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Luther and Erasmus: The Controversy Concerning the Bondage of the Will
Protestant Reformed Theological Journal ^ | April 1999 | Garrett J. Eriks

Posted on 01/01/2006 4:48:03 PM PST by HarleyD

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Comment #4,341 Removed by Moderator

To: kosta50
Faith begins where reason stops.

I am not sure I know what that means. I am inclined to think that reason acts in the playpen where faith puts it, not the other way around. This is why: It is by faith that I assume that because I observe objects fall to the ground every time I drop them, objects always fall to the ground now and forever, no matter who drops them. In other words, before I even begin reasoning, say, about gravity, I need faith in the scientific method. Reason begins where faith tells it to.

For a more learned view, see Fides et Ratio:

what for Patristic and Medieval thought was in both theory and practice a profound unity, producing knowledge capable of reaching the highest forms of speculation, was destroyed by systems which espoused the cause of rational knowledge sundered from faith and meant to take the place of faith.

46. The more influential of these radical positions are well known and high in profile, especially in the history of the West. It is not too much to claim that the development of a good part of modern philosophy has seen it move further and further away from Christian Revelation, to the point of setting itself quite explicitly in opposition. This process reached its apogee in the last century.


In the field of scientific research, a positivistic mentality took hold which not only abandoned the Christian vision of the world, but more especially rejected every appeal to a metaphysical or moral vision. It follows that certain scientists, lacking any ethical point of reference, are in danger of putting at the centre of their concerns something other than the human person and the entirety of the person's life. Further still, some of these, sensing the opportunities of technological progress, seem to succumb not only to a market-based logic, but also to the temptation of a quasi-divine power over nature and even over the human being.


This is why I make this strong and insistent appeal—not, I trust, untimely—that faith and philosophy recover the profound unity which allows them to stand in harmony with their nature without compromising their mutual autonomy. The parrhesia of faith must be matched by the boldness of reason.


In expressing my admiration and in offering encouragement to these brave pioneers of scientific research, to whom humanity owes so much of its current development, I would urge them to continue their efforts without ever abandoning the sapiential horizon within which scientific and technological achievements are wedded to the philosophical and ethical values which are the distinctive and indelible mark of the human person. Scientists are well aware that “the search for truth, even when it concerns a finite reality of the world or of man, is never-ending, but always points beyond to something higher than the immediate object of study, to the questions which give access to Mystery”.

4,342 posted on 04/03/2006 7:48:00 PM PDT by annalex
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To: qua; Forest Keeper; Agrarian; HarleyD; jo kus; Cronos; Kolokotronis
Your are true and consistent with your father, Origen, with your antisemitism and spiritualization of Scripture

Let's see, so far you have called the Apostolic Church a "prisoner" of Greek paganism; Greek-based theology a sect based on "superstition," and now you are accusing me of antisemitism because I observed that some Protestants tend to be more "Hebrew" than Christian.

I know your, I know who you are and who your father is, and I have nothing more to say to you.

4,343 posted on 04/03/2006 8:09:02 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

I know your =I know your name

4,344 posted on 04/03/2006 8:10:19 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: annalex
You are equating faith with proof. Gravity is a no brainer. Believing in something that makes no sense (i.e. Incarnation, Resurrection, Burning Bush, raising of the dead, Jonas living in a belly of a large fish/whale/sea monster for three days and so on) is much, much more difficult because it has to start with the Faith.

Your example of gravity is just the reverse. You have no faith, then something happens, and, as you can reproduce the result on demand, you believe in it. That's faith but not blind faith.

The proof of the faith is in the experience, not experiments. We cannot express it in the words we know, not transfered it in the media we use. "Blessed are those who believe but have not seen" says the Lord

4,345 posted on 04/03/2006 8:20:24 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: annalex
The spirit of my reply is expressed in the Orthodox Catechism:

In our understanding of God we often rely upon cataphatic notions since these are easier and more accessible to the mind. But cataphatic knowledge has its limits. The way of negation corresponds to the spiritual ascent into the Divine abyss where words fall silent, where reason fades, where all human knowledge and comprehension cease, where God is. It is not by speculative knowledge but in the depths of prayerful silence that the soul can encounter God, Who is ‘beyond everything’ and Who reveals Himself to her as in-comprehensible, in-accessible, in-visible, yet at the same time as living and close to her - as God the Person.

