Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...

ozgeorge

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welkodox said:
Orthodoxy is the love of Christ and clearly is different than the rest because it isn't centered in pride.
One of the most ironic statements I have come across in a while.
Is this the best you can do welkodox? Yet another snide one-liner? And this time, a one-liner which writes off the entire Apostolic Tradition? I really don't think you are listening to other people. Rather than immediately biting their finger, why don't you look where they are pointing?
 

Tamara

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ozgeorge said:
I agree. It was a case of deceiving the deceiver. And in the Orthodox Church, we commemorate this on Holy Saturday:

"Today Hades cries out groaning:
I should not have accepted the Man born of Mary.
He came and destroyed my power.
He shattered the gates of brass.
As God. He raised the souls I had held captive.

"Today Hades cries out groaning:
my power has been abolished;
I have received a mortal, as one of the mortals;
but this One, I am completely powerless to contain;
with Him, I have lost all those over which I have ruled. 
For ages I had held them dead;
but behold, He raises them up all.'"
George,

During Holy Week I listened carefully to all the hymns and prayers. The theme which was very clear was that Christ came to destroy death and heal us.  I don't remember singing any hymns about the wrath of God or His demand for Divine Justice. I have always been taught that there is no official catechism of the Orthodox Church because regular attendance of the  Liturgical services provide our catechism.
 

Demetrios G.

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lubeltri said:
What an ironic statement!

If you could refrain from creating straw men of "Western" theology, we might have a discussion here. But since you and several others persist in the stereotypes, it's time I left this thread. I feel very, very blessed that I don't have to deal with this kind of strident and very (IMO) uncatholic Anti-doxy on a daily basis. Part of what kept me from entering Orthodoxy, I'm afraid to say, was this incessant refrain I heard from many that "we're not like them." It didn't seem like there was a place in Orthodoxy for a Westerner like me---or at least, many Orthodox don't want it that way.
Hay pal. It was you who posted a strawman as a counter to my post. In other words you want us to sweep our theology under the rug and accept you as is. Good luck.
 

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But to be fair, both Catholics and Orthodox fudge the truth when it comes to Church history, so it's really both sides that need to step up to the plate here. Easterners can sometimes have an anti-western bias, but both sides often have an anti-early-church bias. Division is convenient to bring up when it makes your group look better, but usually the countless divisions in the early Church--some including hundreds of clergy and millions of people--are left alongside the road, ignored. I've seen the timeline of which you are speaking, and if they were as critical of eastern history (e.g., all the breakoffs mentioned by Ireneaus, split after the so-called 3rd ecumenical council, after so-called 4th ecumenical council, etc.) it would have been a lot more honest. But like I said, both sides ignore what doesn't make them look good. (For an example of Catholic bias--or lack of real research--when in the middle of a debate/discussion with Protestants, I've yet to hear a Catholic admit that Jerome rejected the deuterocanonical books from his canon, but I hear lots about how the Church supposedly settled the issue before Jerome's translation... in other words, everyone says that which makes them look good).
 

lubeltri

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minasoliman said:
Dear Lubeltri or Papist,

What is the RC view of "infinite sin?"  I never found anything in their catechism about it. 
I don't really know, actually. I've only heard the phrase in Protestant circles. I'd have to do some real research on it (Googling it was utterly fruitless) or ask somebody more knowledgeable than me.
 

lubeltri

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Asteriktos said:
But to be fair, both Catholics and Orthodox fudge the truth when it comes to Church history, so it's really both sides that need to step up to the plate here. Easterners can sometimes have an anti-western bias, but both sides often have an anti-early-church bias. Division is convenient to bring up when it makes your group look better, but usually the countless divisions in the early Church--some including hundreds of clergy and millions of people--are left alongside the road, ignored. I've seen the timeline of which you are speaking, and if they were as critical of eastern history (e.g., all the breakoffs mentioned by Ireneaus, split after the so-called 3rd ecumenical council, after so-called 4th ecumenical council, etc.) it would have been a lot more honest. But like I said, both sides ignore what doesn't make them look good. (For an example of Catholic bias--or lack of real research--when in the middle of a debate/discussion with Protestants, I've yet to hear a Catholic admit that Jerome rejected the deuterocanonical books from his canon, but I hear lots about how the Church supposedly settled the issue before Jerome's translation... in other words, everyone says that which makes them look good).
You are correct. The Church spoke the final word on the deuterocanonicals only at Trent. But I do know what you are talking about---some Catholics I know like to tell Protestants that the Church "wrote your Bible" and leave it at that, self-satisfied.

