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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 30 2019 7:30 AM

Thanks Christopher for the recommendations.

True Christians, receiving the true Holy Spirit experience, are the same as there is only one Holy Spirit.

In many Pentecostal / Charismatic denominations, there are fake persons, portraying as the legit thing. I do think that all true sheep should pray for the gift of discernment of Spirits, to be able to tell who is who.

One of the misunderstanding that I have found (on many traditions, groups, denominations), is the concept of the miracle worker.

The Miracle worker is Jesus alone! He is the vine, without Him, nothing happens ever. Any persons that thinks that is a miracle worker is out of whack.

We are vessels chosen for honorable use, but we are the recipient of the Holy Spirit (the remedy), not the remedy.

Being a living stone part of the new temple of God (body of Christ), does not mean that we are the Holy Spirit that indwells that new temple.

Big difference.

I have much respect for Orthodox believers, because they are crystal clear that theosis does not imply that we will eventually get self-existence (aseity).

So true baptism of the Holy Spirit is the same for Orthodox, Catholic, Pentecostal,  Charismatic, etc.  This concept is the one I am trying to push.

Now, do you know about a Book of saints for the Orthodox tradition, just like the one that Catholics have?

Are Orthodox systematic theologies included in the systematic theology section in the passage guide to your knowledge?

If not, which ones would you include?

Are there any systematic theologies that you find compatible with the Orthodox faith?

https://ebooks.faithlife.com/products/22623/truth-aflame

https://ebooks.faithlife.com/products/167643/renewal-theology-systematic-theology-from-a-charismatic-perspective

Thanks ahead of time for your input.

Posts 18
Christopher Grant | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 30 2019 8:35 AM

There are several books of saints, one of them is even available on Logos: https://www.logos.com/product/173681/a-daily-calendar-of-the-saints

I would also suggest the Prologue of Ochrid.  It's not on logos, but can be accessed at the wayback machine, conveniently linked by day here: http://www.rocor.org.au/?page_id=925

St. Dimitri of Rostov did a monumental "Lives of the saints", but it is, sadly, not completely available in English.

One of the books I suggested was Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky, and I stand by that recommendation.  A search of other resources suggested Orthodox Theology: An Introduction by Vladimir Lossky (warning, he is dense).  The Orthodox Way, by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Church by Sergius Bulgakov, An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by St. John of Damascus, The Mystery of Faith by Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev.

Regrettably none of these are on Logos, but I know that An Exact Exposition is available on Kindle.

  • A Daily Calendar of the Saints by Lawrence Farley
  • Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky
  • Orthodox Theology: An Introduction by Vladimir Lossky 
  • The Orthodox Way, by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware,
  • The Orthodox Church by Sergius Bulgakov,
  • An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by St. John of Damascus,
  • The Mystery of Faith by Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev

I don't think anyone would argue that Jesus Christ is the true Wonderworker, but to say that is to miss the point being made about the saints.  

Posts 18
Christopher Grant | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 30 2019 8:55 AM

Also, you may find value in Reading Augsburg and Constantinople.  It was a series of letters between the Lutheran theologians at Tubingen University in Germany, and Patriarch Jeremiah II of Constantinople.  While there are likely significant theological differences between Lutherans (especially immediately after the reformation) and modern day Pentecostals, it is, in a sense, where all things Protestant began.

If you prefer, you can read excerpts here: http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/jeremiah.aspx

You've mentioned Renewal Theology and Truth Aflame a couple of times, and while they may be worthwhile (I'd have to read them), I would be hesitant to recommend either.  The fundamental assumptions are likely to be different.  Protestant Theology was a direct reaction to Catholic problems.  The East has had its share of problems, but they were different (especially by that time, several hundred years after the schism of 1054).  As a result the Protestant answers didn't make sense to the Orthodox questions. 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 30 2019 1:30 PM

Hamilton Ramos:
Do you think I feel not bad when scandals with the clergy in the Catholic Church happens, and the leaders seem to not act decisively? Do you know how much it has affected normal Catholics here?

I know how it effects all Catholics ... and the various ways they have found to deal with it ... and its harm ... and a number of Catholics who have sought shelter in other ACELO churches. I also know of other denominations in the US have have similar problems. However, true Christians do not allow their beliefs and worship to be destroyed by men who have to some degree succumbed to Satan.

