Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Conversation with an Orthodox

The same Orthodox man that had commented on my conversation with Catholics then messaged me directly (we are not friends). At first, due to his immediate comments, the conversation started a bit heated. But it calmed down a bit and, despite a number of ad hominem attacks against me, there was a wide array of topics discussed. Both the Orthodox and Catholic churches rely on tradition as much as the Bible. I respect Orthodox and Catholic, as I would rather have them in the world over people who deny their consciences. However, being moral or religious is not sufficient. As I will reiterate below, we are all sinners deserving of Hell, and it is only through Christ’s payment that we can obtain a home in Heaven- not by tradition or anything we can do. And I will tell the reader now, the conversation is quite extensive.

Orthodox: I think if you are truly honest with yourself you'll know is was kinda sneaky to put that whole thing out but sound bite and delete what was said. Orthodox Christians are being butchered in Syria as we speak for their Christianity and you have the nerve to say we are not Christian? we are the first Christians your ancestors worshiped pagan gods our ancestors evangelized your ancestors and gave you your bible you now worship....have some respect for the blood that is shed so that you can sit there in judgment, you should be ashamed of yourself....you play like a big smart blogger, if you are so sure  of your fundamentalist position then accept my request and let us kindly debate in a more public setting

Me: I have respect for the blood being shed. This is again you jumping to conclusions about me and anyone who believes as I do. You start bombarding me with your religious pictures and then message me with this tone when I'm not your friend. If you want to have a rational discussion about this, I'd be happy to do so, but you haven't proven to me you'll be rational. And your actions over the past couple days is further showing me that.

O: I think its a bit over the top to make me out to se irrational....although I do vehemently disagree with reform theology, practice etc, I never once said you are not Christians? my actions? my friend you made inflammatory comments about my church, you are the one who drew first blood, I can admit to being maybe a little crass, can you admit to any wrong or are you not there yet?

Me: It's okay to vehemently disagree with something; it's how you come off doing it. I vehemently disagree with abortion, but I logically and lovingly make my case to people, try to see where they're coming from, and let them have their say.

O: you call me irrational but you aren't able to refute a single thing I said you just dismiss me as irrational. how irrational of YOU!
well good but if would read what I said I was also trying to be loving

Me: That's exactly what I'm talking about. You rant on a lot of things that were already covered and label me a few things. Then when I reinforce my last comment that I was cutting out of the discussion you say I can't "refute" you.
I don't doubt your good faith, but loving is not accusations or raving on the subject. You can't just preface with that and then go about it how you'd like. It's easy to be condescending in discussion of opposing views; I struggle with it, I was raised that way. But you have to rise above it if you want anyone to see your point.

O: my friend next to nothing that I discussed was covered. I read it extensively. I happen to think that you are probably a very well intended young man, but if I am to take your advice on what you said I would then ask you to think about the ramifications of what you say. saying Catholics aren't Christian, saying the Septuagint is "completely inaccurate",  those are fundamentalist positions and you should rise above that. what about the 60 million Holy Russian Martyrs whom I mentioned, do they meet your criteria of a Christian?

O: I'm Orhtodox and you are Protestant we both disagree with Rome on things, but would you say that Mother Theresa is not a Christian?

Me: Catholics are under the umbrella of Christianity, but aren't biblical Christians. I hold fundamental views because I am fundamental. I can't stand Russia, but my question is, did they know Christ as their Savior?
Being moral does not make one a Christian. We are held to the law which we can't keep, which is why Jesus had to come to take our punishment.

O: my friend I know you are well meaning, and I am happy this is a conversation just between us so that we aren't tempted by pride. [It’s not pride that has me sharing this, but so that you can see the difference between two “Christian” religions.] before I respond to anything else, I want to address what you said of the Russians, again 60 million died for refusing to denounce Christianity. Why do you "hate" Russia? You as if they know Christ as their Savior, They believe Christ is the God and master of all creation, who became man and was crucified, rose from the dead trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life

Me: I don't hate Russia, I don't like its politics. Communism for decades, still very shady.
It's good to believe that; did they place their faith in Him, only in what He can do and not what they can do? We can't know their hearts, I guess, but that is salvation.

O: you say Catholic Church is not biblical, yet you are unable to even remotely read the Bible in the language it was written in. you must know that translation and linguistics impacts interpretation. what is it you find unbiblical

O: oh we are in 100% communism is forerunner of the antichrist

O: no one hates communism or suffered under it worse than the Russian people

O: 100% agreement on communism, sorry go on

Me: I mentioned what I found unbiblical. That impacts interpretation somewhat, for sure, but the Textus Receptus, what the King James Version was translated from, matches Hebrew manuscripts 95%, and there are over 6,000 Greek manuscripts that show the New Testament even more accurate.
I would imagine the Russians did suffer the most, though their satellite states did too. And yes, when you look at the economic and political structure of the Tribulation, it is similar to Communism.

O: you have to understand that your question as to weather or not they place faith on Him for what they can do? my friend what a blessing and a chance for greater understanding! Orthodox do not at all only believe in Christ because of what He can do. Orthodox Christians have a vibrant, exciting, passionate personal relationship with Christ, we live our whole lives to worship Him. We bask in His Glory in prayer and contemplation. Orthodox call just sitting with God and thinking about Him contemplation. We live our whole lives for The Lord Jesus Christ.

Me: That is noble, but what I believe is that God inspired His Word and preserved it for mankind. Psalm says He has placed it above His name- something very great indeed. It is what we should follow, not traditions. I place my faith only in Christ's finished work for salvation, not in tradition, not in "sola scriptura". But the reason the Bible is so important is that it tells us exactly how to do that.

O: but what if the bible tells us to follow the traditions we received, weather through word of mouth or by written word? and greater still what if the tradition pre-dates the bible?

O: and if your church follows a similar routine week to week, than isn't that also tradition?

O: for example your pastor will read and preach, and the choir will sing, and there will be an altar call, that is a form of tradition in and of its self is it not?

Me: First, the Bible starts at the beginning, hence nothing pre-dates it. My church has a general order of service (that we often deviate from), but preaching and singing are biblical, as well as responding to those. It is true that there are certainly traditions- the difference is, we make sure they don't contradict the Bible, and don't rely on them to gain God's merit. All the merit we need we have through His Son.
Where do you find in the Bible we are to follow tradition?

O: well first of all "Merits" is a roman Catholic concept that developed post schism as a result of scholasticism, the Orthodox vehemently appose this Latin approach to theology. you said your Church has a general order of service, my Church also has a general order of service that we call the Divine Liturgy. During this servive, we sing prayers to God, listen to several readings from the scriptures including a reading from one of the four Gospels, and homily or sermon. At the culmination of this Liturgy, we receive the Flesh and Blood of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ. I still haven't heard you say which of our traditions contradict the bible. the verse I was referring to is 2 Thess. 2:15

Me: If you were referencing transubstantiation, that would be one. Infant baptism is another. II Thessalonians refers to the traditions of the apostles, not a church. And their words are written in the Bible.

O: well again to word it as "transubstantiation" is a latin wording resulting from scholasticism. if by transubstantiation you mean the belief that bread and wine Mystically, objectively and truly becomes the true Flesh and Blood of the our God, than YES, the Orthodox do believe this glorious truth. here are the verses straight from the mouth of Christ God that show this to be the biblical belief...Gn 4:10 , Heb 12:24 ,  Gn 14:18 ,Heb 7:2 ",Ex 24:8 ,Mt 26:28, Ex 34:29,Lv 23:12-13 ,1 Kgs 7:48 ,, Ex 25:8 , Ex 25:22 ,Ex 25:30 ,Mt 28:20 ,1 Sam 21:6 ,Mt 12:1,Lk 22:19 ,Ex 24:11 ,Lk 22:19 ,Ex 12:5-6 ,Mt 27:45 ,Ex, Jn 6:51 12:8 ,Ex 12:13 ,Jn 6:35 Lk 22:20 ,Mt 26:23 Jn 6:52 Jn 10:9 Jn 15:1 Jn 6:53 Jn 6:60 Lv 17:10 ,Lv 17:11 Mt 27:45 Ex 12:6

O: these a just a few of the many. So you say 2 Thess. 2:15 is referring to the apostles? we totally agree.

O: the tradition of the apostles is seen by all scholars to be what? the Dideche, the Liturgy of St. James and the writings of the apostolic fathers namely Ignatius of Antioch. the Apostles were Jews, it is only logical to understand that the traditions of the apostles would include some form of sacrifice, and as those verses will show you, it was most assuredly the sacrifice of Christ once and for all....the first Christians were so Eucharistic that they stopped eating meat, because only the sacrifice of Christ was there sacrifice. it is undeniable that Christians in Jerusalem and the Middle East in the first century believed the Eucharist to be the true Flesh and Blood, this can be demonstrated by reading the writings of first century Christians

O: and infant Baptism is biblical, in the Old Testament, Abraham is told to circumcise his whole house hold, in the New Testament, the Church is told to Baptize the whole house hold. it can be demonstrated that first century Christians saw Baptism as replacing circumcision as the sign of the covenant, and it can be shown by reading their own writings that infant Baptism was practiced from the first century onward. The term whole house hold is key in a Jewish context. even Jewish Rabbis who are not Christians will say that in a Jewish context, Baptize the whole house hold means Baptize infants

O: I suspect we also differ on what Baptism is

O: many Baptist converts to Orthodoxy who have read the elaborate description of the Jewish Temple in the Old Testament begin to weep with joy when they see that our Churches are architecturally modeled after the Temple

O: and i know that the King James OT corresponds with the Hebrew, but as I said the other night, it corresponds with the Hebrew of the Masoretic translation. The Masoretic translation is a product of the anti Christian Jewish council of Jamnia. The Orthodox Churches does not use a translation at all the Orthodox Church still reads the Bible in the Greek in which it was written

O: im not saying this to be crass, but many Orthodox wonder why the Protestants who reject the tradition of the Church, accept the tradition of the Jews
or better, why they reject the tradition of the Apostles but accept the tradition of the Pharisees...but im not saying you are a Pharisee im just saying this is the complexity

O: here is a picture of an Orthodox baptism preformed according to the Apostolic tradition of the first century Jewish Christians [picture of baby held after being dunked in water]

O: full submersion is how Orthodox baptize

O: i hope i didn't further offend you brother, hope you had a chance to read and contemplate the scriptures i sent you

O: you strike me a as a genuine truth seeker, I think if you do your research you will find surprising how much evidence there is for Orthodoxy in the scriptures, as well as historical testimony. My goal isn't to convert you only God can do that. but my hope for our dialogue is that you become a more well rounded solider for Christ by getting a more honest and objective look at the bible in its historic context

Me: Hey, I had to sleep. Give me a chance to look over everything.

Me: In all due respect, most of your verses about the body and blood of Christ don't even have the appearance of proof. When Jesus said we have to eat of his flesh and drink of his blood, he was speaking to the crowd that was following Him to get another free meal. He was telling them He came to provide the spiritual and that they needed Him, not food He could provide. When He says, "this is my body" and "this is my blood", He said that in remembrance of Him, not actually consuming Him. Drinking blood (and obviously eating people) was against their law; Jesus would not have caused them to sin.
Be careful making generalizations such as " all scholars ". Orthodox scholars and some secular scholars believe that. They did believe Christ's sacrifice to be once for all- I'm glad we agree on that. But redemption doesn't come through consuming Him. Paul stopped eating meat because he didn't want to cause weaker brothers to stumble, not for this reason.
How we accept the tradition of Jews and Pharisees, I would be interested to know.
Only the New Testament was written in Greek; the Old Testament was in Hebrew. The Council of Jamnia was unimportant in determining the canon of scripture. It was some rabbinical leaders discussing two books. Jesus told Satan, " Is it not written... " There was an Old Testament canon long before this. It is often misrepresented by Catholics and Orthodox, but it was not a factor.
Circumcision is not at all like baptism. In fact, it was the common legalistic addition of the day- one that the apostle Paul taught against adding to salvation. They were told to baptise their house- but only after salvation. Do you recall the repentant thief on the cross? "And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:42-43). The thief died on the cross and was never baptized. We believe baptism to be important as an outward sign of your faith, but it is not necessary for salvation. Notice also the order of baptism: "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him." (Acts 8:36-38). It is salvation (through faith), then baptism.
I admire your willingness to discuss things, and pray you will be open to what God and His Word have to say to you.