(Regarding the timeline, I love how it shows the monolithic Orthodox line punctuated with dates like 1794: Orthodox missionaries arrive in Alaska and 1988: 1,000 years of Orthodox Christianity in Russia while the Western spider web of lines is punctuated with dates showing the Crusades and other upheavals. The line labeled the "Protestant Church" was also amusing.)

Now I will take my leave, until I get an answer for Mina's question.
 

ozgeorge

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Asteriktos said:
everyone says that which makes them look good.
That's probably true, but I'm not sure I understand your point about how the schisms in the early Church not being mentioned constitutes an "early church bias" by anyone. Are you talking abut doctrinal disputes which did not result in schism? If so, I'd say these started with St. Paul's dispute with St. Peter over the gentile question. I don't think anyone has avoided looking at doctrinal disputes- this thread certainly hasn't. Nor do I think that schism is "not mentioned" in order to "look good", in fact, I'd say the opposite is true- schism and anathemizing heresy is how the Church has always defined her doctrines, and she has always used heresy as a way of defining what she holds true as compared to what she holds to be false.
 

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The statement that "The Orthodox Church is not based on pride" is a prideful statement.  The irony is right there, and it is not a matter of snideness.  It is simply a matter of pointing out the obvious.  It's like saying "I am incredibly humble".  It is simply given a further level of irony when juxtaposed with this thread.

At its heart to me, this thread is simply an illustration of a kind of mindset that has taken an unfortunate hold in many places.  lubeltri righly calls it the anti mindset.  It's not only standing in opposition to the west, it becomes ironically again something that stands in opposition to the past of the church itself.  So when it's said "we have no catechisms" or "you will not find the satisfaction theory in their writings" how can we not but appear but absurd when it turns out these things are absolutely true.  Yet there is a desire to press on with an obstinate refusal to deal with the reality of what is there.  Whether this is to make Orthodoxy attractive to converts as the "church that opposes that other church", or is a way to further retreat in to our own Orthodox shell and ignore everyone else is beyond me.

I will say I'm thankful my real world experiences in the church are in almost all cases absolutely nothing like what I read online.
 

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welkodox said:
So when it's said "we have no catechisms" or "you will not find the satisfaction theory in their writings" how can we not but appear but absurd when it turns out these things are absolutely true. 
Christ is Risen!

Andrew,

There are various catechisms written by a variety of Orthodox but there is no one "official" catechism for the Orthodox church. If you don't believe me go and try to find it. By the way, I looked at the catechism of Greek priest you provided and I could not find any official endorsement by any synod for it. It appears to be his own work. Our liturgical texts and hymns provide us with our catechism. It had to be that way because the Fathers of the church did not want the illiterate to be ignorant of the faith. We (laity) are the royal priesthood and the guardian of the faith.  These services are the voice of the church. If you listen carefully, you will absorb the teachings of our church over time. Then you will be able to discern the truth from the fads you fear.
 

ozgeorge

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welkodox said:
I will say I'm thankful my real world experiences in the church are in almost all cases absolutely nothing like what I read online.
That's fine. But you're just going to have to accept the fact that in 40 years as an Orthodox Christian, I have never come across any reference in any Liturgical Service to the "satisfaction" view of redemption. That's my real world experience.
 

welkodox

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Tamara said:
There are various catechisms written by a variety of Orthodox but there is no one "official" catechism for the Orthodox church. If you don't believe me go and try to find it.
One that I have quoted from in this thread is the Longer Catechism of St. Philaret of Moscow that bears the following statement

"Examined and Approved by the Most Holy Governing Synod, and Published for the Use of Schools, and of all Orthodox Christians, by Order of His Imperial Majesty. (Moscow, at the Synodical Press, 1830.)"

http://www.pravoslavieto.com/docs/eng/Orthodox_Catechism_of_Philaret.htm

While technically you may be correct that for instance this was not put out by the entire church, do you suppose the faith of the Romanian Church is different than what was approved of by the Holy Synod of the Russian Church?

The one thing that does approach a catechism covering all churches are the Acts and Decrees 1672 Synod of Jerusalem.  http://catholicity.elcore.net/ConfessionOfDositheus.html  It was described IIRC by Metropolitan Kallistos in his book "The Orthodox Church" as the most important post schism Pan Orthodox synod.  It's acts and decrees very much resemble what a catechism is intended to do, although not in the simplified Q&A format of a true catechism.  The real point is it is an authoritative statement on the faith.

