The Role of Pleasure and Pain in Salvation

One of Maximus’ contributions to theological thought is his consideration of pleasure and pain in relation to salvation. Maximus speculates that God did not create a pleasure principle as we know and experience it today. What God did was “create a certain spiritual capacity for pleasure, a pleasure whereby human beings would be able to …

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Works and Cicada Christians

Probably the most difficult thing to explain about Orthodoxy is its emphasis on effort and how that differs from salvation by works. I ran across yet another Martin Luther quote that helps to frame the question. (It’s hard to imagine, by the way, a theologian more opposed to salvation by works than Luther.) (And, yes, …

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A follow-up of faith, exercise and striving

I'm still thinking about my last post where I called the following statement an Evangelical platitude: "In order for one to have faith, a person must exercise it." I think some clarification may be in order. I call this a platitude, not because it is platitudinous in its essence, but rather that it has become one …

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Exercising One’s Faith

The Greek word “askesis” is equivalent to the English word “exercise.”  The English word athlete comes from this same Greek word “askesis.”  It is transliterated into English as “ascetic” or “asceticism.” With this in mind, we can realize that the following two sentences use the same terms in much the same way, although it seems they …

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