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being convinced of orthodoxy


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#1 Paul

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 09:28 PM

Could you reccomend something, YouTube videos. Writings. Gospel explanations.
I don't know, something that might beable to convince me and touch me.
I was brought up a protestant, went away from that, that doesn't convince me anymore.
Was drawn to orthodoxy and think if Christianity is true has to be orthodoxy or Catholicism.
I did read scripture and orthodox stuff a while back, some really good teachings, that did touch me.
But I was drawn away.
Are the teachings of Christianity any different from any other religion. In how it teaches us to be a good spiritual person?
The death and resurrection, I find difficult to see why it's needed. I suppose I can find something in that God became one of us, but that presents so much confusion, for we are sinful, that's what makes us man, Now anyway.

#2 Paul

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 09:36 PM

That Christ died and was ressurected, just seems so worn out in Protestantism.
I really am not criticising it, just trying to explain where I'm at.
Where the once Jesus died for u, was everything, still is preached in many towns, handed out in leaflets, like that of itself is suppose to convince you of something.
I really am not critisizing it, just need to understand it more, need it to be more meaningful, than the empty preaching I've heard too often

#3 Lakis Papas

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 10:36 PM

This book was initially published 30 years ago:  http://www.amazon.co...n/dp/9607070313



#4 Mark Harris

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 11:02 PM

I found these https://m.youtube.co...89C4D06E0BABB73

#5 Anna Stickles

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 03:20 AM

for we are sinful, that's what makes us man, Now anyway.

Sinfulness is a distortion of our humanity, not what makes us human. What makes us man, is that we are created in the image of God. This is very important to grasp. What you are saying here is actually part of a very problematic Protestant view of man and the fall. This is kind of like saying that being deformed is what makes us human. If being sinful is what makes us men then we would have to say that the saints in heaven are not men, or are less than human because they are now with God and perfected, and no longer sinning. I think you can see how twisted this is.

We believe and teach that God created man good, in the image of God. Man was created to recognize, love, pursue and grow in the good and the beautiful. St Gregory of Nyssa explains,

"in saying that man was made “in the image of God”: ...this is the same as to say that He made human nature participant in all good; for if the Deity is the fulness of good, and this is His image, then the image finds its resemblance to the Archetype in being filled with all good."


After the fall men became a blurred and distorted picture of what it means to be man. Man's ability to recognize and desire true good became confused, but not totally destroyed or lost. Else how could anyone recognize what is right and start to change for the better? This is why even other religions have some truth in them, no man is without some ability to recognize good.

But the Word when he adopted our humanity and became a man, restored that humanity to wholeness and completed man's ultimate purpose - the fullness of communion with God, being a perfect reflection of all God's characteristics and activities. We call this deification. Christ is man as man is originally intended to be.

the picture that is often used is a piece of iron that when in a fire takes on the properties of the fire - it becomes warm and glows, but take it out of the fire and it becomes dark and cold. In a similar way, man was created to participate in God. When he is in communion with God, he takes on God's activities and operations - love, wisdom, immortality, eternity, etc. Apart from God man ends up in a distorted and darkened existence - these activities and operations get corrupted. Apart from God, love can become twisted toward self, it becomes fragile and quick to disappear instead of being unchanging and eternal, likewise all the other virtues.

In the Incarnation, God and man were perfectly united and human nature was healed and restored. the iron was put back in the fire so to speak. It is not sinfulness that makes us men, it is living in Christ that truly restores our humanity to what it is supposed to be and makes us men. As members of Christ's body, we become like Him through participation in His perfected humanity.

Edited by Anna Stickles, 15 February 2015 - 03:28 AM.


#6 Anna Stickles

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 03:40 AM

http://orthodoxinfo....sis-english.pdf



#7 Paul

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 08:09 AM

My trouble is, man is sinful, was capable of sin, and did sin.
God becoming man, I think how can God sin, how can God even be tempted by sin?
So how can God become man and experience the same struggles we do, as to overcome them?