4,346 posted on 04/03/2006 8:26:18 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: jo kus; Kolokotronis
FK: "I just figure that I can't go wrong in sticking with the Bible."

Which would you prefer? Part of God's revelation or all of it? That's how you are "going wrong".

I have found that everything that I have ever needed to know in my Christian walk can be found in the Bible. So I do have all of God's revelation that I need to know. I do not trust men to add that which I do not need.

In other words, if the Bible itself mentions another means of learning God's revelation, wouldn't I have also defeated the concept of Sola Scriptura? I have already done this with Eph 4:11-13.

The passage from Ephesians does not defeat Sola Scriptura at all, unless your point is that it is fine to teach anti-Biblical ideas. I don't think it is. As long as the "apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers" all convey the word in accordance with, or in consistence with, the Bible then the passage and Sola Scriptura are fine with each other.

Clearly, the Bible ALONE is not the only means of building up the Body of Christ, to attain to perfection in man. This defeats Sola Scriptura, does it not?

It doesn't come close to defeating Sola Scriptura. Maybe that's why not many Catholic apologists use this approach. :) Every week, my church has an altar call to build up the Body of Christ. As far as I know, such practice cannot be found in the Bible. Nevertheless, it is perfectly consistent with the Great Commission, and does not offend Sola Scriptura. From what I know about it, I would say the same for the idea of Confirmation classes (forgetting theology :). They are nowhere in the Bible, but perfectly consistent with its teachings, students learn real truth about Christ and so they are good. Sola Scriptura is not offended.

Nowhere in Vines or my Greek Concordance do I find opheleia or ophelimos used to mean "necessary" or "essential" or "alone". Thus, your author's argument rapidly deflates into nothingness.

Wow! This means that every single Protestant scholar I have ever quoted on this thread doesn't know the first thing about Greek (at least three or four on point). The author I cited anticipated dozens and dozens of Catholic responses to his arguments, but he never thought a Catholic would question his Greek translation. That translation is important, but not critical to the article. I can't figure out why Protestant authors and scholars can be so smart about some things, but NONE of them even knows the Greek alphabet, apparently. OK, then Greek may only ever be interpreted to favor Catholic positions. I did not know this rule. I will be mindful of it from now on. :)

Nowhere does the Scripture mention Scripture as being "necessary" or the "sole rule of faith". Bluntly, this concept is a tradition of men that keeps men from the entire Truth that God revealed to the Apostles. Simple as that.

I guess that is a huge difference between us. You say that scriptures are not necessary because God says so, they are only useful because men say so. Likewise, that scriptures are not holy because God declares it, they are only holy because the Church decided it. The center of this faith continues to emerge.

Luke 1:1-4 : 1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

At least Luke thought it wasn't such a terrible idea to write things down. :)

4,347 posted on 04/03/2006 8:35:07 PM PDT by Forest Keeper
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To: kosta50; qua
In fact qua went a step further: he called the Church what amounts to being a Greek pagan cult, decorated with Christian symbols.

That seems to lead from Gnostic teachings of which that work of fiction: the Da Vinci code is filled with -- seeming to suggest that the very idea of Christ's divinity is some kind of Pauline conspiracy grabbed from Greek philosophy.
4,348 posted on 04/03/2006 9:19:34 PM PDT by Cronos (Remember 9/11. Restore Hagia Sophia! Ultra-Catholic: Sola Scriptura leads to solo scriptura.)
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Comment #4,349 Removed by Moderator

Comment #4,350 Removed by Moderator

To: qua
"Tertullian doesn't define Christianity. Neither does the tribal god of the Jews."
Whew! This is worse than I thought. Just so we're clear, are you claiming the god of the greeks is the true god over against the "tribal god of the Jews"?

Just so we are clear, it might be helpful if you quoted what I said in full. Since you didn't, let me elaborate. Tertullian is only one man. He doesn't get the authority to define Christianity all by himself.

What the early church said was that all people have some understanding of God, but that understanding is incomplete. Christianity completes all religions as the full revelation of God is in Christ.

Just how you interpreted incomplete to mean true god is a mystery.

The Holy Trinity is not a tribal god of some ethnic group, but of all creation. That is why Christianity is a universal religion in which there is neither Greek nor Jew. Christianity goes beyond ethnicity.

4,351 posted on 04/03/2006 10:12:59 PM PDT by stripes1776
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To: kosta50; HarleyD; jo kus; Agrarian; Kolokotronis
Well, it's a step ahead of biblical bats being called fowl, or mustard seed being the smallest seed or mustard plant a tree.

