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Fall from Grace?

Pedro

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Here here, DT and icxn -- yet another example of everybody after the Apostles getting a key issue wrong, I guess... ::)

Rho, no offense to you personally, but I think this will be my last post (of length, anyway) on this thread, as I'm not really interested in further debating against something I find so illogical.

my position assumes that those who are justified WILL have the sanctifying action. Does the OSB say anything about the next part, the "called-justified-glorified" part?
As I wrote previously, with a bit more added on:
Based on His foreknwledge, God assures or predestines that those who choose to love and obey Him will be fulfilled, being conformed to the image of His Son...(vs. 30) Paul writes of the overall breadth of salvation. Glorified is in the past tense, but it also refers to the future glorification of believers through the resurrection.


So, again, we answer -- ALL those who themselves endure, God knows of, and will be faithful to reward them. They don't have to worry about God being capricious and pulling a "bait and switch" on them, in other words. God has fully laid out the path of salvation; if we walk it, we WILL arrive home. ALL of us. That's what we see the passage as saying.

Also, do you believe *everything* the OSB says (not being sarcastic - this is a real question)?
Haven't read all the notes, but neither have I yet read anything that smells fishy. So, yeah, so far.

OK, first, I hear other posters telling me that the Matthew 22 passage represents Heaven, which is a ridiculous interpretation - EOs do not believe one can get tossed out of Heaven, do you?
Let me (try to) clarify: Matt. 22 relates to Heaven, and yet it doesn't, completely. This is through our view of eschatology (which Fr. Alexander Schmemann goes over quite a bit), which says that the Kingdom of Heaven is here with us now, in its fulness, and yet will be revealed completely in actuality at the second coming. So the obtaining and preserving of said garment is now, which is in preparation for the wedding feast of the Lamb in Heaven, where we will ultimately face the consequences for our actions.

But in Rom 8:30, His call is effectual and it refers to people actually making the decision to follow Christ (which I also believe to be synergistic).
Sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it, too. What is the "effect" of God's call (seen to be "irresistible grace" in pure Calvinism, which you say you don't buy) if we are still to "make the decision" ourselves? If one takes vs. 30 by itself, man is completely excluded, with the verse not referring to man doing anything.

OK, so we have established so far that the EO interpretation of this passage forces the passage to say that God does not indeed foreknow everyone who will be glorified or that some are glorified who are not foreknown.
No, you have set that up in your own mind. We don't concede this; read what I said about vs. 30 again if you think otherwise.

Romans 11:20-22...This verse is a strong warning not to fall away. But like so many other warnings, it does not assume that one WILL fall away - it simply warns you not to.
I think DT expressed the EO frustration at this (frankly) convoluted way of seeing any kind of warning. Why warn someone of something that definitely will or definitely will not happen? ???

And when you think about it, it only makes sense - how will one know with absolute certainty whether one has a faith that leads to glorification?
So the idea is, basically, to keep checking so you can make sure your confession "stuck," right? Which is something you can never *really* know for sure, right? Sounds like someone trying to get around the catholic idea of continual work on salvation.

But notice Paul does not cite anyone who stands by faith AND WHO WAS THEN CUT OFF. The Nation of Israel, cited previously by Paul, was not cut off in its entirety (there were some who were saved by their faith) but the Nation in its general sense was cut off in favor of the Gentiles, so this is a bad prooftext for your position.
How is this bad?! Paul cites the majority of individuals within the Isrealite nation who were in the tree of salvation and no longer are; the fact that some Israelites were baptized into the New Israel just proves the point that they had to continue in right belief to stay on the tree, otherwise they (as well as anyone else) would be cut off from where they were before.

Col. 1:19-23...This passage does not assume that anyone will - we know from Rom 8 that this is a ridiculous notion. Instead, this is a warning to examine ourselves, as we would be foolish to presume upon God’s grace.
Your notion is what seems ridiculous at this point, Rho; he will present us holy, if indeed we continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which we heard. We move away, we won't be presented holy. He knew what we'd do, but the decision to quit is ours to make...whatever we choose to do, He will act accordingly.