I also can see in your post (a) nothing that relates to the topic of the thread - essential Orthodox Bible study resources; (b) nothing that relates to Logos, it's products, the use of its products; (c) nothing that shows a serious effort to understand responses to your questions. Therefore, I am reporting you for abuse. Whether or not Logos chooses to respond is irrelevant to me.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 18
Christopher Grant | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 30 2019 2:11 PM

R. Mansfield:
What about the St. Athanasius Academy Septuagint (SAAS),

There are a couple of projects to create English language versions of the Bible from Orthodox sources, but none that has received any official backing or liturgical use (at least that I'm aware of).  As a study bible, that may well be a very good option, though.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 30 2019 4:17 PM

Hamilton Ramos:
Are Orthodox systematic theologies included in the systematic theology section in the passage guide to your knowledge?

From the documentation:

Group: Patristic

• Augustine of Hippo, Saint Augustine: Christian Instruction; Admonition and Grace; The Christian Combat; Faith, Hope and Charity

• John Damascene, Saint John of Damascus: Writings

• Roberts, Alexander; Donaldson, James; Coxe, A. Cleveland; Tertullian; Minucius Felix; Commodianus; Origen, Ante-Nicene Fathers 4: Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second

• Roberts, Alexander; Donaldson, James; Coxe, A. Cleveland; Tertullian; Minucius Felix; Commodianus; Origen, Ante-Nicene Fathers 4: Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second (Catholic Edition)

• Schaff, Philip; Augustine of Hippo, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 1.3: St. Augustin: On the Holy Trinity, Doctrinal Treatises, Moral Treatises

• Schaff, Philip; Augustine of Hippo, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 1.3: St. Augustin: On the Holy Trinity, Doctrinal Treatises, Moral Treatises (Catholic Edition)

• Augustine of Hippo, Seventeen Short Treatises of S. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Translated, with Notes and Indices

• Schaff, Philip; Augustine of Hippo, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 1.2: St. Augustin’s City of God and Christian Doctrine

• Schaff, Philip; Augustine of Hippo, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 1.2: St. Augustin’s City of God and Christian Doctrine (Catholic Edition)

• Schaff, Philip; Wace, Henry; Hilary of Poitiers; John Damascene, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 2.9: St. Hilary of Poitiers, John of Damascus

• Schaff, Philip; Wace, Henry; Hilary of Poitiers; John Damascene, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 2.9: St. Hilary of Poitiers, John of Damascus (Catholic Edition)

Rick Brannan and Peter Venable, Systematic Theology Cross-References: Dataset Documentation (Bellingham, WA: Faithlife, 2015).

Group: Modern Orthodox

• Yannaras, Christos, Elements of Faith: An Introduction to Orthodox Theology

Rick Brannan and Peter Venable, Systematic Theology Cross-References: Dataset Documentation (Bellingham, WA: Faithlife, 2015).

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 552
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 30 2019 4:32 PM

Thanks for the input Christopher.

Christopher Grant:
As a result the Protestant answers didn't make sense to the Orthodox questions. 

In your view what are some of the principal questions that have dominated Orthodox theology?

For reference:

Jewish: Who is in control? (God of course)

              What is God's nature? God is one.

Most western christian worldview based groups:

Origin, Purpose, ways n means (method), n destiny. Only later due to deviation from Apostle's doctrine and the development of heresies: Authority (in the here and now).

Different groups then focused on certain aspects at different times.

Wesley: perfection...   Relative perfection is different from absolute perfection. Jesus Christ is, was and will always be absolutely perfect.

We as humans (created) can only aspire to relative perfection:

Enoch (walked with God), Daniel, Joseph of Egypt, John the loved Apostle, etc. had relatively more perfection than David, Moses, Jacob, etc.

Then cessation of gifts: it seems that Augustine was the first one to suggest such, and he had to take it back because of the amount of miracles happening in the place where he congregated.

Calvin seemed not to know that was so, and kept pushing cessation of HS gifts with the resulting over rationalistic groups found now.

What in your opinion have been some thrusts in the Orthodox Church?

From what I have read, they had such problem with varying interpretations of the Scripture, that they focused more in the indwelling of the Spirit of God.

I am not sure how you go about ascertaining that some believer is legit.

Finally a resource in Spanish gives some tests to check the legit status of Churches:

1) what do they think of Jesus Christ (Lord and Savior, hypostasis of God is the most accepted view).

2) how is their morality?

Can a tree of a kind reproduce a different tree? not quite. True Church and true believers, try to stumble up the Holiness highway with the help of the Holy Spirit. and is because of that Spirit they will make it.

3) Social action?

Catholic social doctrine is advanced, and if was followed closely, a lot of unwanted events and situations could be mitigated. The use of cooperatives is a good way to help with the economics of family. Catholics have always wanted to help, and have done so. Here in my country, they came to help a lot of persons with cooperatives. But what surprises me is that the Jesuits that were so gung ho, and helpful, even have a forbidden book list that they are not allowed to read. That is strange, and I do not understand it.

4) I would add: the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the identification and development of the gifts He bestows.