So when man decides to re-re-classify the animal and plant kingdoms, and some of those re-classifications match scripture, then you will change your mind and agree that God did know what He was talking about, at least on some things? I'm curious, since you say that the Bible is historically flawed and imperfect, do you say that Tradition is perfect, or is it also flawed? Did God leave us anything that is perfect, or is all of our knowledge of God littered with errors?

Next time you get sick, please don't call a doctor. In fact, don't even use Internet, or cell phones, or fly by airplanes. Obviously, all of these are scientific "traps" that belie the truth. The truth is, of course, that bats are fowl because the Bible says so, right?

I have no problem with science, I appreciate God's gifts. I have a problem when men trust science before they trust God. You have said that the Bible is filled with factual errors because it does not match the science of 2006. I am sure that others of different times have said the same thing, but for very different reasons. So will our legacies. If you believe the Bible is HOLY, you are elevating man's current standards of science above God. If you believe the Bible is HOLY, you are declaring God wrong because man decided to call things by different names. This does not make sense. How can you attempt to hold the view that the Bible is HOLY by explaining that it is filled with errors?

4,352 posted on 04/03/2006 11:07:23 PM PDT by Forest Keeper
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To: qua; stripes1776; Cronos; annalex

I can do little better at this time than to quote some passages from someone who is perhaps the most important Greek theologian of our day, Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos):

"It is a commonplace to declare from the start that there is a difference between philosophy and theology, since philosophy is man's invention, founded on the brain and the imagination, while theology is God's revelation to man, to his purified heart...

Ancient Greek philosophy makes a clear distinction between matter and reality. It considers reality to be a different thing from matter and the world -- all that we see and feel.

'A basic assumption of philosophy is that only the unbegotten and unchangable is immortal and real. Everything which has a beginning in time also has an end.' [here quoting Fr. John Romanides] Starting from this finding, ancient philosophy arrived at varioius conclusions which are diametrically opposed to the teaching of the Church. According to the ancient philosophers, 'creation is either a natural emanation of the essense of the one (pantheism), or a seeming or even fallen reflection of an unbegotten real world of basic ideas (idealism), or an indissoluble union of form and matter...' [again quoting Romanides]

Thus the philosophers either ended in a pantheism according to which God is identified with the world, or in an abstract idealism according to which God is a perfect, impersonal and inactive being, or else God is something evermotionless moving the ever-moving, without contact with the world.

...according to philosophy, man's liberation lies in fleeing from perishable matter and attaching himself to the unbegotten.

It can readily be seen that the god of the philosophers and philosophy is not the God of the Church, that the god of philosophy is an abstract and non-existent god and that the man of philosophy is not the same as the man of the Church.

In all these theories of the philosophers and philosophy we can see the antithesis of theology, and more generally of the Church's teaching and life, at two particular points. One is the content of the philosophers' teaching and the other is the methodology which the philosophers employ in coming to these conclusions.

All of the philosophers' views were rejected by the Fathers of the Church. In the Church we do not accept the teaching about ideas, nor the ontology of God as the philosophers describe it, not the pre-existence of the soul, nor the eternity of the world and of time, nor what is said about man's release, that the soul must leave the body, which is the soul's prison -- nor that God is the prime unmoving mover, etc.

By contrast, the holy Fathers express the Church's truth that God is not the idea of the good, as Plato said, but the personal God who was revealed to the Prophets, Apostles, and saints.

The holy Fathers also teach that love is not only a motion of man towards God, as Plato said, nor does it express the powerlessness of man who is moved towards the prime unmoving mover in order to feel completeness, but that it is a positive energy. God is not simply the unmoving mover, but He is at the same time moved towards man. He moves and is moved. And love is not a matter of man's weakness, since God Himself, Who is love and the object of love, Who moves and is moved, is also called love.

The fact that the Church rejected all these theories of the philosophers can be seen presented concisely in the Synodikon of Orthodoxy, a text which is read on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Indeed not only were these theories rejected as heresies, but it is said explicitly and repeatedly that anyone who accepts the theories of the philosophers is anathematised by the Church. All who accept "the Platonic ideas as true" and say and accept "that matter is self-existent" are anathematized. Likewise all who accept and spread "the false and Hellenic sayings", all who assert that souls pre-exist and that all things did not come into being from naught, and have gone astray" are anathematised."