O: Joe you are well intended but you blaspheme God. You say the same thig the Pharisees, you question the Lord's words. If you read the Gospel of John Chapter six you will see that most of the Lord's followers left Him for His Eucharistic words they say like you "how can this man give us His flesh to eat?", does He chase them down and say "wait, its just a symbol? NO Joe, He goes on to say that those who do not eat His Flesh and drink His Blood will have no life in them. You commit the same sin as those who crucified Him.  You dismiss first century Christians in Palestine and Antioch where, as your bible tells you, we were first called Christians, which is proud and arrogant. The first century Father Ignatius of Antioch says in his famous letter to Rome, " for the greatest of blasphemers have not yet come, but they shall come and be the worst of Gnostics, those who say the Holy bread is not the flesh of the very Christ, who is risen". These words sound like prophecy of the reformation. You might recognize Ignatius from the bible, he is the child the Lord lifts up in the crowd in the Gospel of Luke. Joe what makes you think you, a young English speaking man in 21 century America, understands the scripture better than a Greek speaking Jewish convert to Christianity in 1st century Antioch? You say St. Paul didn't stop eating meat because of the Eucharist, but the bible says otherwise.
      You say the Old Testament wasn't written in Greek, but i have already proven to you that the New Testament authors, when quoting the Old Testament, quote from the Greek Septuagint, including quotes from the "Apochrypha". You say the council of Jamnia didn't effect the canon of scripture you are wrong the Masoretic has tons of Christological allegory translated out of it. The Dead sea scrolls, 1000 years older than the Masoretic, overwhelmingly corresponds to with the Greek. I know you're not going to try to tell me about Hebrew my grandfather is a Jew i have studied Hebrew and Aramaic extensively for three years.
       you say you pray i will be open to the scriptures, i pray you are open to the Truth. please Joe, i know you have a good heart, but please set aside your allegiance to what is familiar and comfortable, and receive what is true

O: and the verses i gave provide a NT/OT comparison to show the Eucharist as the source and summit of the Christian religion

O: why was there no reformation in Jerusalem or Greece, why were there no Christians who believed the way you do until after the reformation in Northern Europe? why do Greek and Semitic speakers vehemently reject your understanding of the Scriptures? Joe why do you just dismiss 2000 years of history without the slightest hesitation? is Joe wiser than Ignatius of Antioch?

Me: That's like saying the Bible is written in English; it was translated to Greek, not written in Greek. It doesn't even make sense to say that the "Old Testament" quotes itself, regardless, neither Testament quotes the Apocrypha.
I don't lead people astray and am a believer praying for God's wisdom; that would make one wiser than one who lead people in false religion. I do not claim wisdom, but over top of a false teacher? Again, SOME speakers reject this- anyone can have an agenda. No reformation was needed in Jerusalem because they were true followers of Jesus. There have always been true followers since He came; who do you think the Catholic church was killing? It got far enough out of control that some Catholics noticed and broke off. You act as if your history is that different.
If yours and the Catholic church's tradition are both apostolic, why are there, as you admitted, many differences? Who is truly following this tradition we are supposed to hold to?
You failed to attempt to explain away the correct order of baptism.
Even if your willingness to miss Christ's point was true, you're still missing the boat on salvation.

O: Joe you just say things that aren't even true just to say them. Yes Joe, the "Apocrypha" here are the verses: Matt. 6:19-20 - Jesus' statement about laying up for yourselves treasure in heaven follows Sirach 29:11 - lay up your treasure.
Matt.. 7:12 - Jesus' golden rule "do unto others" is the converse of Tobit 4:15 - what you hate, do not do to others.
Matt. 7:16,20 - Jesus' statement "you will know them by their fruits" follows Sirach 27:6 - the fruit discloses the cultivation.
Matt. 9:36 - the people were "like sheep without a shepherd" is same as Judith 11:19 - sheep without a shepherd.
Matt. 11:25 - Jesus' description "Lord of heaven and earth" is the same as Tobit 7:18 - Lord of heaven and earth.
Matt. 12:42 - Jesus refers to the wisdom of Solomon which was recorded and made part of the deuterocanonical books.
Matt. 16:18 - Jesus' reference to the "power of death" and "gates of Hades" references Wisdom 16:13.

O: why didn't you answer me about St Ignatius? I just demonstrated to you that it can be proven  that the first century Christians in Jerusalem were Orthodox why do you just dismiss this? you say "there were always true believers" if by this you mean Orthodox believers than yes, if you mean however that there were Christians in Jerusalem that denied the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, than no joe, i already showed you that these Christians believed what the Orthodox believe today. Why do you act so proud joe, intelligent protestant admit these things, are you so filled with bigotry and hate that you cant comprehend information?

O: all you talk about is salvation, obviously you are clinging to this sort of "once saved always saved " type of drivel, yet St. Paul says "i am working out my salvation with FEAR AND TREMBLING"

O: you hate the Roman Catholic Church so much that you cant even listen to anything an Orthodox Christian says to you...you don't understand Orthodoxy and you don't understand Judaism. you are a follower of a northern European religion foreign to the Christianity of ancient Jerusalem, Palestinian Christians laugh at you people, because to them you are so theologically and historically false you are like a cartoon.

O: you say things to make yourself fell good, you dismiss the writings of first century Christians who are Orthodox, you just say "oh there were always "true" believers" yet you cant quote any sources that support your outrageous claim, to the contrary, as i have already showed you, they were against your heresy they called Gnosticism.  "the worst of blasphemers have not yet come, but they will come and will be the worst of gnostics, those whose say that the Holy Bread is not the flesh of the very Christ who is risen" Ignatius of Antioch, Letter tp the Romans, 95 A.D.

O: and Joe you seem to think that every time you see the word "Word" in the scripture you think it is referring to the bible. That shows how enslaved to the shortcomings of the English language your theology is....the vast majority of times the English word "Word" corresponds with the Greek word "Logos" which means the Wisdom and Power and Mind of God, so Logos refers to God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself not the bible

O: Joe i would like to discuss Christianity more, and again i respect you as a man and i admire your pro life voice and your courage  and your willingness to converse. And even though i don't see that you have even begun to make a viable case for Baptist theology or scriptural interpretation, ill give you that you are trying. But this is not a competition, I will make this the last message i send you if you are not interested in more Christian dialogue. I want you to carefully read over the verses I gave you and the witness of ancient Christian Fathers i presented you with, and at least take from this some perspective not of your own. Ask yourself Joe, if you woke up tomorrow in Syria, and you were standing outside of a nineteen hundred year old Syriac Orthodox Church which still uses an Aramaic  language closely akin to the Palestinian Aramaic spoken by the Lord, and the Church was riddled with bullet holes, and the door was burnt from a bomb, but the people still came in and reverently worshiped the Lord Jesus Christ with beautiful prayers. would you go inside and worship with these faithful children of Christ who have been His faithful people all along, or would you think you were above them because as a Baptist fundamentalist you are the ultimate authority on scripture. here is the problem with the Western coin as they say in the Orthodox Church. what that means is that the Western churches are two sides of the same coin. on one side Roman Catholics error in believing that one Bishop is infallible in his understanding of correct Christian belief, scripture interpretation and practice, on the other side of the coin the reform churches error in thinking that EVERY MAN is infallible in his understanding of Christian belief, scripture interpretation and practice. The Orthodox, on the other hand believe that the Holy Spirit is infallible. Therefore we derive belief, scripture interpretation and practice from what the majority of the Bishops of the Church and the people of the Church have ALWAYS BELIEVED, and how the majority of Bishops and people have ALWAYS INTERPRETED SCRIPTURE, and the way the majority of Bishops and people have ALWAYS PRACRTICED....Joe if the Eucharist isn't real than the Lord's words that the gates of hell would never conquer the Church did not come true. the ancient Church was the most Eucharistic Church, with total submission to the Eucharistic life and again this isn't my opinion this is historic fact. Joe either Christians worshiped bread and wine for 15 centuries until the reformation, or the reformers blaspheme and doubt the mystery of our God's Flesh and Blood in the Holy chalice by saying its only a symbol....please joe it would brave of you to read all my messages and its the right thing to do...please read all my messages carefully

O: and Joe your question about how you can know which tradition Orthodox or RC is the Apostolic Tradition is not a well thought out question. our Churches differ on Trinitarian Theology (RC and reform share Trinitarian Theology and both differ from Orthodox) and we differ on our understanding of the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome. But we SHARE the Apostolic Tradition which is Eucharistic Sacrifice, Sacramental Baptism and Chrismation and Communion for all Christians, Holy orders of Ordination, Priesthood, Monasticism, Prayer Fasting and Alms, Seasonal Fasting, Liturgical cycle of feasts and feast days Comparable to the Liturgical cycle of fests of the Jews, but centered upon the true Passover, the Death and Resurrection of the Lord as the highest feast. if you knew anything about Judaism or the OT as you claim you would know that for Christians Good Friday is the NT equivalent of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Fall High Holy Day of Atonement. Joe the Apostolic Tradition is shared by the two Churches, we are just not in Communion. You hate Catholics but you are much closer to them because of your shared western Trinitarian theology, than you are to the Christians of Jerusalem, the Greek Orthodox and Syrian Orthodox Christians of the Holy Land. but even though you and the RC share a flawed understanding of the Trinity, where your church has completely created its own Christianity, the RC has at least retained the APOSTOLIC TRADITION of Sacraments, Liturgy, Feasts and Fasts etc please read all my messages...even though i don't accept the validity of their sacraments, the first protestant churches such as Anglican and Lutheran even maintain fragments of Apostolic Tradition with their Liturgy and sacraments and so forth. only the Fundamentalists such as Amish and Anna-Baptists in northern Europe and Baptists and evangelicals in America have totally done away the Apostolic Tradition...please read all the messages

O: and you talk about salvation in a way as to only see the death and Resurrection of Christ as the atonement for the sins of mankind before the justice of the Father, this is not the Gospel. The Lord Jesus Christ created the universe, His Death and His Resurrection was His plan from all eternity to conquer death. Christ's Pashca isn't just to redeem man, Christ's Death and Resurrection has redeemed the whole creation. His Pascha is the reason why God will be all in all in His creation at the end of time. Salvation isn't just about the forgiveness of your sins salvation is about Theosis, it is about becoming an eternal partaker or the Divine Energy, the Light which created the worlds, the Light which is the Divine Nature of Christ. to limit your understanding of salvation to just your sins is to castrate your Christian intellect. that is why salvation is a process. A baptist would ask "are you saved", the Orthodox say "i was saved when God became a man and conquered death, i am being saved by worshiping Christ everyday, repenting from my sins, fighting my passions; and i hope to be saved on that glorious day when the Mighty Christ God who created all things and redeemed all things returns to His Creation to Resurrect all things in the presence of His Uncreated Light.....please read the rest of my messages

O: of the Divine Energy that is

Me: Somewhat similar matches are not quotes. The Eucharist was created by Catholics and Orthodox based off Christ, not the other way around. "Protestants" practice something similar, but in remembrance of Christ as He told us to, not for any redemptive qualities. Paul told Christians to work out their own salvation. It is every Christian's responsibility to find what God's Word says and live it out. This, being written to a born again church, was not telling them to work for their salvation. You saw at least a dozen passages (many of them from Paul) that contradict that belief. God was afraid that Israel would think it could work to save itself, and therefore not give God His due credit: "And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me." (Judges 7:2).