Heb. 6:4-6...if you believe this verse refers to people who once were justified and now are no longer, do you also believe that someone can come back from this falling away?...Not according to this verse.
This refers to those adult converts who renounced Christ and reverted to Judaism, whose baptism cannot be repeated. This is still true to this day; baptisms cannot be repeated.

parable of the sower
And you can be sure that the seeds never had to accept, realize, confess, or persevere in anything; it was all done for them. Really, even the parables break down at some point.

"My Father, Who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Anyone who falls away once they are in Christ’s and the Father’s hands is stronger than the Will of God.
Again, this is done for the assurance of the believer in the sense that God is faithful and will not allow other people, principalities, powers, etc. to separate us (transitive verb) from God (Rom. 8 again!), but it says nothing about our being able to leave of our own free will, which He respects.


2 Peter 2:20-22 - Would the Spirit of God refer to members of His beloved Church, of the Body of Christ, as “dogs” and “sows”? No - it is clear these false prophets were never believers...As for their escaping “the pollutions of the world thru the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” it is no great surprise to learn that, by hanging out with believers, one can escape the pollutions of the world - it is thru the godly influence of those very believers. And Jesus Christ is not “their” Lord and Savior, but is “the” Lord.
Hmm..."escaped pollution," only to be "again entangled."
A sow, having washed, returning to her wallowing in the mire.

Sounds enough like a change from one state to another, then back again. But to deal with the Greek in verse 21:

knowledge: +¦-Ç+¦+¦++-ë-â+¦+¦ having known: +¦-Ç+¦+¦++++-à -â+¦++ The words denote experiential knowledge, which they participate in, as opposed to mere "head knowledge.

what do you think of 1 John 5:13 - “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you might know that you have eternal life” ?
Well, I think we ought to finish the verse when we quote it: "...and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God," apart from which we cannot have eternal life. Believe and keep believing. Otherwise, there will be no eternal life.
 
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Rho,

>>First, glad to see that you agree that the "those"s are the same throughout the two verses.
Two kinds of “called” - there’s invited and there’s called effectually to justification. In your interp, the verse is saying that God did NOT, indeed, foreknow some people who would be justified - that is what you are saying, and it creates difficulty for you. You claim no Pelagian slant away from God’s omniscience but you belie it in your post - which side do you take, at the end of the day?
I do not know how you get this out of what I wrote. God knows who will be saved, and who unfortunately will not.

The problem is you're reading into the word "foreknow" - all it means is that He knew ahead of time.

What you said is only true when the "calling" means "the invitation" as in Matt 22. Remember, however, that breaking the sentence down into the Greek (as one should do when studying any passage in-depth) does not change the dire implications for your position. If we are to hold that God foreknew *even one person* as glorified that did not make it to glorification, we believe that God is not omniscient. So this is where your argument breaks down.
Once again, you're reading into the word "foreknow" - that is the root of your problem. The word itself simply means knowledge ahead of time. God knows who the elect are. That's the import of the passage you cited from Romans.

The passage follows the elect, how they are called, how they are justified, and brought to glorification - it follows a logical order.

This says absolutely nothing of those who God knows before time (foreknown as well, in a different way) will not save their souls - who will hear the calling, but reject it and all ends there. Or who will hear the calling, accept it and be received into the Church...but eventually will become like the bad soil, and turn their back on the gift of God. Or those even who may reach great spiritual heights, only to fall through pride or some other sin and end in ruin.

The problem is rather than looking at the passage in Romans as a discourse on the elect, you're tearing the passage apart and making it a discussion of everyone who is ever "justified" at any time, or anyone who ever gladly hears the evangelical calling, or anyone who tastes of the uncreated glory of the Holy Trinity. That, and a completely unwarranted "reading into" on your part as far as the term "foreknew"/"foreknow" is concerned, is the root of your problem.

