Salvation Gobbledygook

The understanding of how people are saved and go to heaven was turned into gobbledygook at the Council of Nicea, where God was first divided into three Persons.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with early Christian history, let give you some of the background that led the Church to make decisions that rendered the process of salvation unintelligible.

A man by the name of Arius was challenging the Church’s claim that Jesus was divine, and insisted that the Lord was inferior to the transcendent Father. To stop this new, heretical movement from growing, a synod of bishops got together in the year 325 in the town of Nicaea to mount a counter attack. These bishops were faced with the complicated task of explaining their affirmation of one God, but consisting of three distinct Persons.

The bishops invented new, high-sounding words (not found in Scripture) to explain their Trinitarian doctrine in a way that would preserve the Lord’s divinity, such as “hypostatic” union, which allowed the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be distinct, yet be of one personal divine substance.

According to theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, while the bishops endeavored to escape a wolf, they “ran into a Lion.” Now, the dynamics of salvation had to be described by giving each distinct God a special duty. If each divine Personage requires the help of the other in saving humankind, then they cannot – by any stretch of the imagination – represent the fullness and perfection of the Godhead individually. There is also a problem of logically explaining how the Son was begotten from the Father when each existed from eternity (begotten suggests a sequence in time). But don’t worry – we can simply say that such illogicality is a great and beautiful “mystery” of faith. Things do not get any better when the different duties belonging to each particular God are seriously explored.

First, God the Father is pissed-off with humans. So the Father sends the Son (who apparently had nothing of value to do up to this time) to be slaughtered on the cross and take upon himself the sins of the world.  The Lord defeats death and emerges in righteousness. But this victory over sin (through bloodletting) has no direct benefit to us. The Lord’s merit and righteousness is merely transferred to a divine “credit card.” The Father does not impute this merit and righteousness of His Son (the Redeemer?), until those who by grace, obtain faith. Then the Father sends the Holy Spirit to use His divine credit so as to actually implement salvation for those who have the proper faith. 

This is redemption. It is given to only the elect. 

There are two big problems here. First, God cannot be seen as having Infinite love and mercy for all people – only for a select few. He hates some and accepts others (the Son and Holy Ghost simply follow orders from the Father). Second, we have absolutely no say in the process.

As a result of this spiritual “limbo,” we are put in a schizophrenic state of panic in which we try to acquire the proper FAITH. We rush to church, take part in its rites, listen to sermons, then cross our fingers (because the final outcome is still up to the judgment of the Father).

The strength of one’s faith is in the strength of one’s belief that the Lord is our Savior and Redeemer through His vicarious death on the Cross. We must believe, believe, and believe – until our eyes pop out of our sockets. And, during all this believing, we should overlook our transgressions, since we wouldn’t dare take merit for becoming a better Christian and person.

This dismissal of personal responsibility in matters of salvation is why some church leaders believe that Christians are above the Law (God’s Commandments), since through the crucifixion we now need only approach Christ. Yet even Christ states that we should approach the Father when He taught us the LORD’S PRAYER. The whole thing is a mess!

But change is coming. The New Jerusalem will usher in a more adequate theology for today’s world. In fact, it is yours for the taking. 

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About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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35 Responses to Salvation Gobbledygook

  1. irishanglican says:

    Sir Ed,

    This is a very sad effort. Talk about ad hoc, this is it! You are only again seeking to make a mere caricature, and a distortion. This is hardly an historical effort.

    I am not going to seek to make a long reply here. I will simply point you and your readers to much better statement and real historical work. The best work today is by Fr. John Anthony McGuckin. He has written several books on Nicaea and its history, as well as the theological reality. (See St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press)

    Finally, the Council went well beyond only the rejection of Arianism, but the desire to give formula and define orthodoxy! It is one of the most important Ecumenical Councils, as the first!

    Fr. Robert

  2. irishanglican says:

    Sir Ed,

    Since you did not reply here…I was simply using other blog space which is so simular really. And as I wrote, you know you are a gnostic..which should be fine to you. Your positions certainly are in theology.

