ON THE DOGMA OF REDEMPTION
By: Vladimir Moss


Contents

 

Introduction

The "Juridical Theory"
The Meaning of "Justification"

The Sacrifice for Sin
The Prayer in the Garden
Gethsemane vs. Golgotha
The Theory of "Moral Monism"
Original Sin

Conclusion: Love and Justice


 

2. The Meaning of "Justification"

All these things were done with justice, without which God does not act.

St. Gregory Palamas, Homily 16.

     Metropolitan Anthony makes a particular point of rejecting the traditional, juridical meaning of the word "justification" ( #1086; #1087; #1088; #1072; #1074; #1076; #1072; #1085; #1080; #1077; in Russian, dikaiosunh in Greek), which, he claims, "does not have such a specific meaning. Rather, it means righteousness, that is, blamelessness, dispassion and virtue. This is the translation of the Greek dikaiosunh which has the same meaning as agiwsunh, areth, etc."[31]

     Alexander Kalomiros also attempts to give a different meaning to the word "justification". He writes that the Greek word dikaiosunh, is a translation of the Hebrew tsedaka, which means "the Divine energy that accomplishes the salvation of man". "This term," he writes, "is parallel and almost synonymous with the words hesed (pity, compassion, love) and emeth (faithfulness, truth). This is a quite different conception of justice..."[32]

     But is it? Even if we accept the conjectural Hebrew word rather than the word chosen by the Holy Spirit in the Greek Septuagint, the version of the Old Testament Scriptures which is blessed for use in the services of the Orthodox Church, there is surely no contradiction here with the usual meaning of the word "justice". "The Divine energy that accomplishes the salvation of man" pursues this end through the restoration of a state of sinlessness and justice in man's relationship to God. Sin upset the balance in this relationship, creating injustice. Justice is restored through the destruction of sin: on the part of God, by His perfect Sacrifice and propitiation for the sins of all men, and on the part of man by tears of repentance and good works carried out for the love of God and neighbour.

     As we have seen above, according to Bishop Theophan the Recluse, there are two aspects to our redemption: freedom from sin, or justification, and renewal of life, or holiness. By reducing justification to holiness, Metropolitan Anthony appears to reduce the first aspect of our redemption to the second.

     But this means, according to Archbishop Seraphim of Lubny, a member of the ROCA Synod in the 1920s and 30s, "that M. Anthony has an incorrect understanding of salvation. The latter he reduces to personal holiness alone. While justification, which is the same as our deliverance from the punitive sentence laid by the Divine justice on Adam for his sin, is so excluded by M. Anthony from the concept of salvation that he identifies this justification of ours accomplished by the Lord on the Cross with personal holiness, for the concepts of justification and righteousness, in his opinion, are equivalent".

     "But we could not attain personal holiness if the Lord had not communicated to us the inner, regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of baptism and chrismation. And this grace is given to us exclusively by virtue of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and is its fruit (John 16.7). Consequently, our salvation is composed, first, from our justification from original sin by the blood of the Saviour on the Cross, and secondly, from the regenerating grace that is communicated to us, which destroys all personal sins and makes us possessors of holiness – it goes without saying, with the most active participation of our free will"[33]

     In support of his thesis, Metropolitan Anthony points out that "even [in] the Russian text of the Bible, which bears the traces of Protestant influence… the word `justification' is placed only seven times in St. Paul's mouth whereas `righteousness' is employed sixty-one times"[34]

     However, as Archbishop Seraphim writes, "our Church had never recognized the quantitative principle in the understanding of Sacred Scripture. The holy Fathers of the Church from the beginning never saw such a criterion in their grace-filled interpretation of the Divine Revelation. And if we pay attention to the holy Fathers, we shall see that their understanding of `Paul's righteousness' overthrows M. Anthony's view of this righteousness as meaning only holiness.