Me: "Logos" is a reference to God's written word. If you take Jesus' teaching of eating and drinking Him as physical, do you also take that if your right eye or right hand offend you, pluck it out or cut it off? Have your eyes or hands ever done anything sinful. I fully expect you to pluck your eye out and cut your hand off. Christ uses the physical to help us better understand the spiritual. I am not the ultimate authority on scripture- that's just it, no man is. Not any church. God is. Any devoted follower can be resilient and continue believing something in danger. That does not answer whether it is right.

Me: You still haven't answered my question. If your traditions are from the same people, then they should not differ. But even if it is passed down, men are unreliable; God never fails. "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." (I John 5:9-12). The gospel is for God's glory, but by adding things to it you dilute it and make it ineffective. "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. (I Corinthians 15:1-8). Do you see anything about what you talked about here? There is no hoping you will be saved: "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (I John 5:13). It's either yes or no.

Me: You've slipped back into making statements without evidence to support, and relying heavily on the ad hominem fallacy. Consider what I'm saying and have an intellectual discussion, or else there's no reason for me to spend my time doing this. I read all of your messages, now please read mine.

O: intellectual discussion? that's what i'm doing. what don't you find intellectual in what i said?
ad hominem fallacy? how?

O: you are a liar and your ignorant Baptist heretical drivel is the reason for atheism, your kind make Christians look dumb, you still wont  dare address St Ignatius because you are afraid to, you know you are a liar and you know history proves that you are a liar, be a man big joe, address the fathers of the church, you quote St Paul in a manner only to say what your opinion of what he says, You are a joke all Middle Eastern Christians like the people go to Church with every week laugh at you they see you as the like a dumb retarded hill jack  they say that your religion is drivel. .you are a blasphemer and a mutilator of the scripture, i will see you on campus and we can sit down like men and hammer out this. if you were intellectual at all you would address history not dance around it like a big coward. You make a poor case for Baptist church buddy, you make Baptist look dumb and unable to address reality all you do is quote verses out of context and put your spin on it. Address history...God gave you a brain, use it. people think Christians are dumb because of Christians like you

O: My Priest is from Damascus Syria, like the place from your bible that you pray to, he says reform theology is so of its like a mockery of Christisanity

O: you mock Christ, Orthodox worship Christ, you blaspheme Christ, Orthodox die for Christ, mislead people who hear you and you make all those who bear the name Christian look like dumb fundamentalist who are un able to listen or comprehend anything, you tell me to hold an intellectual conversation but you will not address the things i repeatedly ask you it is you who is unable to hold an intellectual conversation

Me: "you are a liar and your ignorant Baptist heretical drivel is the reason for atheism, your kind make Christians look dumb" "You are a joke all Middle Eastern Christians like the people go to Church with every week laugh at you they see you as the like a dumb retarded hill jack  they say that your religion is drivel. .you are a blasphemer and a mutilator of the scripture" And you're asking me how you're using the ad hominem fallacy? That type of rhetoric was literally most of your commentary. I addressed Ignatius. Overall he wasn't too bad, but he was wrong on that. And he never authored any of the Bible, so it doesn't matter what a man says later on. You're not telling me how I'm taking things out of context, you're not telling me how I'm wrong and you are correct. You're just telling me I'm wrong amongst baseless attacks. Which doesn't bother me, but it's showing me that perhaps the Holy Spirit is convicting you and you are resisting by lashing out at the messenger. Don't resist the truth. It's not easy to convert religious beliefs, but there is too much at stake.

O: the demon  you have been deceived into thinking is the Holy Spirit will never deceive me friend, Those are not baseless attacks joe the point is that you dismiss the unbroken

O: Apostolic tradition which is preserved to this day. You don't even understand the Trinity the same way as the Orthodox your religion is NOT at all similar to Judaism which bears witness to its lack of antiquity. Orthodox Christianity is the unbroken New Covenant religion of Ancient Israel that has NEVER left Jerusalem and you dismiss this, so no friend, that is not an ad hominem, it is that you dance around things you cant answer. and again how dare you, and English speaking 20 year old college student in 21 century America, say Igantius, a Greek speaking Jewish convert to Christianity in first century Antioch who met the Lord personally as a child and was a student of the Gospel writer St.John. you act all smug because of my passion for this but you STILL have not addressed this.

O: how can you say Ignatius is wrong and you are right? wht makes your interpretation infallible?

O: I was overly angered by you and should not have been so harsh, but you dismiss the unbroken unchanged Christianity of Palestine and as an Orthodox Christian and as a person with Hebraic ancestry that is offensive....and it makes you look un informed, un loving, and dishonest...sorry to loose my cool, but you should be sorry for insulting my people and your people because you wouldn't have a bible were it not for them

Me: That is not just my interpretation. But we interpret scripture with scripture, rather than pull out one passage and assume. Since the men Jesus were with were forbidden to drink blood and eat humans, He would not cause them to sin. And we see in other places, as I mentioned before, that Jesus uses the physical to talk about the spiritual. Men cannot always comprehend spiritual things, so they have to be put in ways in which we can understand.
You mention how similar you are to Judaism. That, to an extent, I do not doubt nor have doubted. Though I hope you are not still sacrificing animals. Regardless, Paul spoke many times of the Jewish faith. They wanted to add circumcision to salvation, Paul told them it was faith alone. Hebrews extensively addresses this subject as well. It tells us, among other things, that Christ is a once-for-all sacrifice, "their sins and iniquities will I remember no more", and there remains no sacrifice for sins. If at salvation our iniquities are no longer remembered, why are you continually re-cleansing yourself as if He does. We cleanse ourselves of our sins by confessing them to God, but we do not believe He ever takes away our salvation from us as a result.

O: how is your interpretation right about the Eucharist right, and the witness of historic CHRISTIANITY wrong? what makes you infallible? you have become your own pope
how can you say Ignatius, who was fed to the lions for Christ, is wrong and you are right?
Joe what you are saying makes me wonder, do you know that Christ is God?

Me: I'm not infallible, but God's word is. The pope is not legitimate because Christ is the only head of the church. I'm not saying Ignatius wasn't a Christian, he just was wrong on that point. One person can say anything, can do anything, but that doesn't change what the Bible says.
Would I trust in Christ alone for my salvation if I did not believe Him to be God?

O: than why do you doubt him and add your interpretation to His words. The Lord says, " My Flesh is real Food and my Blood is real Drink", the Lord says "He who does not eat my flesh and drink my blood does not have life in them". why does the Lord constantly say these things in this way? why does He allow those who leave Him to flee, why doesn't He tell them He is speaking of a symbol? why does St Paul say that people are dying from receiving Communion in an unworthy state if its just symbolic bread?

O: so you think that the Gospel of St John is infallible but you believe that St John's own  student, Ignatius of Antioch, had fallen so far into idolatry that he was worshiping bread?

O: Joe says "The pope is not legitimate because Christ is the only head of the church" the Orthodox agree
I wish we could talk in person
so St. John was infallible when writing the Gospel but he was teaching young Ignatius to worship bread? please say you are starting to see that there is something to this Eucharist thing brother!

O: you say Christ couldn't really mean these things because that would be cannibalism. interestingly, Josephus a Jewish Roman historian, in the late 1st century says of the  Church "they commit cannibalism and claim to eat the flesh of their master, who they say is risen from the dead", Wow. Bro Christ is the creator of the universe, His Cross and Resurrection destroyed death and regenerated the universe, when we receive the Lord's Flesh and Blood, understand that we also receive His Mighty uncreated Light and Fire that created us. You Believe that Christ dwelled in the Tabernacle and in the bread of the presence in the OT but you don't believe He dwells in the Tabernacle and in the Bread which becomes His precious flesh which was sacrificed once and for all in the NT, this is truly sad

O: you say there is no need for a sacrifice, yet the Apocalypse (Revelation) says that there will be a sacrifice offered day and night from east to west until the return of the Lord. Joe please we should meet for coffee
of course the Sacrifice of the Lord is once and for all, but the Lord has given us in the New Covenant a mystical way in which to literally partake of His Divine Energy until His return, the Sacrifice that Revelation says will be offered day and night is the Eucharist
of course the Sacrifice of the Lord is once and for all, but the Lord has given us in the New Covenant a mystical way in which to literally partake of His Divine Energy until His return, the Sacrifice that Revelation says will be offered day and night is the Eucharist

O: salvation is about so much more than forgiveness of sins, salvation is about theosis

O: Joe you said to me that the Greek word "Logos" is referring to the bible? so did the bible create the universe? because the bible says the Logos created the universe
please brother I like u please read everything I have written

Me: Why haven't you cut your hand off yet? John never believed that we eat and drink the Lord. Just because one is a student of another doesn't mean they will line up on everything. Hence why Ignatius is nowhere in the Bible. Christ sacrificed Himself to take our sin away. He gives Christians authority through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We don't have to eat Him to have His authority. Where do you find anything about getting "divine energy" through the consumption of Christ? Sacrifices offered does not mean they are needed. I agree salvation is more than forgiveness of sins- it is for God's glory, and it changes one's entire life. But there is nothing added to faith. Lo·gos- 2. Judaism
a. In biblical Judaism, the word of God, which itself has creative power and is God's medium of communication with the human race. God communicated through His spoken word in the past. Jesus was the Word in the flesh. And now God has left us His written Word to communicate with us.

O: Joe i'm sorry but you need to read a little more about Judaism. I doubt you have a whole lot of background in Judaism so I am truly going to try not to be sarcastic or crass. i'm writing a masters thesis on Hellenistic Judaism so i'm no johny come lately to the subject. I've never heard  the term "biblical Judaism" as you call it, in Orthodox Judaism as Jews call it, the Word of God is God's Eternal thought and action it translates into Hebrew as "Mehm-ra"" not "Torah".  God spoke the universe into existence (Gen. 1, Psalms 33,). There are two Hebrew Words that the Hebrew scriptures interchange for this type speech. there is "Mehm-ra"" meaning God's Eternal action, and "Hok'mah"  or  חכמה  meaning God's Eternal  Wisdom, In the Greek Septuagint they are both translated as "Logos". So Abraham is visited by the  Logos/ Mehm'ra / Hok'mah, not the Torah, the Logos / Mehm'ra/ Hok'mah speaks to Moses from the burning Bush not the Torah, the Logos / Mehm'ra / Hok'mah is the one who gives Moses the Torah!!! then, in the Holy Gospel of St. John Chapter 1 verse 1 how does it read?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

O: im not asking this to be sarcastic Im asking because I truly cant tell from your position, do you believe that Christ existed before becoming a Man?

O: In context, the Lord tells them if they take from there brother cut off their hand, if they look with lust upon a woman pluck out their eye. He is making a point about the level of severity of the moral life telling people not to steal covet or lust. IN CONTEXT, The Lord tells thousands of people that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood to inherit the His Kingdom, the people abandon Him and He goes on to say to the ones who stayed that those who do not eat His flesh and drink His blood will have no life in them, then He tells the Pharisees that He is the Bread that came down from heaven, then He institutes this at the Last Supper, then after His Resurrection, His Apostles do not recognize Him until THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD.....then St Paul Says that people are DYING from partaking of Communion in an unworthy manner, then the Book of the Revelation refers to this this as the Supper of the Lamb and calls it the GREAT AND UNITED SACRIFICE that will be offered day and night from east to west until the return of the Lord...how do you read the Gospel of St. John Chapter 6 and still say that St. John did not believe in the Eucharist? here is another of your points that are false brother, the writings of Ignatius say that St. John offered the Sacrifice of the Eucharist EVERYDAY until his death did you read that? or you think Ignatius was lying?

