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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Response to JL Vaughn On The Divine Liturgy

BY: LAZARUS CONLEY

JL Vaughn a full preterist asks this question about the Eastern Orthodox's Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom:

What does this mean? Is this teaching full preterism, that Jesus Christ came back already in AD70? 

During the Anaphora the Divine Liturgy says: "Remembering, therefore, this saving commandment and all that has been done for our sake: the Cross, the tomb, the Resurrection on the third day, the Ascension into heaven, the enthronement at the right hand, and the second and glorious coming again."

Without knowing context, this probably would confuse a full preterist. But with context it isn't that confusing. 

For one, this is spoken by the Priest during the Anaphora that we say that part of the Divine Liturgy... 

The priest says: 

“Remembering, therefore, this saving commandment and all that has been done for our sake: the Cross, the tomb, the Resurrection on the third day, the Ascension into heaven, the enthronement at the right hand, and the second and glorious coming again…”
Then aloud he state aloud: “Your own of Your own we offer to You, in all and for all.”

We “offer” to God what is God’s at the Divine Liturgy, by Remembering “this saving commandment” (that is, to “Take, eat, this is My Body,” and “Drink of this, all of you,” which is proclaimed by the priest just before what was just quoted. [Edit: This was shown by me to have apparently been quoted by Sr. Vassa, an Orthodox nun so credit where credit is due for the quote (I do not endorse all of Sr Vassa's positions].

We remember “all that has been done for our sake,” and it includes, surprisingly, the future “second and glorious coming again.” (op cit.) 

What do we make of this? It's really quite simple. We live in the promises today as if Christ has already come. Secondly, in faith, the Church “sees” as God “sees,” which means the Church sees beyond space and time, because God is both inside and outside of time. This is particularly true in His intimate presence to us, and our presence to Him, during the Divine Liturgy. We find what's called the already, not yet principle in full force in the Divine Liturgy.

What happens next in the Divine Liturgy? We pray over the Eucharist blessing it. Know who the Eucharist is? Jesus Christ. We in the Orthodox Church believe that this bread and blood becomes the literal body of Christ through Divine Mystery. The heavenly blesses earth. 

Later we partake of the Eucharist. 

It is amazing what one can find when they are just willing to get context. The Eastern Orthodox Church and every Church that accepts the historic faith knows that the Divine Liturgy stands in line with the Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God, Father Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth, 
and of all things visible and invisible. 


And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of
God, begotten of the Father before all ages;

Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten,
not created, of one essence with the Father
through Whom all things were made.

Who for us men and for our salvation
came down from heaven and was incarnate
of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man.

He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate,
and suffered and was buried;

And He rose on the third day,
according to the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father;

And He will come again with glory to judge the living
and dead. His kingdom shall have no end. (NO FP HERE)

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of life,
Who proceeds from the Father, Who together with the
Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, Who
spoke through the prophets.

In one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the age to come. (NO FP HERE)


If anyone wishes to learn more about the Divine Liturgy I recommend going to an Orthodox Church and learning from a priest. And if unable to attend, consider buying and reading anything by Fr. Alexander Schmemann and St. Nicholas Cabasilas on the topic.

Quoting Fr. John Guy Winfrey here on non-Orthodox using patristics:
"[A] critical issue is that time cannot be applied in a lineal way with our Liturgy. As they try to use the Fathers, it is important to correctly contextualize the quotes. They don’t think in a patristic manner & will therefore not have the right context."
We could obviously go much deeper into this topic on the Divine Liturgy and the theology behind it but I suspect much of these matters would go well over the full preterist mindset as there is nothing sacramental nor liturgical about full preterism.

Simply put... paraphrasing a conversation I had with Fr. Peter A. DeFonce on this topic quite a bit (gotta give credit where it's due).

We "remember" or "commemorate" Christ upon the bread and wine, chanting and interpreting Scripture, loving each and every human person as they are made in God's Image and likeness!

Orthodox Christians believe and put their hope, trust, and faith in The One Who will come in glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose Kingship will have no end"!

We pray and hope for the full preterist that they will one day repent of their heresy and rejoin the One True God.

In the Church, God comes to be present in and among His People, IN and THROUGH His own broken Body and His own precious Blood (The Eucharist). He is present in the Eucharist.

Every single time we receive a Sacrament of any kind...

Every single time we receive His most pure Body and mist precious Blood...

He comes again in glory, just as promised in the Creed...

Every single time we read the Scriptures, too!

Again, Orthodox Christians believe and put their hope and trust and faith in The One Who will come in glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose Kingship will have no end.

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