By the way, I looked at the catechism of Greek priest you provided and I could not find any official endorsement by any synod for it. It appears to be his own work.
Similar then to the work that was the nexus of this thread, although it seems with contradictory propositions.

Our liturgical texts and hymns provide us with our catechism.
While I would never discount the importance of the liturgy as the living expression of the church, I don't think we would be so naive as to assume they are the only deposit of faith or our only tool for learning about it.  That is why catechisms and other materials have been and will be produced.

If you listen carefully, you will absorb the teachings of our church over time. Then you will be able to discern the truth from the fads you fear.
It's interesting, because when I read these words I detect a rather patronizing tone.  Oh well, such is the Internet.

I have indeed listened to and participated in the divine services, though I haven't limited myself to comprehending the faith based on them.  This is an interesting point, because I think some people do assume others such as their children will pick up the faith almost through osmosis, and take no active interest in looking at it more deeply.  That I believe is a mistake.

The fads I fear are the re-invention of Orthodoxy as the alternative to the western church, which much of what I'm reading is further evidence of.  Considering I don't think I've quoted a writing newer than the 19th century, I hope one thing it would appear I am not doing is following a fad.  It would seem to me critically examining the claims being made about what the Orthodox church has actually said in the past is counter to the current fads.

ozgeorge

That's fine. But you're just going to have to accept the fact that in 40 years as an Orthodox Christian, I have never come across any reference in any Liturgical Service to the "satisfaction" view of redemption. That's my real world experience.
Which I wouldn't argue with.  Looking in the writings from the past do bring to light that some church fathers and theologians view this as a legitimate aspect of the Atonement however.  One would not even need to be Orthodox at all to recognize this.

We claim to be a church consistent with the past, and I have seen Orthodox Christians rather pridefully tell Catholics they have not stayed consistent.  Yet here we are, with people people ignoring our past or writing things in flat contradiction of them.  We need to be honest and come to terms with where we aren't consistent - whether it's the Atonement, Primacy, Original Sin or contraception.  Burying our heads and living in denial will not work.
 

ozgeorge

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welkodox said:
We claim to be a church consistent with the past, and I have seen Orthodox Christians rather pridefully tell Catholics they have not stayed consistent.  Yet here we are, with people people ignoring our past or writing things in flat contradiction of them.  We need to be honest and come to terms with where we aren't consistent - whether it's the Atonement, Primacy, Original Sin or contraception.  Burying our heads and living in denial will not work.
Welkodox, by this argument, in order to be "consistent", the Orthodox Church should accept apokatastasis as an "Orthodox doctrine" since St. Gregory of Nyssa (whom no one could say is not a Father of the Church) stated that the fire of hell is purifying and therefore not eternal in On the Soul and the Resurrection and in the Catechetical Oration.
 

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ozgeorge said:
Welkodox, by this argument, in order to be "consistent", the Orthodox Church should accept apokatastasis as an "Orthodox doctrine" since St. Gregory of Nyssa (whom no one could say is not a Father of the Church) stated that the fire of hell is purifying and therefore not eternal in On the Soul and the Resurrection and in the Catechetical Oration.
I would agree if his view was:

Repeated in multiple other writings of church fathers.
Present in official encylicals or synodal statements.
In the official publications released by the church as as catechisms or other instruction in the faith.

Otherwise I think it's an apples and oranges comparison.  It would however I think be mistaken by the same token to say "no where in the writings of the Eastern Fathers is there support for the apokatastasis", because clearly there is.  Now, obviously that in and of itself does not prove anything other than somebody has articulated the belief.  Then you go look for the supporting evidence in the types of things I mentioned above.