    But it is indeed time to go I believe. Thanks again for the ride.

    Sincerely In Christ,
    the Rev. Dr. Fr. Robert (irish anglican)

  3. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    Sorry I could not respond sooner. Your comments get immediately on my blog without going through the approval process (as other contributors do). I must have not hit all the right buttons when I first set up this blog. So when YOU submit a comment I do not learn about it unless I return to the particular post. I have just recently changed this.

    Since I took the time of showing how ridiculous it is to divide God into three persons I was hoping that you would defend your position. If my portrayal of the salvation process by three Gods is a distortion then you would be doing my readers a great service in pointing out the specifics of my theological errors.

    The issue of salvation is an important one because it involves eternal life. The process of salvation needs to be clearly articulated (not clouded in “mystery”). Most Christians who attend church don’t really look too deeply into this matter – they trust their ministers. I am merely showing how convoluted the operation of salvation gets when God is made into three Persons.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  4. thegodguy says:

    To whom it may concern,

    I apologize to all my readers for the brutal assessment of Trinitarian Doctrine. But it leads to ideas that make God (at least one of them) look angry rather than infinitely loving and merciful.

    It premises that God is pissed-off with the human race and condemned them. Then God the Father hatches out a plan. He persuades His Son to descend upon our planet and take all this condemnation upon himself and endure crucifixion. This would appease the rage of the Father who loved His Son so VERY much. But there is a caveat to all this. You must approach the Son in a way that will convince Him to intercede for you and argue your case before the Father. So, instead of focusing on Christian LOVE, we have to “brown nose” the Lord.

    The Lord said, “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you” (John, 15:12). But Christians are handcuffed by their church leaders who insist that any action we each take to clean up our act results in our claiming merit. So love, or true Christian living, is removed from faith under the current theological understanding of salvation.

    But we are judged by our “fruits” not by some non-actionable faith or simple belief.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  5. irishanglican says:

    Sir Ed,

    You never really took theological aim a the Trinity of God, but just made mere caricature and distortion. I did give 1 Peter 1:2 in it’s biblical simplicty for a Trinitarian economy, but you never gave any personal statements as to the text. The Trinity of God is a very profound doctrine! Our Christian understanding of it is certainly in a developmental form and history. It is of the highest revelation of God, and will always be part of the very real mystery and transcendence of God!

    The early Christians, chiefly Hippolytus and Tertullian certainly proposed the different roles in the Godhead: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We can see their early understanding of the Triune God as in “Their” divine economy. God’s unfolding purposes in creation, revelation, and redemption. Rather than their external relationship and natures.

    We can look at the Trinity of God from two aspects, in its transcendent nature or ontological (immanent). This we have never competely understood, nor will we in this human life. As the Russian Orthodox writer and theologian Fr. Serguis Bulgakov has said: “The dogma of consubstantiality, which safeguards the “Unity” of the Holy Trinity, thus remains a sealed book so far as we are concerned – for in a religious sense it has neither assimilated nor unfolded.”

    And then there is the economic Trinity, as said. the nature of the Godhead in it’s work here, that has been revealed. In the 20th century both Karl Barth (Reformed) and Karl Rahner (R. Catholic) have both made considerable contributuions to the subject, both emphasizing the essential unity of the immanent and the economic Trinity.

    Again, I would point anyone who has an interest, and hopefully an open mind in these directions. Not to mention the many great books that have been written by both good theologians, in the East and West on the Trinity of God! If anyone will research and take the time, the subject is very well defined in Christian theological history, past and present!

    Finally salvation, like the very character of God may be simple in some manner to receive, but never really to fully understand. Grace like faith are gifts from God, we partake but never really fully understand and define our God. The very nature of being God Almighty is beyond us! (See and read, Rom. 11:33-36!)

    Sincerely In Christ, always…
    Fr. Robert

  6. irishanglican says:

    Watch this please?

    Fr. Robert

  7. irishanglican says:

    Also..

  8. irishanglican says:

    Last of the same…

    Fr. Robert

    PS This is very good…all three!