All of these brief excerpts come from a book called "The Person in the Orthodox Tradition." It is just one readily accessible book that should be read by anyone who wants to understand the relationship of Hellenic thought to Orthodox Christianity.

Because of the subject matter, it is quite "philosophical" compared to most Orthodox writings (the average Orthodox Christian is so far from the questions and issues of pagan Greek philosophy as to make these topics irrelevant), but it is a book that fills an important need.

Interestingly, the title of the first edition of this book, before it was expanded in its second edition, was "Person and Freedom," since personhood and freedom are inextricably related.

4,353 posted on 04/03/2006 11:19:57 PM PDT by Agrarian
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To: qua; kosta50

Those aren't "Greek categories", they are religious thoughts expressed by people who used the Greek language -- would I call your religious thoughts as "English classification" -- note that even non ethnic Greeks used Greek as a lingua franca, most notably St. Paul.

4,354 posted on 04/04/2006 12:36:25 AM PDT by Cronos (Remember 9/11. Restore Hagia Sophia! Ultra-Catholic: Sola Scriptura leads to solo scriptura.)
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To: Agrarian; annalex
What annalex is saying, I think, is that just as the Scriptures were not written in a vacuum, they were never interpreted in a vacuum.

Yes, and as I say, in effect, to Alex in my 4333, I don't think I worded that post very well. :)

It would never occur to devout Catholics or Orthodox to question things like the Virgin Birth of Christ or the bodily Resurrection of Christ. This is because our tradition is unequivocal on these points -- we know that there is no other way for the Scriptures to be interpreted, not if we want to call ourselves Catholics or Orthodox Christians. (emphasis added)

This is a very key point for me. Is the greater reason you believe in the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection because Tradition says so, or is it because the Bible says so? You believed in both, (both) before and after your conversion, so you have a unique perspective.

4,355 posted on 04/04/2006 1:15:55 AM PDT by Forest Keeper
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To: Forest Keeper

"Is the greater reason you believe in the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection because Tradition says so, or is it because the Bible says so?"

The simple answer is, "yes."

OK, that's a little smart-alecky, but it's true. Orthodox Christians do not divide Scripture from the rest of Tradition. We view Scripture as being a part of the written body of work that reflects the one Holy Tradition of the Church.

Look, it is self-evident that the Scriptures can be interpreted in many ways. The saying goes that if you get two Protestants together for a Bible study, they'll come up with three explanations for the text they are studying.

Everyone interprets Scripture within a tradition, even if it is a tradition made up of a hodge-podge of different people who have preached or taught the Bible to them. We Orthodox understand the meaning of Scripture within a well-defined tradition. I think you understand that point.

But it is equally important to make another point -- one that will perhaps come closer to answering your question. Those things within Holy Tradition that are clearly talked about in the Bible are those things that we most unequivocally and firmly hold to.

For instance, with regard to a given event that is not a part of Scripture, there might be a couple of different variants on a tradition. But for something that is clearly detailed in the Scripture, such as the bodily Ascension into heaven of Christ, there is only one, very clear, tradition.

Not all written sources of Tradition have equal weight. So in that sense, I guess you could say that the historical details of the Virgin Birth and the bodily Resurrection of Christ would not be nearly as weighty to us if they were only a part of our non-Scriptural writings that convey the details of Tradition in written form.

But, it is the context of the interpretation of those Scriptures within our tradition that makes an Orthodox Christian basically impervious to anyone trying to find a way to call these things "cunningly devised fables." To anyone who has attended Saturday evening/Sunday morning services for any length of time, let alone a Paschal service or two, it would take great mental gymnastics to come up with any conclusion but that the Orthodox Church takes the Scriptural accounts of the bodily Resurrection extremely literally, and that no, this is not something that will be up for discussion at any time in the future.

4,356 posted on 04/04/2006 2:41:47 AM PDT by Agrarian
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To: Cronos
That seems to lead from Gnostic teachings of which that work of fiction: the Da Vinci code is filled with -- seeming to suggest that the very idea of Christ's divinity is some kind of Pauline conspiracy grabbed from Greek philosophy

Yes, and one specific, small but loud Gnostic gang, with such characters as Elaine Pagels, has been promoted by various media outlets as the bearers of truth in the last few years on various Satanic TV outlets -- like the History Channel and the Discovery Channel.