It bothers my position not at all to say that God, elsewhere, has called all men to follow Christ - that is the one usage of the word “called.” But in Rom 8:30, His call is effectual and it refers to people actually making the decision to follow Christ (which I also believe to be synergistic). It has to be this way, otherwise God does not foreknow them.
These are distinctions which are alien to the Biblical/Patristic understanding of what grace "is", and the Scripture/Church's anthropology. While men cannot do anything without the Light of God, the idea that there are "graces" which compel man's decision (thus his free will is only an illusion) involves false teaching on both grace and man.

Thus, this talk of His call being "effectual", etc...it just means absolutely nothing in an Orthodox context. It's carrying way too much (heretical) baggage to even be discussed. Grace, man, and mortality would have to be discussed before this could even begin to be sorted out.

This is not true and is a bad caricature of my position. All I refer to here is whether a person, once justified (which would be known infallibly only by the Lord Himself) *will* ever fall away.
If God knows the end of that person, that is what will happen. Very rarely are we given insight into such things (which is why this subject on the whole is not profitable for discussion, and has created any number of heretics where it did become a pre-occupation). The only examples I know of, are the false prophet, the anti-Christ, and the devil, who we are told will be thrown into Hell for eternity. Why will they have a bad end? Because they will never repent. The extraordinary thing (though obviously our knowledge of this is important enough that such normally secret counsels are being revealed) is that we are being told this. Strictly speaking, God could do the same for anyone else.

Either way (whether it be in the case of some joe-schmoe who loses his soul, or the devil) it is ultimatly the bad choices of the individuals involved, and not God's immediate knowledge of all things, which makes that sad situation so.

I absolutely dispute this, but I think this is where the line will be drawn between my position and yours, ultimately. The justification Paul speaks of in Romans 4 and so many other places, which is in the eyes of the Lord, and at which point 33 things happen to the new believer, cannot happen more than once (Heb 6:4-6). The justification James speaks of is the justification of the believer and his faith in the eyes of others and of the evidence that validates his faith (“justifying” his faith”). Otherwise, Paul and James contradict. Do you believe they contradict?
I agree that under the umbrella of things referred to as "justification", different things are pointed to. As Hebrews 6 indicates, re-baptism is impossible (verse four describing a pattern of initiation still practiced in Orthodoxy to this day - Baptism, Chrismation, Holy Communion.)

However, what I disagree with, is that the "justification" St.James speaks about involves the benefit of our fellow man. This sounds a lot like "human respect".

The importance of this other form of "justification" (basically, anything but the mystery of initiation) is precisely to be found in the repair of fallen Christians. While re-Baptism and starting with a clean slate is not possible, the hard road of confessing one's sins and struggling to overcome them is very much open. Such a return would be a form of "justification" in God's sight.

OK, so we have established so far that the EO interpretation of this passage forces the passage to say that God does not indeed foreknow everyone who will be glorified or that some are glorified who are not foreknown. Any other input?
A totally false conclusion.

So you do NOT in fact believe that each believer is supposed to examine himself (how would he without knowledge of godliness)?
I don't believe that examination of conscience was supposed to involve "re-inventing the wheel", or that the "knowledge of Godliness" is primarily something which is self-taught.

Could we try to stay on topic without the cheap shots?
Sadly it's not a mischaracterization or "cheap shot", since the tangeled ball of yarn you've laid in front of us is itself an eloquent argument against the exagerated/false "Biblicism" of the sectarians. Everything has it's context, and every reading will have a context whether intended or not - in the case of the Bible it will either be read in the sanctuary of God (one context), or in the temple of personal opinion, social bias, and other false pre-conceptions (another context.)