That's what I mean about being consistent with the past.  I've seen people write on the Internet "Orthodoxy hasn't changed".  Yet we have changed, and are changing.  It's happening before our eyes.
 

ozgeorge

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welkodox said:
That's what I mean about being consistent with the past.  I've seen people write on the Internet "Orthodoxy hasn't changed".  Yet we have changed, and are changing.  It's happening before our eyes.
I've repeatedly quoted examples on various threads in this forum where the Orthodox Church has changed (my favourites include "Canon 101 of the 6th EC", usury, Deaconesses etc.). So why are you telling me this? Is it because you find it exasperating? If so, I can understand. But I hope you can understand that I find it exasperating to hear people on the internet claim to speak for the Orthodox Church and tell her what she should believe simply because the Fathers disagree on certain issues. The "daily dogmatic voice" of the Church is not the Internet; it's not even the writing of the Fathers who, as we know, have disagreed on issues. The daily dogmatic voice of the Orthodox Church is the daily cycle of her Liturgical Services where each prayer, ode, kontakion, troparion etc. is a mini homily. And there is nothing in this daily dogmatic voice of the Church which supports the notion of "penal satisfaction". And I don't just mean the Divine Liturgy, I mean the Triodion, Pentecostarion, Menaion, or any liturgical book. I can find references in the Liturgical Services to the dogmas about Icons, about the Two Natures, about the title "Theotokos", the Incarnation, the Divine Economia...etc..., but why would there not be any reference in the Liturgical Services to "penal satisfaction" if this truly were supposed to be an acceptable view of our redemption?
So, is this what you wish to change in the Orthodox Church? That she should start including the view of Penal Satisfaction in her liturgical services? You would have to accept that this would constitute a dogmatic change, similar to the current dispute over the "Moghila" prayer of absolution in the Mystery of Repentance adopted in the 18th century in Russia which now raises the question: "Do priests have the power to forgive sins on earth?"- Liturgically, Russian Churches say 'yes', and most non-Slavic ones say 'no'. So now, we have a doctrinal dispute.
But as I've repeatedly said on this thread and elsewhere, doctrinal disputes is how the Church comes to define the dogmas which she does clearly believe, and she does this by holding up the erroneous belief (heresy) as an example. Take the example of the Iconoclasm dispute: the only reason that there we are called "Iconodules" is because at one stage "Iconoclasts" came about and started spreading their ideas.
And yes, some people may lose the point of the dispute and turn it into a political "us" vs. "them" instead of Orthodoxy vs. heresy, but we should know that that is bound to happen somewhere along the line, and it shouldn't surprize us, but nor should it be allowed to draw our attention away from the real issue, which is the doctrine, no matter where the heresy which challenges it has come from- whether it has come from "us" or "them".
 

Schultz

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I've read this thread with some amusement as it seems that the participants are now largely talking past one another.

This is what I see, with no names to protect the innocent.  This is, of course, an oversimplification, but it's what an outsider would see if he read this discussion.

Group One:  There is no writing from an Orthodox church father that supports any sort of Western notion of "atonement"

Group Two:  Yes there, here are examples.  And another thing, all this "East vs West" stuff is alot of bull.

Group One:  So, are you saying there is no East vs. West when it comes to theology?

Group Two:  No, I'm saying that one can find so-called "Western" theology in the writings of Eastern church fathers.  Here are some more examples.

Group One:  Well, all those writings don't equate everything that the church teaches.

Group Two:  Okay, but you still have to admit that if these ideas are present in the writings of Eastern fathers, then we can drop this East vs. West business.

Group One:  No, we can't.  You're not getting it.  Just because these things seem to show up (enter semantic discussion) in the writings of certain Fathers that doesn't mean that's what the church teaches.

Group Two:  But they're still present.  The Orthodox Church may downplay their importance and use other fathers writings to support that position, but they're still present.  Here are some examples from catechisms and the like.

Group One:  The Orthodox Church does not produce catechisms.  The Orthodox Church uses the liturgy to teach its faithful.

Group Two:  But catechisms do exist.

Group One:  But they're not official so they carry no weight.  There are NO liturgical writings to support an atonement theology.  It only comes up in Western theological and liturgical writings.

Group Two:  Well, some catechisms appear to be more official than others, like this one.  Since this church is in communion with the others, and supposedly believe the same things, they should hold true at least as an example of this atonement theology existing as a theologeouma (or however it is you spell it).  And we should still drop this silly East v. West thing.

Group One:  But I've never heard anything in the liturgy to support such a theory.  And I'm not anti-Western, I jsut don't like Western theology.

Group Two:  Okay, I believe that.  But the fact remains that this theory has been posited by Eastern fathers and therefore we should be honest and say that it does turn up in their writings, but the Church downplays these opinions in favor of others.

Group One:  But the Church doesn't say that.

And here we go again...