  9. irishanglican says:

    Do you get the last and third?

  10. irishanglican says:

    The last and third..

    Fr. Robert

  11. irishanglican says:

    And will you let all your readers see these?

    Fr. Robert

  12. irishanglican says:

    Sir Ed,

    And so you are not going to let my blog about the Trinity appear?

    Fr. R.

  13. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    I aim to please.

    Show some patience. I am constantly working on new posts and on a new book project yah know. I even found one of your responses in my spam box.

    Aren’t you glad I am showing you my Christian love – without waiting first for the Lord to intercede for me? There goes that darn merit stuff again!

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  14. irishanglican says:

    Sir Ed,

    I am on the fly here. I do by the way spend much of my evening as a hospital chaplain in Charing Cross, district in London. (But always have my laptop to hand..lol)

    I do hope you and your readers will watch the U Tube videos with the Orthodox Arabic priest! He is delightful, full of wisdom and knowledge…and humble also.

    Yes, I do appreciate your openness. But you can spare the sarcasm, if you have noted..I have not done that with you! My attacks have been historical and theological, and always straight up I think. But thank you to realize that your trinitarian remarks were at bit over the top. My wife said, they suck…lol Todays young parlance. My wife is 12 years younger than I am! lol

    Merit, that is for Roman Catholics to go figure? A very good and hard question for you would be what is Christ’s Intercessiory work? And what does Christ as Mediator mean to you?

    Fr. Robert

  15. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    I will look at the video before the day is done and I hope this blog sends additional viewers as well.

    My sarcasm, like your attacks, is theological. But since you do not share my theology, you are only left with the sarcasm, and fail to see the illogicality of three distinct Gods taking turns in our salvation.

    Since I believe in one God consisting of three aspects or functions, Christ as mediator has a different meaning for me. God’s triune dynamic consists of Divine Love (the Father), Divine Truth (the Son), and the operation of the two in our salvation (Holy Spirit). Therefore, if Christ is mediator it is to be understood as “Truth” mediating between humankind and Divine Infinite Love.

    Truth is love made VISIBLE, which is why the Lord said that if “you see me you have seen the Father.” Christ’s intercessory work is spiritual instruction, which teaches us about the removal of sin, and ultimately leads to spiritual love. What about the cross you say?

    While on the cross, the Lord stripped evil and sin of all its power. We are to approach the Lord to help us fight against the same evil. The Lord helps us in the fight to remove evil so that a place in our hearts is made for the Lord to dwell in. The Lord does not go to a “Father God” to convince Him that we ought to be saved (the sarcasm flows of itself).

    I have some book writing and yard work to do tomorrow so any additional responses may be tardy.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  16. irishanglican says:

    Sir Ed,

    We can call it even on both sarcasm and “illogicality” (I see the logic, it is the theology I don’t agree with).

    Your paragraph about the Godhead was at least very modalistic. Though I do not agree or follow any Modalist idea in the Godhead, I understand it fully I think. And it is quite easy however to so the real theological error and weakness in this position.

    As to Christ and His Mediatorship, this makes no sense if God (His nature and holiness) were not involved. Christ is not “mediating” to Himself! (spiritual instruction, etc.) And again, there is really no ontological difference between truth and love. This is again a “gnostic” splitting of hairs! And has no textual hermenutic.

    Finally, in theology both the Satisfaction theories and the Penal theories come together in our understanding of the suffering and Death of Christ!

    The Fatherhood of God implies that creation – more especially the creation of man – is out of God’s own life, and like HIMSELF motived by love. God’s Fatherhood determines the fact and the method of the Atonement for several reasons.

    Fatherhood is by necessity legislative and judicial, as is seen by the emphasis on HIS holiness in the OT. HE is the upholder and defender of the Eternal Law of Righteousness. This means that we cannot find the “heart,” or the “history” of the Atonement, in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Fatherhood, then determines the Atonement in two ways: As regards our Lord, the Son of the Father’s love, and as regards men as sons of God who is the ground and head of the race. Adam!