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More on Seraphim's supposed refutation of my proposed interpretation:
To say that God called some people and that some were not justified reveals that the speaker has not addressed the alternate meanings for "call" or "calling" that is seen in the verses I mentioned above.
Next, your distinction of several kinds of justification cannot stand - there is no other kind of justification that *God* does but that of forgiving the person who has put his faith in Christ and who has passed from death to life, who is a new creation. The Epistle of James' kind of justification, I'm sure you will admit, is *not* something God does, so it is not applicable here. Yet we do see multiple examples of God doing specific activities during justification of the believer in the New Testament.
And I would love to know how God would go about justifying someone several times in a lifetime - given that it is God doing it, did He do such an incomplete job the first time? Did someone snatch the believer out of His hand (more about that in John 10:26-29)?
SERAPHIM: The passage follows the elect, how they are called, how they are justified, and brought to glorification - it follows a logical order.
--Well whoever these "foreknown" people are, they have been set on a certain path, within certain boundaries to the end that they be conformed (made like) the only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is those who are "foreknown" in the good way (the elect, those who will die with their baptismal garments still white, in the grace of God) who are being spoken of, since any one of the things referred to in the passage (sadly, even sanctification/glorification if one falls from grace - even the greatest Saints were vigilant against this) can refer to someone who is NOT in fact one of these people God has "foreknown" will save their souls.
>>So much of what has been said in response to me has been based on unfounded assumptions, and this is no exception. The passage says nothing about making a dichotomy between anyone who will not continue in the process - you are reading it into the text. It says that God foreknew those he predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. It says *nothing* about anyone getting away - this is classic eisegesis.
If the God-man deigned to be baptized amongst sinners, and to die the death of a criminal, how can we who have no insight into our destinies have any pretense about ourselves?
>>For one thing, I see no connection between Christ's baptism and death and this question. Surely you are not saying that Christ's baptism and death were not preordained? At any rate, *my position gives no grounds for pretense or assumption*. It is a conclusion based on the scriptural text, not a plea for licentious behavior ("I'm saved! I can do whatever I want and still go to heaven!") God, in His omniscience, knows who are His, and He knows infallibly who WILL "take up his cross daily and follow" Christ.
DTHOMAS: What you are doing is using your interpretation of that passage (taken out of context) to somehow explain away verses that are rather clear that one can fall away from grace. Your interpretation is not the result of a supposedly objective, "normal" hermeneutic but is the by-product of a novel interpretive tradition which originated less than 500 years ago.
>>I'm not trying to be mean or dismissive, but one must defeat the point and not simply assume or assert that it is the way one wants. As for the normal interpretational method, did not many Church Fathers engage in that method of hermeneutics, as opposed to others who preferred the allegorical method (like Origen)? If so, I don't know what you mean by "novel interp tradition."
The reason that Paul warned about being "cut off" in the Romans 11 passage is that it is a real possibility for those who don't continue in the faith. In your mind your case is indeed "bolstered", but it's by hermeneutical gymnastics and not by "proper interpretive methodology".
>>"Gymnastics." OK. Just deal with the points then, please, if they're that easy to defeat. By the way, *I'm* not the one making all kinds of unfounded assumptions about what Paul did and did not mean - I'm engaging the text. Do you have some sort of unheard-of power to read Paul's mind without yourself engaging the text?
From Saint John Chrysostom's Homily on 1 Cor. 9
>>Believe me, I understand that you prefer this interpretation. 1) In his Homily on Romans 8, St. John Chrysostom does not deal with vv.29-30; 2) This interpretation misses the context of the passage - vv. 16-18 are not dealt with, where, in context, Paul defines the prize from which he does not want to be disqualified, namely:
15 But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one.
16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.
17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.
18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
PEDRO:ALL those who themselves endure, God knows of, and will be faithful to reward them. They don't have to worry about God being capricious and pulling a "bait and switch" on them, in other words. God has fully laid out the path of salvation; if we walk it, we WILL arrive home. ALL of us. That's what we see the passage as saying.
>>And again you make the assumption that this is what Paul means. Again *I* ask - do you have some power to read Paul's mind, so that you do not have to take into account the entire corpus of his work to know what he means when he says something of which the meaning is disputed?
So the obtaining and preserving of said garment is now, which is in preparation for the wedding feast of the Lamb in Heaven, where we will ultimately face the consequences for our actions.