#8 Paul

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 08:12 AM

I can see humility in becoming the creature and what he subjected himself to, but living and overcoming the struggle of sin is something that confuses me

#9 Lakis Papas

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 02:40 PM

When Son incarnated, He took human nature as it was after the fall. But because he was born of a virgin mother with the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit He did not inherit the consequences of original sin.

Christ broke the continuity of the sinful nature of Adam, which inherits the original sin to those who sprout from it.

The union of natures in Christ is hypostatic, without confusion and indivisible. Βy saying "hypostatic" union is meant that it was a union in hypostasis (hence the name). The human nature of Christ was non-hypostatic, never lived alone outside the person of Christ. This is important. In the union the two natures did not interacted with one another, not converted into one physical quality of the other, but they remained each in its own the physical quality and completeness without hereinafter be separated from one another.

He wanted and acted uniformly as man and God. His human will, although it was free, it was freely subordinated to the divine will, without fighting and opposing it - he did not want separately as a man, therefore the possibility of committing sin by the Lord was not valid. The same applies to actions of Christ. Christ acted uniformly in his divine and human energies.

Christ not only did not sin during earthly life, but even more He could not sin - because He was not a mere man, but God-man. Assuming that Christ could sinned as a man, then concurrently God could have sinned, a concept irreverent and blasphemous.

How then how it was possible to enter into temptation?

Let me use an analogy based on human levels: Let us assume a man is in love with a woman. Then, a second woman is flirting with him. This second woman is a temptation and there is a posibility for the man to give in to temptation. The flirtation of the second woman is a temptation in itself (without depending on the response of man). They say that there is a kind of love that a man can have for a specific woman that even the most beautiful woman can not outweigh his love for this particular woman. In his eyes no other woman can be more beautiful than the woman he loves. For such a lover even the most powerfull temptation is strengthless. His powerfull love produces a status of inability to fall into temptation. When all others see the strength of the beauty of the temptation, in the lover's eyes the temptation is inferior and powerless when it is compared to the beauty of the person he is in love with. The lover is measuring all and filtering all in the context that his love is irresistible and incomparable and unparalleled.

A human person can develop such a love for some other person, resulting in a situation where acquires apathy for temptations. And actually many saints have come to such a status, being gifted by pure and blessed love for God from the Spirit.

This kind of apathy which is aquired by humans has been a borned status for God-man. As for the lover, the wealth of his love outweighs the riches of temptation, likewise God-man's wealth of volitional loving subordination to the Father outweighs the riches of all temptation.

Some Church Father's explain that when devil "taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." (Matthew 4:8-9) in Christ's eyes nothing of such a vision was seen, because temptation had no power over Him.

A temptation is an external stimulus, receiving meaning by current state of the tempted one. Humanly speaking, an amount of 1000$ may be a temptation for a poor person while for a rich one is indifferent.

But there is another kind of human temptation: the physical temptation.

Suppose someone in love is required by the person who loves not to eat for some time. Then the natural need for food develops into temptation opposed to love. This kind of temptation is overcomed by love also. The lover is totally dedicated to his beloved. Christ also had been tested by the devil when he was fasting for 40 days in the desert.

There are cases where even the most powerful of all the natural instincts, of self-preservation, is defeated by love and there are case where people are sacrificed for those they love.

The temptation of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane, the night of His arrest, is a unique case. No human has ever been placed in such a sittuation. Christ did not ever had to die. He was immortal as God-man. When we mortals have the option to sucrifice our lifes for some purpose we make a decision to cut short an inescapable human fact, that is our death. For Christ, his death was an unexpected fact for He was immortal as God-man. The temptation not to accept the will of the Father was a natural tempation for Christ. The Father wanted the Son to die (to sucrifice Himself), a non natural act for the Son. While, eating, sleeping and other human acts were natural for the Son, to die was unnatural. Therefore the denial of death was a natural temptation beyond any natural margins - for it was against a nonphysical version of His immortal life. And Christ accepted the will of His Father, as His love for His Father was making His natural will to align with the will of the Father.