     "We shall not cite the patristic interpretation of all the 61 utterances of the Apostle Paul that include the word `righteousness', which would constitute a whole book. For Orthodox believers it is important to know what they must understand by this `righteousness' in the light of the patristic mind. To this end we shall cite the interpretation of Bishop Theophan the Recluse of several of the utterances of the Apostle Paul in which the word `righteousness' figures, since this interpretation, being based on the teaching of the holy Fathers of the Church, is patristic.

     "Having in mind the words of Romans 3.25: `Whom God has set forth as a propitiation [ilasthrion] through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness [for the remission of past sins]', Bishop Theophan the Recluse gives it this interpretation: `By faith everyone draws on himself the propitiatory blood of Christ. The blood of Christ by its power has already cleansed the sins of the whole world' but everyone becomes personally cleansed by it when by faith receives on himself sprinkling or bedewing by the blood of Christ. This is accomplished mystically in the water font of baptism and afterwards in the tears font of repentance…

     "'God saw that people … could not… start on the right path; which is why He decided to pour His righteousness into them, as fresh blood is admitted into a corrupted organism – and declare it [His righteousness] in them in this way. And in order that this might be accomplished, He gave His Only-begotten Son as a propitiation for all believers – not only so that for His sake their sins might be forgiven, but in order that the believers might become pure and holy within through receiving the grace of the Holy Spirit by faith'.[35]

     "In his explanation of [Romans] 9.30: `What shall we say? That the Gentiles who followed not after righteousness have attained to righteousness, the righteousness which is of faith', Bishop Theophan writes: `By righteousness we must understand here all the spiritual good things in Christ Jesus: the remission of sins, the reception of grace, the good direction of the heart through it and all the virtues, by all of which righteousness was restored, the righteousness that was imprinted in human nature at its creation and trampled on thereafter'.[36]

     "Dwelling on the words of the Apostle Paul: `The Kingdom of God is [not eating and drinking, but] righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit' (Romans 14.17), Bishop Theophan explains the word `righteousness' thus: `"Righteousness" is not justification only and the remission of sins, but inner righteousness… holiness'.[37]

     "In his explanation of Romans 5.18: `Therefore as by the transgression of one man condemnation came upon all men, so by the righteous act [dikaiwmatoV] of One man [the free gift] came upon all men to justification [dikaiwsin] of life', Bishop Theophan writes: `as by the transgression of one man condemnation – that is, condemnation to death – came upon all me, so by the justification of One man justification to life came upon all men. Blessed Theodoret writes: "Looking at Adam, says the Apostle, do not doubt in what I have said (that is, that God saves all in the one Lord Jesus Christ). For if it is true, as it is indeed true, that when Adam transgressed the commandment, the whole race received on itself the sentence of death, then it is clear that the righteousness of the Saviour provides life for all men."' `The apostle,' explains Bishop Theophan, `said: "justification of life came upon", which leads us to understand that the saving forces of grace had already entered into humanity, had been received by it and had begun their restorative work… Do not doubt that this grace has already entered, and hasten only to make use of it, so as to destroy the destructive consequences of the first sin'.[38]

     "In his interpretation of I Corinthians 1.30, we find the following words in Bishop Theophan: `The Lord Jesus Christ is our "righteousness" because in His name we are given the remission of sins and grace that strengthens us to every good work'.[39]

     "As we see, Bishop Theophan by the righteousness about which the Apostle Paul teaches in the cited places in his epistles understands our propitiation or justification from original sin based on the Saviour's sacrifice on the Cross, and then from all our personal sins and our attainment of holiness through the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit."[40]

