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The Authentic meaning of "Holy Spirit is not Given outside the church."


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#21 Lakis Papas

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 12:19 PM

IN fact, I think I need to be explicit here:

My understanding is that the Holy Spirit will not descend into the heart of someone outside the church and enable them to partake of the deifying energies of the Trinity, thus transforming them into the image of Christ, not because he is BOUND by us, but because he does not will it. He will offer inspiration, he will offer enlightenment, he will act upon a man so that he may desire to enter into the true church of Christ, but God himself cannot force a free gift.

The gift of his grace is one that must be received freely, but how can those outside receive a gift they do not know exists? What ascesis will they offer that is not a spiritual deception? What commandments will they keep without being empowered by the sacraments? What waters will wash them that are not polluted outside the church?


An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith (John of Damascus)

Chapter 10. Concerning Faith.

Moreover, faith is twofold. For faith comes by hearing. (Romans 10:17) For by hearing the divine Scriptures we believe in the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The same is perfected by all the things enjoined by Christ, believing in work, cultivating piety, and doing the commands of Him Who restored us. For he that believes not according to the tradition of the Catholic Church, or who has intercourse with the devil through strange works, is an unbeliever.

But again, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1), or undoubting and unambiguous hope alike of what God has promised us and of the good issue of our prayers. The first, therefore, belongs to our will, while the second is of the gifts of the Spirit.

Further, observe that by baptism we cut off all the covering which we have worn since birth, that is to say, sin, and become spiritual Israelites and God's people.

Chapter 22. Concerning the law of God and the law of sin.

The Deity is good and more than good, and so is His will. For that which God wishes is good. Moreover the precept, which teaches this, is law, that we, holding by it, may walk in light (1 John 1:7) and the transgression of this precept is sin, and this continues to exist on account of the assault of the devil and our unconstrained and voluntary reception of it. (Romans 7:23) And this, too, is called law (Romans 7:25)

And so the law of God, settling in our mind, draws it towards itself and pricks our conscience. And our conscience, too, is called a law of our mind. Further, the assault of the wicked one, that is the law of sin, settling in the members of our flesh, makes its assault upon us through it. For by once voluntarily transgressing the law of God and receiving the assault of the wicked one, we gave entrance to it, being sold by ourselves to sin. Wherefore our body is readily impelled to it. And so the savour and perception of sin that is stored up in our body, that is to say, lust and pleasure of the body, is law in the members of our flesh.

Therefore the law of my mind, that is, the conscience, sympathises with the law of God, that is, the precept, and makes that its will. But the law of sin , that is to say, the assault made through the law that is in our members, or through the lust and inclination and movement of the body and of the irrational part of the soul, is in opposition to the law of my mind, that is to conscience, and takes me captive (even though I make the law of God my will and set my love on it, and make not sin my will), by reason of commixture : and through the softness of pleasure and the lust of the body and of the irrational part of the soul, as I said, it leads me astray and induces me to become the servant of sin. But what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (for He assumed flesh but not sin) condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but in the Spirit (Romans 8:3-4). For the Spirit helps our infirmities and affords power to the law of our mind, against the law that is in our members. For the verse, we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself makes intercession with groanings that cannot be uttered , itself teaches us what to pray for. Hence it is impossible to carry out the precepts of the Lord except by patience and prayer.

#22 Owen Jones

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 01:00 PM

But at no stage does God compel.


And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

#23 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 02:34 PM

It is trite theology that God does not force salvation and His Kingdom upon anyone and He respects men's freedom. As the Blessed Theophylcat says, in writing of this passage, though the servant is ordered to 'compel them to come in', "each man is free to believe or not". Christ "calls this 'compulsion' to show the miraculousness of their [the Gentiles'] change" and in this we see the power of Christ's message (cf Sermon CIV on the Gospel of St Luke by St Cyril of Alexnadria).

#24 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 02:56 PM

Daniel Smith wrote: Being in the process of converting, I am trying to get a firm grip on the authentic Orthodox understanding of the church's unity.


The Church’s unity is expressed in the Creed where we say, ‘I believe . . . in One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church’. The Church is One because it is the Body of Christ. In the Divine Liturgy, however, we preface our saying of the Creed with ‘Let us love one another that with one mind we may confess’; ‘one mind’ and ‘One’ Church are connected. The oneness of mind is the Orthodox faith and the mind of the Orthodox Church. All mankind would be united in the Orthodox Church if the love that is spoken of existed, but pride and delusion prevent unity in love, so there are many minds. But only one mind can be the truth and that is the Orthodox mind. We believe this because we confess that the Church is Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Our faith is Orthodox because it is Apostolic, which is to say, preserving the faith of the Apostles.

The unity of the Church is described by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky, in ‘Orthodox Dogmatic Theology’, as follows:

In the Greek text the word “in One,” is expressed as a numeral (en mian). Thus the Symbol of Faith confesses that the Church is one: a) it is one as viewed from within itself, not divided; b) it is one as viewed from without, that is, not having any other beside itself. Its unity consists not in the joining together of what is different in nature, but in inward agreement and unanimity.