    The second question to be faced is, What is the condition of man which makes the Atonement necessary? The answer to this is “Sin”. And we can only understand sin in realtion to God, for, in the ultimate, it is an offence against Him. It is rebellion against His authority, transgression against His laws. It issues in distinct rebellion, and causes estrangement. This is essence of sin. Behind sins are sinful dispositions due to heredity and the solidarity of the race. (See in Tertullian – De Anima, he espoused Traducianism; and later Augustine also.) So society becomes sinful, and this fact in its turn intensifies the sin of the race and of the individual. All this is due to the fall of man, which poisoned the race at its source, and this is transmitted. Sin produces the sense of guilt and this proves that the responsibility rests with man himself. Another effect of sin is that it brought the “wrath of God” upon man. Can one love and be angry at the same time? The answer is YES!, for because God is love, he can be angry with what opposes His love. So the “wrath of God” is that side of His love that is turned towards sin. The result of this wrath is punishment, but the punishment of God differs from that of men, for it is universal, because God is immanent, and God’s transcendence involves the external punishment of sin. This penal element is summed up in death, not physical death only, but spiritual death. This conception of sin is not conclusive, nor is it adequate, for sin is essentially a personal matter, its essence is an outrage on love and more than a rebellion against a law. In reality sin brings about an estrangement between God and man.

    And quickly, so it is with regard to God. Sin has called forth the wrath of God, and this is punitive, and our Lord submits Himself on the Cross to the manifestation of the wrath of God against sin on the Cross, as HE crys: “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have YOU forsaken Me?” (St. Mark 15: 34)

    I don’t have time and space on this blog, but the DEATH of Christ fulfilled all the conditions of filial obedience, and in doing this HE tasted to the full the penal conditions which reveal the wrath of God against sin. And the death of Christ was, in reality, HIS self-fulfilment! HE was perfected by it, but not for himself: The relation of Christ’s Divinity to the efficacy of the Atonement – the principle of the Atonement in relation to the spiritual life of individuals and of society.

    Fr. Robert

    PS Me “mum” is going into some surgery tomorrow. So I will be on later I hope myself?

  17. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    In terms of the ontological status of Love and Truth, love is substance (Esse) and truth is form (Existere). Truth is the form love takes, that is, truth is the measure of love. Without knowing this one cannot grasp the metrics (standard of measurement) of the non-physical qualities found in the spiritual world and heaven. My new book addresses this issue, since it is important to show how natural law and process is derived from spiritual law and process.

    The estrangement between God and man is not God from man but man from God. God perpetually seeks a covenant with man and to save him. Your God is angry, mine is not.

    As for Trinitarian Doctrine and Salvation, do you actually teach all that stuff you mention above to your parishioners? In terms of mediation, don’t forget that in your doctrine Christ only intercedes, it is the Holy Spirit that delivers the “goodies.” So let me cut to the chase. What do you tell your parishioners TO DO to set the process of salvation in motion?

    That would be real helpful to my readers who may have gotten a headache from your above explanation.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  18. irishanglican says:

    Sir Edward,

    Like your gnostic theology, you have no real biblical doctrine and reality of SIN! And guess what, “you”, are still are sinner! Just like me also. In this life, the Christian never escapes the reality of Rom.7:13-25! Not until physical death does this happen!

    Fr. Robert

  19. irishanglican says:

    *a sinner!

  20. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    You are being dishonest. In other posts we have already both agreed on the reality of SIN. So why are you trying to give my readers the impression that you have caught me off guard concerning sin?

    My Christian heart leads me to believe that you are simply forgetful.

    While you are contemplating a response to my question about what you tell people TO DO who want salvation, I found your explanation of Trinitarian Doctrine missing something. You left out the Holy Spirit.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  21. irishanglican says:

    Sir Ed,

    No sir I am not being dishonest, only seeking to bore in on a real weakness in your gnostic theology! When we have a weak or God forbid no real doctrine of “sin” biblically and theologically, we cannot have a sound salvation message. This in my opinion is where your theology fails badly! Thus in a past post I mentioned Pelagius and the history of the Pelagian in the doctrine and theology of the Church. This was one of the problems that Augustine had to deal with in the first false doctrine of Pelagius, i.e. almost no real doctrine of sin!