O: please read my above messages
do you believe Christ eternally existed? as in like do you believe He created the universe and He existed before becoming a human?
please read above I presented you with the Hebrew

Me: Of course I believe He eternally existed, He is God. "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." (I Corinthians 13:8-11). God no longer speaks through any way but His Word. He put what we needed for salvation there. Man, I've presented you with why salvation is through faith. God's Word is our authority.

O: Joe please stop quoting scripture out of context and have nothing to do with our conversation. you have absolutely not in any way presented an argument you have not even begun to present an argument for any of your three hundred year old religion's erroneous teachings. You are SO proud Joe, you didn't even know that the Greek term Logos refers to God's Mind and action you thought it meant the bible. that is like square one of the whole Christian faith Joe and not just for Orthodox and Catholics, man fundamentalist Baptist scholars would laugh at you for saying that bro, my other Priest is fluent in Greek straight Macedonian on both sides of his family, you gonna tell him Logos mean bible?  You keep saying the bible is your authority but I show you the bible confirms the Eucharist and you refuse to read and see for yourself you try to explain it away so no joe the bible is NOT an authority that you obey

O: Salvation in through Theosis

O: Salvation is through Theosis....the Greek term Logos or the Hebrew term Mehm'ra or the Arabic term Kah'ram are interchangeable in historic Christianity and Judaism. The term has always meant this the Wisdom and Action of God, or quite simply His Mind. This is why the bible says that the Logos created the heavens, because God is eternally a Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit or you could say there is God, His Eternal Word (Logos) and His Breath (Spirit, or Ruhk'ha in Arabic and Hebrew means Breath). Id ont suppose you believe the bible to be part of the Holy Trinity?

O: Christ is the Eternal Logos (Mind) of God

Me: Logos is what John calls Christ in chapter one of his gospel. It is translated "Word". Jesus was the incarnate Word of God, people until the time of the Bible's completion were spoken to by God's spoken and written Word, " logos". And now since God no longer orally speaks, we learn through His written Word- "logos". Don't take my word for things, study them impartially on your own. But don't take your religion's word for it either. Take God's Word for it. http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/word/

O: Joe I dare you to tell someone who speaks Greek that Logos is referring to the scripture. Bro I have given it to you in four languages and you still wont allow yourself to learn a new word? you hold firm in your pride? All Christians except false Chrisians like Jehova witness know that Logos is referring to God the Word. You need to talk to your Baptist minister, he has been to a Baptist seminary and he will explain to you that Word (Logos) is referring to God the Word. You say God no longer speaks? the bible says the Logos holds the universe together. you tell ME to study them impartially? Really are you kidding me brother? I gave you tons of verses IN CONTEXT you dismissed every single one!!! you only presented me with verses out of context. where do you find this doctrine that God no longer speaks? the Gospel says the Holy Spirit will guide the Church in all truth and  righteousness. Christ says to the Apostles "he who sees you sees Me", and "they who hear you hear Me". Further, IN CONTEXT, right after the Lord institutes the Eucharist at the Last Supper, He says "I AM with you always, even unto the end of time".  Joe what does it solve if I say I am reading the bible correctly and you say you are reading the bible correctly and we both say we are biblical? this goes to back to context, Where can you provide me any documentation that would show a continuing scripture interpretation that corresponds with your own? why do all the of the 1900+ year old sources from the MIDDLE EAST show that early Christians believed and practiced the same as the Orthodox Christians do today? wouldn't you be being much more honest with yourself about reality if you accepted that you practice a new form of Christianity that developed later? why are you ashamed of who you are? the truth is the Orthodox teaching makes you feel uncomfortable because you know we are different from you. it angers you that all historic sources as well as all modern day MIDDLE EASTERN Christians are Orthodox. It makes you question your religion because its different so you lash out in anger and say fundamentalist things about people and make inflammatory comments about people. your hate for Rome is so obvious you dismiss the Orthodox without even giving it a second thought when the Christians in Jerusalem to this very day. there has been a Church over the place of the Lord's Resurrection for 1900 years it is a Greek Orthodox Church, Joe. So the Lord's tomb is still a Greek Orthodox Church!!!. If you were a real researcher you wouldn't just dismiss this you would want to learn. but because it challenges your narrow minded fundamentalist world view to even here the word Orthodox or Catholic, you don't even want to know about the Church in Palestine you refuse to address it. Joe you can be a Baptist and still admit that the Christians in the Holy Land have ALWAYS been Orthodox, and you can learn from them without surrendering your denomination. but see the problem is you are afraid if you allow yourself to admit that the first Christians were Orthodox, then you would feel obligated to learn more, and you are afraid that if you learn more than you will feel obligated to convert, and that would be scary.

O: babe u read into things way too much

O: wow that wasn't to you lol

Me: Well I was going to say, I think we're both against homosexuality. Haha. Context isn't really an opinion, but it appears we are differing on it. It doesn't anger me that you believe differently, but I am trying to help me see your side. I'm seeing yours, I'm just not agreeing with it. Which is why we have discussions. You call my beliefs new, yet you are forgetting that yours has not been around since the beginning either, as you personally have told me you broke off the Catholic church. Though Baptists trace their beliefs back to the first century church, even if we are strictly speaking names, it appears we are on equal footing. As for Logos, you are correct it refers to God the Word (Jesus Christ). That was due to the Word becoming flesh. It refers to any words of God. I'm not honestly sure where "the mind of God" came from. Are you lashing out at me because you are not confident in what you are saying, or angry at me? I'm not sure how it got to this point. I believe you took "God no longer orally speaks" differently than intended. I Corinthians 13:8-11 says, "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." That which is perfect cannot be referring to Jesus, since prophecies and tongues were still going on after He left. It refers to the Bible. Does God speak? Oh yes He does, through nature, through our consciences, through the Holy Spirit, and through believers in Him. But He no longer gives new revelations and audibly speaks to man any longer, because His Word (Peter calls it "a more sure word of prophecy") has taken the place of that.

O: Joe I have never met anyone as arrogant about being wrong. You ask where I get the mind of God thing? Hmmmm gee maybe from the fact that that's what the Word means in Greek. Again I can arrange for you to talk to someone who speaks Greek. And besides ancient Judaism always held this belief. So you are absolutely off Joe and you look proud...now I know you are a liar I NEVER said Orthodoxy broke from Rome....Rome broke from Orthodoxy....history clearly shows first century Christianity was Orhodox , period. Just because you say something does not make it true you could say there are green monkeys on the moon that doesn't make it true you say Baptists derive from the first century but you can't provide any source for this claim. No Joe as I have shown with the proof I presented you the first century church was Orthodox.....joe the Lord's actual tomb is to this day a Greek Orthodox Church....would you come into the Lords tomb and pray or would you sit with the Pharisees?

O: read the writings of Philo and tell me Jews don't believe Logos to be the mind of God? You are in complete denial

Me: Actually this (http://www.gardentomb.com/) is Christ's tomb. Just because your tradition tells you something doesn't mean it's true. Look at what the apostles taught in the Bible. Can you honestly show me that their true teachings, written down in God's infallible Word, line up with yours?

O: no liar, this is Christ's REAL tomb that has been known as Christ's true tomb. "Garden tomb" was said to be the Lord's tomb by Israelis to sell tours to retard protestants who don't read history this it the Lord's true tomb

O: you always run to something else when you get confronted lol no source supports your claim does it Joey? do you have a learning disorder? i gave you over thirty verses in correct context you do nothing but quote verses out of context. You are so arrogant and proud...why don't Palestinians believe "garden tomb" is the tomb of the Lord why have they always believed it to be the Sepulcher? again you are angered by the fact that the Church in the Holy Land  has always been Greek or Syriac Orthodox....see you hide behind your facebook if we were in person i wouldn't allow you to use lies and disinformation the way you do i could sit you down and make you see the facts about Jerusalem and the Greek language etc. with your own eyes. i'm going to find you on campus where do you hang out?
 you are done using disinfo lies and calling it an argument i want to sit down in person

O: this is not written from an Orthodox perspective it in non bias and deals with the issue of Holy Sepulcher vs garden tomb

O: it was a Baptist not an Israeli the Israelis who sell torus to fundies. how funny you would try garden tomb, when garden tomb was an anti Orthodox invention "discovered" in 1882. the Seplechure has been being used for 2000 years. who is right Orthodox in Palestine for 2000 years or fundies for less than 150 years? im going with history....please read the article

O: the Miracle of the Holy Fire happens at the Holy Seplechure not the "garden tomb" please read the two articles i presented

O: The Lord's True Sepulcher, the place of the Resurrection, confirmed annually by the Miracle of the Holy Fire [photo of building inside building with fire around it]

O: the one dude i presented you with isn't even Orthodox but he objectively looks at both and shows that "garden tomb" is an evangelical protestant invention of the 19th century, it was "discovered" buy Charles Gordon, the owner of a British owned real estate developing group operating in Palestine. the Church of the Holy Sepulcher has been known as the spot of the Lord's Resurrection for 2000 years and was spoken about by Ignatius of Antioch in 107 AD and St. Justin Martyr in the late 2nd century. Charles Gordon was an open Free Mason. The "discovery" of "garden tomb" has Masonic symbolism laced all through it. Just like a racist occidental supremacist you are so bigoted you dismiss the 2000 year tradition of the Sepulcher, you probably think the "dumb Arab" Native Palestinian Christians aren't capable of really knowing where the Lord was buried, it could have only been discovered by smart, brave European colonialists...again my friend the Miracle of the Holy Fire testifies to the truth

O: here's how ill know why you dismiss the Sepulcher and accept garden tomb,..........who is modern day Israel Joe is it the Church or the Jews? who is the rightful inhabitants of the land of Palestine Joe?, is it the Jews Exclusively? or is it the Palestinian Christians and Muslims as well as the native Jews and Samaritans?   please read my comment and click on my links

Me: I'd be happy to sit down in person if I thought it would be productive. But trying to dominate a conversation, making blanket and baseless statements, saying you speak in context without providing proof, and resorting to name-calling isn't very productive. I've said before, I don't care what tradition says. Tradition won't get you to Heaven, trusting in the blood of Jesus will. The Jews are the rightful heirs to the Holy Land, and I stand by Israel. But they too follow traditions and a law that we are not under. If that is where you want to put yourself, fine, but the Bible tells us it has everything we need for salvation and that we can know that we have eternal life. Jesus Christ is a much more solid rock than traditions that can be altered and rearranged.

O: So joe says Jews should have the Holy Land and Palestinians who descend from Jewish Christians in the Apostolic age should be what joe deported? But Joe the Bible says the Church IS Israel. Lets sit down im not going to call u names man

Me: I'm not afraid to take that, I just don't see it getting very far. Palestinians have their area right now, but God promised more area than Israel comprises to His people. What specific biblical support can you offer for your beliefs on getting to Heaven?