“There is one body and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:4-6).

Depicting the Church in parables, the Saviour speaks of one flock, of one sheepfold, of one grapevine, of one foundation stone of the Church. He gave a single teaching, a single baptism, and a single communion. The unity of the faithful in Christ comprised the subject of His High Priestly Prayer before His sufferings on the Cross; the Lord prayed “that they all may be one” (John 17:21).

The Church is one not only inwardly, but also outwardly. Outwardly its unity is manifested in the harmonious confession of faith, in the oneness of Divine services and Mysteries, in the oneness of the grace-giving hierarchy, which comes in succession from the Apostles, in the oneness of canonical order.

The Church on earth has a visible side and an invisible side. The invisible side is: that its Head is Christ; that it is animated by the Holy Spirit; that in it is performed the inward mystical life in sanctity of the more perfect of its members. However, the Church, by the nature of its members, is visible, since it is composed of men in the body; it has a visible hierarchy; it performs prayers and sacred actions visibly; it confesses openly, by means of words, the faith of Christ.

The Church does not lose its unity because side by side with the Church there exist Christian societies which do not belong to it. These societies are not in the Church, they are outside of it.



#25 Owen Jones

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 04:43 PM

What I have never understood, and it's probably because I have never asked the question for fear of being taken as a moron and an imbecile, is that Jesus makes a number of statements about sending the Holy Spirit/Comforter. Does that mean that the Holy Spirit was never, ever present on earth before Pentacost?

#26 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:00 PM

The Holy Spirit was active in the creation of the world: we are told He hovered over the surface of the waters (Gen 1:2); and, if scripture (Luke 1:35; Matthew 3:16) and the Creed ('and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary') are anything to go by, yes He was present on earth before Pentecost.

#27 Daniel Smith

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:50 PM

He sends him to abide in us in a more permanent way. Before, the Holy spirit would descend upon the holy prophets, and they would prophesy. But he did not abide in them in a permanent sense. This is because the world was still subject to the power of death. That is why the Holy Prophets went to Hades, because their mortality gave birth to sin, and there was no way to overcome it, because the power of death had not been trampled down by Christ. After his emptying of Hades, his trampling of death, resurrection and ascension, he sends the Holy spirit to abide in us always, both individually (if we are faithful) and corporately, as the Church.

#28 Lakis Papas

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 09:26 PM

GREGORY the Theologian

On Pentecost

He (the Holy Spirit) wrought first in the heavenly and angelic powers, and such as are first after God and around God. For from no other source flows their perfection and their brightness, and the difficulty or impossibility of moving them to sin, but from the Holy Ghost.

And next, in the Patriarchs and Prophets, of whom the former saw Visions of God, or knew Him, and the latter also foreknew the future, having their master part moulded by the Spirit, and being associated with events that were yet future as if present, for such is the power of the Spirit.

And next in the Disciples of Christ (for I omit to mention Christ Himself, in Whom He dwelt, not as energizing, but as accompanying His Equal), and that in three ways, as they were able to receive Him, and on three occasions; before Christ was glorified by the Passion, and after He was glorified by the Resurrection; and after His Ascension, or Restoration, or whatever we ought to call it, to Heaven.

Now the first of these manifests Him--the healing of the sick and casting out of evil spirits, which could not be apart from the Spirit; and so does that breathing upon them after the Resurrection, which was clearly a divine inspiration; and so too the present distribution of the fiery tongues, which we are now commemorating.

But the first manifested Him indistinctly, the second more expressly, this present one more perfectly, since He is no longer present only in energy, but as we may say, substantially, associating with us, and dwelling in us. For it was fitting that as the Son had lived with us in bodily form--so the Spirit too should appear in bodily form; and that after Christ had returned to His own place, He should have come down to us--Coming because He is the Lord; Sent, because He is not a rival God. For such words no less manifest the Unanimity than they mark the separate Individuality.

http://www.myriobibl..._pentecost.html

#29 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:42 PM

Pentecost is the hinge of history since all the previous history led to this day in which the Holy Spirit would inspire the founding of the Church in which He would forever dwell and which made possible, through baptism, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every member of the Church. The OT readings at Pentecost signify this and St Peter’s speech (Acts 2) testifies to this. The disciples and those first converts, the three thousand, became the Church. The promise was fulfilled. And, as St Peter’s speech also indicates, every baptism is a little Pentecost adding the newly illumined person to those who became the Church on the day of Pentecost and all the baptised from that day onwards. The Church that was formed by the descent of the Holy Spirit is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which has ever since been guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit according to Christ’s promise, guarding the deposit of the Orthodox faith. Such is the magnitude of Pentecost in the Church’s year that all Sundays from Pentecost until the start of the Triodion are numbered from Pentecost.

Edited by Andreas Moran, 09 December 2012 - 11:38 PM.





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