     Bishop Theophan's interpretation of three other disputed passages from St. Paul are cited by Archbishop Seraphim: "`Being justified freely by His grace through the deliverance that is in Christ Jesus' (Romans 3.24)… `Through the deliverance [dia thV apolutrwsewV], that is, through the redemption. Redemption is the only means of justification! Someone is redeemed when people pay money for him and he is delivered from the bonds of slavery. Through the fall of the first parents the human race fell into slavery to sin and the devil, who had possession of man by dint of his guiltiness, which drew upon him and upon him that had power over him the curse of God. For his salvation the curse had to be removed, which would give a righteous basis for clearing him of guilt, and then new strength had to be poured into him to destroy the power of sin, and through this overthrow the power of the devil. All this was accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God and God, Who took upon Himself human nature, died in it upon the Cross, was resurrected, ascended into the heavens, sat at the right hand of the Father, and sent the Holy Spirit on the holy Apostles and through them to the whole of humanity. All this taken together constitutes the economy of our salvation, or the redemption of the human race. Those who approach it with faith receive the remission of sins, and then the grace of the Spirit through the sacraments, and are not only guiltless, but also righteous…By redemption is sometimes signified not the whole economy of salvation, but only that action by which the Lord through His death on the Cross delivered us from the condemnation that lay upon us and the curse of God that weighed upon us. As ransom for us – for our unpaid debts – He gave His own blood. It cries out more than the blood of Abel, but it calls down not punishment from on high, but complete justification for every believer.'[41]

     "From the cited interpretation of Bishop Theophan it is clearly evident that by the justification [ #1086; #1087; #1088; #1072; #1074; #1076; #1072; #1085; i#1077;] of which the Apostle Paul speaks we must not understand only the righteousness [ #1087; #1088; #1072; #1074; #1077; #1076; #1085; #1086; #1089; #1090; #1100;] acquired by us through the grace of the Holy Spirit. This justification includes in itself the removal from mankind of the guilt for original sin and its consequence, the curse of God, by means of the justice of God through the death of Christ on the Cross…

     "This interpretation of the Slavonic word `#1087; #1088; #1072; #1074; #1076; #1072;' (in the Russian translation, `#1086; #1087; #1088; #1072; #1074; #1076; #1072; #1085; i#1077;') according to Bishop Theophan's interpretation is witnessed to by two other texts among those indicated by M. Anthony: `For if the ministry of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory' (II Corinthians 3.9) [and] `For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ died in vain' (Galatians 2.21).

     "Having in mind the first text, Bishop Theophan says: `The Old Testament institution was the ministry of condemnation because it only reproached sin and condemned the sinner… it did not lead him further… The testament of grace, by contrast, although it is also revealed by the universal condemnation of those who are called to it, nevertheless says: `Repent and be baptized every one of you for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the Holy Spirit' (Acts 2.38). That is, in it the remission of sins is given from the first step… and new life that is powerful to keep one walking without deviating in the commandments of God is communicated – a right spirit is renewed in the reins, a spirit that communicates to him who receives it inner probity or righteousness [ #1087; #1088; #1072; #1074; #1077; #1076; #1085; #1086; #1089; #1090; #1100;].
That is why it is the ministry of righteousness [ #1087; #1088; #1072; #1074; #1076; #1072;] - dikaiosunhV … not in name, but in essence'.[42]

     "As we see, in the given apostolic words, too, we must understand by justification not only righteousness or holiness, but also the remission of sins, of course, in the sense of deliverance both from original sin, and also from all our personal sins by the grace of the Holy Spirit for the sake of the death of Christ on the Cross.

     "The same thought is expressed in Bishop Theophan's interpretation of the word `righteousness' [#1087 #1088; #1072; #1074; #1076; #1072;] (in the Russian translation `#1086; #1087; #1088; #1072; #1074; #1076; a#1085; i#1077;] in the last apostolic text. Lingering on this text, Bishop Theophan says: `If righteousness' - dikaiosunh, a God-pleasing, saving life –`come by the law, then Christ died in vain'. If the law provided both forgiveness of sins and inner probity and sanctification, then there would be no reason for Christ to die. He died in order to provide us with these two essential good things – the forgiveness of sins and sanctifying grace. Nobody except He could provide us with these, and without them there would be no salvation for us… The Lord Saviour died for us and nailed our sins to the Cross. Then, after His ascension into heaven, He sent down the Holy Spirit from the Father. That is why believers are given in Him both the forgiveness of sins and sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit. Without these two things there would be no salvation for us. Consequently Christ, in providing us with them, did not die in vain… Consequently righteousness is not through the law.'[43]…