O: But Joe the Bible says the Church is Israel. what makes the Jews the "Chosen People" and Palestinian Christians who descend from the same people, "not chosen"? Orthodox and the Western churches (Catholic and Reform) differ profoundly on what Heaven and "Hell" actually is. our focus on the divinity of Christ. the bible says the Logos is an all consuming Fire, so when Christ raises up His creation He will manifest His Uncreated Energy. we will experience this as incomparable Light, or as incomparable Fire. If after the Lord's Fire burns away our iniquities, something of us remains? than we shall reflect the Light Christ God eternally, if after burning away the evil there is nothing left, than we will be eternally consumed. we see Heaven as becoming an eternal partaker in God's own essence not an eternal family reunion in the sky, and we see "Hell" as eternally being consumed by the Fire that created you, not as some separate place with temporal or created fires separate from God (which is impossible since God is Omnipresent)....here are just a few verses that will give you an idea
Matthew 25:31-46,
John 6:53-55
Hebrews 12:29,
2 Corinthians 5:9-10
Romans 2:5-6
Matthew 7:21-23
Revelation 20:12-13
1 Corinthians 11:27,
Matthew 25:15-30 
Philippians 2;12-18,
James 2:14-26,
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
2 Peter 2:20-22
Hebrews 10:26-27
Romans 2:7
Revelation 2:7
 Revelation 2:23-26
1 Peter 4:17-20
Revelation 22:12

O: a few more:
Matthew 25:31-46,
John 15:1-9
1 Corinthians 9:27
Philippians 3:7-14
1 Thessalonians 3:5
please read these verses impartially and also read the above description of the difference between the way the West (Catholic and Reform) understands Heaven, and the way the Orthodox understand Heaven

Me: That's an interesting belief. I'm going to be gone most of this weekend, but I'll take a look at the verses when I get the time.

O: today is Lazarus Saturday in the Orthodox Church, the day before Palm Sunday. Today we read from the Gospel the story of the Lord raising up Lazarus
Happy Feast Day Brother and Blessed Palm Sunday as well!!!!

O: you ever get a chance to read any of the verses?

Me: I'm sorry, I've been really busy. I'll do it right now.

O: ok brother no hurry

Me: "Our God is a consuming fire" is powerful, and is speaking of Him in the Old Testament when He literally did that. I mentioned before how Jesus used touchable things for people to understand the spiritual. Hence parables and "hard sayings" such as having to eat His flesh. We can't just take them at face value. Jesus doesn't actually have sheep He takes care of, He has children of His. I see how Matthew 25 can be thought of as indicating we have to do good things to inherit eternal life. But Jesus says "by their fruit ye shall know them". Those who are His children show it by how they live; us living well doesn't make us His children. That's what James was saying, as he spoke to professing Christians. We have to interpret scripture with scripture, and when so many times it is mentioned that we have to call upon the Lord to forgive our sins, we have to be careful how we see these passages. We labor to be accepted, but again, this was spoken to Christians. That same chapter says "we walk by faith". If we must walk with our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, then our salvation shouldn't come of ourselves. Paul explained in Romans, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Romans 3:19-28). You yourself said you are similar to the Jewish religion; even with differences, not being justified by law-following and deeds but being justified by faith still applies. The White Throne of Judgment is for the lost, there is a separate judgment for the saved. Both will be rewarded for their works, but there is an important separation there. This is not to understate the important of works; obviously God places a great emphasis on obedience. But it is the sanctifying of the Holy Spirit inside of a Christian that enables them to do that. It is not that that allows us entrance into Heaven. I know you are probably a very moral person, just as the Catholic friends I have are. But we are all sinful, therefore imperfect and deserving of God's judgment. As Paul said, " As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Romans 3:10-18). That is describing all of us. It takes the same blood of Jesus to redeem us, and it is only through Him. "I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life; No man cometh unto the Father BUT BY ME." I don't like to bear bad news, but good isn't good enough. The good news is, it took a perfect sacrifice to reconcile us to God, and He has already been provided. Faith is simple, and you have to take that step.

O: my friend you are doing it again you are taking a verse totally out of context to make it say what you want it to say....you say later on in the chapter it says "walk by faith", but in context it doesn't say that in a way as to prove your basic point. you say Judgment is only for unbelievers? well then why does St Paul say he works out his salvation with fear and trembling ?  you quote Romans and say it takes the Blood of Christ to redeem us but then you add your tradition's theology to it and "say it had to take a perfect sacrifice to reconcile us to God". Joe the Blood of Christ is the reason you and I will be raised from the dead on the last day, but don't kid yourself into thinking that just because you believe this you will be relieved of your duty to feed the poor and clothe the naked and visit the imprisoned and burry the dead, because we will be judged more harshly than those who do not know of these great callings....you pretend to accept the verse I presented about God being a Fire but you, im sorry, in your pride don't want to understand our theology that the Logos of God is His Eternal Action and Wisdom, so you still refuse to see that the scripture is saying that Christ is the Logos, and that the Logos is the Light and Fire and Action and Wisdom of God. you say faith is simple and that I need to take that step....Joe my whole life is my faith, how could you say that to me when you do not even know me?

O: I just read all of the verses you presented....I suspect you also have a typical western (English speaking) understanding of the word "Grace" that differs profoundly from those reading in Greek.

O: define Grace for me Joe and ill tell you if we are even close to a common understanding

Me: I said both will be judged, and said that doesn't negate a Christian's duty. Our lives must be lived by faith, but it takes that initial faith. As for Christ being a sacrifice: "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." (Hebrews 10:1-18).

Me: Grace is giving us something we don't deserve; mercy is not giving us something we do deserve.

O: you didn't answer me what is Grace? golly Joe you take verses out of context AGAIN? Hebrews 10 is saying that the blood sacrifice of animals is no more, the very same book of Hebrews speaks of the Church offering unblemished sacrifice!!!!! interestingly, Jews even agree that when their "messiah" comes, only the sacrifice of Bread and Wine will be offered....so even the Midrash said this up until the third century!!!

Me: It clearly says Jesus was the once-and-for-all sacrifice. "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?...For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:11-14, 24-28). I'm not sure of the "umblemished sacrifice". I defined grace in the second message.

O: Grace is the Uncreated Energy of God....His Light, His Power, His Fire, His Splendor....the Light that the Apostles saw at the Transfiguration is Grace...so every time you read something about Grace you are interpreting it almost as if you think it is speaking of an emotion or a gift as you say... but Grace is God's very Energy....so English speakers are again enslaved to a FALSE theology because of bad translation

O: and your entire theology is based on this "grace" that didn't even exist to Greek Speakers, to them Grace is the Light and Fire of God that we encounter through Prayer and through the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments)
I can see you now singing good ol amazing grace not even knowing you are getting all teary eyed to some bad, northern European theology

O: again Christ is once and for all sacrificed, so this is the Sacrifice of the New Covenant that CHRIST tells us to keep until His return, saying HE will be with us always!!! Joe PLEASE stop picking and choosing what scripture you want to accept

Me: Where do you find this definition of grace? Even the dictionary defines it "(in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings." "But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead , much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many." (Romans 5:15). "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand , and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:2). "For by grace are ye saved through faith..." (Ephesians 2:8).

O: why do you just dismiss it when I tell you that even rabbis who reject Christianity all together will admit that the Messianic offering will be Bread and Wine? this shows that even they cannot not remove Chirst's Holy Eucharist from the Scripture, why are you so proud buddy? we need to meet man

Me: Does that mean you believe that Christ was sacrificed for us? He did say, "as oft as ye do it, do in remembrance of me." Keeping the Lord's Table does not equate to being redeemed by HIS sacrifice.

Me: I didn't reject that, but responded broadly. Show me where its at in the Bible and I'll look at its context. I like discussing things in person, but you are still being a bit demeaning, and I want to know you will talk about beliefs instead of dismissing it with personal attacks. Otherwise there's no reason to talk.

O: yea but again you are only picking what you want and ignoring the rest. He says this IS My Body, This IS My Blood of the New Covenant, My Flesh is REAL food, My Blood is REAL drink, he who does not eat my Flesh and Drink my Blood will have no life in them, then St Paul says some people are dying from receiving him unworthily, then the Book of Revelation says this will be offered until the Return of the Lord....the First Churches were fashioned after the Jewish Temple, WITH ALTARS!! please bro don't let the rigidity of Roman Catholic Scholasticism scare you away from truth and beauty and mysticism and history of Orthodoxy...

O: im not trying to be demeaning im truly sorry

O: I would not attack you man I like you dude

O: besides its Holy Week

O: please please please watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tirUy13Q_L8

O: this is Part Two      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h41JmCCH7AQ

O: Please brother please watch all three videos in order it will only take about 20 minutes. I would really appreciate it if you did and i think it would help our conversation

Me: It's a fascinating history. Orthodox and Catholic churches both claim that they were the original church and the other split from them. History seems to be clear on that. When we are not certain of this, we have to look back to the Bible God gave us rather than what a church itself claims as tradition. "Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? 6He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 10For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 11But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." (Mark 7:5-13). Peter himself said, "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." (I Peter 1:13-25). Jesus taught who His sheep are: "This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. 7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep." (John 10:6-16). Only those who enter in through Jesus can be saved. "and he (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (I John 2:2). A propitiation is a stand-in sacrifice. He stood in because we couldn't. Isaiah said, "Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness,
those that remember thee in thy ways:
behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned:
in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.
6 But we are all as an unclean thing,
and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;
and we all do fade as a leaf;
and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name,
that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee:
for thou hast hid thy face from us,
and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities." (Isaiah 64:5-8). Our RIGHTEOUSNESSES, the very best we can offer God, is filthy rags to Him. God had to turn His back on Jesus because of our sin. Romans says that there is none righteous. Jesus came in vain if we can do anything of our own to get to Heaven.

O: Joe i love you brother please listen bro because now we are really seing how much different we understand our Lord Jesus Christ...God had to turn His back on Jesus? Jesus is God!!!!!! He is God's Mind!!! 
You are reflecting what is called "substitutionary atonement theory" the idea that the crucifixion was to appease the wrath due to man by a just God, and that only the blood of the innocent Christ could satisfy God's wrath towards mankind....this is more than bad scripture reading, this is a wicked heresy to the Orthodox. Joe Jesus Christ is the creator of the universe, Christ is the One who spoke to Moses from the burning bush.....death entered the human race through our choosing to cut ourselves off from the eternal Life which is God....and again DEATH is the philosophical dilemma of Judaism not God's "wrath" towards our sins.....So the Eternal creator sees that His creation is fallen, and in the providence of His LOGOS, He decided from all eternity that He would become man, and raise from the dead...it is His Resurrection that saves us, not the brutality of His Death, the entire universe will be resurrected one day because of the Resurrection of Christ our God, you say that if salvation is a process Christ came in vein?....Joe Christ has redeemed the entire universe, not just mankind. please brother, lay aside your allegiance to the familiar and realize that there is type of Christianity that teaches the divinity of Christ much more profoundly than where you go to church now. A Church that reads the Scripture in linguistic as well as cultural context.
 Atonement theory developed not even a thousand years ago, you resent Rome so much but you carry so much Roman baggage you aren't even aware of...yea Joe Rome claims to be the original Church, but cannot provide proof of this, it can be proven that the early Church was Orthodox, not Roman Catholic and NOT Reformer type...but all the Proof aside, you should at least be somewhat illumined by the fact that the ancient Church had a much more divine Christology than modern churches in the west

Me: You explained substitutionary atonement fairly well. You are correct that it is the resurrection that saves us; Jesus just dying meant nothing unless He rose again like He said. From the cross He cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Because God cannot be in the presence of sin, He had to forsake His Son on the cross. That's because Jesus took the sin of the world upon Him to take God's wrath for mankind. "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." (Romans 5:6-11). That's just one passage that mentions Jesus taking the wrath of God for all who place their trust in Him. That is the very definition of propitiation. That passage also mentions that you are God's enemy. Not due to what you say, but because you are a sinner apart from His grace. "5For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:5-13). That's what it takes; it is so much simpler than anything sinful humanity can come up with.

