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The School has given Ortho permission to present several student theses for the benefit of our readers.
FOREWORD I was prompted to choose this particular topic for the present Thesis by my apologetical dialogue in the Apologetics class.
When my opponent – a Presbyterian pastor – and I got into the discussion of the subject of personal salvation and went through the usual set of Biblical quotes that the two sides read differently, I felt that it was important to emphasize that the Orthodox and the Protestant teachings on salvation do not exactly carry the same weight, as the Protestant teaching of “faith only” happens to be a 16th-century novelty that was born out of the protest against the abuses of the Papacy.
This doctrine is multi-dimensional, and involves dogmatic, historical, Scriptural, ecclesiological, and other aspects.“Original sin is understood by Orthodox theology as a sinful inclination which has entered into mankind and become its spiritual disease.” “…With the transgression of the commandment, the principle of sin immediately entered into man – “the law of sin”…It struck the very nature of man and quickly began to root itself in him and develop. The sinful inclinations in man have taken the reigning position; man has become the servant of sin (Rom. Both the mind and the feelings have become darkened in him, and therefore his moral freedom often does not incline towards the good, but towards evil.” We are not guilty of Adam’s sin (as Western soteriology puts it) but still have to deal with its consequences, as it affected the whole of mankind.By these words the Orthodox Church teaches that the salvation of the human race is achieved by the Son of God, Lord Jesus Christ, Who said about Himself, “the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew , Mark ). "The doctrine of original sin has great significance in the Christian world-view, because upon it rests a whole series of other dogmas.” From the beginning, the Church’s teaching has been that the nature of man was profoundly corrupted as a result of the fall.Adam and Eve sinned by violating God’s order and breaking their connection with God – Who alone is Life.
He delivered us from the power of sin, from pre-disposition to sin that man was unable to reverse by himself.