    If Christ did not die for sin on the cross and then rise from the dead, we are as St. Paul says: “Your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins….we are of all men most to be pitied.” (See and read the whole of 1 Cor. 15:12-19)

    And of course I tell people that are seeking salvation that Jesus Christ the Lord is the “only” Savior from their sin and sins! (Matt. 1:21)

    I will talk later about the Trinity.., I have to run right now.

    And where is my post about the Trinity for your readers? And the video’s about the Trinity also..for the readers?

    Fr. Robert

  22. irishanglican says:

    Sir Ed,

    Again, if you are not going to release what I write, then I should just go my merry way! If you don’t want to deal with me? Just let me know.

    Fr. Robert

  23. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    What are you talking about?

    When I scroll down this post I see your U-tube links and your explanation of the Trinity. It comes up on my screen!

    As for SIN, again you misrepresent my views. The Lord DID conquer sin – but not the way you describe it. You simply maintain that Christ merely suffered physically. Swedenborg maintained that the Lord ALSO suffered psycho-spiritually.

    The Lord conquered sin by RESISTING sin – this sin is the outcome of acquiring a human body and all its baggage. He brought His human flesh and human proclivity towards evil in perfect compliance with the Divine Will of the Father (the Lord’s heavenly spirit).

    How does physical torture and death equate to righteousness? Righteousness and spiritual integrity does not come from squirming on the cross or bleeding. Is that what appeases God the Father? That is UN-SPIRITUAL! Your theology is consumed in gross corporeal reasonings.

    Furthermore, having this kind of faith suggests that humans who have it have possession of this righteousness, for the possession of such a faith is righteousness itself. Men never, by any kind of ascription, can claim righteousness, which is divine and the Lord’s alone.

    I still expect you to describe what a person must do to be saved. Telling people that Jesus Christ is the only Savior only presents them with a FACT. People are not saved by facts. What do they DO to have the Lord intercede on their behalf?

    Furthermore, why do you call Jesus Christ the “only” Savior. He still has to mediate with the Father, then the Father sends out the Holy Spirit to put the operation of redemption into motion. Jesus cannot save us ALONE within your Trinitarian Doctrine.

    I will be back on this site later in the day. I have several acres of yard to mow. Bye for now.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  24. irishanglican says:

    Sir Ed,

    Every Christian theolog worth his salt knows that the most profound aspect to the Lord’s suffering was spiritual! But when you try to diminish the reality of the physical in connection with the spiritual you fall into certain error every time! This is what the early Christian gnostics did. See, the 1st Epistle or Letter of St. John. The whole backdrop is Docetism: that Christ was not really or fully human in His death. The separation of the divine Christ from the human Jesus, etc. They also held to the false idea that all matter was inherently evil. From here the later forms of Gnosticism held also that the death of Christ was not for sin or sinners. It is here too that your position breaks down, as Christ never battled sin in or for himself, being Himself sinless and not even capable of sin! He was always the Man for others! “For Christ also died “for” sins (never in sin Himself) once for all, the JUST -(one) for the the unjust (ones)..” (1 Pet. 3:18). You can agrue with God why HE chose the reality of the substitutionary death of His own Son! But it has to do with the nature and holiness of God! His demands not mine!

    The “righteousness” that God has given to the sinner “In Christ” is because of the reality and worth of the Death of Christ! This is the very plain but certainly profound teaching of St. Paul’s Letter of the Romans. READ ROMANS Chapter 4:22-25! “HE who was delivered over because of “our transgressions,” and was raised because of our justification.” (Verse 25)

    Justification by faith! The cry of Luther and the Reformation! Also Wesley, John Newton (who wrote the great hymn, Amazing Grace) and so many more in the great English Evangelical renewal! And Christians in our time too!