Me: "4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed....10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:4-5,10-12)

O: God cannot be in the presence of sin? God is OMNIPRESENT there bud!!! meaning God is everywhere! Christ washed the feet of sinners, He saved the harlot and the tax collector...."My God My God, why have you forsaken me" is the Lord quoting Psalm 22 to show it to be about Him.....again your proof text method falls short...we both agree that Christ died for us, but we disagree that it was because of the "wrath" of God that had to be appeased...God loves mankind He has no wrath for man, as we say in the Orthodox Church, He is the Great Lover of Mankind, the bridegroom of the human race. ....Again you refuse to see that your understanding of Christ shows Him to have a separate consciousness from God the Father, and that the Orthodox reject this and always have....the Greek speaking, Greek READING, Greek Orthodox Church has always proclaimed that Christ is one Divine Person, with two distinct natures and wills (Divine and human) therefore the verses that show the Lord in prayer are to reveal the mystery of His dual natures and wills within one His Divine Person...for example "Not My will be done but Yours" CANNOT be taken as a conversation between the eternal Son and the Father, because the would make two wills in God and that would be object polytheism....instead, the GREEK SPEAKING, GREEK READING Church of antiquity always proclaimed this as a revelation of the two wills in the One God-man......You can quote all the verses you want, but if you are honest with yourself, you will admit that our Christology is vastly different from yours, and that ours teaches a much more Divine Christ than does your own......instead of holding firm in your pride, allow yourself to appreciate that the ancient Church put more emphasis on the divinity of Christ than your own......was it God the Father or God the Word who spoke to Moses from the Fire? answer that and we'll see what you really believe.....bro all games aside why don't you come to one of our services this Holy weekend?

O: the Logos IS the Consciousness of the Father

Me: You think Jesus talked to Himself? That is the nature of the Trinity. It is one God but three distinct persons. Hence why Jesus said He came to do the will of His Father. Jesus was compassionate towards sinners; He came to save them. God expelled Adam and Eve after the fall; sin separates us from God, but Jesus can reconcile us to Him. How can one forsake himself?
In the case of Moses and the burning bush, it says the Angel of the LORD spoke to him. The Angel of the LORD is a Christophony, Jesus preincarnate Who appears in the Old Testament.
I am home this weekend, and attend a church down there.

O: The Will of the Father, as well as the thought, wisdom, power, radiance, action, and Mind of Father, is the second Person of the Trinity....no He isn't "talking to Himself" these verses are teaching Trinitarian Theology when read closely and, as always, in context. ..actually in Greek, it says the Word of the Lord spoke to Moses.   and yes angel of great council is a Jewish reference to the Logos

O: Three distinct Person, with One Will, One Power, One Nature....God the Word, meaning the Wisdom and Power and Mind and Will of God from all eternity, became fully human...meaning He also has a human will and a human soul consisting...so in the One Divine Person of Christ, there is the Divine Will which IS the Will of the Father, and the human will this was all discussed in the 6th Ecumenical Council of Second Constantinople....again "why have thou forsaken me" is a reference to Psalm 22, Christ repeatedly tells of His impending Crucifixion in the Gospels, and He says "I lay My Life down willingly, nobody takes it from Me, and I will Rise by My Power which I had with the Father from all eternity"...so how could He have been Forsaken by His Father when He even says He lays His life down willingly, so it is a reference to the 22nd Psalm, and to Jewish ears who read the Psalms daily, it made since (hence Orthodox theology)...do you still refuse to accept that the Logos is the Wisdom, Thought, Power, Will and Mind of God? I really don't see how you still could deny this...why don't you want a more divine Christology? the first time i heard Orthodox theology explained i about fell out of my chair, come on bro lay aside your pride

Me: Christ is divine; He is God. He quotes Psalm 22, but even then it referred to God the Father. God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Where do you see your version of the Trinity in the Bible?

O: [It was Easter] Christ is Risen!!!  Indeed He is Risen!!!!......Joe my brother if you would just accept the meaning of the Greek term Logos, you would see that every single book in the Bible teaches Orthodox Trinitarian Theology
Genesis to Revelation

Me: Apart from the Orthodox I'm not sure who else has altered its meaning. You have to accept Christ's death, burial, and resurrection only to atone for your sins, not any duties you have to fulfill. The entire Bible points to the person of Christ, from the need for Him in Genesis to His second coming in Revelation. Everything points to Him because He is the only way. His fulfillment of conquering death so that we can have life is why we celebrate Resurrection Sunday. How many times does Christ have to die to pay for sin? He died once, and that was sufficient for HIM to take away our sins, not us to work for it. Happy Easter man!

O: Joe you say we altered it, but our theology is compatible with Jewish theology yours is not so really? We altered? Joe we are the only Church that still reads from the Greek...why wont you humble yourself and accept that our Church is unchanged? You don't speak Greek but your gonna tell Greek speakers what a Greek word means?

Me: You are correct, I don't read Greek, but any person can look up a word of it. Paul reiterates again and again how the Jewish religion is wrong; do you then compare yourself to them?
I earlier posed the verses on the order of salvation-baptism and a number of verses about faith coming only through Jesus Christ. Do you have an answer for them?

O: No Joe you did not you ripped verses out of context and tell yourself this is what they say....bro I am sure you are nice guy but why do you use the classic Alinsky method of divergence?....Paul says that the Law is no longer upon us in the New Covenant, Paul isn't saying Jews are wrong about the Logos....so all Christians and Jews for four thousand years held that the Logos is the Wisdom and Power of God who created the heavens, but they were all wrong and you are right? Why do you hold in your pride?

O: you don't realize how insecure you look....it is a fact that Logos means the Wisdom/Power/Action of God, I can quote anyone famous Christian or Jewish thinker from antiquity to prove  this is the meaning of the Word, but in order for you to accept that you would have to challenge yourself to thought and contemplation and you would have to admit that you don't know it all...and that would be scary....please brother, you are making yourself look like a dear in headlights, please just accept the true meaning of Logos and be illumined by the Logos through contemplation of Him

Me: The majority of times in the Bible, "logos" is translated "sayings" or "word". The rest of the times, to my knowledge, it is translated something similar to word or sayings. Show me when it is ever translated wisdom/power/action of God.

O: Joe.....the fact is that the Greek text the original text the word is Logos.....joe languages don't always translate word for word the old saying is that it takes a paragraph of English to explain the meaning of one Greek word....the Bible says God spoke and created the universe, the Bible says the Word of God (Logos Theu) spoke to the Prophets, so in English, which lacks the nuance of the Greek language, Word with a capital W is a good usage...remember how I showed you that the Hebrew words for Action and Wisdom were both translated to Logos in the Septuagint, the old testament used by Christ and His holy Apostles? Please bro be illuminated it will change you forever if you humble your preconcieved notions if Christ and delve deeper

O: Joe.....the fact is that the Greek text the original text the word is Logos.....joe languages don't always translate word for word the old saying is that it takes a paragraph of English to explain the meaning of one Greek word....the Bible says God spoke and created the universe, the Bible says the Word of God (Logos Theu) spoke to the Prophets, so in English, which lacks the nuance of the Greek language, Word with a capital W is a good usage...remember how I showed you that the Hebrew words for Action and Wisdom were both translated to Logos in the Septuagint, the old testament used by Christ and His holy Apostles? Please bro be illuminated it will change you forever if you humble your preconcieved notions if Christ and delve deeper

Me: We seem to be going in circles now. I'll reiterate what I've been saying and we can call it a day, unless you have anything additional to add or ask. We are humans are born into a sin nature. God cannot be in the presence of sin, but still wanted fellowship with those He created in His image. So from the very first sin, God promised a permanent sacrifice so that we would not have to pay for our sin. James says he who is guilty on one point of the law is guilty of the whole law. The only way we can pay for our sin is eternity in the Lake of Fire. But Jesus died, took our sin upon Him, and paid for our sin. It is ONLY through Him that imperfect man can be saved. Works are necessary and important, but they are the result of salvation, not the cause of it. I'll be praying for you man. If you see me around don't hesitate to say hello.

O: Joe but your nice message here is substitutionary atonement theory.....which is not the religion of the original Christians and is not the religion of there descendants, why do you refuse to atleast see, even if you dont change your belief why wont you at least investigate the faith of the early Church for yourself? i dont mean this to be rude i am serious, but are you afraid that if you learn what we believe it will make you change your belief? because i know what you believe its called substitutionary atonement theory.,,,,,,the true faith is that God the Word created the universe and from all eternity loved mankind more than any other creature, and He gave mankind free will because of His love for man kind, and in a  mystical way beyond our comprehension, the sin of man that resulted in the death of man, and the death of all living things throughout all the heavens, and because of His love for makind and in His love for the cosmos (universe) which He created, He became man on this little planet, and He allowed Himself to be crucified so that He could trample down death by His mighty Resurrection, and He freed mankind from death and freed the whole universe and all of creation from death by slaying death, He allowed Himself to be mocked so that death could be mocked, He allowed Himself to be slapped so that death could be slapped, He allowed Himself to spit on so that death could be spit on, it is Christ is the Mind of God, why dont you want to at least hear me out?  ...Joe i want you to let me say my closing statement, please do not take offense.....but you are against ( and for good reason) the teaching of Rome that one man is infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit to interpret scripture and declare true Christian doctrine, but you don't even see that you have become your own infallible interpreter of Christian doctrine.....for the Orthodox, the Holy Spirit alone is infallible, so what has always been believed in every age and is unchanged from the 1st century is the infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit, the faith that has always been, not the interpretation of someone in the 1600's or the 21st century, i want to know where to find you so we can get some coffee man where do you hang out? please watch this four minute sermon please its about Pascha (Easter)

O: please read my above please please please.....please read my obove message and watch this sermon its only 4 minutes

Me: Jesus took our sin and our place. The apostles themselves even said this, besides Isaiah's prophecy in Isaiah 53. "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (I John 2:2). "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (I John 4:10). "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" (Romans 3:25 [Paul]). As I said before, that is the very definition of "propitiation". "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (Romans 4:25). "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (II Corinthians 4:21 [Paul]). "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (I Peter 2:24). If you are very knowledgeable about Greek, you should know the word "tetelestai". That is the word Jesus used when He cried, "It is finished." It is a legal term used when a debt was paid in full. That debt is ours; He paid it on the cross. I would change my beliefs if I had or would ever find evidence against them, but this is how the Bible tells it, the apostles included.

O: but Joe you are just quoting verses that say something we both hold in common and then adding substitutionary atonement theory, assuming that is what it means without the context.....in context what it means that He took our sins is, and was brused for our iniquities is that sin is the reason death entered the cosmos, so Christ our God the Word of God was brused for our iniquities He took on death.... He didn't pay our "debt" to the Father, we didn't owe a "debt" to the Father, other than death of course, so God destroyed death....He didn't pay a "debt" to the Father, He is the Mind of the Father in His Divine Nature.....you think God was so angry with our sins and only the blood of His Son could satisfy His wrath..this is a heresy on many levels....Christ is the eternal Word of God who created the Heavens.......Augustine, Anslem, Aquinas, and Calvin, these are the death of the west....

O: you should tell me where we can meet do you go to the BCM?

Me: I agree up unto the point of no debt. Sin creates that debt. The Bible states that the wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness. Wrath is a very real quality of God. Sin separates from Him, and only Christ can reconcile us.

Me: I'll be at the BCM this Thursday night; we have something called TNL at 8 p.m. if you'd like to come. Otherwise I'll be done around 9:30 or so. Or we could meet Friday in the early afternoon there.

O: and in the final judgment you quoted it says the Lake of Fire eternally flows from the Judgment seat bro!!! meaning eternally flows from Christ !!!!!! come on bro!!!!!! yea bro im looking forward to it you like coffee?