Let me dare to say that if Christ refused to die and to be sacrificed, it would not be a sin (humanly speaking). But He accepted to follow His Father's will, not because it was Son's only choice, but because it was the choice of His loved Father. He obeyed not as a slave son, or as stucked in one choice - but as a Son who does the impossible for His Father.

Edited by Lakis Papas, 15 February 2015 - 02:42 PM.


#10 Phoebe K.

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 03:03 PM

Humans were not created in sin for for sin, humans were created perfect and free, Christ is that by nature in his divinity and in his humanity, in this humanity he dose what not other human could which is for fill the potential which was in Adam from the beginning.

 

Sin is not part of human nature is it a parasite on it, a good comparison would be a cronic sickness that a person has which limits their life this is not part of who they are but can be treated and possibly cured, removing it and restoring heath in the physical seance.  Sin is a cronic sickness of the soul, and through the sacraments of the Church (as a hospital) it can be cured.

 

Christ as perfect human as well as perfect God came as a Physian to heal us and establish the Church for our healing, and although he did not suffer the sickness we do he chose in his freedom and love to undergo the suffering we face to reach healing so as to open for us that path for no natural human has the ability to go all the way to destory sin and death, only through divinity becoming incarnate was that possible, for only God could defeat sin, but he had to become one with our nature as well or sin would not have been removed form our nature.  This is why we call the Eucharist the median of immortality, as through it we are consumed by the fire of the Godhead and incorporated into Christ and his victory.

 

As a convert I understand how confusing it can be at the beginning, what I learnt early on is that the Church dose not teach us how to live, rather it teaches us how to die to ourselves and to the world so that we can be open to God wherever we encounter him (especially in the places we do not expect him to be).  This has been very evident in the last few Sunday's Gospel readings in the story about the Publican and the Pharissee two weeks ago and the Sheep and goats this week we see it is not necessarily those who we expect to be holy who will enter the kingdom as much as the humble, those who recognize their sin and they to help all people regardless of their status in life.

 

I hope this helps, though most of these things are not clear until the Spirit himself enlightens us.



#11 Paul

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 04:39 PM

Thanks, downloaded the PDF, and will watch videos later

#12 Anna Stickles

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 07:09 PM

My trouble is, man is sinful, was capable of sin, and did sin.
God becoming man, I think how can God sin, how can God even be tempted by sin?
So how can God become man and experience the same struggles we do, as to overcome them?

 I used to be a Protestant and these are some of the questions I also dealt with.

 

Temptation in the Greek simply means trial or test.  Temptation simply means some kind of pressure is being put upon us in the wrong direction. When man is put under strain, ie when he  tempted, he is capable of suffering change from our original condition of living in and according to God's goodness, to something that is contrary to this. Man is weak, his nature is fragile, and easily swayed. 

 

When the Word took upon Himself our nature, which is unstable and subject to change and corruption, then he put himself in the position of being able to experience this pressure, but He has no inclination to give in to it like the descendants of Adam do.  His Father is not Adam, but God. He is not a mere man, but the God-man.

 

If man's nature is a tower, then our nature as adopted by the Word can never lean or tip over or suffer, and it's substance can never suffer any other kind of decay. the Word Himself is present in the very rock of the tower keeping it upright and whole. 

 

Each man though as he turns away from God and lives for self and allows the influence of Satan undermines the tower and destabilizes it, it starts leaning and can completely fall over, and it is opened up to being eroded and decaying. This is what happened to Adam in the beginning and we continue this process whenever our will turns away from God.

 

The same wind and storms can hit both towers, but the first will be completely unaffected, the second will suffer harm.  I apologize for such an awkward analogy, I hope it is understandable.

 

One thing that I often hear in various Protestant circles is that Christ saved us by experiencing everything exactly as we have and overcoming it. However, the Orthodox Fathers teach that Christ saved us by being God present in every experience, bringing into our entire existence His eternal and unchanging life and goodness. When we are baptized we do this to be cleansed of sin, when Christ was baptized this was so that He could sanctify the waters, making them able to cleanse us. When we are tempted we fall and get up, but can never stay stable. When He was tempted, He overcame Satan and opened up to us the possibility of staying upright and resisting Satan.  When we die, this is the result of sin, and God's mercy so that sin would not continue forever, but when He died, this was to overturn the previous order and to make death a pathway to life.