    And here is how one is saved! By grace thru faith in the ONE death & resurrection of Christ…for me! This is quite simply the Pauline doctrine of salvation! GRACE, which produces faith, and faith which produces: “His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which GOD prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:8-10) But all because of the suffering-Death and Risen Life of Christ, for sinners!

    JESUS-Savior…”And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

    The doctrine of the Trinity of God is always three divine persons who share one divine essence and unity. Not tritheism as the Mormons, but the three in ONE! Divine Mystery! You…we will never escape this! It is a God of Faith that we worship, and not some metaphysician in the sky!

    Fr. Robert

  25. irishanglican says:

    Sir Ed,

    Me 79 year old mother made it thru her surgery…thanks be to God! She is already alert and giving her Irish orders.

    I have been doing a study of Gnosticism on-line during all this. And your doctrine and theology sounds very close here! Gnosticism was an attempt to transform Christianity into a religious philosophy and to replace faith in the mysteries of revelation by depth-knowledge, metaphyics, and philosopical explanations.

    However perhaps the word “enlightenment” better discribes the meaning of “gnosis” and Gnosticism. Certainly Christian’s are called to knowledge, but always with and in the wisdom and character of God. The Christian life is not so much knowledge and information, as it is trust and faith in who God is as Lord, Savior and the redemptive life and love of God in Christ!

    I do wish you would come clean here, and admit the Gnostic element in your belief!? You and I know that for you this is not a negative also.

    It is obvious that I am eclectic myself, but within the Catholic-Orthodox and Evangelical faith that is historically Anglican. I hardly have my own faith or life glued, but I am in the process of grace and I hope also the transformation of “theosis”.

    Fr. Robert

  26. irishanglican says:

    *metaphysics

  27. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    I am glad to hear about your mother’s recovery! Yes, we have God to thank.

    Now then, back to the topic of salvation. Not only is your theology not about knowledge and information, it no longer even requires God’s Commandments. There is simply nothing for one to do about one’s salvation – other than to trust and have faith.

    In fact, any effort by an individual to become a better Christian and resist the temptations and allurements of the world is seen by you as destructive to salvation – even if that individual implores the Lord’s help. Mere trust and faith is a religion that demands people to keep their hands at their sides. This is spiritual stasis!

    Christian life is living one’s faith. Life is DOING! Having only faith alone merely deposits a spiritual leaning within one’s memory bank.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  28. irishanglican says:

    Sir Ed,

    I can see that you know next to nothing about both past and modern Evangelicalism! This also includes the best of the historic Lutheranism. I am a man of the historic Church, or a Churchman. You are either not reading my blogs, or you don’t know Church history and it’s theology? I guess it is the latter. Check out what “theosis” means! This is part of the history of E. Orthodox theology.

    Talk about a spiritual stasis! You are on one track…the Gnostic Swendenborg!

    I am very tired…

    Tomorrow is here, and I need some sleep.

    Fr. Robert

  29. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr, Robert,

    The heck with evangelicalism!

    Everyone instinctively knows that religion teaches us not to do evil to any one in any way, and, to love others as ourself.

    You claim this is of no account until, somewhere in heaven, Christ has successfully interceded for us and convinced the Father to send the Holy Spirit our way. Until then, any act of caring and getting our house in order is meaningless.

    So, the Lord not only has to appease the wrath of the Father by being crucified, He then, after all that, still has to convince the Father that Tom, Dick, and Betty, should earn His righteousness. Why would Tom, Dick, and Betty earn this righteousness? Because they simply believed and trust that the Lord is doing a good job of convincing the Father that they should become “righteous” with a divine snap of the finger.

    Heaven forbid that anyone try to love another and become a better person before that “snap of the finger” happens. One would undermine and thwart salvation if he or she tried to be good prematurely. Since one can never hear the “snap” of the Father’s finger there is a serious timing problem. Therefore, the only action to be taken is simply to have “faith” and “trust.”