Me: Hebrews 12:29 doesn't speak to God's wrath. And that speaks of a quality of God the Hebrew people were familiar with. That one verse is not one that people can frame a faith around by saying God has an eternal fire. God's eternal fire is Hell that He created for Satan and his demons, and where all who don't know Him personally go after death. The judgment seat is not Christ. I'm not exactly sure where that's from. The Bible says "whosever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the Lake of Fire."

Me: Coffee is part of my bloodstream.

O: what are you talking about Joe it says clear as day our God is a consuming fire

Me: The section of Hebrews that includes the story of Moses and the people meeting God: "For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29 For our God is a consuming fire."

Me: Even this speaks to the fear we are to have of God. He is a consuming fire, but not whatever extra one would like to add on.

O: there are no created fires in the after life.....God is a consuming fire....."Heaven and Hell" are two different experiences of the same reality

Me: I guess if you want to put it that way. But vastly different experiences.

O: what are you saying Joe??? how dare you say we "add on"!!!! Christians and Jews since immemorial have taught that God is an eternal Light and Fire....so thousands of years of mystics who live out in the desert and do nothing but pray and study the scriptures in the original language it was written in are "adding on" but you here in a secular world, your not adding on with your atonement theory and created fire heresy? that's crazy man stop being proud my friend!!! i feel like our conversations will be so much better once we are in person you tend to dance a lot over the face book, we are going to get to the nitty gritty of good old reality when we meet up man..........

O: i like you a lot dude
i like coffee too we should hit up like chipotle maybe though

Me: I'm not sure what I've danced around. God is eternal light, in fact, He will be the light of Heaven. But do you deny His wrath? Do you deny Christ's sacrifice for your sins? I've been called prideful many times by you, but I would say what is prideful is making Christ's sacrifice of no effect by thinking one can make it to Heaven on their own works. I want you to be real with me, as I am with you. Your beliefs are clouding your compassion, and no one gets anywhere with simply shouting insults. I'm laying out what God's Word says; if you see it a different way we can discuss it, but the beliefs, not throwing insults. On campus is better for me. I'd like to know your thoughts on seemingly obvious verses.

O: who insulted you? i said you dance a lot meaning you move back and forth instead of, as you suggested, objectively discussing our differing interpretation.....

Me: When have I moved back and forth?

O: watch this 1 minute video from 2 am on Pascha right before we proclaim the Resurrection

Me: You didn't answer my question.

O: i just saw it
well i told you i disagree that hell is created fire you didn't address it....i gave you verses that showed that Christ was truly speaking of His Flesh and Blood you dismissed those....i showed you salvation is a process you dismissed those......
on an on because you are your own pope, that is not an insult but you are infallible in your own mind
your interpretation is sovereign
i reject the pope joe, lets reject all the mini popes too
i really reject this new pope....ugh..not to change the subject

Me: A biblical interpretation is correct. I didn't come to these convictions in a vacuum. Dismissing what you say is not flip-flopping. I don't address things unless I know I'm supposed to. Hell is a created fire in the sense that it has not always existed, because rebellion against God didn't always exist, until Satan rebelled. You dog the pope, but how have you come to your conclusions? Through the Orthodox church? Does that make you any better?

O: Joe you dont even know the history of the Orthodox Church....the Orthodox Church is unchanged, i get my interpretation from the Apostles.......the Orthodox Church doesn't believe in an infallible man, we believe in an infallible God who promised to never leave His Church, so our Church can be shown to use the same liturgy the same bible in the same language the same prayers etc etc etc .....we are unchanged....and when heretics attacked the Church the Church held Ecumenical Councils where they came to a Collegial decision via council in the presence of the Holy Spirit, the first of such councils is recorded in thActs of the Apostles........our Church had literally been unchanged and in Jerusalem for 2000 years

O: Orthodoxy has literally been in Jerusalem and unchanged since the first Council recorded in Acts.....this is how we know our interpretation is pure, because it is not our own, it is that of the Holy Apostles
if you came to my Church one time you would know it is the truth
our church is the  Church of Pentecost
come and see and you will know

O: this is my retired Bishop, one of the holiest men i know....please watch

O: if any interpretation is right than what about jehova witnesses?
what about Mormons?
so any interpretation is right but the 2000 year old one from Palestine?

O: this video is just a reading of our councils.....you listen to our councils then say what you agree with or disagree with...............
the video i sent has several videos in the one video its our councils listen to them so you know what we teach

Me: The first council states that you believe in God, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The way you put it earlier made me think you believe that there aren't three distinct persons in one. Though put a bit oddly, the councils at the beginning are fairly accurate, until you get to "one holy Catholic and apostolic church". If you've always been, why did you used to be the Catholic church and had to separate?

Me: I don't have the time to get into the later ones. You place great emphasis on the deity, unchanging nature, and work of Christ. We do too. The difference is that we take His work in his death, burial, and resurrection to be enough. We don't add our own deeds to it.

Me: We also don't place emphasis on councils or an overall church teaching. As an Independent Baptist, each church is distinct from the rest, yet all one body in Christ from His salvation. If Jesus never changes, as your church teaches and Hebrews 13:10 confirms, why have traditions changed over time? Jesus, the Word in the flesh, and the Word God gave us in writing, does not change. I serve an unchanging God; people change, their traditions change, but Jesus doesn't change, and hence what is necessary for salvation does not change.

Me: It's not as important in the long-run, but Mary was not always a virgin. She certainly was at Christ's birth, but she had other children with Joseph afterwards.

Me: I actually did end up listening to them all. "...Concurring most fitly in Him for the salvation of the human race." If Christ is for the salvation of the human race, then believe in Him and Him alone for that salvation!

O: Joe the Orthodox Church is the true Catholic Church you seem to not even know what catholic meant before the RC took over the word...it means universal and the term was used because the Church spread out amongst different races of people from different nations...so the term catholic in the councils means the universal church, not confined to one race or ethnicity....so you don't even know the usage of the word catholic to say weather or not you agree with it  .....how could you watch the councils then say the western churches didn't change Christianity??? i am still wanting to meet up with you for coffee asap.......you say "traditions change" to justify yourself in your own mind....but joe our tradition has not changed, how do you so easily dismiss this reality???No Joe actually if you understood Greek you would know that the Virgin Mary never had any other children, and in fact she had been consecrated to life life virginity at the age of four years old....she was betrothed to the aged widower and carpenter Joseph, who at the time of the betrothal already had a seven year old son named Yacob (James) who was step brother of the Lord and first Bishop of Jerusalem,,, but you can t read Greek and you haven't investigated all to the first century documentary evidence for the ever virginity of the Virgin Mary, and you haven't studied the Essene Jews, if you had you would understand the truth about the virgin Mary

O: Joe the Orthodox Church is the true Catholic Church you seem to not even know what catholic meant before the RC took over the word...it means universal and the term was used because the Church spread out amongst different races of people from different nations...so the term catholic in the councils means the universal church, not confined to one race or ethnicity....so you don't even know the usage of the word catholic to say weather or not you agree with it  .....how could you watch the councils then say the western churches didn't change Christianity??? i am still wanting to meet up with you for coffee asap.......you say "traditions change" to justify yourself in your own mind....but joe our tradition has not changed, how do you so easily dismiss this reality???No Joe actually if you understood Greek you would know that the Virgin Mary never had any other children, and in fact she had been consecrated to life life virginity at the age of four years old....she was betrothed to the aged widower and carpenter Joseph, who at the time of the betrothal already had a seven year old son named Yacob (James) who was step brother of the Lord and first Bishop of Jerusalem,,, but you can t read Greek and you haven't investigated all to the first century documentary evidence for the ever virginity of the Virgin Mary, and you haven't studied the Essene Jews, if you had you would understand the truth about the virgin Mary

O: all the Apostolic writings confirm this from the Didache to Igantius to the proto-Gospel of St James, they all confirm that she is ever virgin, who is right the men who knew her and cared for her after the Lord's Ascension, or you Joe??? i can send you tons of bible verses that demonstrate this as well, though i grow weary of the proof text method and would like to meet for coffee

O: you say you serve an unchanged God yet your understanding of God vastly differs from the Apostles, so you serve a different God than the men who wrote the bible

O: you claim to serve an unchanged God, yet you refuse to know how the ancient Church understood God, you claim you read the councils but still wont accept the true usage of Logos??? No Joe you serve a "God" who has been changed over and over and over and over for over a millennia ...

O: when can we meet??
does it anger you that your "god" was created by Augustine, Anslem and Calvin?
we need to meet man [He didn’t show up to the several times I offered.]

O: the didache say the Apostles fasted every Wednesday and Friday, why don't you? the bible says the ancient Church anointed with oil after baptism why don't you? the bible says the Apostles baptized the whole house hold (including infants) why don't you? The Lord says eat my flesh and drink my blood and do it over and over until I Return...why don't you joe? the bible says to pray 7 times a day why don't you? the bible says to face east when you pray why don't you? the bible says the early church had bishops why don't you? on and on and on.......i think you really get under my skin because you are so proud and yet you follow so little of what the bible says are signs of the Apostolic faith, and you tell me to "believe" like i don't believe??? again my whole life revolves around my Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, maybe it is you who needs to believe!!!!

O: please read all of my recent messages....i really want to meet up man or atleast exchange numbers....when can we get coffee

O: and man you speak about the Holy Councils like you are a film critic or something, and you say your church doesn't care much about councils only the Bible.....in you blissful ignorance you don't even realize the oxymoron you have just professed, because the canon of scripture that you call the Bible wasn't was decided upon and infallibly canonized until the fourth century at the 2nd Ecumenical Counci of first Constantinople!!!! joe when can we meet? [As previously said…]

Me: "Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it." (Luke 8:19-21). Mary had multiple children, where you get your story I am uncertain. Both James and Jude were Mary's children, and half-brothers of Jesus. James said nothing of that sort. It was John, per Jesus' command from the cross, that took care of Mary after His death. I follow the scripture that some of the apostles wrote; I'd like to hear how they differ from what I believe when their writings, inspired by God, confirm it. "Bishops" are pastors today. Show me where any of this is in the Bible. To dismiss what the Bible says in favor of what a church council says is a dangerous thing. "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:13-17). How are we furnished unto all good works? The Bible. Not tradition or what a group of people want to say.

O: dude again you are quoting the bible 100 % out of context....you tell a filthy slanderous lie when you say St James never said Theotokos was ever Virgin....the Bible says she is ever virgin 37 times.... and St James wrote an entire Gospel about this called the proto-egangeliun, all the though the council decided not to include it in the canon, it was given as the guide for liturgical feasts and history of Church, it is dated to 70AD.....my friend you are so wrong that its embarrassing....you are such a character Joe, like always you quote a verse that has nothing to do with what you are talking about,.......lets follow logic Joe, you accept the New Testament, why do you only view those books as the New Testament who decides which 1st century apostolic writings are included in the Canon?

O: again if you understood Greek you would know that the Greek term used doesn't mean brethren as in sharing the same parent, there is a TOTALLY DIFFERENT Greek word for that, but since you reject context and language and history, i guess you are free to imagine whatever false reality you wish !!!!! the reality is that the Christians in Jerusalem celebrated her consecration to virginity and presentation in the Temple on Nov 30 almost 400 years before the Books of the New Testament were decided upon....you never answered me by the way

O: Joe do you call the Virgin Mary the Mother of God???
how do you decide what books are scripture?
why don't you fast?
why don't you face east when praying?
why don't you pray 7x a day?
why don't you anoint newly Baptized with Chrism oil as is stated in the Bible?
why don't you chant the scripture when the bible says that "the human voice is the harp of the Holy Spirit" and says to "chant a melody to the Lord daily"?
why don't you have liturgical cycles and seasons
why don't you have monasticism when the Lord Himself was born into a Monastic Jewish tradition?