 

ozgeorge

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Thanks for your opinion Shultz, but I don't share it.
Schultz said:
but it's what an outsider would see if he read this discussion.
One should not presume to speak for an entire group of people. What exactly is "an outsider"? Someone who doesn't read all the discussion?
And as for "talking past each other", that's not been my experience at all.
 

welkodox

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So, is this what you wish to change in the Orthodox Church? That she should start including the view of Penal Satisfaction in her liturgical services?
Red herring.  Nowhere have I said anything even approaching that.  I actually in this thread don't believe I've advocated any sort of change whatsoever.  I certainly haven't used the word penal at all.

The daily dogmatic voice of the Orthodox Church is the daily cycle of her Liturgical Services
Two questions then:

So the dogmatic voice of the church is found in all the liturgical services used, in both Western and Eastern Rites, correct?

When the services/typikon of the church change, does the theology of the church change?
 

ozgeorge

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welkodox said:
So the dogmatic voice of the church is found in all the liturgical services used, in both Western and Eastern Rites, correct?
To answer honestly: I'm not sure.
Personally, I'm not entirely happy with the method with which the Western Rite was introduced. I really think it should have taken place on a Pan-Orthodox level rather than the local level.

welkodox said:
When the services/typikon of the church change, does the theology of the church change?
No. The Services are changing all the time- just look at the current mess the Greek typicon for Orthros is in, and I've already mentioned the Moghila Absolution prayer, not to mention the fact that new services are constantly being written at the local level. But what I'm talking about is the Services, Hymns and Prayers which have stood the test of time and place. The Absolution Prayer of Arch. Peter Moghila has not stood the test of time and place, since it is not acceptable throughout the Church, and the same goes for the Greek revision of the the Typicon, since it is not acceptable throughout the Church. But there are dogmatic hymns etc, which the whole church accepts, and isn't this the acid test of St. Vincent of Lerins: universality, antiquity and consent?
 

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welkodox said:
One that I have quoted from in this thread is the Longer Catechism of St. Philaret of Moscow that bears the following statement

"Examined and Approved by the Most Holy Governing Synod, and Published for the Use of Schools, and of all Orthodox Christians, by Order of His Imperial Majesty. (Moscow, at the Synodical Press, 1830.)"

http://www.pravoslavieto.com/docs/eng/Orthodox_Catechism_of_Philaret.htm

While technically you may be correct that for instance this was not put out by the entire church, do you suppose the faith of the Romanian Church is different than what was approved of by the Holy Synod of the Russian Church?

The one thing that does approach a catechism covering all churches are the Acts and Decrees 1672 Synod of Jerusalem.  http://catholicity.elcore.net/ConfessionOfDositheus.html  It was described IIRC by Metropolitan Kallistos in his book "The Orthodox Church" as the most important post schism Pan Orthodox synod.  It's acts and decrees very much resemble what a catechism is intended to do, although not in the simplified Q&A format of a true catechism.  The real point is it is an authoritative statement on the faith.

Similar then to the work that was the nexus of this thread, although it seems with contradictory propositions.

While I would never discount the importance of the liturgy as the living expression of the church, I don't think we would be so naive as to assume they are the only deposit of faith or our only tool for learning about it.  That is why catechisms and other materials have been and will be produced.

It's interesting, because when I read these words I detect a rather patronizing tone.  Oh well, such is the Internet.

I have indeed listened to and participated in the divine services, though I haven't limited myself to comprehending the faith based on them.  This is an interesting point, because I think some people do assume others such as their children will pick up the faith almost through osmosis, and take no active interest in looking at it more deeply.  That I believe is a mistake.

The fads I fear are the re-invention of Orthodoxy as the alternative to the western church, which much of what I'm reading is further evidence of.  Considering I don't think I've quoted a writing newer than the 19th century, I hope one thing it would appear I am not doing is following a fad.  It would seem to me critically examining the claims being made about what the Orthodox church has actually said in the past is counter to the current fads.
No patronizing tone intended...this is not the best form of communication. I do believe the faith can be transmitted to my children by osmosis. Holy Week for us was one service following another. The boys served as altar boys in almost every service we attended. Questions do arise when we are at home because of what they have seen, heard or done during the various services. We discuss these questions and I answer them to the best of my ability or if I don't know the answer I ask our priest. They do attend Sunday School but I think it is more critical that they attend the services even if they still do not comprehend everything. Over time, the words of the prayers and hymns will become ingrained in their hearts.

 
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