    We are simply to cross our fingers rather than roll up our sleeves and take action. This is what you are trying to convince me and my readers to do. Having faith and trust will not change the world and solve its problems. True religion involves putting our faith into action – right now!

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  30. irishanglican says:

    Sir Ed,

    Wow, now that is one piece of ignorance on your part! What if I said, to heck with Swendenborg? The logic is obvious.

    And your arguments just bury you in your constant ignorance, caricature and distortion!

    Without faith and trust in our God we competely loose the whole Judeo-Christian revelation and character of God! We only approach God on HIS terms! (Exodus 3:5) This is an obvious biblical presupposition. Of which you are again obviously missing with your doctrine of gnostic salvation based on deeper knowledge and now works. The Gospel of St. Paul tears this to theological pieces! No where does the NT deny the need for ‘faith into action’…as I quoted St. Paul from Eph. 2: 10, but the action is the synergy of God in the life of the Christian! See, also Phil. 2: 12-13. Note especially verse 13, this verse says it all – “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for HIS good pleasure!” “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” (1 Cor. 3: 7) Indeed Salvation is of the Lord! (Ps. 127:1-2) He alone begins, cultivates and sustains it…until the End! “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Ps. 3:8)

    Yours is a Gnostic Theology for certain! (I will keep maintaining this!!! Cry uncle yet? lol I know never!)

    Fr. Robert

  31. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    I am glad you got some much needed rest.

    Again, we do not disagree that we are to approach God on His terms. We disagree on what God’s terms actually are.

    I believe God’s terms involve following His Commandments, which Jesus simplified into two commandments – Loving God and loving the neighbor.

    You believe the terms involve BELIEF and TRUST – that is called salvation by faith alone. Your theology of salvation involves having a proper mental conception. Swedenborg’s theology involves the right mental conception (faith) and putting that conception into action (love).

    So, you are either completely right or half right. I however, have both sides covered!

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  32. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    You are most certainly a biblical scholar. And you have brilliantly forced me into a corner of the biblical text.

    So then, let us take a look at whether St. Paul tears Swedenborg’s theology to pieces (yes, you are allowed to be brutal too).

    Check out Romans 13:8-10, which states that “love is the fulfilling of law.” It furthermore specifically applies to the Decalogue. The 10 Commandments must be LIVED by a life of love towards God and neighbor – not by faith alone.

    In Romans 2:13 We read: “For not the hearers of the law are justified before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”

    Several passages before that (Romans 2:6) it states: “God will render to every man according to his deeds.”

    Somewhere else, either in this post or another, I also mentioned that Paul placed love above both faith and hope.

    So Paul and James equally reject faith without good works.

    So where did biblical interpretation go wrong concerning salvation? Swedenborg states that it occured from a misunderstanding of Paul’s statement in Romans 3:28 that “man is justified by faith without the works of the law.”

    What Paul meant was the works of the Mosaic law, which were statutes for the customs of the Jews only. These Jewish laws include:

    The law of the meal offering.
    The law of sacrificing.
    The law of the sacrifice and the peace-offering.
    The law of the burnt offering.
    The law of the beast and of the bird.
    The law of leprosy.
    The law of him that hath an issue.
    The law of jealousy.
    The law of the Nazarite.
    The law of cleansing.
    The law of the red heifer.
    The law for the king.

    The Jews had laws for everything! These laws of Jewish custom are what are meant by Paul that “the works of the law” are no longer needed. This is further evidenced by Paul rebuking Peter for “judaizing” and favoring circumcision. So Paul did not throw the 10 Commandments out the window. These laws are Gods TERMS! They instruct us what to Do, and what not to Do, for the purpose of salvation.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  33. irishanglican says:

    Sir Edward,

    You are arguing against a straw-man. No where did I say at least that faith does not need works. In fact neither Calvin nor Luther teach such a thing. And I am not advocating a classic Reformed (Dort) or old Lutheran view, but a more modern Neo-Reformed, and Barthian view. And the late 19th, to the 20th..and on into the 21 century Swedish/Finnish Lutheran view (see Yngve Brilioth), which is more friendly with the Catholic-Reformed views of Anglican theology. This is a ecumenical theology, at least in desire. I have a whole bunch of theolgians in my position! We are all seeking a Catholic and Evangelical Faith, historic, etc. I am also one as I have said, that is E. Orthoxdox friendly, but sometimes critical also. As I said, I am personally eclectic, but always seeking my own history and tradition in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I am Creedal. And stand as a historic Churchman! For me there is a “living and abiding Tradition”!

