21 November 2010

Predestination and Grace

A friend of mine posted here and here recently on the issue of Eastern Orthodoxy's stance on Predestination and Grace. Click through to read his full posts.

I find it hard to agree with him, but he puts things out for everyone to examine.

He quotes from a gathering of Eastern Patriarchs that issued a statement [though not a conciliar statement]. From this Synod came the Confession of Dositheus.

“We believe the most good God to have from eternity predestinated unto glory those whom He has chosen, and to have consigned unto condemnation those whom He has rejected; but not so that He would justify the one, and consign and condemn the other without cause.”“But since He foreknew the one would make a right use of their free-will, and the other a wrong, He predestinated the one, or condemned the other.”“And we understand the use of free-will thus, that the Divine and illuminating grace, and which we call preventing [or, prevenient] grace, being, as a light to those in darkness, by the Divine goodness imparted to all, to those that are willing to obey this — for it is of use only to the willing, not to the unwilling — and co-operate with it, in what it requires as necessary to salvation, there is consequently granted particular grace.”“This grace co-operates with us, and enables us, and makes us to persevere in the love of God, that is to say, in performing those good things that God would have us to do, and which His preventing grace admonishes us that we should do, justifies us, and makes us predestinated.”“But those who will not obey, and co-operate with grace; and, therefore, will not observe those things that God would have us perform, and that abuse in the service of Satan the free-will, which they have received of God to perform voluntarily what is good, are consigned to eternal condemnation.”“We believe a man to be not simply justified through faith alone, but through faith which works through love, that is to say, through faith and works. But [the idea] that faith can fulfill the function of a hand that lays hold on the righteousness which is in Christ, and can then apply it unto us for salvation, we know to be far from all Orthodoxy. For faith so understood would be possible in all, and so none could miss salvation, which is obviously false. But on the contrary, we rather believe that it is not the correlative of faith, but the faith which is in us, justifies through works, with Christ.”“But to say, as the most wicked heretics do and as is contained in the Chapter [of Cyril's' Confession] to which this answers — that God, in predestinating, or condemning, did not consider in any way the works of those predestinated, or condemned, we know to be profane and impious.”

No one wants to be called a Heretic. Nobody likes it because it sounds like a denial of genuineness or scholarship or sincerity or that the said Heretic is not actually a Christian. I am reposting his stuff here because the ACNA has been challenged by the OCA, via His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, to eschew our Reformed Heresies. This will most likely be the very last one to drop...if it ever does.

I simply cannot read the Anglican Collects from the Book of Common Prayer without feeling the strong tap on the shoulder from Orthodoxy and Catholicism....Synergy!

16 November 2010


Reading is a strange journey for me. I have to admit that I did not read a single story, book, or assignment until I moved to Texas my senior year of high school. I hate to admit it, but it was my goal to finish with high grades while never reading any assignment. College suffered for this poor attitude. But I was rescued by the Texas high school experience. I was lumped in with others of my GPA (presumed capacity) and soon realized that these nerds where not cheating and loafing like I was. The teacher knew what she was doing too. I could simply not make it though this class unless I lost my reading virginity and got down and dirty (sorry for that crass comparison). Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies were the first two assigned books I ever read right through to the end.

My memory is so pervasive in that old vow that I actually forgot about that one night stand with Jeremiah Denton. Well, here goes another admission. While still a very underachieving Alabama youth I stole away with When Hell Was in Session by Jeremiah Denton and could not put it down. It was the first book I ever finished. And I finished it in a couple of days. It felt the same as that morning when everybody else was sleeping in--I found myself mesmerized to tears by watching Ann of Green Gables on PBS. Oh, the shame a young southern male would endure had he been caught enjoying Ann Shirley's stories (or watching PBS for that matter). At least my first book was macho.

A friend recently blogged about the risky side of reading too much internet claptrap. I have over 300 feeds coming to my GoogleReader that I check daily...throughout the day, of course. I really use them as a clipper service to dredge the internet's ocean floor for stuff I'd like to read up on. It does have a downside. I find that reading headlines reduces the amount of time that I actually READ. Oh, no! That is not the point of the clipper service.

15 November 2010

Horton hears "according to who?"

Here is the latest article asking the "age old question" of authority. If you don't subscribe to Modern Reformation just email me and I'll send you a .pdf of the thing.

Be sure to read the full response to the Michael Horton's comments here. Bryan Cross's response in the journal is truncated due to space.