     "Thus from all the apostolic utterances that we have examined in which the Apostle Paul speaks about righteousness, it is clear that by this righteousness we must understand not only holiness, but also our justification from original sin and all our personal sins."[44]

     The other passages whose correct interpretation is disputed by Metropolitan Anthony are discussed in a similar way by Archbishop Seraphim, relying, as always, on the interpretation of Bishop Theophan. We shall leave the interested reader to look these up on his own. Instead, we shall end this section by citing St. John Chrysostom's purely "juridical" explanation of how Christ delivered us from the curse: "'Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us' (Galatians 3.13). In reality, the people were subject to another curse, which says, `Cursed is every man who continueth not in all the words of the law to do them' (Deuteronomy 27.26). To this curse, I say, people were subject, for none had continued in, or was a keep of, the whole law; but Christ exchanged this curse for the other, `Cursed by God is everyone who is hanged on a tree' (Deuteronomy 21.23). And then both he who hanged on a tree, and he who transgresses the law, is cursed, and as it wasnecessary for him who is about to relieve from a curse himself to be loosed from it, but to receive another instead of it, therefore Christ took upon Him such another, and thereby loosed us from the curse. It was like an innocent man's undertaking to die for another condemned to death, and so rescuing him from punishment. For Christ took upon Him not the curse of transgression, but the other curse, in order to remove that of others. For, `He practiced no iniquity, nor was craft in His mouth' (Isaiah 53.9; I Peter 2.22). And as by dying He rescued from death those who were dying, so by taking upon Himself the curse, He delivered them from it."[45]


Part 4 - The Sacrifice for Sin

Part 5 - The Prayer in the Garden

Part 6 - Gethsemane vs. Golgotha

Part 7 - The Theory of "Moral Monism"

Part 8 - Original Sin

Part 9 - Conclusion: Love and Justice


 

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It is known that a telephone number showing up on some caller I.D.'s may actually be a telephone service provider phone number, yet... they too keep logs and information as to each individual cellular or local (their locale) phone usage... 

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Those who do such unscrupulous things, HATE some of the news, quotes, and such as to inform the general public.  Some of them pose as clergy, while a few are actually clergy from various "other" offshoot AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH or other jurisdiction(s) of the same or similar name of which we are, in some instances, their former MOTHER CHURCH (as is the same named Toledo, Ohio based, an offshoot, who had once been a part of us and unknowingly to our unworthy selves, were once a part of the clergy but they did not obtain permission to leave the jurisdiction they were under, according to Canon, and thus obtained for themselves re-ordination and consecrations, several times... and then using a variety of church names, including our own after they were defrocked and excommunicated, having more than three (3) times being excommunicated by other legitimate apostles/bishops); having joined in and with  "Independent" churches who have nothing to do with us or even true Orthodoxy.  We have the information on their numerous "Paper Church" names and name changes.  But the real issue is whether they were ever truly an ordained Priest and bishop?

 

It is true that when one is ordained to the priesthood, the old saying of "Once a Priest, always a priest forever..." holds true... But where there has been or is deception and fraud involved, the old saying is invalid altogether which is the stool kicked out from under any subsequent consecrations as a Bishop for the Episcopacy has then been obtained on a sheet of lies and therefore they are frauds, wolves in sheep's clothing.  The problem here is with civil authorities and agencies. 

 

Any documents a false one obtains from those who ordained him, including subsequent documents relating to consecrations; civil authorities never (or hardly ever) verify their validity and thus issue their own documents and errantly recognize the individual. 