Are any of the points above dealt with in the systematics of Orthodox groups, are there others?

Thanks for the input.

Posts 552
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 30 2019 4:45 PM

MJ. Smith:

However, true Christians do not allow their beliefs and worship to be destroyed by men who have to some degree succumbed to Satan.

Exactly, and this is commendable of the sheep, and the uninvolved priests. But, what is the responsibility of the high level leaders? Are they so quick to have strict norms and rules about doctrine, and then fail in the control of the morals.

MJ. Smith:
Therefore, I am reporting you for abuse. Whether or not Logos chooses to respond is irrelevant to me.

Your call. you must do what your conscience compels you to.

I do think that the conversation is helpful in that problems, questions, situations can be brought to the light, and comments can be made by members of the Orthodox Church that may have ideas and / or recommend resources.

There are a lot of resources that can be browsed to get a glimpse of the problem:

https://ebooks.faithlife.com/search?query=abuse%20in%20the%20church&sortBy=Relevance&page=1&filters=status-live_Status&ownership=all&limit=60

But I do not know if the Orthodox brothers have gone through similar situations and what their solutions have been.

Remember, Paul was a master blaster Bible student, tradition follower, law abiding, etc. and he was out of whack until met resurrected Jesus Himself, who set him aright.

Kind of the point I am trying to make... Bible, resources, books, interacting may help us to an extent, but until we meet Him, we will not be significantly changed.

Quoting a very wise believer:

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

You started questioning me, without knowing my story, my background, my intentions, I did not report you for that. I know this medium lends itself to many misunderstandings, you have to understand that I am not attacking you. 

I am pointing that there are flaws in systems (mostly in all groups, and traditions), and part of it I see as leaving on the side the gifts of the Holy Spriit.

I do not want to think that many groups move away from that because is the Holy Spirit the one in control of such.

Orthodox Church may give some insight on how they have organized and operated in the realm of the Holy Spirit, maybe there are huge lessons for all the western traditions.

Posts 552
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 30 2019 4:52 PM

MJ. Smith:

Group: Modern Orthodox

• Yannaras, Christos, Elements of Faith: An Introduction to Orthodox Theology

Rick Brannan and Peter Venable, Systematic Theology Cross-References: Dataset Documentation (Bellingham, WA: Faithlife, 2015).

Thank you MJ.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 30 2019 4:59 PM

Hamilton Ramos:
Are there any systematic theologies that you find compatible with the Orthodox faith?

Orthodox theology is highly apophatic. No matter how you word the question, Orthodoxy still does not have a tradition of systematic theology.  Look instead for dogmatic theology, apophatic theology, and liturgical theology.

  • Dogmatic:
    • Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky's Orthodox Dogmatic Theology has long been regarded as a standard source of Orthodox theology. Since its publication in Russian in 1963, it has been used as the main theology textbook at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, New York; and since the publication of the first English edition in 1983, it has come to be regarded throughout the English-speaking world as one of the best introductory books on Orthodox theology
    • Vladmir Lossky's Dogmatic Theology: Creation, God’s Image in Man, & the Redeeming Work of the Trinity In this book, a revised, annotated, and expanded second edition of Théologie dogmatique, edited in the French by Olivier Clément and Michel Stavrou, readers encounter Lossky’s classroom lectures on dogmatic theology. Lossky confronts the great questions of theology: How can we know God? How is the Creator related to his creation? What is the vocation of human beings, created in God’s image?
    • Vladmir Lossky's The Mystical Theology of the Eastern ChurchIn his classic exposition of the theology of the Church, Lossky states that the Eastern Tradition..."has never made a sharp distinction between mysticism and theology; between personal experience of the divine mysteries and the dogma affirmed bu the Church." The term "mystical theology" denotes that which is accessible yet inaccesible' those things understood yet surpassing all knowledge.
    • Dumitru Staniloae's 3 volume Orthodox Dogmatic Theology The Experience of God (1) Revelation and Knowledge of the Triune God (2) The World: Creation and Deification (3) The Person of Jesus Christ as God and Savior
  • Apophatic:
    • Carabine, Deirdre (2015), The Unknown God: Negative Theology in the Platonic Tradition: Plato to Eriugena, Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers
    • https://orthodoxwiki.org/Apophatic_theology
    • Pseudo-Dionysius. Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works. Edited by John Farina. Translated by Colm Luibheid and Paul Rorem. The Classics of Western Spirituality. New York; Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1987.(Logos)
    • Gregory of Nyssa. Gregory of Nyssa: The Life of Moses. Edited by Richard J. Payne. Translated by Abraham J. Malherbe and Everett Ferguson. The Classics of Western Spirituality. New York; Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1978. [Logos]
  • Liturgical:
    • Alexander Schmemann's Introduction to Liturgical Theology is a masterful historical and critical introduction to the study of modern Orthodox liturgics and theology. There is scarcely a student of Christian worship who has not been stirred by the brilliant mind of the late Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann.
      Alexander Schmemann was deeply stimulated by modern movements and figures in Western Christian thought. He brings into the Western discussion of Christian unity, the relation of the Church to the world in revolution, the question of papal supremacy, and the effort to commend the gospel to a post-Christian world'a worldview at once Orthodox, patristic, and realistic. His sacramental realism and wholeness is exciting and refreshing for those, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, who have been reared on scholastic categories.