>>I don't really know what to make of this very confusing assertion. I'd ask what your point is, but since you don't seem like you want to continue this dialogue...
What is the "effect" of God's call (seen to be "irresistible grace" in pure Calvinism, which you say you don't buy) if we are still to "make the decision" ourselves?
>>I don't see the necessity of inserting that meaning into it. I have cited several other passages where "called" or "calling" holds the meaning of "joined into Christ," and this is clearly what Paul means here. Neither of us believes that all that God invites are justified, so what I have said is the only remaining proposition.
If one takes vs. 30 by itself, man is completely excluded, with the verse not referring to man doing anything.
>>That is why I don't take anything by itself, but rather study the Scriptures in their proper context.
Why warn someone of something that definitely will or definitely will not happen?
>>Let me clarify my position a bit more.
-First, there is no indication in the New Testament that one can know with infallible certainty that he is in Christ; thus the frequent calls to self-examination like in 2 Cor 13:5.
-Second, there is danger of anyone of falling into complacency - it's human nature. As Paul says in 2 Cor 13:5 - "Or do you not recognise this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed you fail the test?"
-These warnings are quite profitable to keep us from falling into poor behavior, loss of witness and loss of credit to the Name of Christ, and laziness towards the work of God.
Heb. 6:4-6 - This refers to those adult converts who renounced Christ and reverted to Judaism, whose baptism cannot be repeated. This is still true to this day; baptisms cannot be repeated.
>>OK, no accompanying comment on whether they can ever come back... so no strike against my position. However, you might want to rethink that - see v.9 - "But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concering you, and *things that accompany salvation*, though we are speaking in this way" (emph. mine).
Really, even the parables break down at some point.
>>I'll take that as an accord with my statements concerning it, then.
but it says nothing about our being able to leave of our own free will, which He respects.
>>So "no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand" *should* read: "no one except for themselves is able..."? I wonder why it doesn't say that then?
"escaped pollution," only to be "again entangled."
A sow, having washed, returning to her wallowing in the mire.
Sounds enough like a change from one state to another, then back again.
>>It's still a sow, though it be washed. What to make of the "dog," according to your logic? As for experiential knowledge, agreed - these people were obviously hanging out with believers, as I said in my last big post, and the situation is comparable to 1 John 2:18-19, where they are called "antichrists."
"...and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God," apart from which we cannot have eternal life. Believe and keep believing. Otherwise, there will be no eternal life.
>>I had never seen that addition, which is only found in a few English translations, but you must make the assumption that, granted, you have already made, to make that addition into a possibility for the true believer falling away. But what of "that you may know that you have eternal life"?
SERAPHIM:This says absolutely nothing of those who God knows before time (foreknown as well, in a different way) will not save their souls - who will hear the calling, but reject it and all ends there. Or who will hear the calling, accept it and be received into the Church...but eventually will become like the bad soil, and turn their back on the gift of God.
>>The verse speaks ONLY of the string of the process of saving people from God's perspective. There is nothing in the passage of people falling away. There *is* a string of "them...who"s that one would need to break apart to hold your position.
The problem is rather than looking at the passage in Romans as a discourse on the elect, you're tearing the passage apart and making it a discussion of everyone who is ever "justified" at any time, or anyone who ever gladly hears the evangelical calling, or anyone who tastes of the uncreated glory of the Holy Trinity.
>>I honestly don't know what you mean. My whole *point* is that it is a discourse on the elect - their identities as well. It's the "them-who" thing again.
"reading into" on your part as far as the term "foreknew"/"foreknow" is concerned, is the root of your problem.
>>OK, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on who is making the assumptions here.
While men cannot do anything without the Light of God, the idea that there are "graces" which compel man's decision (thus his free will is only an illusion) involves false teaching on both grace and man.
>>See my clarification above. As for these hermeneutical analyses "meaning nothing" in an EO context, that would be part of my point, yes.
Heb 6:4-6 - The importance of this other form of "justification" (basically, anything but the mystery of initiation) is precisely to be found in the repair of fallen Christians. While re-Baptism and starting with a clean slate is not possible, the hard road of confessing one's sins and struggling to overcome them is very much open.
>>OK, but baptism is never mentioned in this passage.
Everything has it's context, and every reading will have a context whether intended or not
>>Agreed - I suppose the unbiased observer will have to come to a conclusion of whose interpretation is founded on the scriptural text and whose is not.
 
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