As Iron Sharpens Iron

An ongoing and online discussion between: an Orthodox informed Ecumaniac without a denominational home, an ordained Baptist youth pastor with an open mind, a Calvinist worship leader/seminarian with a staggering vocabulary and ability to make a point, and a cradle Catholic with a love/hate relationship to Rome.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Do you consider yourself "Semi-Pelagian"?

Semi-Pelagianism is a softer form of Pelagianism, which taught that man has the capacity to seek God in and of himself apart from any movement of God’s Word or the Holy Spirit. According to semi-Pelagianism, man doesn’t have a complete capacity, but man and God could cooperate to a certain degree in this salvation effort. In more recent times the word is frequently used by those in the Reformed protestant camp to designate anyone who deviates from the Augustinian/Calvinist/Reformed camp.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

It's always a woman...

I don't want this to become a discussion about Mary ... yet. However, these quotes will show that the early Church Fathers believed that Eve was just as much a cause of the Fall as Adam. It was not just by man, but by man AND woman that sin came into the world.

The first insight regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given by the Church Fathers was the vision of Mary as the New Eve. The earliest patristic texts regarding the Eve-Mary parallel begin in the later half of the Second Century. St. Justin, the Martyr, (+165) in his work, Dialogue with Trypho, states that,

Christ became a man by a virgin to overcome the disobedience caused by the serpent the same way it had originated.

The name Eve is taken from the Hebrew word, HAWAH, a verb which means "to live." "The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living" (Gen. 3:20). Eve, the first woman, was a virgin at the time that she was tempted by the serpent in the garden. Thus, Eve, a virgin, conceived disobedience and death, whereas, Mary, a virgin, conceived the Word in obedience and brought forth Life.

St. Ireneus, Bishop of Lyons, (+202) is considered the first theologian of the Virgin Mary. He took up St. Justin's Mary-Eve theme and further integrated it into his theology. Therein, Mary is treated as the New or Second Eve who is the beginning of the second Creation or re-creation of humanity through the Redemption.

The knot of Eve's disobedience was loosened by Mary's obedience. The bonds fastened by the virgin Eve through disbelief were untied by the virgin Mary through faith.
(Adv. haereses,3:22)

Jesus Christ is the New Adam, the Lord of the New Creation (I Cor. 15:45-49) and Mary the New Eve who undid what the first Eve had done. The first Eve disobeyed God and thereby brought sin and death into the world. The New Eve, Mary, obeyed and believed God's message which was given to her at the Annunciation (Lk. 1 :26-38), and brought salvation and life to the world in her son, Jesus, who crushes the head of the serpent. Mary, like us, shares in this victory .

Tertullian (+220), another Church Father, used the Eve-Mary parallel as a secondary argument in favor of the virginal conception of Jesus Christ and emphasizes the act of faith involved. Building on the insights of Justin, Ireneus and Tertullian, the theme of the Eve-Mary parallel was expanded upon after the Council of Nicaea in the year 325.

St. Ambrose of Milan (+397) writes, "it was through a man and woman that flesh was cast from paradise; it was through a virgin that flesh was linked to God." St. Jerome (+420) succinctly stated, "Death through Eve, Life through Mary." (Epist. 22,2 I). St. Peter Chrysologus (+450) picked up on this theme in his writings,

Christ was born of a woman so that just as death came through a woman, so through Mary, life might return.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Ave reverses Eva

Do you believe we are guilty of the sin of Adam? That is, are we born into this world in sin and need a Savior to wash us of it? I would say, not that sin entered into the world, but that the curse and effects entered into the world. It's not a sense of guilt in a legal sense, but just the reality that we suffer because of the first Man and Woman.

As for sin coming only through Adam, not Eve; that's not exactly what the Church Fathers said. What they said is that sin came through Adam and Eve. Jesus was the second Adam, and Mary was the second Eve.

Taking that sweet Ave which from Gabriel came
Faith confirm within us, changing Eva's name.

What is original sin?

First, do you think that Jesus "inherited" original sin? Is that part of being entirely human? And if he did, how was he, as Westernly conceived, the pure sacrifice?

No, Jesus did not inherit original sin. Read the following passage from Romans...

[9]Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! [10]For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! [11]Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
[12]Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned– [13]for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. [14]Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
[15]But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! [16]Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. [17]For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

[18]Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. [19]For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Sin enteres the world through Adam's sin, not Eve's. I'm not sure which church fathers said this, but basically, the idea is that since it is through Adam's sin that sin was given to all humanity, then it is through the father that the sin nature is passed on, which is why Jesus was born only of a woman.

As for Calvinism, I don't agree with it at all. Calvinism seems to have taken a view of the sovereignty of God, which is Biblical, to such an extreme that it totally negates any responsibility on our part in making a decision.

As for what is "original sin", THE original sin is the sin Adam committed and, as Romans states, "sin entered the world through one man."