    On the blog we do not have time and space to present our whole doctrines and belief. That is one of the reasons that I am seeking to narrow you to some form and aspect to a Gnostic theology. I know some so-called Christian Gnostic’s and they are proud to say so. As I have said, your and Swendenborg’s teachings and doctrine appear in this historic genre (if we may call it). At least to my mind!

    And I have not forced you into a biblical corner, the Judeo-Christian Text has done this! May “we all” come to grips with the exegetical Text “Itself”! The breath of God, and the Word Incarnate! I really am nothing, if anything I am standing on the shoulders of others! And I am not seeking a false humility. I am but a Churchman!

    Fr. Robert

  34. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    My sarcasm has gone over your head if you believe I feel cornered in any scriptural way.

    From one straw-man to another, you continue to tip-toe around the Commandments. The works that I refer to are in one’s following the Commandments – not simply good deeds like helping the poor or giving money to widows. The commandments tell us both what to do (love God and neighbor) and WHAT NOT TO DO (sin). But who needs the commandments when one need only have faith and trust in Christ’s vicarious death?

    Everyone prefers to take shortcuts and cut corners (which is what salvation by faith alone does)!

    If your theology of redemption is correct, then Jesus gave some bad advice to people. When He spared a women accused of adultery from being stoned and saying after hear accusers had departed, that “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more” (John 8:11) He most certainly had misinformed the poor woman.

    Was this not hasty and premature advice since the Lord had not yet been sacrificed, or interceded for us before the Father? What right did Jesus have to tell her not to sin when the Father had yet to impute righteousness, and had yet to send the Holy Spirit?

    And why would Jesus tell a lawyer (Luke 10:25-28) to do what is written in the law “and thou shalt live” (eternally)? Is Jesus showing the same ignorance to Christian doctrine and authority that you accuse me of?

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  35. thegodguy says:

    Dear interested readers,

    The doctrine of salvation by faith alone is an unfortunate outcome of the Trinitarian Doctrine of God being described as three distinct PERSONS – who are united in essence. Words like “consubstantial” and “hypostatic union” were invented by theologians to protect the Judeo-Christian belief of ONE GOD.

    Furthermore, this “solution” is not to be challenged, but is simply to be chalked-up as a great MYSTERY.

    But the Prophet Isaiah challenges the idea of three Divine Persons in his prophecy of the Lord’s Advent:

    “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, God, Hero, FATHER OF ETERNITY, Prince of Peace (9:6).

    Under no circumstance can the “Son” be called the “Father,” unless they were one and the same individual, as Swedenborg maintained.

    Concerning our personal redemption from sin there is this to think about:

    “The soul that sinneth, it shall die; the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son (Ezekiel 18:20; Deut. 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6).

    If we do not bear the sins of our fathers – going all the way back to Adam – what sin did the Lord take upon Himself on the cross? It certainly was not Original Sin! What sin did the Lord appropriate while on the cross to appease the WRATH of the Father? Did this include sins not yet committed, by the generations that followed? Another mystery!

    Speaking of God’s wrath Swedenborg has this to say about the one and only Lord, who’s love and mercy is infinite::

    “The Lord is as far from cursing any one and being angry with him as heaven is from earth. Who can believe that the Lord, who is omniscient and omnipotent, and by His wisdom rules the universe, and is thus infinitely above all infirmities, is angry with such wretched dust as men, who scarcely know anything of what they do, and can of themselves do nothing but evil? It is, therefore, never possible for God to be angry, or be other than merciful.” (Secrets of Heaven, n. 1093)

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

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