Back to the issue of the primacy of liturgy, this is an Eastern Rite Catholic's take on the topic - applied to Orthodoxy (from https://frted.wordpress.com/tag/liturgical-theology/) It should be self-evident that when worship is participation in the heavenly worship, it has enormous theological import.:

The late great liturgical scholar Robert Taft summarized the Orthodox Liturgy this way:“In the cosmic or hierarchical scheme, church and ritual are an image of the present age of the Church, in which divine grace is mediated to those in the world (nave) from the divine abode (sanctuary) and its heavenly worship (the liturgy enacted there), which in turn images forth its future consummation (eschatological), when we shall enter that abode in Glory.  Symeon of Thessalonika (d. 1429), last of the classic Byzantine mystagogues, has synthesized this vision in chapter 131 of his treatise ON THE HOLY TEMPLE:

The church, is the house of God, is an image of the whole world, for God is every where and above everything.   .  .  .  The sanctuary is a symbol of the higher and super-celestial spheres, where the throne of God and his dwelling place are said to be.  it is this throne which the altar represents. … The bishop represents Christ, the church [nave] represents the visible world.  .  .  .

I mention the apostles with the angels, bishops and priests, because there is only one Church, above and below, since God came down and lived among us, doing  what he was sent to do on our behalf.  And it is a work which is one, as is our Lord’s sacrifice, communion, and contemplation.  And it is carried out both above and here below, but with this difference: above it is done without any veils or symbols, butt here it is accomplished through symbols. . . .

In the economic on anamnetic scheme, the sanctuary with its altar is at once: the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle decreed by Moses; the Cenacle of the Last Supper; Golgotha of the crucifixion; and the Holy Sepulchre of the resurrection, from which the sacred gifts of the Risen Lord — His Word and His body and blood — issue forth to illumine the sin-darkened world.     . . .

In the iconography and liturgy of the church, this twofold vision assumes visible and dynamic form.  From the central dome the image of the Pantocrator dominates the whole scheme, giving unity to the hierarchical and economic themes.  The movement of the hierarchical theme is vertical: ascending from the present, worshiping community assembled in the nave, up through the ranks of the saints, prophets, patriarchs, and apostles, to the Lord in the heavens attended by the angelic choirs.  The economic or ‘salvation-history’ system, extending outwards and upwards from the sanctuary, is united both artistically and theologically with the hierarchical. ”  (THE BYZANTINE RITE: A SHORT HISTORY, pp 69-70)

There is no "Biblical theology" because that distinction would make no sense in the Orthodox understanding of Scripture. From the Orthodox Church in America web site:

Question

We have not talked much about the Church itself. For example, what about the Bible? Do the Orthodox use the Bible as other Christians do?


Answer

For the Orthodox, the Bible is the book of the Church, written by and for those who believe in God and constitute His People. The Four Gospels are the center of the Bible, just as Christ is the center of the Church. For this reason the Four Gospels are always enthroned on the altar in the Orthodox Church building.

The Orthodox generally interpret the Bible in terms of Christ. In this sense, the Old Testament is partial in that it prepares for the time of Christ, the Messiah, who fulfills its message and history.

The New Testament writings are also centered around Christ and tell of His action in the world and in the Church through the Holy Spirit.

Thus the Orthodox position about the Bible, would be that the New Testament is prefigured in the Old, and the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New.

The Bible is central in the life of the Church and gives both form and content to the Church’s liturgical and sacramental worship, just as to its theology and spiritual life. Nothing in the Orthodox Church can be opposed to what is revealed in the Bible. Everything in the Church must be biblical.

The Bible itself, however, not only determines and judges the life of the Church, but is itself judged by the Church since it “comes alive” and receives its proper interpretation and significance only within the life of the Church as actually lived and experienced by the People of God.

This would be the basic Orthodox approach to the Bible. Very sadly however, it must be mentioned that the knowledge of the Bible among Orthodox is not very great. There is a conscious attempt being made today to renew the reading and meditation of the scriptures by the faithful of the Church.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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