The possibility of foreseeable re-union between the East and the West has satan and his demons howling.

4,357 posted on 04/04/2006 3:39:15 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper
Did God leave us anything that is perfect, or is all of our knowledge of God littered with errors?

Everything He made, including us, was made good, if I remember my Scripture. The error had to come from somewhere -- I would say it was us by abusing our freedom, which you deny so in your case it is something God "ordained."

In the fallen humanity, everything we know, including our faith, is flawed. And that includes our understanding of the Scripture -- or else we would not be having this discussion. Unless, of course, you believe that you are without a flaw and we are full of them.

I have no problem with science, I appreciate God's gifts. I have a problem when men trust science before they trust God

The two are not "miscible." You trust science because science produces results on demand. If you don't believe in gravity, jump off a tall building and you will believe. Trusting God comes from the heart; it requires faith, indeed hope, without a proof of experiment or reason, but only of experience. Trusting the unknown and the invisible is a different kind of faith altogether.

4,358 posted on 04/04/2006 4:01:20 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

though I think it's good in a way that there are howls from the devil -- shows that we are doing the right thing. Hopefully the Catholic Church will reverse the excesses of Vatican II and keep the dialogue going -- I have noticed changes in the Church that seem encouraging.

4,359 posted on 04/04/2006 4:06:45 AM PDT by Cronos (Remember 9/11. Restore Hagia Sophia! Ultra-Catholic: Sola Scriptura leads to solo scriptura.)
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To: annalex; HarleyD; Forest Keeper; AlbionGirl; qua; ears_to_hear; Gamecock; OrthodoxPresbyterian; ...
It does not surprise me that you had a difficult time with Calvin. He rebukes so many of your beliefs with Scripture that it must be discouraging for you. But persevere.

I think I need a drink.

"And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." -- Rev. 21:6-8

Try this section of the Institutes. It can only do you good.


"...Another iniquity chargeable on the mass is, that it sinks and buries the cross and passion of Christ. This much, indeed, is most certain, the cross of Christ is overthrown the moment an altar is erected. For if, on the cross, he offered himself in sacrifice that he might sanctify us for ever, and purchase eternal redemption for us, undoubtedly the power and efficacy of his sacrifice continues without end. Otherwise, we should not think more honourably of Christ than of the oxen and calves which were sacrificed under the law, the offering of which is proved to have been weak and inefficacious because often repeated. Wherefore, it must be admitted, either that the sacrifice which Christ offered on the cross wanted the power of eternal cleansing, or that he performed this once for ever by his one sacrifice. Accordingly, the apostle says, "Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Again: "By the which act we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Again: "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." To this he subjoins the celebrated passage: "Now, where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." The same thing Christ intimated by his latest voice, when, on giving up the ghost, he exclaimed, "It is finished." We are accustomed to observe the last words of the dying as oracular. Christ, when dying, declares, that by his one sacrifice is perfected and fulfilled whatever was necessary to our salvation. To such a sacrifice, whose perfection he so clearly declared, shall we, as if it were imperfect, presume daily to append innumerable sacrifices? Since the sacred word of God not only affirms, but proclaims and protests, that this sacrifice was once accomplished, and remains eternally in force, do not those who demand another, charge it with imperfection and weakness? But to what tends the mass which has been established, that a hundred thousand sacrifices may be performed every day, but just to bury and suppress the passion of our Lord, in which he offered himself to his Father as the only victim? Who but a blind man does not see that it was Satanic audacity to oppose a truth so clear and transparent? I am not unaware of the impostures by which the father of lies is wont to cloak his fraud, that the sacrifices are not different or various, but that the one sacrifice is repeated. Such smoke is easily dispersed. The apostle, during his whole discourse, contends not only that there are no other sacrifices, but that that one was once offered, and is no more to be repeated. The more subtle try to make their escape by a still narrower loophole, that it is not repetition, but application. But there is no more difficulty in confuting this sophism also. For Christ did not offer himself once, in the view that his sacrifice should be daily ratified by new oblations, but that by the preaching of the gospel and the dispensation of the sacred Supper, the benefit of it should be communicated to us. Thus Paul says, that "Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us," and bids us "keep the feast" (1 Cor. 5:7, 8). The method, I say, in which the cross of Christ is duly applied to us is when the enjoyment is communicated to us, and we receive it with true faith."

4,360 posted on 04/04/2006 9:14:14 AM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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