 

These false sheep in wolf's clothing seek to go out of their way to character assassinate and disparage religious web sites who do not meet their own brand of standardization and those who know where the proverbial "bones are buried on them" which is evidence of the wolf not being "Orthodox" "Christian" or even "Catholic" no matter what their nomenclature corporate name may be.  The Toldeo, Ohio based same or similar named person/group under his/their so-called leader has been deposed, defrocked and excommunicated more than three different times by various bishops/apostles.  He, and several others, have become just as bad as the modern day Ecumenists of the National Council of Churches, World Council of Churches, the World Council of Bishops and more.  It matters not now... whether they use the so-called name of "Athonite" "Benedictine" "Celtic" "Old Roman" "Old Catholic" - etc..  A name does not make one Christian. Their ultimate aim and goal is destruction to those from whom they had either originated from or gone through to obtain the same or similar named "church" they claim to hold to by the state's civil law in which they reside alone.  They are not a "Schema-monk" or even a true "monk" for they were deposed and excommunicated for violations of the Holy Rule they claim to subscribe to, giving and openly providing false misleading and inaccurate information about other more honorable clergy.  These 'wolves in sheep's clothing attract other nefarious and questionable persons whose aims are similar: for fame, image, power and glory, and if it should be that 'fortunes' come along, all the more is their power based.

 

    Remember, anything that is a HALF TRUTH is not truth but a lie!  Many there are that you may know who fit those descriptions... pray for them.  Pray that God will send his Spirit of Truth upon them and lead them to Salvation through tears of Repentance, conversion of their cold and calculating hearts toward seeking forgiveness from God and those whom they attempt to harm. 

 

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    We have learned that the organization we subscribe to, whose members come from various legal and law enforcement backgrounds amongst other areas of society, are committed to the faith even though they may hold different theologies.  Yet, in their monitoring of electronic communications of various persons or people, they do not always make haste to bring perpetrators to justice until after enough evidence has been gained in order to build a solid case.  We do not always know what information they have gained, but we do know the organization, whom we've been asked not to name, has had a 97% success rate in bringing to justice and obtaining a conviction against individuals, people, and sometimes even religious organizations of a persona that gives the appearance of both secular and religious bearing but who abuse and misuse technology.  The organization views those who abuse and misuse the internet and other technologies as nothing more than a form of "domestic terrorism" - - - - and, it would seem to appear that the courts are in agreement!

 

 Those kinds of people, organizations, etc. who misuse and abuse communication technologies are no different than those who attempt to use coercive measures, and in some instance, even blackmail for the same idea is involved... to cause havoc and wreckage, to destroy the spirit and activity of those who struggle in the faith out of pain of heart for the Orthodox Church which is TRUTH. The degree that some have been known to go to, as seen by other jurisdictions, is to take advantage of questionably mentally challenged or those who have a lack of education and understanding to get them to make statements, even outright lies, in writing, in order to destroy.  Such persons or groups are spiritual terrorists for unholy and un-Orthodox causes, aims and goals.

 

    Yes, our Metropolitan Archbishop, +Joseph Thaddeus, SSJt., Ph.D. strongly defends the Seals of the Confessional for such leads to true Repentance in thought, word and deed whereby the penitent is required to make amends, where possible, to seek forgiveness of those harmed by his actions whether real or imagined, and to give his forgiveness to those who have harmed him before taking the Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist, Jesus the Christ.  The reality of this understanding is bound up in and with the findings for which cause he, himself, had been character assassinated by his detractors who claim the courts prevented him from breaking the Seals of the Confessional which is not the truth at all.... Click here to see what another bishop's findings are...

 

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If one is not cognizant of the real events happening both locally and in the world, although many are removed from the world... one will not know what to expect or what to do, or how one can or cannot act which might betray one's faith and accrue the wrath of civil authorities as laws change.  Yet, we are also reminded that these things must happen and it was for that which there exists many early Christian Martyrs and Saints. 

While we can remove ourselves from the world, we still live in it.  And for the faithful, theirs is a struggle for knowledge and understanding.  All things are pertinent to the Orthodox Catholic Christian Faith which is the very foundation of Christianity.  As such, we can not abandon them and leave them blind to events and happenings. 