O: let me guess...your answer to all will be....."that stuff's not necessary to get to heaven".....Joe it is about a lot more than that the Lord Jesus Christ gave us not just a religion but a way of life, an organic recreation; all of things were given by the Apostles yet you reject them all??? again, after you read the above, how do you decide which books are New Testament and which are not

O: ????? [Ah, there’s the missing punctuation.]

O: why have you done away with so much of the biblical faith??? why doesn't your religion resemble the faith of the Apostles....interesting to me that when i challenge your interpretation of Scripture you reference more of your interpretation of scripture as defense for your interpretation....this is just out right silly

O: why have you done away with so much of the biblical faith??? why doesn't your religion resemble the faith of the Apostles....interesting to me that when i challenge your interpretation of Scripture you reference more of your interpretation of scripture as defense for your interpretation....this is just out right silly

O: please read all my recent messages and answer my questions, starting with, How do you decide which books are considered New Testament and which are not??? the canon of the New Testament was decided at the Council of 1st Constantinople, how did you get your New Testament canon if not for the Orthodox Church???

O: like how do you decide which 1st century Christian writings are Scripture and which are not? Your New Testament had to come from somewhere....who decided your New Testament canon???

O: and as always when can we meet??? […Well, you know.]

O: no answer ??

Me: When one sends 19 straight messages, it's difficult for another to respond in a timely manner. I honestly don't know where you've gotten half that stuff. You've added extra books to the Bible and still go outside of it to determine what you must do. While none of that is necessary for salvation, Jesus certainly died so that we could have new life in Him; it just doesn't include most of what you've said.

Me: We've went round and round on this stuff. You're not listening to me, and I'm not buying what you're saying. I'm really not sure what there is still to discuss.

O: where do you get your new testament?
who decided on those specific 1st century writings when there are a plethora of 1st century writings to choose from?

O: just admit it you got your NT canon from the Orthodox Church....you reject us you want to be different, fine,.....but just admit the NT was canonized at the 2nd ecumenical council [I suppose that’s why the two are different.]

O: I am truly disappointed Joe, you are attaching to yourself the ultimate stereotype attributed to Evangelicals; had I been, for example, a younger Roman Catholic, or perhaps an Orthodox immigrant who didn't know English too well, you would have been more than happy to keep our conversation going perpetually, perceiving yourself to be "winning". But the minute you are presented with a question for which you have no answer you suddenly "don't see where this is going" and I'm just "not listening". What the heck Joe I thought you were an Evangelist, don't you want me to be "saved" like you???....despite our differences I think you are a cool dude I asked you several times to meet for coffee, and not just to debate but to see where we agree to form a deeper understanding....you suddenly don't even want to talk about it all now??? that's kind of unloving and uncharitable on your part wouldn't you say?? you say you don't know what there is left to discuss??? how about answering my simple question.....how does your church decide which first century Christian writings constitutes the New Testament?

O: they could publish a book from our conversation so far and now you wont respond?? I really don't see why you wont answer me you seem to be able to spin anything, why cant you spin this one??? admit you got your NT from the 2nd Ecumenical Council all Protestant scholars accept this fact......you are constantly saying something isn't needed for salvation yet not once have I said anything about your salvation....why don't you fast Joe? you say its not pertinent to salvation? so what? the Lord says to Fast

Me: Just because my response isn't immediate doesn't mean it won't happen. You seem to be placing your faith in a church. God decided the canon of scripture, as He inspired those books. You can believe that you've "won" this "argument" if you want to because I have short delays in responses (it's finals time), I really don't care. I don't need the gratification of a stranger telling me I'm right.

O: I put my faith in Christ, and Christ says that the Church IS His Body, so you cannot disconnect the two. You say "God decided the canon of Scripture"....so are you saying that God was working through the Bishops at the 2nd Ecumenical Councils......because it is just a fact that the Council Canonized the scripture.......I don't want to "win" Joe, that's not what this is about.......why don't you fast?

Me: I do fast, just not at some scheduled time. When I need extra focus on prayer.
Be careful what you call facts.
The church (we clearly disagree on this definition, however) is Christ's body; that does not give it ultimate authority. God's speaking through His Word does. You cannot have faith in Christ unless you will put faith in Him alone. I told you what the Bible says, it's your choice to do what you will with it.

O: Joe my number is [Gives his number]....you told me what you think the bible says........call me lets discuss this
So I don't have faith on Christ Joe??? really lol that is comical

Me: It's nearly 12:30. I'm sure you see that as faith in Christ, and it is noble that you try, but the Bible says there is no other name under Heaven whereby we must be saved. It is only Christ's sacrifice and resurrection that can give you salvation.

O: you say "be careful what I call facts"...joe it will take you like 2 minutes of research to see that the 2nd Ecumenical Council canonized the NT

O: Joe you say.............."im sure you see that as faith in Christ, and it is noble that you try, but the Bible says there is no other name under Heaven whereby we must be saved. It is only Christ's sacrifice and resurrection that can give you salvation"............what other name do I hope to be saved by???.........I have said a million times that I believe it is the death and Resurrection of Christ which is the reason why I will be raised from the dead and the very reason and cause of salvation so why would you say that to me as if I don't believe that???

O: are you afraid to follow through the logic??? everybody including protestant scholars will admit that the first time there was an officially canonized was the 2nd Ecumenical Council......are you afraid that accepting this will force you to see what else the men who canonized your NT believed??

O: let me ask you Joe, aside from a discussion about whether or not the Saints are praying for the Church,..do you attribute to the Virgin Mary the title Mother of God (Theotokos)?

O: please watch these videos

O: I dare you to watch this video

Me: I forgot I posted that one today. I'll send you one that's relevant to this conversation when I post it.

O: huh?

Me: Sorry man, I've been really busy lately. I wrote a blog post that describes my position better but I haven't posted it yet. I'll send it to you when I do.

O: oh ok

O: me and you talked about a whole lot, I am not sure which part of our lengthy discussion you are posting in your blog....... I don't see where it is fair to not allow comments on your blog if you are going to touch on sensitive issues like these.....my last couple of messages to you were dealing with the uncreated Light of God and the distinction between God's Essence and God's Energy, as well as more stuff about the Septuagint as the divinely inspired OT of Christianity, as well as the importance of Greek thought in the rise of Christianity......will your blog be dealing with that? something tells me it wont....I like you and respect you and desire more dialogue with you, but I have long since wished it could move towards a personal meeting or at least a phone call

Me: I'm not posting the conversation [I didn’t think it would end this soon, I was planning on making another post], I just feel an upcoming post I've written could shed better light on a faith salvation. And I do allow comments; I have to approve them though, I learned that lesson the hard way.

O: you still haven't even accepted my friend request but you are going to tell me about salvation?

Me: No I don't. Our belief in something doesn't make it the truth. Truth doesn't change.

O: what is truth? Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life.....I presented you with oceans of evidence that the Orthodox faith is the unchanged Church that Christ founded.......if you were a truth seeker you would be interested in seeing what you could learn , not from me, because I am nothing, but from the Christians who have been here from the beginning, but instead you speak like some big scholar who has re-invented the wheel and you act proud

Me: Learning of different beliefs both fascinate and concern me. Fascinate, because I am interested in how others think and what leads them to conclusions. Concerns, because you say it correctly: Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life. The second part of that verse says "no man cometh unto the Father but by me." Christ is the only way. We have to go through Him and only through Him. The Bible says there is no other name under Heaven enter whereby we must be saved. It is not our names or our deeds, it is Christ's name and His finished deed.

O: Christ is the only way, you say this like we don't believe this....again if Christ is the only way than why be separated from Christ, the bible also says the Church is Christ's body...and as I demonstrated for you, the Orthodox Church is the Church.....what does it mean that no one comes to the Father but through Christ? you seem to only want this to mean heaven...again you aren't even aware of what the Lord is saying....the Bible is written in Greek, the Lord is using Judeo-Platonic language to show that He is the Logos (Mind, Image, Action, etc) of God.....what is Heaven? Heaven and "Hell" are both Christ

O: God is beyond being, He exists beyond existence. He creates, thinks, speaks, acts, and manifests Himself through His Logos, so we don't pray in to Christ in a third person way like protestants "Heavenly Father................in Jesus Name"., or like Roman Catholics " Heavenly Father.........through Christ our Lord".....instead we pray "Oh Lord Jesus Christ our God".......

O: why don't you pray in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and make the sign of the cross when the bible says to make the sign of the cross on yourself?
so do you accept yet that the Bible was canonized at the 2nd Ecumenical Council?

Me: You're saying all this with no Biblical proof.

O: for which part?
I can give you biblical proof for anything I said just ask
and again, the bible was canonized at the 2nd EC.....I know you wont address that though

O: I just read over your recent comments further [It’s about time]; something you said was very very interesting....in fact, you made a statement confirming the truth of Orthodoxy and you must not even know it.....when I asked you what truth is and said that Christ is the Truth you said to me Christ is unchanged. Joe, which form of Christianity is unchanged? only one Joe. Greek Orthodoxy

O: I think you are afraid to talk to me in person you are afraid you will have to answer questions that Facebook and posting on your blog allow you to dance around. Substitutionary Atonement Theory is derived from Anglo Saxon systems of justice, for example it is the ultimate sign of love in the Anglo pagan mind that the king would lay down a ransom in place of the peasant, because the peasant is low and worthless etc...if you follow the logic of Atonement theory backwards than you would think that Jewish Sacrifice was about appeasing the wrath of God, and that no blood sacrifice was enough to satisfy God's infinite justice....but the problem is that this is NOT the reason for blood sacrifice in Judaism and never has been, the reason for the sacrifice is that the animal's life given to God was a glorious thing, because the animal was sacrificing its life to God because the life goes back to God, the true meaning is that since death is the ultimate adversary of the Jewish people, the life of the animals given to God as a sacrifice.  the animals were also eaten after they were sacrificed. So which is compatible with Judaism Joe the Anglo Saxon pagan concept of justice that doesn't even match the sacrificial system of Judaism? or the one that matches Judaism feast by feast prayer for prayer in a New Covenant manner and is the ultimate answer to the main philosophical dilemma in Judaism?

O: read my last few messages I can provide in depth and contextually accurate scripture references for anything you have a question about

O: [Sends picture]

O: this is what Heaven and "Hell" os

O: is

O: this Icon shows the depiction of the eternity as the Lord describes it, so your salvation by faith alone is a lie

O: totally against the Lord

O: please meet me or call me or Skype or whatever

O: prefer meet or call

Me: I have a feeling I wouldn't get a word in tsp talking to someone who sends a dozen straight messages.

O: yea you would man

O: why would you trivialize my messages instead of responding to them? I am at home and didn't work today, you messaged me and said you have the truth and you are talking about salvation, and sending me your blog like your words of wisdom are going to save me because as you say it you have the truth....well I don't have a blog Joe, here is my blog. I most certainly would let you talk

O: your truth is a false truth, I have made the claim that you and I worship a totally different Christ, that is a pretty big claim, you worship a different Christ than the Christ of the New Testament yet you act like you represent the New Testament. Christ is the God of all creation, the Mind of the Father, the Wisdom of God and His Power and Radiance and Action. He made all things, and He became man in the fullness of time to destroy death and illuminate all creation with the uncreated Light of His Resurrection, preparing all things for the Last Day, when He will be all in all in His creation.........you worship the angry father who had to torture his son to pay the ransom for the sin of man. lets talk I will let you talk I am a nice guy man

At this point I ended the conversation. I shared the truth and backed it up with Biblical evidence. While he did present some verses, the appeal was largely to tradition, which, as I said, is different for each religion which claims it. The Bible, though commonly misinterpreted when context is ignored, does not change- unless others change it later on. Pray for this man, his heart is so hardened to what God truly says.

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