin bc your are now Christian. The problems in all churches is wheat in the tears. Jesus had no kind words for the Pharisees just bc they were whitewashed tombs. You were saved. And a born again Christian (as if there were any other kind?) can be sure they are saved bc the sin they once lived they now hate! They struggle with new sins, but we fight like Ephesians tells us with the Armor of God. If your church is biblical it’s a good church. Christ himself PROMISED! “All that the Father has given to me will come and I will LOSE (emphasis mine) no one, but raise them up on the last day.

Roosh! You are SAVED! To suggest you will lose your salvation is blasphemy on two accounts, a.) we make Christ a liar, He will lose no one! b.) we presuppose the Son’s atonement is ineffective, neither of which is Christian. Warning passages are exactly that, “test yourselves to make sure you are in the faith.” Just bc there are apostate churches does NOT negate basic Apostolic Christianity. Sinful man will always corrupt Christ’s Gospel, so to put authority in anything but scripture is error. We don’t reject teaching bc some groups claiming to be Christian are apostate? Christ promised as much. God has not increased the requirements to Salvation after Acts. No way! The Reformation was simply establishing already settled Church doctrine. Are not the indulgences similar to the prosperity gospel of today? Yet the reformers bring us back to our Apostolic roots.

Unless you are born again you can not see the Kingdom of God. If I asked you to test your faith, go sin like you’ve never sinned before you’d have NONE OF IT! Why? You’re saved? (I know this yet I don’t? No one in my church would either, we have no fellowship with the World), but we don’t bc we’ve been given new hearts! Ezekiel. We once hated God but now love Him. Christ says, “if you love you’ll follow my commands. You will never lose your salvation bc you LOVE GOD! Bc He saved you. All of God, lest no man should boast.

You have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. The fear is that ppl don’t understand justification and what that means. The Catholic Church will NOT justify you, nor will any church. God justifies.

These seekers thinking they’ll find Justification by changing churches have missed the Gospel. Has the Orthodox explained the Gospel? The good news? Once saved always saved, if you hey out of line God is NOT an absentee father, He will discipline you, he will break your legs if you are his abd you stray like a stray sheep such that you stray no more, but once He saves you “He who began a good work will finish it until the last day.” God’s name is on it, and God has great great zeal for the name of God.

The advice these men need is not what church, that’ll work itself out, they must get on their faces beg for mercy! Keep doing it, there will be a moment when Christ appears to them and the Cross becomes everything.

I would be terrified to suggest anyone could add to the work of the Cross. If any denomination tells you that run men. God’s Grace will transform your heart. No Christian lives in sin, period. The Pope himself is a sinner, not justified, look at His fruit? Follow this man? No. We follow God. As soon as we add to the Cross we’ve departed the Gospel, Paul would agree. You are saved. Now serve Christ in confidence and loving communion with Him. Tell me Paul Washer is not Christian? Tell me his churches are not holy? Paul Washer will make a monk look like they’re not even Christian. Christ gave us a job, to preach the Gospel, to all nations! I’ve never seen any other denomination on the streets like Peter? Paul? Stephan? Acts is the Church. Have your traditions but they will never justify, they may only lead to a false sense of justification, ask most all Catholics? Are you going to Heaven? They don’t know? But the Apostle’s sure knew? How? Bc they were born of the Spirit abd so were you. Use that to free yourself from bondage and to love God with all your heart mind and soul. No one is more critical of “American Christianity” than Reformed Christians, see “American Gospel.”

Christ will NOT let you go. You have a new heart.
I agree that if we are saved, that is because we were predestined to be saved, "even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him."

So, because we have "escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire,

"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue."

I believe that predestination, God's irresistible grace, and the fact that He loses no one, is like one parallel line. Our free will, making a strong effort toward virtue, being constantly vigilant against sin and working to identify and remove sin, is like another parallel line. Charles Spurgeon made the point that those two parallel lines meet somewhere in eternity, even if our minds are too limited and feeble to understand how, while we still on Earth. Remember that on Earth we can see nothing clearly, all we can see is "as in a mirror darkly," in other words, all we can see is ourselves, and not even very well. Someday very soon all will be revealed and I will know the truth, even as I have been fully known all along by God who knows all.

I have benefited in my own life from some of the sources you mentioned: Paul Washer, the movie "American Gospel," and the 5 points of Calvinism, which your post seems based on. I also benefited from John Chrysostom, the Desert Fathers and many of the other references Roosh posted over time from an Eastern Orthodox point of view. I think the clashes between various people who follow Christ are inevitable, but the fact remains that the Father will save whom He will and we need to work diligently to confirm our election, see 2 Peter 1.
 
Zen koans are not supposed to make sense.

A koan is designed to be deeply contemplated, to frustrate the mind and thus, in rare instances, allows the meditator to transcend the mind.

When the mind is transcended, God is revealed.

The sayings of the Desert Fathers has a different purpose - reduction of sin, deepening of faith.

Two very different paths that can lead to the same revelation.

I would say the fundamental distinction is that the sayings of the Desert Fathers were inspired by God's grace from living a pious life. Zen Koans were inspired by people who may have had a transcendent insight, but that insight was rooted in their philosophy which is more agnostic and/or worldly compared to those who follow Christ. Of course, some who practiced Zen were more mystical, but that mysticism may have its parallels to gnosticism.

The thing with Buddhism is that all the willing to dissolve the ego often leads to an inflated ego filled with a subtle sort of pride. Of course there are some in Buddhism who are genuinely good people who are selfless, and there are people in Christianity who are prideful and worldly. The difference, however, is that the ORIGIN of insight for the Christian should be from the Father in Heaven, whereas the origin of insight in Buddhism is the phenomenological experience of the individual as demonstrated by the Buddha's four noble truths and the emphasis on meditation over prayer.

Buddha reportedly said many times "I am not special, I have achieved what anyone else could achieve if they apply their mind in the right way." The whole point of Buddhism seems to me enlightening yourself by your own effort, according to your own wisdom. As Christians we know God saved us by His own power, when we were still sinners and hated Him and His ways. For example, Paul was saved by direct revelation while enthusiastically torturing and killing Christians, because it was part of God's plan for Paul to be saved and used as God's instrument. God gave us his own flesh (word, preaching) and blood (life-blood to atone for our souls, and his own life to enter us) so that we could be saved, enlightened, have eternal life, and anything else you want to call it. This is not at all something we could have done on our own.

So I disagree completely with the statement about Zen and Christianity being "two very different paths that can lead to the same revelation".

I agree more with another idea posted in this thread, that Zen/Buddhism are not enough anymore (not that they ever were). In the past Zen and similar practice may have been enough for some people to rise above total depravity, maybe temporarily, and achieve something "higher" than those around them, thus appearing wise. But I am fully convinced nothing but the grace of God's own self-sacrifice has the power to blot out my sin and save me from spiritual death.
 
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