What we post as related to those things similar to various articles which might have a political theme or non-Orthodox Catholic Christian content of sorts ... does not mean or imply that we are supportive of, for, or against something articulated in an article, so much as it is NEWS and our faithful should be made aware, for such may be the very thing that will impact their day-to-day life.  It is for them, their free will... to judge the relevancy.

Remember, not all Protestants, especially hard core cultic groups such as "Charismatic" - "Evangelical" "Promise Keepers" "Church of Christ" "Methodism" "Pentecostals" "Jehovah's Witnesses" "Mormons" and other people are not so generous in their viciousness toward anyone and anything that appears "Catholic" whether of the Roman or Orthodox jurisdictions, for they do not know or want to learn that which makes them "different" in their walk and talk as being far from the roots of Christianity. 

Remember, it is the Roman jurisdiction of the Catholic Church which has more outwardly shown that it can be one of the most vicious toward those who are not Roman but are very much "Catholic" - for the sun and moon does not rise and set on the Vatican (Latin or Roman) jurisdiction as to who is or is not "Catholic" for the Roman jurisdiction split (schismed) from the roots of "Catholicism" which is founded in what is termed and called today as "Orthodoxy".

Any good article or piece of information will be considered so long as it is not defamatory or slanderous toward an individual when not based on TRUTH or FACT, or which is altered out of context from its original publishing by recognized sources. All new articles submitted, after viewing and recommendations, are passed to our Editor, our Vladyka, +Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, SSJt., Ph.D.

“I prefer a defeat accompanied by humility to a victory accompanied by pride.”

                                                                               --An Elder

    Yes, our Metropolitan Archbishop, +Joseph Thaddeus, SSJt., Ph.D. strongly defends the Seals of the Confessional for such leads to true Repentance in thought, word and deed whereby the penitent is required to make amends, where possible, to seek forgiveness of those harmed by his actions whether real or imagined, and to give his forgiveness to those who have harmed him before taking the Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist, Jesus the Christ.  The reality of this understanding is bound up in and with the findings for which cause he, himself, had been character assassinated by his detractors who claim the courts prevented him from breaking the Seals of the Confessional which is not the truth at all.... Click here to see what another bishop's findings are...

 

    The workings of Holy Spirit will not be daunted by those who attempt to cause disruption!  It is for these and other reasons that you are urged to read what true repentance and forgiveness means for real "Christians".

 

   "It would be better to have ten (10) true repentant X-felons who ask for and give true forgiveness than it would be to have one (1) non-x-felon or common person whose self-righteousness exceeds even the Pharisees, Sadducees, the gossip mongers, slanderers and un-repentant; for the repentant x-felon understands the true meaning of the Church's purpose as being the spiritual hospital." (siq) +Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, SSJt., Ph.D., Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot, Primate

 

Yes... "Prejudice Makes Prisoners of the Hated and the Hater..." (1992-Fr. Alan Stanford)

 

One can ask, "What part of 'Prejudice' and 'hate' do you not understand?  Are you a complacent person?  In light of the saying, examine yourself!  You may be surprised if you are honest with yourself for your soul may convict you before Jesus Christ convicts you in the times to come!

 

"When tested by some trial you should try to find out not why or through whom it came, but only how to endure it gratefully, without distress or rancor."


St. Mark the Ascetic.


"
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit." Psalms 32:1-2
 

    For further information about how spammers, hackers and those who are angry with you can or will attempt to do damage, we offer the following link as regards some of the computer - internet problems:

 

http://msn.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,116258,00.asp

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Saint Jude Thaddeus (Helper of the Hopeless) and  The Thaddean Fathers (SSJt.)

 

MAN: To Err, the Church and Holy Spirit


The True meaning of Repentance and forgiveness

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE CLERGY

 

Is Christianity At The Cross Roads?

 

As The World Goes, So Goes The Church

 

Anomalies in Ecclesiology of Contemporary Orthodox Churches

 

Attempts at Coming to An Understanding of Orthodox Catholic Christianity

 

A Response to two articles: “Pedophilia Condoned (Approved) By Islam & Dalai Lama With Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Others"

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