 

a large part of our job then is to cooperate with God in having our minds and thoughts and hearts transformed so that we can see and live this new eternal life.


Edited by Anna Stickles, 15 February 2015 - 07:12 PM.


#13 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 16 February 2015 - 05:05 PM

The Greek word for "sin" is "hamartia", which literally means "to miss the mark". We "miss the mark" when we fail to be what God intends us to be. If you are confused as to how people can "miss the mark", then take up archery. You will quickly learn that missing is easy, all you have to do is not concentrate, not make an effort. Hitting the target, becoming what God intends you to be, is difficult, it requires effort, it requires you to take up your cross and follow Christ.

 

One of the differences between the heterodox understanding of "sin" and the Orthodox, is that the Western professions seem to emphasize sin as a crime that must be punished, whereas Orthodoxy teaches that sin is a sickness that must be healed, and we are sick, even unto death. But Christ the Divine Physician, has established His Hospital, which is the Church, to heal us and to help us hit the mark, to be "on-target", to become what God intends for us to be. There are many who have achieved this healing, we call them "saints", and we are all called to be saints.

 

God gives us this hospital, He gives us the sacraments (mysteries) as Divine medicine, asceticism as therapy, prayer and worship as encouragement, dialogue and teaching. All these things work together to heal us.



#14 Anton S.

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 12:15 PM

You know, in order to be 'convinced' it is not necessary to read books or watch films. It is necessary to pray asking God to reveal which is the true faith. Any man or woman who genuinely seeks after the truth will find it with God's help.

 

But only on two conditions:

 

First, one has to be seeking for the truth only and not something else (spiritual comfort, exciting experience, nice new friends, a way of 'making the world a better place', etc., etc., etc.)

 

Second: one should be ready to sacrifice a lot for the sake of the truth: former ideas, convictions, prejudices, tastes, habits... In short, one's egotism and self-centeredness.



#15 Kusanagi

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 03:30 PM

Some recommended books to help start you on your way:

 

The Faith of the Saints by St Nikolai Velimirovich

Ecclesiasticus by Fr. George Dion Dragas ( 2 parts)

The True of Our Faith by Elder Cleopa (2 parts)

 

Further readings would be after this:

 

St Justin's dialogue with Trypho

Barlaam and Jaosaphat by St John Damascene

 

I put it in order which I feel will help you to understand the faith.



#16 Paul

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 07:36 PM

http://en.m.wikipedi...am_and_Josaphat

Are barlaam and jaosaphat originally of buddhist origen?

#17 Seraphim of the Midwest

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 11:42 PM

Nobody is the same.

 

I responded to the Writings of Seraphim Rose.  Especially Nihilism and Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future.

 

The bottom line for me: I became Orthodox because it was true, not because of the people.  If you are looking for a community for support, then Orthodoxy will almost certainly disappoint you.  And when you witness the height of hypocrisy, it will make you want to crawl out of your skin.

 

If you are looking for the fullness of truth on Earth and consistency in Christiantiy, then Orthodoxy is the only way.  Roman Catholicism is inconsistent (as Protestantism, it is not a monolithic entity, just under the umbrella of the bishop of Rome).



#18 Rick H.

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 02:58 PM

"The bottom line for me: I became Orthodox because it was true, not because of the people.  If you are looking for a community for support, then Orthodoxy will almost certainly disappoint you.  And when you witness the height of hypocrisy, it will make you want to crawl out of your skin."

 

 

 

This is well put and identical to my experience.  I came in thinking / hoping Orthodoxy was the Community of communities.  Now, in the present day, in Orthodoxy Today, I think this is true in theory but not in practice, a true missing of the mark.


Edited by Rick H., 20 February 2015 - 03:00 PM.





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