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Pilgrims from Paradise

Pilgrims from Paradise

Oneness and the Spirit - Part 4

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In this podcast, Matthew examines two other pillars of Church unity—the breaking of bread and prayers.

Last time, we talked about how mutual, loving submission to the Apostles was, for the first Christians, a powerful manifestation of, and a contributor to, the divine oneness that the Spirit had come to work in them. Another pillar of unity, as we read in Acts 2:42, was the breaking of bread. Every commentator I have ever read, Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox, sees this as a reference to the Eucharist, the receiving of Christ’s body and blood in the bread and…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Romans Nine - Part 3

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Matthew examines the hardening of Pharoah's heart as "proof" of pre-destination.

Today we’re continuing in Romans 9. In verses 14 through 21, we find another passage to which those who promote the doctrine of predestination often appeal. We read:

What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not. For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whomever I have will mercy and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion. So then, it is not of him whom wills nor of him who runs, but of God who…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Romans Nine - Part 5

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Matthew concludes his series by looking at Pharaoh's hardened heart.

In Romans 9:17-18, we read:

For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

Those who believe in predestination read these verses as testimony that God foreordains some to receive grace and mercy and others to reap his wrath.…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Romans Nine - Part 4

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Matthew goes on to examine Romans eleven to further illumine St. Paul's writings two chapters earlier.

In Romans 11, we find St. Paul expanding on the differentiation he has made in Chapter 9: the distinction between spiritual Israel and temporal Israel, between Israelites of faith and those who are merely “ethnic” Israelites. Just a note, I’m not going to read all of chapter 11 here, but I would strongly suggest you listeners take a moment to do that before you start trying to follow along with me. In verse 7, the apostle tells us that God’s…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Romans Nine - Part 2

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Matthew continues his examination of St. Paul's epistle, looking this time at God's relationship with Jacob and Esau.

We are discussing the ninth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. Our goal is to determine if certain passages in this chapter provide evidence for the doctrine of predestination. Those who support the doctrine most definitely hold this chapter to be important to its defense. But as I said last time, to evaluate those texts, specifically the verses about God hardening Pharaoh’s heart and his preference of Jacob over Esau, we must examine them in the light of…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Romans Nine - Part 1

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Does St. Paul's letter to the Romans "prove" pre-destination?

Recently, a young Orthodox friend of mine found herself in a debate with a Calvinist. She enlisted my help in responding to a passage of Scripture to which those of the Reformed persuasion commonly turn to defend the doctrine of unconditional election, that is, that God sovereignly decides before He creates the world which human beings he will save and which he will not. The passage is Romans 9:14-21.

What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Imputed Righteousness-12

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This is the final episode in the Imputed Righteousness series. If you would like a CD package (4 CD's) of all 13 episodes in this series it is available for $30 when you make your request to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). We will give you the details on how to process your order.

Last time, we came to the end of Abraham’s journey to the promise of God. I hope you listeners followed my suggestion to spend some time meditating on the life of Abraham. One of the great blessings of the Orthodox life is the emphasis that Eastern Christianity puts on meeting God in the people in whom He reveals Himself, rather than just focusing on the theological principles illustrated by their lives.

We rejoice in remembering the saints of God every…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Imputed Righteousness-11

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Abraham faces the greatest test of his faith imaginable.

Today we come to the last passage of Scripture that we will be analyzing in our discussion of Abraham. We have been following the patriarch’s story, discovering what his experience with God has to teach us about the relationship between our faith, imputed righteousness, obedience, and the promise of salvation in Christ. We have learned that Abraham’s faithful embracing of God’s promise to him, that he would be the father of many nations, opens the…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Imputed Righteousness 10

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Faith is the beginning of the journey to salvation but obedience is the path. It is simply our love relationship with God.

In the last podcast, we began looking at the covenant God presents to Abraham in Genesis 17. In this passage, we find God fleshing out the particulars in His relationship with His servant. Abraham’s responsibilities when it comes to the promise God has made to him, are made clear. From Abraham’s experience in Genesis 16, we learned that faith alone cannot bring about the fulfillment of God’s promises to us, whether we are talking about His promise…

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Pilgrims from Paradise

Imputed Righteousness 9

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What God really wants from us is a living connection. A joining with our beings. Just believing that doesn't make it happen.

Today, we are going to take a closer look at Genesis 17. This text contains the details of the covenant God makes with Abram, who, as a result of it, becomes Abraham. We will look into Abraham’s name change, as well as what this chapter has to teach us about the relationship between faith, works, and salvation, in just a moment. Before we do that, let’s review the important elements of Abram’s story to this point, identifying each one’s parallel…

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